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Zach Strief limited as Saints place Bryce Harris on injured reserve

Zach Strief, Michael Bennett AP

The Saints finished Sunday’s loss to the 49ers with their fourth-string right tackle on the field and they may be in similar straits against the Falcons on Thursday night.

New Orleans announced Tuesday that tackle Bryce Harris has been placed on injured reserve. Harris started last week’s game and broke his leg during the proceedings. Harris was signed off of Atlanta’s practice squad earlier this season and was pressed into service thanks to injuries to starter Zach Strief and backup Charles Brown.

Brown was out of practice on Tuesday, but Strief, who has missed the last three games with a groin injury, was able to participate in limited fashion. Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Strief said he’s feeling better than he has since suffering the injury and we’ll find out his status for the game when the  Saints release their injury report on Wednesday afternoon. If he’s not able to start, William Robinson, who joined the team a week ago, will get the call.

Defensive end Junior Galette, defensive tackle Tom Johnson, safety Isa Abdul-Quddus and wide receiver Courtney Roby also missed practice for the Saints.

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DeSean Jackson “very limited” in practice, questionable for Sunday

DeSean Jackson AP

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson may play when the Redskins roll into Philadelphia on Sunday, but he isn’t going to be 100 percent.

Jackson was listed as questionable on Washington’s final injury report of the week. Jackson, who injured his shoulder against the Jaguars last Sunday, was able to practice for the first time this week on Friday, although coach Chip Kelly said he was “very limited” during the workout.

“He did good today, but we’ll see,” Gruden said, via CSNWashington.com. “He was very limited, as you well know. But I think it was a step in a positive direction. We’ll get another look at him tomorrow with the trainers, then we’ll gauge him on Sunday morning and see where he’s at.”

Jackson has vowed to play in the game, which is his first opportunity to play against the Eagles since they released him in the offseason.

Tight end Jordan Reed remains sidelined with a hamstring injury for Washington, who will also be without quarterback Robert Griffin III, linebacker Akeem Jordan and cornerback Tracy Porter. Neither Jordan nor Porter has played in a regular season game this year.

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Eagles rule out Mychal Kendricks

Mychal Kendricks, Trent Richardson AP

The Eagles may give first-round pick Marcus Smith some playing time this weekend.

Smith has been working at inside linebacker at practice this week, which was seen as a sign that the team was pessimistic about Mychal Kendricks’s chances of playing against the Redskins on Sunday.

That pessimism was justified. Kendricks was ruled out by the Eagles on Friday after missing the entire week of practice because of a calf injury suffered in Monday night’s victory over the Colts.

Casey Matthews and Emmanuel Acho have been seeing time in Kendricks’s place at practice this week, although Smith has been the Eagles’ choice for the nickel package since both Matthews and Acho struggle in pass coverage. Smith was drafted in May to help bolster the team’s pass rush, but didn’t get on the field the first week and was inactive on Monday night as he’s not ready to help the team in that area yet.

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Goodell press conference will be televised on NBCSN

NBCUniversal Logos

At roughly 11:00 a.m. ET on Friday, the NFL announced that Commissioner Roger Goodell will conduct a press conference at 3:00 p.m. ET.  While that didn’t leave me with enough time to make it from West Virginia to Midtown Manhattan, NBC keeps some of its cameras a lot closer.  And those cameras will be connected via satellite to the NBC Sports Group headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.

The pictures and words sent via satellite will be broadcast on NBCSN, in a special edition of Pro Football Talk.  Paul Burmeister and yours truly will react to and analyze the opening comments from Goodell, the questions he receives, and the answers he provides.

Look for Goodell to answer any and all questions, and to accommodate every media member who shows up for the event.  After the events of the last two weeks, Goodell can’t let one of the league’s P.R. representatives cut off the conference before all questions have been answered.  Which explains the fairly short notice; he plans to answer all questions, and by announcing the event only four hours before it happened, the universe of questions will be smaller.

Whatever the questions and answers, you’ll see and hear them all on NBCSN at 3:00 p.m. ET.  And then you’ll see and hear us talk about what it all means.

