Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

18 Dec 2010

Aaron Rodgers Out Sunday

The Packers have ruled quarterback Aaron Rodgers out for Sunday's game with a concussion. Matt Flynn takes over for the Packers.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 18 Dec 2010

44 comments, Last at 19 Dec 2010, 11:30am by Dingle-Doodah

Comments

1
by batbatt :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 2:10pm

Seriously, the Packers could field a fairly decent team with the players they have on IR.

3
by ammek :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 2:41pm

You can almost make a reasonable team, minus OL & WR, from the players who'll miss the New England game:
QB — Rodgers
RB — Grant
TE — Finley, Havner
OT — Tauscher
DL — Jenkins, Neal, Harrell
LB — Poppinga, Zombo, Barnett, Chillar (& Jones)
CB — Harris (waived, now on Dolphins IR), Bell, Blackmon (waived: injury settlement)
S — Burnett, Martin

Funnily enough, OL and WR have been the Packers' weaknesses in most of the close games they've lost.

Meanwhile, the healthy team is one big hit away from playing Graham Harrell at QB.

5
by FooBarFooFoo (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 2:59pm

Just take a look at the 10+ guys from the Patriots who are on IR already ... and have been most of the year, including six to eight starting quality players ...

Everybody has injuries ... deal with it. Patriots have been hit harder than you would think this season.

6
by chemical burn :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 3:18pm

Call me when the Pats are missing their starting QB and RB. Missing a bunch of nobodies from a crappy defense is hardly the same thing as missing many pieces from a high-powered, intricate offense...

8
by FooBarFooFoo (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 3:35pm

They went 11-5 in 2008 ... missing their starting QB. With a backup with 0 starts since high school.

If you continue whining like that, your team will never win anything.

9
by Spielman :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 3:52pm

Oh dear, it's a Patriots fan who thinks team success has anything to do with fan behavior. Aren't delusions of grandeur fun?

15
by Purds :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 6:27pm

I guess that means the injured starter wasn't that important to the team.

21
by chemical burn :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 8:14pm

Went 11-5 against an incredibly soft schedule and missed the playoffs. Anyhoo, back then they still had a semblance of a good defense - if they lost both Brady and BJGE this year they'd obviously be cooked. Pats fans aren't so delusional to deny that are they?

(also, I'm not a Packers fan...)

23
by Andrew Potter :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 9:10pm

Anyhoo, back then they still had a semblance of a good defense

In 2008? No they didn't. They haven't had an defense above average since 2007, and their last actually good defense was 2006. Even in 2007 I'm convinced that the decent defensive numbers were more a product of how well the offense was doing than of defensive ability.

And BJGE? Are you serious? I mean, yeah, he's a decent enough player but he isn't going to be the difference between a playoff team and one that misses out.

I hate "my team is more injured than yours" discussions as much as the next man, and think FooBarFooFoo's dismissal of post 3 is unnecessary, but come on...

33
by johnny walker (not verified) :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 2:45am

Now here's the kind of well-reasoned mature critique I come to FO for.

"Oh no, somebody implied that a different team is having difficulty due to injuries without mentioning the Patriots in any way. This is clearly a direct assault on my team. Time to defend their honor!"

Yeah sure. Could I direct you to PFT, perhaps?

34
by johnny walker (not verified) :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 2:47am

Wait, my bad. The list of injured Packers was given in the context of those missing the New England game. Clearly this blatant provocation could not have been anything but a direct affront to the Pats and thus this very un-FO-like exchange is completely warranted.

Carry on.

22
by Anonymouscake (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 8:22pm

The Pats have on IR their: starting CB, starting safety, 3rd/4th CB, starting DE, starting RT, starting RG, 3rd down back (seems minor, but Faulk's important), and their kicker.

They could possibly be without a further 4(!) defensive linemen vs the Packers and without their best CB.

Fair enough that's not ever going to be as bad as losing Rodgers et al, but it's hardly perfect health.

