NFL Preseason 8/20 Preview - News, Injuries, and Playing Time Notes

Aug 20th 2022

Sosa Kremenjas

The NFL's heavy slate of preseason Week 2 lands on a Saturday once again, featuring eight games.

Let's dive into the news, notes, depth charts, historical playing time, and notable injuries for all four teams heading into Thursday.

Denver Broncos @ Buffalo Bills

Broncos Notable Injuries/Absences:

OUT: RB Damarea Crockett (knee), WR Tim Patrick (knee); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: QB Russell Wilson (rest), RB Javonte Williams (rest), RB Melvin Gordon (foot), WR K.J. Hamler (knee), WR Courtland Sutton (rest), WR Jerry Jeudy (rest), WR Tyrie Cleveland (throat), TE Greg Dulcich (hamstring), RT Billy Turner (knee), CB Ronald Darby (chest), DE Randy Gregory (shoulder); QUESTIONABLE: C Lloyd Cushenberry (leg), CB K'Waun Williams (knee)

Broncos News & Notes:

  • It would appear only three starters will play for the Broncos on the offensive side of the ball:

  • The Broncos haven't outright said they're benching their starters, but for all intents and purposes, they appear to be ready to rest all important players. Troy Renck of The Denver Channel suggests the team will rest most of their starters:

    • "As such, most Broncos starters will not play at Buffalo on Saturday at 11 a.m. or in the home finale a week later against Minnesota. The Packers, the last stop on Hackett’s coaching journey, employed a similar plan last summer and went 13-4. Hackett looks to protect the players, to keep them fresh, while maximizing mental reps."

  • QB Josh Johnson is expected to start this game with Brett Rypien following him. Of course, this would mean no Russell Wilson:

  • The coaching staff has mentioned not playing anybody who's already proven themselves. They followed that ideology in Week 1 as no surefire starter suited up. The only borderline starting player to play in Week 1 was Albert Okwuegbunam.

Bills Notable Injuries/Absences:

OUT: CB Tre'Davious White (knee), DE Von Miller (rest), S Jordan Poyer (elbow); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: WR Marquez Stevenson (foot); QUESTIONABLE: RB Taiwan Jones (undisclosed), WR Tavon Austin (tightness), TE Dawson Knox (personal), S Micah Hyde (soreness); LIKELY TO PLAY: RB Devin Singletary, WR Stefon Diggs, WR Gabe Davis, WR Isaiah McKenzie; IN: QB Josh Allen

Bills News & Notes:

  • While most Bills starters might play, it doesn't appear Von Miller will:

  • The Bills have openly said QB Josh Allen will play in this game, and the starters will play "a healthy amount":

  • Buffalo didn't specify who else might play, but coach McDermott did give us a hint by saying "most starters" would play. That list could include some of the skill position players listed above in the "likely to play" section, though we can't say for certain.

  • No starters played in Week 1 for the Bills, though we saw role players like Zack Moss (nine snaps), Jamison Crowder (nine snaps), and Khalil Shakir (33 snaps) get some playing time.

Detroit Lions @ Indianapolis Colts

Lions Notable Injuries/Absences:

OUT: RB Greg Bell (hamstring), WR Jameson Williams (knee), DE Romeo Okwara (Achilles), DE Josh Pascal (hernia); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: QB Jared Goff (rest), RB Jamaal Williams (rest), RB D'Andre Swift (rest), WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (rest), WR D.J. Chark Jr. (rest), WR Quintez Cephus (leg); QUESTIONABLE: TE Devin Funchess (groin)

Lions News & Notes:

  • The Lions appear to be going with a starting offense filled entirely with backups:

  • It sounds like both the Lions are Colts intend on resting "most" of their starters:

    • "Looking ahead to Saturday’s preseason home opener with the Lions: Frank Reich said the Colts will sit most of their starters, and it sounds like Dan Campbell will do the same."

  • Detroit got more than enough quality work in joint practices, according to coach Campbell:

    • "Because the Lions were able to manufacture so many game-specific situations for their first stringers, it sounds like the Lions will rest many of their starters in Saturday’s preseason game against the Colts.

      'There’ll be a number of these guys that will not play in this game,” Campbell said on Thursday. “A number of our starters, because they’re getting kind of the bulk of the reps—but there’ll a number of guys that have gotten the load here that will still play in this game.'"

  • Last week, David Blough led the QB position with 42 snaps, Jermar Jefferson led the RB room with 29 snaps, and Tom Kennedy led the WR group with 43 snaps. We should see a lot of end-of-the-roster players get extended playing time. Kennedy is one to circle as he demanded a team-high 24.44% target share last week.

