Roethlisberger has rare injury: While most were focused on the severity of Ben Roethlisberger’s shoulder injury, it turns out that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback is dealing with a more serious issue. Roethlisberger says he has a dislocated rib that presses against his aorta and could be fatal if it punctures his lung. The quarterback doesn’t believe that the dislocation will end his season, but it’s safe to say that he won’t be on the field any time soon. For the moment, Byron Leftwich will be thrust into the starter’s role for Pittsburgh, and immediately faces a tough opponent in the Baltimore Ravens. With a backup quarterback under center and the Ravens sporting one of the NFL’s weaker run defenses, it bodes well for Isaac Redman or Jonathan Dwyer or Rashard Mendenhall. Or whoever will see the bulk of the Steelers’ running back carries — which is a completely different issue.
Vick not ruled out yet: Despite Nick Foles taking starter reps in practice, the Philadelphia Eagles have not yet ruled out Michael Vick for Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins. This seems like a formality, considering coach Andy Reid described the concussion as “significant” earlier this week. An unproven Foles isn’t the kind of guy you want to rush into your starting lineup … even against a Redskins defense that has had problems this season. But as Michael Fabiano writes in this week’s Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin can still be productive options for your squad.
Smith seeks second opinion: The San Francisco 49ers have expressed optimism that quarterback Alex Smith will be ready for Monday night’s showdown with the Chicago Bears. But that optimism could be tempered with reports that Smith is seeking a second opinion. As long as he receives a clean bill of health, Smith will be under center against the Bears. That doesn’t mean he’s worth a start if you have other options — which is advice that would have held even without the concussion issues. That doesn’t make Colin Kaepernick any more attractive. This is just a bad week to consider any San Francisco quarterbacks.
— Marcas Grant
Follow Marcas on Twitter @MarcasG