Tag:Dexter McCluster
Posted on: December 5, 2011 2:20 am
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 13

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 13 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.

 

1. Tebowtainment

Before diving into another Tim Tebow victory -- this time a 35-32 squeaker on the road in Minnesota -- let's go ahead and get you ready for the upcoming week of screaming talking head mania by offering up the Official Tebow Haters Stat Du Jour: opponent's victories!

As people will tell you over the next seven days, Denver's last five victories came against five teams five teams with a combined 25 victories. (Don't think I'm defending that, just know that I'm preparing you for it.)

You know why people are going to focus on that, as well as the Vikings two-win season and a miserable Minnesota secondary?

Because Tebow just won a game by being a -- gasp! -- traditional passer. Tebow went 10 of 15 for 202 yards and two touchdowns and only rushed the ball four times, one of which was was a lateral kneel to set up the game-winning field goal.

The result of Sunday's win is the most improbable of improbable situations: Denver being the favorite to land the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs. With "just" the Bears, Patriots, Bills and Chiefs remaining on the schedule, Denver's in a better position than Oakland (losers Sunday, with the Packers, Lions, Chiefs and Chargers remaining) to make the postseason.

And if you're a Tebow hater, you better get your block button on Twitter ready, because things are about to get hairy when they get there. On the other hand, if you're a Tebow hater, what's your beef with a team that utilizes an opportunistic defense, a run-based offense that doesn't make mistakes and a quarterback who may or may not have mystical powers to win games?

I understand that people have to argue about something during the week, but are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?

2. You Just Iced Yourself, Bro

On Sunday, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett took clock mismanagement to an entirely new level in Dallas' 19-13 loss to Arizona in overtime.

First off, Garrett iced his own kicker. Icing an opponent's kicker is a foolhardy move, because it really doesn't work all that well in the first place. But icing your own kicker? That's the stuff that Jim Mora rants -- and knee-jerk firings -- are made of.

Somehow, though, Garrett's ridiculous decision wasn't his worst move of the Cowboys loss. With over a minute remaining, Dallas facing a second and 20 and holding two timeouts, Tony Romo took the snap and completed a pass to Dez Bryant for nine yards. 30 seconds later, Romo took another snap and hit Bryant for 15 yards and a first down, then spiked the ball with eight seconds remaining on the clock.

No timeouts used, 53 seconds burnt and the Cowboys still needing Dan Bailey to kick a 49-yard field goal. Cue up icing of Bailey, and cue up a Kevin Kolb-led game-winning drive for the Cardinals in their first possession in overtime.

There's no need to dive into the hyperbole-filled world of "worst clock management ever," but suffice to say Wade Phillips is laughing his jolly ass off somewhere right now.

3. Yes We Cam ... But Maybe We Shouldn't

Sunday -- a 38-19 win for Carolina over Tampa Bay -- was a big day for Cam Newton. The Panthers won. (It's the most important thing, haven't you heard?) Newton won his first division game. Newton picked up his first winning "streak." And the rookie phenom had, arguably, his best game as a professional quarterback.

Newton went 12 of 21 for and only threw for 204 yards, but he had one touchdown through the air, no turnovers and managed 54 rushing yards on 13 carries and three rushing touchdowns.

That total, by the by, means Newton now holds the single-season rookie record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 13, leaving poor Steve Grogan with no other real historical notation to his name.

Here's the crazy thing though: Newton's just five touchdowns short of Eric Dickerson's record for rushing touchdowns in a season by any rookie. With four games to go, 18 or 19 is well within his sights.

Should it be, though? I say no, and that's coming from someone who's a conductor on the CamWagon and a Newton fantasy owner. Here's why: Newton hasn't learned how to avoid contact yet. He's getting a little better about avoiding shots, but watching him go into a headfirst horizontal spin has to make Jerry Richardson's heart skip a couple of beats.

On a day when you win by 19 points against a terrible rushing defense like Tampa's, especially when they don't have their starting quarterback, there's no reason why Newton has three more carries than DeAngelo Williams, who got $43 million this offseason.

Watching Cam break Dickerson's record would be fun, but not as fun as watching Cam stay healthy over the next decade.

4. Defining Swagger

For the first few weeks of the season, I'm pretty confident I pumped a lot of words in this space in the direction of the Detroit Lions because of their new-found attitude under coach Jim Schwartz.

