With the Green Bay Packers’ roster is missing a few key players in their offensive backfield, the team is looking for offensive playmakers. Running back Aaron Jones remains a question mark in the backfield, but the team will also not have one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets back in time for tonight’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.
According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Packers will not activate wide receiver Allen Lazard from injured reserve on Thursday afternoon, meaning he will remain ineligible to play in this evening’s game at Levi’s Stadium. The Packers made that official with an announcement on Thursday afternoon, as neither Lazard nor linebacker Christian Kirksey were listed as being activated.
Instead, the Packers elevated four players from the practice squad for gameday. The team used one of its standard two elevation slots on guard Ben Braden, then activated three additional players as special COVID-19 replacement players: safety Henry Black, cornerback Stanford Samuels, and running back Dexter Williams.
Through social media, Lazard revealed that he was on the Packers’ team flight to the Bay Area on Wednesday, seemingly setting the stage for his activation. He began practicing last week as soon as he was eligible to do so following the mandatory three-game stint on the injured reserve list, but the team has decided not to return him to the 53-man roster at this time.
In the first three weeks of the season, Lazard picked up his solid success from where he had left off at the end of the 2019 season. Lazard caught four passes for 63 yards and a score in week one against the Vikings and had three receptions for 45 yards when the Packers played the Lions in week two. Then, with Davante Adams out in week three, Lazard exploded with six catches, 146 yards, and a score in New Orleans.
With no Lazard for another week, the Packers should continue to give more snaps to other players down the depth chart, including Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Malik Taylor. That also likely means more targets in the passing game for tight ends Robert Tonyan and Jace Sternberger.
Like Lazard, Kirksey started the first three games but went on injured reserve following Green Bay’s win over the Saints in week three. He totaled 12 tackles in each of the team’s first two games and lined up on every defensive snap prior to his injury. In his absence, the Packers have turned to first- and second-year players Krys Barnes, Ty Summers, and Kamal Martin at linebacker, with inconsistent results.