Category Archives: 1 – Injuries

23

December

It’s Packers vs. Bears for the NFC North Championship

If the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears on Sunday, they will be NFC North Champions.

Yes, the Packers might make the playoffs despite:

  • Playing the second half of the season without Aaron Rodgers.
  • Using four different quarterbacks.
  • Clay Matthews missing a stretch of games, then returning and playing with one thumb.
  • Randall Cobb being out most of the season.
  • Jermichael Finley almost breaking his neck.
  • Bryan Bulaga tearing his ACL in a scrimmage.
  • Andy Mulumba and MD Jennings playing prominent roles on defense.
  • Eddie Lacy missing two games early with a concussion and gimping around on a bum ankle the last couple of weeks.
  • B.J. Raji deciding to take a vacation after week eight.
  • 16 players on injured reserve (possibly with more to be added this week)
  • Marshall Newhouse still being on the team.

And that’s just all the stuff I can think of off the top of my head. It’s late at night, so I’m sure I’m missing a few things that should be on the list.

It hasn’t been pretty. Often, it’s been downright ugly and frustrating as hell. But the Packers still have a shot at the playoffs. Win and they’re in.

Welcome to the NFC North in 2013.

The 2013 Packers won’t go down as one of the best teams in franchise history, but they will go down as one of the most unique. They’ll also go down as one of the most resilient. It’s been a frustrating season, but it’s also been a whole lot of fun.

Here’s hoping the fun extends at least into Wild Card weekend.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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21

December

Cory’s Corner: Packers’ 12 Days of Christmas

Aaron Rodgers hasn't played since Nov. 4.

Aaron Rodgers hasn’t played since Nov. 4.

On the first day of Christmas, the Packers gave to me Aaron Rodgers on the field to see.

On the second day of Christmas, the Packers gave to me two offensive linemen and Aaron Rodgers on the field to see.

On the third day of Christmas, the Packers gave to me three Festy Burgers, two offensive linemen and Aaron Rodgers on the field to see.

On the fourth day of Christmas, the Packers gave to me four healthy hamstrings and Aaron Rodgers on the field to see.

On the fifth day of Christmas, the Packers gave to me five straight playoff appearances! Four healthy hamstrings, three Festy Burgers, two offensive linemen and Aaron Rodgers on the field to see.

On the sixth day of Christmas, the Packers gave to me six retired numbers and Aaron Rodgers on the field to see.

On the seventh day of Christmas, the Packers gave to me seven sideline snags by Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers on the field to see.

On the eighth day of Christmas, the Packers gave to me eight fumble recoveries and Aaron Rodgers on the field to see.

On the ninth day of Christmas, the Packers gave to me nine tackles for a loss by A.J. Hawk and Aaron Rodgers on the field to see.

On the 10th day of Christmas, the Packers gave to me 10 rushing touchdowns by Eddie Lacy and Aaron Rodgers on the field to see.

On the 11th day of Christmas, the Packers gave to me 11 new defenders from the 26th ranked defense and Aaron Rodgers on the field to see.

On the 12th day of Christmas, the Packers gave to me 12 beer brats sizzling on the grill and Aaron Rodgers on the field to see.

 

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

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17

December

Packers Stock Report: Win and the Packers are in Edition

Packers QB Matt Flynn all fired up after learning he made it in this week’s rising category.

The Packers win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday was their best victory since winning Super Bowl XLV.

Sure, the Packers won 15 games and lit up scoreboards all over the NFL in 2011, but none of the 15 triumphs was as fulfilling as Sunday’s comeback over America’s (Most Annoying) Team.

Yes, the Packers persevered through a bunch of injuries and won a playoff game in 2012, but even the postseason win wasn’t as awesome as what happened in the Jerry Dome on Sunday.

Now that Justin “Robo Leg” Tucker connected on a 61-yard field goal that put the Packers back in control of their own destiny, the Frozen Tundra is buzzing about a possible repeat of 2010′s late-season magic. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered before that happens, though.

Can the defense get it together for a full game? As the Packers offense goes, so goes the defense. If the offense sputters for more than a half, can the defense pick up the slack?

Will Dr. Pat McKenzie clear Aaron Rodgers? C’mon, Doc. Rub some dirt on the QB’s collarbone and let him play.

What’s wrong with Clay Matthews? The team’s second highest paid player can’t win a one-on-one matchup to save his life right now. He showed some burst when he rushed from the middle linebacker slot on Sunday. Perhaps that will get him going.

