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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    How injuries hurt (or help) a team

    Lets face it, when a superstar player goes down due to injury, a team can roll over and die, and some do. This past weekend, the Patriots Tom Brady went down with a torn ACL and MCL, requiring season ending surgery. The new starter? Matt Cassel, a 7th round draft pick out of USC.

    People can compare Cassel and Brady, but they are completely different situations. Everyone forgets that Brady did start for two years at Michigan, while Cassel has been a career backup at USC behind Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. How the Patriots do with a quarterback who has not started a game since high school is anyone’s guess.

    The question is, how will the team react? Indications are that the Patriots will continue with their high octane offense since Cassel has experience in the complicated offense. The running backs will get more carries, but that’s about it.

    Do injuries hurt a team all the time though? Lets face it, not having the league’s MVP under center will affect the Patriots and their lure, but lets not forget how Brady got there — he replaced an injured Drew Bledsoe late in a game, took the team to the playoffs, and eventually three Super Bowl titles. In the short run, the team wasn’t the same. Long term it turned out pretty good.

    But not every team has their own Brady waiting in the wings. When the Bengals Carson Palmer went down in a playoff game a few years ago, the team went on to lose the game and their shot at the Super Bowl. Last year, Jeremy Shockey broke his leg halfway though the season. With no Shockey, Manning flourished, became the leader he was meant to be, and won the ring.

    Injuries can hurt a team heavily. It can affect the chemistry of a team and lead them down the wrong path. Depending on the make up of the team, the coaching staff, and the mentality, however, a team could just continue right on.

    The Patriots have a good team concept. While Brady is down, they will continue on like he is there. Maybe the players physical performance will be less, but the mentality will not change. The Giants from last year ran everything the same, even if they were down Jeremy Shockey, Mathis Kiwanuka, and a wide receiver or two. These injuries can rally a team to work better together, and realize that every peace in the puzzle has to be come more valuable.

    Let’s take a look at Stony Brook football. In the first game, senior running back Brandon Mason went down with a season ending injury. The result — freshman Edwin Gowins has stepped up and done a great job. Gowins, out of Bellport, Long Island, has rushed 23 times for 271 yards in two games. Gowins, combining with junior Conte Cuttino has given the Seawolves a dynamic backfield. And while Gowins is a freshman and running well, mistakes are still bound to happen, as Coach Priore mentioned at last weeks press conference.

    Teams have to realize that while you may have a superstar, the team should not be built around any individual player. While I have been talking up the Patriots, they too fell into the trap of not having capable backups, and it will be apparent very soon if Cassel can get the job done.

    The Seawolves have done a good job of recruiting and having players capable of stepping up and stepping into a starting role. Teams have to cope with injuries, and while we all use them as excesses, they aren’t. These organizations have to realize that it can happen at any moment. Lets just say, you always have to be ready.

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