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Assuming injury


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Every season at this time of year we see lots of topics about grand predictions on what player x, or what the Falcons will accomplish in the upcoming season. Almost all of those come with some caveat in the form of 'assuming no injury.' Truth is we can't really assume no injuries, they are a fact of life in the NFL every season, some years worse than others.

So with training camp coming up in a week, and the coaching staff preparing to build the depth charts and opening day roster I'm anticipating injuries and how they might affect us, as well as looking back at how much they have affected us in the past.

I'll start first with how bad they have been to this franchise in years past. I've tried to think if any injury has shaped the outcome of a season worse than Jamal Anderson in 1999. We were favored to make a return to the Super Bowl when that season began, but Anderson's injury completely took the teams chances away, and yes there were other factors and injuries but none more impacting. Can anyone think of any other injury to any Falcons team that had as much or more impact, if so then which one?

Check out the list below for a look at last year. Everyone listed there missed a start or significant game time due to injury. Some of the players such as Norwood missed as many as 6 starts.

Jerious Norwood

Michael Turner

Jason Snelling

Antoine Harris

Ovie Mughelli

Sam Baker

Brian Finneran

Trey Lewis

Matt Ryan

Michael Jenkins

Harvey Dahl

Chris Houston

Matt Bryant

That our team managed to eek out a winning season with all of those injuries throughout the year says a tremendous amount about how far we've seen this team come. I know that many of you get really excited or dissapointed depending on what various commentators say. I'll just say that I don't have the same reaction to that and I don't really care what they say either way. I don't get particularly excited when someone at ESPN says that they like the Falcons to be a top contender this year, no more than I get down if they don't say it or say the Falcons suck for that matter.

We've had good teams before and we all keep hearing or reading about something being different this year. We've heard that before too and they have been wrong. When people on these boards and in the media talk about what's different you'll usually get some reference to the starting roster but the difference I see is right there in 2009. That's historic and that's what excites me about the forthcoming season! Never have we accomplished that much, with that much injury. That's a credit to management and coaching in building a system of offensive, defensive and ST play and a roster with depth to support that system.

I first asked if anyone could think of a year where an injury ruined things for us more than 1999. Now I'm asking if anyone can think of a year where we overcame them as well or better than we did in 2009? I left off a few names from that list because they missed too much time - Harry Douglas, Peria Jerry and William Moore.

I think its fair to say that we can expect some injuries this season, but even with injuries we can anticipate some solid and competitive play to continue, solid enough to keep us in contention.

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*You have Turner listed twice on your injured players list*

Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game. Last year had to be the worst i've ever seen

the Falcons get hit by injuries (although when Jam went down in Dallas it was like someone

kicked me in the stomach). I have hope that this season will go much smoother for us as far

as overall team health. We have enough to worry about in trying to get our players back from

last years' injuries without having to start worrying about new ones.

Bringing in a new strength and conditioning coach, the off-season MMA training, and the extra

off-season work our guys have been doing shows me an overall determination to put our team

in the best position to not only win, but stay healthy while doing so.

*Food for thought: We hold the most two-a-days out of any team in the league during training

camp this season. Is this good for our team health or bad? Will it make us stronger and better

conditioned for the long haul, or create more chances for new injuries to occur? After all,

you want your players in the best shape at the end of the season, right?> Thoughts?

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I think last seasons injuries are the reason why I see us going 12-4 or 13-3. Commentators/"Experts" say we are a 9-7 team that we should look out for but only bring up the fact that Matt Ryan is poised for a break out year and that we just drafted Spoon.

We were hung out to dry by the scheduling committee as well as the rest of the nation once the injuries piled up. All we had was Falcons Nation and our team rose to the occassion unlike years passed. We saw a division foe headed for the Super Bowl while we limped to a 9-7 season. But we fought harder last year to overcome adversity more than in 08. They have a different willpower than any other team in Falcons history (even 98 imo)

Now we get a completely healthy offense back with more weapons in Douglas' return and Meier's addition. We get a more battled seasoned defense with the additions of DRob and Spoon as well as a healthy return of Jerry and hopefully Moore. That means we would have added top talent at all levels of our defense. I honestly don't think there are that many "IFs" with this team as people make seem.

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I think last year's injury list is well beyond the norm. Just like the Saints played over their head, we had more injuries than usual. If half of those players were healthy, 3 FGs made, and a couple catches not dropped...we would have been in the playoffs.

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*Food for thought: We hold the most two-a-days out of any team in the league during training

camp this season. Is this good for our team health or bad? Will it make us stronger and better

conditioned for the long haul, or create more chances for new injuries to occur? After all,

you want your players in the best shape at the end of the season, right?> Thoughts?

I think we have more two-a-days to get the younger guys acclimated who are behind veterans. Think about it: The 30+ club only practices once a day so they will get almost all of the reps in one session to make sure they aren't just going through the motions. The session they sit out will be for guys like Spoon to replace Peterson for the full session or Meier to replace Finn for the full session. This way it is technically one practice for everyone but considered a two-a-day

And before you bring up players like Ryan and White, they have camp bodies to take reps from them as well (Wolfe, Harvey, Weems or Redman, JPP or for Turner he has Norwood, Snelling, Nance, Smith). Hope I made some since of it for you.

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I think last seasons injuries are the reason why I see us going 12-4 or 13-3. Commentators/"Experts" say we are a 9-7 team that we should look out for but only bring up the fact that Matt Ryan is poised for a break out year and that we just drafted Spoon.

We were hung out to dry by the scheduling committee as well as the rest of the nation once the injuries piled up. All we had was Falcons Nation and our team rose to the occassion unlike years passed. We saw a division foe headed for the Super Bowl while we limped to a 9-7 season. But we fought harder last year to overcome adversity more than in 08. They have a different willpower than any other team in Falcons history (even 98 imo)

Now we get a completely healthy offense back with more weapons in Douglas' return and Meier's addition. We get a more battled seasoned defense with the additions of DRob and Spoon as well as a healthy return of Jerry and hopefully Moore. That means we would have added top talent at all levels of our defense. I honestly don't think there are that many "IFs" with this team as people make seem.

I don't see how anything can look any more promising than that. Even if there are still some questions about Jerry's knee and the fact that we will see injuries, it's great to know that they have built enough depth that a particular injury means derailment. We can still realistically look for good things even with some injury setbacks.

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I don't see how anything can look any more promising than that. Even if there are still some questions about Jerry's knee and the fact that we will see injuries, it's great to know that they have built enough depth that a particular injury no longer means certain derailment. We can still realistically look for good things even with some injury setbacks.

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