Usually it isn’t until the bye weeks arrive that the boys at The Shop get crazy and want to swill a big jug of Barbicide and just end things. This year, the fear, the anger and the complaining has come faster and more furious because there are way too many players being sidelined. Injuries are part of the NFL, but it seems like there are more significant injuries coming all the time that are sidelining key players.
Monday at The Shop was almost like a funeral because so many guys are looking at the possibility of having to play deep bench players that they had no intention of ever playing expect for the potential bye work complications. It doesn’t seem to matter the position. Players have been falling like rib bones at a neighborhood barbeque and there seems to be no end in sight. We’re just two weeks into the season and fantasy owners have been burned by draft picks going done, above and beyond the absences of guys like Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Wes Welker – all of whom were sidelined due to offseason problems.
The injury list is fattening up like a Christmas goose and we’re just two weeks past Labor Day. Few owners have been unscathed by the blood bath and, not even mentioning guys like Peanut Tillman, other defensive studs and offensive linemen that have gone down, the fantasy hit list is getting insane already. Check this out, playah.
- Robert Griffin III – A dislocated ankle has sidelined him yet again. The bigger issue may be if Kirk Cousins plays well does RG3 even get his job back?
- Cam Newton – Coming off ankle surgery and broken ribs, Newton missed Week 1 and left his owners in the lurch and those same owners are leery about him moving forward.
- Carson Palmer – After suffering a shoulder injury in Week 1, he missed Week 2 and left his receivers with little to nothing to go from, despite winning against the ratty Giants.
- Jamaal Charles – He suffered a severe high ankle sprain and, for a player who went first or second in a lot of fantasy drafts, having him sidelined for potentially a month could be the death blow for the Chiefs in 2014. Few offenses run through a running back as much as K.C.’s and, with Charles down for the count, things could get ugly.
- Eddie Lacy – He suffered a concussion that knocked him out of his Week 1 game. While he returned last week, he didn’t post solid numbers and, if he suffers another concussion at any point this year, protocol may force him to the sidelines.
- Knowshon Moreno – Coming off a huge Week 1 dismantling of New England, a dislocated elbow is going to sideline him for a month or so and his fantasy value will plummet will riding pine on someone’s bench.
- Doug Martin – He’s got knee problems already and, even if he comes back close to 100 percent, Bobby Rainey has played well enough to cut into his time.
- Ryan Mathews – The big issue with him has always been staying healthy. With the expectation that he’ll miss four to six weeks with his latest injury, he’s on the shelf again.
- Andre Ellington – He’s been listed as questionable the first two games with a recurring foot injury, forcing fantasy owners to take chances as to whether they believe he can go or not. Don’t be surprised if that continues from one week to the next until it heals. But, given his expected workload, it may never fully heal without rest.
- Mark Ingram – He was finally starting to live up to his hype three years in, but a broken hand is going to put him on the shelf for a month.
- Ben Tate – He was drafted pretty high in most drafts to be a starter or flex player because he was going to be handed the starting job in Cleveland. He’s been sidelined and the train may have left the station without him when he finally returns to action.
- Toby Gerhart – He has been dealing with an ankle injury and worse than sitting out is playing and barely getting to the line of scrimmage. A guy typically drafted in the third tier of running backs, he’s almost unplayable at this point – injured or not.
- Maurice Jones-Drew – His best days are clearly behind him, but Oakland was willing to give him a chance to be a factor because Limp DMC has never got the job done after being a blue chip first-round draft pick. MJD may as well put a pin in his hopes for a return to stardom already because, even when he returns, the Raiders are just brutal.
- Lamar Miller – With Knowshon Moreno already out, it doesn’t help that the guy who was supposed to take his place left Buffalo in a walking boot Sunday. Miami can’t suffer any more injuries at RB because they don’t have the depth to survive.
- Brandon Marshall – He is an unquestioned tough guy, which may came back to haunt him because ankle injuries rarely heal on their own and he will be too stubborn to step off and let his team suffer without him. Owners will keep their fingers crossed, because they’ll have to.
- A.J. Green – Foot injuries are always troubling because they can flare up at any time. With Marvin Jones hobbled, there are big questions about whether Green will be able to keep playing without having to take a break at some point.