A "swagger," if you will. Well, it's backfiring, and backfiring badly. Sunday was a perfect example, as the Lions piled up well over 100 yards in penalties -- most of them incredibly stupid and chippy -- during their 31-17 loss to New Orleans.

Schwartz and Gunther Cunningham preach a hard-nose brand of football, and that's great for a Lions team that's been pushed around and publicly mocked for more than a decade because of futility in every aspect.

But you can't give away games by trying to be tough. The Lions, for the first time in a looooong time, are in the middle of a playoff race, and other contenders (the Giants, the Bears, the Falcons, the Cowboys) are imploding all around them.

Did they learn nothing from Ndamukong Suh getting suspended for ridiculously dumb and violent on-field actions? Just go out and be tough without being dumb.

Having swagger doesn't mean having to be stupid.


5. Hibernation Time

Say what you will about Caleb Hanie, but the Bears had a shot at the playoffs even with Jay Cutler out. But after Matt Forte sprained his MCL in Sunday's 10-3 loss to Kansas City, that pipedream just went down the tube.

Hanie was 11 of 24 for 133 yards and three picks, Marion Barber carried the rock 14 times for 44 yards and anyone watching the game knew that it was going to take a Bears defensive touchdown to win that game.

The Bears got burnt because Kansas City hit a Hail Mary to Dexter McCluster at the end of the half, and as pointed out last week, Romeo Crennel really does deserve some love for the defensive schemes he's cooking up these days, but this is a Chicago team that looked like a legit Super Bowl contender just three weeks ago.

Since then, they've been absolutely snakebit with injuries to stars, and even if they're still technically "in" the NFC playoffs as of today, is that defense really going to shut out three of the next four opponents?

Or, put more a little succinctly: Chicago just lost to Tyler Palko. Goodnight, sweet Bears.

6. Next Man Up

Speaking of injuries to key players, can we go ahead and get love for the work Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips are doing in Houston?

Because as soft as the Texans schedule is, Kubes somehow managed to shock the world (well, some of us) by beating Atlanta 17-10 despite having T.J. Yates under center.

But what's new, right? The Texans, as Clark Judge noted on Sunday from Houston, have won without every single one of their stars and it's not just because this team gets to beat up on the cupcakes of the AFC South.

It's because they've got established a quality of depth on this team that allows them to succeed despite potentially debilitating injuries to critical players.

"Because we have a defense that's playing well," Arian Foster said after the game. "We have receivers that can make plays. [We have] a solid offensive line. We have running backs who can make plays. We have weapons around him to help [Yates]."

This steady diet of consistency and quality of depth is precisely why Houston hasn't -- and won't -- collapse under the weight of a run to the playoffs this year.


7. Rookie Wall

The BCS laid a couple of stinkbombs on Sunday that would actually make Jim Caldwell cringe, but the most important thing for us NFL types is that the college season is now over. Not because we want it to end, but now's a good measuring stick of the rookie wall.

The last time Andy Dalton, leading a surprising Bengals playoff run, played a game after the first weekend of December, it was probably on a month's worth of rest, because of the bowl system.

This year, Dalton gets four games in that stretch, with about six days in between each one.

And though the Red Rifle wasn't awful during Sunday's 35-7 loss to Pittsburgh, he was banged up and beat down enough that Bruce Gradkowski came in for mop-up duty.

As noted above, I'm all for keeping rookies safe. But there's got to be some concern that Dalton's entering an unknown area in terms of wear and tear on his body and mind.

It probably won't help that he gets a pair of elite defenses -- Baltimore and Houston -- over the next few weeks either.

8. Please Don't Punch the Zebras

Twice on Sunday we saw players -- Da'Quan Bowers of the Buccaneers and Brandon Pettigrew of the Lions -- make what could at best be called "incidental" contact with referees on the field.

Both Bowers and Pettigrew were involved in scuffles on the field and neither was going after the official, but when they were being pulled away from whatever mini-ruckus was taking place, both struck the official.

That's a 15-yard penalty and it should be an ejection. Only Pettigrew was flagged and neither was ejected. (Oddly, when Bowers lashed out, Brian Price was booted to the locker room by coach Raheem Morris.)

It's not an epidemic running around, but with some of the non-calls we've seen on violent plays this year, it's a little disappointing that the guys in stripes aren't making more of a concerted effort to look out for their own safety.

Expect fines for both guys, particularly if the league wants to ensure players aren't taking aggressive contact with the officials on the field of play.

