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Analysis: Atari Bigby Injured

Mike McCarthy announced at his Wednesday press conference that S Atari Bigby "had a significant injury" and "we're looking at a time frame of at least four weeks." I'm starting to feel really bad for the guy. After a promissing 2007 season, last season he was injured at Detroit in week 2, and now he's hurt in the very first game. 

McCarthy has announced that S Aaron Rouse will start in place of Bigby. If they have to dig deeper, my guess is that S Jarrett Bush is the top backup. I'm not sure if they really feel S Derrick Martin is a starter; they might think he's just a special teams ace. 

It's hard to tell who's the better safety; Rouse or Bigby. They each started 6 games in 2008, but they each battled injuries too. Rouse had missed some preseason games with a bad hamstring, but he looked fine against Chicago last week. Here's how the pass defense did in games they started last season:


Game Passing Yards Allowed
Week 1 – Minnesota 178
Week 2 – Detroit 282
Week 9 – Tennessee 180
Week 10 – Minnesota 151
Week 11 – Chicago 159
Week 12 – New Orleans 323



Game Passing Yards Allowed
Week 3 – Dallas 260
Week 4 – Tampa 149
Week 6 – Seattle 83
Week 7 – Indianapolis    229
Week 16 – Chicago 142
Week 17 – Detroit 225

Bigby started in the week 2 game when QB Jon Kitna imploded in the 4th quarter, although Bigby was already knocked out by that part of the game, and the week 10 game at Minnesota when they owned QB Gus Frerotte. He was also the starter during the week 12 fiasco at New Orleans when the pass defense was shredded.

Rouse started the loss to Dallas in which most of those yards were given up on a long bomb to WR Miles Austin and a big screen pass to RB Felix Jones. QB Brian Griese and QB Charlie Frye were awful during the Tampa and Seattle games. QB Peyton Manning had 229 yards passing, but that doesn't include the 99 INT for a TD he threw to Rouse. The pass defense wasn't great in the week 17 game against the Lions

So the pass defense was pretty good when Bigby started, except for the disaster against the Saints. It seems like the pass defense was better in the games when Rouse started, but it's not a huge difference. That would confirm what I expected; that Bigby is the weak link in the pass defense and they're a little better when Rouse starts. 

But there has to be a reason the coaches have never seemed to consider taking the starting job away from Bigby. Based on the coaches determination to start Bigby ahead of anyone else, I'm sure the Packers will lose something, but not a lot, in pass coverage with him out.