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2019 PRESEASON INJURY REPORT

*Week 1 Updates have an asterisk next to them.

#Week 2 Updates have a hashtag next to them.

$Week 3 Updates have a dollar sign next to them.

%Week 4 Updates have a percent sign next to them. Search for % to quickly find new information.

Here is the 32 team preseason injury report. The information is accurate to the best of our ability when teams reported to training camp. PUP and NFI players are listed, but we try to discuss all players with current injuries or previous injuries that may affect performance to give fans, fantasy, DFS players and gamblers insight into each team. This is why it is important that we cover players not on PUP too. Information and overall grade are given to help with your decisions. We purposefully give no draft, lineup or betting advice but certainly hope that the information can help you in making better decisions.

The overall team health grade is the outlook going into camp. There are no grades lower than a C as no general manager is silly enough to start training camp with poor health without making roster moves.

A grade = overall excellent health with no significant issues or worries.

B grade = some concerns, but no insurmountable health issues

C grade = a team starting out the season with health concerns or may be thin at certain positions and will have to have things go their way.

D and F grades may come as injuries accumulate. As the season continues we will provide this team by team injury analysis and break it down to offense vs defense health and even run/pass offense/defense to help make the best fantasy/DFS/gambling/prop bet decisions. Remember, the beginning of every NFL season is the healthiest time of year and this analysis will become more important as the season progresses.

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills 2019
*Overall health grade:
 B-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Tyler Kroft TE, Jeremiah Sirles OL
NFI: Frank Gore RB

Josh Allen QB – The Bills QB suffered a throwing elbow injury in Week 6 and missed 4 games. It is understandable for fans to worry when hearing about the dreaded “Tommy John” injury in any throwing athlete. Indeed, Allen injured his ulnar collateral ligament, but it was not a complete tear nor a result of chronic attrition. Those are the ones you worry about needing reconstructive surgery. I am not particularly worried about Allen and his elbow going forward, especially because he finished last season with a flourish. My bigger injury worry is the amount of times he is running, a league QB high 89 attempts in 12 games, as that is how QBs get injured (see Jimmy G).

Frank Gore RB – Gore is starting training camp on the non-football injury list. His season ended last year when he injured his left foot and missed the last two games. The durable RB unknown issues seem to be unrelated to the foot or that would have meant PUP. NFI signals it was something else. In any case, Gore (despite his age) should be ready to go as he passed his physicals on 7/25 which was only three days after camp opened. He might even have a bigger than expected role if rumors of a LeSean McCoy trade materialize.

Cole Beasley WR – The new addition to the Bills receiving core had an offseason surgery to repair a core muscle, which is essentially a sports hernia procedure. Those injuries typically recover well. He was a full participant in the first day of training camp. I do anticipate a full training camp and the issue of gelling with a new QB in a different system will be the bigger hurdle than his health going forward.

$#Tyler Kroft TE – Kroft suffered a broken foot during offseason organized activities and was expected to be out to 3-4 months. This is the same foot he broke last year in 2018 with the Bengals that cost him 11 games. He will begin training camp on the PUP list. Recurrence is not uncommon but will temper expectations on him until we can be sure the foot is fully healed. Kroft is progressing as he has been cleared to take off the walking boot but is still has a way to go so expect him to move to regular season PUP and miss a minimum of six weeks. Kroft is running better in individual drills but barring a big leap forward will miss the first six weeks. 

%$Jason Croom TE – The tight end has a hamstring injury that has lingered for three weeks because of a setback. He was not available in the Bills third preseason game and his injury is worrisome as the TE depth is beginning to thin with Kroft still out. Croom was able to suit up for the final preseason game catching two passes for 27 yards which bodes well going forward. 

*LaAdrian Waddle OT – Waddle tore his quadriceps during training camp practice. This injury means surgery and effectively ends his season which leaves the Bills lacking in offensive line depth. Look for a trade to happen.

%$#Mitch Morse C – The big money signing has been out since suffering a concussion in one of the first training camp practices. This is his fourth documented concussion so the Bills are being extremely cautious. Morse is in stage 5 of the concussion protocol meaning he is close to returning. Indeed, he is now out of concussion protocol ready for the regular season. 

%$Quentin Spain LG – Spain suffered an ankle injury and was carted off field during the Bills third preseason game. He was able to walk off on his own power but did not return to the game. He was seen in a walking boot with crutches after third preseason game and missed the Bills final preseason game. His availability going into the regular season is questionable.

*Jeremiah Sirles OL – Sirles suffered a foot injury in offseason workouts and will begin training camp on the PUP list. So far little information on when he might be healthy. He was subsequently released from the team.

%#*E.J. Gaines CB – Gaines suffered a groin injury during train-ing camp practice Sunday, August 4. Coach Sean McDermott said the cornerback is expected to miss several weeks. A groin issue is a big concern at his position. The ability to flip hips and be fluid in and out of breaks and react are key. The coach saying several weeks pushes up against the regular season. The Bills signed Captain Munnerlyn for cornerback depth indicating Gaines is not close to ready. Gaines was released with injury settlement. 

$Tre’Davious White CB – The cornerback suffered a right quad contusion during the Bills last preseason game but was able to walk off the field without a cart after it was first summoned. The TV announcing later reported that injury was minor after spotting an ice pack on his thigh.  

*Summary: The Bills started in relatively good shape in terms of overall health with eyes on what Kroft status might be. The way for their QB to stay healthy is to stay in the pocket where all the rule protection is. I don’t see him playing 16 games if he doesn’t. Now with the offensive line health issues, that takes on greater importance.

 

Miami Dolphins 2019
Overall health grade: B+

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Dwayne Allen TE
NFI: Kendrick Norton DT​

Josh Rosen QB – Hurt his toe in week 7 and was seen in a walking boot after the game, but the injury did not cause him to miss a game last year. If Rosen is not starting, it won’t be due to his health.

$#Kenyan Drake RB – Drake was seen wearing a walking boot around practice in what is believed to be a foot injury that will keep him out the rest of the preseason. He should be ready for the regular season but this is one to monitor closely. Drake is out of walking boot which should signify progress towards a Week 1 start.

%$Albert Wilson WR – After enjoying a career-best start to the season, Wilson suffered a hip injury in week 7 that ended his season but did not require surgery. Before the injury he had 26 catches, 391 yards and 4 TDs. He missed a total of 9 games. Will have to watch his training camp effectiveness but there is no reason he can’t be healthy for a breakout season. It should be said that he has yet to return to 11-on-11 drills which puts him behind on the regular season return timeline. Wilson made his preseason debut and posted two catches for 16 yards while being involved in the backfield as well gaining -2 yards on one carry.

%$#DeVante Parker WR – Started the year injured with a broken right middle finger after suffering the injury in practice before the team’s preseason week 2 game. He missed the first two games and returned for Week 3, but he injured his quad in practice before Week 4 and missed three of the next four games. Parker had an-other down year, ending with 24 catches, 309 yards and one TD. So far, he hasn’t lived up to his 14th overall pick status but medical issues should not be the reason holding him back. Parker was held out of practice last week with an undisclosed injury that kept him out of the Dolphins second preseason game. Parker did not play in the Dolphins last two preseason game. With no preseason injury reporting requirements, this remains a mystery.​

*Dwayne Allen TE – Will start the year on the PUP list. He is a new signing for the Dolphins and was expected to fight for a starting job. His current injury is listed as undisclosed. Allen suffered a knee injury in Week 10 last year that caused him to miss 3 games. He returned to play including in the Super Bowl but really didn’t do much all season. Allen has been activated off PUP list, let’s see what he can do.

Xavien Howard CB – Had arthroscopic knee surgery to trim meniscus injury. He had the procedure before the team’s week 14 game and missed the last 4 games of the year. He has previous damage to the meniscus in both knees. He did heal in time to play in the Pro Bowl this year. Signed a contract during first day of OTAs to make him the highest paid CB and should be healthy for the season.

$Robert Nkemdiche DT – The recently acquired defensive tackle appears to be out of shape as he was seen not able to run across the field and back. His time in Arizona was cut short because he reported out of shape. He remains of PUP list and will likely stay there to start the season.

#Summary: The QB position is the big question mark for the Dolphins with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen competing for the starting spot but Drake and Parker injury issues are the new injury issues to watch now.

 

New England Patriots 2019
%Overall health grade: C+

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Sony Michel, Demaryius Thomas, Nate Ebner, Deatrich Wise. Ken Webster, Cole Croston
NFI: Julian Edelman, Yodny Cajuste

Sony Michel RB – Michel was drafted with known knee issues, yet the Patriots won the Super Bowl with him as the starter. New England was fully aware of his knee arthritis and factored that into drafting him late in the first round in 2018. Appropriate management and rest lead to a productive season. There was a scary looking knee injury Week 7 that made him miss the next two games. Part of the management of a chronic knee condition is offseason clean up surgery which he had. He starts camp on PUP list but there should not be additional concern. Indeed he has quickly passed his physical and joined the team on the field. Michel does not have the knee where he could practice 6 out of 7 days for the six weeks of training camp anyways. Even though he is only in his second year, he has to be treated like he has a “vet” knee and be given days off and managed. Doing so can keep him relatively productive but he remains unlikely to ever get to a significant second contract.​

Rex Burkhead RB – He was placed on IR last year for a neck issue that occurred in Week 3 and did not require surgery. He was designated for return and had three touchdowns in the playoffs. Barring some sort of re-injury, Burkhead’s neck should be healthy this season.

%$Julian Edelman WR – Edelman overcame a 2017 ACL tear to be last year’s Super Bowl MVP. The knee is fully behind him now but a new issue has cropped up. He is said to miss “multiple weeks” with a thumb injury where he was seen at a kid’s camp with a small splint/brace on the base of his thumb. He was placed on NFI which seems unusual if a player was doing football activities even if away from the facility. New England worked out some receivers but that doesn’t mean it is looking for a long-term re-placement. Looking at the splint, I am not worried about Edelman starting the regular season. I have optimism for a healthy start to 2019. Given his 2017 ACL tear in the preseason and his familiarity with the system, I would expect to see Edelman for the first time in Week 1 for game action. Edelman was removed from the NFI list and will be good to go to start season. He did not play this week but there are no worries here. Edelman played in the Patriots final preseason game and recorded a 20 yard catch before leaving the game early and having that same thumb looked at but I don’t anticipate any significant issue with his Week 1 status.

%$#*Demaryius Thomas WR – When the Patriots signed Thomas, many thought that meant his Achilles was healthy, but for now he starts training camp on PUP list as I always expected. As an older player, he may need more time to return. At the start of the regular season, Thomas will be 8.5 months from injury. Thomas lacked productivity in 2018 with only 677 receiving yards, the lowest since his second year in the league. Based on how he looked on video at a stadium night practice, Thomas will certainly start on PUP for the regular season and it even seems optimistic that he would only miss six games. He walked with a slight hitch and then jumped off and landed on his right side, protecting the left side coming off of Achilles surgery. He has resumed sprinting in practice which is a good sign of progress but there is a ways to go. Of course, he could be effective in spot usage as the season progresses but it would be a surprise if he can outdo last year’s limited production. I was surprised to see Thomas removed from the PUP list. Congrats to Thomas on an earlier than expected return. He played the first half of the final preseason game and had impressive numbers with 7 catches for 87 yards and 2 TDs. However, when analyzing his video from a medical perspective he is still far from 100%. His first catch on a crossing route, he really doesn’t push off his left Achilles much at all at the end of the run and just goes down. On his first TD catch he uses his body well on a back shoulder throw but he does not elevate. Even on the subsequent low celebration leap he does not land on the left side. He does not create much separation on his routes. What this shows me is a less then fully healthy top flight receiver can still get it done against backups in the final preseason game. It bodes well that Thomas can contribute this year, especially as the season goes on and he regains even more strength. I am still somewhat pessimistic for his effectiveness at the start of the season.

$*Cameron Meridith WR – In 2017, Meredith tore his ACL and MCL missing the entire season. After the injury, Meridith signed with the Saints. He was inactive the first two games. The next three games he got progressively better catching 1.3,5 catches respectively and had 11,32,71 yards in those games. The next three games he didn’t show up on the stat sheet and averaged only 13 snaps on offense. After Week 8 it was announced he was having arthroscopic knee surgery and was put on the IR ending his sea-son. Meredith was limited at OTAs and working on sidelines with the Saints trainer. He recently was released and the Patriots picked him up. This may work out well given New England’s WR issues and their willingness/ability to deal with player health is-sues. The worry here is early arthritis and the team has shown with Michel that they are adept at handling this. Meridith has yet to appear in a preseason game.

%$#*N’keal Harry WR – Harry appeared to suffer a mild right turf toe during the Patriots first preseason game. He left the first pre-season game after his second catch but returned to the sidelines. I don’t think it is severe but the big toe is vital for a wide receiver as that joint is responsible for half of one’s ability to push off during running/jumping/cutting. This is something to watch. He may not be 100% for the first real game but with tape and a stiff shoe sole, he should play. Harry did not play in the Patriots the remaining preseason games.

%$*Matt LaCrosse TE – The likely starter at tight end suffered a high sprain to his left ankle during the second quarter of New England”s first preseason game. His preseason is likely done and it wouldn’t surprise me if his absence extended to the early regular season. Like Harry, LaCrosse also did not play in the rest of the pre-season.​

%David Andrews C – Brady’s starting center suffered from blood clots in his lungs and is likely to miss the entire season. This is a big blow to the Patriots offense and creates a hole at offensive line that they have tried to fill by trading for former Buffalo reserve center Russell Bodine.

#Isaiah Wynn LT – Last year’s first round pick tore his Achilles in the preseason so this becomes his defacto rookie campaign. He avoided PUP as expected and should be full go for the season. Video of his practices shows some favoring of the left side still. Wynn was fully active during the Patriots second preseason game as seems to be progressing. Any issues might come from lack of experience as well as acclimation from residual Achilles issues.

Deatrich Wise DE – Wise suffered an ankle injury at the end of last season and missed the offseason program. He started on PUP but now has been activated. This should give him time to be ready for the regular season opener.

$Brandon King LB – The core special teamer was carted off and our real-time video analysis was confirmed. He suffered a torn quadriceps tendon which will require surgery. His season is done with no chance to be designated to return late season.

$Kyle Van Noy LB – The linebacker suffered a knee injury after sacking Cam Newton Thursday night. Van Noy looks to have escaped serious injury as it was reported to be minor. By video, he suffered a mild left knee hyperextension and should not be hob-bled for the opener.

*Patrick Chung S – Chung broke both bones in his forearm during the Super Bowl and had surgery. He also had his shoulder operated on during the offseason. The bones should be well healed by now for a full go this training camp and season. He avoided the PUP list and there should be no residual effects going forward for him on the shoulder or forearm but he is still using a shoulder strap to protect his labrum.

#D’Angelo Ross CB – The rookie cornerback was placed on IR after clearing waivers. He has an undisclosed injury but his season is all but done.

$#Summary: The health department is the only area the Patriots trail their division rivals over the last few years and now. Some-how with their interchangeable parts style of coaching, they still typically get the job done. Ebner, Webster and Thomas have been cleared to practice leaving the PUP list empty. The watch shifts to Harry’s turf toe and LaCrosse’s high ankle. Neither of these youngsters played in the key third pre-season game while the old man at QB did.

 

New York Jets 2019
#Overall health grade: B-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Marcus Maye
NFI: None

Sam Darnold QB – Rookie QB Sam Darnold strained his right foot and missed three games during the 2018 season. After coming back from injury in Week 13, he threw only one interception in his last four games while throwing 6 TDs. He was throwing and completely active during practice at OTAs. There are no real concerns here and if Darnold has to run, the Jets have additional worries anyways.

