What’s wrong with the Green Bay Packers?
In some form or another this question has been asked thousands of times during the last three weeks. Packer fans demand answers. Hearing none, they demand the heads of Capers, McCarthy and Thompson on a platter. The answer is so simple, so clear, but no one wants to admit it.
Injuries have finally caught up with the Packers.
Maybe this isn’t a newsflash to most fans, but it seems everyone from television analysts to casual fans are not willing to admit that the Packers are struggling because, simply, they’re not healthy enough.
Randal Cobb, Jermichael Finley, Brian Bulaga, Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, and a fellow named Aaron Rodgers were among just some of the injured players unable to play in the Giants game. Missing any one of them (and make no mistake, these are all significant contributors) would cause difficulty for a head coach. Lose all of them and winning becomes a Herculean effort.
The Packers have had legitimate question marks since camp broke for the regular season. Many were concerned about the play of the safeties, and safety play has been sub par. The real issue, though, is offensive production. With Finley, Cobb and Rodgers missing, the Packers production has dropped off significantly. In the first seven games of the season, the Packers’ offense averaged 30.3 points per game. In the last three, they have averaged just 15.3. There isn’t a defense in the NFL that can win consistently with that kind of production on the other side of the ball.
The running game that was dominant has sputtered. The reason? Injuries. Sure, Eddie Lacy is healthy, but with injuries on the offensive line, and in the passing game, running has become much more difficult. As Rob Demovsky of ESPN reported, before Rodgers’ injury, the Packers faced seven or more players in the box on just 25.5 percent of plays. Since Rodgers’ injury, that number has skyrocketed to 48.4 percent of snaps. Predictably, Lacy had just 1.9 yards per carry against the Giants.
Despite the mounting injuries, fans demand answers. Some demand firings. Much of this might come from McCarthy’s own “next man up” philosophy. He has convinced many fans that the Packers should be an elite team no matter who is wearing the uniform. Realistically, though, that can’t be the case.
It might be time for Packers fans to admit that injuries are taking their toll. It’s simply impossible for any NFL front office to prepare a team to lose this many play makers. While it doesn’t mean the team can’t make a playoff run, it does mean that no matter how great, McCarthy, Thompson, and even the vilified Capers, can’t be held completely responsible for this losing streak.