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Sanchez sheds light on “competition,” last year and this year

Mark Sanchez AP

NFL teams have different options when it comes to filling out the quarterback depth chart.  They can have an unquestioned starter and obvious backups, or they can throw the quarterbacks in a blender and see who earns the job.

Or they can pretend to have a clear-cut starter and undermine him with a backup who says he supports the starter but actually wants to take his job.

That’s what the Jets did last year by adding Tim Tebow to the team.  Even though Tebow tried to say and do all the right things on multiple occasions, he wanted to play.  Which means that he wanted Sanchez to not play.

On Thursday, Sanchez reflected on their relationship, making it clear that there was tension.

“If you were Tim’s agent or my agent, would you say that’s the absolutely best position for either of us?  Probably not,” Sanchez told reporters.  “Tim wanted to play, I wanted to play, only one guy plays at this position.  So I guess it wasn’t the most advantageous, but that’s the way things happen. We both competed [with] our best, tried to be the best of friends we could, and honestly under different circumstances we would be really good friends, it’s just hard when you’re competing like that.  There’s just a professionalism about it that you don’t get too close to guys like that.  You’re just professional, and you’re cool and if the guy has a flat tire on the side of the road, I’m going to stop, I’m not just going to blow by him, but at the same time, I’m not sending him gifts on his birthday or anything.”

This year, the Jets have abandoned the faςade, embracing the notion that not just Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith but all five quarterbacks currently on the roster are competing.  Which means that Sanchez will view the rookie the same way he regarded Tebow.

“I don’t see why it would be any different,” Sanchez said.  “I will help [Smith] out as much as I can, but when we have to compete, we have to compete, that’s the way it goes.”

Which means that the quarterback position will continue to display dysfunction, with five guys clamoring for one job.  While competition could make the guy who emerges from the scrum better, like so many quarterback controversies the guy who wins the job for Week One essentially becomes the guy who wins the privilege of being the first one to get benched.

That’s why the far better approach for any NFL team is to have a starter and obvious backups.  It keeps the locker room from picking sides, the media from stirring up trouble, and the fans from ripping their hair out.

Eventually, that could happen for the Jets, with Smith getting the job once he’s deemed ready to handle it.  Until then, the Jets will keep Sanchez and his guaranteed salary of $8.25 million around, because they’ll be paying him whether he’s on the team or not.

Which means that, essentially, the Jets have done a 180 from 2012.  Last year, they pretended there wasn’t a competition when in fact there really was one.  This year, the organization has launched a competition with an obvious preferred winner in mind.

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NFL Referees Association hasn’t heard from league regarding full-time officials

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 09:  NFL referee hat on the field during a football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL made news on Thursday by saying that it plans to hire up to 17 full-time officials this offseason. That news was news to the NFL Referees Association.

“Like so many things, the devil is in the details and we have yet to hear from the league on those details,” NFLRA executive director Scott Green said in a statement. “We look forward to meeting with them to discuss numerous issues, this being one of them.”

The notion of hiring some full-time officials isn’t new; the ability to do so simply hasn’t been implemented to the extent that it could be.

“We agreed in the 2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement that we did not oppose using some full-time officials under certain circumstances including equitable compensation, benefits, clearly documented work duties, employee protections, etc.,” Green said. “Details such as these should be discussed in the off season.”

In other words, the NFLRA has no problem with the concept of full-time officials, as long as they receive fair compensation and protections. With some officials having lucrative primary jobs, getting them to give up their separate compensation (and the security that comes from having other work for which they aren’t regularly graded and potentially terminated if they make too many mistakes) becomes expensive.

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Week 13 injury report roundup

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 28:   Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates the 27-13 win over the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

Week 13 kicked off on Thursday with a Cowboys win and it continues with 13 more games on Sunday, which means that the 26 teams in those games submitted their final injury reports of the week on Friday.

