After a 31-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns, you would expect any Green Bay Packers fan to be ecstatic. The energy of the fans in the stadium was unbelievable and the team performed great on both sides of the ball. So what could go wrong? How about another key injury?
After their Week 6 matchup, the Packers lost Randall Cobb with a knee injury until Week 15 and lost James Jones to a knee injury as well. Jones’ injury wasn’t as serious, but it did cost him this game against the Browns and he may not be back for another week or two.
These injuries to receivers left the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers with limited options. Jordy Nelson, Rodgers favorite target, was still available, but got a lot of defensive attention and will continue to be the key for any opposing defense. After Nelson, the only other big-time playmaker the Packers had on offense was tight end Jermichael Finley.
Unfortunately, Finley took a big blow to the head during the third quarter. It was his second hit to the head this season, and he was carted off the field and brought to a nearby hospital. It was a big loss for the Packers.
Once Finley left, Rodgers had Nelson, a practice squad receiver in Myles White and Jarrett Boykin. All Rodgers did was create plays and find Boykin on numerous occasions. Boykin finished with eight catches for 103 yards and a touchdown and looked like a very reliable target for Rodgers.
The Packers will find out more about Finley later today and will make a decision on next week by Thursday. However, judging from the hit, Finley will at least be out a week and possibly more. Finley’s injury thins out the depth for the Packers’ receivers and will make it even more difficult on Rodgers — at least you would think.
Personally, I don’t believe Rodgers will miss a beat. Rodgers was a MVP and Super Bowl MVP for a reason. The guy knows how to win games and how to overcome adversity. He also seems to be able to make other guys around him better. By using his legs and keeping plays alive, he was able to give time to players such as Boykin to get open and make plays. I believe this will continue for the Packers and don’t believe fans should be giving up hope on the offense.
Another reason why I believe Rodgers can overcome this adversity is Eddie Lacy. The rookie has been beyond solid all season long and is keeping defenses honest at the line of scrimmage. His abilities to run through tackles and keep his feet moving allow for play-action type of plays, and that is where Rodgers is at his best.
Injuries are a part of football, no matter what level you are at. If you are going to sit around and make excuses for poor play because of injuries, you are saying that you don’t have an organization that can get guys to step up. Head coach Mike McCarthy said it best in his post-game press conference yesterday when he told reporters, “The challenge of injuries has brought an opportunity for a lot of young players.”
That is a quote by a coach who is confident in his players and believes that when your number is called, you step up. Expect more players to step up for the Packers and expect Rodgers not to be fazed at all by any of this adversity.