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Browns add another veteran assistant in Brian Baker

Brian Baker, Marvin Lewis, DeMarcus Ware AP

One of the biggest challenges for a rookie head coach is building a solid coaching staff, but Browns coach Rob Chudzinski continues to acccumulate good help.

According to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Browns have hired former Cowboys defensive line coach Brian Baker to coach outside linebackers.

Baker played linebacker and began his coaching career for Bobby Ross at Maryland, but has spent much of his coaching career as a line coach. He has 17 years of NFL experience, with the Panthers, Vikings, Lions, Rams and Chargers.

By getting Norv Turner and Ray Horton as coordinators, and filling in with a number of veteran assistants, the Browns are laying a stable foundation for Chudzinski to build upon.

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Tony Romo: Shoulder “feels similar” to first broken collarbone

Tony Romo AP

Tony Romo’s immediate reaction gave no reason for optimism.

And while they’re not calling it yet, there’s not much reason for any.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he didn’t have any update on the injured left shoulder that knocked his quarterback out Sunday, but Romo didn’t seem confident, as he stood at the podium with his left arm in a sling.

Via Ed Werder of ESPN, Romo said “It feels similar” to the broken clavicle he suffered in Week Two against the Eagles, but that he wanted to wait for more tests tomorrow.

Romo landed hard on his shoulder near the end of the third quarter, as he was being tackled by Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis. He immediately grabbed his left shoulder, in obvious pain.

Now the questions will turn to whether Romo returned too soon from what Jones said was six fractures. He was wearing extra padding to try to protect the area, but it clearly didn’t work.

And now, the Cowboys can’t expect to either.

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Panthers stay perfect with thorough thrashing of Cowboys

Luke Kuechly, Bene' Benwikere, Cole Beasley AP

The Panthers stayed undefeated, and made perhaps their most convincing case yet that their 11-0 record is not an accident.

And the Cowboys found out there was something worse than Tony Romo throwing three interceptions in the first half.

The Panthers rolled to a dominant 33-14 win over the Cowboys, whose nightmare season took another turn as Romo left late in the third quarter to get X-rays on his left clavicle.

While that dropped the Cowboys to 3-8, it also extinguished any hope they had of turning things around if Romo’s not going to be able to return. They had a bit of confidence when he came back last week and helped them snap a seven-game losing streak, which coincided with his absence from his first broken left clavicle.

But for the Panthers, it was a celebration long before Romo gave way to Matt Cassel.

They turned three Romo interceptions into 17 points in the first half and never looked back, sustaining drives in the second half with a powerful run game. They needed it, as the Cowboys played well enough defensively in the first half to keep it reasonably close.

But at this point, the Panthers’ formula is evident, as they won their 15th straight regular season game, dating back to last season. By the time they play their next game on Dec. 6, it will be 371 days since they last lost a regular season game (Nov. 30, 2014 at the Vikings).

They can run the ball, topping 100 yards as a team for the 22nd straight game.

They can pass-protect better than advertised, keeping a largely clean pocket for Cam Newton, and negating Greg Hardy’s effort at revenge. Newton was sacked just once, and Hardy made no impact on the game against his old team.

They can stop the run, limiting Dallas to 16 rushing yards in the first half and just 15 in the second.

And they can create takeaways, as they entered the week leading the league in turnovers created and points off turnovers. Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly had a pair of interceptions, returning one for a score (after safety Kurt Coleman had a pick-six of his own).

It’s a formula that could carry them to the Super Bowl, and give them a serious chance at a 16-0 season. Their remaining five games are at New Orleans, at home against the Falcons, followed by back-to-back road games against the Giants and Falcons and their home finale against the Buccaneers.

While they were a Vegas underdog to start this week, it’s hard to see that being the case again, unless the oddsmakers see the trip to New York as a potential slip.

But even if they do lose a game at some point, they showed a national audience Thursday that their success is legitimate, and that they’re one of the two most dangerous teams in the league.

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Forte, Jeffery active for Thursday nightcap

Forte Getty Images

The Bears will have running back Matt Forte and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery in the lineup for Thursday night’s game at Green Bay.

Forte (knee) and Jeffery (groin) had been listed as questionable. Forte has missed the last three games, and rookie Jeremy Langford has played well in his place.

As previously announced, the Bears will be without tight end Martellus Bennett (ribs) and wide receiver Eddie Royal (knee). Bennett leads the Bears with 50 receptions, while Jeffery leads the team with 515 receiving yards.

Linebacker Pernell McPhee, who had also been questionable with a knee injury, will also play. Starting defensive Will Sutton was not on the injury report but is inactive.

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X-rays for Romo on left collarbone

Tony Romo AP

In the second game of the season, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo broke his left collarbone. In his second game back from the injury, he may have broken it again.

