Oct 20, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) is taken from the field on the cart in the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Jay Cutler and Sam Bradford losses could alter their teams’ draft plans
Having seen Matt Schaub, Brian Hoyer, and E.J. Manuel go down in previous weeks it’s clear a trend has begun for starting quarterbacks getting hurt. Unfortunately for the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams, they joined that club when Jay Cutler and Sam Bradford went down in week seven losses. Bradford tore his ACL and is done for the year. Report are that Cutler has a groin injury and rumors persist that it may be serious. While the immediate impacts of these blows aren’t good, they also open up a door many have wondered about which is what Chicago and St. Louis plan to do in 2014 NFL draft. Both were considered fringe players for taking a quarterback early next May with Cutler being a free agent and Bradford being inconsistent. Could these injuries push them into a more active push for drafting replacements?
Brandon Meriweather is going to get suspended
Ndamukong Suh got a loud message from the league for his hit on Brandon Weeden last week in the form of a hefty $31,500 fine. Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather was already in hot water himself due to his often reckless playing style that involved leading with his helmet during big hits. He’s been fined several times over the past few years for this. Clearly it hasn’t stopped. Not once but twice in the game against Chicago he hit Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in the head on pass plays. Both were flagged. After the game it didn’t take Marshall long to say that Meriweather was going to seriously injure somebody if the league didn’t do something about it. Since fines haven’t worked, fans can expect a suspension to come next.
The Baltimore Ravens biggest error of 2013 was trading Anquan Boldin
Defending champions they may be but it’s clear the Baltimore Ravens aren’t the same team from a year ago. The losses suffered on defense were bad enough but everybody is beginning to admit the biggest mistake GM Ozzie Newsome made in the off-season was trading wide receiver Anquan Boldin. The offense around Joe Flacco simply hasn’t functioned the same without the sure-handed veteran. Worse still, he has become the go-to guy for Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco, on pace for over 1,100 yards and four touchdowns. That doesn’t even count the critical first down conversions he’s so great at.
Reggie Wayne loss could make life tough on Andrew Luck
Another huge win against a powerhouse opponent is quickly making the Indianapolis Colts a serious title contender but in the midst of their victory over Denver they got somber news. All-Pro wide receiver Reggie Wayne had to leave the game with a leg injury in the fourth quarter. Initial rumor hint at the fear it could be a torn ACL. If that proves true, then the Colts just suffered a serious blow. Andrew Luck has played great so far in 2013 and having the ever reliable Wayne has been key. Without him, it’s going to be interesting to say the least how or if the young star is able to adjust.
Jason Hatcher is a godsend to the Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys defense is not exactly a stout unit of late thanks in part to injuries and erratic play. A big culprit is their problems up from what with the losses of Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware. One must shudder to think the state they would be in without defensive tackle Jason Hatcher. The 31-year old veteran is in the midst of his best season under the guidance of line coach Rod Marinelli, collecting six sacks in his first seven games. If the Cowboys can get healthy and better play from their secondary, they may have enough firepower to finally win the NFC East and contend in the playoffs. They just better hope Hatcher isn’t the next one to go down.
The Miami Dolphins are going to stockpile offensive linemen next year
A promising start to the season looks so far away for the Miami Dolphins. Their 3-0 start has fizzled into a 3-3 stumble and the biggest culprit is the horrendous play of their offensive line. Though Ryan Tannehill was only sacked twice, Buffalo routinely had pressure on him that resulted in two interceptions and a fumble. Until the Dolphins can solve this problem their hopes of competing against New England and the rest of AFC has to wait. Expect they to target a strong 2014 NFL draft class of offensive linemen early and often.