Younghoe Koo is expected to miss time with groin strain

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The Falcons had punter Sterling Hofrichter handle the kickoffs during Sunday’s loss to the Bears and it appears they’ll be making alternate plans for the coming weeks as well.

Younghoe Koo didn’t play on kickoffs because he suffered a groin injury before the game. He was able to kick field goals and extra points, but missed one of each on the way to another painful Falcons loss.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports that Koo’s attempt to play through the injury was a one-time solution. The kicker is expected to miss time because of the injury.

The Falcons don’t have a kicker on the practice squad, so they’ll have to look outside the organization for a replacement.

Report: Jurrell Casey out with biceps tear

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The Broncos lost another game on Sunday and they reportedly have another addition to their list of seriously injured players as well.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that defensive tackle Jurrell Casey suffered a biceps tear in the team’s 28-10 loss to the Buccaneers. His season is likely over as a result.

Casey joined the Broncos in a trade with the Titans this offseason. He had four tackles, a quarterback hit and a tackle for loss on Sunday and 14 tackles over the course of the season’s first three weeks.

The loss of Casey comes a week after the Broncos saw defensive linemen Dre'Mont Jones and DeMarcus Walker head to injured reserve.

Linebackers Von Miller and Mark Barron and cornerback A.J. Bouye are also out of action on the Denver defense. Wide receiver Courtland Sutton, quarterback Drew Lock and running back Phillip Lindsay were out on the offensive side against Tampa.

Jaguars signing kicker Stephen Hauschka

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The Jaguars have made another change at kicker.

According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the Jaguars are signing veteran Stephen Hauschka.

The Jaguars put veteran Josh Lambo on injured reserve last week, promoting rookie Brandon Wright from the practice squad to kick last Thursday. But Wright was injured during the game against the Dolphins.

Hauschka was cut by the Bills in August after they drafted a kicker, but he’s a career 85.7 percent on field goals.

Jamal Adams has “first degree” groin strain

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Seahawks safety Jamal Adams was limited to 53 snaps during Sunday’s win over the Cowboys and it remains to be seen how long it will take before he’s ready to resume his usual workload.

Head coach Pete Carroll said on 710 ESPN Monday, via Lindsey Wisniewski of NBC Sports Northwest, that Adams has a “first degree” groin strain that was “really bothering him after the game.” He described Adams as day to day with the team’s first practice of the week a couple of days away.

The Seahawks also saw running back Chris Carson, linebacker Jordyn Brooks and guard Damien Lewis get hurt on Sunday.

Carson and Brooks both suffered knee sprains while Lewis is dealing with an ankle injury. Carroll said the team would have to see how all of them do during the week before making any calls about Week Four’s game against the Dolphins.

Pete Carroll was “really pissed” about Trysten Hill’s dirty play on Chris Carson

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Seahawks coach Pete Carroll isn’t happy with Cowboys defensive lineman Trysten Hill. Nor should Carroll be.

He’s upset because Hill, after tackling Seattle running back Chris Carson, rolled on the ground while holding the leg in a deliberate, Mean Machine-style effort to inflict injury.

“I was really pissed about that,” Carroll said Monday on 710 ESPN, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.

Carroll should be pissed, Carson (who has a sprained knee) should be pissed, all Seahawks fans should be pissed, all Cowboys fans should be pissed, all football fans should be pissed.

It was an old-school dirty hit, the kind of thing that happened before free agency made players realize that there’s a brotherhood that extends far beyond the silo that is their locker room, and before everyone became properly sensitive to the broader health and safety concerns regarding professional football players.

Hill reportedly won’t be suspended. He should be. It’s unacceptable behavior that falls squarely beyond the boundaries of permissible contact. It’s a cowardly act on par with a sucker punch, and it has no place in the modern game of football.

A fine won’t send that message. A suspension will. Even if the league is concerned that a suspension would be overturned on appeal, it’s critical that the league send an unambiguous message that this type of stuff will not be tolerated.

Bears announce Nick Foles is starting QB

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It’s official: Mitchell Trubisky has been benched for Nick Foles.

Bears coach Matt Nagy announced today that Foles will start this week against the Colts.

“We got up this morning and went through the tape and at the end of it we decided we’re going to go with Nick Foles as the starter,” Nagy said. “It’s never easy when you go into these types of situations. I want to credit both of those guys yesterday for being really supportive of each other.”

That news comes as a surprise to no one after Foles came off the bench for an ineffective Trubisky on Sunday and led the Bears from a 26-10 deficit to a 30-26 win.

The Bears are off to a 3-0 start despite shaky play from Trubisky. If Foles can stabilize the quarterback position, the Bears should be heading for the playoffs.

