Training Camp is a high-impact simulation of what happens in game situations. Drills are run, plays practiced, and there is frequent contact. As a result, we typically see injuries occur, especially in rookies. Rookies see more injuries as a result of both straining to make the team, and trying to work with diets and bodies that are ill-prepared for a rigorous NFL work regimen.
D'Anthony Smith has gone down with what's being described as an ankle injury. Although this is an unfortunate turn of events for the young man, at least he didn't sustain a season ending injury. The third-rounder was a sleeper of a pick. He didn't have fantastic numbers in college, and frequently faced both run-option offenses and double teams. However, his measurables were definitely solid and he was given a glowing review by his college coach. He'll be sorely missed.
Let's take a look at some other players who would represent a major blow to the potential success of the Jaguars' season should they miss any significant time.
Maurice Jones-Drew: The successor to Fred Taylor's throne mustn't go down at any point, or the Jaguars' lose their number one play-maker. He's clearly a player opponents must plan around, and his absence would create an irreplaceable void. I don't care how amazing Deji Kareem turns out to be, or if Rashad Jennings has undergone a transformation and is now the second coming of Eric Dickerson. There is no replacing everything MJD brings. He's our Cadillac. Powerful, yet sleek and deceptively quick. So far he's shown himself to be reliable, but one wrong hit can change everything.
Eugene Monroe: E Money is being counted on to be a large part of the solution to the "Garrard eats dirt problem". All QB's need time to throw the ball, and we can't keep a TE in to pass block all the time. Monroe seems to have taken to the new strength and conditioning program that's been implemented and is lighter than ever. Hopefully that will lessen the likeliness of the big man incurring injury.
Terrance Knighton: That's right, "Pot Roast" is here because John Henderson is gone. He's the key to the defense having any hope of success this season. Ellison is the only other legitimate option, as Montavius Stanley is already signed elsewhere and Ko Quaye can't be expected to step in as a rookie UDFA. Ellison isn't anywhere near Knighton's caliber and Terrance is the only player who can consistently swallow up double teams and still redirect the running back on our team. He's that kind of special player you can't patch for. His weight problem can easily increase the chance of injury, he needs to get into shape quickly.
Rashean Mathis: Mathis has been getting hurt for the past few seasons, and a big part of the team turning things around in terms of pass defense is having a healthy secondary. Derek Cox represents a legitimate "number two" cornerback, and Rashean, when performing up to the level we've grown accustomed to, is a clear top cover corner with fantastic instincts and great hands. If Mathis can stay healthy, it will be a big part of the Jaguars' exit from the basement of the defensive rankings.
Why David Garrard doesn't make this list - I honestly believe that David isn't a superstar, and if he sustains an injury then Luke McCown will serve as a competent back-up. If David is lost for the season, it would be unfortunate, but we'll all be grateful we have a solid QB standing in the wings waiting to take over. Luke isn't Todd Bouman, nor is he Cleo Lemon. Luke is the best back-up we've had in a number of years, easily toppling Quinn Grey in terms of quality.
Well BCC, after a long hiatus, I've returned and I'm looking forward to enjoying a fantastic season with everyone here!