There's a scene in the criminally underrated movie Rocky Balboa where a 60-year-old Rocky prepares to begin his training regimen for his fight versus the current world heavyweight boxing champion Mason Dixon. Rocky's cornerman, Tony “Duke” Burton, starts laying out the training program.
“To beat this guy, you need speed. You don't have it. And your knees can't take the pounding, so hard running is out. And you got arthritis in your neck, and you've got calcium deposits on most of your joints, so sparring is out.”
The reason I bring this scene up, other than the fact that the Rocky/Creed film series is kind of my jam, is that when I heard that Derek Carr was actually going to be playing in week 14, I imagined the New Orleans Saints coaches and trainers having a similar discussion with Carr ahead of today's game versus their NFC South rival, the Carolina Panthers.
“To win this game, you need to throw the ball down the field. With your sprained shoulder, you can't do that. Your ribs are busted up, so you can't afford to take any big hits in the pocket. And you're coming off a concussion, so we probably shouldn't overwhelm you with an in-depth game plan.”
In the lead-up to Sunday's game, Derek Carr spoke to reporters about the state of his health and his status for the game against the Panthers.
“Everyone has got a broken something, dealing with this or dealing with that,” Carr said, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. “I got my treatment, I did my protocol stuff, but I also, most importantly, made sure that I did everything I need to do to accomplish my job.”
Props to Derek Carr for handling his business like a pro, when normal dudes like you or I would never think about suiting up for an NFL game with head, rib and shoulder injuries. The New Orleans Saints are 5-7, but just one game out of both a Wild Card spot and the lead in the increasingly meh NFC South.