The National Football League (NFL) season has officially kicked off and teams are already ravaged with player injuries. The New York Jets were decimated first when their third overall pick from the 2019 draft, Quinnen Williams, and their four-time pro bowler, C.J. Mosley, both went down Sunday with significant injuries while playing the Buffalo Bills. Williams suffered an ankle injury while Mosley injured his groin. Week two could not have gone worse for the high flying Jets as their backup quarterback, Trevor Siemian, suffered an ankle injury midway through the second quarter. They were forced to rely on their unproven third-string quarterback Luke Falk. Their starting quarterback, Sam Darnold, was previously declared inactive with infectious mononucleosis. The Jets, with Falk at the helm, lost to the previously winless Cleveland Browns 23-3.
The Kansas City Chiefs were also hit by the injury bug when three-time pro bowler, Tyreek Hill, was rushed to the hospital after slamming his shoulder into the ground causing what doctors have called a “sternoclavicular joint injury.” The All-Pro Hill is expected to be out of action 4-6 weeks and will be badly missed by the Chiefs, who currently have the most explosive offense in the NFL.
Three weeks into the NFL season, the quarterback position has been the worst. Jacksonville Jaguars’ Nick Foles was supposed to be the answer at quarterback this season; instead, he exited his first game with a broken left clavicle. The former Super Bowl most valuable player (MVP) is now set to undergo surgery and is expected to miss at least eight weeks.
Incredibly, New Orleans Saints quarterback, Drew Brees, and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, both future hall of famers, are also out of action. Brees suffered a right hand/finger ligament injury while Roethlisberger went down with an elbow injury. Both franchise quarterbacks will require surgery; Roethlisberger’s injury is considered season-ending while Brees is expected to be back by week 8. The Saints, who were expected to be a top 5 team this year, have plummeted in the NFL power rankings. Pittsburgh, who despite losing All-Pros Le’veon Bell and Antonio Brown, was still considered to be in contention for the playoffs. However, with the loss of Roethlisberger, big old No. 7, the future for the 2019-2020 Steelers’ season now appears bleak. The loss of an elite starting quarterback like Brees and Roethlisberger can often signal the beginning of the end for an NFL franchise’s playoff or Super Bowl hopes; for the Steelers, things appear very uncertain. As for the Saints, they will need major help from their backup quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, in combination with a speedy recovery from Drew Brees if they want a chance at the postseason.
The long and rigorous NFL season teaches us each year that only the most healthy, durable, resilient and tenacious teams make it to the next level. The injury bug often changes the trajectory of an NFL season, and specific injuries to certain players can result in a team’s entire season coming to an abrupt end. This only becomes accentuated if that injury is the most important position on the field (quarterback). Inevitably, injuries to almost all players happen; however, as injuries continue to pile up each week, it will be the teams that have learned to adapt and have planned for these changes that will have the best chance to make the playoffs. However, the ones that don’t can kiss their postseason hopes goodbye.
Printed with permission from D.Bedford