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Colts defensive starters Jerrell Freeman, Arthur Jones out Sunday

arthurjones AP

The Colts will be down two defensive starters on Sunday against the Jaguars.

Jerrell Freeman and Arthur Jones have both been ruled out, coach Chuck Pagano confirmed today.

Freeman has been nursing a hamstring injury that also forced him to miss Monday night’s game against the Eagles. Jones suffered an ankle injury in that game and has been out of practice this week.

The good news for the Colts is that the Jaguars’ offense has been inept this season: Jacksonville quarterback Chad Henne has been sacked a league-high 13 times, while running back Toby Gerhart has gained just 50 yards on 25 carries. Even shorthanded, the Colts should be able to handle the Jaguars.

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John Abraham placed on injured reserve

John Abraham, Kellen Clemens, Calais Campbell AP

John Abraham’s season has reached a close.

The Cardinals placed the veteran outside linebacker on injured reserve Friday, the team’s website said. The 36-year-old Abraham suffered a concussion in the Cardinals’ Sept. 8 win vs. San Diego.

A 15th-year pro from West Virginia, Abraham has recorded 133.5 career sacks. He is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. Given his age and his health, it’s reasonable to wonder if he will return to NFL play in 2015.

To replace Abraham on the roster, the Cardinals re-signed punter Drew Butler, who has kicked in each of the first two games. The re-signing of Butler suggests Dave Zastudil’s status for Sunday’s game vs. San Francisco could be in doubt because of the groin injury that’s ailed him.

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Bill Belichick’s come a long way from the ice pick days

Bill Belichick AP

When Patriots coach Bill Belichick got his start in coaching, he learned a system of coding plays which involved index cards, hole punches and ice picks.

So naturally, the idea he can look to a tablet computer on the sidelines on have immediate access to so much information kind of blows his mind.

The latest in Belichick’s semi-regular series of expansive Friday press conferences touched on the rapid pace of technology and how it impacts his job.

I’m overwhelmed,” Belichick said, via Phil Perry of CSNNE.com. “I’m totally overwhelmed by it. There’s no way I could, without somebody holding my hand and helping me through it, there’s no way I’d get a fraction of what I would get. When we were with the Colts, . . .What I did with the Colts, I wrote every play on a card. I drew the card, drew the play, and then every category that the play fit into, I checked off on the outside edge of the card. So if it was first-and-10, plus-territory, gain of over four yards, screen pass, half back was the receiver, the defense ran a blitz, whatever categories that those fit into, then I would check those off. I’d take the hole puncher. There was like 200 holes around the edge of the card and I would punch out the holes that I’d checked off. Then you’d have a whole stack of cards here, slide the ice pick in there for third down and boom, all the third down cards drop out. Then you take all those cards, look at them and then you put them all back and put the whole deck of cards back together, stick the ice pick in there and all the screens fall out. Here’s 15 screens. You look at them, how many were strong, how many were weak, how many were to the half back, how many were play action, how many were third down, how many were second down? Figure all that out. OK stuck ‘em back in there again. I would do like, you know, 200 of those. Screens, third down, red area, goal line, short yardage, what they ran against blitzes, what they ran from slot, what they ran from motion. All of that.

“That’s, I mean, about as archaic as you can get: the ice-pick method. But it worked.”

As someone known for his ability to process information, Belichick can only benefit from more efficient methods of delivery. And he was quick to praise Patriots IT specialist Dan Famosi for helping him learn how all the fancy gadgets work.

As Belichick explained, the key to coaching is teaching, and the key to teaching is realizing that every student learns differently.

So being able to show the visual learners replays on a tablet computer helps as much as running them through plays on the chalk board on practice field.

The whole conversation is fascinating, and the kind of insight Belichick doesn’t always share.

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DeAngelo Williams practicing Friday

DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert AP

Panthers tailback DeAngelo Williams appears to be practicing for the first time in more than a week.

Williams (thigh) was spotted participating in Friday’s workout, as was fullback Mike Tolbert (chest), according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.

