On Monday, the worst was confirmed when Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst announced the team will place Greene on the injured reserve list. The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman first reported the news and added that sources believe it is a 10-week injury, which could see Greene return late in the season for the Packers.
Without Greene, the Packers will count more on Will Redmond rotating into the secondary with starting safeties Darnell Savage Jr. and Adrian Amos, but the long-term injury to a key contributor also caused the team to scoop up former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Tremon Smith.
Greene is the latest Packers player to land on IR following tight end Jace Sternberger (ankle) and inside linebacker Curtis Bolton (torn ACL), both rookies, along with wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (ankle) and tackle Jason Spriggs (back). Safety Ibraheim Campbell (torn ACL) and lineman Greg Roberts (abdominal) are also both on the PUP list.
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Raven Greene Was a Rising Star
Greene showcased versatility throughout training camp in a way that saw him leap into the rotation for the Packers secondary, a big improvement after arriving in Green Bay as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2018. He slotted in as the third-string safety to begin the year, notching five tackles with a forced fumble and a sack as he climbed into the primary backup role.
An ankle injury ended his season in December not long before the Packers skidding to a 6-9-1 final ledger, but he returned to lots of playing opportunity both as a backup safety and the first option at dime linebacker with former second-round pick Josh Jones on his way out of town at the time.
During the first three weeks of the preseason, there was no Packers defender higher rated than Greene with just four other safeties earning marks above him, according to Pro Football Focus. He was all but cemented into his backup role by the time roster cuts came along, making the Packers’ decisions at the position easier.
Greene opened the season the team’s second-most tackles (six) against the Chicago Bears behind Blake Martinez’s seven and added a pass deflection in the process.
Will Tremon Smith Earn His Place?
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported Monday that Packers head coach Matt LaFleur wasn’t offering anything new on the timetable for Burks to return from the torn pec to help out the inside linebackers, which means the team will likely need to find its help elsewhere until he is back.
One option could be Smith, who filled Greene’s roster when the second-year pro was signed just two days after the Chiefs waived him. He played in 14 games for the Chiefs during his rookie 2018 season with a majority of his reps coming on special teams, also strangely seeing action at running back for the team.
While offering good speed — he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds — Smith would have a tall order trying to replace the versatility Greene offered the defense. Expect the position to come clearer into view as next week’s home game against the Denver Broncos approaches.