On the eve of the NFC Championship Game, the Green Bay Packers are struggling to get to Atlanta. This Saturday afternoon, the team has been delayed flying out of Green Bay due to weather conditions, and is flying out of Milwaukee instead.
However, the team does have a bunch of good news as they prepare for tomorrow’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has reported that four of the Packers’ key injured players, who are all expected to be game-time decisions on Sunday, should be cleared to play on Sunday barring any issues in pregame warmups. Those four players include three wide receivers - Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, and Geronimo Allison - and the team’s starting strong safety, Morgan Burnett.
With the medical staff expected to give those players their blessing, the pressure making the game-time decision falls on head coach Mike McCarthy. As Silverstein notes, there is no guarantee that any of these players would be able to make it through an entire game, making it a risk/reward calculation for the head coach for each player.
Burnett seems the most likely of the quartet to play, even if for no reason other than his position. The veteran safety is a critical part of the Packers’ defense, and his replacement is undrafted rookie Kentrell Brice - a nice player, but certainly not one with the experience or depth of understanding of the defense that Burnett has. It’s entirely feasible that McCarthy could hold one or two of the receivers out, as that position has far more depth than safety - especially now that the team added a seventh wide receiver to the active roster.
That move was the promotion of wideout Max McCaffrey off the practice squad, which also took place this afternoon. McCaffrey will provide an insurance policy for McCarthy, and he takes the roster spot that was vacated by the Packers placing offensive lineman JC Tretter on injured reserve.
That means the Packers will have the following receivers to choose from this Sunday:
- Jordy Nelson (questionable, ribs/illness)
- Davante Adams (questionable, ankle)
- Randall Cobb
- Geronimo Allison (questionable, hamstring)
- Jeff Janis
- Trevor Davis
- Max McCaffrey