Williams was inactive for Sunday’s win vs. Detroit because of his injury. Tolbert caught three passes in the victory over the Lions, but he sat out the first practice of this week, and he was limited on Thursday.

The presence of Williams and Tolbert could be a good sign for Carolina as it readies for Sunday night’s game vs. Pittsburgh. The Steelers have surrendered 348 combined rushing yards in the first two weeks of the season. Williams, Tolbert and Jonathan Stewart are the Panthers’ top three options in the backfield.

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Vikings won’t be doing an Adrian Peterson jersey exchange “at this time”

Peterson AP

Given that the Ravens have offered to exchange Ray Rice jerseys for those bearing the names and numbers of other players, some Vikings fans want to do the same thing with their Adrian Peterson jerseys.

One fan forwarded to PFT earlier today his request to exchange five Adrian Peterson jerseys that he purchased for himself, and for his wife and three children.  The fan was informed that the Peterson jerseys will not be exchanged.

“First, we want to be clear that we have a strong stance on the protection and welfare of children, which is why we needed to get this decision right,” VikingsLockerRoom.com customer service supervisor Lane Lewis told the fan.  “We understand and appreciate the range of emotions our fans have expressed throughout the process, and we hope they can respect our decision.  At this time we do not have a jersey exchange program in place.  Adrian remains a member of the Vikings organization, and we will continue to support him through this legal and personal process.”

The Vikings confirmed the validity of the email, and separately provided this statement to PFT:  “No, we are not contemplating a jersey exchange program.  Adrian remains a member of this organization and we will support him through the legal and personal process.”

Eventually, that could change.  If Peterson eventually is convicted of or pleads guilty to child abuse, the Vikings could opt to accept the thousands of jerseys that have been sold with his name and number on them.

Either way, some fans want to unload their Peterson jerseys now.  That group could grow.  And if the voices are loud enough, the Vikings could end up deciding to include a jersey exchange within their ad nauseum effort to “get this right.”

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Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict not seen at practice on Friday

Vontaze Burfict AP

One of the Bengals’ key defensive players could be missing his third straight practice.

Starting weak-side linebacker Vontaze Burfict (concussion) wasn’t present at the beginning on Friday’s workout, according to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com.

Considering Burfict has been in the league’s concussion protocol in each of the last two weeks, his status for Sunday’s game vs. Tennessee could be in doubt.

The 23-year-old Burfict has started 32 straight regular season games for Cincinnati since joining the club in 2012. He has never missed a game. Burfict made the Pro Bowl in 2013 after a 171-tackle, three-sack season for the AFC North-winning Bengals.

The Bengals will release their final injury report later today.

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PFT Live: Thomas Dimitroff, PFT Planet calls and tweets

Devin Hester AP

Thursday night was a good one for the Falcons as they scored eight touchdowns in the first three quarters of their game with the Buccaneers on the way to a 56-14 pasting of their division rivals.

The man who put the team together will be on Friday’s PFT Live to share his thoughts about that game. General Manager Thomas Dimitroff will join Mike Florio for a discussion that will cover plenty of other things as well, including the first two weeks of the season and the fast start for Devin Hester as both a returner and an offensive contributor.

We’ll also be taking questions from PFT Planet during the show, so send them in on Twitter — @ProFootballTalk — or give a call to 888-237-5269 during the show to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets going at noon ET and you can watch it all live by clicking right here.

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Roger Goodell holding press conference on Friday afternoon

Roger Goodell AP

There have been calls from all corners of the football world for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to come out from behind the curtain and address the myriad issues that have been plaguing the NFL over the last two weeks and Goodell will finally do it on Friday afternoon.

Goodell will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. ET in New York City, which will mark the first time that he’s spoken to any media member since doing a pair of one-on-one interviews last week.

Friday’s press conference comes after Goodell sent a memo to the 32 NFL teams outlining some of the initiatives that the league will undertake to help organizations devoted to assisting victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Those initiatives fit with Goodell’s promise to have the league act to make positive change in the future and the future is sure to be a major talking point on Friday.

