Injuries Hit Most of the Packers' Most Valuable Players
The Packers’ 2017 season will likely be remembered as a season of promise cut down by Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone injury. Before Rodgers was hurt, though, there were already a rash of injuries affecting the team.
By some metrics, Green Bay’s players are hurt no more or less than any other team. In September, Jon Meerdink wrote that you can’t play the blame game with injuries.
With a month left in the season, let’s look back at a piece Gary wrote in May where he ranked the Packers’ top 15 players they can’t afford to see go down to an injury.
Four of the top five from the list have missed at least one game, and a total of ten have spent at least one game in street clothes. Let's break down the list:
Packers who have missed a game on the top 15 list
1. Aaron Rodgers. His broken collarbone landed him on injured reserve, and with it went the team’s margin for error. Rodgers has played 49 percent of the team’s snaps on offense this season.
2. Morgan Burnett. It’s been a tough year for Burnett, who missed time with a hamstring injury before suffering a groin injury after his return. We recently discussed why Burnett is a vital part of the Packers defensive plans. All told, he’s been on the field for 54 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.
4. Lane Taylor. The steady left guard for the Packers missed Week 7 with an ankle injury. He’s been on the field for 84 percent of the team’s offensive snaps.
5. Mike Daniels. He missed two games early in the season, returning for the team’s win against the Cowboys. He’s been worked back into the lineup, and has played just 55 percent of the team’s defensive snaps this season. By comparison, fellow defensive tackle Kenny Clark has played 64 percent of the snaps.
T-7. Kevin King. King has been inactive for two games and has missed time in a handful of others while dealing with a shoulder injury. He’s been on the field for just 52 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.
9. Nick Perry. Before injuring his hand, Perry had played 20 out of 69 games in a Packers uniform with a club to protect his hand. Perry broke a bone in his right hand in Week 2 against the Falcons, and missed just the following week’s contest against the Bengals. All told, Perry’s been on the field for 63 percent of the defensive snaps.
10. David Bakhtiari. The left tackle went down in Week 1, and missed the next four weeks with an injury hamstring. He returned against the Vikings, and has played in every contest since then to play 58 percent of the team’s offensive snaps.
13. Bryan Bulaga. After returning from a three game absence due to an ankle injury, Bulaga torn the ACL in his right knee in Week 9. Bulaga and backup Kyle Murphy will likely finish the season with roughly the same amount of snaps on offense.
14. Clay Matthews. Matthews missed his first game of the season this past week against the Pittsburgh Steelers because of an injury suffered the previous week against the Ravens. He’s played 67 percent of the team’s snaps on defense.
15. Ty Montgomery. Mike McCarthy leaned on Montgomery early in the season, but a rib injury has limited his play as the season has continued. The running back has been on the field for just 38 percent of the team’s snaps on offense.
Packers who haven’t missed a game on the top 15 list
3. Jordy Nelson. Injured? No. Effective? Only when Aaron Rodgers is around. Nelson’s game does not fit well with a quarterback who has to see an open receiver staring him in the face before he throws the ball.
6. Mason Crosby. If your kicker is injured, your season might truly be cursed. While Crosby has been hampered by a slow-rolling disaster with his holder and long snapper, at least he has his health.
T-7. Josh Jones. Unlike fellow rookie Kevin King, Jones has avoided missing any significant stretch of time due to injury. While his play has been up and down, he’s still met the threshold for what Mike McCarthy considers a player’s most important attribute: availability.
11. Corey Linsley. Linsley and fellow offensive lineman Jahri Evans are the only players on the Packers to play every snap on offense or defense. For a player who has missed significant time each of the past two seasons due to injury, that should be considered a major accomplishment.
12. Damarious Randall. Since getting benched against the Bears, Damarious Randall has been quietly putting together a fairly solid season. He’s had a lot of breaks go his way with interceptions (Dallas and Minnesota particularly), but he’s improved his play against the run and has made his share of plays as well.