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» Futures: UCLA QB Brett Hundley

Beyond the immediate considerations of Hundley's potential, the quarterback's tape raises larger questions about the position.

21 Sep 2005

Black and Blue Report: Week 3

by Will Carroll

Two weeks into the season and what have we learned? Injuries can end a team's hopes or just as quickly give rise to a star like Willie Parker. I don't know any more than you do if Parker is the next Jerome Bettis or the next Timmy Smith, but it's great sport when things like this happen. We see powerful hits that would have you or me in adult diapers for the next month, but in the modern NFL, these men just dust themselves off and head back to the huddle. Although their constitutions and hearts are strong, knees and shoulders are still weak. A sport once described as "violence and committee meetings" can also have a grace and style all its own. I'll admit it -- the game is seducing me again.

Like the NFL this weekend, I'll put in my two cents (and quite a bit more) for continued assistance to the Katrina rebuilding effort. Those are people down there, not just "evacuees," and with Rita coming, the needs won't stop because the telethons do. Let's get to it:

No one is Superman. Curtis Martin was described variously in pre-season publications as "indestructible," "durable," and "injury-proof." There must have been kryptonite in the field when the Jets back went down with a sprained knee. The collateral ligament -- no, the Jets aren't saying which one - was stretched, but not torn, according to a Tuesday MRI. Martin may be able to play on Sunday depending on how his knee responds. The knee is still sprained, just not severely, and it is swollen and painful. Martin will be spending time with the various modalities and medicines used to bring players back. Since Chad Pennington is still struggling with his shoulder, and Derrick Blaylock has been trusted with a whopping two carries so far, the Jets have to hope that Martin is able to make 20 carries with some effectiveness.

Things are bad enough in Minnesota without an injury piling on. Randy Moss is gone, Daunte Culpepper is causing fantasy football suicides everywhere, and now Nate Burleson is down. The new #1 WR in Minnesota sprained his posterior cruciate ligament, an unusual injury even for a turf football team and worse for Burleson. The Hughston Foundation, one of the leading orthopaedic research organizations, says that because doctors see so few PCL injuries, the state of the art for PCL is about ten years behind that of the ACL. The ligament is the knee joint's primary stabilizer, keeping the femur and tibia from having too much give and providing an axis of rotation. Burleson is out for at least one week, possibly as long as six. Once Burleson makes it back to running, he should be fine, so watch for that key.

Erik Coleman had surgery Monday to reduce and fixate a broken and dislocated right thumb. Here's why I love the NFL -- Coleman might play on Sunday. I mean, seriously, one of the most painful injuries to the dominant hand of a defensive back and the guy might be back in the lineup? I can't imagine the combination of desire, madness, and painkillers that would make it possible, but it simply is. Painkillers are both the secret weapon and dirty little secret of professional football. Their use and abuse is something I'd love to see someone like Carl Prine or Chris Mortensen tackle. Coleman, if he plays, would be slightly limited on catches and by pain tolerance.

Ronald Curry re-tore his left Achilles tendon during Sunday's game, just his second game after missing much of last season with the same injury. Curry had looked good throughout camp and the recovery rate for this type of surgery is very high. Curry had previously torn his right Achilles as well, leading to the conclusion that this is a “tissue issue.� Curry has some sort of weakness in his Achilles, perhaps genetic or from some other cause such as gait, strength deficit, or similar. Curry faces another long rehab and his future is now cloudy despite clear talent.

The Texans' problems aren't just offensive. Gary Walker, a key to the team's pass rush, will have a hard time doing much of anything with a separated shoulder. The injury is extremely painful and sources told me that it was still tender and swollen on Tuesday -- definitely a bad sign for his availability. Any contact is going to be dangerous and extremely painful until the joint calms down and stabilizes, so the team is going to have to be conservative at this stage and hope that there's little or no structural damage inside the shoulder. Any defensive player has to have healthy shoulders for hitting or a pain tolerance that I can't imagine.

Byron Leftwich has a long history with injuries. The tales of his playing QB at Marshall with a broken leg and being carried back to the huddle are legendary. Leftwich was battered by a speedy Colts defense, ending with a terrifying hit from behind that appeared to break his leg, his back or both. He somehow made it back in the game, leaving with a one-finger salute for the RCA Dome. Leftwich clearly had his knee open up, likely causing some ligament damage on a normal player, so the fact that he came away with nothing more than a groin strain tells us he's either superhuman or has lax knees. That might have saved him, but that's something that may be problematic long term. Leftwich is expected to start. His return to the game while hobbled raises an interesting question -- when does it make sense to bring in a backup? If David Garrard is 80% the QB that Leftwich is -- and I'll leave that type of calculation to Aaron and the crew -- then it takes only a 20% loss to make Leftwich his equal, and ties go to the healthy. Medical staffs and coaches have to make that kind of value decision on the fly. Knowing those numbers would be a very interesting study.

