With Darryl Sharpton Out, DeMeco Ryans Has To Be DeMeco Ryans Again

I had been thinking about posting on this topic since Darryl Sharpton went down for the season last Sunday but hadn't gotten around to it. Jerome Solomon penned an article in today's Chronicle addressing the issue. Whether he's ready for an increased workload or not, DeMeco Ryans, a little over a year removed from that horrible Achilles tear, is about to get it. And Cap'n 'Meco seems excited about it.

"No one likes coming out of a ballgame - no competitor, that is," Ryans said. "I want to be out there all the time. That is what I am used to. But I understand that is how we play our defense, and I get that. But I'm good to go. I can play more."
A little less than a year ago, DreKeem (yes, he did actually once author a post here), wrote an outstanding article that cited all kinds of foreboding data about professional football players returning from Achilles tears. Looking at it now, it's reassuring to see that DeMeco Ryans has already proven that he's not in the 32% of players who never play another snap after a similar injury. Yet it's also somewhat disheartening to re-read the stats about the absurd power rating decline calculated amongst linebackers who suffer Achilles injuries.

While DeMeco has shown flashes of returning to form in the limited exposure he's had this season, I can't help but wonder whether the Sharpton injury is going to loom even larger once Ryans is asked to do more so soon after his injury. To some degree, the Texans were protecting DeMeco before Sharpton got hurt; now, that safety net is gone. Mister Alexander ain't gonna save the day if DeMeco gets exposed as being a weak link.

None of this is meant to impugn DeMeco Ryans' heart, professionalism, or fortitude. He's one of my favorite Texans of all time, and no one can dispute that he's been anything but a standard-bearer since he arrived in Houston. I want nothing more than for him to return to what he was pre-injury. The data, however, certainly seems to justify the fear that he never will or, at the very least, that it won't happen this season.

If anyone can make it work, it's Wade Phillips and DeMeco Ryans. But without Darryl Sharpton there to spell 'Meco? The margin for error is gone.

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