ProFootballTalk: The New York Jets starting QB is…
Any optimism the Giants had about Jason Pierre-Paul’s condition is gone now.
According to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com, the Giants defensive end had surgery this morning to repair a sports hernia, which should end his season.
The recovery time is pegged at six weeks, and with four weeks of regular season left, it’s effectively a year-ender.
Pierre-Paul left Sunday’s loss to the Steelers with a groin injury, and spent yesterday visiting noted surgeon Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia. The Giants were hoping surgery could be avoided and that he might just miss a few games, but that apparently wasn’t the case.
It also puts a dent in Pierre-Paul’s pending free agency, as he was having a strong recent run (5.5 sacks in the two games before the Steelers game), and once again will enter the market coming off surgical repairs, after losing fingers in a fireworks accident last year.
Wide receiver Victor Cruz wanted answers from coach Ben McAdoo about why he didn’t have any balls thrown his way during last Sunday’s loss to the Steelers and he got them during a conversation on Tuesday.
It sounds like things unfolded in a friendlier manner for Cruz and McAdoo than they did when Daniel Kaffee demanded answers from Lt. Col. Nathan Jessup. Cruz said he left the chat feeling that the team would make “some concerted efforts” to get everyone involved on offense and that he thinks he’ll “be getting at least one target” against the Cowboys.
“We had an honest conversation between both of us,” Cruz said, via the New York Post. “He laid it to me straight, and I gave him my thoughts as well, and I think it was productive and it ended well. It was a conversation that I guess needed to be had, and we had it and we can turn the page and move on. It was just two guys trying to problem-solve. There was no anger, there was nothing back and forth. It was just two guys trying to figure it out and try and continue how to make this team and this receiving corps as productive as possible.”
Cruz caught the winning touchdown on a three-yard pass from Eli Manning the first time the Giants and Cowboys faced off this season. He also played on 89 percent of the team’s snaps in that game, which is a stark difference from last week when he played 43 percent of the time. That was less time than undrafted rookie Roger Lewis got, which hasn’t been the case every week but would seem to be as telling about where Cruz stands on the offense right now as the fact that Eli Manning never found him against the Steelers.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher, to his credit, is a master of survival. This year, survival has required him to become a master of making excuses without making excuses.
He has said on multiple occasions after losses this year that he doesn’t make excuses, immediately before making excuses. On Tuesday, he once again said, essentially, that he doesn’t make excuses — and then offered up an excuse.
“I look at this as being my responsibility, the win-loss record,” Fisher told reporters, before deftly shifting responsibility. “We need to do a better job from a personnel standpoint. We’ve had some unfortunate things take place with some high picks in Steadman Bailey and Tre Mason and those kind of things you don’t anticipate. But we’re moving forward.”
Bailey, a third-round pick, saw his career end after he was shot twice in the head last year in Miami. Mason, another third-round pick, has seen his career evaporate in an apparent haze of mental illness.
But no team hits on every draft pick, high or other otherwise. Just like every other team deals, from time to time, with injuries or bad officiating or anything else that Fisher has cited in recent weeks as an excuse after saying he doesn’t make excuses. (The folks at TurfShowTimes.com have the full list.)
Tuesday seems to be the first time the non-excuse excuses have looked and felt like an effort to throw G.M. Les Snead under the bus, at least a little bit. Indeed, Fisher tried to create the impression that he didn’t know Snead has gotten a contract extension, too.
“I’m so busy here, I was honestly unaware that he was extended,” Fisher said. “I’m being honest with you. We’re just working here.”
The not-so-subtle message is that Fisher has no say whatsoever in who the G.M. is, which creates the impression Fisher doesn’t have higher standing in the organization than Snead. Which makes it seem as if Snead is equally if not more responsible for any personnel issues than Fisher.
Or, more accurately, that Fisher really isn’t responsible or, even more accurately, shouldn’t be held accountable. For personnel blunders, injuries, short weeks of preparation, travel, weather, the vagaries of coin flips, or pretty much anything else.
During an interview with Denver Sports 760 AM, Siemian said he’s “making some progress” toward a return this week against the Titans.
“I think I’m getting better every day,” Siemian said, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. “[I’m] trying to do some different things this week and see how it holds up. I think I’m making some headway and we’ll see how it ends up.”
