ATLANTA — Already without their top three cornerbacks, the Green Bay Packers are even more shorthanded than was anticipated for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Wide receivers Ty Montgomery (illness) and Randall Cobb (hamstring) are both inactive, as is outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who nursed a hamstring injury all week. All seven of the Packers' inactives are injured players.
Now in his second year, Montgomery had proved invaluable in recent weeks following injuries to running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks. The coaches shifted Montgomery into the backfield as a hybrid runner and receiver, and his production soared to the highest levels of his young career.
Montgomery caught 10 passes for 66 yards and ran the ball nine times for 60 yards last week against the Chicago Bears, when he lined up in the backfield approximately 40 times. Rookie Don Jackson, newcomer Knile Davis and fullback Aaron Ripkowski chipped in for the remainder of the carries.
With Montgomery and Cobb unavailable, the Packers will begin the game with a very inexperienced backfield. Jackson, who made his debut against the Bears last week, and Davis, who arrived via trade two weeks ago, are expected to receive the majority of the carries. Ripkowski should chip in as well.
Jackson spent the week wearing a compression glove on his injured left hand, a device coach Mike McCarthy called a "contraption." He was a full participant in every practice and remained optimistic about his chances to play. Now, he is the starter.
For Davis, this is his second game as a Packer after general manager Ted Thompson acquired him for a compensatory seventh-round pick in 2018. He carried twice for 1 yard against the Bears but has a larger portion of the playbook at his disposal this week.
Julius Peppers starts in place of Matthews at outside linebacker and will play opposite Nick Perry. The absence of Matthews should translate to more snaps for Jayrone Elliott and Kyler Fackrell, two players who are third stringers in a very deep group.
Davante Adams, fresh off the best game of his career against Chicago, replaces Cobb at wide receiver.
More significant, though, is the newly created opportunity for rookie Geronimo Allison, who was called up from the practice squad this week. With Cobb and Montgomery both out, Allison is one of five healthy receivers. Allison, Jeff Janis and rookie Trevor Davis will all receive a jump in playing time.