Posted on: December 30, 2011 4:57 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 4:58 pm
By Josh Katzowitz
As we enter the final weekend of the season, a number of squads are just playing out the string, hoping to put a solid performance on film, ready to clean out their lockers and look ahead to next year. While only four games on this week’s schedule mean absolutely nothing in terms of the postseason, quite a few of those teams are just looking to play spoiler.
And looking to the 2012 draft, where they can begin to rebuild their team or shore up that one position that could put them over the hump for next season. That’s why we’re taking the 10-worst teams in the league this year and finding one major flaw that needs to be fixed from April 26-28 in New York City’s Radio Music Hall.
For these teams -- and their fans -- the time has come to salivate at the prospects of landing the exact right guy that could change their fortunes for years to come.
10. Bills: Defensive line -- I didn’t like the Ryan Fitzpatrick $59 million extension earlier this year, and I hate it now. But I think Buffalo has other concerns for the moment, and they come on defense. For one, Buffalo has a tough time stopping the run. First-round pick Marcell Dareus has been a bit inconsistent at the nose tackle, but he also has the ability to play like a monster. The 3-4 ends, though, need to be better. Injured tackle Kyle Williams obviously will help when he returns next season, but the ability to rush the passer once in a while also would help (Buffalo’s 25 sacks ranks 30th in the league).
9. Dolphins: Quarterback -- Look, the Dolphins have some talent. They proved that when Tony Sparano’s job was on the line, and they started winning games. They proved it by nearly beating Tom Brady, and they proved it by nearly beating Tim Tebow (that last point was a joke). While Matt Moore has been much better than expected after taking over for Chad Henne, he’s a Band-Aid. I think most of us would agree that Henne isn’t the answer as the starter, and perhaps, he and Moore could have a battle to see who could back-up a legit starting quarterback. Reggie Bush established himself as a 1,000-yard rusher, and with a talented quarterback like Robert Griffin III (if he lasts that long in the draft), the Dolphins could begin pushing for AFC East crowns.
8. Browns: Pass rushers -- Cleveland got two defensive linemen early last year (tackle Phil Taylor in the first round and end Jabaal Sheard in the second), and they’ve done a nice job on the left side of the defensive line. But the defense ranks 25th in the league in sacks, and defensive end Jayme Mitchell hasn’t had a great season. Marcus Benard, coming off a solid rookie season last year, is on IR, and if the Browns could get one more high-end rusher in the draft, they’d have talent and depth.
7. Redskins: Quarterback -- It’s probably time for Mike Shanahan to come to the realization that his quarterback picks the past two years have been disastrous (Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman, John Beck). He said the other day that the rebuild of this franchise has taken more time than he thought, but a standout quarterback obviously would help that process along. Shanahan also said that there was no question in his mind that he’d be back next season, but unless he finds a way to invigorate his offense, that might be a different story this time next year.
6. Chiefs: Right tackle -- Looking across Kansas City’s depth chart, there’s not one position group that so obviously needs to be overhauled. The Chiefs have talent, even if some of those positions don’t have much depth. But right tackle Barry Richardson has badly struggled this season. According Pro Football Focus, Richardson is the worst-rated offensive tackle in the league (the decision to cut Jared Gaither near the end of the season was a bad one). Left tackle Branden Albert is solid, but the right side of the line needs to be reworked.
5. Buccaneers: Run defenders -- The Buccaneers tried to shore up their defensive end spots last draft, taking Adrian Clayborn in the first round and Da’Quan Bowers in the second round. Considering Tampa Bay ranks dead last in sacks, the experiment hasn’t paid off immediate dividends. But the Buccaneers are also terrible against the run, and even though tackle Albert Haynesworth has played better than most of us had a right to expect, there are still huge holes to fill in the lineup.
4. Vikings: Secondary -- The Vikings rank as the 31st-worst defense in the NFL, but in reality, their front seven has talent (for instance, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Chad Greenway). Minnesota lost Antoine Winfield (its best corner) early in the year, Chris Cook has legal troubles, safety Jamarca Sanford has struggled badly and the rest of the safeties have been ravaged by injuries. It’s no wonder opposing quarterbacks dominate the Vikings defensive backs. On the season, Minnesota has recorded seven interceptions, worst in the NFL. The Vikings need to find somebody who can force turnovers in order to improve this unit.
