KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The lockers are still packed with equipment, clothing and mail. It’s not as if the Chiefs’ injured players will walk back in, their knee injuries mysteriously healed, but the surroundings have been kept as if they had never left.
There’s been an interlude since the Chiefs experienced a rash of season-ending injuries – tight end Tony Moeaki, safety Eric Berry and running back Jamaal Charles suffered ACL tears over three consecutive weeks – but the effects remain. The Chiefs aren’t the same, and their 1-3 record at least in part demonstrates that. But players and coaches know the season must continue – and success must remain the objective.
“You have to have guys that are able to get into the lineup and that you’re able to continue to push forward and make progress with,” coach Todd Haley said last week. “That’s really all we’re worried about.”
It is a hopeful and resolute message, and it’s one shared by today’s opponent, Indianapolis. The Colts, at 0-4, are agonizing through the season because of the absence of All-Pro quarterback Peyton Manning, who hasn’t played this season and might not because of a neck injury.
Other than the Chiefs’ three injured players, this is much the same team that won the AFC West last year. And other than Manning, and a handful of injuries to offensive linemen, the Colts aren’t much different from the group that reached the Super Bowl in 2009. It’s proof, though, that in today’s NFL, losing the wrong player can put a team into a deep hole – one that’s not easy to emerge from.
“There’s a lot of guys on that roster, and it’s no excuse for everything to crumble,” Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney said.
JETS: New York placed linebacker Bryan Thomas on season-ending injured reserve and signed linebacker Eddie Jones from the practice squad.
Thomas tore his left Achilles tendon in the Jets’ 34-17 loss at Baltimore last week. Jones was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Texas in August, and was among the Jets’ final cuts before they re-signed him Sept. 28.
RAIDERS: Oakland place linebacker Ricky Brown on injured reserve with a concussion and activated fullback Manase Tonga from the practice squad.