Robert Douglas Injured:

Robert Douglas tore the meniscus in his knee, which will cause him to miss “several weeks,” according to this New York Times report. It’s hard for me to comment on this because I didn’t get much of a sense of how Douglas was doing – he seemed competent catching balls out the backfield, and that’s about all I saw.

But here is the upshot: Reuben Droughns and rookie free agent tight end Michael Matthews will full in at fullback in the meantime.

With all due respect to Douglas, anything that gets Droughns out of the tailback rotation has to be considered a good thing. The only thing to recommend Droughns is that he’s a known quantity: he has performed in this league in the past, the thinking goes, so we can be assured he won’t kill us.

Yes, we can be assured he won’t kill us, but we can also be assured that he won’t help us. To borrow a phrase from the Baseball Prospectus guys, the guy is the very definition of replacement level talent.

Yes, he played on a brutal offense and ran behind a terrible offensive line, but his 3.4 yards per carry over 220 carries last year was no small feat of awfulness. Also consider that in a starting role, he scored but 4 touchdowns while fumbling 5 times.

If you want to talk in terms of Footballoutsiders stats, Droughns’ -20.1% DVOA ranked 51st in the league among running backs, while his -6.8 DPAR – an accumulation stat, as opposed to the rate stat DVOA – ranked 53rd. Pretty awful, anyway you look at it.

To translate back into English, his longest play from scrimmage last year was 24 yards. At 29 years-old, the guy has absolutely no upside.

Why waste carries on Droughns? Give me either Derrick Ward or Ahmad Bradshaw.

Ward raised eyebrows during the first two preseason games with his speed, which he showcased both on runs from scrimmage and kick-returns.

The guy’s been injury-prone his whole career, and it’s anybody’s guess if he can become an above average runner. But he’s got that speed-burst, which is more than can be said about Droughns.

The guy I’m more excited about, however, is Bradshaw. From what we’ve seen, this guy is an instinctive runner.

He’s not fast in the open-field sense and he’s not particularly powerful, but he’s quick (“more quick than fast,” as the saying goes), and has been running hard, decisively, and to the right spots so far.

Either one of these guys will be a better “change of pace” from Jacobs than Droughns, who isn’t fast or quick. Let’s take a flyer on one of them – they can’t be any worse than Droughns. Maybe we might have something.
Oh, and as for Droughns moving to fullback: if he’s capable of blocking, I’m fine with it. It’s not that he can’t be on the field; it just makes no sense to give him a sizable percentage of our carries.

**

David Tyree Injured:

Since his high-water mark in 2005, when he made the Pro Bowl as a special teams ace and looked competent as a receiver, it’s been a rough stretch for Tyree, who was limited because of neck injury last year and just broke his left wrist against the Jets, which will take him out of action for up to six weeks.

This is really too bad. Tyree is still a huge asset on special teams, and I was psyched to see him team up with Chase Blackburn and Zach DeOssie.

Tyree’s injury clears the way for Anthony Mix to make the roster as a wide receiver. You’d like think that the fifth wide receiver is a pretty inconsequential roster spot, but since Amani is coming off an injury (though he has looked really good in the games so far), Plaxico hasn’t played yet, and Sinorice has yet to distinguish himself, Mix may actually play a role.