Written By: Roy Countryman, @PreacherBoyRoy
After a lot of hard fought games in week 6 of the NFL schedule, there is quite the list of walking wounded. With that, we are here to take a snapshot of a few key injuries to affect their teams and highlight some of their replacements.
Josh Allen-QB, Buffalo Bills
Right Elbow Injury (UCL injury- could miss multiple weeks)
Replacement: Derek Anderson
The Bills have been a very surprising team for me in the first part of this NFL season. Josh Allen has been one of the bright spots for the Bills, and even though he is quite raw and rough around the edges, you can see flashes in why they drafted him early this past year. The franchise is tasked now with the quandary of do you rush your franchise QB in the making back from an injury that has a lot of uncertainty around a timetable for return, or turn the keys over to the offense to a struggling and quite frankly non-NFL caliber starting QB in Nathan Peterman, or a consummate pro in Derek Anderson. Peterman was the first guy up after the injury, but that was due to Anderson just being linked to a deal the previous week and not getting acclimated to the system along with being inactive on gameday. This week should be a different situation. Anderson is a tall and decisive QB who can read defenses and has the arm talent to push the ball down the field. His accuracy will waver from down to down, but when in rhythm and playing with some confidence, he can be a valuable starting QB. Heck, he even went to the Pro Bowl early in his career in 2007. McDermott is familiar with Anderson from his time with Carolina, and do not be surprised if he usurped Peterman going forward, especially with the defensive prowess in Buffalo to keep them in games.
Devonta Freeman-RB, Atlanta Falcons
Foot injury/Groin Surgery (IR-Could Return)
Replacement: Tevin Coleman/Ito Smith
What a devastating year for the Falcons; they have seen starter after starter not only go down with an injury, but the majority have been of the season-long variety. The next up on the MASH unit is Freeman, who if under the right circumstances of how the team plays while he is out, could return in 8 weeks. In the wake of the news of going on IR, the Falcons are more qualified to replace his production than some of the other injured positions they have had to. Tevin Coleman is a good sized RB who can one-cut and get downhill in a hurry. He has a great jump and speed to take runs the distance while also being a very dangerous receiver out of the backfield. He runs with good patience and has the power and want to run between the tackles. Even more motivation for Coleman is he is in a contract year, so this is his opportunity to maximize his potential earning power. Also in the mix is a quicker-than-fast jitterbug, pass-catching back that could give Coleman a break when he needs, Ito Smith.
Marcus Maye-S, New York Jets
Broken Right Thumb (Slated to miss 3-4 weeks)
Replacement: Terrence Brooks
A devastating injury to one of the most underrated young safeties in the game, a broken thumb to Maye could inhibit his ability to catch INT’s. He is a multidimensional safety who is good in run defense and can also cover TE’s down the seam. Stepping up into his place is the journeyman veteran safety Terrence Brooks. Brooks is a former third-round pick of the Ravens way back in 2014. He possesses good athleticism, speed, and agility but takes poor angles to the ball and has a knack for biting on pump fakes or key nuances in route patterns that allow big gains. He needs to try and find some consistency in the mental aspects of the game, and play within himself to try and help buoy this tough injury for the Jets.
Ronald Leary-LG, Denver Broncos
Torn Achilles (IR)
Replacement: Max Garcia
Leary was one of John Elway’s big-ticket acquisition’s to try and fix the Broncos’ offensive line woes, but now with him out for the season they are turning back to another former draft pick to try and find stability. Max Garcia is a valuable C/G backup who has great intellect on blocking schemes and play dynamics, but lacks the same athleticism that Leary had at being able to block on the move. There will definitely be an adjustment period where now they will lean on more heads up matchups with Garcia rather than reach blocks or trap pulls that Leary excelled at. All in all, if Garcia is allowed to be a phone booth player and block the man in front of him, he could be a solid addition to the OL, albeit not in the same type of elements as what his predecessor could achieve.
Mike Hughes-CB, Minnesota Vikings
Torn ACL (IR)
Replacement: Mackensie Alexander
Mike Hughes was the Vikings first round selection this past year, and was backing up that selection with his production. He was really coming into his own when the injury bug bit him, and now the Vikes will look to a former second round selection to use his highly athletic and confident skill set to their advantages. Alexander is a very fast and confident CB, that excels in short areas due to his hip fluidity and agility. The place where he lacks is in his footwork, as he can get crossed up in press coverage, allowing space to quick slot WRs, which is a deadly combination of distress. Also, he does not seem to find the ball quick enough, which can result in him being a little late to diagnose the play. Overall though, he has explosive athletic numbers and could get better with some playing time; if he were also to find some confidence, that might be the best thing for the Vikings going forward.