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Packers’ Injuries Mounted at the Very Worst Time

There can be no doubt: the Green Bay Packers’ 2010 Super Bowl winning team was wracked with injuries. Yet, they kept sending in backups and kept playing championship-level winning football.

Green Bay couldn’t pull off that feat this season. Injuries to players on the current edition of the team may not have been as devastating as in 2010, but they were still severe and crippling. Worst of all, the injuries piled up the highest at the most inconvenient time: the week of the NFC Championship game.

For this past year, I’ve looked at the weekly team injury reports (playoffs included). I tried to omit minor injuries, by only counting those that put a player’s name on the list for at least two consecutive weeks. I included all weeks that the player was no longer playing, even if not listed on the injury report (due to being placed on injured reserve, dropped from the team, etc.) I did not count Jared Abbrederis’ or Chris Banjo’s departures as injury-related.

Here’s the tally:

  • Sam Shields – 19 weeks – concussion
  • Makinton Dorleant – 16 weeks – hamstring and knee injuries
  • Eddie Lacy – 15 weeks – ankle injury
  • Damarious Randall – 14 weeks – neck, groin, and foot injuries
  • T.J. Lang – 13 weeks – hip, foot, and back injuries
  • J.C Tretter – 12 weeks – back and knee injuries
  • Randall Cobb – 11 weeks – hamstring and ankle injuries
  • Demetri Goodson – 9 weeks – knee injury
  • Clay Matthews – 8 weeks – hamstring and shoulder injuries
  • Quentin Rollins – 8 weeks – concussion, groin and neck injuries
  • Nick Perry – 7 weeks – hand injury
  • James Starks – 7 weeks – concussion and knee injury
  • Corey Linsley – 7 weeks – hamstring injury
  • Jared Cook – 6 weeks – ankle injury
  • Aaron Rodgers – 5 weeks – hamstring and calf injuries
  • Jeff Janis – 5 weeks – hand and quadriceps injuries
  • Jake Ryan – 4 weeks – ankle injury
  • Kyler Fackrell – 4 weeks – hamstring injury
  • Josh Hawkins – 3 weeks – hamstring injury
  • Jordy Nelson – 2 weeks – rib injury
  • Joe Thomas – 2 weeks – back injury

In several cases, the players participated in games, but likely had either a reduced number of snaps and/or played at less than their full capacity.

Those mostly-healthy players, the ones listed on injury reports, but not for consecutive weeks, include: Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery, Letroy Guion, Blake Martinez, LaDarius Gunter, Christine Michael, Aaron Ripkowski, Jason Spriggs and Geronimo Allison.

Unless I’m mistaken, players who were starters (at some point in the season) who made it all the way through the playoffs without landing on an injury list are David Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Packers placed on injured reserve or similar status leading up to or during the season include: John Crockett, Makinton Dorleant (twice), Sam Shields, Chris Banjo, Eddie Lacy, Don Jackson, Demetri Goodson, and J. C. Tretter. The 2010 team featured an incredible 15 players who were placed on injured reserve.

Packers’ vs. Falcons’ Injury Counts

Going into the conference championship game against Atlanta, Green Bay’s injury list included these 13: Burnett, Elliott, Janis, Lang, Martinez, Matthews, Michael, Nelson, Perry, Randall, Rollins, Starks, and Tretter.

During the championship game, at least seven key Packers players were injured: Kentrell Brice (on opening kickoff, played only three snaps), Lane Taylor and Micah Hyde in the 2nd quarter, Jake Ryan, T.J. Lang, and Ty Montgomery in the 3rd quarter, and Bryan Bulaga in the final quarter.

Things finally reached the point of absurdity when Bulaga was injured. Defensive lineman Letroy Guion, who says he last played offensive line in high school, replaced him at right tackle for the rest of the game.

For the Falcons game, here are the snap count percentages of several injured Green Bay players: Nelson (75), Hyde (53), Ryan (49), Adams (40), Allison (40), Montgomery (34), Taylor (26), and Rollins (26). In some cases, players lost a handful of snaps in the waning minutes due to the game already being decided, but these low snap counts were mostly injury-related.

I’ve seen one report claiming that the Packers were only 10th worst in games lost due to injury during the 2016 regular season. Even if that is true, with 13 players nursing injuries going into the Atlanta game, and an additional seven players getting hurt during the game, that’s 20 injured players.

Atlanta’s official injury report going into the NFC championship contest consisted of Jonathan Babineau, Gabriel Taylor, Julio Jones, and Keanu Neal. All four players played at least 42% of the offensive or defensive snaps. That Julio Jones guy, in particular, didn’t appear to be greatly diminished.

