In week 2, starting safety Nick Collins was lost for the year with a neck injury, and yesterday it was announced that Collins underwent neck surgery. Head coach Mike McCarthy was completely devastated when announcing the news to the media and insisted that there is a 0% chance that Collins will play another down in 2011. And yet, nearly two weeks later, Collins remains on the team and is still listed on the team’s weekly injury report.
This is especially odd when you consider how precious a roster spot truly is. Here at AllGreenBayPackers.com, the staff each predicted the 53 “starting” opening day roster, and each of us had to cut players who we felt deserved a spot on the roster. Obviously, none of us were really remotely close (I think we all had 6 wide receivers on the roster for one), but the fact remains, I think we all wish that we had 54 roster spots to work with.
The Packers, however, seem to be going about it from a completely opposite approach. The Packers are essentially playing with 50 players at the moment; Collins is out for the year, defensive end Mike Neal looks to be out at least until after the bye week if not entirely with a knee injury and outside linebacker Frank Zombo is out with another long injury with a broken shoulder blade.
Traditionally, when a player sustains a type of injury that is season ending, the team would immediately place that player on injured reserve and then usually sign or trade for a player who plays the same position to compensate. This is even more true for playing making starters going on IR, since depth is needed at that position. For instance when Tennessee Titan’s wide receiver Kenny Britt, a focal point on the Titan’s passing game, was placed on IR after tearing his ACL, veteran free agent wide receiver Donny Avery was signed immediately to replace him. There are stories where general managers will call up free agents during a game to sign them when they are sure that they’ve player will be lost to IR.
So what are the possible reasons that the Packers would be keeping a roster spot for a player already for all intents and purposes on IR?