ProFootballTalk: How real are Revis rumors?
Though Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (groin) was limited in practice on Friday, it appears he’ll be ready to play in Sunday’s game at Baltimore.
While the Vikings have ruled out quarterback Christian Ponder (concussion), tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot) and cornerback Josh Robinson (chest), coach Leslie Frazier expressed hope that the club’s other injured players would be available.
“We should have everybody else,” Frazier said Friday.
Frazier indicated Peterson’s injury will be something the star tailback will be dealing with throughout the final weeks of the season, and the club will adjust accordingly.
“We’ll have to manage it throughout the rest of the reminder of the regular season,” Frazier said.
Peterson, 28, leads the NFL with 1,208 rushing yards.
Seven Vikings players are listed probable, including defensive end Jared Allen (finger). All seven probable players went through full practices on Friday.
Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was back in court on Friday and he again avoided a sentence that would interfere with his ability to continue playing with the Patriots this season.
Lori Pilger of the Lincoln Journal Star reports that Dennard had DUI charges against him dismissed when he pleaded no contest to refusing a chemical test. Dennard was fined $500, had his drivers license revoked for 60 days and was sentenced to three years probation for the refusal to take the test.
That probation will run concurrent to the probation that Dennard is already serving as part of his sentence for assaulting a police officer in 2012. He was in court Thursday for sentencing on the probation violation related to the initial DUI arrest and received 30 additional days in jail. He’ll serve the time in March after the end of the football season.
Dennard has missed practice the last two days to take care of legal matters. He should be back in time for Sunday’s home game against the Browns, although the Patriots haven’t made any official determination about his status yet.
If the Chiefs are going to get back on track after three straight losses, they’re going to have to do it without a pair of key pieces.
The Chiefs will use Donald Stephenson at left tackle again, but the line hasn’t necessarily been the problem.
Their defense spring leaks against the Broncos can be almost be excused, but giving up 41 to the Chargers was a red flag, and one they need to get corrected soon.
As NFL investigator Ted Wells continues to gather information regarding the events that resulted in Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin leaving the team, the investigation has extended beyond Martin to those close to him.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Wells is interviewing Martin’s agent, Kenny Zuckerman. Wells also is interviewing one or more of Martin’s family members.
The specific purpose of the interview isn’t known. Zuckerman and/or Martin’s family members could corroborate certain allegations Martin has made.
Martin’s parents are both lawyers.
Wells also could be exploring the theory in some league circles that Martin simply wanted out of football (or at least Miami), that a hazing/bullying scenario was crafted as leverage to allow him to keep his signing bonus, and that the whole thing went out of control when the Dolphins summarily suspended guard Richie Incognito for conduct detrimental to the team. (Again, that’s just a theory. The facts are being determined by Wells.)
Wells previously interviewed Martin for more than seven hours. On Thursday, Wells met with Martin again.
Wells also has interviewed many Dolphins players and other employees. His final report will be made public.
The news is mostly good for the Bengals on the injury front entering Sunday’s matchup with Indianapolis.
Outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (ankle), tight end Tyler Eifert (knee), wide receiver A.J. Green (groin), wide receiver Andrew Hawkins (hamstring), cornerback Adam Jones (hip) and left tackle Andrew Whitworth (calf) put in full practices Friday and are listed as probable on the injury report. Long-snapper Clark Harris (illness) is also probable, but he was held out of practice Friday.
Right guard Kevin Zeitler (foot) is the lone player listed as questionable. He went through a limited practice Friday. Mike Pollak has started the last two games in place of Zeitler, whom the Bengals selected in the first round in the 2012 draft.
Zeitler (6-4, 315) has started all 26 regular-season games in which he’s played for Cincinnati, which has a two-game lead in the AFC North with four games left to play.
Quarterback Carson Palmer was limited in practice again on Friday, leaving open the possibility that he won’t be able to play against the Rams on Sunday.
Palmer hurt his right elbow early in last Sunday’s loss to the Eagles, but was able to remain in the game for the duration. He admitted this week that his play was affected by the injury, however, and hasn’t thrown much in practice this week as the team tries to manage the injury.
Coach Bruce Arians said Friday, via Darren Urban of the team’s website, that Palmer will be a game-time decision while adding that he believes Palmer will be able to play. Arians also said he was confident in Drew Stanton’s ability to take over in the event that Palmer can’t go on Sunday. Stanton hasn’t played in a regular season game since the 2010 season.
Palmer missed 12 games in 2008 because of a partially torn ligament in his throwing elbow. Palmer avoided surgery and returned to play all 16 games the next season.
On Thursday, the question was whether or not the Broncos would be coached by John Fox from the press box on Sunday against the Titans.
We got our answer on Friday. Fox will not coach them from a box, house or with a mouse. The coach announced, via Mike Klis of the Denver Post, at his Friday press conference that he will be on the sideline in his first game back with the Broncos since undergoing heart surgery in early November.
Fox said he didn’t think there was much difference in his location on Sunday since defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, offensive coordinator Adam Gase and special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers would be able to do their jobs either way. That group handled things well while Fox was recovering from his operation and there’s no reason to think that things should change now that the head man is back on the scene.
Fox also announced that defensive end Derek Wolfe remains out of the lineup after experiencing seizure-like symptoms last week. Kick returner Trindon Holliday is questionable with a shoulder injury, but the rest of the team is probable for Fox’s return to the sideline.
On Thursday, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson mused about playing for the Cowboys or Texans.
