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5 NFL Players Who Must Step Up Big Time After Major Week 3 Injuries

Gary DavenportFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 3, 2016

5 NFL Players Who Must Step Up Big Time After Major Week 3 Injuries

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    The National Football League season is only three weeks old, and already injuries are taking a toll on teams across the league, with at least one team suffering one in Week 3 from which it'll be hard-pressed to recover.

    Here's a look at a handful of NFL players who will be forced to step up their game if their respective teams are going to keep their seasons on the right track.

Kyle Wilson, CB, New York Jets

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    Without question, the biggest injury of Week 3—and quite possibly the biggest injury of the season to this point—was suffered by the New York Jets in Sunday's win over the Miami Dolphins.

    New York may have won the battle but lost the war, as star cornerback Darrelle Revis will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL.

    The loss of Revis cannot be overstated. His ability to singlehandedly shut down the opposing team's best receiver is the fulcrum on which the Jets' entire defense pivots.

    Third-year pro Kyle Wilson will step into the starting lineup in Revis' stead, but this is the sort of injury that simply wrecks seasons for teams.

    Some players are indispensable. Revis is one of them.

Shaun Hill, QB, Detroit Lions

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    After making their first playoff appearance in over a decade a season ago, the Detroit Lions entered the 2012 season with aspirations of making a run at the Super Bowl.

    Now the Lions sit at 1-2, on the precipice of letting the season slip away from them with an uncertain situation under center.

    Quarterback Matthew Stafford was forced from the latter stages of Detroit's overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans with what has been described as a hamstring injury, although Lions head coach Jim Schwartz was evasive when asked about the injury Monday.

    According to Chuck Schilken of the Los Angeles Times, Schwartz said:

    I don’t have any comment on how anything went with him. He wasn’t able to finish the game; Shaun Hill came in and finished the game for us, and we’ll see how [Stafford] progresses through this week.

    Should Stafford be unable to go for the Lions this week in a big NFC North showdown against the Minnesota Vikings, then at least the Lions and their fans can take solace in Hill's experience in the offense. The 11th-year veteran made 10 starts for Detroit in 2010.

Ryan Williams, RB, Arizona Cardinals

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    It may seem silly to call a toe injury "major," but when it's a lingering one that strikes the starting tailback for a 3-0 team, it's safe to call it just that.

    The Arizona Cardinals are the most surprising undefeated team in the NFL, but they may be without the services of oft-injured running back Beanie Wells for a while, as the fourth-year pro left Sunday's win over the Philadelphia Eagles with turf toe.

    Enter backup Ryan Williams, who is rounding his way back into form after a serious knee injury in the preseason a year ago.

    Williams racked up 95 total yards in the Cardinals' big victory, and if the second-year pro can stay healthy, this may well be a case of addition by subtraction, given how lethargic Wells looked running the ball to this point in the season.

Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins

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    Not a whole lot has gone right for the Miami Dolphins this season, and it only got worse when running back Reggie Bush, who was second in the NFL in rushing entering Week 3, was forced from the team's loss to the New York Jets with an injured knee.

    Luckily for Bush and the Dolphins, it doesn't appear that the injury is serious, but if Bush misses time it will fall to second-year pro Daniel Thomas to shoulder the bulk of the carries in the Miami backfield.

    Thomas needs to do better moving forward than he did against the Jets, as he managed only 3.6 yards a carry and lost a fumble in his second consecutive game.

Tashard Choice, RB, Buffalo Bills

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    Are there any healthy running backs left?

    When Fred Jackson went down with a knee injury in the Buffalo Bills' season opener, fans of the team gasped in despair.

    Then C.J. Spiller came in and tore through the NFL for two weeks, and Bills' fans shrieked with delight.

    Last week, Spiller went down with a shoulder injury, and it was back to gasping in despair.

    According to Marc Ludwiczak of CBS Sports, Jackson intends to return to practice this week, but it's more likely than not that when the Bills line up against the New England Patriots on Sunday, it will be with Tashard Choice as the starting tailback.

    At least, that is, until he gets hurt.

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