Already down their top pass rusher, the Packers will play without their top cover man for a while. Green Bay placed Jaire Alexander on IR Saturday, shelving the Pro Bowl cornerback for at least the next three games.
Alexander suffered a shoulder injury during the second half of the Packers’ Week 4 win. His absence will deal the Green Bay defense a considerable blow, especially considering Za’Darius Smith is expected to be out until at least late in the regular season.
The Packers’ plan, per HC Matt LaFleur, is for Alexander to avoid surgery at all costs, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com hears that an official decision will be made in that regard over the next two weeks as doctors evaluate how the shoulder is healing. If surgery is required, that would likely bring an end to Alexander’s 2021 season.
While Green Bay has Preston Smith and Rashan Gary at the edge-rushing spots, the team is a bit less equipped to withstand a prolonged Alexander absence. The Packers will lean on first-round pick Eric Stokes and the recently re-signed Kevin King at corner. They explored a Stephon Gilmore trade but saw their salary cap situation intervene. The Panthers acquired the former Defensive Player of the Year instead.
The team also activated defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster from its reserve/COVID-19 list and elevated wideout Equanimeous St. Brown and guard Ben Braden from its practice squad.