#LeVeon Bell RB – From a health perspective, Bell is in great position. He should be fresh from a year of rest. Assuming he is in shape (there were some previous weight questions) and he avoids acclimation muscle injuries as his body readapts to football, he could return to be a leading running back. He will not play in the preseason.

Bilal Powell RB – Suffered what was said to be a potentially career-ending neck injury in Week 7 that caused him to miss the rest of the season. After surgery, he was cleared to play in May and the Jets resigned him. He likely had a limited cervical fusion that protects the area and I would expect this to be a non-factor in 2019.

%Robby Anderson WR – He was bothered by an ankle injury all year and missed a total of two games. Between Week 8 and Week 13 he was listed as either questionable or doubtful as he recovered from the ankle injury. His coach at the time said it was “between a high and low sprain” which means the team didn’t want to tell us the truth. Even with this worrisome 2018 track record, his ankle issues should be in the rearview mirror and Anderson has impressed during OTAs so far. Anderson is now day to day with a calf injury which in coach-speak means week to week. He has missed the last few practices while the Jets are closely monitoring situation. At an explosive position like his with chance of aggravation, expect Anderson to miss some game time.

Jamison Crowder WR – Crowder missed seven games with a right ankle injury in 2018. He failed to reach 50 yards in three of the last five games of the season after coming back from injury. It remains to be seen how he responds this year, but I don’t think the ankle should will affect him much, if at all.

$*Alex Lewis LT – Carted off with a neck injury with the Ravens in Week 6, Lewis missed two games. However, a late season shoulder injury kept him out four of the last five games and resulted in January labral repair surgery. This was on the same shoulder as a 2017 procedure. He did not appear in Baltimore this offseason and was subsequently traded to the Jets. Before being traded, Coach John Harbaugh even called him out and said he did not know his status. However, Lewis passed his Jets physical and should be able to be healthy enough to contribute for his new team. Lewis started the Jets last preseason game and barring set-back should be ready for the season.

$#Brandon Shell RT – Shell was held out of the Jets last preseason game with a knee injury. He was seen riding an exercise bike on sideline. So far few details on the specifics of the issue. Shell was able to shake off the injury and start the Jets third preseason game which is a good sign.

%$#Ryan Kalil C – The recently un-retired center is working him-self back into game shape and has yet to play in a preseason game. The good news is the Jets have him on their roster. The bad news is they needed him to shore up the O line. Kalil was reported to have been given the start but was pulled last minute and did not play. He has only been practicing in pads for a week but is said to be close to his old self in terms of health.

%$#Kelechi Osemele LG – Osemele suffered a strained pectoral in last Monday’s practice. Coach Adam Gase said it was minor but the guard was held out of the Jets second and third preseason games. When he does return, he could be vulnerable to the bull rush and this is something to watch. Osemele has returned to practice.

#Brian Winters RG – Winters injured his shoulder on the first drive of the first preseason game. Reports are that he avoided surgery for now and will be ready for Week 1. He missed the Jets second preseason game and when he returns, may need to wear a shoulder strap/harness.

*Marcus Maye S – Maye will start training camp on the PUP list after he finished the 2018 season on IR after dealing with thumb injury. He broke his thumb in a Week 6 game and only sat out one game despite having a pin inserted. Maye suffered a shoulder injury which caused him to miss the last 6 games of the season. Reports say that Maye is dealing with a nerve issue in the surgically repaired shoulder. There is not a lot of information but he is now off of PUP as I expected.

#Avery Williamson LB – One of the Jets signal callers on defense suffered a torn ACL in the second preseason game and will miss the rest of the season.

$#Summary: The Jets are a young team that started the season relatively healthy but that has changed. Williamson is a big loss to the defense. The offensive line health has shown improvement but is still something to watch.

AFC SOUTH

 

Houston Texans 2019
$*Overall health grade: C+

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: JJ Watt, DeAndre Hopkins
NFI: Justin Reid, Kahale Warring, Walter Palmore, Jamal Davis

Deshaun Waston QB – As expected, the Texans starter had a slow start to the season coming off an ACL tear in 2017. He then suffered a broken rib and partially collapsed lung in early October. Look for a breakout year given that both these injuries should be behind him. Watson started to emerge in the later part of 2018 with 1,568 yards, 8 touchdowns and no interceptions. He admits to more confidence in his knee this year. Assuming he can avoid a big hit, I am optimistic on his health and production this year.

*A.J. McCarron QB – McCarron hurt the thumb on his throwing hand during the Texans joint practice with the Green Bay Packers. He left the field in noticeable pain and may miss the entire preseason. The thumb affects grip and this his ability to throw the ball. This is could turn into something that affects him the first few weeks of the regular season.

$Lamar Miller RB – The star running back tore his ACL and MCL on his first handoff of the preseason. He will miss the entire 2019 season and need reconstructive surgery. Most ACL tears are non-contact injuries, Miller’s was the more rare kind where he was hit while his foot was planted.

$Duke Johnson – The newly acquired running back has participated in his first practice for his new team after sitting out with a hamstring injury. He is in for a full workload this season with the above Miller’s season ending injury.

DeAndre Hopkins WR – The star WR “tore shoulder ligaments off the bone’ in the Colts-Texans playoff game. Even with a presumed grade 3 (severe) AC joint sprain, it didn’t require surgery. There is a deformity (bump) visually, but that does not translate to impairment. Hopkins did start training camp on PUP list but that was for a minor ankle issue. His health seems fine, the PUP is more like veteran rest for start of camp as he has been activated. Expect Hopkins to start the season fully healthy. Pair that with a healthy QB and watch out.

Will Fuller WR – Fuller suffered an ACL tear in Week 8 and preceded to miss the rest of the year. Fuller was able to walk off the field but this has happened before and it hopefully means a relatively isolated tear without significant associated cartilage damage. Fuller was on pace for a career year with 503 yards, 32 receptions and 4 touchdowns in seven games before injury. As expected, he wasn’t a participant at OTAs. One needs to see how he does in training camp and so far the news is good given that he avoided PUP and has been showing off his deep threat ability. I would expect his top end speed to be back but his full route tree may not be until the second half of the season.​

%$*Keke Coutee WR – Coutee dealt with a hamstring injury all year that he first sustained in training camp. He missed 10 games last year. but in the six games he played he had 28 receptions and 287 yards. He became a legitimate slot receiver for Watson when he was healthy. The likelihood is the Texans had Coutee working on preventative measures for his hamstring this offseason. Coutee was injured in the first game of the preseason and appeared to suffer a right high ankle sprain and possibly his right knee MCL on the same play. He is not injury prone given this is a different traumatic issue. How much time he misses will depend on the se-verity of sprain and it could mean a slow start to the season. He could still be quite productive this year given the attention that will be on Deandre Hopkins and how Will Fuller can take the top off defenses. Coutee remains sidelined with the high ankle injury which seems likely to leak into the regular season. The Texans have now said that they are not hopeful of Coutee being read for Week 1 but he should avoid IR.

Seantrel Henderson RT – Henderson underwent season-ending surgery to repair a broken left ankle suffered during the Texans season opener. Henderson was participant in OTAs. Given the early injury and the position he plays, Henderson has a good chance to be ready to start Week 1 and he avoided PUP.

%$Matt Kalil LT – The tackle had his foot stepped on during the Texans joint practice with Lions. He has missed every practice since and the Texans last preseason game. Coach Bill O’Brien has reiterated that Kalil is the starting left tackle. Kalil is back at practice.

$David Steinmetz RT – The offensive lineman will miss the rest of the season with a broken ankle and will have surgery. Steinmetz was carted off during last Wednesday’s practice.

#*J.J. Watt DE – The athlete underwent knee surgery after 2018 season to “clean up” his knee. He bounced back from two injury riddled seasons to post one of his best seasons. He racked up 16 sacks, 61 tackles and 7 forced fumbles. Starting training camp on PUP seems to be more precaution and veteran rest than true medical concern. He was quickly activated from PUP list during training camp and should be fully healthy. Watt suffered a groin injury after he said it tightened up during practice but has been quickly cleared.

*Justin Reid S – Remained on NFI as a result of a car accident prior to camp starting. He attends practice but has yet to be activated and that seems to be a matter of time. Reid has been cleared off NFI list and returned to practice.

Bradley Roby and Lonnie Johnson, Jr. CB – This pair of cornerback new acquisitions have been a mystery and have not done much. Roby is a free agent from the Broncos with a reported “soft tissue injury” and but has reported to training camp. Johnson is a second-round pick who has also been absent with little info but both avoided PUP/NFI so concerns should ease.

$*Summary: The Texans might be quite explosive on offense when fully healthy with Watson and three wide receiver threats. Paired with a healthy defense they could be a team to watch as long as offensive line health issues don’t derail them.

 

Indianapolis Colts 2019
$*Overall health grade: C

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Spencer Ware, Caroll Phillips
NFI: Daurice Fountain

$#*Andrew Luck QB – My previous belief that the Indianapolis Colts star quarterback would be OK was based on information re-leased in June that it was a mild calf strain. Now there are reports saying he suffered the sprain in March (which should be more than healed). Now an unknown ankle condition is the cause. The injury is in the area of a high ankle but it is not a high ankle sprain. Colts have said it is not an Achilles or Os Trigonum either. The have been actively sending Luck to specialist and getting scans five months after the original injury. This changes things and we still don’t know what it is. But at this point, we do know that Andrew Luck will not be 100% in time for the regular season opener. They play the Chargers in a few weeks and this has al-ready lingered for five months. A change in rehab will not cure the issue this quickly. Given that it is not his plant/push off leg, Luck could play and throw but can he be mobile? Will he want to play at less than 100%? In a workout before the preseason game he looked pretty good. I have always had full confidence that he could play in the pocket affectively but the lateral movement is the question. Given all the talk about what he has learned from the shoulder and how he needs to listen to his body, he might not be inclined to. He may be worried that if he changes his throwing mechanics and follow through that he might mess up the shoulder. The shoulder should be fine this year and in fact was fine last year as we projected. Despite lots of questions about his throwing shoulder coming into 2018, he led the Colts to the playoffs. Many wondered if he would ever return after missing all of 2017, but our confidence in him paid off as all along we expected a solid year. This time around it is hard to have confidence since the fact pattern doesn’t fit. I am not saying his season is done, but I could easily see Jacoby Brissett as the starter for the first several weeks at least. The Colts have said a decision will be made by the Week 3 preseason game on the game 1 starter. Luck made the decision for the Colts by shockingly announced his retirement after claim-ing to be physically and mentally worn down. Given that he told us he has learned to treat injuries differently after the shoulder, one can see how he arrived at the decision.​

*Spencer Ware RB – Started camp on PUP for a muscle injury. He was put on the reserve list effectively ending his season with the Colts. He has stated that he is not done with football and is trying to reach an injury settlement with Indianapolis.

#Johnathan Williams RB – Williams suffered a broken rib in the Colts last preseason game. The injury is not a long term ailment but could cost him a spot on the 53-man roster.

$D’Onta Foreman RB – Foreman tore his biceps muscle in the Colts second preseason game and was waived with injury settlement last week.

T.Y. Hilton WR – Hilton missed two games in 2018 with a chest injury that occurred in Week 4. Last year he was also dealing with high and low sprains on one ankle that occurred during a Week 14 game. Hilton was a gamer including a 199-yard performance with the ankle injury. He rarely practiced since then and no surgery was needed. An offseason of rest, recovery and rehab should put the issue behind him with little risk of aggravation.

%#Parris Campbell WR – The second-round pick has missed the majority of camp with a hamstring injury. Reports are he suffered a minor setback in recovery which has delayed his return. Camp-bell was third in the nation in slot receptions and is expected to be a productive slot receiver but the slow start could stunt his rookie campaign. Campbell returned to practice and played in the Colts last preseason game posting three catches for 42 yards and appears to be headed in the right direction.

#Daurice Fountain WR – Fountain suffered a dislocation and fracture of the ankle in last Thursday’s practice. He will need surgery and his season is likely over.​

Jack Doyle TE – Doyle had a rough injury year. He suffered a hip injury in Week 2 and missed the next five games. Doyle caught two touchdowns in 4 games since coming back before suffering kidney injury that forced him to miss the last seven games of the season. Both the hip and kidney issue should be fine. He likely had a procedure to stop internal bleeding after a kidney laceration. It would be very unusual for it to happen again so I expect a healthy season.

Darius Leonard LB – The star linebacker had a knee scare in late November but finished the season. He missed some time this offseason for another knee issue but is slated to be full go for training camp and avoided PUP. The hope and expectation are that there is no significant issue with him.

%Kenny Moore CB – The Colts top nickel corner suffered a broken thumb and was seen walking around the Colts third preseason game with a cast. He doesn’t anticipate missing regular season time but will likely be hindered with protection on the thumb for a few more weeks.

$Summary: The Colts were the only team in the league to return all 11 starters on both sides of the ball until Luck retired. Last year, there were injury issues yet they still made the playoffs. The QB position is so big that this causes a huge drop in the Colts overall grade. Jacoby Brissett now needs to step up.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars 2019
#Overall health grade: B

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Marqise Lee, Cam Robinson, Ryquell Armstead
NFI: Jake Ryan LB

Leonard Fournette RB – Fournette was bothered by a hamstring injury throughout last season. He injured it in Week 1 and missed 6 of the next 7 games. His attempt to come back in Week 4 was cut short when he was pulled in the first half due to hamstring tightness. After coming back, he failed to reach 100 yards in any game but scored six touchdowns in the final six games of the year. Fournette also came into the league with chronic ankle issues and has been absent at OTAs thus far. All of this adds up to a yellow flag. There is no firm health reason Fournette won’t succeed, but there seem to be many smaller issues that have prevented him from being the dominant RB he was projected and drafted to be.

%#Alfred Blue RB – The newly signed free agent suffered an ankle sprain in the second preseason game. The running back missed the Jaguars last two preseason games.

%$D.J. Chark WR – Chark suffered a concussion in the Jaguars third preseason game. Given that this is his first concussion, with over 2 weeks to go before Week 1, he has a good chance of being cleared and indeed he has returned to practice.

$Terrelle Pryor WR – The quarterback turned wide receiver suffered a hamstring injury that forced him out of the Jaguars Week 3 preseason matchup. This injury is minor compared to the ham-string injury he had two weeks ago. But given his bubble status could be costly for him.

#Marqise Lee WR – Lee torn his ACL and MCL in the third preseason game when he was hit on the knee by helmet. He missed the entire 2018 season, but Lee was recently seen running off to the side during OTAs. In 2017, he ranked first on the team in catches and second in yards. It is likely that Lee will have a slow start to 2019, but he could round into form later this season. Lee has been cleared to practice and has been removed from the PUP list. It remains to be seen how he looks but my expectation remains guarded in the early season but he can improve.

#Cam Robinson LT – Starting Jaguars left tackle torn his ACL and meniscus in his left knee in Week 2 and missed the rest of the season. The former second round pick’s health will be crucial in for blocking new QB Foles’ blindside and creating holes for Fournette. Robinson will begin training camp on the PUP list. Given his early season injury and his position, one might have expected him to be ready. Robinson has been cleared and removed off the PUP list. In theory, Robinson has a shot at a productive year but will need time to get there.​

%$Cedric Ogbuehi LT – The left tackle exited the Jaguars last pre-season with a reported hamstring injury. This effects their OL depth with Robinson just coming off the PUP list last week. He missed the Jaguars final preseason game.

Andrew Norwell LG – After becoming the eighth most expensive lineman last offseason, Norwell injured his ankle and missed the rest of the year after playing in 11 games in 2018. Going into OTAs this season, he is dealing with a minor ankle injury, but I expected him to be healthy to start the year and indeed passed his physical and is practicing

Josh Allen LB – The seventh pick overall in the 2019 draft suffered a bone bruise on the first day of team workouts and had not practiced since. Allen indeed avoided PUP heading into training camp. Hopefully the team is just being protective of their top pick and he should be turned loose this preseason.

