Silver Lining of Chiefs Injuries
I was just reading an article the other day about basketball. More specifically though it was about Gregg Popovich, the coach of last years world champion San Antonio Spurs, and how he has been taking a very interesting strategy with his players.
It’s no secret that the Spurs, are one of the oldest teams in the NBA. Their three stars Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, and Tony Parker are a respective thirty-seven, thirty-eight, and thirty-two years old. So Popovich has developed a strategy where he has been choosing to rest them on certain games throughout the season in order to keep them fresh throughout the entire span of eighty-two games and the playoffs. It apparently worked well for them last year because they won a championship.
The reason I just told you that is simple. I believe that in a way the large number of injuries which the Chiefs suffered in the early weeks of the season will have this same effect. We’re now starting to see players such as Eric Berry who sat out five games, and DeAnthony Thomas who sat out four games coming back into the line-up.
Aug 28, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry (29) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
While the NFL season might not be eighty-two games long like the NBA season there’s a lot of evidence that points to the fact that the NFL season is tougher on players than the NBA season is. This evidence can be found when you take a look at average career length for players in each league.
In the NBA, an average career for a player lasts 4.8 years, in the NFL the average length of a career for a player is only 3.5 years. To me this represents the fact that NFL players get banged up a lot more often. So by having to sit out a couple of games earlier in the season I believe it actually keeps some of our players fresh for the end of the season when we need them most.
In theory, both players should only be allowed back once they are 100% ready to play and in good health. This being said, most NFL players will do whatever it takes to get back on the field as soon as possible so this may not be completely true. However they should still be well rested and ready to take on the rest of the season.
From what I have seen so far Berry has definitely looked rested, just not productive. In his two games back in action, he has yet to really show us much. In both games he has recorded six tackles, nothing less and nothing more. That’s pretty common though, in a player’s first couple of games back they are usually not performing at their maximum potential. This week against the Seahawks expect to see Berry back to his old self making tackles, stuffing the run and making plays against an offense who is ranked first in the league in rushing.
The other effect injuries have had on the Chiefs this season is one which also ties over to Popovich resting his players. The Spurs have become one of the most amazing teams in the NBA in terms of positional depth. Their bench is actually really good, in fact a couple are better than other teams starters. The reason for this being that they actually get playing time. The injuries to the Chiefs players have helped them to achieve this as an NFL team.
As you all well know, since the Chiefs had so many injuries earlier this season they had to start a bunch of players who haven’t had much experience starting at their position
Oct 26, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Ron Parker (38) celebrates with defensive back Kurt Coleman (27)) after making an interception against the St. Louis Rams in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
e.g. Knile Davis, Ron Parker, Josh Mauga, and Jay Howard. These players that had never really played much up until this point have now been getting some snaps under their belts and building experience.
Now, the Chiefs starters are starting to trickle back into the lineup, because there’s other players who have stepped up and proven themselves as well, the starters don’t have to play as many snaps as they needed to before. In other words they don’t need to be in there all the time, there’s other men who can step up and play too. We’ve already seen this with Knile Davis taking some snaps every once in awhile. That will be a huge advantage for the team come playoff time.
To wrap things up, no i’m not saying that the injuries suffered earlier this season by Chiefs players were a good thing. I’m simply stating that there’s a silver lining to everything and the silver lining with all those injuries is that it made the team better by keeping some of the players rested up for the end of the season and by giving other players some much needed experience. Hopefully the next comparison I make between the Chiefs and Spurs is about who’s recently won championship ring looks cooler.
Although that wouldn’t be much of a comparison. The Chiefs’ would totally look better.