With various medical procedures to key players yet to occur this week, it's a bit premature to project exactly what kind of shape the Packers will be in for their Week Six game at home against Miami this Sunday. But with initial indications suggesting that a number of players will not be able to play — including possibly the team's best offensive player (QB Aaron Rodgers) and best defensive player (OLB Clay Matthews) — the Packers' short-term status looks more than a little shaky.
In addition to the team's two aforementioned stars, other Packers definitely expected to be riding the pine in Week Six include: TEs Jermichael Finley (hamstring) and Donald Lee (shoulder), special-teams ace Derrick Martin (knee) and MLB Nick Barnett (wrist), who was injured in Week Four.
There are also a number of players who missed the Week Five game in Washington because of injuries whose status remains up in the air, including LB Brandon Chillar (shoulder), OT Mark Tauscher (shoulder), CB Sam Shields (calf) and FB Quinn Johnson (glute).
The PFW spin
Rodgers, who suffered a concussion on his final offensive play against Washington, is expected to get limited practice time this week at best. Head coach Mike McCarthy indicated Monday that there is a good possibility Rodgers could miss the Miami game, and if the concussion that sidelined Bears QB Jay Cutler is any indication, a one-game hiatus definitely could be in the works for precautionary reasons as much as anything. Obviously, the downgrade from Rodgers to backup Matt Flynn is substantial, although Rodgers has been far from the MVP-caliber QB he appeared to be most of the time last season in Green Bay's first five games.
McCarthy said Matthews' latest hamstring strain is not as significant as the one he had in training camp, but that it was too early to tell whether both Matthews and DT Ryan Pickett (ankle) could play this Sunday until they had MRIs later this week. But a one-game layoff for a hamstring that has proven to be a tricky ailment to keep under control for Matthews would surprise nobody, considering his extreme long-range importance. The Packers were able to maintain steady pressure without Matthews after he left the game against the Redskins late in the third quarter, but he is the defense's ultimate finisher when it comes to actually bringing opposing QBs down, and his relentless ability to get to the passer would be sorely missed.
Beyond all these unfortunate injuries, though, we would be missing the point if we blamed them for being mostly responsible for the Packers' second loss of the season. Nine penalties (five of which led to first downs), four sacks allowed, as many as eight dropped passes (including at least four by WR Donald Driver) and the questionable strategy by McCarthy of essentially abandoning an effective ground game in the game's final quarter and a half were equally responsible for the team's latest very painful loss.