Adrian Peterson: I look forward to another season in 2018

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The Cardinals haven’t made a formal announcement of running back Adrian Peterson‘s move to injured reserve, but Peterson has confirmed that his season is over.

Peterson gave a statement to Josina Anderson of ESPN after learning he will not be returning to action after going for further medical opinions on his injured neck. In addition to thanking the Cardinals for acquiring him from the Saints and giving him a chance to run as a lead back, Peterson also touched on his plans for the future.

“The good news is my neck injury doesn’t require surgery, but I’m told by Dr. Robert Watkins that the best thing for me is just more rest than the length of the season. Obviously, I’m disappointed about going on IR when my body is still able to produce but I look forward to returning completely healthy for another season in 2018. I’m grateful for the opportunity that the Arizona Cardinals have given me to show that I can still contribute on an NFL team.”

Peterson signed a two-year contract with the Saints, so the Cardinals can keep him around if they are so inclined. That may not be their choice as long as David Johnson is set to make a full recovery from the wrist injury that ended his season in the first week of the year, which would leave Peterson in a similar position to the one he was in after the Vikings released him in the offseason.

It took him a long time to find work before landing with the Saints and a cooler market could signal the end of Peterson’s time as an NFL player.

John Dorsey: “Total objective” in 2018 is winning AFC North

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The Browns opted for a long-term rebuild when they made Sashi Brown the head of their personnel department a couple of years ago, but pulled the plug on that effort last week by firing Brown.

General Manager John Dorsey isn’t planning a similar time frame for the turnaround he was hired to oversee shortly after Brown was dispatched. During an appearance on WKNR 850 on Thursday, Dorsey cited his optimism as the reason for his high expectations for next season.

“I believe we have to be competitive in the AFC North and my total objective going into the ’18 season is to win the AFC North,” Dorsey said via Cleveland.com. “Anything else to me is unacceptable.”

Dorsey said in the same radio appearance that Brown and the rest of the group making personnel decisions didn’t bring in “real players” over the last couple of years. That’s something Dorsey will have to remedy if the team is going to come close to realizing that objective.

He’ll have the loads of cap space and deep surplus of draft picks Brown left behind to put toward that effort. Should those assets pay off as Dorsey hopes, the 2018 executive of the year vote won’t be a suspenseful one although Time Magazine’s Man of the Year choice might be more difficult.

Brock Osweiler felt like a kid having fun in win over Colts

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Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler had one of the best games of his career on Thursday night, entering to replace an injured Trevor Siemian and leading Denver to a win in Indianapolis.

After the game, Osweiler described it as one of the most fun outings of his career.

“I was a little kid having fun tonight,” Osweiler said. “That’s really what it was. You guys all know — I’ve been on a little bit of a roller-coaster ride for the last two years. Just to go out there, “Thursday Night Football” with my teammates who I love, I was just having fun. I was going to lay it all out there. We always talk about around our building, you never know when it’s going to be your last play, your last game in this business. So just enjoy every moment, and that’s really what I was doing tonight.”

Osweiler finished the game completing 12 of 17 passes for 194 yards, with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a career-high passer rating of 147.7. Osweiler, who will be a free agent this offseason, wants to prove he can compete for a starting job somewhere, and Thursday night’s game helped that cause.

Colts tight end Brandon Williams released from hospital with concussion

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Indianapolis Colts tight end Brandon Williams has been released from the hospital and returned to Lucas Oil Stadium prior to the conclusion of Thursday night’s game with the Denver Broncos.

According to Omar Ruiz of the NFL Network, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said Williams had been diagnosed with a concussion after a collision with Broncos linebacker Deiontrez Mount on a punt. Williams was a blocker on the play and his helmet collided with Mount’s as he absorbed contact from the Broncos defender.

Williams collapsed to the turf and trainers forced him to stay down on the ground as he tried to get up after the play. He was stabilized, strapped to a back board and taken to the hospital by ambulance as a precaution.

Pagano said Williams was back in the team’s training room after the game.

It was a pretty scary thing … but he’s back here,” Pagano said. “He’s doing well.”

Williams was diagnosed with spinal stenosis at the University of Oregon, which brought his college playing days to an end. However, he was later cleared to play football again and worked his way onto the roster of the Carolina Panthers in 2013.

He’s in his fifth season in the NFL, spending time with the Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks and Colts.

