Injuries to Key Players Create Week 3 Challenges

Big Ben, Watt, and Dionte among notable Steeler injuries
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Last Updated on 2 Oct 2021 11:47 pm (UK Time)

A rash of Week 1 injuries followed by a Week 2 slate of games that has seen more key players go down, has left some teams wondering what they can do to recover. Meanwhile, some fan bases are quietly celebrating, because a recent injury has paved the way for a stud rookie to begin starting, such as Justin Fields for the Bears. For better or for worse, these injuries impact the game significantly, very much altering the team’s identity they formed in Week 1. Here are the most significant Week 2 injuries, and how they affect Week 3 action.

Major Week 2 Injuries

Miami Dolphins

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Players

This past Sunday, the Dolphins lost starting QB Tua Tagovailoa to a rib injury. While the nature of this injury is Week-to-Week, Coach Flores decided to not allow Tua to fight through the pain in Week 3 and has already ruled him out for Sunday. They will watch him throughout practice next week and make the call for Week 4 after a few limited days of activity.

Solution

Being that this does not appear to be a long-term injury a long-term solution is not needed. Teams carry backup QBs for a reason and Jacoby Brissett should do a fine job filling it. He does lack a level of consistency that you wish you had from your QB, but he does have big-play potential.

Minnesota Vikings

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Players

Dalvin Cook exited the Cardinals game multiple times as he nursed an ankle injury he sustained about halfway through the game. When he did play, anyone could see that there was a drastic difference in his production as he went from dominating the Cards in the first half to barely a footnote in the second. He has been very limited in practice this week, yet Coach Zimmer continues to hold to him being available on Sunday.

Solution

Alexander Mattison has proven to be a more than efficient backup for Cook and honestly should just get the start. You don’t want a season-long injury struggle with your super-star RB, and Zimmer is setting himself up for that if he continues to hold to his guns. If Cook looks anything like he looked in the second half of his Week 2 matchup the Vikings should note that and give Mattison a heavy dose this week.

San Francisco 49ers

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Players

When the scandal surrounding the 49ers’ health and conditioning team is finally revealed they should make a movie out of it. The truth surrounding the bizarre Niner injury history of the last year and few months have to give even the most diehard 49ers fan apprehensions about game day. The surreal saga continued this past Sunday.

San Francisco lost all of their RBs this past Sunday. Eli Mitchell left the game with a shoulder injury, thought to be a stinger. JaMycal Hasty exited with an ankle injury. Trey Sermon departed with a concussion. Mitchell has been limited in practice this week and is considered Day-to-Day as the injury does appear to be a mild stinger, after all, he will be a game-time decision. Trey Sermon is tricky because Concussion Protocol itself is a strange beast, he is clearly Day-to-Day, but there is less optimism for him.

Hasty is an injury that is going to take some time in that it is a high-ankle sprain. Granted it doesn’t appear to be as bad as some of the other high-ankle sprains we have seen in recent history so he won’t have to go to the IR. Hasty will, however, be missing the upcoming game and his status is Week-to-Week.

Solution

Your guess is as good as mine. The 49ers are without a healthy RB on their roster. There have been a few rumors about Frank Gore returning to the Bay at the age of 38, but I’m not sure that inspires much hope, Maybe we’ll see more sweeps from Aiyuk and Deebo, maybe some wildcard shenanigans from Trey Lance.

Whatever is done to band-aide this wound is sure to be only temporary. As for the greater picture, if I were the NFL I would begin an investigation. Something is clearly wrong, all of this cannot be on the players or excused as a coincidence.

Chicago Bears

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Players

Andy Dalton injured his ankle early in Week 2 action versus his former team, the Bengals. At this point, Bears fans began to felt the excitement that they wish they felt at the end of the preseason. I need to make myself clear: I am not condoning that someone celebrates an injury, nor do I wish Dalton ill, I am merely saying that everyone but the Bears organization wanted to see Fields play.

Solution

The type of injury Dalton sustained would typically be one that is more Week-to-Week, with his status still in question. Taking in the complete picture, however, the Bears have already ruled him out of the Week 3 contest in favor of starting Justin Fields. The rookie era has begun, we are sad it took an injury, but happy nonetheless that we now get to watch Fields. Hopefully every week for the next 12-15 years.

Cleveland Browns

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Players

On their first drive of the game, the Browns lost WR Jarvis Landry to a knee injury. Upon getting it evaluated with an MRI it was revealed that he sprained his MCL. This puts Landry on the IR for the first time in his career. He had only missed one game previously in his career, and that was because he was close proximity to a teammate who had COVID last year. He will miss three weeks and then be re-evaluated. Considering his history he should be just after he comes off of the IR.

