By hiring Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator, Jerry Jones not only will employ someone older than he is, but also has improved the Cowboys’ playoff stock in 2013.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: How does Kiffin improve Dallas?
Brandon Marshall keeps making his own fashion choices, which continue to be costly.
PFT has confirmed that the Bears wide receiver was fined $15,000 for wearing orange shoes in Monday’s win over the Cowboys, which is at least his third shoe fine of the last two year.
While it’s an expensive choice, no one can say Marshall doesn’t know what’s coming.
Any list of breakout players in 2013 would be incomplete without Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon.
The second-year man has 71 catches for 1,400 yards and eight touchdowns and it seems like he makes at least one highlight reel play every week. The last four weeks have been particularly fruitful as Gordon has 36 catches for 774 yards and four touchdowns in four Browns losses. Gordon will be a guest on Pro Football Talk on NBCSN on Friday and we’ll ask him about thriving while his team struggles to win games.
Gordon will try to get a win while keeping his own play rolling against the Bears this Sunday, one of the 14 Week 15 games that will be played that day. We’ll be previewing all of them to make sure you have all the information you need for a weekend that should bring more clarity to the playoff picture around the league.
It all gets underway at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
The club disclosed the move on Twitter.
Smelley, who can also play fullback, signed with the Texans’ practice squad on Dec. 3. A seventh-round pick of the Browns in 2012, Smelley appeared in two regular-season games for Cleveland as a rookie. He played collegiately at Alabama.
Smelley figures to be the Texans’ third-string tight end behind Garrett Graham and Ryan Griffin.
Byrne, a first-year pro from Wisconsin, had been on the Texans’ roster since Oct. 9. He played in seven games for Houston.
Broncos linebacker Von Miller lost a big chunk of money during his six-game suspension and now he’s out a little bit more thanks to a fine for a hit in Week 14.
PFT has confirmed with the league that Miller has been fined $25,000 for roughing Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick during the Broncos’ 51-28 victory. Miller struck Fitzpatrick in the helmet with his helmet, drawing a flag that helped the Titans to a touchdown that gave them a 21-10 lead in the first half of the game. Titans coach Mike Munchak said Monday that he hoped the league would take further action against Miller.
“I think that is disturbing because that was unnecessary,” Munchak said, via the Tennessean. “They flagged it, which was the right thing, and luckily our quarterback wasn’t hurt.”
It’s Miller’s first fine for an illegal hit this season, but he’s no stranger to the process. He was fined three times for roughing the passer during the 2012 season and a couple more times during his rookie season, leading to some talk of a suspension for his repeated violations. Miller wound up getting suspended for other reasons, but the possibility of another one still remains should Miller keep piling up infractions.
At a time when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his son, Stephen, have been calling out multiple defensive players by name, one of them has gotten a new contract.
PFT has confirmed that cornerback Orlando Scandrick received a two-year extension last month. The new deal increases the guaranteed money while decreasing the annual average of the deal.
Scandrick gets $9 million guaranteed under the new contract, via a $4.5 million fully-guaranteed base salary in 2014; a $1.5 million base salary in 2015 guaranteed for injury only until the fifth day of the 2015 league year, when it becomes fully guaranteed; and $3 million base salary in 2016 guaranteed for injury only until the fifth day of the 2016 league year, when it becomes fully guaranteed.
The deal includes base salaries of $3 million in 2017 and 2018, respectively, along with $500,000 de-escalators each season based on Scandrick completing the offseason workout program.
While the contract first landed on the media’s radar screen Friday, it was signed on November 21. It’s unclear why word of the deal didn’t leak sooner.
Maybe Scandrick didn’t want people on his Christmas list to expect better gifts.
The 49ers are approaching health at the right time, and could be getting one of their top players back this week.
All-Pro left guard Mike Iupati got through a week of practice, and is listed as questionable on the injury report for Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers.
Coach Jim Harbaugh, ever the font of information, said there was “still a possibility,” he’d play, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
Iupati’s been out since suffering a sprained MCL on Nov. 17, with Adam Snyder starting the last four games.
While they might not need to be full strength to beat the Buccaneers, having key pieces back will certainly help as the weeks go on.
Steelers center Cody Wallace says he accidentally put his hand in a place where a hand normally goes only when accompanied by a few bars of Moon River. In response, the league office has intentionally put its hand into Wallace’s wallet.
The league office advises PFT that Wallace has been fined $7,875 for unnecessary roughness. The unnecessary roughness, as explained by the league, arose from striking Dolphins defensive lineman Randy Starks “in the groin area.” (Yes, in the groin area.)
It wasn’t the only fine Wallace received for the game. He was fined another $10,000 for a late hit. But not to anyone’s groin area.
[Photo credit: Steelers.com]
Linebacker Elvis Dumervil returned to practice Friday for the first time since injuring his ankle against the Steelers on Thanksgiving night. With their game against the Lions on Monday night, Dumervil has an extra day to get ready to play and he said he’s going to do what he can to make sure he’s available to pressure Matthew Stafford.
“It’s definitely gotten better,” Dumervil said, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “The strength is getting there. Just working man, trying to continue to work on my conditioning and really strengthen that ankle to get me to a point when I can tolerate it.”
The Ravens will release their final injury report for Monday night on Saturday. If Dumervil’s ankle holds up well after practice, he’ll likely be listed as questionable.
Dumervil has 9.5 sacks in 12 games this season and the Ravens could certainly use him off the edge on Monday night as they try to keep Johnson from making the young whippersnappers in the secondary look too wet behind the ears.