Most people in the football fraternity consider it wrong to use injuries as an “excuse” for any loss, but injuries go a long way to explaining why the NFC Championship game was so one-sided.

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Rob Born

I’m with Matt: “You gotta make those chunk plays!”

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9 Comments

  1. PF4L January 27, 2017

    Exactly

  2. PF4L January 27, 2017

    Ok, So analyze the 2010 Injury riddled season, the one where they won the Super Bowl.

    How could that team win a Super Bowl, overcoming so many injuries? Why does this team get a pass?

    Instead of listing all these players injuries (reasons for failure.)
    Why not run the metrics and tell us why one team can overcome injuries to win a SB, and another team can’t.

    Look deeper!! Let me give you a hint.

    Its like this my man. People can cry, cry, cry, and cry some more about their team being injured. But here’s where it gets tricky, so please pay close attention.

    This is the fucking NFL, players get injured, it’s a fact of life in the NFL. No team is excluded from this hard to grasp realty.
    So with that newfound knowledge. Maybe what your (REAL) complaint (EXCUSE) really is, is simply that we get injured more often than other teams.

    If that’s the case, then ask why that’s the case? Ask, is this something new? Whats the cause?
    Just plain old bad luck, repeated injury problems just a coincidence?

    Lastly…I’d like you to give this some thought.

    Do you believe that teams, the GM, and the coaching staff know there will be injury’s on their team, and will lose starters do to injuries at some point in the season?

    Do you believe that teams, the GM, and the coaches have the “ability” to prepare the players, the depth, for the event of inevitable injuries.

    Do you believe that teams, the GM, the coaches can still succeed, even under the worst injury scenario (QB excluded)?

    Do you believe, that all the above were accomplished by the 2010 Packers?

  3. Pack Attack January 27, 2017

    Main differences between these teams? Tramon williams, charles woodson, and nick fucking collins on d. I spose raji was pretty good that year. Lose one of those guys and no superbowl

  4. Pack Attack January 27, 2017

    Might be a couple i left out but you get my point. Also they were playmakers and everyone of them made plays when it counted. Who made a play for us in the championship game?

    1. PF4L January 27, 2017

      That’s right, you did leave out players, and you are correct again, they did make plays for us.

      You are also right, No one made plays with this 2016 defense.

      Thank you for confirming reasons #3, #6, and #8.

      The 2010 defense …

      Made plays, had quality depth.

      Had the top 5 defense.

      Gave up 15 ppg….2016 defense gave up 24.2 ppg.

      So you see, the 2010 defense deserved to be there.

  5. Gort January 28, 2017

    The whole thing goes back to the GM. The “next man up” scenario only works if there is real depth, real talent at the backups. I think that the overall depth, especially on defense, is pathetic. The talent is so bad that our so called starters at cornerback were outperformed by the backup. All season long most, if not all, of us knew that the team would go as far as the defense allowed. The team played their hearts out at Dallas and won, but they came out of that game completely spent. The offense has some talent, but not the defense. For years I have said that if I had a choice between a great offense and a mediocre defense or a great defense and a mediocre offense that I prefer a great defense. The Dallas game left me questioning that opinion. The Atlanta game confirmed it. Lots of people hate Capers. I think that he does a reasonable job with what he has to work with, especially at cornerback. Improved talent at that “one” position could have resulted in a far more competitive season. The 2010 team had enough talent to overcome injuries, the 2016 team did not. Talent is the primary responsibility of the GM.

    1. PF4L January 28, 2017

      You are a wise Packer fan.

      And it wasn’t just the depth, it was also starters under performing.

      We have 6 1st round draft picks playing on defense, not one of them made a play against the Falcons.

      I suppose Rob could have mentioned that, but it didn’t fit the narrative apparently..

      1. Gort January 28, 2017

        I’ve been called wise, but it usually is part of a different phrase: Wise Ass.

  6. Richard January 31, 2017

    The 2010 injury summary comes down to one person. Desmond Bishop.

    He would’ve never even gotten the job if Nick Barnett didn’t get hurt (luckily), and he ended up being a huge part of that championship team.

    So even when the talent is there, the idiots who train and practice these guys don’t even know who should be on the field, or they just refuse to put the best talent on the field in favor of higher salaries or draft picks.

    Addition by subtraction, in this case. Granted, the same logic could probably be applied to New England with Brady as well, although I’m convinced Belicheck could win a Super Bowl with only 10 guys on offense but that’s a debate for another day