“If Everyone Stays Healthy…”
It’s instructive to look back at the preseason predictions for the Green Bay Packers. I couldn’t help but notice the caveat: “If everyone stays healthy, this team is the Super Bowl favorite in the N.F.C.” The thing is, everyone has not stayed healthy. The team has 13 players on IR, including six starters, among them vital cogs like Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant. (They are also playing the season without another starter, Johnny Jolly, who is under a league mandated suspension.) The Packers have also lost games to injury for key players like Donald Driver, Clay Matthews and Cullen Jenkins. Things have gotten so bad that reserves who were never expected to play important roles but who have stepped up — guys like Frank Zombo — are finding their way to the sidelines. In short, the Packers depth has been gutted.
It is unrealistic to expect a team to overcome a wave of injuries this large and still fulfill the preseason expectations that many had for them. I would also suggest it is unfair to evaluate them on that basis given the circumstances. Instead, I think it is remarkable that Green Bay has weathered the storm as well as it has, posting a winning record with a chance — albeit diminishing — of reaching the postseason entering Week 15. So instead of joining the chorus of those calling for the head of Head Coach Mike McCarthy and/or General Manager Ted Thompson, I applaud their efforts in keeping this team competitive in the face of the roster upheaval.