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In an opening week where even the elite teams in college football looked mortal, the SEC had two big surprises in Texas A&M and Georgia defeating their South Carolinian opponents by big scores.

05 Oct 2005

Black and Blue Report: Week 5

by Will Carroll

I'll admit that the game looks different to me since I began writing for Football Outsiders. I haven't watched as much over the past couple years, but watching plays with a DVOA filter in my head really changes things. Is that play really productive? Is the back gaining garbage yards at the end of the game? Watching the yardage-based numbers at halftime ends up telling me less than I thought Sterling Sharpe was telling me, when I can decode what he mumbles. What's really different to me is just how violent the game looks. Colts fever is catching here in Indy, but the play I remember is Bob Sanders laying the wood to Chris Brown in the first quarter. If Sanders had hit me like that, I'd be in adult diapers and drooling. Brown popped up and ran back to the huddle. Cris Carter might say that injuries are no excuse for losing, but I think they do explain a lot. Despite nearly ending up on the report myself this week with carpal tunnel, let's get to it:

It might seem that no one gets hurt more than quarterbacks. Not true, according to injury statistics, but you could argue that QB injuries are noticed more and affect a team more than any other. Of course, that could be argued as perception as well. Few would argue that losing Michael Vick wouldn't crush the Falcons, however. Despite reports that say Vick's MRI was negative, many of those same reports confusingly say that Vick has a sprained MCL. Combined with Jim Mora's crystal meth coaching style, it's unlikely that Vick will be reigned in, staying with the slashing, risky style that makes him both so dangerous and so frustrating. The MCL sprain is considered a "Grade I" – ligament sprains come in three flavors, one through three, indicated by a roman numeral. You'll also see occasional references to a "II+" or similar, the plus indicating it's a bit more severe than the garden variety numeration.

Vick is hardly the only player running around on a damaged MCL. Daunte Culpepper has all that and more. (Can't you imagine some of these QBs at their so-called "Quarterback Club," comparing injuries in some sort of surreal poker? "I'll see you your MCL and raise a sports hernia!") Culpepper says he's a "warrior" that will play through a Grade I MCL strain as well as bursitis, a swelling of the small sac of fluid that helps cushion joints. With the bye week, Culpepper should have both time to heal and practice time to adjust his game if necessary. At worst, it will limit his mobility a bit but shouldn't affect his ability to do much else.

Injuries not only remove a player from the lineup or reduce his effectiveness, they test depth. In the modern short-roster NFL, that depth goes away quickly. It gets really bad for teams when they lose multiple players at the same position, forcing guys that were focused on punt coverage into the starting lineup. The Seahawks have two receivers, Bobby Engram and Darrell Jackson, that are hurt more than the team is saying. Engram played the entire game Sunday with fractured ribs and while it's likely he can play, the pain is limiting him physically and mentally. Jackson has a sprained knee, likely another MCL injury – yes, they seem to be on an uptick in the NFL – and while he also played, he wore down as the painkillers wore off. Both will need rest and treatment to get back to an effective state. The Seahawks figure to limit their usage, hoping that Peter Warrick can take some of the load as he comes back from a groin strain. One signal that the Seahawks think the injuries are serious is the re-signing of WR Jerheme Urban. Teams often tip more with their actions than their press conferences.

Could Chad Pennington come back? The Jets say no, but there seems to be some confusion about whether or not there's a tear in his rotator cuff again. My sources tell me that the answer is no, mostly. There's definitely inflammation very near the repaired area, but magnetic resonance images are no subsititute for opening someone up and looking. Shoulders are especially tough to get definitive images on due to their structure. Add in that almost any QB is going to have some level of damage inside the joint due to hits and wear and you can understand why there's some art to sports medicine as well as science. Expect Pennington to miss much of the year as he attempts to strengthen the muscle rather than have a surgical repair that would end his Jets career, if not his football career. The specter of Don Majkowski is already being raised.

