Rookie Seahawks QB Russell Wilson talks about Seattle’s struggles on the road this season and his play thus far. Wilson talks about his weekly preparations for games and why he tries to be like Drew Brees.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: 1-on-1 with Russell Wilson
The Chargers lost a couple of wide receivers to season-ending injuries, opening the door for rookie Keenan Allen to play a lot in his first NFL season.
Allen has made the most of the opportunity. He has 58 catches for 843 yards and three touchdowns, helping quarterback Philip Rivers to a rebound season and helping the Chargers hang around the fringes of the playoff race. We’ll find out how that feels when Allen stops by Pro Football Talk on NBCSN.
Allen will tell us about how he’s holding up as the season enters its final weeks and what he’s hoping to improve between now and the end of the season. We’ll also get his thoughts on playing with Rivers and for head coach Mike McCoy.
The Chargers host the Giants this weekend in a game that doesn’t have much relevance to the playoff race, but there are plenty of others that do and we’ll cover some of the biggest storylines from those contests during the show.
It all gets started at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
If coaching in the NFL doesn’t work out for Chip Kelly, maybe he has a future writing scripts for NFL Films.
Or maybe not.
Kelly’s Thursday press conference included a frolic-and-detour regarding play-calling philosophies that, as the use of language goes, won’t threaten Steve Sabol’s “The Autumn Wind is a Raider.”
Asked whether he would called certain types of plays early in a game to fool the opponent into thinking that similar plays are coming before executing a Rocky II-style righty-to-southpaw switch, Kelly used a few words that can’t be uttered on non-cable TV. Or, more accurately, the same word repeatedly.
“I know as a play-caller, we don’t do that,” he said, via CSNPhilly.com. “I’m going to call three sh-tty plays in a row and let them think the next one is going to be sh-tty, and then we’re going after them. I think that’s a little bit . . . . That’s not my mentality, and that’s what I meant. I’m not smart enough to . . . now you may think, ‘There’s some sh-t.’ Hey, write that. If there’s a sh-tty call on Sunday, just say, ‘Hey, he’s setting them up. We knew what he was doing to do.’”
To summarize, Kelly wouldn’t intentionally call a sh-tty play. But he may call a sh-tty play accidentally. And if he does, we should treat it as intentionally sh-tty.
Injured Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne said this week that running back Trent Richardson told him that being demoted from the starting lineup would be a chance to pick up more of an offense he’s been learning on the fly since coming to the Colts in a trade early this season.
Richardson said pretty much the same thing to reporters on Thursday. Richardson said that the lack of experience in the offense “slows you down” because of thinking too much and that he can’t argue with what he called the “humbling” decision to elevate Donald Brown to the starting lineup.
“I think it’s only fair that Donald is the starter, especially the production he’s been putting up and the numbers,” Richardson said, via Mike Wells of ESPN.com. “He’s been playing good ball. I tell people all the time that when I first got here they thought it was a two-headed monster with me and Ahmad [Bradshaw]. I always said it was a three-headed monster.”
The last two weeks have given Richardson a chance to “sit down and dig my head into it,” a process that has left him feeling good about where things are going with the Colts. He’ll get more chances, something that the price they paid to get him guarantees, but it might take a while before they come on the first offensive snap of the game.
The Panthers always want to run, but in a week when they’ll want the ball out of the hands of quarterback Drew Brees, it’s more important than most.
The good news entering Sunday night’s showdown with the Saints is that their backfield should be ready to roll.
DeAngelo Williams is back after missing a week with a quadriceps contusion, and coach Ron Rivera said the break was significant.
“Any time you get a break, miss a week or two or three, you are going to have more bounce, a little bit more energy, because the body gets a rest,” Rivera said, via David Newton of ESPN.com. “For a running back to be able to take a break like that, it’s going to help him.”
Rivera also said Jonathan Stewart should be fine despite missing the last two days of practice.
While the presence of quarterback Cam Newton and fullback Mike Tolbert mean the backs aren’t putting up numbers like they have in the past, having all hands on deck will only help against a team which can score more quickly.
Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell left Thanksgiving’s loss to the Ravens with a concussion after taking a nasty shot to the head from Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith, but his recovery is progressing well enough for him to have a good chance at playing against the Dolphins this weekend.
The team announced that Bell has been cleared for full practice as he progresses through the league’s concussion protocol. Bell still needs to pass another test before he’ll be cleared to play on Sunday so the team will monitor his condition after Thursday’s return to his regular workload, but it’s a good sign that he’s done as well as he has to this point in the progress.