Report: X-rays of Trevor Siemian’s shoulder negative

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X-rays taken at the stadium of Trevor Siemian‘s injured left shoulder were negative, via Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post. Siemian will undergo an MRI in Denver on Friday.

Siemian injured the same shoulder early last season and missed the second half of the game against the Bucs and the next game. He played through the Grade 3 joint sprain the rest of the season but underwent surgery on the shoulder in January.

Siemian, who posted a 4-5 record in his first nine starts this season, started and completed 5 of 9 passes for 67 yards with an interception before being injured on a sack by Colts linebacker Barkevious Mingo.

The Broncos already were without Paxton Lynch, who is inactive with an ankle injury.

Brock Osweiler replaced Siemian.

Brandon Williams has head injury, movement in his limbs

AP

Colts backup tight end Brandon Williams has movement in his limbs, the team reported. He does not have a neck injury.

Williams was strapped to the backboard and transported to a local hospital as a precaution.

He has a head injury.

Williams, a core special teams player, was blocking Broncos linebacker Deiontrez Mount on a punt when Williams and Mount hit helmets. Williams’ body appeared to go limp.

Williams was playing at the University of Oregon in 2011 when he gave up football for basketball after doctors discovered a spinal stenosis condition that was believed to be career ending. He later was cleared to return to football and has spent time with the Panthers, Dolphins, Seahawks and Colts.

Trevor Siemian carted off with left shoulder injury

AP

Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian threw an interception on the first possession. He was carted off after the second.

Colts linebacker Barkevious Mingo sacked Siemian from behind. Siemian’s left elbow landed hard into the turf, jamming his shoulder.

Siemian immediately grabbed his left arm as he walked off the field.

The Broncos list him as questionable to return with a left shoulder injury.

To add insult to the injury, the Broncos took a delay of game penalty before Brandon McManus missed a 40-yard field goal. The Colts lead 7-0 after the first quarter.

Brock Osweiler has replaced Siemian with 14:01 remaining in the second quarter. Third-string quarterback Paxton Lynch is inactive with an ankle injury.

UPDATE 9:22 P.M.: The Broncos have ruled out Siemian. It is the same shoulder he had offseason surgery on.

Jim Irsay: Nothing ominous in Andrew Luck’s shoulder

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The Colts will play their 14th straight game without Andrew Luck on Thursday night, but Luck won’t be there because he’s still in Europe getting unspecified treatment on his surgically-repaired right shoulder.

That injury kept Luck from playing at all this season despite consistent claims from the Colts that he’d be back in the lineup and it’s still unclear where things stand in his recovery.

Speaking from this week’s league meetings, Colts owner Jim Irsay offered an update of sorts. Irsay told Ian Rapoport of NFL Media that Luck is expected to return to the U.S. soon and that there’s no surgery planned at this point. “He’s doing great,” Irsay told Rapoport.

“He’s doing well,” Irsay said. “[We’re] disappointed obviously it’s taken as long as it’s taken. You know, medicine and the way it goes. But there hasn’t been any unusual setback. We didn’t find out anything ominous, something we didn’t know about or anything like that. It’s just taken time for him to go through his whole aspect of rehabbing and progressing and working through the soreness.”

Given how off Irsay was when he promised that Luck would be back for the start of the regular season, his assurance that there’s nothing ominous about Luck’s shoulder comes across about as well as the desk clerk in a horror movie assuring the young couple checking into a motel that there’s nothing haunting Room 241. Luck’s presence on the field will be the only sign that matters when it comes to his recovery and everything else comes off as noise at this point.

Ryan Shazier has started physical rehabilitation

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Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier had spinal stabilization surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center a little more than a week ago and the hospital released an update about Shazier’s condition on Thursday.

As with the last update, this one doesn’t feature any word about an expected outcome for Shazier in terms of mobility and other physical activity. It does say that he has started rehabilitation work, however.

“Ryan Shazier remains hospitalized at UPMC recovering from the spinal stabilization surgery performed last week by UMPC neurosurgeons and Steelers team physicians Drs. David Okonkwo and Joseph Maroon. Mr. Shazier has started physical rehabilitation as part of his recovery process.”

The hospital also said that they will be the source of future updates about Shazier’s condition whenever they are warranted.

John Dorsey declines to declare categorically that Hue Jackson will be back

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Whether he intended to or not, new Browns G.M. John Dorsey made plenty of waves on Thursday with a radio appearance in Cleveland.

