Cardinals claim Ifeadi Odenigbo off waivers, cut Jacquies Smith

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The Cardinals claimed defensive lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo off waivers from the Browns on Monday, the team announced. They released defensive end Jacquies Smith in a corresponding move.

Odenigbo, 24, entered the league as a seventh-round pick of the Vikings last year. Minnesota waived him out of the preseason, and he signed with the Vikings’ practice squad a day later.

The Vikings signed Odenigbo to a futures contract in January but again waived him out of the preseason.

The Browns claimed him off waivers Sept. 2.

Smith appeared in all three games this season, playing 29 defensive snaps and 23 on special teams.

Smith has spent time with the Lions, Dolphins, Jets, Bills and Buccaneers, making 13.5 career sacks since 2012.

Rams lose Aqib Talib for a month, Marcus Peters likely out this week

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The Rams will be out both starting cornerbacks this week, and one starting cornerback longer than that.

Rams cornerback Aqib Talib is expected to miss at least a month while Marcus Peters is expected to miss Thursday night’s game, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Talib suffered a high-ankle sprain on Sunday, a serious injury that often takes more than a month to heal. And cornerback isn’t a position where you want a player to be struggling with running and cutting.

Peters suffered a calf strain, not as serious an injury, but given that the Rams are playing on Thursday night this week, it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to go.

The Rams are hosting the Vikings on Thursday night, so Kirk Cousins and his receivers will be facing a weakened defense.

Broncos had TD negated by a player not in the game

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The Broncos didn’t understand the penalty that negated a 58-yard touchdown return by Chris Harris. Referee Ronald Torbert announced an illegal block above the waist on No. 77. Billy Turner is No. 77.

Turner played two special teams plays Sunday, but he wasn’t on the field during the one in question.

Domata Peko, who is No. 94, found out during Monday’s special teams meeting that he apparently was the player officials cited for the foul.

“No one knew. I didn’t know,” Peko said, via Mike Kliss of Denver’s 9News. “Twenty minutes after the play they threw the flag. That was bogus. I’ve got to man up to it. It was called on me, and I’ve got to be smarter.”

Justin Simmons blocked Justin Tucker‘s 43-yard attempt, with Harris returning it 58 yards for a touchdown that would have given the Broncos a 21-17 lead with 4:32 remaining in the second quarter. Instead, Denver took over at the Baltimore 49, and Phillip Lindsay‘s 15-yard penalty on a disqualification following a sack took the Broncos out of field-goal range four plays later.

Peko was trailing Harris when he was called for the penalty.

“We’re coached to run and finish plays,” Peko said. “That’s what we’re doing. Coach mentioned it in the meeting and told me. I’ve got to be a man and man up to it.”

Ravens sign Hroniss Grasu, waive Robertson Daniel

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The Ravens announced they signed center Hroniss Grasu on Monday. The team waived defensive back Robertson Daniel in a corresponding move.

The move leaves the Ravens with three reserve offensive linemen — Orlando Brown Jr., Bradley Bozeman and Grasu — and four healthy cornerbacks unless Anthony Averett is ready to return from a hamstring injury.

The Ravens promoted Daniel from the practice squad last week, and he played 10 special teams snaps against the Broncos.

The Bears drafted Grasu in the third round in 2015. He was one of 10 offensive linemen who worked out for the Ravens a week ago, and he also has had a tryout with the Vikings.

He started 12 games in his three seasons in Chicago.

Adrian Peterson has a sprained ankle


The bad news for Washington is that running back Adrian Peterson, who clearly still has it, currently has a sprained ankle. The good news is that he has a week off to let it heal.

Coach Jay Gruden disclosed the injury on Monday. Earlier in the day, Peterson was spotted in a boot.

“I think he’s going to be fine,” Gruden said. “I think this bye week is a good time for him, so he gets two weeks to recover.”

Asked whether Peterson may miss the game against the Saints on October 7, Gruden said, “No. Not at this time. No.”

Peterson rushed for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Sunday’s 31-17 win over the Packers, a team he has haunted throughout his career.

Report: 49ers working out Tom Savage

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49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. That moves C.J. Beathard into the starting job and leaves the 49ers in need of a backup quarterback.

The 49ers have Nick Mullens on the practice squad, but they apparently are seeking more experience behind Beathard.

San Francisco is bringing in veteran Tom Savage for a workout, Jordan Schultz of ESPN reports. The 49ers could bring in other quarterbacks for a look-see, too.

The Saints cut Savage on Sept. 1, and he remains a free agent.

