Mike Florio talks with Lions running back, Joique Bell about the his role alongside Reggie Bush and the Lions new head coach, Jim Caldwell. Then, Florio talks with UNC tight end, Eric Ebron about his journey to the NFL draft.
The Bengals got the ball first Sunday and drove inside the Eagles’ 20 before stalling, as they’ve done too much this season.
Struggling kicker Mike Nugent made a 32-yard field goal, drawing a sarcastic cheer from the home crowd. So, the Bengals and Eagles are off to a flying start.
The Eagles got to midfield on their first drive before they stalled and had to punt.
Both teams are just about out of chances to stay in the playoff race, though the winner will at least live to scoreboard watch another week.
Both offenses came out in fine form in Atlanta on Sunday afternoon.
The Falcons drove 81 yards in just under five minutes to open the game with a touchdown and the Chiefs needed just over two minutes to answer back with a score of their own. The Falcons lead 7-6 after blocking Cairo Santos‘ extra point attempt, however.
Atlanta’s drive saw a heaping helping of Julio Jones as the Falcons wideout caught four passes for 52 yards as they cruised down the field. An apparent touchdown catch by Taylor Gabriel was wiped out by a holding penalty on Jake Matthews, but Devonta Freeman was able to punch the ball in from a yard out after a pass interference call on Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen in the end zone.
The Texans have a tall order at Lambeau Field on Sunday. It could be getting a lot taller without running back Lamar Miller.
Miller has gone to the locker room for evaluation of an injury. Per Tracy Wolfson of CBS, trainers were looking at Miller’s ribs.
The Texans had a nice drive to open the game, but a fumble by tight end Ryan Griffin ended the effort. The Packers drove to the doorstep of the Houston end zone, but a fumbled snap was recovered by Texans defensive lineman Vince Wilfork.
The Dolphins are the ones on the streak, but it was Joe Flacco who was elite early today.
Flacco just completed a sharp opening drive with a touchdown pass to running back Terrance West, giving the Ravens a 7-0 lead over the Dolphins.
Flacco was 6-of-7 passing for 73 yards, finding six different receivers on the drive.
The Dolphins have won six straight, but are in a fight for a wild card spot, making this game crucial to their chances. A missed field goal on their ensuing possession didn’t help their cause.
The Patriots didn’t let the absence of tight end Rob Gronkowski stop them from going for it on fourth down near midfield on their first possession of Sunday’s game against the Rams.
The Rams didn’t stop them from getting a touchdown on the play. LeGarrette Blount took a handoff from Tom Brady and turned the corner for a 43-yard touchdown run that put the Patriots up 7-0 less than five minutes into the contest.
The Patriots used three different running backs on the drive with Blount seeing the ball three times for 55 yards and Danny Woodhead going unused, which likely confounded Rams coach Jeff Fisher. Brady completed all three passes he tried, but all were of the shorter variety and added up to 12 yards in total.
Savage is inactive for Sunday’s game. Per multiple reports, he has an infection.
Savage had not appeared on the Week 13 injury report.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that Savage has a “viral infection” that is causing him to get antibiotics. Tracy Wolfson of CBS reports that Savage woke up with an infection in the elbow of his throwing arm. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the infection is in the skin.
The development sounds a lot like the staph infection that suddenly appeared on the knee of defensive end J.J. Watt two days before an October 2015 game at Jacksonville. If the infection on the elbow of Savage is bacterial and not viral, the question becomes whether the Texans have now had a pair of staph infections in consecutive years, and whether that will prompt an effort to scrub the team’s locker room and other facilities.
Per McClain, Savage is expected to return to practice on Monday. So whatever it is, it’s serious enough to knock Savage out for Sunday, but apparently not much longer than that.
Last week, Saints coach Sean Payton seemed to relish hanging 49 points on former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. As it turns out, Payton had a more direct role in the output than usual.
Via Ed Werder of ESPN, Payton called the offensive plays in the Week 12 game against the Rams — and Payton will do it again on Sunday against the Lions.
“We’ll switch this throughout the year,” Payton told reporters in September. “It’s not like we’re going to come out and make an announcement to you guys that we’re doing it. Pete’s in with the quarterback on every meeting, and we’ve just been together long enough where we feel comfortable with it.”
Payton may feel even more comfortable with the idea of calling plays, now that the Saints are in win-every-week mindset. The fact that the offense nearly put 50 on the board last weekend suggests that Payton should keep doing it, too.
The Patriots listed a fair number of their players as questionable to play against the Rams this Sunday, but key parts of the team like Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and Martellus Bennett are all active for the game.
Things didn’t go as well for the Rams when it came to game-time decisions. The team’s list of inactive players for the matchup at Gillette Stadium includes defensive end Robert Quinn and left guard Rodger Saffold.
Quinn has a concussion and it seems he did not get cleared through the concussion protocol in time to play the Pats. Saffold has a hand injury that knocked him out against the Saints last week. Saffold started that game at left tackle in place of the benched Greg Robinson, but Robinson is back on the active roster this week.
Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin is also inactive, although that was expected after he missed practice all week with a chest injury before being listed as doubtful on Friday.
Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker went through a pregame workout Sunday morning and convinced the team’s decision makers he’s healthy enough to play Sunday vs. the Ravens.
