Skip to content

Packers impressed by “genetic freak” Julius Peppers

NFC Championship Football

The Packers are used to seeing Julius Peppers twice a year.

Their first workout with him on their side had them excited about the possibility of 16.

Teammates were impressed by Peppers’ first OTA workout, and are already thinking about what he’s capable of.

“You obviously notice his athletic ability right off the bat,” linebacker A.J. Hawk said, via Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He’s 34 and runs like he’s 18. If ever there was a genetic freak put on this planet, it is Julius. He’s just a specimen. I have a ton of respect for how he works, too. What a great teammate just from Day 1. He’s a quiet guy that already knows what he is doing, so it is fun to be around a guy like him.

“Him being in Chicago all these years, and getting to see him up close and personal two games a year, is always something I’ve been impressed by. Now, to have him on our side, to see how good of a guy he is, how good of a teammate he is, he’s already lived up to — and exceeded — my expectations.”

Peppers has created a high bar for himself because of his natural gifts. While it’s easy for someone so large and so graceful to appear effortless and thus draw criticism, he’s compiled 118.5 sacks and ranks in the top 20 all-time in that category.

They’ve all come from a 4-3 defensive end spot with the Bears and Panthers, and the Packers are using him as a hybrid outside linebacker (hence the unfamiliar number 56).

But so far, they’re excited about what they’ve seen, and what he might add as a pass-rusher opposite Clay Matthews.


Permalink 63 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Home, Rumor Mill

Muhammad Wilkerson likely out on Monday, doesn’t need toe surgery

New York Jets v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

The Jets don’t have many building blocks for the future on their roster at the moment, so they’d like to see the ones they do have avoid any serious injuries.

It’s good news, then, that coach Rex Ryan said Friday, via Kimberley Martin of Newsday, that defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson doesn’t need surgery to repair the toe injury that’s kept him out of practice this week. Ryan said he hopes that Wilkerson can return this season, although they’re likely to be without him on Monday night against the Dolphins. That’s hardly ideal but is a lot better than having your best defensive player facing an extended rehab because of surgery.

Whether Wilkerson plays again this year or not, the Jets have some decisions to make about a contract extension for the 2011 first-rounder this offseason. They exercised their fifth-year option on Wilkerson’s contract so there’s no immediate fear of losing him as a free agent, but they held onto a lot of cap space this year and keeping cash on hand to fund an extension for Wilkerson is one of the best reasons for that approach.

Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Coples are expected to be at defensive end in Wilkerson’s place as the Jets attempt to play spoiler to the Dolphins’ playoff hopes for the second straight season.


Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Rex Ryan “anticipates” Geno Smith starting the rest of the year

rexgeno AP

There are reports that would indicate that Jets coach Rex Ryan neither anticipated or wanted Geno Smith to start at quarterback this week.

But now, he’s expecting that to be the case the rest of the year.

Ryan wouldn’t specify to reporters this afternoon that Smith would start the rest of the year, but did say: “I would anticipate that and hope that’s the case.”

Gosh, it’s almost like Ryan isn’t on the same page as team management, which seems ready for the “What the heck?” portion of the season to begin, so they can get on with the “What do we do now?” portion of the offseason.

Ryan also said backup quarterback Michael Vick became ill sometime during the team’s walk-through this morning.

Probably the part when they were putting in the offense, no doubt.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Roddy White questionable, but Falcons expect him to play

Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White didn’t practice on Friday, making it a full week without on-field work for the veteran as he deals with an ankle injury.

That won’t rule him out of Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, however. Coach Mike Smith said that White’s lack of practice time during the week isn’t an obstacle to playing him if White feels good on gameday.

“Because Roddy studies the game and understands how people are going to try to defend him. And he’s been in this league for over 10 years. We’ve done it multiple times last season in terms of him not being able to get out on the practice field,” Smith said, via “He did work with our [athletic performance] people today and got good reports on where he was in terms of moving around. I feel confident, still, that he’ll play on Sunday.”

