The Green Bay Packers have fared somewhat well in pass coverage without Eric Stokes, who began the season on the PUP list. This was at least the case until Jaire Alexander found himself on the injury report with a back issue. Green Bay lost their star CB right ahead of their week three matchup against New Orleans and he has only practiced in a limited capacity since then.
Alexander appeared to return in a less limited capacity, although injury reports were not required for today’s practice so there is no exact designation for him. Stokes on the other hand, seemed to practice in a similar capacity on Tuesday, even with it being his first practice since last season.
Stokes has made his return from the PUP list and says he’s been at full speed for a while now in terms of his Linsfranc injury, and that “annoying little things,” such as hamstring tweaks during his ramp up period have kept him sidelined through the first four games. The return of Eric Stokes alongside star CB Jaire Alexander can only mean good things for the Packers, despite the crowded nature of the position group.
Stokes’ Place in the Secondary
It is unclear how many live reps Stokes will see in his first games back, especially given that we’ve seen solid play from Rasul Douglas on the outside and Kei’sean Nixon in the slot. Perhaps Stokes’ return will allow for a rotation and more rest for the entire CB group. Maybe defensive coordinator Joe Barry can get a bit more creative with Jaire Alexander or Rasul Douglas in coverage. Of course, injuries can always happen, and having a capable first round talent like Stokes as the potential 4th corner on the depth chart is a good thing, not a bad one.
“Having a bunch of good players, that’s a good problem. That’s a champagne problem,” defensive coordinator Joe Barry said. Barry will likely find some way to work Stokes into a unit that has already seen Carrington Valentine and Corey Ballentine take a combined 80 snaps at cornerback through 4 weeks.
The secondary isn’t the only position group that’s banged up, with Elgton Jenkins, Luke Musgrave, De’Vondre Campbell and a few more players currently dealing with injuries.
The Packers seem to be wounded at the right time, with a “mini bye” before their week 5 matchup against a banged up Raiders team coming right before their actual bye in week 6. With plenty of time to get healthy and some favorable matchups in the month of October, the Packers look destined to bounce back from their abysmal outing against the Lions on Thursday Night Football.——————
Zack is a college student and cheesehead from California. When he’s not in class or writing, you can find him talking about the Packers on Twitter at @Zack_Upchurch.