Anderson, a fifth-round draft pick last year for the Bengals, missed his entire rookie season on injured reserve. After contributing in seven games this year as a core special teamer, Anderson’s sophomore season will also be cut short with head coach Zac Taylor confirming that the young safety tore his ACL, per Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic. He played through the initial injury in last week’s win but will be unable to continue the rest of the year.
The Patriots’ Anderson, on the other hand, is a more intriguing situation. After he spent most of the preseason on the non-football illness list with an undisclosed illness, the team is placing Anderson on IR with an “illness” designation. It’s not clear at this time if this is a similar issue to what held him out of the preseason, but illness has surely dealt a significant blow to Anderson’s 2023 season so far.
The Giants got ahead of the waiver rules by releasing Olszewski in a procedural move on Monday before the trade deadline. This allowed them to plainly sign Olszewski back to the active roster on a new deal without him having to clear waivers. As predicted, he returns to the roster for Week 9.
The Browns and Patriots have swung a trade that will allow both clubs to reinforce position groups that feature injury concerns. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports, Cleveland is acquiring running back Pierre Strong and is sending offensive tackle Tyrone Wheatley Jr. to New England.
Strong was selected by the Pats in the fourth round of the 2022 draft, and he earned just 10 carries in his rookie season. Thanks largely to a 44-yard scamper in a Week 13 victory over the Cardinals, Strong turned those carries into 100 rushing yards, and he added seven catches for 42 yards.
What Cleveland lacked in RB depth, it made up for in OT talent. With Jedrick Wills, Jack Conklin, James Hudson III, and fourth-round rookie Dawand Jones in the fold, Wheatley — who spent most of the 2022 campaign on the Browns’ taxi squad — was unlikely to have a place on the 53-man roster. He did, however, play well in an extended look during this year’s preseason slate, and though he has yet to see any regular season work in the NFL, he is an ascending player that can serve as needed depth in Foxborough.
As Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes, presumptive right tackle Riley Reiff left New England’s preseason loss to the Titans on Friday with a right leg injury that could linger into the regular season, and swing tackle Calvin Anderson is presently on the NFI list. Anderson is reportedly close to a return to the active roster, though there is still plenty of room for a tackle with Wheatley’s upside.
Last night, the Rams suffered a scare as former All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kuppleft a Tuesday night practice early with a hamstring injury, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The veteran underwent an MRI to determine the extent of the damage early this morning.
While many players who talked with the media didn’t see the injury occur, it’s believed that he was forced to pull up while running a redzone route, leading to concern as a non-contact injury. Without details being released, a spokesperson for the team confirmed the injury.
Kupp’s presence in the Rams’ offense is vital. A year after winning the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award, Kupp once again led the team in receiving yards last season. What’s amazing about that is that, this time, he did it despite missing eight games due to injury. If he had continued to play the remainder of the season and produce at the same pace, he would have finished the season with the third-most receiving yards in the league last year, behind only Justin Jefferson and Tyreek Hill.
After Kupp missed the back half of the season last year with a high ankle sprain, the team is going to be delicate with any injury situation heading into the preseason. They will be cautious with Kupp moving forward, but Los Angeles does expect that he may be able to return “for scrimmages in a few weeks.”
Here are a couple of other updates on injuries from around the league:
One of Denver’s newest young cornerbacks will be cutting it close to play in Week 1 of his rookie season, according to Troy Renck of Denver7. The Broncos‘ second of two third-round picks, former Iowa cornerback Riley Moss underwent “core/sports hernia surgery” this week in Philadelphia. The recovery is expected to take around four weeks, which will have Moss back just in time to debut for the regular season if he can avoid any setbacks.
The Patriots were really hoping to see former Broncos offensive tackle Calvin Anderson step up and compete for a starting tackle job on their offensive line this summer. Unfortunately, Anderson began camp on the non-football illness list with an undisclosed illness. When asked about a timeline for Anderson’s return, head coach Bill Belichick gave the noncommittal response of, “We’ll see how it goes,” telling reporters that he doesn’t have a crystal ball. It’s unclear what form of illness could be holding Anderson out for such a long period of time without hope for reprieve, but based on Belichick’s answer, New England may need to start looking at other options in their tackle competition.
Isaiah Wilson hasn’t had an NFL gig since he was released by the Giants in January of 2022. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets that the free agent lineman was slapped with a three-game suspension, but it’s uncertain what led to the temporary ban. Wilson was a first-round pick by the Titans in 2020 but got into only one game with Tennessee before getting shipped off to Miami. He was waived by Miami after showing up late to his team physical, and his practice squad stint with New York only lasted one season.
Max Garcia is an experienced addition to the Saints OL room, with the veteran having most recently started seven of his 12 appearances with the Cardinals in 2022. The 31-year-old has 59 games of starting experience, although Pro Football Focus was iffy on his production last year (63rd among 77 qualifying offensive guards).
Following a three-year stint in Cleveland, Terrance Mitchell has spent the past two seasons bouncing around the NFL. He got into 14 games (13 starts) for the Texans in 2021, finishing with 60 tackles and 10 passes defended. He spent the 2022 season with the Titans, finishing with 39 tackles in 11 games (five starts). 49ers fifth-round pick Darrell Luter Jr. is set to miss some time with a knee injury, providing Mitchell with an opportunity during training camp.
Not re-signing Isaiah Wynn, the Patriots have some questions at their tackle posts. New England might boast some depth, should everyone stay healthy here, though the soundness of its strategy at this position can be debated.
