According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Green Bay Packers are not expected to play any of the three players who were given gameday statuses on their final injury report this week: receiver Allen Lazard (doubtful, ankle), offensive tackle David Bakhtiari (questionable, knee) and offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins (questionable, knee/pectoral.) Lazard missing the season-opener against the Minnesota Vikings was assumed, as he was unable to practice this week after he was stepped on.
Unlike Lazard, neither of Bakhtiari and Jenkins suiting up for the game is a surprise considering they were taking team snaps together for most of this week. Still, Bakhtiari was listed as a limited participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but he was held out of participation on Friday. When head coach Matt LaFleur was asked after practice on Friday why Bakhtiari didn’t go, this was the exchange:
Reporter: What’s the reason for David sitting out today?
LaFleur: Yes. I’m not getting into any of our injuries today, so that’s the injury report and we’re going to leave it at that.
Hopefully, there wasn’t another setback in Bakhtiari’s recovery. The former Pro Bowler has only played 27 snaps since tearing his ACL in practice on New Year’s Eve of 2020. As Pelissero mentioned on Twitter, Yosh Nijman is expected to start at left tackle if Bakhtiari is unable to play. Nijman started eight games in 2021 following Jenkins’ ACL tear after Jenkins initially replaced Bakhtiari in the lineup.
While Jenkins has played everywhere on the offensive line, he has most recently been practicing at right tackle since being activated off of the physically unable to perform list. Based on the preseason, a Jenkins and Bakhtiari-less offensive line would likely see Nijman, Jon Runyan Jr., Josh Myers, Jake Hanson and Royce Newman start (left to right.) That was the most-played lineup the team fielded this summer, with Jenkins and Bakhtiari out of practice, though rookie fourth-round pick Zach Tom did play some first-team reps at right tackle which kept Newman at right guard and Hanson on the bench. Newman was a 17-game starter last season, but Hanson has only seen six regular-season snaps with the Packers after being drafted in the sixth round of the 2020 draft.
On Saturday, Green Bay activated receiver Juwann Winfree and safety Micah Abernathy to the gameday roster from the practice squad, showing their hand on how the team will deal with their inactives list in Week 1. With Lazard, Bakhtiari and Jenkins reportedly out, the team needs to find four remaining healthy scratches on their 53-man roster, one of which will almost certainly come from the safety position, as Abernathy’s addition gives the team a pool of six safeties to choose to use in live action. Winfree’s activation also means the Packers are carrying seven healthy receivers on their 55-man roster (including the practice squad call-ups), which means that rookie seventh-round pick Samori Toure — who was out-snapped by Amari Rodgers and Winfree in the preseason in action with the first-team offense — could be the fifth of seven inactives on Sunday.