The Four Positions the Packers Can Least Afford to Suffer Significant Injuries in 2022

Injuries are a part of football and the Green Bay Packers know this only too well. Last year, for example, they lost former Pro Bowlers Jaire Alexander, Za’Darius Smith, David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins for significant stretches of the season.

But which positions can the Packers least afford injuries at this season? Here is a look at the top four on this list. The positions are ranked based on the talent level of the starters and the drop off for the available depth at that position.

Here is a look at the four positions the Packers can least afford to suffer injuries at in 2022:

4. Offensive Tackle

I’m going to be very specific here and say that we are especially talking about early in the season before Elgton Jenkins returns to the lineup. Jenkins is expected to return at midseason.

If David Bakhtiari is ready to start the season on time, then left tackle will be set. Right tackle is up in the air with Yosh Nijman the early favorite as of now. The other players fighting for spots in the lineup have less experience playing tackle in the NFL than Nijman, who started for the first time in his career last season and was in the lineup for eight games.

The Packers do have talented replacement candidates if Bakhtiari or Nijman go down, but none of them have much experience. It would be a scary thought if the Packers were using an unproven player at left tackle to protect Rodgers’ blindside or if Nijman becomes the most experienced tackle in the lineup.

GM Brian Gutekunst may sign an experienced veteran tackle before training camp as he did in the past with players like Rick Wagner, Dennis Kelly and Jared Veldheer. Right now, there are more questions than answers at tackle if either Bakhtiari or Nijman were unavailable early in the season.

3. Edge Rusher

The Packers have two strong edge rushers in Preston Smith and Rashan Gary but the departure of Za’Darius Smith and the retirement of Whitney Mercilus leaves a lack of proven depth at the position.

Neither Jonathan Garvin nor Tipa Galeai have consistently been able to pressure opposing quarterbacks when given the chance. The Packers drafted Kingsley Enagbare in the fifth round but it’s not clear what kind of impact he’ll have on defense as a rookie.

If Smith and Gary stay healthy, there are still questions as to who will be the third edge rusher. He usually is on the field for nearly half of the defensive snaps. But if either Smith or Gary are injured and miss time, the pass rush coming off the edge will take a substantial hit and that could have a big negative impact on the defense.

The Packers plan on creating more pressure from the defensive line and the inside linebackers than they have in the past, but the lack of proven depth on the edge is a potential problem for the Packers at this time.

 

2. Safety

The Packers have one of the better starting safety duos in the league in Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage but the depth behind those two is untested.

Last year’s third safety, Henry Black, was not re-signed. The only safety the Packers selected in the draft was seventh rounder Tariq Carpenter who may be shifted to a hybrid safety/inside linebacker spot and has no NFL experience.

Other available backups on the roster include Innis Gaines, Shawn Davis, Tre Sterling and Vernon Scott. None of them have ever started an NFL game and all of them have almost no experience playing defense in the NFL.

If either Amos or Savage are lost for even a few games, the drop off in talent would be substantial and since pass coverage is often only as good as its weakest link, the Packers pass defense would face some real problems if injuries struck here.

1. Quarterback

This one is obvious. Aaron Rodgers is the two-time defending NFL MVP. His quarterback rating in each of the last two seasons was 111.9 in 2021 and 121.5 in 2020. Over those two seasons, he has thrown 85 touchdown passes and just nine interceptions.

Backup Jordan Love has started one NFL game and led the team to just seven points in a road loss against a Chiefs team with a mediocre defense.

Love is a former first-round pick and he’s entering his third season. While we still don’t know how good Love can be, he is clearly not near the level Rodgers is at right now at this stage of their respective careers.

If Rodgers misses time, the Packers chances of being a contender this season go down substantially.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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Comments (15)

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packer132's picture

June 11, 2022 at 01:01 pm

I agree with your assessment Gil and hope the 2022 season has fewer injuries than 2021. Packers did a very good job of filling in on the offensive line though the absence of Bakh and Jenkins did show when it mattered in the playoffs. On defense, Barry did fine after losing Jaire and Z Smith and playing the rookie Stokes. The draft strengthened the D line and LB positions, and Green Bay looks to have a very promising season. The quarterback is the key, as losing Rodgers, Brady, Allen, Burrow, Mahomes, would cripple their teams. Aaron has been very healthy since 2017, though no QB will match the ironman streak of Favre. Only a few more months of waiting for week #1.

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GilMartin's picture

June 13, 2022 at 03:55 pm

Thanks Packer132. Hoping the team has fewer major injuries this season. Last year, it was impressive how they won 13 games with all the injuries to key players they had to face. Thanks for commenting.

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ottscay's picture

June 11, 2022 at 12:59 pm

I agree that he may not be sold on Love, but I'm not sure that was the main thing. One thing Adams (and Rodgers, when talking about their conversations) has consistently mentioned is doing what he feels is right for his family. I think it's quite possible that coming from the west coast his family never felt entirely comfortable in Green Bay. When the team seemed to undervalue him last summer by not offering a reasonable contract he decided that was enough. Las Vegas and Carr were surely first on his wish list, and to their credit the Packers made it happen. I wish him and his family the best.

