Percy Harvin has become more trouble than the Vikings are willing to deal with, but if they decide to trade the speedy receiver, how much leverage do they own?This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Are the Vikings done with Harvin?
During Thursday night’s game against the Broncos, Chargers safety Jahleel Addae appeared to be suffering from the symptoms of a concussion. At one point he looked disoriented and seemed to go into a convulsion while remaining on his feet, but he stayed in the game while fans on social media questioned why he was still playing while displaying such obvious distress.
Now the Chargers have admitted that Addae had a concussion.
After the game, Addae said he was evaluated on the sideline and had only suffered a stinger, but on Friday night the Chargers acknowledged that Addae did, in fact, have a concussion. The Chargers say he was cleared on the sideline during the game but diagnosed with additional tests on Friday.
It’s troubling that Addae kept playing and troubling that fans watching on TV could see something was wrong with him but the Chargers’ medical staff couldn’t. The Chargers have a history of allowing players to stay on the field when they’ve been concussed: Chargers guard Kris Dielman was staggering around on the field in 2011 but wasn’t immediately taken out of the game. His concussion turned out to be so severe that he never played again.
Chargers coach Mike McCoy became defensive when asked about Addae on Friday, telling reporters, “I was at the game. I was watching the game. I was there. I was watching it.” The Chargers’ medical staff should have been watching Addae more closely. He had no business continuing to play.
The Lions have five tight ends on their roster, but they could very well have just two available for Sunday’s game against the Falcons in London.
Two Lions tight ends — Joseph Fauria and Eric Ebron — have been ruled out for Sunday. Another tight end, Brandon Pettigrew, is doubtful because of a foot injury. This could leave Detroit with just newly signed Kellen Davis and recently promoted Jordan Thompson at tight end against Atlanta.
At first glance, this seems like a potential problem for the Detroit offense. After all, Thompson is entering just his second game on the Lions’ active roster, while Davis joined Detroit just this week.
However, the Lions have experience carrying just two active tight ends. In fact, they’ve done it the last four games with Fauria on the mend with an ankle injury.
And a look at formation data logged by the NFL suggests the Lions’ offense can probably fare just fine with just two tight ends in the club’s final game before its Nov. 2 bye.
Through seven games, the Lions have used two or more tight ends on 23.9 percent of their plays from scrimmage (110-of-461). They have deployed at least two tight ends on 28.6 percent of first downs and 28.3 percent of second downs.
On third down, however, the Lions have utilized two tight ends or more on just 7-of-102 plays (6.9 percent). On fourth downs, they have trotted out two tight ends on 2-of-4 snaps.
On average, the Lions are running about 66 plays. And if their typical tight end usage continues, they’ll have Davis and Thompson on the field together about 16 times.
Whenever the Lions return to closer to full strength at tight end, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi may be afforded more schematic flexibility. But the Lions have shown they can manage even with less-than-ideal circumstances at this key position.
The Steelers have been miserable running back kickoffs this season, averaging just 17.5 yards a return. As a result, they’ve made a change on the special teams depth chart.
Dri Archer, who has been the primary return man so far this year, is being replaced with running back LeGarrette Blount. Archer is a 5-foot-8, 173-pound rookie with great speed, but he’s frequently been taken down by the first person to reach him on kickoff coverage. The Steelers hope the six-foot, 250-pound Blount will be able to break some tackles and break some long returns.
”Things didn’t work out as well as they wanted before, so they switched it up,” Blount said. “I’m excited about it. It’s going to be fun. We’re hoping that we can get everything done the way that we want to get it done, and we hope that we can be effective with it so we can keep it going.”
Steelers special teams coach Danny Smith said he’s still a big believer in Archer’s skills, even though it’s been disappointing that Archer’s longest return this season was just 23 yards.
Blount did a good job returning kickoffs in New England last year, averaging 29.1 yards. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said kickoff returns are something “we have to get better at,” and he’s hoping Blount is the man to make that happen.
Here are the skill-position players in Sunday games listed on the final Week Eight injury report. Key fantasy starters are bolded. Inactives are announced 90 minutes before kickoff.
The final injury report for Monday night’s Washington-Dallas game will be released Saturday.
Sunday’s Lions-Falcons matchup will start at 9:30 a.m. ET, so set your lineups — and alarms — accordingly.
Byes: 49ers, Giants.
Bills RB Fred Jackson (groin).
Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring).
Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (ankle).
Chiefs WR Donnie Avery (groin).
Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow).
Eagles WR Brad Smith (groin).
Lions TE Eric Ebron (hamstring).
Lions TE Joseph Fauria (ankle).
Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle).
Panthers RB Fozzy Whittaker (thigh).
Panthers WR Corey Brown (concussion).
Raiders WR Vincent Brown (hamstring).
Ravens TE Owen Daniels (knee).
Saints RB Khiry Robinson (forearm).
Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder).
Seahawks RB Derrick Coleman (foot).
Seahawks TE Zach Miller (ankle).
Seahawks WR Bryan Walters (concussion).
Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (abdomen, groin).
Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe).
Bills WR Marquise Goodwin (hamstring).
Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle).
Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew (foot).
Titans TE Taylor Thompson (knee).
Bills WR Marcus Easley (knee).
Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson (rib).
Chiefs WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring).
Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring).
Colts TE Jack Doyle (knee).
Eagles RB Darren Sproles (knee).
Falcons WR Harry Douglas (foot).
Jets WR Greg Salas (ankle, wrist).
Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle).
Panthers RB Chris Ogbonnaya (groin).
Patriots RB Shane Vereen (illness).
Patriots WR Matt Slater (shoulder).
Raiders RB Marcel Reece (quadricep).
Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder).
Bears TE Martellus Bennett (hamstring).
Bears WR Chris Williams (illness).
Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (ribs).
Bills WR Sammy Watkins (groin).
Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (foot).
Cardinals WR John Brown (ankle).
Chiefs RB Cyrus Gray (hand).
Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (ribs).
Dolphins TE Charles Clay (knee).
Dolphins TE Dion Sims (neck).
Eagles RB Chris Polk (hamstring).
Falcons WR Julio Jones (ankle).
Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart (foot).
Jets RB Bilal Powell (foot).
Jets RB Chris Johnson (ankle).
Jets WR Eric Decker (hamstring).
Lions RB Theo Riddick (hamstring).
Packers RB James Starks (ankle).
Rams PK Greg Zuerlein (illness).
Rams RB Benny Cunningham (knee).
Rams WR Kenny Britt (ankle).
Ravens WR Steve Smith (not injury related).
Seahawks Marshawn Lynch (not injury related).
Seahawks RB Robert Turbin (shoulder).
Seahawks TE Luke Willson (groin).
Titans RB Shonn Greene (hamstring).
Vikings TE Chase Ford (foot).
According to the NFLPA, the NFL isn’t cooperating with the NFLPA investigation, which is being conducted simultaneously with both the league-sanctioned investigation by former FBI Director Robert Mueller and Rice’s appeal of his indefinite suspension.
Richard Craig Smith, the attorney leading the investigation for the union, told the Associated Press that the NFL has not provided documents and witnesses and the Ravens have refused to cooperate at all. In the NFLPA’s view, that calls into question the NFL’s public statements that it favors transparency on the Rice matter.
The NFL hasn’t commented and hasn’t committed to assisting in the NFLPA’s investigation.
One of the Steelers’ defensive starters is set to return.
The Steelers’ first-round pick in May, Shazier has missed the last four games, with Sean Spence taking his place in the lineup. An Ohio State product, Shazier has recorded 20 combined tackles in his three starts. In his first two games, Shazier played 124-of-138 defensive snaps for Pittsburgh, per Pro Football Focus. He suffered his injury in the Steelers’ Week Three win at Carolina.
The 6-1, 237-pound Shazier posted the best vertical jump (42 inches) and broad jump (10 feet, 10 inches) among linebackers at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. At 22, he is one of the building blocks for a defense in transition.
Over the course of the week, there are a lot of posts about the most prominent injured players but we know that you might not see all of them and that some others may fall through the cracks. As a result, we’ll comb through all the injury reports every Friday afternoon so that there’s one stop for all the news from every team playing on Sunday. So, without further delay, the injury report roundup for Week Eight of the 2014 season.
Lions vs. Falcons (in London)
The Lions listed running back Reggie Bush (ankle) and tight end Brandon Pettigrew (foot) as doubtful, but there’s still a chance for wide receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle, questionable). No such chance remains for tight ends Eric Ebron (hamstring) or Joseph Fauria (ankle). The Falcons hope to get wide receiver Harry Douglas (foot, questionable) back in the lineup and also listed defensive tackle Jordan Babineaux (foot) as questionable.
