Yep, as feared, Marcus Tubbs is out for the season. Can bad news be good? Since the negatives of Tubbs' injury are apparent and well talked about, here instead, are positives.
- ACL tears are one of the most common and treatable football injuries. Unlike his previous knee injury, nothing about Tubbs current injury threatens his career.
- Tearing his ACL gives Tubbs more time to rehab his more seriously injured left knee. Given a full year of rehab, Tubbs can enter 2008 without the question marks that have swarmed him this whole offseason.
- Seattle anticipated Tubbs absence and drafted Brandon Mebane. Whereas losing Tubbs in 2005 and 2006 meant a decline from Tubbs to Craig Terril or Chartric Darby, the current roster is much better equipped for the loss. Mebane doesn't have Tubbs upside, but he's a decent match when it comes to run-stuffing and blocker occupying.
- Tubbs looked iffy in the preseason. I think Tubbs might have hurt his right knee in an attempt to protect his surgically repaired left knee; Otherwise, I don't understand why he took the force of Jeremy Newberry block one legged. If this is in fact the case, an injury to his right knee was inevitable. Seattle is lucky to have this happen before the final wave of cuts, not only so that they may adjust their own roster accordingly, but so that they may look into other team's castoffs for help.
You can't win by losing a player, especially not one who anchors your run defense. But seriously downgrading the Hawks chances for contention because of Tubbs' loss fails to be mindful of two very significant factors: One, Tubbs was never expected to be a full-time contributor in 2007. And two, we still don't know how good Mebane can be. If Tubbs' main contribution to the Hawks defense was simply his ability to occupy blockers, that's slack I think Mebane can pick up, but if Tubbs was doing something we couldn't see and couldn't measure, well, we'll see and measure its absence by week four when we head into San Francisco.