I'm sick of "next man up."
I can't tell you how many times I've heard it. Each time a player goes down, one of the talented players that we all drafted at the top of our drafts and built our hopes on for a great fantasy season, we hear it again. It's past cliche at this stage and has become destructive to the game.
The idea is right. Someone is going to have to step up and perform. The idea that there's little or no drop-off from the first string to the second string just insults our intelligence. Coaches tell us how hard they work in camp to separate and stratify the players. They agonize over roster moves, personnel packages and such, then turn around and say they're meaningless due to "next man up."
Injuries can't be prevented. In a collision sport like the NFL, there are going to be injuries. Next man up implies that not only do they not matter, but that they can't be reduced. Not prevented, but reduced. In a season of ACL injuries and Lisfranc fractures, even a small reduction could make a huge difference, and yet, teams shrug their shoulders, hold the podium and say "next man up."
It denigrates the work of the athletic trainers and doctors. It reduces the work that players put in on rehab and conditioning. It waves its hand dismissively at the cost of injuries, both in salary lost, talent on the field and the pain it sympathetically hands out to a fanbase.
Next man up is an excuse, not a motivational technique. It's time the NFL focused a lot more on keeping the next man from going down than saying next man up. For now, let's look around the league...