Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is slowly making his way back, and his path to a return to the field seemed to take another step forward on Wednesday. Foles took part in a team drill at the beginning of practice on Wednesday, the first time he has taken part in the light drill since he injured his collarbone.
Foles did not have a helmet on during the drill as the team practiced inside of the bubble at the NovaCare Complex, meaning he will still likely be listed as "out" on the official practice report released by the team. Still, Foles has clearly started to up his workload over the past week, both with the team and on the sideline with trainers and coaches.
The team slowly starting to work Foles back into practice means the quarterback is getting closer and closer to being ready to play. HC Chip Kelly has said multiple times that Foles is working hard to return when healthy, but he has not guaranteed that the quarterback would start over Mark Sanchez when he does get clearance from the doctors to play.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 12:56pm
The talented second-year tight end, who notched seven touchdown grabs as a rookie, re-injured his left ankle in Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay and was placed on injured reserve by the team Wednesday.
Shayne Graham, who was signed to replace Hartley last year, has been mostly solid. He's made 18-of-20 field goals this season and was the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month in October.
Graham, who just turned 37, missed a 42-yarder in a 41-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, which drew the ire of Sean Payton on the sideline.
Hartley tweeted that he was in New Orleans on Tuesday night, but also cautioned fans not to read into it. How much interest the Saints have in Hartley, or whether his tryout is intended to be a message to Graham, is unknown.
This serves as a heads up for Shayne Graham owners. He may not be on solid footing heading into the stretch run.
Joe Morgan is no longer a member of the New Orleans Saints.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the fourth-year wide receiver has been told he'll be waived, according to a source informed of the move.
The mood in New Orleans is "very tense," per Rapoport, who was told that more than 10 players were called individually into coach Sean Payton's office for review.
Morgan's release caps a rocky tenure with the Saints that saw him serve a two-game suspension last month for an unspecified violation of team rules.
The fallout begins in New Orleans. Despite an explosive performance against the Ravens in Week 12, Morgan has been an enigma in New Orleans. He missed all of last season with an ACL injury.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton suffered two fractures in his back when he was involved in a car crash near the team’s stadium today. Panthers spokesman Charlie Dayton said today that Newton is in fair condition and will remain hospitalized overnight.
“Cam does have two transverse process fractures in his lower back but no other internal injuries,” he said. “He’ll stay overnight but there are no more tests scheduled, and that’s it.”
PFT went on to say that two transverse process fractures is the same injury suffered by Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo this season. Romo missed one game. The transverse process is a small bone that sticks out from either side of the vertebrae. According to the story, the Panthers say they are only thinking about Newton’s well-being and have not begun thinking about when he will be able to return to the field. Derek Anderson is the team's backup and in Week 15 the Panthers will face the Bucs.
From a fantasy standpoint, Anderson is a better pocket passer so he probably represents a small upgrade to Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen. Anderson started in the team's previous game against the Buccaneers (in Week 1) and threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns (one to Olsen and the other to Benjamin).
Details are few at the moment, but the crash included Newton’s car flipped over on a bridge and another involved, near the intersection close to Bank of America Stadium.
The Observer recently tweeted that Newton was smiling and conscious after the accident, obviously great news. Ambulances were on the scene and Newton was taken away on a stretcher in an around 12:50.
Johnny Football will get his first NFL start just in time for the final weeks of the AFC playoff race.
Coach Mike Pettine decided that Johnny Manziel will start at quarterback this week for the Cleveland Browns, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday, via a team source. FOX Sports first reported the news.
Pettine met with the quarterbacks Monday, per Rapoport. The coach was non-committal about the team's starting quarterback at his Monday press conference, but all signs pointed toward Manziel after another rough performance by starter Brian Hoyer.
As the story points out, Manziel offers the unknown, which like it said about the Browns coaches, can be both good and bad for fantasy owners as well. Manziel gave the Browns' offense a spark in his brief relief effort against Buffalo. He clearly has speed and arm strength superior to Hoyer. While Manziel's pocket-passing game figures to be rough, Hoyer was struggling with his poise and accuracy for weeks. He wasn't a comfortable pocket quarterback, either.
