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Injuries - Expect the Unexpected

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mayoclinic, May 11, 2012.

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  1. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The offseason has barely started, and so far Terrell Suggs and Da'Quan Bowers have both torn achilles tendons and Phil Taylor has torn a pectoral muscle. In football, injuries are not a matter of "if" so when as "when". Every team will have some major ones, and those better able to weather the losses will be more likely to survive.

    In recent years the Pats have had more than their fare share of unexpected injuries:

    2011:

    - Leigh Bodden was expected to come back and pair with Devin McCourty to form a dominant CB tandem, but he failed to recover from his back injury and was cut.
    - TE Alge Crumpler failed to recover from offseason shoulder surgery and was released.
    - All Pro RT Sebastian Vollmer missed much of the season with a back injury, playing in only 6 games.
    - Rookie RB Shane Vereen was expected to add an extra dimension to the offense, but hamstring injuries limited him to only a token appearance in 5 games.
    - Interior pass rushers Myron Pryor (shoulder) and Mike Wright (concussions) missed most of the season on IR. This clearly affected the ability to generate interior pressure.
    - OT Matt Light struggled with a foot injury.
    - OC Dan Koppen broke his ankle and missed almost the entire season on IR. Dan Connolly filled in ably, but the Pats had the worst rushing attack since 2005. The losses of Koppen, Vollmer and Alge Crumpler may have contributed.
    - Starting S Pat Chung missed 6 games with a foot injury. The Pats' depleted secondary was one of the worst units in the NFL.
    - ILB Brandon Spikes missed 8 games with an ankle injury. The defense played much better after his return.
    - Leading sack Andre Carter tore his quadriceps and was placed on injured reserve. It may not be a coincidence that the Pats reverted to more 3-4 use after Carter was lost.
    - Devin McCourty played all season with a shoulder injury, which may have contributed to his sophomore slump.
    - Rookie CB Ras-I Dowling started his first 2 games but missed the rest of the season with a hip injury.
    - Logan Mankins played with a partial ACL tear.
    - Rob Gronkowski suffered an ankle sprain in the AFCCG that limited his effectiveness in that game and the Super Bowl, and may have cost the Pats a 4th ring.
    - TE Aaron Hernandez missed 2 games with a MCL sprain.

    2010:

    - CB Leigh Bodden missed the entire season with a rotator cuff injury.
    - S Brandon McGowan missed the entire season with a pectoral tear.
    - DE Ty Warren missed the entire season with a hip injury.
    - OT Nick Kaczur missed the entire season with a back injury.
    - TE Aaron Hernandez missed 2 games and was limited by a hip injury the second half of the season, and had surgery in the off-season.
    - WR Wes Welker amazingly returned form an ACL injury, but was clearly not at full strength.
    - TE Alge Crumpler played much of the season with a shoulder injury, which required offseason surgery.

    2009:

    - LB Jerod Mayo sufferend an MCL sprain and missed 4 games. He was sub-par after possibly being rushed back prematurely.
    - WR Wes Welker suffered an ACL tear in the season finale against Houston, which took away one of the Pats' main offensive weapons for the playoffs.
    - The entire offensive line struggled with injuries throughout the season, and was held together by duct tape.
    - DE Ty Warren missed 3 games and was limited in his effectiveness by an ankle injury.

    2008:

    - QB Tom Brady suffered an ACL tear in the season opener against Kansas City. No more need be said.

    That's only a partial list. I'm sure I've left some out.

    Based on past history, we can expect that at least 2-3 players will be lost to injury before the regular season starts, and another 10+ will have significant injuries during the season. BB has assembled the deepest roster ever, but I expect he will be tested during the season and will have to dig deep to weather injuries.

