For the second time in as many weeks, the Green Bay Packers have lost a key part of their team. Wide receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones were both injured in Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.
At least for me, this season is starting to look like the 2010 season all over again. During that season, the Packers had 16 players end the season on injured reserve, including Jermichael Finley, Morgan Burnett, former linebacker Nick Barnett, and former running back Ryan Grant. Despite all of those injuries, the Packers managed to persevere and win Super Bowl XLV. Even during the Super Bowl, the Packers lost veterans Charles Woodson and Donald Driver early in the game, but were still able to capture the win.
Between Cobb and Jones, it seems that Cobb’s injury is the worse of the two. Late in the second quarter, Cobb caught a pass from Aaron Rodgers for 15 yards. As soon as Cobb caught the ball, rookie Ravens safety Matt Elam went helmet-first into Cobb’s knee. At first glimpse, I thought that Cobb had torn his ACL and was going to miss the rest of the season. But, Cobb and the Packers got lucky with it just being a broken fibula, and Cobb is only expected to be out six to eight weeks. He could return after four weeks if the injury heals quicker than expected.
Now, the hit from Elam, while clean, has been a focal point of discussion since it happened on Sunday. Because of the new NFL protocol on safety, defensive players are prohibited from hitting the offensive players in the head. Knowing that, the defensive players are given an ultimatum. They can either hit players high and risk a penalty and a possible fine, or they can hit low and possibly ruin a player’s career. It puts defensive players in a box and leaves offensive players open for a serious injury. While that is the case, I do think that the defensive players have enough time to react and hit the offensive player in the “target zone” between the shoulders and the waist. Hitting the offensive player there will work just as effective as hitting the player in the head or the knee.
Fortunately, the injury to Jones was less serious than Cobb’s. Jones got hurt when he was simply blocking for running back Eddie Lacy. Jones sprained his knee, but might be able to play this week against the Cleveland Browns. If Jones is a no-go for the Packers, that means that Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin will be the only two healthy wide receivers. More than likely, the Packers will either have to sign a free agent, or will have to play against the Browns with only Nelson, Boykin, and tight end Jermichael Finley as Rodgers’ passing targets.
The other big injury for the Packers is the loss of linebacker Nick Perry to a broken foot. Perry got hurt after he forced a Joe Flacco fumble at the end of the first half. Perry joins Clay Matthews and Brad Jones as injured Packers linebackers. Perry is not expected to play against the Browns and could be out for a period of time.
The injuries just keep piling up for the Packers. If this team were to make a run deep into the playoffs, it won’t be without a great team effort. Although it’s tough having so many guys getting hurt, I would be happy to see the same outcome we saw in 2010. That year ended in the Lombardi trophy coming home to title town.
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