Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Rams TE Jared Cook (back, questionable) took limited practice reps again Friday and is questionable for Week 12. Cook may play against the Chargers, but he’s not good enough to ignore red flags like back injuries and bad matchups.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers clarified his injury status this week, saying he suffered a chest injury falling onto the ball during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game on a sack by Khalil Mack. Rivers said he's been dealing with general soreness, like all players, this time of year, and clarified that Antonio Gates' comments were an attempt to protect his quarterback from criticism for his uneven play the past four weeks. Inconsistent pass protection and a lack of a running game have been more of a contributing factor to Rivers' struggling performance of late.
We're not sure who to believe here. Gates said that Rivers has been dealing with a "very severe rib injury," which makes it sound like it was an ongoing issue, not the chest injury that Rivers is describing from Week 11. Rivers' matchup with the Rams looks good on paper, but St. Louis just shut down the Broncos' passing game, so it's tough to be too optimistic about Rivers this week.
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 5:58pm
Chargers QB Philip Rivers (chest) practiced fully Wednesday. Antonio Gates made some headlines when he said that Rivers is playing through a “very severe rib injury.” Rivers should be fine for a pretty good matchup with the Rams, though Peyton Manning had trouble against St. Louis last week, and Rivers only has one touchdown pass (versus three interceptions) in his last two games.
“It’s never an easy decision when you make a change in the middle part of the season,” Fisher said. “But we looked at things Monday night and had lengthy discussions with the offensive staff, and just felt that the best thing to do at this point going forward was to lean on the experienced quarterback.”
Hill suffered a quad injury in the Rams’ Week 1 loss to the Vikings, and Austin Davis took over at the position. Fisher named Davis the full-time starter following the bye week. The head coach said he told the team today that he appreciated Davis’ hard work, poise, dedication, and tireless effort in preparation. Fisher also noted that when Davis was named the starter, Hill had, for all intents and purposes, lost his job due to injury.
But one of the other red-flag numerals was the team's rushing attempts against the Rams, as in just 10 for the entire game, one of those a kneel-down from quarterback Peyton Manning just before halftime. The Broncos finished with just 28 yards rushing and as a result held on to the ball for just 24 minutes, 10 seconds in the game.
It was the third game this season when the Broncos have finished with fewer than 50 yards rushing and the Broncos are 0-3 in those games, with road losses at Seattle, New England and Sunday's in St. Louis.
"There's no doubt to be the kind of team we want to be, we have to run the ball more," said Broncos head coach John Fox. "There's a mindset, mentality, whether you're on defense trying to stop the run and whether you're on offense running the football … Right now it's something we have to do more, we have to execute better."
Based on last week against the Rams, maybe even Peyton Manning and the Broncos can't get away with dropping back to pass as much as they have as defense can eventually adjust. The story went on to say the 10 carries tied for the Broncos' lowest total since the start of the 1981 season -- two years before the team traded for uber quarterback prospect John Elway. The Broncos had 11 rushing attempts against the San Diego Chargers last season -- the previous low since quarterback Peyton Manning signed with the team -- and the Broncos had 10 carries against the Chargers in the 2008 season finale, Mike Shanahan's last game as the team's head coach. The story went on to say the Broncos are also one of seven teams in the league with fewer than 245 rushing attempts for the season and Denver is the only one of those seven teams with a winning record -- the other six teams have a combined 13-47 record, a list that includes the 0-10 Oakland Raiders as well as the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, both 2-8. This week may not get much easier with the Dolphins in town. C.J. Anderson looks like he's going to have to carry the load with both Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman out.
Mathews made the most of 17 touches. He rushed 16 times for 70 yards, including a 20-yard burst. He added one reception. Branden Oliver had 13 carries but surprisingly added just one reception. The Bolts have a tough matchup at home against the Rams in Week 12, but may have to lean more on the running game with the news QB Philip Rivers is suffering from a rib injury.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers took a fourth-quarter shot to the ribs Sunday.
It wasn't the first time, a teammate said.
The Chargers quarterback gave onlookers a couple held-breath moments in the second half, one when his left leg got rolled up on and another when hit to the mid-section on a third-down sack. Following a 13-6 win over the Raiders, tight end Antonio Gates told a group of reporters that rib pain for Rivers was nothing new.
Rivers never exited the game, not for the tweaked knee or rib shot.
He was evaluated on the sideline in both instances. Reserve quarterback Kellen Clemens warmed up after a hunched-over Rivers walked to the sideline following the latter.
Rivers has not appeared on the injury report this season. A team is only required to publicly disclose an injury when that player is considered to be at possible risk of missing the upcoming game, the story said. Rivers said he's no more banged up than any other QB. Rivers has six TDs and six INTs has last four games, though, throwing for 205, 252, 138 and 193 in those four contests.
