Eddie Goldman misses practice despite an “arrow up” in his return

Chicago Bears v Philadelphia Eagles
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Bears coach Matt Nagy said nose tackle Eddie Goldman had an “arrow up” in his return from a knee injury. Only 90 minutes later, Goldman didn’t practice.

On Wednesday, Goldman made his first practice appearance since injuring his knee in the Sept. 6 practice with the Bears listing him as limited. A day later, the Bears downgraded him.

Starting left tackle Jason Peters, who injured a quadriceps Sunday night, remained limited for a second consecutive day.

“I think they are in a good place and we’ll continue to monitor them day-by-day,” Nagy said of Goldman and Peters before practice, via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “But I would say, as I’ve used before: Arrow up for them. I feel good about them and we need to see each day how we go, but they’ve been doing well.”

Defensive lineman Bilal Nichols said Goldman “wants to be out there on the field and he wants to help us win.”

Goldman opted out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns. He missed part of training camp with the virus and then dealt with a back injury. Goldman played in the final preseason game, getting 10 snaps against the Titans.

Peters played 32 snaps Sunday before his injury, with Larry Borom and then Elijah Wilkinson replacing him. Borom (ankle) has not practiced this week.

Linebacker Robert Quinn (back) remained limited.

Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods on defending the Chiefs: “You can’t cover them all”

NFL: SEP 12 Browns at Chiefs
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The Browns nearly beat the Chiefs, but they didn’t come close to shutting down receiver Tyreek Hill, who caught 11 passes for 197 yards on Sunday. Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods discussed the challenge of defending the Chiefs when meeting with reporters on Thursday.

“You can’t cover them all,” Woods said. “There are a lot of weapons out there so again, when you game plan, there are certain calls that take away certain things they do, but there may be some guys who get some one-on-ones. This is part of the game, but when you have a team that has so many weapons across the board, you just have to be very selective when you choose to double somebody.”

They didn’t double Hill nearly enough. Woods explained the biggest play of the day, a 75-yard catch-and-run in which safety Josh Johnson found himself trying to cover Hill alone.

“It was an empty formation so we were in a certain empty adjustment,” Woods said. “We had it covered, and we kind of adjusted it during the game so we had everything covered. [Patrick] Mahomes did a great job just staying alive. You saw the throw. He threw it up there, and it just came down. At the end of the day, they made more plays than we made, especially in critical situations.”

If the Browns hope to get past the Chiefs in a postseason rematch, they’ll need to be the one making more of the plays. That won’t be relevant until January. The Browns have to put a pin in their desire to finally beat the Chiefs, focusing instead on doing everything they can to get to that point.

Jason Pierre-Paul out of practice Thursday

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Houston Texans
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Jason Pierre-Paul‘s name will be one to watch when the Buccaneers release their injury designations for Sunday’s game against the Falcons.

Pierre-Paul was a limited participant with a hand injury on Wednesday, but he took a step in the wrong direction on Thursday. Pierre-Paul was out of practice altogether.

Pierre-Paul has gotten plenty of rest during the week in recent seasons and the Buccaneers may be managing his workload in order to ensure he’s able to chase after Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan this weekend. Friday’s report will bring the answer to that question.

Defensive tackle Steve McLendon was the only other Bucs player out of practice, but it was just a day of rest for the veteran. Linebacker Shaq Barrett (back), wide receiver Antonio Brown (knee), and safety Jordan Whitehead (hamstring) were full participants for Tampa.

Marshon Lattimore returns to practice on limited basis


Cornerback Marshon Lattimore underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a chipped bone in his thumb. He returned to practice Thursday.

The Saints listed Lattimore as a limited participant.

The three-time Pro Bowler missed one series in the second half before returning with a cast on his right wrist. He played 36 of 57 defensive snaps, with three tackles and a pass breakup.

Safety P.J. Williams (back) also returned to limited work Thursday.