The Jags weren't as lucky with defensive back Donovan Darius as they were with their huge QB. Darius tore his ACL, weakening an already weakened defensive backfield that in Week 2 is already decimated. Darius will have surgery and faces a year of rehab before returning to the field. At 30, he's likely to be at risk for being released next season. The holdout this spring wouldn't have any effect on the injury, despite that suggestion by Jack Del Rio. The Jags will keep chopping wood, I guess, if not winning games.

The Packers didn't necessarily get good news with images on Bubba Franks's knee. While the tests found no structural damage, a deep bone bruise often heals on its own conservative schedule. Listed as doubtful, Franks is yet to participate in drills, and more worrisome, initial reports indicated a hip problem. Perhaps Mike Sherman misspoke, but this bears close watch. While a knee problem should clear up without further effects, hip injuries not only have a tendency to linger, they can quickly complicate into career-ending or changing injuries. On the heels of a new contract, that can't be a good thing for the transitioning Packers.

Back at this season's combine, the talk centered on which player was better -- Auburn's Ronnie Brown or Auburn's Cadillac Williams. Both had their plusses and minuses, their cheerleaders and detractors, and at the draft, both ended up in Florida. It's far too early to tell who's right, though Williams has an early lead with nearly 300 rushing yards. Williams is also the one of the pair that walked out of last week's game in a protective boot. Williams strained a muscle in his foot during the first half of last week's game, receiving a painkiller injection at the half. Despite this, Williams is expected to play on Sunday, though he may be limited. He'll be a risky play either way -- he could be forced from the game quickly if the pain is too much, or he could rack up another 100-yard day. Expect something in between.

I'm the guy that played Michael Vick over Donovan McNabb yesterday in my fantasy league (ouch ... I'm 0-2!) Vick left the game late after his oft-problematic hamstring tightened up, leaving backup Matt Schaub on the field with the game on the line. Vick's visible frustration won't help his legs. Sources indicate that Vick is likely to be listed as "probable" and a decision will be made at the end of the week. Vick's mobility should be limited and there's a significant chance of re-injury. As exciting as he is, Michael Vick is the definition of risk in the NFL.

Bumps and Bruises

Note to self -- bruised sternum apparently does not affect QBs ... Eric Johnson is doubtful for this week with plantar fascitis. This is a slow healing injury that could need surgery. Be careful ... Priest Holmes has some shoulder soreness, but should be ready for Sunday. He'll likely lose a few carries to Larry Johnson because of the injury ... Ben Roethlisberger is going to join the ranks of QBs wearing knee braces. That any QBs still don't wear them surprises me. Colts fans saw Peyton Manning's knee saved by his brace this weekend.

Posted by: Will Carroll on 21 Sep 2005

79 comments, Last at 01 Mar 2013, 7:58am by Crystle

Comments

1
by James, London (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 12:24pm

"Leftwich clearly had his knee open up, likely causing some ligament damage on a normal player, so the fact that he came away with nothing more than a groin strain tells us he’s either superhuman or has lax knees"

Or that the Jags are lying on the injury report again

2
by DavidH (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 12:31pm

Open up?

What does that mean?

3
by Dr. Nick (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 12:35pm

Does anybody have a case of duct tape I could borrow? Bill Bellichick is bringing 7 or 8 cornerbacks into my office today.

4
by Brandon (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 12:40pm

quick comment on the ronnie brown cadillac arguement....honest to God i said during the draft i felt cadillac should be taken over ronnie regardless of the technical draft stats(40 times,vert,etc.) cadillac was the better player in college and not that it matters TOO much but everyone in alabama said cadillac is the best runningback EVER to come out of that state..(BO Jackson included) but it comes down to the better 40 times or football instincts,production...most of the time id take #2..

5
by Fiver (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 12:49pm

On the NFL Channel's morning show there was an interesting conversation.
Byron Leftwich flipped off the Colts DL Coach, John Teerlink, late in the game on Sunday and was fined $10K. Reportedly, Teerlink gave Leftwich the throat-slash gesture, and that prompted Leftwich's response.

Dan Reeves and someone else were discussing this incident, and the guest host, Boomer Esiason, said "You want me to tell you what happened here, I can tell you what this is about." Then he went on to relate how John Teerlink used to be DL coach for the Vikes during the John Randall days. According to Boomer, Teerlink teaches his DLineman to hit QBs low and try to take them out of the game. His rep is really bad in some league circles, according to Esiason. He also said that DelRio wouldn't be stupid enough to say anything in public, but that he wouldn't be surprised if the Jags send a message back the other way during their next meeting with the Colts.

