It didn’t take long for Sunday’s game between the Steelers and Packers to go from a rehearsal for the regular season to a festival of injuries that both teams will be dealing with for weeks and months to come.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey broke his ankle and is expected to have surgery that will knock him out for a good chunk of the season and the Packers are bracing for confirmation that wide receiver Jordy Nelson will miss the entire year with a torn ACL. There were other injuries, including backup quarterbacks on both sides, but those are the big ones and they left Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ruing the preseason schedule after the game was over.
Rodgers said he thought one preseason game would be enough to get the team ready for the regular season and that he thought others around the league shared that opinion.
“It’s difficult to lose a guy like that in a meaningless game,” Rodgers said, via ESPN.com. “I think a lot of players around the league probably do [dislike preseason games]. At least cut it down, maybe, to a couple.”
Rodgers understands that there’s more than just preparation for the regular season going on, however. He referenced the price of tickets to the games while saying that it wasn’t up to players and coaches to set the preseason schedule and no one in owner’s suites is likely to willingly give up the revenues from the games.
That means the Packers are better off spending their time thinking about moving forward without Nelson. Coach Mike McCarthy pointed to Rodgers as the player that will make that happen.
“In my opinion, great players make other players better,” McCarthy said, via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
There’s still plenty of talent on offense for the meaningful portion of the Packers schedule and plenty of reason to expect success as long as Rodgers is there to tie it all together.