A Tough Year for Eric Stokes and the Packers Secondary Just Got Tougher

It’s been a very challenging year for Packers cornerback Eric Stokes. The former first-round pick out of Georgia was placed on the injured reserve by the Packers on Wednesday which means he will miss at least the next four games.

Stokes had already missed the Packers first five games this season. He suffered a knee and foot injury in Week 9 of the 2022 season and missed the rest of the that campaign. Setbacks including a hamstring injury caused him to spend training camp on the PUP list. He was not activated until just prior to the Packers Week 7 contest in Denver.

Unfortunately, Stokes’ return to the lineup lasted just four plays and all of them were on special teams. Then he suffered an injury to his left hamstring while on punt coverage and he landed back on the IR.

“All of this is new to me,” Stokes told reporters. “It’s crazy. I’ve never missed time. I’ve never missed a game and it’s looking like it’s going to be a year. It’s very tough on me.”

According to Stokes, he missed only one game in high school and never missed a game due to injury at Georgia.

Stokes was great in 2021, his rookie season. An injury to Kevin King thrust Stokes into the starting lineup early in the year and he responded beautifully.

Stokes started 14 games and played in all 16. According to pro-football-reference.com, opposing quarterbacks completed just 49.5 percent of their passes when throwing to receivers covered by Stokes and had a quarterback rating of just 71.3.

Stokes’ biggest asset is his speed. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash at the combine before the draft. That allowed him to catch up to receivers even if they beat him early on a play. He would then break up passes.

His biggest weakness was his ability to track the ball in the air and to hold on to potential interceptions. He made his first career NFL interception in his second start against the Pittsburgh Steelers off Ben Roethlisberger.

Stokes and Jaire Alexander gave the Packers two speedy, first-round cornerbacks who could keep up with the fastest receivers in the league. When the Packers added Rasul Douglas, they had three quality corners on the roster.

But in 2022, Stokes suffered through a sophomore slump. He had more difficulty tracking the ball and was often beaten by receivers on double moves. He started the first nine games of the season before his injury, but his numbers were nowhere near as strong as his rookie campaign.

In 2022, opposing quarterbacks completed 80 percent of their passes when throwing to receivers covered by Stokes and had a quarterback rating of 123.5.

Stokes was eager to return to the lineup and get his career back on track. Now, after all the work and all the rehab, he suffered another setback and is back on injured reserve.

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said Stokes would “absolutely” be able to return to action later this season.

Then, the former Georgia star will have a chance to start to get back on the field and get his career back on track.

Stokes was eager to get back on the field and return to action. Before the Broncos game, he told reporters how much more he appreciated even being out on the field for practice after rehabbing from his injuries.

“Once that thing is taken away from you, you start realizing practice, you start realizing walk-throughs, you start realizing little things you took for granted and you’re like, man, I can’t wait till I come back.” he said. 

The Packers secondary now needs to carry on without Stokes for at least four more games. The team has also been dealing with Alexander’s bad back which has caused him to miss three of the Packers first six games this season. Last week, rookie Carrington Valentine started instead of Alexander and was picked on by Russell Wilson and Courtland Sutton.

Rasul Douglas has been the Packers only consistent cornerback this season. Keisean Nixon has been shaky in coverage in the slot and Alexander has not been able to play up to his usual standards because of his back injury.

The Packers were hoping Stokes’ return would give them more depth and talent in the secondary but that will have to wait. Stokes needs to be patient and be at his best when he hopefully returns to action later this season.

 

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4 points
 

Comments (45)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
T7Steve's picture

October 26, 2023 at 11:32 am

Poor guy. It seems to happen to someone (or more) every season, lately.

I remember in the teens when this issue was very prevalent, and thought the staff wasn't addressing it with the correct warmups and stretching, but these guys are pros and have to know how to prepare themselves.

Maybe he didn't want to play STs and didn't prepare for it as he would when Starting at DB.

