It’s one of the most common phrases in football, and when a player goes down, it’s one of the first sentences uttered.
“Next man up.”
It’s overused, and while it means something in spirit, it’s a façade.
When you lose a player to injury, you cannot simply make up for their loss by placing another player in their spot and saying, “Next man up!”. That’s not how this works. Losing Jeremy Maclin and plugging in Michael Campanaro isn’t the same thing, and saying the phrase, “Next man up,” isn’t a magical sentence that is going to turn Campanaro into Maclin. It’s unfair to Campanaro to expect Maclin’s production. It’s unfair to Jermaine Eluemunor, when filling in for the best in the business, Marshal Yanda. There’s drop-off. They’re absolutely going to go out there and play to the best of their ability, and maybe they’ll outperform who they’re replacing, but after fourteen players, you’re placing a tough moniker on these players.
While the sentence is good in spirit, it fails to recognize the losses. The sentence sounds like you’re cutting away dead weight, and letting loose a brand new starter who’s going to shine.
The Baltimore Ravens offense has lost:
- RB Kenneth Dixon
- RB Danny Woodhead
- RB Terrance West
- WR Jeremy Maclin
- WR Mike Wallace
- WR Breshad Perriman
- WR Chris Matthews
- TE Dennis Pitta
- TE Maxx Williams
- TE Darren Waller (Suspension)
- LG Alex Lewis
- LG John Urschel (retirement)
- RG Marshal Yanda
- RG Matt Skura
Fourteen players later, you can no longer utter, “Next man up!”
You can support your team, and cheer your butt off, but “next man up,” isn’t how this works. Fourteen players are off the field, so don’t expect this team, or Joe Flacco, to succeed with such losses.