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GREEN BAY — Whether the Green Bay Packers’ top five wide receivers — Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown and Devin Funchess — show up for the team’s mandatory three-day minicamp next week remains to be seen, but their coaches downplayed Thursday the significance of their absences.

Of course, given the voluntary nature of organized team activity practices, what were offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and wide receivers coach Jason Vrable supposed to say?

“The first thing to understand is this is all optional,” Hackett said. “(But) as a coach, we’re always going to want to be with them, always going to want to have them around to be able to get to know them as people and at the same time, be able to help them out on the field.

“If they think they’re getting themselves in the best position to be able to help this team, then hey, that’s how it is in the offseason. But we miss ‘em, and we’d love ‘em here.”

Vrable said he has talked to the five receivers “a lot” and said they had not indicated to him that their absences were part of a coordinated effort or some sort of boycott. Vrable also said that they all took part in Phase I of the offseason program, which was held virtually. The Packers have had seven receivers at practice this week, but only one, Malik Taylor, has caught an NFL regular-season pass.

“They were doing everything, showing up for every meeting,” Vrable said. “I love all those guys. They're great men and great players and obviously I want 'em here because both on and off the field, they make us better. … Hopefully next week they show up and we'll be ready to roll.”

Winding up

Wednesday’s OTA practice was the first open session that veteran quarterback Blake Bortles took part in, and several sideline observers noticed that Bortles was winding up to make throws. That his mechanics looked different than they had during his time as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ starter was not an illusion, Hackett admitted. Hackett coached Bortles with the Jaguars.

“Yeah, it has (changed),” Hackett said. “I think when you go from system to system like he has since we left each other, and there’s a lot of things that go into it — different footworks that different people believe in and teach. I think for him, it’s just about understanding the (Packers offense’s) footwork, getting the footwork so everything can time up and he can bring it with his arm.

“That’s something we’ve got to concentrate on with him and get him back to that form.”

Amari Rodgers watch

While quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ absence from the offseason program has made headlines, rookie wide receiver Amari Rodgers, a third-round pick from Clemson, has already made an impression on the offensive coaches, who believe the younger Rodgers will be an interesting chess piece in the scheme this year.

“I think without a doubt he’s going to do some cool things for us this upcoming year,” Hackett said. “Anytime you have a young player, there’s always this process of them trying to learn this new system, and there’s ups and downs with it. (But) Amari’s doing a very good job. He’s not intimidated by what we're handing to him.”


Photos: Packers’ 2020 season in pictures

Photos: Packers' 2020 season in pictures

Check out photo galleries from every game of 2020 through the end of the regular season and the playoffs.

This article originally ran on madison.com.

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