Five games into the 2013 season, injuries are decimating the Green Bay Packers roster.
It’s a safe assumption that there is a large contingent of Packers Nation concerned about the long list of players on the shelf already this young season. An injury list that includes star outside linebacker Clay Matthews III, and wide receiver Randall Cobb, nearly every offensive and defensive unit is missing a difference-maker.
I’m not worried. It’s possible I might regret writing this, but I am not concerned about the rash of injuries. I have more faith in a team that is challenged and needs to rally in the face of adversity than a team like the 2011 Packer squad that went 15-1.
When things are going well or exceptionally well like they did for the Packers in 2011 the team’s flaws and weaknesses were masked. In a year like this one, where the offense is sluggish and the entire team is beaten down with injuries it is apparent where the struggles lie.
Aaron Rodgers, despite putting up numbers that most of the NFL would be ecstatic with, is struggling and out of rhythm with his receivers and at times even his coach. The receiver group is hit hard with injuries. Down is the electrifying Randall Cobb and veteran James Jones, who is arguably off to his best season yet.
The defense, playing a hard-nosed brand of football is without Clay Matthews III, Casey Hayward, Nick Perry, and Brad Jones. Other than injuries the play at safety could improve and the Packers continue to be a “bend but don’t break” defense, which always has fans on the edge of their seats.
Even the special teams unit is without one of its best players, Jarrett Bush.
Every NFL season the Packers and every other team are presented challenges. Injuries are a part of the game and how the GM responds to recouping from them is every bit as important as the play on the field. Packers GM Ted Thompson is steadfast in his approach to
This week the Green Bay Press Gazette’s Wes Hodkiewicz reported on the internal messaging put forward by Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy. Borrowing propaganda from the British, which they used just prior to World War II, “Keep Calm and Carry On” is the motto at 1265 Lombardi Avenue.
I like this approach by McCarthy. The rhetoric often heard coming from the Packers locker room regarding injury has been, “Next Man Up,” and this new slogan is consistent with Green Bay’s attitude. Positive, it doesn’t invoke anxiety and comes with an expectation. If you are an NFL football player in the Packers locker room you are expected to perform at a high level. It doesn’t matter if you are Clay Matthews or Andy Mulumba, come Sunday it’s time to get the job done.
When a team expects to get by on pure talent often a false sense of confidence develops. Conversely, when a team understands that maximum effort is needed by everyone to claim victory it motivates first-, second-, and third-stringers alike to take their game to the next level. And when they win it is inspirational and infectious knowing that they have the ability to exceed expectations.
I don’t doubt that the Packers will weather this storm and come through a better football team than before the injuries began to occur.
Go Pack Go and Keep Calm and Carry On!
In addition to blogging about the Green Bay Packers for Lombardiave.com, Patrick Hughes blogs about gardening at wheelandbarrowlandscape.com, running and the Portland Trailblazers at Oregon Sports News, and artisans and the connection economy at phughespdx.com.