Which Players Are in Danger of Losing Their Starting Jobs in NFL Week 2?
Which players in the starting lineup for Week 1 of the 2012 NFL regular season will no longer be starting one week later? Are there some Week 1 starters who are in danger of losing some snaps in Week 2?
There are a number of reasons why a starter from Week 1 could be removed from the starting lineup just a week later. We have injury issues, players coming off a suspension or suspension appeals being finalized and coaches' decisions based on poor performance, medical conditions or poor matchups in upcoming games.
We will highlight a number of scenarios in which a player who started in Week 1 will no longer be starting in Week 2, or they will have their total number of snaps reduced. It is very conceivable that other starters will be demoted later in the week after coaching staffs have finalized those decisions.
Most teams that are changing starters are doing so due to an injury-related situation. Although there were plenty of questionable performances in Week 1, those starters could be replaced in practice sessions later this week.
This presentation is something that fans of a specific team will want to track, as well as those that might be trying to decide which players to sit or start on a fantasy football team. It is also good to know if you generally like to stay on top of what is going on around the NFL.
Oakland Raiders WR Rod Streater
Oakland Raiders undrafted rookie wide receiver Rod Streater wound up starting the Week 1 contest because Denarius Moore was declared inactive due to his hamstring injury.
The Raiders aren't positive yet if Moore will be able to start in Week 2, but he should be well enough to at least play. Moore will start in place of or take a number of snaps from Streater.
At least Streater caught a touchdown pass in front of a national audience after Carson Palmer threw him a total of 11 passes in the Monday night contest against the San Diego Chargers. Since Jacoby Ford is going to be out for some time due to his foot injury, that ensures Streater will still be a key member of the Raiders' passing attack.
Pittsburgh Steelers FS Ryan Mundy
Some NFL fans might have been scratching their heads wondering why Ryan Mundy was introduced as the starting free safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night against the Denver Broncos. Mundy isn't exactly a household name around the NFL.
Mundy was substituting for free safety Ryan Clark. Clark is affected by the sickle cell disease, and playing in the altitudes in Denver is not medically feasible. So, Clark wisely sat out the game and will be returning to his customary starting role in Week 2.
No doubt, Clark would have made an impact on the Steelers secondary that allowed Peyton Manning to throw for 253 yards and two touchdowns.
Indianapolis Colts Tackle Winston Justice
Winston Justice was the starting right tackle for the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. He was forced to leave the Week 1 contest against the Chicago Bears due to a concussion.
Justice was replaced in the game by Jeff Linkenbach. As of this writing on Wednesday morning, it is difficult to know for sure if Justice will be starting Week 2 or not. Best guess is that he won't be starting so that he has ample time to recover from his concussion.
In a subsequent move, the Colts signed free-agent tackle Trai Essex, so the Colts now have a little more depth to work with. If Justice isn't ready to start, the nod could go to either Essex or Linkenbach.
This is an important factor to follow up on if you are on the fence about starting Andrew Luck this weekend in your fantasy league.
Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden
Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden was able to open up the season as the starter against the Philadelphia Eagles.
But word came down on Monday that the NFL was enforcing their four-game suspension of Haden regarding his failure to comply with the NFL performance-enhancing substances policy.
That means the Browns, for the next four games, will have to use a combination of Dimitri Patterson and Buster Skrine to fill Haden's shoes.
San Diego Chargers RB Ronnie Brown
The San Diego Chargers started Ronnie Brown at running back on Monday Night Football against the Oakland Raiders, and when he didn't do very much, they turned to Curtis Brinkley, who also failed to impress.
The Chargers will be glad when they can get Ryan Mathews back in the lineup. While it is too early to tell this week if Mathews (out with a collarbone injury) is medically cleared to start in Week 2, he could be deemed ready to take some snaps and work his way back into the starting lineup.
Check back later this week for the latest medical updates on Mathews' situation.
Cincinnati Bengals Safety Taylor Mays
Cincinnati Bengals safety Taylor Mays didn't have a great game on Monday Night Football against the Baltimore Ravens. Mays was pulled during the first half due to his lack of solid coverage skills.
