What to Know: Gary, Stokes and others begin Packers training camp on PUP list

ASHWAUBENON, WISCONSIN - MAY 31: Rashan Gary #52 of the Green Bay Packers participates in an OTA practice session at Don Hutson Center on May 31, 2023 in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
ASHWAUBENON, WISCONSIN - MAY 31: Rashan Gary #52 of the Green Bay Packers participates in an OTA practice session at Don Hutson Center on May 31, 2023 in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

With training camp practices beginning next week, quarterbacks, rookies, and injured players were to report for the Green Bay Packers on Friday. With that, Rashan Gary and Eric Stokes have been placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, along with a few other injury designations.

An individual who is placed on the PUP list can participate in team activities but is unable to practice. They can be activated off of PUP at any time prior to the regular season. If they begin the season on the PUP list, they must sit out for four weeks. After that point, once the player is activated, they have a three-week window to be added to the 53-man roster. If not, they revert to IR, and their season is over.

Last summer, the Packers had nine players begin training camp on the PUP list, including Robert Tonyan, Christian Watson, David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, and Mason Crosby.

It’s not surprising that Gary or Stokes are beginning the year on PUP. Gary is recovering from an ACL injury, and Stokes a foot injury. Both did not participate in practice during OTAs or minicamp. Without Gary, the Green Bay pass rush very much missed his presence. Overall, the Packers ranked 22nd in total pressures last season. The depth of that edge rusher position does seem improved in comparison to this time a year ago, with the additions of Justin Hollins, Lukas Van Ness, and JJ Enagbare going into Year 2, but there, of course, is no replacing Gary, who ranked third among all edge rushers in PFF’s pass rush productivity metric.

"“I’ll be ready when I’ll be ready,” said Gary during OTAs via Packers.com. “I’m just making sure I’m squeezing the towel as much as I can every day, making sure I’m not leaving not one inch of doubt if I pushed it to my all. Just going 100 percent day by day and we’ll see where I’ll be.”"

In Stokes’ absence, Matt LaFleur has already mentioned that Jaire Alexander and Rasul Douglas will be the boundary cornerbacks while Keisean Nixon will handle the slot responsibilities. I go into greater detail on the different options the Packers have here, but once Stokes is available, how the Packers divide playing time in this talented and crowded cornerback room remains to be seen. Prior to his injury, Stokes allowed a completion rate of 84% on 25 targets with no pass breakups.

Along with these moves, Jake Hanson and Jeff Cotton were also placed on the PUP list. Hanson, who was placed on IR last season with a biceps injury, did not practice during OTAs or minicamp. In a crowded offensive line room, Hanson’s path to making the roster this year is not a clear one. Cotton, however, was on the practice field for offseason programs. As a 2020 undrafted rookie, he is the most tenured in the Packers receiver room, but has no NFL snaps.

Lastly, receiver Grant DuBose and undrafted tight end Camren McDonald were placed on the non-football injury list (NFI). The NFI designation is similar to the PUP, except it includes players who were either injured away from football or have an injury from college they are still recovering from.

DuBose is yet to practice this offseason, and as Matt LaFleur said, he will be playing catch up when he does return. Whether the Packers keep just five receivers or someone like Malik Heath or Bo Melton makes a push, DuBose is not a roster lock at this point—although he is still likely the favorite for that sixth receiver role as a draft pick.

All players on the PUP list still count towards the Packers’ 90-man roster. If at any point a player is placed on injured reserve (IR) before initial rosters are set, unlike during the regular season, that player is not eligible to return.