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A few weeks ago, Lions coach Jim Caldwell was facing questions about whether he’d be fired during the season. Now he’s facing questions about whether his team can make the playoffs.
Caldwell doesn’t want to answer either question.
Just as Caldwell didn’t want to answer questions about his job security when the Lions were 1-7, Caldwell doesn’t want to answer questions about the playoffs now that the Lions are 4-7.
“You can talk about it, but I don’t,” Caldwell told reporters today. “We don’t talk about anything but the next game, just like we always do.”
The Lions remain a long shot to make the playoffs. Detroit is 3.5 games behind Minnesota in the NFC North and 2.5 games behind Atlanta in the NFC wild card race. With only five games left in the season, that’s a lot of ground to make up. On the other hand, if the Lions were to win out, at 9-7 they’d have a chance.
“That has nothing to do with us at this point,” Caldwell said. “You add them up when you’re done, and right now we’re worried about all the things we’ve got to face.”
Caldwell may not want to answer those questions. But it’s far better to answer questions about the playoffs than to answer questions about his job security.
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 12 of the 2015 season.
Vikings at Falcons
Defensive end Everson Griffen (hip, shoulder), safety Harrison Smith (knee) and cornerback Trae Waynes (ankle) all drew questionable tags for the Vikings. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (left shoulder) is probable. The Falcons will go without kicker Matt Bryant (right quadricep), running back Devonta Freeman (concussion) and wide receiver Leonard Hankerson (hamstring), but everyone else on the 53-man roster is expected to play.
Rams at Bengals
Rams coach Jeff Fisher said the team is planning to start Nick Foles at quarterback, but Case Keenum (concussion) still has a chance to play after drawing a questionable tag. Tackle Rob Havenstein (calf), cornerback Trumaine Johnson (thigh), defensive end Robert Quinn (hip, back) and kicker Greg Zuerlein (right groin) join Keenum with that designation. Tackle Andrew Donnal (knee) won’t play. The Bengals didn’t have cornerback Adam Jones (foot) or defensive tackle Pat Sims (knee) last week, but hope to have them this time after listing them as questionable.
Saints at Texans
The Saints return from their bye week without the services of linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hip), linebacker David Hawthorne (thigh) and cornerback Damian Swann (concussion). Three other linebackers — Stephone Anthony (lower leg), Ramon Humber (hamstring) and Hau’oli Kikaha (ankle) — are probable. The Texans have 16 players on their injury report, but all are expected to play. That group includes quarterback Brian Hoyer (concussion), linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (wrist) and running back Alfred Blue (back).
Buccaneers at Colts
Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) is set to have his absence from the Buccaneers lineup continue after drawing a doubtful designation. Defensive end George Johnson (calf) and safety Keith Tandy (concussion) are out this week and guard Ali Marpet (ankle) is questionable. Left tackle Anthony Castonzo (knee) will join wide receiver Phillip Dorsett (ankle) and quarterback Andrew Luck (kidney, abdomen) on the Colts inactive list. Safety Mike Adams (ankle) is doubtful while cornerback Gregory Toler (groin) and linebacker Erik Walden (foot) are questionable.
Chargers at Jaguars
Guard D.J. Fluker (concussion) won’t be in the lineup for the Chargers, but wide receiver Malcom Floyd (shoulder) is probable a couple of weeks after tearing his labrum. Left tackle King Dunlap (ankle) is doubtful and defensive tackle Corey Liuget (foot) is questionable. The Jaguars have ruled linebacker Dan Skuta (groin) out for this weekend. Safety Craig Loston (ankle), running back Bernard Pierce (calf) and wide receiver Neal Sterling (illness) are listed as doubtful.
Bills at Chiefs
The Bills will play without wide receiver Marcus Easley (concussion), guard John Miller (ankle), defensive end Mario Williams (foot) and defensive tackle Kyle Williams (knee), who will have season-ending surgery. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor (right shoulder) is set to start. The Chiefs listed tight end Travis Kelce (groin, ankle) and running back Charcandrick West (hamstring) as questionable. Defensive end Allen Bailey (calf), linebacker Dee Ford (back), guard Ben Grubbs (neck) and wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas (concussion) have been ruled out.
