On Tuesday, the Green Bay Packers announced that starting tight end Marcedes Lewis and inside linebacker/special teamer Oren Burks have been placed on the reserve/Covid-19 list. The duo now joins receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, receiver Amari Rodgers, offensive lineman Ben Braden, outside linebacker Tipa Galeai, cornerback Kevin King, cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles, outside linebacker Chauncey Rivers (IR), inside linebacker Ty Summers (IR), outside linebacker La’Darius Hamilton (practice squad) and defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh (practice squad) on the list.
According to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the NFL and NFLPA are discussing changes to the league’s Covid protocol that would allow players to only isolate for five days rather than ten days, including unvaccinated players. Despite the Packers being down 12 players at the moment due to the virus, this would potentially allow the players on the 53-man roster to have the chance to return to the field by kickoff against against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football this weekend.
If Lewis and Burks do miss the game, though, the team will have some interesting decisions to make.
At tight end, Tyler Davis just recently out-snapped Dominique Dafney, who was active but played through an ankle injury that left him questionable for the game, for the first time this season against the Cleveland Browns. With pass-catching tight end Robert Tonyan on injured reserve, one would think that Josiah Deguara would enter the game as the team’s primary pass-catching tight end while Dafney would lead the way as the team’s run-blocker. Bronson Kaufusi, a practice-squadder, has not played a single game this season but is a noted run-blocker as well.
At inside linebacker, the team just recently placed key special-teamer Summers, also on the reserve/Covid-19 list, on the injured reserve. Between Burks and Summers, the inside linebacker pair has registered combined 562 snaps on special teams this season, good for first and third on the team, respectively. With starters De’Vondre Campbell and Krys Barnes healthy, look for rookie Isaiah McDuffie, who has seen all 147 of his 2021 snaps come on special teams, to be the next man up at linebacker.
Ray Wilborn is the team’s inside linebacker on the practice squad, a potential Saturday call-up. The Packers also signed hybrid linebacker and special teamer Peter Kalambayi to the practice squad last week, who could also see activation this week.
As always, hopefully Lewis and Burks make a healthy recovery from the virus.