Questionable players are uncertain to play, doubtful players are unlikely to play and out should be self-explanatory. Players who are on active rosters and don’t appear below should be considered in the lineup barring any announcements on Saturday. The teams playing on Monday night won’t release their injury reports until Saturday and are not listed here.

With that housekeeping out of the way, here are all the injury reports for Sunday.

Chiefs at Falcons

The Chiefs listed LB Dee Ford (hamstring), LB Justin Houston (shoulder), WR Jeremy Maclin (groin), DT Dontari Poe (back) and DE Kendall Reyes (knee) as questionable. Poe didn’t practice at all this week.

DE Adrian Clayborn (knee) is out for the Falcons and LB Paul Worrilow (illness) is listed as questionable on a short injury report.

Dolphins at Ravens

C Mike Pouncey (hip) is out again this week, but Dolphins coach Adam Gase expressed optimism about getting T Branden Albert (wrist) and G Laremy Tunsil (shoulder) back. They’re listed as questionable along with LB Kiko Alonso (hamstring), T Jermon Bushrod (calf), RB Kenyan Drake (knee), LB Jelani Jenkins (knee, hand), DT Earl Mitchell (back) and WR DeVante Parker (back). CB Xavien Howard (knee) is listed as doubtful.

TE Crockett Gillmore (thigh), T Alex Lewis (ankle) and RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (thigh) are out for the Ravens. RB Buck Allen (non football injury) is listed as doubtful while WR Kamar Aiken (thigh) and CB Jimmy Smith (back) are listed as questionable.

49ers at Bears

Questionable listings for LB Aaron Lynch (ankle) and WR Quinton Patton (concussion) account for the entire 49ers injury report.

QB Jay Cutler (shoulder) is headed for injured reserve, but isn’t there yet so the Bears ruled him out. S Adrian Amos (foot), LB Leonard Floyd (concussion), CB Deiondre’ Hall (ankle), WR Eddie Royal (toe), G Josh Sitton (ankle) and LB Willie Young (knee) are listed as questionable for Chicago.

Eagles at Bengals

Eagles RB Ryan Mathews (knee) and T Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) will not play on Sunday. WR Jordan Matthews (ankle) is listed as questionable.

WR A.J. Green (hamstring) remains out for the Bengals. DE Wallace Gilberry (calf) and S Derron Smith (thigh) have both been ruled out. LS Clark Harris (groin) and TE C.J. Uzomah (calf) are on track to being ruled out as well after drawing doubtful tags.

Texans at Packers

The Texans won’t have RB Tyler Ervin (ribs), LB John Simon (chest), WR Jaelen Strong (ankle) this weekend. They listed RB Alfred Blue (calf), DE Jadeveon Clowney (elbow, wrist), LB Brian Cushing (back) and S Andre Hal (illness) as questionable.

QB Aaron Rodgers (hamstring) was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable. Linebackers Blake Martinez (knee), LB Clay Matthews (shoulder) and Jake Ryan (ankle) are also listed as questionable. LB Kyler Fackrell (hamstring) and CB Demetri Goodson (knee) will not play and neither G T.J. Lang (foot) nor C J.C. Tretter (knee) is expected to play after being listed as doubtful.

Broncos at Jaguars

The Broncos ruled out WR Bennie Fowler (knee), LS Casey Kreiter (calf) and QB Trevor Siemian (foot).

WR Rashad Greene (achilles), WR Allen Hurns (hamstring), RB Chris Ivory (hamstring) and DE Jared Odrick (shoulder) have been ruled out by the Jaguars. TE Julius Thomas (back) is unlikely to play after being listed as doubtful and DE Yannick Ngakoue (ankle) drew a questionable designation.

Rams at Patriots

The Rams don’t expect to have WR Tavon Austin (chest) in New England after listing him as doubtful. C Tim Barnes (foot), T Andrew Donnal (hip), DE Robert Quinn (concussion) and T Rodger Saffold (hand) are listed as questionable.