Trent Brown is back in place as the Pats’ left tackle, but the ninth-year veteran struggled with fitness during minicamp. Weight clauses exist in Brown’s Patriots contract, just as they did when the team reacquired him from the Raiders and reworked his deal. Brown’s weight at various offseason points will trigger the bonuses. Given his minicamp form, it is worth wondering how many of those benchmarks the talented blocker will hit this year.
Reiff has extensive experience on both sides, having been drafted in the 2012 first round by the Lions to play left tackle. He worked as Detroit’s full-time left-sider for three seasons and Minnesota’s for four. The Bengals used Reiff as their starting right tackle for much of their 2021 AFC championship season, but an injury ended his run before the playoffs. Reiff has made 149 career starts. Although Reiff’s profile did not present the intrigue Mike McGlinchey, Jawaan Taylor or Kaleb McGary‘s did at free agency’s outset, the Patriots passed on a big-ticket signing or a high draft choice for this role.
Reiff seeing left tackle time could point to Brown’s roster spot being uncertain. When healthy, Brown has played well during his two New England stints. He played 17 games last season but missed eight in 2021, which followed an absence-riddled Raiders tenure. Brown’s cap number ($12.25MM) sits third on this year’s Pats roster. The team would save $8MM by releasing the 6-foot-8 cog, who is going into his age-30 season.
Brown reporting to training camp in shape and staying healthy would be the best O-line outcome for the Patriots, but Reiff’s experience does provide some insurance. That said, questions also surround Reiff given his age. Reiff spent time with the backups during minicamp and has not started and finished a season as a first-stringer since 2020.
During the offseason program, the Patriots used ex-Broncos swing tackle Calvin Anderson on the left side and ex-Jet Conor McDermott on the right. Fourth-round pick Sidy Sow, who has impressed the team during his initial NFL offseason, is being viewed as a right tackle, Volin adds. Sow is attempting to convert from college guard to NFL tackle. Anderson and McDermott each have 12 career starts; the latter started six games for the Patriots last season, after being signed off the Jets’ practice squad.
Although the Pats boast an interesting five-man contingent at this position, its ceiling largely hinges on Brown’s status. Training camp figures to be important at this spot, with the team likely set on its interior O-line.
With OTAs and mandatory minicamp finished across the league, organizations and media members alike have had the chance to break down some of the elements of the offseason which have stood out the most to them. In the case of the Broncos, 9News’ Mike Klis has detailed some of his key observations.
There are a number of other options being plugged into various positions, though. Included among those is Netane Muti, who has seen work with the other starters while filling in at both guard positions, as well as GrahamGlasgow, who recently returned to practice to compete for a starting role. Lastly, Klis lists Billy Turneras a veteran who is “expected to play” somewhere along the o-line. The 30-year-old came back to the Broncos on a one-year, $5MM deal this offseason, but is also the linemen most experienced in working with new HC Nathaniel Hackett.
Here are a few other notes from that same Klis piece:
Cornerback had the potential to be an area of need, at least in terms of depth behind Patrick Surtain II, Ronald Darbyand K’Waun Williams, at this point in the offseason. However, Klis cites the play of Michael Ojemudiaduring the spring as cause for optimism that the team’s best option for the No. 4 role may already be on the roster. The 2020 third-rounder is set to compete with Damarri Mathis, whom the Broncos drafted in the fourth round this year, for that spot. A number of veteran free agents could still “wind up on GM George Paton’s radar,” Klis notes, however.
To no surprise, running back Javonte Williamsis expected to “bump up to the 1A role” in 2022. In his rookie season, the North Carolina alum produced over 1,200 scrimmage yards despite splitting carries with Melvin Gordon, who signed a one-year deal to stay in Denver. Given his the former’s efficiency, and the seven-year age gap between the two, Williams is the logical candidate to assume a larger workload going forward.
The Broncos have played the past two weeks without their starting tackles, and they lost their top backup to injury early in a Week 12 win over the Chargers. Calvin Anderson will end up missing time, but his season is not certain to be over.
Anderson is set to land on IR, Mike Klis of 9News tweets, but the young blocker is not expected to need surgery on his knee and ankle injuries. A three- to five-week recovery timetable is in the cards here, Klis adds, putting Anderson in position to return late this season. Such a return would make sense should the Broncos still be in contention for a playoff spot around the holidays.
Tendering Anderson as an ERFA this offseason, Denver had him in place as its swing tackle behind Garett Bolles and Ja’Wuan James. While James’ Achilles tear changed Denver’s plans at right tackle, leading to Bobby Massie coming in, Anderson has remained an important cog as more injuries hit the Broncos’ offensive front during the season.
A former UDFA who played at Rice and Texas, Anderson has started the past three Broncos games and was a first-stringer in two games last season. Anderson has logged starts at both left and right tackle. Anderson and guard Dalton Risner‘s midgame exits left the Broncos with just one starter left on their O-line — center Lloyd Cushenberry — but they are positioned to be in better shape in Week 13.
The Broncos are expected to have Bolles and Risner back for their pivotal game against the Chiefs on Sunday night, Klis notes, lessening this Anderson injury blow. Bolles has missed time due to injury and a COVID-19 contraction. He remains on Denver’s reserve/COVID-19 list. It is not certain Massie (ankle) will be able to return to his right tackle post. Fellow mid-offseason pickup Cameron Fleming has started the Broncos’ past two games at right tackle.