2013 NFL Preseason: 7 Injuries That May Stifle Some Top NFL Offenses
2013 NFL Preseason: 7 Injuries to Offensive Players That Teams May Find Offensive
The NFL is undoubtedly the most dangerous of all American professional sports and thus, its players are the most injury-prone. Perhaps there's something in the water, or something in the wind, but the injuries of this offseason appear to be in abundance far more so than in years past.
This is especially true on offense. We have seen injuries in OTAs, training camp and even some lingering ones from the 2012-13 NFL season. But no matter where or when they occurred, the players affected were considered critical components to their teams' Super Bowl aspirations, and their production was counted upon to help their respective teams meet those lofty goals.
Sometimes, the difference between a playoff team and an also-ran is a go-to guy. When that guy comes up lame, someone can either step up and thrive, or the team simply flounders in disappointment. This scenario can happen to even the best offensive teams, where the offense works as a well-oiled machine that can quickly become undone if one of the key cogs are missing. Teams have, and will continue to find patchwork solutions to its injury issues, but depending on the depth of a given team, a crucial injury will continue to cause problems that get progressively worse as the season moves on.This slideshow will serve as a review of those injuries to offensive players that may have the biggest impact for a successful season as far as their respective squads are concerned.
7. Santonio Holmes
Santonio Holmes injured his foot in September 2012, but the true severity of the injury was not revealed until this summer. He has been diagnosed with a LisFranc injury. These injuries involve a rupture in the joint located between the base of the toes and the heel. He also suffered a tear to one of his foot muscles as well. Though there has not been any definitive word as to who will start at quarterback for the New York Jets this year, whoever it is will have one heck of a time trying to drive his team down the field with Braylon Edwards as their go-to guy. We've all seen this movie before, have we not?
6. Pierre Garcon
Though many in the sports media will likely have a compulsion to blurt out quarterback Robert Griffin III's name whenever asked who the most important person on the Washington Redskins' offense is, wide receiver Pierre Garcon's importance cannot be overstated. Though he missed nearly a third of the 2012 season to injury, Garcon managed 633 yards and four touchdowns. He continues to nurse the torn ligament in his foot that caused him to miss games last year. He only caught on pass during Washington's recent preseason victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Expect Garcon's speed and cutting ability to be noticeably affected as this injury continues to heal.
5. Maurice Jones-Drew
Though there are several other players featured in this slideshow who are suffering from similar injuries, Maurice Jones-Drew appears to be the candidate with the best prognosis for a full recovery. The Jacksonville Jaguars' running back only played in six games last season before his season was cut short. But, unlike Holmes, Jones-Drew was properly diagnosed early on and underwent the proper surgery in December 2012. Things are looking good so far regarding his return to form. He played for one series during Jags' preseason loss to the Jets last week. A healthy Jones-Drew should go a long way toward taking some pressure off of third year quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
4. Mario Manningham
Last season, Mario Manningham suffered a horrendous injury to his anterior cruciate ligament and posterior cruciate ligament simultaneously. The nature of the injury makes it a particularly difficult one to rehab because it is impossible to put any kind of pressure on the affected leg for months after the injury. Mario is certainly on his way to recovery as these words are being typed. But in the meantime, his injury means one less outside threat for a San Francisco team that is already in desperate need of them.
3. Jeremy Maclin
As the Philly sports media got itself all in a lather over Riley Cooper's summer activities and the recent selection of Michael Vick as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, Chip Kelly was likely scratching his head trying to figure out who will take some defensive attention off receiver Desean Jackson after Jeremy Maclin's season-ending injury during the first week of training camp. On the positive side, Jeremy recently underwent successful ACL.
But that little ray of shine isn't nearly illuminating enough to brighten a rather dull-looking receiver corp. The Maclin injury, coupled with the Cooper racial slur fiasco, will be the biggest test of team camaraderie since Terrell Owens. Riley Cooper was set to have a breakout season following Maclin's injury, and prior to the video revelation of his own take on race. But no matter the outcome of that affair, Cooper immediately becomes the Eagles' second-best WR. His success at closing the hole left by Maclin's departure may be just what the franchise needs to put that whole sorted racial affair to bed permanently.
2. Percy Harvin
Can Percy Harvin get a break? Does anyone have a rhetorical answer for that rhetorical question? The Seattle Seahawks were supposed to be heaven for a very talented receiver who, up until this point, had spent his entire career diving for wobbly spirals thrown by quarterbacks whose throwing arms are in a heated rivalry with a half-cooked ramen noodle.
But the devil doesn't care about the whims of mice and men, and he especially scoffs at the whims of football players. Harvin's recent hip surgery was successful. but a lot of good that does Seattle. Though Golden Tate and Sidney Rice performed admirably last year, Harvin was supposed to be the guy who would have made their receiving corp top five in the NFL. Now? Who knows.
1. Michael Crabtree
So, Niners Nation thinks it has a gamer in Colin Kaepernick huh? Despite his obvious talents, he sure can't pass the ball to himself, can he? Of course not. But he might have to give it a shot if the San Francisco 49ers lose anymore wide receivers. Mario Manningham? Yeah, they could have easily gotten over that. But Michael Crabtree's 1,105 yards and nine TDs? Well, that's a whole other ball o' wax for a team that can certainly do without anymore balls o' wax.
Though Niners' head coach Jim Harbaugh has gone on record as saying he is encouraged by the progress being made by star wideout Michael Crabtree, only a fool, or a child (or perhaps a foolish child), is still holding out any hope for him to return before Week 4. With two receivers on the mend, look for the San Francisco 49ers to target TE Vernon Wells and WR Anquan Boldin now more than ever. Also, look for running back Frank Gore to up his pass receptions from the 28 he caught last season.