Baker Mayfield: Surgery on left shoulder was a “complete success”

Cleveland Browns v Green Bay Packers
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After he dealt with a torn labrum in his left shoulder for most of the season, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has officially had it repaired.

Both Mayfield and the Browns released statements on Mayfield’s surgery. Mayfield put up a video on social media calling the procedure a “complete success.”

“Had a great medical team that took care of me,” Mayfield said. “I checked that box off to get this fixed and now it’s on the way to the road to recovery.”

The Browns noted the surgery occurred in Los Angeles and has a likely full-recovery timeline of 4-6 months.

“We anticipate Baker bringing light throwing in April,” the Browns’ statement said. “He should be able to participate in the offseason program on a limited basis while a full recovery is expected by the start of training camp.”

Mayfield finished the 2021 season with a 60.5 percent completion rate, 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. General Manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski have both said they expect Mayfield to have a bounce-back season in 2022.

Giants request interview with Dan Quinn

NFL: DEC 26 Washington Football Team at Cowboys
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The Giants have made their first request for a head coaching interview and it is for a guy who helped ensure that Joe Judge would be fired at the end of the 2021 season.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports that the Giants have requested an interview with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. The Cowboys handed the Giants two of their 13 losses during the regular season. Dallas held the Giants to 26 points in those games while forcing six turnovers.

Quinn has been the most popular candidate in this head coaching cycle. He has interviewed or will interview with the Bears, Broncos, Dolphins, and Vikings, but turned down the chance to speak with the Jaguars.

The Giants had held off on issuing interview requests for head coaches while prioritizing their General Manager search. That search has moved to a second round with three candidates landing second interviews and some or all of those candidates may have Quinn on their list of preferred head coaching candidates.

Sean McVay: Andrew Whitworth not ruled out for Sunday

Los Angeles Rams v New York Giants
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Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth was sidelined for most of Monday’s win over the Cardinals after suffering a leg injury on the team’s first offensive play.

He came back in for a few series but did not play in the second half of the contest as Joe Noteboom took over at left tackle.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles head coach Sean McVay told reporters in his press conference that Whitworth has not been ruled out for Sunday’s Divisional contest against the Buccaneers.

Via Stu Jackson of the team’s website, McVay noted that Whitworth has “some swelling in that knee and that ankle,” adding that it was a “miracle” that the injury wasn’t more serious.

If Whitworth cannot play, then Noteboom is expected to start for L.A. at left tackle.

The Rams’ full injury report will be released later on Wednesday.

Mike McCarthy: No. 1 focus moving forward is on penalties

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys
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There was a lot of focus on the final play of Sunday’s Cowboys loss to the 49ers, but the Cowboys’ attempt to spike the ball and run one more play might not have been necessary if they’d been a little more disciplined throughout the game.

Dallas was penalized 14 times for 89 yards over the course of the 23-17 loss and their inability to avoid flags continued a theme that was in place all season. The Cowboys were the most penalized team in the entire league during the regular season and head coach Mike McCarthy said at a Wednesday press conference that changing that will be the top priority of the offseason.

“And our number one focus moving forward is the penalties,” McCarthy said, via 105.3 The Fan. “It’s way too many . . . you look at the pre-snap (penalties), there’s no excuse for it. That’s been a focus all year. You know, the thing I struggle with as a head coach doing this now for a number of years is, I have comparables over a 15-year period and this team here is clearly one of the better teams I’ve coached as far as their mental preparation and their mental execution. . . . Our mental grades don’t coincide with the penalties, because they usually go together. That’s something we’ll take a very hard look at.”

Outside observers might have a different view of the Cowboys’ overall mental execution that McCarthy expressed on Wednesday, but no one’s going to take issue with the team’s need to do less to hurt itself in the future.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling doesn’t practice, David Bakhtiari returns

Green Bay Packers v Baltimore Ravens
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The Packers had a couple of changes to their participation levels at Wednesday’s practice and one of them was a move in the wrong direction.

Wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling was a limited participant on Tuesday because of a back injury, but he was out of practice entirely on Wednesday. Thursday will bring another practice session before the Packers issue any injury designations for Saturday’s home game against the 49ers.

Valdes-Scantling was injured in the regular season finale. He finished the year with 26 catches for 430 yards and three touchdowns.

Left tackle David Bakhtiari didn’t practice on Tuesday in what head coach Matt LaFleur called a “load management” decision after he made his long-awaited return from last season’s torn ACL in Week 18.

Cornerback Jaire Alexander (shoulder) remained a limited participant. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (toe), linebacker De'Vondre Campbell (elbow), running back Aaron Jones (knee), and right tackle Billy Turner (knee) fully participated for the second straight day.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a full participant in Wednesday practice

Dallas Cowboys v Kansas City Chiefs
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Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire may be on his way to playing in Sunday’s Divisional matchup against the Bills.

