As the Green Bay Packers returned from their bye week on Monday to begin practicing for their week six date against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team got some good news on the injury front. A pair of players on injured reserve were participating in Monday’s practice, a good sign that the two may be gearing up for a return to the active roster as early as this week.
On offense, the team saw wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown suit up on Monday. After not appearing on the injury report throughout the lead-up to week one, St. Brown was a surprise scratch for the Packers’ opening game against the Minnesota Vikings and he landed on injured reserve a few days later with an ankle injury. He had dealt with an ankle issue in training camp, however, and while the team has yet to confirm the details of his injury, it is possible that he tweaked it during warmups for that first game.
St. Brown’s potential return could hardly come at a better time. The team appears on track to get star wideout Davante Adams back this week from a hamstring injury that cost him two games, but Allen Lazard is on injured reserve as well. Lazard and St. Brown would seem to be obvious like-for-like swaps, as both players stand 6-foot-5 and over 210 pounds. Moreover, in 2018 the Packers used St. Brown in a relatively similar role to that which Lazard has played since emerging as a playmaker midway through last season, and he has some established chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. St. Brown would give the Packers another solid receiving weapon, particularly as a big slot receiver who can contribute with a full route tree.
The team also seems to be getting some reinforcements soon at linebacker as well, with rookie fifth-round draft pick Kamal Martin rejoining the team for practice on Monday. Martin was a pleasant surprise during training camp and was by many accounts pushing for the starting job at the Will linebacker position next to Christian Kirksey, who is himself now on injured reserve. Martin’s injury took place late in training camp and helped open up a spot for undrafted rookie Krys Barnes, who has impressed of late, but Martin would provide a shot in the arm to a position where depth is being tested — and where the team has again utilized hybrid safeties with regularity.
These players may not necessarily be activated from injured reserve in time for week six’s game, but by practicing now, a three-week clock begins. The Packers now must return these two players to the 53-man roster within the next 21 days or they will become ineligible to return in 2020.