3. Jaguars: Receivers – Oh, how they need receivers. Yes, Blaine Gabbert has been, by far, the worst rookie quarterback to play this year, but Jacksonville, even with new ownership and a new coach, probably needs to give him more than a season to see if he’s a quarterback of the future. He also needs somebody who can catch his passes. Here are Jacksonville’s top-three receivers: Mike Thomas, Jarret Dillard, and yeah, nobody else. In fact, there’s a good chance running back Maurice Jones-Drew will end up as the team’s leading pass-catcher this season. Hard to blame Gabbert completely when his receiving corps is so bad.
2. Colts: Running backs -- Assuming Peyton Manning returns healthy next season -- admittedly, a huge assumption -- his receivers should continue to be fine (this, of course, depends on what happens with free agents Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon). But we’ve seen this year that without a running game, a Manning-less Colts squad has very little chance of doing anything (mostly because Manning makes up for SO many team deficiencies). Joseph Addai, who’s averaging 3.8 yards per carry and probably won’t get to 500 rushing yards on the season for the second year in a row, might be released into free agency, and Donald Brown, while improved, isn’t a legit No. 1 running back. The Colts obviously have a big decision to make regarding Manning and Andrew Luck, but taking a running back probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.
1.Rams: Offensive linemen -- There’s been talk that maybe the Rams should grab Luck if they end up with the No. 1 pick. Which, with Sam Bradford on the team, would be ludicrous. Instead, St. Louis should be focused on how to put together an offensive line that doesn’t lead the league in sacks allowed. The biggest problem, not including injuries to Jason Smith and Jacob Bell that have hurt the unit, has been the line’s interior. Linemen aren’t the sexiest position, but damn, St. Louis needs to find some that can stay healthy and keep Bradford and Steven Jackson out of danger.
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Tags: Adrian Clayborn, Albert Haynesworth, Andrew Luck, Antoine Winfield, Barry Richardson, Blaine Gabbert, Branden Albert, Buffalo Bills, Chad Greenway, Chad Henne, Chris Cook, Cleveland Browns, Da'Quan Bowers, Donald Brown, Donovan McNabb, Indianapolis Colts, Jabaal Sheard, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jacob Bell, Jamarca Sanford, Jared Allen, Jarret Dillard, Jason Smith, Jayme Mitchell, John Beck, Joseph Addai, Josh Katzowitz, Kansas City Chiefs, Kevin Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcel Dareus, Marcus Benard, Matt Moore, Maurice Jones-Drew, Miami Dolphins, Mike Shanahan, Mike Thomas, Minnesota Vikings, Peyton Manning, Phil Taylor, Pierre Garcon, Reggie Bush, Reggie Wayne, Rex Grossman, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams, Steven Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tony Sparano, Top Ten, Washington Redskins
Posted on: September 15, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: September 15, 2011 3:32 pm
Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit
Sometime around Thanksgiving, the Indianapolis Colts will be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. By that point, their demise will have been dissected more times than the Roman Empire's. The general consensus will be that the absence of Peyton Manning (neck surgery) did them in.
Is it that simple? Actually, yes. We weren’t kidding all those years when we said this is a 12-win team with Manning and a six-win team without him.
However, many believe that the Manning-less Colts stink because they don’t have a guy audibling them into the perfect play call or throwing darts all over the field. This logic is sensible but also incomplete.
Instead of spending the next two months hashing out how bad the Colts are without Manning, and instead of putting up with all the armchair GM’s who crow that the rest of the Colts organization deserves some of the blame because “There are 52 other players on the roster!”, let’s be proactive and understand why, exactly, the loss of Manning dooms one of the most successful franchises in all of professional sports.
Then, we can move on and worry about the NFL’s 31 other teams.
1. Offensive Line Masking
The Colts have long had a below average offensive line. That comes as no surprise, really; with only a few exceptions (mainly at left tackle) Bill Polian has always turned to former sixth-and seventh-rounders or undrafted players to play up front.
That’s largely why Indy has been able to eat the heavy cost of having virtually all long-tenured first-rounders at the skill positions over the years (Edgerrin James, Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez and Dallas Clark).
