Assessing season-ending injuries and their lasting effects on teams
It is amazing how much time is spent in the offseason breaking down rosters, depth charts and making projections when all of it can be altered in a split-second. That's approximately how long it takes for an ACL to tear or an Achilles tendon to pop. Careers and team success can change in an instant.
The odd thing is that injuries to teammates hardly causes players to blink. They get so used to it and so immune to the repercussions of life in the NFL that the next guy steps in and the practice or game just keeps going. The NFL merry-go-round stops for nobody. Last year's injury to
So while players and coaches must move on, it is up to the player personnel departments around the league to account for injuries. If a team lacks quality depth and a player goes down, there are no excuses. The Pittsburgh Steelers success in 2008 is the quintessential example of a team overcoming serious injuries yet still achieving ultimate success.
The Steelers lost running back
Here's my look at some of the early season-ending injuries and how they could affect those teams:
Of all the injuries so far, the Panthers' loss of the wide-bodied Maake Kemoeatu is the biggest, literally and figuratively. For one thing, the Panthers have a serious depth problem because of the cap consequences of keeping guys like
If an injury had happened along the offensive line, the Panthers could have signed a hold-the-fort veteran and stayed on track. The problem with the loss of Kemoeatu is there is nobody out there who can come even close to providing the run-stuffing presence he does. There just aren't that many 6-foot-5, 365-pound guys with preposterous strength and surprising quickness working at Wal-Mart or otherwise available to play nose tackle.
The depth behind Kemoeatu consists of second-year player
Losing Reggie Kelly to an Achilles tendon hurts the Bengals more than the casual fantasy-playing fan might realize. No, Kelly is not a key target for
With Kelly out, the Bengals need Utecht to improve his blocking, except that his status is up in the air as a result of a recent concussion. Kelly also had paired with right guard
Stewart Bradley's torn ACL is a major blow to the Eagles on two fronts. As the middle linebacker and signal caller, Bradley was beginning to come into his own from a leadership perspective. That role is especially important now that longtime Philly emotional leader
Cornelius Ingram's injury is not quite as destructive, but the fifth-rounder from Florida had already proven he was going to get significant playing time as a rookie. Ingram's athleticism and surprisingly solid blocking made him the rare second-day pick ready to contribute from day one. Fortunately for the Eagles, veteran
He may not be a household name, but DeVries is just the type of lunch-pail player that new head coach