This conversation set off an alarm bell in my head. Why? Because two weeks ago the Colts DLine knocked out Ravens QB Kyle Boller by tackling him low.

It might be interesting for FO to go back through this guy's coaching history and see if there is an identifiable trend of opposing QB's getting hurt. Has FO ever done anything like that before?

6
by Led (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 12:49pm

As a Jet fan, I sure hope they don't give Martin 20 carries unless he's close to full effectiveness. He hasn't been very effective this year (not that he's had great blocking) and he looks a step slower. At this stage in Martin's career, I'll take Blaylock and the rookie, Cedric Houston, at 100% over Martin at 80%. But no one can deny that Martin is an amazingly tough and durable dude.

7
by mactbone (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 12:50pm

Any word on Akers' injury? Apparently he went back into the game but I'm curious if it did/will affect his play.

8
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:07pm

Note that it's a hamstring pull on his non kicking leg.

9
by bubba_bmt (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:10pm

It's sad when we're concerned with a kicker's injury. But I also need to know Akers' status since the only kicker available to me is Edinger - he of zero points in week 2!

10
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:13pm

"I don’t know any more than you do if Parker is the next Jerome Bettis or the next Timmy Smith, but it’s great sport when things like this happen."

With the high injury rate for RBs, it happens all the time, which is why tailback is the most fungible position in football except for kicker or punter.

11
by SJM (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:13pm

Should I just cut Eric Johnson now, or wait until later in the week when it's confirmed that he'll have surgery and be out for the year?

Good thing I've been playing Cowboys star TE Jason Witten and... oh wait, what?

12
by Aaron (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:14pm

It happens all the time ... but not with undrafted free agents, particularly those who didn't even start in college. That's a large part of what makes Parker's story so interesting.

13
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:15pm

"Curtis Martin was described variously in pre-season publications as 'indestructible,' 'durable,' and 'injury-proof.'"

Well, he was pretty durable. His worst injury (and he would be the first to say it) was a nasty concussion he got in 2002.

He's listed as Questionable, so he might not play. Flip a coin.

By only beef is that I thought the Jets should have used Lamont Jordan more last year, given his production, and slowly eased the NFL rushing champ into a more equitable rushing regimen this year to avoid the potential of a major injury.

Blaylock is a good back. Use him.

14
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:18pm

"Their use and abuse is something I’d love to see someone like Carl Prine."

Give me some and I'll abuse them.

15
by mactbone (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:29pm

Isn't the plant foot just as if not more important than the kicking foot? You have to have a stable base to swing a leg with that much velocity.

16
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:30pm

"Note to self – bruised sternum apparently does not affect QBs."

You know, that's such a rare injury to QBs we don't know how to judge them. On average, only one QB every year records a chest contusion.

On offense, most chest injuries occur among WRs (who face the helmets of CBs coming at very great speed toward their nipples, ribs and back).

Among defenders, Linebackers and safeties get the most, usually because they absorb the shock of a running back's melon.

I am glad to see, however, that the NFL issued a fine for "spearing" against Lavalais. My only concern is that people will see that as a high sum (compare it to the levies on Trotter, et al, for their scuffle) and conclude it was because he hit a QB.

The hit wasn't cheap. It would have been completely legal had he led with his shoulders or fists and not lowered his head for impact.

17
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:31pm

Yah, but does the hamstring contribute to that?

Got me. These are the questions we need Will for!

18
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:35pm

"because doctors see so few PCL injuries, the state of the art for PCL is about ten years behind that of the ACL."

I'm glad you wrote about that, Will. That alone is worth the price of admission to FO. Your words are worth remembering every time Tice gives a press conference this season, just at the point when he assures reporters that Burleson is "probable" and that "he should be back any time now."

The reality is that the coach and his medical advisors really don't know when their WR might come back. PCLs are tricky. Rest might be the only solution. A long rest.

19
by charles (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:35pm

"I’m the guy that played Michael Vick over Donovan McNabb yesterday in my fantasy league"

Seriously, did a bruised sternum scare you off that much from taking mcnabb at home against the niners coming off a loss? That had to be the reason you did this, right?

20
by Jim A (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:37pm

On a related subject, click my name for a NY Times article on how injuries such as Matt Birk's relate to the CBA negotiations. A quote from sports economist extraordinaire Andy Zimbalist: "The lack of guaranteed contracts is a natural outcome of football players getting hurt."

21
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:40pm

"particularly those who didn’t even start in college."