Polian knew he could get away with a sub-par front five because his quarterback is brilliant in getting rid of the ball quickly and moving in the pocket. No quarterback over the years has made better use of the three-step drop than Manning, and no quarterback (aside from maybe Tom Brady) has better footwork in adjusting to pass-rushers.
Consequently, Manning has been sacked an average of only once per game in his 13-year career, which is about half the amount of a normal quarterback. When Manning does take a sack, it’s usually a result of execution, not misdiagnosing a defense. Thus, the hits never surprise him, which is why he almost never fumbles.
Last Sunday, Kerry Collins took three sacks and lost two fumbles.
2. The Run Game
Manning’s pre-snap adjustments did two things for the run game: They ensure that the Colts would always run to the favorable side (Manning decides at the line whether the run will be to the left or to the right) and it means the Colts run the ball out of the same personnel packages and formations from which they throw.
This prevents defenses from tracking Indy’s tendencies. It also creates a constant threat of throwing, which instills an inkling of hesitation in linebackers or safeties dropping into the box (hesitation always makes players jittery, which is partly why Manning’s play-action is so effective).
All of this prevents defenses from loading up and taking advantage of Indy’s undersized and ungifted offensive line. This often saves the Colts; when they’ve gotten away from the run-pass threat (such as in short-yardage situations), their futile ground game always has been exposed.
But now, this threat is gone, and there’s no reliable ground game to fall back on. Joseph Addai is at his best running out of passing sets (think draw plays) and Donald Brown is at his best running against college competition.
3. Helping the wideouts
The best kept secret in all of Indiana last year was that Reggie Wayne was slowing down. The numbers didn’t show it, but the film did. Wayne was not the same downfield threat he once was. He didn’t have the same burst in his redirection or tempo changes. Teams with good cornerbacks stopped rotating safety help to his side of the field. This changed the outlook for Indy’s other route combinations and forced the Colts to throw more underneath and inside.
Manning was able to recognize Wayne’s decline and adjust by either spreading the ball around or hitting Wayne earlier in his routes (when awareness and presnap alignment are more prevalent than physical execution). This is why Wayne’s yards per catch dipped to a career-low 12.2. Hitting a receiver earlier in the route isn’t normally an option, but Manning has uncanny chemistry with his wideouts (Wayne in particular).
This kind of chemistry can’t be replicated – no matter how savvy the hoary Kerry Collins might be. It’s chemistry that derives from a quarterback working with his receivers for several years and offseasons, and, more importantly, from working out of the same system all that time. Over the years the Colts have tailored their system more and more to Manning.
Even if Collins were intimately familiar with Indy’s system (which he’s not), it still wouldn’t click perfectly because it’s a system that’s custom designed for someone else. And, as we’ve already discussed, that someone else has pocket movement skills that 99.9 percent of the world’s other quarterbacks don’t have.
Without Manning’s timing and vision, Colts receivers now have to learn a new definition of "getting open."
4. The defense
The Colts have always had an undersized defense built on speed. It centers around the edge-rushing abilities of the defensive ends. Generally, as long as Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney are potent, Indy’s other nine defenders just need to soundly execute basic zone concepts.
A zone-based scheme behind a traditional four-man pass-rush is the type of defense you construct when you plan on playing with a lead. More than that, it’s the type you construct when you plan on playing minimal snaps. The Colts have gotten by with having small linebackers because they’ve had an offense that can consistently sustain drives and allow those small linebackers to always be fresh.
It’s easy to say now that the Colts should have been building a stronger defense in recent years. But the salary cap doesn’t allow for that. Polian probably would have re-signed more linebackers and cornerbacks or brought in more defensive free agents…except he had to pay Manning.
5. Relevance to this week
Indianapolis’ laundry list of limitations may not be as problematic in Week 2 as it will be the rest of the season.
Many pundits peeked at the Browns’ soft early-season schedule and determined that Pat Shurmur’s club would get off to a fast start. But one of the 10,000 or so reasons that pro football is better than college football is that with pro football, you can’t simply look at a schedule and accurately predict what a team’s record will be six weeks down the road. There’s too much talent on every team, and too many dimensions to each matchup.
