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Packers-Patriots Inactives: Jaire Alexander Out

The Green Bay Packers will be without premier cornerback Jaire Alexander but a key offensive lineman is ready for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers listed cornerback Jaire Alexander among their inactives for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots.

The bigger story line is the availability of offensive tackle Yosh Nijman, who was added to the injury report on Saturday and listed as questionable due to illness. With David Bakhtiari rehabbing his knee injury, Nijman started the first two games of the season and alternated series with Bakhtiari against Tampa Bay last week.

Had Nijman been unable to go, the big question was whether Bakhtiari would have been able to go wire to wire. If not, the backup plan might have been inserting fourth-round rookie Zach Tom into Bakhtiari’s spot at left tackle. That would have been tough duty. The Patriots’ edge rushers are Matthew Judon and Deatrich Wise. Judon has three sacks – one in each of the three games – after hitting for a career-high 12.5 sacks last season. Wise has four sacks, including three last week.

Alas, it doesn’t matter. If Bakhtiari is on a snap count again, Nijman will be ready to step in.

Along with Alexander, Green Bay’s inactives are four rookies: offensive linemen Rasheed Walker and Sean Rhyan, receiver Samori Toure and defensive tackle Jonathan Ford.

At cornerback, Alexander suffered a groin injury on the opening series last week against Tampa Bay and missed the rest of the game. He was limited participation at practice on Friday and listed as questionable on the injury report.

The Packers beat the Buccaneers without Alexander by lining up with Eric Stokes and Rasul Douglas as the cornerbacks and Keisean Nixon manning the slot. That was good enough to topple Tom Brady and his watered-down receiver corps. Will it be good enough to beat the Patriots, who will be without starting quarterback Mac Jones and standout slot receiver Jakobi Meyers?

Nixon was signed mostly for his skill on special teams. He started only two games in three seasons with the Raiders and logged only 80 defensive snaps last year. He played 57 against the Buccaneers. While he gave up a bunch of catches, he also had a big end-zone deflection and forced a fumble.

“A lot of times those guys, you know, they need an opportunity,” defensive coordinator Joe Barry said. “They need a shot. Coach (Jerry Gray has done a phenomenal job with him, coaching him every day since he’s been here (and) he’s been a sponge. Jerry does a really great job in that room of really cultivating a mindset. There’s a lot of football guys in that room and you have no choice when you go into that room. You have no choice but to be a football guy because they’re talking ball constantly in there, so Keisean’s done a really good job individually, but I think the group, starting with Coach Gray, has done a really good job of getting him to where he’s at.”

The news on Alexander was expected. The Packers elevated Kiondre Thomas from the practice squad on Saturday.

Along with Jones and Myers, two defensive starters, cornerback Jalen Mills and defensive lineman Lawrence Guy, also are out for the Patriots.

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