Alexander, Smith & Bakhtiari Could “Potentially” Practice for Packers

Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari participates in organized team activities Wednesday, June 2, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis.Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinApc Packersota 0602210678djp
Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari participates in organized team activities Wednesday, June 2, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis.Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinApc Packersota 0602210678djp /

The Green Bay Packers have had to deal with numerous injuries this season., but to their credit, they’ve handled them well and find themselves 9-3 coming out of the bye week.

It doesn’t seem like there have been many weeks this season where the Packers haven’t sustained some type or injury. Hopefully, they can remain healthy for the rest of the season, but it does sound like reinforcements could be on the way.

The Green Bay Packers could be getting some key players back for stretch run.

During Monday’s press conference with reporters, Bill Huber of Sports Illustrated asked Matt LaFleur if either Jaire Alexander, Za’Darius Smith, or David Bakhtiari would be back at practice on Wednesday. And after a brief pause, LaFleur replied with “potentially.”

"“Potentially,” said LaFleur via Acme Packing Co. “You know, certainly, we hope so. Those guys, again, are doing everything in their power but we’ll see where we’re at on Wednesday and then, obviously, you guys will get updated then.”"

While that response is far from a guarantee that any of those players will be on the practice field, it is certainly promising that there is the potential. At a minimum, it suggests that all three players are close to returning.

As we all know, Bakhtiari has been out all season recovering from an ACL tear. In addition to not having Bakhtiari, the offensive line has dealt with injuries to Elgton Jenkins and Josh Myers as well. However, all things considered, the offensive line has held its own for the most part.

Although this group does need to be game-planned for and does need additional assistance at times, the run game, which is averaging 4.1 yards per rush this season, has been effective enough. And Aaron Rodgers, more often than not, has the time that he needs in the pocket.

Smith was nursing a back injury all through training camp and would appear in only one practice. He would play 18 snaps Week 1 in a limited role but ultimately was placed on IR and then underwent back surgery.

In his place, we’ve seen Preston Smith have that bounce-back season, and Rashan Gary has become one of the more productive edge rushers in football. With that said, the depth at edge rusher is still a concern. Jonathan Garvin hasn’t made many high-impact plays as the third edge rusher, while Tipa Galeai and La’Darius Hamilton are both limited in what they can do.

Lastly, Alexander was placed on IR with a shoulder injury following the Green Bay Packers Week 4 matchup with Pittsburgh. The team held off on surgery, which likely would have ended Alexander’s season, hoping that the injury would heal on its own—and it looks like it has.

In Alexander’s absence, we’ve seen the emergence of Rasul Douglas, who was signed off the Arizona practice squad to bolster the cornerback depth, as well as elevated play from Chandon Sullivan and Kevin King. Not to mention that Eric Stokes has handled the CB1 responsibilities well and has continued to improve.

I have to say, the play of this cornerback room without Alexander has been one of the biggest surprises this season for me. Although the players certainly deserve the credit, so does Joe Barry’s scheme that, with lightboxes and a cover-2 shell, provides these corners with some additional assistance.

As I mentioned above, there’s no guarantee that any of these players will be at practice on Wednesday. And even if they are, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be ready to go this Sunday either.

But this is all very good news. An already stout Green Bay Packers roster could very well be adding three All-Pros to the mix here in the month of December.

"“These guys love the game. They love being with their teammates, they love competing,” LaFleur said via “So I know that they’re itching to get back as soon as possible. We just want to make sure that there’s no extra risk for a setback or whatnot, because obviously they’re an important part of this team.”"