The Browns are amidst a massive rebuilding project – their fifth one since returning to the NFL, by the way – and might not match up well to Indy’s style. Defensively, Cleveland’s new 4-3 scheme lacks the pass-rushing talent to exploit the Colts’ subpar offensive line. The Browns linebackers also had some trouble identifying underneath route combinations against the Bengals last week – something the Colts, with Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme, can surely take advantage of.
Offensively, Pat Shurmur is carefully managing Colt McCoy’s mental workload. Virtually every downfield pass Cleveland attempted in Week 1 came off some sort of play-action or rollout. In play-action and rollouts, the quarterback’s reads are naturally defined, as he only has to scan half the field. It’s a smart tactic, but it will be dicey to execute against the speed of the Colts defensive ends. Look for the Browns to ram the ball with Peyton Hillis. They’ll have to survive with one-dimensionality.
So who will win? Check our expert picks for all Week 1 games.
Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: July 30, 2011 7:29 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 7:55 pm
Posted by Josh Katzowitz
The Colts have been busy with their checkbook today, and the offense will be better for it (or presumably, just as good as it was last year).
We’ve already told you about the epic signing of QB Peyton Manning, and now, courtesy of WISH-TV (via the Indianapolis Star) we bring to you the news that RB Joseph Addai has re-signed with the squad.
Though Addai rushed for at least 1,000 yards his first two years in the league, he’s missed 13 games combined in the past three years and has not topped the 850-yard mark.
But, when healthy, he’s a solid player, and with Donald Brown and Javarris James also on the squad, Addai is certainly the best running back on the team.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: December 27, 2010 1:18 am
Edited on: December 27, 2010 1:19 am
Posted by Andy Benoit
**Hard to believe that the upper bowl at Arrowhead Stadium was only half full for the Chiefs division-clinching win against the Titans. The Chiefs, remember, sold out a record 156 straight games from December 1990 through December 2009.
**I have heard from a few people recently about the outstanding play of Bills NT Kyle Williams. I’ll have to watch the film closer after the season, but on a surface level glance, I have trouble believing any members of the league’s worst run defense is playing very well. Every time I looked over at the Patriots-Bills game Sunday, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead were picking up five yards on runs that should have gone for one or two. It’s been that way all season with the Bills.
**Despite being a game manager his first two seasons as a pro, on Sunday Joe Flacco became just the sixth player in NFL history to throw for 10,000 yards in his first three years.
**Aaron Rodgers debuted his new, safer helmet against the Giants. My question is if the NFL is so concerned about concussions, why aren’t more players, whether they’ve had a concussion or not, being forced to make this helmet switch?
**The Chargers ought to be worried about first-round rookie Ryan Mathews. Besides being injury prone and inconsistent, the Fresno State product has been downright inexplosive. Mathews’ 24-yard touchdown scamper against the Bengals marked his longest run on the season.
**Will Brinson and I reviewed all of the major Week 16 stories in the CBSSports.com Football Podcast Sunday night. Click here to check it out.
Tags: Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith, Brandon Jackson, Brian Schottenheimer, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, David Garrard, Denver Broncos, Dominic Rhodes, Donald Brown, Donald Driver, Dustin Keller, Green Bay Packers, Greg Jennings, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jay Cutler, Jordy Nelson, Joseph Addai, Justin Tuck, Kansas City Chiefs, Kyle Williams, Mark Sanchez, Mike Singletary, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Rich Seubert, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Shaun O’Hara, Shonn Greene, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Terrell Thomas, Tim Tebow, Tom Coughlin, Troy Smith, Washington Redskins
Posted on: December 7, 2010 4:30 pm
Posted by Josh Katzowitz
Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel writes that New England coach Bill Belichick gloated over the 45-3 win by his team against the Jets by expressing almost no emotion afterward. Writes Wetzel, “For Rex Ryan, the only thing more frustrating than getting humiliated by Belichick on the field is the fact Belichick hardly dignifies the rivalry off of it. Ryan can’t make any more noise than he already does. He can’t beg any harder for attention from Belichick. He can’t declare war any clearer. He’s done everything he can to make this personal – coach v. coach. … And yet all he gets from Belichick is the outward exuberance of a preseason win.”
CBS Sports’ own Mike Freeman writes about a heated argument that occurred on the Jets sideline after they fell behind 17-0.
Lawrence Taylor is asking for a dismissal in his rape case, because his lawyers say police did not have a warrant when they arrested him in his hotel room.
