The Washington Redskins return a majority of starters from last season, but the PFT guys still see glaring areas of need. Linebacker, receiver and the secondary could all use an upgrade, but with Robert Griffin III in the fold, the Redskins will continue to be competitive.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: RGIII makes Redskins elite organization
The Kansas City Chiefs will have to get by without the services of linebacker Joe Mays for the immediate future.
According to Dave Skretta of the Associated Press, Mays is set to have surgery on a wrist injury suffered last week against the Carolina Panthers.
Mays was penciled in as the second starting inside linebacker for Kansas City alongside Derrick Johnson. He is expected to have surgery later this week. Though no timetable is given for Mays’ expected return, the Chiefs will have to move forward without Mays for the time being.
Mays appeared in 14 games, making 13 starts, for the Houston Texans last season. He compiled 67 tackles, a sack and three passes defended on the season. The injury likely means linebackers James Michael-Johnson and Josh Mauga will be called upon to fill the void in the meantime.
After being forced to move practice out of Levi’s Stadium due to poor turf conditions on Wednesday, the San Francisco 49ers have decided to replace the playing surface altogether ahead of Sunday’s preseason game with the San Diego Chargers.
The 49ers cut short a public practice open to fans at their brand new stadium on Wednesday after several players continued to slip on the loose surface.
According to Janie McCauley of the Associated Press, the 49ers are working to re-sod the surface ahead of Sunday’s game.
“The 49ers organization would like to apologize to any fans who were inconvenienced by today’s practice ending early,” the team said Wednesday. “We have determined the appropriate measures necessary to have the field ready for Sunday and look forward to hosting the San Diego Chargers.”
It’s not unusual for stadiums with grass fields to need their field replaced during a season. It is unusual for it to happen after one game in the middle of August.
It appears as those some of the grass at the stadium just didn’t take hold to the ground strongly enough to provide a stable surface. After Sunday’s game against San Diego, the 49ers do not play at home again until Sept. 14. It could give the stadium a couple extra weeks for the new sod to take hold and provide a safe surface for the players.
On the same day they were cited for marijuana possession, Steelers tailbacks Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount both played into the fourth quarter of Pittsburgh’s 31-21 preseason loss at Philadelphia.
Bell (nine rushes, 23 yards) and Blount (seven rushes, 32 yards) were the only Steelers tailbacks to carry the ball against the Eagles.
Afterwards, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin shed some light on why Bell and Blount played.
“From my perspective, in terms of their participation tonight, I didn’t view it as punishment to send them home to be quite honest with you, to not play in this preseason game. I would rather them play more than anticipated than to remove them from the game,” Tomlin said, according to a transcript of his remarks from the club. “That’s why we took the stance that we took tonight.”
Tomlin called the Bell and Blount incident “conduct . . . detrimental to our efforts. They’ll be dealt with appropriately.”
However, Tomlin said the club’s lackluster play Thursday night wasn’t related to the backs’ legal issues.
“We are not going to make any excuse for that performance. We are going to own that. What happened yesterday had nothing to do with how we performed tonight,” Tomlin said.
The Seattle Seahawks hoped Justin Britt would develop into their starting right tackle when they selected him in the second round of the draft out of the University of Missouri in May.
Turns out he may ascend to the starting role even earlier than anticipated.
Britt appears set to win the job over veteran tackle Eric Winston to replace departed starter Breno Giacomini. After an up and down preseason debut against the Denver Broncos, Britt fared much better against the San Diego Chargers last week. Seattle’s coaching staff has been pleased with Britt’s progress throughout the preseason and signs are pointing toward him starting the season opener against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 4.
“His progress has been really solid,” head coach Pete Carroll said Thursday. “He’s making great strides to be a legitimate starter. I’ve said before it’s all in his makeup that really kind of substantiates that he’s able to do this and handle this so it’s gone great so far”
The right tackle job has been one of few truly open competitions for starting roles on the Seahawks this offseason.
Britt was initially expected to be in competition for the job with second-year player Michael Bowie.
Bowie stated eight games as a rookie for Seattle with seven starts coming at right tackle. However, Bowie showed up to training camp 20 pounds overweight, according to Carroll. He then suffered a shoulder injury that would require surgery and was waived/injured by Seattle before being claimed by the Cleveland Browns.
