Will Carroll
Thursday January 20th, 2011

I won't lie. I loved Hard Knocks and I love NFL Films work in anything. I tried to get them to film my wedding. No, seriously, I did. Can you imagine that? That'd be my idea for a new NFL Network show. Get Steve Sabol and the NFL Films crew to film some things they normally don't. What would an NFL Films bar mitzvah look like? An NFL Films family vacation to Disneyland? It could go forever. Of course, what I really wish Sabol and his crew were doing was following the Jets all season, Hard Knocks style. If the pre-season was good, how awesome would some of the scenes been during the season -- and I don't have to tell you all the issues. The Jets culture seems poisoned at times, with problems going back well before Rex Ryan got his foot in the door. If sunlight is the best disinfectant, then NFL Films is like penicillin. Imagine the ratings! For now, we still have three more games this season and the injuries are still a big story, as always.

The Packers have their normal assortment of injuries heading into this week, but only John Kuhn has a new and significant issue. His shoulder injury isn't thought to be enough to keep him out, but it could change how he plays, one would think, though the more likely answer is that he'll have a painkilling injection and play exactly the same. Kuhn's been a key blocker and short-yardage runner the past couple weeks, so his play is important to the normal game plan. Charles Woodson (toe), Clay Matthews (shin), and Cullen Jenkins (calf) will all play normally.

The Bears, as they have been all season, are relatively healthy. Earl Bennett and Zack Bowman were both on the injury report, but reports say they were given time off to be with their expectant wives. Chris Harris has the only injury to a key player, a hip pointer that he thinks he'll be able to play through. I'm sure that Aaron Rodgers has a note on this one.

While most of the focus is on Troy Polamalu's Achilles, the Steelers' key defensive player appears to be fine. Rumors of off-season surgery seem premature and his play has shown little evidence of a major issue. He's moving well in all aspects and doesn't seem to have any deficits he's covering for, so to me, the rest helped a moderate strain heal up. I doubt he's 100 percent, but few players on the field are, at least until the game starts. The Steelers had some hopes that they'd get Aaron Smith back this week after a torn triceps cost him most of the 2010 season, but he's not quite there. He could be a Super Bowl factor, if the Steelers win.

The Jets have some significant concerns of their own. Jason Taylor suffered a concussion and was out of practice, but the Jets said that Taylor had been cleared to return. Taylor should play normally, but the Steelers will be looking to re-ring that bell if they can and will test him early. The Jets are also unsure about Brad Smith's availability. He was back at practice but described as "tentative." Smith's returns are replaceable, but his ability to run the Wildcat is not, something that the Jets would like to be able to use this week against the blitzing Steelers. The rest of their injuries are relatively minor and all should play their normal roles, including Mark Sanchez.

For once, it's not probable. Tom Brady is going to have surgery to fix a broken bone in his foot. All reports point to the navicular bone, which could require the use of a pin or screw. Brady will be ready in time for next season, though some of the off-season workouts could be affected. Once healed, he should have no issues. If he has any questions, he should head over to Fenway, where Dustin Pedroia went through the same thing last season for the Red Sox ... Indy is awash in rumors about Peyton Manning's next contract. It will be curious to see how @JimIrsay deals with this one in social media ... Would the NFL get this serious about helmet to helmet hits? Kudos to the NHL for learning from the NFL's mistakes ... With the NFL stepping in to prevent new Raiders coach Hue Jackson from continuing his relationship with a supplement company and the ease of access to banned substances being looked at again, I wonder why the NFL allows players such unfettered use. One substance, geranamine, is banned by WADA, was added to MLB's banned list before the 2010 season, and yet isn't on the NFL's banned substances list. Yes, it's being used ... The Pro Bowl is the worst of the American all-star games, but the NFL's experimentation with how the game is broadcast is pretty important. With NFL Network's emergence, the NFL's "enhanced broadcasts" have shown that there's still a lot of room for innovation. CBS is going to have to find some way to counter what ESPN, NFLN, and especially Fox and NBC have done in the past couple years. CBS's last innovation was, what, Gus Johnson? ... Key players that have had surgery so far this off-season: Maurice Jones-Drew, Andre Johnson, Ndamukong Suh, Mario Williams, and Osi Umenyiora. Some surprises in the 'no surgery yet' department? Antonio Gates and Brett Favre.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.