White, who is officially listed as questionable, and the Falcons had the same kind of confidence in Week Three when White missed practice time with a hamstring injury, but he wound up inactive in that game. Given the significance of this game to the Falcons, however, you’d expect White to have every opportunity to get on the field Sunday so the Cardinals can’t focus too much of their defensive attention on Julio Jones.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Panthers starting something called Mike Remmers at right tackle

Minnesota Vikings v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

If you had Mike Remmers in the pool, you win.

Unless you’re Cam Newton, of course.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Remmers would start at right tackle this week, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review.

Who is Mike Remmers, you might ask? (And trust me, you did.)

Remmers was one of the Vikings’ final cuts this preseason. He was on the Rams practice squad since then. He’s been a Panther since Oct. 28, and was also a Charger (where he played his one career game) and a Buccaneer and a Bronco at different points in his career. He was originally an undrafted rookie from Oregon State. He likes to hunt moose in his spare time and his favorite color is blue (both those facts are totally made up).

The Panthers are clearly desperate at the position, as they have been all year.

His inclusion into such an illustrious club means the Panthers will have started seven different combinations of offensive linemen in as many weeks.

That, as much as anything, explains why they’re 3-7-1.

Permalink 13 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Lavonte David practices Friday

Buffalo Bills v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

One of the NFL’s leading tacklers was back on the practice field on Friday.

Buccaneers weak-side linebacker Lavonte David was taking part in the club’s workout, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reported.

David had missed the previous four practices with a hamstring injury, and he was also held out of Sunday’s loss at Chicago.

David shares the league lead in tackles with Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly and Detroit linebacker DeAndre Levy (116). However, David has tallied his tackles in one fewer game than Kuechly and two fewer than Levy. The 24-year-old David has recorded at least 10 tackles in 7-of-10 games for the Buccaneers, who host the Bengals on Sunday afternoon.

According to Pro Football Focus, David has been on the field for all but 15 defensive snaps in the games in which he’s played, and 13 of those missed reps came in a blowout loss at Atlanta.

The Buccaneers’ injury report will be released later Friday.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Michael Vick is sick, and not just of watching Jets

Michael Vick AP

Somebody ate too much turkey yesterday.

Or is at least sick of being the patsy for one.

OK, maybe it’s neither, but the timing is coincidental.

Jets quarterback Michael Vick isn’t practicing today because of an illness, via Darryl Slater of

Of course, you wonder if he’d have been able to plow through whatever malady it is if he were still starting, rather than being replaced by Geno Smith as the Jets play out the string.

They’re such a disaster now it doesn’t matter, but if he can’t go Monday against the Dolphins, they’d have to turn to Matt Simms to back up.

Permalink 12 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Glover Quin scoffs at Bears trying to pad stats late in loss

Chicago Bears v Detroit Lions Getty Images

It was bad enough for the Lions to embarrass the Bears on Thanksgiving.

Then they went and laughed at their division rivals for trying to pad their stats.

Lions safety Glover Quin trolled the Bears for throwing late in the game when things were well in hand, accusing them of trying to make their fantasy stats better.

“I was a little frustrated when we came back out there because I knew Jay Cutler had like 190 passing yards,” Quin said, via  Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “They only had like 206 [yards on offense].

“I was like, ‘Man, we’re going to go back out here and they’re going to dink and dunk and get 50, 60 yards and make it look like he had a good day.’ And then he was trying to score at the end. I’m glad he threw a pick.”

Granted, the Bears weren’t going to come back and win, trailing by 17 with 1:55 left from their own 15.  But the best way to prove their point was by James Ihedigbo getting the interception in the end zone.
That doesn’t mean Quin didn’t enjoy sticking it to them, however.
Permalink 25 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Vontaze Burfict not taking part in Friday practice

Vontaze Burfict AP

One of the Bengals’ defensive standouts continues to be on the mend with an injury that’s ailed him for several weeks.

Outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (knee) wasn’t participating in Friday’s practice, Geoff Hobson of reported.

