Dreams realized: Packers start preparing for Saints with initial 53 man roster


FILE – In this Sept. 24, 2017, file photo, Lambeau Field is seen during the first half of an NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Cincinnati Bengals, in Green Bay, Wis. Opened in 1957 and eventually named for the famed franchise’s first head coach, Lambeau Field was considered the NFL’s first football-specific facility. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

GREEN BAY, Wis (WFRV) – Stepping onto the practice field today, you could feel the energy change. The initial 53 man roster has been set, and the Packers know where their season opener with the Saints will take place. While they try to prepare for the hot weather in Jacksonville, for some of the Packers, this is a dream literally coming true.

“It’s hard. You just gotta stay dedicated, stay locked in and just focus on the task at hand, for real,” linebacker Chauncey Rivers said.

“(Jerry Montgomery) He gave me a call and said hey you’re on the 53, Congratulations. I was like, wow, I was kinda in shock. I was like, there’s no way, am I being pranked? Am I still dreaming?, ” defensive lineman Jack Heflin said with a grin. He said if that’s how he got woken up from a nap for the rest of his life, he’d be happy. He’d make that his alarm clock.

Wide receiver Malik Taylor made such a name for himself this preseason, there was no chance he wasn’t going to get himself a spot on the 2021 regular-season roster.

“Talent has never been the issue and it’s just putting it all together,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said. “It’s going out there, playing fast, playing confident. I thought you see him play with more urgency, more fire on the field. He made some really good plays for us. I think he’s a physical guy too. He does a great job in the run game, and he’s certainly going to be a guy that we count on on special teams as well. He’s a young guy that continues to develop and I thought he really went out there in the preseason and earned it. He took that spot.”

One decision that will dampen some fan’s hearts was the decision to keep All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari on the physically unable to perform list, meaning he will not be able to play for the first six weeks of the season.

“He’s such a cornerstone piece to this organization. He’s such an important part of what we’re doing. Where he’s at and where we thought he could be in the first six weeks, it’s the best thing for the team and for David,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said.

The Packers will face off against the Saints in Jacksonville since the Saints stadium is not available due to the damage caused to New Orleans by Hurricane Ida.

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