Who made this week’s Packers Stock report? That’s the most important question of them all. Let’s find out:

Rising

Matt Flynn
I was convinced that it was Tolzien Time at halftime on Sunday. Flynn’s release is so slow and everything he does seems to be a half-second behind where it needs to be. I thought McCarthy might give Tolzien and his stronger arm with a quicker trigger another shot after the first half debacle, but he stuck with Flynn, changed the gameplan around, and pulled out a victory.

Eddie Lacy
Lacy might not be able to run away from defenders, but he makes defenders want to run away from him with how hard and physical he runs.

14

December

The Packers should let Aaron Rodgers Play

I am not a doctor. I haven’t seen any scans of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ damaged collarbone. I don’t know Packers team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie or coach Mike McCarthy. I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

In other words, I am completely unqualified to determine whether Rodgers should be allowed to play Sunday when the Packers play the Dallas Cowboys.

But being unqualified has never stopped me before, and it’s not going to stop me on this issue. I believe if Rodgers thinks he can play, he should be allowed to play. From Jason Wilde’s Friday column on the topic:

“Frankly, I think if Aaron was asked the question, he wants to play. He feels he’s ready to play,” McCarthy told reporters Friday in his usual, end-of-the-week post-practice news conference. “Based on what he’s accomplished physically and what he was able to do at practice on Wednesday and Thursday, he’s ready to go.”

So even the coach sounds confident that Rodgers could play. Unless scans show Rodgers’ collarbone to be so fragile that it might crack in half if someone pats his shoulder pads after a touchdown pass, let him play. Why hold him back?

I get that increased risk of re-injury is probably the main concern. I’ve also heard Rodgers speak eloquently about injury risks that come with playing in the NFL. He has a good understanding of the risks he and other players take every time they step on the field. I don’t think he would play if he thought the risk/reward balance of re-injuring his collarbone was totally out of whack.

I applaud the Packers organization for its long-term outlook and putting a player’s safety first when handling injuries. Obviously, you don’t want to put Rodgers out there if the risk of re-injury is off the charts. But in this instance, based on what we know and what has been said publicly, the re-injury risk has declined dramatically and the team sounds like it’s being a little too cautious.

Rodgers took snaps with the first team in practice this week and apparently feels good physically. Also from Wilde’s column:

“The hurdle that I know Aaron wanted to get over, he achieved it this week. He feels really good,” McCarthy said.

So why is he going to carry a clipboard and wear a headset on Sunday?

14

December

Cory’s Corner: Key to future NFL safety lies in its past

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered a torn ACL and MCL on this play. Fines and flag have forced defensive players to aim lower.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered a torn ACL and MCL on this play. Fines and flags have forced defensive players to aim lower.

Perhaps now the NFL will realize it has a problem.

Rob Gronkowski, arguably the best tight end by far when he’s healthy, had his season cut short when he tore his ACL and MCL in his right knee.

Many people will blame Browns safety T.J. Ward for the hit on Gronk’s knees but NFL players have no choice now. Anywhere near the head is a no fly zone so defensive players have naturally migrated south in terms of where they hit people.

Randall Cobb was also taken out at the knees back in Week 6. If you remember, Aaron Rodgers barked about the injustice on the field, but his argument was and is futile.

The hardest thing for a defensive player is to disseminate where they will hit someone in the fraction of a second they have to make a tackle. It’s a bang-bang play. There have been plenty of times this season where a defensive player was punished for a hit that he had no way of preventing.

I completely understand the argument to prevent player’s melons. With the latest CTE research that bridges a link between hard hits to the head — causing Alzheimer’s, mind-numbing headaches and complete physical pain. Which is why the NFL agreed to a $765 million settlement for the over 4,500 former players that suffered from serious head injuries. What’s forgotten about was figuring out when the NFL had the CTE research presented to them and continued to do nothing.

All the NFL is doing is now is transferring those nasty hits from the head and forcing players to target the knees. So instead of seeing retired players with dementia, you’ll see guys hobbling on reconstructed knees that have coat-zipper scars. And there’s been plenty of those guys before they changed the defensive rules.

So where does that leave the NFL? And no, I’m not going to preach about a so-called wussification, or that the league will be morphed into elevated flag football.

Over the years, the helmet has been used as a weapon. Former Packers safety Chuck Cecil made a living by spearing players and even had the cut nose each game to prove it.