This tells us two things: (1) Now we know why UNC was such an underperforming team in the ACC; (2) the best teams still invest better than others in pre-draft and free agent scouting.

The Steelers were sold on Parker from the beginning, and the stop watch only aided their assessment. Parker was the Lamont Jordan of the Tarheels, and all it took were some long reviews of game film and a few workouts to see he could make the practice team.

His intelligence, work ethic and SPEED made him a perfect match for a team with one of the best o-lines in the AFC.

Having a man like Bettis schooling him doesn't hurt, either.

Free Willie!

22
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:41pm

“The lack of guaranteed contracts is a natural outcome of football players getting hurt.�

The players, their agents and (sort of) I agree!

Now all we need to convince is the NFLPA, the owners and most of the posters in these rooms.

23
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:53pm

JimA,

"He is insisting on widening the definition of football revenue, and increasing the percentage that goes to the players - but nothing more radical than that."

That's really not quite fair. The NFLPA is arguing for a much more generous "benefits cap" for the athletes, especially to pick up their medical care in later years. The NFLPA's CBA fund for devastating injuries has really be overwhelmed since the 1993 deal.

They don't have enough cash to go around. To their credit, neither they nor the NFL really counted on the skyrocketing injury rates, although the writing was on the wall post-1978.

24
by Ned (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:58pm

The Darius case is an interesting one because he played through the franchise tender and they wanted to franchise him again this year but finally agreed to a contract. It is sort of the owners' response to the players' use of the Javon Walker case. I don't buy it, but the Jags certainly wish they still had him franchised right now and hadn't given him a real deal.

25
by Dave (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 2:33pm

Dan Rooney's son was a high school coach in North Carolina and saw Willie Parker play. He kept up with Willie all through college and convinced the Steelers to sign him. Willie appreciated that Rooney had maintained contact with him for all those years and accepted the free agent contract in 2004.

26
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 2:46pm

Dave, I was told the deal would have gone nowhere had the scouts and o-coaches not blessed the transaction.

I saw him at camp and thought the kid was great.

27
by Drew (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 2:46pm

Re: #5

This conversation set off an alarm bell in my head. Why? Because two weeks ago the Colts DLine knocked out Ravens QB Kyle Boller by tackling him low.

I had a similar thought. But in my opinion (full disclosure: I am a Colt fan), the two hits were very different. I haven't heard anyone call the hit on Boller dirty, or even shady. The Leftwich hit was much more vicious, and almost certainly would have drawn a flag if the ball hadn't been fumbled beforehand.

I admit I don't know the rule exactly, but I would think that the defensive players are given more latitude in the case of a loose ball. That no penalty was called, and that Jacksonville didn't seem to be lobbying for one, would support that idea. If anyone knows for sure, I'd be interested in getting the full scoop.

28
by Kim (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 2:46pm

RE: Akers status. You mean no one drafted Simoneau as a kicker in their fantasy league? Shock! [Note: that had to be the funniest thing I've seen in a long time.]

29
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 2:57pm

Speaking of Willie, as a Pats fan who is extremly worried about the upcoming game, I am feverently hoping that Bettis will be cleared to play.

30
by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 2:58pm

Interesting idea comparing players by percentages, Will. What would be even more useful is if you could also break it down by situation. Like, say, Garrard is 80% of a Leftwich when the team is tied, but Garrard is only 30% of a Leftwich when the team is down by more than 7 or down with less than 3 minutes left in a half.

If you could measure things like that, I think it would really change the way we deal with backup quarterbacks... instead of "guy sitting there just in case" we could have "guy sitting there in case we're down by 3 with 2 minutes left," in the case where you have a backup that runs a good 2-minute drill and a starter that doesn't, sort of like coaches already do with situational running backs.

Maybe we could make a basic unit of Quarterbackness the Leftwich. What a fun name.

Leftwich.

31
by noahpoah (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 3:14pm

Re: #5 and #27,

It may or may not be the case that the Colts' DL coach coaches dirty, but it seems to me that the nastiness of the hit on Leftwich was as much a function of his awkward bending over to pick up the ball and try to make something of the play as it was of the Colts players hitting low.

Leftwich was bent halfway over, fumbling with the ball, and the Colts defense was 'swarming' the way they do (now).

As for payback, the late hit on Manning's knee looked a bit retaliatory to me...

32
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 3:21pm

Fnor:

Then we could get those conversions into Google, and then we could ask Google Calculator "tom brady in leftwiches divided by peyton manning in leftwiches" and finally get our answer!

