Regular season NFL football is back! Week 1 kicks off in the AFC East on Sunday with the New England Patriots hosting the Philadephia Eagles, the Miami Dolphins going out to play the Los Angeles Chargers, and finally, the New York Jets hosting the Buffalo Bills on Monday night.
Injuries are once again at the forefront of every team’s storylines heading into 2023. While some teams manage to continue forward despite injuries, and a next-man-up mentality, others begin to lose starters and the depth simply can’t keep pace. With the AFC East being an arms race this year as each team has a reasonable chance at winning the division, it may come down to how healthy each team is, especially heading into divisional games.
Below are the injury reports for each team heading into Week 1 around the AFC East.
Reporting note: Due to the high volume of injuries for each AFC East team each week along with many players showing up weekly, there will be changes in the reporting and analysis.
New injuries will be broken down with available information every week. If there is not any additional details or insight into an injury other than designation, it will not be addressed. If a player is on the injury report for consecutive weeks, he will not be addressed unless there is a notable change in status.
As always, you can always check past injury reports or for further questions, you can contact me at @BangedUpBills on X, Instagram, or Reddit.
OT Terron Armstead (Back/ankle/right knee)
Armstead is already working through a multitude of injuries with the back and ankle injuries new issues on Wednesday. His right knee injury was sustained back on August 17 when he had a player fall on his leg. The knee injury does not concern me but there are no additional details on the back or ankle injuries.
Last season, he repeatedly did not practice during the week and played on Sundays. While I did expect this to happen again throughout the season to save his reps for when it counts, the team elected to sit him out of precaution. I suspect that the back and ankle injuries were the primary drivers in making him sit this week.
DB Elijah Campbell (Knee)
Campbell was unable to practice all week due to a knee injury suffered against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The game film did not clearly show what he is dealing with but it was a significant enough injury to miss several weeks but not be placed on IR. Hopefully, he will begin to practice after next week.
CB Justin Bethel (Knee)
Bethel has been out of practice since August 9 with an undisclosed injury. On Wednesday’s first injury report, he is officially dealing with a knee injury and has been ruled questionable, limited all week.
TE Julian Hill (Ankle)
Hill was limited all week with an ankle injury, no further details are available at this time.
WR Jaylen Waddle (Right oblique)
Waddle has been held out of practice or limited due to an oblique injury sustained back on August 15. This was the result of falling onto a ball and the team being cautious so as to not allow him to rush back out there to suffer further injury.
He was limited Wednesday before getting upgraded to full Thursday, indicating that he would play Sunday.
RB De’Von Achane (Left shoulder)
Achane has been working through a left shoulder injury sustained in the second preseason game against the Houston Texans. He was limited all week and may see a reduced workload in his first NFL game, but there are minimal long-term concerns along with the fact that he has had three weeks to recover.
RB Salvon Ahmed (Back)
Ahmed originally suffered what was described as a neck injury in the final preseason game against the X. He is now on the injury report with a back injury suggesting that this may be more of a lower cervical/upper thoracic spine injury. There is a possibility that this is a lumbar issue, but difficult to identify without additional details.
DT Raekwon Davis (Elbow)
Davis appeared on the injury report with a full designation due to an elbow injury. No additional information is available at this time.
OL Liam Eichenberg (Ribs)
Eichenberg has been working through a midsection injury since possibly August 16, described as a nagging injury and then later a midsection injury. It is officially a rib injury which suggests that this was a rib fracture or even damage to the cartilage which requires time to fully heal. By this point, it is expected that he will play.
He did reveal on Thursday that he suffered the rib injury during the first preseason game at the bottom of a pile.
S Brandon Jones (Knee)
Jones continued to work back from his ACL tear in October last year but was able to practice in full. Considering he is on the injury report, this indicates that he is still receiving treatment for the knee to be ready for Week 1.
OL Connor Williams (Knee)
Williams practiced in full all week with a knee injury, the specifics are not known at this time.
New England Patriots
CB Jack Jones (Hamstring)
Jones is a new addition to the injury report with a hamstring strain that he suffered Wednesday. He was unable to practice Thursday and Friday, ruling him out. He is getting tests on the hamstring which will determine how long he is out for. Considering the timing of the injury, he will miss this week and very likely next week, possibly returning in Week 3.
Update: he has since been placed on IR, missing the first four games.
