GLENDALE, Ariz. -- No Davante Adams, no Allen Lazard and now no Marquez Valdes-Scantling for the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night against the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals.
Valdes-Scantling was their last chance to have one of their top three receivers for the game, but the Packers (6-1) did not activate him, giving him more time to recover from a hamstring injury. He has missed the past four games because of the injury.
Adams and Lazard were ruled out because of COVID-19 protocols -- the vaccinated Adams because of a positive test and Lazard as an unvaccinated close contact.
The Packers held out hope as late as Wednesday that Lazard could be cleared to play before the NFL officially ruled him out in a phone call to the team, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported. Lazard, who is unvaccinated, and his agent, Peter Schaffer, made a case to the league that Lazard was not a close contact to Adams and thus had no chance of COVID transmission. Lazard was negative on five straight days of rapid and PCR testing. He also argued that his five-day quarantine period should have started Saturday instead of Sunday.
The NFL didn't budge on all that, and now Lazard could be cleared as early as Friday -- one day too late. Although the Packers weren't sure whether Adams would have been available for a typical Sunday game, Lazard most likely would have.
Adams ranks third in the NFL with 744 receiving yards on 52 receptions, which is tied for second. He has 37 more receptions than the Packers' next-closest wide receiver, Lazard. That's the largest gap between a team's top two receivers in the NFL. Adams has twice as many catches as the next-closest Packer (Aaron Jones, 26).
Valdes-Scantling had only six catches for 76 yards and a touchdown in the first three games combined, but Rodgers lamented missing him on more than one deep ball in those games. Last season, Valdes-Scantling led the NFL with an average of 20.9 yards per reception, on 33 catches for 690 yards and six touchdowns.
The Packers' top remaining receivers are Randall Cobb, Equanimeous St. Brown, Malik Taylor and Amari Rodgers. Taylor had been on the COVID list since Oct. 15 but was activated Tuesday. The Packers also elevated wide receiver Juwann Winfree to the active roster from the practice squad as a COVID replacement.
The Packers also activated tight end Dominique Dafney off IR and elevated guard Ben Braden from the practice squad to the active roster for Thursday night's game.
The Packers also will be without defensive coordinator Joe Barry because of COVID protocols. Defensive backs coach Jerry Gray and inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti will handle Barry's duties.