The Green Bay Packers will be out two starting defensive backs against the Los Angeles Chargers, on top of the duo that they have on the injured reserve. When the Packers released their official inactives on Sunday morning, among them were cornerback Jaire Alexander (shoulder) and safety Rudy Ford (biceps).
Alexander missed last week’s game with a shoulder injury after dealing with a back injury in the first half of the season. With Rasul Douglas now traded to the Buffalo Bills, Alexander’s fellow preferred starter would be Eric Stokes, who is on the injured reserve with a hamstring injury. In place of Alexander and Stokes, the outside cornerbacks the Packers have today are rookie seventh-round pick Carrington Valentine, practice squad promotion Corey Ballentine and Robert Rochell, who was poached off the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad in Week 8. Keisean Nixon, also the Packers’ kick returner, should handle the slot duties in the game.
Ford finished out last week’s game against the Rams, but was a non-participant in practice this week and was the only player given a “doubtful” status on Friday’s injury report — the final one of the practice week. With fellow starter Darnell Savage on injured reserve, the starting safeties today should be Jonathan Owens and rookie seventh-round pick Anthony Johnson Jr. If anything turns south, the next man up could be practice squad call-up Benny Sapp III, an undrafted rookie who is seeing his first regular season action today. Green Bay will also have Zayne Anderson and Dallin Leavitt available at the position, but both players seem to be more special teams than two-phase players. They are only “safeties” in name.
The good news is that outside linebacker Rashan Gary, who injured his shoulder in a practice “mishap” this week, and inside linebacker Quay Walker, who has been dealing with a groin injury, are going to play against the Chargers. On the Chargers’ end of things, they’ll have receiver Keenan Allen, who is dealing with his own shoulder issue.
- WR Samori Toure
- OL Caleb Jones
- OLB Brenton Cox Jr.
- CB Jaire Alexander (shoulder)
- CB Kyu Blu Kelly
- SAF Rudy Ford (biceps)