11
by ammek :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 4:20pm

Oh I am dealing with it. I'm not one of those fans who expects their team to be perfectly healthy all year, and then blames every loss on injuries to obscure starters and third-string long snappers. Still, I think Adjusted Games Lost is an interesting stat, and expect a lot more research to take place into which injuries affect team performance, and the nature of that effect.

Several of the Packers' injuries (Tauscher, Harris, Bigby, Jones) have actually been beneficial, in that the replacement has been an improvement over the lost starter. So it's hardly clear-cut that injuries —> losses, and my 'injured team' was not intended as a whine along those lines.

On the other hand, Bill Barnwell's essay in this year's Almanac pointed out that Ted Thompson's draft picks had accumulated more AGL than any other team's over the period 2005-09 except the Bengals and Lions. The 2010 injury list has been the longest yet. Can this be bad luck? Or are the Packers really injury-prone?

Oh, and if I had to choose one game for Rodgers to miss this season, I'd pick @New England, since it's the one the Packers have the least chance of winning.

13
by Pat Swinnegan :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 6:19pm

if I had to choose one game for Rodgers to miss this season, I'd pick @New England, since it's the one the Packers have the least chance of winning.

Wow, do you really think so? The Packers were the team I was the most afraid of coming down the stretch. When the Pats have built a lead and their opponent has had to lean heavily on the pass, the Pats' D has seemed quite vulnerable (maybe not so much the past couple of games, but certainly versus the Colts, for example). Thus, the Packers, who abandoned the run back in September and have one of the best QBs in the game, looked like the worst matchup to me.

32
by tuluse :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 12:22am

Just because they had the best chance of beating the Patriots doesn't also mean it was their worst chance to win a game.

14
by Purds :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 6:26pm

You're seriously whining about Pats IR problems, from this list? Half of those guys (7!) were not making the team, and for some, NE put them on IR so they could hide them from getting poached. The only guys of consequence on that list are Faulk, Bodden, Kaczur, Neal, Warren and perhaps Wilhite. Sure, Gost was a loss, but it's not like it's hard to fit in a new kicker to a system.

How many of those occurred during the season or needed to be replaced in the last week, like Green Bay is facing?

S Josh Barrett (shoulder) -- Claimed on waivers from the Broncos with an injury.
CB Leigh Bodden (shoulder) -- Starter was hurt in preseason.
OT/G George Bussey (knee) -- Second-year player was on the roster bubble in training camp.
RB Kevin Faulk (knee) -- Top "passing" back lost for the year in Week 2.
K Stephen Gostkowski (quad) -- Top field-position weapon hurt Nov. 7.
WR Torry Holt (knee) -- On the bubble, veteran was given an injury settlement in camp.
OT/G Nick Kaczur (back) -- Projected starter at left guard was hurt early in training camp.
S Bret Lockett (pectoral muscle) -- Was on the roster bubble when injured in training camp.
S Brandon McGowan (chest) -- Hurt in camp, which contributed to Jarrad Page acquisition.
G Stephen Neal (shoulder) -- Started the first eight games of the season before injury.
DL Darryl Richard (foot) -- Probably wouldn't have made final roster.
DE Ty Warren (hip) -- Starter is hurt early in training camp, testing depth up front.
DE Kade Weston (abdomen) -- Seventh-round pick looked like a longshot to make roster.
CB Jonathan Wilhite (hip/hamstring) -- Slot corner/special-teamer played nine games.

18
by RichC (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 7:22pm

If you think most of those guys were "roster bubble" guys, you have no idea what you're talking about.

If you go by last year's team, you've got 7 starters there.

19
by Dingle-Doodah (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 7:55pm

I count four: Warren, Bodden, Kaczur/Neal, and Gostkowski. Faulk going down unleashed the better player, and the rest are chum.

Warren and Bodden may have had much to do with the team's early season struggles on defense, but even they aren't missed all that much today. Graham has yet to miss a FG, although his kickoffs leave much to be desired. Still though, no great loss especially with Ghost's poor start.

