Tag:Indianapolis Colts
Posted on: October 3, 2010 7:25 pm

Numerology: NFL Week 4

Posted by Will Brinson

The jury is still out on science, but the verdict on math is F-U-N, so we present the week in NFL from a numbers perspective.

1 - Middle fingers extended by Titans' defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil to an official upon not preferring the call on the field. Bad news: his fine is probably going to be a bigger number. Good news though is that Bud Adams will probably pay it, given his history for, um, flying birds at football games .

3 - 200-yard receiving games that Terrell Owens (and seven others) has in his career. Couldn't happen to a better guy!

8 - Consecutive games by Antonio Gates with a touchdown, just another record that he owns as a tight end. Once Tony Gonzalez retires in 2055, Gates can really work on catching his records.

25 - Yards that John Carney was able to move the football with his foot in order to ensure that Garrett Hartley is unemployed come Monday.

59 - Length of Josh Scobee's game winning kick for the Jaguars to topple the Colts Sunday. (Incidentally, that's also the number of Jags fans in attendance!)

60.2 - Quarterback rating for Donovan McNabb on Sunday. Of course, the number "one" is important too, since it's how many victories he has in Philadelphia.

67 - Games it took Maurice Jones-Drew to get 50 career rushing touchdowns, tied for the 13th fastest in NFL history. Yes, his fantasy owners are wondering why it wasn't somewhere between 64 and 66.

74 - Length of Arian Foster's third quarter touchdown run, which actually may be less important than ZERO, which is the number of carries he got in the first quarter after being benched for a "coach's decision" that made a lot of fantasy owners a whole lot of angry.

145 - Total yards from scrimmage by Charlie Batch as the Steelers lost their first game of the year. I assume everyone still thinks there's some sort of quarterback controversyin Pittsburgh?

158 - How many times Jeff Saturday and Peyton Manning have started a game together, which is the longest in post-merger NFL history. You wouldn't think you could get comfortable with your hands underneath another man's buttocks on a weekly basis, but I suppose after that many times it becomes routine.

165 - Speaking of Peyton, that's how many interception-less passes he'd tossed in a row until the third quarter against the Jaguars.

254 - Yards Steven Jackson needs to catch Eric Dickerson as the St. Louis Rams' all-time leading rusher following a 70-yard performance that helped him pass Marshall Faulk for second on the list and give him 6,991 for his career.

1,419 - Kyle Orton's passing yardage total thru four games of the 2010 season. Only Kurt Warner has a higher number in NFL history. (This is the part where we pause to let you pick up your jaw.)

12,012 - Career receiving yardage for Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, the only tight end in history to cross the 12k barrier. It cannot be understated just how fantastic his career has been and, perhaps more impressively, continues to be .
Posted on: October 3, 2010 12:30 pm

Bob Sanders could miss rest of season

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

On ESPN this morning, Adam Schefter reported Colts S Bob Sanders – out with a biceps injury – might not return until December and might possibly miss the postseason.

Sanders, you’ll recall, injured himself in Indianapolis’ season opener. Assuming he misses the rest of the regular season, he will have played in only 48 of the possible Colts 112 regular-season contests since he entered the league in 2004.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: October 2, 2010 6:13 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2010 1:24 pm

Week 4 injury news & analysis, part III

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Colts at Jaguars

For the Colts, it seems like the entire offense is questionable. But that’s what happens when RB Joseph Addai, RB Donald Brown, WR Pierre Garcon, WR Austin Collie and LT Charlie Johnson are listed at 50-50. Between the five of them, they combined to participate in six practices this week.

If I had to guess, I’d say Garcon won’t play, Collie will, Johnson won’t, Brown won’t and Addai will. Regardless, Indianapolis should have enough to wallop Jacksonville’s 29th-ranked defense.

Jaguars LB Justin Durant (ankle) is out for the second-straight game, and that’s not good news for Jacksonville. S Sean Considine is doubtful, and that means the Colts running game could have a nice day – assuming Addai plays.

UPDATE (9:09 p.m.):
Garcon and Brown have been ruled out.

