Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Chargers QB Philip Rivers (chest, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 12. 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.
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.
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 5:58pm
“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.
Ball will miss the next two or three weeks, according to two NFL sources. Another running back ,Ronnie Hillman, is expected to miss another game with his left midfoot injury Sunday when the Broncos play the Miami Dolphins.
That means C.J. Anderson is likely to get another big workload. It's again not a great matchup against the Dolphins but Anderson was again a big factor in the passing game during last week's loss. Kapri Bibbs and Juwan Thompson are next up on the depth chart. Thompson had one reception for five yards in Week 11.
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.
Monday, November 17, 2014, 12:49pm
Given the Giants' rushing woes, perhaps we shouldn't have been shocked that running back Rashad Jennings stayed on the field for nearly every snap against the San Francisco 49ers. But with Jennings clearly still rusty after a six-week layoff, it was certainly surprising that his backup, rookie Andre Williams barely saw any action.
Instead, in hopes of playing a ball-control style of offense, the Giants upped the snap count for players like backup tight end Daniel Fells in the jumbo package to give Jennings and the offensive line an extra blocker.
Williams underwhelmed as the feature back in Jennings' absence, failing to crack 60 yards and never rushing for more than 3.5 yards per carry over his four games as the starter. The story went on to say there were moments against the Niners, especially in short-yardage situations, where Williams might have been used earlier in the season, but for whatever reason was left on the bench. It appears to be good news for Jennings owners who stuck with him through the layoff. In Week 12, the Giants host Dallas, followed by Jacksonville and Tennessee which are fairly favorable matchups. However, the Redskins and Rams are in store for playoff Weeks 15 and 16, and present much more difficult matchups.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 5:52pm
Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (foot) did not practice Wednesday. C.J. Anderson likely leads a committee that will also include Montee Ball and Juwan Thompson. Anderson is a middle-of-the-road RB2 in a not-so-great matchup with the Rams.
Austin Davis had three consecutive turnovers against the Cardinals, so with the Rams' season on life-support, HC Jeff Fisher is turning to the veteran Hill hoping that the team can string together a few wins and get back in the playoff hunt in the NFC. Hill's only appearance this season was in Week 1, when he completed 8-of-13 passes for 81 yards and an interception before injuring his arm. This move doesn't really change the outlook of the Rams' skill position players.
Monday, November 10, 2014, 7:58pm
Rams coach Jeff Fisher addressed Davis' Sunday afternoon struggles with the media early Monday evening and made it clear the Rams don't have immediate plans to go back to veteran Shaun Hill as the starter.
"He didn't have his best half," Fisher said. "He missed some opportunities, he made some bad decisions, had difficulty seeing at times. And over the last couple of weeks he's thrown four interceptions but we're going to hang in there. He's working real hard. So we'll see where it goes."
The story went on to say that if that doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement it's because it probably isn't. When Fisher named Davis the starter earlier in the season, he said Davis would get some leeway and not be pulled at the first sign of trouble. But there's little doubt that Davis has tested that patience over the past couple of weeks. Shaun Hill is waiting in the wings but the team still must feel Davis gives them the best chance to win.
The Broncos will be without Ronnie Hillman for at least two weeks after the starting running back suffered a midfoot sprain in his left foot Sunday, according to an NFL source. Broncos coach John Fox confirmed the injury, but only said Hillman was day-to-day.
Hillman seemed to suffer the injury as he was attempting to catch a pass early in the Broncos’ 41-17 win against the Oakland Raiders. He limped off the field and had his foot ankle taped then returned to the game.
With Hillman ailing, Anderson had a breakout game, rushing for 90 yards and turning a short reception into an electrifying 51-yard touchdown. Ball has missed the past five games because of a groin injury but is expected to return this week to play against the St. Louis Rams.
Anderson could be in for a big workload this week assuming the team wants to ease Ball back into things against the Rams, which, on paper, the Broncos should be able to afford to do. Juwan Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are next up on the depth chart but one has to think Anderson and Ball get a majority of the work, with Anderson being the better play, at least in Week 11.
It's what everyone feared, and assumed, as soon as Palmer went down on is own against the Rams in Week 10. It's a huge blow to the team's chances at a long playoff run. From a fantasy perspective, Drew Stanton takes over as the QB the rest of the season. As we said the first time around with Stanton, owners of Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and now the popular John Brown, must bump their values down. Andre Ellington could benefit with more carries and perhaps getting more involved in the safer, short passing game, but his touches were already approaching what many felt was his limit. Four of the next six weeks are against defenses ranked in the top five in terms of allowing fantasy points to QBs, including two games against the Seahawks as well as the Lions Week 11, the top ranked team.
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