In Wednesday morning’s cheese curds, we broke down the rough state of the Green Bay Packers’ roster after taking injuries and positive COVID-19 tests into account. This afternoon, the roster status got even worse with another five players placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Arguably the biggest name of the four new additions is starting defensive end Kingsley Keke. Keke was a surprise healthy scratch in last Saturday’s win over the Cleveland Browns, but has played about 50% of the Packers’ defensive snaps this season. Keke has accounted for 2.5 sacks, three pass breakups, and a forced fumble this season, but the team’s run defense struggled mightily against the Browns with him out and nose tackle Kenny Clark just returning from the COVID list himself.
Next up on the list is safety and dime back Henry Black. Black had played nearly every snap of the Packers’ season when the defense was in six-DB looks until two weeks ago against the Baltimore Ravens, when Kevin King replaced him. However, King landed on the COVID list himself last Saturday, pushing Black back onto the field in his familiar role. The Packers will surely hope to have King back in time for Sunday’s game.
Tight end Tyler Davis also lands on the COVID list after starting to emerge as a frequent contributor. Davis only has one big catch this season, a completion up the seam against Baltimore two weeks ago, but he has played at least 13 offensive snaps in each of the past two games, a sign that his role there is growing. He also has been a special teams contributor much of this season.
Finally, punter Corey Bojorquez reportedly tested positive on Tuesday, unlike the other three players above. That means that his five-day quarantine window could expire in time for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. Should he be able to pass the NFL’s new return-to-play COVID testing protocol, he would be eligible to return in time for the game; however, if he cannot, look for the Packers to look elsewhere for a punter and holder. They had another punter, Ryan Winslow, in training camp, but released him this fall; Winslow was just released from the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad, which would make him a candidate to re-sign in Green Bay as insurance.
These deactivations come on the same day that the Packers signed a slew of players to the practice squad to help fill in holes on the roster and promoted one other practice squad player to the 53-man roster. The promotion goes to rookie offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen, who has been elevated for gameday each of the past few weeks. Meanwhile, four new players joined the practice squad: linebacker Aaron Adeoye, offensive tackle Adrian Ealy, cornerback Jayson Stanley, and running back Kerrith Whyte.
Unfortunately for Stanley, he tested positive today and has been sent to the practice squad/COVID-19 reserve list as well. Meanwhile, this will be Whyte’s second stint on Green Bay’s practice squad this season.
Keep it here for all of the additional updates in the days leading up to Sunday night’s game against the Vikings.