-3 points
1
4
Minniman's picture

October 26, 2023 at 01:26 pm

This is a real bug bear of mine - why so many non-contact injuries at Green Bay?

Regarding your last comment - if that is the case, then maybe a quick call to Kevin King will recalibrate that thought pattern....... out of the league after his rookie contract expired...... or even speak to Rasul Douglas (bouncing around on practice squads till he got his mindset right). These guys have to be aware of the cliche that NFL stands for Not For Long.

4 points
4
0
stockholder's picture

October 26, 2023 at 11:35 am

Stokes is done. He's been out too long.
It would be different, if he was an Established veteran.
But he isn't. The fastest CB in the draft is a bust.
I'm expecting a Cb to be taken #1 again.
Why- Because Gutey believes in Secondary
players before the Trench.
And who needs a one legged over -priced King.

-4 points
6
10
jannes bjornson's picture

October 26, 2023 at 11:51 am

If he still has a Job, it would be best to pay a free agent to come onboard. The draft has to be a LT with the One pick. RB, Safety with the twos. But I've been preaching this tune the past two seasons. CBs can be bagged in rds 3-6, if you have competent scouting: Mc Kenzie, Tyrone Williams, Doug Evans....see a trend here?

2 points
4
2
stockholder's picture

October 26, 2023 at 01:11 pm

Draft the trench Works.
But the rule Gute doesn't do. -
Go after the best player at each position in the draft.
There is a reason KC defense is so good.

And Gutey had a chance at 4 of the 5 guys that
are doing great. Just as I predicted.

Rashee Rice - Starting SWR - We took Reed
Humphrey - C we took Myers
Leo Chenel - Starting Slb We Took - Sean Ryan
Willie Gay - Starting Ilb We got Dillion

-1 points
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5
jannes bjornson's picture

October 26, 2023 at 05:28 pm

KC's roster is all about Brett Veach. He thanked the Bears for passing on Mahomes and went to town. He brought in Alex Smith right off the bat to give Andy Reid a guy who could run the WCO and let Mahomes learn.
The defense jells because of Spags. Let him run this crew and you will see turnovers. I would pluck from Veach's tree to recharge the Pack. Time to move away from the '90s theme, kleen haus.

2 points
2
0
jannes bjornson's picture

October 26, 2023 at 05:31 pm

I wanted Gay for the ILB. Stokes running mate at Georgia, Tyson Campbell was the better CB on that squad.
Fisrt guy taken in rd two. 2nd team ALL-PRO. You make the call??

0 points
1
1
Ima Payne's picture

October 26, 2023 at 12:12 pm

He is another piss poor draft pick for Gutt. Stokes -mentally slow, Wyatt - too fat and out of shape, Watson - Mr Hamstring injury man, Love, Mr Interception man, Alexander, Mr Over Hype Man who cant tackle, Dillion - three or two yards and a cloud of astro dust.

-7 points
4
11
Minniman's picture

October 26, 2023 at 01:37 pm

Alexander seems to have lost his Mojo since he got that shoulder injury last year attempting to lay the wood on someone - he's never been right since - perhaps they are trying to coach a technical tackling tendency out of him and it's affecting him between the ears?

0 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

October 26, 2023 at 05:37 pm

He is slight. He has to go low, or wear bigger shoulder pads. He's the cover guy. When he went to a cross body take-down the Refs called him with a PF. The new soft rules of engagement. The LBs have to do their jobs. Play a 4-3/4-2 and jam the running lanes. He's not paid to tackle RBs.

0 points
0
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Coldworld's picture

October 26, 2023 at 01:22 pm

What a disgusting comment just to justify another Gute tirade.

Apart from the fact that at his age, if the injury has healed properly, he’s hardly done, it’s a guy’s career you damning. A guy who was very good as a rookie, which you hated because Gute picked him.

Some people are just not worth the time of day, you are one.