Texans at Raiders

WR Andre Johnson remains questionable. He didn’t practice at all this week after reaggravating an ankle injury in Week 3 that he originally sustained in Week 2. Johnson is scheduled to take the field for warmups on Sunday, and that’s when his availability will be determined. Without him, the Texans will have a big void in their WR corps.

TE Owen Daniels also is questionable. He practiced Wednesday, but he suffered from a tight hamstring and didn’t work out Thursday or Friday. If he and Johnson don’t play, and assuming Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha takes out either Kevin Walter of Jacoby Jones, who in the heck will Matt Schaub target?

The Raiders have a ridiculous 19 players on their injury report. WRs Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey are questionable, and that’s pretty bad news. Both are starters, and the only other WRs to catch a pass for Oakland this year are Johnnie Lee Higgins and Yamon Figurs. They’ve combined for an impressive three receptions on the season.

The defensive line is also a question mark. DT Richard Seymour and DT John Henderson are 50-50 to play as well.

Redskins at Eagles

It’s hard to analyze the Redskins injury list, because, as coach Mike Shanahan says, he’s not exactly honest about it (there’s a good lesson in fair play there, by the way. You just have to search really, really, really hard for it.). Among those who are listed a questionable are DT Albert Haynesworth, LT Trent Williams, CB DeAngelo Hall and RB Clinton Portis.

Will any of them play? Probably. But because we know Shanahan isn’t truthful with this list, it’s pretty hard to tell.

As for the Eagles, TE Brent Celek and WR Jeremy Maclin are probable to play, so QB Michael Vick will continue to have two of his major targets. G Nick Cole is questionable, but he hasn’t been that great when he’s played, so that’s not a big deal.

Cardinals at Chargers

The Cardinals will miss leading WR Steve Breaston (knee) and WR Early Doucet (groin), both of whom are out for Sunday. Naturally, this makes life tougher for QB Derek Anderson and WR Larry Fitzgerald. After missing practice Thursday, LB Paris Lenon returned Friday, and he’s questionable. If he can play, he’d be a big help to the Arizona defense, considering he’s the squad’s leading tackler.

Chargers LB Larry English is already listed as out, and I expect LB Shawne Merriman (doubtful with a calf) to join him on the bench. The fact San Diego elevated practice squad LB Kion Wilson to the 53-man roster this week likely means Merriman won’t be on the field. After missing last week, RB Ryan Mathews practiced all week and is listed as probable to play. Obviously, that’s good news for the Chargers, who rushed for 89 yards in last week’s loss to Seattle.

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Posted on: October 1, 2010 9:28 am
Edited on: October 1, 2010 2:23 pm

Blackout report for Week 4

Posted by Andy Benoit

The Texans @ Raiders game will be blacked out Sunday. This marks the ninth-straight blackout for the Silver and Black.

The Seahawks @ Rams game is also facing a blackout, despite the Rams coming off a home win against the Redskins.

The Cardinals @ Chargers will be blacked out (fans apparently aren’t eager to see Derek Anderson throwing to Stephen Williams). This is the second blackout in as many home games for San Diego.

The usual blackout suspect – the Jaguars – are NOT blacked out. The Jaguars sold out for the third time this season. They have benefitted from an attractive schedule. Jacksonville welcomed Tim Tebow and the Broncos to town in Week 1. Week 3 offered Michael Vick and the Eagles. This week, Jacksonville fans get to see Peyton Manning and the Colts.

UPDATE (2:22 ET): Rams Rapid Reporter Ron Clements says, thanks to four major corporate sponsors, the Rams have avoided a blackout for this Sunday after all.

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Posted on: September 29, 2010 12:58 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2010 3:26 pm

Report: Brees has strained left MCL

Posted by Will Brinson

The Saints' start to defending their championship has been auspicious at best, even with a 2-1 record. So the report coming out of New Orleans on Wednesday that Drew Brees has a strained left MCL can't be considered "good," and certainly not "well-timed."

According to our Saints Rapid Reporter Larry Holder , WIST-AM in New Orleans is reporting just that, though, "citing a source familiar with the situation."

