Packers list four starters as questionable against Lions and rule out De'Vondre Campbell
GREEN BAY − Matt LaFleur couldn’t help but laugh when the inevitable question was asked: What would the case be with offensive linemen David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins for the Green Bay Packers this weekend against the Detroit Lions.
"I think we’ve all learned that’s a pretty fluid situation,” LaFleur said Friday, ahead of the Packers practice. As Bakhtiari continues to adjust to life after his ACL tear and Jenkins bounces back from both an ACL tear and a foot injury suffered last week, the only consistency with the offensive line is inconsistency.
Both Bakhtiari and Jenkins were at practice Friday. During the portion open to the media, Jenkins was stretching with his teammates while Bakhtiari was stretching to the side. Both were listed as limited participants and are considered questionable Sunday against the Lions.
This is the first time this week Bakhtiari has practiced. Jenkins practiced Thursday. LaFleur said their ability to do so was “a good sign. But again, every day is a little unknown.”
Meanwhile, inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (knee) and cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles (ankle) are the only two players the Packers have listed as out against Detroit. Campbell left the Week 8 game against the Buffalo Bills with a right knee injury. Against the Lions, the Packers will rely on rookie linebacker Quay Walker to relay the defensive plays.
Receivers Allen Lazard (shoulder) and Christian Watson (concussion) were both limited participants are are considered questionable for Sunday. Lazard was able to practice every day this week, albeit in a limited role, while Watson first took the field Thursday.
LaFleur said Friday the Packers would give Lazard “up to game time” before deciding his status. “He’s a guy that’s got enough experience that he’s able to go if they’ll let him, but if he can’t, he can’t,” LaFleur said.
Linebacker Preston Smith (shoulder/neck) is questionable after being a limited participant all week.
In Detroit, the Lions will be without corner Chase Lucas (ankle), safety Ifeatu Melifonwu (ankle), tackle Matt Nelson (calf) and corner A.J. Parker (hip). The Lions defense could take further shots, as defensive end Charles Harris (groin) is questionable.
Also being listed as questionable is tackle Taylor Decker (groin), running back D’Andre Swift (ankle/shoulder) and tight end Brock Wright (concussion). Wright was a full participant Friday for the first time this week. Wide receiver Josh Reynolds (back) is doubtful.
LaFleur not worried about Bakhtiari’s limited practice reps
As the Packers adapt to their “fluid” situation with Bakhtiari, part of the new reality is accepting they won’t know the left tackle’s status until shortly before kickoff. Even if Bakhtiari is listed as active, he could still be held out of drives if his knee is bothering him.
But even though his limited participation in practice means the Packers offensive line doesn’t get as many reps during the week together as possible, LaFleur isn’t worried about Bakhtiari himself.
“I think just for a very long time, he’s been playing at such a high level,” LaFleur said of Bakhtiari’s ability to play with little practice.
“There’s very few guys that I think that could do what he's been able to do in terms of, he missed practically a whole year. He can practice maybe not at all during the week and go out and play at a high level. I think he's got a lot of just time on task. He's got a lot of experience to draw back upon. But I think he does such a good job of just, even when he's not out there, getting all those mental reps and just is so present in the moment at all times when we’re in this building. But he can draw back on his past experiences and just go out there.
“He’s obviously super talented, but he's a guy that in many aspects is a self-made guy. And it's the work that he's put in throughout his entire career. And it probably started at a young age. So I just think he's obviously very, very athletic. But I think a lot of it is just how his mind works.”