Browns sent Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman home from Houston for missing curfew

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The winless Browns have been a mess on the field this year, and they have some problems off the field as well.

According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, last week in Houston receivers Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman were both sent home early after they missed Saturday night curfew. Britt and Coleman had both already been ruled out for the game against the Texans with injuries, but they traveled with the team and were expected to attend meetings and team functions and stand on the sidelines during the game. Instead, they were already on the way back to Cleveland by kickoff.

The incident is the latest in a long line of disappointments for both players in Cleveland. The Browns signed Britt to a four-year, $32.5 million contract this offseason, and he’s been a big disappointment. Coleman was a first-round pick last year, but he’s been limited by injuries and has just 39 catches so far in his NFL career.

The Browns have not publicly addressed the matter. Britt is listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game against the Titans with knee and groin injuries, while Coleman remains on injured reserve with a broken hand.

Josh Norman ruled out Monday night

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Washington cornerback Josh Norman will miss another game with a rib injury.

Coach Jay Gruden confirmed today that Norman is out for Monday night’s game against the Eagles. Norman was able to practice on a limited basis this week, but it always looked like a long shot that he’d be able to return this quickly. Norman suffered the injury on October 2 against the Chiefs and has been out since then.

Washington would have loved to have its secondary at full strength against the Eagles, who are getting a big year from quarterback Carson Wentz. Instead they’ll be at less than 100 percent.

Also ruled out for Washington are a couple of offensive linemen, Tyler Catalina with a concussion and Ty Nsekhe with a core injury.

At his first home game as owner, Jerry Jones was criticized for sitting during the anthem

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Jerry Jones has appeared to become the most strident of the NFL owners in his stance that players must stand for the national anthem. But it hasn’t always been that way.

After Jones’s first home game as the Cowboys’ owner in 1989, a fan complained that Jones and his guest, Elizabeth Taylor, had been spotted sitting during the national anthem. The Star-Telegram published a letter from the offended fan, Ken Johnson.

“JEERS: To Jerry Jones and Liz Taylor, who were the only two people at last Sunday’s Cowboys-Redskins game not standing when the national anthem was played,” the letter said. “Riding out in a cart just before the anthem began was bad enough, but sitting while it was played was more than many of us could handle. Jerry, please note that in Texas, we stand for the national anthem. P.S.: Tom [Landry] always took off his hat.”

We’re not sure why Jones (or Taylor) wouldn’t have stood for the anthem in 1989, but apparently some time in the last 28 years Jones has decided that not only will he always stand for the anthem, but every Cowboys player must stand as well.

Texans lead NFL in scoring since Deshaun Watson became starting quarterback

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The Houston Texans started Tom Savage at quarterback in Week One, and the result was a disaster, as the Texans were held scoreless in the first half. Houston coach Bill O’Brien made a change at halftime, and the results have been extraordinary.

Since Deshaun Watson became Houston’s starting quarterback in Week Two, the Texans have scored more points than any other team in the NFL. The Texans have scored 170 points since Week Two, five more than the Chiefs, who have scored the next-most — and the Chiefs did it in one more game because that includes the 30 points the Chiefs scored on Thursday night.

But even that 170 points since Week Two understates just how much of an impact Watson has had on the Texans’ offense because his first start came on a short work week on a Thursday night in Week Two, and that night the Texans won by a score of 13-9.

Since Week Three, when Watson got his first start with a full week to prepare, the Texans have scored 157 points — 19 more than the second-place Chiefs who, again, have played one more game than the Texans over the same time period.

Watson has 14 touchdown passes over the last four weeks. No other player has more than 10. Watson also leads all NFL quarterbacks in rushing yards, with 202.

In a short period of time, the Texans’ offense has gone from incompetent with Savage under center to sensational with Watson running the show. There’s no question that Watson is a dynamic young talent. The only question is, what the hell was O’Brien thinking starting the season with Watson on the bench?

Kareem Hunt is first player ever with 100 scrimmage yards in first seven games

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Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt gained 87 yards rushing and 30 yards receiving on Thursday night, putting him in exclusive company in NFL history.

Hunt is the only player ever to gain 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his first seven NFL games. He was already the first player ever to gain 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his first six NFL games.

