Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers: LaFleur 1/18 Presser

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Green Bay Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur held his presser ahead of the team’s first practice leading up to the Divisional Game against San Francisco on Saturday

 

The Green Bay Packers march on towards their Playoff Opener, a Divisional Round matchup with the San Francisco 49ers. Coach LaFleur opened with good news on the injury front, leading his presser that he’s “hopeful” both CB Jaire Alexander and LB Za’Darius Smith will play on Saturday.

The return of both would be a tremendous boost to a defensive unit that has held the line all season in the face of injury-induced adversity and personified the “Next Man Up” mentality we hear thrown around so often. Coach LaFleur did note that Alexander’s shoulder would need to pass strength testing before proposing an amusing method:

Coach LaFleur also stated that LB Whitney Mercilus would continue to work towards playing on Saturday, a miraculous return for the Pro Bowl veteran who was thought to have been lost in Week 10 to a torn biceps

Having both Mercilus and Smith back would be an impressive shift in talent depth at the OLB position. While 2nd-year LBs Tipa Galeai and Jonathan Garvin played their hearts out for the majority of the season, there’s a definitive talent gap between those two and the pair of Mercilus and Smith. Having the latter two would be a boon for the Green Bay Packers’ playoff chances.

Coach LaFleur did note that LT David Bakhtiari would not participate today, but that this is all part of the Load Management Program the team’s medical staff has put in place for Bakhtiari as he continues to work back from a pair of knee surgeries.

Fear not Green Bay Packers fans: this is all part of the process for Bakhtiari moving forward, for at least the rest of this season. Remember, previous Packers OTs Chad Clifton and Bryan Bulaga were participating in as little as one practice per week to preserve their bodies due to the injuries they’d incurred over the course of their careers.

That said, Coach LaFleur did stop himself short of stating Bakhtiari would play. Instead, Coach LaFleur noted Bakhtiari would be evaluated all week and have to hit checkpoints to play Sunday.

Coach LaFleur also commented on announcing the team’s All-Pro selections, noting how sweet it is to see his players succeed and receive proper recognition.

 

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