Matt Ioannidis out for year with torn biceps

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Washington’s still awaiting word on rookie defensive end Chase Young, but they’ve gotten bad news on another lineman.

Via Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis has a torn biceps and is out for the rest of the season.

The 2016 fifth-rounder has become a valuable part of a defensive front rotation that is heavily populated by first-rounders, with 34 starts in his career.

Young left yesterday’s game with a groin injury, and there hasn’t been much of an update on the second overall pick.

Chris Godwin getting MRI on hamstring

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Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin returned to the lineup after missing Week Two with a concussion, but he didn’t make it out of the win over the Broncos unscathed.

Godwin hurt his hamstring during the third quarter of the team’s 28-10 victory over the Broncos and was quickly ruled out after suffering the injury. James Palmer of NFL Media reports that Godwin is having an MRI to determine the severity of the injury on Monday.

Sunday’s game was well in hand by the time Godwin got hurt and Tom Brady only threw one pass in the fourth quarter of the game.

Godwin had five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown before getting injured.

Browns return man JoJo Natson tears ACL

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The Browns will be looking for a new return man, after yesterday’s win over Washington.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, wide receiver JoJo Natson suffered a torn ACL in yesterday’s game, and will be out for the season.

The diminutive returner signed with the Browns in March, after stints with the Colts, Jets, and Rams.

He played four snaps of offense yesterday, but his primary role was on returns, and the Browns are going to have to find a new option there. They finished the game with just three active receivers yesterday after he was injured.

Texans’ draft class is warming the bench, and next year’s draft looks bleak

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It’s hard to be optimistic about the Texans this season after their 0-3 start, and given the realities of Houston’s 2020 and 2021 draft classes, it’s hard to be optimistic about the Texans in the future, either.

Houston didn’t have a single rookie play a single snap on offense or defense in Sunday’s loss to the Steelers. According to Aaron Reiss of TheAthletic.com, it was the first game in franchise history when the Texans didn’t have any rookies play at all on either offense or defense.

The Texans didn’t have a first-round pick this year, and the four rookie picks on the 53-man roster aren’t contributing at all. That’s not a good sign.

And an even worse sign is that there’s no reason to hope next year’s draft will be any better, as the Texans have already traded their first-round pick and their second-round pick in 2021 to the Dolphins for offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.

It’s going to be a real shame if Deshaun Watson is stuck on bad teams for years to come, but that’s a real possibility if the Texans can’t find a way to improve their roster, which is winless and lacking young talent.

Ron Rivera acknowledges there is a “cutoff point” for Dwayne Haskins

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Things can change very quickly in the NFL. Two weeks ago, Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins was being praised for his leadership. Now, he’s in grave danger of being benched.

Just yesterday, after a 34-20 loss to the Browns, Washington coach Ron Rivera said he’s “not going to pull the plug” on Haskins. On Monday, however, Rivera made it clear that the plug won’t permanently remain in the holes.

Via multiple reports, Rivera admitted in a Monday press conference that “there is a cutoff point” at which Haskins won’t be the quarterback, and that the players on offense “”deserve better” from their quarterback.

Haskins had three interceptions and two fumbles (one lost) on Sunday, and through three games his passing numbers are down from last year (completion percentage, yards per attempt, and passer rating). Kyle Allen, who played fairly well for Rivera with the Panthers in 2019, remains available — as does Disney-movie-in-waiting Alex Smith, who played very well for Washington before a broken leg and ensuing infection that should have ended his career, and that could have ended his life.

With three wild-card spots available and three underachieving rivals in the NFC East, Washington at 1-2 remains very much alive. The question is whether, if Haskins doesn’t improve, Rivera will pull the plug on the quarterback before the plug as a practical matter gets pulled on the season.

NFL shifts Week Five Broncos-Patriots game to later kickoff

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The Patriots will be starting their Week Five game against the Broncos later than originally scheduled.

The NFL announced on Monday that the game will now start at 4:25 p.m. ET. They were supposed to get underway at 1 p.m. under the initial plans for the week.

Week Five’s game is on CBS and the network has the national game in the late window that week, so the move will likely result in a larger audience seeing Cam Newton lead the Patriots Offense. They’ll also get to see Jeff Driskel, Blake Bortles or Brett Rypien running the Broncos Offense, which may not prove to be much of a ratings driver outside of their immediate families.

CBS also has Colts-Browns and Giants-Cowboys in that window and the dismal start for the Giants may have helped cause the change of plans.

The move means the Patriots will be playing in the late afternoon window for three straight weeks as next week’s visit to Kansas City and their Week Six game against the 49ers are also set for 4:25 p.m. kickoffs.

