Growing Optimism that Jaire Alexander Will Eventually Return

Over the last week, there has been some optimistic comments from Matt LaFleur, Aaron Rodgers, and Joe Barry that Jaire Alexander will return at somepoint this season.

The Green Bay Packers are 7-1 this season despite having to overcome a number of injuries and players missing time on the reserve/COVID list--and through eight games, there has perhaps been no bigger obstacle to overcome than Jaire Alexander's absence at cornerback.
 
Alexander would hurt his shoulder while making a tackle against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4. The specific injury was to the AC joint in his right shoulder, and if surgery was required, that would likely end his 2021 season.
 
Obviously, Green Bay was trying to avoid surgery at all costs so the Packers explored all options and opinions when deciding how to handle Alexander's injury. They would ultimately land on giving him time and hoping that the injury could heal on its own.
 
"It's just one of those things we're going to let heal and see where it's at down the line before making that determination," coach Matt LaFleur said via ESPN. "But we're hopeful that it'll heal the right way and he'll be back with us in a matter of weeks."
 
Although LaFleur had mentioned that there was hope that Alexander could return in a "matter of weeks," at that time, it was really unknown what the timetable looked like, and of course, there was still the possibility that Alexander could miss the season.
 
However, more recently, there has been some guarded optimism around Alexander returning this season. 
 
When speaking with reporters about a week ago, LaFleur would mention that he is "optimistic" that Alexander will return this season--although he did not give specifics as to when.
 
More recently, Aaron Rodgers would mention on the Pat McAfee Show that "Jaire got some good news a few weeks ago" and that he is hopeful that the All-Pro cornerback can return for "the stretch run." 
 
Now, what "stretch run" exactly means can be up for debate. Is it following the Green Bay Packers Week 13 bye? Or perhaps it's the last game or two of the season before the playoffs? Either way, this is again good news. 
 
Then on Thursday, Joe Barry would hold his weekly press conference and give us this little nugget as well:
 
"Now, we're still many weeks down the road, but we'll get Ja back."
 
It goes without saying, but there is no replacing Alexander or what he can do--he has developed into a shutdown corner right before our eyes. 
 
In 2020, he had allowed a completion rate of 48 percent on 76 targets with three interceptions and 14 pass breakups--and did so against some of the game's best receivers. Through three games this season, Alexander had allowed a catch rate of 57 percent on 19 targets with an interception and a pass breakup.
 
“I just think he’s a complete package,” LaFleur said this summer via WFRV. “First of all, he’s got the talent. He’s got great instincts as well and he works at it. I think he attacks it with the right mindset each day.”
 
But to the defense's credit, this secondary has held their own for the most part in Alexander's absence. Eric Stokes is blossoming as he gains more experience each week and is allowing a completion rate of just 56 percent this season.
 
Rasul Douglas has provided stability and secured the win in Arizona. I also love the way he flies around the field. Chandon Sullivan has been very good from the slot over these last five games, allowing only 6.9 yards per catch with an interception and a passer rating of 67.6, according to PFF.
 
And even though Kevin King has missed more time, he is coming off a performance in Cincinnati that was his best in some time. King would allow just three completions for 17 yards. 
 
However, with all of that said, this is a Packers team that has Super Bowl aspirations. Although the players mentioned have all stepped up in Alexander's absence, Green Bay will need their star cornerback available for their best chance at navigating what is going to be a daunting NFC playoff picture.
 
And fortunately, it looks like they will. 

---------------------

Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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9 points

Comments (23)

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

November 05, 2021 at 11:39 am

Good news indeed. Alexander the Great joining Eric the Red on the boundary with additional contributions from Douglas, Sully and King will really help the pass rush while playing two deep with Amos & Savage.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 05, 2021 at 12:28 pm

Nice nicknames! LOL

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LambeauPlain's picture

November 05, 2021 at 02:35 pm

Appears at least two folks didn't like them, Bear.

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jurp's picture

November 05, 2021 at 10:05 pm

One of the three didn't like your response either. WTF?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 06, 2021 at 02:32 pm

I suppose some folks might think Jaire and Douglas on the boundary with Stokes either on the bench or in the slot. Or some other permutation.

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Alphadork's picture

November 05, 2021 at 11:50 am

"In 2020, he had allowed a completion rate of 48 percent on 76 targets with three interceptions and 14 pass breakups--and did so against some of the game's best receivers. Through three games this season, Alexander had allowed a catch rate of 57 percent on 19 targets with an interception and a pass breakup." I love stats like this, but if you don't also tell us what the median is, or what the numbers are for someone else regarded as a top CB, the numbers presented don't mean much. That paragraph would be a lot more powerful if you provided a comparator.

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Johnblood27's picture

November 05, 2021 at 12:31 pm

look it up yourself.

well versed fans know.

