The Green Bay Packers could potentially have back two major pieces for their offensive line for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst officially activated second-round rookie center Josh Myers from injured reserve on Saturday, January 8, and listed him with no injury designation for Week 18’s road game against the Lions, setting the stage for him to play for the first time since October 17’s trip to Chicago.
Myers was forced to undergo surgery after hurting his knee in Week 6 against the Bears and had been on injured reserve since October 23, but he was designated for return ahead of Wednesday’s first practice and impressed enough throughout the week to rejoin the active roster just four days into his 21-day activation window.
“I think Josh has done an outstanding job,” LaFleur said on January 7. “He’s looked really good at practice. I would anticipate him playing in this game (against the Lions).”
The Packers also elevated defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson and outside linebacker La’Darius Hamilton from the practice squad to the game-day roster against the Lions, a possible sign that the team might consider resting some of its key pass rushers.
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Bakhtiari Could Also Play vs. Lions
While Myers’ return has been nearly three months in the making, the Packers could also return another offensive lineman who has been working toward recovery for more than a year now: All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari.
Bakhtiari has not played since tearing his ACL on New Year’s Eve of 2020, but he has been slowly building toward full health throughout the regular season in hopes that he might have a chance to contribute for the team during their upcoming playoff run. He also made strides in his recovery earlier this week when he participated in two of three practices, including as a full participant in Friday’s final session.
The Packers listed Bakhtiari as questionable to play in Friday’s final injury report and had him travel with the team to Detroit on Saturday.
“I think there’s a lot of variables that weigh into the decision,” LaFleur said on January 7, “but certainly I think in David’s case, here’s a guy who hasn’t played in over a year. Would we love to see him out there? Absolutely, but I want to make sure — and we want to make sure — that he’s in the right mindset first and foremost but also that he can protect himself and that he’s fully functional. He’s coming off a big injury, so we just want to make sure everything’s 100% or as close as it can be to 100% before we put him out there.”
Myers’ Return Might Not Include Starting Job
The Packers are undoubtedly stronger with Myers back in the rotation, but LaFleur would not say whether his return meant he would also reclaim his role as the team’s starting center. In his absence, Lucas Patrick has taken over the center job and been truly outstanding with no sacks allowed on 786 snaps at the position.
Even though Myers looked good in his early-season games, Patrick’s success begs the question: Would it do more harm than good for the Packers to re-introduce a young piece back into their offensive line and potentially disrupt their current chemistry?
“The majority of jobs aren’t necessarily guaranteed, but we’re always — you guys know — trying to put the best combination of guys out there, especially when you’re talking the offensive line,” LaFleur said. “Lucas has done more than we could ever imagine. I think he’s playing at a really high level, so that is definitely within the conversations of trying to get the best five out there that give us the best chance to win.”