Has any position group in the NFL been more valuable than the Seahawks' secondary over the past two years?
As dominant as that defensive backfield has been, it's fair to wonder how the Seahawks would fare at St. Louis and Green Bay in the first two weeks of the season if multiple stars are missing in action.
"They ran today for the first time, so it's just a process of getting them back," coach Pete Carroll said Monday. "I don't know when they'll return. Both of them had slight strains, so we just didn't want to aggravate them. That'll be day to day, they'll show us how they progress."
To be sure, there's a strong chance Thomas, Sherman and Chancellor will be in uniform for the season opener. There's also a chance all three will still be getting up to game speed when the whistle blows on Sept. 13.
Here's what else we learned on a Tuesday filled with backfield updates:
- The Cardinals aren't putting any limitations or expectations on newly signed running back Chris Johnson. Whether Johnson edges out Andre Ellington for the starting job or fails to earn a roster spot "all depends on him," coach Bruce Arians explained on Tuesday. "Come in, compete for a job, see where it falls." That said, we would be shocked if the artist formerly known as CJ2K climbs past Ellington on the depth chart.
- While Arizona's backfield grows stronger, Buffalo's has been depleted. Hours after a report surfaced that rookie camp star Karlos Williams could be out multiple weeks with a "serious" conditions, the Bills watched starter LeSean McCoy limp to the locker room with a left hamstring injury that will require an MRI. Moments later, coach Rex Ryan revealed that Percy Harvin needed a pain-killing injection for a hip injury that will sideline the receiver for at least a week -- if not longer.
- After T.J. Yeldon earned offseason praise as a potential three-down workhorse, the Jaguars' second-round rookie now appears to be mired in a committee attack. Yeldon is in danger of missing a second straight preseason game with a sprained finger, while Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhartcontinue to see first-team reps. Coach Gus Bradley is also talking up former Ravens back Bernard Pierce, who showed well in the preseason opener. Yeldon isn't going to be fast-tracked in the workhorse role.
- Ameer Abdullah isn't the only rookie impressing in the Lions' backfield. Undrafted free agent Zach Zenner was mixed in with the first-team offense on Tuesday after showing vision, decisiveness and burst between the tackles versus the Jets. Coach Jim Caldwell acknowledged Zenner was "fun to watch" last week.