Who is the player coming back from injury who will be key to each NFC South team?

We select one player from each club in the sector whose return from physical issues will be critical to success during the 2022 regular season

Every year, there is only one team that breaks the champagne and raises the Vince Lombardi Trophyand 31 other clubs left disappointed, defeated, thinking how different things might have been under other circumstances.

Among these often unavoidable circumstances, injuries play a predominant role. With the arrival of the new season, many teams begin to recover some players who could not finish last season due to injury, or who had to endure some stretch of the calendar decimated by injury.

While the teams of the NFL are stuck in the last phase of preparation to face the regular season, that is, training camps and preseason, it is worth reviewing which are the key players who, in case they return from injuries in good shape, will give an important boost to the clubs once they can return to activity.

We continue with the four teams of the NFC South:



The falcons they let go in free agency Foyesade Oluokun after a breakout campaign in which he led the league with 192 total tackles to go along with three interceptions, six passes defensed and seven quarterback hits.

In the meantime, Atlanta wait to jones regain his role as the centerpiece of the defense after a season of 137 total tackles — just one fewer shy of his career high — but one that left feelings of disappointment for a player accustomed to big plays. The best example of him was his zero interceptions for the first time so far in a career in which he has established himself as one of the best linebackers in the league to create turnovers.

The problem? jones he’s coming off missing an offseason job following shoulder surgery.

It is clear that Atlanta is undergoing a profound transformation of the template, and it is possible that the board has not finished purging contracts, after saying goodbye to Julius Jones Y matt ryan –to name the most outstanding– in the last 10 months. With a salary-cap hit of over $20 million for 2022, the most on the entire roster, and depending on the status of his shoulder, his roster spot isn’t even guaranteed with the falcons for the next campaign. However, if you stay Atlanta he’ll expect him to recapture that preponderant leadership role — on the field and in the locker room — at the head of the defensive unit, and without the drag on his shoulder.

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There is not much more that can be added about the health situation of McCaffreyafter he has started just 10 games in the past two seasons, just after Carolina made him the highest paid broker in the NFL in April 2020.

The point is that, prior to the last two campaigns, McCaffrey He hadn’t missed a single start in his racing career. NFL in his first two years.

For the member of Hall of Fame Marshall Faulkthe lack of a decent quarterback in Carolina has influenced injuries McCaffrey.

“I think you’ve experienced what it’s like not to have someone in [la posición de] quarterback, and what is required of you when you don’t have someone who is respected as a quarterback,” he explained. Faulk in an interview with The Athletic late last month. “You become the focal point. And if that quarterback doesn’t earn the respect of the defense, you’re going to be limited in what you do in this league.”

Multiple hamstring, ankle, shoulder and glute issues have curtailed his activity dramatically in the last couple of years. During that time, they have started games for the panthers at the quarterback position Teddy Bridgewater, PJ Walker, Sam Darnold and Cam Newton, with uninspiring results. This year will add Baker Mayfield to the list.

Typically, a good offensive backfield should serve to take pressure off the quarterback. In Carolinathe formula appears to have been flipped, with the Panthers requiring an increase in their quarterbacks’ level of play to take pressure off their star running back.

How long can that offensive model last?

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The last time Thomas played a full season in the NFLset a league-record 149 receptions and led the NFL with 1,725 ​​receiving yards in 2019. A season prior, he also led the NFL in receptions with 125, the second of three straight seasons with at least 100 catches.

The problem is that Thomas he’s played just seven games since then, five starts, and all of them in 2020. That means the star wide receiver from New Orleans he still doesn’t know what it’s like to run the offensive of the saints without Drew Brees like quarterback. To this, we must add that he will start the following campaign at 29 years old, an age in which many players begin to reveal an evident decline.

Hamstring and ankle problems have cost Thomas two years into the stage where he could have cemented himself as the best wide receiver in the NFL. How far is she today from the level she was at when she was in that conversation?

Although he was running in the facilities of the saints during the offseason program, the head coach Dennis Allen revealed that he was not healthy enough to participate fully during the mandatory minicamp, not exactly what the fans of New Orleans he wanted to listen after such a long absence.

During an interview for “The Rich Eisen Show” in early May, Allen said “That would be our hope”, regarding the possibility of having Thomas ready to play in Week 1, a phrase that doesn’t exactly fill with confidence.

the quarterback James Winston returns from his own serious injury last season, a torn ACL, and the offense of New Orleans he’ll have to find a way to move the ball efficiently without Sean Payton calling the shots for the first time in a while. Thomas will be a critical piece towards the success of the saintsbut it is clear that it may take several weeks of play for it to resume an acceptable rhythm.

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The regular campaign Godwin in 2021, after winning his first ring of superbowlpainted for a definitive breakout for one of the best inside wide receivers in the NFL. He had 98 receptions for 1,103 yards with five touchdowns when it all fell apart.

A torn anterior cruciate ligament in mid-December not only ended his end of the regular season and playoffs, but also most of the offseason work, due to the natural length that recovery from such an injury requires.

It is logical to assume that Godwin will start the season on the list of unable to participate due to physical problems. That means he’ll miss at least the first four games of the regular season — under new league rules — and it wouldn’t be a surprise if his absence lasts longer.

not count on Godwin in the first part of the campaign could be costly for some Buccaneers who also lose the contribution of the tight end Rob Gronkowskiwithdrawn for the second time from the NFL. Not to mention that Anthony Brownwho began last season as one of the starting wide receivers in Tampa Bayis no longer available to the quarterback Tom BradyFor reasons we all know.

The drop in pure talent between the start of the 2021 season and the start of the 2022 season is dramatic, and the first four games of the Bucs are visiting the Dallas Cowboys Y saintsand at home before the Green Bay Packers Y Kansas City Chiefs.

Godwin it will be back, eventually, although we don’t know for sure in what state. The Bucs they hope that by the time he returns, it will not be too late for his aspirations in the race for the NFC.

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Who is the player coming back from injury who will be key to each NFC South team?