GREEN BAY, Wis. — With injuries piling up at receiver and production waning at tight end, the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday signed veteran wideout Ryan Grant and used of one of their injured reserve/designated to return spots on rookie tight end Jace Sternberger.
While Sternberger can’t play until after Week 8 per injured-reserve rules, the Packers might need Grant for this Sunday against one of his former teams, the Oakland Raiders.
Pro Bowl receiver Davante Adams is in danger of missing his third consecutive game because of turf toe, and Geronimo Allison left Monday night’s victory over the Detroit Lions because of a head and chest injury.
The Packers worked out Grant on Oct. 7, less than two weeks after he was released by the Raiders.
A fifth-round pick in 2014 by the Washington Redskins, Grant has 123 receptions for 1,333 yards and seven touchdowns in 80 career games (64 for the Redskins, 14 for the Colts in 2018 and two this season for the Raiders).
The Packers finished Monday’s game with fifth-round pick Marquez Valdes-Scantling and three former undrafted free agents — Allen Lazard, Jake Kumerow and Darrius Shepherd — as their available receivers.
After Shepherd dropped a pass near the goal line that the Lions intercepted, quarterback Aaron Rodgers lobbied for Lazard, who responded with four catches for 65 yards and a touchdown — all in the fourth quarter. Previously, he had one career NFL catch.
“I’m just excited for where he could go,” head coach Matt LaFleur said of Lazard. “He’s got to now, anybody can do it one time, and that’s what we say. But now you’ve got to do it each and every time. That’s the expectation, and that’s the standard. But, again, he puts in the work, and he does a great job at practice. So I’m excited to see him put together back to back to back, and see where it goes.”
As for the tight-end spot, Sternberger won’t be eligible to play until Nov. 3 at the Chargers but can begin practicing immediately. It leaves the Packers with just one more spot for a player eligible to come off injured reserve.
For now, it appears the Packers plan to stick with veteran Jimmy Graham despite a lack of production. Graham dropped a would-be touchdown against the Lions and ranks fourth on the team with 14 catches (including two games without a catch). Against the Lions, fellow veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis was more productive (two catches for 50 yards) than Graham (two for 17 yards).
“I still have total confidence in Jimmy,” LaFleur said. “And you know it’s one of those deals I just want to make sure that he knows that all of us, we believe in him. And Jimmy’s his own worst critic at times and he can get down on himself. But I think he’s going to be ready to battle back this week and come out and put a good performance together.”
The Packers didn’t practice on Wednesday, instead holding a walk-through coming off the Monday night game. But if they had, Adams (toe), Allison (concussion/chest) and Valdes-Scantling (ankle/knee) would not have practiced. Graham is also sidelined and was added to the injury report with an ankle injury.