Colts down both starting corners for Thursday night

Getty Images

The last time the Colts faced the Jaguars, injuries at cornerback helped Jacksonville to their only victory of the 2012 season.

If Indianapolis wants to avoid the same result on Thursday night, they’ll need to do a better job of handling injuries because the situation doesn’t look much better this time around. The Colts ruled out cornerback Vontae Davis on Monday with the knee injury that forced him to miss Sunday’s win over the Dolphins and, on Tuesday, they ruled out their other starting cornerback as well.

Jerraud Powers hurt his toe in the Dolphins game and coach Bruce Arians announced Tuesday that the injury is severe enough to keep him from facing the Jaguars.

“Next guy up. You’ve got to come in here and play as a starter,” Arians said, via Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star. “If you accept anything less than that, you’ll get less.”

The next guys up are Darius Butler and Cassius Vaughn, who will play with Josh Gordy and Marshay Green in reserve. It’s not a particularly imposing group, but, then, the Jaguars don’t have a particularly imposing passing game and the group was good enough to keep the Dolphins from winning a close game last Sunday after Powers was hurt.

The Colts were also without running back Donald Brown, tight end Coby Fleener, linebacker Robert Mathis and center Samson Satele all did not practice for the Colts on Tuesday. We’ll find out their status for Week 10 when the Colts release their injury report on Wednesday afternoon.

Jermichael Finley drops by Pro Football Talk on NBC Sports Network

Getty Images

Packers tight end Jermichael Finley got some attention early last month recently for saying that he felt like he and quarterback Aaron Rodgers were suffering from a lack of chemistry this season and intimating that the quarterback had to play scared because he didn’t have time to throw the ball.

The Packers have found some better offensive footing in the past few weeks, but Finley’s production remains much lower than expected coming into the season. You can find out how that’s impacting his thoughts about things when he makes an appearance on Pro Football Talk on NBC Sports Network Tuesday.

Mike Florio, Shaun King and Ross Tucker will also be on hand to talk about the latest Eagles loss and what they can do to shore up their leaky offensive line over the final eight weeks of the season. Bob Glauber of Newsday will also be on hand as the crew whips around the biggest news and injuries around the league as we put a final bow on what went down in Week Nine.

It all gets going at 5 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

Raiders add Aaron Curry to active roster

Getty Images

After spending all season on the physically unable to perform list, Raiders linebacker Aaron Curry is finally ready to go.

The Raiders announced today that Curry has been moved to the active roster. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be able to play on Sunday against the Ravens — his injured knee is still less than 100 percent — but it does mean the team expects him to play at some point this season.

Curry arrived in Oakland via a trade with Seattle last season and started nine of the last 10 games of the year. As the winner of the 2008 Butkus Award for the best linebacker in college football and the No. 4 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, Curry was widely viewed as a sure-thing future star in the NFL. Instead, his career has been a disappointment.

But today’s move at least makes it possible that Curry will have something to contribute this season.

Nick Perry’s second opinion for wrist, not knee problem


Packers outside linebacker Nick Perry is getting a second opinion, but not on his knee.

Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the extra attention is for an earlier wrist injury rather than the more recent knee problem.

Perry injured his left wrist in Week Two against the Bears, and has been on the injury report with both wrist and knee problems since the Texans game on Oct. 14, when he hurt his knee.

The knee problem is apparently progressing well. He wore a cast on his wrist earlier in the season, but had use of all his fingers, so it wasn’t considered a big deal. With the Packers on a bye, they won’t be talking about it until next week. At a time when outside linebacker Clay Matthews could miss a couple of weeks, they need Perry more than ever.

Trent Williams: Too much made of Shanahan’s comments


Redskins coach Mike Shanahan reportedly ruffled some feathers in the Redskins locker room when he said after Sunday’s loss that the rest of the season would be used to evaluate players to see who would be part of the team’s future.

Some felt that Shanahan’s words indicated a shift away from trying to win games, a notion Shanahan tried to reject on Monday and again on Tuesday when he spoke to the players about what he said. Defensive lineman Kedric Golston said that Shanahan got his message across in a better fashion on Tuesday and tackle Trent Williams said he thought too much was being made of the coach’s words in the first place.

