Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard did not practice today, according to the Packers’ injury report. Head coach Matt LaFleur stated in the pre-practice presser on Wednesday that someone stepped on the Packers’ projected top receiver last week, leading to an injury. Interestingly, though, it wasn’t a foot or toe injury that Green Bay listed Lazard with on the injury report, but rather an ankle injury.
One of Lazard’s potential replacements, rookie second-round pick Christian Watson, was a full participant on Wednesday, despite missing the entire preseason with a knee injury. Watson originally began training camp on the physically unable to perform list after he underwent a knee surgery this summer. While he wasn’t ever healthy enough to see live game action, Watson did warm up with the team leading up to their Week 2 and Week 3 preseason games and was a full-contact participant in some of the team’s training camp practices.
Should Lazard miss time, expect some combination of Watson and fellow rookie receiver Romeo Doubs to supplement Lazard’s playing time. The expectation is that Lazard, if healthy, would start opposite of free agent signing Sammy Watkins in two-receiver sets. Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers should also see some action as slot receivers.
Elsewhere offensively, three players who started training camp on the physically unable to perform list did practice today. Left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins (pectoral, knee) and tight end Robert Tonyan were all limited participants in practice on Wednesday. In all likelihood, their participation on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings should be close to game-time decisions. If Bakhtiari cannot suit up, expect Yosh Nijman to sub in as the team’s left tackle. With the team naming Jenkins a right tackle on the depth chart, the assumption is that Royce Newman would start at right guard if Jenkins is healthy. If Jenkins isn’t healthy on Sunday, Newman at right tackle and Jake Hanson at right guard was the team’s most-played lineup in the preseason.
Starting safety Darnell Savage (hamstring) was also a limited participant in practice. While the team downplayed Savage’s injury that occurred on Family Night, he is still not 100 percent, which is a bit worrisome considering the Packers’ depth at the position. Vernon Scott and Shawn Davis, the team’s two most-played safeties in the preseason, were waived with injury designations this summer, leading to the team keeping Dallin Leavitt, Tariq Carpenter and Rudy Ford, three special teams-first players, behind the starting safeties on the 53-man roster.
Five other players were listed by the team as full participants who were overcoming injuries: kicker Mason Crosby (knee), outside linebacker Tipa Galeai (elbow), Hanson (shoulder), Leavitt (shoulder) and Nijman (knee.) Nijman and Hanson are key offensive line depth, as explained above, especially if Bakhtiari and Jenkins can’t suit up versus the Vikings. Galeai starts on just about every special teams unit, including as a tackle in punt protection, while Leavitt does the same and starts as the team’s punt protector. If Leavitt’s shoulder injury flares up for some reason, the team would likely promote one of their running backs, Patrick Taylor or Tyler Goodson, from the practice squad on Saturday, as punt protector was a position they played in the preseason.