The Green Bay Packers will head into Sunday’s NFC Championship Game with a full roster after activating hybrid safety Raven Greene from the injured reserve list on Saturday, offering a potential boost against the San Francisco 49ers with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
Greene returned to practice at the beginning of January for the first time since injuring his ankle in Week 2’s win over the Minnesota Vikings, which earned him more than three months on the injured reserve list. Packers head coach Matt LaFleur had said he could “potentially” be available for their first playoff game after he was designated to return, but he was not called up to the active roster coming into last Sunday’s divisional home game against the Seattle Seahawks.
According to the NFL’s official transaction log, though, Greene was officially activated off the IR on Saturday and will be available for Sunday’s 5:40 p.m. CT kickoff against the 49ers. The Packers did not have to make a corresponding move because they only had 52 players on their active roster.
Greene played in the team’s season-opening win against Chicago, recording a second-most six tackles and proving effective at the dime linebacker position. He had played 70 total defensive snaps before suffering an ankle injury on the first play of the third quarter against the Vikings.
Not only is the Packers’ roster at full capacity now, but they are also coming into Sunday’s conference championship with a mostly healthy group of players. Fullback Danny Vitale (knee) was the lone player with a questionable status when the injury report was released Friday, but the Packers also added punter JK Scott as questionable with an illness on Saturday.
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If Ready, Greene Could Catch 49ers by Surprise
While Greene still has much to prove, the Packers envisioned an important role for him prior to his injury early in the year and could take advantage of the hybrid safety’s small reputation against the team that walloped them last time if his ankle is truly healed.
Even on a pitch count, though, Greene could be valuable as a rotational piece for the dime linebacker position with Ibraheim Campbell, who came on late after returning from the PUP list and has filled the versatile role with moderate success for the Packers. Fresher bodies could help in keeping the 49ers from establishing their run game as they did last time, which allowed starter Jimmy Garoppolo to play more game manager than do-it-all quarterback.
Garoppolo finished with 253 yards and two passing touchdowns, but he needed just 14 completions on 20 passes to get the job done with the rushing duo of Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman keeping the Packers defense off balance. It didn’t help matters that Rodgers — 20 of 33, 104 yards — was unable to manufacture much success on the offensive side of the ball.
In reality, the Packers will need much more than someone like Greene to knock off the 49ers in their highly-anticipated rematch, but there are worse things in the world than having an extra pair of talented hands available.