No comparison to losing Brady (Rodgers), but I do agree that Ammek's list is a whinathon - most of GB's noted IR players suck anyway.

36
by johnny walker (not verified) :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 2:58am

Where are all these "whining" accusations coming from? Maybe someone can point me to the part where he uses the list to draw a conclusion besides GB having a ton of guys hurt. That's a controversial statement?

Things he didn't say:

"Too bad the Packers have so many guys hurt or they'd whip the stupid Pats."

"Brady's lucky he doesn't have to face a healthy Rodgers. That embarrassment will have to wait I guess."

"Look how many guys the Packers have hurt! Going 8-5 with this record proves what a truly great team they are."

"The Packers have way more guys hurt than the Patriots."

etc.

Things he did say:

"Look, the Packers have so many guys hurt that you can almost fill out a depth chart with injured players."

Some of you guys are really going to have to teach me how you do this mindreading stuff.

40
by Karma Coma :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 4:20am

"I count four: Warren, Bodden, Kaczur/Neal, and Gostkowski."

You are aware that Kaczur and Neal are not the same person?

"Warren and Bodden may have had much to do with the team's early season struggles on defense, but even they aren't missed all that much today"

Bodden is a MAJOR upgrade over Arrington, Butler, and Wilhite. I wouldn't feel half as worried about New England's feeble attempts at pass rushing if it were McCourtey and Bodden at the corner spots instead of what we might see tonight - Kyle "Huh?" Arrington and Darius "Wait for me!" Butler. I wonder what the over/under is on DPI calls...

44
by Dingle-Doodah (not verified) :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 11:30am

Hm, I thought Kaczur had played a few games; considered their injuries overlapping. Arrington's not a bad player. He's been bombarded on his side because of Mccourty, and has held up quite well. Would Bodden be able to handle the same attention?

"I've re-read my post, and I can't see any whining — I was fleshing out the comment made by #1, adding caveats about WR & OL, about the ambivalence of losing lesser starters to injury, and emphasizing the lack of impact injuries would have on the outcome of tonight's game"

Sorry then, chum. I've read enough whining this year from GB fans to last a lifetime, so I guess I'm somewhat sensitive to any mention of 'GB' and 'IR'.

"It's also pretty humorous seeing Pats fans trying to suggest that their injuries this year have even come close to rivaling those of GB". See? it's posts like this that piss people off.

I agree with those who opine NE's injuries were more impacting (assuming that Rodgers misses only 2 games).

41
by ammek :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 6:07am

I've re-read my post, and I can't see any whining — I was fleshing out the comment made by #1, adding caveats about WR & OL, about the ambivalence of losing lesser starters to injury, and emphasizing the lack of impact injuries would have on the outcome of tonight's game.

I didn't specify, but there are only a handful of positions (QB, RB, TE, maybe LB) where I believe that injuries have made the Packers worse — and in the case of RB, it's entirely the Packers' fault for choosing to carry only two halfbacks on the roster at a position with a high injury risk.

There's also an argument that, for a team that suffered multiple injuries early in the year, the 2010 Packers have been relatively lucky. Of the starters I'd qualify as the 10 most important (Rodgers, Woodson, Matthews, Clifton, Jennings, Finley, Raji, Jenkins, Collins, Sitton), only Finley has missed more than one start. Getting a full, healthy season to date out of Chad Clifton has been a welcome and unexpected bonus.

Injuries are not irrelevant to the Packers' struggles — the defensive linemen have been forced to play too many snaps and are wilting; I expect the Patriots to run on them very successfully. But they're far from the only factor, and in my view they're not the most significant. As I said in my earlier post, the pass offense has until now been little affected by the injuries, and the RB problem was entirely preventable; yet the struggles of those units have contributed most to the five losses (plus an ugly 9-0 win in New York).

/ whine

30
by Purds :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 11:38pm

RichC:

I don't follow NE minutia, but I think Mike Reiss does. Those were his assessments, not mine.

http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4689880/ta...