Dolphins at Jets
The Dolphins are optimistic that wide receiver Jarvis Landry (knee) can play after being listed as questionable. They also listed linebackers Jelani Jenkins (ankle), Koa Misi (abdomen), Spencer Paysinger (neck) and Kelvin Sheppard (hamstring) as questionable and ruled out right tackle Ja’Wuan James (toe) again this week. The Jets will play without cornerback Darrelle Revis (concussion) and don’t expect to have safety Dion Bailey (ankle, doubtful). Center Nick Mangold (hand) and defensive end Sheldon Richardson (hamstring) are probable.
Raiders at Titans
Raiders center Rodney Hudson (ankle) is doubtful, which likely leaves Tony Bergstrom to start on Sunday. Linebacker Neiron Ball (knee) and cornerback Keith McGill (ankle) were ruled out. The Titans won’t have running back Dexter McCluster (knee) or defensive tackle Al Woods (ankle), but wide receiver Kendall Wright (knee, probable) is expected to return to action.
Giants at Redskins
The Giants will likely be down two starting offensive linemen with guard Justin Pugh (concussion) out and center Weston Richburg (ankle) doubtful. Linebacker Mark Herzlich (quad) and tight end Larry Donnell (neck) are also out, but cornerback Prince Amukamara (pectoral) is expected to return. The Redskins lost cornerback Chris Culliver to a torn ACL and MCL this week and two other corners — Bashaud Breeland (hamstring, illness) and Deshazor Everett (hamstring) — are questionable. Safety Trenton Robinson (hamstring) won’t play.
Cardinals at 49ers
The Cardinals will be down two defensive tackles after ruling Cory Redding (ankle) and Frostee Rucker (ankle) out. Safety Deone Bucannon (concussion), guard Jonathan Cooper (knee), wide receiver Michael Floyd (hamstring), cornerback Patrick Peterson (ankle) and defensive tackle Ed Stinson (groin) are all questionable. Running back Carlos Hyde (foot) remains out for the 49ers and linebacker Ahmad Brooks (concussion/toe) is questionable.
Steelers at Seahawks
Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier (knee) and tight end Matt Spaeth (knee) will be game-time decisions after being listed as questionable. The Seahawks don’t expect to get linebacker Bruce Irvin (knee) back this week and running back Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) and wide receiver Paul Richardson (hamstring) have already been ruled out. Center Patrick Lewis (ankle, knee) is questionable.
Patriots at Broncos
Patriots wide receivers Danny Amendola (knee) and Keshawn Martin (hamstring) are both questionable as the team prepares to play without Julian Edelman (foot) again this week. Linebacker Jamie Collins (illness) returned to practice Friday, but is doubtful to face the Broncos. Linebacker DeMarcus Ware (back) will miss another game for Denver and guard Evan Mathis (ankle, questionable) will have his status updated over the weekend. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ankle, finger) is probable after missing last week.
The Jets won’t have cornerback Darrelle Revis in the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins and it looks like Miami will have wide receiver Jarvis Landry available to face the shorthanded Jets secondary.
Landry did not practice on Friday, which meant that Thursday’s limited practice was the only work he got while dealing with a knee injury this week. Coach Dan Campbell said that Landry’s absence from practice is part of the plan to have him ready to play on Sunday, however.
“Today we wanted to sit him to get him feeling good for the game,” Campbell said, via ESPN.com. “We’ll know more tomorrow, but I’d say I feel pretty good about it. I feel like he’s going to be able to play.”
Landry had four catches for 40 yards against the Jets in Week Four’s 27-14 loss in London. Revis frequently followed Landry into the slot during that contest, so the Jets will have to come up with a different approach if Landy is able to play come Sunday.
Right tackle Ja’Wuan James remains out with a toe injury and defensive end Chris McCain is doubtful with a hip injury. Linebackers Koa Misi, Jelani Jenkins, Spencer Paysinger and Kelvin Sheppard are all questionable.
The Patriots have lost three wide receivers to injuries in their last two games and we know that two of them won’t be playing in Denver on Sunday.
Julian Edelman is out with a broken foot and Aaron Dobson has been placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury, but we’ll have to wait another day or two to find out if Danny Amendola will be in the lineup. Amendola was a limited participant in practice for the second straight day on Friday and has been listed as questionable for the game against the Broncos.