Via Tracy Wolfson of CBS, Romo currently is getting X-rays on the clavicle, which owner Jerry Jones recently suggested was broken in multiple places.

‘To give you an idea, if you ever want to make a picture of his positive competitive mentality, do it when he came back off a shoulder that had six fractures,” Jones said Sunday, after a 24-14 win at Miami. “OK? Six. OK!”

Regardless of whether it’s one break or more, the Cowboys are now facing life without Romo again, which would almost certainly bring an end to a season that started with such high expectations, after an unexpected surge to 12-4 in 2014.

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Panthers rolling, Tony Romo leaves game after shot to shoulder

Cam Newton, Randy Gregory AP

It looked like the Cowboys were going to trade field goals with the Panthers to open the second half.

But then they made another mistake, one that they can’t trace to Tony Romo, and the Panthers are pulling away.

After Cowboys rookie Byron Jones was flagged for leaping over the line on a field goal try, the Panthers kept the drive going and finally found the end zone on offense.

Cam Newton ran in from 4 yards out, giving the Panthers a 30-6 lead late in the third quarter.

But the news got worse for Dallas, as Romo went down on the next to last play of the third quarter, landing hard on his left shoulder. That’s the one with the broken collarbone that cost him seven games.

So as bad as the game is for the Cowboys, the news could be getting even worse.

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Greg Hardy not able to start the second half

hardy_1200 Getty Images

Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy wanted to prove to the Panthers they made a mistake letting him go.

But he hasn’t been able to make an impact on the game so far, and he wasn’t even on the field when the second half began.

Hardy didn’t record a statistic in the first half, the Panthers lead 23-3. Then when they came out for the second half, Hardy came out without a helmet, and took a seat on the bench.

Via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, Hardy was taking oxygen on the sidelines during the first series of the second half. Hardy has dealt with asthma his entire career.

UPDATE 6:35 p.m. ET: Hardy returned to the field for the second possession.

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Tony Romo keeps throwing picks, Panthers lead 20-3

Tony Romo

The Panthers aren’t having as much success offensively as they’re accustomed to.

They might not need to do much more.

Luke Kuechly just returned an interception for a touchdown, the second pick-six of Tony Romo on the day, giving the Panthers a 20-3 lead in the second quarter.

Coupled with Kurt Coleman’s touchdown and then another pick by Kuechly, the Panthers are rolling in the late stages of the second quarter.

The big mistakes from Romo have undermined an otherwise good day by his defense, which has kept Cam Newton frustrated, forcing him to settle for a pair of field goals. But with the job the Panthers are doing on Romo (Dez Bryant still doesn’t have a catch), Newton will eventually end up smiling.

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Colts claim RB Boom Herron

Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos Getty Images

The Colts claimed running back Boom Herron on Thursday, bringing back the player who emerged as their top running back in last year’s playoffs.

Herron was waived-injured by the Colts after he was injured in the final preseason game, then released with an injury settlement. He signed with the Bills and played four games before being waived Wednesday.

Running back Zurlon Tipton was waived to make room for Herron on the roster.

A sixth-round pick of the Bengals in 2012, Herron played five games for the Colts in 2013 after being signed off of the Bengals’ practice squad. He played in all 16 games and made three starts for the Colts last season. He ran well down the stretch, averaging 4.5 yards per carry, and ran 45 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts’ three playoff games.

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Report: Patriots placing Dobson on IR

Aaron Dobson AP

An ankle injury has ended the season for Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson.

ESPN’s Field Yates reported Thursday that the team will place Dobson on injured reserve and replace him on the roster with safety Dewey McDonald.

Dobson suffered what was originally diagnosed as a high ankle sprain during last Monday’s win over the Bills. The Patriots are low on receivers with Julian Edelman out for an extended period, Danny Amendola dealing with a knee injury and Keshawn Martin dealing with a hamstring injury, so the loss of Dobson is significant even though he was not a starter.

The injury situation forced the Patriots to work out three wide receivers on Wednesday.

The Patriots claimed McDonald from the Colts earlier in the season. He’s been on and off the roster since then and is primarily a special teams player.

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Panthers start things off with a quick pick-six

Kurt Coleman AP

It’s hard to imagine not being able to see a Panthers player in these eye-popping blue uniforms they’re wearing today.

And yet, Tony Romo just did.

The Panthers took a quick 7-0 lead in Dallas, with Kurt Coleman picking off Romo and returning it for a touchdown.

The interception was Coleman’s fifth of the year for the Panthers, as he’s proven to be an excellent free agent pickup for a defense that continues to create turnovers.

They followed by forcing a quick three-and-out, establishing an early tone.

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Washington loses Chris Culliver to torn ACL in practice

Detroit Lions v Washington Redskins Getty Images

It’s getting harder for Washington to be thankful today.

