The 5 o’clock club is published several times per week during the season, and aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.
Washington's injury/practice report for Wednesday:— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 16, 2020
LB Cole Holcomb (knee) - Limited
LB Thomas Davis (calf) - Full
CB Kendall Fuller (knee) - Full
Ron Rivera got up in front of the press corps on Wednesday and gave the injury report. I’m still trying to figure out where all the other names are. A bunch seem to be missing.
After (at least) three seasons of seeing Jay Gruden get up and detail the weekly butcher’s bill, I’ve grown accustomed to the idea that a half dozen or more players will get injured weekly, and that in most weeks, two players will be lost for the season.
I’ve also grown to expect a player with a nagging injury who is reported to be day-to-day or week-to-week to miss a month or two of games.
Imagine my surprise, then, when this week’s report not only listed only one player as “limited” after Sunday’s game against the Eagles, but that the two guys who missed the game injured last week are reported as full participants this week!
Is this what most NFL teams experience most weeks?
I honestly felt bad for the Eagles on Sunday as I watched the parade of injuries. They lost at least two starters for the year due to off-season injuries; they had at least three significant players inactive on Sunday due to injury, and then they took additional injuries at positions where they were already thin. Jeez, does that sound familiar!
After the victory by the Washington team, when I read the comments on BGN, the Eagles fans were pointing to the injury toll as the reason for the loss. And, honestly, they had a point. But every fan that spent the past three years rooting for the Redskins can tell you that that don’t feed the bulldog. Seriously — nobody cares. Your quarterback broke his leg? Tight end concussed on a dirty hit in preseason? Running back shredded his knee?
Boo hoo. Cry me a river. You suck.
It’s certainly true that injuries affect every team. It’s axiomatic that injuries are part of the game.
But some teams get injured way beyond the norm, and it’s hard to continue to win in spite of excessive injuries. The Steelers without Ben weren’t a playoff team. One of the things I begrudgingly admired about the Eagles superbowl season was that they did it despite losing their starting QB, starting LT and others to serious injuries. Teams aren’t supposed to thrive when they face injury bugs.
Over the past few seasons, it didn’t feel like the Redskins were bitten by an injury bug; it felt like they were being attacked by the whole swarm.
And, of course, this season hasn’t been injury-free. The Football Team lost Kelvin Harmon to a knee injury during off-season training, and Reuben Foster is on IR and out for the year (again). Players like Saahdiq Charles and Wes Schweitzer missed significant training camp time, but when I see the Wednesday practice report with only one player listed as limited, I feel a sense of disbelief. I want to say it’s like going through the looking glass or down the rabbit hole (or maybe choosing the blue pill), but then I realize that I’ve got it backwards. I’m not going into the bizarro world; I’m coming out of it. I’m leaving Wonderland; unplugging from the Matrix; getting some distance from Club Jay.
It’s certainly too early to declare that the rash of injuries that has plagued the franchise in recent years has come to an end — not after a single regular season game.
But, just like I’m prepared to celebrate the win that puts us for the moment all alone atop the NFC East rankings, I’m prepared to be quietly pleased that my favorite team came out of Week 1 relatively unscathed. I have no doubt that being the healthier team was a big factor in Sunday’s win, and I don’t underestimate the competitive advantage that can accrue if the team stays healthier than average as the season progresses.
So I’m giving a quiet little imaginary fist bump — not enough to attract the attention of capricious gods or gremlins — just enough to make me grin for a moment as I lay down to sleep at the end of a long day. Maybe... just maybe... some things are changing for the better.
Will Thomas Davis start at linebacker against the Cardinals on Sunday?
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