The Green Bay Packers could have several injured players back in their lineup for Sunday afternoon’s road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but concerns remain about whether they will have their secondary at full strength against Tom Brady.
The Packers have been practicing this week without No. 2 cornerback Kevin King, who is still sidelined with a quadriceps injury that caused him to drop out of Week 4’s win over the Atlanta Falcons. They also limited their No. 1 corner, Jaire Alexander, in the first practice of the week; though, he was a full participant on Thursday, per the team’s injury report.
While Alexander’s situation seems to be improving, the Packers could find themselves in an uncertain spot come Sunday if King is not available. Chandon Sullivan is the prime candidate for step-up responsibilities, but the rest of the room boils down to Josh Jackson (35 defensive snaps played in 2020), Ka’dar Hollman (17 snaps played), and Parry Nickerson — who has been inactive all four games thus far.
Kevin King (quad) had a helmet on during stretch but then didn't take part in the early drills when the Packers went outside.
Tyler Ervin (wrist) did not even go through stretch.
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) October 14, 2020
King hasn’t been the only Packers missing practice with an injury in Week 6. The Packers have also held back return specialist Tyler Ervin in both practices with a wrist injury that has been troubling him for a few weeks.
Ervin was added to the Week 4 injury report two days before the Packers hosted the Falcons and had been deemed questionable, but he still played and returned two kickoffs and a punt along with catches one of his two targets in the passing game.
The Packers also added defensive lineman Montravius Adams (neck) and veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis (knee) as non-participants for Thursday’s practice. Lewis missed Week 4 with his injury, but Adams is a new addition to the injury report.
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Adams & Clark Both Full Participants at Practice
On a positive note, the Packers could have both their top pass-catcher and top defensive lineman back in the lineup this weekend now that Davante Adams and Kenny Clark have returned to practice in a full capacity.
Clark hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury near the end of the first half in the Packers’ season opener in Minnesota, depriving the defense of its star nose tackle and primary run-stopping force. He has been practicing in a limited capacity since the middle of Week 3, but this week marks the first time he has been labeled as a full participant.
The expectations have been a little different for Adams, who indicated he could have played in Week 4 and was frustrated when the Packers ruled him out. The star wide receiver reaffirmed his optimism when speaking with reporters this week, saying his “hamstring feels good” and he believes they “gave it ample time” to completely heal.
Adams has played roughly six quarters of football so far during the 2020 season, but his only full performance of the year saw him tie a Packers franchise record with 14 receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns. While his return was always going to strengthen the Packers offense, it helps even more with fellow wideout Allen Lazard stuck on injured reserve until at least Week 8 (when he is first eligible to be activated).
Clark’s return could potentially have more value for the Packers, though, given their defensive line has been making do with Tyler Lancaster and second-year Kingsley Keke as its primary contributors over the past three games. Neither has done a bad job, but it isn’t comparable to what the NFL’s highest-paid nose tackle has been able to do to opposing offensive lines.