Obviously, the offensive line is the biggest problem. Clifton is still out, as is Bulaga, while Sherrod’s been placed on IR. These injuries force T.J. Lang to right tackle and Evan Dietrich-Smith will take over Lang’s position at left guard. Not exactly the line you want when facing games against Chicago and Detroit in the next two games.
We’re all missing Greg, too. Though the Packers have a great receiving corps (when they’re not dropping passes), Jennings is the Pack’s primary deep threat who takes a lot of pressure off of Nelson, Jones, Driver, and Cobb. Chicago is also pretty good at preventing throws of more than 20 yards, so the receivers need to step up in a way they failed to last week and give Rodgers some relief from the heat he’ll be feeling from the Bears’ pass rush.
|"Please come back, Greg. And don't ever leave me again."|
The defensive line is ailing as well. Ryan Pickett has still not been cleared to practice after suffering a concussion two weeks ago at Oakland and will not play. Mike Neal is questionable with a shoulder injury and Howard Green is dealing with a sore foot, but is probable. I can’t imagine the non-existent pass rush will suddenly develop in the midst of these injuries. Clay can’t do it all by himself, people.
|"Uh, teammates? You can join in at any time."|
Chicago has it even worse, since their talent is not as well-balanced as the Packers’. Cutler won’t be playing because of a broken thumb, so no pictures of Jay getting sacked =(. Matt Forte’s out. Those two were pretty much the sum of the Bears’ offense. Receiver Johnny Knox is gone from the season after suffering a blood-chilling back injury (seriously, do NOT look it up! It’s horrible!). And back-up RB Marion “Got Tebowed” Barber is doubtful due to a calf injury. Devin Hester and Lance Briggs have not been practicing as both are struggling with ankle injuries.
|I just really miss moments like these.|
The good news for the Packers is that James Starks and Brandon Saine will both be back, giving the Packers a chance to establish a running game that would not only give Rodgers a break, but would also make things easier for the offensive line that’s settling into new positions.
Now, as for the Bears’ QB position, I fully support benching Caleb Hanie. He was terrible. Hideously ugly stats. I suppose the fact that the Bears are still not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs is the reason they are starting Josh McCown over rookie Nathan Enderle. Enderle, according to Mike Martz, is “too much of an unknown” to get the start.
|I wonder if Josh always looks this scared.|
While the Bears are always pretty solid on defense, I don’t know that they can generate many points with all their injuries. I know I said this last week, but McCown is a far cry from Kyle Orton.
If the Packers win this week, or if San Fransisco loses, I hope the Packers don’t play Aaron Rodgers for more than a quarter or two against Detroit - I worry about him taking gratuitous hits behind a makeshift offensive line.
MERRY CHRISTMAS! Please, Santa, bring me a Green Bay Victory!
|"Merry Christmas, Marisa! Also, I love you fervently."|