How long can Hunt keep it going? If he can do it all year, that would be unprecedented. No player in NFL history has ever gained 100 yards from scrimmage in all 16 games of a season. Four players in NFL history have gained 100 scrimmage yards in 15 games of a season: Marcus Allen in 1985, Barry Sanders in 1997, Edgerrin James in 2000 and David Johnson in 2016.

Hunt has an NFL-high 1,002 yards from scrimmage this season, joining Eric Dickerson as the only players in NFL history to top 1,000 yards in their first seven career games. Dickerson set the rookie record with 2,212 yards from scrimmage in 1983, and Hunt is on pace to top that with 2,290.

If Hunt stays healthy, he has a chance to have a rookie season unlike any other in NFL history.

Al Riveron says a sideline camera could have been helpful on Colts’ late challenge

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NFL V.P. of Officiating Al Riveron says the crucial Colts challenge on a fourth down late in their loss to the Titans could have benefited from a better replay angle.

In a video distributed to the media, Riveron noted that all he had to work with was the TV replays, and none of them showed definitively whether Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett lunged the football ahead of the line to gain before or after the ball crossed the sideline.

“We’re solely dependent on the angles we get from the TV broadcast,” Riveron said.

As Riveron went through all the replay angles, he explained that none of them showed exactly where the ball was when it crossed the sideline.

“We cannot make a distinction from this angle as to where the ball crosses the sideline,” Riveron said. “Unfortunately we don’t get it here. We cannot make a determination based on any of these angles where the ball exactly crosses the sideline, so we have to stay with the ruling on the field.”

It can be helpful for the TV networks to have cameras fixed on the sidelines, goal lines and the line to gain, but even if the network has the perfect angle, sometimes the ball is obscured by players. Replay will never have a perfect angle of every play. It didn’t for the Colts on Monday night.

Marshawn Lynch suspended one game for shoving official

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Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch has been suspended one game for shoving an official during Thursday night’s game against the Chiefs.

The NFL announced on Friday evening that NFL V.P. of Football Operations Jon Runyan issued the suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“You made deliberate physical contact with one of our game officials as he was diffusing an active confrontation between players,” Runyan wrote in a letter to Lynch that the NFL released. “You were disqualified for your inappropriate and unsportsmanlike actions. Your conduct included pushing the game official and grabbing his jersey.”

Runyan also noted that Lynch wasn’t even involved in the skirmish until he chose to get himself involved.

“You were the only player from either team who ran from the sideline to midfield to insert himself into a situation in which he was not directly involved,” Runyan wrote.

Lynch has the right to appeal the suspension. If he does not successfully appeal, he will miss the Raiders’ October 29 game against the Bills and be allowed to return on Monday, October 30.

Week Seven injury report roundup

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Week Seven kicked off on Thursday with a Raiders 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 healthy enough to play 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.

Buccaneers at Bills

Buccaneers S Josh Robinson (concussion) and DE Ryan Russell (shoulder) are out this week. LB Kwon Alexander (hamstring), DE Robert Ayers (knee), LB Lavonte David (ankle), LB Adarius Glanton (hamstring), DE Noah Spence (shoulder), S Keith Tandy (hip), S T.J. Ward (hip) and QB Jameis Winston (right shoulder), although the team’s already announced Winston will be starting.

The Bills return from their bye week without the help of TE Charles Clay (knee) or LB Ramon Humber (thumb). CB E.J. Gaines (groin), CB Leonard Johnson (hamstring) and WR Jordan Matthews (thumb) are listed as questionable.

Panthers at Bears

Panthers S Demetrious Cox (ankle), LB Luke Kuechly (concussion), T John Theus (concussion) and RB Fozzy Whittaker (ankle) have been ruled out. WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), S Kurt Coleman (knee), K Graham Gano (right knee), DE Charles Johnson (groin), C Ryan Kalil (neck) and G Greg Van Roten (shoulder) are questionable, although coach Ron Rivera indicated Benjamin and Gano will play.

WR Markus Wheaton (groin) won’t play for the Bears. CB Sherrick McManis (hamstring) and LB John Timu (ankle/knee) are listed as doubtful while RB Benny Cunningham (hamstring), C Hroniss Grasu (hand) and LB Nick Kwiatkoski (chest) drew questionable tags.