The station is also reporting that "the plan" is for Brees to play against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, meaning that the reported injury can't be that serious, at least for now.

But the reason to freak out (if one were so inclined) and/or consider this problematic is that Brees is absolutely the key to the Saints success; that's not insider knowledge or anything that's not obvious, clearly.

However, Brees' role with the Saints is similar to Peyton Manning's with the Colts -- if you take him out of the lineup, a potential Super Bowl champion suddenly becomes a middle-of-the-road contender that can easily be exposed.

UPDATE (3:22 p.m.): According to Rapid Reporter Larry Holder, Brees wore a brace on  his knee but that he took every snap in practice today and didn't appear on the injury report. Coach Sean Payton said the knee is sore but there's no specific injury.

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Posted on: September 27, 2010 4:10 am
Edited on: September 27, 2010 2:33 pm

10 Sunday stories deserving your attention Wk 3

Posted by Andy Benoit

1.) Cowboys justify the hype

It’s disappointing not to have two weeks of Wade Phillips Hot Seat chatter to look forward to. (What can you say? The guy is fun to dump on.) But at least we have reason to believe the Cowboys will be in the thick of the NFC East race now. Even if you’re not a fan of America’s Team (and Mexico’s Team), you have to admit, because their NFL-high five primetime games left (counting Thanksgiving), football is more exciting with the Cowboys being relevant.

Dallas’ 13-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter against Houston – capped by a Marion Barber one-yard touchdown burst – was the type of drive that turns a season around. It was also a microcosm of Sunday’s game. On the drive, Tony Romo completed three different third downs of nine yards or longer. He bought himself time in the pocket and worked deep into his progressions on several throws, hitting four different receivers on the drive, including Roy Williams three times. T. Romo (US Presswire)

We should probably give Williams a week off from his whipping boy duties. The former Texas Longhorn was tremendous in catching a game-high five passes for 117 yards and two scores. Williams consistently won battles at the line of scrimmage, and he showed commendable fluidity making catches on the move. The key was that Jason Garrett played to Williams’ strengths by asking him to run straight-line patterns, as opposed to direction-changing routes.

The Cowboy defense was equally impressive. DeMarcus Ware posted three sacks, and it wasn’t simply a case of him feasting on backup left tackle Rashad Butler (Butler actually wasn’t bad this game). Ware benefitted from having excellent man coverage behind him.

As glad as we all should be to see the Cowboys avoid the irrelevance that generally awaits an 0-3 team, let’s hope Jerry Jones’ men don’t turn in too many more performances like this. Otherwise, we’ll once again get the nonstop reminders that the Super Bowl is in Cowboys Stadium this year, and that Jones REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wants to have the first true home field advantage in the game’s history.

2.) Hold your horses, Texans fans

On Houston’s side of things, that secondary that gave up over 400 yards passing to both the Colts and Redskins – you know, the secondary we all conveniently overlooked these past two weeks while hastily editing our preseason picks and branding Gary Kubiak’s club as the breakout club of 2010? – is officially porous.

Romo, in completing 23 of 30 passes for 284 yards, exposed Houston’s flaws at cornerback. First-round rookie Kareem Jackson struggles early in coverage. If it’s zone, Jackson’s not always sure how long to carry the receiver. If it’s man, he doesn’t always deliver an effective jam (no rhyme intended). Opposite Jackson, second-year pro Brice McCain had trouble when Cowboy receivers redirected late in their route.

Both young corners have the talent to improve. It’d help if safeties Eugene Wilson and Bernard Pollard – especially Pollard – flashed the same big-play prowess they flashed late last season. And it would also help if superstar Mario Williams (and “superstar” is not an appellation to be used lightly) broke his habit of vanishing every few weeks. Williams was a nonfactor this game despite facing single blocking most of the afternoon.

