Posted by Will Brinson
The lockout was supposed to ravage NFL teams with injuries during the preseason. That didn't happen, but Week 1's been rough going for NFL teams injury-wise. The Panthers are the latest victim, as they lost All-Pro linebacker Jon Beason for the year thanks to a torn Achilles.
The worst part? Beason tore the Achilles while chasing down super-slow tight end (and former Panther) Jeff King as he rumbled for a 48-yard touchdown in the Panthers 28-21 loss to Arizona Sunday.
"I've got to give Jon credit. He was going 100 miles an hour when he went down," Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said Monday, via Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. "It's just a shame thing. It's a freak thing. He's a warrior and I'll take those guys seven days a week."
Actually, the worst part is probably that Beason was rushed back -- Beason had surgery on his Achilles just a few weeks ago and, as my colleague Ryan Wilson noted then, was jeopardizing his consecutive-start streak by doing so.
Now that start streak is completely out the window, as Beason
"You can pretty much imagine what it’s going to be like to lose a leader like Jon," said Carolina outside linebacker Thomas Davis, via Steve Reed of CarolinaGrowl.com. "He's a guy who comes in day-in and day-out and gives you everything he has. It’s going to be extremely tough for us. But we have some guys who have to step up now."
The guy who will be asked to fill Beason's shoes is Dan Connor, a guy who saw a ton of playing time last year and who's a capable run-stopper. He's not nearly the player Beason is, of course, so the loss remains tremendous for the Panthers in terms of their defense being able to do what Rivera wants it to.
And the need to get Beason back by Week 1 -- clearly a concern -- suddenly looms like a large mistake.
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