Edwards-Helaire was a full participant in Kansas City’s Wednesday practice with his shoulder injury. He was limited in last Wednesday’s session before sitting out on Thursday and Friday. He was ruled out for the Wild Card matchup against the Steelers.

Edwards-Helaire hasn’t played since suffering the injury in the Week 16 win over Pittsburgh. He finished the regular season with 646 yards from scrimmage on 138 touches with six total touchdowns in 10 games.

Receiver Tyreek Hill (heel) and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed (knee) were also full participants on Wednesday.

As head coach Andy Reid said earlier in the day, running back Darrel Williams (toe) and cornerback Rashad Fenton (back) did not participate.

Janoris Jenkins doesn’t practice for Titans Wednesday

Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars
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The Titans made a pair of additions to their injury report after Wednesday’s practice and both players did not take part in practice.

Cornerback Janoris Jenkins was added to the report with an ankle injury that’s been an issue for him for several weeks. Jenkins missed two games during the second half of the season because of his ankle and remained on the injury report while playing in the final three games of the regular season.

Jenkins started 13 of the 14 games he played this season. He had 54 tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble.

Linebacker Derick Roberson missed practice for non-injury reasons. Defensive lineman Teair Tart (ankle) was out of practice for the second straight day while defensive lineman Naquan Jones (knee) and cornerback Buster Skrine (hamstring) remained limited participants.

Titans put Greg Mabin on COVID-19 reserve

Tennessee Titans v Pittsburgh Steelers
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After no active players went on the COVID-19 reserve list on Monday or Tuesday, a player has landed on the list on Wednesday.

Titans cornerback Greg Mabin was placed on COVID-19 reserve today.

Mabin played in five games during the regular season, with two starts. There’s a good chance he won’t be active for Saturday’s game against the Bengals even if he is cleared to return from COVID-19.

The NFL is not regularly testing players who are either fully vaccinated or have tested positive within the last 90 days, which is almost every player in the NFL. Players who report symptoms are tested.

Trey Hendrickson upgraded to full participant on Wednesday

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Las Vegas Raiders v Cincinnati Bengals
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The Bengals had good news on their top pass rusher for their second practice day of the week.

Defensive end Trey Hendrickson (concussion) was upgraded from a limited to a full participant on Wednesday.

Hendrickson suffered the concussion during Sunday’s victory over Las Vegas. But he did record a sack and a forced fumble during that contest.

A free agent signee last spring, Hendrickson recorded a team-leading and career-high 14.0 sacks with 12 tackles for loss and 27 quarterback hits in 2021.

Receiver Stanley Morgan (hamstring) and defensive tackle Josh Tupou (knee) both remained limited on Wednesday.

Cornerback Jalen Davis (ankle), cornerback Mike Hilton (ankle), and defensive end Sam Hubbard (ribs) all remained full participants.

Mario Addison limited with shoulder injury

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The Bills enter the week of their Divisional round matchup against the Chiefs pretty healthy, with a nearly clean injury report.

Only defensive end Mario Addison was on Wednesday’s practice report, as he was limited in the session with a shoulder injury.

Addison suffered the injury in the second half of Saturday’s victory over the Patriots.

A veteran defender in his 11th season, Addison has been an important rotational player for the Bills over the last two seasons. He’s appeared in every game for the club this season, recording a team-leading 7.0 sacks in the regular season. He also had eight tackles for loss and a pair of forced fumbles.

Otherwise, the team had no injuries to report across its 53-man roster.

Dwayne Haskins: I definitely feel I can be a starter in this league

NFL: DEC 26 Steelers at Chiefs
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Washington cut former first-rounder Dwayne Haskins after less than two seasons. He started 13 games and threw 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and left with questions about his work ethic and his commitment.

Haskins’ talent has given him a second chance to try again at becoming a full-time NFL starter.

“I definitely feel like I can be a starter in this league,” Haskins said, via Will Graves of the Associated Press. “I got drafted for that reason. I really believe I have the talent to. I believe I can play with the best of them. I really just haven’t put it all together yet. And I know I have to do that if I want to put myself in a position to play.”

The Steelers took a flier on Haskins after Washington cut him Dec. 28, 2020. Haskins, the 15th overall choice in 2019, didn’t play a down in 2021.

Instead, Haskins sat back and watched Ben Roethlisberger.

“Having to play early (in Washington), I never had a chance to learn the NFL game the way it should be done and the way the Steelers wanted done,” Haskins said. “It gave me an opportunity to understand the ‘Steelers Way’ and how they wanted their quarterbacks to operate.”

