With marquee names like Dez Bryant, Andrew Luck, and Marshawn Lynch already sitting out games this season, injuries abound in the NFL. The league’s top Latino talent has not been immune to the injury bug, with Tony Romo, Victor Cruz, and Knowshon Moreno currently sidelined. As Week 5 kicks off, here are five raza still making an impact on the gridiron.
Houston Texans’ running back Arian Foster made headlines earlier this season when he announced he was an atheist. Originally undrafted, Foster broke through with the Texans in 2010, becoming one of the most exciting running backs in the league – when he wasn’t hampered by injuries. After missing the start of the season with a groin injury, Foster had a lackluster debut last week against the Falcons in Atlanta. Returning to Houston for a Thursday Night Matchup with division rival Indianapolis Colts, expect a bounce-back game from Foster as he returns to form.
Boricua Gavin Escobar connected with Tony Romo for four touchdowns on nine receptions last season and was expected by many to have an increased role in the offense this campaign. As Romo recovers from a broken collarbone, backup Brandon Weeden has struggled in his absence, meaning less touches for Escobar. While fellow tight end Jason Witten battles through an array of maladies of his own, Escobar should still see ample opportunities to have an impact. With Tom Brady and the New England Patriots visiting AT&T Stadium this week, America’s team will be looking for answers.
New York Jets right guard Willie Colon may just have the coolest name in the National Football League. Although offensive linemen don’t necessarily have the same swag as Nuyorican salsa musicians, Colon does just fine with his 6’3″, 315-pound frame. The Bronx native won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009, and is in his second season with the Jets, who have a bye this week. At 3-1, the Jets have been one of the early surprises of the season and a week off will benefit their potential march to the postseason.
When he’s not catching his sister Naya Rivera’s latest project, tight end Mychal Rivera catches footballs for the Oakland Raiders. Drafted by the Raiders in 2013, Rivera has 102 receptions in his young career, which is good for 972 yards and eight touchdowns. Heading into Week 5 with a 2-2 record, the Raiders remain optimistic about their season. This week’s matchup against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos should serve as a good barometer for where Rivera and his team stand.
Tejano Louis Vasquez has one of the most important jobs in the league: protecting Peyton Manning, aka the face of the NFL. Originally drafted by the San Diego Chargers, Vasquez is in the middle of a four-year contract with the Broncos, and already has one Pro Bowl appearance under his belt. Expectations for a Super Bowl run are mile-high in Denver, and for better or worse rely heavily on Manning’s arm. For the Broncos to succeed, Vasquez and his fellow offensive lineman must return to All-Pro form.