Packers' Jordan Love could start Week 1 without WRs Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Jordan Love wouldn’t mind if coach Matt LaFleur opened the 2023 season with the same playcall as the Green Bay Packers coach did in last season's opener.

And the Packers' quarterback thinks it would end differently than when Christian Watson dropped what would’ve been a 75-yard touchdown from Aaron Rodgers on the first play of the first game -- the 23-7 loss at the Minnesota Vikings.

“I think Christian will make it right this time and go score a touchdown for sure,” Love said. “But you never know. With a guy with speed like that, he's always a threat to take that first play to the house, so you always gotta be ready for that.”

The problem is, it might not be an option.

Watson missed Wednesday’s practice due to a hamstring injury. Combine that with the hamstring injury Romeo Doubs suffered in practice nearly two weeks ago, and Love could be without his top two receivers for Sunday’s season opener at the Chicago Bears (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox).

As if his first start as the Packers’ full-time starting quarterback wouldn’t have been tough enough already.

“Obviously, it’d be tough,” Love said.

LaFleur would not reveal any details about Watson’s injury or when it happened. The second-year receiver took part in both of the practices last week but was not on the field Wednesday when preparations for the Bears began in earnest.

The Packers were already going to have one of the youngest pass-catching groups in the NFL, but Doubs and Watson were the most experienced of the receivers. They combined for 83 catches, 1,036 yards and 10 touchdowns as rookies last season despite missing seven combined games. A hamstring injury kept Watson out of three games last season.

If both are out, it would leave second-year pro Samori Toure as the only receiver on the roster who has ever played in a regular-season game; the 2022 seventh-round pick played just 112 snaps last season and totaled five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown.

“Honestly, I still don’t even know what’s going on [with Doubs and Watson], but I’m going to prepare like I’m going to play every single snap no matter what,” Toure said. “That’s what I started doing last year, as well, when I wasn’t out there playing. The preparation doesn’t change.

The other three receivers on the roster are all rookies -- second-round pick Jayden Reed, the likely starting slot receiver; fifth-round pick Dontayvion Wicks and the undrafted Malik Heath.

By the way, Wicks also has a hamstring injury, but at least he practiced on a limited basis.

The Packers also have two receivers on the practice squad -- rookie seventh-round pick Grant DuBose and Bo Melton, who was on the Packers roster for the final two games of last season but never saw the field. Either or both could be elevated for Sunday against the Bears.

The Packers also have three rookies among their four tight ends.

“We’ve got a plan in place, and we’ll play the guys that are available and ready to go,” LaFleur said. “The one thing about this league is nobody cares. You’ve got to find a way to get it done, and I think our guys have taken that mindset no matter who’s out there. The expectations remain the same -- and that is to go out there and play winning football. So, we’ll get our guys ready to go.”

But will LaFleur have anyone who can go deep if Watson can’t play?

“I'm always encouraging him to take some shots,” Love said.