Colts Notable Injuries/Absences:

OUT: QB Matt Ryan (rest), RB Jonathan Taylor (rest), WR Michael Pittman Jr (rest), TE Drew Ogletree (knee), LB Shaquille Leonard (back); QUESTIONABLE: WR Keke Coutee (groin); LIKELY TO PLAY: WR DeMichael Harris (undisclosed), WR Michael Strachan (undisclosed)

Colts News & Notes:

  • Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich stated earlier this week that the Colts will sit "most of" their starters in this game.

  • He elaborated further by mentioning Nick Foles would start and play about a quarter, with Sam Ehlinger following him and playing about a quarter and a half:

Washington Commanders @ Kansas City Chiefs

Commanders Notable Injuries/Absences:

OUT: RB J.D. McKissic (groin), WR Jequez Ezzard (undisclosed), TE Cole Turner (hamstring), TE John Bates (undisclosed), TE Logan Thomas (knee), TE Sammis Reyes (hamstring), DE Chase Young (knee); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: G Trai Turner (quad); QUESTIONABLE: TE Curtis Hodges (undisclosed), G Andrew Norwell (undisclosed)

Commanders News & Notes:

  • RB JD McKissic, TE Cole Turner, and TE John Bates are out Preseason Week 2.

  • Washington is a bit of a question mark heading into this game. Head coach Ron Rivera said he'd like to play his starters a whole half against the Chiefs but the team is thin at multiple positions because of injuries. It remains to be seen whether Washington's starters play and for how long, but Rivera's comments suggest they could get a decent amount of playing time:

    • "Diving deeper into Rivera's press conference, the head coach said he doesn't have a specific number of snaps in mind for the starters against the Chiefs, but he would ideally like for them to play in most of the first half. That's the natural progression for the starters as they get closer to the regular season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars."

  • Dating back to Week 1, the Commanders let their starters play. QB Carson Wentz registered 22 snaps, as did most of the offensive line. Every starter had at least 17 snaps — Week 2 could replicate a similar strategy.

Chiefs Notable Injuries/Absences:

OUT: QB Chad Henne (undisclosed), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee), WR Mecole Hardman (groin), WR Justyn Ross (foot), TE Blake Bell (hip), RT Lucas Niang (knee); QUESTIONABLE: RB Jerick McKinnon (hamstring), DE Frank Clark (illness), DT Chris Jones (back), CB Rashad Fenton (shoulder); LIKELY TO PLAY: TE Jody Fortson (quad)

Chiefs News & Notes:

  • Saturday 3:25 PM ET update: Mecole Hardman (groin) won't play.

  • Most teams that play each other also mirror each other in playing time. Washington's starters sound like they'll get extended playing time, but so will the Chiefs'. Head coach Andy Reid suggested his starters could play up to the whole half, though it wouldn't be a surprise if they came out sooner than that:

  • Backup QB Chad Henne won't play. The Chiefs will pivot to Shane Buechele and Dustin Crum after Patrick Mahomes.

Las Vegas Raiders @ Miami Dolphins

Raiders Notable Injuries/Absences:

UNLIKELY TO PLAY: QB Derek Carr (rest), WR Davante Adams (rest), DE Maxx Crosby (rest), TE Jacob Hollister (undisclosed), CB Trayvon Mullen (foot); QUESTIONABLE: RB Josh Jacobs (undisclosed), TE Darren Waller (hamstring), TE Jesper Horsted (undisclosed); LIKELY TO PLAY: WR Dillon Stoner (undisclosed)

Raiders News & Notes:

  • Las Vegas didn't play Derek Carr, Davante Adams, or Maxx Crosby in Week 1. According to Tashan Reed of The Athletic, they could emulate a similar strategy:

    • "The healthy Raiders are continuing to prepare for their preseason home opener against the Vikings at 1:25 p.m. PT on Sunday. It’s doubtful that players such as Derek CarrDavante Adams and Maxx Crosby will play, but McDaniels clearly doesn’t have a hard-and-fast rule when it comes to playing starters in the preseason given that several projected starters suited up against the Jaguars last week.

      “I think each situation is different,” McDaniels said. 'There’s definitely a competitive portion of this that’s involved in each decision that we’re going to have to make. You have so many opportunities to let them compete and earn their role, which I think is the right thing to do. … So, we’re trying to use each opportunity that we have, whether it’s a practice or a game, in the month of August, to the best of our ability to help us get to ultimately what we need to get to, which is the best evaluation of our team.'"

Dolphins Notable Injuries/Absences:

OUT: WR Jaylen Waddle (rest), TE Adam Shaheen (knee); EXPECTED TO PLAY: QB Tua Tagovailoa (rest), RB Chase Edmonds (rest), RB Raheem Mostert (knee), WR Tyreek Hill (rest)

Dolphins News & Notes:

  • Saturday update as of 5:30 PM ET: Jaylen Waddle isn't expected to play. The rest of the starters, including Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill, are.

  • Miami head coach Mike McDaniel is still "unsure" about playing his starters.