Someone has to get the ball to Carson Palmer. The Bengals, garish uniforms and all, have lost nearly everyone on the interior of their line. Rich Braham strained (say it with me) his MCL in Sunday's game, one that also saw offensive guard Larry Moore head to the injured reserve with a knee injury. The Bengals went with a lefty snapper for a while in OG Eric Steinbach, but the team thinks that Braham will be back. Braham played through a herniated cervical disk a couple years back, so he knows how to play with pain. Still. The Bengals may have to go with untested (and unpronounceable) rookie Eric Ghiaciuc if Braham isn't ready. The Bengals have to protect Palmer as well as get the ball to him, which will be a severe challenge given this series of injuries.

Palmer will also be wondering if Rudi Johnson will be lined up behind him all week. Johnson has been battling cartilege problems in his knee for much of the season. Johnson, another in the series of great backs that have come out of Auburn, may get his load reduced and some of his carries given to Chris Perry. Again, depth problems for the Bengals may be their undoing, forcing them to play players that are at less than 100% – or as close to it as players get in-season – which increases the risk of injury. Bengals sources expect a short passing game to be the focus of this week's offense, in essence shifting emphasis from a position of roster weakness to a position where there's more depth.

It's time to introduce an injury analysis term from my work in baseball over here. The term is actually borrowed from network science and is "cascade," a related series of failures. Too many times in injuries, we'll see one incident or injury lead to a change that leads to yet another injury. For example, Cadillac Williams was protecting an injured foot, using an orthotic insert that he'd only practiced with for a few days. Did that contribute to his hamstring strain? It's possible that his gait or stride was changed enough to contribute. Cascade injuries happen a lot, especially when NFL players try to fight through an injury that's reduced them to limping, painkillers, and improvised solutions. Williams' injury status is being closely guarded by the Bucs, but team sources expect him to play after a game-time decision. Over the longer term, these early season injuries may show that this Cadillac might break down under the NFL workload – or they may save him enough carries to keep some gas in the tank.

The Packers are on full lockdown regarding the knee of Ahman Green. Green left the game with what was initially called a bruise. It didn't look bad when he stayed on the sidelines after the injury, but the ice had no effect on the swelling and further tests after the game showed … something. The symptoms and sources indicate that Green has sprained at least one ligament in his knee, while some reports have the problem in Green's quadriceps. Either way, it's unlikely that Green will be able to take the full load on Sunday, opening up carries for Najeh Davenport. Mounting injuries – as well as a record that makes the Packers look more like my fantasy team than a contender – could force some big changes in Green Bay sooner than many people think.

This one is up there for most painful appearing injuries of the season. Roland Williams, one of the Rams tight ends, dislocated his right knee against the Giants. It's clear that the turf had something to do with the injury, but this one was so freakish that it's hard to blame anything for this. Williams was carted off the field and is likely done for the season. Williams had previously hyperextended the knee, giving some sign that he had some laxity in there that may have contributed. Is that a cascade? Probably not, but I like how you're thinking.

Bumps and Bruises

It's always scary to see any player come off the field on a stretcher. It's been years since Daryl Stingley, but he always comes to mind when I see these types of situations. It's good to report that Terrence Murphy has movement in all of his limbs after a devastating hit on Monday night. Murphy still has lingering pain and weakness and could well be out for the season. It's important to remember how much worse it could have been if the NFL medical staffs weren't so prepared and trained for these worst-case scenarios … I don't follow college football much since leaving school, back when my school was good. After reading Allen Barra's The Last Coach, I've been watching Alabama. That of course led me to the gory Tyrone Prothro injury. You don't need me to tell you that's a career-ending injury … If you believed that Isaac Bruce was going to play last week, then keep believing that the Rams WR won't miss at least a couple more … If Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens keep playing this well with their sports hernias, how soon before all the cool kids want one of their own? … Charles Rogers down for a drug suspension? Hmm, is there a substance that weakens the clavicle? … Things that look unappetizing in a banner ad: Spaghetti and meatballs … Remember how Duce Staley was used as a decoy when he first returned for the Steelers? Expect similar treatment for Jerome Bettis.

I'm wrapped up in baseball playoff coverage at Baseball Prospectus, but not so wrapped up that I'm not looking forward to next Sunday. Colts-Niners? It doesn't get much better than that … Oh. I guess that Montana guy is gone. How about Young? No?

