Larrivee: Ailing Packers still own big advantage at quarterback
Aaron Rodgers.Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
I was asked on Newsradio 620 WTMJ this morning if the Packers injury list is longer than most teams in the league.
When you consider the number of players listed as OUT on the 53-man roster (4 this week) and three others who could be classified as questionable to doubtful, it seems like the Packers are high up on the dubious injury list.
Okay, I just checked: the Packers are among the league leaders in players on the active roster listed on the injury report.
Furthermore, Green Bay’s injuries bite deep into the starting lineup with people like LB Clay Matthews, WR Randall Cobb, RB James Starks, LB Nick Perry plus special teams standout TE Ryan Taylor all out for this game.
That doesn’t count the fact the Packers are missing starters OLT Bryan Bulaga and RB DuJuan Harris, on the injured reserve list for the rest of the season.
The Cleveland Browns come into this week’s game relatively healthy.
Backup DL Billy Winn will miss with a quad injury.
Willis McGahee the starting running back has not been practicing this week, but should be back today and is expected to start Sunday.
While there is concern with the Packers' injury situation, one position - the most important position in Sunday’s game is quarterback - and that is where the Packers week-in-and-week-out have an advantage.
Some weeks that advantage is big, as it appears to be this week: Aaron Rodgers vs. Brandon Weeden.
Cleveland has had 41 starting quarterback changes since the franchise came back on line in 1999.
The Packers have had two quarterbacks over that same period of time: Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.
(Matt Flynn started a couple of games over that period due to a concussion that took Rodgers out of the New England game in 2010, and McCarthy decided to rest Rodgers for the final game of the regular season against Detroit in 2011.)
Rodgers is a Super Bowl MVP, NFL MVP and twice has led the NFL in passer rating.
This season, Rodgers ranks 5th in the NFL with a 101.9 passer rating, 10 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
Weeden is in his second year with the Browns who drafted him in the first round in 2012. Weeden started the season behind center then sprained his thumb, and while missing two games, Brian Hoyer came on to start at QB and led the Browns to three straight wins.
Hoyer suffered a season-ending knee injury in a Thursday night game against Buffalo.
Weeden has been in ever since, compiling a passer rating of 71.4-28th in the league with 4 TD passes and 5 interceptions.
He has very little mobility and has been sacked 18 times this season.
Quarterbacks make the big bucks because they make the biggest difference week to week in the NFL.
Hall of Fame caliber quarterbacks like Brett Favre, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning make receivers great.
Brady hit someone named Kenbrell Thompkins on a 17-yard touchdown pass with five seconds to go to beat previously unbeaten New Orleans last week.
This week, without receivers Cobb and possibly James Jones it is Aaron Rodgers turn to “make” his receivers - namely Jarrett Boykin, Myles White and Jermichael Finley – great!