  • McDaniel was not ready to say whether QB Tua Tagovailoa would play in this game. Tua did not play in Week 1. But, Tua did say he wants to play, so maybe he can persuade his coach to let him get some snaps.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Steelers Notable Injuries/Absences:

OUT: RB Najee Harris (foot), RB Jeremy McNichols (shoulder), WR Calvin Austin (foot), WR Anthony Miller (shoulder) DT Cam Heyward (ankle); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: DE Alex Highsmith (rib) LIKELY TO PLAY: WR Miles Boykin (rib), TE Zach Gentry (undisclosed), TE Kevin Rader (undisclosed)

Steelers News & Notes:

  • Saturday update as of 6:15 PM ET: Najee Harris won't play.

  • The Steelers will start Mitch Trubisky at QB in this game. Rookie Kenny Pickett will follow, and Mason Rudolph will enter after both. Head coach Mike Tomlin did not delve into how much playing time each guy would get, but we'll get to see all three compete once again.

  • Some of the starting offensive lineman will remain in the game when Pickett comes in. That could suggest other starters may remain, too. Perhaps Pittsburgh is ready to see what Pickett looks like as the No. 1 QB.

  • RB Najee Harris is unlikely to play in this game but could play in Week 3. Tomlin did say he wants Harris to take some hits in the preseason, and Harris himself said he'd likely play in Week 3.

  • According to Tomlin, all healthy players are expected to play this week. How long they play is yet to be determined. Tomlin did have this to say about the mentality going into this game:

    • "Tomlin on Thursday confirmed he planned to have “an inclusive mentality” in regards to deploying his stars Saturday, the second preseason game. That suggests the only time all preseason fans will get to see the likes of T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Diontae Johnson, and other stars in game action, will be while they are on the field in Jacksonville."

Jaguars Notable Injuries/Absences:

OUT: RB James Robinson (Achilles); QUESTIONABLE: WR Tim Jones (undisclosed), WR Willie Johnson (undisclosed), TE Dan Arnold (undisclosed), TE Chris Manhertz (undisclosed); LIKELY TO PLAY: WR Christian Kirk (ankle), WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (undisclosed)

Jaguars News & Notes:

  • The Jaguars will let their starters play deep into the second quarter, according to coach Doug Pederson.

  • The only players ruled out are:

    • "Pederson said before practice that the following players will not play against the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday night: running back James Robinson, linebacker Devin Lloyd, offensive lineman Will Richardson Jr., offensive lineman Badara Traore and cornerback Darious Williams."

  • With Robinson ruled out, Travis Etienne should be in-line for another solid workload. Etienne had 22 snaps last week.

San Francisco 49ers @ Minnesota Vikings

49ers Notable Injuries/Absences:

OUT: QB Trey Lance (rest), TE Jordan Matthews (knee), RT Mike McGlinchey (quad), DE Dee Ford (back), CB Jason Verrett (knee), S Jimmie Ward (hamstring); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder/rest), RB Elijah Mitchell (undisclosed), WR Deebo Samuel(rest), WR Brandon Aiyuk (rest), TE George Kittle (rest), TE Charlie Woerner (core), CB Charvarius Ward (muscle strain); QUESTIONABLE: WR Danny Gray (hip, back), DT Javon Kinlaw (knee), DT Arik Armstead (knee)

49ers News & Notes:

  • RB Trey Sermon (ankle) is expected to play Saturday night.

  • The 49ers previously stated that QB Trey Lance would play in preseason Weeks 1 and 3, though not Week 2. We have no reason to believe they've changed their minds. David Lombardi of The Athletic has stated as such:

    • "Trey Lance very likely won’t play when the 49ers face the Vikings on Saturday evening in their second preseason game. Though coach Kyle Shanahan hasn’t completely ruled out the chance of the 49ers quarterback suiting up, he has suggested that he’ll stick with his original plan for Lance — to play in Weeks 1 and 3 of the preseason."

  • RB Elijah Mitchell (hamstring) may as well be considered a lock to sit this game out, too. There should be plenty of playing time available for Tyrion Davis-Price, JaMycal Hasty, and Jordan Mason. Trey Sermon appears to be "dinged", too. He could sit this game out as a precaution.

  • David Lombardi also believes the 49ers are likely to rest some of their most important players, alongside Lance:

    • "Barring a surprise appearance from Lance, this game against the Vikings marks an opportunity for the 49ers to focus on evaluating much less heralded players. Since a third preseason game at Houston looms Thursday, it stands to reason that Shanahan will rest multiple key starters at Minnesota. The 49ers’ front-liners, after all, already put in two strenuous practices against the Vikings, and that third preseason game is typically used as the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season."

