Patrick Daugherty

Football Daily Dose

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Too Soon For Andre?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Despite what some of the new rules or Peyton Manning’s commercials would lead you to believe, football is a warrior’s sport. Players play with clubs on their broken hands. They lie about concussions. They refuse MRIs to avoid bad news.

It’s why Terrell Owens played in Super Bowl XXXIX just 49 days after severely spraining his ankle and breaking his leg.

It’s why Tony Romo is wearing a Kevlar vest to protect the lung he punctured in Week 2.

It’s why Byron Leftwich did this.

Is this a good thing? Probably not. What players are willing to do to gain their teammates’ respect and fans’ adoration is often not in the best interest of their long-term health.

But Week 8 will feature no shortage of players doing things they probably shouldn’t be doing. Tony Romo? Still wearing that Kevlar vest. Percy Harvin? Still playing through a debilitating ribs injury. Matthew Stafford and Adrian Peterson? Neither has even considered sitting out after spraining their ankles in Week 7.

But the most impressive show of pain tolerance could end up belonging to Andre Johnson, who is trying to take the field just four weeks after undergoing hamstring surgery. It’s true that in the world of football, what Johnson underwent was a fairly minor operation.

However, it’s also true that in the world the majority of us live in, we’d be hard pressed to walk to the mailbox only one month after undergoing a leg operation, let alone beat press coverage.

Officially, Johnson will be a game-time decision for Sunday’s matchup with the Jaguars. But after taking the practice field each of the past two days, it could end up that the only thing capable of holding him out is the fact that the Texans don’t really need him against an inferior opponent.

But as the Jaguars just proved on Monday against the Ravens, there are no gimmes in the NFL, and if Johnson practices for a third straight time this afternoon, he should find himself back in action much sooner than he probably has any right to be.

That would, of course, be great news for the Texans and fantasy players. As for Johnson’s ability to walk without a hitch 20 years from now? He’ll get back to you on that.  

In his latest attempt to wake up the Titans’ slumbering run game, coach Mike Munchak has announced he intends to give Chris Johnson a "complete complement of carries" against the Colts to "evaluate C.J. and (the) run game fully."

It’s not a bad idea considering the Colts sport the league’s 31st run defense and Johnson is averaging just 15.5 carries through Tennessee's first six games after averaging 21.1 totes per game in 2009-10.

It will officially be time to panic, however, if CJ2K comes out flat for the seventh time in as many games this season.

One day after watching Shaun Hill handle the first-team reps in Lions practice, Matthew Stafford was back under center Thursday, and is said to be good to go for Week 8 "barring a setback."

Stafford’s Week 7 injury was scary, especially for a player with his injury history, but it appears to be little more than a bump in the road between Sundays.

Peyton Hillis (hamstring) again missed practice Thursday, and is looking very doubtful for Week 8. One week after rushing for 95 rugged yards against the Seahawks, Montario Hardesty is in line for his second straight start against San Francisco’s second-ranked run defense. … In the words of NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora, Beanie Wells (knee) is “very, very doubtful” for Week 8. If he’s unable to turn in a full practice this afternoon, you can all but count out your RB2. … Mark Ingram (heel) missed another practice Thursday, and should be inactive in favor of Chris Ivory against the Rams. … Adrian Peterson (ankle) returned to practice one day after sitting out, and is in no danger of missing this weekend’s juicy matchup with the Panthers. … Mike Shanahan: still mum on who will be his starting running back this weekend. The smart money remains on Ryan Torain.

Both Andy Dalton and Kevin Kolb have thrown for as many touchdowns as Philip Rivers.

DeMarco Murray’s 253 rushing yards last Sunday were as many as Felix Jones has posted all season.  

Darren Sproles’ 45 catches are tied for the second in the NFL, and are as many as Santonio Holmes and Miles Austin have combined.  

Kenny Britt still has more catches than Denarius Moore.  

Chris Johnson has just 11 more rushing yards than Joseph Addai.

Dexter McCluster has one less rushing yard than Peyton Hillis.

FANTASY GAME OF THE WEEK: Dallas at Philadelphia
Two bitter rivals meet in a game that’s a must win for both and ripe with fantasy questions. Can DeMarco Murray shred his second consecutive porous run defense and make Felix Jones’ seat even hotter? Can Dez Bryant build on a rare dominant second half and finally get on the kind of roll he’s teased at for two seasons now? Coming off a bye, will Michael Vick look refreshed, healthy and ready to start posting the kind of fantasy numbers he put up in 2010? Can DeSean Jackson and Miles Austin finally get going? All these burning questions will be in answered in prime-time, possibly in the form of big-time fantasy performances.   

This one’s pretty simple. The absence of Aaron Rodgers, who is averaging 338.9 yards and 2.86 touchdowns through his first seven games, should be nearly impossible to overcome for owners who have gotten used to winning on the back on their all-world quarterback instead of a strong running back corps.    

Not only does Darren McFadden get a week to rest up his sprained foot, but Carson Palmer gets a week to, you know, learn some plays. It’s clear the loss of Jason Campbell is going to be more painful for owners of Raiders receivers than originally thought possible, but with three weeks of practice under his belt, Palmer should be able to establish some order in Week 9. While he’s at it, hopefully he provides some insight into who will be his favorite targets down the stretch.

Big game: Philadelphia 24, Dallas 21. My heart says Dallas, but most recent history suggests Philadelphia. The Eagles have had trouble closing out games this season, but the Cowboys have practically made it an art during the Tony Romo era.

Big game II: Pittsburgh 34, New England 28. The Steelers’ passing attack proves too much for the Patriots to slow down on the road, while Pittsburgh quiets the murmurs the gaudy numbers its pass defense has posted early on this season are an illusion.    

Upset of the week: Broncos 27, Lions 21. Coming off back-to-back losses and playing in a charged-up environment with a banged up quarterback, the Lions lose a game they should win after winning a few games they probably should have lost earlier in the year.  

The I really don’t have a clue but will pretend I do game: Cincinnati 17, Seattle 9. Playing in one of the toughest road environments in the NFL, the Bengals make a statement against an underrated Seahawks defense on the back of backup running back Bernard Scott.

There was only one choice. 

Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Patrick Daugherty

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