- Alshon Jeffery – He’s playing through an injury that will test his toughness and, quite likely make it worse before it gets better.
- DeSean Jackson – He doesn’t have an NFL body and his AC joint shoulder injury is troubling because, despite what he’s saying, it’s a painful injury that will become a target of defenders wanting to shut him up.
- Eric Decker – He’s been fighting a hamstring injury since training camp and it flared up again at a key time in Sunday’s loss to the Packers. He’s going to be a question mark moving forward because you never know what you’re going to get.
- Tavon Austin – He’s out a couple of weeks with a strained MCL, but, for a player with his skill set, a strained MCL is only one hard cut away from potential being a torn MCL.
- Cecil Shorts – What’s worse? Missing time in Jacksonville or playing?
- Odell Beckham Jr. – He was drafted to be the primary receiver opposite Victor Cruz, but a hamstring injury has shelved him and he has yet to see his first action of the season.
- Rob Gronkowski – He’s playing, but it’s clear he isn’t the pre-injury Gronk. He’s playing on a pitch count and, for the value fantasy owners put on him, it’s a problem that won’t be solved until he’s able to play a full game without restriction.
- Vernon Davis – Davis got bent backwards Sunday night and left the field on crutches. He will likely be hobbled for a while and for owners in TE-mandatory leagues, the questions surrounding him could be a big issue.
- Jordan Cameron – He’s caught just two passes in two games as he battles a shoulder injury. Even when he returns, owners will be hesitant to throw him in until he proves he can stay healthy.
- Jordan Reed – He hasn’t played yet for the Redskins and with RG3 out, when he does return he’ll have to build a rapport with Cousins when he comes back.
- Marcedes Lewis – About the only Jaguar worth having, he’s down and out for the next two months at a minimum, making a weak offense even more pathetic.
The injury list is piling up early and doesn’t include players that were lost in the preseason and those returning from injuries of their own. Buckle up, boys and girls. At this rate, it’s going to be a bumpy ride in 2014 as the players keep dropping and the next man up because the main man.
- Never bet on the Patriots to lose two straight. Not only did New England crush the Vikings Sunday, after allowing 30 straight points over the span 35 minutes from the second half of the Miami game to Minnesota’s first drive, they went on to score 30 unanswered points and put themselves back where they belong – in the thick of the hunt for yet another AFC East championship.
- Don’t sleep on the Chargers. At a time when everyone viewed the Seahawks as invincible, my main Antonio Gates showed the Old Man River (and Old Man Rivers) keep rolling along.
- What’s up with the Cardinals in the fourth quarter? They’re 2-0 despite being outscored by a combined 31-16 in the first three quarters. Why? Because they’ve outscored their opponents 27-0 in the fourth quarter.
- Not to be outdone, if the Eagles ever get anything going in the first half, they’re going to be dangerous. They’ve been behind by 14 or more points in both of their games, but have worn them down in the second half and outscored them 58-10.
- Two NFC North teams may have saved their bacon in a division where everyone is tied for first. Green Bay trailed 21-3 to the Jets before rallying for a 31-24 win. The Bears trailed 20-7 on the road before outscoring the 49ers 21-0 in the fourth quarter to keep both of them from falling to 0-2.
- Just for the record, I’m letting the boys in The Shop make my pool picks for me. Oh, hell no. I thought it would be a nice gesture to make them part of it, but they’ve been so God-awful, I have to be the wheelman of this organization. Just letting the rest of the fellas know, it’s on.
THE RAZOR’S EDGE
10. Sleepless In Seattle – A road loss is never the end of the world, especially in Week 2, but the Seahawks had three more days of rest and preparation thanks to a Thursday night game to open the season, San Diego was coming in on a short week after playing on Monday night and the Chargers had control of the game almost completely throughout the full 60 minutes. They may not have exposed the ‘Hawks as some players claimed after the game, but you can bet that game film will get a look of looks from coaches throughout the league.
9. Dirty Laundry – We were told the officials changing games by throwing far too many flags for ticky-tack contact penalties would lessen once the regular season started. The refs still feel obligated to alter the game by calling penalties that have been allowable downfield competition in the past. Refs should make obvious calls, but otherwise, there job is to determine winners and losers. Keep the yellow hankies in your pockets, fellas, and let the young men rumble. Maybe they should spend more time making sure guys like Percy Harvin keep their feet in-bounds instead of allowing phantom touchdowns.
