The Green Bay Packers had promising news on Tuesday, the first injury report of a short week with a Saturday game. Even though it was just an estimation, cornerback Jaire Alexander was listed as a limited participant. However, the former All-Pro defensive back didn’t participate in the activity on Wednesday, the first real practice of the week for the Packers.
“He’s doing better,” head coach Matt LaFleur said after practice. “He’s getting treatment and we’ll see where he’s at tomorrow”. LaFleur mentioned that Thursday’s practice will include more real reps, and they’re “hopeful” he can participate.
Jaire Alexander left the Dallas Cowboys playoff game early last Sunday with an ankle injury. He had suffered the injury last week in practice and was a gametime decision.
Alexander not only played, but was decisive for the win with an interception on Dak Prescott that put the Packers in position to score a touchdown early in the game.
However, after Alexander left the game, the Cowboys were able to be much more effective, scoring 16 fourth-quarter points.
After it was over, head coach Matt LaFleur said Alexander wouldn’t have been able to return, most likely, even if it was a closer game.
It’s still unclear if Alexander will be available, especially because the short week give him less time to recover. His absence at practice is not a good sign. Nonetheless, LaFleur mentioned that this week’s practices will be mostly walkthrough-type activities, so it makes more sense for Alexander to be in the rehab area.
The Packers have handled severe cornerback depth issues throughout this season. Eric Stokes had multiple injuries and appeared in just three games this season — he’s on injured reserve and can’t play on Saturday, even though he will be allowed to return from IR if the Packers advance to the NFC Championship Game.
Jaire himself also missed 10 games this season because of two other injuries — back and shoulder — and a team-imposed one-game suspension. Moreover, Green Bay traded Rasul Douglas to the Buffalo Bills right before the trade deadline.
If Alexander can’t go on Saturday, the Packers starting cornerbacks will be Carrington Valentine and Corey Ballentine, with Keisean Nixon in the slot. The only other option on the 53-man roster is Robert Rochell, who’s been primarily a special teamer.
Last week, the Packers elevated practice-squader David Long for gameday. He was inactive since Jaire played, but it’s an option again on Saturday. The other cornerbacks on the practice squad are Zyon Gilbert and Anthony Johnson (not the rookie safety).
From the Packers 53-man roster, only three players did not practice on Wednesday. Besides Jaire Alexander, running back AJ Dillon and edge defender Kingsley Enagbare were out.
Dillon missed the last two games, against the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys, with a stinger. It’s not the ideal circumstance, since Emanuel Wilson and Patrick Taylor have been ineffective backing up Aaron Jones.
Enagbare torn his ACL and is out. The most likely scenario is that he will be placed on injured reserve, opening a roster spot that can be used to promote David Long, for example.