Sunday, November 16, 2014, 2:41pm
Friday, November 14, 2014, 6:06pm
Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 11. Mathews is expected to make his return this week in a great matchup with the Raiders. We’re not expecting he'll immediately get the 17.8 carries he averaged in 2013, but he should be good for 12-16 touches if things go well. Branden Oliver should take over the Danny Woodhead role in the offense.
Friday, November 14, 2014, 6:06pm
Chargers WR Seyi Ajirotutu (not injury related) was removed from the injury report Friday after taking full practice reps Thursday.
Chargers RB Ryan Mathews has not played since a Sept. 14 contest against the Seattle Seahawks because of an MCL knee sprain. It’s probably unfair to expect Mathews to carry the ball that many times in his first game back. However, with Mathews expected to return to the field on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, offensive coordinator Frank Reich and running back coach Ollie Wilson will be working closely with the team’s training staff to gauge how Mathews is handling his workload during the game.
Ultimately head coach Mike McCoy has final say. Chargers head trainer James Collins has been closely monitoring Mathews during practice, making sure there’s no setback in his rehabilitation process.
"We have to find out how much he’s ready to take," Reich said. "And that starts with us at the head coaching level. The trainers and Ollie and I have kind of talked about getting a feel for him during the game, and how much he can go, and that’s Ryan being honest with us.
"But he’s a big time player on this team. We want him to play as much as he can, but we want to be smart about it as well."
Thursday, November 13, 2014, 6:29pm
Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) practiced fully Wednesday. Mathews is expected to make his return this week in a great matchup with the Raiders. We’re not expecting the 17.8 carries he averaged in 2013 immediately, but he should be good for 12-15 touches if things go well. Branden Oliver should take over the Danny Woodhead role in the offense.
Chargers every-down running back Ryan Mathews is expected to return and practice this week.
Having all the injured playmakers back should give the San Diego Chargers, losers of three straight, a boost on both sides of the ball. But don’t tell that to Chargers head coach Mike McCoy, who said the rest of the team has to play better in order for those injured players to have an impact on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
“Ryan Mathews does not guarantee us 200 yards rushing,” McCoy said. “It’s the other 10 guys on the field that have to do their jobs better. We’ve talked about that as a football team. We ran the ball fairly well with No. 43 (Branden Oliver) back there plenty of times. We won five games without these guys."
Everyone seems to agree that Mathews will at least bring a physical presence back to the running game. Mathews could be eased back into a normal workload against the Raiders, but it seems reasonable to expect 15-18 carries a game for Mathews when he's back up to speed. Oliver could very well take on a Danny Woodhead-like role, but also proved a capable back to spell Mathews. Donald Brown was supposed to be that guy as the team looked to keep Mathews fresh for the playoffs. Mathews is certainly worth grabbing if he's still on your wire.
Monday, November 10, 2014, 8:43am
Mike Wallace is a deep ball receiver on a team without a great deep ball quarterback.
He has been watching his own Dolphins team find life one week and then quickly allow it to disappear the next. He has also been watching a quarterback he left behind, Ben Roethlisberger, find a career renaissance with Todd Haley in Pittsburgh.
Needless to say, he was not happy after the Dolphins' 20-16 loss on Sunday. Wallace had five catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. He has yet to crack 100 yards this season.
"We can't keep doing this on offense," Wallace said, via ESPN.com. "We can't be up and down to be the team that we want to be. We have to be able to finish football games."
The team is just a week removed from a fantastic, 37-point performance against the Chargers and was coming off a three-game winning streak. The Lions were a tough opponent at home this week, ranking near the top in terms of not allowing fantasy production to several positions. But as the story pointed out, the frustration will linger as long as the Dolphins have talented players that aren't being used correctly, or to their full potential.
The medical news was better for Lamar Miller, the Dolphins running back who sustained an AC joint sprain — more commonly known as a separated shoulder — against the Chargers. Miller is considered day to day, but there’s a good chance he will play Sunday against the Detroit Lions, the Miami Herald has learned.
Miller has started every game this year and is the team’s leading rusher at 518 yards on 106 carries (a 4.9 yards-per-rush average). With Knowshon Moreno already lost for the season, the Dolphins are perilously thin at the position. The other three running backs who have played for the Dolphins this year have collectively averaged just 3.1 yards per carry.
Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor provided no insight into Miller’s availability when he met with reporters Monday. But Lazor did not seem overly concerned about the prospect of playing without Miller, if that is the case.
Keep in mind it's not a great matchup for Miller as they travel to take on the Lions. Should the third-year back miss Sunday’s game in Detroit, the Dolphins would start either Daniel Thomas or Damien Williams, who finished Sunday’s game after Miller was injured. Be sure to check our rankings, but Miller is likely going to be a lower-end RB2 option.