S Jordan Richards (knee) joins TE Rob Gronkowski (back) as Patriots who will not play this weekend. TE Martellus Bennett (ankle, shoulder), QB Tom Brady (knee), S Nate Ebner (concussion), WR Julian Edelman (foot), DE Trey Flowers (shin), DT Woodrow Hamilton (illness), WR Chris Hogan (back), LB Elandon Roberts (jaw) and WR Matt Slater (foot) are this week’s group of questionable players.

Lions at Saints

Lions DE Ziggy Ansah (ankle), S Don Carey (hamstring), WR Marvin Jones (thigh), LB DeAndre Levy (knee), RB Theo Riddick (ankle) and LB Tahir Whitehead (knee) are all listed as questionable for Sunday’s game in New Orleans.

RB Mark Ingram (toe) is questionable for the Saints after returning to practice on Friday. T Terron Armstead (knee, quadricep) and RB Daniel Lasco (hamstring) have been ruled out.

Bills at Raiders

The Bills took full use of the questionable designation this week by using it on LB Lorenzo Alexander (ankle), S Sergio Brown (hamstring), TE Charles Clay (knee), DT Marcell Dareus (abdomen), RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring), T Cordy Glenn (back), WR Marquise Goodwin (wrist), S James Ihedigbo (ankle), G Richie Incognito (neck), G John Miller (shoulder) and WR Sammy Watkins (foot). They veered away by ruling out CB Ronald Darby (concussion), WR Percy Harvin (illness) and WR Robert Woods (knee).

CB D.J. Hayden (hamstring) is ruled out and the team will be placing him on injured reserve. DT Darius Latham (ankle), DT Stacy McGee (ankle) and LB Shilique Calhoun (knee) have also been ruled out. CB David Amerson (knee), WR Michael Crabtree (ankle), C Rodney Hudson (knee), RB Latavius Murray (ankle), G Kelechi Osemele (knee), LB Perry Riley (hamstring) and LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring) are listed as questionable.

Redskins at Cardinals

The Redskins won’t have DL Anthony Lanier (shin) or TE Jordan Reed (shoulder) this weekend. CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle), LB Terence Garvin (shoulder), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee), LB Trent Murphy (ankle), T Ty Nsekhe (ankle), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), LS Nick Sundberg (back) and RB Chris Thompson (illness) were all listed as questionable.

S Tyrann Mathieu (shoulder) isn’t expected to play for the Cardinals thanks to a doubtful listing. WR John Brown (illness) is questionable as he continues to look for an answer to problems caused by his sickle cell trait.

Giants at Steelers

The Giants ruled out S Nat Berhe (concussion), LB Mark Herzlich (concussion), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (knee) and G Justin Pugh (knee). Offensive linemen Brett Jones (calf) and Marshall Newhouse (knee) are both questionable after missing last week.

The Steelers ruled out WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (foot) and RB DeAngelo Williams (knee), but have no one else with an injury designation this week.

Buccaneers at Chargers

S Chris Conte (chest) and C Evan Smith (knee) were ruled out by the Buccaneers. DT Gerald McCoy (foot), TE Brandon Myers (hip), RB Jacquizz Rodgers (foot) and S Ryan Smith (shoulder) are listed as questionable.

Chargers LB Jeremiah Attaochu (foot), LB Jatavis Brown (knee) and CB Brandon Flowers (concussion) are out this weekend. TE Asante Cleveland (concussion, knee), DT Tenny Palepoi (shoulder) and WR Tyrell Williams (shoulder) drew questionable tags.

Panthers at Seahawks

The Panthers ruled out DE Mario Addison (foot), S Kurt Coleman (concussion), LB Luke Kuechly (concussion) and T Daryl Williams (ankle) on Friday.

DE Michael Bennett (knee) is expected back for the Seahawks, but drew a questionable tag. DE Damontre Moore (foot), RB Troymaine Pope (ankle) and TE Luke Willson (knee) are listed the same way. LB Brock Coyle (foot), RB C.J. Prosise (shoulder), WR Paul Richardson (hamstring) and LB Jordan Tripp (thigh) have been ruled out.