Titans at Browns

Titans RB DeMarco Murray (hamstring), LB Derrick Morgan (abdomen) and TE Delanie Walker (calf) are listed as questionable. S Johnathan Cyprien (hamstring) and WR Corey Davis (hamstring) remain out of the lineup.

LB James Burgess (knee) was ruled out by the Browns. WR Kenny Britt (knee/groin), S Jabrill Peppers (toe), WR Sammie Coates (hamstring) and CB Jason McCourty (ankle) make up the questionable contingent.

Saints at Packers

The Saints have just two players on their injury report. T Terron Armstead (shoulder) and WR Willie Snead (hamstring) are listed as questionable.

The Packers have more injury issues than that, but are in somewhat better shape than they were when the week began. As long as you ignore Aaron Rodgers‘ absence, of course. LB Ahmad Brooks (back), S Morgan Burnett (hamstring) and LB Joe Thomas (ankle) have been ruled out. G Lane Taylor (ankle) is set to miss the game after drawing a doubtful tag and three players — CB Davon House (quadricep), C Corey Linsley (back), CB Damarious Randall (hamstring) — are listed as questionable.

Jaguars at Colts

The Jaguars head to Indy without the services of C Brandon Linder (illness). RB Leonard Fournette (ankle), S Tashaun Gipson (neck) and WR Marqise Lee (knee) are all listed as questionable.

QB Andrew Luck (left shoulder) again headlines the Colts injury report. He’s out along with LB Anthony Walker (hamstring) while TE Darrell Daniels (knee), S T.J. Green (hamstring) and C Ryan Kelly (knee) are listed as questionable.

Cardinals vs. Rams (in London)

The Cardinals will wait until Sunday morning (afternoon in London) before deciding on LB Karlos Dansby (hamstring), RB Andre Ellington (quadricep), DT Robert Nkemdiche (calf), DT Olsen Pierre (ankle) and DT Xavier Williams (knee). All five are listed as questionable.

The Rams only have one questionable player — LB Mark Barron (thumb) — and they listed S Cody Davis (thigh) as doubtful to play.

Jets at Dolphins

The Jets ruled out TE Jordan Leggett (knee) and listed DE Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder/foot) as questionable.

The Dolphins have indicated it would take a miracle for WR DeVante Parker (ankle) to play, so he’s listed as doubtful. DE Andre Branch (knee), CB Xavien Howard (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (foot) and C Mike Pouncey (concussion, hip) are questionable to play.

Ravens at Vikings

It’s a full injury report for the Ravens this week. WR Breshad Perriman (concussion), C Matt Skura (knee), RB Terrance West (calf), TE Maxx Williams (ankle) and LB Tim Williams (thigh) have all been ruled out and WR Chris Matthews (thigh) is likely to join them after being listed as doubtful. DT Carl Davis (thigh), CB Jaylen Hill (thigh), S Anthony Levine (thigh), WR Jeremy Maclin (shoulder), CB Jimmy Smith (achilles), T Ronnie Stanley (mouth), WR Mike Wallace (back), TE Benjamin Watson (knee), S Lardarius Webb (knee) and DT Brandon Williams (foot) make up a sizable contingent of questionable players.

The Vikings are without QB Sam Bradford (knee), WR Stefon Diggs (groin) and G Nick Easton (calf) for the second straight week. CB Mackensie Alexander (hip), CB Tramaine Brock (hamstring), WR Michael Floyd (hamstring) and T Riley Reiff (ankle) are listed as questionable.

Cowboys at 49ers

CB Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) is the only player ruled out for the Cowboys. LB Justin Durant (groin) is the only player listed as questionable.

The 49ers ruled out RB Kyle Juszczyk (back) and DE Aaron Lynch (calf). Linebackers Ray-Ray Armstrong (shoulder), Brock Coyle (shoulder), Reuben Foster (ankle) and Dekoda Watson (groin) are all listed as questionable.

Bengals at Steelers

The Bengals head into the AFC North clash without WR Tyler Boyd (knee) and TE Ryan Hewitt (knee). CB Adam Jones (back) is not expected to play after getting a doubtful tag. WR John Ross (knee) and S Derron Smith (ankle) are both listed as questionable.