33
by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 4:02pm

#27:

The special rules for hitting a quarterback only apply when he has the ball or if he had handed-off or passed the ball more than 2 of the defender's steps ago. When he loses the ball in a fumble, he becomes just a random guy, much like the punter on a punt return. Yeah, you can't hit in the short period after he kicked the ball, but once he becomes part of the play as a defender, he's just some guy you can push around (though that's blocking, not tackling. But the idea is the same.).

Hehe, Leftwiches.

34
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 4:04pm

Except, of course, you're not allowed to use your hands or hit him from behind.

35
by bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 4:51pm

Re: #5,
Fiver, These are the things I know about Teerlink: He hounds the DL about their weights, reportedly saying "I'm the only 300 lber allowed in this room" when they meet. Grrrrrr. NOt in the calm mold of Tony "Coach Rushmore" Dungy (because of his stone-faced unwavering expression). He likes speedy guys.

Aside from that, I don't recall the Colts DL injuring any other QB in any suspicious manner for the three-plus years he has been the DL coach. Even last season when they had good sack numbers. Odd that this tendency would erupt now in two consecutive games. I suspect it is just chance. I also think Dungy is pretty classy and would not put up with the dirty crap.
Finally, Boller was not exactly "tackled low"--There were a lot of bodies in the backfield, he was stepping/running away from the sack, and a DL on the ground reached out and actually grabbed his toe/foot. I'd have gone for the ankle (a surer grip) but I assume he grabbed whatever he could. If that's a teachable technique, it's not a high-percentage one.

36
by Jerry (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 7:06pm

“Curtis Martin was described variously in pre-season publications as ‘indestructible,’ ‘durable,’ and ‘injury-proof.’�

Of course, when he left Pitt, he was considered injury-prone.

37
by calig23 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 11:18pm

Re: #29

Speaking of Willie, as a Pats fan who is extremly worried about the upcoming game, I am feverently hoping that Bettis will be cleared to play.

Why? Parker is the starter. Bettis would likely see only goal line duties and late game action if the Steelers are ahead.

38
by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 11:43pm

Any carry that goes to Jerome Bettis instead of any of the other RBs on the Steelers roster is a favor to the Steelers' opponents.

39
by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 11:59pm

The same Bettis that came off the bench and tore it up last year?

I don't get it.

40
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:34am

Is it me or are head injuries missing from the injury reports? (I know they were underreported in the past... but it seems they still are). During the Patriots-Panthers game when Troy Brown had that 71 yard reception whoever knocked him out of bounds got knocked out... then got up and probably played again.

I'm just recalling all the recent talk of the dead Steelers and how one of the problems is they can't trace concussions... seems like it's not helping.

41
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 12:49pm

"Is it me or are head injuries missing from the injury reports?"

It's not you. No one believes the injury reports accurately reflect head trauma.

Why? It's a hidden malady. A recent NCAA study found that up to 75 percent of all concussions in Division I football go unreported, so you can imagine what it's like in the Wally Pipp world of the NFL.

The NFL estimates about 200 or so players receive concussions every year. Individual clubs such as the Steelers, however, believe that number is grossly undercounted, and the likelier figure is, perhaps, 50-60 percent of the league, much like it is in the CFL, where better studies have documented the toll of head injuries on players.

The defect of the injury report, of course, is that it only tracks injuries so serious that they affect the next game's performance. In the NFL, close to a fourth of the players DO NOT EVEN LEAVE THE GAME AFTER GETTING A DIAGNOSED CONCUSSION.

Much less the game seven days later.

That's according to the NFL itself. You can't make this stuff up.

What we do know, however, is that at no time in the history of the league have head injuries been as well diagnosed or reported as they are now.

42
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 12:50pm

Full disclosure: As a football player, I don't recall ever getting a concussion. But as a boxer, I got plenty. And as a Marine, even more.

I'm not even sure if I'm typing this.

I only awaken when I see the bylines of Peter King or TMQB.

43
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 12:53pm

By the way, do you guys know why NFL teams open their Thursday practices up to reporters? Even when the teams are scrimmaging?

It's because of the injury report. The list comes out and the NFL, in a really pretty good notion of vetting data, realized that they needed independent observation to prove whether teams were lying or not.

If they say a guy is "doubtful" for Sunday's game on Thursday, then he better not be practicing that afternoon. If a guy is listed as "probable" for Sunday's game, reporters will see that he's there, maybe doing light drills but in the mix nevertheless.

I've always given Tags a lot of credit for finding a real world solution to a problem.

And he's a lawyer!

44
by Kami (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 1:00pm

Re: #27, 31

I was starting to wonder if I was the only one who thought the "viciousness" of the hit on Leftwich was mostly his fault. He fumbled the ball and disorientedly bent at the waist trying to pick it up again, when he should have just fallen on the ball. The Colts defenders just converged on him, and bent at the waist as Leftwich was there was nowhere to hit him but low.

