By Jake Sockett Twitter: @SockettJake
We’re only two weeks into this NFL season, and not to say THIS LEAGUE but man, THIS LEAGUE! Between the whole Dolphins fiasco, the Jaguars falling apart, and some great games, we’re looking at some very serious landscape changes to the NFL going forward.
Ben Roethlisberger has been placed on IR with an elbow injury, Drew Brees is out at least six weeks with a thumb injury, and Eli Manning has been benched by Pat Shurmur in favor of Daniel Jones a.k.a. Danny Dimes. All three of these guys are going to the Hall of Fame. People are going to bitch about Eli getting in, but the guy’s got two rings and both came against the best dynasty in football.
Which team is the biggest loser here?
It’s certainly not the Giants. Eli has looked bad in his first two games. It’s like watching a deer with two broken legs on Planet Earth bad. Jones looked at least serviceable in his preseason action, and if you’re Pat Shurmur, this should be so much easier. Just hand the ball to Saquon and let him do his thing (I’m astounded at how little he’s called that play). Hopefully Jones getting the nod will push the offense more towards running. If the team starts to look better, Eli could consider hanging them up.
A case can be made for the Steelers, but it doesn’t seem like they were lined up to make too much noise this year anyways. They’re probably going to finish third in the division, which makes a lot of sense for them. They lost their two best offensive weapons, and it doesn’t look like Juju Smith-Schuster is ready to be the number one receiver. There are just too many teams ahead of the Steelers for this to make them the biggest loser. Ben is getting up there, and depending on how the team looks in his absence (hint: they’re going to stink up the league), he could retire at the end of the year. Maybe he lets the team know early, suddenly the Steelers are #Tanking4Tua.
The Saints, man. They just can’t catch a break. They take a rough loss in the NFC Championship rematch, and now they’re down Drew Brees for at least six weeks. I know it’s only six weeks, but based on how Teddy Bridgewater looked that could be a long six weeks. Plus, you never want to see a quarterback getting surgery on his throwing hand midseason. If he comes back to the team and he feels great and looks great, the Saints could have a real shot at winning the division and the talent is there to make noise in the playoffs. Or, maybe Brees comes back and he just looks off, the team played poorly without him, and they sneak in as a wild card. Maybe Brees looks at that in the offseason and decides the window is closed and he wants to retire before he turns into Eli Manning.
The bigger impact of these injuries goes beyond this season. How rare is it that three quarterbacks at the level of these guys are in the same Hall of Fame class? For all of them to leave the league at the same time – crazy.