It turned out Lacy sustained a hip bruise late in the game that prevented him from finishing. Lacy said he thought he would be OK despite the short turnaround to Sunday's game at Buffalo, but he couldn't go at the end against the Falcons.
"I mean I tried, but no," Lacy said.
Lacy and Starks combined for 148 yards rushing (Starks had 10 carries for 75 yards, while Lacy had 13 carries for 73 yards) and each scored a rushing touchdown. Lacy also caught a touchdown pass, but it was Starks who was there at the end.
"He had a great game out there tonight," Lacy said of his backfield mate. "And we have to go out and continue to do this for the rest of the season."
If you're a Lacy owner and Starks is on your wire, you may want to grab him. There could be some cause for concern that Lacy couldn't make his way back in in a close game, but beat writer Ty Dunne tweeted later on Tuesday that the team doesn't seem overly concerned about the injury. The Packers play at Buffalo in Week 15, and after playing on Monday night it is a short week. We'll continue to monitor him this week.
The neck injury that knocked Colt McCoy out of the final two minutes of Sunday’s loss to the St. Louis Rams is not believed to be serious, and the possibility remains that the quarterback could play this week, a person with knowledge of the situation said Tuesday morning.
The test results revealed no structural damage. But McCoy’s availability will hinge largely on how quickly the soreness in his neck subsides, and how quickly he regains full range of motion, the story said. The piece added that Washington's coaching staff isn’t expected to have a full idea of whether or not McCoy can or will start until later in the week. At this point, Robert Griffin III or Kirk Cousins could start if McCoy can't go. The Skins play the Giants in Week 15.
It’s no surprise the San Diego Chargers were most effective offensively Sunday against the New England Patriots when Ryan Mathews churned out yards running the football. In the first half, Mathews carried the ball nine times for 52 yards, averaging a robust 5.8 yards per carry.
However, with a little more than two minutes left in the opening half, Mathews appeared to suffer a right leg injury on the same leg that kept him out seven games this season with an MCL knee sprain. Mathews limped off the field and was late coming out for the second half.
Mathews carried the ball only two times for minus-8 yards the rest of the game. He’s still wearing a bulky brace to protect the injured knee, a sign that his stability returning from the injury is not 100 percent. The brace also appears to limit his mobility.
The Chargers say Mathews is healthy and pointed out he did return to the game and did some nice things in pass protection. Keeping Mathews healthy this time of year was a priority for the Bolts and a reason they brought in Donald Brown. But it appears Mathews, between the brace and now his leg, is at least a little banged up heading into Week 15. As we've pointed out for a few weeks now, the SD running backs have tough matchups to close out their season and in the fantasy playoffs, which includes the Broncos Week 15 and at San Francisco Week 16.
“That’s exactly where it stands though,” head coach Bill O’Brien said Monday. “He has to pass the concussion test to be able to be cleared. I would say that’s definitely a day-to-day thing.”
If Johnson can't start, O'Brien said wide receiver DeVier Posey is a candidate to play. Posey has been inactive for each game this season. Johnson left early in the second quarter after suffering a helmet-to-helmet hit by Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith. The All-Pro receiver headed for the locker room after being examined on the field by team’s medical staff.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 9:22am
For the first time since his injury Broncos TE Julius Thomas was in uniform for a game, but he did not play a snap in the Broncos' 24-17 victory. Following the game Broncos head coach John Fox said Thomas could have played if the Broncos needed him.
Monday, Fox was asked how the decision was made to put Thomas in uniform, rather than make him a gameday inactive, and then not play the league's leader in touchdown receptions in the game.
"Just like every week, we have 53 men on the roster and we have to pick 46 to be active for the game," Fox said. "You have to sign documents, there is all kind of paperwork. There are guys who work out before games to see how they look and how they feel. We picked him as one of the 46."
Against the Bills, tight end Jacob Tamme played with a rib injury he had suffered in the Broncos' win in Kansas City the week before. Tamme was clearly limited by the injury and played just nine snaps in the game after taking a big hit on a reception just before halftime that resulted in a fumble.
