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Jets shutting down Nick Mangold after second opinion

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 05:   Nick Mangold #74 of the New York Jets waits to be introduced against the Indianapolis Colts before their game at MetLife Stadium on December 5, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

Apparently, the word from Charlotte was not what the Jets were hoping for.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Jets are shutting down center Nick Mangold, after he got a second opinion on his ankle today from Dr. Robert Anderson today.

Mangold came back after a four-game absence, but wasn’t able to finish Monday’s game against the Colts.

And while there’s a ceiling on how much a 3-9 team will miss any player over the last four, there is reason to wonder about Mangold’s future there.

He’ll turn 33 in January, and he’s due nearly $8.5 million next year ($6.075 million in base salary and a $2.4 million roster bonus). That’s a lot of money for an aging center, and it could put his future there in jeopardy.

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Carson Wentz trying to avoid frustrations that come with losing

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 4:  Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws a shovel pass during the third quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Getty Images

If you think it seems like forever ago when rookie quarterback Carson Wentz led the Eagles to a 3-0 start, imagine how it must be for Carson Wentz.

The No. 2 overall pick only saw five losses in college, so the fact he’s 5-7 at the moment may be wearing on him a bit, even though he’s trying to stay positive.

“It’s frustrating. Nobody likes losing. Especially in this business, as a quarterback, I’m wired to be a winner. I hate losing,” Wentz said, via Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News. “But at the same time, it doesn’t affect us going forward . . . We’re going to come in and prepare and be the same, win or lose, because I think that’s what it takes to be great. You can’t waver, you can’t change how you approach things, you can’t change how you go about your business, win, lose or draw.

“But at the same time, yeah, without a doubt, we don’t like losing around here.”

They’ve done too much of that lately, losing three straight during a stretch when Wentz has thrown six of his 11 interceptions. But even though this is the time of year when the rookie wall is a very real and tangible thing.

“I feel good,” Wentz said. “I think it comes down to, do you love it enough? I think if you love the game and you’re around it, you enjoy the grind. You attack it and it’s kind of part of the process.

“For me, there’s no more school to go to during the day, it’s just football, all day, every day, and I love that. It’s been a lot of fun, and by no means is it wearing on me in a negative way.”

Of course, he’s only been in Philadelphia a few months. There’s still plenty of time for that.

 

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Report: Falcons “optimistic” Julio Jones plays this week

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 3:  Wide receiver Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons hauls in a 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Ryan in front of cornerback Vernon Hargreaves #28 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the third quarter of an NFL game on November 3, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) Getty Images

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is dealing with a turf toe injury he picked up in last Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs and it’s keeping him from his regular practice schedule for the second straight day on Thursday.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn said that Jones took part in the team’s walkthrough, but will only be working on the side when the team practices. Jones didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice either, but his limitations don’t appear to be souring the team’s hopes of having him against the Rams this Sunday.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Falcons are “optimistic” about Jones’ chances of being on the field. Jones has not missed a game since the 2014 season.

Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu is also out of practice on Thursday and Quinn said earlier in the week that he’s further away from playing than Jones. Taylor Gabriel and Justin Hardy would be options to accompany Jones or fill in for him in the event the optimism fades in the next few days.

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Tom Brady practices Wednesday, knee is “feeling good”

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 04:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots gestures during the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Patriots didn’t file an injury report on Wednesday, because they don’t play until Monday. But they practice they did, and quarterback Tom Brady was able to participate despite a knee injury that has been limiting his practice time in recent weeks.

“I’m feeling good, so it was good to be out there,” Brady told reporters on Thursday. “I always enjoy being out there at practice. I’d much rather be practicing than getting treatment. It was good to be out there. It was a productive day and we’ve got to have a productive week, too.”

They need to have a productive week because they face the Ravens, and Brady agrees with the assessment that they currently have the best defense in the NFL.

“They’re the first-rated defense in the league so no one has done a better job over the course of the season than them,” Brady said. “I think they do things really well in a lot of areas, so they’re good in first-down defense, good in third-down defense, third-and-short, good on the goal line, good in the red area. They contest every yard, so I think that’s the mark of a good defense. They don’t give you anything easy. You have to earn it. I think they do a good mix with their scheme and also with their personnel, so we’re prepared for a 60-minute game. That’s what we’re practicing for.”

The Patriots have struggled at times with the Ravens in the playoffs, but New England holds an all-time edge of 7-1 in the regular season. To lock down the No. 1 seed in the postseason (which could entail a return visit from the Ravens with higher stakes), the Patriots need a Monday night win.

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Roethlisberger: Ladarius Green is a weapon for us

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 04:  Ladarius Green #89 of the Pittsburgh Steelers cannot come up with a pass while being defended by Eli Apple #24 of the New York Giants in the second half during the game at Heinz Field on December 4, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Getty Images

Tight end Ladarius Green’s time with the Steelers got off to a bad start as offseason ankle surgery kept him from getting on the field in training camp and during the first half of the season.

