09 Dec 2013
compiled by Andrew Potter
Terrence Newman will miss 1-3 weeks with a MCL sprain, another blow to a Bengals defense which is already without top cornerback Leon Hall and star defensive tackle Geno Atkins.
Wes Welker suffered his second concussion in a month against Tennessee. He did not miss a game after the first concussion, but is very likely to miss time after this one: the Broncos play on Thursday Night Football this week, and it is very unlikely that Welker will clear the league protocol by then. His absence would deprive Denver's league-leading passing game (62.2%) of its second-most targeted receiver (101 targets entering Week 14), but is not expected to be long-term.
Scans have confirmed that rookie of the year candidate Tyrann Mathieu tore his ACL and LCL against the Rams, a devastating end to an excellent rookie season. Playing 90% of defensive snaps, Mathieu was a key component of a Cardinals defense which ranked fifth against the pass (-13.1%) and third overall (-17.2%) entering Week 14. Rashad Johnson is listed as his backup on the team website.
After injuring his hamstring against the Texans, Jones-Drew defiantly asserted that he will "definitely" play in Week 15. That tone has softened since: Jones-Drew's injury is likely to be a Grade 2 hamstring strain, which is very easy to aggravate and will usually require 2-4 weeks to heal. Jones-Drew has endured a difficult season, with only 616 rushing yards entering Week 14, five touchdowns, -47 DYAR, and -14.3% DVOA, but he remains the best back on a bad Jaguars offense. Jordan Todman and Denard Robinson would split rushing duties in Jones-Drew's absence.
Having injured his calf during a midweek practice, Reggie Bush aggravated the injury during pre-game warmups and was removed from the lineup in Philadelphia. Though unlikely to be a severe injury, calf strains are notorious for lingering unless properly rested and rehabilitated. Bush has had a good season as a receiving back -- 104 DYAR and 12.0% DVOA -- but has been mediocre as a runner and had recent trouble with fumbles. Assuming Bush misses time, Joique Bell -- more efficient as both a runner (11.2% DVOA) and a receiver (45.4% DVOA) -- will see an increased workload.
Jonathan Stewart reportedly suffered a serious knee injury on Sunday night, a significant blow to a player who had only recently returned from an ankle injury. Early indications are a high grade MCL sprain or a MCL tear, which would potentially end another injury-blighted season for the Panthers back. A MRI scan today will reveal more. Mike Tolbert would once again step in behind DeAngelo Williams if Stewart misses more games.
Already curtailed at the start by injury, Rob Gronkowski's season is now over. Multiple reports have stated that Gronkowski's ACL and MCL were torn as he was tackled by Browns safety T.J. Ward. The MRI scan scheduled for today is reportedly to check for potential further damage to his knee cartilage and meniscus. Gronkowski had been excellent since his return to action, ranking eighth in DYAR (104) and tenth in DVOA (17.6%) while revitalizing the Patriots passing game, despite previous injuries affecting his offseason preparation. Now, he'll have to go through that all again next year. Mike Florio reports that Gronkowski also suffered a concussion on the play.
NFL rushing leader Adrian Peterson reportedly suffered a "mid-foot" injury consistent with a Lisfranc sprain, which if confirmed could potentially end his season. A MRI scan today will confirm the location and severity of the injury. Though Peterson has asserted that he does not expect to miss time, even mild mid-foot injuries are difficult to play through for running backs. Peterson has continued to be the key to the Vikings offense, ranking 13th by DYAR and 19th by DVOA despite the team having very little threat in the passing game. Toby Gerhart, quietly having a very efficient season himself (102 DYAR on only 21 attempts through Week 13, 121.5% DVOA), would be expected to shoulder the load in Peterson's absence.
In addition to the players mentioned above, Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud and Vikings tight end John Carlson suffered concussions during Sunday's games. Each will have to complete the league protocol before returning.
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Our offseason Four Downs series ends with a look at the NFC West's biggest remaining holes and their most notable UDFA signings. The Rams and 49ers have to kick-start their passing games, Arizona's offense lacks a big dimension, and the Seahawks continue to rely on Russell Wilson's magic tricks.