The 24-year-old Burfict has sat out the last four games for Cincinnati, which leads the AFC North at 7-3-1. He has not practiced since arthroscopic knee surgery in late October, and a return to workouts would seem likely for him to rejoin the Bengals’ starting lineup.

According to’s Coley Harvey, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis previously indicated Burfict might take part in practice this week.

With Burfict hurting, Vincent Rey has stepped in at weak-side linebacker for Burfict, who made the Pro Bowl a season ago.

The Bengals play at Tampa Bay (2-9) on Sunday.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Seahawks rediscover what took them to the top in 2013

Turbin Getty Images

For every team that wins a Super Bowl, it’s difficult to go back to the valley of 0-0 and dig out again — especially when the reward is to do what the team just did.

For the Seahawks, that didn’t appear it would be a problem given the manner in which they stomped the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII and the ease with which they trounced the Packers to open the season.  But adversity arrived in various ways, from injuries on defense to injuries on the offensive line to the abrupt trade of Percy Harvin to whatever the deal is between the organization and Marshawn Lynch to rumors of internal resentment of quarterback Russell Wilson.

Now, with a pair of 19-3 wins over the Cardinals and 49ers only four days apart, the champs are back, baby.

“[T]hese guys have really joined together and recaptured really what it was that we played with last year,” coach Pete Carroll said after Thursday night’s win at Santa Clara.  “It took us some time to figure out but we have. . . .  There’s no question in the last two weeks that we have elevated our game.  It’s come back from Kam [Chancellor] and Earl [Thomas] and [Richard Sherman] and all those guys. . . .  They’ve touched what it is, and the special attitude with intensity, the toughness that it takes and really it comes back to what they’re doing.”

Offensively, the Seahawks continue to do just enough, even with Harvin and Golden Tate gone, and tight end Zach Miller on injured reserve.  Lynch continues to move the chains, tight end Luke Willson made multiple key catches last night, backup tailback Robert Turbin (pictured) chipped in with the only touchdown of the night on a nifty catch-and-run to the pylon, and Wilson continues to show a rare ability to accelerate out of trouble, to make good decisions under duress, and to launch a periodic missile with his MLB-quality arm.

So, yes, the Seahawks are moving in the right direction.  And they’re playing so well that the presumed Super Bowl preview at Lambeau Field this weekend could be derailed by a team that’s peaking just in time for a title run that could be a bit more complex than last year’s pair of home-field wins, but that ultimately could have the same outcome.

Permalink 20 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Nick Foles still not ready to take a hit, but healing well

Philadelphia Eagles v Houston Texans Getty Images

It’s hardly a surprise that as Mark Sanchez again looked entirely comfortable under center for the Eagles, the guy he replaced starts feeling better.

According to Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News, a source close to Foles said he was “healing as expected” from his broken collarbone.

Foles isn’t ready to take a hit yet, but the results of a recent CT scan showed he can start ramping up his strengthening work.

The timetable for his return remains uncertain, but if Sanchez continues to play capably, as he has most of the time he’s been starting, there will be less incentive to push Foles before he’s completely healed.

Permalink 8 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Trent Williams “definitely optimistic” about getting back this week

Washington Redskins v New York Giants Getty Images

While the quarterback position has made it impossible to get a read on the offense as a whole lately, they’re getting another part back this week which should help.

Left tackle Trent Williams said he was “definitely optimistic,” he’ll be ready to go when his team travels to Indianapolis Sunday.

“I’m not expecting it to be 100 percent, but as long as I can be effective, [I’ll play],” Williams said, via Zac Boyer of the Washington Times.

Williams missed last week’s loss to the 49ers with a sprained MCL, suffered the week before against the Buccaneers. But he got through a full practice Thursday and seemed optimistic about his prospects.

Having him back on the field should help Colt McCoy, as rookie Morgan Moses looked overmatched there against the 49ers.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Tony Romo: I promise I’ll be better next week

Tony Romo AP

The Cowboys fell down early to the Eagles on Thursday afternoon and never really climbed back into a game that wound up as a 33-10 loss that knocked them out of first place in the NFC East.

