Detroit Lions Will Miss 2011 NFL Playoffs Without Jahvid Best
Should the Detroit Lions be worried about their once-perfect season ending up without a playoff appearance in 2011? Absolutely! That’s the scenario that surely awaits the Lions if they can’t get a healthy Jahvid Best back sooner rather than later.
Furthermore, the fact that no one has been able to put together a timetable for Best’s potential return should be a cause for concern for all Lions fans. Especially taking into account the 22-year-old’s history of head traumas, this situation goes from bad to perhaps even catastrophic.
“When we get clearance from the doctors, then we’ll get him back, but he needs to be symptom-free before we get clearance from the doctors,” said Lions head coach Jim Schwartz when asked about Best’s progress this week. “He’s gotten a lot of different opinions and stuff. We have the best people in the business looking at this and we’re going to pay attention to those people.”
Best is expected to miss his fourth consecutive game when the Lions host the Panthers this week, after suffering his second concussion of the season back on Oct. 16th at San Francisco. Records indicate that he had at least two more concussions not too far from there, during his college years as a CAL Golden Bear.
Before forgoing his senior year to enter the NFL draft, Best suffered at least two more concussions, with the second one being devastating. As a junior in 2009, this kid was one of the best tailbacks in the country. At the beginning of the season, Best went on a tear that earned him Pac-10 Player of the Week and Rivals.com National Player of the Week honors. But a few weeks later, he would be out for the season.
The first concussion was labeled as a mild one, which came in a game against Arizona State. Best was released the following day, but didn’t play the week after versus Arizona (Wildcats). He made his return on Nov. 7th as CAL took on Conference rival Oregon State. In the second quarter, while trying to score a touchdown, Best hurdled over a defender, but in mid-air made contact with another Beaver. The hit contorted his body while he was airborne, causing him to violently land on his head with such force that his helmet flew off.
After lying on the ground for 13-minutes, Best was finally carried off the field in a stretcher and was immediately taken to Highland General Hospital in Oakland. He would miss the rest of the regular season as well as the 2009 Poinsettia Bowl.
When asked about the possibility of his having his star back play in the 2009 postseason, Golden Bears head coach, Jeff Tedford, stated they couldn’t “get him back in game-ready form. I don’t feel like that’s something that we can get done to have him ready to play.”
With teams preparing for the final stretch of the 2011-12 NFL season, Detroit is now in danger of being left behind. With the (9-0) Green Bay Packers still perfect, there’s just no way anyone can catch them in the NFC North. Everyone might as well go ahead and consider that division title clinched. So, that leaves teams like the Lions and Bears, as well as 5-4 squads like the Falcons and Cowboys jockeying for two NFC Wild Card spots.
And while the Lions are still in a position to control their own destiny — despite playing the Packers two more times and the Saints once — that outcome is a foregone conclusion without Best coming out of the backfield. As solid as their defense is, this team becomes extremely one-dimensional without No.44 there to prove a balance on the offensive side of the football… and that’s fact!
Without Best, the Lions are 1-2, and life just hasn’t been as easy for Matthew Stafford or Calvin Johnson. Since then, Stafford has thrown 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. While one can make the argument that all 4 of those INTs came in last week’s loss to the Bears, one can also say that three of Stafford’s TDs come against the Broncos’ 29th ranked defense.
Heck, even “Megatron” has all of the sudden seem like a mere mortal, in case people haven’t noticed. Despite racking up the yards in every game, Johnson hasn’t been able to get into the end zone with as much ease as he did to start the season. Going into Sunday’s game, Megatron has just 2 TDs in three weeks.
So, should Detroit and all Lions fans be worried about missing the playoffs at this point? You make the call…