It’s a safe bet, though, that there will be plenty of questions about the way Goodell and the league behaved in the past when it comes to these issues as well as questions about the concrete ways the league will deal with those that commit these kinds of criminal acts in the future after two weeks of constantly shifting reactions as public opinion came down strongly against the way the NFL handled the cases of Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and others.

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NFL loses a corporate partner for its breast cancer initiative

pink Getty Images

The NFL doesn’t seem to be losing any money over the ongoing domestic violence mess, but it is losing plenty of good will.

The latest example of that comes from the folks at Procter & Gamble, who have decided they don’t want their brand to be affiliated with the NFL during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Procter & Gamble had been planning to sponsor an initiative where one player on each team would use a pink mouth guard in October, with the players raising awareness about breast cancer and Procter & Gamble donating money. Now, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS, Procter & Gamble has decided to go ahead with the monetary donation but scrap the plans for the pink mouth guards, because Procter & Gamble isn’t comfortable with playing a part in the NFL’s efforts to appeal to women at a time when the NFL is facing criticism for players abusing women.

There was a time when it would have been unthinkable that any corporate entity wouldn’t want to be associated with a brand as popular as the NFL and a feel-good cause like breast cancer awareness, but that time was before the Ray Rice elevator video became public.

With October just around the corner, the NFL is sure to face withering scrutiny about the fact that it dons pink clothing when it wants to appeal to female fans, but doesn’t act quickly when players commit acts of violence against women.

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A.J. Green says he’s on track to play

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green’s status for Sunday has been closely monitored throughout the week and things are looking up as it comes to a close.

Green’s toe injury kept him out of practice on Wednesday and left him unsure if he’d be able to get on the field against the Titans after getting through just six plays in last week’s victory. While Green said he wanted to play as long as he wasn’t too compromised by the injury, the Bengals’ Week Four bye added to that uncertainty since he could get an extended rest by sitting out this weekend.

Friday morning brought a bit more certainty and optimism, though. Geoff Hobson of the Bengals website reports that Green said that he’s feeling no soreness from the injury and, as a result, feels ready to go for Sunday.

The Bengals were able to win last week despite the cameo appearance from their top receiver, but their best chance for winning consistently is going to come with Green on the field. It looks like that will be the case this weekend.

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“Thousands” line up to exchange Ray Rice jerseys

Rice AP

The two-day Ray Rice jersey exchange started today.  And so far it’s a success.

Or, from the perspective of the organization taking back Rice jerseys and giving out new ones at no charge, a catastrophe.

According to the Baltimore Sun, “thousands” of fans lined up outside M&T Bank Stadium to trade a Ray Rice jersey for an “available jersey” of another Ravens player.  If the team runs out, vouchers will be provided.

The program runs from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Last year, the Patriots offered a jersey exchange after tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder.

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John Harbaugh: Just looking at Suggs’ sacks? You don’t know football

Baltimore Ravens Training Camp Getty Images

Sacking the quarterback is what Terrell Suggs is best known for, and that’s something Suggs hasn’t done much of lately: Suggs doesn’t have any sacks this season, and he only had one over the last eight games of last season.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh, however, says people who are only looking at Suggs’ sack totals aren’t looking at a complete picture of his impact on Baltimore’s defense.

“Anybody who knows anything about football who watches the tape will tell you he’s playing really, really well,” Harbaugh said, via ESPN. “He was very disruptive in his pass rush. Not just that, he’s playing great in the run game. I’d say all around his game is an A-plus.”

Harbaugh is right. We only have one commonly used statistic for pass rushers, and that statistic is sacks, and so people tend to focus only on how many sacks a defensive end or outside linebacker records, without bothering to look at how many times he pressures the passer, how he plays the run, and so on. In reality, Suggs has made plenty of plays that aren’t reflected in his sack total, including a hit on Ben Roethlisberger in Week Two and a tackle on Andy Dalton after a short scramble in Week One. Opposing quarterbacks have felt Suggs’ presence, even if he hasn’t sacked anyone. Yet.

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