Packers place wide receiver Devin Funchess on injured reserve, at risk of missing entire 2021 season


CBS Sports 25 August, 2021 - 05:15pm 9 views

Is Devin Funchess out for the season?

Funchess signed with the Packers in 2020 and returned in 2021, but it appears he will never appear in a regular-season game for the team. Funchess, a second-round pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2015, suffered a collarbone injury in 2019 and then opted out of the 2020 season. Packers WirePackers place WR Devin Funchess on season-ending injured reserve

The Green Bay Packers announced on Wednesday that they have placed wide receiver Devin Funchess on injured reserve. The 27-year-old pass-catcher suffered a hamstring injury during joint practices with the New York Jets and was unable to return to the field. This now means that Funchess will be sidelined for the entire 2021 season unless he and the team agree to an injury settlement that could lead to him signing elsewhere as he continues to recover from injury.

If Funchess remains on IR, he will miss his third consecutive season. Back in early September of 2019, he suffered a broken collarbone that ended his year with the Colts. After he signed with the Packers in free agency, Funchess elected to opt-out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Prior to the injury, Funchess did look like he had a chance of finally contributing to the Packers offense. In the preseason opener, he caught six passes from second-year quarterback Jordan Love for 70 yards. While that was with most of the first-team sitting out of that exhibition, it was certainly an encouraging development of what may be to come. However, Funchess will now in all likelihood have his sights set on 2022. 

The 6-foot-4, 225 pounder originally entered the league as a second-round draft choice of the Carolina Panthers, where he went on to play to play four seasons. Over that stretch, Funchess proved to be a valuable receiver for then-quarterback Cam Newton. For his career, Funchess has hauled in 161 passes for 2,265 yards and 21 touchdowns. 

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Bears roster projection: Which players need a strong performance in the preseason finale?

The Pat McAfee Show 25 August, 2021 - 05:59pm

Bears roster projection: Which players need a strong performance in the preseason finale?

Bears roster projection: Which players need a strong performance in the preseason finale?

Cheesehead TV 25 August, 2021 - 05:59pm

Bears roster projection: Which players need a strong performance in the preseason finale?

Packers Sign Pair of Former Bears

Sports Illustrated 25 August, 2021 - 04:07pm

The Packers signed cornerback Stephen Denmark, a seventh-round pick by Chicago in 2019 and an elite size-speed prospect. Denmark spent his first two seasons on the practice squads of the Bears and Cleveland Browns, then spent training camp this summer with the Pittsburgh Steelers but was released last week. He broke up one pass in the preseason.

At Division II Valdosta State, the 6-foot-2 1/2 cornerback was an all-Gulf South Conference first-team selection. He opened his career at receiver, with seven catches as a freshman, 22 catches as a sophomore and one catch in four games as a junior. As a senior, he had three interceptions, 12 passes defensed and eight tackles for losses. At pro day, he ran his 40 in 4.46 seconds with a 43.5-inch vertical leap.

“Stephen Denmark has ridiculous measurables,” Bears GM Ryan Pace said after drafting Denmark. “He’s relatively new to the position – only one year at corner after switching from receiver – so [he’s] a guy we feel has tremendous upside ahead of him and a guy that our defensive coaches, our special-teams coaches and our scouts were equally excited about, just working with that upside and the talent that he has.”

Defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson signed with the Bears as an undrafted free agent out of Bucknell in 2018. After spending his rookie season on Chicago’s practice squad, he played in six games with one sack for the Bears in 2019 and in one game for the Minnesota Vikings last season. He was released with Denmark by the Steelers last week. He had one sack and one forced fumble in the preseason.

A four-year starter at Bucknell, Anderson had 30.5 tackles for losses during his final three seasons.

In cutting their roster from 85 players to 80 earlier this week, Green Bay released defensive lineman Josh Agnew.

While it might seem odd to sign two players with less than a week before the cutdown to 53, coach Matt LaFleur sat 30 players for the preseason opener vs. Houston and 32 for the game against the Jets. He expected to rest a similar number of players this week. So, he'll need as many players as possible to get through this game. Moreover, it will give the Packers a sneak peek at some potential practice squad players.