Parker suffered a back injury last week. Parker didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday, and the team promoted rookie wide receiver Rashawn Scott from the practice squad in anticipation of Parker missing the game.
Scott is inactive Sunday.
Parker has 14 receptions for 246 yards and a touchdown over the last three games.
Every week we bring you all the inactives from the early games in one post, constantly updated with the latest information. Check back to see the full list as it becomes available a little more than an hour ahead of the 1 p.m. ET kickoffs.
Chiefs at Falcons
Dolphins at Ravens
49ers at Bears
Eagles at Bengals
Texans at Packers
Broncos at Jaguars
Rams at Patriots
Lions at Saints
Rams coach Jeff Fisher isn’t the only guy who has gotten a new contract in L.A. G.M. Les Snead has a new deal, too.
PFT has confirmed that the new contract for the coach coincides with a new contract for the General Manager.
Snead, who was hired in 2012 from the Falcons front office, has worked closely with Fisher over the past five years. The fact that Fisher was hired before Snead created the impression that Fisher runs the show, and that Snead sets the table for the draft and free agency.
Snead presumably has a two-year extension as well. It’s unclear whether the extension previously was in place, but given that Fisher’s was, it’s safe to assume Snead’s was, too.
Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks aired some frustrations after going untargeted by quarterback Drew Brees in last week’s game against the Rams, something that coach Sean Payton said doesn’t concern him but could lead to a move this offseason.
According to multiple reports, Cooks could find himself on the trading block this offseason. The Saints have two other productive receivers in Michael Thomas and Willie Snead and scored 49 points last week despite getting nothing on the stat sheet from the wideout. Trading Cooks could allow them to address other needs on the roster, notably a defense that remains a work in progress in New Orleans.
Or they could just continue on with Cooks. Payton retweeted a Twitter user castigating Ian Rapoport of NFL Media for reporting on the possibility of a Cooks trade, although Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that “some believe” there were talks with the Patriots about a trade involving Cooks and linebacker Jamie Collins before the Patriots traded Collins to the Browns.
Cooks has 51 catches for 736 yards and six touchdowns this season, leaving him on pace to fall short of his totals from last year with five games left this season.
For most of the season, league insiders have insisted that the Rams and coach Jeff Fisher already have a new deal in place. In the aftermath of the news that Fisher has a two-year extension, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the deal indeed has been in place for “weeks.”
Which raises an interesting question about the contract: Why was the news of it leaked today?
It could be that the Rams and Fisher became increasingly antsy about the fan base’s willingness to accept a continuation of Fisher’s tenure with the team, given an all-out assault from Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson that has culminated in Dickerson recently playing the “where are the naked pictures?” card.
Then there’s the fact that the news was leaked only a few hours before the Rams face the Patriots, a franchise that has beaten Jeff Fisher-coached teams by the combined score of 104-7 in their past two encounters. Squatting on the secretly-signed contract until after the Patriots hang another 40 or 50 on the Rams would have made it a lot harder to justify the move.
And so while the Rams apparently were waiting for the right moment to announce the deal with Fisher, it could be that they decided there would be no right moment, and that the contract needed to be unveiled before the wrong moment became a worst-case scenario.
When it comes to contracts given to NFL players and coaches, the devil takes up permanent residence in the details. As to players, those details always become known. As to coaches, the nuances rarely make their way to the surface.
As to Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who officially has received a two-year extension, the biggest detail relates to the actual security Fisher has received. If, as some league insiders believe, the contract includes a one-year out for the team, Fisher has security only for 2017.
The winds had been blowing in the direction of Fisher staying put. Comments from COO Kevin Demoff strongly suggested that the team’s 4-7 record wouldn’t be held against Fisher, given the changes the team has endured in 2016.
Even without a one-year out clause in the new contract, 2017 now feels like an up-or-out year for Fisher. In 2012, Fisher received a five-year deal, and the exclamation point of commitment that went along with it. With only a two-year Band-Aid currently in place beyond 2016, the not-so-subtle message is that, while Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson isn’t getting what he wants for now, the change he craves could be coming in 2017.
As the Eagles make a last-ditch effort to pull themselves back into the NFC wild-card race, they need to climb over several teams. At a minimum, they need to get past the third-place team in their division: Washington.
And now that Washington receiver DeSean Jackson knows that the Eagles are likely to make a strong push to sign him in free agency, Jackson will have that reality bouncing around inside his head during the final five games of the regular season. Which should make Washington upset about the report.
It’s hard to know with certainty the impact this information will have on Jackson. Will he go out and play even harder in order to attract others to the table? Or will he be more inclined to make “business decisions” aimed at ensuring he’ll be 100 percent when it’s time to take a Philly physical?
Regardless, it’s information he’s not supposed to currently have. And even if no one from the Eagles has told Jackson or his agent on a wink-nod basis that Philly may come calling, the mere fact that ESPN has reported on the plan to pursue Jackson means that someone with the Eagles has made it known that the team intends to try to bring Jackson back — which constitutes a violation of the tampering rules.
Earlier this year, the NFL whacked the Chiefs for speaking directly to former Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin during the legal tampering period in 2015, when the Chiefs were permitted to speak only to Maclin’s agent. This potential violation strikes more directly at the heart of the rule, putting Jackson on notice as his contract in Washington comes to an end that another team in the same division is ready and willing to sign him to a new one.