Re: Mounting injuries and declining play: excuses, reasons or something else?
posted at 11/2/2013 8:53 PM EDT
The name of the game this year, and probably for the rest of the decade until the NFL commish grows half a brain and stops it, is depth. Everybody in the NFL is getting injured.
Every team that shows up in Foxboro, and that certainly includes what's left of the Pittsburgh Steelers, is missing something important. In the Steelers' case they're out looking for something resembling an offensive line. Two guys went on IR. They had one supersub, DeCastro, and now he's out too. Chandler Jones is going to line up against reportedly the most incompetent one of the bunch. The Steelers could also use a defensive line.
The Pats could have used their defensive starters if a miracle faith healer or even a shaman could pull that off, but the team also took steps to add depth all over. They added Armond Armstead in the offseason. OK, he's not on the field either, but that happens. They picked through the rest of the league's leftovers on September 2 and came up with Houston's reject, which is better than nothing. Now they've picked up Soap at a bargain basement price. Soap can't chase quarterbacks and he can't tackle anybody, but at least as a nose tackle he can hold the point (actually somebody in the Philly media said he couldn't even do that this fall, which explains why he came so cheap).
BB and the front office stashes extra people to get them around the 53 man limit in September.
--There's usually one or more good players who are free agents, who show up early in Foxboro to learn the system, who get cut, who drop through waivers and who sit at home until November.
--There are usually two or more players on the PUP list, some of whom aren't actually injured but who is checking up on their medical claims?
--BB picks up ok players who get bumped out in some team's numbers game.
--All sorts of projects get stashed onto the practice squad, no good immediately but ready to play in maybe eight weeks.
--BB regularly picks up seven players a season and discards six within a week of their initial signings. One of them is a find.
--Then there's the mid-season trade route. Aqib Talib was a complete messup at Tampa Bay. Everybody on this board complained that he was a waste of a fourth round pick, but things worked out pretty well. Soap might get tossed in a week, but we'll see.
If the commish wants to shut down the dive for your knees play, he needs to institute some kind of "you break it, you bought it" system. If an opponent's player goes out even under questionable circumstances, one of your draft picks goes over to your opponent. Prices double in divisional rivalry games and in the playoffs, and of course quarterbacks are more expensive. Your coach had better really want to break some guy's knees in such a system.