It’s better to have to deal with injuries the second week of training camp than it is to deal with injuries during the regular season, but the Green Bay Packers appear to have reached a critical mass.
Coach Mike McCarthy had to call practice early on Monday because the Packers have so many injuries. They are particularly thin at linebacker, where Clay Matthews will miss two weeks after tweaking his hamstring in Saturday night’s scrimmage.
“Today’s practice was shortened because of our numbers,” he said. “… I don’t mind the heat. I think our players do a good job of hydrating, but I think we were working with 66 players max today, so it was more a reflection of being short in a couple areas, particularly linebacker.”
The team had only six of their 11 linebackers active yesterday. Nick Barnett (precautionary reasons), Brady Poppinga (concussion), Alex Joseph (quadriceps) and Frank Zombo (ankle) were also sidelined.
There has been some speculation Matthews’ injury and the overall health of the linebacking corp may force the Packers to sign someone. While I don’t find the notion preposterous, it seems unlikely to happen. The Packers would have to release someone currently on the roster in order to do so and the options on the open market aren’t that appealing.
Adalius Thomas, who was released by the Patriots in the offseason, is still available, but if Ted Thompson liked Thomas, he would have signed him already. Aaron Schobel, a 4-3 defensive end who could play outside linebacker in the 3-4, is also available after being released by the Buffalo Bills.
The problem with Schobel is he wants similar money to the $8 million he would have made with Buffalo this season. He also prefers to play in the 4-3 and his home state Houston Texans are currently the front runners to land his services.
It looks like the Packers are just going to have to sweat it out and wait for their own guys to get healthy.