What to Know: Packers vs. Lions Final Injury Report

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (9) lines up for a play in the first quarter during a Week 1 NFL preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and the Cincinnati Bengals, Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (9) lines up for a play in the first quarter during a Week 1 NFL preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and the Cincinnati Bengals, Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. /

The Green Bay Packers released their final injury report ahead of their Thursday Night matchup with the Detroit Lions and a number of key players are either listed as out or questionable. Here is what you need to know.

Let’s start with who will be out. This group includes Elgton Jenkins, De’Vondre Campbell, Zayne Anderson, and David Bakhtiari.

In Jenkins’ absence last week, Royce Newman got the start at left guard. Overall, the Green Bay offensive line was very good against New Orleans in pass protection, but struggled in the run game.

Also out is Campbell, who left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and did not practice at all during the week. In his absence, we saw Isaiah McDuffie and Eric Wilson both rotating in depending on the situation. Perhaps we will see the Packers elevate inside linebacker Christian Welch from the practice squad, who could provide special teams depth with both McDuffie and Wilson seeing more snaps on defense.

Bakhtiari has not practiced since late August and has not played since the Packers’ Week 1 matchup with Chicago. In his place will again be Rasheed Walker, who has held up quite well at left tackle, allowing only two pressures in his two starts.

Anderson is yet to be active this season. He was claimed off waivers following roster cut downs.

As far as who is listed as questionable, that includes Aaron Jones, Christian Watson, Carrington Valentine, Jaire Alexander, and Zach Tom.

There is optimism that both Jones and Watson will be available with Romeo Doubs saying on Wednesday that Jones would be on the field and Watson telling reporters that the plan for him was to play. Later in the day, Matt LaFleur would say that neither player had been cleared at that time.

The Green Bay run game has really struggled to get going this season and they face one of the NFL’s top run defenses in the Lions. Detroit is allowing just 3.2 yards per rush this season and held Atlanta’s Bijan Robinson to only 33 yards on 10 carries this past Sunday. If the Packers are going to find any sort of success on the ground, getting Jones back feels like a must.

If they continue to struggle in that regard, it’ll make moving the ball through the air all the more difficult as it will put them in predictable passing situations and allow the defense to get into favorable matchups. With Patrick Taylor being out of practice squad elevations, look for the Packers to sign him to the 53-man roster if Jones can’t go, but I expect that to happen at some point regardless of Jones’ status given Taylor’s role early on this season on special teams, as a blocker, and as a pass catcher.

Watson is yet to make his 2023 debut as he’s been dealing with a hamstring injury but should provide added consistency to the passing game with his experience. Along with his speed, he is someone who can attack all parts of the field and fill a variety of roles in the passing game. If there is a part of this Detroit defense the Packers will want to attack, it is their cornerbacks.

Tom tweaked his knee in the fourth quarter on Sunday. If he can’t go, Yosh Nijman will get the call at right tackle. Although the Green Bay offensive line has fared well in pass protection, they face a difficult test against Aidan Hutchinson, who as LaFleur said, is a game wrecker. If Tom can’t go, the Packers will have to rely on Walker and Nijman to give Jordan Love the time he needs in the pocket.

Alexander popped up late last week on the injury report because of his back. While Valentine left Sunday’s game with a biceps injury. In the slot, the Lions have Amon-Ra St. Brown, one of the most efficient receivers in football this season, while on the outside are Kalif Raymond and Josh Reynolds, both of whom have been up and down, but also able to generate some big plays.

I’m going to guess that cornerback Corey Ballentine will be elevated once again from the practice squad for depth and to contribute on special teams, but if fellow practice squad cornerback Kiondre Thomas joins him, that won’t be a good sign for either Alexander or Valentine. If that’s the case, at least one of them is going to be out.

Detroit Lions Injury Report

Jason Cabinda, FB, Out

Taylor Decker, OT, Questionable

Jonah Jackson, OG, Questionable

Kerby Joseph, S, Questionable

David Montgomery, RB, Questionable

Emmanuel Moseley, CB, Questionable

Matt Nelson, OT, Out

Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OG, Out