27
by GO PATS (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 10:37pm

Yes but so could the PAtriots, they have 1 more guy on IR than the Packers - 14 and counting.

2
by Q (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 2:38pm

Why can't the Pats get decimated by injuries like GB does? 14 players on IR and multiple others out at least this game (Rodgers, Cullen Jenkins, etc)

10
by Malene, Copenhagen (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 4:13pm

I can't tell if you're being sarcastic. Please tell me you are.

Patriots DO have exactly 14 players on IR, with an additional 4 or 5 out for Sunday.

4
by Mike Y :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 2:50pm

So, Bears clinch the division on Monday, right? Wow, they have been lucky with their matchups this year. And I am a Bears fan.

37
by johnny walker (not verified) :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 3:05am

Yes. GB loss @ NE + CHI win @ MIN = Bears clinch the division.

7
by Will S :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 3:33pm

So the Packers are like the inverse Giants, who have had pretty much all their injuries consolidated to OL and WR

12
by BSR :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 6:07pm

That does suck for Green Bay, but they still have a pretty formidable D so I don't think its such a gimmee for NE as everyone is making it out to be. Especially with the injuries NE is dealing with along along the Dline. GB may just actually be able to run the ball.

As for comparing NE's injury situation to GB's, I don't think that is a fair comparison. Losing your starting QB this late in the season is a big one. Of course, he will be coming back but the problem is they may already be out of it by that time.

20
by Dingle-Doodah (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 8:03pm

But GB hasn't lost him - not at all. And as pointed out upthread, they're actually fortunate that Rodgers is out for Sunday opposed to another Sunday where a credible shot at winning existed.

29
by otbricki22 (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 10:48pm

The Bears fans were saying the same thing last week.

16
by Ruggles Redgap (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 6:46pm

For chrissakes, NBC, flex out this horrible game on Sunday night to Giants/Eagles. I work Sunday days, and only get to see games at night. MNF is brutal enough, I will not tune in for three seconds of Pats/Pack with no Rodgers.

17
by Daniel :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 6:51pm

I may be crazy, but I don't see that this necessarily dooms the Packers to certain defeat. With a QB making his first start, the offense will probably rely heavily on the sort of short/intermediate passes that the Patriots seem to have a hard time defending. As a Patriots fan, I certainly expect them to win tomorrow...but I also expect a fair amount of yelling at the TV in frustration as a no-name QB completes yet another easy 10-yard pass on 3rd and 8. I could certainly see the Packers hanging around and keeping this one close.

26
by Spielman :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 9:53pm

You're right. You may very well be crazy.

24
by JonFrum :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 9:25pm

Injury talk is the last refuge of fanboys. All teams have injuries - not just your team. Suck it up and be a fan-man for a change.

25
by Q (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 9:47pm

"Injury talk is the last refuge of fanboys. All teams have injuries - not just your team. Suck it up and be a fan-man for a change."

Only someone not very knowldegable about injuries would suggest that teams suffer anywhere close to equal injury luck any particular year in the NFL.

It's also pretty humorous seeing Pats fans trying to suggest that their injuries this year have even come close to rivaling those of GB.

28
by GO PATS (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 10:46pm

No its not humorous at all, the guys that the Pats have on IR are just as important as the ones GB has if not more so. We just don't cry about it and make excuses. Its football, injuries happen, deal with it. Should we mention the 14 undrafted players on the 53 man roster who are making huge contributions.

31
by Purds :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 11:46pm

"Should we mention the 14 undrafted players on the 53 man roster who are making huge contributions."

So, your front office stinks at drafting. What's your point?

(Undrafted doesn't mean squat. The Colts STARTED 10 different undrafted free agents in the last two weekends. So what?)