7 points
10
3
stockholder's picture

October 26, 2023 at 01:59 pm

Gute tirade?. - Stokes was a grabby Georgia CB.
It was all about underwear again.
His Teammate has gotten the praise.
And we needed to get Clarke help.
Barmoore made the all rookie team -
What did Stokes make = The IR-
Time and Time again We see redrafting a Guy
was the better move.
Especially if he drafted the position a year earlier.
But you just keep knocking everyone down.
You sound more like the enemy within
rather than the packer fan you think are.

-4 points
3
7
WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

October 26, 2023 at 04:05 pm

I've never understood hating on a guy who gets hurt playing a violent sport. I also don't understand hating on a guy for where he was picked in the draft, as if he had any say in that.

5 points
5
0
cdoemel's picture

October 27, 2023 at 06:53 pm

Same, but the peeps on here have to have something to bitch about. So they reach. 🤷‍♂️

0 points
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0
Oppy's picture

October 27, 2023 at 02:45 am

I 100% guarantee Stokes has worked harder in his 24 years than you ever will.

2 points
2
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cdoemel's picture

October 27, 2023 at 06:58 pm

Ofc you can’t guarantee that, you don’t know who you’re talking to. But I feel you. Stokes hasn’t gotten a chance to show much yet. Hopefully he’ll get healthy. Same with Watson. I hope for that guy. Hate the “glass” designation so early. He needs to get his young body ready to endure an NFL season. He hasn’t yet.

1 points
1
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Oppy's picture

October 29, 2023 at 05:40 pm

I don't think Stokes will get a chance with the Packers, unfortunately. He will probably be nursed back to health and then that'll be it. He'll get a chance with another team, and while I will root for his health, my fear of course is that our investment will pay off for another team who gets a version of Stokes who is past his injury problems.

As to not being able to guarantee that- nothing is 100% certain in life, but very few people have had to put in as much work and be as dedicated to anything in their lives as most NFL players have had to put in to putting themselves in position to get a shot at playing in the NFL. Yes, occasionally we see an athlete so gifted they just get by on talent alone without much work- but that is exceedingly rare. I also say this as a guy who, when younger, worked a job for nearly a decade where I was moving anywhere from 50,000 to 120,000 lbs. of steel by hand per shift, 10-12 hrs a day, 4 to 6 days a week depending on workload- so I completely understand how hard some people have to work.

All that being said, I feel pretty safe placing the guarantee where I laid it. :)

0 points
0
0
Ima Payne's picture

October 26, 2023 at 12:08 pm

I was never a stokes fan. thought the game was mentally too much for him but I wish him quick recovery.
Personally I think they had him playing the wrong position. With his speed and need to have more thinking time, he would have been more servicable as a safety.
I clearly remember when he started, Adams would run right by him over and over again in practice and that was the knock, he kept making the same mistakes again and again in practice.
One game, the Vikes needed five yards for the first. Stokes backed off the LOS by 10 yards and I'm thinking what the hell is he doing trying to get a head start in case the guy runs past him? The receiver of the Vikes runs five yards, turns and catches the ball for a first and Stokes is nowhere in site still dropping back. Ya thats a mental thing all right.

-6 points
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6
13TimeChamps's picture

October 26, 2023 at 12:20 pm

It must drive you crazy envisioning all the hardware in GB's trophy case, while Minny's just consists of dust and spider webs.

8 points
10
2
WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

October 26, 2023 at 04:06 pm

You think Stokes decided that on his own? That's just him following the coach's orders. That's the Joe Barry prevent defense. Give up 5 yards and not 50.

2 points
3
1
GregC's picture

October 26, 2023 at 12:11 pm

I wasn't expecting anything from Stokes this year, as he suffered two serious leg injuries at the same time last year. He was in a wheelchair at one point during his recovery. I believe a hamstring injury set him back in his recovery this summer. I wonder if it's the same hamstring this time. Speed is such a big part of his game that I have to wonder if he will ever be the player he was before the injuries.

