The Green Bay Packers announced a trio of roster moves on, activating safety Darnell Savage off IR, and elevating fullback Henry Pearson and running back James Robinson from the practice squad to Sunday’s active roster. Here is what you need to know.
Savage has been on IR since Week 8, after suffering a calf injury against Denver. He returned to practice last week, but was unable to play against Detroit. However, his return against Kansas City was very much expected after he was a full participant in all three practices this week.
The Green Bay safeties are going to have the difficult task of defending against Patrick Mahomes. Of course, Mahomes has the ability to make any throw and push the ball downfield. But this is a Chiefs offense that utilizes a lot of short-area throws and has been the best in the NFL at picking up yards after the catch, putting tackling at a premium.
Defending those shorter throws while still being mindful of Mahomes’ ability to push the ball will require the safeties to read their keys, trust what they see, and react swiftly. Another wrinkle to this matchup that the Green Bay defense will have to contend with is Mahomes’ extending plays and going off-script.
By elevating Pearson, I would guess that means that Josiah Deguara is not able to go. He is listed as questionable with a hip injury. Last week, Pearson played two snaps on offense but was primarily used on special teams. Tucker Kraft will continue to be TE1, with Ben Sims handling some added blocking responsibilities. The Packers tight ends and offensive line will have to be ready for a blitz-heavy Chiefs defense, that sends pressure at the sixth-highest rate and creates pressure at the second-highest rate in football.
With Aaron Jones being ruled out already, elevating Robinson was to be expected. He will be the third running back behind AJ Dillon and Patrick Taylor. Last week in Detroit, Robinson didn’t see any snaps. The Kansas City pass defense has been really good this season, allowing just 5.6 yards per pass attempt, but they have been susceptible against the run. The Packers run game has struggled to get going this season, but it might be the best way to attack the Chiefs defense.
Robinson still has two practice squad elevations remaining while Pearson will be left with one following this week.
If we are trying to read the tea leaves, from a pure numbers standpoint, the fact that the Packers didn’t choose to add safety Benny Sapp to the roster leaves them with four safeties for Sunday’s game if Rudy Ford – who is listed as questionable – can’t play. For the most part this season, Green Bay has had five safeties available, for what it’s worth.
If Ford is able to go, the Packers will have a decision to make when it comes to playing time at safety, given Jonathan Owens’ recent play. You can read more about that here.
Also, without adding a receiver to the roster, that means at least one of Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks, both of whom are questionable, will play, which would give the Packers five receivers available for Sunday, the minimum amount they’ve had active this season. Reed spoke at his locker on Thursday and sounded hopeful about being able to play. I would guess that both are available, since Green Bay has gone into each game with six healthy receivers on the 53-man.