Soft tissue injuries have derailed what has been a relatively healthy Green Bay Packers team up until this week. The team announced via their injury report that receiver Sammy Watkins, who leads the Packers in receiving yards this season with 111, will miss Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a hamstring injury.
Lots of players out or in doubt of playing Sunday when #Packers meet #Buccaneers. Got GB, WR Sammy Watkins is out; WR Christian Watson and Randall Cobb are questionable and Allen Lazard is in. Bakhtiari, who practiced for a 2nd straight day, and Marcedes Lewis are questionable. pic.twitter.com/xNRIlXGLL8— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) September 23, 2022
Beyond Watkins, receiver Christian Watson (hamstring), tight end Marcedes Lewis (groin) and nose tackle Kenny Clark (groin) are also dealing with soft tissue injuries. Watson and Lewis were listed by the team as questionable against the Buccaneers while Clark was not given a status, implying that he will play in Week 3. Clark and Lewis were limited participants on Friday while Watson did not practice in the final two practices of the week.
Losing Watkins and Watson in the same week to hamstring injuries would be a huge loss, as they rank first and second in offensive snaps for receivers on the team this season. The team will need to rely on Allen Lazard, who was not given an injury designation but was also not a full participant in any practice this week, if they’re both out against Tampa Bay.
Beyond the pass-catchers, offensive tackle David Bakhtiari was listed as a limited participant for the second day in a row after head coach Matt LaFleur stated last week that Bakhtiari would practice “one day on, one day off” even when healthy enough to suit up for games. Bakhtiari was listed as questionable to play in Week 3 by the team. It’s worth noting that right tackle Elgton Jenkins was a full participant in practice for the first time this season on Friday.
Illness has kept kicker Mason Crosby and receiver Randall Cobb out of practice this week, but only Cobb was listed as questionable today. Despite missing the last two practices, it appears that Crosby will suit up against the Buccaneers.
Green Bay isn’t the only team in this game impacted by injuries, though. Wide receiver Chris Godwin (hamstring) and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (foot) were officially ruled out of Sunday action by Tampa Bay today. The Buccaneers will also be out receiver Mike Evans, who is serving a one-game suspension for his involvement in a fight against the New Orleans Saints last week that led to his ejection in Week 2.
Three other receivers, Julio Jones (knee), Russell Gage (hamstring) and Breshad Perriman (knee) were listed as questionable for the upcoming game. Gage was a non-participant on Friday and Jones only practiced on Friday as a limited participant after missing Wednesday and Thursday's practices. Running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) was also listed as questionable after being limited in practice all week.
Tight end Cade Otton (personal) and left tackle Donovan Smith (elbow) were listed as doubtful by the Buccaneers. Smith missed both Wednesday and Friday’s practices after being held out of Week 2. Smith’s original replacement, Josh Wells, was placed on the injured reserve this week, meaning that if Smith can’t go that Brandon Walton — who has yet to make a start in an NFL game — would likely be Tampa Bay’s starting left tackle on Sunday.
Both receiver rooms are less than 100 percent right now. With that being said, the potential of the Buccaneers starting a third-string left tackle, a rookie left guard and a second-string center next to each other could swing all this injury news in the Packers’ favor.