Why are the Packers constantly dealing with injuries?

ALLGBP.com All Green Bay Packers All the Time

Desmond BishopOnce is a coincidence.  Twice in three years should raise some eyebrows.

Once again, the Packers seem to be the team in the NFL that has been most decimated by injuries.  The Packers heading into the bye have three linebackers on injured reserve and a fourth in Clay Matthews that could miss a few weeks with a hamstring injury.

Add in injured wide receivers Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson plus injuries to starting running back Cedric Benson and offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga and the Packers once again find themselves behind the eight ball and looking up at the Bears in the NFC North.

If this script sounds familiar, it should.  The Packers put 15 players on injured reserve in 2010 on their way to Super Bowl XLV and their fourth Super Bowl championship.  They also were chasing the Bears all season in the NFC North.  Could lightning strike again for the Packers?

The odds of pulling another rabbit out of the hat seem long, but Packer fans seem to be optimistic given the roster GM Ted Thompson has put together.

That may all be well and good, but there’s still one big question that remains unanswered—why do these injuries keep happening?

Could it be practices are too intense?  Packers coach Mike McCarthy has had to change his practice schedule a bit with the new CBA the NFL and NFLPA agreed on last year, but that was written to lower injuries and the Packers seem to be the only team impacted so severely.  This isn’t likely it.

Is it their strength and conditioning or their offseason program?  This would be the common denominator over the past three seasons.  The Packers had no offseason program a year ago thanks to the lockout.  The past two seasons an offseason program has been in place, the Packers have faced major injury issues.

The players are obviously being poorly conditioned for these injuries to be occurring at the rate they have been.  The Packers are not exactly a smash mouth football team that has an incredibly physical style of play.  It’s not like the Packers are the Pittsburgh Steelers or Baltimore Ravens.

There is also the possibility these injuries are the result of just bad football luck.  For an injury epidemic to happen for the second time in three years is unlikely but still possible.   The Packers also have had bad luck with injuries dating all the way back to when Mike Sherman was head coach, so luck may not be the only thing at play either.

Regardless of the cause, Mike McCarthy will have his team ready every week from here on out.  He does his best work when the Packers’ backs are against the wall.

They most definitely do.


Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com.


  • barry

    i have wondered about same thing…i go back to str and cond each time. I think we go too much emphasis on strength and not enough on condition or Speed. I think the results play out when talking about Hawk this year (or at least my understanding of his routine). I think he was allowed to do way too much power lifting- at the expense of flexibility and speed. My understanding is he was told or expected to work more on flexibility and now it is showing on the field this yr in higher production.he is less of a big immovable bulking LB easily juked out of his shoes.

  • I think they have to look at their strength and conditioning program. There is a chance the injuries are just bad luck, but a second year with so many injuries makes me think otherwise. These athletes should be screened before strength training to assess weaknesses/compensations/injury risk. If that isn’t happening, then I think there’s a good chance that’s the culprit.

  • bigbill992001

    Wouldnt you think that MM has asked the same question?

  • Bearmeat

    Over training is every bit as much of a risk (and perhaps more) than not being trained enough.

    GB has always had a much higher percentage of participants in its offseason program than our 3 division rivals have.

    The thing that frustrates me is that Alshon Jeffrey is the ONLY Bear to have suffered a significant injury this year. Combined with their easy schedule, it makes them look like world beaters.

    Meanwhile, we play the toughest schedule in the NFL through the first 9 games by far. AND we have to deal with 14 starters missing time, and 5 starters missing significant time.

    And so we have to chase that craptastic team. Again. UGH!

    Having to deal with a severe injury epidemic 2 out out of 3 last years and 4 out of last 8 years? Not fair.

  • Ron LC

    Look at the NFL in general:

    1. The players are drawn from the same pool.

    2. The CBA covers all teams equally.

    Why then do the Packers seem to have more SERIOUS injuries? Could it be the players are not being treated medically for the small injuries and they develop into serious injury. One example is Bulaga. All season the rumor has been he was playing with a swolllen knee. Now a potentially serious hip injury occurs. CM3 has been playing with a hamstring issue every year, now it’s back. He is out for a couple of weeks per MM. Let’s hope it’s not another Jennings like injury. The point is that maybe one of the off-seasons could have been used to repair it? I don’t know, but something is wrong.

    I am really getting worried that the team’s medical staff is not up to the job. For what ever reason.

    Of course, it could be TT’s propensity to draft players with an injury history in college. I hope not!

  • Chad Lundberg

    They just need an oxygen hyperbaric chamber! When your blood become plasma saturated (which is what those chambers do), injuries heal twice as fast! If I’m correct, the Dallas Cowboys have one of those.

    I know that sounds so strange and it’s probably something no one has ever heard of, but it would work!

    • Oppy

      It’s actually pretty common, and as a matter of fact, a few players have them installed in their homes so they can use them daily.

      It isn’t anything that NFL teams haven’t heard of or don’t have access to.

    • they are very common. Mike Neal had one…

      • Lucas

        Somebody disliked your comment? Sheesh. Stop stating facts, I guess…stick to widely accepted opinions.

