The Green Bay Packers have been a team that has been hit by the injury bug hard in 2013. The Packers have had an onslaught of injuries thus far into the season, but the team continues to respond well to the adversity and has won four games in a row.
They enter Week 9 hoping to get James Jones back from a knee injury that has kept him out the past two weeks. Even after losing three top targets on offense, the Packers continue to roll through the season and sit atop the NFC North division with a record of 5-2. The season has come to its halfway point and will only become harder for a team that is being stretched so thin at many positions.
This is the time in the season when questions will arise about a team. How many injuries can one team take? Will the Packers overcome the adversity placed in front of them? How can this team stay atop a tough NFC North Division?
As I hear these questions, it brings back memories of an injury-ravaged 2010 Packers team who caught fire and ran through the Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons and continued on to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. Can this happen twice to one city? To one team?
This may be a completely different team, but many members of the 2010 Packers till remain. As I look at the landscape of the 2013 Packers, it is becoming overwhelming clear that this team can do it.
First of all, they still have the no. 1 quarterback in the NFL (arguably). If a team has Aaron Rodgers, he will give the Packers a great chance to win. Rodgers has needed help from a running game that has been lacking after not recording a 100-yard rusher in 42 straight regular season games entering 2013.
On their run to the Super Bowl, the Packers were able to find a steady running game with James Starks. He exploded onto the scene and was a key part of the Packers’ run in the playoffs. He was a tough runner and made any would-be tacklers pay for it, which sounds an awful lot like second-round choice Eddie Lacy, who brings that same physical presence back to this offense. After inserting Lacy into the offense in 2013, the Packers have forced opponents to respect the run game.
The attribute that is most evident in this Packers team that was found in 2010 team is resiliency. It starts from the top down in the organization and is instilled in the team from coach Mike McCarthy. He continues to be influential in helping both veteran and young players find that urgency that they need play with week in and week out.
The team is ready to deal with the adversity they will face for the rest of the season. After losing Bryan Bulaga in the preseason to a torn ACL, the team continued to move forward even as the injuries piled up: Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb, James Jones, Nick Perry – the list can go on and on. This team has only improved and has learned to win with young players with their “next man up” mentality.
Adversity is something the Packers have gotten very familiar with since the 2010 season. Again, this team will be put to the test in 2013 with a decimated roster and a legacy that has been handed down from Vince Lombardi. This team is expected to win no matter who takes the field, and this was proven in 2010. This Packers team will show us if they can respond the way they have been known to respond when put in this familiar position.