Football is a physical game that takes a toll on its participants. Hence why a 29-year-old quarterback would suddenly retire in the prime of his career. The Green Bay Packers are not immune to this and are dealing with health issues throughout the lineup. However, there are certain positions where they seem to have hit harder. Here are the major Packers injury concerns.
For most of the offseason, the inside linebacker position was one of concern, at least for me. While Blake Martinez has had his role locked down for years, it is the player lining up next to him where arguably the biggest question mark exists on defense. For most of the offseason, second-year player Oren Burks was slated to be the starter. However, a pectoral injury suffered on the opening defensive drive of the preseason has had him out ever since.
In his place, fellow 2nd-year player Curtis Bolton and 7th-round rookie Ty Summers appear to be the ones to hold down the fort. That is, at least, until Bolton suffered an injury in last week’s preseason match vs the Raiders. It appears that Bolton injured his right knee. The severity of the injury, as well as a time frame for Bolton’s return, is still unknown at this time.
This means that Summers may be a week 1 starter for the Packers in 2019. That may be a lot to ask of a 7th-round rookie selection. Considering his lack of NFL experience, Green Bay’s run defense may be the unit’s biggest weakness.
While the starters appear to be mostly intact, the Packers will be without some key depth pieces for points of this season. The biggest news is that 2nd-year wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown was carted off of the field during week 3 of the preseason. Reports are that he suffered a high ankle sprain and is expected to be out for 5-6 weeks.
This is likely to be a 5-6 week injury, but the Packers will be monitoring St. Brown closely. https://t.co/VJExse6Gug
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 23, 2019
While that is not good news, it certainly could have been worse as St. Brown awkwardly twisted his ankle. He was likely going to be slated as the 5th receiver on the team with the potential of taking some slot receiver snaps as a backup to Geronimo Allison. Now, they will need someone like Allen Lazard (who suffered his own injury in the same game) or Darrius Shepherd to step up. Perhaps fellow 2017 draft pick J’Mon Moore can use this to make the team.
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In other receiver news, tight end Jimmy Graham missed practice on Sunday with a finger injury. Unlike St. Brown, Graham is expected to fill out a starting role. While Robert Tonyan has impressed, Graham is still atop the depth chart and is expected to make an impact on offense. The good news is that this does not appear to be serious. In even more good news, fellow tight end Jace Sternberger returned to practice, after sitting out a couple of weeks with a concussion.
Yet another injury that occurred during week 3 of the preseason. 12th-overall rookie pick Rashan Gary went down twice. The first time he appeared to bang up his leg but he continued to play. However, it is the second time that he went down that has the Packers concerned. Gary took a shot to the back of the helmet while attempting to make a tackle. This could be a big blow to the Green Bay pass-rush if he is forced to miss time. Gary was looking good during the preseason as a pass-rush specialist.
What is worse is that this position group is starting to lose some of the depth that appeared to make it so formidable. Reggie Gilbert has already missed some time with a knee injury. Since the pass rush is an important element to solid defensive play, this is one position group that may be among the most pressing for Packers injury concerns.
The Packers defensive back depth is beginning to be tested. What was expected to be an intense battle for the starting #2 cornerback, has turned into a war of attrition. Josh Jackson and Kevin King both missed significant portions of training camp and the preseason. While Jackson has recovered from his foot injury, King is still out with his hamstring ailment. There is still no update on when to expect King to return, but for now, the hope is that Jackson can get up to speed in this next week and take on a starter role opposite Jaire Alexander.
One injury that no longer concerns the Packers is Josh Jones. The safety wanted off the team as far back as the NFL draft when Green Bay used the 21st-overall pick on Darnell Savage. Well, he finally got his wish as he was waived with a non-football illness designation.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) August 25, 2019
While it does hurt to release a 2nd-round pick so quickly into his career, the Packers have options behind him. Raven Greene has stepped up the offseason and appears primed to take over Jones’ role as a hybrid safety/linebacker.
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