Davante Adams, Corey Linsley on track to play; Packers looking at Tavon Austin
GREEN BAY - Davante Adams and Corey Linsley will have an easy week of practice getting to Sunday night's game against the Chicago Bears, but Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur believes he'll have his top receiver and starting center for the divisional showdown.
Adams played through an ankle injury in Indianapolis last week, catching seven passes for 106 yards and a touchdown against the Colts. He was limited in practice Wednesday. Linsley left last week's game early with a back injury following a fumbled snap. He was also limited Wednesday.
"I do think that those guys will be able to go," LaFleur said. "I know it's a process. We'll see where they're at, at the end of the week. We're hopeful that Corey can make it back. I think Tae, we're just going to be cautious with him. Both of those guys are such an important part of our team, and we need them available to be at their best. We're hopeful that will happen."
Meanwhile, LaFleur said the toe injury that placed defensive lineman Montravius Adams on injured reserve is expected to keep him out the rest of the season. It's tough misfortune for a former third-round pick who will see the end of the final season in his rookie contract finish prematurely.
"It doesn't bode well for Mon being able to come back," LaFleur said. "He's a guy who's battled through it, and I just think it's going to be one of those where we're probably going to have to shut him down."
Tavon Austin audition
The Packers are going to look at free-agent wide receiver/running back Tavon Austin, a month after the San Francisco 49ers reached an injury settlement with the 30-year old and released him.
An NFL source said the Packers were slated to bring Austin in for a tryout sometime this week, although it was unclear whether they were interested in signing him or were just evaluating him to see if he might be able to help them later in the year.
The 5-8½, 185-pound Austin has been a receiver/running back in the mold of Tyler Ervin, the Packers’ similarly sized, nearly as fast and younger version of Austin. Ervin has been a significant part of the offense this year.
Ervin has been banged up this year, missing three games because of wrist and rib injuries, but he returned to practice Wednesday after missing the Indianapolis game Sunday and indications are he will be available to play against Chicago.
It’s possible the Packers are making sure they have options if Ervin gets hurt again. Austin, who was clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.34 seconds at the 2013 combine, has returned kickoffs and punts during his career and could help the Packers out if they decided they didn’t want to expose Ervin to special teams anymore.
Wide receiver Darrius Shepherd has handled returns in Ervin’s absence, but he fumbled on a kickoff return against the Colts and LaFleur could be looking for an alternative.
The Packers have three open roster spots, two of which will be filled by running back AJ Dillon and linebacker Krys Barnes when they return from the COVID-19 list.
The team will use the third spot on recent waiver claim Anthony Rush, a defensive tackle who was cut by the Bears, once he passes the requisite COVID-19 tests.
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Austin was with the Los Angeles Rams when LaFleur was the offensive coordinator in 2017 and so the coach is familiar with his talents. San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, a close friend of LaFleur’s who runs the same offensive system, signed Austin to a one-year, minimum deal of $1.05 million in August when he needed receiver help.
However, Austin injured his knee and was put on injured reserve before the season started. The 49ers released him on Oct. 27.
Since the start of the ’17 season, Austin has only 34 catches for 364 yards (10.7) and three touchdowns and 71 carries for 372 yards (5.2) and two touchdowns. For his career, he has 215 receptions for 2,006 yards and 15 touchdowns and 196 carries for 1,340 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He has averaged 8.1 yards returning punts and 18.0 yards returning kickoffs.
Before signing with San Francisco, he played two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, where he was mostly a receiver and punt returner. He spent five seasons with the Rams before they traded him to the Cowboys in April of 2018 for a sixth-round pick.