According to John Keim of, Washington cornerback Chris Culliver is out for the season, after suffering a torn ACL in practice today.

Culliver joined the team in free agency in March, but hadn’t exactly lived up to his four-year, $32 million contract. He was also suspended a game earlier this season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

Washington is reasonably deep at the position, considering they’ve been working veteran DeAngelo Hall at safety. But with Culliver’s injury coming so late in the season, there will be some reasonable concern as to whether he’ll be ready for next year’s opener.

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Lions dominate as Eagles quit on Chip Kelly

Calvin Johnson AP

After the Eagles’ debacle last week against the Buccaneers, there was talk that their Thanksgiving game against the Lions would be a referendum on Chip Kelly.

The verdict is in: The Eagles have quit on their coach.

In an epic 45-14 beatdown in Detroit, Kelly’s team was embarrassed before a national audience, falling behind the Lions in the second quarter and never putting up much of a fight after that.

Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez will get a lot of the criticism, but there’s plenty of criticism to go around. His offensive line didn’t help him, his receivers didn’t help him and running back DeMarco Murray continues to look totally out of place in Kelly’s offense.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had by far his best game of the season, as did receiver Calvin Johnson. Stafford threw five touchdown passes, three of them to Megatron, marking the second week in a row that the Eagles’ defense allowed the opposing quarterback to throw five touchdown passes.

Jim Caldwell has his Lions playing good football despite an ugly 1-7 start. They’re now 4-7 and showing that they’re going to be a tough team to beat down the stretch.

But the Eagles look beaten. They’re now 4-7 as well, and with a tough remaining schedule (New England, Buffalo, Arizona, Washington and the New York Giants) they could easily finish 4-12. Which would likely result in Kelly getting fired.

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The rout is on in Detroit

Eric Ebron, Walter Thurmond AP

It’s getting ugly in Detroit.

The Lions are putting a Thanksgiving Day beatdown on the Eagles, with three Calvin Johnson touchdowns leading the way on offense and three Ziggy Ansah sacks leading the way on defense.

Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez has been battered and beaten, but it’s far from only his fault. The Lions’ defensive line is getting the better of the Eagles’ offensive line, and Philadelphia’s receivers aren’t getting much separation downfield.

Meanwhile, the injury-plagued secondary of Philadelphia simply can’t do anything about Johnson. This game is almost unfair.

Chip Kelly is having a very bad Thanksgiving. And he’s still got a quarter to play.

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Eagles lose Nolan Carroll with broken ankle

Nolan Carroll AP

A bad season just got a lot worse for the Eagles.

Starting cornerback Nolan Carroll has a broken ankle, the team announced. Carroll suffered in the injury in the first half of Thursday’s game at Detroit.

Carroll, 28, spent his first four seasons with the Dolphins before joining the Eagles in 2014. He became a full-time starter in Philly this year, which given his contractual status could be his last with the Eagles.

Carroll has been replaced by rookie second-rounder Eric Rowe, who possibly will become the replacement for the rest of 2015 and beyond.

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It feels like now or never for Chip Kelly in Philly

Chip Kelly AP

Four days after being blown out, 45-17, by a team that won two games in all of 2014, the Eagles are down 24-7 through 30 minutes of a game against a team that had won one game in the first half of 2015.

And with Philly and coach Chip Kelly on track to lose a third game in a row, questions will get louder and more persistent about his future. While USC indeed remains a possibility, the primary NFL option is the one that first became obvious after Kelly couldn’t strike a deal to land former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota in the draft.

The Titans already have fired their head coach, and interim coach Mike Mularkey hasn’t done enough to merit serious consideration for the permanent gig. If Tennessee ownership has interest in Kelly (and if they know what they’re doing, they should), a reunion makes plenty of sense.

It wouldn’t be nearly as complicated as some have suggested. As PFT previously has explained, the Titans simply need to call the Eagles and ask whether it’s possible to work out a deal that would allow the Titans to hire Kelly, if he’s interested in making the leap. With each additional loss, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie presumably will become more willing to let Kelly go in exchange for reasonable compensation — especially if Lurie already is thinking about making a change.

Of course, Kelly also would have to want to make the change. If Kelly does, maybe he simply would try to force his way out, which would allow him to go straight to Nashville without the Titans giving up draft picks that otherwise would help Kelly put talent around Mariota.

While it’s a point of pride (supposedly) for a coach to be traded for two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and $8 million in cash like the Bucs did for Jon Gruden nearly 14 years ago, those selections would have helped Gruden put a team on the field that may have allowed him to do better than 60-57 in Tampa.

Ultimately, this one comes down to: (1) whether the Titans want Kelly; and (2) whether Kelly wants the Titans. The Eagles likely wouldn’t force Kelly to stay for another year, especially if what has become a disastrous third season continues.

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