“We didn’t take it out of context,” Williams said, via Tarik El-Bashir of “I think [the media] made a bigger deal about it than what we thought it was. We’re all good here.”

Linebacker London Fletcher echoed Williams’ sentiment. He said that he’s seen the culture around the team change for the better since Shanahan has been in charge and that there’s no divide within the team as a result of anything Shanahan said.

“He clarified what he meant, what he was saying, how it wasn’t portrayed the way it needed to be,” Fletcher said, via Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan. “He let us know exactly how he feels about this season and the guys that are in this locker room. There’s no divide.”

Shanahan’s clarification on Monday didn’t ring as particularly persuasive, but the message to the players is pretty much the same no matter how the coach tries to present it. The players in Washington need to play better or they’ll be plying their trade somewhere else.

Poison pill in Payton’s contract may have been a buffer against LeBlanc

Getty Images

Lost in the fact that the contract extension signed by Saints coach Sean Payton was rejected by the league office due to a term that would have invalidated the deal upon the departure of G.M. Mickey Loomis is the question of why that language was in the contract in the first place.

A league source tells PFT that Payton wanted to be sure that Loomis would be present to serve as a buffer between the coach and Rita Benson LeBlanc.

Officially listed as owner/executive vice president of the team, LeBlanc is expected to have more, not less, power during the term of Payton’s next contract.  So Payton prefers not to have to deal with LeBlanc.  To ensure that Payton won’t have to, Loomis needs to be there.

Maybe, then, if that term can’t be included, Payton really won’t want to stay in New Orleans.

Ahmad Black cited for marijuana possession


Buccaneers safety Ahmad Black has found his way into the rotation of players seeing time in the Tampa secondary this season, but he’s also found his way into the bad graces of law enforcement.

Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Black was cited for marijuana possession by Hillsborough County police last week. According to court records, Black was charged with possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana. That’s a first-degree misdemeanor and Black, who was not arrested, is scheduled to be arraigned in early December.

Black was selected in the fifth round of the 2011 draft and spent most of his rookie season on the Tampa practice squad. He played in four games, making five tackles, and has moved into a larger role this season. Black’s played in all eight Bucs games and started once, recording two interceptions and 10 tackles.

Black could be punished under the league’s personal conduct policy as the result of the citation.

Poll of players: Rex Ryan is NFL’s most overrated coach

Getty Images

NFL players are not impressed with what they’ve seen of Jets coach Rex Ryan.

In a poll of 103 players on 27 teams conducted by Sporting News, Ryan was the runaway winner on the question, “Who is the most overrated head coach?” Ryan was named by 35 players, more than twice as many as the No. 2 choice, New England’s Bill Belichick, who had 16 votes.

“Some of the things he does in front of the cameras are way over the top,” said one unnamed player who voted for Ryan. “You put that with the New York media and he has a pretty big reputation, I guess. I don’t even know if you’d call him overrated anymore because it’s gonna be a couple of years since he was in the AFC finals.”

After Belichick came Philadelphia’s Andy Reid with nine votes, Washington’s Mike Shanahan with eight votes and Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin with four votes. Jeff Fisher, Jim Harbaugh and Norv Turner got three votes apiece, Pete Carroll, Jason Garrett and John Harbaugh got two votes apiece, and six coaches who received one vote each.

Although these unscientific polls are more for fun than anything else, they do show that there’s a consensus in the NFL that the Jets are overrated. When Sports Illustrated asked NFL players to name the most overrated player in the league, Jets quarterbacks Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez topped the list.

Writing off the Redskins Rule

Getty Images

I’ve tried to ignore mentioning the so-called “Redskins Rule,” which purports to predict the outcome of the presidential election based on the performance of the team that plays in the city (or at least close to it) where the Commander-in-Chief resides.

But I’ve decided that it’s worth addressing it, if only to say how ridiculous it is that anyone would give it any credence.