The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla says any coach considering the Broncos job has to be a fool. He also calls former coach Josh McDaniels a scapegoat.
Bears C Olin Kreutz wasn’t especially upset with Ndamukong Suh’s hit on Chicago QB Jay Cutler last Sunday. Kreutz said he didn’t think it was a dirty play.
Ravens LT Michael Oher tweeted during a game, got caught and took a $5,000 fine. He’s not sure if he’ll appeal it.
At least one McDaniels brother will keep his job in Denver.
Packers DE Cullen Jenkins aggravated a strained calf last Sunday, and coach Mike McCarthy said Monday that Jenkins will be out for next week’s game vs. the Lions. He could be out even longer than that.
The Colts have re-signed RB Dominic Rhodes. Most recently, Rhodes played in the UFL. Considering three Indianapolis RBs – Joseph Addai, Mike Hart and Donald Brown – are banged up, Rhodes might find some immediate playing time.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: November 22, 2010 6:24 pm
Justin Tuck had three sacks and was phenomenal in containment outside and against the run.
Donald Brown had 68 yards on 17 carries, but 36 of those yards came on one good run. Brown was his usual ineffective self for most of the night.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: 21/34, 316 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
For the second week in a row, the Bills won and Lee Evans caught just two passes. (Not trying to suggest there’s a correlation between the two.) Steve Johnson has become Buffalo’s No. 1 wideout. He had eight catches for 137 yards and three scores against the Bengals.
Jahvid Best, who is battling a bad foot, had just two yards on three carries. Or maybe it was three yards on two carries. Anyway, he was a non-factor.
Dez Bryant averaged minus-two yards per catch on all of his non-touchdown receptions Sunday.
Before leaving with a re-aggravated groin injury, Clinton Portis looked fresh on five carries (32 yards).
It came predominantly in garbage time, but Derek Anderson was 25/46 for 295 yards and a touchdown. And Matt Cassel, who raised the bar for garbage time excellence last week, was a sturdy 15/24 for 193 yards and two touchdowns.
Sidney Rice’s debut: three catches, 56 yards.
Clay Matthews added another sack to his records (league-high 11.5 on the season). He also had two tackles for a loss and two hits on the quarterback.
LaDainian Tomlinson still looks fresh. He only managed 36 yards on 12 carries, but he turned in 71 yards on seven receptions.
Joel Dreessen could wind up keeping the starting tight end job even once Owen Daniels is healthy. Dreessen, who is a slightly better blocker than Daniels, caught four passes for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Pittsburgh held Oakland to 61 yards rushing, which is par for the course for the Steelers this season.
James Harrison had two sacks, two tackles for a loss and two hits on the quarterback (one of which drew a ridiculous roughing the passer flag)…and those numbers still don’t describe the depth of his impact Sunday.
Ray Lewis got his 30th career interception (and took it to the house).
Peyton Hillis was held to 48 yards on 21 carries, though he produced 95 yards on six receptions.
The Jaguars sacked Colt McCoy six times. Six sacks used to be a half-season for Jacksonville.
Mike Williams, barely 48 hours removed from a DUI arrest, caught all three passes thrown his way. Williams finished with 54 yards and a touchdown.
Patrick Willis stamped his ticket to Hawaii: two sacks, two tackles for a loss, two QB hits and a team-high 13 tackles.For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Bruce Gradkowski, Buffalo Bills, Chris Ivory, Clay Matthews, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Browns, Colt McCoy, Dallas Cowboys, Derek Anderson, Dez Bryant, Donald Brown, Felix Jones, Green Bay Packers, Hot Routes, Houston Texans, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, James Harrison, Jason Campbell, Joe Flacco, Joel Dreessen, Justin Tuck, Kansas City Chiefs, LaDainian Tomlinson, Marc Mariani, Matt Cassel, Michael Turner, Mike Williams, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Patrick Willis, Peyton Hills, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rashard Mendenhall, Ray Lewis, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Sidney Rice, Steve Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Troy Smith, Washington Redskins
Posted on: November 14, 2010 11:39 am
Edited on: November 14, 2010 11:52 am
Posted by Josh Katzowitz
First, the players who ARE active: Titans QB Vince Young (though he won't start; Kerry Collins will) Browns QB Seneca Wallace, Browns LB Marcus Benard, Texans WR Andre Johnson, Colts TE Jacob Tamme.
