High-Profile Injuries: Week 10

Seth McKinney (Elsa /Getty Images)

Scout.com's Senior NFL Reporter, Adam Caplan, provides his expert analysis on the impact that key injuries will have on this weekend's NFL action.

The focus of this article isn't to analyze how each team would be affected statistically, but to see what the impact tactically would be for each players' team and also for the opponents in this week's matchups.

Seth McKinney, RG - Browns
Injury: Shoulder    
Opponent: Steelers

The veteran lineman played the first five seasons of his career with the Miami Dolphins. McKinney missed the entire 2006 season due to injury.

McKinney was injured during last week's game against the Seattle Seahawksand he has been placed on season-ending injured reserve. The plan is to move backup OL Ryan Tucker into McKinney's spot. 

Tucker has been seeing playing time this season in back of starting RT Kevin Shaffer and hasn't played guard since the 2001 season with St. Louis Rams, but he's started 93 games in his 11-year career, so he has plenty of playing experience. But it's usually a lot easier to move inside to play guard than it is to move from guard to play tackle as you don't get protection from both sides of the line when you move outside.

The challenge now for Tucker is to get used to the blitz schemes from the Steeler defense. It's interesting to note that Pittsburgh rarely rushes more than five players, so it's a matter of recognition from what is shown on the coaches' tape during pregame preparation. What could also be an issue is if LG Eric Steinbach (back) can't play. He's listed as questionable. The team would plug in journeyman OL Lennie Friedman in his place.


Luis Castillo, RDE - Chargers

Injury: Ankle
Opponent: Colts

The former first-round pick and third-year pro was injured on the first defensive series of last week's game against the Minnesota Vikings and didn't return to the game. Castillo had surgery this week, which will knock him out of action for most of their remaining eight games of the regular season. After Castillo was injured, rookie RB Adrian Peterson put up over 200 yards rushing and plenty of those yards came on the right side vacated by Castillo. Fifth-year end Jacques Cesaire replaced him in last week's game and will do so again.

As a league source told Scout.com this week, Castillo's presence against the run is huge and he's one of the better tackling 3-4 ends in the league. So it wouldn't be a surprise if this week's opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, run to the right side plenty in this contest. Ceseaire is a former undrafted free agent who has started 27 games but he's not anywhere near the talent of Castillo.

Samari Rolle, CB - Ravens
Injury: Illness
Opponent: Bengals


Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

The tenth-year pro has been dealing with an illness for several weeks and has missed half of the team's eight games.  He's listed as out for Sunday's game against divisional rival Cincinnati. Nickel CB Corey Ivy is slated to fill in for him. The problem is that the Ravens face one of the best passing games in Cincinnati's and compounding the issue is LCB Chris McAlister (knee) is very questionable to play. He has been dealing with what's believed to be a Grade-2 PCL sprain. So even if McAlister can play, he won't be close to 100 percent -- which is an issue if he goes up against WR Chad Johnson.

Another issue is the Bengals will be getting No. 3 WR Chris Henry back for this game. If McAlister can't play, CB Derrick Martin, who struggled mightily against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, would start for him.

Interestingly, a team source recently told Scout.com that Cincinnati has been making more of an effort to run the ball as of late to keep their defense off of the field as much as possible.  But that has seemed to get their offense out of rhythm.


D'Qwell Jackson, LB - Browns
Injury: Ankle
Opponent: Steelers

The former University of Maryland second-year pro was injured two weeks ago during Cleveland's game against the St. Louis Rams. He hasn't gone through a regular practice since, leaving his status as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Another second-year ILB, Leon Williams will replace Jackson for the second straight week. Some team insiders believed Williams would be moved outside this season because of his size (6-foot-2, 250 pounds), but the coaching staff decided to keep him inside because they wanted his physical presence against the run.

This week's challenge will be a big one as Pittsburgh possesses one of the league's best running games featuring RB Willie Parker, who has run for 380 yards in his last three games against their divisional rival.

Another issue compounding Cleveland's inability to stop the run is the lack of a true presence at nose tackle. Veteran NT Ted Washington was once one of the better run-stoppers at the position, but his play regressed in recent years -- especially this season.  He is now on season-ending injured reserved.

Adam Caplan is the Senior NFL Reporter for Scout.com.  His breaking news and analysis, reports from Senior Bowl week, NFL Combine, and free agency have been featured for the past three years.

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