The injury to Boller just seemed like random chance to me.

45
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 1:15pm

Carl #42: That explains a lot.

46
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:33pm

Click on my name for an update on the Shortt scandal involving prescriptions for steroids and their inevitable link to NFL players.

47
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:10pm

I'm so glad to see that doctor was indicted.

The thing that's always confused me is if steroids really are rampant in professional sports, why aren't more doctors losing their licenses, and going to prison?

And they should be losing their licenses. They're doing severe harm to their patients. I wouldn't want a doctor like that.

48
by Mike B. (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:49pm

Speaking of Panthers, anyone know what's up with Stephen Davis?

49
by ChicagoScott (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 7:41pm

Both Boller & Leftwich got tackled from behind as they scrambled away from the Colts D-Lineman. There is nothing wrong or dirty about that. DL's get flagged when they dive low for the knees (knees don't bend that way) instead of hitting them in the midsection.

If the Colts DL's start getting fined for dirty hits, then you can start calling them dirty players.

(I will admit this though-- on the play when Leftwich got bent backward, Reagor was the 3rd or 4th guy there & he launched himself into B.L. & probably speared him with his helmet. With the fumble & the chaos in the pocket, no flag was thrown.)

Also, I think Leftwich flipped off Teerrlink earlier in the game before that vicious hit.

50
by MDZ (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 12:07am

Last year the Colts did not injure any QBs, despite being 3rd in the league in sacks. In 2003 David Carr sprained his ankle getting sacked in a play similar to the Boller play. Carr missed the next week, but was back 2 weeks after the Colts game (but was injured again, I don't know if the injuries were related). The only other QB injured against the Colts was McNair dislocating his finger because he hit a D-lineman's helmet, McNair returned to the game. No Colts D-lineman has been fined under Teerlinck for an illegal hit. I didn't look at 2002. But in the past 39 games (including playoffs) the Colts have injured 4 QBs, all on legal/fluke plays. And only 2 missed a game because of their injuries.

51
by Joey (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:00am

#47
I've wondered the same thing for years about the Hollywood doctors who end up with just about all their celebrity patients hooked on prescription drugs.

52
by Daniel (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:13am

Ditto on the Stephen Davis post (#48). What's with Vivek saying, "Stephen Davis is back"? Did he just mean Stephen Davis is back, as in back on the field, or did he mean Davis is back in top form? He meant the former, right?

I dunno, any other pessimistic Stephen Davis fantasy owners out there? Someone in my league recently offered me Steve Smith for Davis, and I'm tempted to pull the trigger. Any thoughts?

53
by Jamie T. (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 12:33pm

#43

Have you ever looked at a Jeff Fisher injury report? Everyone is questionable unless he's out. And by out, I mean he's got a cast on his broken leg or something of that nature. Right now they have two pretty important defensive guys not practicing because of "knees", Haynsworth and Sirmon. Still, both are listed as questionable even though it's very doubtfull that either will play. This is a hallmark of Fisher injury reports. It's been like this since I can rememeber and no one has said anything about it. He never lists anybody as probable or doubtfull...I mean NEVER.

54
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 12:51pm

I just fired up the databases for 2004, 2003 and 2002 to spot check to see if Jamie was right.

He wasn't. The odd thing is that the Jags have DISPROPORTIONATELY MORE PROBABLES than other NFL teams.

As I've written before, this doesn't really matter because only 9 percent of all "Probable" grades for a particular injury remain there. The other 91 percent inevitably migrate to more serious "doubtful" or "questionable" or "out" or "IR" designations.

I will say this again: WE NEED TO GET AWAY FROM THE MYTH THAT TEAMS DO NOT REPORT INJURIES.

The penalties are too stiff if they don't. Over a four year span, the only teams that recorded a statistically significant greater amount of injuries compared to the rest of the league were the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams, two teams that play on Turf.

Over a span of years, this evens out leaguewide for all the other teams.

I have performed this statistical analysis for several teams (including two that are in the Jags' division) that believed a certain team in New England (no names here) was fudging injury reports.

They weren't.

I say again, THE JAGS, OVER THE YEARS, REPORT MORE PROBABLES THAN MOST OTHER TEAMS. THEIR INJURY REPORTS DO NOT HAVE FEWER OR MORE LISTED INJURED PLAYERS THAN OTHER TEAMS.

The team is represented on the Competition Committee. I doubt the coach would want to get caught "cheating" on the injury report and then pay the steep penalty.

