The Green Bay Packers were dealt a great blow Saturday, learning defensive tackle B.J. Raji would likely be out for the 2014 season with a tear in his right biceps. This was earlier reported by NFL Network. Raji is widely considered one of the league’s top nose tackles and the loss of his presence can’t be stressed enough.
Head coach Mike McCarthy was “pretty confident” after the team’s game Friday night against Oakland that Raji would be able to return to the team at some point this season. Obviously, McCarthy and the rest of the team must be shaken by the injury now.
Without Raji, Green Bay will look to sophomore Josh Boyd and rookie Mike Pennel to battle it out for the starting job, while recently signed Letroy Guion is nursing a hamstring injury. It was Boyd who replaced Raji against Oakland on Friday, and will likely be the permanent replacement going into this season.
The Packers were looking to bounce back defensively in 2014, having given up almost 27 points per game. Green Bay acquired quality veteran defensive end Julius Peppers through free agency, certainly a huge upgrade at the position.It appears that this team will have its work cut out for them though, given the opponents in their division. It’s absolutely vital that their defense can get after the quarterback, otherwise Chicago’s Jay Cutler and Detroit’s Matthew Stafford will have a field day in the pocket.