Panthers felt “relief” after snapping 10-game losing streak

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There’s no immediate pressure on Panthers coach Matt Rhule this season, since owner David Tepper declared it a rebuild and gave him a $62 million contract.

But Rhule had to wait longer than he’d have preferred to win his first game, even if that streak was 20 percent of what a few Panthers had been through.

Beating the Chargers Sunday snapped a 10-game losing streak for the Panthers, who last won in Week Nine of 2019 against the Titans. The fact they nearly lost on the game’s final play only underscored how thin their margin of error is this year.

I felt relief,” Rhule said of the finish, via Joe Person of TheAthletic.com. “When those games come down to the wire, it’s like relief. It’s like, all right, we did it.

“For some of these guys, it’s been 10 straight losses. I don’t really carry that around with me. It’s been two [losses] and I see where we’re headed. But when you’re a young guy and that’s all you hear, it can start to weigh on you.”

The Chargers could have won on the final play, before Austin Ekeler couldn’t reel in the hook-and-lateral pitch from Keenan Allen.

The Panthers improved in a number of ways Sunday, getting their first two sacks of the year, creating four turnovers, and managing enough offense in their first game without the injured Christian McCaffrey.

And now that they’re not dragging around that streak, they can work on all the other issues they have.

Saints continue to make limited use of Taysom Hill

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With each passing week, the Saints are using quarterback Taysom Hill less and less and less.

A stellar performance in the playoff loss to the Vikings provided a glimpse of what Hill could be as a dual-threat quarterback. Since that game — during which he participated in 41 percent of the offensive snaps and 84 percent of the special-teams plays — Hill’s involvement in both phases of the game has consistently dropped.

For Week One, Hill was on the field for 25 percent of the offensive snaps and 36 percent of the special-teams plays. In Week Two, the numbers fell to 23 and 19, respectively. In Sunday night’s loss to the Packers, Hill’s participation shrunk to 21 percent of the offensive snaps and 16 percent of the special-teams plays.

Last night, Hill had two carries for eight yards, one reception for one yard, and (for the second straight week) zero passes thrown. One of the rushing attempts resulted in a fumble by Hill on a second-and-short read-option play during which he arguably should have handed off.  (Packers linebacker Za'Darius Smith did a great job of hesitating to commit to pursuing running back Latavius Murray or Hill, who kept the ball and run right into Smith. If Hills had evaded Smith, it could have been a huge gain.)

As one league source explained it before Sunday’s game, Hill’s usage ultimately will be dictated by coach Sean Payton, who “will use Hill as [Payton] sees fit.” It’s believed that Hill is being used less because they’re focusing on getting him ready to play quarterback in 2021, if Drew Brees retires.

Of course, it would make sense for the Saints to enhance Hill’s development as a passer by letting him, you know, pass the ball. He has one attempt in three games, and it went for a 38-yard gain on a gadget-style play late in the win over Tampa Bay.

The best evidence of a developmental focus for Hill comes from his plummeting involvement in special-teams plays. From 84 percent in the playoff loss to 36 in Week One to 19 in Week Two to 16 in Week Three, the Saints are sacrificing the involvement of a large, fast, potent weapon on their various special-teams units. That doesn’t exactly justify the significant contract they gave him after the 2019 season.

The payoff, if any, apparently will come later. It’s definitely not coming sooner, but for an injury to Brees.

Even so, a defense eventually will crowd the short zones and dare Brees to throw deep. That will provide the opportunity for a quick flip to Hill, who can then uncork a long pass, like he did in Week One.

Whatever the Saints do with Hill, they need a spark offensively. Maybe it will come from the eventual return of Michael Thomas. Or maybe, this year, it will be a little more elusive.

Kyle Shanahan: We kind of expected to play well despite injuries

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The 49ers came into Sunday’s game against the Giants without players like Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Bosa, George Kittle, Richard Sherman, Raheem Mostert, Deebo Samuel and Tevin Coleman, which led some to wonder if they might become the first team to lose to the Giants this season.

Such thoughts turned out to be a waste of time. The 49ers scored 10 points in the final 67 seconds of the first half to break a 6-6 tie and then poured it on in the second half of a 36-9 win that gave them two wins at MetLife Stadium in the last two weeks.

That final score may have surprised some people, but head coach Kyle Shanahan said it didn’t catch him or the rest of the Niners off guard.

“Our team kind of expected this,” Shanahan said, via Tim Kawakami of TheAthletic.com. “And you’ve still got to go out and do it and stuff, but we had a lot of confidence coming into this game and, hopefully, that can lead us to next week having some, too.”

One would imagine that lengthening the list of players that they can count on would provide a great deal of confidence for the 49ers whether they get a flood of players back for next Sunday’s game against the Eagles or not.