9. Save Our Sparanos

My man Pete Prisco already broke down the odiferous nature of Oakland's 34-14 stinkbomb in Miami on Sunday, but there's something else at play here: is Tony Sparano saving his job?

Because the Dolphins are suddenly riding a hot streak (they've won four of their last five) that seemed impossible after an 0-7 start to the season. Not only are they no longer the worst team in the NFL, they might not even be the worst team in their division, what with the 5-7 Bills racing them back to the bottom.

Matt Moore looks like Matt Moore looked when Matt Moore was helping the Panthers win meaningless games late in 2009, and Reggie Bush looks like Reggie Bush looked when ... well, Reggie Bush hasn't ever looked like this. But he looks good.

The defense is stifling teams (I don't care how many starters the Raiders were missing), and Miami's got three winnable games on their schedule remaining, as they play the Eagles and Jets at home and the Bills on the road.

If Sparano gets this team to 7-9 by winning seven of their last nine, it really seems inconceivable that Stephen Ross could can him.

10. Utah, Gimme Two

If you're listening to the podcast -- and why aren't you listening and/or subscribing -- you probably heard us rant on the ridiculous nature of two-point conversion usage in football.

And if you're not listening, here's a synopsis: people are doing it wrong. A great example occurred during the Packers-Giants game on Sunday (eventually won by Green Bay 38-35). With 3:35 remaining, the Packers held a one-point lead when Aaron Rodgers hit Donald Driver for a ridiculous touchdown grab.

Up seven points, the Packers had two choices. One, kick the extra point (and go up eight). Or two, go for two and have roughly a 50-percent chance (the conversion rate for two-point conversions) of going up nine points.

An unsuccessful conversion would simply mean the Giants needed to go down and score a touchdown, same as before, except without having to score a two-point conversion afterward. (Same odds apply here for the Giants getting theirs, obviously.)

A successful two-point conversion, however, would put the Packers up nine points, which means the Giants would need to go down, score a touchdown, kick an extra point, recover an onsides kick and then get in range to kick a long field goal. The odds of this happening are a) much worse than the Giants scoring and getting a two-point conversion; or b) much, much, much lower than a coin flip.

For whatever reason, coaches -- and most fans -- don't understand the tremendous advantage being up two possessions present, as opposed to simply being up eight points. The reward (basically ending the game) substantially outweighs the risk (a tie ballgame), however.

Muffed Punts

Leftovers from Sunday's Action ...
... The Packers tied the second-longest winning streak in NFL history, and are just three shy of the 03-04 Patriots, who won 21 straight.
... Frank Gore passed Joe Perry as the 49ers all-time leading rusher, on a day when San Francisco clinched the division.
... Drew Brees became the first player in NFL history to record 4,000 passing yards in his team's first 12 games.
... Jimmy Graham became the first Saints tight end in history to top 1,000 yards receiving in a season.
... Hines Ward became the 19th player in NFL history with 12,000 receiving yards in his career Sunday.

Worth 1,000 Words


GIF O' THE WEEK

A combo GIF this week! Via SBNation, first we have Hakeem Nicks showing the world how to do the not-so-sissy strut:



And then Nicks following that dance up by doing ... this:


Hot Seat Tracker

  • Steve Spagnuolo -- On the bright side, there might be an opening for a defensive coordinator in Philly ...
  • Jim Caldwell -- You can't not fire your coach if he goes 0-16, right?
  • Andy Reid --  I still don't buy that Philly dumps him, but his seat is warm for sure.
  • Raheem Morris -- Losing to the Panthers, even without Josh Freeman, isn't helping Morris.
  • Norv Turner -- He can get off this list with a playoff berth. So, yeah, um, yeah.

MVP Watch

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers continued their pursuit of perfection, but for the first time all season, Rodgers didn't look totally ridiculously amazing. He was still really good, though. And no one was that much better -- Tom Brady's got a case building, I suppose, but Rodgers is winning in a walkaway, barring something silly happening over the next four weeks.
Posted on: January 9, 2011 4:50 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2011 5:11 pm
 

Despite blowout, future's still bright for Chiefs

Posted by Will Brinson

It probably isn't fun to be a Chiefs fan right now, following Baltimore beating Kansas City down 30-7 in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

KC hung with a more talented team for the first half of what looked like a great game and then got totally dominated by the Ravens in the second half. The Chiefs sputtered offensively (Matt Cassel's three interceptions all came after halftime), they abandoned their gameplan (Jamaal Charles didn't touch the ball after the 9:45 mark in third quarter), they made critical mistakes (Dexter McCluster's fumble in the red zone on 3rd and 26, the offsides as the Ravens were punting on 4th and 3 with the game still within reach, the call to pitch outside on fourth-and-one, etc.) and they generally shot themselves in the foot. Repeatedly.