Steelers DE Stephon Tuitt (back) is out and T Marcus Gilbert (hamstring) is listed as doubtful.

Broncos at Chargers

There won’t be much suspense when the Broncos announce their inactives on Sunday. WR Cody Latimer (knee), QB Paxton Lynch (right shoulder), WR Isaiah McKenzie (ankle), LB Corey Nelson (elbow), WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle), T Donald Stephenson (calf) and T Menelik Watson (calf) have already been ruled out.

No one has been ruled out for the Chargers, but WR Keenan Allen (shoulder), T Joe Barksdale (foot), RB Melvin Gordon (shoulder), DT Corey Liuget (back) and S Adrian Phillips (neck, concussion) are all listed as questionable.

Seahawks at Giants

G Luke Joeckel (knee) is out for the Seahawks and CB Jeremy Lane (groin) is doubtful. DE Michael Bennett (heel), DT Nazair Jones (knee), RB C.J. Prosise (ankle) and DE Marcus Smith (ankle) are listed as questionable.

The Giants ruled out LB Jonathan Casillas (neck), LB Calvin Munson (quadricep), RB Paul Perkins (ribs), C Weston Richburg (concussion) and DE Olivier Vernon (ankle) for Sunday. WR Sterling Shepard (ankle) is questionable after missing last week’s game.

Falcons at Patriots

The Falcons have only LB Jordan Tripp (concussion) on their injury report and he’s out for Sunday night.

The Patriots, on the other hand, ruled out CB Stephon Gilmore (concussion, ankle), LB Harvey Langi (back) and CB Eric Rowe (groin). CB Johnson Bademosi (abdomen), TE Jacob Hollister (chest) and LB Elandon Roberts (ankle) are listed as questionable.

Big Mike Mitchell fine wasn’t for hit on Alex Smith

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On Thursday, there was a report that Steelers safety Mike Mitchell was appealing a $48,620 fine for hitting Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith late and low during last Sunday’s game.

Mitchell was fined that amount, but it wasn’t for hitting Smith. PFT has confirmed with the league that Mitchell received a $9,115 fine for the hit on Smith.

The $48,620 fine was for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Chiefs running back Charcandrick West while West was trying to catch a pass. The hit, which was not penalized, left West with a concussion that caused him to miss Thursday night’s loss to the Raiders.

That fine is the amount laid out on the NFL’s fine schedule for a second offense for a hit on a defenseless player. Should Mitchell continue to rack up hits judged to violate player safety rules, he’ll run the risk of a suspension.

Anthony Barr not fined for hit that injured Aaron Rodgers

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In the debate about Anthony Barr‘s hit that injured Aaron Rodgers, the league office has ruled: It was legal.

The NFL did not fine Barr, the Vikings pass rusher who may have ended the Packers quarterback’s season on Sunday by driving him to the ground after a pass. Barr was also not flagged on the play, so there’s little doubt that it was legal — although perhaps it shouldn’t be.

Barr and the Vikings insisted the hit was clean, while some Packers have said they thought it was dirty. In the eyes of the league office, it was clean.

The NFL did fine Barr $9,115 for head butting Davante Adams. That incident did draw a 15-yard penalty.

Anthony Barr: “I don’t play dirty”

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Much has been written and said this week about the hit that led to the fracture of the clavicle of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Linebacker Anthony Barr, now cleared from his concussion and able to talk to reporters, defended his actions on Friday when talking to reporters.

“I don’t play dirty,” Barr said, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “We don’t preach that around here. It’s unfortunate, the injury. I hate to see anybody get hurt.”

So why are people calling it a dirty hit?

“I think it’s a dirty play in some people’s eyes because of the injury. I think if he gets up we’re not having this conversation,” Barr said.

Barr is right. The hit was neither illegal, nor dirty. Rodgers had exited the pocket, and he chose to try to make a throw on the run with Barr closing in. Rodgers could have thrown it away the instant he saw Barr accelerate toward him. Rodgers could have hit the gas and run out of bounds. He could have slid or simply taken a dive.

Instead, he waited for tight end Martellus Bennett to break open a bit more before floating the ball in his direction, knowing full well that Barr was closing in, and that Rodgers was going to absorb a hit.

