GREEN BAY, Wis. – With Davante Adams, the Green Bay Packers' prolific receiver, doubtful for Sunday night’s showdown against the New Orleans Saints, the team promoted Darrius Shepherd from the practice squad on Saturday.
Green Bay also promoted tight end John Lovett to the 53-man roster and elevated Billy Winn from the practice squad to the gameday roster. The Packers had elevated Lovett in each of the first two weeks, the maximum allowed. He figures to have a role on Sunday with rookie Josiah Deguara doubtful.
Adams was listed as doubtful on Friday after not practicing all week. While Sunday’s game is incredibly important as far as Week 3 games go, the reward might not be worth the risk in coach Matt LaFleur’s mind.
That means two of the NFL’s premier receivers could be out of the action on Sunday night. On Friday, the Saints ruled out Michael Thomas for a second consecutive week with an ankle injury.
Since the start of the 2016 season, Thomas leads the NFL with 473 receptions while Adams leads with 42 touchdowns. The Saints might be in better position to absorb the loss of an injured star at the position. Green Bay’s top receivers are Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, along with returner/running back/receiver Tyler Ervin, Malik Taylor (zero career catches) and Shepherd (one catch, 1 yards last year). New Orleans signed Emmanuel Sanders in free agency and has veteran tight end Jared Cook, as well.
For Shepherd, this represents an opportunity to show he belongs after failing to make an impact as an undrafted free agent last year. He had a strong training camp but lost out to Taylor in his big to make the roster.
“It’s the NFL and it’s a small margin for error,” Shepherd, who spent time in the offseason with current Chargers quarterback and former North Dakota State teammate Easton Stick, said during camp. “You can’t really make those mistakes. I had to learn from that and grow and really just focus on coming to practice each day, and watching these vets like Aaron and ‘Cedes [Marcedes Lewis] and Davante and how they go to work. Whether they have a bad day or not, they continue to be confident in themselves and make plays. So, this offseason, I tried to focus a lot on having that positive mentality. I did a lot of reading and just tried to focus on how can I be better, and what things I want to focus on going into Year 2.”
Adams was one of two big names on the Green Bay injury report. Defensive tackle Kenny Clark, who was inactive last week with a groin injury sustained in the opener, is questionable. He practiced on Thursday and Friday.
“Kenny Clark is a hell of a player,” Saints center Erik McCoy told reporters on Friday. “And I'll be the first one to tell you, run or pass, he is strong, he's quick twitch. That rare combination of size and speed makes him one of, if not the, best defensive tackles in the NFL. So, I have to be on my A-game.”
Packers Injury Report
Out: WR Davante Adams (hamstring).
Doubtful: TE Josiah Deguara (ankle), outside linebacker Randy Ramsey (groin).
Questionable: DT Kenny Clark (groin), G Elgton Jenkins (back/rib), S Darnell Savage (groin).
Saints Injury Report
Out: LB Chase Hansen (hip), WR Michael Thomas (ankle).
Questionable: DE Marcus Davenport (elbow), DE Trey Hendrickson (groin), RB Ty Montgomery (hamstring), DT David Onyemata (calf).