On Monday, Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said something damning about the offense: The team struggles to get under center with quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ thumb injury. Unfortunately, Rodgers’ thumb seems to still be an issue as he has now missed the first practice of the week for three straight weeks.
According to the Packers, Rodgers, receiver Allen Lazard (shoulder), guard Elgton Jenkins (knee), outside linebacker Rashan Gary (concussion) and cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles (ankle) were non-participants in practice on Wednesday. Lazard and Gary were injured in Week 7 and Jenkins has been dealing with his recovering knee all season, leaving Jean-Charles’ injury as the only surprise.
Beyond those players, tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring) and receiver Christian Watson (hamstring) were limited participants. Watson had recently been missing both practices and games due to his second hamstring flare-up of the season, meaning that the injury is making progress.
If you’re counting, yes, that’s three injured receivers. That also does not include Randall Cobb (ankle) who was placed on the injured reserve list last week. Currently, the only “fully-healthy” receivers on the 53-man roster are rookie Romeo Doubs, returner Amari Rodgers and rookie Samori Toure, who made his season debut last week against the Commanders.
It’s worth not here that the Packers’ roster is only at 52 players currently. Running back Kylin Hill (knee) has been practicing with the team but has yet to be activated off of the physically unable to perform list. He can practice another week with the team without having to be activated from PUP, but that roster move could be on the horizon.
The question is if the team plans on keeping four running backs on the 53-man roster for the remainder of the season. Currently, the team is rostering Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon and Patrick Taylor on the 53-man roster after pulling up Taylor off of practice squad early on in the year. Taylor has played double-digit snaps on special teams for five weeks in a row, contributing as a wing in punt protection and on the kickoff unit. Hill is not expected to contribute in either of those roles, as he was a personal protector on punt protection and a kickoff returner in 2021 before his ACL tear.
The Buffalo Bills, the Packers’ opponent this week on Sunday Night Football, had two players, tackle Spencer Brown (ankle) and running back Taiwan Jones (knee), missing in practice today. They also had another player limited due to injury: receiver Jake Kumerow (ankle). Remember him?