He’s fine. But neither backup defensive tackles — Vernon Butler (knee) and Kyle Love (ankle) — practiced or played the past month. They were targeted for Week 1 and appear on target, but their presence is key to the four-man rotation at tackle and how the defense sets up everything with its interior push.
Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins missed the majority of the preseason and training camp because of a thumb injury but said he is “1,000 percent” ready to go on Sunday against Jacksonville. The Texans do have two injury question marks at backup running back, however. Coach Bill O’Brien said he wasn’t sure if D’Onta Foreman (groin) or Alfred Blue (ankle) would be available for the season opener against the Jaguars. Foreman was a full participant in practice Wednesday, but Blue did not practice.
Not having starting safety Ron Parker against the Patriots would be a major loss, particularly considering the Chiefs won’t have starting cornerback Steven Nelson, who is on injured reserve after having core muscle surgery. Parker isn’t a playmaker like fellow Kansas City defensive backs Eric Berry and Marcus Peters, but don’t let that fool you. He is one of the Chiefs’ most valuable defensive players because he’s so versatile. The Chiefs aren’t afraid to use him in man coverage, as a deep safety, in the box as a run defender or to rush the quarterback. Parker was listed as questionable for the Patriots game on the week’s final injury report.
Derek Barnett, DE | Philadelphia Eagles: The rookie pass-rusher was earning praise in camp for his “motor,” impressing coaches and teammates with how hard he goes on every single play. What remains to be seen is what kind of role the Eagles have for him and how much they’ll be able to just send him after opposing quarterbacks while he refines the rest of his craft. Philly’s defensive line and scheme play to Barnett’s strengths, and he could lead all rookies in sacks if he gets on the field enough.