Injury Issues Are Not Exclusive to the Packers

Packers injuries

“Woe is us” doesn’t apply to the Green Bay Packers as far as injuries anymore.

So far in training camp, the Packers have (reportedly) lost two players to season ending injuries: offensive lineman Don Barclay and wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, both with torn ACLs. While losing depth at both positions is not good, neither one is likely to be a starter to open the year.

After Green Bay fought major injury epidemics the past two season however, it’s understandable why fans will be concerned they’re in for another battle. Losing two players this early is never a good sign.

This year the Packers aren’t alone in dealing with major injuries in training camp. While players go down in camp every year around the league, teams seem to be getting harder hit this year than in the past.

Look at Green Bay’s archnemesis, the San Francisco 49ers. They’ve already lost running back Kendall Hunter and defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey for the year with a torn ACL and torn biceps, respectively. Hunter wasn’t the featured back, but he was depth at a critical position. Dorsey was a starter and hurts the 49ers’ tough front seven.

What has been behind the outbreak of injuries? Is it a result of changes to the practice schedule thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) enacted in 2011? Are players not taking proper care of themselves in the offseason? Or could it just be bad luck?

It’s likely all of the above, but the new CBA is probably the most critical. Packers coach Mike McCarthy has mentioned multiple times how difficult the new CBA has made creating a practice schedule. It’s already evident in that McCarthy has not disclosed how many practices Green Bay will be holding in pads.

The rules behind the new CBA in terms of changing amounts of practices was meant to help keep players fresh but so far it seems to be doing the opposite, especially with the Packers given their injuries the past two seasons. Teams are struggling to adjust offseason programs as a result and it is showing up on increased amounts of players on injured reserve.

Some players meanwhile have likely taken advantage of the new CBA and not cared for themselves as well as they should have in the offseason. Programs that were once mandatory are not and some are likely skipping out on those to extend a vacation. Most players don’t, but it’d be interesting to see how the two tie together.

Then there is the luck factor. Could all these injuries fall into the “stuff happens” category? Possibly. Landing on your feet wrong doesn’t signal poor conditioning nor is it the fault of the CBA. Injuries are part of the game of football and are never fully preventable.

If most injuries were from non-contact, then it would easy to blame conditioning and the CBA. Since they occur in a variety of ways, it’s impossible to pin them down to one cause with certainty.

One thing is certain, however. Packers fans will holding their breath on every single play this season thanks to injury issues the past two seasons.

For 2014 however, if training camp is any indication, they will be joined by fans of the other 31 teams in the NFL.

 

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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.

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  • Archie

    Practices should be the exclusive domain of management, period.

  • marpag

    People may talk about this “outbreak of injuries,” but has anybody actually done some research to show that the number of serious injuries has truly increased?

    Maybe someone has, but it seems that first of all we should establish that there is, in fact, a problem before we spend too much time looking for the cause.

    • Ed Schoenfeld

      Vic Ketchman had something on this in his Q+A column, earlier this week iirc.

      For the Packers, going back to 2010, there wasn’t really a significant difference in the *number* of injuries, but the ‘games missed per injury were up by something like 20%.

      Which brings up the possibility that what is really happening is that the new emphasis on ‘player safety’ is delaying players’ return to action.

      • marpag

        Interesting. I don’t doubt – in fact, I am quite sure – that the new concussion protocols have increased the number of games missed (and I’m OK with that). Not so sure about other kinds of injuries, though. I’d also like to see some league-wide info, and info going back a bit further than 2010.

  • Archie

    In two years with new GM Phil Emery at the helm, have the Bears caught up to and passed the Pack and their slow moving GM Ted Thompson?

    A year ago, after the rebuild of their OL and WR corps as well as a big new contract for Jay Cutler, only the Denver Broncos scored more points than the Bears.

    This year, GM Phil Emery targeted the rebuild of the defense. He “added defensive ends Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young to help a pass rush that managed a mere 31 sacks a year ago—tied for the second fewest in the league. Emery used four of his top five picks in May on this side of the ball, adding cornerback Kyle Fuller, defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton and safety Brock Vereen. The latter looks like the starter at free safety, at least until Chris Conte is healthy.

    Offensively, the team is primed for a big season. All the pieces are in place for head coach Marc Trestman.”

    Packer-Bears and Packer-Lions will be four tough games this year. And nobody has been drafting better the last few years than the Vikings. Now they too have their QB of the future and possibly present. Suddenly the NFC North no longer likes like a cakewalk for the Packers. 8-7-1 won’t get it done this year. Starting 0-1 it is quite possible the Pack will never see 1st place in the division in 2014. Not to worry, GM Ted Thompson has been resigned, raised and extended. If Packers defense improves enough to get 10 wins and a division crown, I guess you can’t argue against his extension. Anything less is more of the same – mediocrity despite having the NFL’s best QB in his prime and the highest paid LB in football. Murphy should have let Thompson prove himself this year with the defense before deciding to extend him. Murphy’s first big mistake as Packers’ President.

