The Green Bay Packers announced five different roster moves before Saturday’s Christmas Day showdown with the Cleveland Browns.
The team activated defensive lineman Kenny Clark from the COVID-19 reserve list, elevated offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen from the practice squad to the gameday roster, placed linebacker Ty Summers and receiver Malik Taylor on injured reserve and placed linebacker Chauncey Rivers on the COVID-19 reserve list.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the five moves.
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The Packers officially got Clark back in time to play on Saturday. He returned to practice on Thursday and was activated on Friday, clearing his way to a return. The Packers need him in the middle of the defense against Nick Chubb and the Browns run game. A Pro Bowler in 2021, Clark has been a dominant player this season, both in the run game and as a pass-rusher. The Browns will be without center JC Tretter (COVID-19 reserve list), so Clark – who has 54 pressures, 12 quarterback hits and four sacks in 2021 – could have a big afternoon on Christmas Day.
Van Lanen elevated
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Van Lanen, a sixth-round pick from Wisconsin, has been elevated from the practice squad each of the last two weeks. He’ll serve as a necessary depth player for an offensive line devastated by injury. Van Lanen, Ben Braden and Jake Hanson are the three available offensive linemen behind the three starters for Saturday. The Packers elevated him as a COVID-19 replacement (for Marquez Valdes-Scantling), so he’ll still have one more elevation available over the final two weeks of the regular season.
Summers to IR
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Summers missed the entire week of practice and was ruled out for the game on Thursday after suffering a hamstring injury during last week’s win over the Baltimore Ravens. While playing just 29 snaps on defense this season, Summers has been on the field for 72 percent of special teams snaps and is a vital player to the coverage units. He’s tied for second in special teams tackles for the Packers this season (six). Expect rookie Isaiah McDuffie to be active on Saturday as a special teams replacement. Summers must now miss three games while on injured reserve, meaning his regular season is over.
Taylor to IR
(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Like Summers, Taylor suffered an injury against the Ravens and missed the entire week of practice. His placement on injured reserve for a new shoulder injury means he’ll miss at least the rest of the regular season. The Packers haven’t used him much on offense (32 snaps, two catches), but he’s played over 50 percent of the snaps on special teams, both as a gunner and kick returner. The return of Equanimeous St. Brown from a concussion provides help at receiver and on special teams, and rookie Amari Rodgers remains the most likely returner for punts and kicks.
Rivers to COVID-19 reserve list
(AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Rivers, who was claimed off waivers in August, played in four games for the Packers this season as a backup outside linebacker before suffering a season-ending knee injury. He’s on injured reserve, so going on the COVID-19 reserve list doesn’t affect the roster configuration. Rivers and Valdes-Scantling are the only two players on the reserve list for the Packers currently.