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Packers decimated at wide receiver as Allen Lazard joins Davante Adams on COVID list

Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard has 15 receptions for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.
Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard has 15 receptions for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.Kamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press

Green Bay’s decimated receiving group has taken one more hit as the Packers prepare to face the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals.

Allen Lazard joined 2020 All-Pro wideout Davante Adams on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday. Adams was placed on the list Monday.

That means neither receiver is likely to play Thursday at Arizona (7-0).

Lazard’s potential absence would make it even tougher for the Packers to maintain their uncanny level of success in games Adams has missed.

Adams has sat out six games since 2019 because of injury. The Packers have won them all.

“We’re not a better team without him, that’s for sure,” Rodgers said. “I’d have to look at each of those games, but we’ve just found a way to win those games.”

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Rodgers said he had spoken with Adams since the news broke Monday.

“He seems to be health-wise doing OK,” Rodgers said. “Obviously, he’s disappointed.”

None of the other games the Packers won without Adams were quite as challenging as this one.

The Packers (6-1) have a short week to prepare for a road test against the NFL’s lone remaining unbeaten team.

They also likely will be without defensive coordinator Joe Barry, who tested positive this week. Receiver Malik Taylor has been on the reserve/COVID-19 list since Oct. 15.

“We understand that we’ve got a tough opponent that we’re going up against, and obviously we’d love to be at full power and have everybody out there,” wide receiver Randall Cobb said. “His presence will be missed, but it’s important for us to go out and to find a way to win a ballgame.”

Perhaps no team relies more on a single receiver than the Packers depend on Adams. He is tied for second in the league in catches (52) and targets (73), behind only Cooper Kupp of the Rams. He ranks third in yards receiving with 744, behind Kupp and Cincinnati’s Ja’Marr Chase.

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Lazard has 15 receptions for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.

Concern with increase in soft tissue injuries

The NFL is encouraged by the progress made in preventing any major spreads of COVID-19 among the 32 teams, while concerned about an increase in soft tissue injuries.

Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, noted at the first in-person owners meetings since December 2019 that a low positive COVID-19 rate between .04 and .06 percent is due greatly to vaccinations and protocols working. Nearly 100,000 COVID-19 tests have been taken, 1,200 a day on average across the league.

So far, 94.1 percent of players are vaccinated, as well as 100 percent of team and league staff.

“We’re continuing to work with the players association on the goal of 100 percent vaccination,” Sills said. “The CDC has been in contact with us about how that is achieved, a vaccination success story, and is pointing to the NFL as a model for other parts of society.”

Ravens DE Wolfe can practice

The Ravens designated defensive end Derek Wolfe for return, allowing him to resume practicing.

Wolfe has been on injured reserve since Oct. 2 because of back problems.

Wolfe was a starter for eight seasons with the Broncos, then started eight of the 14 games he appeared in last season for the Ravens. He hasn’t played yet this season.

Tomlin not interested in college job

Note to big-time college football programs looking for new coaches: Mike Tomlin isn’t interested.

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The Steelers coach said he considers it a “joke” that his name has popped up as a potential candidate for places such as Southern California.

“I got one of the best jobs and in all the professional sports, why would I have any interest in coaching college football?” Tomlin said.

Former Heisman Trophy winner and USC star Carson Palmer told The Dan Patrick radio show Tomlin was a “wild card” as the Trojans look for someone to replace Clay Helton, who was fired in September.

Former Bills general manager Doug Whaley, who worked in the Steelers front office alongside Tomlin for several years before moving on to the Bills, said on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh last week that Steeler fans should be worried about the letters “U-S-C” and “L-S-U.”

Tomlin is 148-81-1 in 15 seasons with the Steelers, one shy of the number his predecessor — Hall of Famer Bill Cowher — reached in the same number of seasons with the club. The Steelers signed Tomlin to a three-year contract extension in April that runs through 2024.

Former Lions LB Lucci dead at 81

Mike Lucci, a Pro Bowl linebacker who played nine seasons with the Detroit Lions, died Tuesday. We was 81.

Lucci died after an extended illness, according to an obituary posted by Glick Family Funeral Home in Boca Raton, Fla.

Lucci was drafted by Cleveland, but spent most of his 12-year career with the Lions, from 1965-73.

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