GREEN BAY – Jake Kumerow’s wait is over.
After four years of practice squads, offseason programs and training camps, the Packers’ first-year receiver finally made his NFL regular-season debut on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
The former UW-Whitewater standout, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2015, got the news Saturday he was being activated from injured reserve and elevated to the 53-man roster.
If that wasn’t enough, Kumerow christened his first NFL appearance with an 11-yard catch from Aaron Rodgers in the fourth quarter.
“Pumped. Big time,” Kumerow said. “They came and told me I was going to be active, be up. I got really excited. I told them, ‘I’m going to give everything that I got for you.’ I just go out there and do my job. That’s all you can do.”
Kumerow joined the Packers’ practice squad during the final week of the 2017 regular season and made a strong bid at a roster spot in training camp with six catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns in his first two preseason games last summer.
However, a shoulder injury landed him on injured reserve to start the year until he was designated to return to practice two weeks ago. While he acknowledges his NFL debut was somewhat bittersweet considering the Packers’ 20-17 loss to Arizona, he hopes to build upon the experience heading into these next four December games.
“I’m going to do whatever they tell me to do,” Kumerow said. “To show up Monday, knock out the film and go through the rest of the season like nothing happened. You have to come out and try to win every week regardless.”
Injury updates: Randall Cobb made his return to the starting lineup after missing three games due to a hamstring injury.
Working on a snap count, the Packers’ veteran receiver caught three passes for 25 yards, including a 9-yard reception on Green Bay’s final drive to set up a 49-yard field-goal try for Mason Crosby.
“I felt great,” Cobb said. “We were trying to keep my rep count down to, like, 40, 45. We were a little above halfway at halftime, and then toward the end of the game, I wasn't coming out.”
One week after replacing an injured David Bakhtiari and Lane Taylor on the left side of the offensive line against Minnesota, reserve offensive linemen Jason Spriggs and Justin McCray finished the game in place of right tackle Bryan Bulaga and right guard Byron Bell, who each left with knee injuries.
“That is our role as swing tackle and swing guard,” said McCray, who started the first three games of the season at right guard. “We have to know that if something happens on the left or right side we have to go in. Our coaches do a good job I think preparing us to do that. We got enough reps during the week, so I didn’t think it was that bad of a transition.”
Immediate returns: With Trevor Davis going back on IR Saturday with an aggravated hamstring injury, the Packers turned to rookie first-round pick Jaire Alexander on punt returns against the Cardinals.
On his first return, Alexander bounced off the initial pile and brought the ball back 24 yards to the Arizona 35-yard line. It was Green Bay’s longest punt return of the year and helped set up the Packers’ first scoring drive of the afternoon.
“It was different. I had to get a feel for it at first, but it was fun,” Alexander said. “I was just trying to get in the end zone, trying to change the game.”
Green Bay also had its longest kickoff return of the season on Sunday with running back Jamaal Williams bringing one back for 30 yards in the second quarter.