High-Profile Injuries: Week 9

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.

Sammy Morris, RB - Patriots
Injury: Chest
Opponent: Colts

The veteran back was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Friday. Morris was injured three weeks ago during the team's win at Dallas and hasn't played since.

Morris will be missed in a variety of ways. The team signed him to be starting running back Laurence Maroney's primary backup, which is a role he filled before he got hurt. In fact, Morris started two games this season in place of the injured Maroney. 

Morris' versatility will be missed. He played on third downs and passing situations and did a solid job of picking up blitzes. He also played on special teams and is a solid coverage player.

Had Morris been able to play in this week's game, he could have helped chip in passing situations against ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

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

LB D'Qwell Jackson
AP Photo/Mark Duncan

The second-year player will likely miss at least two games and is the team's leading tackler.

Jackson has played better than fellow starting ILB Andra Davis this season, and he is seen be league personnel evaluators as a high-upside player.

Fellow second-year ILB Leon Williams and veteran LB Chaun Thompson will split playing time in his place. Williams has been sharing time of late with Davis whose play has dropped off from last year's performance. 

Williams brings better physical play to the position which is why the coaches decided not to play him outside this season. The problem, though, is they'll miss Jackson's speed and ability to track down running backs.

Chris McAlister, CB - Ravens
Injury: Knee
Opponent: Steelers

The veteran cover man suffered what's believed to be a PCL sprain a few weeks ago against the St. Louis Rams. McAlister hasn't been able to practice since then and the team has listed him as doubtful.

What the team will miss is McAlister's physical style of play -- which backup CB Corey Ivy, who is slated to start for him, really doesn't possess. 

To make the issue worse, fellow starting CB Samari Rolle is listed as questionable for Monday night's game against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. So the team potentially could be without their top two cornerbacks. That's not a good thing when the team has to face QB Ben Roethisberger who is on pace for more than 32 touchdown passes this season.

Dan Morgan, LB - Panthers
Injury: Ankle
Opponent: Titans

What the team will miss with the veteran linebacker off the field is his play against the run. 

Rookie WLB Jon Beason moves over again to start for him, but he's a much smaller player. And the Panthers face the Tennessee Titans who have one of the league's best rushing attacks, led by RB LenDale White who is one of the most physical backs the Panthers will face this season.

Tennessee's blueprint every game is to run the ball as much as possible to take the pressure off second-year QB Vince Young. You can count on them to take the same approach knowing Morgan won't be there and since Carolina had problems stopping the run against the Indianapolis Colts last week.

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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