The Los Angeles Rams are set to start training camp 2023 this week, and the most important outcome they can hope for is a clean bill of health heading into Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks. LA lost their top draft pick, OG Logan Bruss, early in the preseason and this started a slippery slope that led to a historic volume of injuries along the offensive line and a lack of protection for franchise QB Matthew Stafford—who underwent multiple stints in the NFL’s concussion protocol and suffered a season-ending spinal cord contusion.
For some NFL teams with hopes of contention, the war of attrition has already set in.
The Buffalo Bills expect to compete with the best of the best in the AFC with Josh Allen under center. However, RB Nyheim Hines, who the team acquired from the Indianapolis Colts via mid-season trade last year, is now expected to miss the entire 2023 season with a knee injury. Hines reportedly suffered the injury during an offseason jet ski incident.
In the NFC conference, the Detroit Lions are an ascending team led by a potent offense and hoping for progression on the defensive side of the ball. Detroit dipped into the free agency pool to reinforce its secondary with players such as Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (Eagles), Cameron Sutton (Steelers), and Emmanuel Moseley (49ers). While the Lions expect to take a step forward on defense this season, already two of their three offseason acquisitions are dealing with significant injury concerns.
Gardner-Johnson went down in practice with a non-contact knee injury and will have further testing performed, but that’s never a good sign. The veteran safety signed a one-year, prove it type contract after the free agent safety market didn’t take shape as he hoped—and now he could spend a year of his prime on the sidelines.
Lions’ S C.J. Gardner-Johnson suffered a non-contact knee injury during Monday’s practice before being carted off. Brutal.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 24, 2023
Lions head coach Dan Campbell also shared some concerning news surrounding Moseley. The veteran corner will start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list:
Campbell said Moseley is not currently with the team for medical reasons, but declined to elaborate.
“He’s excused,” Campbell said. “He will start on PUP when he arrives and it’s probably going to be a little bit longer than what we hoped for. And that’s really predicated on the work that was going, he was progressing so fast, so we’re going to put the brakes on a little bit. I don’t want to say (it’s a) set back, but it’s just a little bit — it’ll be a little bit longer.”
Will the injuries to Hines, Gardner-Johnson, and Moseley keep either the Bills or Lions from fulfilling their contention hopes? Each season in the NFL is a war of attrition, and often times the winner of the Super Bowl is the best remaining team after injuries have set in versus the most talented roster overall.
As Rams fans, we can just cross our fingers and hope for a clean bill of health heading into the regular season. Perhaps 2022 will prove to be an outlier year in terms of injuries and LA can get back on the right track moving forward.