Peyton Manning (Getty)
Plaxico Burress made a major impact in his first game back for the Jets, the Colts are preparing for life after Peyton Manning, Chiefs safety Eric Berry is suspected to be out for the season, the loss of fullback Vonta Leach has yet to be felt in Houston and much more inside.
Colts preparing for life after Manning
The 2011 offseason has certainly been the most tumultuous of All-Pro quarterback Peyton Manning’s career.
Manning has been dealing with a neck injury that has required several surgeries to correct. Manning missed the first game of his career last week, snapping a streak of 208 straight regular-season starts.
The Colts and GM Bill Polian expect Manning to return and play several more seasons but that hasn’t kept them from starting a plan for the future.
"While we fully expect he'll be back and we fully expect he'll be with us next year, it is time that we give the quarterback position some serious consideration,” said Polian.
In the meantime, Kerry Collins will continue to fill in, but the veteran stopgap provides little reassurance for any of the team’s future plans at quarterback.
Analysis: Although the Colts haven’t ruled out Manning returning this season, there may be no reason to rush him back to action. Given the outcome against Houston last week, Indianapolis might be out of the playoff race by the time Manning is healthy enough to see the field.
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Plaxico makes impact in first game back
WR Plaxico Burress played in his first regular-season game since Nov. 23, 2008. His 26-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter was his first touchdown catch since he caught a 17-yarder for the Giants at Philadelphia on Nov. 9, 2008.
"It feels good to finally go out and play a regular-season game," said Burress, who spent 20 months in prison on a weapons charge and was released in June. It's definitely a special time for my family and myself, (after) everything we've been through. (We've) just been waiting for this game for a long time. I'm just happy to be able to go out and make a few plays and help our team win the game."
Burress gave the ball to his 4-year-old son, Elijah.
"I'm just happy for him," he said. "He's at an age now that he understands. I'm just happy for him. He hung in there. Stayed up, stayed awake. It was a great day for him."
Analysis: Burress started out slow in his first game back since 2008 but helped propel the Jets to a fourth-quarter comeback victory against the Cowboys. Burress’ ability to excel in the redzone and make plays in traffic was on full display - maybe earlier than expected for the Jets’ faithful.
Source: Chiefs' Berry out for season
As if things couldn't get any worse following Kansas City’s 41-7 home loss to the Bills, they did.
ESPN’s Adam Shefter is reporting that Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry is out for the season with a torn ACL. Berry went down early in first-quarter action against Buffalo and the Chiefs’ defense never recovered en route to a blowout loss.
Kansas City has already suffered a rash of injuries during preseason action, but the loss of Berry is by far the most significant setback to date.
Analysis: The loss of Berry is a devasting blow to a Kansas City team that looked out of sync in the preseason as well as the regular-season opener. The Chiefs must navigate a difficult schedule in 2011 and Berry’s absence will make things that much more difficult.
Bengals' Dalton expected to play against Denver
QB Andy Dalton, who did not play the second half of Cincinnati's 27-17 win over Cleveland, should be able to play on Sunday at Denver.
Dalton visited a hand specialist on Monday. The Bengals training staff originally called it an injury to his right wrist, but indications are that it is a bruise to the forearm. Dalton was injured on the Bengals' last offensive play of the first half on a hit by Cleveland's Phil Taylor.
Head coach Marvin Lewis did not directly address Dalton's status or any other players.
"No worse than yesterday but a lot better than yesterday, actually," Lewis said. "We should be OK. We'll see on Wednesday."
Dalton, who was 10 of 15 for 91 yards and a touchdown, led the Bengals to scores on their first drive. That marks the first time in the franchise's 44-year history that had happened in an opener.
"There was a miscue in the running game but other than that I think he was very good," offensive coordinator Jon Gruden said. "He was smart in the pocket and did some good things."
