The Philadelphia Eagles starting QB competition between Michael Vick, Nick Foles and Matt Barkley may be the most important decision during camp, but it’s not the biggest concern.
Injuries — avoiding them actually – is without a doubt the biggest concern during camp and preseason.
Though you might be avidly following all the camp updates to see who may be leading the race to be under center, a killer injury or two (or three or four or…) can dampen hopes for a season pretty quickly. Depending on who it is, it can downright kill the season.
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.
The Eagles have been relatively fortunate in recent years to escape training camp without a devastating injury to a key player. Jason Peters’ injury, the one that the Eagles could never recover from in 2012, happened prior to camp.
Last year, Riley Cooper fractured his collar bone, Brent Celek sprained his MCL and Jason Babin injured his calf during camp practices. There were a few other starters who were dinged up, but nothing serious. The most serious injury was to fringe player Ron Johnson, who dislocated his ankle.
However, if you’re a Twitter follower to many of the Eagles’ beat reporters, you’ll find yourself having heart attacks every day when they tweet about players who walk off the field with injuries.
Other teams haven’t been so fortunate when it comes to a key player suffering a major injury during these summer practices (we talkin’ bout practice, man).
How about San Diego’s Ryan Mathews breaking his collar bone on the first play of the first preseason game last year? Denver’s Elvis Dumervil tore his pectoral muscle during camp in 2010. Cleveland’s LeCharles Bentley (remember he was heavily rumored to have signed with the Eagles?) ruptured his patellar tendon during the first practice in pads in 2006.
In 2011, Detroit’s highly counted-on second-round draft pick Mikel LeShoure ruptured his Achilles tendon during camp. Hell, just a few days ago the Cowboys opened camp and DE Tyrone Crawford tore his Achilles tendon just one hour into it.
Crawford isn’t a starter but he was being counted on to play a significant role in the DL rotation. The point is with him, that could have just as easily been DeMarcus Ware…and that would have had a significant impact on their defense this season.
The list goes on. Every year there are usually a few devastating injuries to key players during camp or preseason. There are certainly numerous minor injuries that can force players to miss most or all of camp and that can lead to a down season for that player as well.
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.
So, above and beyond who you think should be starting for the Eagles at QB in 2013, the bigger impact to the 2013 season could be injuries. Let’s hope we can at least make it to the starting line without looking like a M*A*S*H unit.