Allison, who needs surgery to repair a groin injury he sustained in practice last Thursday, was placed on injured reserve by the Packers on Tuesday. The third-year receiver was in Philadelphia on Monday to see core muscle specialist Dr. William Meyers, according to coach Mike McCarthy, who called it a “big injury.”
Whitehead, meanwhile, was released two days after he was ejected for slapping New England Patriots center David Andrews in the head during the second quarter of Green Bay’s 31-17 loss.
It wasn’t the sole reason for his release, but it may have sealed his fate. The Packers decided to use cornerback Tramon Williams, not Whitehead, at safety to replace the traded Ha Ha Clinton-Dix against the Patriots. Fellow safety Josh Jones also saw his role increase significantly after the trade.
“The Whitehead penalty was clearly a classic reaction to the first guy,” McCarthy said Monday. “And they catch the second guy. Whatever your feeling is, the severity of the penalty is a whole other topic. But … you can’t have that. You can’t react to those types of things. Yeah, we need to be better there.”
The Packers did not immediately fill Allison’s spot on the roster, although there’s a chance they could activate a receiver off injured reserve. Both Trevor Davis and Jake Kumerow are eligible to come off IR because they have been on it for the requisite eight weeks.
Teams can bring back two players from IR during the season. Allison would be eligible to return only if the Packers made the playoffs and had not used both spots by then.
He began the season as the Packers’ No. 3 receiver and caught 20 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns in just five games. He missed two games because of a concussion before the groin injury.
To replace Whitehead, a safety by trade who had been used both in the secondary and at inside linebacker, the Packers promoted cornerback Will Redmond from the practice squad. Redmond was originally a third-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, but has never appeared in a regular-season game.
They also signed linebacker Brady Sheldon to the practice squad. Sheldon most recently spent eight weeks on the Browns’ practice squad this season.
That’s the outlook a day after the Green Bay Packers lost their second straight road game and fell to 3-4-1 at the halfway point of their season.
Allison did not play in Sunday’s 31-17 loss to the New England Patriots after he suffered a groin injury in practice Thursday. The third-year receiver was in Philadelphia on Monday to visit Dr. William Meyers, a core-muscle specialist who has operated on Packers players with groin and sports hernia injuries in the past.
“We’ll work through the final prognosis, but it’s a pretty big injury,” coach Mike McCarthy said.
Allison could miss more than a month. Rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling took Allison’s spot as the No. 3 receiver on Sunday and caught three passes for 101 yards — his second 100-yard game in his past three outings.
King’s hamstring injury, which forced him out in the middle of Sunday’s game, isn’t as big, but McCarthy said King would be “challenged to play this week.”
The Packers made several adjustments in the secondary against the Patriots. They started the game with cornerback Tramon Williams at safety in place of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who was traded to the Washington Redskins last week. Bashaud Breeland started at cornerback in his first game action since the Packers signed him in December. King started at the other corner spot, and rookie Jaire Alexander played in the slot. Fellow rookie Josh Jackson played 41 of the 71 defensive snaps, most of them after King dropped out 24 snaps into the game. The Packers also finished the game without safety Kentrell Brice, who left with a knee injury.
The Packers on Monday added a safety, former fourth-round pick Ibraheim Campbell, off waivers from the Jets. Campbell played for Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine during the 2015 season with the Cleveland Browns.
He took punter Drew Kaser‘s roster spot. Kaser was signed on Saturday as an emergency in case JK Scott‘s wife went into labor and he had to leave New England. He would have done so with the blessings of McCarthy and general manager Brian Gutekunst, who had a plane waiting to take Scott back to Green Bay if needed. Kaser instead was inactive.
Right tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee) and linebacker Blake Martinez (ankle) both have a chance to play against the Dolphins after getting injured against the Patriots. Bulaga didn’t finish the game but avoided a serious injury, while Martinez returned but had significant swelling on Monday. Martinez said tests showed no significant structural damage.
“Once I taped it up and did a bunch of stuff and tried to run around, it started to kind of loosen up and I was getting ready to go,” he said.
So worried, in fact, that he returned to Green Bay shortly after the holiday, weeks before players were required to report for training camp on July 26.
“Yeah a little bit, definitely worried a little bit,” Allison said during a recent interview.
So Allison did what he always has done: Attacked his rehab with everything he had. It’s what got Allison into the NFL after a difficult path from a rough neighborhood in Tampa, Florida, where he played only one year of high school football because of poor grades, to Iowa Western Community College to the University of Illinois to the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2016.
Here’s Allison now, 24 years old and firmly entrenched as the Packers’ No. 3 receiver — a position that’s considered a starter in coach Mike McCarthy’s pass-heavy offense. And two weeks into his third NFL season, he looks every bit as capable as any No. 3 receiver in the league.
“You’re just now seeing that?” Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix said with surprise in his voice. “I’m telling him you said that. Nah, but G-Mo is a hell of a player. It’s his work ethic. I don’t think anybody can touch his work ethic and that’s down to special teams and the snaps he gets on offense. He’s a guy who doesn’t take any day for granted. He cherishes every day he walks into the building and you can see it in him every time he comes in here. He’s a different breed.
“That’s just what his agenda is. He does certain things a certain way and if it’s not that way, he’ll do it again. He’s a professional at a young age.”
Through two games, he has 11 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown. He is tied for 24th among all receivers in catches and tied for 26th in yards — solid positions for any No. 3 receiver.
Perhaps more importantly, he has teamed with Randall Cobb (13 catches for 172 yards and one touchdown) and Davante Adams (13 catches for 152 and two touchdowns) to give Aaron Rodgers plenty of options even after he lost his favorite receiver, Jordy Nelson, who was cut in the offseason.
Some consider this year’s season opener, when Allison caught a 39-yard touchdown pass to start the comeback against the Bears, as his “I belong” moment.
Rodgers, however, said that came much earlier.
“In the first game he played he scored a touchdown,” Rodgers said.
That was six days after he was promoted from the practice squad as a rookie. With the Packers short on receivers for an Oct. 30, 2016, game at Atlanta, Allison caught two passes for 21 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown on his first catch. He became the first Packers player to make his first reception a touchdown since tight end Ryan Taylor in 2011.
In the season finale against the Lions later that year, Allison caught four passes for a team-high 91 yards and a touchdown, including a 39-yard catch down the sideline in the final seconds of the first half to set up a field goal.
“G-Mo, I’ve always had a lot of confidence in him,” Rodgers said. “He’s a great teammate, he has a great professional work ethic, he’s prepared, he knows the offense really well, and that’s the starting point of any type of trust is the mental part. So I expect him to be in the right spot and to run the routes the right way and if he’s open, he’ll get the ball.”
Still, Allison’s opportunities weren’t in abundance last season. He caught 23 passes for 253 yards without a touchdown. Nearly half of his yardage (122 on six catches) came in one game against the Bengals, when his 72-yard catch in overtime set up the game-winning field goal.
Allison had every chance to lose his spot after the Packers drafted three receivers and watched former practice-squader Jake Kumerow start hot in training camp. But with his ankle injury mostly healed, Allison did what he always has done to impress his quarterback. He did not miss a single training camp practice and caught just about everything thrown his way.
“Consistency,” Allison said when asked how he gained Rodgers’ trust. “Knowing my stuff, knowing my plays and being in the right spot at the right time and finishing.”
Now, it looks like Allison is just getting started.