GREEN BAY — Turns out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t the only ones with trouble on their wide receiver depth chart.
The Green Bay Packers’ Thursday post-practice injury report showed four of their top wide receivers not having practiced: Allen Lazard (ankle), Sammy Watkins (hamstring), Christian Watson (hamstring) and Randall Cobb (illness).
Lazard, Watkins and Watson had all been listed as limited participants in Wednesday’s in-pads practice, while Cobb wasn’t at the facility on Wednesday because of his illness. On Thursday, Lazard and Watson rode stationary bikes while the rest of the team stretched.
Their absence from practice left the Packers with rookies Romeo Doubs and Samori Touré, second-year man Amari Rodgers and practice-squad wide receivers Juwann Winfree and Travis Fulgham, who was re-signed earlier in the day.
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Asked if he’s ready to be the No. 1 receiver on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium if none of those four wideouts are cleared to play, Doubs replied, “I got a great amount of reps today at the position. With the game coming up this Sunday, we’re just preparing to get ready for it.
“I would be really comfortable with that (role). I just want to do my best to help the team win for this week, so whatever happens, happens. I’m in control with my own destiny and I’m going to make sure that I prepare and do my part to the best of ability.”
Tampa Bay’s issues at receiver have been well-documented this week. No. 1 wide receiver Mike Evans has been suspended for Sunday’s game because of a fracas during last Sunday’s win over New Orleans, while Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee), neither of whom played against the Saints, didn’t practice for the Buccaneers on Wednesday or Thursday.
Three more wide receivers — Breshad Perriman (knee), Russell Gage (hamstring) and Scotty Miller (calf) — are also on Tampa Bay’s injury report, although all three took part on Thursday to varying degrees. The Buccaneers added veteran Cole Beasley to their practice squad earlier this week in hopes of augmenting the group for Sunday.
“It’s part of the demolition derby of the game that we play. Guys are in and out and you’ve just got to adjust within the game in certain weeks,” Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady said of the uncertainty at receiver. “You start a certain way; it doesn’t end the way it started.
“Sometimes when you know guys aren’t going to be out there during the week, you can plan for it. Other times you have to adjust in the game. Every team deals with it. You’ve just got to try to win the game however you can win it.”
Bakhtiari’s back … at least for one day
The on-again, off-again comeback of five-time All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari was back on again Thursday, as he took part in practice on a limited basis after not practicing at all on Wednesday.
Head coach Matt LaFleur had said just last week that Bakhtiari would be on a one-day-on, one-day-off schedule, and what that means for him this week after sitting out Wednesday and taking part on Thursday is unclear.
“We’re just trying to figure everything out in terms of what works best for him and us,” LaFleur said. “And try to get him back as soon as we can.”
Meanwhile, kicker Mason Crosby was absent because of an illness, although special-teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia downplayed concerns. Practice-squad kicker Ramiz Ahmed would fill in if Crosby isn’t ready.
“He practiced (Wednesday), and that was his kicking day. And had a good day,” Bisaccia said of Crosby. “I fully anticipate him kicking (Sunday).”
Packers nose tackle Kenny Clark was added to the injury report with a groin injury after Thursday’s practice, while tight end Marcedes Lewis had the day off for veteran rest.
In defense of Hackett
Ex-Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s first two games as the Denver Broncos’ head coach haven’t been perfect, with his late-game field-goal decision in a loss to Seattle in Week 1 and for not getting offensive play-calls into quarterback Russell Wilson in a timely manner in last week’s win over Houston.
Those issues have led to a portion of the Broncos’ fan base getting after the rookie head coach, and LaFleur admitted that he had some similar challenges as a first-time head coach in 2019.
“I think it’s a process for anybody when you’re in a new role,” LaFleur said. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world that he’s going to do a great job. I don’t know necessarily all the nuts and bolts or details (of the criticism of him), but it’s important that you lean on other people, as well.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in him, not only as a coach, but he’s super-organized. And he’ll figure it out, no doubt about. Everybody needs to stop hitting that panic button down there.”
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