Rest or Reps? The Pros and Cons of Playing an Injured Vernon Adams Jr.

Photo Credit: Russ Long, gridirongirl

To play or not to play Vernon Adams Jr.? That is the question facing Oregon’s coaches this week as they prepare the team to face its next opponent, Georgia State.

It took just one game for Mariota’s successor, Vernon Adams Jr., to get injured-unfortunate circumstances for a guy who had only been with the team a couple of weeks and who was facing the biggest game of his career last Saturday. Despite a pretty good performance by Adams, the announcement that he was playing against Michigan State with a broken index finger on his throwing hand, left many to wonder if he should have been playing at all-  a question mark made even bigger in light of some costly missed throws and an eventual loss.

As the Ducks look to face off against Georgia State in Autzen tomorrow, all eyes will be on Adams Jr.. Will he start or will he sit out a game, allowing Jeff Lockie to take the reps?

For the past two weeks following the injury, Adams Jr.  has maintained that his finger feels fine. Just two days ago, he told reporters, “it’s good,” several times. He didn’t elaborate but did acknowledge he was sharing first team snaps with Jeff Lockie in the event it’s decided he can’t play. He also wouldn’t confirm if he’d be playing this week, leaving more room for speculation.

Either way, given the Ducks are some 40 plus point favorites, things should be OK; but it’s still worth asking, should Adams Jr. play if he “can”?

The Pros

Certainly, playing Adams Jr. would give him much-needed game time experience and chemistry building with the team. Given the likelihood of a solid victory, it could also serve as a big confidence builder for Adams Jr., moving into conference play. Though Adams has a lot of experience as a quarterback, it has been in a lower division and at times during the MSU game, Adams seemed a bit uncomfortable on such a big stage (not that anyone could blame him). Playing time with his new team is the only way to settle him in, even if it’s against a lesser ranked opponent.

The Cons

On the flip side, is playing Adams in this type of game worth risking further injury? Let’s go all the way back to a young guy named, Dennis Dixon. Perhaps you might recall him playing through injury and what that eventually meant for the Ducks. Granted it was a knee and not a finger, but still. You gotta think playing at less than a hundred percent might make Adams Jr. even the slightest bit more hesitant/less confident and therefore more vulnerable to injury. He’s already taken some nasty hits. With Adams Jr. giving the Ducks the best change at a playoff run, would it be smarter to play it safe?

It’s a tough call for sure.

Game experience and confidence building are important but is the gamble worth it? Or, should Lockie take the reins, even if it is for just one game? Should the coaching staff put some faith in a guy that has been as faithful as Lockie has been? He may not be the elite player they are looking for, but he certainly can hold his own. That is likely all the Ducks will need this week so perhaps that plan makes the most sense.

Then again, maybe sitting Adams Jr. out one game wouldn’t make much of a difference in the healing process anyway.

So with that, we await game that much anticipated game time decision. Will it be Adams Jr. or Lockie? My guess is the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

What do you think?

Follow Nichole on Twitter @UOgridirongirl


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