We all know how Aaron Rodgers‘ broken clavicle, Clay Matthews‘ smashed thumb, Jermichael Finley‘s bruised spinal cord, and Randall Cobb‘s fractured leg has affected the Green Bay Packers over the past month.
Those injuries have devastated a team that was just beginning to roll; a team that, up until two weeks ago, was poised to take control of the NFC North and make their run toward a playoff spot.
The quarterback situation has been turned into a merry-go-round with hopes that Scott Tolzien can somehow slow the ride; Clay Matthews was a shadow of himself last week when he tried to play one-handed; the tight ends have been non-existent sans three catches and a touchdown last weekend by backup Brandon Bostick; and only the inspired play of fourth wideout Jarrett Boykin has saved the Packers wide receivers.
But as bad as those injuries have been, it’s Don Barclay‘s knee that we should all be concerned about. The Packers right tackle went down last week against the Philadelphia Eagles and has been struggling to get back on the field this entire week. After not practicing, he has been listed as questionable, which means he has a 50-50 chance of playing.
If he doesn’t – then we are looking at Marshall Newhouse, which doesn’t give Packers Nation much reason to shout.
Newhouse, who head coach Mike McCarthy considers a starter, has struggled mightily on the right side during his recent stints in place of guard T.J. Lang (against the Bears) and Barclay. As a starter at left tackle last season, Newhouse wasn’t much better as he was part of a line that gave up 51 sacks last season.
There was a reason that McCarthy made the offseason decision to switch Josh Sitton and Bryan Bulaga to the left side – an experiment that has been deemed a success, though Bulaga’s injury necessitated the rise of David Bakhtiari at left tackle.
So the main issue this week is hoping that Barclay feels better over the next 48 hours and can play Sunday in what many are considering the biggest game of the year – a game that could determine the Packers’ playoff chances. Barclay has brought stability to the position and is one of the team’s best run blockers.
But if Barclay is down, the Packers can only hope that an improved version of Newhouse shows up.
Personally, I would feel better about the team’s chances with Barclay – even an injured Barclay may be a step up from a health Newhouse.
So, here’s to the health of Don Barclay. Get better, Don.