Savage started nine games for Houston after it made him a fourth-round pick in 2014. He has thrown five career touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Scott Linehan will remain Cowboys’ play-caller

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The question first was asked after the season-opening loss to the Panthers when the Cowboys had only 232 yards and scored eight points. It was asked again Monday, a day after the Cowboys gained 303 yards in a 24-13 loss to the Seahawks.

Jason Garrett’s answer remains the same: Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will continue to call the plays for the Cowboys.

“We’re not going to go down that road,” Garrett said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “I have a lot of confidence in Scott Linehan. He has been an outstanding coordinator in this league for a long time. He’s been an outstanding coordinator for us. He’s been an outstanding play-caller for us. What we need to do is get better on offense. We have to constantly look at ourselves as coaches first, about the positions we’re putting our players in with our game plan, and during the game we have to look at how we’re executing things — what we’re doing well — and build on those things and what we’re not doing well, [we need to] address those things. Practice them better and carry them to the game. We just have to do it. We’ll work very hard this week to do that. Try to instill that in our players and hopefully play better this week against Detroit.”

It’s true the Cowboys have plenty of blame to go around: Their quarterback has thrown for less than 200 yards in nine of the past 11 games; their running back lost a fumble and stepped out of bounds before catching a touchdown pass Sunday; their receivers and tight ends scare no one; and their offensive line isn’t coming close to living up to its reputation.

“We haven’t played well enough on offense, so everybody has to look at it,” Garrett said. “I think it would be false for me to say this is about the play calling. This is about everything we’re doing offensively. We have to do better. We have to coach better; we’ve got to play better. We’ve got to run it better; we’ve got to throw it better. We’ve got to protect better. We have to do all the things that good offenses do. We have to do all those things better. We’re working hard to do that.”

So Linehan will keep his job for now.

Garrett called the plays in 2011 and 2012, his first two full seasons as head coach, before turning it over to Bill Callahan. Linehan has served as the team’s play-caller since he was hired in 2014.

Everson Griffen not at Sunday’s game due to “personal matter”

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There’s a strange footnote to Sunday’s bizarre Vikings loss to the Buffalo Bills: Defensive end Everson Griffen, out with a knee injury, wasn’t present at the game.

“He’s having a personal matter and I’m going to leave it at that,” coach Mike Zimmer told reporters after the game.

Social media isn’t leaving it at that, with plenty of speculation, rumors, and #fanswithsources trying to get to the bottom of the situation. Which is understandable, given that so little information has been provided about the situation.

A Vikings spokesman told PFT via text message on Monday that there’s nothing to add to Zimmer’s comment from Sunday. There may be nothing to add, but there’s surely additional information. And someone eventually is going to dig it up.

Meanwhile, the Vikings are only three days away from playing a Thursday night game in L.A. If they don’t have Griffen when they face the Rams, the Vikings will have a hard time avoiding a 1-2-1 start.

Jon Gruden: “It’s hard to trade one of the best players on your franchise”

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Raiders coach Jon Gruden is having a tough time in his return to coaching, and he acknowledges that his decision to trade Khalil Mack is a part of it.

Gruden said a big part of the challenge during the team’s 0-3 start stems from the fact that he chose to prioritize winning in the future by acquiring the Bears’ next two first-round draft picks over winning now by signing Mack to a long-term contract extension.

“Yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard to trade one of the best players on your franchise. It’s hard. It’s hard on the players. We didn’t get anything for him that’s going to help us this year,” Gruden said, via Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

If Gruden is smart about how he uses the Bears’ first-round picks in 2019 and 2020, and in how he spends all the salary cap savings the Raiders will have because they’re not paying Mack, in the long run he may build a winner in Oakland. In the short term, trading away a great player is hard.

Todd Bowles: Sam Darnold “will come out of it fine”


Footing can change quickly in the NFL, especially for rookie quarterbacks charged with setting their teams on new and better courses.

Sam Darnold was a conquering hero in Week One when he directed the Jets to a rout of the Lions, but the next two weeks have proved to be rougher sledding. The Jets were sloppy in a Week Two loss to the Dolphins and blew a 14-point lead to the Browns last Thursday night in Baker Mayfield‘s own coming out party.

Darnold threw four interceptions in those two losses and head coach Todd Bowles was asked how he thinks Darnold will react in his next outing.

“I think he will come out of it fine,” Bowles said on a conference call. “I think Sam has the right mentality and he has the right work ethic to learn what he has done wrong, as well as the rest of the team. They come back out of it, and he’s not in it by himself. We are in it as a team. Everything he learns from is an experience. He made some good plays. He had some plays that he can learn from and some plays that he would like to have back. I think he will come out of it fine.”