3.) Saints get marched on

No need for a “What’s wrong with the Saints?” piece – it’s just one loss. And let’s refrain from chalking up the home loss to the absence of Reggie Bush. Heck, we talked in the Week 2 Preview Podcast about how whenever Bush goes down, Lance Moore steps up. Sunday, the unheralded fifth-year veteran caught six balls for 149 yards and two touchdowns. He also set up a first quarter touchdown by returning a punt 72 yards. M. Turner (US Presswire)

The Saints still lost, of course. Why? The Falcons’ rushing attack. Michael Turner, Jason Snelling and lead-blocking fullback Ovie Mughelli confirmed what we already knew: the way to beat the good-but-certainly-not-great New Orleans defensive front seven is to run right at it. Not only does a power run game keep Drew Brees off the field while allowing a team to control tempo and tone, but it also minimizes the creativity and aggressiveness of Gregg Williams’ blitzes. This brings to mind that brilliant Mike Tyson axiom (and yes, those last four words really did just show up in that order): everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth. The Saints defense is crafty…until it gets hit in the mouth.

The Falcons hit the Saints in the mouth in the form of 50 runs for 202 yards Sunday. Turner, looking every bit like the 244-pound bowling ball he is, ran 30 times for 114 yards. Snelling, a more upright runner with comparable downhill power, had 14 carries for 62 yards. And Mughelli – well, he basically punched his ticket to Hawaii simply because he is a fullback and his name has now been mentioned twice on a mainstream website.

One last note: Falcons head coach Mike Smith went for it three times on fourth down, including twice on fourth-and-two in a first-half series. The Falcons reached the end zone after being successful on both of those fourth-and-two attempts. They later failed on a fourth-and-six inside the final four minutes of regulation, and the Saints promptly capitalized on by matriculating downfield for a game-tying field goal. But credit Smith for sticking to his plan and playing to win.

4.) Killer kickers

Those of us who shrewdly picked the Falcons to be serious contenders in the NFC South this year (and there actually wound up being quite a few of us) can thank Saints kicker Garrett Hartley for those satisfying feelings of smugness we’re all enjoying. Hartley badly missed a 29-yard field goal in overtime (actually, no need to say “badly missed” – the only way to miss from 29 yards is “badly”), prompting Sean Payton and the front office to schedule a tryout for kickers on Monday.

A kicker tryout? That’s like the Saints and Hartley dating for three years, getting into a fight and the Saints deciding to go home with a stripper the same night. The Saints will regret acting on their anger in the morning.

Hartley is the same kicker who booted three 40-plus-yard field goals in Super Bowl XLIV (by the way, let’s lose the Roman Numerals on the Super Bowls now – they’re a pain to decipher). He’s the same kicker who nailed a 40-yard game-winner in the NFC Championship two weeks before that. Oh, and he’s also the same kicker who booted the game winner just last week at San Francisco!

Yes, Hartley is 4/7 on the season. But do three misses in the regular season really trump four huge makes in the postseason? Besides, the only kickers out there who are any good are Dave Rayner and Kris Brown, and they’re out there only because, lately, they’ve gotten quite good at doing what Hartley just did against the Falcons.

Hartley wasn’t even the worst kicker in football Sunday. That distinction went to Oakland’s $16 million man, Sebastian Janikowski. The Polish Whatever His Nickname Is These Days missed three field goals in the Raiders loss at Arizona, including the would-be game-winner from 32 yards. If Janikowski weren’t an Al Davis favorite, the Raiders would be competing with the Saints for bum kickers to bring in. You just hope Janikowski’s awful day doesn’t stay with him and create a Mike Vanderjagt-like fall from grace.

5.) The lost fumble that’s not a turnover

One more note from the Saints-Falcons game, then we’ll move on. In the third quarter, the Saints gave the ball to backup running back Chris Ivory on a fourth-and-one play. Ivory fumbled and Atlanta recovered. The play goes in the books as a turnover. But it shouldn’t.

Technically, there was no turnover of possession by the fumble because the play yielded the same result as if Ivory had been held short of the first down (which, by the way, he would have been if he’d held onto the ball). The point of the turnover statistic is to reflect sudden changes in possession. This was not a sudden change of possession.

