The 2013 NFL regular season is two weeks old and already teams are being forced to play without key players. A pair of starting running backs could be out for a few weeks. Kenny Britt is healthy, but unhappy and his time with the Titans could be coming to an end.
That and more of Tuesday's NFL headlines.
Britt's season hasn't gotten off to a very good start and his time in Tennessee may not last much longer. Britt will be a free agent following the season and tweeted this will likely be his last season with the Titans.
Looks like the Titans pullin that Jared Cook card .. Looking like this the last year ill be sayin #TitanUp .. So lets make it a Great year— Kenny Britt (@KennyBritt_18) September 17, 2013
The tweet comes after Britt caught four passes for 28 yards against the Texans while being benched for a short period for mistakes and a lack of effort in his blocking. Britt has had an up-and-down career in Tennessee, at times flashing No. 1 wide receiver potential. Injuries and off-the-field issues have cropped up at times. A departure from Tennessee wouldn't be a major surprise. The Titans drafted Justin Hunter to potentially fill Britt's role down the road. Jimmy Morris of Music City Miracles sees no reason that succession plan shouldn't begin sooner rather than later:
It is time for the Titans to start working Justin Hunter into games RIGHT NOW. They drafted Hunter to replace Britt because it was already obvious that he wasn't going to be here next year. It would be a mistake to wait until next year to get Hunter worked in. Start it now. Britt isn't giving you much of anything at this point anyway.
A foot sprain will keep Weatherspoon out of the lineup for at least eight weeks after the Falcons placed the linebacker on injured reserve with the designation to return. Weatherspoon injured his foot during Sunday's game against St. Louis.
By placing him on injured reserve, Weatherspoon will miss at least eight weeks. He can return to practice in Week 9 and would be eligible to play beginning Week 11. The Falcons will be forced to get by without him until then, a big task, according to Dave Choate of The Falcoholic:
'Spoon isn't exactly the most consistent linebacker in the NFL, but he has gobs of talent, a ton of athleticism and is a key starter in this defense. Losing him immediately impacts the team's ability to rush the passer and drop linebackers back into coverage, and it takes away considerable athleticism. Starting Bartu and 'Spoon gave the Falcons a ton of speed. Losing 'Spoon erases any athletic advantage you got from starting Bartu over Nicholas.
Gronkowski is getting closer to returning, and Ed Werder of ESPN called it a "50-50 chance" for Gronkowski to play in Week 3 against Tampa Bay. The Patriots tight end is working his way back from offseason forearm and back surgery. He's done some limited work in practice, but was inactive both weeks.
A 50-50 chance to play might be on the optimistic side. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk said he's heard the chance is closer to 25 percent. The Patriots struggled without Gronkowski, Danny Amendola and Shane Vereen in Week 2.
Jackson left Sunday's game early due to a thigh injury and the issue could cause him to miss a few weeks. Falcons head coach Mike Smith ruled Jackson out of this week's game and said the issue should be short term, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter.
Atlanta signed Jackson in free agency to give the running game a boost. He ran well in the season opener, gaining 77 yards on 11 carries, but finished Sunday's game with three carries for zero yards before leaving. Without Jackson, the Falcons will likely turn to a running-back-by-committee approach. Jeanna Thomas of The Falcoholic said Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers could see increased workloads with Jackson out.
Lacy left Sunday's game after a helmet-to-helmet hit from Brandon Meriweather and could miss this week's game. If the concusssion keeps Lacy out of the lineup this week, he will get an extra week of rest with Green Bay on a bye next week.
Depending on how his recovery goes, he could return to the lineup in Week 5. Without him, the Packers will likely rely on James Starks to fill the void. Starks took over for Lacy and finished the game with 132 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Josh Van Dyke of Acme Packing Company said Starks' performance gave Green Bay a much-needed boost:
After that play, Starks looked like a different running back. He ran harder, faster, and more decisive. He finished with 132 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries, and may have opened the discussion on a possible two-back system once Lacy returns. The Packers have been missing that spark for over three seasons now. If that is a sign of things to come, the Redskins defense will be the first of many to look utterly bewildered on how to stop a balanced Packers offense.