Even "The Tuck Rule" -- it apparently follows anyone who's played for the Patriots throughout their career, right? -- and an inspiring red-zone defensive effort couldn't save Kansas City from the steamroller that came out of Baltimore's locker room in the second half.



But here's the good news: 2010 was a tremendous success for Kansas City even without the team's first playoff since 1994, and that's a lesson that shouldn't be forgotten.

Here's some better news: this is a Chiefs team that appears set to contend in the AFC West for some time based primarily on a youthful core of potential superstars.

People will complain about Todd Haley's decision-making and ego, but that comes with the territory of being a brash NFL head coach who goes for it on fourth down a lot. (What doesn't come with the territory, even if you're Bill Belichick, is not having people question the decision; see above.)

But this is a team with budding stars at the skill positions -- Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Tony Moeaki and Matt Cassel provide a potent core that'll trouble AFC West defensive coordinators for what could be a decade depending on management decisions. Toss Dexter McCluster in that mix as an all-purpose home-run threat who also can decimate opponents in the special teams game and there's no reason for this team to lose its explosiveness even when Charlie Weis takes his talents to Gainesville.

On the defensive end of things, Eric Berry is the next great NFL safety (ignore the times he's been torched deep this season, because that's just being a rookie), Tambi Hali is a 2010 Pro Bowl snub that should find his way to Hawaii next year and Glenn Dorsey and Derrick Johnson have finally emerged as the talents they were picked to be.

Scott Pioli knows what he's doing in the front office too, in case the quick turnaround in KC didn't convince you, and it's a pretty safe bet that he'll find a capable offensive coordinator to replace Weis.

The schedule gets a LOT tougher in 2011 (Packers, Steelers, Vikings, Dolphins at home; Colts, Bears, Pats, Jets, Lions away) so there's a distinct possibility of regression in terms of wins for the Chiefs next year.

But the fact remains that there's sufficient talent on this roster to warrant significant optimism in 2011. Even for a franchise that just extended some ugly postseason losing streaks, that's reason enough to be excited.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: December 6, 2010 5:50 pm
 

Hot Routes 12.6.10: box score tidbits Week 13

Posted by Andy Benoit

Hot Routes
  • The Steelers and Ravens both converted four third downs, went 1/2 in the red zone and committed nine penalties Sunday night.
  • Rashard Mendenhall carried the ball 19 times (45 yards) after handling the rock a whopping 36 times the previous week at Buffalo.
  • Anquan Boldin had five catches for 118 yards, seemingly all of them on the game’s final drive.
  • The Saints were just 1/8 on third down against the Bengals. They won because they generated 248 yards on their five biggest plays.
  • Roman Harper led the Saints with 10 tackles, a sack (on the final play) and two tackles for a loss.
  • Jay Cutler was 21/26 for 234 yards and a touchdown against the Lions. Cutler also went “interception-less” for the fifth time this season. On the year, he has a passer rating of 92.8.
  • Earl Bennett is quietly becoming a go-to receiver for the Bears. The possession target had seven catches for 104 yards.
  • Cliff Avril had three sacks for Detroit. That’s seven on the year and six in Avril’s last four games.
  • Troy Smith completed just 10/25 passes against Green Bay. His limitations in reading the field from the pocket were obvious at times.
  • For the second straight week, Tennessee had fewer than 50 plays offensively. They’ve now gone a franchise-record 12 quarters without a touchdown.
  • Dexter McCluster had five carries(11 yards) and two receptions (25 yards) in his first game back from a high ankle sprain. (He also had a fumble.)
  • Turnovers once again doomed Miami. They were minus-three against the Browns.
  • Browns tight end Ben Watson exploded for 100 yards on 10 catches.
  • Sidney Rice looks to be in top form. He had 105 yards and two touchdowns Sunday.
  • The Redskins did not convert once in the red zone against the Giants Sunday. Reason being, they were never in the red zone.
  • Derek Hagan led the Giants with seven receptions. No one else caught more than two passes for New York.
  • Jason Campbell was just 10/16 passing in Oakland’s surprising win at San Diego.
  • The Chargers fell behind early and ran the ball just eight times. The Raiders ran the ball 52 times (for 251 yards).
  • Peyton Manning completed 36/48 for 365 yards on what everyone agreed was one of his worst games as a pro.
  • The Cardinals had three different quarterbacks attempt passes Sunday. All completed 50 percent or fewer of their attempts.
  • Carolina’s Steve Smith had 39 of his 54 yards receiving come on one play. It was Smith’s longest catch of the season.
  • Marshawn Lynch punched in three touchdowns (and had 83 yards rushing) for Seattle.
  • One of Matt Ryan’s two interceptions was a result of the receiver slipping on bad turf. The Falcons turned the ball over for the first time in nearly five games Sunday.
  • Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes had an interceptions and six pass breakups.

