Oct 11, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Nick Foles (5) gets a pass away while under pressure from Green Bay Packers linebacker Mike Neal (96) and linebacker Julius Peppers (56) in the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 3, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers guard Josh Walker arrives for training camp at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Every season, every team, and for the most part in every game, injuries are a factor. At some point, it is almost a certainty that somebody is going to go down or limp off for a few plays (or more).
Us Packers fans should understand this reality pretty well by now; our most recent Super Bowl team had 16 players on injured reserve, and until last season the team’s players routinely lost more games to injury on a year-to-year basis than just about anybody.
When injuries strike — which they will — the players you have behind your starters must be ready to step up. For the most part, we saw that happen to a decent degree in this contest for Green Bay.
T.J. Lang went down about halfway through the game, which wasn’t great for an already struggling offense, but Josh Walker stepped in and was one of the few offensive players to put up a decent outing.
Nick Perry got injured at one point, giving more opportunity for a handful of guys to step in as pass rush options. Guys like Mike Neal, Joe Thomas and Jayrone Elliott got more snaps and helped prevent the Rams from scoring. It may also have given Dom Capers more incentive to rush Clay Matthews more often too.
B.J. Raji was hurt too, which shuffled things around the defensive line. With him missing time Letroy Guion was likely utilized more in Raji’s nose tackle spot than planned, which in turn allowed for other players like Mike Pennel and Datone Jones to take a greater amount of snaps out at the end spots. That was especially fruitful for Jones, who had perhaps his best game as a pro (three quarterback hits — including one that forced Foles 2nd INT — and the blocked field goal attempt).
There was also a late injury to Casey Hayward, which allowed guys like Rollins, Randall, and Micah Hyde to possibly have more snaps.
The most effective or desired game plan may not be built around the backups on a roster, but it is inevitable that many of them will eventually see time on the field. When they do, they must find a way to produce.
In terms of this game, that is exactly what they did — and they did it pretty well too.
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