Amendola hurt his knee in last week’s victory over the Bills and reports were that he wasn’t expected to miss an extended period of time, something that would certainly be true if he plays this week. It would also be helpful to a Patriots offense that’s run short of experienced options at wideout due to the recent run of injuries, which includes the hamstring issue that has led to Keshawn Martin drawing a questionable tag.
Pead hasn’t seen any action for the Steelers and that won’t change this week because the team released him on Friday. All players released at this point in the season have to go through waivers, so Pead will either be claimed by one of the other 31 teams or he’ll become a free agent.
The Steelers promoted Fitzgerald Toussaint from the practice squad to take Pead’s place on the roster. Toussaint played four regular season games and two postseason contests for the Ravens last year, running eight times for 17 yards across all of his appearances.
Chiefs running back Charcandrick West is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game vs. the Bills due to a calf injury.
West did not practice all week. Thursday, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he was optimistic West would be able to play this week.
The Chiefs have won four straight to improve to 5-5 and put themselves in the thick of the AFC playoff race. West has been effective since taking over for injured starter Jamaal Charles. He’d scored touchdowns in three straight games before he was injured last week.
Spencer Ware ran for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns after West left last week’s game in San Diego.
With the Panthers at 11-0 (and one victory away from winning 16 straight regular-season games), they have five left in order to become the second team in league history to go 16-0.
Or, possibly, the third, depending on whether the Patriots finish their Week 17 game undefeated before the Panthers do.
To get there, the Panthers will face four division rivals in the final five weeks. Appearing on Friday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly said that the rest of the regular season won’t be any harder or easier with four NFC South games, but that those games will result in greater “focus.”
The process of focusing starts with a Week 13 trip to New Orleans, for a return match against a Saints team that gave the Panthers all they could handle in Week Three when Drew Brees was out with a shoulder injury. Then comes a visit from the Falcons, who at one point were 5-0 and would love to give Carolina its first loss of the year.
Next up is a trip to New Jersey for a date with the Giants, who know a thing or two about being competitive against unbeaten teams. Then, the Panthers go to Atlanta before finishing the season with a visit from the Buccaneers.
With only the Saints below .500, most of these teams will need to win in order to get to the playoffs. But the prospect of knocking off the Panthers will provide plenty of extra motivation for each and every team that will be facing Carolina.
The Panthers haven’t lost yet this season, but coach Ron Rivera said Friday that he doesn’t think the team has played a complete game yet this season.
That would explain why they reportedly took a look at a veteran cornerback in hopes of bolstering the team for what they hope is a deep playoff run. Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review reports that the team worked out Cortland Finnegan on Friday.
Finnegan hasn’t played in the NFL this season and said early in the year that he was going to retire, but a workout last month with the Patriots preceded his visit with the Panthers as a sign that he’s not quite ready to give up on his playing days. Finnegan struggled with the Dolphins in 12 starts last season and is long removed from his prime with the Titans.
Josh Norman has been one of the league’s best players, but Charles Tillman has missed a couple of games with a shoulder injury and the Panthers’ interest in potential additions to the group suggest they aren’t totally comfortable with their current depth options at the position.
We learned on Thursday that Redskins cornerback Chris Culliver tore his ACL during the team’s practice, but that’s not the only knee ligament he’ll have to rehab before next season.
Coach Jay Gruden announced Friday that Culliver also tore his MCL and that he’ll be placed on season-ending injured reserve as a result. Culliver will have surgery in the near future and has three years left on his deal in Washington, although the severity of the injury makes it difficult to assume he’ll be back for the start of next season.
“He’s a good player for us, obviously. You hate to lose good players,” Gruden said, via the team. “Unforutnately, it happened. It was just a fluke deal – he just went up for a ball and landed on it and it tore.”
Culliver missed three games with a knee injury earlier this year and also served a one-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Bashaud Breeland, Will Blackmon and Kyshoen Jarrett are left as the team’s top cornerbacks. DeAngelo Hall has been playing safety of late, but could also play some corner if the team decides to shift course in the wake of Culliver’s injury.
It looks like Nick Foles will be back in the starting lineup against the Bengals on Sunday.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher said, via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com, that Case Keenum still has not cleared the concussion protocol after being injured in last Sunday’s loss to the Ravens. As a result, the team is planning to start Foles in Week 12 although Fisher said that they’ll see how Keenum feels on Saturday before making a final decision.
