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NFL Changes to Keep an Eye on In The Weeks Ahead

Posted By Zachary Stanley On Oct 6 2010 @ 4:17 pm In NFL | No Comments

The constant flux of injuries and rising talents make every NFL week interesting. This coming week has suddenly become one of the season’s most talked about. Here’s a look at some new faces/changes going forward.

Quarterbacks

Kevin Kolb (Philadelphia Eagles)

The QB situation in Philly was reversed, and it has been reversed again.

With Michael Vick’s apparent rib cartilage tear, Kevin Kolb will once again have to step up and prove he can run the Eagles offense. Kolb went an efficient 22 of 35 from the field for 201 yards, but his passes were primarily check-downs.

Sunday night in San Francisco will likely be an ultimate test of Kolb’s abilities and reveal how urgent Vick’s return might be. It’s a difficult spot for Kolb and dealing with one of the league’s most critical fan bases breathing down your neck certainly does not help.

Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers)

Ah, the return. Roethlisberger will return from his suspension in week six to a Steelers team that is happy to be 3-1 with their franchise QB waiting in the wings. The Steelers bye week couldn’t come in a more convenient spot. Roethlisberger will have ample time to get back into the thick of things.

With a lock down defense that is amongst the best in the league, Roethlisberger’s return just makes the Steelers even more lethal. Mike Tomlin has already announced that B-Roths will get his normal reps right away.

Brian Brohm (Buffalo Bills)

Let’s be honest, there is no answer in Buffalo. Bills Coach Chan Gailey admitted to considering bringing Brohm in for Ryan Fitzpatrick in week four:

“We were thinking about it,” said Gailey. “I went and told Fitz that if we didn’t get anything on that next to last drive that I was going to try to play Brian and get him some reps.”

At 0-4, Brohm making an appearance seems to be the most likely scenario. Bills fans are probably facing another disappointment; Brohm didn’t show any distinct signs of promise in training camp and likely won’t wind up being an answer to one of the Bills many issues.

Running Backs

Ryan Torain (Washington Redskins)

Torain has jumped from the practice squad to the starting job in only a couple weeks. Torain played ahead of supposed sleeper back Keiland Williams in week three, and wowed in week four, going for 70 yards on 18 carries with a TD.

Clinton Portis looked good starting on Sunday, but a groin injury in the fourth quarter has opened the door for Torain further. A match-up with the Packers 24th ranked run D should give him an ample chance to show his stuff.

Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks)

Lynch was traded from Buffalo to Seattle Tuesday for a couple future draft picks. The Packers were also in the running which would have likely wound up as a better situation for Lynch, but anywhere is better than running behind the Bills O-line.

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll has already referred to Lynch as “a guy who can carry the load,” and Justin Forsett has done nothing in the first four weeks to prove worthy of a back-by-committee situation.

Lynch probably won’t be able to put up big numbers in Seattle, but for fantasy owners it is still an improvement.

Fred Jackson/C.J. Spiller (Buffalo Bills)

The Lynch trade opens up questions in Buffalo. Coach Chan Gailey has already admitted to working Spiller in too much/too early this season, so it seems Jackson is most likely for an increase.

Jackson has 20 carries so far this season compared to 14 for Spiller which is the only ratio to reference in predicting their time share. Jackson is currently a better early-down back while Spiller is more of a potential menace on passing downs. Either way, the Bills don’t have much offensive capabilities and that will hamper production for both RB’s.

Wide Receivers

Randy Moss (Minnesota Vikings)

Just when people thought that the Michael Vick drama in Philly was the biggest story of the NFL season, Moss’ trade from the Patriots to his former team in Minnesota comes in to trump it.

In an instant the Vikings receiving core has gone from small and struggling to extremely dangerous. Not only that but Moss is a perfect player for QB Brett Favre’s style. Favre loves winging it deep and now he has the one of the greatest targets in league history to throw to.

The trade is exactly what the Vikings needed to have a shot at the Super Bowl this year. It looked as though Minnesota had blown its chance to snag an elite wide receiver when talks with San Diego about Vincent Jackson fell through, but they just did one better.

Moss will instantly become Favre’s favorite target and the entire offense will benefit from him being there to draw attention.

Favre’s choice to come back for a final season has suddenly gone from a potential mistake to a potential championship.

Santonio Holmes (New York Jets)

Overshadowed by Moss’ return to Minny, Holmes will make his return against Minnesota on Monday Night Football in what is now far and beyond the week’s most anticipated game.

Mark Sanchez has silenced critics in the past couple weeks, and Holmes will be another weapon in the Jets tool chest. The Jets are already amongst the best teams in the league and Holmes should fit right into their schemes.

Holmes’ preseason was more than impressive, displaying leadership towards the Jets’ youth while exhibiting the tremendous route-running skills we saw in Pittsburgh. He will resume practice on Wednesday and will likely start on Monday in a difficult match-up with the Minnesota defense.

Holmes is in a contract year and certainly realizes he needs to bring his best for the rest of the season in order to line himself up for a lucrative signing come spring.

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