2

December

Has Packer Nation Gone Off the Deep End?

Calm down, Packers fans. Things are going to be OK.

Calm down, Packers fans. Things are going to be OK.

“I DON’T KNOW WHAT WE’RE YELLING ABOUT! LOUD NOISES!”

OK, I do know what everyone is yelling about and it’s understandable….to a degree.

The 2013 season has completely come off the rails for the Green Bay Packers who are 0-4-1 since quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down against the Chicago Bears with a fractured collarbone.  Green Bay since then has gone through three starting quarterbacks (Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn) that have all struggled badly at some point.  The Packers defense, meanwhile, has suffered a complete meltdown.

Unfortunately, though not necessarily surprising, so has a decent chunk of the team’s uber-passionate and ever loyal fan base.

Everyone knew it would be a struggle for the Packers to win without Rodgers.  What so many didn’t expect, however, was that the team would basically not even be in any of the games since the 2011 NFL MVP went down.  The defense in particular would have to step up and they didn’t.  That’s not necessarily a surprise, either.

Many Packers fans, however, are suddenly in a white hot rage and ready to storm Lambeau Field with pitchforks and torches.  Packers Nation consists of some of the most knowledgeable fans in the NFL yet the team’s longest losing streak in years suddenly has them thinking the return to the dark ages (post-Lombardi to the arrival of Mike Holmgren, Ron Wolf and Brett Favre) are suddenly upon us.  They want to fire everybody, including the general manager that just three short years ago hoisted a Lombardi Trophy.

If this non-winning streak has taught me anything (it’s not a “losing streak” due to that tie against the Minnesota Vikings) it’s that Packer fans are the most spoiled fans in the NFL with the exception maybe of fans of the New England Patriots.

This is not to lecture fans about their passion for their team.  That passion has made Packer Nation one of the most revered in the NFL and has sold out Lambeau Field even when the team was much MUCH worse than it is right now.

What I am saying is that Packer Nation needs to get a grip.  There is no reason to fire Ted Thompson or Mike McCarthy.  There is a definite argument for firing Dom Capers, but even some of the defensive issues have been out of his control.

30

November

Cory’s Corner: Who’s to blame for Packers’ mess?

B.J. Raji has amassed only 13 total tackles and no sacks.

B.J. Raji has amassed only 13 total tackles and no sacks.

The main theme that trickled out of the Packers’ locker room on Thanksgiving was embarrassment.

The Packers didn’t just take a loss, they endured the worst loss in the Mike McCarthy era.

And with four games left, Green Bay must win out or stay home for the playoffs for the first time since the Packers missed the playoffs in 2008 with a miserable 6-10 record.

But how did they get here?

It’s too simple to say that the left collarbone of Aaron Rodgers is the genesis of all that ails the Packers. That isn’t responsible for the 95 defensive missed tackles or the 20 special teams missed tackles.

It also isn’t responsible for B.J. Raji looking like he is on cruise control when the Packers could use his girth and power to shut down the running game. Coincidentally, the Packers are 27th in the NFL by allowing 126 rushing yards a game.

It’s also not the collarbone’s fault that Marshall Newhouse and Co. have suddenly forgotten how to block. The Packers have allowed 32 sacks, which is surprising seeing as how successful Eddie Lacy has been behind a patchwork offensive line.

So where does the blame lie for a stunning 5-6-1 season that could easily end up in the history books as a dumpster fire?

First and foremost it has to lie with the coach. McCarthy has leaned on Rodgers so much that he may have taken him for granted. McCarthy never had to worry about trick or gadget plays because the impeccable precision and undeniable arm strength of Rodgers overcame a lot of the offense’s weaknesses. Let’s also not forget that McCarthy is a quarterback guru and it’s not exactly a feather in his cap to have four quarterbacks start for an NFL team that isn’t even finished with the season.

McCarthy obviously cannot do more than put players in position to succeed. But it’s the players’ job to take it from there. The biggest example of players not doing all they can is Raji. The 27-year-old defensive lineman becomes a free agent in March and has been offered a shocking $8 million a year offer by Green Bay — and what’s even more shocking is that Raji hasn’t accepted it yet. McCarthy can continue to put Raji in positions and places to make plays but if Rajij continues to take plays off and play soft, then the Packers should take that offer off the table immediately. Raji only has 13 total tackles and no sacks for a guy that plays a lot more than 30-year-old Johnny Jolly. Yet Jolly has 16 total tackles and one sack.