Posted by: Will Carroll on 05 Oct 2005

31 comments, Last at 07 Oct 2005, 6:41pm by Carl

Comments

1
by Mike W (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 1:29pm

You mean Shannon Sharpe? Sterling speaks well. Shannon was hilarious when he did those EAS ads - couldn't tell what he was trying to sell without the video.

2
by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 1:29pm

Chad Pennington : Don Majkowski ::
Brooks Bollinger : Brett Favre

?!?!

Pennington might get one more chance.

3
by Independent George (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 1:54pm

Why, oh why, did I follow that Tyrone Prothro link?

4
by JasonK (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 2:11pm

Any insight on Will Peterson's back injury? Or did I miss coverage of that last week?

5
by Adam H (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 2:19pm

Oh nice. I just ate a big plate of leftover lasagna too. Gross.

6
by achey breakey (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 2:32pm

I'm curious as to what makes Prothro's injury career-ending. I had a similar looking break that healed and rehabbed pretty darn well, and gives me far less trouble than a nagging (but way less impressive looking at the time) knee injury. Though I am by no means a pro athelete nor do I have anyone tackling me regularly.

Is it the ligament/tissue damage would make Prothro's return unlikely, or are the bones just too unreliable now to bear that kind of stress?

7
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 3:20pm

" If Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens keep playing this well with their sports hernias, how soon before all the cool kids want one of their own?"

When they learn that it involves shearing the muscle away from the place that holds your balls.

8
by Purds (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 3:42pm

Is there anyone out there who thinks Bruschi WON'T come back this year? They didn't put him on IR. He's working out. The Pats desperately need a good ILB.

9
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 4:26pm

Vick will likely not be playing by the end of the season, and if does make it, he won't be nearly as dangerous. Those nagging leg injuries will eventually add up. Having an offense entirely revolve around a QB who is an average passer, but a spectacular runner, is a game of Russian roulette. Vick will be healthy enough at the end of the season to make the Falcons a Super Bowl threat about every other year, until he finally loses that burst that makes him unique. I think this is an off-year.

10
by Flying Spaghetti Monster (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 4:46pm

"Things that look unappetizing in a banner ad: Spaghetti and meatballs"

Do you dare disrespect Me?

11
by Mac Thomason (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 4:47pm

The surgeon who put the rod in Prothro's leg says that he'll play again, giving a 6-12 month recovery timetable. On the other hand, that surgeon is widely suspected by Alabama fans of being incompetent and a liar.

12
by Mike Carlson (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 6:28pm

what's the difference between a contusion and a bruise?
between a hernia and a sports hernia?

13
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 7:31pm

I hope you mean Shannon Sharpe...? Sterling did a fine job subbing for the ESPN Sunday night crew a couple weeks ago.

14
by robert (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 7:53pm

the cowboys will shock the world on sunday by upsetting the high flying eagles this sunday. the reason simply special teams. the cowboys will feast on a block punt for a td, the cowboys t.thompson will run the opening kick-off for a td. t. newman will return a pass intended for g. lewis for a td and julius jones will have a 100yd day with a td and p. crayton will add a td, that said the score will be cowboys 35 eagles 34. eagles will try to make another comeback but will fall short.

15
by Craig (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 8:10pm

Will, Eric Ghiaciuc is pronounced Eric Guy-Check.

16
by Harris (not verified) :: Wed, 10/05/2005 - 10:09pm

Been at Michael Irvin's stash have you, Robert?

17
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 10/06/2005 - 1:07am
18
by Jamie T. (not verified) :: Thu, 10/06/2005 - 12:24pm

Will, I realize that this is just one year. Never the less, I made the statement about Fisher's injury reports without the hard facts in front of me. I was simply going off of memory and so far this year he hasn't proved me wrong. Is one year not a big enough sample size to go on? Where can I look up the NFL's injury reports over the past few years? It may be that last year was the fluke year. I'll admit that I didn't pay very much attention to the Titans' injury reports last year because it was too damn depressing.

Anyway, I went back to the begining of this year to look at the entire Titans' injury list and their opponents. Here's the revised stats.

This week:
Titans- 1 out, 6 questionable
Titans' opponent- 2 out, 2 probable

This season:
Titans- 4 out, 28 questionables
Titans' opponents- 9 outs, 3 doubtfulls, 8 questionables, 13 probables

I'll keep you all updated, because I just know you guys look forward to this post every week. ;)

19
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 10/06/2005 - 2:32pm

"Is one year not a big enough sample size to go on?"