#Summary: The obvious big addition here is Nick Foles. If he can get protection and Lee can return to form, the Jaguars could put some points on the board finally. The return of Robinson and Lee are two steps in the right direction.

 

Tennessee Titans 2019
Overall health grade: B-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Jurell Casey DT, Ryan Succop K, and Jonnu Smith TE
NFI: Jeffrey Simmons DL

$Marcus Mariota QB – Mariota suffered a litany of injuries in 2018. The one that affected him the most was an ulnar nerve issue in his throwing hand that he suffered in the season opener and caused to miss the next game. When he came back he continued to struggle to grip the ball and make throws downfield. As a result, Mariota threw for a career low 11 touchdowns last season. The Titans did their best to manage their QB, but Mariota was forced into early action when he came off the bench and entered the Week 3 game against the Jaguars because Blaine Gabbert was forced into concussion protocol. I do not expect this to be a recur-ring injury. This was more a freak accident and I expect Mariota to have no lingering elbow or grip strength issues in 2019. Mariota was removed from the Titans third preseason game because his line wasn’t protecting him enough. Coach Mike Vrabel obviously was concerned for the health of his franchise quarterback.​

Ryan Tannehill QB – Tannehill injured his shoulder in Week 5 and missed the next five games. Tannehill will not be relied on as he was in Miami since he will serve as the backup for the Titans. He played decent since coming back from shoulder injury, throwing 9 TDs in six games. His shoulder health should not be a big issue, if he sees the field.

%$#*Derrick Henry RB – The star running back has not practiced with the Titans during training camp. He was seen in a walking boot after being officially diagnosed with a lower leg injury. Coach Mike Vrabel has no worries despite the fact the running back has been sidelined for the last few days. By very limited video, he appears to have a calf muscle strain. The running back has yet to return to practice and given his position, this could jeopardize him for weeks and could even affect the start of the season. Henry has been running on the side and cutting but only during individual drills. He still has yet to join full contact drills with only two preseason games left. It is smart to be careful as calf injuries can linger. Expect the absence to extend throughout the preseason but hopefully a return for the season opener. Henry returned to practice for the first time since July 26th but did not play in the Titans last two preseason games. Barring setback, he figures to be ready for the opener.

$David Fluellen RB – The running back had knee surgery but is optimistic he can return for Week 1 but that is far from guaranteed. Fluellen had been out of practice since the first preseason game.

$*A.J. Brown WR – The rookie receiver left practice early with a lower body injury that Vrabel called described as minor. By video, his left leg slipped and it is likely to be a muscle injury. It is expected that Brown will miss a few days of practice and a preseason game but be ready for Week 1. Brown has returned to training camp and practicing in full. He made his preseason debut in week 2 and did not record a catch while having 3 targets with 1 reception for 10 yards in the 3rd preseason game.

#Delanie Walker TE – The productive tight end’s season was cut short after he broke his right ankle and tore ligaments during Week 1. Although he is 35, he is still a very important part of Titans offense. He was back during OTAs running drills, but expect Walker to have a slower start to the season before regaining his form. He avoids PUP but recently had said he felt 85%. Given the injury and his age, one cannot expect him to be the same as before although he could still produce. Indeed he scored a touchdown in the opening drive of the second preseason game but if you watch the play, one can see how he still favors the ankle. He can’t stop after the catch running into the wall and it is apparent that he is yet to be at 100%.

$#Jonnu Smith TE – Smith did not practice during OTAs and will begin training camp on the PUP list after suffering an MCL injury sprain in Week 14. The sprain caused him to miss the rest of the 2018 season and must be more severe than initially reported as the timeline for his recovery would of had him ready for offseason programs. Smith has been seen working on side field with Henry. Smith was removed from the PUP list.

Jeffrey Simmons DL – The Titans first round pick (19th selection) is a top 10 draft talent. That is why Vrabel and company still chose the Mississippi State standout despite him tearing his ACL in training in February. There is no way he will be ready for Week 1, as stated during the draft, and he might miss his entire rookie campaign. This doesn’t mean he wasn’t a great selection. To me, it means the Titans aren’t poised to go all the way this season. However, they think enough of their future to plan for next year with this pick.

*Jurrel Casey DT – Casey is starting training camp on the PUP list after suffering an MCL injury in Week 15 and missing the last game of the year. The injury should be well healed so it is a mystery as to why he started on PUP. Casey was removed from PUP list Saturday, August 10.

Adoree Jackson CB – Jackson did not participate in workouts due to an offseason foot procedure. The cause of foot injury is unknown as he did not miss a game last year. Jackson passed his physical before camp and will be an active participant.

Logan Ryan CB – He suffered a broken fibula in week 15, effectively ending his season. He was limited in practice at OTAs but he was there and fielded questions after. Ryan, like Jackson, passed his physical before camp and will be active contributor going into season.

$Ryan Succop K – Succop is recovering from offseason knee surgery that has landed him on the PUP list to start training camp. The kicker is expected to be ready for Week 1. Succop has been removed from PUP list.

Taylor Lewan LT – Lewan will miss the first four games for violating the leagues drug and performing enhancements policy.

Summary: As a matter of policy, Vrabel doesn’t give training camp injury information as he is not required to. The Titans have made progress but their selection of an injured Simmons in the first round tells you they are still building for the future.

AFC NORTH

 

Baltimore Ravens 2019
Overall health grade: C

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP:
NFI: Marquise Brown, Michael Pierce, Jaylon Ferguson, Daylon Mack

Robert Griffin III QB – Injured his thumb on his throwing hand following thru with a pass and was reported to have a fracture. The Ravens tried to downplay the injury and reports of a 4-8 week return. A standard non-displaced fracture would not go beyond 6 weeks. The stated timeline and my review of the video has me worried for a stability issue in addition to fracture and would lean towards the longer timeline. The team is already all in on Lamar Jackson but now the young QB has no safety net.

$#*Marquise Brown WR – The Ravens first-round pick continues the tradition of angst about the health of top pick wide receivers in Baltimore. Fans are leery of team reports and have never forgotten the last first round WR pick Breshad Perriman who started his rookie campaign as “day-to-day” on his knee ligament issue before that ultimately turned into missing the whole season and then washing out quickly and moving on. I am not saying that Brown will suffer the same fate but there remains concern. He had Lisfranc (mid-foot) surgery coming out of college. The Ravens medical staff examined him several times (Combines, recheck Combines and even brought him to Baltimore for a visit). While this is good news, if there were no worries, why did they need three visits? Sure enough, draft day Ravens optimism has now turned to concern. Reports are that he had yet to begin to run as of the July hiatus. I am not saying his career is in jeopardy but he is already missing the start of training camp on the NFI list. Brown has run on the side and looked good in terms of speed in a straight line. He has now been cleared to practice with the team but a player needs to run for a month and more before he is able to plant and cut aggressively. Sure enough, after two days of practice he missed the next practice. I do not believe he is near 100% yet. Factor in that rookie WRs traditionally have an adjustment period, that Brown has missed the entire offseason program, is a smaller receiver that will need to rely on quickness for separation and will have a QB throwing to him that still can be considered a rookie given Lamar Jackson lack of starts, that all leads me to conclude that Brown will have a rough start. Perhaps he can recover enough to be effective later this season but as a result of his injury, he is a clear risk at this point. His first year production seems very questionable to me. Brown made his preseason debut and made 3 catches for 17 yards. He was not able to showcase his speed or his vertical threat ability. None of his routes were past the first down marker and that seemed to be by design. It is good to see him in action finally but he seemed to only confirm that he is less than 100% and the previous analysis still stands.

Hayden Hurst TE – Last year’s first round pick also had injury issues. He had a stress fracture in his left foot that needed surgery in the preseason. Initial overly optimistic reports of missing only 3-4 weeks turned into 6 weeks and even then when he returned he only had one catch for 7 yards in three games. After a very disappointing rookie campaign of only 13 catches for 163 yards, one might expect a significant jump this year. However, Hurst is not in the clear for three reasons. First, stress fractures in the foot can recur (see Greg Olson, Dez Bryant, Julian Edelman and others). Second, he has added 20 pounds of muscle this offseason to help durability at the NFL level debut that could put more stress on the foot. His statement that this should “protect his foot” does not make medical sense. More weight equals more force that the foot will have to absorb. Third, don’t forget the high chance of bilaterally where the other foot can be vulnerable to stress injury. One can hope for but cannot guarantee a big year given his re-injury risk. The TE could become his young QB’s favorite target and safety blanket. The easiest throws are traditionally to the TE, but that is assuming he stays healthy.

Earl Thomas S – As Eric Weddle leaves, in comes another veteran star leader at safety. I understand the worry about his health given his two recent tibia fractures, but no worries here. As we said at the time, the injury should not affect his free agency or performance this year. With rodding surgery, the leg heals reliably. Thomas has had enough time to fully heal and return to his Pro Bowl for. Expect big things out of him this year.

#Tavon Young CB – The Ravens stud slot cornerback is likely to miss the rest of the season with a neck injury. He is still deciding on whether to have surgery. Young suffered the injury during practice and missed both preseason games. Young missed the entire 2017 season due to a torn ACL.

Michael Pierce DT – Started camp on NFI as he reported out of shape and has now been removed. Jaylon Ferguson DT (3rd round pick) and Daylon Mack OLB (5th round pick) both also started on NFI and have quickly come off to start practice.

Summary: With significant offensive health questions coming into camp and the new leader on offense being young/inexperienced, while the new leader on defense is a healthy veteran, do your own analysis but keep an eye on some under plays this season. With as many health questions as any team in the league, the Ravens might struggle to post a winning record which is where the 8.5 game season win total is set.

 

Cincinnati Bengals 2019
Overall health grade: C-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Jonah Williams LT, Darqueze Dennard CB, Alex Redmond RG
NFI: Rodney Anderson RB​

Andy Dalton QB – The Bengals signal caller suffered an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury to his thumb on his throwing hand in Week 12 (yes, the thumb has an UCL ligament too, not just the elbow). His season ended and Dalton had surgery. A ligament tear like Dalton’s would make it difficult to grip the ball. The recovery from this is very reliable. He also had a 2015 throwing thumb fracture which actually has no relation to the recent injury. I have full confidence that Dalton’s thumb will be fine for the upcoming season. He has been fully participating for months in offseason activities. One can be concerned about his play but his health checks out to me.​

%Rodney Anderson RB – The rookie running back suffered a right knee injury during the Bengals final preseason game. This is the same knee that suffered a torn ACL which caused him to miss his final year at Oklahoma. By video, there was no clear injury mechanism which is often the case in preseason as there are limited camera angles and coverage. Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario came true with a re-tear of his ACL. Early return to play from ACL surgery happens all the time but the graft is weaker for up to two years after reconstruction.

%$#Trayveon Williams RB – The rookie running back suffered a left foot injury during the Bengals second preseason game. This is the second straight week the back left a game injured. Awaiting more details on injury. Williams will miss the rest of the preseason and Coach Zac Taylor alluded to the injury dragging into regular season as he has yet to return to practice.

$#*John Ross WR – Ross arrived to training camp with hamstring tightness with his new coach saying he may not be back till this week. Ross was limited to 13 games in 2018 with a groin injury. When he was drafted, he had knee issues as well. Now the “tight-ness” is referred to as an injury and he remains out of practice. Hamstring issues are bigger deals for speedsters, which Ross is. Reports are that Ross will be returning to practice this week which might have him ready for the regular season but can he stay healthy.

%$*AJ Green WR – The star wide receiver dealt with right turf toe for a majority of the 2018 season. He first injured it in Week 8, missing three games. He re-injured the ankle in Week 12 and missed the rest of the season. He had surgery on “toe ligaments” which in this case means repair of the plantar plate. One might think a toe injury is not a big deal, but this one is as it is the main joint in the big toe which is responsible for at least 50% of a player’s push off, acceleration and cutting. Green missed all of OTAs but was medically cleared in June. This doesn’t mean he will be 100% because this type of injury can be very impactful to a wide receiver and full recovery can take 6-9 months, not the 3-4 that had been widely reported. The new is-sue is Green was cart-ed off during training camp Saturday during 7-7 drills. This is not the same foot that bothered him last year. By my video analysis, it appears to be a high ankle sprain as the defender fell on the out-side of Green’s left ankle. Green suffered a ligament tear (which by definition includes a sprain) and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks. He was seen on crutches with ice and a wrap in an area that corresponds to a high ankle sprain. As we await more details it seems likely that Green’s streak of missing games every season continues. Second year receiver Auden Tate injured his knee during the Bengals third preseason game and if the injury lingers, he may be waived due to Green being injured as well and the likely hood that Green needs to be carried on the roster since he will re-turn a couple weeks into the season. Green is still using a mobility scooter and in a walking boot.

$*Tyler Eifert TE – Season long fantasy players have Eifert labeled as injury prone given he’s played in a total of 14 games the last three years. However, last year’s Week 4 gruesome ankle fracture dislocation does not fall in an injury prone category. This a traumatic bad luck injury where he tore ligaments and broke his fibula where his toes were pointed a different direction than his kneecap. He has been cleared to practice during training camp. OBJ had a similar injury and has no residual. It is a matter of time before Eifert should be fully healthy, but that might not be at the start of the season. Eifert has played sparingly the last two pre-season games as the Bengals are taking a cautious approach to his playing time to ensure he is ready for Week 1.

#Jonah Williams LT – The first-round pick of the Bengals this year is essentially out for the season already after shoulder surgery. Likely, veteran Cordy Glenn kicks back out to tackle where he originally was to take the place of Clint Boling, who recently retired due to a blood clot. This creates holes at both guard spots with Alex Redmond on PUP for a shoulder issue and then a four-game suspension for PEDs. The merry-go-round continues with Andre Smith who was resigned for depth.

#Clint Boling LG, Christian Westerman RG, Kent Perkins RT – All three offensive lineman have retired. Boling retired due to a blood clot while Westerman and Perkins are healthy. No reason was provided for their retirements. This is now three offensive lineman that have retired from the Bengals in the last two months. The merry-go-round continues with Andre Smith who was resigned for depth.

%#Cordy Glenn LT – Glenn missed Sunday’s practice due to a concussion suffered during the Bengals second preseason game. This is a devastating blow to an already crippled offensive line and now Andre Smith who was signed for depth will be slated to start if Glenn can’t go Week 1. Glenn remains out of practice.

%*Darqueze Dennard CB – The starting slot corner is still recovering from a May knee scope. It was originally thought he might be ready for camp so hopefully he is ready soon, but something to watch as he remains on the PUP list. Dennard is a prime candidate to start year on PUP list.

#Darius Phillips CB – He starts on PUP for a knee issue but reports are that he should come off in a couple of weeks. Phillips was fully active during first preseason game.

#Summary: Many of the Bengals early health issues seem to be on the offensive side of the ball. Already having to adapt to a new head coach and scheme, the team will also have to deal with medical is-sues at wide receiver and medial/retirement issues on the offensive line. This may reduce offensive output and suppress a win total al-ready set low at six. The Bengals medical grade of C- is as low as it gets in the preseason (given the roster flexibility and ability to add players).

 

Cleveland Browns 2019
#Overall health grade: A-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: None
NFI: None

​%Kareem Hunt RB – The newly acquired running back had hernia surgery but is in no hurry to return because of an eight-game suspension. This type of core muscle repair surgery should have him ready to go when his suspension is over. Quick re-acclimation to football should have him back by Week 10 or so.

