In the NFL, every year is a blank slate. With each turn in the calendar comes brand new opportunity for success waiting to be seized by whichever team is up next in the ever-changing hierarchy of the league. In turn, also comes the inevitable disappointment that is attributed to the teams that finds themselves lower in the standings than they envisioned at the start of the season.
The NFL is far from predictable and nothing is certain—well, almost nothing. For certain teams, some things never change. For instance, you can enter the season expecting to see the Patriots win at least eleven games and you can expect to see the Browns lose eleven games. These things happen virtually every year, with a rare exception here and there.
Today we were reminded that similarly, the Los Angeles Chargers have a seemingly inevitable annual tradition of their own. That being the fact that no matter how high, or how low, the hopes for the coming season, several of the team’s best players will suffer devastating injuries that drive a knife through the collective hearts of fans far and wide.
For the fourth time in five seasons, the heartbreaking injury was sustained by former Pro Bowl cornerback, Jason Verrett. The frequency at which Verrett has seen his season come to an end due to injury has caused this one in particular to feel numb, in a way. It is supremely disappointing to see, of course, but at this point it would be more shocking if he went a full season without being injured than if he were to tear his Achilles during a conditioning test on the first day of camp—as absurd as that is.
The injury is devastating, but not in the same way as others, such as the one suffered by Hunter Henry recently. Henry’s injury was a major blow to the team as they lost one of their top offensive weapons, leading one to be concerned with how they make up for the loss on the field. Verrett’s injury, on the other hand, brings no such concerns. It is indeed devastating, but only because it causes you to feel great sorrow for Verrett as a person. To see what could have been a great career be decimated by injuries is a shame.
Due to his injury history and how well the secondary performed without him last season, it would have been a bonus to have Verrett in the lineup, not an expectation or necessity. In fact, his return this season would have caused a serious log jam at the position for the team. After he went down last season, Trevor Williams emerged as a more than adequate CB2 while then rookie, Desmond King, excelled as the team’s slot corner. Bringing Verrett back into the mix would have forced one of these players to the bench, and possibly to another position—in King’s case.
While it is awful to see Verrett miss the season, it does serve to alleviate one of the team’s more pressing issues heading into camp, allowing them to retain some continuity in the secondary. So if there were ever a bright side to losing a Pro Bowl player before the start of the season, this is it.
In short, the team’s secondary will perform at a high level next season, with or without Jason Verrett. The near future is still as bright as ever for the Los Angeles Chargers, but it couldn’t be darker for the career of Jason Verrett. Any chances he had of obtaining a multi-year extension with the team went out the window the second his Achilles tendon snapped. Now, a player who once looked to be one of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL will likely find himself taking a one-year deal next offseason, with that contract being his last chance to prove he can remain healthy and make it in the NFL.
Football is a cruel sport.