Olivia Reiner and Jim Owczarski make their predictions ahead of Sunday's home game against the Arizona Cardinals. Olivia Reiner, PackersNews
GREEN BAY - On Friday, the Green Bay Packers ruled five players out with injury for Sunday’s game against Arizona, leaving just 48 healthy bodies from which to craft a 46-man active roster with – three of which were quarterbacks.
On Saturday, the club tried to help their odds by taking wide receiver Jake Kumerow off injured reserve (IR) and promoting fullback Danny Vitale off the practice squad.
They placed Mike Daniels (foot) and Trevor Davis (hamstring) on season-ending IR.
In nine games, Daniels had two sacks but was central in collapsing pockets and freeing linemate Kenny Clark and the Packers’ outside pass rushers to get to the quarterback. He hurt his foot against Seattle and was seen in the locker room Friday in a walking boot and on a scooter to keep weight off it.
“Mike’s certainly a big loss,” Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said. “That’s life in the NFL. We adjusted without Muhammad (Wilkerson) and we have to do it without Mike. I feel like we have some young guys who are ready to step up.”
Davis injured his hamstring just before Week 1 and was placed on IR, and he was the first player the Packers returned from that group, bringing him back to the active roster just before the game in Seattle on Nov. 15. He returned three punts for 31 yards and one kick for 20 yards against the Seahawks. He returned one punt in Minnesota on Nov. 25 before reinjuring his hamstring early in that game.
Kumerow has been out of action since injuring his shoulder in the second preseason game on Aug. 16. Despite the injury, the Packers carried him onto the 53-man roster and then placed him on IR. He began practicing Nov. 21.
“I’m good. Real good,” Kumerow said this week. “Last week it was really like the ‘getting back into it’ type of feeling starting practice again. Now that I’m back, practicing for a week, I go out there and feel normal now. Hopefully I’ll get some action this weekend.”
If he does get action, it will be the first of his career. The 26-year-old has yet to appear in a regular season game.
“Winning in my routes and being just physical out there, that thing stays the same, like riding a bike,” he said. “But when it comes to the game plan and having to know your assignments and knowing the details of the week, that kind of thing is tough especially not having repped it all season. You get back out there and you think you know it but it’s a lot faster and you have to think a lot faster. that will be the one thing to catch up with.”
Kumerow had an impressive training camp and start to the preseason, catching six passes for 190 yards and two scores in two exhibition games.
But even the coaching staff isn’t sure what kind of immediate impact he could have offensively upon return.
“He looks good, he’s moving well, he’s getting some repetitions,” Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said Thursday. “We’ll see what happens, number one, if he’s available, and number two, how much we can be able to get him going in a short period of time. He hasn’t been practicing much and obviously, I don’t know, what was it the second game maybe he got hurt in the preseason? There’s two weeks there, there’s eight or 10 weeks already, so it’s long time. But he does look good.”
Undrafted out of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2015, Kumerow signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was on the practice squad in Cincinnati in 2015 and 2016 and opened camp with the Bengals in 2017 but was released with an injury settlement in late September. He then spent some time on the New England practice squad in 2017 before signing in Green Bay.
If Kumerow is active Sunday, special teams coordinator Ron Zook said Kumerow would be able to return kickoffs.
Vitale was signed to the Packers' practice squad Oct. 22 and had spent time in Tampa Bay and Cleveland. The Packers have not played with a fullback this season after releasing Aaron Ripkowski on final cutdowns.
Packers safety Kentrell Brice was fined $26,739 for unnecessary roughness on a helmet-to-helmet hit on Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook on Sunday night. Brice, who was not penalized on the play, also suffered a concussion on the hit. He has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game against Arizona.