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TarynsEyes's picture

June 11, 2022 at 01:35 pm

"If Rodgers misses time, the Packers' chances of being a contender this season go down substantially."

None of the first three seem to really matter for the regular season because of having Rodgers.

Losing Rodgers in the regular season moves the team closer to, or actually being pretenders, which come playoff time seems to matter not, regretfully.

The question is whether this team can play to any relevance with Love under center and if none of the first three happens.

Can this team survive the loss of Rodgers for any significant duration? You're only as strong as your weakest link and Love is that weak link. Can this team reinforce that link to not become pretenders?

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

June 12, 2022 at 08:35 am

Believe Tarns says it best!

"The question is whether this team can play to any relevance with Love under center and if none of the first three happens.

Can this team survive the loss of Rodgers for any significant duration? You're only as strong as your weakest link and Love is that weak link. Can this team reinforce that link to not become pretenders?"

The importance of Love cannot be overstated should Rodgers go down. Frankly should Rodgers go down for 3-6 games, but the Packers win even half of those games with Love at QB the team should still be in the thick of things for the NFC North. Personally, with Love going into year 3 and constantly gaining more experience and confidence combined with how he played in KC I do not have any hesitation in thinking the Packers should be able to win at least half of any games Rodgers might miss during the regular season. A strong defense, a hopefully and most likely improving special teams, and a good running game I do not see why not.

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SpikeHyzer's picture

June 11, 2022 at 02:29 pm

Losing any OL is a small issue, as the Pack have proven they can develop OL players and shift them around easily. They haven't suffered at all on the OL, despite the lost of Bak and Jenkins to significant time.

EDGE is a big concern. They have some depth, but it's unproven. Hope that Rook does well!

Safety. Not really a concern for me either.

QB: of course they are done if AR12 goes down, but if Love were to show that he can play at nearly a star level, AR12 may be done in GB!

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GreenBaySmacker's picture

June 11, 2022 at 07:27 pm

I agree with TarynsEyes in that losing Rodgers is probably the only one that REALLY matters.

I would argue that losing Bakhtiari again would be rough. Although I believe this year's depth on the O-line is better equipped for a loss of his significance.

Edge rusher I think they'd be okay just because worst case I think they could plug Quay Walker in to pass rush considering he did some of that at Georgia. Or add a vet like Justin Houston maybe.

At safety I have an interesting proposition. What about bringing Kevin King back (if the price is right of course) to give him a shot at safety considering he has the right size and knows the system? He wasn't a great corner but maybe a change of position is the answer for him.

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 11, 2022 at 04:41 pm

Considering they play nickel more than half the time I think CB is as big a need as S.

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Pro-LifeMatters's picture

June 12, 2022 at 06:53 pm

Couldn't agree more. I'd put nickle ahead of EDGE for sure. The EDGE rushers are virtually the same as last year. Perhaps Engbare will help, maybe Ramsey being healthy will help, but the line being improved up front should definitely help. The corners are weak after the top three. The secondary is in bad shape overall after the starters.

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Pro-LifeMatters's picture

June 12, 2022 at 06:53 pm

Couldn't agree more. I'd put nickle ahead of EDGE for sure. The EDGE rushers are virtually the same as last year. Perhaps Engbare will help, maybe Ramsey being healthy will help, but the line being improved up front should definitely help. The corners are weak after the top three. The secondary is in bad shape overall after the starters.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

June 11, 2022 at 06:49 pm

We lose anyone except Rodgers and we still win by 30. Lose AR and instead of winning every game 30-0, we only win every game 14 or 17 to 0.

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GreenBaySmacker's picture

June 11, 2022 at 07:30 pm

LOL

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bean's picture

June 11, 2022 at 09:14 pm

The answer at tackle is...Bulaga

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Coolhawk's picture

June 11, 2022 at 11:48 pm

He’ll be fantastic…for all 3 games that he’s healthy.

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Since'61's picture

June 12, 2022 at 11:19 am

Losing Rodgers for any time longer 3-4 games and the season is over. An inexperienced QB throwing to inexperienced receivers is not a good scenario for scoring points.

Plus the defense will know that we will to rely on our ground game and they will prepare to stop our ground game until Love proves he came move the team through the air.

Even an excellent defense can only hold out for so long against competent NFL offenses.

Add to that the mental impact on the team of losing Rodgers for an extended period of time. They know what that means for their chances for the season.

Losing one of our premium edge rushers will hurt but it will not crush our chances. Also the team went through numerous seasons with poor safety play and they overcame that.

As for OL the Packers have played through most of the last 2 seasons with make shift OLs so we can probably survive that as well.

Rodgers has been, still is and will remain the one player that the Packers can’t afford to lose until Love or another QB proves he’s not. Thanks, Since ‘61

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