      • Chad Lundberg

        Well… guess you learn somethin new everyday.

  • patmc

    We need a better Center even if that means moving up in the draft to get the kid from Alabama. Then the guard position needs a good left guard.

    Next year a starting RT, a 1st Rnd T will be back alone with a 1st Rnd OLB. We will also have 3 LB’s who started this year along with a few other players.

    TT needs to spend draft capital to build a solid line for next 5 – 7 years. The kid from Alabama could step in day one and Lang needs competition at his spot. Don’t be cheap TT otherwise your golden goose will be cooked.

  • Cones

    Hate to break it to you, but it’s nothing more than bad luck. You can’t be better conditioned for an ACL tear or a broken collarbone. It’s football these things happen. 2 out of the past 3 yard we’ve had some bad luck. That’s it. It’s also pretty ignorant to think its hitting us harder than anyone else. Although it does seem to be happening to more important players on our team.

    • Mojo

      Right Cones, I am of the belief it’s more bad luck than anything. I know the Pack has played a number of teams this year who were missing both quality and quantity of players also. Last year, I thought the Pack had very few injuries.

      However, it could be true that heavy lifting, once it reaches a certain level, causes more harm than good and be counter productive.

  • packett

    What about HOW the packers play the game? Maybe a dominate arial attack adds more risk on QB, OL, and receivers. Ok…now that I proved no point…what about how GB plays Defense. Mmm, I’m stumped. Anyone have a proof of something here? High number of blitzing…therefore collisions at higher velocity than typical DL? What about a defense weak on Pass Defense…so more arial activity and collisions at high velocity on DBs and LBs. Oh….I don’t know.

  • FireMMNow

    If you are going to blame strength and conditioning you have to determine how many of the injuries are soft tissue injuries like muscle pulls and tears.

    Like cones said, sherrod did not break two bones in his leg because of strength and conditioning. Benson did not get the lis franc injury because he didnt stretch enough, Woodson did not break his collar bone because he was doing too many dead lifts, and the S & C coach did not leg whip shields in the shin.

    If I was going to say that anyone is the culprit I would agree with Ron and say that injuries are not being treated effectively. In the case of bulaga it could be that he was compensating for the knee and injured his hip, but we will never know.

    I think it is mostly just luck and maybe a small portion of the other factors listed, but I do not think you can blame it on any one thing.

  • Ron LC

    So now Bulaga is out for several weeks. Are CM3 and Jordy close behind? I sure as hell don’t know what’s going on, but I sure do know something is happening that other teams don’t have going on.

  • Ed

    I think people aren’t really looking at what is happening to other teams. Arizona last week had their two top RBS on injured reserve, was playing their 3rd string LT (or maybe it was a backup at LY and another at LG — anyway they have lost two of their top 6 OL) and have been alternating quarterbacks all season because Kolb and Skelton keep getting hurt. Other teams also have injuries, but the Packers only play against less than half the league — there are 18 teams we won’t see or pay even a little attention to until playof time rolls around. Even in 2010 the Packers came in **second** in total games lost to injury — but since the other team doesn’t get seen around here that much and IIRC didn’t make the playoffs no Packer Fans really noticed.

    It’s random chance, and that is all it is. Football is a rough game and guys get hurt. If there is anything beyond that, it is McCarthy’s tendency to be very careful with injuries, actually report them all, and not play guys who aren’t healthy. IIRC Benson made a comment in training camp that GB was a little different in that regard. But McCarthy has an advantage that not a lot of coaches have — TT’s picking the players, including backups who can step in and peform. Packer fans should be glad that we have had youngsters able to step in and help the team continue playing at a high level.

  • How about the Eagles’ OL?

  • Sven

    It may be that the Packers are being extra careful with some players injuries and that makes the numbers reported seem high. It may have some very real benefits come late season and post season to have reduced wear on your premium players and more experience for the young players.

    I think that the Packers handle injury and personell moves brilliantly. The Packers really use alot of players in a game, you really get to see the teams depth.

  • Lee

    If you see the teams that are most decimated – they play in outdoor stadiums and are located in cold weather cities. Today’s players are only outside for the games,they practice indoors and its a shock on the body and mind. These are not the players of old – when the cold was an advantage. In fact, I will guarantee 2 Packers losses at Home and possibly at Chicago. Rodgers is not very good in the cold or bad weather.

  • alex parkhurst

    1) Do injuries occur more at home or away?
    2) Do injuries occur more on artificial turf or “grass”?
    3) Do injuries occur more indoors than out?
    4) College lineman all have far more knne protection than pros – just watch their games and practices.
    5) NFL players purposely have skimpy padding to increase speed. Smaller shoulder pads, no knee pads – look at the cut-off pants.That is what you can see as a fan. What can’t you see?
    6) My son played all 4 years for a Div One school and lettered all 4 years. He didn’t want a bad injury and wore far more padding than some of his teammates. Was he slower? Maybe, but he was a starter and didn’t get hurt, except for turf toe.
    7)These mounting injuries could be a fluke but I would start asking a lot of questions if it were to continue.