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Lets talk about New England’s Injury Prone Players

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Robert Kraft, Patriots owner, recently said Talib didn’t play much during his time with New England, but still wants to resign him. Just not for big money.

That didn’t stop Kraft from paying Danny Amendola. I’m just saying.

Maybe Kraft is finally tired of spending big money on injury prone players or he’s trying to drive down the price tag of Talib’s at the risk of upsetting Talib.

But he has a point because Talib has a recurring hip injury that slowed him down toward the end of the season and suffered his second straight injury in the AFC Title Game that took him out and derailed the Pats defense.

Kraft might be tired of paying big money to injury prone players and not having them return the favor in the postseason. Now, these are good players who could pay off big in the postseason if they were to play in the games. It’s just hard apparently to get them to the postseason or in Talib’s case playing the entire AFC Title Game.

So the question is do the Patriots pay Talib the big money or let him walk for a more reliable corner?

The thing is Talib is so good if he could just stay healthy the Patriots defense are much better than they played in the past two AFC Title Games.

If they let Talib walk they better get a guy as good as him!

I also will add out of the other 2 injury prone players, Talib is the least injury prone. He misses a few games maybe, but his biggest problem is surviving the AFC Title Game.

Also, do they have enough money to pay Talib and Edelman both? If they pay them both I figure they won’t have much to spend on a Michael Bennett type free agent defensive pass rusher or an Eric Decker type WR. Both of which are big needs for the Patriots.

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Let us shift focus on the 2nd injury prone Pats player Danny Amendola.

New England messed up when they paid big money to injury prone Danny Amendola thinking he was the guy to replace Welker when that guy was already on the team – Julian Edelman. Now they NEED to pay Edelman. Whoops. If only they all knew they could have spent the money used on Amendola on a big guy. But that is forgivable, since who knew Edelman would have an explosive season.

Everybody is wondering if New England should cut Amendola after one season.

In the first game of the season Amendola started off hot and then got injured in the same game. Amendola missed 3 games before coming back against the Cincinnati Bengals. Amendola also suffered a concussion against the Saints and missed one game.

He never seemed to regain the chemistry with Brady after his injury and Brady moved on with Edelman as his number one guy. Amendola had three 100 yard games all season, including the first game when he was injured. He had 2 touchdowns the entire season and only 633 yards receiving. He only had 2 games where he went into double digit catches and targets.

In the postseason, he caught 3 passes for 77 yards against the Colts, but had zero catches, and targets against the Denver Broncos. His postseason numbers were 3 catches for 77 yards and no scores.

Those are not great numbers for a guy who signed a 5 year deal worth 31 million dollars.

Maybe it was because the injury derailed his chemistry he had with Brady and cost him his number one spot to Julian Edelman who took full advantage of Amendola’s absence.

Amendola looked good in the Buffalo game and then suffered a groin injury.  Amendola will be in his second year and more comfortable with the playbook and what if he could stay healthy the entire season would that keep him in rhythm with Brady? Would he have more success? But, it’s a big IF he can stay healthy for an entire NFL season.

If Amendola could play like the guy he was when he did actually play for the Rams and beside Edelman with a big, legit WR on the outside, New England could be an unstoppable offense. All of this is a BIG IF for an injury prone player.

I personally think New England will keep Amendola another season because they obviously love the guy enough to pay him a big contract knowing his injury riddled past.

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Finally, let us shift focus on Rob Gronkowski.

Die hard Gronk fans will say after every Gronk injury, it’s a freak accident. Funny how the freak accidents seem to happen to injury prone players all the time like Gronk and Amendola. Lets face it, Gronk has reached Amendola status of injury proneness.

In 2011 Gronk suffered an ankle injury that kept him from playing the entire SB game against the Giants and at 100%. In 2012 Gronk broke his forearm and missed the remainder month of the regular season. He tried to come back for the first – round playoff game against the Texans, but re broke his forearm right out of the gate and missed the rest of the playoffs. He underwent several surgeries on his forearm during the off – season and a back surgery, which kept him out for the first 6 weeks of the NFL 2013 season.

