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Packers protect four familiar practice squad faces in Week 14

Two have played regular season snaps for Green Bay

Green Bay Packers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

According to The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman, the Green Bay Packers protected the following practice squad players on Tuesday: kicker J.J. Molson, receiver Juwann Winfree, outside linebacker La’Darius Hamilton and defensive end R.J. McIntosh. Two of the three most common protected players for the Packers this season, long snapper Steve Wirtel and quarterback Kurt Benkert, have already been activated to the Packers’ active roster, with Benkert being elevated today as a response to quarterback Jordan Love being placed on the reserve/Covid-19 list.

Like Benkert and Writel, Molson has been a weekly protection as an “in case of emergency” type of player for the program. Hamilton, originally signed off of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad in Week 2 after Za’Darius Smith was placed on the injured reserve list, has played five games for the Packers, most recently in Week 12, totaling 60 defensive snaps for the team in 2021. He has since been passed on the depth chart for Tipa Galeai, though, who was added to the 53-man roster when Hamilton was released.

Similarly, Winfree has seen playing time on the offensive side of the ball. Winfree has seen 62 offensive snaps this season, with 54 of them coming in Week 8 against the Arizona Cardinals when the Packers’ top three receivers all missed the Thursday Night Football game. Most recently, Winfree played in Week 11 against the Minnesota Vikings.

McIntosh, who was signed off of the street in mid-September after spending the summer with the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints, has yet to be activated for the Packers this season. McIntosh was protected in Week 9, though, alongside Galeai, Molson and Winfree. Week 9 was the week in which Benkert and starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers were both placed on the reserve/Covid-19 list.

Pending the health of receiver Malik Taylor, who missed the Packers’ last game against the Rams with an abdomen injury, and other receivers in practice this week, Winfree may have a chance to be activated from the practice squad on Saturday.