The Green Bay Packers were facing life without all three of their top wide receivers this week, but reports are now hopeful at least one of them will play Sunday afternoon against the Oakland Raiders.
According to an early-morning report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Packers are optimistic they could have either Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison on the field against the Raiders with the medical staff looking to make a decision on both during pregame warmups. Having either option available would offer a massive boost to a Green Bay receiving corps that is already without star wideout Davante Adams, who remains sidelined with a turf toe injury.
Allison was knocked out of last Monday’s game against the Detroit Lions on incidental helmet-to-helmet contact with safety Tracy Walker and entered Week 7 with a doubtful status after missing the entire week of practice due to a concussion/chest injury. The Packers, though, have since updated their injury report to show Allison has been upgraded to questionable.
Valdes-Scantling was also sidelined for most of the week with limited participation in Friday’s sessions as he nursed an ankle/knee injury. He, too, left last Monday’s game after getting his right leg caught in a collapsed play during the second quarter, but he returned after halftime and finished out the 23-22 victory for the Packers.
Whether Allison or Valdes-Scantling plays Sunday doesn’t change that the Packers (5-1) are facing a challenging matchup on short rest. The Raiders (3-2), who are coming off their bye week, have an opportunity to close some ground on the Kansas City Chiefs while Patrick Mahomes is recovering from an injury.
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Valdes-Scantling Sounded Determined This Week
Valdes-Scantling said the injury he sustained against the Lions was “painful during the game” after he returned in the second half, but he still came up with a crucial 46-yard catch late in the game. His status as “did not participate” was troubling, though, when the injury reports came out Wednesday and Thursday.
None of that seemed to have him discouraged Friday afternoon.
“Every day it’s gotten better,” Valdes-Scantling said Friday. “I’ve done a little bit more each day. Obviously, I didn’t go out there to practice because you want to be 100 percent if you’re going to go out there and practice. Obviously, going out to practice was something I didn’t do, but inside I’ve been running around and doing different things to see where my pain tolerance is, see if I can go out there on Sunday.”
Valdes-Scantling currently has the team’s second-most receiving yards (283) and third-most receptions (19) and has been a starter since Day 1 of the 2019 season in his second season with the Packers.
What Happens if Neither Plays?
The Packers have been readying for that scenario all week long in practice, with part of their preparation including the signing of former Raiders receiver Ryan Grant to the active roster.
Excluding Grant and the top trio, the Packers are looking at a depth chart that features Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard and rookie Darrius Shepherd — all three of whom were once undrafted free agents and have a collective 214 receiving yards between them. Lazard is also the only of the bunch coming off of a productive week.
The second-year receiver became a prime-time star as an integral part of the Packers’ rally against the Lions in front of Monday night’s crowd at Lambeau Field. He hauled in his first catch of the season for a 35-yard touchdown, which helped the Packers close their deficit to just two points in the fourth quarter. He then caught another three passes to help set up the game-winning field goal, finishing with a career-high 65 yards.
Ask Valdes-Scantling, though, and he believes the youngsters are ready to show the NFL just how deep the Packers receiver group really is.
“Those guys are ready,” Valdes-Scantling said. “I think we have one of the most talented wide receiver groups in the NFL. As you saw last week, guys went down and guys stepped up. So I think any one of those guys can go out there and be successful. I’m not worried about it at all, and I don’t think Aaron is worried about it, either.”