Cam Newton, Ben Roethlisberger, and Mathew Stafford lead the pack of players returning to the field from injury riddled seasons, but a few other game changers look to make some noise.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has a mission to protect the quarterback.
Cam Newton, New England Patriots
Superman has completed 25% of his career passes in a tight window ( a receiver open by one yard or fewer). Coming off of shoulder surgery in 2017 and a Lisfranc injury just last year, the 2015 MVP will need health on his side to continue his Favre-esque style of play.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Unlike Cam, Roethlisberger has more to deal with than hitting receivers over the middle. Ben has shown he can still sling the football around, even with the departure of his knucklehead go-to receiver, Antonio Brown.
If Big Ben wants to rip the tag of a poor leader that showed Antonio Brown the door, he’ll have to step up in the locker room..
Mathew Stafford, Detroit Lions
November 2019, Stafford goes down with tailbone fracture. In December of 2016 he missed games with a dislocated finger. Shoulder surgery in 2010.
Notice a trend?
Sportsinjuryprojector.com projects Stafford having just a 75.8% chance to make it through the season.
Not good. Almost as if we’re looking at Carson Wentz in 2027.
With a career QB rating of 89.3, Stafford has been excellent. If the former number 1 pick wants to prove his 5-year $135 million contract is worth a damn, he’ll have to find a way to stay on the field.
As promised, here are the other notable returners:
JJ Watt, Houston Texans
Hard to imagine an uptick in production, so it seems like Watt’s return has more to do with maintaining his form on his return from a torn pectoral muscle.
A.J Green, Cincinnati Bengals
A more unique return considering the Bengals selected LSU’s Joe Burrow in the draft. Returning from a freak ankle injury in training camp is made easier when the quarterback can actually uhhh… throw the football.
Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins(who knows)
After suffering two serious knee injuries in just two NFL seasons, Guice will need to prove he can stay on the field to give a young quarterback Dwyane Haskins a chance.
Other notable returns
Bears DE Bradley Chubb
Jets LB C.J. Mosley
LA Chargers S Derwin James
The American people love themselves a Cinderella story and time will tell which of these former standouts will right the ship come July 28 at the start of camp.