Headline No. 1: The prior regime didn’t get “real players.”

Headline No. 2: Coach Hue Jackson may not definitely be coming back next year.

In Dorsey’s interview with ESPN Cleveland, the new G.M. was asked to echo the comment twice made by his boss, Jimmy Haslam, that Jackson definitely will return next season. Dorsey didn’t say “of course” or any other version of that message.

Here’s the question from Aaron Goldhammer: “There’s some reports out, and I just want to be clear about this, John, about you potentially at the end of the year, if the Browns don’t win a game, pushing for a coaching change. Are you willing to categorically say today that Hue Jackson will be the coach of the Browns in 2018?”

“I’ve always said I live in the present, and I build for the future,” Dorsey told Goldhammer. “I live in the present. Right now the sun’s out, the tarps are coming off the field, we’re practicing outside, we’re getting ready to play the Baltimore Ravens, which is a divisional game. That’s my sole focus. And then it’s also getting familiar with the whole layout and the organizational structure in terms of creating my daily routine.”

The response serves only to bolster the existing belief that Dorsey will be (or perhaps already is) making the case privately to Haslam that, in order to truly turn things around, Dorsey needs to assemble his own team — of players, executives, and coaches.

How could his “we’ll see” answer be interpreted any differently? The owner twice says Jackson will be back, and the new G.M. opts not to paint himself into that same corner. While it doesn’t mean Jackson definitely won’t be back, it’s obvious that the notion that Jackson definitely will return isn’t nearly as clear as Haslam made it out to be.

John Dorsey: Previous regime didn’t get “real players”

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Browns General Manager John Dorsey has been on the job for less than a week, but that’s been enough time for him to draw some conclusions on the roster left behind by his predecessor at the top of the Browns personnel department.

Sashi Brown’s tenure was marked by moves that accumulated a lot of draft picks while the Browns kept losing games on the field, which led to criticism of the personnel department’s ability to evaluate players and a steady flow of reports about tension between Brown’s group and head coach Hue Jackson. During an appearance on WKNR 850 with Aaron Goldhammer on Thursday, Dorsey put himself squarely on the side of those who feel that Brown’s moves were the root of the problems the last two years.

Dorsey said he’ll do his “darnedest” to get Jackson the players he needs while making it clear he thinks such players are in short supply in Cleveland.

“You know what? You’ve got to get a guy like that players,” Dorsey said, via Cleveland.com. “And you know what? I’ll come straight out with it. The guys who were here before, that system, they didn’t get real players.”

That may not sit well with some of the current Browns players, but it’s hard to make a compelling alternative argument about an 0-13 team that won just one game last season. The bright side for Dorsey is that Brown left him with plenty of draft picks to use on real players and Dorsey will get a chance to start putting them to use in a few months.

PFT’s Week 15 picks

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Like Doug Jones, MDS has an insurmountable lead (seven games) with three weeks left. Like Roy Moore, I’m not conceding.

Although it’s going to require plenty of skill and luck. This week, we disagree on only three games. Which means I need a sweep in order to even have a remote chance to catch him.

For all of the Week 15 picks, do the mouse/finger thing.

Broncos at Colts

MDS’s take: The season’s last Thursday night game is not a good one. But the Broncos showed enough signs of life last week that I’ll pick them to win on the road.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 16, Colts 13.

Florio’s take: John Elway stuck it to the Colts decades ago, when he told them not to draft him. He’ll stick it to them again tonight.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 27, Colts 20.


Bears at Lions

MDS’s take: Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has been playing better football of late, and that makes me tempted to pick an upset. But with Jim Caldwell coaching for his job, I think the Lions will do just enough to win.

MDS’s pick: Lions 24, Bears 23.

Florio’s take: A team that had won three games in 13 weeks isn’t going to be winning twice in six days. #analysis.

Florio’s pick: Lions 30, Bears 14.


Chargers at Chiefs

MDS’s take: This is a huge game that may determine the winner of the AFC West, and I think the Chargers’ late-season surge is going to continue and push them toward a playoff game in their tiny stadium.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 34, Chiefs 31.

Florio’s take: One of the hottest teams in football gets a chance to show the Chiefs (and everyone else) how far they’ve come.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 31, Chiefs 21.


Texans at Jaguars

MDS’s take: The Jaguars’ pass defense is going to make life miserable for T.J. Yates.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 20, Texans 3.

