The Green Bay Packers’ secondary is getting healthier. The receiver corps, on the other hand, could be a major concern ahead of Sunday’s game at Detroit.
Randall Cobb, who is third on the team with 17 receptions and doubled as the punt returner, will spend Wednesday’s practice in the rehab group with an injured hamstring. That injury, sustained at practice last week, kept him out of Sunday’s victory over Buffalo. Geronimo Allison, who is second on the team in receptions (19) and first in yards (289), suffered a concussion during the second half against Buffalo and remains in the protocol.
“I wouldn’t have been able to play this week,” Cobb said on Monday. “As much as I would’ve wanted to, I couldn’t be out there running at full speed. So, it’s no reason to take that risk.”
The injuries could force coach Mike McCarthy to dive into his all-rookie backups. Fifth-round pick Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who had played 20 snaps in the first three games, played 54 in Cobb’s absence. Fourth-round pick J’Mon Moore, who hadn’t played at all in the first three games, played 11 snaps after Allison went down. Sixth-round pick Equanimeous St. Brown has played only two snaps on special-teams snaps – both of which came in the opener vs. Chicago.
Through four games, Valdes-Scantling has caught 2-of-5 passes for 41 yards, including a 38-yarder late last week, and the other rookies have not been targeted. That makes this a potential case of ready-or-not for Green Bay’s rookie receivers.
“I have a lot of confidence in our rookies,” McCarthy said before practice. “It’s just like anything, you want to earn the opportunity to be on the 53-man roster. You have a responsibility. These guys are getting better each week. That’s why we always put so much time and effort into young player meetings, starting back in OTAs and through training camp, and it continues during the season. So, we’ll be ready to go, and they’ll obviously have to roll. I have great confidence in that.”
Not helping in getting those rookies ready to roll is the status of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. For the fourth consecutive week, he’ll spend his Wednesday rehabbing his injured left knee rather than working on the practice field. Last week, he took part in the Thursday practice, which is the most important of the week.
Meanwhile, cornerbacks Kevin King and Jaire Alexander will practice, McCarthy said. King suffered a groin injury during the first half of the Minnesota game and has missed the last two games. Alexander suffered a groin injury in the third quarter against Buffalo and did not finish.
Right guard Justin McCray, who was inactive for the Buffalo game with a shoulder injury, will not practice. In his absence, “I thought Byron (Bell) did a good job” against Buffalo, McCarthy said. “I felt good about the performance he put together and he will definitely take the starting reps today.”
Detroit guard T.J. Lang, the longtime Packers starter who is entering his second season with the Lions, suffered a concussion against Dallas on Sunday.
McCarthy had some advice for Lang.
“T.J.’s a heck of a player, so I think he needs to rest this week.”