Remember all those stories about how hiring a nutritionist has kept Green Bay healthier this summer? They seem kind of silly now, don’t they? In the past 48 hours, the team has lost nose tackle B.J. Raji for the season, tight end Brandon Bostick for about a month and center JC Tretter for what coach Mike McCarthy termed “multiple weeks.”
How much will the Packers be affected by these three injuries? Here’s the way I see it:
Raji’s torn biceps will hurt the most over the long haul because there’s simply not another true nose tackle on the roster. Everyone seems to love Josh Boyd, but the second-year player from Mississippi State weighs 15 pounds less than the average nose tackle in the National Football League. Holding up for a half dozen snaps in the preseason is one thing; holding up for three times as many snaps in the regular season is a whole other thing.
Tretter’s knee injury will hurt the most in the short-term because of the position he plays. It’s tough enough for a rookie center to start on opening day, but can you imagine asking fifth-round pick Corey Linsley to start on opening day after only practicing a handful of times with the other four members of the offensive line? And throw in having to face the Super Bowl champs in week 1 and defensive genius Rex Ryan in week 2 for good measure.
Bostick’s injury shouldn’t be a big problem. Even though he was the most productive tight end in training camp, the Packers won a Super Bowl with Andrew Quarless at the position in 2010. And that team didn’t have Eddie Lacy. As long as the remaining tight ends can block at least adequately, the offense shouldn’t miss a beat.
Prior to Friday night, I was actually feeling pretty good about Green Bay’s chances of going into Seattle and beating the Seahawks. Needless to say, I don’t feel nearly as confident today. After the quarterback, you can argue that the center is the most important player on offense. And any defensive coach will tell you how vital the nose tackle is to a 3-4 scheme. Well, the Packers aren’t as strong at either position as they were just 48 hours ago. And while that doesn’t guarantee starting the season 0-1, it sure makes getting to 1-0 a lot more difficult.
-photo by Rob Demovsky