The last two Super Bowl Champions, the Green Bay Packers in 2011 and the New York Giants in 2012, both shared one very uncommon aspect that helped propel them to their ultimate victories: injuries. Suffice it to say, very many injuries, so much so that at least a dozen or more players were on injured reserve for each team as they were celebrating their Super Bowl victories. Will this be an aspect of the winning formula for a third year in a row?
So I bet if you read all that you might think I flipped my lid, but if somehow the New York Jets do sustain a lot of injuries to critical personnel, do they have the depth and talent to replace them? I believe the answer is yes, that after the 2012 NFL Draft and with all the players they signed in free agency the Jets have pretty good depth at every key position.
The two possible exceptions may be a solid answer at free safety, with even Jim Leonhard having a chance to return, and a replacement to Matthew Mulligan at blocking tight end. Nobody wants to see any team sustain season-ending injuries to players at the rate both the Packers and Giants did the last two seasons, but every team must prepare for that possibility. The biggest keys to it all from now going forward into training camp, preseason and the regular season is making sure the players are coached up properly and kept healthy so that the maximum amount of talent can be on the field at all times.
Realistically it doesn't hurt any team to have players step up who are second and third string and prove they can play on any down or situation, especially if it comes at a cost savings to the team in this salary cap era. So it begs the question, who would the New York Jets coaches and brass like to see playing more, a rookie like Antonio Allen or a veteran like Eric Smith, if all things being equal Allen plays just as well, if not better? That is just an example and not meant to denigrate the talent of Eric Smith. I am sure that going into last season I did mention that the Jets did seem to have some depth issues at certain positions, and even if they didn't read it from me directly they certainly have come to realize the need to address that, since for the most part they have corrected it.
Hopefully the New York Jets will not suffer the same fate as the previous two Super Bowl Champions by having so many players seasons cut short after being beset by injuries. Knowing that there is talent up and down the roster on offense, defense and even special teams, can give Jets fans hope that once all the pieces of the puzzle get whittled down to the final 53-man roster, plus the practice squad, that they will have what it takes to attempt a run at a championship again.
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