    Who besides Brady can the Pats least afford to lose? My guess would be Wilfork, Gronk and Hernandez. The depth on OL, LB and in the secondary seems very good. The Pats appear ready to go to a WRBC approach in anticipation of a possible Welker holdout, and RBBC limits dependence on any one guy.
  2. JMC00

    JMC00 On the Roster

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    Mayo missed 2 games last year and only played 31 (out of the 80) snaps in the Pittsburgh game. Which I think was kind of significant because after that game he played every snap but 6 the rest of season including the playoffs
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  3. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    So much for the shortened offseason workouts in the new CBA cutting down on injuries. Unfortunately, the negative side of this is that players are working out unsupervised which could lead to more injuries or they don't work out all that time and are tight when they go back to work out with the team. Granted Taylor tore his peck in the Brown's facilities.
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  4. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Great breakdown.

    Amazing what we accomplished - and what we almost accomplished - in a season with as many injuries as we just had.

    That 2008 team was a pretty stacked roster, albeit with a bunch of guys on the back nine - and it was strong enough to survive Brady's injury enough to beat up its mediocre schedule for the most part.

    This year's team is the best roster we have had since then. Easily. On paper - that is. Obviously, much can change.

    But I think it has the depth to survive injuries with the exceptions of Brady and Wilfork. No amount of depth can offset the drop-off from an MVP QB to even a great backup; and we have very little depth along the D-Line, our only weak spot on the roster.

    Other than that, Belichick is really going into this year expecting and building in for a war of attrition. He has acquired a lot of middle class veteran depth - and he's also acquired guys that if cut at the end of training camp, might likely not find a sticking place elsewhere soon enough and can become shadow roster. I see Stallworth, Branch, the fullbacks, Addai, Carpenter - guys like that, even if we have to make them expendable at the end of August, they might still be there if we need them in the fall. Depending upon what point guys are at in their career, they might just linger on the street until we need them again.

    Depth behind depth.
  5. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    Teams that are relatively healthy (or have had time to adjust to injuries) generally are able to do well if they can get into the playoffs. Considering the Pats have been annual title contenders, it is a shame that key injuries have played a major role in keeping them from doing something truly historic.

    The Giants had no answer for a healthy Gronk and being able to single cover him had a domino effect on the rest of the game.

    Similar to the Gronk injury, the Jets couldn't match up with Hernandez. He was invisible in the playoff loss. Probably not the Pats year for a title, but get past the Jets and they were only 2 wins away.

    The Ravens playoff loss was a blowout, but these injuries at the end of the year royally messed up team efficiency on both offense and defense. Brady wasn't at full strength so this year looked to be the furthest from a championship.

    With a healthy Brady, the 2007 team pretty much intact and massive motivation from the SB loss, I'm not sure that this team loses. Once Cassel got comfortable in the 2nd half of the year, even without Brady this team wasn't one that anybody wanted to see in the playoffs.

    2007:

    - Brady in a boot before the SB

    2006:

    - Half the team suffering from the flu in an 85 degree dome in January

    It is amazing to think what this team could have accomplished if lady luck had been kind (or even neutral).

    Agree. I like their chances if they even stay relatively healthy compared to the playoff teams they will face.

    Besides Brady, I don't think the injuries themselves matter as much as the timing of them. If the players the Pats are counting on in the playoffs have been healthy and playing for a while, they should be OK. If there are key injuries late in the year or in the playoffs, all bets are off.
  6. JackBauer

    JackBauer On the Roster

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    I wonder if we can cast Aura of Invincibility on Wilfork?
  7. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson Rookie

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    I'd say the loss of Welker in the playoffs a few years ago was a pretty big deal. Granted we have a much more dynamic offense now, but I still think he is one of the most important cogs.

    If Vollmer has chronic back issues, an injury to Solder would be pretty troubling.
  8. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I see 4 major "can't lose this guy..." players, and it's not necessarily because they are the best 4 players on the team:

    Brady
    Wilfork
    Welker
    Chung

    With the new receivers, Welker could fall out of this group this year, because the addition of Lloyd might eliminate the "irreplaceable" aspect of every member of the receiving corps.


    Just my $.02
  9. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    If BB addressed one issue this season it was experienced depth. Just look at the OL now. We could lose the entire OL and still put out another one with players who have started games in the NFL.

