Whalen should boost Stanford passing game

EUGENE, Ore. -- Stanford was without leading receiver Ryan Whalen last weekend at Notre Dame due to an elbow injury. Perhaps that was a factor in why the Cardinal's passing wasn't sharp.

Whalen is warming up with his teammates, sporting a bulky black sleeve on his left arm. Word is that he will play, which will give QB Andrew Luck one of his favorite weapons back.

That said: The sleeve could be a distraction. It certainly won't help him catch the ball. And you'd think he might be a little shy leading with his left arm while blocking.

Having Whalen is better than no Whalen. But it remains to be seen if he will play a big role or operate as more of a decoy.