As NFL teams prepare for Week 3, injuries have caused adjustments to their depth charts.
The San Francisco 49ers will be without quarterback Trey Lance for the rest of the season after successful ankle surgery on Monday. He suffered a fibula fracture and ligament disruption in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks. Backup Jimmy Garoppolo, who led the team to the NFC Championship game last season, will take over under center.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert has been nursing a rib cartilage injury he suffered late in last week’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Coach Brandon Staley said his signal-caller is “feeling more comfortable” leading up to Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The New Orleans Saints have two key offensive players battling injuries. Quarterback Jameis Winston (back) and running back Alvin Kamara (rib) were limited in Thursday’s practice. Kamara’s illness caused him to miss last week’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Winston said on Wednesday that he is preparing to start against the Carolina Panthers.
Our NFL Nation reporters have more updates on key players entering the weekend:
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Dobbins has fully participated in practice the last two weeks, but it doesn’t sound like he will make his 2022 debut on Sunday in New England. “We got certain parameters that we are looking at,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Friday. “It’s not going to be too long.” If Dobbins is out again, it’s uncertain how Baltimore will divide up the touches in the backfield. Justice Hill, who received a vote of confidence from Harbaugh earlier in the week, could see an increased role over Kenyan Drake and Mike Davis.
— Jamison Hensley
Smith injured his hip during the Green Bay game and did not practice at all leading into Chicago’s Week 3 matchup against Houston. The Bears are hopeful Smith will be able to play because his backup, Matt Adams, has been ruled out with a hamstring injury. That could mean ample playing time for UDFA Jack Sanborn. “We’re looking at all combinations because if you were to have two guys down, obviously in pro football, that’s always not good,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “We’re working through that right now but we’ll have all combinations up.”
— Courtney Cronin
Gallup is looking at making his 2022 season debut Monday against the Giants after suffering a torn left ACL in January. He went through a second practice in pads on Friday and signs point towards him playing. It won’t be a full allotment of snaps but it could be enough to impact the game. He brings a deep-ball element to the offense and a better option than what the Cowboys have had in their first two games. As for tight end Dalton Schultz (knee), his availability likely won’t be known until pregame warmups. If he can’t go, Sean McKeon will be called up from the practice squad as rookies Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot get more work.
— Todd Archer
It’s not just that Watkins, who leads the Packers receivers in both yards and catches through two games, is out for Sunday because of a hamstring injury. It’s that two other receivers — Christian Watson (hamstring) and Randall Cobb (illness) — are questionable. It should mean more work for up-and-comer Romeo Doubs, who coach Matt LaFleur said Friday is “probably gonna have to take more of a load this week.”
— Rob Demovsky
Pittman’s injury lingered late last week, prompting the Colts to rule him out for Week 2 just prior to their departure for Jacksonville. This week, Pittman is “ready to go” according to coach Frank Reich. Pittman is one of the main focal points of the Colts’ offense — a fact made painfully obvious in his absence against the Jaguars.
Leonard will miss his third straight game after being ruled out on Friday. Reich said that while Leonard has practiced for the past three weeks, the All-Pro linebacker has not progressed to a level where he can play anywhere near his previous levels. Leonard’s self-assessment is also being heavily considered, and the player does not yet feel ready to return, Reich said.
Pierce took a savage hit during the Colts’ Week 1 game against the Texans and developed concussion symptoms the next day that he self-reported to the team. The symptoms lingered to a point where the Colts ruled him out for last week’s loss at Jacksonville. But Pierce cleared the concussion protocol on Thursday and will return to the lineup. The offensively-challenged Colts could use the help.
The Colts’ featured edge rusher is considered questionable after developing back soreness this week, but look for him to play on Sunday against the Chiefs. The Colts haven’t managed to consistently pressure quarterbacks so far this season, but that job takes on greater importance with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes coming to town.
— Stephen Holder
Griffin was added to the injury report on Friday. He was limited in the lighter workout and listed as questionable. Since it was a late-week injury there’s a little more concern, especially if the Chargers get Keenan Allen back at full strength. If Griffin can’t play, the Jaguars could move Darious Williams from the slot to the outside and have Tre Herndon lined up inside.
— Michael DiRocco
Renfrow took blows to the head on consecutive plays Sunday, fumbling on the last one. That led to a stunning 59-yard scoop-and-score walk-off win for the Cardinals and he has been in concussion protocol ever since. He was ruled out Friday. With Renfrow, a Pro Bowl slot receiver who caught 103 passes last season unable to play, the Raiders have options. All-Pro Davante Adams has shown he can move inside while Keelan Cole is technically Renfrow’s backup. Depth, coach Josh McDaniels said, is key throughout the roster, and it should be tested at slot receiver in Nashville.
— Paul Gutierrez
Herbert, who suffered a fracture to his rib cartilage in a Week 2 loss to the Chiefs, did not practice Friday and is questionable ahead of Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. Herbert said Friday that he felt “good” and that he did not practice as part of a recovery plan, which included him throwing on Thursday. Herbert will be a game-time decision, and if he is unable to play, Chase Daniel will start.
— Lindsey Thierry
The Rams’ no. 3 receiver still has not practiced since undergoing knee surgery during training camp. Rams coach Sean McVay said that Jefferson has not dealt with any setbacks and is “on track” with his rehabilitation. McVay said Jefferson will not play on Sunday against the Cardinals.
— Sarah Barshop
Smith is one of the NFL’s best and most versatile safeties, and his presence will be missed Sunday against the Lions. A strong center fielder, a good blitzer and sure tackler, Smith will be replaced by a combination of Josh Metellus and Lewis Cine, based on the flow of the game, according to coach Kevin O’Connell.
— Kevin Seifert
The Patriots’ leading receiver was hopeful he’d have a chance to suit up despite not having a heavy practice workload this week. He initially injured his knee in the preseason finale against the Raiders and has been managing it since. He politely declined comment in the locker room when approached on Friday. If he can’t go, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne could see their snaps increase.
— Mike Reiss
Winston was on a limited schedule like last week after injuring his back in Week 1, but appears on target to play against the Buccaneers. Winston is listed as questionable, as is Kamara, who missed last week with a rib injury but looks on track to return since he participated in all three practices. Cornerback Paulson Adebo, who has yet to play this season, looks like he’s on his way back with a questionable designation as well, and it’s definitely a good sign he returned to practice this week, but he might not be 100 percent yet.
— Katherine Terrell
Kittle returned to practice last Friday, a sign that he was moving closer to a return. However, he still didn’t play last Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. This week, that return is going to happen.
Kittle participated in practice all week and he’s not listed on the injury report for Sunday night against the Broncos. Coach Kyle Shanahan said Kittle is “good to go” with no restrictions, setting Kittle up to make his 2022 regular season debut.
Armstead’s availability is uncertain after not practicing all week. He’s officially listed as questionable for Sunday night in Denver, which means the Niners are still holding out hope he’ll be able to play. For what it’s worth, coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday that the hope was Armstead would be “all right” by Sunday night. But it could be a game time decision.
— Nick Wagoner