Packers’ Injuries Were the Storyline on Sunday
Following last Thursday’s practice defensive lineman Mike Daniels (hip) and safety Kentrell Brice (quadriceps/knee) were added to the Green Bay Packers’ injury list. They joined Ahmad Brooks (concussion), Bryan Bulaga (ankle/illness), David Bakhtiari (hamstring), and Jason Spriggs (hamstring). Of the six, only Daniels and Brice saw any action against Atlanta, and neither made it through the game.
Daniels managed only seven snaps. With Montravius Adams already inactive, the slack was taken up mostly by Quinton Dial, who matched Dean Lowry’s 34 snaps. Dial was acquired by Green Bay less than two weeks before the game after being released by the 49ers. This was a severe personnel downgrade.
Brice took to the sidelines after playing about half the game, giving way to rookie Josh Jones, who got 21 snaps.
Now, add in the Packers’ injuries that occurred during the game. Receiver Jordy Nelson took seven snaps and wasn’t targeted prior to leaving with a quad injury.
Receiver Randall Cobb managed 54 of the 76 offensive snaps. before leaving with a shoulder injury.
Cornerback Davon House, who was supposed to primarily cover Falcons receiver Julio Jones, also suffered a quad injury and left late in the game.
Guard Jahri Evans also suffered an injury, to his groin, during the game. He returned.
If the injuries to Nelson, Cobb, and/or House prove to be serious, the Packers’ prospects for the year will have greatly dimmed.
Time out. We might as well get educated on quad injuries. That’s short for a quadriceps strain or a pulled quad muscle – a tearing of muscle fibers – which is common with any activity where there is explosive contraction of the muscles. The quadriceps is a four-muscle group in the thigh area.
Like hamstring injuries, these can become chronic and nagging if not treated correctly. Initial treatment consists of RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. It takes time for the damaged tissue to heal. You can begin by gently stretching the muscles, and working towards regaining your strength.
Okay, start the clock again.
Offensive Tackle Nightmare
To lose two starting tackles before the game even starts is awful, right? Actually, it’s even worse than that. The No. 3 tackle, Jason Spriggs, was also inactive for the game. Kyle Murphy, with almost no NFL experience, was inserted at left tackle, rather than his regular right tackle position. The other sub, Justin McCray, is a first-year player who went undrafted. He had never played a down in the NFL before playing 76 snaps against the Falcons.
Ted Thompson isn’t at fault for this. It’s the fickle finger of fate that’s to blame.
All in all, these two did better than expected. For the most part, they gave Aaron Rodgers enough time to complete passes.
2015 All Over?
As we all learned two years ago, the Packers have no top-rate receiver or deep threat (who they’ll play), to pick up the load if Nelson gets hurt. The wide receiver lineup for most of Sunday night consisted of: Davante Adams (71 snaps), Geronimo Allison (61), Randall Cobb (54), and Trevor Davis (17). That won’t do if the goal is winning a championship.
Adams, who always gives strong effort, almost reached the 100-yard receiving mark. However, most of his eight catches were during garbage time, when the Atlanta defensive backs went into prevent-a-big-play mode. Allison caught three of five throws for a pedestrian 27 yards. Cobb, who caught six passes for 60 yards, earned every one of those yards and got some needed first downs.
At best, these receivers are a group of role players. Given that, Rodgers looked most often to tight end Martellus Bennett, but the duo only clicked on five of 11 throws and for only 47 yards. Even when Bennett was not dropping passes, these balls were seldom precisely thrown. The chemistry isn’t there yet. Bennett had no catches in four tries in the first half, by which time the outcome was all but determined.
Atlanta Was Very Healthy
Atlanta’s injury list consisted of six players, all of whom were limited or full participants at last Thursday’s practice. Additionally, all were reserves except center Alex Mack and he played every offensive down against Green Bay.
Atlanta did incur some injuries on Sunday, but the game was pretty much decided by the time sackmaster Vic Beasley left with a hamstring injury. Right tackle Ryan Schraeder also left the game with a concussion.
I’m fine if you don’t want to use injuries as an excuse for Sunday’s beatdown, but the disparity in injuries for the two teams fully explains why this outcome was inevitable. Let’s not read a whole lot more into this game than this cataclysmic spate of injuries to key personnel.
The Packers will bounce back – unless the cataclysm persists.