%#Odell Beckham WR – Beckham was hampered by a quad injury that caused him to miss the last three games of the year, but at that point the Giants were well out of the playoffs. Had there been meaningful games, he might have been able to play through the injury. Muscle injuries heal well in the offseason and the quad should be fine. Throughout the year there were questions regard-ing why he went kept going to the locker room early, but that was not for injury. He routinely gets intravenous fluid hydration to avoid cramping. His production late in the season waned, but I don’t think his health is a concern here. Beckham has missed the last few days of practice due to a hip injury that also kept him out of the last preseason game but so far no reason for concern. Beckham has returned to practice.

#David Njoku TE – The tight end had an offseason knee scope for clean-up purposes. Njoku was a full participant in the first few days of training camp. There are more surgeries in the offseason than in season so this does not overly concern me. Njoku missed practice early last week due to a knee issue and did not play in the Browns second preseason game. The knee issue is believed to be minor but could become a recurring management issue with veteran days off.

Christian Kirksey LB – He missed a total of nine games last year: two with an ankle injury and the last seven games with a hamstring injury. No surgery was needed so expect a full recovery. Last year’s IR move was likely to preserve this great talent for the coming season.

Olivier Vernon DE – The new signing was out the first five games of the year with an ankle injury. He had only one sack in his first 6 games back, but finished the year with 6 sacks in his last 5 games. The ankle issue should be in his past with little chance of re-injury.

Larry Ogunjobi DT – He suffered a torn biceps in Week 13, but played through the injury and was still the 14th among defensive tackles in sacks. No surgery was needed and proximal biceps tears at the shoulder typically do well. It’s the ones that happen at the elbow that go on to need surgery.

%#Chad Thomas DE – Thomas suffered a neck injury and was carted off the practice field after being immobilized as a precaution. The defensive end has feeling in his extremities and was released from the hospital the same day. Thomas has recovered and been active during preseason even recording a sack in the last Browns game.

Denzel Ward CB – Ward had two concussions last year and missed two of the last three games. Even worse, the rookie pro bowler suffered those two concussions in a three-week span. Despite that, he has been involved in first team reps during OTAs. The concern here is cumulative head injury. Hopefully this does not mean a chronic issue. If he has another one, don’t expect a speedy return to play the following week.

Summary: In an offseason of Browns optimism and excitement, it seems that Cleveland has the health at the start of the season to match with all players passing their physical and no real active medical issues yet.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers 2019
#Overall health grade: A-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: T.J. Watt LB
NFI: None

$#Donte Moncreif WR – The recently acquired wide receiver broke his ring finger during the team’s first padded practice. He re-turned to practice last Wednesday looking to compete for the second receiver spot and targets that are now available since Antonio Brown was traded and JuJu Smith-Schuster moved up. The finger should be a non-issue for the regular season. Moncrief played in the Steelers last game and caught two passes for 11 yards. With two weeks to go before the regular season, this in-deed seems to be a non-issue.

%$#Joe Haden CB – Haden suffered an ankle injury and was cart-ed off the practice field in the last practice before the Steelers first preseason game. Reports are that he is dealing with an ankle contusion and Coach Mike Tomlin said he did not have a timetable for return. Caution here as the Steelers head coach last year said James Connor had a leg contusion and was fine after the December Chargers game. We clearly saw and reported a high ankle sprain and indeed Connor missed the next three games. Haden did not play in the Steelers third preseason game and this situation is clearly more than a “contusion” now. Haden has rejoined practice and is on the upswing and hopes to be ready for Week 1.

%$Sean Davis S – The safety left the second half of the Steelers third preseason game with an ankle injury. Awaiting news on the severity but could be a big loss if he cannot go. Davis was headed to doctors after practice last week while his Week 1 availability may be in jeopardy.​

*T.J. Watt LB – Watt tweaked his hamstring during the conditioning test before training camp and will be placed on PUP list. The injury to minor and it is believed that the move was precautionary. After spending the first two weeks of training camp on the PUP list, Watt has returned to practice.

%$Bud Dupree LB – Dupree injured his thumb in the last preseason game but the severity of the injury is unknown. Dupree described the injury as a strain not a break meaning he’ll be fine for Week 1 though he may have a splint or some support on.

$Stephen Tuitt DE – Tuitt has been limited in summer workouts but was a participant in individual drills on the eighth day of OTAs. He has yet to appear in 11-11 drills and his injury is undisclosed leaving little info to go by. Tuitt played in the Steelers last preseason game in which he recorded a safety and should be good to go.

$Lavon Hooks DE – Hooks tore his Achilles and was subsequently placed on IR ending his season.

*Likewise, linebackers Mark Barron and Anthony Chickillo had undisclosed injuries. Barron practiced on and off. Chickillo may have an injured foot, but the team hasn’t released any details. Barron practiced on and off but has been fully active during training camp. Chickillo had four bone growths removed from foot during offseason but has also returned to practice.

Summary: The Browns and the Steelers are the “haves” in terms of health in the AFC North coming into the year, whereas the Ravens and the Bengals are the “have nots”. Very little is known and there is no offseason requirement for injury reporting. Overall though, not much concern about the Steelers’ health going into the season.

AFC WEST

 

Denver Broncos 2019
Overall health grade: B-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: None
NFI: None​

$#Drew Lock QB – The rookie QB was looking to play the majority of the second half of the Broncos 3rd of 5 preseason games but injured his throwing hand. He was able to avoid major injury to his right thumb as the X-rays were negative. The MRI revealed a sprained thumb which gives me worry about the ulnar collateral ligament and thus could land the signal caller on the IR to start the year.

Phillip Lindsay RB – The wrist dislocation prematurely ended a stellar rookie season and required surgery. I had no worries about a full 100% return for this season and he seems to be on track. Lindsay was fully active for the start of training camp. The wrist will hold up fine. The bigger concern is his small stature, not his current health. He did have a minor “hiccup” when he was adjusted too aggressively by a chiropractor and missed a practice but he should be fine.

*Theo Riddick RB – As soon as he was released by the Lions, Riddick was signed by the Broncos. In his first preseason game action, he suffered a slight shoulder fracture and is reportedly out 6-8 weeks. I have not seen video, but it sounds like a scapula fracture which can be quite painful. He will be back and ready to go but will miss the start of the season.

#Emmanuel Sanders WR – The speedy wideout tore his Achilles late last season in practice. He has posted a series of videos showing how well he is recovering and running routes prior to the start of training camp. There is lots of optimism for a quick recovery, but based on those videos the trained eye could still see that Sanders was not 100%. Indeed, he starts camp limited but the team say he will be worked back quickly. The good news is he avoided PUP. To me, this is a team creating excitement in its fan base with a new head coach. Sanders is making a great recovery but I don’t expect full production until well into the season. One can work hard in rehab, but one cannot speed up the biology of healing. Sanders will practice from day one and will be worked into full practice soon. He seems ahead of schedule but to say that there are no worries is a stretch. Indeed, Sanders looked fast on an end around for a big gain in his first game action. By video, he is doing great but still not 100%. One can see him still favor the left Achilles especially when he needed to forcefully cut back at the end of the play. The reverse from the left side also allowed him to rely primary on the outside healthy Achilles to turn the corner which is why he looked so good.

#Noah Fant TE – The 2019 Broncos first round pick took a hit and there were initial worries about his knee. Instead, he suffered a foot injury during Monday’s preseason game. By video, he looks to have avoided major injury and that matches early reports.​

%Jake Butt TE – His recovery from ACL surgery is going well but he is limited at the start of training camp. Like Sanders he avoided PUP. This is the third time the tight end has had to recover from a torn ACL. This young tight end will continue to improve but with his knee still improving, this is unlikely to be his break out sea-son. Don’t be fooled by him skipping PUP list. Don’t expect too much from him, especially early on. Butt is experiencing knee soreness and will now miss regular season games. This is his third time recovering from a torn ACL.

Ron Leary LG – A Week 6 injury to his right Achilles tendon led to the end of his season and surgery. Since he plays in a confined space, he has a good chance to be productive to start the year. Leary had no restrictions and was a full go at training camp.

#Andy Janovich FB – The fullback tore his pectoral muscle in the Broncos first preseason game and will miss the start of the regular season. If it were the tendon, that would have meant surgery and IR.​

%*Todd Davis LB – The Broncos are thin at linebacker and counting on Davis. On the very first day of training camp, he reported injured his calf. Reports have said this is only a three-week injury. First of all, calf injuries tend to linger and can recur but there should be no worry for Achilles tear. He is expected to return to practice on a limited basis next week. This is an issue to be watched and could leak into the regular season. Reports are that Davis is behind in his recovery and will not be ready for Week 1.

Summary: The Broncos players may have passed their physicals to open camp and had no PUP/NFI, but that doesn’t mean everyone is completely healthy. There are still some lingering issues and the big question is: can the offensive weapons gel in time with new QB Joe Flacco?

 

Kansas City Chiefs 2019
Overall health grade: A-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: None
NFI: None​

%Chad Henne QB – The former Michigan quarterback fractured his ankle in the Chiefs third preseason game and will be out for an extended period. Kansas City brought in Matt Moore for quarter-back depth following injury.​

#*Damien Williams RB – Williams suffered a hamstring injury that caused him to miss a week of training camp. He was able to dress for practice this week but missed Saturday’s first preseason game. He was fully active during the second game of preseason so this issue should be behind him.​

Sammy Watkins WR – Watkins played in only 10 games last year due to a right foot injury that occurred Week 9. He missed the following game then returned Week 11, but played five snaps before re-injuring his foot and missing the final five regular season games. He returned for the Chiefs’ playoffs run and caught 10 passes for 176 yards in two games. Last year was the fifth straight time he hasn’t played a full season and it was the second time in 3 years he missed at least six games. Watkins previously broke his left foot in 2016. His left foot required screws and incurred multiple setbacks. In theory, he is healthy now but the string of foot issues is worrisome, especially given the link to stress fractures on both feet that can recur.

$Marcus Kemp WR – Kemp tore his ACL and MCL during the Chiefs second preseason game. His season is over and the Chiefs have resigned De’Anthony Thomas to offset Kemps contributions on special teams.​

Travis Kelce TE – Kelce missed all of spring programs after undergoing surgery to clean out his left ankle. The troublesome left ankle has bothered him for up to three years. Five months removed from the surgery, Kelce passed his physical and participated in practice during training camp on July 24. He will be ready for new season after be cleared to practice and I don’t expect the ankle to get in the way of the perennial Pro Bowler.

Laurent Duvernay – Tardif RG – Tardif fractured his fibula in Week 5 and was placed on the IR, ending his season. He looks to have recovered fully since he was an active participant during OTAs. The ankle should be fine with minimal if any chance of further injury.

Summary: Many feel the Chiefs and the Chargers will battle it out for the division. Right now, Kansas City has the upper had as it comes to a healthy team.

 

Los Angeles Chargers 2019
#Overall health grade: C-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Jatavis Brown
NFI: Russell Okung​

Melvin Gordon RB – Gordon has begun his holdout in an effort to gain a long-term contract and cited the short lifespan of RBs. Indeed, he has had his share of health issues. Last season his injuries ranged from his hamstring to both knees. Gordon hurt his hamstring in practice before his Week 7 matchup. In Week 12 after reports of being told to sit he played and sprained his MCL. After missing the next three games, he then limped off the field in the fourth quarter of the season finale. He tried to come back in the Chargers first playoff game but was injured after his third run on his other knee. With both MCLs sprained he heroically tried to play vs the Patriots in the divisional round. Predictably, he was ineffective while wearing two knee braces with 15 yards on 9 carries. Medically, he should be ready to roll, but contractually that may be a different story. The reports are that the team and player are far apart. The injury scares on both knees likely hardened Gordon’s resolve to get a new deal.

$#Keenan Allen WR – Allen had injured his ankle and will miss the rest of the preseason. There was a report floating on the inter-net and fantasy sites of an ankle surgery but I have yet to substantiate that rumor. The team doesn’t consider the injury to be serious and he should be ready for Week 1 and the Chargers seem to be quite honest about injuries that might have players out. Indeed, Allen is back at practice after suffering the ankle injury.

Hunter Henry TE – Henry tore his ACL at mini-camp 2018. He missed the entire year and came back to play in the Chargers second playoff game but was ineffective with one target on 14 snaps. Given the almost year and a half since injury, I expect a return to his rookie year form and a big year for Henry.

Russell Okung LT – Okung is still awhile away from practicing after a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in lungs) this June. In fact, there is no guarantee that he will be cleared to play this year. Depending on the reason for the clot, it could be life threatening. The treatment usually requires blood thinners, which puts risk into being a collision sport athlete. Bengals offensive lineman Clint Boling retired this year after a similar condition. Chris Bosh also hung up his NBA sneakers. The loss is a big blow to a Chargers O-line that returned everyone. Philip Rivers blind side will now need to be protected by moving a starter over, thus creating a situation that goes from five returning starters to only three with others moving into unfamiliar positions. This could be a big deal for a team threatening to win the Super Bowl.

Joey Bosa DE – Bosa suffered a foot injury during preseason practice, which was always expected to be and later confirmed as a Lisfranc injury. He missed the first 9 games of year and played 7 games recording 5.5 sacks. Barring a freak accident, his foot should be healthy and able to get around the edge. Expect a big comeback year. To me he is a lock for a double-digit sack season.

$Denzel Perryman LB – In Week 9, Perryman tore his LCL on the second play from scrimmage. He was the leading tackler of the Chargers at the time. He was still rehabbing knee during OTAs and this type of injury is unlikely to be 100% at the start of the season. If he was in full form by midseason, that would be a plus for the team but expect a slow start. The starter and run stuffer only played in the second half of the third preseason game as he continues to work his way back.

%*Jatavis Brown LB – He played nicely after Perryman was injured but he then injured his ankle. These injuries are part of the reason the Chargers played seven defensive backs during their two playoff games last season. Although starting on PUP, he is expected to be cleared well before Week 1. Brown was activated from PUP list last Tuesday. Brown left the Chargers last preseason game with a leg injury and he was seen in a walking boot. Coach Anthony Lynn said he would be fine.​

$*Jerry Tillery DT – The Chargers first round pick underwent surgery on a torn labrum in his shoulder early March. His shoulder checked out well enough for the Chargers to draft him. Six months is about the time needed to get healthy but remember he is jumping a level of play and missed all of the offseason. He re-turned to training camp practice last Sunday. Expect better production the latter half of this year and next season. Tillery was able to play during the team’s third preseason game.

Derek Watt FB – Watt had shoulder surgery in May and currently no time table for return. Until more information is released as to the type of surgery, the details are not known but he avoided PUP.

$#Derwin James S – The Pro Bowl rookie standout suffered a 5th metatarsal type stress fracture in practice. He will undergo surgery but even with a screw, the recovery is often tricky. Some players have rushed back in as early as six weeks but that leads to a high re-fracture rate and second surgery like Julian Edelman, Sammy Watkins, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones and others have experienced. Reports are quoting a 3-4 month timeline right off the bat indicating a bigger deal. I believe this info to be accurate and there is no chance for earlier return. James originally had surgery for the same problem in 2016 at Florida State. This is a re-fracture with a bent screw. This complicates things and the return timeline will not be short. Removing a bent screw is difficult as when you turn the screw to back it out it toggles and there is not much room inside the bone for this toggle. Sometimes the screw breaks or one needs to split the bone to remove it turning the procedure into an open one with plating and bone graft. This is why the timeline is much longer. Removing previous hardware, replacing it with secondary fixation and the possible need for bone grafting all can extend the recovery timeline. James will be placed on IR and the hope is a designation to return late season for a playoff push. Do not expect him back as soon as he is eligible to come off IR. A December return to 100% would be a good outcome at this point.

%$*Nasir Adderley FS – The safety was the second-round pick of the Chargers and has an undisclosed injury that caused him to work on the sidelines during OTAs. During his pro-day he injured his hamstring but was cleared prior to draft. We await more in-formation on his condition. Adderley has returned to non-padded work and recorded an interception in the Chargers final presea-son game.