Vikings Notable Injuries/Absences:

OUT: QB Kirk Cousins (rest), RB Dalvin Cook (rest), WR Justin Jefferson (rest), WR Adam Thielen (rest), WR Blake Proehl (knee), TE Irv Smith Jr (thumb); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: WR Dan Chisena (leg); QUESTIONABLE: RB Ty Chandler (ankle)

Vikings News & Notes:

  • Saturday update as of 5:30 PM ET: starters aren't expected to play.

  • The Vikings haven't shared their playing time plans. Head coach Kevin O'Connell didn't reveal any lineup decisions, but Kevin Seifert of ESPN thinks many "front-line" guys will rest after two tough practices during the week.

  • RB Ty Chandler suffered a rolled ankle during practice on Wednesday. O'Connell seems confident Chandler will still suit up for the game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Tennessee Titans

Buccaneers Notable Injuries/Absences:

OUT: QB Tom Brady (rest), RB Giovani Bernard (ankle), RB Kenjon Barner (groin), WR Chris Godwin (knee), WR Mike Evans (hamstring), WR Julio Jones (rest), WR Breshad Perriman (undisclosed), WR Russell Gage (hamstring), C Ryan Jensen (knee); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: RB Leonard Fournette (rest); TE Kyle Rudolph (rest); RT Tristan Wirfs (oblique); QUESTIONABLE: WR Tyler Johnson (leg)

Buccaneers News & Notes:

  • Saturday update as of 6:15 PM ET: most every starter isn't expected to play.

  • Tampa Bay's running back rotation will likely go in this order: Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Rachaad White, and Patrick Laird, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic. Auman expects White to play "a good amount".

  • The Bucs intend on playing some starters this week. Tampa Bay elected to play it safe in their preseason opener as they played no starters.

  • Quarterback Blaine Gabbert will start for the Bucs, though Kyle Trask is expected to receive the majority of snaps.

  • WR is a position to circle with so many names listed on the injury report. Jaelon Darden (27 snaps), Scotty Miller (26 snaps), and Deven Thompkins (25 snaps) all got significant playing time in Week 1 with the same veterans sidelined.

Titans Notable Injuries/Absences:

UNLIKELY TO PLAY: QB Ryan Tannehill (rest), RB Derrick Henry (rest), WR Robert Woods (knee/rest); QUESTIONABLE: RB Trenton Cannon (undisclosed), WR Mason Kinsey (undisclosed), WR Treylon Burks (undisclosed), TE Tommy Hudson (leg), CB Caleb Farley (knee)

Titans News & Notes:

  • Update as of Saturday, 4:45 PM ET: Malik Willis will start. Robert Woods won't play.

  • There is almost no news available on the Titans and their preseason plans. The only thing we know is head coach Mike Vrabel wants to see more of Malik Willis at QB. It remains to be seen whether or not Willis will start the game, or if Ryan Tannehill will play at all.

  • WR Treylon Burks has been practicing but not fully recently after suffering an undisclosed injury. Burks was given ample playing time (30 snaps) to prove he belonged last week, though he demanded just one target.

  • It's very unlikely Derrick Henry will play in this game. Expect to see more of Julius Chestnut and Hassan Haskins, and maybe Dontrell Hilliard, too.

Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Chargers

Cowboys Notable Injuries/Absences:

OUT: WR Michael Gallup (knee), WR James Washington (foot); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: QB Dak Prescott (rest), RB Ezekiel Elliott (rest), WR CeeDee Lamb (foot), TE Jeremy Sprinkle (Achilles), LT Tyron Smith (ankle); QUESTIONABLE: QB Will Grier (groin), WR Noah Brown (toe), LB Anthony Barr (conditioning), CB Trevon Diggs (rest)

Cowboys News & Notes:

  • The Cowboys have not disclosed any of their preseason plans heading into this week. It's fair to expect RB Ezekiel Elliott to rest in this game, just as he did in Week 1.

  • Dallas did not play any non-offensive line starters in Week 1 on the offensive side of the ball. It remains to be seen whether they emulate the same strategy, but they very well could with the team suffering as many injuries as they have.

Chargers Notable Injuries/Absences:

OUT: TE Stone Smartt (undisclosed), LB Kenneth Murray Jr. (ankle); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: QB Justin Herbert (rest), RB Austin Ekeler (rest), WR Keenan Allen (rest), WR Mike Williams (rest), TE Donald Parham Jr. (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: WR Jason Moore Jr. (undisclosed), WR Joe Reed (illness), S Derwin James (holdout)

Chargers News & Notes:

  • The Chargers are emulating a very Rams-like strategy, and that makes sense considering head coach Brandon Staley was a former employee of Sean McVay's. They played no starters in Week 1 and will probably do the same this time around.

  • According to Staley, they'll meet and decide who will play after they watch the film on Friday.

  • We do know all three of Joshua Kelley, Isaiah Spiller, and Larry Rountree will play. All three are in a battle for the backup RB job, though Kelley appears to be in the lead for those duties.