Green was signed in hopes that he would help fill the role left vacant by Heath Miller’s retirement, but the team had to look in other directions while Green recovered. While that wasn’t the plan, the Steelers survived to remain in the mix for the division title and Green finally made it into a game in Week 10.

Recent results have shown Green was worth the wait. He has nine catches for 177 yards and a touchdown in the last two games, giving the Steelers another valuable piece in the passing game. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that touchdown came on a play the team had yet to practice with Green, which he takes as a sign that their chemistry is heading in the right direction.

“For me to call it and him to execute it flawlessly speaks volumes for the work he has put in mentally,” Roethlisberger said, via the team’s website. “To not get that rep physically, but mentally be ready to do it, able to do it, be the actor, the fake block and then make the play. That is just awesome on his part. … I have all of the faith in the world in him and what he can do. He is a weapon for us.”

With Martavis Bryant suspended, Markus Wheaton on injured reserve and Sammie Coates dealing with a hand injury, the Steelers have had a hard time finding consistent complements to Antonio Brown this season. Green has shown signs of changing that the last two weeks and more of the same will serve the Steelers well as they push for the playoffs.

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Washington shuts first-rounder down for the year in hopes of healthy 2017

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Wide receiver Josh Doctson #18 of the Washington Redskins misses a catch against cornerback Morris Claiborne #24 of the Dallas Cowboys in the second half at FedExField on September 18, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Some injuries on the offensive line necessitated Washington using its designated for return from IR spot on center Kory Lichtensteiger, but it also came with the recognition that first-round pick Josh Doctson needs more time.

By preparing to activate Lichtensteiger, the team pulled the plug on the rookie wide receiver, who played just two games this season because of a lingering Achilles injury.

It is disappointing for all of us,” coach Jay Gruden said, via the team’s official website. “You know, we had high hopes for him coming out of TCU and the talent that he has and he’s disappointed but these things happen. There’s been a lot – if you look around the league, there’s a lot of first-rounders that didn’t get up and running this year for whatever reason and a lot of draft picks. So he’s just one of the guys that we have to take good care of.

“We have to make sure we get to the bottom of his injury and hopefully this gives his mental state of mind some peace that he can go out and rehab it and get it well for OTAs.”

The 22nd overall pick, Doctson was placed on IR in October, with hopes that time would help him return to the field. But when center Spencer Long suffered a concussion last week, the reality was they couldn’t wait for what might be a luxury, when more pressing needs existed.

And with the team’s top two wideouts potential free agents (DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon), they’re potentially going to need Doctson at 100 percent next year.

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Terrell Suggs has healthy respect for that guy at QB for the Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10:  Terrell Suggs #55 of the Baltimore Ravens sacks Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter of the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoffs game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

The man they call T-Sizzle is apparently unwilling to say the name of the guy he’s playing against Monday night.

Via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs expressed the appropriate respect for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, but at no point in an interview yesterday did he actually use the words “Tom Brady.”

When asked about Tom Brady becoming the winningest quarterback in league history last week, he replied: “He’s pretty good. Like I said, wins are wins and numbers are numbers. Numbers don’t lie. He’s pretty good.”

Asked if he didn’t want to talk about Tom Brady, he replied: “I’m like Marshawn Lynch. I know why I’m here. It’s a big game this week. We’re playing a good team. It’s going to be fun.”

Asked if he wasn’t going to say Tom Brady’s name, Suggs said: “I mean, it’s going to be fun. We’re going to have fun. It’s going to be an interesting game. We accept the challenge.”

Suggs has taken to referring to Brady as the “quarterback from New England” or “the pretty boy from up north” in recent years. But he understands the place the Patriots occupy in the football world.

“I mean, how many Super Bowls do they got? They got, like, four or five and played in, like, six or seven,” Suggs said. “You can’t do nothing but respect that. Wins are wins and championships are championships.”

Even if you won’t say Tom Brady.

Tom Brady. Tom Brady. Tom Brady.

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Travis Swanson is in the concussion protocol

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 09: Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions calls the play behind teammate center Travis Swanson during an NFL game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field on October 9, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Lions will try to take another step toward a NFC North title when they host the Bears on Sunday, but they may have to do it without starting center Travis Swanson.

Swanson was out of practice on Wednesday because of a concussion, which means he’ll need to proceed through the league’s concussion protocol in the next few days if he’s going to be cleared to play against Chicago.

It’s not clear when Swanson suffered the injury or reported symptoms. He played every snap for the Lions in their Week 13 victory over the Saints and has started all 12 games for Detroit this season.

