Monday, October 20, 2014, 6:24pm
For the first time in over a month, Bucs HC Josh McCown practiced Monday. But coach Lovie Smith wasn’t about to say if the quarterback would step back into the starting job.
McCown suffered a sprained right thumb in the Week 3 loss to Atlanta and Mike Glennon has been starting since. There are no official injury reports on Mondays and Smith wasn’t about to break tradition.
“Wednesday I can talk a little bit more,’’ Smith said. “Monday is kind of an extra day. As we talked about (at the start of the season) on Monday practices I’m not going to talk about injuries. That part hasn’t changed. But Wednesday we’ll talk a little bit more.’’
Smith couldn’t have talked less about his quarterback situation. He gave a quick answer when asked how McCown looked.
“He was able to practice and get reps in today,’’ Smith said. “So he’s making progress.’’
The author said Glennon should be the starter in Week 8, but also added that nothing would be surprising.
"As the doctors said, they think I'm right on track to be back here soon and it's going to be a day to day [situation]," Jennings said.
The Giants leading rusher wouldn't commit to anything. He's taking it step by step. Next on the schedule is to hit the field during the bye week and begin running and cutting on the knee. He has not yet done anyone running outside the water.
"I'm going through my checkpoints. I want to see where it lays," said Jennings, who has 396 yards on 91 carries (4.4 ypc) in five games.
The Giants have struggled to run the ball in his absence and the team doesn't practice again until next Monday. That gives Jennings a week to see if he can make enough progress to be out there with his teammates for the light workout. As the story pointed out, coach Tom Coughlin hinted it's not going to be easy. Jennings has some serious strides to make here in the next week. The injury he suffered was significant. Looking ahead to Week 9, the Giants host the Colts on Monday night. It could be a tricky situation if Jennings ends up being a game-time call. For those who own both Jennings and Andre Williams, it may be a good idea to keep Williams for now, at least for a security blanket for Monday night Week 9.
Redskins Coach Jay Gruden wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Robert Griffin III returning for the upcoming Monday night game at Dallas, but went ahead and named third-string Colt McCoy as Washington’s starter.
“He still has a long way to go,” Gruden said of Griffin during Monday’s press conference. “I wouldn’t rule him out, but he has got a way to go to show that he can play, show that his ankle is 100 percent. That’s the big thing: He has got to be 100 percent ready to go. We don’t want to put him out there at 85 percent, have it be weak and have him do something to it. We want to make sure he’s ready to go when he’s out there.”
Griffin dislocated his left ankle in the first quarter of Washington’s Sept. 14 game against Jacksonville and has been sidelined since. Backup Kirk Cousins stepped in to win that game but lost the subsequent four and was on a downward trajectory Sunday against Tennessee, having turned the ball over twice, when Gruden benched him at halftime in favor of McCoy.
“Right now we’re going to move forward with Colt,” Gruden said. “I’d like to make the decision as soon as we can so we can get the reps. I’m a big rep guy. I want to make sure we get the starter ready to go, so we’re moving forward with the Cowboys with Colt, and Kirk is going to get the reps he gets and he’ll be ready to go if need be. But Colt will be the starter on Monday night.”
The team can't wait until Monday to name a starter just because of preparation, so McCoy gets the nod for now and will take the first team reps. It sounds like RGIII has a way to go and would likely need to get his reps in during the week in order to start on Monday, so that's something to keep an eye on. It's not a great situation, and to make matters worse it's a Monday night game at Dallas against their surprisingly good defense. RGIII is worth a pickup if you're in need of help at the position but probably shouldn't be saved to play on Monday night with too much up in the air at this point.
Colts HC Chuck Pagano offered these injury updates to lead off his Monday press conference:
Reggie Wayne is in the process of having an MRI, after finishing the game with an injured elbow on Sunday.
The story went on to say that Wayne missed a couple of plays on Sunday due to falling awkwardly on his elbow, but did return to action. It seems the MRI is precautionary but we'll be sure to keep you posted.
Rookie coach Mike Pettine isn’t hitting the panic button after an ugly 24-6 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday. That includes at the quarterback spot.
