Cincinnati and Washington may both have at least one key player miss the teams’ Week 8 matchup in London.
We already know left tackle Andrew Whitworth is in the NFL concussion protocol. But, Whitworth may not be the only big-time player out in Week 8 when Cincinnati hosts Washington in London.
All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman left Sunday’s loss to the Lions with a concussion.
Josh Norman just walked out headed for the bus. Wearing sunglasses #RedskinsTalk— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayCSN) October 23, 2016
Norman suffered a concussion in the third quarter on a 52-yard pass he allowed to former Bengals receiver Marvin Jones. Norman remained on the turf for a significant amount of time before slowly walking toward the locker room.
Head coach Jay Gruden said Monday that Norman was in the concussion protocol and would visit an independent doctor this week.
In addition to Norman’s concussion, star left tackle Trent Williams was forced from Washington’s Week 7 game with a knee injury. He went down on the second-to-last play of the game and was visibly in pain before heading to the locker room. He’s a Pro Bowl player and was a second-team All-Pro player in 2015.
An MRI on Monday revealed that Williams did not suffer any structural damage to his injured knee, and the team will monitor him this week. It’s too early to tell if he’ll play in London.
Since joining Washington as the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Williams has started 91 of his 92 regular season appearances. It’s hard to see him missing this week, much like Whitworth who hasn’t missed a game since 2013. In that game, the Bengals gave up five sacks, just showing how important the Bengals’ All-Pro tackle is.
Also on Washington’s end, Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Reed missed Weeks 6 and 7 with a concussion, and his status for next week is uncertain.
Can't help but wonder the chances the #Redskins could be w/o their top 3 players -- Josh Norman, Trent Williams and Jordan Reed -- in London— Master Tesfatsion (@MasterTes) October 23, 2016
Before the Week 7 game, ESPN reporter Britt McHenry reported that Reed is likely to miss next week in London as well:
Source tells me #Redskins TE Jordan Reed on track to sit out next week's London game. Bye week follows & provides what should be enough rest— Britt McHenry (@BrittMcHenry) October 23, 2016
On Monday, Gruden said Reed has been cleared to practice. However, Reed must still be cleared to play by an independent doctor before he can suit up in London. It’s hard to say if he’ll clear the protocol in time, even if he does practice this week, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see him active or inactive Sunday.
In five games this season, Reed leads all Washington receivers with 33 catches for 316 yards and two scores. His absence was a big reason why Washington could only muster up 17 points against Detroit’s defense that was allowing 25.5 points heading into Week 7.
Elsewhere, right guard Brandon Scherff and cornerback Bashaud Breeland also suffered injuries but later returned to the game on Sunday. Scherff suffered an AC sprain on his left shoulder in the second quarter, but he returned to the game on Washington’s opening drive in the second half.
That will still be something to monitor as that kind of injury can swell up and prevent players from playing the next week. As for Breeland, he only missed a handful of plays because he tweaked his right ankle in the second half, but returned to the game on the following drive.
In all, that’s Reed, Williams, Breeland, and Norman who will need to be monitored this week. That’s not even accounting for first-round receiver Josh Doctson, who is now on Injured Reserve due to an Achilles injury. The Bengals were looking at Doctson with the 24th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, but Washington took him with the 22nd pick before the Bengals could get to him.