Road to Super Bowl has many twists : Packers Insider

Road to Super Bowl has many twists

October 15, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Oct 15, 2010 ~ by Wayne Larrivee

~I was on the air with Bill Michaels of WTMJ-AM (620) last week, and he asked me if the Packers were still Super Bowl contenders given all the injuries they had sustained in the first four weeks.

Not wanting to be the voice of doom this early, I concocted a response that didn’t really answer the question.

But that question kept dogging me as I tried to describe the Packers and Redskins game from the corner of the end zone at FedEx Field on Sunday.

During the course of the game, TE Jermichael Finley (knee) went down, along with defensive end Ryan Pickett (ankle), tight end Donald Lee (shoulder), linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring), Derrick Martin (ankle) and linebacker Frank Zombo (knee).

Larrivee: "In my 32 years of calling NFL football, I have been around a few Super Bowl teams, but I have never seen a team that incurs this many injuries make it to the final game."

Even quarterback Aaron Rodgers wasn’t immune to the injury bug. He suffered a concussion late in the game.

This on top of the loss of running back Ryan Grant, linebacker Nick Barnett and safety Morgan Burnett. Not to mention right tackle Mark Tauscher, who was out with a shoulder injury.

By overtime, the Packers were playing without seven starters.

I was amazed at how the Packers schemed through the injuries by making several adjustments, and how hard the replacements played.

Plugging in rookie tight end Andrew Quarless for Finley, inserting rookie Mike Neal at defensive end and adding rookie Brian Bulaga into the starting lineup at right tackle were positive moves.

This squad’s character came to the forefront in a very admirable way, and they were leading on the road over the Redskins virtually all afternoon.

It was one of those “leave it all on the field”-type performances. But in the NFL there are no rewards for effort.

Pro football is about results over four quarters or more – not degree of effort. The result Sunday was a 16-13 overtime loss.

In the end, dropped passes (at least seven, which is a shocking number for this group), a missed 53-yard, game-winning field goal at the end of regulation, a crucial interception in overtime and penalties (nine for 63 yards) proved to be their undoing.

The plane ride back to Green Bay was the quietest team charter flight I’ve ever been on. This was a team that had left everything it had on that field physically and emotionally and came away without the reward.

We all thought the Packers had a pretty deep roster going into training camp and a situation like this has shown that belief to be true.

The Packers have quality young players stepping up and competing. The problem? It is way too early to be testing this much depth.

So much of the NFL today is about health and how fortunate you are one way or the other. Last season, the Packers had relative good luck with injuries, and they finished 7-1 down the stretch to make the postseason as a wild card.

They entered the 2010-’11 campaign with a deep roster, but I don’t know any roster in today’s NFL that can sustain this kind of injury loss and not miss a beat.

Full story HERE

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