Lorenzo Alexander: LB, Oakland Raiders (3-3)
Alexander did not record any stats during the Raiders' 37-29 victory over the San Diego Chargers. Alexander has one tackle in six games this season.
Keenan Allen: WR, San Diego Chargers (2-5)
Allen added nine receptions and 89 yards to his total for the season, but it was not enough for the Chargers to claim victory.
Allen leads the league in receptions with 62. He ranks third in yards with 690.
ESPN notes Allen's record-setting pace thus far and attributes it to Allen's increased work ethic coming into this season:
But that changed for the Cal product entering his third season in the league, and the improved consistency has made all of the difference.
Allen said he’s more focused on taking care of his body and the daily preparation needed to compete at a high level each week, following in the footsteps of other talented, veteran players on the team like Antonio Gates, Philip Rivers and Eric Weddle.
"It’s major," Allen said. "Just seeing Gates, Weddle and Phil -- all those guys come in and they’re here at 5:30. Weddle is in the weight room probably for like three hours after practice. So just putting in the work and dedicating to your craft, it helps a lot when you take it seriously."
The daily work has led to some staggering numbers. Through seven games, Allen has 62 receptions for 690 yards and three touchdowns.
Allen’s 62 are four more than any other player in NFL history through the first seven games of a season, according to ESPN Stats and Information. He needs seven more this week to tie Marvin Harrison in 2002 for the most receptions through eight games.
Tyson Alualu: DE/DT, Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5)
Alualu and the Jaguars defeated the Buffalo Bills 34-31 in London and Alualu recorded his first career rush (though it went for zero yards).
Alualu recorded a sack, one tackle for loss and a quarterback hit.
C.J. Anderson: RB, Denver Broncos (6-0)
Anderson and the Broncos were on a bye week.
The Denver Post has more on Anderson's struggles and a possible explanation for the dip in production:
The bye week came for a perfect time for Broncos running back C.J. Anderson.
His struggles on the field were well-documented. A 2.7 yard per carry average, second-worst in the NFL, was enough to have many calling for fellow back Ronnie Hillman to take his starting role.
Early ankle and toe injuries limited him in practice in the season’s opening weeks, but he hasn’t been on the injury report in weeks. That doesn’t mean he still wasn’t banged up.
"I wasn’t as healthy as I thought," Anderson said. "I had some old injuries that bothered (me), I can’t really say. I didn’t know it was that serious until I felt it."
Bryan Anger: P, Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5)
Anger punted six times for an average of 44.8 yards (38.7 net) during the Jaguars victory.
Anger is tied for first in the NFL in punts, third in yards, 7th in net yards, and tied for 7th with 12 punts inside the 20.
Chris Conte: S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)
Conte recorded five tackles, one tackle for loss and two passes defended in a tough loss the Washington Redskins.
The Bucs had this one under control, but could not hold onto a 24-7 lead, eventually falling 31-30.
Conte was an under-the-radar free agent signing for the Buccaneers, but has performed at a high level this season and it has not gone unnoticed by the Bucs' coaching staff:
"As long as he’s healthy, he’s one of the better safeties in our league," Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "He’s a smart guy, he can match up on tight ends, backs out of the backfield. He can even go out and cover a third or fourth receiver at times. And he can tackle. Yes he has, he’s played very, very well. We’ve just got to keep him on the field and he’ll continue to get better."
Head Coach Lovie Smith had similar things to say about Conte, whom Smith coached during his time as Chicago’s Head Coach.
"Seems to be around the ball," Smith said. I think he can play the run well. He’s not afraid to come up and hit. He has range. He’s not your typical in-the-box-only-type safety; he can guard wide receivers on the outside. I just think all the skill sets you’re looking for at safety, for all we ask him to do, we feel like Chris can do that. What has hurt him in the past has been injuries. So if he can beat that injury bug a little bit, he’ll just keep doing that."