The Colts have declared fullback Stanley Havili (knee), defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois (foot), right guard Jeff Linkenbach (quad), center Samson Satele (elbow) and cornerback Greg Toler (groin) out of Sunday’s game against Houston.
Jean Francois, Linkenbach and Toler all missed the Week 14 loss at Cincinnati, while Havili and Satele started the game for the Colts.
Wide receiver LaVon Brazill (foot) is questionable. He has not practiced all week.
The Colts have clinched the AFC South. They currently hold the No. 4 seed in the conference.
The Bears are getting one injured starter back this week with quarterback Jay Cutler returning to the lineup, but they’ll have to wait a little longer before linebacker Lance Briggs is ready to get back in action.
Briggs won’t play against the Browns this week, but he returned to practice on Thursday and said his injured shoulder feels great after two sessions. Coach Marc Trestman indicated that Briggs has a good chance to play in Week 16 against the Eagles as long as everything keeps progressing along the same track.
“I’d be much more optimistic that that could happen,” Trestman said, via the Chicago Tribune. “He got more work today, and we’ll see how he is the first of the week, but it raises our optimism, certainly.”
The Bears run defense has been abysmal since Briggs has been out of the lineup, allowing a 100-yard rusher in each of the six games he’s missed and 1,220 rushing yards overall. With LeSean McCoy looming that week, Briggs’ return would be a welcome one.
File this one under B for “better late than never,” but the Vikings are getting a key defensive player back this week.
Smith was placed on injured reserve/designated for return in October with a toe injury.
The 2012 first-rounder was able to avoid surgery to repair the problem, which bought him three more weeks on the field for the 3-9-1 Vikings.
The Rams secondary has not done a very good job of slowing down opposing passing games this season.
As Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out, the Rams are on pace to allow opposing offenses the third-highest completion percentage in a single season. That number could be poised to go up this weekend as they’ll be taking on the Saints and it looks like there’s a good chance starting cornerback Janoris Jenkins will be out of the lineup.
Jenkins missed his third straight day of practice with a back injury on Friday. The Rams didn’t rule him out of the game, listing him as questionable, but it is rarely a good sign for a player’s chances of playing when he misses the entire week of practice.
With that in mind, things also aren’t looking good for wide receiver Tavon Austin. Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com reports that Austin was still in a walking boot to protect his injured ankle on Friday, which makes three straight missed practices for him as well. Austin joins Jenkins as questionable, but it won’t come as much of a surprise if neither player is able to go this Sunday.
Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (right elbow) will be questionable on the club’s injury report, but he’s expected to start Sunday’s game at Tennessee, coach Bruce Arians said today, according to multiple media outlets, including the club’s website.
The 33-year-old Palmer has been listed on the injury report with the elbow ailment in each of the last two weeks. He was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
Palmer was exceptional in last Sunday’s win vs. the Rams, completing 27-of-32 passes for 269 yards, including a TD pass to Larry Fitzgerald.
Palmer needs 542 passing yards for 4,000 on the season. He has compiled a QB rating of 112 or higher in three of the last four games.
The 8-5 Cardinals are one game out of a wild-card spot in the NFC.
As legend has it, Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino once told a player who was thinking about leaving for the NBA, “You can go and help your family, or you can stay and help mine.”
Louisville football coach Charlie Strong may want Pitino to keep that sentiment to himself, at least for the next few weeks.
John Middlekauf of CSN Bay Area and Gil Brandt of NFL.com report that Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has contemplated staying in school. Brandt adds that he would be “shocked” if that happens.
We’d be shocked, too. Bridgewater currently sits at or near the top of the expected draft order. He can’t push his stock much higher by staying in school for another year.
Even if he could, the current CBA doesn’t reward waiting. Before 2011, coming back to school could for some players help both the coach’s family and the player’s family by driving up exponentially the player’s expected earnings on his rookie deal. Now, with the dollars at the top of the draft dramatically lower, it’s far more important to get to the NFL and start putting in years toward the second contract, when a player (especially a franchise quarterback) can get paid a lot of money for his services.
For Bridgewater, the question is whether he wants to continue getting paid nothing, while others connected to the program get paid plenty.
Of course, there’s a chance Bridgewater will get paid under the table by someone. (Legal disclaimer: We have no evidence of any kind to support the notion that any player at any college has ever gotten paid by anyone connected to the football program.)
There’s also a chance he’ll end up buying at some point down the road at a reduced cost a bunch of Papa John’s restaurants in a state that has just legalized marijuana. (Legal disclaimer: We have no evidence of any kind to support the notion that the Papa John’s guy would sell a bunch of Papa John’s restaurants at a reduced cost to Bridgewater or any other current or former Louisville player.)
Their status remains up in the air after that practice. Coach Leslie Frazier said that both players are questionable to face the Eagles and that the team will make their final decision on their availability at some point Saturday or on Sunday morning. Frazier did say that Peterson appeared to be doing well with his foot injury.
“It was impressive when you consider the early diagnosis,” Frazier said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “He’s unique. Very unique. He’s so different than everybody else when it comes to recovering from injuries. We’ve been in situations in the past where you thought he wouldn’t make it and he made it. So it was always in the back of my mind the chance he would make it. He’s amazing.
Frazier was less effusive about Gerhart, who is battling a hamstring injury and wasn’t able to cut as he would in a game during Friday’s practice. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes is doubtful with a sprained ankle and tight end John Carlson has not been cleared after a concussion.