Week One NFL Injuries and Their Impact
by Trevor Whenham - 09/13/2006
The NFL season is only one week old and already some teams are going to have to rethink things in the short term, or for the rest of the season, because of injuries suffered in the first game. Here's a look at some of the more significant injuries and they impact they could have on their teams and our picks.
Trent Green, QB, Kansas City - Probably the biggest impact injury of the week. If you haven't seen the hit that rang Green's bell a dozen times by now then you must not have a TV. It was ugly and he has a nasty concussion that could keep him out for several weeks.
The rule with concussions, it seems, is that they are always more serious than you would guess. With Green on the shelf. the starting job falls to Damon Huard. Huard is a 10 year veteran, but he has only started six games in his career and hasn't started since 2000. Before coming in on Sunday he had attempted just one pass since his last start.
Behind Huard is Alabama rookie Brodie Croyle and CFL refugee Casey Printers. The Chiefs could be in major trouble if Green is not back in the lineup soon. Huard looked surprisingly solid, completing 60 percent of his 20 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown, but it is doubtful that he can really inspire the offense over the long term. His sparse NFL resume is marked by decidedly bland play.
The offense will struggle until Green returns. In a trend we should probably get used to, the line for the Chiefs game against the Broncos opened with K.C. as 8-point underdogs, and it has since moved to 11 at some shops. Similarly, the o/u has fallen from 42.5 to 40. Until the Chiefs can prove that they can still score, this is what we will continue to see. Green started 80 straight games, so we have no way of knowing how the offense will react without him.
Dan Morgan, LB, Carolina - Morgan is the force that plugs the middle of the line for the Panthers. He went down with a concussion early in the second half and is out for an uncertain amount of time. It's no coincidence that the Falcons were able to rush for 252 yards, the most the Panthers have given up in 12 years, with Morgan missing from the line. The scary part for Panthers fans is that this is the fifth concussion that Morgan has suffered, so he could be out for a very long time. The Jags also lost left tackle Travelle Wharton. He'd started 28 straight games, but two torn ligaments will keep him out of action for a long while. Carolina opened as 2.5-point favorites against Minnesota, and that line is now down to 2.
Reggie Hayward, DE, Jacksonville - Hayward has landed on injured reserve after rupturing his Achilles tendon. He's a loss to the Jags, given that he led the team in sacks with 8.5 and quarterback pressures with 59 last year. To replace Hayward the Jags stole rookie tackle Montavious Stanley from the Rams' practice squad. Stanley, from Louisville, was a sixth round pick by Dallas, but was a final cut. The Jacksonville pass rush will suffer, in other words.
Joe Jurevicius, WR, Cleveland - Jurevicius went out in the first quarter with a rib injury that could see him miss several games, depending on the results of an MRI this week. Jurevicius didn't record a reception, but the 20-yard catch he got hurt on was called back because of a penalty. Jurevicius, the talented veteran, was a perfect addition to a team with a young QB, and young potential stars in Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow Jr. His presence will be missed if he is gone for a long time, more for his veteran leadership than for his offensive output. Cleveland is a 10.5-point underdog against the Bengals.
Mike Karney and Keith Joseph, FB, New Orleans - The Saints' depth chart had two fullbacks. After the game Sunday they had none. Karney's out a month with a strained calf while Joseph could miss six weeks with a sprained knee. With the running game being so important to the Saints, the loss of both fullbacks could be significant. To fill the gap the Saints signed Corey McIntyre. He has one start over four seasons with the Eagles and Browns.
Andy McCollum, C, St. Louis - McCollum hurt his left knee seriously, and will miss several weeks at least. He had started 156 straight games, which is obviously significantly longer than the Marc Bulger regime has lasted. The Rams signed Brett Romberg from Jacksonville's practice roster as a replacement. Romberg played one game for Jacksonville in three seasons. It will have to be seen what the impact of a new center will be on Bulger and the offense. St. Louis is a 3-point favorite on the road in San Francisco.
Larry Allen and Jonas Jennings, O-line, San Francisco - Veteran guard Allen was signed in March to bolster the line and protect Alex Smith, but he will miss at least one game with a sprained right knee suffered in the fourth quarter. Starting offensive tackle Jennings also went down with a right ankle injury at the end of the opening half. Protecting Smith and finding holes for Frank Gore are key to the Niners success, so both guys are needed back soon. San Fran is a 3-point home underdog against St. Louis.