Once Bowie injured his shoulder, the Seahawks signed Winston to a one-year deal to compete with Britt for the job. Up until this point, Britt has predominantly worked with the first-team offense for the entirety of training camp. If he’s able to put together another strong performance against the Chicago Bears on Friday night, the starting job will certainly be his for the taking.
Last season, the Steelers were compromised by an 0-4 start.
And with the regular season a little more than two weeks away, it’s clear the 2014 Steelers have some things to clean up before the gates open.
In Thursday night’s 31-21 loss at Philadelphia, the Steelers surrendered 482 yards. Eagles star tailback LeSean McCoy riddled the Steelers for 50 yards on six touches in the first quarter, and Philadelphia quarterbacks combined to complete 31-of-43 attempts for 309 yards for the game.
The Steelers’ first-team offense didn’t manage a single point until about four minutes left in the third quarter, when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw a 27-yard TD pass to tight end Heath Miller. By then, though, the Eagles’ defense was playing backups.
With Roethlisberger still a blue-chip quarterback, the Steelers’ offense should be a strength this season. And on their best, the Steelers are quite capable of garnering their first playoff spot since 2011.
But Thursday’s loss had to be an uncomfortable one for Pittsburgh. Yes, the game didn’t count, but here was an elite offense making Pittsburgh look . . . well, pedestrian. Maybe it’s nothing. But even if it’s nothing, it was a cringeworthy nothing.
Worilds was credited with a sack of Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez early in the third quarter, but the play was nullified by a penalty. On the next play, Worilds appeared to be no longer in the game, and the Eagles scored a touchdown. The Steelers then ruled him out the rest of the way.
The 26-year-old Worilds had a breakout 2013 season, recording a career-high eight sacks. He’s playing under the one-year transition tender.
The Steelers have not played well in their third exhibition game of the summer, and starters have played well into the third quarer on both sides of the ball.
UPDATE 9:56 p.m. ET: Ken Laird of TribLive Radio in Pittsburgh reports Worilds was icing his knee.
A sprain, not a break.
That’s the word on tailback LeSean McCoy’s right thumb.
According to the Eagles, X-rays on McCoy’s thumb came back negative, and he has been ruled out of the rest of Thursday’s exhibition against Pittsburgh.
Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports the injury is a sprain.
McCoy racked up 24 yards rushing on just four carries and caught a 22-yard TD pass in the first quarter before departing to get his thumb examined. He does not figure to play much, if at all, in the team’s final preseason game next Thursday.
The Eagles begin the regular season on Sunday, September 7 vs. Jacksonville.
In what looks to be a good turn of luck for a player who’s coming back from a right knee injury that sidelined him last season, Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin stayed in Thursday’s exhibition vs. Pittsburgh after momentarily looking to have injured the leg again.
With about 10 minutes left in the second quarter, Maclin went down trying to make a sharp cut, and he grabbed his knee as he lay on the ground. However, Maclin reportedly was able to get up and walk off the field, and he was then seen walking on the sideline.
Then — happily — Maclin was back on the field on the Eagles’ next series. And he even started the drive with a nine-yard catch. In the end, it appeared to be just a brief scare for Maclin, one of the club’s key passing game players.
The Vikings don’t plan to use running back Adrian Peterson much, if at all, during the preseason. For the past two days, they haven’t used him at all during practice.
According to Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Peterson has missed practice the last two days due to an undisclosed personal matter. He is expected to travel to Kansas City with the Vikings for the team’s third preseason game of 2014.
Peterson hasn’t touched the football during the preseason since 2011, when he had 14 carries for 81 yards during the third preseason game, against the Cowboys.
This year, the Vikings have their first new offense since 2011. It could take some time for Peterson to get comfortable in the attack, given the absence of preseason reps.
The club said McCoy’s return was “unknown.” He was not on the field when the Eagles got the ball back late in the first quarter.
Before going inside to get checked out, McCoy showed no ill-effects from a toe injury that’s bothered him, racking up 50 yards on six touches. On his final play before departing, McCoy turned a short reception into a 22-yard TD.
Now, the focus turns to whether he’s suffered a hand injury. Perhaps of note: he was able to palm the ball with his right hand as he celebrated in the endzone right after the touchdown.
UPDATE 8:25 p.m. ET: Here’s some promising news for Eagles fans: Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports McCoy is having his hand taped on the Eagles’ sideline. And according to Jeff Darlington of NFL Media, McCoy still is wearing his pads.
