Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Patriots
GREEN BAY – Coach Matt LaFleur has learned to embrace a fluid mentality when it comes to folding his injured players into practice during the week. With several starters and an impact rookie spending time on the injury report this week, the Green Bay Packers needed Friday's practice to determine who they would and wouldn't have available Sunday against the New England Patriots.
Cornerback Jaire Alexander is listed as "questionable" for Sunday's game. When the team took to the Clark Hinkle practice field Friday, Alexander went with them; he had stayed inside Thursday. He was able to take part on Friday as a limited participant.
For rookie Christian Watson, Thursday and Friday's practices were a huge step in him playing Sunday. Watson was held out of the Tampa Bay game with a hamstring injury. He was a limited participant Wednesday in practice, but was able to fully participate in team drills Thursday and Friday.
Watson spoke to reporters in the locker room after practice and shared he felt OK with where his hamstring was after a week of testing it on the field.
"It's feeling really good," Watson said. "I mean I definitely feel like I'm in a really good spot. See how it holds up tonight, see how it feels tomorrow and just go from there."
Alexander pulled his groin in Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay on the first drive. On Friday, he was seen dancing and participating in stretch during the practice portion open to media. While his teammates began their jogging stretches, Alexander worked by himself with a resistance band, chatting with LaFleur.
Wide receiver Allen Lazard has been a limited participant in practice the past few weeks, as he was again Friday, taking it easy on an ankle that was stepped on by a defensive lineman before the season began. He’s been full-go in games, but LaFleur calls the decision to keep him limited during the week “day to day.”
“He’s been doing a nice job and I know he’s getting better,” LaFleur said. “But he’s a tough guy. And you can see it in the way he plays. You can see it on a daily basis. Just you know how gritty of a dude he is. He brings so much to our football team and certainly we want him at full strength. That makes us a better offense.”
Left tackle David Bakhtiari likely won’t practice three full days in a week again, given the stage of his career and his recovery after tearing his ACL in 2020. But he’s also been held out typically on days when the Packers are in pads, as he was Thursday. He was a limited participant Friday and wasn't given a game status, indicating that he should be ready to play Sunday.
“It’s like the wind. It could change week to week,” LaFleur said of the decision, which he said is a collective decision between Bakhtiari and the staff.
"It’s not totally up to him but certainly he’s got a big say-so in it,” LaFleur said. “I trust Dave. We trust Dave and we’re in constant communication in terms of what is the best plan for him to try to get him back to where he can go out there and play a full game. But it definitely could change. I told you guys the other day, we’re pretty fluid around here and I would see the same with that situation.”
Tight end Marcedes Lewis (groin) did not practice Thursday but was able to participate in a limited capacity Friday.
The only Packers player who didn't practice was offensive lineman Caleb Jones. He's been held out all week with an illness. He was seen riding the bikes with the rehab group Friday, but he has officially been declared out for Sunday's game.
In New England, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (severe high ankle sprain) has officially been declared out for Sunday's game, meaning backup Brian Hoyer will be taking snaps against Green Bay.
Jones was at practice when it started Friday, Mike Giardi of NFL Network reported. Jones had not been seen at the portion of Thursday’s practice open to media. However, Giardi reported that Jones never came out from behind the quarterback netting and both ankles were taped.
The Patriots have also ruled out offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste (thumb) and defensive lineman Lawrence Guy (shoulder).