35
by Tyler Buchanan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 2:53am

Numbers of players or even starters on IR is a stupid way to view injuries, at the NFL level most players are close enough in ability that the loss of an average starter to a backup is not that great. The problems happen when teams lose game changing players, the type that command double teams and require other teams to gameplan to stop that one specific player, which opens up opportunities for everyone else. The Packers have four such players on their roster: Rodgers, Finley, Matthews, and Woodson. Losing Finley for the year was a huge blow to the offense, and when the Packers lost Matthews for five quarters, the previously inept Washington offense sprang to life and won the game in overtime before losing in overtime to Miami. When Rodgers got hurt before halftime, the Packers lost to the Lions. Outside of those three losses, the Packers have only lost twice more: on the road by 3 against Atlanta (a home team winning on a last second field goal statistically cannot prove the home team is better than the away team given homefield advantage and the evenness of the teams up to that point), and the game against Chicago where some Packer committed a penalty on every play. My point is that with most injuries a team can absorb them in stride and go out and win the game, but when an elite player goes down the team loses what sets it apart from an average team and thus stands a much greater chance at defeat.

39
by Karma Coma :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 4:00am

In other words, the Packers have lost too many of their blue-chippers.

"Profit is limit ONLY by your ability to BANG SPORK"

38
by johnny walker (not verified) :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 3:11am

What is up with the FO readers tonight? Should this be renamed the Irrational Packers @ Pats Injury Thread? Holy hell man, I gotta believe it's possible for a fan -- of either team -- to point out how many injured players there are without that necessarily being "whiny."

Is Barnwell being a "fanboy" too by posting the Rodgers news in the first place? What the hell is up with some of you tonight? There's a million sites I could go to for "discussion," and maybe only a half-dozen where I'd feel comfortable removing the scare quotes. Pretty disappointing seeing this stuff making its way over to FO.

42
by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 6:30am

Frankly I wouldn't mind if half the people in this thread were perma banned. This thread is beyond ridiculous and a lot of the comments display all the subtlety and intelligence of a 12 year old.

The Pats fans in particular come across as complete tribalistic homers with no knowledge or awareness about the sport. And I am from Minnesota and don't like the Packers and respect the Pats as an elite franchise regardless of sport.

Might as well break out the green and blue chariot teams and return to the ignorant rioting of Constantinople.

43
by Purds :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 11:19am

I am likely one of the children to whom you refer, so I will defend myself by saying this: I love FO, but I tire of the fact that on this site, readers rely so heavily on statistics that any mention of two other areas that affect play, injuries and luck, get dismissed without debate. I argue that injuries and luck do matter, and if your team benefited from them, great for you, but don't deny them.

For example, I am a Colts fan, and luck clearly played a huge role in their one SB win this decade. Sure, the Colts were good that year, but they were tremendously lucky that they faced teams in the playoffs that had great defenses but bad offenses. There was no doubt in my mind that the Colts defense that year could stop a weak offense, and that the Colts offense would be able to score enough to win. Contrast that to last year, when the Colts made the SB but were not lucky (not unlucky, mind you, just not lucky). The NFC title game was between two teams who could score at will (NO/Minny), and I had no confidence that the Colts would win that SB. But, the Colts did get to play the NYJ in the AFC Championships, which hugely favored Indy because again they faced a great D/poor O team, and they won.

Let's face it, luck and injuries can play a role in the outcome of games. For this week, I would argue NE would have beaten any Green Bay team the Packers could offer, but you can't deny that NE is lucky to face GB without Rodgers. Call it "fortunate" if you hate the word "lucky," but don't act as if it doesn't exist. This is not the 162-game MLB, where luck gets diminished.

I tire of fans saying that "every team has injuries," with the implication that every team has suffered the same amount from its injuries to date this year. Those fans would suggest that even if all 53 guys on the team in September were put on IR, that is not a reason for a team to do worse than they hoped. Pure foolishness. If injuries this morning at the breakfast table took out Manning, Wayne, Saturday, Brackett, Mathis, Freeney, and the water boy, are you really trying to say that injuries don't matter?

Now, judging HOW MUCH an injury matters, that's a place we can argue, and we should argue. That's a fun discussion. The foolishness is acting like injuries and luck (or fortunate situations) never affect the outcome of a game.