55
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 1:00pm

Another thing, coaches really don't write the injury reports. They hand them out at the press conferences, but it's really more of a collaborative blotter composed by the team doctor, trainer and coach.

The team doctor really has the final say. His staff are the people filling out the Department of Labor and Workers' Comp paperwork anyway.

No doctor is going to risk his license by saying a player is well and he's not. CYA.

56
by ABW (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 1:09pm

Um, Carl, isn't Jeff Fisher the coach of the Titans? I don't doubt that your conclusions are sound, but what the Jaguars injury report had on it doesn't exactly refute what Jamie said...

57
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 1:11pm

Ooops. I thought he wrote Del Rio. Doh!

58
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 1:20pm

Let me run down the checklist:

1. 2000-01 Within the norm of number, no probables
2. 2001-02 Within the norm (a lot of probables)
3. 2002-03 A lot of questionables, but the number is similar to the rest of the league
4. 2003-04 Ibid
5. 2004-05 A lot of questionables, but about 20 percent of the reported injuries in the "probable" range

It seems as if the team reported far more "Questionable" injury grades in 2002 and 2003, but normal rates in 2000, 2001 and 2004.

Call it a wash. With many of these "questionables" distributed disproportionately among the defensive players for the Titans, that would seem about right.

59
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 1:21pm

So, ABW, it's not true that the Titans fail to list probables. More often than not, they list about the same amount as the rest of the league, and the number and variety of maladies is no different than the average for the league.

Mythbusters CHECK!

60
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 1:24pm

What I would say about the Titans is that their staff is probably pretty conservative about injuries. If they think a player is 50-50, they mark him as "Questionable," which is what they should be doing.

I'm not sure that's over-emphasizing the injury. I think a lot of teams under-emphasize it, and the player goes out and gets hurt again, which is why that 91 percent show up down the road.

As I tell people, disregard the Probable. It's meaningless. It might as well be a Questionable because (nine times out of 10) playing on it won't make it go away. It will only make it worse.

61
by Fiver (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 1:27pm

Click on my name for some follow-up in the Indy Star on the Boomer Esiason vs John Teerlink thing from earlier this week.

The stats on flags and injuries suggest there's no identifiable trend here, but I found this part of the article interesting....

Teerlinck, in his fourth season with the Colts, has not made himself available to the media since similar allegations arose in the 1996 season when he was an assistant coach with the Detroit Lions. During that season, Teerlinck was summoned to the NFL offices and reportedly warned about his teaching methods.

Dunno if Teerlink deserves the bad rap that Boomer Esiaison laid on him, but can anyone else think off-hand of another coach being warned by the league about his teaching methods? For instance, has Alex Gibbs ever gotten called to the principal's office over his blocking techniques?

62
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 1:39pm

"It’s sad when we’re concerned with a kicker’s injury."

One out of every five kickers suffer a serious injury on the field every year. Among punters, it's 14 percent.

63
by James, London (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:01pm

The Laxity regarding concussions astonishes me. Rugby, certainly in the UK has a mandatory THREE WEEK rest for concussed players. Get concussed, no rugby whatever for 3 weeks. I believe this applies for both codes.

Does the NFL need a player dead during or shortly after a game before they start to treat this as a serious issue?

64
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:43pm

As I’ve written before, this doesn’t really matter because only 9 percent of all “Probable� grades for a particular injury remain there. The other 91 percent inevitably migrate to more serious “doubtful� or “questionable� or “out� or “IR� designations.

What do you mean here?

For every 100 probables, the next week, 9 of them will still be probable, 91 will be worse? How many of them disappear entirely? Is that included in the 9%?

65
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:51pm

"For every 100 probables, the next week, 9 of them will still be probable, 91 will be worse? How many of them disappear entirely? Is that included in the 9%?"

For every 100 probables, only nine will stay there or disappear. The other 91 will, in a week or two, become doubtful, questionable, out or out/IR.

This comes, naturally, because of two sources: (1) The injury actually was worse than the team suspected, and the following week the doctor downgraded the condition; or (2) The player played on it and it became worse.

But the vast majority of injuries aren't "Probable" anyway. Most teams do NOT start a player off at probable. It makes up less than 25 percent of all injury listings.

66
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:52pm

Of the 9 injuries (out of 100) that were originally listed as "probable," 80 percent of them will disappear entirely (and never reappear) within three weeks.

