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PFT Live: Montana says Moss is no Rice
All of the focus on cornerbacks in Washington was on Josh Norman this week, but the loss of the other starter for the Redskins is a big story in the early minutes at the Meadowlands.
We’ll see if it winds up being bigger than Norman.
Norman and Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham got a pre-game talk from officials, but there was a little moment between them early. Norman grabbed a jumping Beckham in what would look like a hug if not for the history between the two players and then carried him a few steps before returning him to the ground. No flag was thrown.
Bashaud Breeland had to be helped off the field on a Giants scoring drive and is being called questionable to return by the team due to a lower leg injury. Breeland was hurt on a 12-yard gain by rookie wideout Sterling Shepard that came one play before running back Shane Vereen scored from a yard out to give the Giants a 7-0 lead.
The Giants were set up in great field position after Quinton Dunbar made contact with a punt and the Giants fell on top of the ball. Replays showed Dunbar getting pushed into the ball, but officials made no call and the ruling is not reviewable under current NFL rules.
The Redskins answered with a field goal on their first offensive possession and the score is 7-3 with 9:35 to play in the first quarter.
The teams traded turnovers to start. Tannehill threw a bad interception to former Dolphin Jamar Taylor, who read it the whole way and jumped a slant route. But the Browns came out and took a delay of game before actually getting a snap off, then on third down rookie quarterback Cody Kessler was sacked and fumbled.
Cameron Wake recovered at the Dolphins 39, and the Dolphins scored five plays later.
The Browns came out on their second drive using ex-quarterback turned wide receiver Terrelle Pryor at quarterback. The Browns missed a field goal.
Giants linebacker Keenan Reynolds and running back Rashad Jennings said this week that there’s been discussion among their teammates about the national anthem protests that have been going on around the league this season and how players on the team can “appropriately and effectively” make their point.
Giants coach Ben McAdoo said he had spoken to some of the players as well and said that he would “encourage them” to use their platform to make a difference, although he thought it could be done without involving the anthem. It seems his players agreed with him as the Giants stood for the anthem as they did the first two weeks of the season without any players raising fists.
The Redskins sideline was a bit different. All members of the team stood during the song, but multiple reports said wide receiver DeSean Jackson, tight endNiles Paul, cornerback Greg Toler and wide receiver Rashad Ross raised their fists while it played.
To the extent that the officials and the league office already were planning to keep an eye on receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Sunday against arch-nemesis Josh Norman, they’ll likely be watching him even more closely based on something that happened a week ago.
Jay Glazer of FOX reports that the NFL fined Beckham $36,000 for a blindside block on Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro.
That’s halfway between the first-offense fine of $24,000 and second-offense fine of $48,000, with Beckham’s history surely a factor in the increase over what would be the fine for a first-time blindside block.
Some have criticized him for not saying enough, others have praised him for striking the right tone. And plenty will surely be reacting to Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s choice of pregame attire.
Via USA Today, Newton T-shirt has on the back a famous quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” the quote reads.
Newton likely will be asked about the issue again after the game, win or lose. Protests are happening outside the stadium following the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott by police in Charlotte earlier this week, but so far there are no signs that the protests will become disruptive or violent.
The NFL has opted to keep a stiff upper lip and a stoic demeanor regarding the alarming early-season decline in TV ratings, specifically for prime-time games. The NFL Players Association is opting not to pretend that all is well.
“This is a huge issue for us obviously,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said on Friday’s PFT Live. “We spend a lot of time looking at trends. I was thrilled to see the game being streamed on Twitter. We’re interested about where media is going. Viewership is an important issue, stadium attendance is a very important issue to us. So as we look forward knowing that there are a couple of television contracts that are going to come up. I think it is smart for us to look at the impact of whether fans are watching on TV or not.”
A decline in TV viewership won’t be a factor until after the current TV contracts expire, assuming there isn’t a renegotiation before the existing deals expire after the 2022 season.
“I’m sure there after people at the networks who are trying to figure out whether or not there’s going to be labor peace in 2021 and how that affects the TV contracts that they’re entering into,” Smith said.
That definitely will be a factor, especially if the NFL tries to extend the TV deals before the current labor deal expires. Beyond labor peace, however, the balance between revenue from traditional broadcast networks, cable outlets, and Internet companies will be a challenge for the NFL to balance as it tries to maximize revenue, to maintain a large audience for prime-time games, and to avoid potential scrutiny of the federal government, which could be inclined to strip the league of its broadcast antitrust exemption if a sufficient number of games aren’t easily available to the millions of Americans who still rely on rabbit ears to capture the TV signals floating in the ether.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Terrelle Pryor could see “limited snaps” at quarterback for the Browns, who have lost Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown to injuries in the first two weeks. Pryor, who said he was willing to do anything and everything up to dying on the field when asked about playing quarterback this week, entered the league as a quarterback with the Raiders in 2011 and also spent time with the Bengals last year before he made the shift to wide receiver with Cleveland.
