Texans’ Leinart Out for Season With Broken Collarbone

Leinart, who started in placed of the injured Matt Schaub, will be placed on injured reserve after breaking his left collarbone in the second quarter of Houston’s 20-13 win at Jacksonville on Sunday.

The left-handed Leinart was making his first start since 2009 after Schaub broke his right foot in the Texans’ 37-9 win at Tampa Bay on Nov. 13.

Kubiak said Leinart would have surgery in the next week. Schaub is scheduled to have surgery on Wednesday to repair a Lisfranc injury.

“I’ve been a little bit part coach, part counselor here the last couple of weeks,” Kubiak said.

Despite losing one key player after another, Houston (8-3) has won a franchise-record five straight games. The rookie T. J. Yates, a fifth-round draft pick out of North Carolina, will start Sunday’s game against Atlanta (7-4). Kellen Clemens, signed last week, will serve as the backup.

Kubiak said Houston would try out other quarterbacks this week. And he hinted that he might even consider 42-year-old Brett Favre, who retired in January after 20 seasons.

“I don’t think you rule out anybody,” Kubiak said when asked about Favre specifically.

POLAMALU’S STATUS UNCLEAR Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu, last season’s N.F.L. defensive player of the year, may have a concussion, but the team did not offer a prognosis on when he would return. Polamalu sat out almost the entire win at Kansas City on Sunday after making a low hit on the 6-foot-6, 290-pound Chiefs tackle Steve Maneri.

Coach Mike Tomlin said the Steelers held out Polamalu as a precaution; it is the second time this season Polamalu left a game early after a blow to the head. “I don’t know at this juncture if it was a concussion; I want to be clear,” Tomlin said.

BROWNS LOSE FUJITA Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita could be out for the season with a broken right hand. Fujita played in only nine games last season because of a left knee injury. Browns Coach Pat Shurmur said Fujita would miss “a significant amount of time.”

NO MORE CELEBRATIONS Buffalo Bills receiver Stevie Johnson suggested that his days of colorful — and sometimes questionable — touchdown celebrations may be over. His statements came a day after he was criticized for a celebration in which he mocked Jets receiver Plaxico Burress for shooting himself in the leg and then pretended to crash a plane. The celebration drew a penalty that robbed the Bills of momentum in a loss to the Jets. After saying he “probably” won’t continue celebrating after scoring, Johnson then added that his extended demonstration on Sunday would be his last.

CHIEFS CONSIDER A CHANGE Chiefs Coach Todd Haley said that Tyler Palko remained Kansas City’s starting quarterback, despite a four-turnover effort in Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh, but he acknowledged that Kyle Orton would be given an opportunity to win the job before Sunday’s game at Chicago. The Chiefs claimed Orton off waivers from Denver as they scrambled to find a replacement for Matt Cassel, who was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 13. Palko was given the job for a game at New England and threw three interceptions. When Orton did not arrive until Friday, the team had no choice but to start Palko against Pittsburgh.

Tights Ends Have a History of Shredding the Jets’ Defense

The Jets know that such plays are coming. With Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, two superb cornerbacks on the outside, teams often test the Jets toward the middle of the field. Preventing them has become a weekly challenge, as it will again on Sunday, when another elite tight end visits MetLife Stadium. Marcedes Lewis of Jacksonville is as big (6 feet 6 inches) as Witten, 10 pounds heavier at 275, and, according to Ryan, faster.

The Jets feel that they can concentrate on stopping and the dynamic running back Maurice Jones-Drew, a luxury they did not have when preparing for the Cowboys, who also have two elite receivers and running backs with receiving skills. Lewis did not practice again Thursday because of an injured calf, but the Jets are preparing as if he will play.

The Jets want to be physical with Lewis, but not to the point of vicious collisions off the snap. Mike Pettine, the defensive coordinator, said he would tell his players not to crash into Lewis because players of that size and strength bounce off. A good shove off the line of scrimmage, by a linebacker or a defensive end, should work, helping the player actually assigned to cover Lewis.

