Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur stated on Wednesday that cornerback Jaire Alexander will practice in individual drills for the first time in two months. Alexander, a 2020 All-Pro, suffered a shoulder injury late in the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, leading to his placement on the injured reserve list. On Monday, LaFleur said there was a possibility that Alexander, tackle David Bakhtiari and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith could all return to practice this week, though he stated today that only Alexander would practice on Wednesday.
With Alexander returning to the practice field, this kicks off his 21-day window to practice while still on the injured reserve list, meaning that he will be activated by December 28th, if at all this season. In Alexander's absence, the team has found themselves a steady starter in Rasul Douglas, the practice squad pick up via the Arizona Cardinals. Douglas has been rotating with Kevin King, when King has been healthy, though Douglas has out-snapped him significantly as of late.
There is the potential for Douglas to continue to see reps as an outside cornerback in nickel looks if the team feels like Alexander can contribute in the slot. Typically, Chandon Sullivan locks down the slotback role, but their best three cornerbacks could very well be Alexander, Douglas and rookie first-round pick Eric Stokes, not Alexander, Stokes and Sullivan.
If you’re a betting man, I wouldn’t assume that the Packers would rush Alexander back quickly to play against the 4-8 Chicago Bears this week. As we’ve seen with Bakhtiari’s situation, just because a player is healthy enough to practice doesn’t mean that they will suit up for a game immediately.