Training camp is around a month away and if we hope to be play-off contenders in 2015, we're going to have to navigate the 4-5 week period without losing anyone to injuries. However injuries are a part of the game, they are part of football, it's a physical contact sport and we're bound to have a couple of injuries along the way.
Last night I was looking at the roster and trying to decide who we could least afford to lose to a significant injury. I'm talking 10+ weeks out or even lost for the season. I came to my conclusion, but I thought it would be a good discussion point among GGN members today.
For a lot of teams, it will come down to the quarterback. The Patriots can't afford to lose Brady for 10+ games, likewise with the Cowboys, Packers, Saints, Broncos etc. The Jets on the other hand don't have a clear #1 quarterback. As much as the coaching staff insist they are fully behind Geno, if Geno were lost, we have a seasoned veteran who knows the system to come in, some people think Fitzpatrick should be competing for the starting job anyway.
How about the secondary, a unit that was horrendous last year. If we lost Revis that would be a nightmare, but we invested in 3 corners for a reason and we still have two highly drafted players waiting in the wings.
I wouldn't like to lose Brandon Marshall or Eric Decker, not now we have a 1-2 punch to be proud off, but then at least Devin Smith would get plenty of reps.
Then I thought about the defensive line, our deepest position, if we lost Wilkerson or Richardson or Harrison, sure it would hurt...but then you look at that depth and all of a sudden you think you'll be OK. In the linebacker position we're pretty thin, but I don't see an elite performer in that group. If Coples or Pace or Harris or Davis went down, we'd need to replace them with inexperience, but I went in another direction.
Personally, I think we can least afford to lose Nick Mangold. Undoubtedly one of our best players. A guy who constantly ranks among the leagues elite. A player who calls protections, who blocks well in both the pass and run game. A team leader with a vast amount of experience. The offensive line is already very questionable, losing someone like Mangold would cause a domino effect throughout the group and guarantee it struggles all year.
Luckily for us he's only missed 3 games in 9 years, so lets hope that continues through 2015.