Packers protect practice squad WR Juwann Winfree, likely to be elevated to play vs. Cardinals

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The Green Bay Packers should get some help at receiver on Thursday night from a player on the practice squad.

The team protected receiver Juwann Winfree, meaning he’s likely to be elevated from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement this week against the Arizona Cardinals.

Teams can protect up to four players on the practice squad each week. If protected, a player cannot be signed to the 53-man roster by another team. The Packers also protected quarterback Kurt Benkert, long snapper Steven Wirtel and kicker J.J. Molson.

Both Davante Adams and Allen Lazard are on the COVID-19 reserve list, giving the Packers an opportunity to elevate a player like Winfree without using one of the two available elevations for practice squad players each season.

Matt LaFleur said it’s possible Winfree will be needed to play snaps at receiver against the Cardinals.

“He’s a guy that we have a lot of confidence in,” LaFleur said.

Winfree, who has been in Green Bay since October of last year, was previously elevated from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement for Malik Taylor in Week 6. He played two snaps on offense against the Chicago Bears.

Overall, Winfree has played in three games over the last two seasons with the Packers. He was on the field for eight offensive snaps and 21 special teams snaps over two games last season.

Winfree was one of the team’s surprise players during organized team activities over the summer. Both LaFleur and quarterback Aaron Rodgers were impressed with his work to start training camp, but an injury knocked him out of preseason games and eliminated him from the competition to be the No. 6 receiver.

Without Adams and Lazard, the Packers may need Winfree to be a complementary player alongside Randall Cobb, Equanimeous St. Brown and Amari Rodgers. Taylor is just getting back after two weeks away on the COVID reserve list, and the team still hasn’t activated Marquez Valdes-Scantling off injured reserve.

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