There are some injury concerns with the Bengals secondary that make it a rather muddy picture as to who is next in line to take over for Mays or to at least take snaps from him in Week 2.
Nate Clements might eventually move from corner to safety, but that won't happen until first-round draft pick Dre Kirkpatrick is over his tendinitis issues. Another issue is that safety George Iloka suffered an ankle injury in the Ravens game, so it remains to be seen if he is ready to take snaps away from Mays.
St. Louis Rams Center Scott Wells
Two of the biggest free-agent signings for the St. Louis Rams this past offseason were center Scott Wells and cornerback Cortland Finnegan. They were signed in part to lead by example, as Jeff Fisher wanted some strong veterans to show his young team what was expected of them.
Wells will no longer be able to lead by example on the field. The Rams have placed him on injured reserve after he broke his foot in the season opener against the Detroit Lions.
As far as replacing Wells goes, it looks like the Rams will ask Rob Turner to step up and take over the center role. Another of the Rams' better linemen, Rodger Saffold was also injured in the Week 1 contest, so the line in front of Sam Bradford could be very shaky for the next two to three weeks until the replacements gain some valuable experience.
Seattle Seahawks WR Braylon Edwards
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Braylon Edwards was afforded plenty of playing time in the Week 1 game against the Arizona Cardinals due to Golden Tate missing the game due to a knee injury.
Tate might be deemed ready to play in Week 2. It is up in the air as to which player will start, but the main part to stress here is that Edwards will be losing snaps to Tate going forward.
Edwards wound up leading Seattle with five receptions for 43 yards. His nine targets tied for the team lead with Sidney Rice.
Pittsburgh Steelers LB Chris Carter
The Pittsburgh Steelers started Chris Carter at linebacker in the Sunday Night Football game against the Denver Broncos.
The Steelers asked the combination of Carter and Jason Worilds to try to replace James Harrison, who had to sit out the game while he recovers from his knee injury.
In Week 2 against the New York Jets, it looks like Harrison could be playing in the game, but there hasn't been any word if he is ready to take on a starting role yet.
Kansas City Chiefs LB Andy Studebaker
LB Andy Studebaker was in the starting lineup for the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. He was asked to assume the role of LB Tamba Hali, who was facing a one-game suspension from the NFL.
Hali will help to increase the effectiveness of the Chiefs pass rush, but that might be negligible in Week 2, as Kansas City is facing the Buffalo Bills, who gave up the fewest sacks in the NFL in 2011. Ryan Fitzpatrick gets rid of the ball as fast as any quarterback in the league, which makes it difficult to sack him.
Tennessee Titans WR Nate Washington
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Nate Washington was banged up against the New England Patriots but not enough that he needs to be replaced in the starting lineup.
What Washington will have to deal with, however, is the return of wide receiver Kenny Britt to the lineup. Britt missed the first game against the Patriots, but he does expect to suit up against the San Diego Chargers this weekend.
Washington received eight targets in Week 1, so he is a key member of the passing game. Britt has flashed skills in the past, but he is turning out to be more of a diva, so you really don't know what to expect from him one week to the next.
According to a tweet from Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com, Kenny Britt is back with the Titans and will practice Wednesday.
If you are thinking about starting Washington or Britt this week, check back for medical updates later this week.
Green Bay Packers WR Greg Jennings
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings hurt his groin in the Week 1 game against San Francisco, making his ability to play in the Thursday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears questionable at best.
Jennings didn't practice with the Packers on Tuesday, and with the game only two days away, it is possible that Jennings sits this game out.
If that is the case, expect to see a combination of Randall Cobb and James Jones sharing the snaps in an attempt to minimize the loss of Jennings.
If you have Jennings on your fantasy football team, you will need to stay on top of the Packers' inactive players being announced before the game to see what Jennings' status is.
Buffalo Bills WR David Nelson
After the Week 1 game against the New York Jets, the Buffalo Bills announced (via ESPN) that they have lost wide receiver David Nelson for the rest of the year, due to a torn ACL.
