GREEN BAY, Wis. – Preston Smith’s ironman streak of 102 consecutive games is over. Smith and cornerback Kevin King are among the Green Bay Packers’ inactives for Sunday against Washington.
Smith, a fourth-round pick by Washington in 2015, had played in every game of his career and owned one of the longest current streaks in the league. However, he injured an oblique early last week against Chicago. His absence will be partially offset by the addition of veteran Whitney Mercilus. Signed by the team on Thursday, he is active.
“We’ll see how it goes tomorrow and Saturday and see if he’s ready to roll,” outside linebackers coach Mike Smith said of Mercilus. “But this is not his first rodeo, so you guys shouldn’t be shocked if he is out there and rushing the quarterback.”
Also active is safety Darnell Savage, who suffered a concussion on the opening series of the second half last week. He practiced on Thursday and Friday.
The decision to sit Smith and King might have been impacted by the schedule. Green Bay has a short week before Thursday night’s game at undefeated Arizona. The Cardinals are fourth in the NFL in scoring.
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“You try to focus on what’s right in front of you and try not to let what is to come factor in too much into the decision,” LaFleur said. “But you’ve got to weigh everything in terms of making those decisions.”
At cornerback, the Packers will lean on Eric Stokes and Rasul Douglas on the outside with Chandon Sullivan in the slot. At outside linebacker, Rashan Gary and Jonathan Garvin figure to start, with Mercilus and La'Darius Hamilton in reserve.
Also inactive for Green Bay are safety Vernon Scott, defensive tackle Jack Heflin and offensive tackle Dennis Kelly (back).
Washington’s inactives include three starters: right guard Brandon Scherff, right tackle Sam Cosmi and cornerback William Jackson. Scherff and Cosmi were ruled out on Friday; Jackson was questionable after not practicing on Friday. Also out are receivers Curtis Samuel and Cam Sims and former Packers tight end Jace Sternberger. Starting running back Antonio Gibson, who was questionable, is active.
The Packers placed rookie center Josh Myers (knee) on injured reserve on Saturday. That means Lucas Patrick will get the start against Washington. He struggled when he started at Cincinnati in Week 5 but was a standout when he replaced Myers on the opening series last week.
“Unfortunately with Josh’s injury, it gives an opportunity for Lucas now – twice, really – to go out and play,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said on Wednesday. “I thought he played excellent in the game. He’s a tough, physical, smart player who, when he’s riding with confidence, can be an elite player at center, I really feel like that. Love the kid. I tell him every single time he’s out there that I love going to battle with him because he’s the kind of a guy you know who’s going to have your back and you know he’s going to be in the right position at all time and doing exactly what he’s supposed to be doing and battle and scrap and claw and fight as hard as he can.”