GREEN BAY – Even if Damarious Randall returns from last month’s groin surgery when the Green Bay Packers travel to the Philadelphia Eagles, his effectiveness remains to be seen.
The second-year cornerback hasn’t played since the Packers loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 16. A six-game, midseason absence isn’t ideal for any young player, but especially a young corner.
Earlier this week, coach Mike McCarthy suggested fellow second-year cornerback Quinten Rollins’ absence with the same injury helped contribute to his sluggish play. Rollins only missed three games this season.
Regardless, a secondary decimated with injuries is desperate for reinforcements. The Packers need their 2015 first-round pick back. If his return comes Monday, cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr. said there will be no excuses.
“That’s what we get paid for,” Whitt said. “So nobody really cares about the rust, or what have you. The only thing that really matters is how you perform on game day. And hopefully when he does come back, he can give us the plays that we need to give us a winning performance. We haven’t had those such plays as of yet.
“Whenever he does come back, hopefully he can bring those types of plays.”
The Packers secondary hasn’t handled its injuries well. Each of their three cornerbacks allowed a touchdown Sunday night. In the fourth quarter, the Packers allowed a 70-yard score followed by a 53-yard reception that set up another touchdown on the next drive.
Randall appears to on track for a return, barring any setbacks. He has practiced both days this week, including Friday’s rainy weather.
Randall slipped on the wet field while covering receiver Davante Adams on Friday, and was able to continue without limping. It was perhaps a good sign his recovery is going well.
Randall said it’s been tough to watch his defense – the secondary, especially – struggle in his absence.
“It is tough to watch any team that you’re on lose games,” he said. “That was the toughest part, just watching us lose. I’m just happy that I’m able to even have a shot at playing this week, and I’m just taking it day by day and hopefully I can help my team play Monday night.”
email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood