What teams have already been bitten by the injury bug?
Perhaps the best part of NFL training camp every year is the optimism. All 32 teams are alive and full of championship aspirations. They have all made new additions and look forward to seeing how their new look rosters will mesh. However, nothing can damage a team as early and suddenly as a training camp injury. Around the NFL, injuries are a matter of when, not if, and that includes the preseason. The question is how teams can respond to the injuries that hit them before the season starts. Some teams can be as productive as the 1999 St. Louis Rams, who lost starting QB Trent Green in the preseason and replaced him with Kurt Warner en route to a Super Bowl victory. However, more often then not, teams struggle to replace their missing piece or pieces. I will take a look at some of the bigger injuries that have taken place so far and how their loss will affect their respective teams.
Technically this happened during OTAs and not training camp but the Dallas Cowboys will surely feel the affect of this injury. Lee is the best player on a very bad defense and he has struggled with injuries in the past. He has torn his ACL multiple times and this is an unfortunate injury not just for the team but for him as well. With the news of a suspension to CB Orlando Scandrick, the Cowboys could somehow be even worse than their 32nd ranked defense from last year.
Unlike the loss to Lee, the loss to Dorsey should not haunt the San Francisco 49ers quite as much. As great as he is on the D-line, the 49ers have an elite defense regardless. His injury certainly does not help, but Coach Jim Harbaugh is smart enough to overcome the loss, and this defense is still star-studded enough to potentially be the best in the league. The 49ers have had some other injury issues, especially at running back, where Kendall Hunter is lost for the season and Marcus Lattimore is out for the foreseeable future.
This is a truly sad story. The young running back for the Giants was just advised by doctors to retire due to problems with his neck. It is tough to see such a young player forced to retire, but this also hurts the team. They already have uncertainty at the running back position and could have used Wilson’s speed. Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams both have potential, but neither has ever had the responsibility of being a full time starter. EliManning will have to shoulder most of the load on this offense.
This is another linebacker who got hurt in OTAs and another bad loss for his team, in this case, the Atlanta Falcons. Weatherspoon is the defensive captain for Atlanta and, like Lee, has also dealt with his fair share of injuries. He missed a large chunk of last season, a season in which the Falcons defense was horrendous, and then tore his Achilles this June. That does not bode well for our ‘Hard Knocks’ stars.
The most recent big name injury happened to yet another linebacker, this time to the young, up-and-comer for the Denver Broncos. Unlike the other players on this list, Trevathan will not miss the entire season, but he is out for probably half of the year. This is definitely a bad loss for Denver, but, like San Francisco, they have gained so much talent that they should be able to overcome this loss. The addition of Demarcus Ware and the return of Von Miller leave the team with a strong front seven and one that could become scary good when Trevathan returns during the home stretch of the season.
In the end, there is really nothing that can be done to stop these injuries. Training camp has already been shortened and two-a-days no longer exist. It is almost impossible to take away more contact in practice, as the players do need to get used to hitting before the season starts. Shortening the preseason is also not an option because the owners would not allow a situation in which they lose a home game’s worth of revenue. Team’s have to accept the fact that guys will get hurt and have to make sure they have the necessary roster depth to accommodate these injuries. Luck also plays a role. Teams will definitely lose players, they just need to hope their stars stay healthy. One thing, however, is clear: teams get no sympathy. No matter who gets hurt, the games will still be played.
Thanks to Stuart Epstein for the article idea.
Edited by Joe Sparacio.
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