Seahawks at Panthers
Seattle will cross the country without running back Derrick Coleman (foot), defensive tackle Jordan Hill (ankle), cornerback Byron Maxwell (calf), tight end Zach Miller (ankle), center Max Unger (foot), linebacker Bobby Wagner (toe) or wide receiver Bryan Walters (concussion). Everyone else on their injury report is probable. The Panthers raise the Seahawks one on the number of players ruled out. Cornerback Bene’ Benwikere (ankle), linebacker Chase Blackburn (knee), wide receiver Corey Brown (concussion), guard Amini Silatolu (calf), guard Trai Turner (knee), running back Fozzy Whittaker (thigh) and running back DeAngelo Williams (ankle) are all going to miss the game. Running back Chris Ogbonnaya (groin) and Jason Williams (hip) are both questionable.
Ravens at Bengals
Owen Daniels (knee) is out after having arthroscopic surgery, leaving the Ravens without their top two tight ends. Left tackle Eugene Monroe (knee) and left guard Kelechi Osemele (back) should return to the lineup after being listed as probable. Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (toe) is doubtful after missing practice all week and defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (knee) is questionable. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict (neck) is probable.
Dolphins at Jaguars
The Dolphins are waiting to see what linebacker Koa Misi (ankle, questionable) can do, but they don’t think defensive back Jimmy Wilson (hamstring, doubtful) will be able to play. The Jags have issues on defense with cornerback Alan Ball (biceps) and defensive end Andre Branch (groin) ruled out and cornerback Dwayne Gratz (hip, questionable). The offense should have running back Toby Gerhart (foot, probable) back.
Rams at Chiefs
The Rams could be short at cornerback with Janoris Jenkins (knee) and Trumaine Johnson (knee) both questionable. Cornerback Brandon McGee (foot) has already been ruled out, as has center Tim Barnes (shoulder). The Chiefs hope to get safety Eric Berry (ankle, questionable) back in the lineup. Wide receiver Donnie Avery (groin) and cornerback Christopher Owens (knee) will both miss the game.
Bears at Patriots
The Bears are unlikely to have linebackers Jon Bostic (back, doubtful) and Lance Briggs (ribs, doubtful), but cornerback Kyle Fuller (hand/hip) is probable. Right tackle Jordan Mills (foot, questionable) trended in the wrong direction as the week played out. The Patriots won’t have defensive end Chandler Jones (hip) and they listed running back Shane Vereen (illness) questionable after he missed Friday’s practice. As always, several other Pats, including concussed offensive linemen Dan Connolly and Bryan Stork, are questionable.
Bills at Jets
Bills running back Fred Jackson (knee) was officially ruled out and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (hamstring) is doubtful. The team hopes safety Aaron Williams (neck, questionable) can play and they have no worries about wide receiver Sammy Watkins (groin, probable). The Jets are 1-6, but they’re pretty healthy. Linebacker Trevor Reilly (knee) and wide receiver Greg Salas (ankle, wrist) are questionable and the only players on the injury report listed as anything but probable.
Vikings at Buccaneers
Vikings center John Sullivan (concussion) is probable, but the team will wait to make a call on guard Vlad Ducasse (knee). Linebacker Gerald Hodges (hamstring) is doubtful and tight end Kyle Rudolph (abdomen/groin) remains out. The Bucs return from their bye week with linebacker Jonathan Casillas (hamstring), tackle Anthony Collins (knee), safety Dashon Goldson (ankle), wide receiver Vincent Jackson (rib), quarterback Josh McCown (right thumb) and safety Keith Tandy (hamstring) questionable to play on Sunday.
Texans at Titans
Questionable linebackers are all the rage in Houston. Jadeveon Clowney (knee), Brian Cushing (knee), Brooks Reed (groin) and John Simon (ankle) all got that designation with Cushing looking the least likely to play come Sunday. Titans cornerback Coty Sensabaugh (knee) and tight end Taylor Thompson (knee) are doubtful and linebacker Quentin Groves (ankle) is questionable. Quarterback Jake Locker (thumb) is probable, but he’ll just be holding a clipboard if all goes well for Tennessee.
Eagles at Cardinals
Center Jason Kelce (hernia), linebacker Mychal Kendricks (calf) and running back Darren Sproles (knee) are all questionable. It’s a surprising positive for Kelce and a negative for Kendricks, who the team hoped would be returning this weekend. Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (knee, questionable) has a chance to play, which is a bit of a positive surprise as well given the initial timeline for his injury.
Raiders at Browns
The Raiders ruled out tight end David Ausberry (foot), wide receiver Vincent Brown (hamstring), cornerback Keith McGill (groin), defensive end LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and safety Usama Young (knee). Another four players — guard Khalif Barnes (quadricep), running back Marcel Reece (quadricep), cornerback Carlos Rogers (knee) and defensive end Justin Tuck (knee) — are questionable. It looks like the Browns should have defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin (ankle, probable) back in the lineup, but defensive end Phil Taylor (knee) remains out. Safety Jim Leonhard (ankle) and defensive end Billy Winn (quadricep) are both questionable.
