Packers: The secondary conundrum after Jaire Alexander injury

Green Bay Packers, Darnell Savage - Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinApc Packvseagles 1206201287
Green Bay Packers, Darnell Savage - Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinApc Packvseagles 1206201287 /

The Green Bay Packers secured their third win of the season on Sunday afternoon in a 27-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. While there was plenty to be excited about following the win, there was certainly some cause for concern.

All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander exited the game with a shoulder injury following a tackle on running back Najee Harris.

Following the injury, Alexander was listed as questionable but did not return to Sunday’s contest. As of now, head coach Matt LaFleur was not able to rule out a possible long-term injury. With the Packers potentially losing their lockdown corner for an extended period, there is now a conundrum in Green Bay’s secondary.

The Packers secondary continues to grow thinner

As stated before, the loss of Alexander for an extended period would be a huge blow to the defense. With Kevin King’s absence, the Packers’ secondary was already thin. While rookie cornerback Eric Stokes has impressed in his two games as a starter, the Packers are now left with massive question marks in the secondary.

King missed two games recently, one due to illness, the other due to concussion protocol. With the absence of King, Stokes was thrust into the limelight. While Stokes has been a solid addition to Green Bay’s secondary up to this point, he is a rookie corner. Translating a cornerback’s talents from college to the NFL is very difficult and it will still be a work in progress going forward.

Now, with Alexander’s injury, Isaac Yiadom took his place. Yiadom, a four-year pro, was acquired via trade in mid-August. While Yiadom does have NFL experience, it is hard to replicate Alexander’s defensive prowess. Now, once King is healthy, he will likely be placed on the outside again with Stokes on the other end.

However, even when King returns, the Packers will still be thin at cornerback.

The depth in the Packers secondary is a concern

With both King and Alexander currently on the injury report, Yiadom will be getting reps with the starting unit. However, according to the Packers depth chart, Yiadom is listed as a third-string cornerback. Chandon Sullivan is another player in the secondary who is still available but has spent a majority of his time at the nickel.

So, who is left in Green Bay’s depth chart at cornerback? The only other name available is Shemar Jean-Charles, the fifth-round pick out of Appalachian State. While Green Bay could certainly do some tinkering with their two safeties or even put Sullivan on the outside, the depth is still an issue. Jean-Charles has some promise based on his college career. However, he is unproven and will be the next man up for Green Bay should anything happen to one of their corners.

Certainly, the Packers face a challenge in one of their most valuable positions. With Alexander’s status up in the air, the Packers will be without one of their most dynamic defenders. Matt LaFleur has said that Green Bay will be fielding other opinions from medical experts as they wait for an update on Alexander’s status. If all goes according to plan, we should have an update on Alexander’s status on Wednesday.

Regardless of the timeframe, the Packers will be strung thin in Jaire’s absence. Stokes, King, Sullivan, Yiadom, and Jean-Charles will all have to step up until the All-Pro can return to the cornerback room once again.

Going forward, be sure to keep an eye on how Joe Barry and the Green Bay defense adjusts as Jaire Alexander misses time. Green Bay faces a tough stretch in the near future. If any corners are looking to become a household name, they will need to do so quickly.