NFL Week 2 inactives roundup: Peterson, Hardy won't play Sunday
A turbulent week of off-field trouble for the NFL has sidelined two prominent contributors to NFC teams looking to jump out to 2-0 starts, but as Week 2 gets underway in earnest on Sunday afternoon, several other key players won't join their teams on the field due to lingering injuries. Here's who's in and who's out for Week 2 of the NFL season:
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers (ribs): Derek Anderson helped the Panthers to a Week 1 win at Tampa Bay, but Newton is a full-go Sunday. He returns to face a Lions defense that is tough in the front seven and increasingly thin in the secondary.
Vontaze Burfict, LB, Bengals (concussion): Cincinnati's emerging All-Pro candidate rejoined practice late in the week, setting him up to be active Sunday. His presence could be bad news for Steven Jackson and the Falcons' ground game.
Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals (foot): Ellington being listed as "questionable" all week was more procedural than anything -- the Cardinals never really hinted that he would miss Sunday's trip to New York. The team's starting RB could be in line for a heavy workload with starting QB Carson Palmer out of the lineup.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings: Of course, Peterson's inactive status against the Patriots today has nothing to do with any injuries to his own person -- it's the cuts and bruises inflicted upon his four-year-old son, for which Peterson was indicted for reckless injury to a child, that have him off the field. In a purely football sense, Peterson's absence may not make that much of a difference -- Bill Belichick sounded this week like a coach looking more at Cordarrelle Patterson as the Vikings' primary rushing threat, and that could be the case even if Peterson was on the field. It was Patterson, not Peterson, who rushed for 102 yards on just three carries in Minnesota's 34-6 win over the Rams, while Peterson was limited to 75 yards on 21 carries. Of course, having Matt Asiata as the Vikings' starting running back means that Belichick can array more of his defensive forces against Patterson. Either way, the Pats need a serious rebound after letting the Dolphins run all over them in Week 1. Look also for rookie back Jerick McKinnon -- a freakish athlete from Georgia Southern -- to make an impact if activated.
Greg Hardy, DE, Carolina Panthers: As with Peterson, Hardy's inactive status has nothing to do with on-field injury issues and everything to do with off-field behavior. Hardy has already been convicted by a judge on a domestic violence charge, and the Panthers' apparent preference to have him start against the Lions this week was met with overwhelming public disapproval. We don't know if the NFL exerted pressure here, but given the week the league has had regarding this issue, there is absolutely no way Carolina could have started Hardy today and had anyone in the world take their alleged progress in these matters seriously.
Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals (shoulder): The Giants get a major break here, as Palmer has been dealing with a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder, and has been listed as questionable. There were some reports indicating that Palmer was about 50-50 to play against Big Blue, but it will be Drew Stanton against New York's defense. It's unknown at this point whether the move to sit Palmer is purely a preventative measure against a team the Cards should be able to beat anyway, or an indicator that something more serious is afoot. Stanton was with head coach Bruce Arians in Arizona last year, but he hasn't thrown a regular-season pass since 2010 with the Detroit Lions. The Cards will have to rely on their defense and running game here, obviously.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers (thigh): The Panthers will get Cam Newton back for their game against the Lions, but they won't have Williams to factor into their ground game. Williams led all Panthers backs with 72 yards on 14 carries against the Bucs last Sunday, but woke up with a sore thigh mid-week, and has been questionable since. Against Detroit's stout front seven, it will be Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, (possibly) Fozzy Whitaker and of course Newton himself running the ball. Last week, Stewart and Tolbert combined for just 31 yards on 16 carries.
Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (hamstring): Shorts will be inactive for the second straight week with a hamstring injury. Against the Eagles in Week 1, this led the way for undrafted rookie Allen Hurns to explode out of nowhere to catch four passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Even when Shorts returns to action, head coach Gus Bradley has already christened Hurns as the team's number-two receiver, and it's a role the Miami alum seems poised to play with his speed, route-running ability and familiarity with Jacksonville's offense -- it's fairly similar to what he was in with the Hurricanes.
Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns (shoulder): The Browns will be without their primary receiver against the Saints, which is not good news. He caught two passes for 47 yards in the season opener against the Steelers, and it was Andrew Hawkins who led the Browns with eight catches for 87 yards. Cameron hadn't practiced all week, and you can expect Gary Barnidge to get extra snaps.