Linebacker LaMarr Woodley also moved up to full participation in practice on Thursday. Woodley has missed the last three games with a calf injury and Jason Worilds has played well in his absence. Woodley said this week that he’d return to his usual left side of the defense with Worilds shifting back to the right side.
Jay Cutler practiced with the Bears on Thursday, but he won’t be playing quarterback for them on Monday.
Coach Marc Trestman announced on Thursday afternoon that Josh McCown will make a fourth straight start against the Cowboys. John Mullin of CSN Chicago reports that Trestman said he “absolutely” thinks that Cutler will play again this season, but anything he does in practice this week will just be an attempt to get him up to speed for Week 15.
McCown will lead the Bears in a game that they really need if they’re going to pull in front of the Lions in the NFC North. With the Lions sweeping the season series, they’ll win any tiebreaker and that leaves Chicago with almost no margin for error.
McCown won’t have linebacker Lance Briggs to help the defense put forth a better effort. Trestman ruled Briggs out of the game against Dallas as well and said the linebacker has yet to start practicing since injuring his shoulder.
The Broncos got some good news on both sides of the ball Thursday.
Thomas has missed two games, as the Broncos handle him carefully. And with multiple receiving threats (as evidenced by Eric Decker’s outburst last week)
Rodgers-Cromartie was inactive last week after injuring himself diving for a Hail Mary against the Patriots. His absence coincided with the Patriots’ comeback in the second half, and getting him back on the field will help stabilize a secondary that’s looked shaky at points.
Ed Reed was cut by the Texans after half a season of ineffective play, and he hasn’t exactly drawn rave reviews in his first couple of games with the Jets. But Reed says anyone who thinks he has nothing left is wrong.
Reed said today that the judgments of fans and the media don’t interest him, and he knows from watching himself and watching other NFL safeties that he can still play at a high level.
“I have created a standard for myself. That standard hasn’t been created by no fan [or] person in the media,” Reed said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “I think I’m still effective. I watch tape too. I’m not only watching myself. I watch safeties across the league. I don’t think that I have played much different this year than I have in the past if you go back & look at tape.”
Reed also said he wants to play for two more years after this season, and only retire after 2015. If that’s the case, Reed had better hope Rex Ryan’s job is safe with the Jets. Because Ryan may be the only coach left who still wants Reed to be a part of his defense.
Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard’s attempt to continue his sentencing on a probation violation in Nebraska failed on Thursday, but he won’t have to miss any of the season as a result of the sentence.
Lori Pilger of the Lincoln Journal Star reports that Dennard has been sentenced to 30 days in jail on top of the 30 he’s already scheduled to serve starting in March 2014. The initial jail term was part of the sentence that Dennard received for assaulting a police officer in 2012 as was the probation that he violated when he was arrested on DUI charges.
The timing of the jail term means Dennard will remain available to the Patriots for the rest of the season.
Dennard will also have to remain on probation for another year and do another 100 hours of community service. Judge Stephanie Stacy also added a no-alcohol provision to the probation and told Dennard that this was his last chance.
Dennard will have to return to court on Friday for sentencing in the DUI case.
Before the Dolphins face the Steelers on Sunday in Pittsburgh, Miami owner Stephen Ross should personally thank Steelers coach Mike Tomlin for knocking the Jonathan Martin situation to the media’s back burner.
But the Martin-Incognito kettle still simmers, with another boil eventually coming. According to James Walker of ESPN.com, Martin is meeting NFL investigator Ted Wells again on Thursday. It’s Martin’s second session with Wells, and it comes two weeks after Wells spent extensive time in South Florida, meeting with numerous members of the Dolphins organization.
Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, Wells will return to Miami next week for a round of follow-up sessions, which will include another meeting with Richie Incognito.
It’s not unusual for investigators to conduct multiple meetings with the same witnesses in situations like this. Given complex facts and conflicting versions of events, the investigator often needs to study the information generated to date in order to formulate questions that will resolve any lingering loose ends.
A report is expected within a week to 10 days.
In 11 days, the Dolphins face another key decision with Incognito. His paid suspension will end, and the Dolphins will have to decide whether to bring him back for the final two games of the regular season.
That return came on Thursday, the Bears’ first day of practice this week. Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune reports that Cutler was taking part in the portion of practice open to the media.
It’s the first time that he’s been back on the practice field since spraining his ankle on November 10 and, per Campbell, Josh McCown was the first quarterback up during drills on Thursday. McCown has played well while Cutler’s been on the bench, but the Bears have continued to struggle on defense while losing two of their last three to lose ground in the NFC playoff race.
