Almost better than the victory over the Lions, almost better than the emergence of a running game, there was one real winner on Sunday night. The Packers Injury Report.
The Packers sustained no new injuries in Sunday’s night game. In a game against players with some dirty reputations, in a game in some sloppy conditions, in a hard fought division game, ending the game without new injuries is a nearly a Christmas miracle.
In his press conference yesterday Packers Coach Mike McCarthy stated, “The cycle of injuries has ended.”
With the rash of Packers injuries and players on injured reserve this season, there has been much comparison between the 2012 and the 2010 seasons. And while the comparisons is often made to help comfort fans as obviously ending the season with a Super Bowl victory is pretty much the goal every year, in many ways 2012 is not 2010.
In 2010, the Packers were decimated by injuries. They ended the season with 15 players on the injured reserve list and had key members of the team like: Clay Matthews, Ryan Pickett, Cullen Jenkins, Sam Shields and Aaron Rodgers all miss games with injuries.
While 2010 did see James Starks emerge late in the season after coming of the physically unable to perform list, the Packers “cycle of injuries” never seemed to end. After week 14 of that year, the Packers still put two more players on injured reserve and ended the season with question marks on the health of Cullen Jenkins.
In contrast, the Packers currently have nine players on IR; much less than the 13 they had on the list in 2010 at this time. And while the Packers had 11 players listed on last week’s injury report, four of those players were active on game day, three of them – Saturday, Driver and Shields – seeing playing time during the game. Also from that 11, the Packers expect to see Woodson and Matthews back on the field soon, with hopefully Nelson and Wilson joining them soon as well.
In 2010, the Packers injuries followed them through the end of the regular season. The Packers were able to solidify the team in the playoffs and made the very memorable push to the Super Bowl. But now, if, like McCarthy says, the injury cycle is indeed over, then the Packers can focus on working returning players into the mix and spending the final weeks of the regular season perfecting the team, so that when the playoffs come they are ready, healthy and able.
While a repeat of 2010 is, in the end, what most fans want, if the Packers can stop the injury similarities here, repeating the outcome will be much easier.
Jayme Joers is a writer at CheeseheadTV’s Eat More Cheese and co-host of CheeseheadRadio, part of the Packers Talk Radio Network at PackersTalk.com. She also contributes to Pocketdoppler.com. You can contact her via twitter at @jaymelee1 or via email at Jaymelee1@gmail.com