Justin Forsett: RB, Baltimore Ravens (1-6)
Forsett rushed for his second touchdown of the season, though he only amassed 36 rushing yards on 12 carries, as the Ravens lost yet another close game. This time they lost 26-18 to the Arizona Cardinals.
Forsett is now 7th in the NFL with 493 rushing yards.
DeSean Jackson: WR, Washington Redskins (3-4)
Jackson was inactive again this past week, but had a fairly eventful bye week as he welcomed a son, DeSean Jackson Jr. into the world.
Marvin Jones; WR, Cincinnati Bengals (6-0)
Jones and the Bengals were on a bye, just as several of the other undefeated teams were, coincidentally.
Cameron Jordan: DE, New Orleans Saints (3-4)
Jordan registered two sacks, two tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries and two passes defended as the Saints won 27-21 against the Indianapolis Colts.
Oh yeah, he did all of this against Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
That must have been fun.
ESPN has a story about the variety of positions Jordan has rushed the passer from this season:
Each of Cameron Jordan's six sacks this season has come from a different angle.
The New Orleans Saints' versatile pass-rusher has three of them from the defensive-end position and three from defensive tackle. He has gone both inside and outside the opposing offense's left tackle. He has gone wide of the right tackle. He has gone both inside and outside the right guard. And he once started inside, then spun back outside around the right guard.
"I’ve got like a 9 [technique], a 5 and a 3. But from that 3, I’ve slanted into the nose [tackle position]," Jordan said when asked to recall how many different positions his sacks have come from. "So maybe four if you count that."
That’s nothing new for the 6-foot-4, 287-pounder, who has bounced between end and tackle in both 4-3 and 3-4 systems under three different coordinators since he was drafted in the first round in 2011. He had a similar spread when he went to the Pro Bowl in 2013 with a career-high 12.5 sacks.
However, it’s not exactly how Jordan and the Saints planned things heading into this season.
The plan this summer was to use Jordan as more of a full-time edge rusher -- in Junior Galette's former spot -- to fill that void and to take advantage of Jordan’s prowess as a pass-rusher.
"It’s way more fun on the edge, but anything it takes to win," Jordan said. "If that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes. If I have to play nose, I’ll play nose. My role is just anything needs to be done, I’ll do it."
Mychal Kendricks: LB, Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
Kendricks, after missing the previous four games, returned and totaled seven tackles and a sack as the Eagles lost 27-16 to the Carolina Panthers.
L.P. Ladouceur: LS, Dallas Cowboys (2-4)
Ladouceur performed the long snap duties for the Cowboys for the 163rd consecutive game. The Cowboys lost 27-20 to the New York Giants.
Marshawn Lynch: RB, Seattle Seahawks (3-4)
The perfect tonic for the struggling Seahawks offense and Beast Mode was a matchup with the downright terrible San Francisco 49ers.
Lynch rushed for 122 yards on 27 carries while notching just his second rushing touchdown of the season as the Seahawks won 20-3.
Alex Mack: C, Cleveland Browns (2-5)
Mack started his 7th game of the season, but the Browns lost 24-6 to the St. Louis Rams.
Chris McCain: LB, Miami Dolphins (3-3)
McCain was inactive as the Dolphins beat the Houston Texans 44-26.
Brandon Mebane: DT, Seattle Seahawks (3-4)
Mebane recorded one tackle, one quarterback hurry and a half sack. Mebane is lobbying for it to be ruled a full sack.
Ron Rivera: HC, Carolina Panthers (6-0)
Rivera's Panthers beat Chip Kelly's Eagles 27-16 to stay undefeated. Rivera's Panthers next take on Andrew Luck's Colts.
Aaron Rodgers: QB, Green Bay Packers (6-0)
Rodgers and the Packers were on a bye this past week. They face the Denver Broncos' elite pass rush, but they might not want to blitz as much as they usually do this Sunday.
Rodgers will try to work more of his magic against the NFL’s best pass rush on Sunday night in Denver. The Broncos lead the NFL with 26 sacks. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips blitzes on 37.7 percent of his opponents’ dropbacks, a rate that ranks eighth in the NFL according to ESPN Stats & Information.