Colts at Steelers
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne (elbow) is out for the Colts, while tight end Jack Doyle (knee) and running back Trent Richardson (hamstring) are questionable. Defensive tackle Steve McLendon (shoulder), cornerback Ike Taylor (forearm) and safety Shamarko Thomas (hamstring) are out for Pittsburgh, but it looks like linebacker Ryan Shazier (knee, probable) should return to the lineup. Tackle Marcus Gilbert (concussion) is questionable.
Packers at Saints
The Packers will be without defensive end Datone Jones (ankle) and cornerback Sam Shields (knee) is unlikely to play after being listed as doubtful. Safety Morgan Burnett (calf) is questionable and the Packers, who like to check every box) listed running back James Starks (ankle) as probable. Center Jonathan Goodwin (knee, ankle), linebacker Kyle Knox (ankle) and running backs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) are all out for New Orleans. They have the same number of questionable players, with decisions pending on defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley (concussion), tight end Jimmy Graham (shoulder), linebacker Ramon Humber (ankle) and cornerback Keenan Lewis (knee, shoulder).
The Broncos appeared to catch a huge break on Thursday night when the on-field ruling of a fumble by kickoff returner Andre Caldwell was reversed on instant replay, with the referee saying Caldwell was down before he lost control of the ball. On Friday, NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said that was the right call.
In a video released by the league, Blandino says Caldwell’s forearm hit the ground before he lost the ball.
“The forearm was down and the player still had control of the loose ball,” Blandino said. “You’ll see it get pulled loose after the forearm hits — not the elbow, and the referee made an incorrect announcement by saying the elbow. He should have said the forearm. . . . The arm was down before the ball got pulled free. You can see the forearm coming down, the player still in control of the football — slight movement does not constitute a loss of control. . . . That’s why the call was overturned. It’s close, but in the referee’s judgment, and we agreed, the forearm was down before the ball came loose.”
Blandino noted that although San Diego’s Ladarius Green started to pull the ball from Caldwell’s hand before Caldwell was down, Caldwell hadn’t actually lost the ball until his forearm had already hit the ground.
“Slight movement does not constitute a loss of possession — that’s in the rulebook. Loss of control means the ball being pulled loose,” Blandino said.
Complicating matters was that former NFL referee Mike Carey, now the rules expert for CBS, said on the live TV broadcast that replays confirmed that the call on the field was correct. When rules experts like Carey and FOX’s Mike Pereira look at the same replay as the referees — but come to a different conclusion than the referee about what the replay says — that contributes to a climate around the NFL in which it’s perceived that no one knows exactly what the complex rulebook says.
Blandino’s explanation probably won’t placate Chargers fans, who feel that the call was a huge turning point in the game: If the fumble hadn’t been overturned on replay, the Chargers probably would have scored just before halftime and gone into the half leading 10-7 or 14-7. Instead Denver kept the ball, drove down the field and scored, and it was the Broncos who led 14-7 at halftime. It was a huge call, and the NFL says it was the right call. It’s understandable if Chargers fans disagree.
Screen cap via NFL.
Chargers coach Mike McCoy met the media on Friday and there were more questions about how the team handled a pair of injuries from Thursday night than there were about why they couldn’t handle the Broncos.
McCoy was asked about the decision to play cornerback Jason Verrett after he missed last Sunday’s game with an injured shoulder. Verrett left the game after aggravating the injury and reports on Friday are that Verrett stands to miss an extended period of time as a result. McCoy said the team didn’t rush Verrett back into the lineup.
“If he wasn’t ready to go, we wouldn’t have put him out there,” McCoy said, via Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego.
Whether it was too soon or not, the result will be a painful one for the Chargers if they have to go without the rookie because he’s played a big role in their 5-3 start to the season.
McCoy also faced questions about whether safety Jahleel Addae suffered a concussion in the second half when he got up from a hit and staggered for a couple of moments. Addae said he suffered a stinger and was cleared to return to the game after being evaluated on the sideline. McCoy also said Addae suffered a stinger while adding that medical evaluations were ongoing and that he hadn’t spoken to the trainer since the team returned to San Diego.
Well, if you’d wagered that a federal judge would block New Jersey’s plan to trot out sports wagering this weekend, it’s time to collect.
Per multiple reports, Judge Michael Shipp has granted a temporary restraining order preventing New Jersey from implementing a plan to launch sports betting this weekend at racetracks and casinos.