There’s no word yet on how much Cutler practiced or what chances he has of playing on Monday night. If Cutler can play, the final four games will serve as both a chance to move back up the playoff ladder and an opportunity for Cutler to make a final statement before opening up talks about his next contract.
Wide receiver Vincent Jackson’s absence from practice on Wednesday was described as a rest day, but reports from Thursday’s practice led to concern that the listed hamstring injury could be more of a concern than it seemed.
Beat reporters at the portion of Bucs practice open to the media reported that Jackson was not on the field with his teammates, an absence that seemed to raise the likelihood that the Bucs would face the Bills without their top wideout this weekend. According to Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, though, Jackson’s early absence didn’t equal a total absence.
Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune reports that Schiano said Jackson participated in portions of practice and earned a limited designation for the day. Friday will bring an official injury report listing for Jackson for Sunday and questionable seems like a good bet on that front.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis is a safer bet to face Buffalo. He’s participated in practice both days this week after injuring his chest in las weekend’s loss to the Panthers.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has taken another step toward returning to the field. But that doesn’t mean his return will come on Sunday.
Rodgers practiced in pads today in Green Bay, the first time he has put the pads on since breaking his collarbone a month ago. Matt Flynn, however, is continuing to take all the reps with the first-string offense, which is a strong sign that the Packers still aren’t planning on having Rodgers back on Sunday against the Falcons.
The Packers’ medical staff has not cleared Rodgers to return to contact, but Rodgers has indicated that he’s feeling good and hoping to play soon. If Rodgers can play, the Packers still have a real shot of catching the Lions and winning the NFC North. But without Rodgers, it’s hard to see the Packers winning out, which is what they’d have to do (while hoping the Lions lose two of their last four) to win the division.
At the moment, it looks like Flynn will be the starter for another week, even if Rodgers is getting closer.
The Vikings continue to wonder on a week-in, week-out basis who the quarterback is going to be.
Freeman himself might wonder the same thing, although he’s close enough to free agency that he’s not going to rock the boat.
“I don’t think there’s any concrete reason,” Freeman said, via Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I think they want me to get more fluent and continue to understand the system, and I’m continuing to do that, learning a lot. I’m watching a lot of film and staying in these game plans.
“If you ask coach and he feels he wants to go with the other guy, . . . coaches are paid to coach, and players are paid to play.”
Freeman diligently avoided answering whether he wanted to stay with the Vikings, or say much at all really. He mostly said he was trying to focus on getting better each week to be ready in case they called on him again after his one too-soon start.
“Who’s to say — it’s out of my control, so I’m just controlling what I can control,” he said. “If they call on me, I think I’d be ready to go. But at the same time, it’s not really my call.
“I’m here to support Matt or Christian, whoever’s in, and continue to just grow in the system. An NFL offense — I know you guys really haven’t been around them — but they’re pretty complex. There’s a lot of ins and outs, different layers, stuff they might have run earlier in the year that’s a pretty hard concept. They adjust for a certain week. There’s a lot to take in. It’s been fun learning it.
“Of course, as a competitor I want to play. But I’m a guy who’s just going to work my butt off until that opportunity comes. Will that opportunity come again? I’m not to say. I hope it does, but you never know.”
In a weird way, Freeman might be better off going into the market without playing for the Vikings again this year. At the moment, it’s not exactly an environment conducive to making any offensive player shine.
By not playing, there’s still an element of mystery about his game, which could lead some coach to fall for the first-round talent which has peeked through the clouds from time to time, even if it hasn’t been evident lately.
Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee was ruled in for Monday night’s game against the Bears by owner Jerry Jones early this week, but he still needed to actually get out on the practice field and show that his hamstring could handle a return to football work.
Lee accomplished part of that on Thursday as he joined the rest of the Cowboys at practice. It’s the first time that Lee’s been able to do that since getting hurt on November 10 and he’ll be ready to go for Monday as long as there aren’t any setbacks.
It also looks like they have a good shot at getting Justin Durant back from his hamstring injury as well. Durant, who has also missed the last two games, was practicing as the Cowboys remained outside despite cold and rainy weather in Dallas. Coach Jason Garrett explained he wanted the team prepared for conditions in Chicago.
“We want to practice here, outside. The weather has been good to us, going off to play in some of these northern cities where the weather is bad. A couple of weeks ago against the Giants, we got some bad weather down here in the days leading up to that,” Garrett said, via the team’s website. “We thought that was a positive, just to get out and practice in it. And it sounds like the weather is not going to be great here the next couple of days, so we’ll certainly embrace that opportunity.”