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– Latest NFC News: Updates on David Bakhtiari, Jaylon Johnson, Aaron Jones, Bears, Lions, and Packers

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“Probably the only thing I have [against me] was not getting turnovers,” he added. “But now, this year I started getting some turnovers, creating. I feel like I’ve always been an exceptional cover guy, so just being able to impact the game and make plays in the air is something I wanted to do, and I went out and did that. And now everybody knows I can take the ball away. So, I feel like there’s really not a box I can’t check.”

Lions

Lions WR Kalif Raymond said he gave feedback to WR Jameson Williams after running a clear route to free up Amon-Ra St. Brown on a critical third-down conversion.

“The out route that Ra (Amon-Ra St. Brown) caught, a big third down conversion for us, Jamo is on the outside running a clear route and you have to take your man with you or else (St. Brown) gets cleaned and we don’t convert,” Raymond said, via Tim Twentyman of the team’s site. “He came back to the sideline, and I was like, ‘Dude, it’s a little thing, but like the way you ran that route he had to respect you, and because he respected you (St. Brown) got open.’ Something like that is huge, but also watching his blocking film he fit into the group.”

Raymond said Williams made him proud this season and pointed out how he put in extra work in practice.

“I was so proud of watching him and all the plays that he’s had over this postseason run and the latter half of the season,” Raymond said. “Everything he was doing it didn’t come as a surprise because he was putting in so much work. It was actually crazy to see how much work he put in. I was like, ‘dude, your distance in practice and after practice and before practice has got to be up there. It’s got to be hitting some numbers.’ He put the work in when nobody was looking.”

Lions QB Jared Goff reiterated how Williams worked in practice to improve and is confident in the receiver’s development.

“The work he put in daily, you saw it every day in pre-practice and post-practice, all the stuff he was doing to get himself in a groove and ready,” Goff said. “Seeing his growth and how far he came, (Sunday) night with the plays he made. That one early was awesome. Had some other opportunities to get him the ball that I wish I probably would have. He’s done a really good job getting himself ready and will continue to get better.”

Packers

Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said he fully expects RB Aaron Jones to be back next season. The 29-year-old back has a $17 million cap hit in 2024 and is owed $12 million, none of which is guaranteed at the moment.

Yeah, absolutely,” Gutekunst said via Matt Schneidman of The Athletic. “We’d love to Aaron back. We’re still putting all those things together as far as how we’re going to move forward, but he was such a difference-maker when he was out there this year. The way our offense was able to move, the way he changed a lot of the way we operated when he was in there and when he was healthy. I think for us, it’s finding a way to keep him out there and keep him healthy. Not only on the field but, and you guys know this, you guys have been around here, he’s such an influential leader in our locker room. He’s just really the heartbeat of our team. That’s certainly the anticipation, that he’ll be back.

Gutekunst wasn’t as adamant about bringing LT David Bakhtiari back as he was about Jones, however.

We are still at the very beginning stages of looking at how we are going to move forward with all of that,” Gutekunst said. “Obviously, David has been through a really rough stretch with the injury stuff and he’s going through a very major surgery trying to get back to be able to play. We’re monitoring that and I know he’s working his tail off and once we get down the road and see where he’s at health-wise, we will kind of make those decisions … This is not a short one. It’s going to take some time. Obviously, you guys know his work ethic and how important it is for him to get back and playing. But this was a tough one, so he’s got a ways to go.”

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