Florio’s take: If the Jaguars truly have matured, they’ll avoid stepping into a pothole against an overmatched Texans team.

Florio’s pick: Jaguars 30, Texans 13.


Ravens at Browns

MDS’s take: The Browns may have missed their best opportunity to eat a W on Sunday against the Packers. I can’t see them beating a Ravens team that is hungry to earn a wild card spot.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 28, Browns 13.

Florio’s take: Nearly 10 years to the day after the Ravens “helped” the Dolphins avoid an 0-16 season, the team that used to be the Browns gets a chance to assist the current Browns in the avoidance of the ultimate embarrassment. Don’t count on it happening; after blowing a 14-point lead against the Packers and bungling a chance to salvage victory in overtime, the Browns seem to be ready to accept their fate.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 27, Browns 10.


Packers at Panthers

MDS’s take: The return of Aaron Rodgers will be spoiled by a good Panthers defense that will hold a rusty Rodgers in check and pretty much end the Packers’ playoff hopes.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 20, Packers 17.

Florio’s take: If the Packers make the playoffs, they’ll make it to the Super Bowl. But if they lose to the Panthers, the Packers won’t make it to the playoffs. Ipso facto, don’t make reservations for Minnesota in late January, Cheeseheads.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 27, Packers 23.


Dolphins at Bills

MDS’s take: The Dolphins surprised me on Monday night, but I think the Jay Cutler-led offense is going to struggle on a cold day in Buffalo.

MDS’s pick: Bills 13, Dolphins 10.

Florio’s take: The Dolphins finally found the gas pedal. Is it too late?

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 24, Bills 21.


Bengals at Vikings

MDS’s take: The Vikings have a good shot at earning home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, and they’re not throwing away their shot against the Bengals.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 28, Bengals 10.

Florio’s take: Old friends Mike Zimmer and Marvin Lewis meet, with Marvin on the hot seat. If Zimmer blows this one, he should be, too.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 31, Bengals 17.


Cardinals at Washington

MDS’s take: Two teams that thought they were playoff contenders but now find themselves playing out the string. Kirk Cousins still has something to play for, and I think he’ll have a big game.

MDS’s pick: Washington 31, Cardinals 17.

Florio’s take: A pair of former NFC East rivals get together. And that’s the only thing interesting about this game.

Florio’s pick: Washington 23, Cardinals 20.


Eagles at Giants

MDS’s take: Nick Foles gets an easy opponent in his first start, and he’ll play well as the Eagles cruise to another win.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Giants 14.

Florio’s take: It’s easy to exude confidence to the point of delusion about succeeding without Carson Wentz . . . before actually playing a game without Carson Wentz.

Florio’s pick: Giants 21, Eagles 20.


Jets at Saints

MDS’s take: Josh McCown played well this year, but now that he’s done the Jets are going to look like the team everyone thought they’d be back in September. The Saints will win this one easily.

MDS’s pick: Saints 30, Jets 7.

Florio’s take: Extra time to prepare plus a sense of urgency to get a win minus Josh McCown for the Jets equals an easy 10th win for the home team.

Florio’s pick: Saints 30, Jets 17.


Rams at Seahawks

MDS’s take: In a huge game for the NFC West race, I like the Seahawks to do just enough on defense to slow down the Rams’ high-scoring offense, and Russell Wilson to make a couple of big plays late to win a close game.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, Rams 27.

Florio’s take: The Rams got their nine wins, but they may not get their playoff berth.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 27, Rams 24.


Titans at 49ers

MDS’s take: The 49ers are 2-0 since switching to Jimmy Garoppolo. Make it 3-0.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 28, Titans 21.

Florio’s take: The Titans could be in the process of squandering what once seemed like a sure-fire playoff berth. If they don’t get it right now, it could be over.

Florio’s pick: Titans 23, 49ers 16.


Patriots at Steelers

MDS’s take: The Patriots will bounce back from an ugly Monday night loss to win what is the biggest game of the regular season so far.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 27, Steelers 24.

Florio’s take: The Patriots lose so rarely that whenever they do some assume they’ll never win again. Ass. U. Me.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 30, Steelers 27.


Cowboys at Raiders

MDS’s take: Derek Carr has been a disappointment this season, and the Cowboys’ defense is going to have a good game against him on Sunday night.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Raiders 16.

Florio’s take: Derek Carr was wise to take the $25 million per year; if he hadn’t, he’d be lucky to get half that now.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 23, Raiders 14.