#Summary: The Chargers have had a string of bad offseason medical news to key players over the years. Two years ago, first-round draft pick WR Mike Williams had surprise back issues before camp opened. Last year, star TE Hunter Henry tore his ACL in the offseason and Joey Bosa had a preseason Lisfranc mid-foot injury. Now Okung, the key figure on the offensive line, will miss time and maybe the season with the aftermath of his pulmonary embolus. Add key defender James to the list who will miss a majority of the season. And who knows what will happen in the Melvin Gordon holdout? A talented 12-4 team with high expectations has a tougher road now with the injuries as their grade indicates they may be among the most injury plagued team at key positions this preseason.

 

Oakland Raiders 2019
*Overall health grade: B

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Denzelle Good
NFI: Antonio Brown, Kevin Smith

$Doug Martin RB – Martin is headed to IR with a shoulder injury. Martin will stay on IR barring injury settlement with team.

$#*Antonio Brown WR – The star WR was set to make a splash but instead made a soft landing. He arrived in a hot air balloon and was then placed on NFI. The stint was said to be short but after coming off NFI, only had a brief appearance at practice and has been out since. The foot issues are a combination of “trench foot” and a cryotherapy injury, not true frostbite. Brown has returned to practice and was seen running routes before the second preseason game. From a health perspective, he should be ready to go well before the regular season as we always expected but the helmet issue still hovers. The truth behind his helmet and foot issues are discussed in my articles online. With the Hard Knocks footage, the foot issues seem to be right on track and will be completely behind AB as we always thought.​

*Gabe Jackson RG – Jackson was carted off the practice field after injuring his left knee MCL. He is expected to miss eight weeks. This means a grade 3 sprain which involves tearing of fibers. No surgery is needed and he likely will return with a brace. Eight weeks is a reasonable expectation which means some juggling on the offensive line to start the regular season.

#Denzelle Good LG – The guard was slated to compete for the starting LG spot before landing himself on the PUP list to start training camp. Good was activated off PUP a couple days after the Raiders second preseason game. Good had offseason back surgery five weeks before the start of training camp. It will be a struggle but not impossible for him to be ready to play Week 1 but he will unlikely be the starter for now.​

Maurice Hurst DT – Hurst dealt with an ankle injury at the end of 2018. He missed three out of the last five games and had a questionable tag on him the other two games. His heart condition was always the big worry coming out of college and caused a drop out of the first round. Some even suggested it was irresponsible to allow the kid to play football but I always felt differently. The Raiders have a fifth-round bargain so far. Before the ankle injury, Hurst was arguably the best Raider defensive player and recorded 4 sacks and 26 tackles in 13 games. I anticipate another healthy year with no heart issues and for the ankle to be a full go as well.

%$#Maxx Crosby DE – The rookie defensive end broke his hand during the Raiders first preseason game. The injury could be seen in detail on the second episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” football documentary. It gave a good glimpse of how medical issues are handled quickly on the sidelines. Crosby underwent surgery last Tuesday and was unable to play in the Raiders third preseason game but if the Raiders want him, there are no worries for Week 1. In the end this should not hurt his chances to make the team. It might even help in showing his toughness to play through injury. The saying is “the best ability is availability”. On the HBO show, Crosby showed his hand X-ray after surgery. It appears to be a second metatarsal fracture treated with a long plate. These usually heal well and return to play early with a cast/splint but the con-figuration of the fracture and how it looked has me more concerned than usual. This one may take longer to heal.

#Keith Smith FB – Will start on NFI list after hurting his knee training. Smith could miss most if not all of training camp. The fullback signed a two-year contract worth 4.2 million last year. Smith contributed to Ezekiel Elliot leading the league in rushing in 2016. Expect the team to bring in another fullback. Smith was activated off NFI.

*Summary: The Raiders started off relatively healthy but with Antonio Brown’s foot issues and now some offensive line issues their overall health grade declines from an A- to a B.

NFC EAST

 

Dallas Cowboys 2019
Overall health grade: C+

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Byron Jones CB, DeMarcus Lawrence DE, Tyrone Crawford DE, Noah Brown WR
NFI: None

%#Amari Cooper WR – Cooper has been dealing with plantar fascia irritation which has caused him to miss practice and the Cow-boys last two preseason games. This is something that could linger and affect practice time but should not affect meaningful games. There are ways to get players thru game day. Cooper is expected back at practice Monday which fits what we have been saying.

Travis Frederick C – The Cowboys center missed all of last season with a neurological disorder called Guillian-Barre Syndrome which causes generalized weakness. Even though reports said it was caught early in the preseason, he was still more likely to miss the whole year than be ready for last year. The good news is that as expected he has made a full recovery. In fact, he even had a shoulder surgery in that time. Frederick should be able to return at 100% as the leader of the always stout offensive line.​

%*Zach Martin RG – Over the last week, Martin has been dealing with disc irritation in his back. The Cowboys said the MRI was minor; however, disc issues can linger and become herniations. He is the third interior lineman to be injured for Dallas this off-season. Owner Jerry Jones expects Martin to be healthy enough to play Week 1 but the worry is that could change at any time with a disc issue.

%#*Tyron Smith LT – Smith missed three games last year with a nerve issue in his neck. He has always missed games in the past due to a back issue and hasn’t completed a full season in three years. This back issue will make him miss the rest of preseason. To be declared out with two weeks of preseason to go is concern-ing especially give his previous back issues. Clearly, this is the major concern for the Cowboys. His health has been key to the Dallas offensive line. When he has missed games in the past, his back up has allowed three sack games and he might be more key to the run game than even Ezekiel Elliot. Like Martin, Jones expects Smith to be ready for Week 1 and the owner also expects Ezekiel Elliot to end his holdout.

%Connor McGovern C – The rookie’s season may be over before it began as he will reportedly miss the rest of the season with a partially torn pectoral.​

%DeMarcus Lawrence DE – The star edge player played through the last year and a half with a shoulder labral tear. He leveraged the need for surgery to force a big new contract as he did not have the surgery until his deal was done. The April procedure has put him behind. He starts on PUP list as expected and will not even travel to California with the team. He still says he is targeting Week 1 but has now missed all preseason games. Even if he plays, I do not feel he will be 100% until at least October.

#Robert Quinn DE – Quinn broke his hand in practice and will undergo surgery. The likelihood is that he will return for the Cowboys Week 1 matchup with a splint/cast.

Jaylen Smith LB – The “generational” linebacker coming out of Notre Dame suffered a multi-ligament knee injury and stretched nerve in his last college bowl game. He ended up with surgery and foot drop. After being drafted in the 2nd round (higher than everyone expected), he missed year one, was subpar year two and has surprised with a strong year three. The scary part was that he still was not 100% last year and had trouble with lateral movement and in space. His strength remains moving straight ahead. He was the second best LB for the Cowboys (behind Leighton Vander Esch) and if he continues to improve, this dynamic duo will impress for years to come.

%Sean Lee LB – Amazingly, injuries and the emergence of the above two young LBs have left Lee as an afterthought. Lee has been the man for the Cowboys, but the hamstring and knee issues have moved him beyond the young guys. Another early camp injury this year, that’s said to be mild MCL knee sprain, has him officially day-to-day. I suspect it is more like week-to-week. In any case, he is no longer the key defender in the middle. Lee expects to practice next week.​

%Byron Jones CB – The cornerback had offseason hip surgery and is not fully recovered yet. He is targeting a week one return; however, he is currently still on PUP and has already been ruled out of the first few weeks of practice. He will not travel with the team to California for camp. He could still return for Week 1 but the timeline is now tight and I would not be surprised if he needed more time to get to 100% even though he has been activated off the PUP list.

#*Summary: The offense has contractual issues with its key players while the offensive line has early health issues and now add Tyron Smith to that. QB Dak Prescott and WR Amari Cooper need extensions while RB Ezekiel Elliot’s hold out continues. The O line needs to get and stay healthy. The defense has its own health issues with Lawrence and Jones iffy for the start of the season. A promising talented team could be derailed if these issues aren’t solved.

 

New York Giants 2019
Overall health grade: B-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Alex Wesley WR
NFI: None

%$Rod Smith RB – Smith was competing for the backup position behind Barkley but suffered a groin injury during the Giants third preseason game. The severity is unclear but given his needs for lateral mobility, it likely affects his spot in the rotation for several weeks and going into the season. Smith missed the final preseason game and thus he stands likely to miss regular season action.​

%Golden Tate WR – Tate has recovered from a concussion in time to play in the Giants final preseason game. He had two catches for 37 yards but will have to wait to play due to a four-game suspension to start the regular season.

$*Sterling Shepard WR – Early in camp, Shepard broke his thumb diving for a catch and jammed it into the ground. The good news is he was at practice the next day and running routes but he will not be targeted for a pass in preseason. Shepard has been participating in 11 on 11 drills catching the ball with both hands and is no longer wearing the non-contact yellow jersey. He figures to be ready Week 1 if the fracture is stable as expected which seems to be the case. No real worries here.

Corey Coleman WR – He has a now confirmed ACL tear suffered in the first week of camp. Coleman is headed for IR and will need surgery. He will not be ready to be considered to be designated to return.

$*Darius Slayton WR – As is common in the first week or two, muscle injuries are the main worry, especially for speed players. Slayton suffered a hamstring injury that is said to be mild. He participated in individual drills on Monday but has yet to be involved in scrimmages. He played in the Giants third preseason game and caught a pass for 27 yards. His status projects well into Week 1.

#Amba Etta-Tawo WR – The former AFL receiver tore his ACL during practice and will miss the entire season with surgery.

$Evan Engram TE – The pass catching TE had a knee MCL injury early last season and returned only to have hamstring issue. He did finish 2018 strongly but the offseason lead to another ham-string issue. He did pass his physical and assuming he can stay healthy, may finally reach his potential. Engram made his preseason debut this week making a 9-yard reception. He looks to be ready to go for the regular season.

Nate Solder LT – Solder had offseason ankle surgery and missed all of OTAs. He avoided PUP list and will make it back for the start of training camp which bodes well for this season.

Mike Remmers RT – Remmers has offseason back surgery. The presumed discectomy had him out all spring but he was cleared to play and is for the start of camp.

%$#Deandre Baker CB – The first rounder suffered a knee sprain during practice and MRI revealed no structural damage. He is listed as day-to-day. Baker missed the Giants last two preseason games.

#Summary: Although a close call, the bookend offensive tackles passed their physicals. The Giants issue is with the receiving corp. Golden Tate lost his PED four-game suspension appeal as expected. He said it was doctor prescribed medicine for fertility but that essentially was an admission of a violation. Add Coleman’s ACL tear, Sheppard’s thumb fracture, Slayton’s hamstring, Etta-Tawo ACL and the team is short targets for Eli Manning or his future replacement Daniel Jones.

 

Philadelphia Eagles 2019
*Overall health grade: C-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Jalen Mills CB, Ronald Darby CB
NFI: None​

Carson Wentz QB – The future of the franchise was awarded a big contract but he has not played a full schedule the last two seasons. In 2017 he had an ACL and LCL tear, and missed the start of 2018 but rushed back only to suffer a back stress fracture. He has a history of back stress injury from college and likely his altered throwing mechanics have placed enough stress on his back to stir up the old issue. He passed his physical and is full go but is being monitored. His knee should finally be close to 100% and the stress fracture will need to monitored as to not become symptomatic again. Last year, Wentz did not have a fair shot at a healthy year, but he does this year.

#*Nate Sudfeld QB – The projected back-up quarterback to Wentz injured his wrist on his non-throwing hand during the Eagles first pre-season game. My video impression of a distal radius fracture need-ing surgery was confirmed. Sudfeld is fortunate this is his non-throwing hand and as such I believe he will miss 6-8 weeks and will be back by early regular season. In the meantime, Week 2 left the third string QB Cody Kessler out with a concussion leaving only Clayton Thorsen besides Wentz.​

$*Corey Clement RB – There were report he torn his ACL late last season but that was never confirmed. Clement denied tearing his anterior cruciate ligament on radio and did not seem to need surgery. Going back and looking at injury video, he seemed to injury his lateral collateral ligament (LCL) and avoided surgery. He re-turned to pass a physical to start camp. He will have strong com-petition at RB while he tries to improve his knee which is stated to be 95%. Clement made his debut in the Eagles last preseason game and ran for 25 yards on seven carries. By video analysis, his knee looks fully healed as he had burst and made decisive cuts. Expect his knee to be a non-factor as he seems fully recovered.

Darren Sproles RB – The durable running back returns for his 15th season. Last year he started off well after an ACL surgery but then had hamstring issues that did not resolve. He is healthy now and did not want to end a long career on IR.

%DeSean Jackson WR – The return to the Eagles should be a healthy one despite missing games last year with a thumb injury and an Achilles issue (not a tear, no surgery). He is healthy and has been practicing. Jackson suffered a broken ring finger recently but is expected to be ready for Week 1 as splint/buddy tape works well as catching primarily with thumb/index/middle fingers.

Alshon Jeffery WR – Jeffery had shoulder rotator cuff repair surgery after the Super Bowl victory which lead to a slow start for 2018. The shoulder should be well healed and healthy now.​

*Dallas Goedert TE – Goedert suffered a calf injury during the Eagles Thursday preseason game. He is expected to miss the rest of preseason. Calf injuries can linger, thus depending on the severity, Goedert could miss regular season time.

*Lane Johnson RT – According to head coach Doug Pederson, John-son will be ok for Week 1 but is being held out the majority of pre-season. He has been practicing with a brace all throughout training camp. Details on his knee injury are unknown.

$#Brandon Brooks RG – He tore his Achilles during the playoffs, had surgery and now avoids PUP. Video of Brooks is impressive in his quick return but he is yet to reach 100%. He is being held out of team practice still. Despite optimism and a barrage of inter-net videos of how great he is doing, Brooks is still not cleared for team drills. He remains in one-on-one only. This fits with my thoughts that he is doing quite well coming off a playoff Achilles tear but still has a ways to go. Kudos for a job well done but he will get stronger as the season goes. Brooks was dressed in the last preseason game but did not play. He seems to be getting close but is not there yet and likely won’t be 100% until later this sea-son but he could play very soon.

%$#Fletcher Cox DT – Cox injured his foot in the playoffs and had surgery in January. He avoided PUP list, but is not a full go yet as he rehabs and is being eased back into practice. He has been amazingly healthy through his career which is tough to do for someone in the trenches. More or question of when, not if, he returns to be dominant again. Cox has yet to resume practicing so his availability for the start of the regular season is in question, but he doesn’t seem far away. Coach Doug Pederson expects Cox to be ready for Week 1 but will not he be at 100%.

%*Ronald Darby CB – Coming off a Week 10 ACL tear last sea-son, Darby avoided PUP list and was is actively participating. This doesn’t mean he is fully healthy yet as he is still doing only 7 on 7 drills and not fully participating. I believe he will play but the likelihood is a subpar season as he continues to improve from his knee ligament surgery. Cornerback might be the hardest position to excel at when returning from ACL surgery due the quick-ness and reaction needed. Like Cox, Pederson expects Darby to be ready for Week 1 but I suspect that this will not be his best season.

Jalen Mills CB – The Eagles had more than their share of CB injuries with Mills exiting Week 8 to IR with a foot injury. He started camp on PUP and this could linger into a formal PUP stint for the regular season.

*Cre’Von LeBlanc CB – He suffered a foot sprain early in camp and was seen in a walking boot. This is the same type of sprain Mills had that required surgery in 2018. He is slated to miss several weeks but depending on the severity, that could leak into the season.​

*Kamu Grugier-Hill LB – The Eagle suffered a Grade 3 MCL sprain during training camp practice and will likely miss the beginning of the season. Hill was projected to be a starting linebacker. He will re-turn early this season but that might be after missing the first game or two. Watch his lateral mobility early on.

