The Green Bay Packers’ special teams unit will have to adjust yet again after bad luck knocked their newest return man out of Sunday’s game
Cornerback Tremon Smith, who was signed before last week’s trip to Los Angeles, took a hard hit to the helmet trying to make a tackle against the Panthers and headed to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion. He was injured while lowering his head in a collision with DeAndrew White in what looked to be bad timing rather than malicious.
The Packers re-signed Smith as a solution for their ailing return game, which moved on from rookie Darrius Shepherd after repeated struggles. Chandon Sullivan also got a crack at the job in Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs before Smith was added back.
Before the end of the second half, the Packers also saw rookie inside linebacker Ty Summers head to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion, taking more depth away from the Packers defense. Both were officially ruled out for the rest of the game near the start of the third quarter.
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Another Adjustment Ahead if Smith Misses Time
Smith didn’t really turn any heads during Week 9’s 26-11 loss to the Chargers, averaging just under 25 yards on five kickoff returns. But he was a suitable option for the position with some familiarity in the system after spending Weeks 3-5 in Green Bay earlier this season.
Now, if Smith does end up with a concussion, the Packers could have to shake up their roster yet again to compensate. There is also the possibility of them turning again to Sullivan or one of their many other speedy players on both sides of the ball. Allen Lazard is getting more play in the offense lately even with Davante Adams’ return but could be an interesting special teams addition.
As a current member of the practice squad, Shepherd could potentially earn another shot to redeem himself after early-season failings. Of course, Smith’s injury status is still unknown and will have the benefit of the bye week to heal before the Packers’ next game in Week 12.
Packers Linebacker Struggles Persist
As problems with the Packers defense have been exposed more and more in the past several weeks, including Sunday against the Panthers, the inside linebacker group has been shaky all season.
Oren Burks and Curtis Bolton were both injured during the preseason, with the latter still on the injured reserve list after tearing his ACL. The Packers traded to add B.J. Goodson from the New York Giants to fill out the middle, where he is now a starter alongside signal-caller Blake Martinez. Not having the backup support of a coming-along rookie like Summers, though, could hinder things a bit.
Like Smith, there is no official word yet on Summers. There is also a chance that, even if concussions were sustained, neither would miss time with the luxury of a bye week in Week 11.