OL Mike Onwenu (Ankle)
Onwenu continues to rehab from his off-season ankle surgery after getting activated from PUP on August 23. He should be able to play Sunday, but his presence on the injury report is not overly concerning.
WR DeVante Parker (Knee)
Parker has been limited dating back to August 29 with a previously undisclosed injury. He is officially dealing with a knee injury, limited all week. Considering the knee injury that occurred last week, it’s likely he will play Sunday.
Update: Parker is not expected to play.
G Cole Strange (Knee)
Stange continues to be limited due to a knee injury dating back to July 31. He was able to return to practice on August 29, but this knee injury is not going away anytime soon. As he begins to play regular season games, there may be further clarity on the specifics of his knee injury including which side. I do expect him to play Sunday.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson (Illness)
Stevenson is working through a stomach bug that caused him to miss practice but is expected to play come Sunday.
OT Trent Brown (Illness)
Brown was limited Wednesday with an illness but was able to return to full participation for the remainder of the week.
OT Riley Reiff (Right Knee)
Reiff suffered a right knee injury in the final preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. On September 5, Reiff was placed on injured reserve, missing the first four games of the season. TE Pharoah Brown was signed to the active roster to take his place.
New York Jets
OT Mekhi Becton (Right knee/Illness)
Becton is still working his way back from his back-to-back season-ending injuries to his right knee with the team limiting his reps. The team is being cautious to avoid any setbacks in his knee as he looks to regain his prior level of function in 2020. The hope is that his body can handle the workload for games, but manage the reps throughout the week to avoid any acute-on-chronic workload overuse injuries. His knee is functionally healthy at this point, but to play in the NFL, Becton and the team can’t throw caution to the wind.
While I do expect he would play if it was only his knee, a late-week illness may hold him out for Week 1. Depending on how severe the illness is will dictate whether he plays. Looking at the injuries as long as I have, I found that most players do end up playing through illness.
OT Duane Brown (Left shoulder)
Brown is still ramping up his football activities following his activation from PUP on August 23 for his left rotator cuff repair. It would not surprise me if he is limited for the first few weeks of the season, but his participation is more about ramping up than actual injury. It should not be surprising to see him play 100 percent of snaps and play at an acceptable level.
RB Breece Hall (Left knee)
Hall is also continuing to ramp up following his left ACL tear from last season. He is not expected to carry the full workload early on, but like Brown, his participation is more related to his workload versus actual injury.
I would not expect any highlight film, but more in between the tackle running. He has the speed to get out into the open field, but I would expect that he doesn’t try to break too many tackles or juke and spin quite yet as he gets his legs back under him.
CB Michael Carter II (Elbow)
Carter was a late addition to the injury report on Saturday with an elbow but has no designation heading into Monday’s game.
DE Carl Lawson (Back)
Lawson missed an early portion of training camp, nearly three weeks as he worked through a back injury. It was never revealed what the specific injury was, but this could be a player to watch in the event that Lawson has an early exit from Monday’s game.
S Micah Hyde (Back)
Hyde entered the week with a back injury, specifically in the lumbar region. This was confirmed with head athletic trainer Nate Breske working on Hyde’s lower back/sacrum area in the video below.
He was limited during Wednesday’s according to reports, participating in individual drills. He was officially limited during practice Thursday before returning to full on Friday and Saturday though didn’t appear to have any limitations during the media viewing portion of practice.
He later double downed stating that he would play Monday against the Jets with no hesitation in his voice. Based on the information currently available, this doesn’t appear to be anything more than generalized soreness from him being an older player.
It’s worth noting that during Wednesday’s report, Hyde was working through several other things, mainly the back. If this back injury lingers or other issues crop up, this may have been an early indicator.
G Connor McGovern (Right knee)
After the team was quiet on a timeline regarding McGovern’s right knee, he returned to practice a week after the initial injury, not looking great even with a knee brace.
He looked better the following Wednesday as seen below and does not have an injury designation heading into the game.
He did not appear on the injury report and will start Monday.
DE Von Miller (Right ACL)
There is nothing new regarding Miller’s status on PUP, but he revealed that he was cleared from his surgery two days before roster cut-down day. Unfortunately, this was not enough time to ramp up activities to Week 1.
I highlight these updates as they provide insight into the process and variables that factor into these decisions. The Bills are playing it safe and taking the decision out of Von’s hands to give the team the best shot at winning.
Top Photo Credit: Phinsider.com