The Green Bay Packers defeated the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, but paid dearly for their efforts. Aaron Rodgers and the offense lost receivers James Jones and Randall Cobb to injury during the game. It appears Cobb will miss time due to a fractured fibula, his anticipated return to the field is in December. The hit that caused that injury was given by Matt Elam, however it was not dirty.
Diving at player’s legs is simply the way defensive players have to play these days.
In the offseason the league made a point to eliminate any blows to the head in the NFL. These rule changes have been somewhat effective in reducing the amount of concussions, but players are suffering knee and leg injuries at an unprecedented rate.
Gone are the days when a receiver had to fear going over the middle because a safety was going to take off his head as soon as he touched the ball.
Now players are hurdling more to avoid the dive, just picture LeGarrette Blount leaping over a defender far too committed to going low. That is the way the league works in today’s NFL.
Players have to dive low, and despite Aaron Rodgers comments that Elam could have avoided diving at Cobb’s knees, he very well could have been fined for doing so.
As long as heads are protected and legs aren’t, something that is wrong in my mind, the rash of leg injuries is not going to go anywhere.
The idea that player’s heads need to be protected so they can avoid health troubles later in life is a noble one, but it is clearly exposing those still playing to more immediate danger. This danger also threatens their paycheck. Leg injuries typically take much, much longer to recover from in comparison to a concussion.
Cobb’s injury is a huge blow to a Packer’s offense that has not looked like the efficient monster that we have come to expect from the McCarthy-Rodgers tandem. In his place will be Jarrett Boykin, who looked downright awful and out of sync with Rodgers other than one 40 yard catch.
He will need to step up in the next month and a half with Cobb out. Although the hit wasn’t dirty, it was a major blow to the Packers.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express