Nelson was in his third year working with Ryan Fitzpatrick in the quick-passing attack under head coach Chan Gailey. The Bills will probably activate rookie T.J. Graham for the Week 2 contest against Kansas City, as Graham was not deemed to be ready to play last weekend.
Another possible option is to insert Brad Smith at wide receiver. Smith played a number of games as wide receiver in 2011, so between Smith and Graham, they will have to make up for the production that Nelson was expected to deliver.
In 2011, Nelson was the No. 2 wide receiver for the Bills, as he caught 61 passes for 658 yards.
Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams
Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart wasn't able to play in Week 1 due to an ankle injury. The Panthers went with DeAngelo Williams to take over as the starter, but Williams disappointed by rushing the ball six times for minus-one yard. It doesn't get much worse than that.
The Panthers are hoping that Stewart will be able to go in Week 2, taking over his starting job from Williams. As this is going in for publication, it is still up in the air if Stewart will be ready to play.
As usual, check in later this week to see what updates have surfaced on Stewart.
San Diego Chargers CB Quentin Jammer
The San Diego Chargers learned that starting cornerback Quentin Jammer broke his hand during the game against the Oakland Raiders in Monday Night Football.
As a result, it is too early to know if Jammer will start in Week 2 or if he will be asked to take on a reduced workload if the team thinks he can play with the broken hand.
Who would take Jammer's place for the Chargers? Second-team corner Shareece Wright also got hurt in the Raiders game.
This might make the Tennessee Titans wide receivers good players to start in Week 2 action.
Oakland Raiders CB Ronald Bartell
Another injury in the Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers game on Monday Night Football involved Raiders cornerback Ronald Bartell.
Bartell has a fractured shoulder blade and will probably be out now for at least one month, if not longer, as per this article by Bill Williamson of ESPN.
Look for Pat Lee to take over at corner in his absence. If the Raiders think that Bartell will be out longer, they could make a couple roster moves to secure more depth at the position.
Atlanta Falcons CB Brent Grimes
The Atlanta Falcons were dealt a blow after their Week 1 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs when it was revealed that cornerback Brent Grimes has a torn Achilles tendon and will be gone for the rest of the year.
This immediately throws the Falcons' master plan for the secondary out the window for this season. The team will probably need to shift Dunta Robinson over from nickel corner to take Grimes' position, but Falcons fans are painfully aware of how Robinson struggled when he was asked to play at outside corner.
This injury could have a significant impact on the Falcons' season.
Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson
Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson took a big hit from New York Jets safety LaRon Landry in the second quarter of their Week 1 contest. The angle that Landry took suggested that Jackson could be hurt very badly, but he was able to get up and walk off the field on his own.
It turns out Jackson has a sprained knee ligament, and according to a tweet from Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the exact timetable that Jackson is out is still up in the air.
C.J. Spiller came in to replace Jackson and proceeded to run wild against the Jets defense for the duration of the game. Spiller gained 169 yards on only 14 carries, averaging 12.1 yards per rush.
Spiller scored on a 56-yard scamper and would have scored on a second long run, but Darrelle Revis wound up saving the touchdown by a shoestring tackle. Revis wound up with a concussion for his efforts.
Spiller also caught a 30-yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick and wound up fumbling after being hit from behind. Now a third-year pro, this could very well be the time where Spiller steps up his game to a new level.
He started to break out in 2011 when Fred Jackson broke his leg against the Miami Dolphins. Spiller will be starting in Week 2 at home against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Arizona Cardinals QB John Skelton
The Arizona Cardinals decided to pass on their $7 million bonus quarterback Kevin Kolb on opening day in favor of John Skelton. That decision is now much easier to make due to an ankle injury that Skelton suffered in the Week 1 contest against the Seattle Seahawks.
Skelton is projected to miss at least the next two weeks, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. So, Kolb will become the starter by default, without anybody looking over his shoulder.
Can Kolb take the job and run with it, making it difficult for Skelton to reclaim the job when his ankle is healed? He didn't do that last year, so these next few weeks should be very interesting for Arizona.
Thanks for checking out the presentation.