The Green Bay Packers were picked by many to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, and after a 27-20 win at Philadelphia, things were off to a good start until the injury bug bit hard.
Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley, Ryan Pickett, Clay Matthews, Brandon Chillar, Nick Barnett, Al Harris, Atari Bigby, Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton have all either missed time or suffered a season-ending injury.
However, injuries cannot be an excuse for this Packers' season turning into a complete disaster. Mike McCarthy has not adjusted properly to the loss of Ryan Grant, and has practically abandoned the running game altogether.
Granted Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn are not world beaters by any means, and Ted Thompson has not done anything as far as bringing in another back, but insisting on running five-to-seven step drops when the defense has no respect for a running game has started to take its toll on franchise QB Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers has been sacked eight times in the last two games, suffered a concussion and taken a severe beating. (On a side note, why does Rodgers not get the roughing the passer calls guys like Brady and Manning get on a consistent basis? Helmet to helmet must not be a penalty against him.)
Injuries have affected the Packers, but they affect every team in the NFL. It's up to the players, coaches and management to make the adjustment, and I believe the Packers as a whole have not done an adequate job.
Thompson has one more day to acquire a running back, so it's safe to assume he won't. Finley and Barnett aren't coming back anytime soon, and hopefully Matthews and Pickett can play in a pivotal game at home against the Vikings.
This season will say a lot about the mental toughness of this team, and if it fails that all goes back to the coach, and maybe it's time to bring in a coach who instills discipline and toughness a la Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher. I believe the Packers will recover before it is too late, but if they fail, injuries cannot be an excuse.