Think back to the 2011 season for the Green Bay Packers.
They went 15-1, putting up points and yards at a ridiculous rate on their way to a first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Unfortunately, we all remember how that season ended: a crushing, frankly embarrassing loss to the Giants at Lambeau Field in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Everyone knew what the problem was during the season. The defense, which had been the second ranked squad in the league just two years earlier, was a sieve. Unable to stop anybody during the season, it was painfully obvious to anyone watching the playoff loss to the Giants that something needed to happen on defense if the Packers were going to challenge for NFC supremacy again.
General Manager Ted Thompson knew this as well, and he went out and essentially restocked his team with a defense heavy draft in 2012 in an effort to stop the bleeding.
One of his selections was DL Jerel Worthy out of Michigan State in the second round. Sadly, in many ways, this has been the high point of Worthy’s career.
His rookie season was so so. Fourteen tackles, 2 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble. Not bad, but not great. Certainly not what most would expect from a second round draft choice who was expected to make a difference from day one on a defense looking for anything, but still something.
From that point until now, it has been one disappointment after another for Worthy.
Injuries limited Worthy to a mere two games in his sophomore campaign. One assisted tackle is all that he could measure on the stat sheet for 2013.
The hope was that he would be able to put this lost season behind him and compete for substantial playing time when the Packers opened training camp last week. That was quickly shot down when Worthy started camp on the sidelines.
When Head Coach Mike McCarthy uttered the phrase that it “is going to be some time” before Worthy is cleared to play due to a lower back injury after the first day of practice, the name Justin Harrell immediately jumped to mind.
A high draft pick whose career was cut short due to injury. That is what many people think of Justin Harrell. A better description may be a career that never actually took off due to injury. Let’s hope we are not seeing history repeat itself with Worthy.
If Worthy’s social media is any indication as to his attitude, he is determined to get healthy and get back on the field ASAP. One look at his Twitter account and you see what type of mindset he has. He wants to play. You can see it. Injuries just keep slowing the progress of this young man and his career.
Time is ticking down for Worthy. Every day he is not on the field is another day someone else passes by him on the depth chart. Hopefully, his body will allow him to continue his career soon, before the dreaded “B” word starts to get placed on him.
John Rehor is a writer at PackersTalk.com.
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio. ---------------------
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio.You can follow John on twitter at jrehor or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.