First Davante Adams, now Allen Lazard?
Lazard did not participate Thursday in the Packers’ first practice of the week and was added to Week 4’s injury report with a core muscle injury, a potentially troubling update for another one of Green Bay’s top pass-catchers ahead of Monday night’s showdown with the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field.
Update: As ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported later Thursday night, Lazard underwent core muscle surgery and is out indefinitely for the Packers.
Packers' WR Allen Lazard underwent core muscle surgery this week and is out indefinitely, per source. Lazard is coming off the best game of his NFL career, a six-catch, 146-yard performance against the Saints.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 1, 2020
Details are still unclear on how Lazard sustained his injury, but the third-year wideout is coming off a career-best performance in Week 3 that saw him catch six passes for 146 yards and a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints. He currently leads the Packers with 254 receiving yards as well as 11 first downs and 100 yards after reception.
On the positive side, Adams — the Packers’ actual No. 1 receiver — practiced again Thursday for the first time since he suffered a hamstring injury in the second half of Week 2’s home win. While Adams told reporters in a Zoom call after practice his hamstring is “feeling a lot better this week than last week,” he also said he is going to make sure he is 100% before returning.
In addition to Lazard, the Packers were also without three other players at Thursday’s practice with rookie tight end Josiah Deguara (ankle), starting middle linebacker Christian Kirksey (pectoral) and veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis (knee) all not participating to begin the week.
The Packers also limited four defensive players: nose tackle Kenny Clark (groin) and outside linebackers Za’Darius Smith (ankle), Rashan Gary (ankle) and Randy Ramsey (groin).
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Next Man Up for Packers’ Receiving Corps?
However things turn out for Adams in Week 4, the Packers will need their other three true wideouts to step up against the Falcons, particularly Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The speedy third-year has been solid through the first three games despite having more drops than preferred, sitting at eight catches for a team-best 20.6 yards per reception. The Saints defense also went out of its way last week to shut him down as a deep-ball threat with Adams out of the lineup.
Boy that One7 coverage ain’t no joke 😂😂😂
— Marquez V-S (@MVS__11) September 28, 2020
The drops will need to stop, but there seems to be no fractured trust between MVS and quarterback Aaron Rodgers or any reason to suspect he isn’t capable of putting together a big game like the one Lazard delivered last week. Don’t forget that he amassed nearly 500 yards in the first eight games of the 2019 season before injuries caused him to fall off.
The bigger questions lie with the other two receivers, Malik Taylor and Darrius Shepherd, who are both still searching for their first receptions of the 2020 season. In Shepherd’s defense, he was just called up to the active roster last week from the practice squad and only received one target during Sunday’s game against the Saints. It is also worth noting he played significantly more offensive snaps — 23 to four — than Taylor in his first game of the year.