Solution

Odell Beckham Jr is back. And though OBJ’s return was supposed to bolster this Brown’s offense, at least it doesn’t allow Landry’s injury to set it back. Browns fans will have to wait another 3-4 weeks to see this offense complete, but at least they are not having to deal with both of their top receivers being absent.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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Players

The Steelers lost three of their most important players this past Sunday, as QB Big Ben, WR Diontae Johnson, and $100 million, edge-rushing superstar TJ Watt all left the game with an injury. Thankfully, none of these injuries turned out to be long-term injuries.

We still do not know what Johnson’s status will be for Sunday as he is listed as Week-to-Week with a knee injury. Watt, however, is cleared to play and back at practice after suffering a minor groin injury. Big Ben is the tricky one. The doctors have cleared him to play, but his pectoral injury is a significantly painful one. Ben is a tough guy, but you also want to avoid any long-term damage by pushing through it. A lot of his availability depends on him.

Solution

The Steelers’ offense is loaded with talent, plus they seem to have a knack for producing WRs. With guys like James Washington ready to step up into a deep set of starting weapons, the offense should be fine. As for as Ben goes, I feel comfortable saying he will play, if he doesn’t, however, expect backup Dwayne Haskins to get the start. Watt will return to dominance.

Houston Texans

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Players

Early in the second half, Tyrod Taylor left the game with an injured hamstring. At first, it was thought that this would be a Day-to-Day injury, but after testing the Texans put him on the IR for at least the next three weeks. This at least does not imply that the injury is much more serious than that, but rather is cautiously said as a result of this being the second time in the last two seasons that a rookie QB took over for Taylor after an injury. We all know how that ended for Herbert.

Solution

The Texans now get to see what they have in rookie quarterback Davis Mills. They opted to declare Mills their TNF starter this week, not even considering Watson who is currently facing 22 civil and 10 criminal allegations concerning sexual misconduct. It is nice to see that the Texans have some of the integrity that this hopefully soon-to-be FORMER quarterback lacks.

Indianapolis Colts

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Players

In this past Sunday’s action, Carson Wentz sprained not one, but both of his ankles. He has remained out of practice this whole week, but will not be going onto the IR. This seems more complicated than the average Week-to-Week tag, but Coach Reich is calling it that nonetheless.

Solution

So apparently, the solution isn’t just the next man up and start the backup quarterback. Apparently, there is some confusion as to who the backup QB really is. This is hilariously baffling as Wentz may very well be the most injury-prone starting QB in the NFL. When asked if Jacob Eason (or Brett Hundley) would be starting this Sunday, Reich answered, “I’m not going to project.” Way to inspire confidence in your fan base.

More Week 2 Injuries

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Nate Gates – C – New York Giants – Fractured Leg – Done for Season

Laviska Shenault – WR – Jacksonville Jaguars – Shoulder – Won’t miss time

Taylor Lewan – OL – Tennessee Titans – Knee – Won’t miss time

Tyrell Williams – WR – Detroit Lions – Concussion – Week to Week, Won’t play Week 3

Darrell Henderson Jr – RB – Los Angeles Rams – Rib Cartilidge – Week to Week, Questionable

Other Notable Injury New

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Josh Jacobs – Did not practice the last two days as he is still recovering from the ankle and toes injuries he suffered Week 1. He has not been ruled out for Sunday yet but is still very much Day-to-Day at this point. Expect the Raiders to do similar to what they did last week without him if Jacobs doesn’t play: a little Drake, a little Barber, a lot of passing.

Antonio Gibson – Limited in practice this week as he recovers from a shoulder injury, It looks precautionary, he shouldn’t miss any time.

Tee Higgins – Did not practice the past two days, and coach Zach Taylor lists him as Day-to-Day. If he does not play Sunday, expect larger target shares for Chase and Boyd

Marquise Brown – Was limited in Wednesday’s practice and missed today’s practice with an ankle injury. If he does not play, expect a lot more from the Baltimore rushing attack and an uptick for Sammy Watkins.

Zach Pascal – Has an undisclosed illness, and is listed as Day-to-Day with it. He should be good to go by Sunday.

Antonio Brown – Is on the COVID/Reserve list. He needs two negative tests at least 24 hours apart in order to be removed from the list. Expect Scotty Miller to slid up and replace AB if he cannot play.

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Big Ben, Watt, And Dionte Among Notable Steeler Injuries

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