Packers: OUT – RB James Starks, LBs Brad Jones, Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, and TE Ryan Taylor; QUESTIONABLE – WR James Jones, LB Mike Neal, CBs Casey Hayward and Jarrett Bush (both did practice this week in limited to full participation).
Green Bay would be wise to sit James Jones. It would be a shame to lose him for a longer period of time if they brought him back too soon. The same with James Starks. Starks will be needed as the season wears on to provide a respite for rookie Eddie Lacy and it would be nice if Johnathan Franklin could get out of Mike McCarthy’s doghouse and get some touches. If the Packers’ running game is for real, I think it is because the offensive line is jelling in its run blocking and a solid rotation of running backs will bode well for the winter months to come.
Defensively, it appears that the team is still being careful with Hayward, but he is going to have to play sometime. The defense is playing better but having Hayward back there makes the secondary all the better. Given the number of injuries the team has suffered, if Hayward is ready to go, they might as well suit him up. LB Mike Neal appears to be having shoulder issues, it may be necessary to give him the week off as well. ILB A.J. Hawk will need to repeat last week’s performance and Jamari Lattimore must step up his game on the inside as well.
While I hate to see this spate of Packers’ injuries this season and it seems to hit this team more than others, I think it can weather the storm as long as the defensive and offensive lines continue to improve.