Some big names have been sidelined over the past few weeks with some major or significant injuries. Things weren't as bad from week 4 with long term injuries, although a few teams will be making do for a fortnight or so with QB's still lining up to take their turn in front of the pretty nurses:
Matt Schaub again joins an injury list, even if not to the extent he did in his days as a Texan. Going down in a divisional games against his former team has opened up the AFC South to any taker, and now the colts will be forced to take on a struggling Bengals outfit without him, followed by another divisional game against the Titans. Surprising most of us was the fact that Mark Steele stepped in when Schaub when down, not Jake Locker who has even been snubbed for punter McAfee in the depth chart this season. Locker is the second best looking QB on the Colts roster, however patience may have run thin on his lack of performance and he could pay penance over these next 2 weeks as Steele gets a shot to prove some worth. Either way I do expect to see the Colts suffer from this loss and will be lucky to split the next 2 games.
He's been remarkable in his opening weeks as a passing force...now whoever would've thought you could say that about a rookie scrambler. E.J. Manuel has posted almost a 64% completion rate 799 yards, 6 TDs and 2 INTs for a QB rating of 107.7 so far...not exactly something Troy Smith is known for in his career. Whilst the Jets would sorely miss Manuel at QB they are fortunate enough to have the bye this week, plus it wouldn't be unheard of for them to fast track his recovery and get him fit to face the Texans in week 6. I can't see the Jets taking this one lying down and the effect on the team should be irrelevant.
Jay Cutler finds himself with an injury for the second time this year. Things may be adding up for the veteran if he can't stop these small problems from claiming his fitness. He's likely to take the field this week, but could this be the start of the ever increasing hill to the end of his career?
Ryan Swope was taken in the late second round of the draft and has been relegated to return duties this year and the occasional big wide receiver set. His return average is about average for the league so he's doing the job, but now the Falcons will have to find someone else as I couldn't see them lumbering Mario Fannin with return duties on top of trying to carry the offense in Matt Ryan's absence. Not a ball breaker, but can cause concern for some teams when you don't keep KR attributes handy around the team.
He was given the big money to come over from Baltimore and now doesn't have the heart to play for his dough. Ricardo Lockette has taken the pinched nerve approach to a holiday whilst leading the Dolphins in receiving yards and TDs. He's out for 3 weeks so Glennon will need someone else from the average basket of backups to step into his favourite target role, which could very well be a game changer. Lockette is 6'2" and young with speed...none of the remaining receivers have those abilities combined so things may have to change in Miami for a few weeks as they adjust to scoring without him. Glennon leads all rookies in passing yards and is 5th in the league in main part due to Lockette. I doubt any of Clowney, Butler, Shields or Moore will have the same impact, but they do have different games so it could be surprising.
The injuries are stacking up in San Diego, but at least this time it's on defense. As much as that's a blessing (not another QB) SS Matt Elam is an important piece of the defense, knocking down 4 passes (none allowed) and collecting and INT. Shamarko Thomas will have to step up, and although he has some physical talent, his field awareness is lacking and won't be anywhere near Elam's standard of support around the field. Look for FS Victor Johnson to step up his game to cover the loss and remove some of the burden from Thomas...if Johnson has the game himself.
FS Wendling may have gotten unlucky coming into this game as he doesn't look to be taking the starting job, but in any case Nigel McDaniel is a skilled and smart safety, who whilst not the fastest, can still give a solid support role alongside Eric Berry. I wouldn't expect to see any drop off in the Chiefs game from this injury.