RotoWire Injury Report
RotoWire Injury Expert
The NFL season gets underway in my town of Indianapolis on Thursday with all the fanfare and Kelly Clarkson that anyone could stand. A dream matchup of Peyton Manning against Reggie Bush is touted, but we know they'll never be on the field together. Still, it's the closest the NFL can come to Opening Day. Quietly though, the toxic happenstance of the signature scandal has entered the picture, first with Rodney Harrison and then, surprisingly enough, with a coach and former player, Wade Wilson. This is just the start of this problem, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell faces another challenge early in his stewardship. He's done well so far, and his early marks on this are solid, though he's going to have to do more in the way of education and prevention... In any event, with two days to kickoff, let's get to it ...
Randy Moss is learning the Pats way. Normally a loquacious fellow on any topic, Moss knew he wasn't supposed to discuss the particulars of his hamstring with the press. Coach Bill Belichick would be proud as even after the first official injury report comes out, we won't really know. We can expect that Moss will play, but be limited. If you think of him as the third or even fourth receiver, it's probably the right way to do it. That means that if you have a better option, you play it. That's why you have draft for roster depth. Moss could still put up points - he's got so much reach in the red zone - but his doughnut risk is pretty high. The Pats also shocked people by placing Richard Seymour on the PUP list. Seymour hasn't fully recovered from offseason knee surgery, and the Pats made the conservative play. For top offenses like the Bengals and Chargers who face the Pats in the six weeks that Seymour will miss, that's good news.
Kevin Jones, unlike Seymour, stayed off the PUP. The reason? He's not going to need the full six weeks to be full-go and worse, the PUP would have kept him from practicing. The Lions elected to keep him on the roster and play a man short, essentially. Though after seeing Jones cutting and running in Monday's practice, one observer thinks that he could be in the mix. "He's ready," my source told me, "but so is [Tatum] Bell." Jones figures to be no more than a change of pace back in the first few weeks, absent a big problem for Bell, but he should be stashed on your bench regardless.
Terry Glenn (knee) isn't quite back to 100 percent, meaning that Terrell Owens (hamstring), who's not quite 100 percent himself, but closer, and Patrick Crayton are likely to get most of the targets for the new-look Cowboys. Glenn should get action, but temper your expectations for Week 1.
I've had a lot of questions about A.J. Feeley. Coming back from a broken hand, the appropriate answer to most of these questions is "why ask?" Unless Donovan McNabb collapses - not likely - in the first couple weeks, Kevin Kolb will take over, rendering Feeley a fantasy pick only in 32-team leagues that draft 20 rounds or so. The more important question for the Eagles is whether Donovan McNabb and L.J. Smith are ready. Smith shouldn't have much problem by Sunday with his groin strain, meaning he'll be there for McNabb. McNabb on the other hand faces a tough matchup. He's not looked fully mobile, which is more a problem of confidence than the health of his knee. With the Packers rush coming at him, he's either going to get mobile quickly, Richard Pryor style or he'll lock down and take the sack. Preseason play did show me that McNabb should be able physically able if the confidence is there.
The Packers head into Week 1 with a number of questions. Donald Driver got back to practice, but remains limited by his injured foot. He's far from 100 percent and in all likelihood, even if he starts, he's not going to be the No. 1 target on Sunday. Moreover, Brett Favre knows that Driver's not going to be able to make the cuts or have the speed, so look for Favre target Greg Jennings -- which in turn could expose the injury-prone Jennings to more bumps and bruises. The guy who could come out well in this is the speedy James Jones, someone who could put up big YAC after every "C" he makes. More targets equals more yards, making him a sleeper for most leagues. In the backfield, both Brandon Jackson and Vernand Morency are banged up but ready. Jackson's likely to get the bulk of the work early on, but that could change at any point. One key to watch for is which picks up blitzes better for an early edge.
Selvin Young is this year's Mike Bell. Unfortunately, Mike Bell is still in Denver, though a hip problem has shunted him to third on the depth chart. So if you're one of those masochists that likes casting lots to divine what Mike Shanahan will do each week, Young is the guy you'll want to try and steal in the late rounds of a draft. Travis Henry is healthy, by the way, and unless that changes, neither Young nor Bell stands to get much work early on.
Remember Dallas Clark? Injured his knee, and it looked like the season was lost, but then a couple weeks later he was catching passes in the rain at the Super Bowl? Ok, it's not that kind of storybook ending for Greg Olsen, but physically, it's much the same. "His strength saved him," my source told me. "Most guys would have shredded their ACL, but his was so strong that it wasn't much of a sprain at all." Olsen looks to be out for about three weeks, though the Bears could be more conservative with him given their depth at the position. If you made Olsen a late round pick, you still could get a payoff.
Bumps and Bruises: Mark Brunell back to the Jags? Yeah, that could happen quickly, given the pick value set for Trent Green ... Jason Campbell is one guy who, as of now, has no limitations going into Week 1. His knee is 100%. Frank Gore is another guy who's shown no ill effects from his preseason injury ... Ok, there are a lot of guys who bear saying "he's ok!" Add in Clinton Portis, Shayne Graham, and LenDale White.
Article first appeared 9/4/07