The order presumably will last until the litigation filed by the NFL and other sports leagues on Monday is resolved. Which probably will result in a ruling that New Jersey’s plan cannot proceed.
The NFL long has opposed the expansion of legalized sports betting. This is Round Two with New Jersey, which failed in a prior effort to circumvent a 1992 federal law aimed at stopping new states from adding sports wagering.
During 2013 free agency, the Patriots signed then-restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet, willing to give up a third-round pick if it meant getting the player away from Pittsburgh on a one-year, $2.5 million deal.
The Steelers matched, but many believed that New England’s gesture would be rewarded in 2014, when Sanders hit the open market with the ability to sign with anyone.
It didn’t happen. Sanders instead landed in Denver, and now the Patriots are nine days away from hosting Sanders, Peyton Manning, and the rest of the Broncos.
So why isn’t Sanders a Patriot?
“They were in the mix, it just didn’t get done with anyone,” agent Steve Weinberg told Tom Curran of CSN New England. “[Sanders] went on several visits — Jacksonville, Tampa, Kansas City, and I was talking to New England the whole time. But the process went real slow.”
Complicating matters for the Patriots was Sanders’ decision to hire Weinberg to replace Jordan Woy, who had represented Sanders when he signed the offer sheet in New England.
“If Emmanuel hadn’t switched agents, he may have ended up [with the Patriots],” Weinberg told Curran. “New England was competitive throughout the process. Had they been aggressive from the beginning it would have gotten done, but, in this market, nobody knew what to do with the wide receivers. New England expressed interest during the [pre-free agency] negotiation period.”
Instead, the Patriots have to figure out how to slow down a guy who scored a touchdown on Sunday night and three more on Thursday night. And how to get the most out of a receiving corps that would have benefited from the presence of a player who generated a season-high 98 yards against New England last year with the Steelers.
The good news for the Pats is that Vereen isn’t injured. The bad news is that he’s sick enough that his status is up in the air for Sunday’s game against the Bears.
The Patriots listed Vereen as questionable for the game because of his illness, which could leave them without the player that’s moved into the lead running back role with Stevan Ridley out for the season. It would also cost Vereen a chance to play against his brother, Bears safety Brock Vereen. Brandon Bolden, Jonas Gray and James White are the other running back options for New England.
As expected, the Patriots ruled out defensive end Chandler Jones because of a hip injury. Offensive linemen Dan Connolly, Bryan Stork and Cameron Fleming and defensive lineman Dominique Easley are also questionable.
The Saints will be down two tailbacks Sunday night vs. Green Bay.
Mark Ingram figures to be the Saints’ featured back against the Packers, with Travaris Cadet likely the top pass-catching option out of the backfield. And with Ingram and Cadet the Saints’ only two healthy backs, it’s possible a transaction could be coming for New Orleans. The club has tailback Edwin Baker in reserve on the practice squad.
In other Saints injury news, tight end Jimmy Graham (shoulder) is officially questionable for Sunday night. He was questionable entering last Sunday’s loss to Detroit but still played. However, he was held without a catch and played less than half the snaps for the Saints (2-4).
Texans coach Bill O’Brien said there was “no accuracy to that report” on Thursday, but the linebacker was listed as questionable Friday after missing practice for the third straight day and sounded like there was a pretty good chance he winds up on the inactive side of that question come Sunday.
Cushing said “we’ll see how it goes” over the weekend while pointing out how much his knee has gone through with two surgeries in the last two offseasons and that he hasn’t been the player he wants to be so far this season.
“We’re going to make the best decision for myself (and) the team,” Cushing said, via ESPN.com. “I think we all can agree the last couple weeks I haven’t really been myself. It’s been really hard on me. Any time I go out there I want to put the best of myself out there to help the team win. If it’s to a point where I’m really not with my play and where I am with my health, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Cushing said he was feeling better after a restful week, which leads you to believe that he’d be feeling even better if he got the weekend off as well. The Texans have a game against the Eagles and then a bye in Week 10, so there’s time ahead to get Cushing rest while limiting the amount of time he’d have to miss on Sundays.
The Bears defense hasn’t had many bright spots this season, but rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller has been one of them.
That made the fact that he suffered a pair of injuries last weekend a troubling development for the unit. Fuller broke his right hand and suffered a hip pointer during the loss to the Dolphins, but he has been able to practice with a brace on the hand and the team listed him as probable for Sunday’s date with the Patriots.
Right tackle Jordan Mills is somewhere in the middle. He was a full participant on Wednesday, a limited participant on Thursday and out altogether at Friday’s practice as he deals with a foot injury that has left him questionable for this week. Michael Ola would start if Mills can’t go.