Packers notes: Receiving group runs thin with three starters injured
GREEN BAY - With Davante Adams injuring his calf Wednesday, the Green Bay Packers had only three healthy wideouts Thursday in rookies Marquez Valdes-Scantling, J’Mon Moore and Equanimeous St. Brown.
The Packers signed DeAngelo Yancey, who was with the team in training camp, to the practice squad early in the day to provide an extra body.
Starters Randall Cobb (hamstring) and Geronimo Allison (concussion) remained sidelined along with Adams.
“That’s how it was a lot during training camp and OTAs,” St. Brown said. “The rookies were taking a lot of reps, so it’s just the same thing. I’m pretty sure come game time there’s going to be a little more pressure, though.”
St. Brown hasn’t seen a snap yet. Moore played 11 on Sunday.
Valdes-Scantling has played in all four games and started once, but has seen just five passes and made two catches for 41 yards.
“At the heart and soul of where we are is a fundamental, execution-based system offense and so you hope all this individual time and all this training has dividends,” Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said of the rookie trio’s development. “Now, certainly the value, there’s no substitute for real, live game reps against quality NFL players. Now they get a lot of reps in practice and they’ve gotten a lot of reps since May 3 or OTAs, training camp, etc., etc. But they’ve all got talent, they’ve all come a long way and at some point you have to find out a little bit more about exactly what you have.”
With the lack of receivers, the Packers may turn to No. 88 to help out Sunday. Ty Montgomery was drafted as a wideout from Stanford in 2015 but has been used mostly out of the backfield.
Running backs coach Ben Sirmans said Thursday that Montgomery has always gotten some reps with the receivers in practice, just because it’s a skill set he’s had and they’ve wanted to keep sharp.
“Ty Montgomery’s obviously a multiple-position player,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “It’s really a reflection also of that running back group. We definitely have three guys that you want to keep involved in a primary focus.”
McCarthy said the team is still practicing its three-receiver sets, but if Adams, Cobb and Allison all have to be scratched in Detroit there is a likelihood the passing game has to be complemented with the four healthy tight ends the team carried onto the roster.
“Obviously, when you have injuries outside the tight ends are going to be part of it more,” Packers passing game coordinator Jim Hostler said. “But those guys, you’re going to have to lean on them more if those things happen and quite frankly it gives us a chance to go win games in different directions. That’s part of this whole process of having strong groups both inside and outside.”
Offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga said he has talked with former teammate T.J. Lang this week, but the subject of whether he’ll play hasn’t even come up.
“It’s not even about that,” Bulaga said of the concussion that might keep Lang from starting for the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Ford Field.
In his eight seasons with the Packers, Lang suffered four documented concussions, according to Journal Sentinel records. He had concussions during the regular season in 2009, 2012 and 2013 and in training camp in 2015.
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The concussion he suffered against Dallas on Sunday was his second since he joined the Lions. The other one was against the Packers last November.
He did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and remains in the concussion protocol.
“T.J.’s a tough son of a gun,” said Bulaga, who is close friends with Lang. “He sounded OK, but I just want him to take all the time he needs to make sure he’s healthy before coming back. He’s had his share of injuries and he’s played through a lot of them.
“But this is to his head. It’s different.”
Bulaga said his wife, Abbie, and Lang’s wife, Laura, planned to sit together at Ford Field.
Rodgers practices in full, secondary takes hit
Aaron Rodgers said Wednesday he expected to maintain his practice schedule from the week before, but the Packers quarterback did a bit more than that Thursday – he practiced in full for the first time since the opening week of the season.
Bulaga (back) was also a full participant while right guard Justin McCray (left shoulder) practiced for the second straight day on a limited basis. Guard Lucas Patrick was limited with a back issue.
Tight end Jimmy Graham (knee) returned to the practice field, however.
A day after the entire defensive group practiced in some capacity, safety Jermaine Whitehead was a spectator with a back injury while fellow safety Kentrell Brice was limited with an ankle injury.
Cornerbacks Kevin King (full) and Jaire Alexander (limited) continued to practice through groin injuries.