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Leatherhead's picture

November 05, 2021 at 03:38 pm

If you know that the league’s completion % around 65%, then is allowing 48% completions good.? Really good, or just a little better than average?

I would regard Alexander as a very good cover corner. I hope he refrains from trying to blow up ball carriers and just wraps up people so he doesn’t hurt himself. Let the linebackers and safeties administer punishment.

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Cubbygold's picture

November 05, 2021 at 02:00 pm

Pack could really use him against teams like the Chiefs and the Rams in upcoming weeks. Since he won't be healthy by then, I hope they take some extra time to make sure the injury heals. Obviously the Pack could be fighting for a #1 seed and a bye, so every game matters... but I'd hate to see him get injured rushing back for the Bears game or the Browns.

The 1 seed is nice, but having him back and healthy for the playoffs is what matters.

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Caden819's picture

November 05, 2021 at 02:05 pm

They should just let him sit until the final game of the season (unless we already have the bye wrapped up). Give him that one game to get back up to game speed and ready for the playoff push

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Cubbygold's picture

November 05, 2021 at 02:27 pm

I'm with you. I don't think JA needs the reps, but it might be useful for Berry and the other CB's to adjust to their 'new' positions when #1 returns. Fortunately they seem to have a great problem with a deeper CB room now.

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Caden819's picture

November 05, 2021 at 03:24 pm

I think it would be more beneficial for the back ups to get as much game time as they can but i understand there will need to be adjustments for them when he comes back

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LambeauPlain's picture

November 05, 2021 at 02:41 pm

Joint injuries are complex but the fact he avoided surgery is positive. No structural damage it seems but probably a lot of inflammation you want to alleviate so he doesn't cause additional damage.

I agree to rest him too but not on a calendar date. Rest him until all the soreness is gone and range of motion is back to normal.

So far, Douglas has been great hire. I can only imagine what would have happened if Yiadom had to play. Yikes.

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Caden819's picture

November 05, 2021 at 04:16 pm

Well since he is on IR he has to have a set date of Jan 9th or before, if not we wont get him back for the playoffs. I agree though, Yiadom YIKES

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jurp's picture

November 05, 2021 at 10:07 pm

Yiadom = less talented Jarrett Bush. At least Bush had one great game in him, and it was a Super Bowl. Don't see that happening with Yiadom.

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Dr.Rodgers's picture

November 06, 2021 at 08:02 am

Lot’s of folks say taking a shot of Aaron Rodgers’ majic Hollywood Covid elixir has shoulder healing properties.

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Leatherhead's picture

November 05, 2021 at 03:48 pm

This is good news. When Alexander slammed into that guy and then crumbled I could see he was plenty jacked up. It looked a lot worse than a dislocation, probably a lot of damage to his rotator cuff. But if he could be ready to comeback after the break, that would really help. He’ll have a couple of games to get tuned up before the playoffs……..perfect timing.

I don’t know about you guys, but I think we’re going to be in a great position for the stretch run after Thanksgiving.

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Since'61's picture

November 05, 2021 at 07:08 pm

After all the BS this week this is some good news arriving for the beginning of the weekend. I will be looking forward to watching Alexander play and again and paired up with Stokes. GPG! Thanks, Since '61

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jurp's picture

November 05, 2021 at 10:04 pm

What's this? I wanted to read more about Rodgers' self-immolation and I come across a football article? WTF?

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Coldworld's picture

November 06, 2021 at 12:08 am

Just left APC. Plenty of that there. Heaven help this country was my thought flicking through it. Thank goodness we will see some football this weekend. Good or bad it will be better than the Rodgers Covid regime cockfight.

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jurp's picture

November 06, 2021 at 07:45 am

I'm an APC refugee myself (left sometime last season). It was a lot of fun when it started, but over the last four years or so it became incredibly toxic. I thought that the moderation of comments actually made it worse, which was a surprise to me.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 06, 2021 at 03:11 pm

It goes a lot faster if you only read posts by people who have been posting for at least a year or two. As someone who likes to do his own research into things when possible and when I am motivated to do so, the attack on that aspect of this situation was astounding to me. Of course, my research led me to get vaccinated. I got the J & J so I am now reading that it's efficacy is shorter than the others: I am vaccinated but probably no longer immunized against Covid. My research suggests to me that I should seek out a booster shot. I will try to get a booster next week.

Ah well. Next November 150 million people who have zero qualifications* as to public policy issues will vote for people who will make those public policy decisions.

* Zero is perhaps harsh: quite a few people have some qualifications (even if they are not credentials) in regards to a fairly narrow sector of public policy issues.

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Letfreedomring's picture

November 06, 2021 at 01:24 pm

Wrap up folks, don't be like KK and lead with your shoulder.

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