“Certainly, there’s some challenges with having only 80 players,” LaFleur said. “You’ve got to make sure you have enough for the game and there’s going to be some guys that are suited up, but might only play if we’re forced into that situation. I just think for where we’re at as a football team, it’s important for our young guys to get the exposure that they need to so we can make the best decisions for our team moving forward.”

Packers place Devin Funchess on IR; WR likely to miss second season in a row 25 August, 2021 - 03:55pm

Devin Funchess' encouraging preseason has met an unfortunate early finish.

The Packers placed Funchess on injured reserve, the team announced Wednesday. Funchess' season is over unless he and the team agree on an injury settlement, which would leave him free to sign elsewhere while he recovers from a hamstring injury.

If Funchess remains on IR, it'll be a third straight lost season for the 6-foot-4 receiver who saw his promising time with Indianapolis end due to a broken collarbone in early September 2019, then signed with Green Bay before opting out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With most of Green Bay's top pass catchers spending the first week of the preseason on the sideline, Funchess became a favorite target of second-year quarterback Jordan Love in the receiver's lone game. Funchess caught six passes for 70 yards, displaying the physical ability that could have helped him find a role in the Packers' offense.

The following week, Funchess injured his hamstring during joint practices with the New York Jets. He hasn't participated in any fashion since then, and Wednesday's news realized his worst fears.

Funchess last saw significant action as a member of the Carolina Panthers, the team that selected him in the second round of the 2015 draft out of Michigan. Seen as a player somewhere between a receiver and tight end, Funchess found success as a bigger-bodied wideout who could box out defenders and use his large wingspan to haul in passes.

He became a favorite target of former Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, teaming with the one-time MVP to post a career-best season of 63 catches for 840 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017. Funchess also played an important role in Carolina's offensive explosion in 2015, catching 31 passes for 473 yards and five scores as a rookie in a season in which the Panthers won the NFC title and appeared in Super Bowl 50.

Three straight lost years could spell the end of Funchess' time in the NFL, but if he is still pursuing employment in pro football in 2022, he'll at least have his tape from Green Bay's preseason opener against Houston to provide as proof he can still play.

The Cowboys QB participated in multiple series of 11-on-11, the first time he's done so since he was sidelined by a shoulder strain earlier this month.

Packers place WR Devin Funchess on IR, sign two 25 August, 2021 - 03:00pm

Anderson (6-3, 303) is a second-year player out of Bucknell that originally signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent in May 2018. After spending his rookie season on the Bears' practice squad, he moved between the practice squad and active roster in 2019, appearing in six games. Anderson began the 2020 season on the Bears' practice squad before joining the Minnesota Vikings' practice squad in late September and the Vikings' active roster in November, where he went on to appear in one contest. In 2021, Anderson signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but was released on Aug. 17. He will wear No. 72 for the Packers.

Denmark, a 6-2, 220-pound, first-year player out of Valdosta State, was originally selected by the Chicago Bears in the seventh round (No. 238 overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season and the beginning of the 2020 season on the Bears' practice squad and then spent some time on the practice squad of the Cleveland Browns. This offseason, Denmark signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but was released on Aug. 17. In college, he was a two-time first-team All-Gulf South Conference selection. Denmark will wear No. 34 for the Packers.

Packers: Offensive players worth retaining on the practice squad

Lombardi Ave 25 August, 2021 - 11:55am

Green Bay Packers, Kurt Benkert (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

With camp and pre-season coming to a close, the Green Bay Packers are going to be forced to make some tough decisions during final cut-downs. We’ve already seen GM Brian Gutekunst swing deals that sent players who were unlikely to make the roster packing in exchange for late-round picks.

As we all know, the Packers’ most recent Super Bowl team went “77 deep” referring to the number of players that made an appearance and contributed to the team that season. Thus making the 16 practice-squad slots a valuable way to add quality depth to the roster that you’re likely to rely on at some point in the season.

