High-Profile Injuries and League Notes

QB David Carr (Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Scout.com Senior NFL Reporter, Adam Caplan, provides his expert analysis on the impact that key injuries will have on this weekend's NFL action. And he fills you in on some insider information with his league notes.

The focus of this article isn't to analyze how each team would be affected statistically, but to see what the impact tactically would be for each players' team and also for the opponents in this week's matchups.


David Carr, QB - Panthers
Injury: Back
Opponent: Colts

Most team observers thought quarterback David Carr was over his back injury and he would start Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. That all changed when head coach John Fox made the surprising announcement that Vinny Testaverde would be starting instead because Carr's back isn't 100 percent.

But don't underestimate what the change means for the passing game and for their matchup on Sunday.

Carr's mobility always has to be taken into account when teams prepare to face him. That's the one area where he has an advantage over the soon to be 44-year old Testaverde who is a true pocket passer.

But Testaverde has a much stronger and accurate arm so he'll give their receivers a better chance to make plays.

David Garrard, QB - Jaguars
Injury: Ankle
Opponent: Buccaneers


Quinn Gray takes over in Jacksonville
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

When starting quarterback David Garrard was injured during last week's loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the team turned to inexperienced QB Quinn Gray. Garrard was one of only two passers this season that started every game for his team that hadn't thrown an interception. Gray wound up throwing two interceptions in that game. While Garrard's passing numbers haven't been overwhelming this season, he's given his team a chance to win every game because he hasn't turned the ball over -- except for a fumble.

Gray, according to a team source, has a stronger arm than Garrard but isn't anywhere near as accurate. That's not a good thing when he has to work with a bunch of underachieving receivers who won't make his job any easier. And it won't be easy for the fourth-year pro as he'll face a pure Cover-2 defense that doesn't give up many big plays. Gray could be forced to check off many of his passes to his backs in this matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Nathan Vasher, CB - Bears
Injury: Groin
Opponent: Lions

When the Bears face the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Chicago will likely do so without starting cornerback Nathan Vasher for the fifth straight game. The fourth-year pro suffered a groin injury back on September  23 against the Dallas Cowboys. The team has had trouble replacing him. They've tried free safety Danieal Manning and rookie cornerback Trumaine McBride, but have gotten mixed results at best.

Detroit offensive coordinator Mike Martz will likely try to spread Chicago out with three and four wide receiver sets since the Bears are light on depth at cornerback. By doing so, that will also help their running game as Chicago won't be able to load up the box.

So this could be an interesting situation tactically as the game progresses.

League Notes

New England Patriots - According to a league source, there's a good chance that DE Richard Seymour is activated off of the PUP list by Saturday's roster deadline for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins. Seymour moved around well in practice this week and has shown the coaches that he could contribute as soon as this week's game. The team already created a roster space by releasing backup DL Santonio Thomas.

New York Giants - While many are trying to figure out why QB Eli Manning has taken a big step in his development this season, privately the team has credited new quarterbacks coach Chris Palmer for a big chunk. Palmer has been a calming influence, and it shouldn't be a surprise when you look at his history of coaching the position. Before this season, Palmer was with the Dallas Cowboys and helped QB Tony Romo with his development. Palmer also was credited with developing quarterbacks such as Drew Bledsoe and Mark Brunell earlier in their careers.

New York Jets - While the team is trying to figure out what's going on with starting LB Jonathan Vilma's injured knee, there were teams that passed on selecting Vilma in the first round of the 2004 draft -- as Scout.com first reported back then -- because of a pre-existing issue with one of his knees. But it should be noted that it's not known if the current condition of his injured knee is related to a previous issue.

Tennessee Titans - Most league observers believe defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will be one of the hot NFL head coach prospects when teams make out their short lists for 2008. Schwartz has done a very good job of mixing his personnel with different fronts over the last few seasons.

Adam Caplan is the Senior NFL Reporter for Scout.com.  His breaking news and analysis, reports from Senior Bowl week, NFL Combine, and free agency have been featured for the past three years.

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