High-Profile Injuries: Week 13

Scout.com's Senior NFL Reporter, Adam Caplan, provides his expert analysis on the impact that key injuries will have on this weekend's NFL action.

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.

Mike Peterson, MLB - Jaguars
Injury: Broken hand
Opponent: Colts

The nine-year pro suffered a broken right hand two weeks ago against the San Diego Chargers and his return this season is in doubt. Outside linebacker Daryl Smith, not rookie linebacker Justin Durant, has taken over inside for Peterson. It was thought that when Durant was drafted earlier this year, he would be the eventual successor to Peterson who has one year left on his deal at $3 million. But it should be noted that several teams saw Smith as a middle linebacker when he was available in the 2004 draft. In fact, a league source notes that the Philadelphia Eagles had strong interest in Smith to play inside.

Donovan McNabb, QB - Eagles
Injury: Right thumb/ankle
Opponent: Seahawks


QB Donovan McNabb
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The veteran signal caller didn't practice at all this week and is listed as doubtful by the team to play on Sunday, which leaves eighth-year quarterback A.J. Feeley as the likely starter.

Feeley did a good job filling in for McNabb during the 2002 season when McNabb was out with a broken ankle. It was Feeley's play that season which enabled the Eagles to be able to trade him to the Miami Dolphins for a second-round pick. Miami's offensive line issues and lack of protection caused Feeley to take a lot of hits and he couldn't stay healthy there.

With Philadelphia, you have one of the league's best offensive lines. And when you protect Feeley, he's capable of putting up big numbers as he did last week against the solid New England Patriots defense. Feeley is a true pocket-passer who is not afraid to make tough throws — something McNabb hasn't always been willing to do, which has been a criticism over the years.


Adrian Wilson, SS - Cardinals
Injury: Heel-Achilles
Opponent: Browns

The veteran safety will have season-ending surgery soon and has been replaced by journeyman safety Oliver Celestin. Wilson is one of Arizona's best defensive players and is solid against the run and pass. Wilson's role in their defensive scheme changed a bit this season as he wasn't used as much in the box. But make no mistake about it, he's one of the better players at his position in the NFL.

Wilson also is a good blitzer and is a hard hitter. His presence against the solid run and passing game of Cleveland will certainly be noticeable. And to make the situation worse, starting cornerback Eric Green was placed on injured reserve this week, so the team will have to insert former first-round pick Antrel Rolle in the lineup. Rolle moves too slow and a league source told Scout.com recently that Rolle would be better off playing at safety instead of cornerback.


D.J. Hackett, WR - Seahawks

Injury: Ankle
Opponent: Eagles

The fourth-year pro suffered a high ankle sprain during the opening game of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and missed the following six games. Hackett re-injured the same ankle during last week's game against the St. Louis Rams, and his return for the rest of the season is in question. Wide receiver Nate Burleson will replace him as he did previously.

Hackett offered the coaches a physical presence and good run-after-the-catch ability, so his talent will be missed. Burleson isn't nearly the physical talent so look for the Philadelphia defensive backs to press the Seattle receivers a bit in this game.

Hackett is set to become an unrestricted free agent and should draw plenty of attention at the start of free agency in 2008.

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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