It’s a coincidence at the very best, the idea that if the Redskins win their final home game, the incumbent party wins the presidency and that, if the Redskins lose their final home game, the non-incumbent party wins.  The fact that the “Redskins Rule” didn’t hold in 2004 is largely ignored, since it proves the trend wrong, giving the media one less meaningless story line to push.

So we’re suggesting that everyone ignore this stupid coincidence between what the Redskins do and what the nation will do.  And not just because it offends the intelligence of folks with at least reasonable intelligence.  But because plenty of people with less than reasonable intelligence who watch networks like ESPN and possess the inalienable right to vote may decide not to vote because the outcome of the last Redskins home game has made their vote moot.

Redskins welcome back the toughest long snapper in the land


The 3-6 Redskins might not be any better today, but they’re at least a little tougher.

The Redskins have released long snapper Justin Snow, and will activate Nick Sundberg from injured reserve/designated for return to fill his roster spot, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post

Sundberg, of course, is the baddest long snapper in the land, having played half a game with a broken arm earlier this year.

The arm was broken to the point where Sundberg heard it “click,” but he kept playing.

Sundberg has practiced the last two weeks, and Snow was told prior to Sunday’s loss to the Panthers it would be his last game.

“Literally, the past two weekends have been my biggest steps forward,” Sundberg said. “I lift Monday to Friday, and taking off the two days and then coming back, I have felt 100 percent better. I came in [Monday], had a great lift and did things I wasn’t close to being able to do last Thursday, then got out there and snapped today and definitely had 100 percent progress.”

While the decision to use the first year of the “designated for return” spot on a long snapper drew some sideways glances, he’s a valuable player, and earned some respect with his willingness to play hurt. Adding that kind of player to a locker room is never a bad thing.

PFT Live: Change awaits Eagles in offseason

PFT Live: The Eagles have lost four-straight games and it is now clear that Michael Vick and Andy Reid are both on their way out of Philadelphia. Mike Florio discusses the change ahead. Plus, could the Saints or Bucs make a playoff run?

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

PFT Live: Will Romo remain in Dallas after 2013?

PFT Live: Tony Romo’s future in Dallas remains unclear. His contract ends after the 2013 season, when the Cowboys need to make some tough decisions. We take your thoughts in this Wendy’s Rapid Reaction segment.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

It’s the Week Nine power rankings

Getty Images

For those of you who frequent the Rumor Mill but not the home page may not have noticed that we posted earlier today the Week Nine power rankings.

Now you have.

Click here for the full one-through-32 list of teams with a quick line or two about the teams current or future fortunes.

It’s easy to figure out which team is on top.  For the next 31, it gets a little messier.

PFT Live: Eagles lack talent, execution

Howard Eskin of 94WIP Radio in Philadelphia discusses just how far the 3-5 Philadelphia Eagles have fallen. Eskin believes Michael Vick’s best years are behind him and that may be the case for the whole Eagles team.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Steelers don’t expect to have Antonio Brown on Monday night

Getty Images

The Steelers plan to play without their leading receiver and punt returner when they meet the Chiefs on Monday night.

Antonio Brown, who suffered a sprained left ankle on Sunday against the Giants, is unlikely to play against the Chiefs, coach Mike Tomlin said. Tomlin said that the injury limits Brown’s “short-term quickness,” and it’s tough for a receiver and punt returner to play when an ankle injury is slowing him down. Brown leads the Steelers with 42 catches and is their primary punt returner, but they’ll be in good hands with Emmanuel Sanders getting more reps at receiver and taking over the returns while Brown is out. Sanders played well at both receiver and punt returner against the Giants after Brown went down.

Tomlin wouldn’t say so, but the Steelers may also be calculating that they can beat the Chiefs without Brown, and they’d much rather play it safe with him this week so that he can be closer to 100 percent for the following week’s AFC North showdown with the Ravens.

Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer has a good chance of playing this week after missing the Giants game with a quad injury, Tomlin said, but running back Rashard Mendenhall may miss another game with an Achilles injury.

Tomlin also said that Ravens game could mark the return of safety Troy Polamalu, who has missed most of the season with a calf injury.