An interception or lost fumble on fourth down or on the final play of a half should not be classified as a turnover. Just like we don’t classify red-zone field goals as red-zone scores.
This, coincidentally (or not), is a perfect segue to…

6.) The Denver Broncos

Have we ever seen a team play as well on offense as the Broncos did Sunday and score only 13 points? It’s amazing what zero touchdowns on five red zone trips will do to a bottom line. The Broncos racked up 519 yards, including 476 passing from Kyle Orton. Remarkably, Orton did not set a franchise record for single game passing yards. Even more remarkable is that the man who holds that record is not named John Elway. (Jake Plummer has the mark at 499.)

There are two ways to look at the Broncos after Week 3. K. Orton (US Presswire)

One: Josh McDaniels has an ingenious system and four excellent receivers to execute it (a willowy, speedy, budding star in first-round rookie Demaryius Thomas, a silky smooth role player in Jabar Gaffney, a shifty underneath threat in Eddie Royal and a highlight reel wizard in Brandon Lloyd, who leads the NFL with six catches of 25-plus yards this season). The Broncos showed they can dominate with this system and talent – they just need to do a better job at finishing drives.

Or, two: the Broncos just played a team that doesn’t mind letting the Denver skill position players “get theirs” because that team knows it can stop this offense when it counts. Of the two scenarios, the second is most likely. Recall that Indy gladly let Brandon Marshall catch 21 passes for 200 yards against them last season. In that game, they still held the Broncos to 16 points.

The Broncos talk about how they accept the fact that Peyton Manning will move the ball up and down the field, and how if they can just bog down in the red zone, they have a serious chance to win. What they don’t realize is that the Colts take the exact same approach to them. The only difference is, the Colts succeed.

Denver does have plenty to be excited about offensively, though. Their front line, despite starting two rookies and untested first-year guard Stanley Daniels, kept the Colts pass-rush in check. (Left tackle Ryan Clady was particularly good against Dwight Freeney.) And Orton’s arm looks stronger than it did last season.
But it doesn’t matter in this matchup as long as Manning is on the other side. He loves facing the man coverage scheme of the Broncos, mainly because he’s willing to let Champ Bailey win against Reggie Wayne in order to exploit mismatches elsewhere. Sunday, Manning found Austin Collie 12 times for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

He also hit practice squad call-up Blair White (most predictable, yet still agreeable, nickname ever: The Blair White Project) for a score.
In case you didn’t know, appearance-wise, White lives up to his last name. And, chances are, you already know what the BYU grad Collie looks like. This begs the question: before today, had any quarterback in NFL history ever thrown touchdown passes to two different white wide receivers in the same game?

7.) Drunk driving = superstar status

Is it just me, or did the mainstream media – and especially NBC during the Sunday night telecast – propel Braylon Edwards into superstar status this week? Last I checked, Edwards is a gifted receiver who often runs slipshod routes and, at times, seemingly plays with oven mitts on. That makes him not a superstar but, at best, a solid No. 1.

But you would have thought the man was Jerry Rice 2.0 the way everyone played up the story of his one quarter suspension. Too bad Edwards couldn’t have gotten busted during the offseason or in a smaller market. That would have made his DUI more forgivable, right?)

Of course, in the end, Edwards was a difference-maker against the Dolphins (two catches, 87 yards and a touchdown, plus sensational run-blocking). So maybe the hype was worth it. The most damning part about this whole ordeal for the NFL is that the Jets are right when they point out that players that have gotten a DUI on other teams have not been disciplined at all. Edwards’ de facto one-quarter suspension was a first.

But why did the Jets announce the one quarter plan before the game? They should have told the players and then kept it quiet. The media would have speculated, sure, but by then, the game would have already been going on. Thus, there would have been no distraction. Instead, the one quarter plan was announced, which is why the Dolphins wisely deferred to the second half after winning the coin toss (they knew that this likely meant one more possession for Edwards to miss).

There has, at least, been some good that has come from this whole mess: Edwards, knowing his image needs serious repair and that the NBC cameras would be all over him, finally shaved his hideous beard.

8.) Who the Hillis?
P. Hillis (US Presswire)
It came in a losing effort, but how about the game Browns running back Peyton Hillis had against the Ravens? The former Broncos fullback who has somehow crept into Cleveland’s starting tailback position carried the ball 22 times for 144 yards and a touchdown against the staunch Ravens D. he also added 36 yards receiving.