#*Summary: The Eagles have a league high 20 injury considerations when you total the lingering and new issues. Wentz is poised for a bounce back year and has plenty of offensive weapons but will inju-ries take its toll, especially on the offensive line. The Eagles were devastated at CB last year and this year there is still concern at that position and other areas of the defense. The Eagles signed Josh McCown to address their quarterback depth issues.

 

Washington Redskins 2019
Overall health grade: C-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Alex Smith QB, Jordan Brailford DE/LB, Danny Johnson CB
NFI: Bryce Love RB

*Alex Smith QB – Yes, Alex Smith is still on the roster even though he will not play this year and maybe never again. Thankfully his leg survived double-digit surgeries and he finally had the external ring fixator removed. In due time he will be moved to IR. We have said all along that there is no way he would play this year and that was confirmed as he has been around training camp but using crutches still.

%#Colt McCoy QB – The week after Smith broke his leg, McCoy broke his right fibula. He tried to rush back but couldn’t and eventually had three different ankle surgeries. If he is healthy and will battle for the starting spot with Case Keenum. However, McCoy is still not 100% and missed the last preseason game from residual issues of the fibula fracture. Jay Gruden most recent comments on McCoy were: “Oh man, it might not be the end of camp, it might be two or three weeks into the season. We don’t know yet.” At this point Keenum will be the opening day starter and Dwayne Haskins is the back up.

$#*Derrius Guice RB – Guice tore his ACL last preseason and he joins the Redskins with the distinction of being one of three players that need three or more surgeries for the same original injury. He suffered some sort of infection from his surgery in Pensacola and had to have several sub-sequent procedures. It is good to see Guice practicing and off PUP but he has yet to be cleared for full contact. Next year will be better for him. This year he is essentially still a rookie learning the NFL and while dealing with a knee that seems to be coming along but is far from 100%. Even without the complication of infection, it would be tough to have a great year coming off ACL surgery. Don’t count on him to be a #1 running back like he was drafted to be, at least not for this season. Guice made his return playing the entire first half of the third preseason game and acclimated him-self well with 11 carries for 44 yards and one reception for 4 yards. It was good to see him back and many people raved on his return. To me, nothing changed. I see a very talented back who is not 100% yet as he was tentative sticking his left foot into the ground. Look at his second run, a sweep to the left, and watch him not make a definitive cut up field. This bodes very well for the Redskins future with this talented athlete as he will improve. However, it doesn’t change my fantasy or DFS impression for early season at least.

Chris Thompson RB – He was laid up with rib issues for part of last season but comes in healthy and should not have any further issues barring a new hit.

%*Bryce Love RB – The once Heisman runner up could have been at the top of draft boards but he chose to return to Stanford. After a lackluster year, he tore his ACL in his final collegiate regular season game. His rehab after surgery was not smooth and video showed a flexion contracture before the draft. He dropped in the draft and I expected back then that his first year in the NFL would be a red-shirt year. It is starting to look that way as he starts on NFI. Don’t expect much if anything out of Love this season. I fully expect his absence to extend to the regular season. It would be a blessing if he played this year at all. Love is expected to redshirt this year due to his projected long-term recovery from injury.​

Paul Richardson WR – Started with clavicle issue and fracture in training camp and got worse. His 2018 season ended early with surgery. After missing the offseason he is finally back and maybe can finally show why the Redskins acquired him.

$Jordan Reed TE – His toughness in playing through injury wrongly makes him seem injury prone to fantasy players. He finally had the needed toe surgery to remove chronic fractures in his sesamoid bone and had an improved year. He played 13 games, missing time due to an ankle issue. Reed could put together his second relative healthy season in a row. Reed suffered a concussion during the Redskins third preseason game. This would be his seventh recorded concussion since 2010. Long term health comes into play here. Let’s hope he can come back by Week 1.

Trent Williams LT – He initially played thru a game when his thumb “popped out” about 15 times. He had surgery, missing a short sting then returned. Williams is as tough as they come. In 2017, he valiantly tried to play through a knee cap that wouldn’t stay in place and ultimately needed surgery. Now the big issue is about his scalp. Apparently, he doesn’t like the way the team treated him for the lesion on his head with turned out to be some sort of tumor. Details are sketchy but Williams wants to be traded and has not reported to camp. Technically this is a contractual issue but it is rooted in a medical one.

Brandon Scherff LG – He tore his pectoral tendon last season and went on IR. Surgery has a predictable recovery and little chance of re-injury.

$#Fabian Moreau CB – Moreau sat out the Redskins last preseason game due lingering ankle injury that may force him to miss multiple weeks including Week 1.

Landon Collins S – As a Giant last season, he injured his shoulder and missed the final four games on IR. He had labral repair surgery and is recovering well. He passed his physical and is a full go for the Redskins.

Summary: The Redskins had significant injury issues last season and may have the most carry over issues of any team. They start the season with many offensive question marks at key positions, Notably, QB, RB and LT.

NFC SOUTH

 

Atlanta Falcons 2019
Overall health grade: C+

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: None
NFI: None

DeVonta Freeman RB – Freeman battled injuries all last year. In the Falcons’ opener the running back suffered a knee injury that ended up sidelining him for three weeks. He returned in Week 5, only to suffer multiple injuries to the groin and foot. Freeman sat out the rest of the season on IR after undergoing groin surgery. Despite this cadre of injuries, I have optimism of a healthy season. Groin surgery usually has predictable recovery and indeed he is fully active during training camp to start the season.

%Julio Jones WR – The exceptional talent has had a history of foot injuries. He was not placed on PUP but is slated to miss up to two weeks of camp with another foot issue. His history includes a Jones (5th metatarsal fracture) that has needed surgery and a toe issue. That toe affected him in the Super Bowl and also needed surgery. There is no indication of that type of foot issue this time. Given the history of foot issues, this and the promises of a new contract are things to watch. He will not play all preseason. Jones is expected to return to full capacity in practice this week.

$#Russell Gage WR – Gage suffered a hip injury during his team’s second preseason game and had to be carted off. There was no fracture but the extent of injury not fully known yet. He was unavailable for the Falcons third preseason game. Not a lot of info but this could easily extend into the regular season.

Ricardo Allen S – In Week 3, Allen suffered torn Achilles and missed the rest of the season. He was the second Falcons starting safety to suffer a season ending injury and that helped derail their season. The advantage of the early season injury is more time to recover and he indeed avoided PUP. He seems to be on pace to start Week 1 and will continue to improve.

Keanu Neal S – Neal tore his ACL in the 2018 NFL season opener and missed the entire year. Neal was practicing during OTAs and has passed his physical. I doubt he is at 100% yet but should have a strong season since he had a whole calendar year to recover.​

$#Damontae Kazee S – Kazee suffered a rib injury during the Fal-cons second preseason game. Tests later showed he suffered no broken bones but sometimes rib cartilage injury is just as bad. The safety will be monitored. The corner missed Atlanta’s third pre-season game. With two more weeks to go, he seems likely to be ready for the regular season.

J.J. Wilcox S – After being plagued by injuries at the safety position in 2018, 2019 is beginning no differently for the Falcons with Wilcox tearing his ACL in the beginning of training camp. Undoubtedly, his season is over with IR and there is not even a chance to be designated for return later in the season

$Deion Jones LB – Jones had surgery after injuring his foot during the season opener, but did return late last season. His first game back he recorded 15 combined tackles and led his team in tackles 3 out of the last 5 games of the year. The foot was still bothering him during OTAs and despite avoiding PUP has only been practicing on side field during start of training camp. Coach Dan Quinn said his practice activity would ramp up closer to the Falcons Week 1 game. He is expected to practice in full this week. He did recently get a big new contract indicating the team’s confidence in his health. He seems to be on pace to be ready well be-fore Week 1.

%$#*Kaleb McGary LT – The Falcons 1st round pick will need his 3rd heart procedure during training camp. This certainly sounds scary but he was cleared by doctors at the combines. The good news is he should be back well before the start of the regular sea-son. He likely has an irregular heartbeat that can be treat-ed with medication but there are side effects if he chose that route. An ablation procedure is done thru the leg vein and requires no true incision. The fact that this is his 3rd is not alarming as it is always better to do to little vs too much. This sounds like a bigger deal than it will be. McGary tweeted that the surgery went well. The last time he had this procedure he was out six-eight weeks. During my NFL medical career, we had players with these procedures in season and the public never even knew about it. McGary should be fine for football in very short order. He has returned to practice and has been cleared for full contact. McGary started in the the Falcons final preseason game and played the entire first half.

*Michael Bennett DT – Bennett suffered a broken ankle in first practice of training camp. He will miss a significant part if not all of the season. The Falcons have signed defensive end Allen Bailey to help with defensive front depth after Bennett’s injury.

#Summary: The Falcons have had their share of defensive injuries last season and start out with two injuries already, but at least the starters seem to be healthy and getting stronger. Don’t be fooled by no players being listed on PUP or NFI, the team still has some injury hurdles. The safety position is of particular concern with four players discussed above.

 

Carolina Panthers 2019
Overall health grade: A-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Torrey Smith WR, Jermaine Carter LB, Brandon Chubb LB
NFI: None​

%$Cam Newton QB – From the outside, the Panthers QB’s throwing shoulder is by far the team’s biggest injury concern. Newton had a noticeably weak and inaccurate arm as the season progressed and he was replaced on “Hail Mary” attempts before being shut down in Week 16. He had a second consecutive offseason shoulder surgery. The first procedure dealt with his rotator cuff while the second one re-moved scar tissue and cleaned up cartilage damage. There may be some long-term concern due the arthritis in his throwing shoulder, but Newton’s throwing shoulder should be much better off this season than last. I have optimism about his shoulder despite the surgeries. Newton exited the Panthers third preseason game due to a foot injury that forced him to the locker room where he remained. The quarterback was seen with his foot in a boot and was later diagnosed with a minor foot sprain. The worry is understandable but the video did not seem to show significant injury. The boot is likely precaution to prevent swelling during the flight home. I think Newton will be fine for Week 1. In fact, if this were a regular season game, I think Newton would have continued. Newton is progressing positively and has returned to practice. There is little doubt that he will play but of course he may have some soreness still.

Curtis Samuel WR – A mid-season heart procedure would scare anyone, but Samuel predictably returned quickly last year. He returned to play successfully despite his ailment. This type of heart procedure has a good success rate and should not result in any issues going forward this season. He has also put his 2017 ankle fracture dislocation injury behind him and shouldn’t be bothered by that this year either.​

*Greg Olsen TE – The star tight end has had multiple foot issues over the last two seasons and is now 34 years old. In 2017, Olsen broke his foot in Week 2, had surgery and missed eight games. Last year, he broke the same foot in Week 1 and missed only three games, but had to deal with compensatory injury to his plantar fascia and did not finish the season. Olsen avoided the PUP list going into training camp and has been a full participant during team drills. Given his age and the recurrent foot issues, it remains to be seen if Olsen can make it through 16 games.

*Daryl Williams RT – Predictably, the Panthers right tackle did not finish last season. He valiantly tried to play through a patella subluxation issue since it was his contract year, but he couldn’t. He was re-injured in Week 1 and had surgery. He had limited work in OTAs and was held out of minicamp. Coach Ron Rivera said Williams looked rusty in the first few days of training camp but only because it’s been almost a year since he’s been in action on the field. Despite this, given that he suffered the injury early last season and recently signed a contract extension, I have reasonable confidence that Williams could be healthy for the start of the season and be productive.

*Matt Paradis C – Paradis fractured his fibula during a Week 9 loss to the Texans. He had surgery and was put on IR, ending his season. After signing with Carolina this offseason he has a chance to start his consecutive snaps streak again. Before the injury, he had played 3,850 consecutive snaps since being named a starter during the Broncos’ 2015 Super Bowl winning season. He has recovered enough to be fully active during training camp.

%$Greg Little LT – The offensive lineman suffered a concussion during the Panthers third preseason game and had to be carted off. The new addition has yet to be removed from concussion protocol.

Summary: The focal point of the Panthers health is their QB’s shoulder. Although the 2017 shoulder issue/surgery affected Newton in 2018. The recent second surgery and rehab should have the issue solved.

 

New Orleans Saints 2019
Overall health grade: B

Failed physical to open training camp:
*PUP: Sheldon Rankins DT, Buck Allen RB
NFI: None

Tedd Ginn Jr. WR – The fast receiver was listed on injury reports for weeks with a knee injury before being placed on the IR Week 7 and preceded to have arthroscopic knee surgery. He was designated to return and played Week 16. He had 5 catches and 74 yards and played in both of the Saints playoff games. Between age and cumulative injury, one has to feel Ginn is slowing and on the downside of his career.

Terron Armstead LT – Armstead suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Week 10 and missed the next five games before trying to play Week 16. He was pulled out of his Week 16 start and missed the rest of the season before starting in the playoffs which he admitted he still wasn’t at 100%. He was the top-rated offensive tackle and didn’t allow a sack before injury. Since it was a muscle injury, it affected him but yet did not need surgery. Armstead should return to pre-injury form.

#Chris Clark LT – The 10-year veteran brought in for depth was engaged in a block as his right ankle was rolled up on from behind. He was carted off with an air-cast. By video, this is a high ankle type injury with possible fracture and ligament damage. Don’t be surprised if he is placed on IR and needs surgery. At a minimum this a prolonged absence for a significant high ankle sprain.

%Sheldon Rankins DT – Rankins tore his Achilles tendon in the first quarter of the Saints divisional round playoff matchup. The defensive tackle was carted off field. He missed OTAs and may not be ready for season. Indeed, he was placed on PUP list to start of training camp but that could easily extend into the regular sea-son. At this point is seems likely that Rankins will start the 2019 regular season on the reserved/PUP list. Explosion off the line is dependent on the Achilles and it is harder for big players like this to recover as the tendon girth on this 300 pounder is about the same size as a cornerback so it has to be ready to transmit more force. The defensive tackle has been activated off PUP which is a good sign but it doesn’t mean that he is 100%.

Summary: Rankins is the key health issue and it looks like the Saints will be without their defensive stud for at least the first part of the season.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2019
$*Overall health grade: C

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Justin Evans S, Jack Cichy LB, David Kenney LB, Xavier Ubosi WR
NFI: Jason Pierre-Paul DE, Nick Fitzgerald QB​

%$Blaine Gabbert QB – Gabbert hurt his non-throwing shoulder during the Buccaneers last game. Coach Bruce Arians said the arm was subluxed and that he should be ok citing that it was not his throwing arm. The arm was in a sling after game. He likely has a labral tear and can play with a strap/harness. If this were his throwing shoulder, it would have ended his season. The Buccaneers signed Vincent Testaverde for QB depth due to injury and he was subsequently cut.

$Ronald Jones RB – The running back is dealing with knee sore-ness from an injury he suffered in the Buccaneers second preseason game. He was seen warming up before Tampa Bay’s third preseason and was able to play. He notched 8 yards on 4 carries in seemingly limited action. He seems to be lucky to have escaped more serious injury or bone bruise with his hyperextension injury.

%$Mike Evans WR – Evans suffered a leg injury during practice and will miss the Buccaneers third preseason game after appearing in the first two. He has returned to practice since the injury.

O.J. Howard TE – Howard suffered foot and ankle ailments in Week 11 and was put on the IR missing the last 6 games of the year. This is the same ankle he sprained in 2017 which forced him to miss the last two games of his rookie season. The Bucs tight end was on pace for a career year with 34 receptions 565 yards and 5 TDs. He has yet to finish a season healthy but he should start this one healthy.