Linebacker Kwon Alexander (elbow), defensive end Marcus Davenport (shoulder), center Erik McCoy (calf), defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon (calf) and linebacker Pete Werner (hamstring) remained out of practice a second consecutive day.

Defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson (knee) and linebacker Chase Hansen (groin) missed practice a day after being limited.

Report: “Unlikely” that Deshaun Watson’s criminal probe will end before trade deadline

Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans
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As of last week, it was believed that the grand jury eventually handling the criminal complaints against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson could conclude its work by late October. A new report suggests otherwise.

A.J. Perez of FrontOfficeSports.com writes that it’s “looking more unlikely” that the criminal probe will end before the November 2 trade deadline.

As worded, that’s a bit vague. If it was previously looking incredibly likely but now only marginally likely, it technically would be “looking more unlikely.” Regardless, we’ll interpret the comment as meaning that, for now, it’s not expected that the grand jury will reach a decision as to whether to indict or not indict Watson before the trade deadline.

Perez adds that “there’s still a chance” that Watson could be traded without a grand-jury decision. Most teams want to wait for the criminal case to conclude. At least one team, per Perez, is open to trading for Watson before then.

That team, based on our own reporting, would be the Dolphins. As previously mentioned, the Dolphins were talking to the league office in an effort to gather insight as to whether Watson, if traded, would land on paid leave. For now, the league hasn’t decided whether to place Watson on the Commissioner Exempt list because the Texans are already paying him to not play. The moment he’d be traded, the league would then have to decide whether to intervene.

The Dolphins ultimately weren’t scared off by the possibility of paid leave but by the asking price from the Texans, who refused to bend in their desire for three first-round picks and two second-round picks. (One source believes the Texans want four first-round picks and two second-round picks from Miami.)

For now, Watson continues to be on the team but not really part of it. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported over the weekend that they’re keeping him away from the other players. In six weeks and five days, he’ll either be sidelined for the rest of 2021 with pay or he’ll be part of a new team.

Derrick Henry: We want to play to our standard, play to our identity

Arizona Cardinals v Tennessee Titans
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Derrick Henry has led the league in rushing each of the past two seasons. He currently ranks 20th after gaining only 58 yards on 17 carries. It was his fewest rushing yards since he ran for 57 on 19 carries against the Bills last Oct. 13.

It was that kind of day for the Titans on Sunday against the Cardinals.

“We know last week wasn’t our standard,” Henry said Thursday, via Jim Wyatt of the team website. “We just need to come out here and focus on being better, being locked in on what we have to do, play by play, and each rep. That is all we need to do. Guys are hungry to be better and just trying to put it together this week.

“We want to play to our standard, play to our identity, and we know it starts out here each and every day. Each and every rep, just locking in, working hard, focusing on what you have to do so you can go out there and play at a high level on Sunday.”

In 31 games the past two seasons, Henry has 3,567 rushing yards and 320 receiving yards and 35 total touchdowns. That’s an average of 125 yards and a touchdown every time out.

But it doesn’t get any easier for the Titans this week as they go on the road against the Seahawks.

Josh Jacobs did not practice Thursday

Baltimore Ravens v Las Vegas Raiders
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Raiders running back Josh Jacobs was questionable for Week One with an illness, but now he’s been held out of the first two practices of Week Two.

Jacobs (toe/ankle) is just one of several Las Vegas players who didn’t participate in Thursday’s session.

Guard Richie Incognito (calf), linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (concussion), safety Roderic Teamer (ankle), and quarterback Marcus Mariota (quad) also did not participate. Mariota is slated to miss multiple weeks with his injury.

After missing Wednesday’s practice, defensive end Carl Nassib (pectoral/toe) was back on the field as a limited participant. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (hamstring), linebacker Denzel Perryman (hip), and fullback Alec Ingold (fibula) all remained limited. The team added defensive tackle Darius Philon (knee) as a limited participant.