The Browns front five dominated a Ravens front seven that came out looking like a group that was thinking about the Steelers (next week, CBS, 1:00). Hillis is a mechanical, if not choppy, runner, but he’s an absolute battering ram once he establishes downhill momentum.

9.) Okay, let’s start learning more of the Chiefs players

The Chiefs are 3-0. Their most recent win was a blowout of a disoriented 49ers club that, on Sunday, showed serious signs of the Tin Man Syndrome. Still, the win legitimized this rising young Kansas City squad enough to warrant a “get to know their names” feature. Disclaimer: this positive attention isn’t to suggest that the Chiefs are a playoff contender – it’s still very, very early. But it is positive attention nonetheless.

So, who to learn about? You already know Matt Cassel is a caretaker being paid like a superstar. You already know Jamaal Charles is an uncommon home-run threat. You already know Dwayne Bowe is a talented wideout who occasionally lands in Todd Haley’s doghouse. You already know Dexter McCluster is Percy Harvin Sans Migraines. You already know Glenn Dorsey is a former first-round pick who could finally be coming to life as a 3-4 defensive end. You already know that the same goes for Derrick Johnson at inside linebacker.
Okay then, here are two more names to add to the file (we’ll see how this week goes and, if necessary, add even more names down the road).

Tony Moeaki, tight end. The third-round rookie out of Iowa has the strong yet supple frame that coaches covet in a “big, athletic tight end”. He also has long arms and soft hands, which has allowed him to snatch a team-high 12 passes and two touchdowns on the season.

Brandon Flowers, cornerback. The third-year starter is close to being described as the “third-year sensation”. Flowers intercepted a pass for a second straight week Sunday (he ran last week’s pick back for six points). More impressive has been his shutdown ability, which he started to flash in 2009.

10.) Quick Hits

Unable to decide on a final story to create a nice round 10, I’m going to take the easy way out and drop in here some one-liner observations from all the other games.

***Patriots inside linebacker Jerod Mayo looked extremely fast against the Bills, particularly in closing on the ball. Looks like he’s regained his ’08 form.

***Charlie Batch’s pocket presence was close to flawless against the Bucs.

***Jimmy Clausen looked every bit like the unprepared rookie that he is. This isn’t meant as a harsh criticism of the Golden Domer. In just about any other situation, Clausen would still be learning from the bench. But the Panthers realize they have next to no chance with Matt Moore. So, Clausen, fairly or unfairly, is forced to play. He consistently held the ball too long against the Bengals Sunday. That was the crux of his problem. It will be interesting to see how much quicker he can get by next week. (If it’s not dramatically quicker, Carolina is in trouble.)

***It’s strange to see Redskins defensive lineman Lorenzo Alexander lining up at outside linebacker, though he wasn’t too bad in this role against the Rams.

***The Seahawks won because they got two kickoff return touchdowns from Leon Washington. Great comeback story, but this is the exact type of game we shouldn’t read too much into. San Diego must get better in special teams coverage; Seattle is dangerous at home. Both true statements. A third true statement: anyone who thinks the Seahawks are better than the Chargers is crazy.

***With Donovan McNabb headed back to Philly in Week 4, I figured you’ll be glad for a break from Eagles quarterback stories this week. Thus, I won’t acknowledge Michael Vick’s magnificent performance in Jacksonville. (Oops.)

***Nnamdi Asomugha won the matchup against Larry Fitzgerald Sunday (two catches, 26 yards), though Asomugha may have gotten some help from Derek Anderson.

***Bears fans, sorry I couldn’t irritate you this week, but your team didn’t play Sunday.

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Posted on: September 25, 2010 3:29 pm

Week 3 injury news & analysis III

Posted by Andy Benoit

Cowboys @ Texans

Andre Johnson will play despite battling an ankle injury during the week. Until E Antonio Smith came down with an illness Saturday afternoon, Johnson was the only Texan listed as questionable – everyone else is no worse than probable.