Foles started the first nine games of the season for the Rams, but was put on the bench for last week’s game in a decision that Fisher couched as “what I think is best for this team offensively.” Fisher also said that Foles would eventually return to the starting lineup, although the fact that he’s leaving the door open for Keenum suggests this week wasn’t what Fisher had in mind.
Keenum was injured late in last week’s game, but continued to play as the concussion was missed by the Rams medical staff and the ATC spotter assigned to stop the game if they believe that a brain injury has been missed on the field. That led to an investigation into what broke down in the procedure put in place by the league to ensure a player with a concussion is removed from play.
On Thursday, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports added a key detail to the recent Johnny Manziel drama: Manziel lied to the team about the creation of the bye-week party video and recruited others to participate in the lie. On Friday, reporters sought confirmation of that from coach Mike Pettine.
They got nowhere.
“I addressed the situation in detail on Wednesday,” Pettine said, via quotes distributed by the team. “When I say I’m sorry to disappoint [you], I’m not really, but I’m just not going there today. We have a game to get ready for Monday night. Like I said, I dealt with it Wednesday. Moving forward.”
Asked specifically about the report from Thursday, Pettine said this: “I already addressed it [Wednesday]. I said trust and accountability was where we had a short fall. Like I said, I have nothing more to add.”
Some would say that Pettine’s failure to deny Glazer’s report confirms it, and that indeed may be the case. Regardless, it’s clear that Manziel has once again squandered the trust of the team — and that he won’t be the starter again any time soon, if ever.
Tom Brady’s job on Sunday night just got a little easier.
The Broncos have announced that pass rusher DeMarcus Ware will miss Sunday night’s game against the Patriots. Ware has been dealing with a back injury.
Despite missing three games this season, Ware leads the Broncos with 6.5 sacks. His absence will make it that much harder for the Broncos to get after Brady.
Cornerback Nolan Carroll’s broken ankle was part of a rough Thanksgiving trip to Detroit for the Eagles and they added another cornerback Friday they hope can help them avoid more rough days in the weeks to come.
The Eagles officially brought Carroll’s season to an end by placing him on injured reserve, which was a formality given the severity of his injury. Carroll is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, which may have made Thursday’s loss his final appearance in an Eagles uniform.
Carroll started all 11 games for the Eagles this season, making 57 tackles and intercepting two passes. Rookie Eric Rowe took over for him against the Lions and will likely continue to get work across from Byron Maxwell in the Eagles’ faltering defense for the rest of the season.
The Eagles filled Carroll’s roster spot by signing cornerback Jaylen Watkins off of the Bills practice squad. Watkins, who played with his brother Sammy in Buffalo, was a fourth-round pick in Philadelphia last year and saw action in four games before failing to make the club this summer.
Bills coach Rex Ryan said Friday that defensive tackle Kyle Williams was likely headed to injured reserve because of a knee injury that’s kept him out since Week Six and it became official later in the day.
Williams will have knee surgery to repair his meniscus and will not play again this season. Williams said he tried to rehab the injury in hopes of being part of a playoff run with the team he’s played for since 2006, but things weren’t getting any better and any attempt to return to the field this year would have left him at risk of further injury.
“It’s been tough,” Williams said, via the team. “It was something that we knew would have to be addressed sooner or later and we hoped against hope that I could get through and respond and play with it and then wait until after the season. I’ve done that before with different injuries, but it’s not going well so we’re going to go ahead and address it and take care of it and get better.”
Williams has two years left on his deal with Buffalo and a $7 million base salary next year. He said Friday that he plans to be back in the Bills lineup next year and that will likely be the case as long as his rehab progresses smoothly in the coming months.
The Colts are 3-0 without their starting quarterback this season and they’ll try to go to 1-0 without their starting left tackle against the Buccaneers on Sunday.
Anthony Castonzo has been ruled out due to the sprained MCL he suffered in last week’s win over the Falcons. Coach Chuck Pagano said earlier this week that Castonzo is considered “week-to-week” and he didn’t practice, so his absence this week isn’t a great surprise.
The Colts moved Joe Reitz from right tackle to left tackle last week and they’ve been doing the same in practice this week. Denzelle Good has been working on the right side and it appears the seventh-round pick will get his first start in his regular season debut with the team.
Safety Mike Adams is doubtful to play because of an ankle injury. Adams missed last week’s win as well. Linebacker Erik Walden and cornerback Greg Toler are both questionable after practicing on Friday.