There are a few players on the offensive side of the ball that the Packers would love to bring back onto the practice squad. I fully acknowledge some of the players named still have a chance to make this roster, but if they don’t, these are the offensive players I’d love to see remain in house to continue their development.

Fan favorite Kurt Benkert has absolutely taken advantage of his opportunity since arriving in Green Bay. Benkert has shown that he can really spin it, and has shown he’s good enough to be on an NFL roster. However, if you’re Green Bay you can’t justify keeping three quarterbacks on your initial 53-man roster, especially given the state of the Packers’ retched special teams.

If the Packers were to suffer an injury at the position, they’d be more than comfortable with someone like Benkert being elevated to be the backup due to his knowledge of the system.

Should the Packers find themselves in position to retain his services after final cut-downs around the league, he would be a great option to have on the practice squad, potentially being groomed to be QB2 in 2022. Most teams would be happy to have two quarterbacks that appeared to be worthy of a spot on an NFL roster. As it stands, the Packers appear to have three.

Memphis running back Patrick Taylor is someone the Packers should hold in high regard. Taylor possesses the talent and skill-set worth continued development in the Packers system. He’s another player the team should feel comfortable giving live game reps to in the event of an injury to one of the top three backs.

Taylor’s odds of making the initial 53 appear to be diminishing due to the strength of the running back room, but he still holds strong value in the eye of the front office. Unless another team tries to swoop in and secure his services, the Packers will absolutely be retaining Patrick Taylor who will be a great insurance policy for the franchise.

The Packers’ wide receiver room is likely going to keep six wide receivers come week one. With Devin Funchess no longer in the fold, it likely comes down to Malik Taylor and Juwann Winfree for that final spot. That’s not to say Taylor and Winfree couldn’t both make the team, it just seems unlikely. Both have shown significant improvements as receivers and already bring useful skill-sets to special teams.

The arrow is trending up on both players right now and whichever player doesn’t make the initial 53 deserves to continue their development in house. The team has very few pass catchers under contract next season, so it would be nice to have some options familiar with the system, not to mention the added depth.

Dominique Dafney has a good chance to make the team due to Jace Sternberger’s two-game suspension. However, he showed enough last year as a versatile H-back to provide the team value even if Sternberger wasn’t suspended.

He’s someone the team would love to have as added depth as a plug-and-play option off the practice squad. If the Packers fear they would lose him, they may just opt to keep him on the opening-day roster altogether.

The hometown hero, Cole Van Lanen is living every Wisconsinite’s dream playing for the green and gold. He’s shown enough to make the team due to his talent alone, and he’s played well at both guard and tackle in the pre-season.

He has what it takes to develop into the team’s swing tackle of the future. Roster cut-downs will show us where the Packers currently feel he is in terms of development. I don’t think he’s ready to stop a team’s starting pass rusher just yet, but one thing I do know is the Packers are going to be retaining his services.

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Packers: 5 players who could sneak onto final roster

Dairyland Express 25 August, 2021 - 01:00am

Green Bay Packers cornerback Kabion Ento (48) participates in minicamp practice Tuesday, June 8, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Cent02 7g530cyg8d31mlc1t71c Original

The Green Bay Packers, and the rest of the NFL, are one step closer to finalizing their initial 53-man roster they’ll carry into the start of the regular season.

Tuesday marked the second of three cut-down days, as teams were forced to trim their roster to 80 men. Next Tuesday, August 30th, marks the final date where teams must make the biggest plunge and get all the way down to 53 active players.

The Packers have also completed two of their three preseason games with the Buffalo Bills on tap this Saturday. That leaves very little time for players to make a final impression. Fortunately for these five players, they’ve had a strong summer and could sneak their way onto the final roster.

The Packers have approached the inside linebacker spot in a peculiar way recently, not seeming to prioritize it very highly. They’ve used very little draft capital and free agent money to address the position, leaving it as one of their weakest on the roster.

That potentially leaves an opening for first-year player Ray Wilborn to sneak in at the position. He’s working on proving his worth on special teams, a huge area of need for Green Bay. If he can earn a spot on just one of those starting units, he could make a strong push for a roster spot.

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