The Green Bay Packers’ most current issue is…

The Green Bay Packers would certainly want to start their two-time All-Pro cornerback against Patrick Mahomes and company on Sunday night, but Jaire Alexander’s availability is still determined by the game, seemingly every week.

Regarding Alexander’s condition, head coach Matt LaFleur said on Friday, “We’ll see how he got through today and where he’s at on Sunday.”

The top cornerback for the Packers is still receiving hits. He battled through three games missed due to a back injury that he sustained early in the regular season. Alexander injured his shoulder during the team’s victory against the visiting Los Angeles Rams, just when it seemed like he was out of the woods. Though the issue isn’t as great as it would have been if Alexander had sustained the shoulder injury that kept him out of almost the entire 2021 season, the Packers aren’t getting enough output for the $84 million contract deal they signed him to.

But he can still contribute to the Packers’ secondary even when he isn’t playing on the field.

“How can he contribute while you’re not in there is something we’ve obviously discussed. LaFleur remarked, “I think he’s done a good job of trying to help and encourage the other guys.”

Alexander has participated in just a limited amount of practice since Nov. 16, the Thursday before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Alexander was there for practice every day during their four-day break between games when they went to Ford Field in Detroit to play the rival Lions on Thanksgiving. That being said, practice participation was only estimated because the Packers conducted walkthroughs on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“You always want a guy of his caliber out on the field — it makes you a better football team,” said LaFleur. “But controlling what you can control and if you’re out there, you’re out there, and if you’re not, how can you serve the other guys that are out there playing?”

Alexander was signed to a four-year, $84 million contract in May, which kept him with the Packers until the 2026 campaign. In response, he recorded a career-high five interceptions in the previous season – surpassing the total for his first four years combined. Over the final four games for the Packers, he gave up an opponent passer rating of 62.6. He even contained standout wideout Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings, preventing him from making a catch on his only target when Alexander was covering him.

For Alexander, 2023 has revealed a different tale. He has been a liability when he has been on the field. According to Pro Football Focus, he has been targeted six or more times in three of the five games he has played this season and has given up a completion percentage of 60 or higher in four of them. QB Desmond Ridder had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 when he targeted Alexander in the Sept. 17 meeting with the Atlanta Falcons, and he was also quite accurate against the next two signal-callers he faced, Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo. In the end, they received scores of 118.8 and 144.3, respectively.

Outside of Mahomes, of course, Alexander could benefit from a favorable slate of upcoming quarterbacks. Following Sunday night, the Packers play Tommy DeVito, Baker Mayfield, Bryce Young, Joshua Dobbs, and Justin Fields in the regular-season finale. None of the opponents on the schedule should cause either of the defensive backs to lose sleep, but that doesn’t mean that they should be ignored. Nevertheless, Alexander will have a few opportunities to turn around a turbulent season and provide a boost for a secondary that has managed to perform above expectations despite a plethora of injuries.

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