The Cowboys are almost equally as healthy. Starting fullback Deon Anderson is out (knee) and special teamer/nickel linebacker Sean Lee is questionable with a hamstring. Other than that, this is full strength against full strength. (Not counting, of course, suspended Texans Duane Brown and Brian Cushing).

49ers @ Chiefs

Center Eric Heitmann is still not back from his broken fibula suffered in August, though from the sound of things, he’s making progress. Ted Ginn is doubtful with a knee, which means the responsibilities of muffing punts could fall to sixth-round rookie Kyle Williams. (Phillip Adams had a chance last week against the Saints, but he muffed a punt late, resulting in a crucial turnover. At this point, Mike Singletary would give his right eye in exchange for a reliable return artist.)

Chiefs starting DE Tyson Jackson is doubtful (knee). Jackson is a young, high-drafted starter, but the defense can survive without him. In fact, backup Shaun Smith is the more natural 3-4 end. Smith lacks stamina, though, so expect Wallace Gilberry (who, by the way, is probable with a sore back) to see plenty of snaps.

Ryan O’Callaghan has been out since late August with a groin injury. Thus, sixth-round rookie Barry Richardson will continue to start at right tackle.

Eagles @ Jaguars

No one is listed as anything worse than probable for the Eagles this week – including Week 1’s concussion victims, MLB Stewart Bradley and QB Kevin Kolb. (By the way, did you hear that Andy Reid is going to start Michael Vick ahead of Kolb!!!?!!C. Bailey (US Presswire)!???!!?)

The Jaguars will be without athletic linebacker Justin Durant (ankle). Durant will be replaced by versatile second-year pro Russell Allen, who is actually the team’s best linebacker (Allen was Jacksonville’s most consistent downhill attacker against the run last year).

The Jags are already thin at safety, which is why coaches should be nervous about Anthony Smith’s foot (questionable).

Colts @ Broncos

It’s always hard to read a Colts injury report, as president Bill Polian loves to obfuscate the truth as much as possible. (Polian is playing well within the rules when he does, too.)

Six players are questionable, including DT Eric Foster (knee), WR Pierre Garcon (hamstring), OT Charlie Johnson (foot), LB Clint Session (hamstring) and RB Joseph Addai (knee). Of the bunch, only Addai had full participation in practice. Johnson has been playing with a bad foot all season, so he can be expected to go. The Colts have plenty of depth to replace Garcon and Session.

Denver’s injury situation is far more precarious. Knowshon Moreno is already out after injuring his hamstring in practice. (This is not the same hamstring that kept him out during the preseason). Correll Buckhalter will start. We could also see Laurence Maroney, though he’s listed as probable with a thigh. Adding to the challenge in the run game is the fact that RT Ryan Harris still hasn’t recovered from his preseason ankle injury and RG Chris Kuper is questionable with a bum knee.

Cornerbacks Champ Bailey (foot) and Andre Goodman (thigh) were limited in practice, which isn’t ideal when facing the Colt offense. But both corners are expected to play Sunday.

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Posted on: September 22, 2010 8:18 pm

Just another sample of why Manning is the best

Posted by Andy Benoit

There are certain subtle elements that factor into NFL game preparations that fans and outsiders alike often never think of. In his Wednesday chat with the media, Peyton Manning pointed out one of these things when talking about getting ready to face the Denver Broncos this Sunday.P. Manning

“They have a new defensive coordinator (Don Martindale), so it will be the second week in a row of playing somewhat of an unfamiliar defense because it’s a new scheme,” Manning said. “[They have] a lot of the same players from last year, but a new scheme. You never quite know how a team is going to play against you this early in the season, so there is a lot of unknown there.”

Many NFL observers don’t even think of the Broncos’ scheme as being new. After all, it’s still a 3-4, which is what Mike Nolan ran as Denver’s defensive coordinator last season. And Martindale was the linebacker coach under Nolan. But when you see the game the way Manning sees the game, these things make all the difference.

Manning is voracious in his film study. His sample on Martindale film includes only two regular season contests.

Still, you probably don’t want to sit Manning this week if he’s your fantasy quarterback.

(P.S. How is it that Peyton Manning has not had his headshot updated in, what, like eight years?)

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com