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Good Cop/Bad Cop: The Packers' Early Bye

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The early bye week means playing 13 straight to finish the season. This could be a blessing in disguise or a brutal stretch of games for the Pack. Only time will tell. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images.
The early bye week means playing 13 straight to finish the season. This could be a blessing in disguise or a brutal stretch of games for the Pack. Only time will tell. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images.

The Green Bay Packers are one of two teams to get a week off after only three games. Is it a much-needed rest at the right time, or is such an early break unnecessary?

Good cop:

The hamstrings of Green Bay couldn’t be happier. This bye week comes when several key players are recovering from nagging hamstrings and desperately need an extra week of rest to recuperate. Casey Hayward and Morgan Burnett haven’t played yet due to hamstring issues. Jarrett Bush has missed two games and John Kuhn one for the same reason. And Clay Matthews missed the second half at Cincinnati because of his yearly-mandated flare up. Hamstring injuries never seem to completely go away once you have problems with them once, so this bye week helps assure none of the aforementioned players try to rush back too soon. On top of that, don’t forget the concussions. Eddie Lacy and Jermichael Finley are both recovering from the dreaded head injury, which is another that should absolutely never be rushed.

Bad cop:

You could take a bye any week of the year and desperately need it. Even the beginning of training camp saw Hayward, Tramon Williams, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, among others, sit out significant time. This is the NFL, an ultra-physical sport. There will be no weeks in which the Packers are 100 percent healthy. That is the life of every NFL team. It is much more advantageous to enjoy a week off later in the season when you need not only health, but extra rest. After this bye week, the Packers will play in 13 straight weeks until the playoffs come around. Their 1-2 record doesn’t bode well for a first-round bye, either. So if the Packers make it to the Super Bowl, there is a very strong chance they’ll have to play 16 straight weeks before the bye that precedes the big game. That’s incredibly tough for any NFL team. By the time Week 10 or so rolls around, I’m sure the Packers will have just as many injuries as they do now. That extra rest would go a long way in helping them play in February.

The verdict:

In almost any year, I would choose to have as late a bye week as possible. The longer a season grows, the more injuries a team accrues. A later bye week therefore usually results in helping more players recover. But this does seem to be a random early spike of injuries, even for an injury-prone team like the Packers. Heck, they had no running backs at the end of the Cincinnati game. The types of injuries and whom they’re affecting worries me most. Hamstrings and concussions are probably the two injuries that make victims most susceptible to the same damage again. The Packers have incredibly missed Burnett’s security and Hayward’s play-making ability. They also can’t afford to miss Matthews or Finley for an extended period of time. Save for a significant injury to Aaron Rodgers (knuckles, meet wood) I can’t imagine a time when the Packers would need a bye more than now.