Cameron Brate TE – Brate had a procedure on his hip during the offseason where his torn labrum was fixed and bone fragments removed. The injury was affecting him as he had a down year catching the ball with only 30 catches and 289 yards. Often after a hip scope, it can rejuvenate a career so Brate could have a bounce back year.

%Jason Pierre-Paul DE – During the first week of May, Paul was in a car accident and suffered a potential season-ending fractured neck injury. He was treated and released on the same day. He has elected to not have surgery. According to an Instagram video released on July 2nd he is still in a neck brace. He will not be re-evaluated for another 2 months. JPP still could be in line for a late season comeback and the star defensive end has been cleared for rehab activities which could have him at a mid-season return.

*Vita Vea DT – Vea was injured in practice with a left non-contact knee injury. His MRI ruled out an ACL tear. It appears he has non-surgical LCL injury. He is expected miss multiple weeks. His season is not over but he likely will miss at least start of season.

%$Justin Evans S – Evans sat out 6 of the last 7 games with toe injury. He injured his toe during Week 10. During the offseason he had surgery on his left heel and has missed offseason workouts. Evans will start training camp on PUP list. Evans has begun working on individual drills with trainer but has yet to join team activities and his PUP status looks to extend to the regular season. Evans was expected to make his preseason debut but was held out of the Buccaneers final game.

Orion Stewart S – Unfortunately he tore his ACL early in camp and will need surgery and miss this entire season.

*Lavonte David LB – David missed the last three days of training camp due to a knee procedure he had done to trim a meniscus tear. He is expected to miss time during camp and preseason. Coach Bruce Arians said the injury will not keep him out of the starting line-up Week 1. A one month timeline to return from a knee scope is reasonable.​

$Deone Bucannon LB – The interior linebacker left Friday’s game with a knee injury. Bucannon was filling in for David who has been out with a knee injury as well. This creates a huge hole at the middle linebacker position.​

Summary: The Bucs have tight end and safety issues to watch. And of course, the waiting game on JPP and his cervical injury.

NFC NORTH

 

Chicago Bears 2019
Overall health grade: A-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Ha Ha Clinton Dix S, T.J. Clemmings OT, Jonathan Harris DT
NFI: None

Mitch Trubisky QB – The Bears breakout QB missed the Thanksgiving game and the week after with what by video appeared to be a subluxation injury to his right throwing shoulder. He finished the season strong and I do not foresee any health issues. This should not become an “Andrew Luck” or “Cam Newton” shoulder situation.

%$*Anthony Miller WR – Miller struggled with a left shoulder in-jury for much of the season. His popped shoulder out “maybe 5 to 6 times” throughout the season. We talked openly about his issue but he was able to play through it. He was affective enough to de-lay the inevitable surgery. He wore a brace that restricted his catch radius the entire season. Now after surgery and no need for a brace, expect him to be improved for his sophomore campaign. Miller passed his physical and has been an active participant in training camp. During public practice on Saturday, he went down with a sprained right ankle. Coach Matt Nagy doesn’t expect injury to seep into Week 1 and there is a possibility he returns to practice this week. With his rookie success playing with the shoulder issue, he could have an even better year. Miller has re-turned to practice and I expect big things.

Allen Robinson WR – Robinson suffered multiple injuries last year and only played in 13 games. The year before Robinson torn his ACL and didn’t play at all in 2017. Robinson has only played in all 16 games once in his career. Despite this injury history, the second year back after ACL surgery is usually the better year so Robinson might be a sleeper.​

*Trey Burton TE – Burton has missed the last three practices as of Sunday due to recovery from an offseason hernia surgery. Coach Matt Nagy believes they forced too much work on him early and will now slowly bring him up to speed. It is characterized as a minor issue, but to me this is something to watch. Usually core muscle surgery recovers smoothly; however, when it doesn’t issues could linger.

Kyle Long RG – Long injured foot in Week 7 and was placed on IR. Long was able to come back and finish out the season playing in the last two games including playoffs. Long had a previous ankle injury on same foot. In the past, Long dealt with a shoulder injury by flipping positions on the O-line. He is a warrior that will soldier on.

#Cody Whitehair LG – The guard injured his finger on his left hand during a scrimmage and it is believed to be minor. Whitehair hast started every game since the Bears drafted him in 2016.

Ha Ha Clinton Dix S – Dix suffered a knee sprain at the end of offseason workouts and landed on the PUP list to start training camp. The injury was minor with Dix being activated off list Monday. The injury should be a non-issue.

Summary: On the heels of a playoff season, the Bears return relatively healthy. Last year, the kicker was blamed for derailing their playoffs but they played a relatively weak defensive schedule for a good part of the year. With a much tougher defenses to face this season, Trubisky and the offense are healthy but will they hold up to the projected stiffer competition?

 

Detroit Lions 2019
$*Overall health grade: B

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Trey Flowers DL, Tommylee Lewis WR, Steve Longa LB
NFI: None

Matt Stafford QB – Even though Stafford started all 16 games last year, it was reported in the offseason that he played with a broken back. The Detroit quarterback has proven his toughness throughout his career and played through many injuries. The back fracture was likely transverse process fractures that was quite painful but no risk to the spinal cord. He was listed as questionable weeks 14-16 but finished the season. There should be no residual effects on his back going forward and has indeed been active in practice during training camp. This is not a “Carson Wentz” stress fracture situation.​

%*Tom Savage QB – Savage suffered a concussion during the first preseason game of the year. This is his third concussion in 4 years. The Lions signed Josh Johnson to help with quarterback help. After a multi-week absence, Savage returned to practice.

Kerryon Johnson RB – The stud rookie running back was placed on IR after injuring left knee in Week 10. He was on pace for over 1000 yards before the injury finishing with 641 yards in ten games. With an offseason to recover, his knee should be healthy to start the year.

*Marvin Jones WR – Jones injured his knee in Week 10 and was placed on IR ending his season. Jones says he’s healthy and has been involved with the first team every day of camp. Not many details on his knee but he seems fine. After a slow opening to camp, Jones has played great with many expecting a comeback season although details of his injury still seem to be a mystery.​

*Jermaine Kearse WR – By video, Kearse suffered a left high ankle fracture/dislocation during the Lions first preseason game. He was engaged in a block and the defender rolled on his leg from behind. The wide receiver is headed for surgery and his season is over on his first offensive play of the preseason.

$Frank Ragnow C – Ragnow suffered an inversion ankle sprain in the Lions last preseason game. Head coach Matt Patricia said he avoided a season ending injury. With two and half weeks to go before the regular season he should be back for the opener.​

$*Trey Flowers DE – Flowers had offseason shoulder surgery. de-scribed as more of a cleanup. Flowers was involved in a few drills before being placed on PUP list to start training camp. We expected him to pass his physical well before the regular season and he has. I expect him to come off and be ready for the regular sea-son. Flowers has been activated off PUP but did not play in the Lions third preseason game.

%*Da’Shawn Hand DT – Hand was injured his left arm in training camp and has missed time and is said to be day to day. He was seen in a hinged elbow brace that may indicate a hyperextension injury. The Lions are short-handed on the defensive line now but Hand should be back soon and likely well before the regular sea-son. Hand has missed training camp practice as recently as Sun-day, August 26 but I still expect him to be back before the regular season.

$Mike Daniels DE – The previously healthy six-year veteran missed 6.5 games with a foot injury and had a subpar year. This year he became the Packers forgotten man after missing all of OTAs and minicamp. When he was cut, the Lions who at one point only had 4 of 14 defensive lineman practicing due to injury, quickly singed Daniels. Information is limited but the eight-month absence has to make him a question mark, but he passed a physical. Daniels practiced for the first time for his new team last Monday.

$Jarrad Davis LB – The star linebacker suffered a right leg/ankle injury in which he wasn’t able to put any weight on and was eventually carted to the locker room. He was lucky in that he avoided fracture but does have what by video appears to be a high ankle sprain. Davis will avoid surgery or IR but it seems unlikely he will avoid missing regular season games.

Summary: The Lions overall are relatively healthy but they do have a cluster of injuries on the defensive line. With Ziggy Ansah off to Seattle, this is the area of biggest health concern.

 

Minnesota Vikings 2019
Overall health grade: B+

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Brandon Zylstra WR, Mike Hughes CB, David Morgan TE
NFI: None

$Dalvin Cook RB – After suffering an ACL tear in 2017, Cook struggled to stay healthy in 2018 after injuring his hamstring during the Vikings Week 2 overtime tie. Cook preceded to miss 5 of the next 6 games. He was able to play the last 6 games of the year but only went over 100 yards rushing once while only scoring two touchdowns. After averaging 18.5 carries a game before ACL tear, last year he averaged just over 12 a game. The team tried to pass it off as hamstring ‘tightness” and that it was unrelated to the ACL. Reality is that it was a strain/partial tear and was related to the ACL recovery. Given the offseason and an additional year, it is reasonable to expect Cook to return to pre-ACL form. He practiced during OTAs with Zimmer saying he looks “really, really good”. This time, the team can be believed as I would not be surprised if he comes back with a big season. In fact, Cook had an 85-yard touchdown run in the third preseason.

%$Brian O’Neil RT – O’Neil is suffering from an arm injury that has held him out of preseason. The offensive lineman is making progress as he returned to individual drills last week but that is a tight timeline to be ready for Week 1. O’Neil did not play in the Vikings final preseason game.

%Mike Hughes CB – The 30th pick in the 2018 NFL draft torn his ACL in Week 6 and missed the rest of the season. He wasn’t ready for start of OTAs but was seen running on sidelines late in OTAs. Although running. Hughes is a long way away according to video in April of him training. Running is one thing. He will begin train-ing camp on PUP. Being able to stop and cut on a dime is another. He is still at risk to start the regular season on PUP. At best, I would not expect Hughes to contribute much until the second half of the season at earliest. Mike Hughes has been removed from PUP list which of course is good news but playing defense on an island where one has to react is much harder than playing WR where one can dictate cuts.

Xavier Rhodes CB – Rhodes suffered a mild hamstring tear in Week 12. The cornerback was active and making plays during OTAs so injury shouldn’t affect him going into season. Hamstrings are vital for defensive backs but with the right rehab, this one should be behind him.

*Everson Griffen DE – He had some knee issues in the 2018 preseason and rested. Griffen had some reports of knee issues early season including missing five games for some personal reasons but was listed as knee issues. Griffen appears ready to go but given his importance to the team is something to watch throughout training camp.​

$Linval Joseph DT – Joseph is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery that has limited him to no preseason game action. He has returned to practice in full as of last week but the Vi-kings are bringing him along slowly.

Summary: Optimism on the Vikings health on the offensive side of the ball is tempered by cornerback issues on the defensive side. Overall, the “black and blue” division is among the healthiest going into this season.

 

Green Bay Packers 2019
Overall health grade: A-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Greg Roberts LB
NFI: Darnell Savage S

$#Aaron Rodgers QB – The Green Bay Packers signal caller had a lackluster season after a knee injury suffered in Week 1. When he left on a cart before half, fans thought lightening had struck again. He was carted off the field before with a clavicle fracture. Rodgers returned from locker-room to rally his Packers from a 20-point halftime deficit to beat the Bears in the opener. By video, he suffered a MCL sprain and continued to play in limited fashion (out of shot gun with reduced mobility) with a knee brace. A re-injury to the same knee further set back Rodgers in Week 5 and hampered his mobility for most of the season. He did not miss a game and did not need surgery this offseason. Offseason reports said it was a tibial plateau fracture and sprained MCL. Although technically correct, there is no way to play on such a fracture. Likely it was a bone bruise that medically can be termed a fracture that can only be seen on MRI. Despite this injury, the knee having a previous ACL injury in high school and a 2015 knee scope, there is little reason to worry. The recovery from a bone bruise and MCL is straightforward. Indeed, Rodgers has practiced this offseason and there should be no worries about the knee or the previous year’s collarbone. Rodgers did not play in the Packers most recent preseason game due to back tightness but this seems precautionary. Even though he has now missed some practice due to the back, given his history of how he came back early after clavicle fracture in 2017 and played thru the MCL essentially on one leg last year, I don’t see how this can hold him back come meaningful games. According to the Packers general man-ager, the plan was for Rodgers to play in the Packers third preseason game but he ended up not playing.

$Equanimeous St. Brown WR – Brown reportedly suffered a high ankle sprain after previous reports of a broken ankle. He should be out 4-6 weeks.

%$Jimmy Graham TE – Graham reportedly broke his thumb in Week 11 against the Seahawks yet played in the remaining six games of the season. His thumb should be no worry this season. The concern is more about father time as he turns 33 during the season. Graham appeared to injure his finger in practice last week and did not play in the Packers third preseason game. Coach Matt LaFleur said the finger doesn’t require surgery but he has yet to return to practice.

$Rashan Gary LB – The Packers first round pick comes with some questions as his shoulder was flagged at the NFL Combine. The injury (despite the player’s denials) is likely a labral tear from college. Gary could play and play well this year but is likely to eventually need surgery. Bills first round pick Shaq Lawson was in a similar situation and injured himself early in his rookie sea-son and eventually needed surgery. Let’s hope Gary can be more like DeMarcus Lawrence who played well through labral tear and received a big contract before he had his surgery. Gary appeared to suffer a head/neck injury during the Packers last preseason game and was carted off the field. He appears to have avoided serious injury.

%#*Oren Burks LB – By video, Burks tore his left pectoral tendon during the Packers first preseason game. Burks avoided surgery after previous reports suggested his season was over. Not having surgery should open the door for Burks to return later in the sea-son but he is likely to miss early regular season. He was projected to be a starting linebacker alongside Blake Martinez, an already thin position for the Packers. There are now reports suggesting he may not need an IR stint but will still miss time.

$Curtis Bolton LB – The linebacker was on track to start in place of Oren Burks but Bolton himself has suffered an injury. Reports are an MCL strain after he was on crutches and with brace on his right knee. This further impacts the linebacker depth that was al-ready thinned by the Burks injury.

$Kevin King CB – King is nearing a return to practice after suffering a hamstring injury in the first week of August. It has been over two weeks of recovery time so this is something to monitor.

*Summary: The best news is that Aaron Rodgers is healthy and if he can stay that way, the Packers will have a chance.

NFC WEST

 

Arizona Cardinals 2019
*Overall health grade: B-

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Dante Booker LB, Charles Clay TE, Max Garcia OL, Brooks Reed LB, Brandon Williams CB
NFI: None

David Johnson RB – Johnson had right wrist injury/dislocation and missed all of 2017. The star running back played every game in 2018 but wasn’t playing at an elite level. No medical reason he shouldn’t return to 2016 form with this type of injury and with a new coach.

Christian Kirk WR – Kirk is a speed receiver who led the team in receiving yards before breaking his foot Week 13 which ended his season. Surgery reports indicate a 5th metatarsal Jones fracture. Kirk has been participating in full during training camp, but be careful as sometimes the stress fracture can recur.

$Hakeem Butler WR – Butler suffered an avulsion fracture in his hand. The rookie was placed on IR. His spot on the squad was al-ready precarious. He could be designated to return after eight weeks but that will depend on the Cardinals other needs going forward.

D.J Humphries LT – He was placed on the IR after Week 9 with swelling in his knee that had been bothering him all year. Humphries has only played in 27 of a possible 64 career games. Humphries passed his physical and is an active participant in training camp but may be someone that needs his workload monitored.

*Marcus Gilbert RT – Gilbert suffered a knee injury during Week 6 and was put on IR missing the rest of the season. At 31 years old, Gilbert has appeared in all 16 games twice in 8 seasons. He was on field during training camp but wore no pads. He has begun to work in full but suffered a minor groin strain Monday that Coach Kliff Kingsbury said should not prevent him from playing in season opener. He is slated as the starter at right tackle but can he stay on the field?