Of course.

"Where can I look up the NFL’s injury reports over the past few years?"

The agate in your local sports page. The Thursday stats tend to be the most important.

"It may be that last year was the fluke year. I’ll admit that I didn’t pay very much attention to the Titans’ injury reports last year because it was too damn depressing."

The Titans' injury reports have always skewed more toward Questionable than Probable, but the NUMBER and DURATION of names on the reports is no different than any other teams in the NFL except Indianapolis and St. Louis.

What Tennessee is doing actually is a GOOD thing. Many of us have been pushing the NFL to abandon the PROBABLE rating as meaningless because only 9 percent of all players who get this designation stay with it. The rest have injuries that are soon exposed as far more serious.

Probable is the deceptive marker, not Questionable!

Why you feel it's important to debate whether a player is 25 percent likely for a game or 50 percent likely is odd to me. It's an arbitrary grade that has no meaning in the NFL. Opposing teams treat "Probable" listings as "Questionable" already.

At the same time, "Doubtful" really means "Out." Very, very few players listed as "Doubtful" ever play. Some, such as Duce Staley, show up on the sidelines in uniform, but don't enter the game.

Some experts have suggested the NFL just get rid of Doubtful, too, and mandate that a player so injured that he's only 25 percent likely to play not even suit up. He probably shouldn't be out there anyway.

By saying a player is Questionable instead of Probable, Tennessee actually is following a trend in the league over the last five years for more accurate injury reporting, not less.

You're criticizing the team for doing the right thing!

I'm still trying to figure out why.

20
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 10/06/2005 - 6:43pm

between a hernia and a sports hernia?

One's a hernia (when something pokes through a tear in a sheath), one is chronic abdominal pain due to any number of injuries to lower abdominal muscles that somehow got labelled as a hernia when it really isn't.

21
by Jamie T. (not verified) :: Thu, 10/06/2005 - 6:58pm

Oh, I forgot it was Carl who called me out back in week three, not Will. Sorry.

So, to answere your question about why I continue this debate; If you'll remeber my first post on the subject was in respons to the following:
-------------
"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!"
----------------
And, of course, I stated that Fisher always lists injuries as questionable. A fine trap I laid for myself, as a blanket statement like that is just waiting for some smart ass to shoot it down by cranking up the old database. Ok, that's fine, I can take the hit. But my point was that Fisher does list alot more players as questionable than other teams do. What were the exact percentages over the last two years? You mentioned that he has listed alot of questionables but didn't dive very far into those numbers.

So, my reply and the thing that started this whole mess was a reply to the guy who said that that having the Thursday practices is a good way to vet the veracity of the team's report. I belive that's hogwash and as a sort of proof I named Fisher's injury reporting practices...as I remember them.

I guess you and I differ on what the real argument is about then. I too think it's good gamesmanship to keep a team's injuries under wraps. It's one of the things a coach can do strategicaly to help a team. And the Titans are going to need all the help they can get this year. No argument with you there.

My main contention is the fact that you fired up a database and catagoricaly shot my argument out from under me. You didn't say I was mostly correct, you didn't say I might have an argument, you flat out implied that I was ignorant while at the same time I didn't have the same numbers with which I might be able to interpret those to back my claim up. That's what I have the problem with.

I have two points to make here, I would like to see your numbers and I'm going to continue to keep track of his injury list this year as I believe it's a very interesting story, at least so far, and I'm relatively certain that I can make a case if I had your numbers. I don't have your numbers, so the best I can do is keep track of this year's reports. So far so good, for me.

22
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 10/06/2005 - 7:46pm

Jamie, your making this into an adversarial moment, and it's not. I'm not "shooting down" any argument.

This is the problem, based on the NFL injury databases: The Titans' front office (not necessarily Jeff F), in some years, does skimp on the "probables" and relies on a lot of "questionables." Some years, they don't list "questionables at all, but in others they do. There seems to be no real pattern here.

