07 Oct 2013
Here's a place to discuss the biggest injuries from Week 5.
The most exciting Thursday Night Football game of the season so far was also the most costly, as each side lost its starting quarterback for at least a month. EJ Manuel's LCL sprain is expected to keep him out for between four and eight weeks, putting a significant dent in a heretofore promising rookie season (-6.2% DVOA, 20th). Thaddeus Lewis is expected to start in his place. The Bills also placed rookie kicker Dustin Hopkins on injured reserve this week -- the kicking game has been the one positive (1.1% on field goals, 1.6% on kickoffs) for Buffalo's special teams (0.8%, 12th) so far.
Meanwhile, Brian Hoyer's injury ends his season and is a significant blow to the Browns. Hoyer's emergence had been slightly overstated -- his performance ranks 24th by DVOA and 25th by DYAR and the team owes at least one of its recent wins almost exclusively to its good defense (-10.3% DVOA, 8th) -- but he was comfortably better than Brandon Weeden and clearly the best option in Cleveland. This news means Weeden is expected to reclaim starting duties for the rest of 2013.
Eagles coach Chip Kelly described Michael Vick as “day-to-day” ahead of next week's visit to Tampa -- Vick told reporters he felt a pop during Sunday's game and sources are suggesting he will miss at least two weeks, which is at the very low end of the scale for hamstring injuries. Vick is having a good year so far -- his 5.7% passing DVOA ranks 10th this season, and his 42.1% rushing DVOA ranks seventh among quarterbacks (his 67 DYAR is second), but both of those are likely to be negatively impacted by any kind of persistent hamstring problem. Nick Foles was 16-of-25 for 197 yards and two touchdowns in relief, and would start any games Vick misses.
The Jaguars have confirmed that Joeckel fractured his ankle during the defeat to the Rams, and is out for the year. Jacksonville's offensive line already ranks second-last in Adjusted Line Yards and fourth-last in Adjusted Sack Rate, and the league's worst offense by almost every measure has now lost two left tackles in two weeks. This was always intended to be a rebuilding year; rebuilding isn't meant to involve placing your top draft pick on injured reserve in Week 5.
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert is also expected to miss significant time after reportedly hearing his hamstring pop during Sunday's game. As mentioned in the Michael Vick segment, two weeks is the very low end of the scale for the severity of hamstring tears. Chad Henne, whose -36.5% DVOA is somehow still an upgrade over Gabbert's -85.8% -- and who has thrown two of Jacksonville's three passing touchdowns this year -- will once again start in relief.
No word yet on how long Clay Matthews will be out, or even whether he'll try to play through this injury. Either way, it's expected to have a significant impact on their already league-worst (by DVOA, 47.0%) pass defense -- Matthews had around 25% of Green Bay's sacks last year, and is on the same pace this season despite already missing time with a hamstring injury. The Packers also lost backup linebacker Robert Francois for the year with a torn achilles tendon.
After Henry Melton's season was ended in almost identical fashion two weeks ago, backup Nate Collins has now been placed on season-ending injured reserve by the Bears. Chicago's defense has struggled at times this season, particularly against the pass (5.9% DVOA), and had been relying on turnovers to compensate for a weak pass rush (29th by Adjusted Sack Rate) even before going down to their backup-backup-defensive tackle.
33 comments, Last at 08 Oct 2013, 11:10pm by Andrew Potter
The league's northern divisions pose a number of meaty questions, such as: "Is the Bears' offense due for a repeat performance?" "Why do the Lions have such pronounced splits?" and "Has Johnny Manziel made the Cleveland brass even crazier?"