Roethlisberger’s pending retirement will have the Steelers searching for a starting quarterback for the first time since 2004 when they drafted Roethlisberger with the 11th overall choice. Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that “all options are on the table.”

Haskins and Mason Rudolph could get a chance to show they are the right quarterback for the job. The Steelers also could turn to a veteran quarterback via a trade.

Haskins, though, has faith he can win the job given the chance.

“(Tomlin) is looking for a guy that can move around in the pocket the way young Ben was,” Haskins said.

Ryan Jensen, Tristan Wirfs wouldn’t have practiced Wednesday

NFL: JAN 16 NFC Wild Card - Eagles at Buccaneers
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The Buccaneers only held a walkthrough practice on Wednesday and they would have been missing a couple of key pieces of their offensive line if they had held a full session.

Head coach Bruce Arians said that center Ryan Jensen and right tackle Tristan Wirfs would not have practiced. Jensen remained in last Sunday’s win over the Eagles after injuring his leg and Wirfs was forced out of the game with an ankle injury.

Arians said on Monday that the availability of both players for this weekend’s game against the Rams will be determined later in the week. A change in status when the team actually practices would be a step toward the lineup for both players.

Wide receiver Cyril Grayson, running back Ronald Jones, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, wide receiver Breshad Perriman, and edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul also wouldn’t have participated in a full practice. Grayson, Jones, and Murphy-Bunting were all out last weekend.

Tom Brady says he doesn’t get special treatment on roughing the passer calls

NFL: JAN 16 NFC Wild Card - Eagles at Buccaneers
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The Eagles were flagged for a highly questionable roughing the passer call against Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady on Sunday, but Brady wants to make clear that the referees don’t go out of their way to protect them.

Brady said in his weekly interview with Jim Gray that the officials actually don’t protect him from getting hit any more than any other quarterback, noting that he only got one roughing the passer penalty during the regular season.

“I always hear that to different degrees about getting penalties, and so forth, roughing the passers,” Brady said. “I don’t remember the last time I got a roughing the passer. . . . I don’t feel like I get them as much as people might think that I get them.”

As noted by Cris Collinsworth, Brady actually has the fourth-lowest rate of roughing the passer calls among all qualifying quarterbacks since 2015. So whatever the reasons for Brady’s success, the officials excessively flagging defenders who hit him is not one of them.

Baker Mayfield undergoing shoulder surgery today

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns
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Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is undergoing surgery today to repair his injured left shoulder.

Anaheim Ducks orthopedic surgeon Orr Limpisvasti is repairing Mayfield’s torn labrum in Los Angeles.

Mayfield initially injured his shoulder in Week 2 and further injured it in Week 6. The Browns placed Mayfield on injured reserve before the team’s season finale against the Bengals after he played most of the season with a shoulder harness.

Mayfield is expected to fully recover in time for the latter stages of OTAs and mini-camp.

He is entering the final year of his rookie contract scheduled to make $18.86 million on the fifth-year option.

Mason Rudolph: I think I can be the guy next year and that’s my plan

Pittsburgh Steelers v Green Bay Packers
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With Ben Roethlisberger‘s pending retirement, the Steelers will open 2022 with a new starting quarterback for the first time in a long, long time.

Head coach Mike Tomlin said this week that “all options are on the table” when it comes to finding Pittsburgh’s next QB1. But there’s a chance that person might already be on the Steelers’ roster.

At least that’s how Mason Rudolph would like to see it play out. The 2018 third-round pick has started 10 games for Pittsburgh in the last three seasons, compiling a 5-4-1 record. But Rudolph hasn’t exactly looked the part when he’s received his opportunities. he’s completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 2,366 yards with 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 17 appearances.

Still, Rudolph is looking forward to getting a chance to start without Roethlisberger on the roster.

“I am a competitive person and I have a lot of confidence in myself,” Rudolph said, via Teresa Varley of the Steelers’ website. “I think I can be the guy next year and that’s my plan. I want to be the guy. My goal is to look forward to when we come back here and control what I can control. I know that I am going to compete. … It is encouraging to know I have as good a chance as any this year as opposed to the last four years when I had zero chance. That’s going to motivate me to put my best foot forward.”

Rudolph said he’s learned plenty from being the backup quarterback and taking the reps he has. And he feels like he’s developed plenty from when he started eight games back in 2019 when Roethlisberger was out with an elbow injury.

“I am not going to be anybody that I am not,” Rudolph said. “Being a backup quarterback challenged me and made me treat the mental side of football with more reverence. I am going to be myself. If you talk to my teammates, they know who I am. They know I am a leader. I am excited to take that next step.”

Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins are currently with the Steelers. But other options are likely to come available for Pittsburgh once the coaching carousel slows down and the quarterback carousel begins to spin.