The Green Bay Packers announced their inactives ahead of their Week 11 matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers, with the good news being that Rashan Gary and Quay Walker will be available. Here is what you need to know and the potential impact of it all on today’s game:
After missing Wednesday’s practice, Alexander began trending in the right direction with his shoulder injury, practicing in a limited fashion on Thursday and Friday. However, he will be inactive for today’s game. Without him, that again leaves the Packers with Carrington Valentine and Corey Ballentine on the boundary, but against a much more high-powered passing game led by Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen.
Expect a heavy dose of split-safety looks from Green Bay in an effort to prevent the big pass play and also to provide the cornerbacks with some help over the top. Allen has nearly 60 more targets this season than the next pass catcher on this Chargers team. Even though defenses know the ball is going in his direction, he’s still been one of the most productive and efficient receivers this season.
Green Bay will enter this game fairly thin at cornerback with Alexander and the newly acquired Kyu Blu Kelly inactive. That leaves Robert Rochell as the only backup.
Returning is Quay Walker, who missed the last two games with a groin injury. He was listed as questionable after practicing in a limited capacity all week. Walker will have to play a key role in trying to limit running back Austin Ekeler’s impact in the passing game, where he ranks second this season in both average yards per catch and average yards after the catch.
Missed assignments and poor gap integrity were prominent for the Packers in the run game against Pittsburgh. Having Walker back on the field will hopefully help provide some stability in that regard.
Rashan Gary was a late addition to the injury report with what Matt LaFleur called a “mishap” during Friday’s practice, resulting in Gary being added to the injury report with a shoulder injury. Pressuring Herbert will be a must in this game for Green Bay. Without it, he has been devastatingly efficient from a clean pocket this season, and that will almost certainly cause problems for a short-handed secondary.
Outside of Gary, the Packers’ pass rush has been inconsistent this season, but the Chargers have two tackles who rank in the top 18 in terms of most pressures allowed this season. With Gary available, Brenton Cox will be inactive. The last few weeks, the Packers have utilized just a four-man rotation. This is also a good sign that Gary won’t be on a pitch count.
Not surprisingly, Rudy Ford will be out as he deals with a shoulder injury and was listed as doubtful. Jonathan Owens and Anthony Johnson will be starting at safety. The duo performed well against the Los Angeles Rams two weeks ago, but this Chargers passing game is a different beast. Along with protecting against the downfield throw, they will have to trust their eyes and be quick to react to underneath throws – which there will be a lot of – to help limit YAC opportunities.
As has been the case the last few weeks, Samori Toure will be inactive, and Malik Heath will be available. Heath’s role has been small, playing just 10 snaps over the last two games. With how active the tight ends and running backs are in the passing game, there isn’t a huge need for a sixth receiver.
Other final inactive includes Caleb Jones, which has been the case for much of the season as long as the offensive line has been relatively healthy. This is another developmental year for him.