' newly-resurgent defense could be in serious trouble without big Vince Wilfork
. (David Goldman/AP)
Here’s a look at the most important injury information we’ve gleaned from Sunday’s games.
Vince Wilfork, DT, New England Patriots (Achilles tendon): Multiple sources have indicated that Wilfork will miss the rest of the season with a torn Achilles tendon suffered in Sunday night's game against the Falcons, though Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was noncommittal about the severity of the injury during his Monday morning press conference.
"I don’t really have a lot of new information on that," the coach said. "We’ll just have to see how things turn out here. But he’s an outstanding player, we all know that. He gives us great leadership and he’s a strong contributor on and off the field and in the locker room and everything else. We’ll just have to see how things come together for him and also what, obviously if he’s not there, it will mean everybody having to pull a little bit more weight on their end."
However, Belichick told Boston radio station WEEI that he does not expect Wilfork to play again this season.
Joe Vellano looked pretty solid in Wilfork's place, but the Falcons did not test the Patriots run defense, and that will change when future opponents game plan a Wilfork-less front. Per Trey Wingo of ESPN, New England has allowed 4.1 yards per carry since 2009 with Wilfork on the field, which ranks ninth in the league. Without him, they have allowed 5 yards per carry, which is the league's highest total.
Dwight Freeney, OLB, San Diego Chargers (quadricep): According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Freeney suffered a torn quadriceps muscle against the Cowboys, and it's believed to be an injury that will keep the veteran off the field for multiple weeks. Freeney was excelling with quarterback pressure in his first season in San Diego, playing in place of second-year man Melvin Ingram, who was lost for 2013 with a preseason knee injury. It's now on Larry English to step up and provide that pass pressure.
Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans (hip): Titans head coach Mike Munchak said on Monday that he doesn't yet know the severity of the hip injury Locker suffered against the Jets, but all indications are that he'll be out for a while. There were some early reports indicating that Locker could be out for 4-8 weeks, or put on the team's IR/designated-to-return list, but that seems premature at this point.
Michael Bennett, DE, Seattle Seahawks (back): According to Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, Bennett was "getting around OK" after a back injury that looked quite frightening when it happened. Bennett was pushed into Texans quarterback Matt Schaub and his head snapped back violently. Bennett, who's been a star for Seattle this season, was strapped to a stretcher at Reliant Stadium and taken to a local hospital, where it was determined that he had a muscle strain in his back. Carroll said on Monday afternoon that Bennett will practice this week and may play against the Colts next Sunday.
Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota Vikings (ribs): Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier has insisted that Ponder will be his starting quarterback when he is able to return from the fractured rib that sidelined him for the team's 34-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers -- a game in which backup Matt Cassel performed surprisingly well. We'll have to see how this plays out this week as the Vikings head for a bye, and then prepare for a Week 6 game against the Carolina Panthers.
Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins (ribs): Morris suffered a rib contusion in the first quarter of Washington's win over the Raiders, but he says that he expects to play after the team's Week 5 bye.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills (ankle): Spiller sprained his left ankle late in the Bills' win over the Ravens, and he's trying to get back on track in time for the team's Thursday game against the Browns.
"If I can get to at least 85 to 90 [percent], I’m going to give it a go," Spiller said on Monday. "I did play on it, but I wouldn’t…I mean I felt it a couple times when I was planting and of course I think I got tackled maybe one time. I mean, this is the NFL and those guys are going to know that my ankle is not 100 percent, so they could have the mindset, they might try to go after it. It’s so many things that are going to factor in to how it responds in different situations. Like I said, the only thing I can do right now is just take it day by day and see how it feels come Thursday."