Coach Gary Kubiak said Monday he was hopeful Siemian would be back, and the quarterback himself seemed eager to return to a normal workload. Kubiak said last week he’d have no problem playing Siemian without a full week of practice, so it’s clear they want to make sure he gets plenty of chance to recover physically, since they trust his grasp of the offense without weekday reps.
“If it was up to me, I’d try to be out there every day doing something,” Siemian said. “But, again, this is a day-to-day thing and that’s how we’re taking it. We’ll come in in the morning [Wednesday[ and see how I’m doing and listen to Greek [head athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos] and he’ll take care of me.”
First-round rookie Paxton Lynch replaced him last week, and while they got a win over the Jaguars, it was a clear step down from where Siemian has been lately, so they’re excited to get the former seventh-rounder back on the field.
John Fox has been able to fix teams quickly in both his previous stops, but the going has been much tougher in Chicago. And if he continues next year as head coach, some changes to his staff could be inevitable.
Via Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Tribune, one of those on the way out could be veteran defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, as part of a “massive overhaul” of the team’s staff after a disappointing 3-9 start obscured any of the strides they made going 6-10 last year. According to the report, that overhaul won’t include Fox himself.
The Bears have plenty of problems, beginning with injuries and suspensions this year. But many would identify the problems with their offense, as they’ve struggled since replacing offensive coordinator Adam Gase with Dowell Loggains.
Fox hiring Fangio in Chicago was a bit of a surprise to some, as Fox has always run 4-3 defenses and Fangio was a 3-4 guy. But the Bears are built to play a three-man front now, and changing that might create another layer of problems.
If they make a change at all, as coaches get notoriously jumpy this time of year as they look for future employment.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer might have been wearing a patch, but he could still see what the Vikings were doing wrong in practice.
“He still can see everything with one patch over his eye,” cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said, via Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “If you made a mistake, he still sees it — ‘I see that!’ I’m like, ‘Wait a minute!’ ”
That Zimmer’s back on the job already after having his fourth eye procedure Friday isn’t surprising. But he said during his weekly interview on KFAN that he’s following doctor’s orders carefully. He’s expected to travel with the team to Jacksonville this week but said there was “still a lot to be determined” regarding the health of his right eye.
“I understand the seriousness of the issue and what it is,” Zimmer said. “If they tell me it’s in my best interest to sit in the box during the game or in my best interest to not go to the game, or there’s a possibility of losing my eyesight in this eye, then I’m going to listen to them.
“I think there’s a lot of speculation out there that says I’m not doing what the doctors are telling me to do, and I don’t believe that’s right.”
He said doctors told him to not look up, instead limiting him to “horizon, down,” He also needs to limit his physical activity as he recovers.
He’s continued to work through four procedures to repair a detached retina, and skipped last Thursday’s game. But he was back at Tuesday’s walk-through with a white patch over his eye.
And apparently, he can still see problems with his good eye, which is a good sign.
After Monday night’s beatdown at the hands of the Colts, the Jets were criticized for a lack of effort. But coach Todd Bowles said after watching the tape that he thinks his players were hustling.
He admits, however, that his players made a lot of stupid mistakes to contribute to an ugly loss.
“I thought the effort was a lot better, but I thought we made some bonehead mistakes that cost us,” Bowles said.
Asked to clarify what the bonehead mistakes were, Bowles answered, “Probably too many to mention, because there was a lot of people that made them, whether it was offense or defense or on special teams. We had busts that we normally don’t have, and there were certain things that we didn’t execute. We didn’t execute at all.”
Bowles said the bonehead mistakes extended to everyone on the team.
“I don’t think anybody played well,” Bowles said.
Bowles is surely right about that. And if he can’t find a way to fix those bonehead mistakes he may find himself looking for work in four weeks.
After having several close losses early in the season, the Browns have lost four straight games by at least 14 points.
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick will have to manage an injured left foot through the remainder of the season.
According to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Scandrick is dealing with plantar fasciitis that has limited his availability recently.
Scandrick was relegated to only playing in nickel situations against the Minnesota Vikings last Thursday. He played just 54 out of 74 snaps against the Vikings as Anthony Brown started in his place opposite Brandon Carr.