Linebacker (ankle), receiver Bryan Edwards (elbow), defensive end Clelin Ferrell (back), defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (knee), center Andre James (elbow), and safety Dallin Leavitt (hip) were all full participants.

Ronnie Stanley out of practice for second straight day

Baltimore Ravens v Washington Football Team
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The Ravens’ injury issues now include left tackle Ronnie Stanley.

Stanley missed his second straight practice on Thursday with an ankle injury. Stanley had ankle surgery after suffering a season-ending injury last season and didn’t look to be up to his usual standard of play against the Raiders on Monday night.

Friday will bring more word on Stanley’s outlook against the Chiefs on Sunday night, but the team has started to consider their options. Moving Alejandro Villanueva from right tackle to the left side is one of them.

“If that does happen, I feel great about it,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said, via the team’s website. “He’s played many years there if that’s the way we go. We’ll see how things play out. I think Al’s a guy that’s going to keep getting better in our system as we go as well.”

The Ravens would prefer to have Stanley at that spot as they try to avoid an 0-2, but having him at 100 percent in the weeks to come may trump the short view this weekend.

Tyrann Mathieu: If I’m not 100 percent, I’m getting there

NFL: AUG 27 Preseason - Vikings at Chiefs
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Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu got off the COVID-19 reserve list in time to play against the Browns in Week One, but the Chiefs made him one of their inactives.

On Thursday, Mathieu said the team “really made the best decision for me as a player” because he’d missed 10 days of work after testing positive. Mathieu has been back on the practice field this week and he was asked if he feels back to 100 percent after the long layoff.

“I think if I’m not, I think I’m getting there,” Mathieu said, via Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star. “[Wednesday’s] practice was pretty good for me, just going out there and having a full workload, getting back into the communication and just working with my boys. Any time I see those guys, my teammates, it always gives you that extra energy to kind of uplift you. So I’m just looking forward to kind of continuing to stack ’em, and then getting in front of the world on Sunday night and showing what I can do.”

Daniel Sorensen and Juan Thornhill started at safety last weekend and will be on hand to step in to the lineup if Mathieu isn’t ready to take on a full workload against the Ravens.

Darius Leonard remains out of practice for Colts

Carolina Panthers v Indianapolis Colts
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The Colts could have a few injury concerns for Sunday’s Week Two matchup with the Rams.

Star linebacker Darius Leonard (ankle/illness) missed his second day of practice this week. Indianapolis added the illness designation on Thursday, as Leonard had already been listed with the ankle issue. The linebacker did not practice last Friday due to the ankle injury, but still played all 54 of the Colts’ defensive snaps in the loss to the Seahawks.

On the offensive line, left guard Quenton Nelson (foot/back) and right tackle Braden Smith (foot) also did not practice for the second day in a row. Nelson was listed with his respective injuries last week, but was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice before going in full on Friday.

Plus, defensive end Kwity Paye (hamstring) was downgraded to a non-participant from limited on Wednesday.

Cornerback Xavier Rhodes (calf) remains out. He did not play in last week’s season opener.

Receiver Mike Strachan (ankle) was added to the injury report as a limited participant. Safety Khari Willis (illness) did not participate.

Left tackle Eric Fisher (Achilles), defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad (ankle), and defensive end Kemoko Turay (groin) all remained limited.

Tight end Jack Doyle received a veteran’s rest day.

Aaron Rodgers: We’re in big trouble if we freak out over one game

Green Bay Packers v New Orleans Saints
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Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers famously spelled out “R-E-L-A-X” as a message to those he felt were overly panicked about a rough stretch during the 2014 season and he sent a similar message on Thursday.

This one didn’t include any spelling exercises. Rodgers met the media in Green Bay on Thursday and the topic of the team’s 38-3 loss to the Saints remained a popular one. Rodgers said the team does not need to make “some big drastic change” because of the loss.

