Green Bay's D-line depth to get tested

The suspension of Johnny Jolly for the full season will test Green Bay's depth on the defensive line, but they seemed prepared for the possibility.

During the course of a season, a team's prospects can be shaped by how many players they lose along the way to injury. In 2008, the Patriots were coming off the first 16-0 regular season record in league history, but lost Tom Brady in the season opener and, while they still put together a good season, weren't nearly as dominant as they had been the previous year. Injuries happen and players are lost. Those losses go a long way from turning a great team into a good team and a good team into a bad team.

While Saturday's announcement that Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly has been suspended for all of the 2010 season and possibly longer for violating the league's substance abuse policy isn't on the level of the Patriots losing Brady for the 2008 season, it is a blow to Green Bay's chances to unseat the Vikings as NFC North champions.

Jolly was arrested in July 2008 outside a Houston nightclub and charged with possession of at least 200 grams of codeine. The charges are similar to the sting operation that busted Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who was arrested after an investigation into his possession of codeine-laced cough syrup used to mix with soda or candy to create a concoction called "purple drank."

While Jolly's suspension will hurt the Packers defense, the one good thing Green Bay has going for it is excellent depth along the defensive line. However, with Jolly's suspension and the free-agent loss of Aaron Kampman, that depth is going to be severely tested.

For a team with Super Bowl aspirations and the pick of some insiders to be the favorite to win the NFC championship, the Pack isn't off to the kind of start they had envisioned for the 2010 season.

SUNDAY NOTES

  • Percy Harvin had a scary moment Saturday at a charity basketball game in Gainesville, Fla. Harvin attempted to make a play late in the game and jumped over the front row of seats, landing full speed into the crowd. He was uninjured on the play, but had the crowd more than just a little concerned about his full-out play.

  • In a story in Men's Journal magazine, Brett Favre said he didn't think that playing a 20th season would make any significant difference in his long-term health. Favre continues to be non-committal about a return to the Vikings, but all signs point to him coming back for a final season in 2010.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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