    The injuries you cited, MC, from 2012 only dramatize what an exceptional year BB had coaching this team to being a single drive from a superbowl win. Between FA and the draft, if we had those same injuries THIS year at the same spots and for the same length, we'd be better off than we were last year with this potential roster.....and there is STILL plenty of time and cap space to do more to improve before the final 53 have to be named come September.

    Keep your fingers crossed, that this might be the year where we are "relatively" lucky with injuries.
  10. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Absolutely. There is an art to balancing trying to keep players healthy and trying to keep them sharp. It's very difficult to do.

    I've said this elsewhere, but I personally think that the Pats' offense in the last half of the 2008 season may have been their best ever. They averaged something like 33 PPG and over 140 yards rushing in those 8 games, scoring 47 or more points 3 times. The run-pass balance was superb. If the Pats had made it into the post-season I think they could have made a serious run at winning it all, even without Brady. With Brady, I think they would have been unstoppable.

    I actually think Wilfork may be more important than Brady in some ways. I think that there's enough talent on the team that Mallett and Hoyer can win a lot of games, as long as Brady is back for the stretch run. But the defense is really built around Wilfork. Other than that I agree with you - it's much better to lose guys for part of the season and get them back healthy for the stretch run than to lose them at the end.
  11. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The 16 game season (19 to win the SB) is really a war of attrition, as you say. The media focuses on team's starting lineups going into training camp as if that is what determines which teams will be successful. But more often than not it's their depth and how they handle adversity as much as anything that makes a difference. I think "depth behind depth" is a good way of putting it. BB will undoubtedly find some use for the "shadow roster" during the season in order to weather a critical shortage at some position, perhaps more than one. Remember the games in which we could barely find enough defensive linemen to put a team on the field? Or how deep we had to go in the secondary because of injuries? BB not only survives those moments, he seems to thrive on adversity and use it to build character and toughness for the playoff run.
  12. condon84

    condon84 Rookie

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    Good summary.

    But to be honest, injuries are to be expected so it's really not going to be unexpected once we start losing DBs to injuries. That seems like an annual thing. The two guys that I think we cannot lose are Brady and Wilfork. Everyone else we can work around the injuries and still be a SB contender.
  13. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    There is also a element of luck involved. Sometimes with football teams have a healthy year. However given that it is a collision sport the description of football as a "war of attrition" is very apt. THat is why having a deep roster going into TC is important.
  14. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    The problem, of course, is that you have to cut the roster down at the end of training camp.

    Losses that would be straightforward to work around in TC are much worse after cutdown.

    We have one of the deepest DB corps in the league every August.

    This year, we'll have the deepest August WR corps as well.
  15. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It seems everytime we complete a 19 to 20 game season we have a high incidence of injuries the following year, nothing scientific.. but just an observation.

    Need to do a longitudinal study to see if there is any relation between length of season and subsequent injuries the following season..
  16. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Well, whether or not the Patriots have one of the deepest DB corps in the league in August depends upon how you're defining "deep". If you're just doing a body count, they probably go to camp with as many DBs as anyone. If you're talking about talent, though, that's quite a bit different.
  17. condon84

    condon84 Rookie

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    I think this is the main reason why BB is going to keep Edelman around. Because of his versatility, he can fill several 'bottom of the depth chart' spots that otherwise would have been filled by multiple players.
  18. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Rookie

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    Christ, I hope SO.

    If ANYBODY is poised for a season-ending injury, it's HIM.

    And if THAT happens, gentlemen, the BOTTOM drops out. [​IMG]
  19. doesntmatter1

    doesntmatter1 Rookie

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    On injuries. With fingers in my ears- lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala
  20. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Rookie

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    It's called Depth of Talent, gentlemen, and I've been preaching it forever.

    That is why you draft premier talent ~ if you're in a position to do so, as we were ~ for the entire roster.

    We were in a position to upgrade 18-20 spots.

    We upgraded about 6...as usual.

    I'm not saying Mad Bill isn't the best ~ he is.

    But even his approach can be improved.

    Call me every version of crazy that you like...But try to remember your responses when we're scraping the aisles of WalMart in October, as we end up doing every year.
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