In fact, Bell started and Blount played on the Steelers’ first drive. And it was an especially eventful drive for Bell, who rushed three times for 11 yards while dishing out and taking a good deal of punishment. While he showed excellent power finishing out a seven-yard run, he later took a hit to the head/neck area from Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans on a passing play.
Ryans was penalized on the play, and Bell left for one snap, giving way to Blount, who rushed for five yards on his first carry. However, Bell then re-entered the contest. The Steelers’ drive would end in a punt.
Some folks conjure imaginary friends. Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III has crafted some imaginary enemies. On Wednesday, he chastised his unidentified — and possibly non-existent — “doubters” via Twitter. On Thursday, Griffin dug in even deeper.
“As far as I’m concerned, I said what I needed to say,” Griffin said Thursday, via the Associated Press. “It is what I believe, and what our household deems necessary to go out every day and be successful.”
Griffin added that he’ll continue to periodically communicate through Twitter, reasoning that his followers follow him for a reason.
“There are 1.1 million people on Twitter that want to hear what [I] have to say,” Griffin said, going scoreboard on his seven-figure collection of Twitter users who receive any and all of his tweets and retweets. “And it’s not that we tweet all the time, but anytime we tweet something it gets blown up, but it is what it is.”
If Griffin has concocted a narrative that many doubt him in order to provide extra motivation for himself and his teammates, that’s fine. The perception that he’s thin-skinned, however, will serve as chum in the Internet shark tank, inviting plenty of real doubt, hate, and vitriol to replace the exaggerated and/or fabricated collection of criticism that prompted his tweet.
The Eagles and Steelers will be several players short on Thursday night in Philadelphia.
Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin (hamstring), wide receiver Josh Huff (shoulder), linebacker Jake Knott (hamstring), tailback Chris Polk (hamstring), wide receiver Brad Smith (hamstring) and center Julian Vandervelde (back) will not play, the club’s website reported.
Polk, a second-year pro from Washington, is in a competition for a roster spot in a crowded RB corps.
The Steelers have announced the following players are not expected to play: wide receiver Lance Moore (undisclosed), tight end Eric Waters (concussion), center/offensive guard Cody Wallace (finger), long-snapper Greg Warren (knee), safety Will Allen (hamstring), running back Tauren Poole (hamstring), fullback Will Johnson (hamstring), wide receiver Shaquille Richardson (knee), linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (undisclosed).
Bills coach Doug Marrone said after fights broke out at Wednesday’s that he didn’t want to see that anymore. Apparently his players weren’t listening.
More fights broke out at today’s practice, and Marrone was not pleased. Marrone yelled at players for getting into it, and when defensive end Jerry Hughes said something back to his coach, Marrone went off, spewing profanity at Hughes and asking, “Do you want to play on this team?“
Marrone also told Hughes, “If you’ve got a problem with me, you need to come and tell me.” The two talked after practice, and Marrone later said Hughes wasn’t the only one he was disappointed with.
“That’s directed at anyone who doesn’t want to be part of the team,” Marrone said. “I told Jerry that I love the way he practices and I love the way he plays special teams and how he goes about it. And we’ve got to get some other guys who are starters to do that.”
Some coaches believe that fights at training camp can be a good sign of a tough team, but Marrone doesn’t see it that way.
“I’m going to say it again, and I’m not going to answer another question on it: We’re responsible for the integrity of the game,” Marrone said, via ESPN. “Can you figure it out? Figure it out. We’re responsible for the integrity of the game. There is no use for fighting in the game of football. Period. End of discussion. Move on.”
Marrone sounds ready to move on from a fight-filled training camp, which concluded with today’s practice.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr made a quick return to practice after suffering a concussion and rib injury during last weekend’s game against the Lions, but he hasn’t recovered enough for the team to play him against the Packers.
Steve Wyche of NFL Media reports that coach Dennis Allen said that Carr won’t play on Friday night because his bruised ribs are still sore. Allen added that Carr has been cleared after his concussion.
The injury likely eliminates what little chance Carr had of starting for the Raiders when they face the Jets in Week One. Barring an injury of his own, you can put Matt Schaub’s name into the lineup for that game.
His performance there and in the following weeks will determine how long it is before Carr gets his chance to lead the Raiders offense. If Schaub looks anything like he did with the Texans last season, it probably won’t be long.