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Good news for the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1: they’ll face off against the Indianapolis Colts who will be without QB Andrew Luck:
It’s a story we’ve tracked for some time. In mid-August, Colts owner Jim Irsay hinted at the possibility. A few days later, we learned Colts C Ryan Kelly would be out early this season after undergoing foot surgery. And we confirmed today that in addition to Luck, CB Vontae Davis will also miss some time early on this season:
It sets up a very, very fortuitous situation for the Rams in Week 1. Perhaps in terms of narrative and the expectations game though, it’s a bit of a no-win situation.
The Rams now head into a Week 1 home game against a depleted Colts roster in which they’ll be expected to win. Instead of a win carrying the air of a franchise turning things around under new Head Coach Sean McVay providing QB Jared Goff with his first career NFL win, a victory on Sunday will only be painted as a gift from the injury timetables for the Colts. A loss? Calamitous. Inexcusable.
It’s worth holding some perspective of where we stand compared to a year ago. With the Rams having returned to Los Angeles, a new home fan base was eager to see a new product under Head Coach Jeff Fisher. A season-opening 0-28 loss to the hapless San Francisco 49ers underpinned what would ultimately be a failed season leading to Fisher’s firing.
McVay is under no job pressure in 2017. A loss won’t cost him his job. And a win won’t be the validation of his hiring Rams fans are hoping for. With the three players the Colts are without though, it may be a requirement if those hopes are to come to fruition in 2017.
Andrew Luck won’t be the only name missing when the Colts square off with the Rams on Sunday.
The team’s starting center, Ryan Kelly, has also been ruled out for the regular-season opener after undergoing August foot surgery.
First-year general manager Chris Ballard announced Monday that Kelly remains week-to-week, but said optimistically, per the team’s official site: “He’s close.”
In place of the second-year Kelly, rookie Deyshawn Bond will start for a Colts team set to “unleash” Scott Tolzien at quarterback ahead of the traded for Jacoby Brissett, with Ballard calling the ex-Patriots passer more of a “long-term” option for the club.
Kelly’s short-term timeline is somewhat surprising on the heels of reports that the second-year pivot could miss six-to-eight weeks as a logical candidate for IR Recall.
Getting Kelly — and Luck — back sooner than later would steer this Colts ship back into friendly waters after a truly dark end to the summer.
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Other injuries we’re monitoring on this Labor Day while the rest of America sips cocktails and enjoys their respite from the ominous crush of industry:
1. More out of Indy, where the banged-up Colts will also be without cornerback Vontae Davis, who “is going to be out a few weeks” with the groin injury he suffered in the third preseason game, per Ballard.
2. New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (ankle) remains sidelined at practice. Coach Ben McAdoo said no determination has been made as to whether he’ll play against the Dallas Cowboys this week.
Brandon Marshall (shoulder) said, “I’ll be out there,” when asked if he’ll play Sunday for Giants.
3. Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor remains in concussion protocol, but he returned to practice.
4. The Denver Broncos announced the pass rusher Shane Ray (wrist) will begin the season in injured reserve. Ray suffered a torn ligament in his wrist in the beginning of training camp.
5. The Los Angeles Chargers placed linebacker Denzel Perryman (ankle) on injured reserve. Perryman linebacker injured his ankle in Los Angeles’ preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks.
6. The Dallas Cowboys placed tight end Rico Gathers (concussion) on injured reserve/to return. He can start practicing with the team in Week 6 and return to the active roster in Week 8.
7. The Atlanta Falcons placed linebacker LaRoy Reynolds (pectoral muscle) on injured reserve.
8. After putting Steven Nelson on IR, the Chiefs got some good news for their depth, seeing corner Terrance Mitchell return to practice this week.