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Allen Lazard's injury, Davante Adams' uncertainty leaves Packers' WR position in flux

Jim Owczarski
Packers News

GREEN BAY – The fact Davante Adams trotted out onto Ray Nitschke Field to participate in practice Thursday was a positive sign for the Green Bay Packers, but it was mitigated by the fact Allen Lazard did not.

ESPN reported that Lazard underwent surgery for a core muscle injury and will be sidelined indefinitely.

Adams participated on a limited basis as he recovers from a hamstring injury suffered Sept. 20 against Detroit. The Packers’ star wideout was doubtful to play last weekend against New Orleans but did test it pregame before he and the team ultimately decided it was best to be cautious.

“That was the plan all week long was to get a good feel to see how I felt come pre-game, just to give me all the time I needed and came to the conclusion that I wasn’t quite ready yet,” Adams said. “It was close. I felt good, but I wanted to be as smart as possible so we decided to hold off on that.”

Adams' status for Monday night's game against Atlanta is still to be determined.

With Adams watching from the sideline, Lazard turned in a career performance with six catches for 146 yards and touchdown against t.

Unfortunately for the Packers, he injured the core muscle and it's unknown how long he will be out. If Lazard goes on injured reserve he will miss a minimum of three weeks.

As for Adams, the three-time Pro Bowler said his hamstring has to be 100% for him to get back on the playing surface.

“Correct,” Adams said flatly. “I will be making sure I feel normal – like before it happened – before I step out there. So we’re doing our thing to make sure that that’s the case.”

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard (13) catches a pass over New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23) during the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

On paper it would not be ideal for the Packers to be down two receivers who have accounted for 30 catches, 446 yards and four touchdowns through three weeks – but the Packers have proven to be adaptable.

Now, part of that adaptation during Adams’ four-game absence last year was the emergence of Lazard, as he made one start and caught 12 passes in three of those games. But heading into Monday night, the team has second-year wideout Darrius Shepherd back on the 53-person active roster, along with second-year receiver Malik Taylor, to go with Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Tyler Ervin.

Also, receivers Reggie Begelton and Robert Foster are on the practice squad and are eligible to play Monday if needed. Begelton is a first-year NFL player and spent the entire training camp with the Packers. Foster is a third-year pro who caught 30 passes for 605 yards and three scores with Buffalo the last two seasons.

Valdes-Scantling (72), Foster (30) and Ervin (20) have the most catches on the roster. Shepherd has one. Taylor has yet to catch a ball this year.

“Trust is earned in practice,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said of his faith in a relatively inexperienced receiving room. “It's earned in those 1-on-1 reps. It's earned on the first-team reps. It's also earned watching the scout team, too. People might not think I'm watching those reps -- I can't say I'm going back and spending time on the film -- but I'm watching live time, because obviously I'm invested in what Tim and Jordan are doing with their reads and their throws. But who are they throwing to over there?

"And those reps are really important, the way you practice, the type of professional that you are, your aptitude and eagerness to grow and to learn, your aptitude with the signals, with the formations. That's really important to earn that trust. It's not just me. I don't have some magic wand that I'm gonna say, 'You're gonna play because I trust you.' Obviously, as we've seen that doesn't work around here. But it's not just my trust you have to earn. It's the head coach, position coach, the guys in your room.”

But, all five tight ends and running backs Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon are healthy for head coach Matt LaFleur and coordinators Nathaniel Hackett and Luke Getsy to game plan with.

“It just shows the depth we have,” Adams said of the success of the passing offense without him. “We have people at every position, multiple people at every position that can get it done. We’ve got a lot of guys who make sure they prepare like it will be their weeks. I feel like that’s the best thing, everybody is going full tilt, got their mind right and is ready to go whenever their number is called.”