On Friday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones resisted the temptation to muse about employing Peterson.
“We don’t want to get into hypotheticals in any way,” Jones said on his Friday appearance with 105.3 The Fan Dallas/Fort Worth. “As a matter of fact that’s called ‘get busted’ in the NFL to be talking about somebody’s else player.”
It’s actually called tampering. But we strongly prefer “get busted.”
While Jones can’t talk publicly about it, nothing stops him from privately contacting the Vikings in the offseason to see if a reverse-Herschel could be accomplished.
The Panthers are going to be very close to full strength for Sunday’s showdown for first place in the NFC South against the Saints.
Defensive end Charles Johnson, running back DeAngelo Williams and linebacker Chase Blackburn will all return after missing last week’s game because of injuries. Coach Ron Rivera said that all three players will return to their starting roles and that he’s excited to see how things unfold now that the team’s gotten healthier.
“I’m excited about the fact that we’ll have some of our top line guys back,” Rivera said, via the team’s website. “It’s good to have the young guys get opportunities, but I’m thrilled. It’s a great situation to be in. As we get into this stretch run we can get everybody back healthy and, hopefully, we can continue on that way.”
The Panthers got good performances from linebacker A.J. Klein and defensive end Mario Addison, among others, while those top line guys were out of the lineup. That gives them enviable depth as they put the finishing touches on the regular season that has them positioned for their first playoff appearance since 2008.
According to Frazier, Ponder still must pass NFL-mandated concussion testing before returning, and the third-year passer from Florida State is not expected to play on Sunday.
After Sunday’s game at Baltimore, the Vikings finish out their season with home games vs. Philadelphia (Dec. 15) and Detroit (Dec. 29) and a road contest at Cincinnati (Dec. 22).
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said early this week that tight end Dennis Pitta will play against the Vikings in Week 14 if he’s able to play after going through the week of practice.
The week of practice has come to an end and the Ravens haven’t made any move to put Pitta on the 53-man roster. It hasn’t been ruled out, though, and Harbaugh said Friday that there’s a “reasonable chance” that Pitta is in the lineup. For his part, Pitta said that nothing’s definite while sounding like he’s ready to give it a go.
“Ultimately it’s up to me and how I feel. We’ll see, we’ll make some decisions in next couple days,” Pitta said, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “You always want to see how you respond. It will be nice to take that first hit”
Per Wilson, the expectation around the team is that Pitta will play in a limited role this Sunday. His return should be a boost to the team’s offense and, by extension, their chances of earning a playoff spot as long as he’s healthy enough to give the team something close to the kind of production that resulted in 61 catches last season.
Green Bay will be without quarterback Aaron Rodgers for at least one more game.
The Packers have announced that Rodgers is out again on Sunday against the Falcons, the fifth full game he has missed since suffering a broken collarbone against the Bears.
Now the question is whether the Packers can stay close enough to the NFC North lead to make it worth considering the possibility that Rodgers could return for the final three games and help them win the division. If the Packers can beat the Falcons without Rodgers — and if the Lions lose to the Eagles — then Green Bay would still be in the hunt for a division title, and a return of Rodgers would make them a legitimate threat to win the NFC North.
But if the Packers lose this week (and especially if the Lions also win at Philadelphia), they’re just about out of any hope of winning the division. At that point, it might be time to shut Rodgers down.
As the Cowboys plan to face defensive lineman Jay (now Jeremiah) Ratliff on Monday night, owner Jerry Jones continues to lament that Ratliff will be wearing blue instead of silver.
“Ratliff ought to be right out here with the Cowboys right now,” Jones said during his Friday appearance on 105.3 The Fan Dallas/Fort Worth. “That has a lot of reasons why but that’s where he should be. I am surprised he’s playing football up there relative to his doctors and relative to his opinion of where his health was when he left here.”
On Tuesday, Jones shared similar sentiments on the same station.
The Cowboys previously have hinted strongly that litigation will be pursued against Ratliff, but no action has been taken yet.
Ratliff made his first and only appearance with the Bears on Sunday at Minnesota.
Pierre-Paul has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Chargers, the second week in a row that has seen the team decide during the week that he isn’t healthy enough to play. While the Giants’ insistence on keeping Pierre-Paul in play makes sense as long as there’s even a slim hope of making the playoffs, it is hard to see the upside in risking further injury if that possibility goes away.
A loss this weekend will do just that so we’ll see how things play out next week. The same goes for cornerback Corey Webster, who has taken up a roster spot despite barely playing this season and will miss his ninth game of the season this week.
Running back Brandon Jacobs is doubtful to play this week and cornerback Trumaine McBride is questionable. If McBride doesn’t play, the Giants will be pretty vulnerable to a strong passing attack and the Chargers have shown they have one on many occasions this season.
On Friday, Texans owner Robert C. McNair was asked what the “last straw” was when it came to firing coach Gary Kubiak one day after a 27-20 loss at Jacksonville.
McNair’s answer was illuminating.
“Well, I think the last straw was losing,” McNair replied. “We’ve got a lot better talent than Jacksonville. To have them beat us twice, that’s to their credit.
“They played harder, they played smarter, and that’s not acceptable to us to have some team beat us on that basis. If they’re better than we are, if they’ve got better ability than we do, then fine, but we expect to go out and play hard and play smart. We didn’t play smart.”
In defeat, the favored Texans committed 14 penalties for 177 yards. While McNair has deep wells of patience, he had clearly tired of the Texans looking little like they were expected to be.