The Green Bay Packers are rapidly losing depth at the inner-back.
The Packers were forced to end their 23-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings without two of their top three quarterbacks after first-round rookie Kwai Walker (shoulder) and Chris Barnes (ankle) were sidelined with injuries.
In Barnes’ case, the haters had to bring his injury wagon and put an aerobic cast on his lower right leg immediately before taking him to the locker room. It only took a few minutes for the Packers to announce that he had been ruled out for the remainder of the game with an ankle injury, casting doubt on his position as he moved forward as well as the health of the Packers midfield team as a whole.
Two other players from the Packers squad have also been discharged due to injuries. Starting with left goalkeeper John Runyan Jr. suffered a concussion in the second half and didn’t return, while corner back Kessian Nixon dropped a shoulder injury later that kept him on the sidelines for the rest of the night.
Isaiah McDuffie healthy only ILB next to Campbell
Players are always concerned about players leaving games due to injuries, especially when one of those players is the top pick from this year’s draft, but losing two of the four midfielders on their roster added an extra layer of anxiety to the team. The situation in Sunday’s loss to the Vikings.
When Barnes was sent off the field, he left the Packers with sophomore Isaiah McDuffy as the only other player to play alongside All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell indoors. He finished one tackle and didn’t let go of anything that was evident in half a quarter of play, but he was also a specials player exclusively as a rookie and only took his first defensive hits of the regular season on Sunday. That could be a big problem for the Packers if Barnes – or Walker – has to miss some time.
The only thing that could help mitigate the depth issue is hiring Ray Welburn from the coaching staff. It would be a dressing at best smearing the back end of a depth scheme, but it would at least provide some insurance should one or both injured midfielders be lost in Week 2. Welburne is also familiar with Joe Barry’s defensive scheme after spending all of 2021 in their coaching squad.
Packet defense took blocks against the attack of the Vikings
The Packers had a tough game against the Vikings’ attack, particularly in the high school where wide receiver Justin Jefferson completely cheated them for nine catches, 184 yards and two touchdowns. In the afternoon, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 23 of 32 passes and averaged 8.7 yards per attempt despite facing a fair amount of pressure (eight hits, one sack) from the Packers defense.
“We have to train a lot better,” LaFleur said. “These are two straight years where we went out the first week and didn’t look ready, so I think we’re all going to look inside and make the necessary corrections because there’s no time to feel sorry for yourself in this league knowing we’re going to fight the Chicago Bears who are going to come on a high flight of surprise Big of the 49ers.”
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