Report: Lions tried to get Rashaad Penny from Seahawks

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The Seahawks made running back Rashaad Penny a first-round pick in late April. And then the Lions made a run at trying to get him.

Via Mlive.com, Jay Glazer of FOX reported during the Thursday Night Football pregame show that the Lions tried to trade for Penny after the Seahawks drafted him.

As noted by Nate Atkins of Mlive.com, Seahawks G.M. John Schneider previously said that a team tried to trade for Penny, but Schneider didn’t disclose the team.

The Lions settled for Kerryon Johnson in round two, and Johnson has been solid for Detroit.

Penny, meanwhile, recently has begun to come into his own. After getting his first 100-yard performance on Sunday, he contributed 46 yards on eight carries during Thursday night’s win over the Seahawks, as part of the three-headed backfield in Seattle. Previously, Penny had been a forgotten man in Seattle.

Canadians are watching a lot more American football

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The CFL season still hasn’t ended, but Canadians have taken to American football this year.

John Kryk of the Toronto Sun reports that the overall Canadian TV audience grew by 19 percent over the first two months of the season.

The biggest increase has come in the Sunday night window, where viewership has increased by a whopping 33 percent.

Those numbers take into account only the first eight weeks of the season. The numbers, especially on Sunday nights, likely will be similar if not bigger moving forward, given that Week Nine featured the Packers against the Patriots and Week 10 had the Cowboys facing the Eagles. The NFL has made three flex decisions from Week 11 through Week 14, resulting in the next four Sunday nights featuring Vikings-Bears, Packers-Vikings, Chargers-Steelers, and Rams-Bears.

Todd Gurley doesn’t know what the over/under is

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Three weeks ago, at the end of a 29-27 win over the Packers, Rams running back Todd Gurley went down the instead of scoring a touchdown, angering fantasy owners with Gurley on the roster and bettors who took the Rams to cover and the total points to be over. Gurley said he doesn’t care about those things.

As it turns out, he also doesn’t know about at least one of those things.

Asked by reporters on Friday about an over/under for the Chiefs showdown which at 64 is the highest line of demarcation for total points since 1986, Gurley was confused.

“I don’t even know what you’re talking about right now,” Gurley said. “I don’t even gamble, so I don’t even know what that means.”

While plenty of gambling concepts and terms are confusing, anyone who has ever paid any attention to betting knows that the over/under refers to the total points scored in the game by both teams. It’s entirely possible that Gurley truly is clueless about those matters; it’s also possible that he has decided that the best approach when it comes to anything related to wagering is to feign ignorance.

Either way, bet the over.

Sean McVay: Cooper Kupp ACL surgery went “really well”

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You know the drill by now. When it comes to a pro athlete with an injury that must be repaired by a doctor, the surgery is always a success, and the rehab is always ahead of schedule. Even when it’s not.

Rams coach Sean McVay explained to reporters on Friday night that receiver Cooper Kupp‘s ACL surgery has happened, and that it was a success.

“It went really well,” McVay said. “He called right afterwards and he was in great spirits. I know if anybody is going to attack the rehab process the right way, it’s going to be Cooper Kupp. Fortunately, some of the things when you do get in there, none of the other things that sometimes can delay that rehab process were affected. It was a clean surgery, did a good job repairing that and we expect him to be able to make a good recovery. Looking forward to getting him back.”

McVay seems to be as honest, authentic, and candid as any coach can ever be. Still, no one really knows how an ACL recovery and rehab will unfold. Some go incredibly well; some simply don’t.

In many cases, it takes a full year to get back to 100 percent. Plenty of players are able to return to football activities sooner than that.

For Kupp, the goal undoubtedly will be to have him ready by the start of training camp. The offseason program begins in five months, with the bulk of the OTAs due to commence in roughly six months.

Rams’ pass rush is doing its job as the rest of the defense struggles

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Given that the Rams are 9-1 and favored to beat the 9-1 Chiefs on Monday night in a matchup of the two teams with the best records in the league, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the Rams’ defense has not been particularly good this year.

The Rams are allowing opposing runners to average 5.2 yards a carry, worst in the NFL. And the improvements the Rams made in the secondary during the offseason have turned out not to be improvements at all, with cornerback Marcus Peters struggling all season and cornerback Aqib Talib on injured reserve.

But there is one thing the Rams are doing well: Pressuring opposing passers.

According to Chris Trapasso of the Buffalo News, using data compiled by Pro Football Focus, the Rams are getting pressure on 41.6 percent of the passes they face this season, the best in the NFL. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Rams are getting a lot of sacks — they’re tied for 10th in the league with 26 sacks — but they are consistently hurrying opposing quarterbacks.

