The first week of the NFL regular season has concluded, and the potential impact of injuries surround key impact players is already starting to add up. There have been players who are already are expected to miss the entire season, as well as some that status’s remain unclear.
With week two of the season approaching, it is time to begin examining significant injuries around the league. We will go through each position, evaluating the reported diagnosis of each injury, as well as the potential impact it could effect the team.
Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers):
Diagnosis: Before Rodgers unbelievable comeback on Sunday night’s game against Chicago, he left in the first half due to an injured knee. Head coach Mike McCarthy stated that their was no serious damage, and has begun practicing with the status of just day-to-day.
Impact: We all saw first-hand how crucial it is for Aaron Rodgers to be on the field, in order for Green Bay to have a real shot to win any game. Rodgers told NBC reporters following the game, that he will definitely play and is expected to not miss any time.
Carson Wentz (Philadelphia Eagles):
Diagnosis: Wentz is still recovering from a torn-ACL, and is still not cleared for contact. Wentz will miss this weeks game in Tampa Bay, according to their offensive coordinator Mike Groh.
Impact: With Carson Wentz unable to go for Sunday’s game, Super Bowl champion quarterback Nick Foles will make his second-straight start.
Marcus Mariota (Tennessee Titans):
Diagnosis: Mariota suffered an elbow-injury due to a hit from Miami Dolphins defensive end William Hayes, and the severity of the injury appears to be not serious. According to the Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, they are received a positive report back on his arm, so they can move forward with having him as the quarterback.
Impact: Mariota’s elbow injury forced him to leave Sunday’s game in the third quarter. Mariota was then replaced by Blaine Gabbert, and would be called upon if Mariota has to miss any time.
Jeremy Hill (New England Patriots):
Diagnosis: Hill suffered a Torn-ACL, and is out for the season, per Ian Rapoport.
Impact: The former Cincinnati Bengals running back had a great opportunity to be one of New England’s top rushers for the season. Rex Burkhead, James White, and first-round pick Sony Michel will now each be expected to split the majority of the carries, as well as receive targets in the passing game.
Devonta Freeman (Atlanta Falcons):
Diagnosis: The early diagnosis of Devonta Freeman is that he suffered a knee-injury, but fortunately avoided any serious damage, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.
Impact: If Freeman is unable to go on Sunday, Tevin Coleman would then take his place as the starter. Coleman, is one of the top backup running backs in the NFL, so it really would not be too detrimental if he has to start for a game. Rookie fourth-round pick Ito Smith would then be the number two option, and Brian Hill was just signed in case to provide depth.
Leonard Fournette (Jacksonville Jaguars):
Diagnosis: Fournette suffered a minor hamstring-injury during Sunday’s game forcing him to leave the game. His status for certain is uncertain, but he did not practice on Wednesday, per Doug Marrone.
Impact: If Fournette is unable to play vs. New England on Sunday, T.J. Yeldon will be called upon to replace him, as well as Corey Grant as the number two option.
Doug Baldwin (Seattle Seahawks):
Diagnosis: Baldwin suffered a Grade 2 MCL-Sprain according to head coach Pete Carroll, per Adam Schefter.
Impact: It is unclear how much time he exactly will miss, but if he has to miss some significant time look for Tyler Lockett to be the top receiving-option. It would definitely also be increased roles for Brandon Marshall and Jaron Brown.
Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers):
Impact: Olsen has been one of the most consistent tight ends in the NFL throughout the last decade, so it will be a very tough task for them to replicate him in the passing game. Rookie fourth-round pick Ian Thomas will now have a great opportunity in replacing him, with the potential of being the starter if he can beat out the other tight end Chris Manhertz.
Delanie Walker (Tennessee Titans):
Diagnosis: Walker suffered a fractured-ankle, he will undergo surgery and miss the remaining of the season, per Ian Rapoport.
Impact: Pro Football Focus graded Walker the fourth best tight end in the NFL last season, so it will be very difficult for the Titans to replace his impact. Following the injury, they went and signed tight end MyCole Pruitt off the Texans practice squad, but Jonnu Smith should most likely have the best opportunity to start.
Seantrel Henderson (Houston Texans):
Diagnosis: Henderson suffered a broken ankle, and is out for the remainder of the season, per Sarah Barshop
Impact: The Texans lost their starting right tackle for the season, and now the most likely candidate to replace him will be Kendall Lamm.
Darryl Williams (Carolina Panthers):
Diagnosis: Knee Injury, will need surgery, will be “out indefinitely”, per Mike Garafolo.
Impact: The Panthers are already thin at depth at offensive tackle, especially with losing starting left tackle Matt Kalil for the season. Taylor Moton will be the top candidate to replace Williams at right tackle.
Joey Bosa (Los Angeles Chargers):
Diagnosis: Bone bruise on foot, expected to be a “week-to-week injury”, per Ian Rapoport
Impact: Bosa who missed the first game against Kansas City, will most likely as well not play this upcoming week vs. Buffalo. It will be a extremely tough task once again to replace the impact of a caliber-type player such as Bosa.
Jason Pierre-Paul (Tampa Bay Buccaneers):
Diagnosis: Pierre-Paul has a “banged-up right knee” and is wearing a brace on it, and he is not sure about his status for this week’s game against the Eagles, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.
Impact: Tampa Bay re-signed one of their former defensive ends, former 2014 third-round pick Will Clarke in hopes to provide depth. If Pierre-Paul is unable to play Sunday, it should be either Noah Spence or William Gholston to start in his place.
Deion Jones (Atlanta Falcons):
Diagnosis: The Falcons star inside linebacker suffered a foot-injury against the Eagles, which will for him to be placed on injured reserve, but still has a shot to return later this season, per Vaughn McClure
Impact: The magnitude of losing a player as talented as Deion Jones is extremely concerning. Rookie sixth-round pick Foyesade Oluokun will be called up to replace Jones as the starting inside linebacker.
Vernon Hargreaves (Tampa Bay Buccaneers):
Diagnosis: Hargreaves suffered a shoulder injury during Sunday’s game, and is out for the season, per Ben Standig
Impact: The former 2016 11th overall selection in the draft missing the entire season is a huge loss for Tampa Bay. It will be either Ryan Smith or rookie Carlton Davis with the best opportunity to take over his spot as the starting corner.
Kevin Johnson (Houston Texans):
Diagnosis: Johnson suffered a concussion, and is expected to miss at least 4-6 weeks, per Aaron Wilson.
Impact: The Texans starting corner and former 2015 first-round pick will have to be replaced for at least a month. Aaron Colvin, who was signed over from Jacksonville in the off-season will be expected to replace him as the starter.
Keanu Neal (Atlanta Falcons):
Diagnosis: Torn ACL, will miss the rest of the season, per Adam Schefter.
Impact: Replacing keanu Neal will be a very difficult task for Atlanta’s defense. Last season, Neal earned his first Pro-Bowl selection in just his second season. The candidates to replace Neal will be either Jordan Richards, whom they just acquired in a trade from New England, or recently signed Keith Tandy, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety.
Eric Berry (Kansas City Chiefs):
Diagnosis: Dealing with a sore heal, Berry missed the first game and is questionable to play for Sunday’s game vs. Steelers, per Brooke Pryor of the Kansas City Star.
Impact: If Berry is unable to go for Sunday’s game, it will be forced upon backup Eric Murray to start. Not having Berry suited up against the Steelers should definitely positively affect Pittsburgh’s passing game.