The Green Bay Packers will have to hold off Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the rest of the afternoon without their top cornerback.
The Packers have ruled out All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander for the remainder of their Week 3 road matchup with the Buccaneers after he exited with a groin injury in the first quarter. Alexander was initially deemed “questionable” to return after leaving the game, but the Packers officially declared him out at the start of the second half.
Without Alexander, the Packers inserted Keisean Nixon into the lineup as the All-Pro’s replacement in the slot while Rasul Douglas and Eric Stokes manned the outside spots. Nixon later took advantage of his newfound opportunities and delivered a good hit to Bucs wide receiver Russell Gage to force a fumble that was recovered by Green Bay. He also helped down a punt at the 2-yard line as a special teams gunner several plays later.
The Packers could have more information on the extent of Alexander’s injury in the postgame, but it is more likely they will run their necessary medical tests on his groin in the coming days and provide a clearer update later in the week, usually on Mondays. Either way, they will be crossing their fingers for good news after Alexander was lost to a season-ending shoulder injury just last year in Week 4 against Pittsburgh.
Josh Myers Exits With ‘Cramping’ in Fourth Quarter
The Packers had mostly managed to avoid injuries on Sunday afternoon after losing Alexander early, but they did eventually see another starter come out of the game. With the game hanging in the balance, starting center Josh Myers had to exit in the fourth quarter due to cramping. He was deemed questionable to return but remained sidelined for the rest of the afternoon as the Packers held on for a 14-12 win.
While the Packers defense held strong against the Buccaneers and prevented them from scoring a game-tying two-point conversion — thanks to a delay-of-game penalty — it could have been bad news for Green Bay if they had been forced to compete with their backup center for the remainder of the game. Jake Hanson, Myers’ replacement, played right guard in the season opener and allowed one sack and four pressures, receiving a below-average 44.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.
Bakhtiari Officially Makes Return to Packers Lineup
On Sunday, the Packers also saw the long-awaited return of veteran left tackle David Bakhtiari from a significant knee injury that he sustained on December 31, 2020. The five-time All-Pro had missed 19 of the Packers’ last 20 games with the only exception being the first half he played against the Detroit Lions in the 2021 regular-season finale, but he returned (on a conservative snap count) against the Buccaneers and helped hold down the blindside in a rotation with replacement starter Yosh Nijman.
While it remains to be seen how much Bakhtiari will play, he had played at least five series entering the fourth quarter and had exceeded the total number of snaps (27) he played against the Lions in Week 18 last year. He also didn’t allow a sack in his return performance; although, the offensive line, as a whole, only allowed Aaron Rodgers to be sacked once against a Buccaneers defense that led the league in sacks through two games.