Key players returning from injury

Assessing expectations this season for Revis, Cushing, MJD and others

Updated: August 21, 2013, 11:12 AM ET
By Gary Horton | ESPN Insider

Darrelle RevisAP Photo/Chris O'MearaDarrelle Revis is expected to improve Tampa Bay's porous pass defense from 2012.

During this time of year, NFL coaches are just trying to get through training camp with a healthy roster. But already we've seen a rash of serious injuries to key players, including Percy Harvin, Dennis Pitta and Jeremy Maclin. The good news for those teams is that usually the players can come back the next season healthy and ready to contribute.

Last year, several elite players went down over the course of the season and their teams were seriously impacted. But now many of those injured playmakers are ready to return in Week 1 and help out.

Let's take a look at some key players coming back from injury and what will be expected of them as they return this season.

Darrelle Revis, CB, Tampa Bay -- Revis missed most of the 2012 season with the Jets with an ACL injury before being traded to the Bucs. Although he is still recovering, he should be ready by Week 1. The Bucs had an absolutely terrible pass defense a year ago, as they made the transition from a Cover 2 scheme to a tight man look. Revis should lead a dramatically upgraded unit and should improve as the season goes along and his confidence returns. In the past, QBs stayed away from his side, but will they test him early this season?

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.