By Ryan O’Halloran
The kickoff return has all but been eliminated from the game, which is a travesty considering how much it can impact field position. But Green Bay’s Randall Cobb provided hope on Thursday night.
Cobb, a rookie, returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown against New Orleans.
The Redskins have a dynamic return man in Brandon Banks. It will be interesting to see the ground rules handed down by special teams coach Danny Smith. When does Banks have the green light? How much does hang time, score, time of the game, etc., factor in? He’s on the 53-man roster for a reason – he should get a couple opportunities.
Inside linebacker London Fletcher never thought Colts quarterback Peyton Manning would miss a game.
“He’s a quarterback and doesn’t get hit much,” Fletcher said. “Obviously, it’s a serious injury but I assumed he was going to break [Brett] Favre’s record.”
Manning’s streak of 208 consecutive games will end because of neck surgery. Fletcher and Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber will have first place to themselves when they play their 209th straight game Sunday.
Just by observing coach Mike Shanahan for a year-plus, I would be surprised if tight end Chris Cooley plays Sunday. He has yet to go through a full practice since he was shut down in early August and if last year was an indication, Shanahan doesn’t like to activate players before they’ve gone through a complete workout.
Even if Cooley does play, his knee injury merits monitoring. In late August, he said he hoped it wasn’t an issue that would keep him from practicing on Wednesdays of game week. Entering his eighth season, Cooley rarely leaves the field so Shanahan may have to start managing his snaps and practice time.
Retaining safety Reed Doughty (pictured) is now looking like a key decision. The Redskins gave him a multi-year deal after the lockout and he’ll start Sunday because of LaRon Landry’s injury.
Last year’s safeties: Doughty, Landry, Chris Horton and Kareem Moore.
The Week 1 safeties: Doughty, O.J. Atogwe and DeJon Gomes.
Doughty has a supporter in Shanahan.
“He’ll have longevity because of the way he prepares and works,” Shanahan said. “He’s very conscientious and a student of the game. He prepares for each game like he’s preparing for a Super Bowl. That’s why he’s been successful here and why he’ll be successful anywhere after football.”