History says it won’t work.
Rodgers led the NFL last season with a passer rating of 130.4 against the blitz. Since 2008, his first year as a starter, he has the highest passer rating (110.5) against the blitz and the most touchdowns (78), according to Stats LLC.
Rodgers’ production against the blitz is down slightly this season. According to ESPN Stats & Info, he ranks just sixth in the league in completion percentage (65.4) against the blitz and tied for eighth in touchdown passes (five) against it.
It might look like chaos when teams blitz Rodgers, but there’s a method to how he handles it.
"Just depends on whether you've got it picked up or not," Rodgers said this week. "A lot of blitzes, you can pick up with a protection adjustment, or maybe pick up with the protection you've got called and then you throw in, a lot of times they'll throw in that five-man pressure as a blitz.
"When you're playing a team like the Broncos, their main blitz, if you will, is just a five-man pressure because they want to bring their interior guys, and their two outside great rushers. It's about blocking those guys up, when they bring some exotic stuff, it's about having a place to go with the football and making sure you picked it up."
Richard Rodgers: TE, Green Bay Packers (6-0)
Jeremy Ross: WR/RET, Baltimore Ravens (1-6)
Ross returned one kick for 28 yards, one punt for eight yards and tallied one reception for nine yards.
Mitchell Schwartz: T, Cleveland Browns (2-5)
Schwartz started for a 55th consecutive time in the regular season. Schwartz and the Browns lost 24-6 to the Rams. Schwartz's contract is expiring at the end of the season, but he is not letting that take his focus away from the next opponent.
"That stuff is kind of out of my control," Schwartz said after practice earlier this week. "We'll see what happens. (I'm) trying to worry about the next team. That stuff isn't on my mind too much. It's so out of your control. Anything can happen in football. You don't want to stake on anything. You don't want to get too far ahead. You have so much to worry about with the week in front of you.
"You just play as well as you can. That stuff's kind of out of my control. It's not something I really focus on. You've got so much else to worry about week-in and week-out going against such good players. If you do your part on the field, really the rest will take care of itself."
Brian Schwenke: C, Tennessee Titans (1-5)
Schwenke will miss the rest of the season due to a week six injury.
Craig Stevens: TE, Tennessee Titans (1-5)
Stevens played for the sixth time this season, but did not register any statistics. The Titans lost 10-7 to the Atlanta Falcons.
Nick Sundberg: LS, Washington Redskins (3-4)
Sundberg played in his seventh game this season, but did not register any statistics.
The Redskins' team website has a story about the special teamers:
For as long as anyone could remember the Redskins’ special teamers – the kicker, punter and long snapper – wore white during practices.
"After the Atlanta game, [Will] Compton came up to us and said, "Wearing white jerseys kind of gives you the wrong mentality. You want to be a guy that makes plays, be a defensive tackler you got to throw on the burgundy jersey,’" Sundberg told Redskins.com. "We made a change, went the other direction and are going to see how it goes."
Sundberg hasn’t shied away from laying down a few hits over the years.
As soon as the ball is out of his hands and spiraling towards Way, Sundberg is already sprinting down the field, trying to find either the returner or someone to move out of his oncoming charge.
"It’s my job to fill a lane," Sundberg said. "If I got to make a tackle, I have to make a tackle. I try not to put myself in any new category. There are some snappers in the league that are excellent in coverage and great tacklers. I’m not particularly one of those guys. I’m working on trying to be one of those guys. I don’t like missing tackles, so if I’m there I want to make a play and help my team however I can."
Shane Vereen: RB, New York Giants (4-3)
Vereen carried the ball four times for 56 yards. His 39 yard run was the longest of his career. Vereen added one reception for six yards as the Giants took over first place in the NFC East.
Steve Williams: CB, San Diego Chargers (2-4)
Williams has played in every game this season, but did not record any stats during the 37-29 loss to the Raiders.