As owner Jerry Jones pointed out after the game, the Eagles controlled the line of scrimmage as their offensive and defensive lines won battles and set the tone for the day. That left quarterback Tony Romo under pressure and he responded with a pair of interceptions in perhaps his poorest performance of the season.

Romo said that it was difficult making a quick turnaround from Sunday night, but that there were “no excuses” for the way that he or his teammates played against the Eagles.

“We should have been better,” Romo said, via the Dallas Morning News. “I should have been better. And I am going to play much better next week, I can promise you that.”

After watching Matthew Stafford and the Lions get right offensively against the Bears on Thursday, that’s a promise Romo would seem to have a good chance of keeping. The Cowboys will still need to figure out a better approach against the Eagles, though, because Week 15 is fast approaching.

Permalink 32 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Dez Bryant thinks Eagles were “kinda cheap” on Thursday

Bryant AP

Two of the three Thanksgiving games featured division rivals who’ll play twice in the next three weeks.  In both cases, the home team lost — and will go on the road for a rematch on December 14.

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant is looking forward to the return date with the Eagles.

“They were being kinda cheap, that’s another story,” Bryant said after the game, via CBS Philly.  “It is what it is, I’ll get it cleaned up and I’ll be fine.”

Bryant may have been referring to multiple instances of interference.  Or possibly to the busted lip he had after the game.  Either way, he sounds mad.

“I’m really not mad at all,” Bryant said.  “They beat us and I’m going to accept that. . . .  [I’m] not looking past Chicago, but I cannot wait to go up there and play [Philadelphia] again, cannot wait.”

It’s very important to not look past the Bears.  If in six days the Cowboys lose at Soldier Field — where they were blown out last December — the regression to 8-8 will be in full gear.  Lose to the Bears and then in Philly, the Cowboys will need to beat the Colts or Washington to avoid a fourth straight .500 finish.

Permalink 34 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Another week, another injury concern on the Panthers offensive line

Amini Silatolu AP

The Panthers return from their bye week to face the Vikings on Sunday, but their week off hasn’t done anything to stop the season-long issues with injury on their offensive line.

Amini Silatolu was a full participant in practice on Wednesday before missing practice on Thursday with a knee problem. Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer reports he’s out on Friday as well.

Silatolu, who tore his ACL last year and missed the team’s loss to Atlanta before the bye because of swelling and soreness in his knee, has played guard in Carolina, but was expected to make the move to right tackle this week now that the Panthers have lost Nate Chandler for the season.

Chris Scott and Mike Remmers are other options at right tackle for the Panthers in the event that Silatolu misses another game. Center Ryan Kalil has been the only member of the offensive line to start every game this season, which is one of the leading reasons why this season hasn’t gone according to plan in Carolina.

While things have gone off course on the way to a 3-7-1 record, the Panthers are very much alive in the NFC South as they embark on the final five games of their schedule. There’s not much reason to believe the offensive line is going to suddenly become a strength, but the Panthers will get a few more chances to successfully work around it before hope of a playoff berth is officially extinguished.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Patriots release Don Jones

Cincinnati Bengals v New England Patriots Getty Images

The Patriots found a spot on the roster for safety Don Jones against the Lions last week after making him a healthy scratch in Week 11, but Jones didn’t have the same luck this week.

The team announced that they have released Jones, who has played in nine of their first 11 games this season. Jones, who gave up his No. 29 to LeGarrette Blount when the running back returned to New England, saw most of his time on special teams and recorded six tackles.

Jones was a seventh-round pick of the Dolphins in 2013 and played in all 16 games with the team as a rookie. He was with the team through the end of the preseason, although he did serve a brief suspension and underwent sensitivity training mandated by Miami after Jones made some Twitter remarks concerning Michael Sam during this year’s draft.

The Patriots didn’t immediately fill the roster spot and could bring Jones back to the practice squad if they are so inclined.

Permalink 11 Comments Feed for comments Back to top