While watching tape on Monday morning, Pettine noticed that the Cowboys lined up Witten at receiver, a change that curtailed the defender’s ability to disrupt his route. He expects the Jaguars to do the same with Lewis.

“Anytime you play a tight end like that, they don’t want you putting your hands on them,” safety Brodney Pool said. “It messes with guys if you bump them, rough them up, so they don’t run freely.”

Pass-catching tight ends present matchup nightmares for defenses. Deploying a cornerback to cover a Witten or a Lewis might appear an easy solution, but on rushing plays the tight end, bunched closer to the line of scrimmage and in full blocking mode, has a size and strength advantage.

So the Jets, like many teams, prefer a linebacker or a safety, players who in theory can cover them while holding their own in run support. On Witten’s big play Sunday, that responsibility fell to safety Eric Smith, who was left alone in coverage. Witten juked him off the snap, beating him inside, and gained separation about 5 yards from the line as he ran a seam route.

The Jets’ troubles with tight ends date to last season, when some of the league’s best — Todd Heap, Ben Watson, Aaron Hernandez — shredded them for long gains and touchdowns; in all, 10 posted catches of at least 20 yards against the Jets.

That list included Joel Dreessen of Houston, who is not considered an elite tight end, but amassed 106 yards and a touchdown. Rough games against the Patriots, whose tight ends combined for 19 catches and 286 yards in the teams’ three meetings, accentuated the problem.

Yet, there exists a chance that their shortcomings might be at once overstated and misleading. According to game charting by Football Outsiders, in 2010 the Jets ranked ninth in defending tight ends, down from fourth in 2009, allowing 44.8 yards per game. That figure could be as low it is because of a stroke of good fortune; they faced teams like Green Bay and Denver at points in the schedule when their top tight ends were unavailable.

Even so, a week after allowing 110 yards to Witten, the Jets are aware of their perceived deficiencies and are determined not to let Lewis have similar success. For starters, they know what Jacksonville intends to do.

“They’re going to try to get the ball to Marcedes in the middle of the field,” Revis said.


Linebacker David Harris sat out practice for a second consecutive day because of a toe injury, but Coach Rex Ryan said he expected him to play Sunday.

Colts Receiver Collie Out for the Season

receiver Austin Collie sustained a concussion Sunday against Jacksonville, and the team placed him on injured reserve Wednesday.

Despite missing five games and more than a half in three others, Collie leads all Indianapolis receivers with eight touchdown catches, and is second in receptions (58) and third in yards (649).

Collie was injured late in the first half against Jacksonville when linebacker Daryl Smith appeared to hit him in the head with his forearm as Collie went low to make a catch. It was his second concussion of the season.

“He certainly is a guy that’s going to be missed,” Colts Coach Jim Caldwell said. “From a medical standpoint, we are concerned more so about his health than anything else. This is the right thing for him at this particular time.”

Manning had already lost tight end Dallas Clark and receiver Anthony Gonzalez for the season, and running back Joseph Addai has missed the past eight games with a shoulder injury. MEMO ON WORKPLACE CONDUCT The sent a workplace conduct update to its teams in which Commissioner emphasized the effect improper behavior can have on others.

The memo is a reminder of the league’s belief that “all employees and associates of the N.F.L. have the right to work in a positive environment” free from all forms of harassment, intimidation and discrimination.

In response to an incident at ’ training facility in September after which Ines Sainz of TV Azteca said she felt uncomfortable in the team’s locker room, the team developed a workplace conduct program, underwritten by owner Woody Johnson. Wednesday’s league memo is a follow-up on that episode.

“Each of us must fully understand just how powerful an impact our own personal behavior can have on those we work with,” Goodell said, “and why the individual decisions we make within our workplace must be good ones. It is not enough to stand behind the strong values of the N.F.L.; we must stand for them.”

TEBOW TO REMAIN STARTER It’s time for the rest of the season whether Kyle Orton likes the situation or not. Orton said he was informed by the that Tebow will start not only Sunday against Houston, but in the season finale the next week, when San Diego visits Invesco Field.