Panic meter: Which teams should be stressed about recent injuries?
Another week, another boatload of significant injuries around the NFL. Which teams were hit the worst by Sunday's medical news?
Panic meter: Total freakout
Kansas City Chiefs: Their winless start aside, the Chiefs are in rough shape ... and it's only Week 2. They lost Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito for the year in the season-opener, then saw safety Eric Berry and RB Jamaal Charles -- arguably their two best players -- leave Sunday's game against Denver.
Both Berry and Charles were diagnosed with sprained ankles, so the news is not catastrophic. However, at least Charles is believed to be set for an MRI Monday and head coach Andy Reid offered no timetable for either player. Already at 0-2 on the year, Kansas City can ill-afford to be without either star.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Gerald McCoy reportedly broke his hand Sunday, the worst setback yet for a Tampa Bay defensive front that already was down DEs Michael Johnson and Adrian Clayborn -- the latter for the year. McCoy was an All-Pro and Pro Bowler last season while grading out as Pro Football Focus' best defensive tackle. The Rams rushed for 119 yards against the mostly McCoy-less Buccaneers on Sunday, perhaps a foreshadowing of what's to come if McCoy is out for any extended period of time.
Like the Chiefs, the 0-2 Buccaneers need all the healthy bodies they can get.
Panic meter: Definitely concerned
Cincinnati Bengals: On the one hand, the Bengals are dealing with several injuries to key players. On the other, they're 2-0 and without question looking like the class of the AFC North.
Still, they're a wounded group right now. Wide receiver A.J. Green is all but certain to miss Week 3 with a foot injury, and the Bengals are holding their breath that he can come back following their bye in Week 4. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict also left Sunday's game with what was deemed a stinger, his second injury in as many weeks (he suffered a concussion in Week 1). And starting guard Kevin Zeitler suffered a calf injury against the Falcons.
Green's situation is the most troublesome. Even though Cincinnati won without any contributions from him Sunday, Green is a top-five receiver in this league and irreplaceable on the depth chart.
Miami Dolphins: Knowshon Moreno was brilliant in a Week 1 upset of New England, but he dislocated his elbow on Sunday, meaning the Dolphins will have to find a way without him for the next month or two. His running back partner, Lamar Miller, hobbled off in the fourth quarter himself with a nagging ankle issue.
New York Giants: Can the start of this season can get much worse for the Giants? A home loss to the Drew Stanton-led Cardinals dropped New York to 0-2, and LB Jon Beason and CB Walter Thurmond both dropped in the process. Both players will head for an MRI Monday -- Beason on his toe; Thurmond on his pectoral muscle.
San Diego Chargers: RB Ryan Mathews briefly shed his "injury-prone" label last year, playing in all 16 games for the Chargers. He proved in 2013 why San Diego so badly needs him in the lineup, too, posting 1,444 yards from scrimmage. Either Donald Brown or Danny Woodhead will be the go-to back for the foreseeable future, as Mathews reportedly sprained his MCL Sunday. Even in the best-case scenario, that probably is a multi-week injury, assuming further tests do not reveal even more problems.
The Chargers' offseason addition of Brown looms as critically important now.
Panic meter: A little worried
Detroit Lions: The Lions are running out of cornerbacks. In back-to-back weeks, they've lost a starting nickel back -- Bill Bentley to a torn ACL in Week 1; his replacement, rookie Nevin Lawson, to what Jim Caldwell said was a dislocated foot on Sunday. They'll need to find reinforcements ... and fast, with Aaron Rodgers leading the Packers to Detroit for a Week 3 showdown.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Gus Bradley's team is having similar issues at wide receiver to what Detroit is facing in the secondary. Rookie Allen Hurns, who starred in Week 1 (then slid back to earth some in Week 2), was on crutches following Sunday's game. He had seen ample playing time again in place of projected No. 1 receiver Cecil Shorts, whose hamstring continues to hinder him.
The Jaguars' offensive line is a complete mess (see: 10 sacks in Week 2). There is not much help to be found elsewhere on offense either, barring breakthroughs from rookie receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson.
St. Louis Rams: Losing Tavon Austin to a knee injury, as St. Louis did Sunday, is more of a hit in theory than it is in practice. Austin put up a grand total of 60 yards (34 receiving, 26 rushing) in his first two outings of 2014, more or less consistent with the disappointing form we saw last season. The Rams would prefer to have Austin available, because they will be in much worse shape on offense without him.
Washington Redskins: Starting quarterback/face of the franchise dislocates his ankle and, well, it may not be too big a deal. Such is the luxury Washington believes it has in Kirk Cousins, who replaced Robert Griffin III Sunday after he dislocated his ankle and threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns.
Clearly, no one wants to see any player, let alone one with Griffin's natural ability, go down with an injury. That Griffin has had multiple major injuries in his past and suffered this one in non-contact fashion makes it even harder to swallow.
The silver lining for the Redskins, however, is that Cousins has experience starting in this offense. If he performs well over the next few weeks, Washington could hold the option of sticking with him as its starter or trying again next offseason to trade him for draft picks. This latest Griffin ailment also will force the Washington organization to take a lengthy look at how deeply it trusts RGIII and at how much longer it can bank on him becoming a perennial superstar.
Many in the D.C. area have called for Cousins to get a shot again at the starting gig. Here it is.