Panthers lose 2 starters to injury

The Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers will be without three-time Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen and second-team All-Pro Bowl right tackle Daryl Williams for the foreseeable future.

The team announced Tuesday that Olsen re-fractured the same right foot that kept him out of nine games last season in Carolina’s 16-8 win over Dallas on Sunday. Olsen will not have surgery and will be reevaluated on a “monthly basis.” He’ll remain on the team’s roster in hopes that he can return later in the season as he did a year ago.

Williams suffered an undisclosed knee injury and will need surgery.

Ranked as the top right tackle in the NFL last season by Pro Football Focus, Williams is likely headed for injured reserve. He tore the MCL and dislocated the patella in his right knee in training camp, but fought back to play in the season opener.

Rookie Ian Thomas is expected to replace Olsen in the starting lineup, while Amini Silatolu is next in line to take over at right tackle.

Unlike last year, the 33-year-old Olsen opted not to have surgery.

Pro Bowl LB on IR

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The Atlanta Falcons placed linebacker Deion Jones on injured reserve on Tuesday, taking a second 2017 Pro Bowler from the defense in less than a week.

The move with Jones comes after coach Dan Quinn announced this past weekend safety Keanu Neal suffered a torn ligament in his left knee and will miss the remainder of the season.

Jones hurt his foot in Thursday night’s 18-12 opening loss at Philadelphia . Quinn said Tuesday that Jones will require surgery, but is expected to return this season.

Jones led the defense with nine tackles, one interception and two passes defensed against the Eagles. It was his seventh career interception.

He had 138 tackles, three interceptions and one sack in 2017 when he earned his first Pro Bowl selection.

Jones must remain on IR for at least six weeks. He then would have two weeks to return to the roster. The earliest date he could return would be on Nov. 11 for Atlanta’s game at Cleveland.

Second-year linebacker Duke Riley may take Jones’ spot.

Thomas coming back

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos filled their roster vacancy Tuesday by re-signing safety Shamarko Thomas, who was with them in training camp.

After spending his first four seasons in Pittsburgh, Thomas led the Buffalo Bills with nine special teams tackles in 12 games last season.

Following his release from the Colts during the preseason, Thomas signed with the Broncos, who had just placed safety Jamal Carter on IR with a torn hamstring. But Thomas didn’t make the initial 53-man roster.

Thomas, who has 38 career special teams stops, replaced wide receiver/kick returner Isaiah McKenzie, who was released Monday.

Guess who’s at the top?

NEW YORK — Well that didn’t take long.

The Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, who met in the Super Bowl, switched places on Tuesday in the latest AP Pro32 poll .

The defending champion Eagles opened the season on top, with the Patriots a close second.

After the first week of the regular season, it’s the Patriots on top with three of the 12 first-place votes and 367 points in balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

The Patriots opened the season with a 27-20 win over the Houston Texans. Tom Brady threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns.

The Eagles received six first-place votes for 366 points despite their sluggish 18-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

The Minnesota Vikings remained at No. 3 with 363 points. In his first start with the Vikings, Kirk Cousins had 244 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-16 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

The L.A. Rams are close behind again at No. 4. The Rams earned the other three first-place votes for 360 points.

The Jacksonville Jaguars moved up two spots to No. 5 and face a big test on Sunday when they host the Patriots in a rematch of last season’s AFC championship game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, ranked No. 5 going into the first game of the season, fell to No. 11 after a tie at Cleveland.

The Green Bay Packers jumped three spots to No. 6 after Aaron Rodgers led a remarkable comeback from a 20-0 deficit to a 24-23 victory on Sunday night after briefly leaving the game with a knee injury.

The Packers will host the Vikings on Sunday in one of the top matchups of Week 2.

The Kansas City Chiefs moved up six spots to No. 7 after beating the AFC West rival Los Angeles Chargers 38-28. The Chiefs will get another road challenge this week as they head to Heinz Field to face the Steelers.

The Carolina Panthers rose three spots to No. 8 after topping the Dallas Cowboys 16-8.

The Baltimore Ravens leaped five places to No. 9 after routing the Buffalo Bills 47-3.

The Ravens will open Week 2 when they head to Cincinnati to face the Bengals on Thursday night.

The Falcons fell two spots to No. 10. They are scheduled to host the Panthers on Sunday in their home opener at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, site of the next Super Bowl.

The New York Jets, who opened the season in last place, soared to No. 17 after their 48-17 rout of the Detroit Lions, who fell from No. 19 to No. 30.

COMMENTS