$*Justin Pugh LG – Pugh suffered a shoulder injury during train-ing camp practice Saturday, August 3. Coach Kingsbury expects him to be back at camp in a few weeks but there are few details to reassure us. Pugh started the Cardinals third preseason game.

%$Hassan Reddick LB – He started camp but soon had a knee scope to trim meniscus. Reddick should make it back before the start of the regular season but was held out of the last two preseason game.

#Robert Alford CB – Reports are that Alford suffered a tibia fracture in practice last week heading into the Cardinals second preseason matchup and will miss two months. There is no video but that seems very optimistic to me. He could miss more time and potentially the season. He seems headed to IR and a good result will be if he is des-ignated to return late this season.

#*Summary: The #1 overall pick will have a healthy RB to rely on and will need his bookend tackles to hold up for the Cardinals to have success. The big issue is now both starting corners will miss significant time with Patrick Peterson suspended for first six games and Alford out longer than that.

 

Los Angeles Rams 2019
Overall health grade: B

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: None
NFI: None

*Todd Gurley RB – Gurley’s troublesome knee, which was initially passed off as tendonitis last season, made him miss Weeks 12-13 and seemed to affect his play during the playoffs. He had 30 rushing attempts combined in three playoff games and was completely ineffective the last two games. The offseason talk was of arthritis in his knee. The question is how much? Gurley at times tried to deny it, but even his trainer talked about it. He is losing some weight to lighten the load and was limited all offseason. He will be treated as a “veteran knee” with his workload managed closely. I did see a workout video with a close up of Gurley’s left knee and it appeared to show significant bone spurs on the lateral side of his knee. This means it is likely the arthritis that has been progressing for a while which means he was successful for a while playing with the arthritis. This is not the end of his career. He can still be a productive RB. After all, Sony Michel was drafted with known arthritis in his knee and helped the Patriots defeat the Rams in the Super Bowl. However, the days of Gurley with routine 20+ touches a game are likely gone. He did pass his physical and is active during drills at training camp. His fantasy value takes a hit but he still has value to the Rams.

#*Cooper Kupp WR – Kupp avoided the PUP list to start training camp after tearing ACL in Week 10. Before this injury, Kupp was taken down in what appeared to be a horse collar in Week 6 that made him miss two games. He was eased into OTAs but was cleared for full training camp practice. Reviewing limited public video, Kupp is doing well but is not fully recovered yet. Kupp has played well during training camp but linebackers like 36-year Charger Thomas Davis have been able to keep in stride with the speedy re-ceiver on some plays and that is as much a compliment to the veter-an defender as an indication there is still room for Kupp’s improve-ment. There have been lots of comments as to how fast Kupp looks but for a slot receiver coming off of ACL surgery the speed comes back quicker than the cutting and change of direction does. He likely will have a better second half of the season.

$Aaron Neary C – The center suffered a fractured ankle that will require surgery meaning his season is all but over.

Greg Zuerlein K – The kicker was valuable enough for the Rams to carry him through a pulled groin suffered pregame Week 2 and missed the next 4 games. The strategy seemed to pay off as he made 8 field goals in the playoffs including a 57-yarder that sent them to the Super Bowl. There should be no health worries here.

#Micah Kiser LB – Kiser torn his left pectoral in the Rams second preseason and will miss the rest of the year. The Rams don’t play starters in the preseason but Kiser, a projected starter. was one of few who did play and he now needs pectoral surgery. This will land him on IR with an outside shot at a late season/ playoff designation to return.

$Josh Carraway LB – Carraway tore his Achilles during the Rams third preseason game and will miss the rest of the season.

Summary: The Rams summary is all about Gurley. He will no longer be the “bell cow” back but he can still be effective.

 

San Francisco 49ers 2019
*Overall health grade: C

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Jerick McKinnon RB, Garret Celek TE, Weston Richburg C, Jimmie Ward CB
NFI: None

$#Jimmy Garoppolo QB – The QB was coming into his own when he tried to extend a play instead of stepping out of bounds and tore his ACL in Week 3. His recovery from surgery has gone smoothly and he was cleared for training camp. I hope he learned his lesson to stay in the pocket where all of the rule protections for a QB are in place. If he does run out of necessity, it is ok to step out of bounds after the first down. He is likely to wear a brace for extra protection and will get stronger as the year goes. The 49ers QB posted 0.0 QB rating in his first preseason action and is said to have rust. In a practice a few days before the game he threw five straight picks. The reality is that the knee may be doing well but Garoppolo still lacks confidence in it. In analyzing his 1 for 6, zero yards and 1 interception limited appearance, he did not step into throws and appeared weary of putting his lead (ACL) leg out there which is common as a QB recovers. I believe he will get there but like we have been saying, his second half will likely be stronger than early on. Garoppolo returned in the 49ers third preseason and submitted a much better performance with 188 yards and a touchdown pass and will continue to gain confidence.

%$*Jerick McKinnon RB – The projected starter tore his ACL in the final practice of the 2018 preseason. He landed on PUP to start training camp in 2019. He is coming up on a full year from injury and was just activated off PUP. The good news is he has a full year. The bad news is the full year still led to a stint on PUP. Do not expect an Adrian Peterson still comeback. Even with the delayed start, McKinnon will already miss more time this preseason as he had a PRP injection which will sideline him at least two weeks. At this point, the potential of McKinnon as the 49ers #1 running back are limited. He will be eased back in and could get stronger as the year progresses. At best, look for him share the load with Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. Coach Kyle Shanahan said the running back is expected back in practice this week but he is hardly a lock to be the work horse. McKinnon suffered a setback in his recovery and may start the year on the IR. At this point, he is no longer viable in most fantasy drafts.

Matt Breida RB – Breida was a cyborg when it came to injuries last year. He missed only two games last year but dealt with separate injuries to knee, shoulder and ankle. Missed two of the last four games of the year because of ankle injury. Breida missed some of OTAs due to slightly torn pectoral. He starts off ostensibly healthy. Imagine what he might be able to do if he stays that way.

*Trent Taylor WR – The preseason standout was diagnosed with a 5th metatarsal Jones fracture in his foot. This injury can be termed the “wide receiver fracture” as it is common at this position (Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, Julian Edelman, Sammy Watkins and dozens more at the position have had it). Taylor had a screw inserted and the optimistic news of “caught it early”, “only a stress fracture” and 4-6 week return seem optimistic. This injury is almost always a stress fracture which means there is poor blood supply and delayed healing. Also the above other wide receiver have had second surgeries for the original problem when rushing back. To me, not only is 4-6 weeks optimistic for a cutting athlete, he could end up on IR and be designated for return.

Marquise Goodwin WR – The speedster suffered multiple injuries in 2018 to his quadricep, hamstring, and calf. He did not start a game since Week 10, instead being used as a backup. The 49ers want to reduce his workload. Hopefully, he worked on plyometrics this offseason to prevent further muscle injuries the fast twitch guys are prone to having. He starts training camp healthy.

Dante Pettis WR – Pettis missed four games last year due to a knee injury. He first injured the knee on a punt return in Week 4 and he preceded to miss the next three games. He performed well in the six games back scoring 4 touchdowns. He re-injured the knee in Week 15 and was placed on the IR ending his season. He should be healthy and indeed he is an active participant in training camp having passed his physical.

%George Kittle TE – The star tight end returned to practice after suffering a minor calf injury. This is a good sign as calf injuries can linger.

%$Weston Richburg C – Richburg has returned to practice after 9 months of recovery. He was activated off PUP after he had knee surgery. How he looks and what he can do is not clear yet.

$Kwon Alexander LB – As a Buccaneer, he torn his ACL in Week 6 and was placed on IR ending his season. Despite the significant injury, Alexander was signed in the offseason and became the second highest paid OLB in the league. The 49ers seemed to have faith in how his knee was progressing to sign him and he has been medically cleared for training camp. However, the likelihood is he might be slow to return to full form due to the ACL. Alexander was able to suit up and play the 49ers third preseason game.

#*Jason Verrett CB – Verrett has his share of injuries. Two shoulder labral repair surgeries, an ACL reconstruction that led to multiple surgeries and then last year an Achilles rupture early. He was working his way back from Achilles still and then suffered what was described as ankle sprain. The sprain was described as minor but Verrett will now miss the rest of preseason. This smaller player that relies on his feet and quickness will need to be fully healthy to be effective.

Jimmy Ward CB – Ward broke his collarbone on May 23 and was placed on PUP list to start training camp. As expected, he will be ready for Week 1 and was activated for practice Monday. There should be no issue for the regular season.

#*Nick Bosa DE – Bosa sprained his ankle in practice on Wednesday when his ankle was caught in a pileup during training camp practice. He had an MRI shortly and he may be held out of preseason as a precaution. The indication is a high ankle sprain and he was announced by the GM as “at least” missing the rest of the preseason. He has made progress and is out of his walking boot. If he practices in individual period this week, and 7 on 7 next week, followed by 11 on 11 full team practice the following week, that still has him missing the opener. Expect the absence to extend into the regular season. I believe that Nick will follow the pattern of what he did at Ohio State and his brother Joey has in the NFL, which is to only return when 100% so they can excel.

%$*Dee Ford DE – Ford is expected to miss another week or more of training camp after injuring his knee during practice last week. The star defensive end was given platelet-rich plasma injections to speed the healing process but now the 49ers are being cautious with 31 days left till the season begins. PRP does not work over-night, in fact it takes weeks to months to be effective. This knee tendonitis is something to watch. Like McKinnon, Ford is expected back in practice this week. He has looked good since re-turning to practice.

$Kentavius Street DE – The defensive end will undergo knee surgery clouding his roster spot.

*Shon Coleman LT – Coleman suffered a right high ankle type fracture/dislocation. His broke his fibula and tore ligaments. The swing tackle is headed to the IR with a small chance of coming back late in the year so the 49ers will need to adjust.

*Summary: Coming into the preseason, the 49ers health was all about three players with those three letters: A C L. Garoppolo, McKinnon and Alexander are three key players all coming off ACL tears and the key will be how they do. Since camp started, there has been a string of other bad news.

 

Seattle Seahawks 2019
*Overall health grade: C

Failed physical to open training camp:
PUP: Ben Burr-Kirven LB, Marquise Blair S, Demarcus Christmas DT, Phil Haynes OG, Lano Hill S
NFI: Caleb Scott WR

%#Geno Smith QB – The backup quarterback had a cyst removed from his knee. The procedure was minor and he is already back at practice. With this quick return, it must have been a very superficial cyst and not related to the knee joint. Smith said he was experiencing knee soreness after the Seahawks last game but reports are that it is minor and he is Russell Wilson’s backup.

%$Paxton Lynch – Lynch was unavailable for the Seahawks third preseason game after taking a helmet to helmet hit during the second week of preseason. He is day to day with a concussion. Lynch was released by the team.

Chris Carson RB – Carson had offseason knee surgery as the procedure was revealed at OTAs. Often “clean up scopes” are done and I don’t see a big reason to downgrade Carson here but we will have to look at his preseason performance. Carson is fully active in training camp practice.

%$#*DK Metcalf WR – The wide receiver who looks like Adonis and had 1.6% body fat fell to the Seahawks in the second round. His lean body is unsustainable through a NFL season and I would assume he has increased his body fat to endure the rigors of a season. My worry is that he is a work out warrior in the gym but not on the field. Given his low agility scores at Combines and his lack of core strength in offseason workout videos, he might look great but has he trained for football as opposed to body building. I am not sure how fluid a receiver he will be and I worry about his flexibility, agility and core strength. Indeed, he has an oblique muscle strain already but he has made a quick return. The hope is that the muscle elasticity issues don’t dog him going forward. The breaking news is that Metcalf will soon undergo knee surgery. Metcalf posted a video to his Instagram account that showed significant atrophy. His knee may not be ready for Week 1. Certainly his lower body on the injured side doesn’t match his upper body pictures from pre-combines. This continues to be a player I am pessimistic on despite continued hype about how great he looks. Metcalf was running routes before the Seahawks final pre-season game but still does not look 100%. He looked OK in a straight line but did not decelerate or cut well. If he returns early, his route tree is limited.

%$David Moore WR – Moore injured his shoulder during last Thursday’s practice and may not be available for the start of the season. Reports are he suffered a hairline fracture in his humerus but has not been put on IR. It could be the team is waiting for him to make the final 53 before IR as that would allow him to be designated for return later.

$Will Dissly TE – Dissly was put on the IR ending his season after he torn his patella tendon in Week 4. He had 8 catches, 156 yards and two touchdowns before being injured in his fourth career game. This is a hard injury to return from. He was able to avoid PUP list and start training camp but this does not mean he has his explosion back. The patella tendon is at least three time the width of an ACL and correspondingly is in many ways a longer/harder recovery. Dissly started the Seahawks third preseason game and seems to be making progress.

$#Mike Iupati LG – In Week 13, Iupati injured his left knee and was carted off the field. Iupati has not started all 16 games of the regular season since 2012. He previously missed 15 games with a triceps in-jury. He did not participate in mini-camp, apparently suffering a mild foot sprain during OTAs. Iupati has not practiced during training camp due to a recurring calf injury and when he does play will have played for 3/4ths of the NFC West. He did not play in the Seahawks last preseason game.

*Bobby Wagner LB – Wagner missed the beginning of training camp this week with a minor procedure to his leg. He was injected with platelet-rich plasma. The Seahawks showed confidence in him with the big extension but the PRP injection has me somewhat concerned. The need for PRP indicates a knee issue that could linger.

%#Ziggy Ansah DE – 2018 will be the third straight year Ansah has suffered major injuries throughout the season. Ansah suffered a shoulder injury in Week 1, missing the next six games. Ansah still had the questionable tag on him going into the next 4 games but had 3 sacks in those games. The shoulder injury kept him out the final two games of the season. This was not a sign of being “injury prone”, more the sign of a tough player trying to play through a re-current injury that needed surgery. He had surgery to repair his labral tear. Admittedly he has a tight timeline going in-to the start of training camp but he is not on PUP list. I would expect him to con-tribute well this year and his shoulder to be fine. This is similar surgery to DeMarcus Lawrence but Ansah has a several month head start on recovery. Ansah suffered a groin strain in practice that may keep him out of the preseason. Despite some fans worrying about the “injury prone” label, I expect a productive year but has the big shoes of Frank Clark to step into. Ansah has returned to practice.

$*L.J. Collier DE – The Seahawks first-round draft pick this year went down early in camp and was carted off with a reported high ankle sprain. Depending on the severity of the sprain which is not known, he is likely to miss at least a few weeks. He had doctors examine his “uniquely” sprained foot and he came back without a walking boot. Coach Pete Carroll said the doctors described the sprain as one they’ve never seen before. We will have to wait and see if this injury will leak into the season. Collier missed his third preseason game and the rookie’s absence continues.

K.J. Wright LB – K.J. Wright dealt with a knee injury in 2018 that cost him 11 games. Before season, knee was scoped. Injury was affecting his play as he recorded no more than three tackles in the last three games he played in 2018. The details are sketchy but I have significant concern here. Knee surgery followed by seeking of alternative blood (or stem cell) type procedures would lead one to think of long term or arthritic type process. Veteran rest in practice appears to be in order here. I hope that is enough to keep him productive after a down year.

%Shaquem Griffin LB – Griffin re-aggravated a knee injury during the Seahawks last preseason game and it may have cost him a roster spot.

%$Kalan Reed CB – Reed suffered a neck injury to his 3rd/4th vertabrae and is likely to be career ending.

Bradley McDougald S – McDougald had offseason surgery on partially torn patella he suffered Week 8. He tried rehabbing this offseason but decided on surgery right before OTAs. He was cleared to participate in training camp.

Summary: With the Legion of Boom gone, can the front end with their health issues put enough pressure on the opposing QB to help the back end of the defense.

 

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