Willis appeared to be injured in the third quarter.
The 28-year-old Willis is regarded as one of the NFL’s standouts at his position.
Willis appeared to be injured in the third quarter.
The 28-year-old Willis is regarded as one of the NFL’s standouts at his position.
After Oregon fired coach Mark Helfrich, 49ers coach Chip Kelly insisted he’s not interested in returning to the place where he had his greatest coaching success. But the topic has been discussed.
Helfrich himself said on ESPN Radio that he talked to Kelly about the possibility that Kelly would take his place. Helfrich wanted Kelly to know there would be no hard feelings if Kelly decided to return, and in fact Helfrich said he hopes Kelly does succeed him because Kelly would be more likely to keep some of his assistants in place than a new coach who would clean house.
However, Helfrich said he thinks Kelly is committed to remaining coach of the 49ers.
“I think he wants to make it right in the NFL. I think he wants to win at that level. He’s had a rough go of it this year, but he’ll make it right,” Helfrich said of Kelly.
All indications are that Kelly prefers coaching in the NFL to coaching in college, in large part because Kelly dislikes recruiting. The question, however, is whether Kelly may soon find himself unable to land an NFL job. After getting fired in Philadelphia last year, he’s 1-10 in San Francisco this year. If he gets fired by the 49ers, he might return to college because he has no job available to him in the NFL. But it sounds like it would have to reach that point before Kelly would consider leaving the pros.
The Cowboys’ already good offensive line may soon get better.
La’el Collins, who has been out since Week Three with a foot injury, is expected to return soon. Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones said on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan that the Cowboys plan to use their return designation on Collins, allowing him to be the one player on injured reserve to come back and play this year.
What remains to be seen is whether Collins returns to the starting lineup. Although he was the starting left guard before he got hurt, Ron Leary has played so well in Collins’ absence that Leary may keep the starting job.
“So that gives us depth going into the playoffs. We’ve got the quarterbacks. We’ve got our offensive line,” Jones said. “This thing looks good.”
The Cowboys look very good, and a good player getting back on the field will only make them look better.
When Seahawks coach Pete Carroll threw his challenge flag on Sunday in Tampa Bay, wanting the officials to rule the a Buccaneers holding penalty had taken place in the end zone rather than the field of play, you may have said, “I didn’t think a coach could challenge that.”
That’s because until Carroll did it on Sunday, no coach ever had.
The rule allowing coaches to challenge the spot of a penalty that would result in a safety in the end zone is a new rule this season, and no coach had ever used that challenge before. NFL Senior V.P. of Officiating Dean Blandino said in a video distributed to the media that Carroll rightly challenged the ruling on the field: The Buccaneers had committed holding in the end zone, and it should have been a safety, not half the distance to the goal line from the 1-yard line, which is what the officials ruled on the field.
“Seattle challenged the ruling which is new this year — they can challenge the spot of a foul,” Blandino said. “That’s a good challenge, the first time we’ve had a review of this nature and certainly the first overturn to create a safety because of a foul occurring in the end zone. So that is a new rule this year. You can review the spot of a foul, and good use of the challenge in this situation.”
The NFL regularly adds new calls that can be challenged by the coaches. Eventually the NFL may just adopt the Bill Belichick proposal to allow everything to be challenged.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.