Now, the players who are NOT active:
Chris Crocker, Bengals, FS: This isn’t a big surprise, because Crocker has been dealing with a calf injury. But Crocker is a solid centerfielder, and Chinedum Ndukwe, who isn’t quite as good, will take his place in the starting lineup.
Jake Delhomme, Browns, QB: He still hasn’t completely recovered from his ankle injury, but it’s unclear whether the man who was the opening day starter would reclaim his role. Especially with the way Colt McCoy is playing. For the record, Seneca Wallace is active, but McCoy is starting.
Jason Allen, Texans, CB: There was talk that Allen, who was waived by the Dolphins earlier this week, could get some playing time this week for his new team in Houston. Apparently, that won’t happen.
Joseph Addai/Mike Hart, Colts, RBs: The top two Indianapolis backs are inactives. That means it's up to Donald Brown to jumpstart the Colts running attack.
Gary Brackett/Clint Session, Colts, LBs: Considering how many players Indianapolis will be missing, the Bengals might actually have a chance in this game.
Austin Collie, Colts, WR: I mean, seriously. How will the Bengals not win this game?
Owen Daniels, Texans, TE: We knew this already, but now it's clear Joel Dreessen will take his place in the starting lineup.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: November 13, 2010 7:54 pm
Posted by Josh Katzowitz
Bengals at Colts
Combined, these two teams have a stunning 28 players on their injury lists.
For the Colts, RB Joseph Addai is doubtful with a neck, and though his replacement, Mike Hart, has performed well, he also is on the injury report – questionable with an ankle (he didn’t participate in practice at all this week). He probably won’t play either. Which means that Donald Brown likely will start and get some help from Javarris James.
Another potential problem for Indianapolis is that starting LBs Clint Session and Gary Brackett (toe) are listed as questionable. Session dislocated his elbow a couple weeks ago, but somehow he found a way to play through the rest of the game. Which was pretty amazing. Of course, he hasn’t been seen since, but still.
The Bengals secondary, meanwhile, won’t have much depth. Starting FS Chris Crocker is doubtful with a bad calf, and nickel back Morgan Trent (knee), who originally was listed as questionable, was downgraded today to out. QB Carson Palmer, who didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday, is listed as probable with a right shoulder injury.
Texans at Jaguars
Houston WR Andre Johnson, who was listed as questionable and who seems to be fighting injuries every week, apparently will start. Which is nice of him, one supposes. But TE Owen Daniels, battling a bad hamstring, will miss his second-straight game. To replace him, look for Joel Dreessen (five catches for 67 yards last week) to get the start.
For the Jaguars, losing DE Aaron Kampman, who tore his ACL, will give Jacksonville a big void on the defensive line, but other than him, Jacksonville should be relatively healthy. LB Daryl Smith, DE Jeremy Mincey, RB Greg Jones and DT Tyson Alualu are probable.
Vikings at Bears
Now that the Sidney Rice question has been answered – he’s still not recovered from hip surgery and will NOT be active Sunday – we can look to the other two Vikings WRs on the injury list. Namely Percy Harvin, who’s been bothered by migraine headaches this week, and Bernard Berrian, who has a groin issue. Both are listed as questionable. Will Brett Favre have anybody to whom he can throw?
The Vikings secondary doesn’t seem much healthier. CB Asher Allen and S Jamarca Sanford are doubtful, while CB Lito Sheppard (hamstring) and CB Frank Walker (hand) are probable.
Bears C Olin Kreutz is questionable to play with a bad hamstring. He didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday, but he’s expected to play anyway. And Chicago will need him. Minnesota recorded six sacks last week, and the Vikings will be looking to take down Favre as much as possible.
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Tags: Aaron Kampman, Andre Johnson, Asher Allen, Bernard Berrian, Brett Favre, Carson Palmer, Chris Crocker, Clint Session, Daryl Smith, Donald Brown, Frank Walker, Gary Brackett, Greg Jones, Jamarca Sanford, Javarris James, Jeremy Mincey, Joel Dreessen, Joseph Addai, Lito Shepard, Mike Hart, Morgan Trent, Olin Kreutz, Owen Daniels, Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, Tyson Alualu