And that underscores just how disappointing the secondary has been. If the defensive front is hurrying the opposing quarterback, and the opposing quarterback is completing passes anyway, that doesn’t reflect well on the secondary.

Getting to Patrick Mahomes on Monday night will be important, but the rest of the defense has to do its job as well. Given the way both teams’ offenses and defenses have played this season, expect a shootout.

Seahawks win means Rams can’t clinch NFC West this week

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The Rams had a chance to become the first team since 2002 — when the NFL went to 32 teams — to clinch a division title before Week 12. Then, they didn’t.

The Seahawks didn’t cooperate.

Seattle’s victory over Green Bay on Thursday night means the Rams will have to wait at least another week.

The Rams are 9-1. The Seahawks are 5-5.

So the Rams’ division-clinching celebration is merely postponed. They could, in fact, sew up the NFC West during their open date.

If they beat the Chiefs on Monday night and the Seahawks lose to the Panthers in Week 12, the Rams would put a bow on the NFC West while sitting at home.

The 1985 Bears remain the only team in the 16-game era — since 1978 — to clinch a playoff berth in Week 11.

Seahawks had to use silent count at times last night

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The stadium in Seattle is one of the loudest in the NFL. On Thursday night, it was a little too loud, at times, for the home team.

The Seahawks had to resort to a silent count at times during Friday night’s game.

“We went silent count a couple times,” left tackle Duane Brown said after the game, via Curtis Crabtree of PFT. “Their fans traveled well here. They made some noise. When we got down close to the red zone, it got pretty loud and we had to go silent cadence a few times.”

Coach Pete Carroll was asked whether the Seahawks previously have had to do that at home.

“You know, I can’t tell you,” Carroll said. “I don’t know. I don’t remember that happening. I’m sure it has, but I don’t remember it happening. But I think someone — we might have had a half dozen of them or something in the game. I don’t know what that final number was, but that was unusual. We handled it, but we’re trying to run the clock out, which we want all of the cadence at our advantage and we’re in the silent count just to execute it. We were in the gun too, so that adds to that. We’d rather not have to do that if we could have them cheering after but we’ll take them when we can get them.”

Carroll said that the silent count had nothing to do with complaints regarding the claim that the Packers were simulating the snap count.

“They did that a little bit,” Carroll said. “Yeah, that did happen in the game I think and we thought our guys thought that. I thought so and I know [Justin] Britt went crazy. He’s like trying to make the point to the officials, but I’m not griping about that. . . . I can’t document that they did it. That’s kind of what we were griping about at the time.”

There was ultimately no reason to gripe; the Seahawks won. But given that Packers fans travel in sufficient numbers to make it too loud for the Seahawks in their own stadium makes it even harder to understand how the Packers haven’t managed to win once in five tries this season.

Yes, odds are available for Le’Veon Bell’s next contract

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Prop bets are available for just about anything that can be imagined. In football, odds have been set regarding the next contract to be signed by running back Le'Veon Bell.

According to Bovada.lv, the money line for a contract over four years is -165 (bet $165 to win $100), and for a contract under four years is +125 (bet $100 to win $125).

Take the under (but bet responsibly). Le’Veon Bell will have the leverage to demand a contract that lasts only as long as the full guarantee, similar to the three-year contract signed by quarterback Kirk Cousins in March.

The over/under for the contract has been pegged at $64.5 million. Again, take the under; Bell should be able to negotiate a three-year, fully-guaranteed deal in the range of $54 million to $60 million.

With the Jets expected to be interested in Bell, and given that the Jets were willing to give Cousins a three-year, fully-guaranteed deal, a three-year fully-guaranteed deal for Bell could be coming.

And before anyone scoffs at the idea of paying Bell $18 million or more per year on a short-term deal, consider this: Blake Bortles is making $19 million per year, and Case Keenum is making $18 million annually.

Arizona works out Matt McCrane with Phil Dawson questionable

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The Cardinals worked out kicker Matt McCrane on Friday, Darren Urban of the team website reports. They have not signed him yet but might Saturday depending on Phil Dawson‘s health.

Dawson’s injured right hip kept him out of practice two days this week. He was limited Thursday.

The Cardinals listed Dawson as questionable on their status report.

McCrane kicked in three games for the Raiders, making 5 of 9 field goals and all five extra points.

He originally entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Kansas State, signing with the Cardinals in May.

The Cardinals added McCrane to the practice squad Oct. 26 when Dawson’s right hip first flared up, but Dawson ended up kicking against the 49ers.