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Report: NFL will loosen some rules for teams posting on social media

20100503_i-phone-twitter-getty_w Getty Images

Following criticism that followed a strange set of new rules for team accounts, Yahoo Finance reported Friday that the NFL is changing its social media policy again.

The most public — and most criticized — part of the changes that took effect in October related to the posting of in-game video. The NFL changed the rules and threatened to fine teams up to $100,000 if they posted in-game video footage to their social media accounts before the league made the footage available on an internal server.

That generally related to teams posting GIFs or other short videos on their official Twitter accounts during games. For example, the Patriots didn’t violate rules in October by posting a replay of a Tom Brady touchdown pass because it had already been posted on the league’s official Twitter page.

Some teams responded to the rule changes by posting cartoons or photos of the old electric football game depicting that day’s matchup.

The Yahoo Finance report said the new changes could be implemented as early as next week, Week 14 of the season, and that those changes relate to the window for posting in-game content and additional flexibility for posting highlights. Though details were scarce, the report said the rule about not posting plays before the league does is likely to stay in place.

It seems to make sense to allow teams to share big plays and other highlights to push folks towards actually tuning into the games, and we’ll see if common sense prevails.

UPDATE: The Yahoo Finance report was updated to add that the rule changes include a “test agreement” between the NFL and Giphy to make the GIF provider the “source of high quality and authentic NFL GIFs of ancillary game and historical/iconic content.”

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David Bruton out in Washington after signing three-year deal in offseason

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 12: Defensive back David Bruton #30 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after breaking up a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second quarter at FedExField on September 12, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

Safety David Bruton signed a three-year deal with the Redskins as a free agent this offseason, but his stay in Washington has come to an end after appearing in four games.

Bruton opened the season as a starter for the Redskins, but landed on injured reserve after four games because of a concussion. The team signed Donte Whitner to fill his spot on the defense and announced on Friday that they have released Bruton off of I.R.

Bruton’s deal had a total possible value of $9 million and he had a $2.5 million signing bonus, which will leave the Redskins with dead money on the cap next year.

The Redskins also announced that they have waived tackle Blaine Clausell and promoted cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad. Cornerback Bashaud Breeland is listed as questionable to play against the Cardinals because of an ankle injury.

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Broncos promote practice-squader to replace their punt returner

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 27:  Wide receiver Jordan Norwood #11 of the Denver Broncos jumps while tackled by wide receiver De'Anthony Thomas #13 of the Kansas City Chiefs in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 27, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Aqib Talib won’t have a chance to shove Jordan Norwood for muffing another punt.

Primarily because the Broncos have replaced Norwood in that role.

The Broncos filled the roster spot created by putting fullback Andy Janovich on injured reserve by promoting wide receiver Kalif Raymond from the practice squad. He’ll return punts for them Sunday against the Jaguars, after Norwood muffed two of them last week against the Chiefs.

“He’s going to play. I expect to suit both him and Jordan,” Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said, via Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post. “Really, it’s a reward more than anything. This kid does everything, . . . He deserves an opportunity to help us out.”

They can spin it as a bump for the undrafted rookie from Holy Cross if they please, but this was a straight-up demotion for Norwood after a terrible week of special teams, of which he was only a part.

Broncos special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis called the Chiefs game “the worst game he’s been a part of special-teams wise.”

“Obviously that’s unacceptable; we can’t put the ball on the ground,” DeCamillis said prior to Raymond’s promotion. “We have to maintain field possession for our team and it was not a good night. We have to get that corrected quickly.”

The Broncos now have eight wide receivers on the roster, in addition to two long snappers, meaning there are more transactions in their future.

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Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell fined for joint touchdown celebration

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 24:  Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after making a touchdown catch in first quarter of the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 24, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said this week that wide receiver Antonio Brown can’t keep getting penalties for celebrating his touchdowns as he did against the Colts on Thanksgiving night.

Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell danced together after one of Brown’s three touchdown catches in the Pittsburgh win and drew flags for violating the league’s prohibition on choreographed celebrations. The league office joined the officials and Roethlisberger in castigating Brown this week.

Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports that Brown, who had two previous celebration penalties and three other fines this season, has been fined $24,309 as a result of the celebration. Bell has been fined $12,154 for his part in the dance party.

Brown and the Steelers will face off with the Giants this weekend and we’ll find out if the rebukes have had any effect if Brown makes his way into the end zone during that contest.

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Steve Smith not fined for headbutting Vontaze Burfict

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 27: Wide receiver Steve Smith #89 of the Baltimore Ravens and outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals are seperated by referee Clete Blakeman #34 in the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 27, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Early in last Sunday’s game between the Ravens and Bengals, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict shoved Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith to the ground during a play and then stood over him when the play was over.

Smith responded by headbutting Burfict in the sternum when he got up. Burfict fell to the ground with more than a little extra embellishment, which may have helped cause Smith to be flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play.

It also may have helped the league decide against fining Smith as a result of the penalty. PFT has confirmed with the league that neither Smith nor Burfict were fined for their interaction in a game the Ravens went on to win 19-14.

PFT has also confirmed that Ravens safety Eric Weddle was not fined for an unnecessary roughness penalty he picked up later in the game.

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Corey Coleman fined for facemask penalty

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 20:  Artie Burns #25 of the Pittsburgh Steelers breaks up a pass intended for Corey Coleman #19 of the Cleveland Browns during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Getty Images

Browns rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman was fined $9,115 for grabbing the facemask of Giants cornerback Eli Apple during last Sunday’s game, PFT has confirmed.

The penalty occurred in the second quarter as the Browns were in Giants’ territory and Josh McCown was trying to hit Coleman on a deep ball along the sideline. Besides grabbing the facemask, Coleman actually did a good job of preventing the pass from being intercepted.

Coleman caught a 21-yard touchdown pass later in the game.

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Rolando McClain suspended indefinitely

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The NFL career of Rolando McClain may have come to an end with yet another suspension.

McClain has been suspended indefinitely, the NFL made official today. McClain has violated the league’s substance-abuse policy again, which means he would have a lengthy road back that would require treatment and an ability to pass drug tests consistently.

It’s hard to see McClain ever returning at this point. He has already missed all of this season for a previous violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. Given his history of off-field problems, he may never find another team willing to give him a chance even if he does get reinstated by the league.

At age 27, McClain may be done in the NFL.

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Aaron Rodgers listed as questionable for Sunday

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 20: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks on against the Washington Redskins in the third quarter at FedExField on November 20, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers practiced for the third straight day on Friday, but those limited sessions weren’t enough to keep him from getting an injury designation on the team’s injury report for Sunday’s game against the Texans.

Rodgers is listed as questionable because of the hamstring injury he suffered against the Eagles last Monday night. The injury didn’t keep Rodgers from playing as well as he has all season and there hasn’t been any suggestion from Green Bay this week that he’s at risk of missing the game.

So it is probable that Rodgers will play despite the questionable tag and that’s also been the indication about linebacker Clay Matthews. Matthews hurt his shoulder against the Eagles and got the same designation for this week’s game, but coach Mike McCarthy has said that he expects Matthews to be in the lineup against Houston.

Guard T.J. Lang and center J.C. Tretter are both listed as doubtful to play while linebackers Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez round out the group of players listed as questionable.

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Manziel agrees to anger management, substance abuse treatment to drop domestic violence charges

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Former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel got domestic violence charges dropped in an agreement with prosecutors that requires him to go into anger management counseling and get substance abuse treatment.

Manziel is already in the NFL’s substance abuse program and will need to either continue working through the league’s program or enter another rehabilitation program. He will also need to attend a panel in which domestic violence victims discuss how it impacted them, WFAA reports.

The NFL could suspend Manziel even though he’s not currently under contract with a team, if the league’s own investigation finds that he violated the league’s policies on domestic violence. He has also been suspended four games for substance abuse.

