The reason behind the Green Bay Packers’ injury woes, the type that could have receiver Ty Montgomery lining up at running back Thursday night, is systemic, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
And it is true for the whole league, he said.
The Packers will enter Thursday night’s game against the Chicago Bears with seven players ruled out, including the only two true running backs to see game action this season. They’ll miss their top three cornerbacks as well as starting tight end Jared Cook.
The Bears, meanwhile, will play without former Packers Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton as well as other key players, including quarterback Jay Cutler, wide receiver Kevin White, running back Jeremy Langford, cornerback Kyle Fuller and nose tackle Eddie Goldman.
“Today’s NFL, man. These injury reports around the league are just outrageous,” McCarthy told NFL.com. “I don’t know what the statistics look like. I don’t follow all 32 teams. But it seems like every game we’ve been in this year, pretty much both sides have been like, whew.”
He was talking about a league where 10 of 32 teams will have started multiple quarterbacks through just seven weeks. McCarthy said it goes back to the league’s collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011, which called for reduced offseason work. In the process, McCarthy said, players are in worse shape and less able to perform well, which diminishes the quality of play around the league.
“I think it’s clearly a reflection of the training part of it. People don’t want to hear coaches say that, but how can you not be in tune to the fact you have a younger football league than pre-2011 and now you’re spending five less weeks with the players?” McCarthy told NFL.com. “I mean, that’s not the best formula. I think it’s been proven since then.”
The subject of practice time should be a talking point in the next round of CBA negotiations. Enough teams have had the injuries to have a reasonable complaint about what it’s done to their ability to compete.