Injuries will not be mocked. At the mere suggestion that things seemed to be down a bit in Week 1, injuries came back strongly and quickly.
All you need to do is see names like Ray Rice, Larry Fitzgerald and Steven Jackson to realize what the effect can be. Those names look more at home in the first round of a draft than listed on an injury report.
Of course, the peaks and valleys of injuries remind us how unpredictable they are. Larry Fitzgerald's hamstring could have given way on any play—this week, next week, last week—and that it did what it did doesn't even give us much insight into how the Cardinals medical staff managed it. From the outside, it's hard to say if they got more or less out of him than could be expected.
That's why any one week and any one injury has to be put into context. Overall, the efforts at maintenance and rehabilitation get more attention. It's easier to say "miraculous recovery" than to give full credit to the doctors and therapists. Few see the hours that the athletic trainers put in to get a player out on the field safely.
The NFL's "next man up" philosophy belies the problem. While there is a necessity to depth and to the opportunity that injuries bring, there is still a major loss anytime talent is shelved. The way to win is to collect talent and keep it on the field. Anything less reminds us that we're not seeing the game at its best.
For now, the injuries are with us, so let's take a look around the league.