Rookie Graham Glasgow competed with Swanson for the job over the summer and would be the likeliest replacement if Swanson can’t go. Glasgow has been starting at left guard, so moving over a spot would probably mean a return to the lineup for 2015 first-round pick Laken Tomlinson.

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Robert Alford signs four-year extension with Falcons

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Robert Alford #23 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts after a pass against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 26, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Getty Images

You can scratch cornerback Robert Alford from the list of free agents hitting the market in the offseason.

The team announced that Alford has signed a contract extension with the Falcons that will keep him in Atlanta beyond the 2016 season. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that it is a four-year deal with $21 million in guarantees and up to $38 million in total money.

Alford joined the Falcons as a second-round pick in 2013 and is in the final year of his rookie contract. Alford has started every game he’s played for Atlanta over the last three seasons and has returned interceptions for touchdowns in each of the last two seasons. He has nine interceptions overall over his four years with the team.

Alford was one of two cornerbacks that the Falcons took early in the 2013 draft. First-round pick Desmond Trufant is on injured reserve at the moment, but is under contract for next season and an extension for him would lock the duo in as front-line members of the Falcons for some time.

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Richard Sherman can’t resist backing Ron Rivera on Cam Newton benching

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 21:  Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks high fives cornerback Richard Sherman #25 prior to the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 21, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Getty Images

It wasn’t karma that got Cam Newton last week, it was the dress code.

And Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman obviously couldn’t resist getting in one last dig at the Panthers quarterback, saying he thought coach Ron Rivera did the right thing benching him for the first series (which lasted one play) for not wearing a tie on the team flight to Seattle.

“You’ve got accountability,” Sherman said, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “You’ve got to hold everybody accountable the same. When you start treating guys different it’s a slippery slope.”

That’s effectively the message Rivera was sending, trying to bury it yesterday by saying he didn’t want to create “chaos” by not applying the rules equitably.

Of course, it’s easier for Sherman to have a more relaxed take on it, since Seahawks coach Pete Carroll apparently has a more relaxed set of rules about fashion.

“There’s not a ton of them,” Sherman said of Carroll’s rules. “For one-day trips, it’s more formal. You wear polo shirts or jeans or something nicer. Very ambiguous but nicer. But put your shoes on — he doesn’t like me wearing my Uggs. For two-day trips it’s more casual because it’s obviously going to be a time change and a longer flight, so he allows us to wear kind of whatever you put on.”

Sherman also said Carroll “doesn’t go back there and check” to see what guys are wearing.

“If you are asking have we ever run into anything like that? We haven’t,” Sherman said. “Pete is a pretty cool guy. Don’t be disrespectful and most guys respect the things he says and are pretty good about that.”

That may be the biggest issue some have with Rivera’s rules. The application of the rule is fine and just and fair, but the rule itself seems dated considering Newton’s travel day outfit was about the most conservative thing he’s worn all season.

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Nick Mangold getting second opinion on ankle

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 15:  Nick Mangold of New York Jets talks to the media during the NFL Launch of the Play 60 scheme at the Black Prince Community Hub on July 15, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) Getty Images

Nick Mangold finally got back on the field Monday, but he didn’t last long. So he’s going to find out why.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Jets center Nick Mangold is flying to Charlotte today to see noted foot and ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson.

Mangold had been out since Week Seven with a right ankle injury (the longest stretch of injury absence in his career) but came back to start Monday against the Colts.

The Jets might decide to shut him down, depending on what Anderson tells him today. If so, Wesley Johnson will likely fill in for him again.

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Vic Fangio calls report he could be out “irresponsible”

Vic Fangio AP

The Bears have had a bad season and that leads to speculation about offseason changes as the year winds down, including a report from Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Tribune this week that defensive coordinator Vic Fangio could be on his way out as part of “a massive overhaul” that wouldn’t include the departure of head coach John Fox.

Fox said on Wednesday that he is “very, very pleased with our staff” and that he and Fangio get along well, something that the defensive coordinator echoed as well. Fox has a defensive background, but Fangio said they “pretty much do what I see fit to do 98 percent of the time” while taking a steam shovel to Mulligan’s overall report.

“It gives you guys a bad name,” Fangio said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “He’s one of your colleagues, and irresponsible reporting doesn’t shine well for all of you, and that’s too bad because … I enjoy talking to you guys.”

The Bears are allowing fewer points and yards per game than they were last season, which hasn’t been enough for the Bears to avoid a 3-9 record. Even with that record, it is hard to look at the team and say the defense is the area most in need of a new approach come the 2017 season.

