As the Green Bay Packers come off of their bye week, they hope to get some pieces of their defense back as they head into the remaining 12 games of their schedule.
In their last game against the Cincinnati Bengals, linebacker Clay Matthews was out for the entire second half with a sore hamstring. When Matthews was in the game, he was trouble for the Bengals offensive line, causing two fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown. With Matthews out of the game, the Bengals’ offense was able to pick apart the Packers defense. Over the past few seasons, Matthews has had a history of hamstring injuries, so a week of rest and rehabilitation will be just what Matthews needs. Let’s hope that’s the last we hear about Matthews getting hurt this year.
The Packers secondary will also receive a huge boost from the bye week. Starting strong safety Morgan Burnett also has suffered from a sore hamstring since week 3 of the preseason. With the recent departures of Nick Collins and Charles Woodson, Burnett has become the number one safety. With Burnett out, Jerron McMillian, M.D. Jennings, and rookie Chris Banjo have all had excessive playing time. But, Burnett is expected to return to the lineup this week against the Detroit Lions. With him back, it would give a much needed boost to a young secondary.
Cornerback Casey Hayward is not as fortunate as Burnett and Matthews and will be out against the Detroit Lions this Sunday. Hayward has also been bitten by the hamstring bug and has not played a down yet this season. Last season, Hayward took the league by storm as he had six interceptions and finished in the top five in the NFL in that category. He also led the Packers team in interceptions. Hopefully after one more week off, Hayward will be ready to return to the secondary and join Tramon Williams to give the Packers two great cornerbacks. The defense is slowly getting healthier, and after a few more weeks, we will be able to see what this Packers defense can really do.