Thomas had spent more than 30 minutes stretching, jogging and running some short routes for backup quarterback Brock Osweiler before last week's game the story said. It went on to say that last week Thomas said the injury to the left ankle is "nothing like" his previous ankle troubles, and he said he has good and bad days. Even with the team running the ball more, the story points out they've missed Thomas in the passing game as teams are now focusing their attention on wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Even if Julius Thomas is active again this week, owners will now be left to wonder if he gets on the field.
Buoyed by the cries of panicked fantasy football owners, Denver's passing game came under the spotlight this week and head coach John Fox had to answer for the quarterback with 36 passing touchdowns. That is tied for the most in the NFL.
"Our passing game is fine, you never know we might put our foot on the gas and throw it 50 times," Fox said, via ESPN.com. "I can't really predict what's going to happen because a lot of it is based on what an opponent does. ...There is nothing wrong with our passing game, we've just run it a little bit more the past few weeks. Just like there was nothing wrong with our run game ... when people were blowing fuses on that."
Over the last four weeks, Peyton Manning's numbers have been slightly grounded while the Broncos answered previous critics and developed their running game into playoff form. Last week against a very good Buffalo Bills front, Denver got strong performance from both C.J. Anderson and Juwan Thompson, which resulted in three rushing touchdowns. Manning's streak of 51 straight games with a passing touchdown came to an end and he had two picks.
Thinking anything is wrong with the Broncos is wasted energy, according to the story. Consider the fact that defenses are simply daring Manning and the Broncos to run the football, and have eliminated many of their extra pass rushers to increase the number of defenders they can place in coverage. Everyone knows what Manning is capable of, which is why developing a ground game is paramount, the piece went on to say. If you were lucky enough to survive Week 14 playoffs with Manning as your QB, it's certainly something to think about, but you may not be able to live with yourself benching Manning this time of year. Denver plays at San Diego Week 15 then at Cincy Monday night of Week 16. We haven't heard the last of Manning this season.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 9:07am
The Dolphins have a nickel and dime passing game, an injury-decimated offensive line that is better suited to run block than pass protect, and a tailback in Lamar Miller who has one of the highest yards per carry averages (4.8 per attempt) in the NFL.
YET, the Dolphins, which have the seventh highest rushing average in the NFL, are consistent about abandoning the run game, even when it is working.
It happens each and every game the Dolphins don't have a lead going into the fourth quarter. The run game will be effective in the first half, like the 57 rushing yards the Dolphins produced on 13 first half carries against the Ravens. You know, the first half where the Dolphins owned a 10-7 lead and controlled time of possession.
Then the Dolphins will dump the rushing attack like it was a cheap date who farted at the dinner table.
The story goes on to point out the Dolphins gave Miller three carries in the second half of Sunday's 28-13 Ravens loss, which features Miami holding a third-quarter lead early. The Dolphins got the ball first in the third quarter and ran the ball zero times, it continued. On the second possession of the second half Miller's first carry gained 10 yards, and then his next two carries each produced 2-yard losses. From that point Miami was pass happy. The writer went on to say that it doesn't take much for the coaches to pull Miller from the game either, something fantasy owners are likely familiar with. The way the Dolphins use their backs is frustrating for Miller owners, especially when the once-cut and now-back Daniel Thomas remains an option. Based on all of this, Miller is a risky play this time of year, perhaps even in a good matchup.
Falcons WR Julio Jones finished Monday night's game with 11 catches, 259 yards and a touchdown before leaving with a hip injury late in the fourth quarter.
Jones took an awkward shot on a catch in the red zone and never returned. Jones tried to get the injury loose on the sideline, but the Falcons shut him down for the night even though they were driving for their final touchdown of a 43-37 loss.
Falcons coach Mike Smith said after the game that the initial diagnosis on Jones' injury was unclear. But he didn't sound too concerned, which is some good news to take from this until we can learn a little more. Jones has been on fire lately so this will be an anxious time for owners heading into the Week 15 playoffs. Jones has a home game vs. Pittsburgh. It's an early afternoon contest so if it comes down to a game-time call there will at least be time for adjustments. Harry Douglas only had two catches on MNF but did have a TD. He would make for a solid handcuff option.