Before practice on Friday, Green Bay Packers head coach Matt Lafleur seemed concerned about the injuries to outside linebacker Rashan Gary (toe) and receiver Christian Watson (hamstring.) LaFleur was unsure if Gary, who was limited on Thursday, would practice today and even stated that there’s a chance that the team shuts down Watson for a while.
Aaron Rodgers (thumb) is off the injury report. He was a full participant for the second straight day.— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) October 14, 2022
Rashan Gary (toe) is questionable.
Christian Watson, Tipa Galeai are OUT. pic.twitter.com/m2cqeI6dnE
According to the Packers’ final injury report of the week, Gary is officially listed as questionable while Watson has been ruled out in Week 6 against the New York Jets. Following the injury to Watson, Green Bay will have to lean on Allen Lazard, Romeo Doubs and Randall Cobb now more than ever. Rookie receiver Samori Toure has yet to be activated for a gameday roster this season and second-year receiver Amari Rodgers has almost exclusively played as a return man in 2022.
Beyond those two, outside linebacker Tipa Galeai (hamstring) has also been ruled out against the Jets. Galeai has been a special teams-only player for the team, but plays an important role as the team’s left tackle on the punt protection. The Packers have not used any of their other outside linebackers on that unit this year, and the team’s backup tight ends — the other players who typically play the position — are already starting at guard (Josiah Deguara) and the wing (Tyler Davis.) The new addition of inside linebacker Eric Wilson may come in handy as Green Bay transitions to this new-look punt unit.
Galeai is pass-rushing depth at outside linebacker, too, which will be stretched even thinner if Gary is inactive on Sunday. The team only had three healthy pass-rushers in Preston Smith, Jonathan Garvin and Kingsley “JJ” Enagbare as it stands today.
The good news is that quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ thumb injury seems to be a non-factor and that neither of the team’s starting tackles, David Bakhtiari (knee) and Elgton Jenkins (knee), were given an injury designation. This is the first week that Bakhtiari has been able to practice in all three of the team’s practices since he was taken off of the physically unable to perform list.
The Jets only have one question mark going into this week’s matchup: left tackle Duane Brown (shoulder.) Brown was a full participant on Friday after being limited in the previous two practices. New York has already lost Mekhi Becton, Max Mitchell and George Fant to the injured reserve, which forced the signing of Brown and led to the team moving first-round guard Alijah Vera-Tucker to right tackle this season. If Brown can’t go, it could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back on their offensive line.