The good news, as it were, is that injuries (and illness!) really did make things worse. Rice ended up with 11 linemen making between eight and 32 tackles; five missed at least one game, and three missed at least four. Meanwhile, of the 11 primary defensive backs, five missed time, and a 12th missed all season.
The only thing worse than having a shaky lineup is having a shaky lineup that changes every week.
Now, for all we know, the injury bug will bite again this fall. But if that regresses toward a more acceptable mean, Rice’s 2017 lineup might¡¯ve benefited from 2016. Ten of those 11 linemen return, as do nine of those 12 defensive backs. And senior Emmanuel Ellerbee is back to anchor the linebacking corps.
Stats show continuity is most important at the back of the defense, and Rice has it. The main problem, though, is that maybe the two best play-makers (safety Tabari McGaskey and middle linebacker Alex Lyons) are among the small handful of departed defenders.
So we¡¯re going to go through them very slowly, piece by piece, so our brains don¡¯t start bleeding out through our noses like a late-season episode of Lost.
These are all via Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman, by the way. Give the man a hug. And Washington Post reporter Isabelle Khurshudyan, who had to deal with this stuff on her birthday.
Seriously, you know he¡¯s been saving this one since he entered the NFL. Heck, he might have been stockpiling this dad joke since well before that. It¡¯s super corny and utterly beautiful.
Game Kids Zach Parise Jersey We should all have seen a tweet like this coming. Cousins is the league¡¯s low-key king of dad Twitter.
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