Monday is always the day around the NFL when death either knocks or decides that you may be spared, but today’s action on the injury front feels like it’s been far more frenzied than the average Monday. That’s probably because the Sunday we just completed was far more black and blue than the average Sunday, with two running backs and major point producers going down with thankfully minor injuries, but missed time will still be required.
That means Reggie Bush and C.J. Spiller owners will be scrambling to the waiver wire to check the availability of their backups (Tashard Choice has never felt so loved). Meanwhile, Austin Collie continues to have all of the bad luck and will miss the remainder of the season with a torn patella tendon, while Julio Jones and his owners dodged a bullet, but Darrelle Revis was struck by that same projectile, and it ripped apart his ACL. Those who employ Tom Brady on their fake teams still haven’t stopped chugging chocolate syrup.
So let’s get our next contestant down here to spin the Monday wheel of death. Where you at, Matthew Stafford?
Stafford left Detroit’s overtime loss to Tennessee yesterday when Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner stripped Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew of the ball after a reception, and ran 72 yards for a touchdown on the fumble return. During his return Stafford turned to pursue and attempt a tackle, but he pulled up lame, apparently favoring his hamstring. Shaun Hill replaced him for the final minutes of the fourth quarter and throughout overtime, completing 10 of his 13 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
Stafford has somewhat unfairly worn the tag of being injury prone early in his career after missing 19 games over his first two seasons, the majority of which (13) came in his second year due to a shoulder injury after he was rocked repeatedly. Bones break when bodies are hit hard, and until science remedies that fact, I’m not sure what Stafford or any other supposedly injury-prone player who frequently busts bones can do.
This time, though, it’s sounding like the concern surrounding Stafford this week should be minimal, or at least it will be until Wednesday and he either does or doesn’t practice. But as we sit here now on a Monday afternoon, ProFooballTalk’s Mike Florio is reporting that the injury is a hamstring issue as anticipated, and that the expectation is he “should be OK.”
The worry for Stafford owners can now remain focused on his production. After throwing for over 5,000 yards last year and consequently being drafted as one of the league’s elite quarterbacks, Stafford has good numbers thus far. Very good numbers even, but not elite numbers, and three top 10 passing defenses are on deck for the Lions’ offense (Minnesota, Philadelphia, Chicago).
Through three games, Stafford is averaging 287.7 yards per game after finishing with a pace of 314.9 throughout last year, and 326.3 per game over the first three weeks of 2011. That’s a significant difference in weekly point production, and his lack of passing touchdowns is even more concerning. A year ago at this time Stafford had already thrown 10 TDs, and he’s stuck at three now.