Long layoff gives Green Bay a chance to heal up

While a victory on Thursday night against the San Francisco 49ers was always the intended outcome for Green Bay to start Week 9, the injuries that they suffered were not, a consistent theme in many Packer games this season.

And while the 49ers were suffering from their own rash of injuries, which for sure led to the one-sided affair that favored GB, the Packers picked up a few extra injury concerns that the long layoff will hopefully help fix.

Coming into the game, question marks surrounded the running back core for Green Bay, especially with Aaron Jones dealing with an injury and Jamaal Williams being placed on the COVID list due to close contact with rookie back AJ Dillon, who tested positive after the team’s Week 8 contest. So, the only fully-healthy options were Dexter Williams and Tyler Ervin, so their rushing attack was looking bleak.

Thankfully, Jones was cleared for the contest and returned back to his starting role, and he was able to showcase strong cuts and mobility, showing that looks to be back in a full capacity.

With Jones looking to be back in full, David Bakhtiari and Kevin King were the two biggest names that were nursing injuries, and they were still out for the Week 9 contest, with positivity surrounding them both for their returns.

But outside of that, the biggest question surrounds cornerback Jaire Alexander (who left Thursday’s game with a concussion) and tackle Rick Wagner (who was filling in for Bakhtiari and suffered a knee injury). While Green Bay does not play again until Nov. 15 against the Jaguars, there still is some concern for both of these players moving forward.

When Alexander was forced out, Ka’Dar Hollman was bumped up into the starting two-deep lineup, which normally would be exploited right away by opposing offenses. Thankfully, with the likes of Trent Taylor, Richie James, and others manning the WR ranks for SF, it ended up not being as big of a deal as it could have been, but it certainly is something that needs to be monitored moving forward.

Rookie Jon Runyan came into the starting offensive linemen group when Wagner went down, and the Michigan rookie filled in quite well – but the most important facet of the Wagner injury was how well Elgton Jenkins ended up playing, as he was forced to move from guard to left tackle when Runyan came in.

So the mini-bye certainly is a helpful tool for the Packers to utilize moving forward, especially with the RB room looking a bit bare, the OL needing to get some of its big pieces back, and the defensive secondary needing its star in Alexander back to help solidify that side of the ball. The Jaguars are certainly not a scary offensive force, but DC Mike Pettine has had its hands full with pretty much any opposing offense, so nothing is a walk in the park, especially if his unit is not at full health.

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Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23

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