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Packers seeking clarity on Jaire Alexander's shoulder injury

Team’s health a major storyline one month into the season

CB Jaire Alexander
CB Jaire Alexander

GREEN BAY – The Packers' medical staff is still gathering information on cornerback Jaire Alexander's injured shoulder, Head Coach Matt LaFleur said Monday, so any timeline or future plan remains uncertain.

"We're kind of in a holding pattern until we find out what's really wrong with Ja'" LaFleur said. "They're getting some other opinions on how to proceed."

LaFleur said he would have an update Wednesday when the team begins preparations for its Week 5 trip to Cincinnati.

Alexander's injury, which occurred when he dove to tackle Pittsburgh running back Najee Harris in the open field on a short fourth-down pass, comes on top of the news learned last week that pass rusher Za'Darius Smith's back injury will keep him out indefinitely.

Alexander, one of three defensive captains for 2021, and Smith were both second-team All-Pro selections last year for Green Bay's defense. Cornerback Kevin King (concussion) also has missed the last two games with a concussion. Meanwhile, the offense is currently without five-time All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari (PUP, knee) and Pro Bowler Elgton Jenkins (ankle) on the offensive line.

"Right now, we've got a few of our stud players on the bench due to injury," LaFleur said, rather understatedly.

He added he's "hopeful" to possibly get King and Jenkins back this week, but neither has been cleared to practice yet.

Thus far, the Packers have weathered the injury storm to go 3-1 over their first four games, and they took control of Sunday's 27-17 win over the Steelers by halftime.

As usual, there were plenty of positives and negatives from the film review.

On the plus side:

  • LaFleur said right tackle Billy Turner was "outstanding" against Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt and graded out the highest of the guys up front.
  • Rookie cornerback Eric Stokes, who will likely take on even greater responsibility while Alexander is out, took another step forward in getting his first NFL interception, while new addition De'Vondre Campbell at inside linebacker continues to play well.
  • Punter Corey Bojorquez's booming 57-yard punt from the back of the end zone that Pittsburgh returner Ray-Ray McCloud fair caught was a huge win in the field-position game.

But …

  • The defense caught a break when Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger missed a couple of downfield throws to open receivers.
  • The offense botched opportunities to put the game away much earlier, as Aaron Jones fumbled and a promising late drive in Pittsburgh territory stalled with three straight incomplete passes.
  • Special teams had a blocked field goal and touchdown return by the Steelers nullified by an offside flag that was questionable.

On the field goal, LaFleur said the Steelers got a great jump off the edge by seeing when Bojorquez, the holder, opened his top hand to receive the snap, so snap-count variations need to be implemented. The protection alignments will be adjusted as well.

"I don't think by any means we played our best football game," LaFleur said, "and that's always a positive when you come out with a win and you don't play your best."

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