Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander exits game vs. 49ers with concussion
The Green Bay Packers entered Thursday night’s game at San Francisco without Kevin King and two plays into the second quarter they lost fellow starting cornerback Jaire Alexander to a concussion.
Playing at a Pro Bowl level this season, Alexander was hurt as he tried to tackle 49ers running back Jerrick McKinnon. The two had helmet-to-helmet contact after McKinnon gained 11 yards, and Alexander came up immediately knowing something was wrong and pulled himself out.
That led to slot corner Chandon Sullivan kicking outside in base defense calls and Ka’Dar Hollman also seeing playing time.
Running back Dexter Williams had two carries in the first half on offense before he went down with a knee injury and was ruled out, leaving just Tyler Ervin and a limited Aaron Jones to carry the ball.
Also, right tackle Rick Wagner exited with an injury in the third quarter. Dealing with a knee issue suffered last Sunday against Minnesot, Wagner couldn’t finish and that required Billy Turner to go back to right tackle. Left guard Elgton Jenkins kicked out to left tackle and rookie Jon Runyan Jr. moved inside to left guard.
Even with that re-tooled offensive line, the Packers’ opening drive of the second half resulted in a touchdown and a 28-3 lead.
Aaron Jones returns; Bakhtiari still out
The Packers flew to California with 18 players on the injury report.
However, Jones was on the flight and was designated as active for the game against the 49ers.
Before departing, the team ruled out King with a quadriceps injury, marking the fourth straight game he has missed. Safeties Will Redmond (shoulder) and Vernon Scott (shoulder) were also ruled out.
Left tackle David Bakhtiari was inactive with a chest injury, marking the third straight game he will miss since being hurt in Tampa Bay.
Jones was active after missing two consecutive games since straining a calf just before the Houston game.
Billy Turner has played left tackle the last two weeks with Rick Wagner taking over on the right side. Wagner was on the injury report this week with a knee injury.
With AJ Dillon, Jamaal Williams and Kamal Martin being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the Packers could bring up three players off the practice squad as COVID-19 replacements. They did that Thursday with running back Dext Williams, safety Henry Black and cornerback Stanford Samuels III.
This is an important distinction because these promotions do not count against any of these players' practice squad call-ups.
Black had already been called up twice (Houston and Minnesota) so if he was not a COVID-19 replacement he would have to have been signed to the 53-person roster and a corresponding roster move would have had to be made.
Offensive lineman Ben Braden was the practice squad call up.
Hackett a head coach candidate
As the Packers were getting ready to play Minnesota last weekend, CBS reported that the Atlanta Falcons were interested in Nathaniel Hackett as a head-coaching candidate. Dan Quinn was fired Oct. 11 after five full years and an 0-5 start to this season. The Falcons are 2-1 under interim head coach Raheem Mostert.
Hackett, 40, was brought to Green Bay by head coach Matt LaFleur, his third offensive coordinator job since 2013, but he does not call plays for the Packers.
Given the Packers' 18-5 record heading into Thursday night’s game and with the league’s No. 3 scoring offense and No. 9 offense overall, it makes sense that LaFleur’s staff would get looked at for promotions elsewhere. But for his part, Hackett said he’s not looking that far ahead.
“It’s all about the Green Bay Packers,” he said Wednesday. “I mean 100%. A short week, the only thing I’ve been thinking about is the 49ers and helping this team move on and continually win and get better. That’s really it. Everything else, it’s such a long season, anything can happen.”