The NFL is going through a changing of the guard in 2012 defensively, hastened by injuries, and we’ll have to see what impact it has on offensive numbers. There are injuries every year, but it sure seems like there have been as many notable ones on the defensive side as most others, and we still have ten weeks to go.
Here are the last five Defensive Players of the Year: Bob Sanders, James Harrison, Charles Woodson, Troy Polamalu, an Terrell Suggs. Go back further, and you still have Ed Reed, but now Ray Lewis is out. Of those, Harrison and Polamalu have been battling injuries, with Polamalu on the Bob Sanders path at age 31. Suggs has yet to play. Only Charles Woodson, who has moved to safety, is playing regularly in 2012. The guy he narrowly edged in voting, three time all-pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, is also out for the year.
Here is my all-injury team in 2012 on defense. You could have won a lot of games with this squad a few years ago:
No all-pros here, but Adam Carriker and Ty Warren can hold the point of attack, while we would like to see what Phil Taylor could do at Nose Tackle. I’m sure the Browns would too, as he is on the PUP list and still not ready to start practicing. Of course, we have Terrell Suggs trying to come back from his Achilles tear, one of a handful of Defensive Players of the Year to miss substantial time the following year. He insisted he be categorized as a defensive lineman for injury salary purposes on my fake list.
Not only have we lost some aging stars, like Ray Lewis to man the middle, but the young stars of the 2009 class are out. Two of the three best defenders from the class that should be now at its peak (Clay Mathews of course being the other) are now out with Brian Orakpo and Brian Cushing now on IR. We also have depth at the linebacking IR position, with both Thomas Howard of Cincinnati and Desmond Bishop of Green Bay out for the year. Jon Beason may also need to go on IR again, a year after ending up there with an Achilles injury.
The all-defensive injury secondary is loaded at the top with Darrelle Revis, so don’t expect to come through our infirmary without getting mugged. Brent Grimes of Atlanta and Lardarius Webb of Baltimore give us a quality set of corners on the other side. Interestingly enough, we need a safety for our team, and that’s the one position that has so far not had a major star on IR. Troy Polamalu isn’t on IR or PUP, but he has not been able to stay healthy so far at age 31, an age when many safeties start to decline, so he can not suit up for our team any day.
If any of these selections are not enough, I suppose we could always add in the Roger Goodell all-star suspension team and give it a go. Jimmy Kennedy is now an honorary member, and I’m sure he’ll get a call any day now to join Jonathan Vilma, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove.
[photo via US Presswire]