The 2014 Philadelphia Eagles season truly begins today as players report for Training Camp. Yes, football is back baby! I’m looking forward to the intense position battles and see how the team comes together.
However, looming in the background of all the excitement of getting back to football is the one thing I dread most during camp and preseason…
Without a doubt the biggest concern during camp and preseason is losing a player to injury. I’m not talking about the normal bumps, bruises, sprains and strains, I’m talking about significant injuries…something that causes the player to miss serious time.
Last year we lost Jeremy Maclin, Arrelious Benn and Jason Phillips to season-ending injuries before the first preseason game. Joe Kruger ended up on injured reserve as well with a “shoulder injury”..wink wink.
Maclin was obviously the most prominent player lost, but Benn may have played a role and Phillips was being counted on to be a key Special Teams player.
Every year there are significant injuries to prominent players in camp and preseason around the league. Besides the Eagles’ players, other NFL players who suffered serious injuries during this time were Dennis Pitta, Bryan Bulaga, Dan Koppen, Jonas Mouton and Armon Binns.
Those players were all either starters or expected to play prominent roles for their respective teams last year.
In 2012, the Eagles lost Jason Peters (prior to camp, though) and Riley Cooper fractured his collar bone. Brent Celek missed time due to a sprained MCL and Jason Babin missed most of camp with a calf injury.
And who can forget the gruesome injury suffered by WR Ron Johnson? He dislocated his ankle during a practice and has never stepped back onto the field since.
Yes, injuries happen at every camp every year and they’re a part of the game. The fortunate teams only suffer the less serious kind, or the more serious injuries happen to players lower on the depth chart.
However, a significant injury or two (or three or four or…) can dampen hopes for a season pretty quickly. Depending on who it is or how many, it can downright kill the season. Sometimes good teams with good coaching and good depth will overcome big injuries, but more times than not it can derail the season.
Camp is important. Players need the reps and conditioning to prepare for the grind of the season. If they don’t get it, they spend the rest of the season playing catch up and some never do.
With that comes the risk of a big injury. Let’s hope Chip Kelly’s Sports Science and special smoothies will lessen the risk at least somewhat. Let’s hope the NovaCare Complex doesn’t transform into a M*A*S*H unit during the month of August.
Oh, and a quick word to the wise…
If you follow Eagles beat writers on Twitter who are attending the practices, they will tweet out every player who appears to have been injured. Sometimes, in an effort to tweet it as fast as possible before knowing what has happened or how serious it is, it can create panic among fans who will fear the worst.
If you encounter this, just wait for a bit and look for the follow-up tweets when more information becomes available and they have a better idea of what the injury is and how serious it is.
Don’t get spooked by “X player walked off gingerly and is being attended to by the trainers” or something along those lines. Just breathe and wait. There are many “dings” during practices with most not being of too great of concern.