8. San Francisco Cutlery – Sunday night’s game had all the earmarks of a San Francisco blowout. The Bears had both of their elite wide receivers banged up and game time decisions, their offensive line was a mess and their defense was embarrassed in the first half. But, suddenly a shot to the chest of Jay Cutler that looked as if it might have broken his sternum lit a fire under Chicago. Other teams blow 17-point leads. Not the Niners…until now.
7. Putting Marty On a Time Out – There are rules in the NFL that time outs from the sidelines can only come from the head coach. The trainer can’t call a T.O. A disgruntled player can’t. An offensive coordinator can’t – or at least that was until Sunday. Marty Mornhinweg, the disgraced former Detroit Lions head coach panicked as the play clock was running down on his Jets offense against the Packers and called a rogue time out that was awarded. Unfortunately for the Jets, it negated a touchdown pass that would have tied the game with Green Bay. Instead, the Packers won. Mornhingweg should get credited with another loss on his brutal coaching record after icing his own offense.
6. Hit the Road Jax – Remember when the Jaguars were ahead 17-0 at Philly in Week 1? Since then, they’ve been outscored 75-10 over the last six quarters. They can already start preparing for last year’s draft because there seems to be little question who will have the first pick next May. If they were in the SEC instead of the AFC South, they might finish third or fourth. Chad Henne took 10 sacks on Sunday alone. Blake Bortles won’t ascend to the starting job. He’ll get in when the drag Henne’s carcass off the field.
5. Turn Your Head and Coughlin – The Giants started last season 0-6 and were dead in the water before Halloween. After blowing a fourth-quarter lead to Arizona, who had to travel cross-country and play a game at 10 a.m. body clock time, the Giants are once again winless two weeks into the season and are in danger of falling off the cliff once again. Tom Coughlin better start circling the wagons, because time may be running out on his tenure with the G-Men.
4. A Not-So-Mighty Oak – The Raiders have sucked for a long time, but they may have reached a new low in 2014. Not only did the Raiders lose their home opener to a Houston team coming off a 2-14 season, they got their black and silver butts handed to them. The Raiders hoped that adding veterans like James Jones, Matt Schaub and Maurice Jones-Drew would help the situation. Instead, they’ve simply become another symptom to the problem. This team is as bad as its been in a while and it’s been bad for a long time.
3. Life Is the Pitts – The Steelers had a chance to grab the AFC North by the throat, opening with the Browns, Ray Rice-less Ravens and the Bengals in the first three games. If they could come out of that stretch 3-0, they could have a huge advantage moving forward. After a second-half collapse against Cleveland in which had the game been five minutes longer, they probably would have lost. Then they completely laid an egg in a 20-point loss to the Ravens. Now they’ll be an underdog at Cincinnati, where they could be on the wrong end of all the potential tie-breakers moving forward.
2. Defense In the Big Easy – A lot of people picked the New Orleans Saints to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Two weeks later, the Saints are taking on water after being a road favorite in two games in which they were favored to win against Atlanta and Cleveland – two teams that combined to lose 24 of 32 games last year. Rob Ryan a.k.a. The Really Big Lebowski has brought his brutal defensive scheme to New Orleans after ruining Dallas’ defense. We’ve said it before and will again – Ryan is the most overrated defensive coordinator in the NFL and will be a big fat albatross around the Saints’ neck all season. Before Saints fans jump into Lake Pontchartain, they should keep in mind that, if the Saints go 8-0 at home (which they often do) and 3-5 on the road, they’re in the playoffs. But, at 0-2, that looks a long way off, especially with a defensive coordinator who looks like he is 108 months pregnant and clueless as to what his job is.
1. Yo, Adrian – The question of parental discipline is front and center and it was clear that the Vikings had a game plan in place that was going to be a heavy dose of Peterson. Without him, the Vikings were toothless and allowed 30 unanswered points and much of the blame is being pointed at A.P. – a star player in the eyes of most and a child abuser in the eyes of many. The boys in The Shop spent Monday talking about the discipline that they received as children and switches and belts were definitely involved. We’ve changed as a society, but Peterson is being seen in a different light and Minnesota will be facing a distraction however this plays out.