“It’s very frustrating,” Scandrick said. “But there is nothing I can do. I doubt it gets better until the off-season. The only treatment is rest. And I can’t get that at this time. It’s not a long-term health issue. But it’s unfortunate. I knew the first year back (from last year’s ACL injury) would be difficult and things like this would pop up. I’ve just got to get through this season.”
Despite the limited snaps, Scandrick had a season-high seven tackles against Minnesota.
If the Cowboys can lock up the No. 1 seed in the NFC, Scandrick may be able to get the rest he needs to improve the issue for the postseason run. Dallas has a 2.5 game lead over Seattle in the race for the top seed. It could give Scandrick as many as three weeks off to rest his foot before the Cowboys begin preparation for their Divisional Round matchup.
Every team has played 12 games, and four games remain. (That is the limit of my mathematical ability.)
So with 75 percent of the season done, who’s the coach of the year so far?
It’s the question of the day for Wednesday’s PFT Live.
Vote, comment, vote, comment, lather, rinse, repeat. And then tune in at 6:00 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Radio and/or 7:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN.
Guests include former NFL linebacker and current FOX college and pro analyst Chris Spielman and former NFL tight end and current ESPN college and pro analyst Anthony Becht.
Vikings safety Harrison Smith could miss an extended period of time due to a high ankle sprain, the Pioneer Press reported Tuesday.
Smith has a grade 3 sprain and will miss at least this week’s game at Jacksonville.
The report said Smith could miss the rest of the season and might eventually need surgery. That will be determined over the coming weeks.
He originally suffered the injury on Nov. 20 and aggravated it in each of the last two games, the report said. He left the stadium after last Thursday’s game vs. the Cowboys with his left foot and ankle in a protective boot.
Smith, a former first-round pick, made his first Pro Bowl last season. He hasn’t missed a start this season.
The 6-6 Vikings are two games behind the Lions and tied for second with the Packers in the NFC North.
The Jets worked out four long snappers on Tuesday, a league source told PFT.
The four were Rick Lovato, Zach Triner, Daniel Dillon and Kameron Canaday. Lovato recently filled in as an injury replacement for the Redskins. He also snapped in two games and two playoff games for the Packers in 2015.
Dillon and Canaday were both on the offseason roster with the Cardinals last spring as undrafted free agents. Triner got a tryout with the Texans last spring.
The 3-9 Jets are playing for next year, and having four long snappers in could have been about looking forward to next year. Tanner Purdum, who’s been the team’s regular long snapper since 2010, is in the final year of his contract.
The report said Gholston left last Sunday’s game at San Diego on crutches and with a protective boot on his left ankle.
Gholston is the only Buccaneers’ defensive lineman to start every game this season and leads the defensive line unit in tackles. He has 2.5 sacks on the season.
Gholston, a fourth-round pick in 2013, has missed just one game since early in his rookie season.
The mystery of Randy Gregory’s ability to return to practice continues.
First, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reported that the Cowboys defensive end is eligible to return to practice Wednesday, in advance of the completion of his eligibility to play in Week 16. Next, Breer reported that the NFL has informed Gregory that he can’t return to practice on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys declared through the website they own and operate that “the NFL has announced he will not be eligible to practice with the team until his suspension has been completed.”
Said the NFL to PFT: “We didn’t announce anything” about Gregory. “We haven’t commented at all today on his status . . . [and] we don’t have a comment.”
So, basically, Gregory won’t be at practice before Week 16. Unless he will be.
If you thought the playing surface looked a little rough with both USC and the Rams playing there in 2016, it could get a lot rougher in 2017.
Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today explains that the Chargers are talking to the L.A. Coliseum Commission about playing there next season.
“In light of the vote of the people of San Diego, it’s back on the table in earnest,” L.A. Coliseum Commission President Mark Ridley-Thomas said, via Schrotenboer. “So the appropriate amount of due diligence continues to be done, and we will see if in fact we can strike a deal.”
The StubHub Center, a much smaller venue, reportedly has been identified as another potential location. Which gives the Chargers two options. Which gives the Chargers leverage in the discussions with both venues.
There’s likely more than meets the eye on this one, given the game of four-dimensional chess currently being played in connection with the future locations of the Chargers and Raiders. Still, with little more than a month to go before the Chargers’ window of opportunity for an L.A. move closes, the Chargers need to be making arrangements for next year, because if they announce an intention to move to L.A., they’ll move immediately.