Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images (Jones), David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images (Olsen), Stacy Revere/Getty Images (Rodgers)

Greg Olsen is opting to not have surgery, but Deion Jones is. Aaron Rodgers may or may not play this week against the Vikings—depending on who you talk to—but Carson Wentz is definitely out for another week. Barely a week into the season, NFL teams are already forced to make crucial injury decisions.

By Jonathan Jones
September 13, 2018

We’re less than an eighth of the way through the season and already some teams are forced to make difficult, potentially season-altering decisions with their top players with regards to injuries.

No, I’m not going to discuss how it seems like there are more injuries in Week 1 this year than years past—I intend to look at decisions teams are making about All-Pro-caliber players 10 days into the season.

The biggest of these is in Green Bay with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers told Michele Tafoya that there was no question he’d face the Vikings this week. Then Mike McCarthy said not so fast, and the two-time MVP is considered week-to-week with a knee injury. It’s improbable the Packers can beat Minnesota without Rodgers, so sitting him would essentially forfeit a crucial division game that could eventually be a tiebreaker.

Of course, playing him too early risks potential for further injury and, ultimately, ending his season. How much of the long term is a team (or player) willing to risk for the short term?

In Philadelphia, Carson Wentz still isn’t cleared for contact, and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will start against Tampa Bay this weekend. Wentz is the franchise and Foles won’t be an Eagle in 2019. No reason to rush there.

In Atlanta, the Falcons were dealt massive Week 1 blows when they placed safety Keanu Neal and linebacker Deion Jones on the injured reserve. Neal is done for the season with an ACL, but Jones (foot) will have surgery that the Falcons hope will get him back on the field within the next eight weeks. (By the way, the NFL expanding the rule to two players who can return from IR is one of the best rule changes the league has put in place.)

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is opting against surgery for a fractured foot and instead choosing rehab. Olsen lost almost all of last season to a similar fracture and doesn’t want to do this in consecutive seasons. He’ll try to play with the injury in a few weeks and have surgery after the season, and so the Panthers will carry him on their 53-man roster and make him inactive rather than place him on short-term IR.

All of these teams have legitimate playoff aspirations, and it’s interesting to watch how they weigh the odds and play this injury chess match.

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1. Josh Allen is going to get the start in Buffalo after a dreadful start by Nathan Peterman.

2. Another story out of Buffalo: Zay Jones’s mom apparently tweeted that her son has been telling Kelvin Benjamin where to line up before plays. Neither Jones nor head coach Sean McDermott commented on the since-deleted tweet.

3. Jerry Jones says Randy Gregory has no concerns related to a potential suspension and will play if healthy this week.

4. Giants defensive back Landon Collins said New York has a good chance to beat the Cowboys if Dak Prescott keeps passing.

5. Pat Mahomes, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Harrison Smith, T.J. Watt and Greg Zuerlein were named NFL Players of the Week for their respective conferences.


If the Bills were ready to yank Nathan Peterman after two-plus quarters of work in favor of Josh Allen just to name Allen the starter three days later, why didn’t Buffalo give the starting job to Allen in the first place? It was clear in the exhibitions Allen was the quarterback who gave the team the best chance to win. I doubt it would have changed the outcome of Sunday’s spanking against the Ravens anyway.

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