Spin the wheel of injuries
Posted Aug. 01 at 10:20 PM
Went on a little mini-vacation on Saturday, soaking up sun by the pool a few miles away from home (and kids). But that didn't stop me from monitoring NFL injury news, which is why it was a really scary afternoon.
The carts were busy that day, my friends. Percy Harvin. DeSean Jackson. Montario Hardesty. Friday it had been Dez Bryant, Sunday it would be Knowshon Moreno. A swath was cut through the league's talented first- and second-year wideouts and running backs.
The good news, I guess, was that none of the injuries will necessarily cost these players the start of the season. Moreno and Bryant are somewhat shaky; certainly missing much or all of the preseason will limit their roles in week 1, and definitely hurts their draft stock. Hardesty's value also takes a hit, and Jerome Harrison's increases, since being sidelined for 2-3 weeks will work against the rookie taking the starting job.
But things could have been worse. Any one of the leg injuries could have easily been reported as a broken ankle or torn ACL. "Carted off the field" can apparently mean anything from "back at practice that evening" (Harvin) to "Jerry Jones wasting no time ripping his coaching staff for having his star rookie practice too hard" (Bryant).
You don't expect to be reminded that quickly why 1) you shouldn't draft too early and 2) the preseason is too long. On the flipside, a shorter preseason would make it even less likely these guys would all be fine for the regular season, so at least there's that.
A couple of days later, we can look at the trail of injuries and find the positives -- lessons that go beyond "don't draft too early." And here they are.
Injury-prone players get that reputation for a reason. If you took Hardesty in your dynasty draft, you knew going in that he was an injury risk. And so he is. Hopefully this is just a minor bump, but no one can say they're surprised that a guy with an injury history suffered an injury early on in camp.
Jerry Jones is Jerry Jones. There's been speculation that Dallas' training camp opened earlier than everyone else's because Jones wanted the first headlines of the preseason. Mission accomplished! He then proceeded to not so subtly rip the coaching staff for having his players practice too hard. There's no pleasing the man, but it's nice that he tipped his hand about how much he loves Bryant. Look for the rookie to quickly become a large part of the offense once he's healthy.
Size matters at least a little bit. Supremely talented players like DeSean Jackson and Percy Harvin are a little smaller than the "ideal." That's often why those guys something slip a little in drafts, as did Carolina's Steve Smith. Don't get me wrong; the prototype size of wideouts who can't play a lick isn't anything fans should chase any more than NFL teams should. Who wants a huge receiver that's worthless? But I did think it was interesting that the guys who got hurt were 180-pounders. Sometimes the extra talent does bring a little extra injury risk. It's a valid reason -- suspension and holdout excepted, of course -- to move somebody like VJax ahead of DJax, if you've got them ranked similarly.
(Granted, saying that means a bunch of 6-1 wideouts will get hurt this week.)
Don't draft too early. Moreno, Correll Buckhalter, Jerome Harrison, and Hardesty all saw their value yo-yo over the weekend. Both teams, in fact, now should have an entirely new player who becomes draftable in leagues -- James Davis? Peyton Hillis? Lance Ball, of all people? Not that players don't also get hurt in the final exhibition games, but why draft so early that you can't avoid the early August injuries?
Anyway. The weekend was bad, but things could have been worse. Sadly, over the next two weeks, they probably will be.
Posted by Brandon Moore | Aug. 03 at 12:05 PM
I can't see moving VJax ahead of DJax in yearly drafts as he is suspended and with a potential holdout looming. And if they trade him to somewhere like Tampa, it could be a long year for him, coming into a new team not knowing the playbook with question marks around him. Now, if you were to compare Fitzgerald or DJax, then you make a good point. (DJax 8 & Fitz 9 on the standard FI list)
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