67
by bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 3:35pm

RE #61, Teerlink, dirty QB hits,
Fiver, you didn't mention the best part of that article, Dungy's quote at the end:
"No, I don't. We've always been one of the least penalized teams in the league. I guess the statistics would speak for themselves. I think they have referees watching (for illegal hits on quarterbacks)."
How 'bout that for Dungy's dry sense of humor. You mean they have guys whose job it is to watch for that kind of stuff? And they're not named Norman Esiason? Whoda thunk? Clearly Boomer has an unpleasant history with Teerlink, who may have crossed the line in the past but seems to be clean the past few years. Next thing you know, he'll finger Teerlink as the guy who injected stanozolol into Rafael Palmiero's rump.

68
by Rowdy (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 5:03pm

I second the request for information about Albert Haynesworth of the Titans. What's this about highly unlikely to play? Latest official word is "questionable" ... anyone know more or better?

69
by Jim A (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 5:23pm

Re: Shortt (#47), if you saw the Armen Keteyian interview on HBO, Shortt claimed his prescription doses were within the legal limits and were medically ethical treatments intended to heal and repair injuries. His patients were constantly monitored and tested for any adverse side effects. Keteyian had previously interviewed other scientists and body builders who gave credence to the idea that steroid usage can be safe and effective when used by healthy adult males in controlled dosages.

I'm not a doctor, so I don't know whether any of this is plausible, but I think the mainstream media has done a terrible job of investigating and educating the public on this issue, in light of conflicting expert opinions and the lack of long term research studies. And if I were a pro athlete considering using performance enhancing drugs, I think I'd find a doctor like Shortt rather than get my juice from the local gym or in Tijuana.

70
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 5:35pm

I got the feeling they were taking the steroids to rebound from the season's wear and tear faster, JimA.

Apparently, the indictment also now includes distribution of human growth hormone (HGH) that, most likely, wasn't being used to rehab but to gain an advantage.

The South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners -- a board of doctors -- suspended Shortt's medical license in April. They say Shortt prescribed testosterone to four unnamed male patients "in doses and frequencies that were extremely unlikely to have been prescribed with any legitimate medical justification."

His license is suspended for that, and he might have it permanently revoked for a strange case wherein he allegedly gave a woman intravenous hydrogen peroxide to treat her multiple sclerosis, a procedure which (again allegedly) killed her.

71
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 5:41pm

Well, that's what I first thought. I've later come to think that the players routinely used and abused the drugs to gain competitive advantage over their peers throughout the NFL season.

72
by Jerry (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 7:31pm

Re #69:

The original 60 Minutes II story was a follow-up of sorts to one about a questionable death Shortt was involved in (probably the one Carl mentions in #70). Apparently, some of the documents that one of the involved lawyers got included the prescriptions for the Panther players, at which point it would have been easy for the lawyer to call the news people and say, "Look at this."

I would be surprised if there aren't doctors in every NFL area who are perfectly willing to write these prescriptions for their local players.

73
by Jim A (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 12:46am

I'm not trying to defend Shortt, but I don't think we need to convict him before he gets a fair trial, either, especially concerning a topic with so much public misinformation. I suspect Jerry is right about there being plenty of other similar doctors working with NFL players and other pro athletes.

I applaud Keteyian and HBO for daring to investigate the subject far deeper than any other mainstream media outlet has been willing to go.

74
by Jim A (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 12:56am

There seems to be a very fine line between using anabolic steroids and HGH to heal/rehab/prevent injuries and using them to enhance performance. Mark McGwire claimed he took andro to help him stay healthy and recover from the physical wear and tear of playing every day. And sure enough, after he stopped he became extremely injury prone. Given the pounding football players take each week, one could argue that to rehab is to enhance performance.

75
by Fnor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 2:06am

Good points, Jim.

The real meat of the issue is a matter of dosage. A little steroids does wonder to rebuilt muscle mass. A little bit more does wonders to give more (and is illegal). From what I gather, the dosages in his case have been of the larger variety. Though I may be wrong.

76
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:06pm

Fnor:

The real meat of the issue is a matter of dosage.

I don't agree. Steroid use has side effects regardless of the dosage. If you use them regularly for a long time, it can have side effects then too. If you use it once, okay, you'll probably be fine. But a lot of the side effects are incremental problems. Keep in mind that steroids suppress the immune system - repeated use will make the user more prone to infections.

Are there medical reasons to prescribe them? Sure, but the fact that this doctor is trying to claim that an NFL player needed help to regain muscle mass is ludicrous. "Hey, Doc, I'm not in NFL playing form, but I am still in better shape than 99.99% of the US population" is not something in need of treatment.

77
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:47pm

The other issue is that it's a strict liability offense. If you've got it in your system, then you're responsible for the use.

Players understand that when they agree to play in the NFL. When they pop positive, they only have themselves to blame.

78
by mitch (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:32pm

Re: Will's prediction about Cadillac Williams and the strained arch;

36 carries-yikes!

79
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