3 points
3
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Coldworld's picture

October 26, 2023 at 01:26 pm

It’s possible that’s true, but after those complex leg injuries, issues with hamstrings and related tissues are a well known risk. I’d feel more confident that this was unpreventable, that he was ready to play at full tilt, if we didn’t have so many other hammy issues this year. Something is awry unless the entire team has been walking under ladders all year.

2 points
3
1
stockholder's picture

October 26, 2023 at 02:13 pm

Thank you Dr - Killdare.

I wish you would just put 2 and 2 together.
These guys don't want to Work.

-7 points
2
9
WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

October 26, 2023 at 04:09 pm

Hahahaha. A guy who has spent his life playing football, getting ready to play in the NFL wants to wreck his knee and ankle in one play and then spend most of the rest of the year trying to get back to playing.

And to have fans think "these guys don't want to Work" Most of us can do our jobs when we are sick or hurt, to a certain extend. Not the same in the NFL. You can't do your job with a wrecked knee or ankle of non-functioning hamstring. All these guys want is to be out there. How can he expect to get a 5th year option or a 2nd contact if he doesn't want to work. Of course he wants to.

5 points
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0
cdoemel's picture

October 27, 2023 at 07:02 pm

This may seem like a too simple fix but good hydration is huge in issues like hammy or the cramps some guys run into. Could a lot of these soft tissue things be avoided with better hydration? Asking.

0 points
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0
SicSemperTyrannis's picture

October 28, 2023 at 09:35 pm

Proper strength and conditioning coaching can reduce the incidence of this.

1 points
1
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Lphill's picture

October 26, 2023 at 12:19 pm

and the Eagles go and get a pro bowl safety Byard for practically nothing.

1 points
5
4
WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

October 26, 2023 at 01:25 pm

The Eagles are a contending team. GB is not and won't be for some time. Getting free agents ain't in the picture right now, and probably not next year either. We're paying the dues for enjoying a 4 x MVP who earned a big payday. This is what happens to really successful teams when they near the end of a great QB run. It happened to the Saints, and to others. Once the salary cap is straightened out, they can do a mix of draft and develop and plug holes in free agency or via trade. Not happening now.

9 points
10
1
Coldworld's picture

October 26, 2023 at 01:31 pm

Even after reworking the contract, he’s about 5 times over our max cap room for this year, if not more. That’s what happens when we are eating so much cap for so many past players.

2 points
4
2
SicSemperTyrannis's picture

October 28, 2023 at 09:36 pm

What's not happening now is draft and develop because we don't have a coach that's worth a damn.

1 points
1
0
pantz_bURp's picture

October 26, 2023 at 12:56 pm

Wow, I was hoping for some support for Love in his first true season as QB1. That included O and D and ST.

It seems like we are having to play against ourselves before we play the opposition.

The support Love is getting right now is equivalent to buying a used DD bra at a garage sale because the price is right. (he is a B cup)

*Sorry, he is NOT a bust...

Stokes, that sucks. For him, his family and da Pack. I am telling you, do yoga, s-t-r-e-t-c-h, and then find a mean streak between the whistles.

9 points
9
0
lkcsmith's picture

October 26, 2023 at 01:04 pm

Stokes may be smarter than we think. He can take it easy and still earn more than $16m watching the game from the sideline:
"Eric Stokes signed a 4 year, $11,925,524 contract with the Green Bay Packers, including a $6,033,108 signing bonus, $10,122,419 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $2,981,381.

-5 points
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cdoemel's picture

October 27, 2023 at 07:04 pm

What a negative, crappy thing to say. Like he’s happy just sitting raking in the money. 🖕

0 points
1
1
WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

October 26, 2023 at 01:30 pm

Gotta feel for the guy. Spends months working to rehab and then has another issue come up. It is curious why so many hamstring issues on this team. I remember when McCarthy started using those monitors on players to check their hydration, temp, heart rate, etc. Muscular issues seemed to improve when they were really monitoring hydration. I wonder if they are still doing that. Bummer for Stokes, and bummer for the D. I guess we will get to see what Valentine and Ballentine are made of.