“Brian Hoyer is still firmly our starter,” Pettine said.
Hoyer played his worst game with the Browns, falling to 6-3 as the starter. He was 16-for-41 for 215 yards, an interception, a lost fumble and a 46.3 rating.
One bad game normally isn’t enough to make a switch at quarterback, but rookie first-round pick Johnny Manziel is the backup so there is extra attention on the position. The story said that Pettine said he didn’t consider going to Manziel to try to jump-start the offense. Manziel hasn’t played since the pass to him against Baltimore in Week 3 was called back by penalty. He’s played four official snaps this season.
The Lions have played without wide receiver Calvin Johnson for the last two weeks, but the door will remain open for his return in Week Eight even though the team will be playing a long way from home.
The team leaves for London on Monday night to begin their week of preparations for next Sunday’s game against the Falcons and coach Jim Caldwell told reporters, including Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, that Johnson will be making the trip with the team.
There have been suggestions that the team would hold the wide receiver out until after their Week 9 bye, but that clearly hasn’t been set in stone, the story said. Johnson worked out on the field before the team took on the Saints, but his high ankle sprain wasn’t well enough for him to return to action. It's a potential great matchup against the Falcons.
As Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski's playing time has increased upon his return from a torn right ACL, the Patriots have trended more toward multiple-tight-end groupings, which makes sense. Specifically, the Patriots seem to have found something that works for them -- going empty with the 2-WR/2-TE/1-RB grouping with Gronkowski and Tim Wright at tight end, which in a lot of ways could be viewed as a 3-WR package of sorts because of Wright's presence as more of a pass-catching tight end.
With a lower percentage of three-receiver packages, it has reduced the playing-time totals for pure slot receiver Danny Amendola. But as we saw Thursday, he's still contributing in that niche role (as well as a kickoff returner).
One could also draw the conclusion that inconsistent play along the offensive line has contributed to fewer three-receiver packages. By playing with a second or third tight end instead of a second or third receiver, the Patriots are devoting more resources to the line of scrimmage. Everything starts up front.
The story goes on to say that every offense needs something to hang its hat on and perhaps the Pats found it. Gronk's health has been key to this and multiple TE sets are allowing QB Tom Brady to takes shots down field while at the same time bolstering things up front. The Pats are used multiple TEs 57-percent of the time this season.
Cardinals RB Andre Ellington sustained a rib injury in the first half, which led coach Bruce Arians to believe his top runner was done for the day. To Arians' surprise, Ellington was ready to go when the second half was set to start.
Ellington put in a fine performance during Arizona's 21-13 win over Arizona, totaling 160 total yards — 88 rushing, 72 receiving. Ellington has been a high-volume producer in Arizona's offense and has showed a knack for being able to play through injuries. He's also dealt with a nagging foot injury throughout the season.
While it was nice for owners Ellington came back, and we can perhaps assume he will be okay for Week 8, it's at least a cause for concern as rib injuries are often a serious matter and take time to heal. This is definitely something owners need to pay attention to this week. There is some good news: Ellington 30 touches in Week 7's win could be something we see more of. Arians said a big reason Ellington hasn’t gotten as many touches as he did Sunday was because he hasn’t been able to practice much. He and quarterback Carson Palmer simply don’t have the confidence in certain plays because they have not been repped.
Jags RB Denard Robinson worked hard in the offseason and gained about 15 pounds as he improved his skills.
Still, he was expected to be a backup, a change of pace runner. But Toby Gerhart is battling injuries and rookie Storm Johnson gained only 21 yards in 10 carries against Tennessee last week so the Jaguars gave Robinson a shot.
It helped that the Jaguars were never far behind Sunday so they could stick with the running game.
“We got to run it the whole game and that was fun," said offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.
So will Robinson remain the feature back? Coach Gus Bradley was somewhat vague when asked about it .
“Yeah, I think so. We’ll look at the film. He did a good job and we hope to get Toby back,’’ Bradley said.