Falcons at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Falcons are still fighting for a playoff berth, and they’re doing it against the Buccaneers, who may be this year’s most disappointing team. Atlanta should get an important win on the road.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 21, Buccaneers 20.

Florio’s take: Jon Gruden will be joining the Ring of Honor. Dirk Koetter may soon be performing the walk of shame.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 34, Buccaneers 20.

Cam Newton runs for touchdowns like no other quarterback — or running back

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Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is one of the greatest rushing quarterbacks in NFL history. But when it comes specifically to running for touchdowns, Newton isn’t just great compared to other quarterbacks. He’s even great compared to running backs.

Newton has five rushing touchdowns so far this season. And he’s had at least five rushing touchdowns every season of his career, which began in 2011. How rare is that? Newton is the only player in the NFL with at least five rushing touchdowns in each of the last seven seasons. Not the only quarterback — the only player.

Only one running back, Mark Ingram, even has six seasons with five or more rushing touchdowns since 2011. Four running backs — LeGarrette Blount, Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy and DeMarco Murray — have reached the end zone at least five times in five of the last seven seasons.

Newton has 53 rushing touchdowns in his NFL career. Only Lynch and McCoy have scored more rushing touchdowns than Newton since 2011. Newton’s 53 rushing touchdowns are the most for any quarterback in NFL history, 10 more than second-place Steve Young. He runs for touchdowns like no other quarterback ever has, and like few running backs have.

Robert Griffin III says he turned down offers from the Cardinals and Ravens

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Robert Griffin III hasn’t found a new NFL home since the Browns cut him in the offseason, but he says he could have played for the Cardinals and Ravens.

“I had an offer from Arizona, and also from Baltimore,” Griffin said on ESPN’s SC6.

So why did he turn down those offers? Griffin said the Cardinals had too many quarterbacks on the roster and he didn’t think he would get any practice time as a fourth-stringer. And he said Baltimore made him an offer right before its preseason opener against his original team, Washington, and wanted him to start in that game. Griffin said he didn’t think he would have adequate time to prepare in the Ravens’ offense, so he turned it down.

Griffin understood that he might have been turning down his only offers.

“I had interest in the offseason,” Griffin said. “It just wasn’t the right fit and I had to make that decision for myself to say, ‘Look, if I don’t accept this offer, there’s a chance I won’t play football this year.’ And I would talk to my family, and I was OK with that, OK with the fact that it might happen.”

Griffin did say, however, that he would love to sign with a team right now and hopes a playoff contender that needs a quarterback will consider him.

“I love football. I miss the game,” Griffin said. “I am ready. So I haven’t given up on 2017 yet. There are some teams that need help and may need help going into the playoffs.”

But it’s hard to understand why a team that needs help in the playoffs would call Griffin now, if he was telling the Ravens four months ago that he needs adequate practice time to be ready for a preseason game. If Griffin wanted to play in the NFL in 2017, his best bet was to accept one of those offers in the offseason and prove himself in training camp. And his best bet going forward will be not to turn down any offers in 2018.

Aaron Rodgers: I’m not coming back to save this team

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Aaron Rodgers is back, but that doesn’t mean the Packers need only to show up for the final three games.

The Packers star quarterback repeated the same theme Mike McCarthy did earlier in the day when the coach stressed to his team about not having “a bunch of false confidence.”

“Hopefully, it gives a lift to some of the guys, but I’m not coming back to save this team,” Rodgers said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN. “I’m coming back to play quarterback the way I know how to play it. Hopefully, we all raise the level of our play collectively and find a way to win these three games.”

Rodgers’ broken right collarbone kept him out almost two months. The team’s medical staff cleared him to return to game action this week, and Rodgers wouldn’t address whether he lobbied team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie for clearance.

“I wouldn’t be standing here ready to play if I wasn’t confident I could go out there and play the way that I’ve always played,” Rodgers said. “There’s just no point in doing that. It’s a risky game; it’s a dangerous game. There’s risks every time you step on the field.

“With the concussions that have happened in this game, that, to me, is something to be more worried about than altering your play to take a shot and landing on your shoulder again. That’s something that we deal with and that’s why we love this game. I think [Steelers safety] Mike Mitchell had a lot of good points when he was talking about the nature of this game. It’s a physical game, and you have to go out and play as much as you can without fear. That’s why I’m here, that’s why we’re cleared, and that’s why I’m playing.”