4 points
4
0
Minniman's picture

October 26, 2023 at 01:47 pm

There's a funny paradox in rehabilitation in that once you are rehabbing an injury, you become more prone to other injuries due to trying to avoid re-injury! your movement patterns alter in response to the original injury (and an attempt to be defensive), but in actual fact, your "wooden-ness" makes you less agile, and more injury prone.

Unconsciously you will start to favor a side or alter the muscular recruitment pattern, which also plays a part, along with hydration etc.

<TLDR/> Something is not right with how the Packers are rehabbing and game-prepping.

9 points
9
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T7Steve's picture

October 26, 2023 at 02:17 pm

Maybe they should hydrate with 6-packs not 12-packs.

Hopefully they don't end up with my 30-pack abbs.

1 points
1
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pantz_bURp's picture

October 26, 2023 at 02:47 pm

Exactly! We need the kind of player that, when rolling around in pain on the field responds in kind.

The medical staff contain him from moving, and then ask where did you get hurt?

Once he is able to gain his composure, he responds, "oh, about 10 yards from where we are at now".

Get them big uglies Gutt! Go gettem....

Faded Pantz

1 points
1
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bleedgreen's picture

October 26, 2023 at 04:34 pm

Curious why they had him playing on special teams when he can't tackle.

1 points
2
1
cdoemel's picture

October 27, 2023 at 07:07 pm

I do know from experience that good hydration and stretching well are important. Maybe this is missing from their rehab and maintenance.

0 points
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0
Tundraboy's picture

October 26, 2023 at 05:05 pm

Do we have the worst luck or what.

Feel bad for him but I knew that day he was coming back too soon to game action. What was the rush. He had been out a loooong time. This staff can't seem to manage anything consistently or logically.

3 points
3
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egbertsouse's picture

October 26, 2023 at 06:10 pm

Kevin King 2.0. Another Gute RAS draft crush. If they held an underwear Olympics,Gute’s draft picks would win the gold medal.

-3 points
1
4
SinceLombardi's picture

October 26, 2023 at 09:05 pm

Another player that will be around for years, play only a few games and make minimal impact.

-4 points
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4
NFLfan's picture

October 27, 2023 at 06:51 pm

We met Eric Stokes during the bike-riding thing they do with the kids. I remember thinking he did not seem to be 6 feet tall.
He was really friendly like AJ Dillon is but my overall thought was 'how does he deal with those bigger dudes' out there?
I like Cornerbacks to be tall and lanky with long arms.

0 points
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0
RobinsonDavis's picture

October 28, 2023 at 10:59 pm

I agree with so many comments on Stokes from this fandom. I am frustrated though on why they thought it would be a good idea EASE a guy back into play, running punt return coverage, when he was known to still be nursing his injury and dealing with the hammy. They actually put him into a position where he comes off the bench COLD for one play, SPRINTS down the field 40-50 yards, banging against defenders at full speed, and having to change direction in kind. BRILLIANT!!

What this decision demonstrates is a lack of understanding for what our special team guys do, game in and game out. It can be grueling, especially for a team that cannot advance the ball offensively. If he was truly ready...which he obviously was not, I would have rather seen him brought in for a series or two as a CB and then let him sit.

0 points
0
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GeorgeRipley's picture

November 17, 2023 at 08:32 am

In my opinion, it is difficult to combine studying and playing in a football league. This can lead to problems in both areas. It is important to balance between what brings knowledge and what brings pleasure. So a source like https://letsgradeit.com/review/rapidessay/ may be useful, where students will find the ideal solution to this kind of situation by choosing a reliable service to which they can delegate some academic tasks.

0 points
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