But this is where it gets interesting: It doesn't matter. Teams in the NFL consider any "probable" to really be a "questionable" on Thursday. The reasons are pretty simple. Some players might not progress medically to practice at all before the game on Sunday.

And, most importantly, what really matters is NOT that the Titans list someone as "Probable" or "Questionable" anyway. Why? Because "Probable" listings only make up about 10 percent of all NFL injuries anyway, and 90 percent of those will become "Questionable" or "Doubtful" or "Out" within two weeks.

Part of that is because players continue to play on an injured limb or muscle, and it just deteriorates. But a greater part of that is because the original listing probably was too optimistic.

This isn't really because the coach is trying to pull the hood over anyone's eyes, but rather because the player's rehab isn't progressing like it was assumed.

"I would like to see your numbers"

OK, pay me $25,000. That's how much it costs to take the NFL injury sheets going back five years and have four people type them into a series of linked databases for more than a month. You think I do this for free?

For the regression analysis you can add a few thousand more.

This isn't to "shoot down" anything you say. It's to keep my job.

"and I’m going to continue to keep track of his injury list this year as I believe it’s a very interesting story"

What I'm suggesting is (1) one year's worth of injury data from one team is pretty misleading. There are shifts up and down from year to year on individual franchises and throughout the league; and (2) whether Tennessee lists "Probables" in place of "Questionables" really means nothing.

Don't trust me on this. Listen to NFL team physicians. They consider "Probable" injuries to be just as serious as other arbitrary grades.

What these same doctors have suggested to the NFL is that they consider removing the "probable" designation altogether because it's somewhat misleading. Probably, every "probable" should be a "questionable" (90 percent of them are going to be in a few weeks anyway), just as every "doubtful" should probably be an out (because more than 90 percent of all "doubtful" players never play the next game).

If you're a fan of the game, look at the P as a Q. Look at the Q as a possible D, but a D most probably as an O and an O likely on the way to an Injured Reserve listing that takes a player out of the league for the rest of the season.

That's a broad brush, but that's probably the best way to look at it.

23
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 10/06/2005 - 7:47pm

you're, even.

24
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 12:36pm

If you’re a fan of the game, look at the P as a Q. Look at the Q as a possible D, but a D most probably as an O and an O likely on the way to an Injured Reserve listing that takes a player out of the league for the rest of the season.

Carl:

Don't know why I thought of this before. What percentage of Qs disappear entirely the next week? If it's 9%, then Ps are pointless. Otherwise, probables are different than questionables, if only slightly, but they are different.

25
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 1:07pm

Qs that initially appear one week do NOT disappear the next very often. In fact, I would have to double check to see if it's ever happened. What tends to occur is that after three or four weeks, they disappear. Some, but not all, teams will tail off a Q with a P, but not really if the guy has played in a game during that span.

I'm not entirely against the "P," Pat, only that I think it's not really used correctly.

Let's say if a new guideline said that "P" would refer to any player who received extensive medical treatment for any condition that MIGHT detract from performance, but not keep him out of a game.

That would be a meaningful statistic to follow. It would probably net the 600 or so concussions that aren't recorded every season in the league because they likely are low-grade head traumas and won't affect the next Sunday's game.

But they certainly affected the player's practice and it's noteworthy for the other coach to know if, say, a star QB wasn't taking snaps for four out of five practice days, even if he has every intention of playing on Sunday.

In that regard, the "P" would be meaningful. Now, it's kind of shorthand for saying "Q," and that's the way the rest of the league interprets it. If a guy goes on the injury report, therefore, it's automatically assumed there's about a 50/50 chance of him playing, not really a 25/75.

Ditto with Doubtful. If a guy is listed as D, pretty much everyone assumes he won't play at all.

And if you get the "O," the rest of the league kind of treats that like, "We're going to see if we can rehab him over the next several weeks because we don't really want to stick him on the IR."

26
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 1:32pm

“We’re going to see if we can rehab him over the next several weeks because we don’t really want to stick him on the IR.�

I wonder how many times teams have stuck people on IR not because they won't come back, but because they simply don't have the roster room.

The Eagles, right now, for instance, are carrying two kickers, because Akers is considered likely to come back, and it is just a muscle injury (not to downplay those at all, of course). But you could definitely imagine them having put a less valuable kicker on IR, simply because he wasn't worth taking up roster space for.