Washington isn’t accelerating Trent Williams due to Watt, Clowney

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Washington surprisingly upgraded left tackle Trent Williams from out to questionable on Friday, but coach Jay Gruden said that the move had nothing to do with the challenge presented by the Houston defense.

“We’re not accelerating him because of those two guys,” Gruden said when asked about facing J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. “We’re just going to see if he can do it. It’s not like it’s a knee or anything. If he can function with that thing and have some kind of gripping ability, then he can play. That’s the big concern. He did have surgery not too long ago. This would be a quick recovery but Trent is a unique human. We trust the fact that if he can go, he’ll go, and if not, we’ll wait till the next week or the week after, but it’s all up to him and the doctor.”

Whatever the decision, Gruden said that he’s not thinking about the impact of having guys ready for the Thanksgiving game against Dallas.

“We’re trying to win this game and we’ll worry about Thursday on Thursday but this a big game for us on Sunday,” Gruden said.

Indeed it is. The Texans are 6-3, Washington is 6-3, and both teams need a win in order to cement their grip atop their respective divisions. Having Williams back would go a long way toward helping Washington move the ball, both on the ground and through the air.

Sammy Watkins out of practice Friday

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Signs this week have pointed toward Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins facing his former team in Los Angeles on Monday night, but that was not the case on Friday.

Watkins practiced on a limited basis Thursday, but he was out of practice altogether on Friday. Watkins is dealing with a foot injury that kept him from playing against the Cardinals last Sunday.

The Chiefs will practice again on Saturday and then release their final injury report for their matchup with the Rams.

Watkins’ downgrade was the only change to the injury report from Thursday, which means center Mitch Morse (concussion) and safety Eric Berry (heel) were the other players who did not participate.

Bucs promote a safety with Justin Evans out this week

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The Buccaneers made a roster move to bolster their secondary on Friday.

The team promoted safety Godwin Igwebuike from the practice squad to the active roster. The move came shortly after the Bucs ruled safety Justin Evans (toe) out for Sunday’s game against the Giants. Defensive end Demone Harris was waived in a corresponding move.

Evans and Jordan Whitehead have been starting at safety in recent weeks. Igwebuike will join Isaiah Johnson and Anthony Adams as options alongside Whitehead this week.

Igwebuike was undrafted out of Northwestern this year. His father is a cousin of former Buccaneers kicker Donald Igwebuike.

The Buccaneers also ruled out linebacker Lavonte David (knee), defensive end Vinny Curry (ankle), running back Ronald Jones (hamstring) and cornerback M.J. Stewart (foot) for Sunday’s game.

Eagles activate Richard Rodgers from IR

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The Eagles activated tight end Richard Rodgers from injured reserve on Friday. They placed tight end Josh Perkins on injured reserve with a knee injury.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson announced earlier this week that Perkins would miss significant time with his injury.

Perkins caught five passes for 67 yards in nine games. He played 95 snaps on offense and 156 on special teams.

Rodgers returned to practice this week. He went on injured reserve the week of the season opener after injuring his knee in a preseason game.

Rodgers signed with the Eagles as a free agent this offseason after spending four years with the Packers. He will join Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert at the position.

Jimmy Graham broke his thumb

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Packers tight end Jimmy Graham hurt his thumb in Thursday night’s loss to the Seahawks and word after the game was that the team feared a serious injury.

That initial read looks like the correct one. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Graham’s injury has been diagnosed as a broken thumb after he had tests done on Friday.

It’s not clear how much time Graham will miss as a result of the injury, but the nature of the injury and the nature of Graham’s role as a receiving option make it hard to imagine he’ll be back in a hurry.

Graham has 34 catches for 452 yards and two touchdowns in his first season with the Packers.

Lance Kendricks, Marcedes Lewis and Robert Tonyan are the other tight ends in Green Bay. Tonyan caught a 54-yard touchdown on Thursday night for his first NFL reception.

Marvin Jones out, Darius Slay in for Lions

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The Lions will be without one of their top targets, with the news of wide receiver Marvin Jones getting a second opinion on his knee.

They at least get their top cornerback back on the field.

Darius Slay wasn’t given an injury designation at all, after returning to full practice Friday. He missed last week’s game against the Bears with a knee problem and Mitchell Trubisky had a field day, but getting Slay back against the Panthers should provide a boost to a team that needs it.

In addition to Jones, the Lions have also ruled out defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson and tight end Michael Roberts, while defensive end Ezekiel Ansah and defensive tackle Damon Harrison are questionable. Both Ansah and Harrison were limited Friday with shoulder injuries.