The Green Bay Packers could have a pass-rushing problem brewing after star outside linebacker Rashan Gary sustained an injury that knocked him out of Week 7’s road loss to the Washington Commanders.
Gary exited Sunday’s game after delivering a hit to Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke in the third quarter and was immediately taken into the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion. Once it was confirmed to be a concussion, the Packers ruled him out for the rest of the game and played rookie Kingsley Enagbare in his place.
Gary had been averaging a sack per game through the first six weeks of the 2022 season and would be a significant loss to the Packers’ pass-rushing game if he were forced to miss more time with his concussion. Not only is he their most effective pass rusher aside from nose tackle Kenny Clark, but the Packers are also currently without backup edge rusher Tipa Galeai — now on injured reserve — and had Jonathan Garvin inactive on Sunday against the Commanders. That’s not ideal depth.
Lazard Also Sustained New Injury vs. Commanders
Gary wasn’t the only Packers veteran who exited Sunday’s loss with an injury. Top wide receiver Allen Lazard was also sidelined early in the fourth quarter due to a shoulder injury and did not return for the remainder of the game, leaving the Packers to contend with Sammy Watkins, Romeo Doubs and Amari Rodgers as their three primary receivers.
While the condition of Lazard’s shoulder is unknown, it isn’t a good sign that he was unable to return to the field as the Packers attempted to rally late in the fourth. The 26-year-old receiver already missed one game — the season opener — with an ankle injury that slowed his start to the season, and the Packers are in even worse of a position to sustain the loss now with Randall Cobb and Christian Watson both nursing injuries.
Lazard finished as the Packers’ leading receiver in yardage against the Commanders with 55 yards on six receptions and seven targets, but he also had a crucial third-down drop early in the game that contribute to the team not converting a single third down against the Commanders — an embarrassing feat the franchise had not done since Week 6 of the 1999 season, per ESPN Stats & Info.
Pressure Builds for Packers to Add Veteran WR
The Packers could be feeling the pressure now more than ever to make a season-saving move at the upcoming NFL trade deadline on November 1. Even with Lazard on the field, the Packers have been stagnant on offense and are clearly missing the experience that former wideouts Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling brought to the fold over the past several seasons. Could now finally be the time for general manager Brian Gutekunst to take a swing on a veteran receiving weapon?
The Packers have a few options to consider when it comes to potentially adding a veteran receiver to their roster. Odell Beckham Jr. (who is nearing his return from an ACL injury) and Will Fuller IV are two of the top names on the free agent market who might be willing to sign an affordable deal to play a marquee role in the Packers’ offense. There are also a number of receivers rumored to be available for trade, including top-end guys like Chase Claypool, Darius Slayton and Jerry Jeudy.
That said, it is hard to count on Gutekunst to make a major play for a receiving weapon when he has essentially avoided the subject throughout his entire tenure. The Packers could decide a big swing is necessary to salvage their season and keep their title window from jamming shut, but they might also recognize that their problems run much deeper than their receiving corps after seven games.
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