On Monday night, Morgan Burnett returned to the starting lineup for the Green Bay Packers, donning the communication helmet when they hosted the Detroit Lions. Burnett had missed the previous two games with a hamstring injury.
During that game, he suffered a new injury — reported as a groin injury — and on Tuesday, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy told the media that Burnett would be ruled out for the team’s week ten game against the Chicago Bears.
Burnett was one of two starters lost to significant injuries on Monday, joining right tackle Bryan Bulaga. The veteran tackle suffered a torn ACL, and will be out for the season.
McCarthy said that Burnett’s long-term outlook was “better than Bryan’s,” but added that he did not have a timeline on the safety as of Tuesday afternoon. The only confirmation was that he would miss Sunday’s upcoming game at Soldier Field.
Burnett’s injury suddenly leaves the Packers thin at the safety position. Kentrell Brice just went on injured reserve, which may force Josh Jones to shift from Nitro linebacker, where he has been playing primarily in recent weeks, back to strong safety. That move would in turn mean more snaps for inside linebacker Jake Ryan. Ryan moving into the starting lineup next to Blake Martinez would leave the Packers with no backup options at that position, since Joe Thomas continues to miss time with an injury.
Adding to the problems with Burnett’s absence is the fact that he typically handles the communications on the field, lining up his teammates according to the defensive playcall. Free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix took over those duties during Burnett’s absence before the bye, but there seemed to be regular communication issues during that two-game span.
Stay tuned for more injury updates from Wednesday afternoon, when the Packers will announce their first injury report of week ten.