Injury Report: Next Man Up, Week 3
We’ve only had two weeks worth of games, and yet there’s already been an avalanche of injuries across the NFL. Every team will be fallen by some misfortune, but some will handle it better than others. Let’s take another look around the league at some of this week’s injuries, and how they will affect teams moving forward.
Injury: Ryan Clady, Lisfranc Injury
Replacement: Chris Clark & Winston Justice
What They’re Losing: Clady has not been an exceptional run blocker, but few tackles can match his reliability as a pass protector. He allowed just one sack of Peyton Manning last season, and his Pass Blocking Efficiency was fourth-best among all offensive tackles.
What They’re Getting: Clark is a six-year veteran who’s never had more than 27 snaps in a single game. Though he held up fairly well in pass protection this preseason, he was also flagged for three penalties. If Justice eventually takes over, expect some unpredictable performances. He allowed just two quarterback pressures in his first four starts last year, but then crashed back to earth with 36 in his last nine games.
Outcome: Peyton Manning’s lighting-fast decision-making had washed over many offensive linemen’s deficiencies. But the future Hall of Famer struggles most when facing pressure from the blind side. There’s no doubt that this is the kind of loss that could eventually derail a contender’s title run.
Injury: Brandon Weeden, Thumb Injury
Replacement: Brian Hoyer
What They’re Losing: It appears that the Browns are turning the page on the Weeden era. However, he has had a better start to 2013 than the surface stats show. After earning the worst grade of any quarterback last season, he’s had some good throws despite being pressured at a higher rate than any passer in the league.
What They’re Getting: Gone are the days Hoyer was considered one of the best backups in the NFL. He languished without a team for the early part of last season before joining the Arizona Cardinals’ depressing quarterback corps. Once he got the chance to start, he put forth the second-worst Accuracy Percentage of any quarterback with 50 drop-backs last season.
Outcome: No Browns fan should get their hopes up for Hoyer. The best thing that could come of this situation is for Weeden to get back on the field and show enough improvement to get a chance elsewhere.
Injury: Rodger Saffold, Sprained MCL
Replacement: Joe Barksdale
What They’re Losing: Saffold has been notoriously inconsistent in his short career, prone to surrendering four sacks one week and earning a clean sheet the next. His strong finish to last season was enough to give him the 12th-highest pass block grade of any left tackle with just 10 starts.
What They’re Getting: Barksdale had to fill in for two starts last season, and surrendered two sacks and three quarterback hits. His last duty at right tackle came with the Oakland Raiders in 2011, when he allowed four pressures in just 44 pass blocks.
Outcome: Saffold looked like a candidate to take the leap into the upper tier of offensive tackles, but a move to the right side and now this injury may scuttle his development. Barksdale does not inspire confidence in relief.
Injury: Donald Thomas, Torn Quad Tendon
Replacement: Joe Reitz
What They’re Losing: After their left guard spot was a morass of injuries and poor performance last season, the Colts thought they’d solved it by signing Thomas this offseason. The former New England Patriot is an average pass blocker, but earned his keep in the running game last season.
What They’re Getting: Unfortunately, now the Colts have to turn back to the man they originally replaced. Reitz earned a -9.0 grade in just nine starts last season, struggling in both phases of the offense.
Outcome: The Colts offensive line was a huge weak link last season, and Ryan Grigson spent a lot of money to fix it. Jones’ loss likely means less time for Andrew Luck and fewer holes for Trent Richardson.
Injury: Patrick Robinson, Torn Patella Tendon
Replacement: Chris Carr
What They’re Losing: None of the Saints’ defensive backs performed well in 2012, Robinson included. Although he didn’t get much support from his safeties, the 1,071 yards he allowed in coverage were the most of any cornerback in the league. That performance was part of the reason he was replaced in the starting lineup by Jabari Greer and Keenan Lewis.
What They’re Getting: Carr hasn’t had a starting role in the NFL for a couple of seasons, but did earn our 11th-highest coverage grade in 2010, his last year as a starter. With only an average of just 8.7 yards allowed per catch, he excelled at keeping receivers in front of him and limiting YAC. He only played three snaps last season with the San Diego Chargers, but at 30 years old, there’s reason to believe that he still has some good football left in him.
Outcome: Robinson didn’t exactly set the bar high, and the Saints aren’t expecting Carr to come in and play major snaps (they also use safety Kenny Vaccaro often in nickel situations). New Orleans’ defense is bouncing back nicely from their nightmarish 2012 season, and they should have little problem surviving this injury.
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