Packers Face Injury Questions On Defense

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GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 24: Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers rushes against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on November 24, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Vikings and the Packers tied 26-26 after overtime.(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(Credit, Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

By Chris Morgan

Last week, the Green Bay Packers got back quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Randall Cobb, and those two played a key role in their win over the Bears that gave them their home playoff game this week. In a bit of good news, neither Rodgers nor Cobb is even on the injury report this week. They are good to go, and having Rodgers gives the Packers a chance of beating the San Francisco 49ers this week.

However, not is all well on the injury front, especially on defense. Lest we forget, in last year’s playoffs, the 49ers ran all over the Packers, and earlier this year they passed all over Green Bay. The Niners have had no problems scoring on the Packers, and now injuries may make things even more bleak.

For starters, there is still a key player dealing with an injury on offense. Running back Eddie Lacy is dealing with an ankle injury and is questionable for this weekend’s game. He has been dealing with this injury for a little while, but he was able to play against the Bears and is expected to play this week. That would be good for the Packers, because they need Lacy to balance their offense. If he can’t play, James Starks will shoulder the load.

On defense, we already know that outside linebacker Clay Matthews is out with a thumb injury. He had trouble with Colin Kaepernick last year in the playoffs, but the Packers don’t have anyone who is as good as he is.

Additionally, most of Green Bay’s injury issues are in the linebacking corps. Two more outside linebackers, Mike Neal and Nick Perry, are questionable for this week. While the Packers did not practice on Wednesday, both were listed as not practicing in order to give a sense of where they are. Neal has an abdomen injury, while Perry has a foot injury. Since they already don’t have Matthews, if they don’t have Neal and/or Perry, the Packers are going to have essentially no pass rush to get to Kaepernick.

Additionally, linebacker Brad Jones and defensive tackle Ryan Pickett are both questionable as well. Jones has an ankle injury, while Pickett has a knee issue. Again, not having either of these guys would really hinder the Packers in stopping the Niners’ offense. It is not all about Kaepernick, after all. There is also Frank Gore, and woe unto the backup linebacker who finds himself having to cover Vernon Davis from time to time.

Of course, any of these guys, save for Matthews, could certainly play. It is almost a guarantee at least some of the guys on defense who are hurt will suit up, and Lacy should play. However, even if everyone can play against San Francisco, it is still a tough matchup with a bad history to it. Injuries may just end up providing an excuse the Packers don’t want to use.

Out:

  • Outside linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. (thumb)

Questionable:

  • Linebacker Brad Jones (ankle)
  • Running back Eddie Lacy (ankle)
  • Outside linebacker Mike Neal (abdomen)
  • Outside linebacker Nick Perry (foot)
  • Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (knee)

For more Packers news and updates, visit Packers Central.

Chris Morgan has been a diehard Detroit Lions fan through the good (Barry Sanders) and the bad (Matt Millen) and that love has led him to take jobs writing about sports, including as a fantasy sports “expert.” His work can be found on Examiner.com. .

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