Off-season predictions give fans an inside look at their favorite franchises. We use that information to discuss our season expectations with friends, families, and co-workers. Accounting for injuries is never a part of the conversation. They are impossible to predict - making it hard for sports communities to recover from.
Here are a few noteworthy injuries after a busy Week 4.
NFL Injury #3 Los Vegas Raiders WR Davante Adams (shoulder)
Adjusting to changes on the roster is the norm for most players on Josh McDaniel's squad. The Las Vegas Raiders are searching for ways to stay relevant in a competitive division. They welcome all change as long as it benefits the franchise's future. In March, The Las Vegas Raiders signed Jimmy Garoppolo to a three-year $72.5 million deal. He played three games before entering the league's concussion protocol. The injury was concerning, but fans can expect to see Jimmy G return to the field again. Hopefully, his primary target is also healed and ready to perform.
A comeback Raiders victory seemed out of reach Sunday, but you couldn't tell if you were watching Davante Adams. His effort helped Las Vegas remain in the game until their final drive. A sideline toe-tapping reception helped the Raiders invade the red zone. It caused the All-Pro receiver to injure his shoulder, but he played through the pain. An Aidan O'Connell interception closed the door on a late game-winning drive. After the game, Adams relayed disturbing news to reporters in the locker room. He mentioned his shoulder "definitely does not feel good right now" to the NFL media.
Josh McDaniel's unit will suffer if No.17 misses significant time. Adams ranks sixth in receiving grade (87.8) and tied for third in receptions (33). Mick Lombardi's offense depends on him to lead the Raiders to victory, but he can not do that from the sideline.
NFL Injury #2 New England Patriots CB Christian Gonzales (shoulder)
Defending the endzone against dynamic quarterbacks and receiver duos can cause nightmares for defense coordinators. Passing the football has become easier, which is why it pays to acquire depth in the secondary. Bill Belichick is a mastermind at scouting incoming players with a high ceiling. New England used their first-round draft pick to select Christian Gonzalez - a standout corner from the University of Oregon. His speed (4.38) and frame (6'1") helped him lock down the FBS' most skillful receivers. His contributions helped Belichick's second rank eleventh in coverage (76.5) entering Week 5.
Locking down elite route runners continues to be a theme for New England's rookie corner. Gonzales ranks 18th in coverage rating (79.3) and tied for seventh in interceptions. He held Miami Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill to 3 receptions for 32 yards in Week 2. A shoulder injury during the first half against the Patriots forced No.6 to end his day early. CeeDee Lamb scored on the next play against Gonzales' backup - shifting the momentum in Dallas' favor.
NFL Injury #1 Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kenny Pickett (knee)
The Pittsburgh Steelers are nearing the eye of a brewing storm. A non-existent offensive scheme fails to complement the newest franchise quarterback. Matt Canada's unit ranks 32nd in offensive grading (51.8) and 25th in points scored. It's been a rough transition for Kenny Pickett, but he's made the most of his time behind center. He's kept his head high while encouraging his teammates during a rough part of the season.
A 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans surprised the Steelers community. Teryl Austin's defense made C.J. Stroud look like Peyton Manning - and it was only his fourth career start. When Pittsburgh's' offense took the field they failed to move the football. It forced Mike Tomlin to attempt fourth-down conversations early in the second half. Additional effort in the last attempt will cost Pickett several games. He injured his knee on his way down to the ground and could miss a few games.
Injuries are a part of professional sports. They remind viewers and front officers of the importance of roster depth and good health. We hope these athletes make a speedy recovery to the gridiron. Without them, their franchises may suffer.
All statistics courtesy of pff.com