Bryan Bulaga, done for the year. Jordy Nelson, knee surgery could keep him out entire training camp. Randall Cobb, left practice today with a shoulder injury that could require surgery. Oh, and Greg Jennings is no longer on the roster; have fun Mr. Rodgers.
Now, Aaron Rodgers is an elite quarterback who can get the ball into almost any space, helping his wide receivers look better than they really are. He helped Jordy Nelson lead the league with 15 touchdown in 2011 and helped James Jones have a breakout 2012 with 12 touchdowns, but he can’t do it alone.
The loss of left tackle Bulaga just might be the worst of all the above injuries the Packers have suffered so far in camp. Nelson is said to likely be ready for week one as he will only be out for 4 weeks and Cobb’s injury has not been fully reported but is not expected to require him to miss significant time. The loss of Bulaga however means that Rodgers is going to have more pressure on him from his blindside on almost every snap as his backups try to fill his role. Rodgers was the second most sacked quarterback in the NFL last year and the Packers were hoping Bulaga, a 2012 first round draft pick who had been playing right tackle his first three season would be able to make the change to the left tackle to help with blindside protection. With Bulalga out it is going to be tough for the Packers to keep Rodgers on his feet once again.
When considering what this might mean for the wideouts themselves, I am more worried about Jordy Nelson than I am Randall Cobb. For starters Cobb’s injury is still a bit of a mystery as he was just seen with ice wrapped around his shoulder and it is unknown is he will even need any form of surgery. Jordy Nelson on the other hand has been confirmed as having a knee procedure and will be out for 4-6 weeks, the entire training camp. Nelson also missed 4 games last season while playing hurt in many others, resulting in just 700 yards and 7 touchdowns. When healthy Nelson can be a monster but he isn’t healthy at the moment and was already becoming second fiddle to Cobb.
Cobb has been able to play in 15 games in each of his first two seasons, becoming an all-around Percy HArvin like player that Rodgers looked for more and more. Rodgers has stated that he thinks Cobb can become a 100-catch player, something I agree with. Cobb caught 80 passes in 2012 despite only being targeted 104 times for a 77% catch rate.
If Cobb’s injury isn’t too serious and Nelson can be ready for week one or two of the season, there really isn’t to much to worry about in the long run. But at the moment the injuries have me thinking that maybe I can grab Cobb a bit later in drafts, as I would still love to own him and think he will be great this year and that I will avoid Jordy Nelson even more. The likeliness of his reproducing his 2011 season shrinks with each injury he suffers and each day Cobb grows into a more complete player.