According to The Packers Wire’s Zach Kruse, Green Bay has protected the following practice-squadders for this week: defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson, defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh, kicker J.J. Molson and receiver/returner David Moore. Notable is the fact that quarterback Kurt Benkert, typically protected when healthy, was not protected this week.
McIntosh and Molson didn’t play a snap for the team in the regular season, but both have been protected several times, with Molson being a weekly insurance policy in case something happened to starting place kicker Mason Crosby. Anderson has played on the defensive side of the ball, recording 15 or more snaps against the Baltimore Ravens, Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions in Weeks 15, 17 and 18, respectively. Anderson has actually played more snaps (49) than defensive lineman Jack Heflin (17), who has been on the active roster for the entire season.
The most impactful name on the list, though, is Moore, who played eight snaps on special teams in Week 17 against the Minnesota Vikings. Moore returned a punt for 21 yards in that game, setting the season-high for the team in his single appearance. The Packers have previously used Amari Rodgers, Malik Taylor (injured reserve) and Randall Cobb (injured reserve-designated to return) as punt returners this season. Rodgers, though, has struggled, while the rest of the depth chart has been unable to push for playing time due to injuries or illness.
Moore was placed on the reserve/Covid-19 list in Week 18, keeping him out of the final regular season game against the Detroit Lions. Cobb, who was placed on the injured reserve for a core injury, started practicing again with the team on December 30th, beginning his 21-day window to return to the 53-man roster. That means that the team will need to make a decision by Thursday to promote him to the active roster or end his season.
Due to Moore missing out on Week 18’s game after his light breakout and Cobb getting injured immediately after taking over punt return duties, there’s a chance that any of them (or Rodgers) could be returning punts against San Francisco. If Moore plays against the 49ers, he will likely be called up on Friday from the practice squad.