Once 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. Follow @KrisLBurke