Browns head coach Hue Jackson was the Raiders coach in 2011 and he was the Bengals offensive coordinator last year, so he’s gotten close looks at Pryor playing the position in the past.
The Browns are also missing wide receiver Corey Coleman, so Pryor should have plenty of work at receiver during the game in Miami whether he also takes snaps at quarterback or not.
Linebacker Elvis Dumervil returned to practice for the Ravens this week, but his return to the lineup for game action will have to wait a little bit longer.
Dumervil was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report and has been declared inactive for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. Dumervil, who had foot surgery in the offseason, was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but did not practice on Friday.
Running back Chris Ivory will make his regular season debut for the Jaguars after missing the first two games with a “general medical issue” that forced him to be hospitalized. Cornerback Prince Amukamara, center Brandon Linder and defensive end Jared Odrick are all inactive after being listed as questionable.
Left tackle Kelvin Beachum was ruled out due to the concussion he suffered last week, so the Jaguars will move Luke Joeckel from left guard back to his former position. Tyler Shatley starts at center and Chris Reed will take over at guard.
A groin injury that made cornerback Joe Haden a late addition to the Browns’ extensive injury report on Friday will keep Haden out of Sunday’s game at Miami.
The Browns list Tramon Williams as the starter in place of Haden. The Browns will also be without starting safety Ibraheim Campbell, wide receiver Corey Coleman, center Cameron Erving, defensive end Carl Nassib and quarterback Josh McCown.
Injuries limited Haden to five games last season. He had two interceptions last week.
Titans Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker will not play in Sunday’s game vs. the Raiders.
Walker missed two days of practice this week with a hamstring injury, and the team was waiting until Sunday morning to make a final call after listing him as questionable.
Walker has nine catches for 125 yards and a touchdown over the first two games.
Every week we bring you all the inactives from the early games in one post, constantly updated with the latest information. Check back often to see the full list as it becomes available.
Cardinals at Bills
Vikings at Panthers
Broncos at Bengals
Lions at Packers
Ravens at Jaguars
Browns at Dolphins
Redskins at Giants
Redskins: DE Kendall Reyes, QB Nate Sudfeld, WR Josh Doctson, CB Kendall Fuller, LB Martrell Spaight, DE Anthony Lanier, G Arie Kouandjio (Wide receiver Rashad Ross was on the initial inactive list, but the team revised their list to rule out Doctson before it was official.)
Raiders at Titans
The Lions have lost their starting running back for the year.
The NFL’s new injured reserve rule would allow the Lions to declare in six weeks that Abdullah will return, but the Lions don’t think he’ll be healthy in time for the Lions to use the return designation on him.
Abdullah was off to a good start this season, with 18 carries for 101 yards and five catches for 57 yards and a touchdown. The Lions’ offense struggled after Abdullah’s injury against the Titans, but they’ll be counting on Theo Riddick, Dwayne Washington and Zach Zenner to step up to replace Abdullah.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Chargers. And that’s apparently triggering some unusual dynamics regarding the betting line for the game.
The contest has gone from Indianapolis being a three-point favorite to a pick-’em proposition. In some locations, the three-point swing was preceded by the game being taken off the board.
So maybe Vegas knows something about Luck that the rest of us don’t, yet.
For now, and given the general proposition that home-field advantage is worth three points, the Chargers would be a three-point favorite on a neutral site — and San Diego would be a six-point favorite at home against the Colts.
Apart from Luck’s health, the Chargers have owned the Colts during the Philip Rivers era. If Vegas didn’t realize that earlier in the week, it apparently knows it now.
The Panthers and Vikings are set to play in Charlotte on Sunday after a week that saw violence erupt in the city in the aftermath of the police shooting of Keith Scott.
There were reports on Sunday morning that protestors had plans to try to stop the teams from getting to the stadium by disrupting traffic on the roads to Bank of America Stadium, but it looks like those attempts failed to materialize or just failed. Multiple reports state buses for both teams made it to the stadium without incident.
In addition to trying to stop the teams, there’s also been word of plans to interfere with fans getting to the game.
Citing those reports that there would be attempts to disrupt the game, the city declared the game an “extraordinary event.” That allows for expanded law enforcement “in order to provide a safe and secure environment.” David Newton of ESPN.com shared pictures of some of the new security measures in place for Sunday’s game.
Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams doesn’t like being told that he’s old. If he continues his run of early-season success on Sunday, he’ll be hearing it a lot more.
With 63 yards rushing against the Eagles, Williams will become the oldest player in NFL history to rush for 300 yards in his first three games, breaking a mark currently held by the late Walter Payton.
Williams has bristled on multiple occasions at references to his age (33), even though he acknowledges that he’s still going strong three years past the tailback witching hour because he was part of a committee for years in Carolina.
If they had used him as extensively as the Steelers currently do, Williams wouldn’t be a 33-year-old running back right now. He’d be a 33-year-old former running back.