    For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: December 5, 2010 11:47 am
Edited on: December 5, 2010 11:53 am
 

AFC Inactives, Week 13

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

First, those who ARE active: Chiefs WR Dexter McCluster (who will actually get the start opposite Dwayne Bowe), Colts RB Mike Hart, Colts LB Gary Brackett, Titans QB Kerry Collins (who is starting),

Now, those who are NOT active:

Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jaguars: One week after suffering an ankle sprain, he was back last week, and though he was didn’t do much, he was still an integral part of the gameplan. But he re-aggravated his ankle and won’t play today. Kassim Osgood will start in his place.

Kendrick Lewis, CB, Chiefs:
Kansas City has played exceptionally well with Lewis in the lineup (the Chiefs are 6-1 when he’s on the field). But he’s out today. So, that’s not good for Kansas City.

Kyle Vanden Bosch, DL, Bills: This is a big loss for Buffalo, especially since Vanden Bosch is one of the team’s best defensive players.

Brian Dawkins, CB, Broncos:
He hurt himself last week, but his skills have noticeably declined this season. This might not be the worst thing in the world for Denver.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Dolphins:
Limited in practice all week, many people thought Marshall would be healthy enough to play vs. the Raiders, especially since he said he was bouncing back quickly. Apparently, he's not. He's inactive, and that's a huge blow for Miami.

Kenny Britt, WR, Titans: Sounds like he's targeting next week as his return from a hamstring.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: November 27, 2010 7:54 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2010 7:55 pm
 

Week 12 injury news and analysis, part III

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Panthers at Browns

Both sides have big quarterback questions this week. The Panthers have three of their signal-callers on the injury report – including Tony Pike, probable with a right shoulder, and Brian St. Pierre, probable with a right shoulder – but Jimmy Clausen, who has shaken off the effects of a concussion, is the one who will get the starting nod.

You might think the probable status of RB Jonathan Williams would be good news for Carolina, but you’d be wrong (I’m not saying it’s bad news, but it’s kind of meh news). He’s been extremely ineffective this year, and in his absence, Mike Goodson has been very impressive.

Meanwhile, Cleveland QB Colt McCoy is doubtful with an ankle injury, meaning Jake Delhomme, who hasn’t started a game since the season-opener, will face off against his old team. WR Joshua Cribbs, who broke four of his toes two weeks ago, is questionable. He might be on the active roster, but don’t look for him to get too involved with the offense.

Chiefs at Seahawks


Kansas City would feel much better about its prospects to beat Seattle on the road if WR Dexter McCluster and TE Tony Moeaki – both of whom are questionable – can play. McCluster has missed the past four games with a high ankle sprain, but it seems likely he’ll return this week. Moeaki, coming off a concussion two weeks ago, also should play.

The big question for the Seahawks is whether WR Mike Williams (questionable, foot) will play. All week, Seattle has prepared like he wouldn’t play, and as of Friday, he was still in a walking boot. But he’ll also be a gametime decision, so if Williams can look OK in pregame warmups, there’s a chance he might be out there when the game starts.

Dolphins at Raiders


No matter who’s quarterbacking Miami – and indications are pointing toward Chad Henne – the Dolphins will suffer without standout WR Brandon Marshall, who was downgraded today from doubtful to out with a hamstring. Henne, thought to be lost for the season two short weeks ago, likely will get the start in place of former third-stringer Tyler Thigpen.

