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Injuries Have Ruined These Four Teams’ Seasons

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Clearly injuries are a part of the game, but the following four teams have been hit harder than the rest. With a combined record of (5-18), it’s clear to see how injuries have played a major factor. In the same token, to be considered an elite team, having quality depth plays a huge factor into that, which is why the everyone can’t afford to lose key guys.

San Diego Chargers – For the past few years, the Chargers just haven’t been able to catch a break. To be exact, ever since Mike McCoy became the head coach three years ago. Nonetheless, with the exception of last year (4-12), San Diego has been able to remain a float, going (9-7) in each of McCoy’s first two years, while making the playoffs his first season.

Despite their troubled past, no season has been this bad in regards to injuries. The primary names are Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead, Manti Te’o, and Jason Verrett. Tack on 22 more names and you’ll have the grand total of injured Charger players. That’s just ridiculous.

With a record of (2-4) and no hope in sight, there’s rumblings about McCoy being on the hot seat. Sure, everyone involved won’t make excuses, even McCoy, but there has to be some type of sympathy here. It’s not like San Diego just has a couple of injuries here and there, nearly half of their roster is banged up. Unfortunately for McCoy, this is a bottom line business, where sympathy rarely exists.

McCoy’s best bet is for his ball club to turn things around, but in a top heavy AFC West division, that’s easier said than done.

Cleveland Browns – There’s plenty of blame to go around in northeast Ohio, unless you’re associated with the Cavaliers or Indians. It’s not often I can to type this, but Cleveland sports fans have become spoiled. Yes, you read it right. Not only did LeBron James cash in on his promise by ending the 52-year championship drought, the Indians are currently on the hunt for a World Series title.

Then, you have the lonely Browns. Per usual, not much was expected from the Browns before the season and for good reason. First of all, they play in a very competitive AFC North, which forces you to place them last in the division year in and year out. Not to mention, the Browns front office continues to fall the team by making poor off-season decisions.

The latest example is trading away the number two overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles back in April. We’re only six weeks in and the Browns have already trotted out six quarterbacks, while Carson Wentz looks to be the early Rookie of the Year favorite. It would just be Cleveland’s luck to miss out on a potential perennial Pro Bowl worthy quarterback.

Players such as Joe Haden, Corey Coleman and etc are currently banged up, but head coach Hue Jackson remains optimistic in his young bunch.

”Our guys are scrapping and clawing and trying to get there,” he stressed. ”We are going to continue to harp on the fundamentals to get there. I truly believe we will get these things done. We have 10 more opportunities to get this thing done right.”

New Orleans Saints – For the past few seasons, the New Orleans Saints have fell victim to slow starts. In 2014, they got off to a (1-3) start and last year they started off (0-3). Similar to a season ago, the Saints have experienced another (0-3) start, but they’ve managed to win the last two contests.

Theoretically, New Orleans could be in a better position if not for all the early season injuries. Numerous starters such as left tackle Terron Armstead, safety Kenny Vaccaro, defensive tackle Tyeler Davison, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and wide receiver Willie Snead. Not to mention, cornerbacks Delvin Breaux and P.J. Williams have been placed on the injury reserved list.

On the bright side, the NFC South is still wide open. It appeared the Atlanta Falcons were going to run away with the division, but after losing to the Seattle Seahawks this past Sunday, the door is still open. However, New Orleans must clean up their defense, which ranks near the bottom of the league.

Chicago Bears – While no team has suffered more injuries than the Chargers, Bears fans feel just as snake bitten. It seems like every week, there’s several Bears players falling. It makes you wonder if it’s poor conditioning or if it’s just bad luck. Whatever the reason, injuries have dramatically hindered Chicago’s season.

The obvious one is Jay Cutler. For as much as fans and media alike love to pick on Cutler, there’s no question he’s clearly their best option under center. If you watched Brian Hoyer play over the past few games, you should agree.

Now, when looking at Hoyer’s numbers, they look very good on the surface. The journeymen has a touchdown to interception ratio of 6 to 0, while having a quarterback rating of 100.8, but you have to look deeper than the numbers. Chicago has been in position to win games, but they have struggled mightily when it comes to scoring touchdowns in the red zone.

This past Sunday against the lonely Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago lost 17-16, however, they were in the red zone four times and only managed to come away with one touchdown. 

“It’s like what we talked about last week — we’ve got to find a way to score those touchdowns down there,” Hoyer said. “The defense does a good enough job, we can’t put them in that position.”

In addition to Cutler, keys guys such as Jerrell Freeman, Jeremy Langford and Zach Miller are all banged up. Also, Kevin White and Kyle Fuller have been placed on the injury reserved list.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.