We’ve made a big deal out of two things that relate to Blake Martinez’s situation.
First, that the Packers continue to employ Joe Thomas, who has been — to a large degree — the reason they’ve become so terrible against the run, more than any other inside linebacker. Thomas is great in coverage, but terrible against the run, where he’s too easily blown backwards or run over.
Second, that the Packers keep sending guys out on the field who aren’t recovered from whatever injury they have.
Martinez has played the past two weeks after suffering a knee injury in week 11 at Washington. However, he’s primarily been relegated to special teams.
So what gives?
Thomas’ liabilities are obvious. If Martinez — who can cover well enough himself AND is big enough to handle the run — is healthy, then he should take Thomas’ role.
Except Martinez apparently isn’t healthy enough. He’s just out there, which has become the Packers’ M.O.
Can you run?
Okay! Get on the field!
Obviously, as an inside linebacker, Martinez needs to be able to move laterally. He’s been playing with a brace on his knee since returning, so that limits that type of movement.
And that’s why we’ve primarily only been seeing him on special teams, where he pretty much just has to run in a straight line.
I guess the question is, would it be wiser to rest Martinez until he can resume his full duties? Thomas, although he arguably just turned in his best game of the season, isn’t doing the Packers any huge favors out there.
Would resting Martinez make a difference? Or do the Packers just need him on special teams so badly they can’t resist putting him on the field?
The answer to the latter question is most certainly no.
We couldn’t tell you the answer to the former, but considering the Packers’ ham-fisted history with injuries this season, we wouldn’t doubt they’re screwing this situation up too.
Yes Thomas can be a liability in the run game. Until the Packers get into a game that the opposition goes run heavy like Dallas then leave Thomas out there and get Martinez healthy. It is almost like a magic trick. Show the audience (opponent) a shiny object (Thomas) to take there attention away from your real goal. Not sure it is so bad giving up 5+ yards on a run rather than 15+ yards on a pass. Make the opponent go after your shiny object 10 to 15 times a game rather than pass against your porous defense, of which Thomas is a part. You could save 100 to 150+ yards a game. You also may force your opponent into having to make some third down conversions rather than scoring in 4 or 5 plays through the air.
“…considering the Packers’ ham-fisted history with injuries this season…,”
If only this season.
Both are below average players. It just does not really matter who is out there. The Packers have the worst ILBs in all of football. Especially if PED-less Clay Matthews is lined up inside.
The Vikings have the worst offensive line in football (due to injuries — losing — from the offensive line alone — 3 1st rounders and 4 starters to IR all season) and, as a result, the worst run game as well. Sunday they had their best running game all year by far in total yards and in yards per run. Why? The Packers ILBs. Would it have been different with a fully healthy Martinez out there? Nope.
I can tell you still haven’t found your binkie.