No respite from injury onslaught for Packers
GREEN BAY—The Green Bay Packers' defense, intact for the first time all season, lost three key members Sunday as injuries continued to exact a heavy toll in a 27-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Not only did defensive end Johnny Jolly, cornerback Casey Hayward and linebacker Nick Perry leave and not return, nose tackle Ryan Pickett said he would have his ailing knee examined Monday by team doctors.
Meanwhile, an offensive platoon already missing three starters and Randall Cobb lost center Evan Dietrich-Smith, tackle Don Barclay and quarterback Seneca Wallace to game-ending injuries.
“It's unbelievable,” guard Josh Sitton said. “We don't make excuses around here, but it is certainly crazy with all these injuries.”
Jolly left with a groin injury early in the fourth quarter but said he could have finished.
“The game was over so they took me out so I wouldn't do anything worse to whatever's going on with it,” Jolly said.
Pickett, who appeared on the injury report for the first time last week with a knee problem, said he wasn't close to 100 percent.
“I don't know what it is,” said Pickett. “I have no idea. I'm going to know more tomorrow. I've got to do something. It's strength and ability to move. But it'll be all right. Today, it wasn't.”
Perry departed with a foot injury at the 4-minute mark. He returned Sunday after missing three games with a broken foot.
Hayward, who missed the first six games with a hamstring injury that plagued him since July, went out with a hamstring injury late in the first half.
It isn't known if Perry and Hayward aggravated their previous injuries.
Dietrich-Smith went down with 4½ minutes remaining in the second quarter with a knee injury. Barclay was lost early in the fourth quarter also with a knee injury.
“We'll figure it out when they get scanned,” said Sitton. “They both seemed to be doing OK when I saw them after.”
Asked if either injury could be season-ending injury, guard T.J. Lang said, “I hope not. Both those guys are walking.”
Lang had never played a competitive snap at center at any level when he was thrust in as Dietrich-Smith's replacement. He started taking a few snaps there in practice after Greg Van Roten was injured Sept. 30.
“I knew I was going to be the backup so I kind of started preparing,” said Lang. “I played like (expletive) today. There were a couple plays, especially in the run game, that were kind of new to me…like trying to reach (block) a guy. Playing center, those guys are right on top of you.”
Lang suffered a concussion Monday night and was listed as questionable. He went the distance, saying he had no repercussions.
Green Bay's running backs carried 18 times for 59 yards (3.3 average) until Dietrich-Smith's departure. They went 11 for 21 (1.9) after that.
Marshall Newhouse took over at right tackle and Barclay moved to right guard. When Barclay went down, rookie Lane Taylor stepped in at right guard.
Tackle Derek Sherrod, the eighth offensive lineman on the roster, was inactive.
Wallace hurt his groin on the Packers' 10th play from scrimmage and was replaced by Scott Tolzien.
The Packers finished the first half of the season with eight starters having missed a total of 24 games and seven key reserves having missed 30 games. Chief among the losses, of course, was quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Is it natural for a team to sag without its best player?
“I'm not saying everyone sags but everyone knows the situation we're in,” said cornerback Davon House. “12's not in. But, if anything, it should be able to lift us up a bit because everyone has to do that much more.
“But even with 12 not in Scotty (Tolzien) had a hell of a game. I mean, you can't compare him to Aaron, but Scotty had a good game.”
Asked about the absence of Rodgers, Jolly said grimly, “Who doesn't know how valuable he is? Next question.”
This marked the sixth time in the last seven games that the Packers suffered at least one significant injury.
“It's, like, 'Whoa, what else can go wrong?'“ Pickett said. “But we've got to hold up enough until our cavalry can come, if we have cavalry left.”
Said punter Tim Masthay: “You stand on the sideline and (say), 'What the heck's going on?' As a team, it's frustrating and disappointing. But, quite frankly, we're 5-4 and I'm not throwing in any towel.”
This is nothing new for an organization that has had starters miss 54 games or more in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 campaigns.
“It's one of those things,” cornerback Tramon Williams said. “We go through this every year, though. Maybe not like this but …”