For Oakland, TE Zach Miller is questionable but probably will play. As will CB Nnamdi Asomugha, G Robert Gallery and WR Darrius Heyward-Bey – all of whom are listed as probable.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: November 21, 2010 11:47 am
Edited on: November 21, 2010 12:01 pm
 

AFC Inactives, Week 11

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

First, those who ARE active: Steelers TE Zach Miller, Bengals RB Cedric Benson, Texans QB Matt Schaub.

And here are those who are NOT active:

Dexter McCluster, Chiefs, WR/KR: With his bad ankle, this will be the fourth-straight game the explosive McCluster will miss. It won’t help Kansas City that TE Tony Moeaki won’t be in action either.

Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars, WR:
He hurt his ankle in the second quarter of last week’s game, but he returned to the game. Despite practicing Friday, he’s just not ready to go today. Tiquan Underwood will take Sims-Walker’s place.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills:
Luckily for Buffalo, RB Fred Jackson is coming off a 25-carry, 133-yard, one TD performance vs. the Lions.

Shawne Merriman, LB, Bills:
Well, this signing has worked out quite well so far, eh?

Joshua Cribbs, WR, Browns:
You know how Cribbs broke all the toes on his right foot except for the big one? Yeah, that will keep him out this week.

Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Raiders: You think this is good news for Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger? I bet Roethlisberger would emphatically say yes.

Brett Keisel, DE, Steelers:
You think this is good news for Raiders RB Darren McFadden? I bet McFadden would emphatically say yes.

Chris Chester, G, Ravens: Baltimore's starter still is being bothered by a skin condition. Tony Moll will take his place at right guard.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: November 13, 2010 11:40 am
 

Week 10 injury news and analysis, part I

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Chiefs at Broncos

Right now, it’s unclear what will happen with Denver LB D.J. Williams, who was charged early Friday morning with a DUI – his second alcohol-related charge since 2005. He didn’t practice Friday, and coach Josh McDaniels expressed disappointment with Williams – who’s been one of the best defenders on the squad this season.

He could play this Sunday, but he’s looking at discipline from the NFL at some point and probably from the Broncos as well. That said, he very well could be out there this weekend. You’ll remember that when Braylon Edwards was charged with DWI in September, he played the very next week.

Kansas City rookie WR Dexter McCluster – who’s missed the past two games with a high ankle sprain – is listed as questionable and will be a gametime decision. He was limited at practice all week, and if he could play Sunday, he’d be a big boon to the Chiefs. Aside from McCluster, OG Brian Waters, S Kendrick Lewis and S Jon McGraw are questionable.

Cowboys at Giants

The big blow for the Giants will be that WR Steve Smith won’t play because of a partially torn pectoral muscle he suffered in Thursday’s practice (luckily for him and his team, it doesn’t appear to be a season-ending injury). His team will miss his production, and Hakeem Nicks will miss Smith’s ability to take some of the opposing secondary’s attention off him. Mario Manningham should get more playing time in place of Smith.

We also could see the return of T Will Beatty, who’s been out since mid-September with a broken foot. This week, he started doing agility and footwork drills for the first time since his surgery, and he’s listed as questionable on the injury report. RB Brandon Jacobs, who missed Wednesday’s practice with an illness, is probable.

For Dallas, CB Terence Newman hasn’t been himself since he hurt his ribs three weeks ago, and he’s been burned for big gains and big touchdowns because he’s having a tough time accelerating. Considering the Cowboys are thin in the secondary, Newman likely will continue to play. He had full participation in practice all week and is probable.

Seahawks at Cardinals

Arizona RB Beanie Wells just cannot seem to get healthy. Once again, he’s listed as questionable this week after missing practices Wednesday and Thursday (he was limited Friday) with continued swelling in his knee. It’s not just the fact he’s hurt. He’s also missing valuable practice time, and that combination does not bode well for him. He played last week, but carried just once for minus-two yards. Until he’s healthy, Tim Hightower will get the bulk of the carries.

DL Darnell Dockett, one of the Cardinals most important defenders, suffered a shoulder stinger in last week’s loss to Minnesota, and he’s questionable. He practiced all week (albeit in a limited fashion), but he seems likely to play. LB Paris Lenon, who aggravated an ankle injury last week, also is questionable to play. But he progressed well this week, and he very well could play as well.

Seattle, once again, could miss first-round pick LT Russell Okung, who’s been battling injuries all season. Now, he’s dealing with an ankle injury, and the Seahawks listed him as questionable to play. Without him, the Seahawks likely will start G Chester Pitts in his place.

