Many fans and people inside of the NFL think the preseason should be shortened. While these games are good for coaching staffs to see what players can do, they are also meaningless games where players can get hut. The preseason injury bug bit several teams this last weekend. The biggest hit was to the St. Louis Rams, where they lost quarterback Sam Bradford for the entire season to a torn ACL. Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker suffered a concussion against the Houston Texans on a hit over the middle. Add to those two Carolina Panthers quarterback suffering a hairline fracture in his ribs and this preseason has had some big injuries.
The Green Bay Packers were also among those who were hit with injuries, this time losing two linemen. Last season, defensive tackle B.J. Raji was entering a contract year, hoping to either get an extension from the Packers, or a large offer from another team. But, Raji’s numbers were not that great, so he settled for a one year contract to return to Green Bay. Raji entered this year hoping to earn another huge payday, but is now on the shelf for the year with torn right biceps.
Most likely, second year defensive end Josh Boyd will be Raji’s replacement. This will not be Boyd’s first job filling in for an injured lineman. Last season, Boyd filled in for Johnny Jolly to a next injury, where he totaled six tackles in four games. Along with Boyd, the Packers will also have to rely on former Minnesota Viking Letroy Guion, who has yet to play because of a hamstring injury. Guion provides some veteran stability, so if Boyd struggles, expect Guion to be the next man up.
Raji wasn’t the only Packers big man to go down. Starting center J.C. Tretter will miss multiple games because of a fractured knee. Tretter was scheduled to be the Packers fourth starting center in as many years, and was playing pretty well with the first team o-line. With Tretter’s absence, fifth round draft pick Corey Linsley is expected to be the new center. Any injury is bad, but the timing of Tretter’s could not have come at a worse time for the Packers. With only one more preseason game left, Linsley and quarterback Aaron Rodgers now will have a little over a week to get the quarterback-center chemistry down. Even though the starters normally do not play the final preseason game, I would expect to Rodgers play a series or two just to help get the exchange down.
Once again the dreaded injury bug has made its way to Green Bay. As long as it does not get #12, the Packers could be on a similar run like 2010. I think we all remember how that ended.