Whether any NFL suspensions ever matter remains to be seen, as Manziel would still have to convince some team to take a chance on signing him. Given that he didn’t play particularly well with the Browns and frequently finds himself in off-field trouble, there’s a good chance that no team will ever give him that chance. Manziel’s career might be over, but at the moment he should be focusing not on football but on getting his life in order.

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Raiders placing D.J. Hayden on injured reserve

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 30: Wide receiver Russell Shepard #89 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulls in the teams first touchdown as cornerback D.J. Hayden #25 of the Oakland Raiders defends during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium on October 30, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images) Getty Images

The Raiders will be without one of their top cornerbacks for the rest of the season.

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio announced on Friday that the team will place D.J. Hayden on injured reserve. Hayden injured his hamstring in last Sunday’s victory over the Panthers and, via Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area, Del Rio called the loss “a big blow.”

Hayden was a first-round pick in 2013 and battled injuries his first two seasons before adding more positive contributions this season. He has 37 tackles and a forced fumble while playing as part of a group with David Amerson and Sean Smith at corner for the AFC West leaders.

Hayden is set to become a free agent come March, so he may be done in Oakland although his injury will likely have some impact on how things play out for him on the open market.

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Jimmy Smith likely to return Sunday

Baltimore Ravens v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith was a full participant in Friday’s practice and seems on his way to playing Sunday against the Dolphins.

The Ravens list Smith as questionable. He’s missed the last two games with a back injury.

Wide receiver and special teams player Kamar Aiken is also questionable with a thigh injury but also was a full practice participant Friday. The Ravens list guard Alex Lewis (ankle), tight end Crockett Gillmore (thigh) and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (thigh) as out.

Running back Buck Allen is doubtful. Ravens Coach John Harbaugh said Allen is dealing with a personal issue.

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Ziggy Ansah on lack of sacks: Close is not good enough

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 23: Ezekiel Ansah #94 of the Detroit Lions prepares to play the Washington Redskinsat Ford Field on October 23, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan Detroit won the game 20-17. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Lions are riding a three-game winning streak and they sit at the top of the NFC North heading into Week 13, so things have been going well for them as a team this season.

Things haven’t gone quite as well for defensive end Ziggy Ansah as an individual. Ansah has missed three games with an ankle injury and he’s yet to record a sack after picking up 30 of them over his first three NFL seasons. He’s had games where he’s produced pressure, including what appeared to be a strip sack against the Vikings on Thanksgiving before it was ruled an incomplete pass, and coach Jim Caldwell says there’s more to the game than sacks, but Ansah said knows that “everyone evaluates a defensive player on” how many sacks they get.

He also knows that the ankle injury has left him at less than 100 percent, although he says that’s not an excuse for failing to bring down quarterbacks as he has in the past.

“Close is not good enough,” Ansah said, via MLive.com. “I’ve got to get him down. I don’t give any excuses for how I play.”

This would be a good week for Ansah to break his sack slump as the Lions will be in New Orleans to face the Saints and slowing down Drew Brees would be a good way to extend both their winning streak and their lead in the division.

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Luke Kuechly still not practicing, so he won’t play against Seahawks

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 27:  Luke Kuechly #59 of the Carolina Panthers looks on from the sidelines while out for the second consecutive week of concussion protocol against the New Orleans Saints during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Panthers took Luke Kuechly along on their West coast road trip, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to do anything but watch.

The Panthers middle linebacker didn’t practice today, a pretty good sign he’s not playing Sunday against the Seahawks as he won’t have time to clear the concussion protocol.

Via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, Kuechly was one of four players not practicing Friday, along with safety Kurt Coleman, defensive end and leading sacker Mario Addison and right tackle Daryl Williams.

That means another week of mismatched offensive lines for the Panthers (though that is nearly their norm), but they’re back to a spare-part secondary, as Michael Griffin will likely step in for Coleman, who is also in the concussion protocol.

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