Analysis: The Bengals proved they can win with Bruce Gradkowski under center, but Dalton remains the team’s starting quarterback. Luckily for Dalton, his injury isn’t considered serious and the rookie signal caller will look to pick up where he left off before leaving Sunday’s contest against Cleveland.
Panthers' Beason out for season
LB Jon Beason is expected to miss the remainder of the season after injuring his left Achilles tendon against Arizona, two sources confirmed.
The Panthers didn't want to make any announcement until they have a chance to fully review the MRI and confirm the injury.
"I'm just happy and honored to be on this team because we had guys out there that were blowing out tires to fight," wide receiver Steve Smith said of Beason. "It doesn't get any better than that. You don't get guys in the locker room like that. It rarely comes and when you have a guy who does that you surely miss him, but he's admirable for his effort and I'm honored and pleased to be his teammate."
Added linebacker Thomas Davis: "The thing that Jon did so well is he was a great leader for our team. So we'll find out what it is and hopefully we can get him back soon."
Analysis: Beason was already dealing with injuries prior to Sunday’s season-ending setback and the Panthers’ defense will certainly feel the impact of his absence. That said, the Panthers have to be encouraged by Cam Newton and the offense’s performance against the Cardinals.
McCoy up and down in season opener
QB Colt McCoy had a very uneven game. He started poorly, then led the Browns to 14 points in the second quarter and added three more early in the third. From that point, though, McCoy got little done as Cincinnati dialed up its pass rush from the front four and harassed McCoy into short and ineffective throws -- like one to Peyton Hillis behind the line of scrimmage with a linebacker all over Hillis.
"We've got a lot of learning to do," McCoy said. "I certainly had my bad plays."
Analysis: McCoy is still learning how to play quarterback in the NFL and Sunday’s game was a prime example. McCoy’s arm strength has always been his biggest question mark and could continue to plague him throughout his career.
Giants' Tuck hopes to return on Monday night
DE Justin Tuck, who was held out of the Redskins game due to a neck injury that slowed him in practice last week, was optimistic that he would be able to go on Monday night when the Giants open at home against the Rams.
"The plan is to wait one more week," Tuck said. "The doctor said, “We would rather have you out one week than re-aggravating it and going through this process again and be out for a month.'"
Analysis: The Giants’ defense was ineffective against Washington and getting Tuck back could be a major boast in a crucial game against the Rams. New York would prefer not to start the season 0-2 in an NFC East division that’s shaping up to be better than anticipated.
Rams' Jackson could miss significant time
RB Steven Jackson will probably not play Monday night against the Giants, but coach Steve Spagnuolo said it's not because the team has Cadillac Williams behind him so there would be less urgency to play Jackson.
"That is just more on how they determine how the injury is right now and how he feels," Spagnuolo said. "Steven knows his body. God bless him, you know. You have that kind of injury and he tried to go back in there and actually gained six or seven yards or something. I also credit him for being smart with it, not only to protect himself but you certainly don't want to hurt your own football team."
Analysis: Jackson has been dealing with injuries for the last several years and his quad injury suffered against Philadelphia could be more serious than the Rams are leading on. Not only is St. Louis sweating the status of Jackson, but franchise quarterback Sam Bradford also suffered a hand injury in Week 1.
Casey filling Leach’s shoes in Houston
FB James Casey, who replaced Vonta Leach, was a powerful lead blocker against the Colts. He also caught three passes for 29 yards. Casey also plays in the slot and goes in motion to wideout.
"It gives us a lot of options because we can run various offenses," coach Gary Kubiak said. "We can run a two-back, one-back, three-tights (ends). James has not only turned into a fine player, but his football IQ helps us as a team, allows us to do a lot of things."
Analysis: Much was made about Leach’s departure to Baltimore, but Casey should be an adequate replacement in the Texans’ backfield. Casey is versatile target in the receiving game and has the ability to block in a similar fashion as Leach.
Information from the Sports Xchange was used in this report
Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at firstname.lastname@example.org
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