    • marpag

      And speaking of continued mediocrity while trotting out the same old same old, I see Archie has posted again.

      Hi, Archie!

  • Two Bears, One Cup

    I think that Jersey Al should start every day with one decoy post that goes a little like this:

    Ted Thompson can’t draft and doesn’t go after free agency even though the Packers made money last year but TT is a tightwad and doesn’t spend because he wants the Packers to make more money and the team is Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Rodgers only and that the idiot McCarthy played no part in helping Rodgers become the player he is today and our defense is doomed and our offense will sputter because we don’t have a decent TE and anything short of a Super Bowl victory is a lost season and Ron Wolf was great and it’s too bad Thompson didn’t learn from him and all the other GMs in the division are better and all the other coaches are better and this team is awful and this is Aaron Rodgers’ last year in his prime so the window is closed and we should have signed every available free agent but we didn’t even though everyone knows that free agents always pan out except Jeff Saturday who didn’t work because TT wastes money on free agents and this team is doomed without Evan Dietrich-Smith and etc. etc. etc.

    This would draw a select few commenters to that article and then the regular article would hopefully have fewer inane, repetitive, irrelevant-to-the-topic posts.

    And the easy part of this: YOU COULD JUST RE-POST THAT ARTICLE EVERY DAY. No need to change a word of it. It’s not like the anti-TT/MM arguments ever change, either.

    • Big T

      2 bears don’t forget the Mastermind TT getting and payin Marshall Newhouse for 4 years. He is one smart mofo…

  • Sven

    You didn’t mention that Julius Peppers best years are behind him and that he has nothing left in the tank and that AJ Hawk is a terrible LB…BS

    This years team looks like one of the best Packers teams I can remember. I am worried about injuries, but if the team can stay healthy, they should be able to be the best team in the league.

    Chicago looks good on paper, but they had Forte, Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall with a healthy Cutler in wk 17 of last year, and they were bested by the Packers defense despite picks by AR. Why will they now be unstoppable this year?

    TTs biggest mistake, IMO,is thank last year he did not have a quality backup QB and dragged his feet bringing in Flynn. In the Packers system Flynn is a great backup. I bet the Packers would have won 10 games last year were Flynn to have been the back when Rodgers went down. Besides that, TTs genius has been proven time and again.

    Go Pack!

    • BradHTX

      Actually, it’s properly, “AJ Hawk must have indecent photos of TT, and that’s why they keep playing him.” If you’re going be snarky, Sven and 2B1C, at least get the idiots’ rants correct!

  • Oppy

    The is absolutely nothing mediocre about the Packers’ winning percentage, NFC North titles, playoff appearances, or Super Bowl win under Ted Thompson.

    Is there room for improvement? Yes, there always is.

    It is a shame there are folks like yourself who can not appreciate the fact that the Packers are, by most standards, one of the top teams in the league, year in, and year out.

  • Stroh

    Offensively the bears are still led by the same old Cutty. What was it Woodson said? If we play our game, Jay will throw us the ball. As long as the bears trot out Cutty they’ll never be a legit playoff contender.

    Packers last year were at least a 12 win team if Rodgers is healthy. So don’t worry about an 8 Win repeat! The bears D was worse than the Packers last year and while it might be improved they are a long ways from having a Defense good enough to compensate for Cutty.

    For all the queens Defensive improvements last year, the still ranked 31st in a 32 team League. They lost their best pass rusher and have another few “great” drafts, in your opinion, of becoming good enough. That QB they drafted will never be a Franchise QB and they’ll be looking for better in another 3 or 4 years, which will be as long as AP has left.

    Lions w/ a new coaching staff will be .500 at best. Maybe next year…

    The Packers will dominate the NFCN this year!

  • Two Bears, One Cup

    You forgot your favorite GM’s other big offseason move: signing MD Jennings. As for Jared Allen – when you see how much his run defense has deteriorated you will understand why the Vikings chose to keep the only-one-year-younger Brian Robison. And Chicago’s run defense last year was even worse than their pass defense!

    Part of the reason TT hasn’t gone after free agents much (at least since Pickett/Woodson, which, coincidentally, was before TT draft picks had a chance to develop and finish their rookie contracts) is that he has found enough good talent that all our cap money is spent on keeping our guys.

    And why do Chicago rookies get the benefit of the doubt? Do you consider our safety problem solved because we picked HHCD?

    And finally, why am I bothering to respond to you? Thinking I could get an intelligent, original response out of you?!? I must be losing it.