September 09, 2011
At the end of every NFL practice week we'll meet up here and go through the bumps and bruises. Let's start Week 1's edition with the two big stories, and then we'll collect the rest of the bullets you need to know about.
I'm not expecting much from Arian Foster(notes) (hamstring), who missed the full week of practice. He's officially called a game-time decision for Sunday's opener but you have to wonder if the Texans will risk him against an opponent they should beat (the Manning-less Colts). Derrick Ward(notes) and Ben Tate(notes) are capable backs, and Houston has an excellent offensive line. At least Foster's owners get a break with the starting time — it's an early kickoff — but I'd be surprised if Foster played.
Time to shuffle up the New Orleans receivers: Marques Colston suffered a broken collarbone in Thursday's loss at Green Bay. It's at least a four-week injury, and 6-8 weeks seems more likely. Lance Moore(notes) would be in a great spot if his groin injury heals quickly, but obviously he wasn't on the field for the opener. Robert Meachem(notes) is worth adding in most pools right away, and Devery Henderson(notes) and Jimmy Graham(notes) should see more targets with Colston out of the mix. I'm not downgrading Drew Brees(notes) in any way: he has enough weapons (don't forget about Darren Sproles(notes)) and enough smarts to make do with what's left over.
• Matt Cassel(notes) (rib) had a full week of practice and is considered probable for the opener against Buffalo. I'm not bullish on him this week or this season, but his presence at least helps the rest of the offense — it's a significant drop down to backup Tyler Palko(notes).
• Santonio Holmes(notes) (illness) had a full day Friday and is listed as probable. He'll be on the field for the prime-time opener, along with Plaxico Burress(notes) (ankle). New York's passing attack should have some good matchups, as the Cowboys won't have cornerbacks Terence Newman(notes) (groin) and Mike Jenkins(notes) (knee).
• You're probably not relying much on the Cleveland passing game, but if you wanted to know, Joshua Cribbs(notes) (hamstring) and Mohamed Massaquoi(notes) (foot) are listed as probable and had full practice weeks.
• The Colts call Austin Collie(notes) (foot) questionable, which is their favorite word on the injury report. Oh, those tricky Colts. There's no way I'd risk Collie in Week 1, nicked up and tied to an uncertain Kerry Collins(notes).
• Philadelphia's Steve Smith (knee) had a full week of participation and is listed as probable. I hope you don't have to look this deep, though.
Images courtesy Associated Press