The Green Bay Packers are getting a well-timed boost for their linebacker room ahead of Week 9’s road trip to face the Detroit Lions.
The Packers activated inside linebacker Krys Barnes from the injured reserve list on Saturday, November 5, adding him back to the 53-man roster for the first time since he sustained an ankle injury in the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings. He had been designated for return to practice earlier in the week, but his activation means he will officially be available to play against the Lions.
Barnes — who started 23 games in his first two seasons for the Packers — had been demoted to the third-string inside linebacker to start 2022 due to the retention of All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell and the arrival of first-round rookie Quay Walker, but the 24-year-old could take on a more prominent role in his return performance with Campbell already ruled out for the game in Detroit.
Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry had said on Thursday that Walker would be wearing the green dot on his helmet as the defensive signal caller against the Lions, and while Barnes’ return is not expected to change that role, the Packers will have a fallback option in case Walker struggles to get the job done. Barnes has relayed defensive calls in several of his previous starts for the team.
Packers Monitoring Multiple Injuries vs. Lions
The Packers are getting a nice boost from Barnes’ return to the roster, but there are still several more veteran injuries for them to monitor heading into Week 9’s first matchup of the season with the Lions, starting with left tackle David Bakhtiari.
Bakhtiari has been officially ruled questionable for a third straight week as the Packers continue to take a day-by-day approach with his surgically repaired knee. While the five-time All-Pro’s injury designation does not necessarily mean he won’t play against the Lions on Sunday, Bakhtiari’s final status for the Lions could be determined by a pregame evaluation with the team’s training staff. After all, they were forced to shut him down in Week 7 over concerns about his knee after he played four consecutive games.
The Packers also have left guard Elgton Jenkins (knee/foot), outside linebacker Preston Smith (shoulder/neck) and wide receivers Allen Lazard (shoulder) and Christian Watson (concussion) listed as questionable to play against the Lions. Watson was back in practice in full pads earlier in the week, so his chances of clearing the NFL’s concussion protocol seem good, but it remains to be seen if all four of them will be ready to play. All of them were limited participants in Friday’s final practice.
Aside from Campbell, the only other player who has been ruled out for Sunday’s game at this point is backup cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles (ankle).
Walker Not Fined for Ejection Against Bills
The Packers’ linebacker room got another bit of good news on Saturday, at least as far as Walker’s financials are concerned. According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the NFL has decided not to fine Walker for the shoving incident that got him ejected from Week 8’s loss to the Buffalo Bills last week.
Early in the second quarter, Walker ended up on the Bills’ sideline at the end of the play and got into an altercation that escalated when he pushed one of Buffalo’s staffers. The shove resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for the Packers and Walker getting ejected for the remainder of the game, which became a bigger problem than it needed to be once Campbell went down with a knee injury later in the contest.
Now, instead of having to pay in the form of a fine or suspension, Walker can treat the entire incident as a learning experience for how to control his emotions in the future. To his credit, he already displayed incredible maturity with how he responded to the incident in the immediate aftermath of the game, choosing to speak with members of the media and explain himself rather than avoid them, as he could have done.
“I felt somebody push me from behind and I probably misinterpreted on what it was,” Walker told reporters in Week 8’s postgame. “I just felt the push and I’m on their sideline, feelings just flowing. I’m very hyped and everything like that and I just let it out of emotion. Right away, as soon as I did that, I regretted that I did that. But it’s something I’m going to have to live with and I’m going to have to face. I’m willing to do so. But I apologized to the guy that I did push, although I did feel like I was pushed.”