The Jaguars are next up for the Jets and their defense is unlikely to make things easy on Darnold as he tries to show that he’s learned how to avoid making the same mistakes.

Raiders trying out kickers in wake of Mike Nugent’s injury

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For the second consecutive year, the Raiders have an injury to their kicker that will necessitate signing another one.

Mike Nugent injured his hip in Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins, coach Jon Gruden said Monday.

“We’ll be working out numerous people,” Gruden said, via Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Nugent made all six field goal attempts and was 4-for-5 on PATs this season.

The Raiders moved on from longtime kicker Sebastian Janikowski in the offseason, letting him leave for the Seahawks in free agency after his contract expired. Janikowski spent last season on injured reserve after injuring his back.

The Raiders signed Giorgio Tavecchio to replace Janikowski, and he made 16 of 21 field-goal attempts and converted on 33 of 34 PATs last season. The team waived Tavecchio on Aug. 3, signing Nugent to compete with rookie Eddy Pineiro in training camp.

Nugent won the job, but his injury will force the Raiders to go to a backup plan at least for the short term.

Baker Mayfield on being 30th starting QB in 19 years: “Don’t really care”

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Baker Mayfield has become the latest name to be added at the bottom of the list of names on the back of the jersey with all of the starting quarterbacks in Cleveland since the franchise returned to the NFL in 1999. A reporter asked Mayfield on Monday whether he’s aware of that fact.

“It is 2018,” Mayfield said. “Don’t really care.”

Mayfield does care about playing. He said it’s actually harder to be a backup than it is to be the starter, for one very important reason.

“To be honest with you, I love playing so I would say it is harder to be the backup,” he said.

His first career start won’t come in Cleveland, but in a city that won’t have NFL football much longer: Oakland. And he’s looking forward to that.

“Anytime that you play on the road, it is a great opportunity to see what your team is made of,” Mayfield said. “It is kind of your back is against the wall. It is just your team — just the team that you bring and you travel with. It is always exciting with that. Then, you add in the perspective of the Black Hole. It is a hostile environment. You want to see how your team is going to react. You want to see how they will battle adversity and how you take on the challenge. I am very excited about the opportunity.”

The Raiders are actually the team with their backs against the wall, given that they’ve failed to win in three games under Jon Gruden. The “must” win nature of the game would create almost a postseason feel, for the Raiders. Which would be fitting, since the Raiders once went to Cleveland and knocked the Browns out of the postseason, on one of the rare occasions they’ve been to the postseason in the past 40 years.

With Rodney McLeod’s status uncertain, Eagles may need safety help

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The status of Eagles safety Rodney McLeod remains uncertain a day after teammate Jalen Mills‘ helmet collided with McLeod’s knee.

“We’re still honestly evaluating him today [and] probably tomorrow,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said during his weekly Monday press conference, via Mike Kaye of NJ Advance Media. “I’ll probably have a better update for you on Wednesday quite honestly. He’s still being evaluated.”

Corey Graham replaced McLeod at free safety after McLeod’s third-quarter injury.

The Eagles might need safety help if McLeod is out as an injury would leave only Graham, starting strong safety Malcolm Jenkins and Deiondre Hall at the position. Hall has played only 12 special teams snaps and no defensive snaps since arriving in Philadelphia three weeks ago.

Eric Reid, T.J. Ward and Mike Mitchell are among the veteran safeties available in free agency.

Dolphins defensive end Andre Branch suffers knee injury

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Sunday was a tough day for the Dolphins defense, which now has another hole to fill up front.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, defensive end Andre Branch will miss some time after suffering a knee injury against the Raiders.

Branch is expected to miss “a few weeks,” which is much better news than they got on William Hayes earlier today.

Hayes suffered a torn ACL during the win, leaving the Dolphins thin on the line.

Josh Rosen named Cardinals starting QB

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Baker Mayfield won’t be the only quarterback making his first NFL start in Week Four.

Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks announced at the start of his Monday press conference that Josh Rosen will start at quarterback against the Seahawks in Seattle next Sunday.

“Josh is our starter and it’s his job to lose,” Wilks said.

Rosen came in for his first regular season action after the Bears took a 16-14 lead with 4:31 left to play in the game. Wilks said he was hoping to get Rosen into the game earlier, but the Bears held the ball for just under seven minutes before Cody Parkey‘s field goal put them in the lead.

Wilks said he felt Rosen “handled it well” and did a good job moving the ball. Wilks also talked about Rosen’s mobility being something he feels the team can take advantage of as they look for their first win of the 2018 season.

Rosen threw an interception on fourth down after moving the Cardinals into Bears territory and finished the game 4-of-7 for 36 yards.