Rams at 49ers

Obviously, the big absence for San Francisco is starting QB Alex Smith, who is out with a left shoulder injury. Troy Smith will get the start in his place. Considering he helped lead San Francisco to a big win against the Broncos two weeks ago in London, Troy Smith deserves another shot this week against San Francisco. Plus, as LB Takeo Spikes told me recently in Five Questions (or More), Smith’s presence in the pocket was a comfort to the team.

Of the 11 Rams who are on this week’s injury report, two (WR Danario Alexander and S James Butler) are out, one (TE Fendi Onobun) is doubtful and everybody else is probable.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: November 6, 2010 11:50 pm
 

Week 9 injury report analysis Part IV

Posted by Andy Benoit

Colts @ Eagles
D. Jackson (US Presswire)
These days, it’s almost easier to list which Colts players are NOT injured. Actually, there’s only one that needs to be mentioned: Peyton Manning. He’s fine, so the Colts are fine.

Though if you MUST know more details, Anthony Gonzalez went on IR with a knee, but Austin Collie (finger) could be back this week, so it’s all a wash. Joseph Addai (shoulder) is doubtful; Mike Hart is unavaila nble after not practicing on a bad ankle all week. Cornerbacks Jerraud Powers and Justin Tryon did not practice either, due to foot injuries (or would it be feet injury?). LB Clint Session, who deserves serious Pro Bowl consideration, was hoping he could fight through a dislocated elbow and fractured forearm, but he’s out Sunday.

The Eagles have Michael Vick 100 percent healthy now that his rib injury has healed. The hope is that Vick’s favorite target, DeSean Jackson, will be able to return from his Week 6 concussion. Jackson practiced and is probable. LT King Dunlap is out with a knee, but fortunately, the man Dunlap was filling in for, Jason Peters, is back from his own knee injury. No Ellis Hobbs (hip) for Philly, which is crucial because he has always killed the Colts as a return man.

Chiefs @ Raiders

Dexter McCluster was limited in practice for the Chiefs with a high ankle sprain. The rookie did not play last week and it would probably behoove the team to be safe and sit him one more game.

Speaking of ankle sprains, Raiders superstar Nnamdi Asomugha has one. He sat out practice all week and is doubtful. It’s actually amazing Asomugha’s status is even that hopeful; on Monday, speculation was he’d miss about a month. Tight end Zach Miller was on crutches during the week and is doubtful (i.e. 99 percent certain to be out) with a foot injury.

Wideouts Louis Murphy (chest) and Chaz Schilens (knee) remain sidelined. Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski’s shoulder is still not 100 percent, which is why Jason Campbell gets the nod. Most people believe the hot-handed Campbell should keep the job anyway. This gives us a chance to pass along this tidbit from Mike Tanier, arguably the funniest football expert in the biz:

“Of course, leave it to Oakland to get stage fright after a two-game winning streak: the team was considering benching Jason Campbell in favor of Bruce Gradkowski, generating a quarterback controversy for its own sake. The Raiders ultimately decided to go with Campbell, but have said Gradkowski will return as the starter when healthy. With decisions like these, they’ll be back to punchline status by Thanksgiving.”


Cowboys @ Packers

Does anyone care who plays and doesn’t play for the Cowboys at this point? (Included in that “anyone” are the 53 Cowboys themselves.) Out of principle, we’re going to skip right ahead to the Packers.

For only the second time in a little over six years, the Packers will take the field without wide receiver Donald Driver. The veteran was ineffective the past two games trying to fight through a quad injury. Defensive lineman Ryan Pickett will once again test his injured ankle. RT Mark Tauscher remains questionable with a shoulder injury (first-round rookie Bryan Bulaga has started in place of him the past four weeks). Both starting linemen on the left side, T Chad Clifton (hamstring) and G Daryn Colledge (back), are probable. Despite constantly battling for his job, Colledge actually has a 72-game consecutive starts streak that he’s continuing to build on.

Steelers @ Bengals

DE Aaron Smith (out, triceps) is the only Steeler listed on the injury report. The Bengals’ injury report reads like the first string of the defensive depth chart. S Roy Williams, CB Johnathan Joseph, DT Tank Johnson, LB Keith Rivers, S Chinedum Ndukwe, DE Jonathan Fanene and DE Frostee Rucker are all banged up. Their status for Monday night has not yet been declared.

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