The Packers ruled out veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins yesterday as he deals with hamstring issues, but they took the ruling a step further today as the team placed him on injured reserve. The new ruling means that not only will Watkins miss tomorrow’s game against the Buccaneers, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers will have to wait four weeks to get his top receiver back.
Watkins has seen a bit of a resurgence so far in his ninth NFL season. The 29-year-old has led the Packers in receiving yards through the first two games with six catches for 111 yards. Watkins’ resurgent season has seen the benefit of Rodgers’ top returning target, Allen Lazard, missing Week 1 as he deals with an ankle injury. He also has taken advantage of his competition for targets being rookies and a 32-year-old Randall Cobb. Regardless, Watkins has made the most of his early opportunities and the Packers will have to make up for some lost production in his absence.
Lazard has been cleared to play but is still dealing with that ankle injury. Rookie Christian Watson joins Watkins in his hamstring issues and Cobb has not practiced recently due to illness. Both are currently listed as questionable. Beyond those four, Rodgers will have to rely on two more rookies in Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure, second-year return specialist Amari Rodgers, and practice squad gameday call-up Juwann Winfree.
Watkins dealt with hamstring issues during his lone season in Baltimore last year, as well, missing four games and being mostly held out of the final three. He’s never quite been the portrait of health. Watkins hasn’t played in every game of the regular season since his rookie year back in 2014. Since then, he’s missed an average of four games per season. Watkins will be eligible to return to play in time for the Packers Week 7 matchup with the Commanders.
After moving Watkins to IR, Green Bay signed practice squad running back Patrick Taylor to the active roster in a corresponding move. Winfree, as mentioned above, has also been called to the active roster, but, as a standard gameday elevation, he will revert back to the practice squad after the game.