And you definitely have to imagine that in the beginning of the season, "out" is less likely to lead to "IR" than later, as teams know they have a long time to rehab an injury.

And, more fun with injuries: it drives me nuts when sportswriters take quotes out of context. There was a headline the other day basically saying "McNabb can't walk, bend over", yanking some quotes from the press conference, whereas his actual quotes were "But there will be sometimes where you come in on Monday or Tuesday, and it may feel like sometimes you can't even walk." and "When it was to the point like that Oakland game, or after the game, bending down, lifting heavy things, trying to stretch, it definitely just felt like your hips were locked up." It's just ridiculous how eager some sportswriters are to follow a storyline than actually report facts.

27
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 1:50pm

Putting a player on the IR (or, even, PUP) is a major decision for the team. Sometimes, a badly hurt player who might (emphasis on "might") come back late in the playoffs might still get an IR listing if they agree to a settlement and the team can find a replacement at fair value among free agents, some of whom come down from the CFL.

The Pats have been successful negotiating with badly injured FBs and CBs destined for the IR, as I recall.

Under the CBA, teams are obligated to pay a player for his weeks whether he plays or not, including his pro-rated signing bonus.

That said, any physician will tell you that anyone on the IR belongs on the IR, just as probably a good number of the walking wounded out there shouldn't be playing professional football at the end of the season.

28
by Jim A (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 4:56pm

Carl, what are the actual percentages that a player listed as P, Q, D, and O will play in the upcoming week's game? Is it even close to 75%/50%/25%/0% as purported?

How useful it is to know that 90% of Probables will become Questionable in two weeks? After all, coaches generally don't plan strategies for games more than a week in advance (except if they have a bye). And the gambling lines certainly aren't set more than a week in advance. It seems like the most obvious uses for the Injury Report pertain the upcoming week's games, and that's where it's most relevant whether Q is different from P.

29
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 5:43pm

You're right, JimA. The most important aspect of the injury report is what it means for that week's game, not future contests.

That's why teams see "Probable" listings as largely "Questionable." I don't really blame the NFL for that because rehabbing a guy in a short week to play a very brutal game that coming Sunday is tricky. Is he 25 percent likely to not play? Or 50 percent? Or 51 percent?

It's really an educated guess, but what we found is that a P should be a Q in most cases because it's pretty much a coin flip if the guy will play or not. Now, we took a slightly different look than most others would take in that we actually (1) checked to see if the guy played the following week and (2) checked how much he played compared to his normal production.

And that's where it gets tricky. Let's say a guy is listed as "Probable" and he plays, but only two downs. Is that really "playing?" Technically, it is. But if you're the opposing coach and you scrimmaged to cover him and he only played two downs, he really wasn't all that "probable" was he?

That's why teams really treat all Qs and Ps as the same thing. A player will PROBABLY play, more often than not (really, about 40 percent of the time), but for a reduced number of plays (about 40 percent less, I guess, I'd have to relook at those numbers).

Another thing that's important to consider is the relative importance of the position that's been affected. Because of the paucity of depth because of the salary cap at many key positions, it really matters A LOT if that RT is listed as Q.

In fact, when the doctor puts that down on the injury report, you have a coach grinding off his finger nails in angst, and the opposing D coordinator smiling like a fat whore at a brothel buffet (to borrow a line from a D coordinator I know very well).

30
by Jim A (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 6:39pm

Re: IR, it seems like teams will sometimes stash away on IR a young player who isn't expected to be good enough to contribute this year after suffering an injury that wouldn't be considered serious enough to shelve a starter for the season. As I understand it, veterans with 3+ years of service have their base salaries guaranteed as long as they make the opening day roster. Players with less than 3 years of service typically have injury splits written into their contracts that define how much they'll get paid in the event of injury. For most young players trying to make it in the NFL, this is still better than getting cut, although I would guess they sometimes feel like they are being deprived of an opportunity to prove themselves if the injury isn't really serious enough to be season-ending.

31
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 10/07/2005 - 6:41pm

JimA, as I've posted before, I always assume the notion that the player in question has played three years with a least six games annually, either served on the field, bench or IR.