What’s this? Every Tuesday through Friday, Chris Towers will catch you up on the previous day’s biggest news first thing in the morning. Here’s what you missed Wednesday:
Jordy Nelson (quad) expects to play in Week 3
As it turns out, Nelson suffered a charley horse in Sunday’s game, and just couldn’t get through it. He has been making progress in the days since, and was even able to put in a full practice session to kick off the week Wednesday.
Today it feels a lot better than what it did on Sunday night, so everything is headed in the right direction. My expectations are to play, but you don’t know what can happen between now and then. That was my expectation when I came in here Monday morning as well.Jordy Nelson
Nelson will need to get through two more days of practice, but the fact that he is already working without limitations is a very good sign. If he can make it through the week without a setback, Nelson should be someone you start without concern in Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals .
The news isn’t quite as good for Randall Cobb , who sat out practice with a chest injury. He underwent an MRI on his shoulder earlier in the week, but was listed with a chest injury, so that appears to be the more pressing concern at this point. We don’t know what his chances of playing Sunday are, but this is a bad start. He’s further away than Nelson, and will bear much closer observation as we move toward the weekend.
Jordan Howard (shoulder) was limited in Wednesday’s practice
This one is tough to get a read on. Howard Bison left Sunday’s game and was spotted in a sling afterward, seemingly putting his status for Week 3 very much in doubt – and potentially opening up the opportunity for Tarik Cohen to be the lead back.
However, maybe the injury just wasn’t that bad? Howard has consistently downplayed the effects of the injury, and he’s in just about the same place he was this time last week, when he was limited in practice Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday before being cleared to play. Of course, Howard played less than half of the team’s snaps in Week 2, rushing for just seven yards on nine carries in the blowout loss.
The shoulder is certainly an issue, but even if you take Howard at his word that he is fine, there are issues to be concerned about here. Howard has picked up just 59 yards on 22 carries through two weeks, and 51 of them have come after making contact with a defender. That’s a whopping 86.4 percent of his yards; last season, 57.3 percent of his yards came after contact. Howard is a good runner, but he needs more help from the offensive line, whether healthy or not.
Jordan Reed (chest, toe) “is not healthy right now”
This is hardly breaking news. I’m not sure there has been a time since he was in college where Reed was fully healthy. That’s the risk in drafting him. He has the talent to be the best tight end in football, but injuries just continue to be an issue for him, and that looks like it will remain true moving forward.
The toe injury has been lingering since the preseason, but he has managed 11 catches in his first two games in spite of it. However, he has picked up just 7.6 yards per catch so far, with a long of just 16 yards, so there is some concern that it is limiting him.
The bigger issue in the short term seems to be the chest injury. Reed was unable to practice Wednesday, and we’ll have to keep a very close eye on this one as the week moves forward. You need to start making contingency plans now.
Sam Bradford (knee) was able to practice Wednesday
We learned Wednesday, Bradford suffered his injury during Week 1, and it was of the non-contact variety. That doesn’t sound great, given his history, but he was able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday as he continues to move forward.
Of course, Bradford was limited all last week too, and wasn’t ruled out until he went on the field before the game and tested the knee out. We could be headed for a similar situation, and you have to account for the possibility that he just won’t be able to play yet again. At this point, we simply don’t have a lot of clarity on Bradford’s status, and even if he does play, you have to think he may not be quite as effective, given this issue.
What is clear is that, if Case Keenum is under center for the Minnesota Vikings , Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be another long game. Keenum threw the ball 37 times in Week 2, but had just 167 yards and no touchdowns in the game against Pittsburgh. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs both tied for the team lead with six targets, but Keenum spread the ball around much more than Bradford, and wasn’t nearly as effective.
If Keenum has to start in Week 3, consider Thielen and Diggs risky flex options. And, even if Bradford does play, both are risky, albeit with much higher upside, as we saw in Week 1.
Rob Gronkowski didn’t practice Wednesday… However, his groin injury has not been considered serious, and he was spotted working out during practice. Don’t be surprised to see him ramp up as the week goes on, but Friday will obviously be the key day.
Andrew Luck (shoulder) will not practice in Week 3… He’s already been ruled out for this Sunday, but the hope is still that he can make a Week 4 debut. Not practicing in Week 3 makes that more of a longshot.
Isaiah Crowell is pushing for more carries… Hue Jackson said often during the offseason that he wanted to run the ball more this season, but Crowell has just 27 carries through two games. Jackson expects that to change: “We’ll get there. I’ve said to you guys before: We will run the football, and he’ll be a huge part. We’ve played two games. And there’s some things that we can do better and we will do better.”
Orleans Darkwa could get more work this week… Head coach Ben McAdoo hinted at “drastic” changes coming for the New York Giants ‘ offense, and ESPN.com reports there has been more competition between he and Paul Perkins than normal. Neither is a recommended play for Week 3 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles .
Austin Seferian-Jenkins may not be activated for Week 3… ASJ is an impressive physical specimen at the tight end position, but has never been able to put it together. Now, after serving a two-game suspension, New York Jets coach Todd Bowles told reporters Seferian-Jenkins has to “get in a little better shape.” ESPN.com does note it would be surprising if he is not active.