In the classic film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, King Arthur meets a Black Knight who guards a bridge and quickly dispatches of him by chopping off his arms and legs. The Black Knight while obviously in dire condition, due to his injuries, is determined to keep fighting and famously yells back at King Arthur that his injuries are “just a flesh wound!” and refuses to admit defeat.
Last year, the Washington Redskins were kind of like the Black Knight, and had the second most games lost to injury in the entire league. Due to drafted depth and careful waiver wire acquisitions General Manager, Scott McCloughan, was able to stock the team with more than adequate replacements that continued to fight to win games.
As the Redskins begin training camp, injuries to players will begin to impact the team’s future once again. How they respond to those injuries will make a major difference in how far the team advances in the upcoming season and how they defend the NFC East Division crown. And as Shakespeare once wrote, “Heavy is the head that wears the crown.”
Responding to injuries requires a multi layer team effort and it starts with the players themselves who take a keen interest in their livelihood and make decisions in the offseason that impact their opportunities to succeed deep into the regular season.
Eating right, working out, building muscle, and understanding the nuances of their own bodies are the first line of defense in preventing injury and recovering from it. We’ve all seen the “fat” Tony Romo pictures and while he may have looked like he ate too much Tex Mex this offseason, if he gets hurt, look to see that picture resurface as to why he might of gotten hurt.
The next layer is the team’s Athletic Trainer. For the Washington Redskins, it’s Larry Hess, who has been the Head Athletic Trainer for six years. His job is to make sure they have all the tools in place to keep them fit once they walk into the facility. He is probably very adept at motivating players to stick to their training regimen. Kind of how your parents were at making sure you brushed your teeth every night before bed. Except, times that by a 1000. He’s probably very persuasive.
Next is the Strength and Conditioning coach, Mike Clark. I have never met the man, but I assume he gets up very early in the morning and does a 100 pushups before leaving his bedroom. He then makes a crazy concoction of protein shakes made from ingredients that read like a magic spell for some enchanted witch’s caldron. Clark makes the players stronger, faster, and hopefully meaner.
The next layer of response to injuries is the front office. McCloughan and his scouts have a massive list of players to which to pull from when an injury occurs. It is vital to make sure the next player can fulfill the team’s need and maybe excel if given the opportunity. This insulates them from the “Injury Bug”.
The team must have the next man up mentality if it does get bitten by the “Injury Bug” again this year. I always pictured the “Injury Bug” as a disgusting, vile little creature that has no sympathy or soul. You know, like, <INSERT CURRENT HATED POLITICIAN HERE>!
Recent injuries like the one Junior Galette suffered and other nagging ones, like the sore Achilles tendon that continues to sideline Josh Doctson, reminds the team and their supporters that injuries will undoubtedly return. Overcoming them as a team will be paramount to returning to glory.
As former Super Bowl winning coach, and Redskins nemesis, Bill Parcels once famously said to get his players hyped up, “this is why you lift all them weights!” As camp ramps up, let’s hope that holds true for the Washington Redskins as they try to get through the preseason relatively unscathed.
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