Michigan Football: What could J.J. McCarthy’s injury mean for Week 1

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

As the 2021 Michigan football season came to a close, one question lingered in the minds of Michigan fans: could the Wolverines’ loss to Georgia be the last time Cade McNamara started in the winged helmet? Though the veteran quarterback led Michigan to a Big Ten title, College Football Playoff appearance, and a 12-2 record, McNamara is still heavily criticized.

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In fairness to Cade McNamara, he is the quarterback for Michigan football — the criticism comes with the territory. That being said, some of it is still warranted. McNamara did have the nation’s best offensive line, running back room, and a crafty group of receivers on his side, plus one of college football’s best defensive units on the other side of the ball. To top it off, Michigan boasted one of the best punters in program history and the NCAA’s best kicker.

J.J. McCarthy — Michigan’s now-sophomore sensation — saw significant in-game reps throughout his freshman season in 2021 and was poised to threaten McNamara’s QB1 spot in 2022.

Sadly, it was reported that McCarthy had injured his throwing shoulder in early March of 2022. Though this news is less devastating for Michigan because of the presence of Cade McNamara, the Wolverines’ offense could still look a bit different without McCarthy in week one.

How McCarthy’s injury could impact Michigan football Week 1

Though it is clear McCarthy is far more talented than McNamara as a passer, one significant factor separated the two: mobility. McCarthy’s speed and athleticism allowed the Wolverines to implement a more dimensional offense than Cade McNamara. Against elite opponents such as Ohio State and Georgia, this skillset came in handy.

As of right now, reports indicate that McCarthy’s injury will not require surgery; however, the young QB will still be limited in the spring practices and Michigan’s spring football game.

It appears as if McCarthy will also be limited heading into fall camp and potentially the beginning of the season.

For now, McCarthy is out, and McNamara is in. Even though this is not devastating news for Michigan football, three questions will remain to be answered until the season starts up:

  1. Will this be a reoccurring issue for McCarthy?
  2. How healthy will the sophomore be in week one?
  3. Will the Wolverines risk further injury and play McCarthy in a similar manner during the coming season?

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