Judging how a team will do in the regular season, based off of pre-season play, is simply idiotic. I know that many people do it, and swear by it, but I am not one of those guys. But, although I do not believe in predicting a teams regular season wins based off of pre-season play, there is one thing that you must take into account, and that is injuries.
Injuries are a part of the NFL, and regardless of whether they occur in OTAs, training camp, the pre-season, the regular season, whatever it may be, they are still injuries that could keep a player out for a long time. Just today news broke that Atlanta Falconsfullback Bradie Ewing tore his ACL and would be out for the entire season, which is certainly a huge blow.
The NFL is a contact sport, so injuries should be expected, and one can only hope that their favorite team is either 1) really lucky and catches a lot of breaks, or 2) is just really good and can overcome all the suffered injures, hence the 2010-2011 Green Bay Packers. For the 2012-2013 Cincinnati Bengals I do not believe that any key injury could be overcome, simply because they are not that good to do just that. If, say for instance, A.J Green were to be hurt for a large amount of games then I believe that the Bengals would be put in a real tough spot to win Green’s missed games, as the offense would likely be hindered greatly.
Anyways, getting back to the current Bengals situation, in their pre-season opener against the New York Jets on Friday the Bengals suffered injuries to four players. While injuries to the second or third unit could be seen as doable, as the Bengals might be able to overcome them, these injuries all occurred to starters, or projected starters, within the first 20 minutes of the game. Here is the list of those injuries.
Starting guard Travelle Wharton was carted off the field, never a good sign, with what looked to be a right leg injury. He did not return to the game, and the injury did not look good at all. Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga needed help off the field due to a right knee injury. Maualuga was seen standing, and looked ok, on the sideline. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap also suffered a right knee injury, was taken to the locker room, and did not return to the game. Now, just to make it clear, these above mentioned injuries occurred during the first five minutes of the game, not exactly the start the Bengals wanted.
To start off the second quarter safety Taylor Mays, who was in a prime position to possibly take over the starting safety spot, left the game after suffering a huge hit to the head. Mays, in a bonehead move, led with his head in trying to tackle Jets tight end Ben Hartsock. Mays looked very dazed and did not return to the game. Buckle up Bengals fans, this may be the start of a very long season.
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