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Bucs planning bigger role for Jacquizz Rodgers

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 04:  Jacquizz Rodgers #32 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs between Jahleel Addae (L) #37 and Korey Toomer #56 of the San Diego Chargers in the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on December 4, 2016 in San Diego, California. The Buccaneers defeated the Chargers 28-21.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) Getty Images

Buccaneers running back Doug Martin was limited in last Sunday’s win over the Chargers after getting “bent back” in the second half of the game, but all seems to be well physically now as Martin does not make an appearance on the team’s injury report for Wednesday’s practice.

His role in the offense may still be curtailed this week, however. Jacquizz Rodgers returned to action in San Diego after missing four games with a foot injury and made plays on the ground and as a receiver down the stretch. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken suggested that he’ll get more opportunities against the Saints as the team looks for better results out of the backfield.

“It was good to get him back,” Monken said, via ESPN.com. “I would assume he’ll only be better this week in a little more of an expanded role. … We have been getting healthier at running back, which is a good sign. We’ve just got to do it better. We’ve got to do a better job on the perimeter blocking. We’ve got to do a better job up front, a better job seeing the holes.”

The Bucs are also expected to get Charles Sims back into the lineup this week after his stay on injured reserve, expanding the options available to Monken as he tries to get the ground game churning in Tampa.

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Thursday morning one-liners

Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (51) is congratulated by defensive end Khalil Mack (52) after sacking Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) AP

Bills RB Mike Gillislee is among the league’s best in short-yardage.

Dolphins LB Mike Hull is preparing to start if Kiko Alonso cannot.

Patriots QB Tom Brady has heard from lots of people regarding his wins record, but not the league office.

Jets WR Brandon Marshall has coach Todd Bowles’ back.

Ravens WR Steve Smith makes fun of Dolphins for complaining about grass.

A look at how the Bengals get their plays in from the sideline.

Browns QB Robert Griffin III is moved by coach Hue Jackson’s emotions.

Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell and Bills counterpart LeSean McCoy are doing the mutual respect thing.

Texans WR Jaelen Strong has performed well against the Colts in the past.

Colts LB D’Qwell Jackson’s suspension creates multiple problems.

Uh-oh, the Jaguars are having meetings to figure out what’s wrong with their offense.

Titans QB Marcus Mariota doesn’t want to be near  Von Miller (Nothing personal, Von).

Broncos OLB Von Miller even gets sacks on his day off.

The Chiefs are rotating their defensive linemen in shifts like a hockey team.

Raiders pass-rushers Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin feed off each other.

The Chargers might be a lot of things, but they aren’t quitters under Mike McCoy.

A Cowboys Super Bowl tattoo. What could possibly go wrong?

The Giants have to wonder about the return of DE Jason Pierre-Paul, in the short term and the long.

Eagles players are having a hard time knowing what to make of coach Doug Pederson’s questions of effort.

Washington’s practice was complicated by the fact the injury list was a long one.

Bears QB Matt Barkley earned points with his coach, primarily by not turning the ball over.

The pendulum on Lions coach Jim Caldwell’s future swings pretty regularly.

The Packers may try to exploit the Seahawks’ sudden issue in the middle.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer didn’t want to talk much about his eyes.

The Falcons aren’t ready to rule out WR Julio Jones.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen said any talk of a divide in their locker room is “utter nonsense.”

The Saints are showing new things on defense — like actually playing defense.

The Buccaneers could lighten RB Doug Martin’s workload this weekend.

The Cardinals are looking to end their road woes in Miami.

Rams QB Jared Goff could become a Matt Ryan-type.

49ers DL Quinton Dial sat out of practice with an elbow injury.

Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett is back to playing a big role.

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Brian Cushing playing with two fractures in his back

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 11:  Brian Cushing #56 of the Houston Texans warms up before playing against the Chicago Bears at NRG Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Houston, Texas. Cushing wears a special pair of shoes in honor of 911 anniversary.  (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Texans practiced without six members of the 53-man roster on Wednesday, but linebacker Brian Cushing wasn’t on that list.

Cushing was listed as limited with back and ankle injuries, although it sounds like the back issue is the more significant of the two problems. Cushing shared the extent of the injury on Wednesday while discussing “the physicality of the sport.”

“There’s two fractures in my back, but those are things you have to push through,” Cushing said, via the Houston Chronicle. “Obviously, it’s painful, and I’m not able to get as many reps as I want in practice right now, but I’ll be out there Sunday with my team. I want the guys to know they can count on me, and that means the world to me. I’ve missed a number of games with season-ending injuries, and I don’t want to miss any more time, so as long as I can walk, I’ll be out there.”

The Texans have lost defensive end J.J. Watt and cornerback Kevin Johnson for the season and had defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and cornerback Johnathan Joseph out of practice on Wednesday with injuries that could sideline them for Sunday’s game against the Colts. That doesn’t make them unique in the NFL, but it does sap the strongest part of the team and makes the presence of Cushing and the rest of their front-line defenders significant as they try to take the AFC South crown.

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