Aaron's Answers: Will injuries doom this Packers team?

Aaron Nagler
Packers News
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Throughout the season, I’ll be answering reader questions in a weekly mailbag here at PackersNews.com. If you’d like to submit a question in the future, just email me at anagler@gannett.com.

The Green Bay Packers head down to Dallas to take on the Cowboys this weekend after a their much-needed “mini-bye” following their victory over the Chicago Bears last Thursday night.

That time away should help them enter Sunday’s showdown a bit healthier than they have been, though they will still be working around injuries at key positions. But as a wise man once said, that’s life in the NFL.

Another part of life in the NFL is fans having questions about their favorite team and I, as I do every week, will do my best to answer them for you here. In fact, we start this week with...you guessed it...a question about injuries.  

Let’s get to it.

From Jarrod Briley:

Injuries have obviously been one of our biggest issues throughout this season. Does this team need to be healthy to have a shot at Super Bowl contention? Can we make it with an injured squad?

Aaron’s Answer:

The obvious answer here is “Yes, they absolutely can. They’ve done it before.”

You undoubtedly remember the 2010 Packers team that won the Super Bowl with 16 players on injured reserve. That team dealt with injuries from Week One all the way through the title game in Dallas.

Now, that obviously doesn’t mean a whole lot when it comes to the 2017 Packers. Every team and season is different. But looking back can be instructive if only to remind yourself the types of things McCarthy and company were able to overcome that season, from losing their starting halfback in Week One to losing their franchise quarterback for a game down the stretch when they were fighting for their playoff lives.

No team is “healthy” come playoff time, but some teams do get luckier than others when it comes to which players they lose and what kind of depth they have on hand to replace them. So far, the Packers have actually been pretty fortunate. I know that probably feels odd to read when you’ve just watched them throw out two guards to play offensive tackle, but for the most part, they’ve avoided big, season-ending injuries to key starters.

It’s a long season and there will undoubtedly be more twists and turns along the injury front, but McCarthy and his staff have shown the ability to navigate those waters successfully.

From Mike Bevelacqua:

Martellus Bennett was given a nice 3 year contract, but those aren't always what they seem in the NFL.  Are the Packers able to painlessly move on after this year if he ultimately proves to be a poor fit?

It’s awfully premature to start worrying about a guy being a “poor fit” after he’s played a whopping four games for your ballclub.

But to answer your question, Mike, the Packers have an “out” after next year. They can pretty much release Bennett at any time during the 2019 offseason for a dead money hit of $2.1 million, saving $6.5 million in space. Prior to that, the hit gets more significant, depending on the timing.

That said, I’d suggest letting the season play out prior to entertaining the idea of consigning Bennett to the scrap heap of free agent history.

From Danny Peters:

With Damarious Randall and all of the sideline/benching controversy is there any chance that the packers trade him to a team with RB depth such as New England or Cincinnati?

Aaron’s Answer:

Highly doubtful, Danny.

Yes, Randall’s episode last Thursday night wasn’t a great look, but McCarthy made it clear last week that they expect Randall to continue to grow from the experience and they expect him to continue to be part of the team going forward.

To that end, he was back at practice on Tuesday and will undoubtedly suit up on Sunday. How much he ends up playing is anybody’s guess, but I expect them to stick with him at least through this season. Maybe they reassess things this offseason, but as Ted Thompson has said countless times, he considers his draft picks to be long term investments, especially in the early rounds.

As bad as things may feel around Randall right now, and make no mistake his continuing inconsistency on the field coupled with this latest episode off of it hasn’t put him in a great light, he can still help the Packers win football games. It may not feel like it right now, but it’s a long season and he could absolutely contribute at some point.

With that said, let’s say that Thompson did entertain the idea of trading him. Who is trading for a guy who appears to have a bad attitude and whose play is up and down at best and downright bad at times? And for a running back? The reason Thompson drafted three backs in the draft was exactly so he wouldn’t be caught short handed at the position and need to make a desperate trade, as he did last year for Knile Davis.

No, most likely they’ll let the young guys play at running back and hope to see more maturity from Randall both on and off the field.

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