Rodgers may have underestimated the force of the hit. He surely assumed he wouldn’t hit the ground in a way that would break his collarbone. Regardless, there was nothing about the Barr hit that suggested driving him into the ground, hitting him unnecessarily late, or otherwise giving him the business.

If the NFL decides to change the rules to make roughing the passer the same as roughing the kicker, then it would be a different issue. Until there’s a rule that says quarterbacks out of the pocket can’t be touched if the ball is away, there will be nothing dirty about the hit that Barr applied to Rodgers.

Still, Barr understands the criticism — because if it had happened to a Vikings quarterback, Barr would be doing the criticizing.

“I think if it happened to my quarterback I probably would say it was illegal and the same thing just because you’re trying to defend your guy and you don’t want to see your player get injured,” Barr said, adding that he respects the opinion of Packers coach Mike McCarthy that the hit crossed the line.

The hit didn’t cross the line. It’s unfortunate that Rodgers was injured, but he took a calculated risk to willingly absorb a hit after throwing the ball, in order to give his intended receiver a little more time to not only catch the ball but also to run with it.

Luke Kuechly out, Kelvin Benjamin expected to play


The Panthers will be going without linebacker Luke Kuechly this weekend.

Kuechly suffered a concussion in last Thursday’s loss to the Eagles and he has not been able to gain clearance from the concussion protocol over the last week. As a result, the team has ruled him out for their game against the Bears in Chicago on Sunday.

David Mayo will step into the lineup for Kuechly, who also dealt with concussions the last two seasons.

Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin has been listed as questionable after missing practice the first two days of the week with a knee injury. That listing suggests Benjamin’s status is up in the air, but coach Ron Rivera said, via Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer, that Benjamin is expected to play.

The Panthers also listed center Ryan Kalil and safety Kurt Coleman as questionable. Kalil has missed five games with a neck injury and Coleman has missed the last two with a knee problem.

Jameis Winston will start on Sunday

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Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston‘s shoulder injury won’t cause him to miss any games.

Winston, who suffered the injury in last week’s loss to the Cardinals, will start on Sunday against the Bills. Bucs coach Dirk Koetter confirmed today that Winston is good to go.

After getting some rest in practice early in the week, Winston did more throwing today and apparently came out of the session feeling good enough that the Bucs are confident he can go.

Through five games this year Winston has a career-high passer rating of 91.0. After he left Sunday’s game, backup Ryan Fitzpatrick acquitted himself nicely, coming into the game with the Bucs trailing 24-0 and nearly leading a historic comeback. The Bucs ultimately fell short and lost 38-33.

NFL is “not looking to make a deal” with Ezekiel Elliott

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A report emerged earlier this week suggesting that the NFL and Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott are talking about settling the litigation that arose from his six-game suspension. On Friday, the league made it clear that there’s nothing to any such talk.

During a Friday media briefing, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said of the Elliott case, “We’re not looking to make a deal. We’re very confident our arguments will prevail in court later this month.”

Elliott currently has a temporary restraining order that will last until October 30 at the latest, and the presiding judge is expected to conduct a hearing on whether the TRO will become a preliminary injunction, which would block the suspension until the litigation ends.

It’s highly unlikely that the NFL would settle the case. Given the P.R.-driven nature of the personal conduct policy (especially as it relates to players not arrested or charged), the league would much rather hold firm on a six-game suspension and lose in court than be perceived as yielding in any way in its position that Elliott did what he’s accused of doing.

Jameis Winston steps up throwing at Friday’s practice


Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston started the practice week by going through an entire session without throwing any passes, but took a step forward on Thursday.

It wasn’t the biggest step, however, as Winston’s throwing was very limited. That left several practice observers opining that Winston looked like an unlikely bet to play against the Bills this weekend, but things look better on Friday.

Reporters at Bucs practice say that Winston has been much more active on Friday that he was on Thursday and that he looked comfortable throwing the ball despite the sprained AC joint suffered in last Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals.

Winston showed just how comfortable when he whizzed a pass, a video of the throw was captured by Trevor Sikkema of Pewter Report, in the direction of the media members with phones out to record his practice work. That work appears to be reason to believe Winston will play, although the release of the injury report later on Friday will let us know just how likely it is that Winston will