He played in 7 games before tearing his ACL in a gruesome injury against the Browns. He missed the remainder of the 2013 season.

Gronk is the best tight end in the NFL when he’s healthy! The problem is he isn’t healthy very often. The Patriots are a better offensive team with him than they are without him, but they keep spending more time without him, particularly in the playoffs and that’s when they need him the most. I’m even wondering if New England should sit Gronk for over half the season to try to get him to the postseason healthy.

For some reason Gronk’s body isn’t holding up in the NFL and you have to be concerned with the future for Gronk. How much can one body take continually suffering such horrible blows to body and all the surgeries. Gronk got a big payday for his recording breaking play so he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon even with all the injuries. He is a game changer and play maker when he plays. If he could stay healthy New England’s offense would be so much better than they showed in the last two AFC Championship Games. I know that’s another big IF.

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The biggest problem is New England knew of each player’s injury riddled past and chose NOT to sign backups. I’ll cut them some slack in the past two seasons with Gronk being injured because they did have Hernandez. Then Hernandez went to jail and they didn’t attempt to sign anyone. I know it was late in June and a lot of decent tight ends had their teams, but still going in with only Michael Hoomanawanui and Zach Sudfeld was risky. Then Sudfeld was an absolute dud and they cut him and signed Matthew Mulligan. They should have signed Tony Scheffler as soon as he was released. He isn’t great anymore, but he’s a big guy with experience and a red zone threat. He was better than what New England had. They rode it out until Gronk returned knowing there was a good chance he’d go down again, which he did and went in the playoffs anyway with no good tight end. They could’ve attempted a trade with Atlanta  for Tony Gonzelez or sign Scheffler or someone! But they didn’t.

Aqib Talib’s situation is a bit more tricky. He was great and made the defense better. It’s not they didn’t have a backup behind Talib they just didn’t have very good depth all the way around on defense and when Talib went down the entire defense did horrible. Dennard and Ryan are capable corners behind Talib but who else is? Kyle Arrington? Really do you want to go there? He does well in the slot but he can’t cover the outside guy, except for speedy short fellas like Mike Wallace. The depth behind the starters are not good at all. And the Pats couldn’t get away with not being able to pass rush the QB anymore without Talib. 

The depth on the defensive line is even worse. The best depth on the defense may be at linebacker. Hightower finally started to settle in and Jamie Collins exploded. Fletcher does pretty well as a cover LB. Brandon Spikes was a good run stopper but he’s gone this year. Collins takes over for Spikes. Oh yeah, there is a guy named Jerrod Mayo, who will be back and is pretty good. Linebacker is their strongest spot.

No real depth at safety either. Devin McCourty and not much else. Duron Harmon filled in for Steven Gregory and did a good job. I expect him to get even better in his second year. SS is still a big need to fill for New England. If I have to see Steven Gregory lineup as a starter again for the 3rd year I might explode.

So New England didn’t prepare well for the real possibility of being without 2 injury prone players. They did prepare for Amendola getting hurt by keeping Edelman.

At the end of the day New England didn’t help themselves.

If Kraft wants to be mad about injury prone players he should be mad at himself because when you pay players that are prone to injuries you need reliable backups. The Pats didn’t do that for life without Gronk and Talib in 2013.

I have a question though for everyone reading this.

Talib and Gronk are great players but are they worth the headache and money for always dealing with injuries?

Here’s to better luck with injuries in 2014!

 

 

 


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One Response to “Lets talk about New England’s Injury Prone Players”

  1. […] Robert Kraft, Patriots owner, recently said Talib didn’t play much during his time with New England, but still wants to resign him. Just not for big money. That didn’t stop Kraft from paying Danny Amendola. I’m just saying. Maybe Kraft is finally tired of spending big money on injury prone players or he’s trying to […]… Patriots Gab […]

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