Monday, August 13, 2012

Packers injuries create concerns and opportunities; sign Benson

If the 2012 preseason is beginning to make fans think of a couple years ago when the Packers were a walking MASH unit, there's good reason. There are currently something like 18 players who are being held out of practice because of various injuries. That obviously creates opportunities for those players who are the next guys in, as they say. But it also creates concerns for coaches and fans alike.

Desmond Bishop...out for season?
LB Desmond Bishop may very well be lost for the season after suffering a serious hamstring injury in the first preseason game at San Diego. He'll be undergoing surgery for the repair and then only time will tell if he is able to make it back this season. If it looks as if it will take most of the season before he's able to even begin rehab, we can expect the Packers to put Bishop on the injured reserve list to open up a roster spot. Given the lack of depth apparent on the offensive line, also due to injuries, that open roster spot might be used for an O-lineman who can play tackle and guard.

With Bishop sidelined, second-year player D.J. Smith will be getting much more playing time. The coaches like his instincts, although he is a bit undersized for the position. Still, if he makes plays he will get playing time. Check out this article by Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as to how coaches and players -- including Bishop himself -- view Smith's playing ability.

Davon House...out for a few weeks
One of the players the Packers were excited about last year, who was lost to injury, is defensive back, Davon House. Unfortunately, House -- like Bishop -- sustained an injury in the first preseason game. House injured his shoulder. It was first thought it might be a dislocation but the team is now saying it's a sprain. House is wearing a sling and will miss at least two to three weeks of practice; whether he's ready for the start of the regular season or not remains to be seen. Others will have to step in and take advantage of their opportunities.

Big problems on O-line
The unavailability of left tackles Marshall Newhouse and Derek Sherrod left the Pack starting journeyman lineman, Herb Taylor, for the Chargers game. The result was that QB Aaron Rodgers was under pressure the entire time he played, as Taylor was being outplayed by a rookie defender. The Packers have to be concerned about the lack of depth and quality, especially at left tackle right now. Newhouse was back at practice today and for that, we assume, Rodgers gave thanks to the Almighty.

Pack adds Cedric Benson to backfield
After a few days speculation, the Packers signed veteran running back Cedric Benson to help bolster an inexperienced and punchless -- so far -- running attack. Nominal starter, James Starks, had a horrible game in San Diego, dropping the ball whether it was passed or handed off to him. This apparently continues a type of play that coaches have seen to date in training camp. Alex Green wasn't able to show much, and Brandon Saine was held out of the game. Ryan Grant was still available but an analysis of stats apparently indicated that Benson had more pop left than does similarly-aged Grant. In a radio interview with Larry McCarren today, head coach Mike McCarthy said he thought Benson would be a good fit. Hope he's right. We won't have a chance to see Benson in action until the third preseason game because of CBA rules regarding "padded practices" ... or something. Go figure. The way it's gone for the Pack this training camp he'll probably get hurt before he gets in a game.