Adam Levitan

Football Daily Dose

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Big Ben's Bad Night

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ben Roethlisberger is known as one of the toughest quarterbacks in the league. He’s also known for being overdramatic about minor injuries.

However, the injury he sustained during Monday’s 16-13 overtime win over the Chiefs appeared to be major. He got sandwiched between Tamba Hali and Justin Houston on a sack, landing hard on his right elbow and jamming his throwing shoulder.

Roethlisberger immediately knew something was wrong as he quickly went to the locker room. Minutes later, cameras caught him with his pads off getting carted away from the field. And shortly thereafter, reports surfaced that Big Ben and Mrs. Big Ben were on the way to the hospital to get an MRI done.

Early speculation as of Monday night has Roethlisberger suffering a rotator cuff issue and/or possibly a separation in his shoulder. If that’s the case, he’s looking at an extended absence. Quarterbacks just can’t play with their throwing shoulder loosey goosey.  

It’s also worth noting that one of those aforementioned dramas occurred back in August, when Roethlisberger revealed that he has “a little torn rotator cuff” in his right shoulder. Possibly an aggravation situation here?

Either way, Byron Leftwich is on deck. And that’s awful news for every fantasy player on the Steelers.  

* Isaac Redman started and handled the vast majority of first-quarter work. But with 1:07 left in the first quarter, he lost a fumble. After that Jonathan Dwyer was the feature back and Redman was more of a change-of-pace option. The final touch count: Redman 10, Dwyer 20.

* The Chiefs got back to their run-heavy ways, running Jamaal Charles 23 times and Peyton Hillis 10 times. Anytime they can stay close in games, this is how we’d expect the carries to shake out.

* Dwayne Bowe had a case of the dropsies. He also had a 22-yard touchdown on a wideout screen called back by an awful holding call on Brandon Albert.

* Emmanuel Sanders and Mike Wallace couldn’t find much separation before Ben Roethlisberger went down. They had no shot with Byron Leftwich under center.
The Eagles have lost five straight games and are 3-6. In Michael Vick’s last 24 starts, he’s 10-14. Regardless of health, it’s time for a change.

That’s why many observers are suggesting that Vick has played his final snap as an Eagle. He’s not going to play in Week 11 thanks to his “significant” concussion and then could very well be “rested” the rest of the way. After all, the franchise needs to see what they have in rookie Nick Foles.

So that brings us to the question of how good Foles can be. It seems like I’m in the minority here, but I think Foles will be a QB2 with good upside the rest of the way. Here’s why:

1. Foles was thrown into a brutal situation Sunday. He hadn’t practiced with the starters since training camp. He wasn’t up to speed with the gameplan after working with the scout team for nine weeks. He was facing an excellent Cowboys secondary.

2. Still, I thought Foles handled himself well. Unlike Vick, he keeps his eyes downfield when under pressure. The Cowboys blew a coverage on Foles’ 44-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin, but I’m not sure Vick would have even been aware enough to make that throw. If we combine Foles’ stats from Sunday with the preseason, he has completed 62-of-95 (65.2 percent) passes for 772 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions.

3. The Eagles still have elite weapons. Most quarterbacks around the league would be begging to play with Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Brent Celek. They turn short gains into big ones.

4. The Eagles throw the ball no matter what. Even if the defensive scheme and situation calls for runs to McCoy, Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg pass. They should note that the Eagles are 3-0 when McCoy gets 20+ carries and 0-6 when he doesn’t, but they don’t care. Foles is going to get to air it out.

This week, Foles gets a full week of practice and a gameplan tailored to his skills. He’ll face the Redskins’ 30th-ranked pass defense. At least 200 yards and two touchdowns is a reasonable projection.

The free C.J. Spiller movement has gone national in recent weeks. It’s a shame that it took an injury to Fred Jackson for Spiller to get unshackled.

Jackson has been diagnosed with a concussion and has already been ruled out for Thursday’s game against the Dolphins. That means Spiller will be the feature back in a nationally televised game. Look out.

Over Spiller’s last 25 games, he’s averaging 5.84 yards per carry and 8.44 yards per catch. We can safely project 15-18 carries and 4-7 catches Thursday. You do the math.  

DeMarco Murray (foot) hasn’t passed his physical tests yet. It’s hard to see him playing Week 11. … Ahmad Bradshaw is dealing with a neck injury as the Giants head into their bye. He’s also in an all-out timeshare with Andre Brown. … Both Darren McFadden (ankle) and Mike Goodson (ankle) remain in walking boots. They’re questionable for Week 11. … Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) has been ruled out on a Monday for the third straight week.

The Niners are optimistic on Alex Smith’s (concussion) Week 11 status. He has no history of concussions. … Santana Moss (concussion) has resumed practicing. … Pierre Garcon (foot) admitted he’s still in pain. We should know if his season is over by the end of this week. … Jay Cutler’s (concussion) status is unclear. … Greg Jennings (groin) hasn’t resumed practicing yet. He’s a ways off. Meanwhile, Jordy Nelson (ankle, hamstring) practiced Monday and appears good to go. … Weekly drama queen Jeremy Maclin is nursing a lower back strain.

Fast-rising rookie Michael Floyd is expected to cut into the playing time of Early Doucet, not Andre Roberts. … Danario Alexander played on 59-of-66 snaps in Week 10. He’s seized the every-down, starting job ahead of Robert Meachem. … The Dolphins were planning on a heavy RB rotation even before Reggie Bush’s first-quarter fumble. Daniel Thomas is a better bet for snaps Thursday night.

Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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