As the story pointed out, it was really the first time the Jags were able to stick with the running game. Cleveland was just an average matchup but Robinson took advantage and Bradley's comments indicate he's got a chance to see a big role against Miami in Week 8. While he's worth a pickup if you're an owner hurting at the position, keep in mind this isn't a great situation. Storm Johnson remains a threat and the offense just isn't consistent enough for whoever the starting RB is to put up great fantasy numbers every week.
Monday, October 20, 2014, 10:49am
Coach Jay Gruden made a concerted effort to call more running plays; they accounted for 26 of the 57 offensive plays in the game, gaining 3.8 yards per rush and accounting for 100 yards of the total offensive output of 351 yards.
“We had some good runs and some not-so-good runs today,” Gruden said afterward. “We have to improve our running game, obviously. It’s still not that up to par, in my opinion, for us to be successful. We want to get the ball out of our hands, for good reasons.”
Morris hurt an ankle and briefly came out of the game, but he didn’t miss a series. Morris has been anything but his usual, consistent self this season. He's had over 20 carries just twice this year, those coming in Weeks 2 and 3. His Week 7 total of 18 carries is his highest since Week 3 but he only managed three yards per carry. Owners may have one last gasp at Morris bouncing back - if the return of QB Robert Griffin III can open things up. That could happen Week 8, but it's a Monday night game at Dallas so the matchup isn't a great one again this week for Morris owners. The schedule does ease a bit and he has good playoff matchups in Weeks 15 and 16.
Monday, October 20, 2014, 9:56am
Locker practiced early last week, but was then limited, and he didn’t play yesterday.
“I would expect him being able to go next week,” HC Ken Whisenhunt said, via Jim Wyatt of the Tennesseean. “But until we get out there and practice, I don’t know that for sure.”
Locker practiced Wednesday, but was then limited the rest of the week with soreness in his throwing hand.
“Obviously you worry about him turning the ball over and putting one on the ground if you miss a snap or do something with ball handling,” Whisenhunt said of the decision to park him. “That’s ultimately what made the decision.”
“You would like to have your decision made as soon as possible,” Gruden said. “Now, you throw Robert into the mix. Robert has a chance to practice on Wednesday and we have to see where he is. See where he is health-wise, and from there I will make a decision from watching the tape of what I’m going to do.”
The story goes on to say that if Griffin can prove to the medical staff and Gruden that he’s ready to return from the dislocated left ankle he sustained in Week 2, Gruden’s decision would be a rather straightforward one. He’s already said Griffin will reclaim his No. 1 status when he’s medically cleared. Griffin worked out on the field prior to Sunday's game, dropping back, eluding an imaginary pass rush, sprinting on bootlegs and firing on-target passes. If Griffin is not cleared to play, the story added, that’s when Gruden will have a tougher choice between Cousins or McCoy. McCoy replaced Cousins at the start of the second half against the Titans after Cousins committed his second turnover of the game and 11th this season. Washington takes on a red-hot Dallas team whose defense has been playing better than expected this season. Since the game is Monday night, things could get tricky if you're planning on playing any of the three.
He doesn't need surgery but it looks like he could be out about a month. With C.J. Spiller perhaps out for the year, the Bills are suddenly shorthanded at RB and it looks like it's going to be up to Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixson to carry the load. Brown has a chance to get carries the rest of the season if Spiller is indeed out for the year, so he appears to be a worthy pickup for owners who need the help or just want to get deeper.
Sunday, October 19, 2014, 8:12pm
Reggie Bush would touch the ball only one time in the second half, and played sparingly during the second-half comeback, making this a disappointing reunion for the former New Orleans tailback.
Coach Jim Caldwell made it clear after the game, though, that the struggling tailback was not benched for his performance.
"No, absolutely not," Caldwell said.
Rather, Bush is dealing with another ankle injury.
He was seen on the sideline testing out the right ankle during the second half of the game. He did eventually return, though Detroit (5-2) preferred to use Joique Bell in the backfield for most of the second half.
Bell rushed for just 48 yards but did have a TD. We'll have to see his status for Week 8, a dreamy matchup at Atlanta.