“If we’re starting to freak out after one week, we’re in big trouble. . . . we’ve won a lot of games around here, lost a few, but you move on,” Rodgers said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.

Monday night’s game against the Lions offers the Packers what looks like a golden opportunity to change the narrative. Should they fail to take advantage, “R-E-L-A-X” may not be an option for those who think the team is on the wrong track.

Lions claim Corey Ballentine off waivers

Cleveland Browns v New York Jets
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The Lions have added a defensive back.

Per ESPN’s Field Yates, Detroit has claimed Corey Ballentine off waivers. The Jets waived him off injured reserve on Wednesday.

Ballentine was a Giants sixth-round pick in 2019 and appeared in 13 games for the club as a rookie. He played 27 percent of defensive snaps and 30 percent of special teams snaps, including averaging 25.6 yards on 10 kick returns.

After the Giants waived him last year, the Jets claimed him. He played only special teams for the cross-town team, averaging 26.2 yards on 12 kick returns.

The Lions need some defensive back help after cornerback Jeff Okudah tore his Achilles during the Week One loss to the 49ers.

Cowboys prepare for their first game at SoFi Stadium with Cowboys fans present

Dallas Cowboys v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The Cowboys faced the Rams last year in the first game ever played at SoFi Stadium. Due to the pandemic, no fans were present.

On Sunday, they play the Chargers there. Linebacker Jaylon Smith expects to see plenty of Cowboys fans in the stands.

Via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, Smith said Thursday that he expects an “electric” atmosphere for what will be the Chargers’ first home game with fans present in the venue.

“America’s Team, we have fans globally and especially in L.A.,” Smith said. “So we’re looking forward to having our fans out and doing whatever it takes to get a victory.”

It will be interesting to see the ratio of Cowboys to Chargers fans. During their temporary stint at a 30,000-seat soccer stadium in Carson, Chargers fans routinely were outnumbered by fans of the visiting team.

The presence of quarterback Justin Herbert and a general vibe that the team is on the rise could help, but the Cowboys definitely have a solid presence in Southern California. With the market empty for 20 years and with the Cowboys visiting annually (except for last year) for training camp, it could look, feel, and sound like a home game for the Cowboys.

Charlie Heck activated from COVID-19 list

Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans
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Charlie Heck was slated to start at right tackle in the season opener, but he tested positive for COVID-19 last week before the game.

The Texans activated Heck from the COVID-19 reserve list Thursday.

He is taking the roster spot of linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, who went on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

Marcus Cannon, who was working his way back from a knee injury, started at right tackle and played 50 of 78 offensive snaps. Geron Christian played 28.

Heck, a fourth-round choice in 2020, played three games with one start as a rookie.

Gus Bradley: Clelin Ferrell handled being inactive like a “true pro”

Seattle Seahawks v Las Vegas Raiders
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Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell was inactive for Week One, with Las Vegas electing to make the fourth overall pick of the 2019 draft a healthy scratch.

On Thursday, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said Ferrell could see the field against Pittsburgh in Week Two. But there are no guarantees for the Clemson product beyond that.

“He’s having a good week of practice this week,” Bradley said in his press conference. “I think for us, just monitoring that and deciding at that point, maybe the need’s what we see. We felt like [Baltimore] was a team that could really just line up and pound us last week. So that’s on a week-to-week basis. But he’s practicing really well and he practiced well today.”

Bradley also complimented Ferrell for how he handled being deactivated, saying he was a “true pro.”

“He was on the sideline probably being one of the biggest cheerleaders. He was outstanding. And I talked to him about that — he was fantastic,” Bradley said. “That’s tough, to go through what he did. But his attitude, the way he handled it — great teammate, outstanding. Can’t say enough about him. So hopefully, everything works out this week. We’re going to need a good dose of him, hopefully, this week.”

One of the reasons that may be the case is defensive end Yannick Ngakoue‘s injury status. He hurt his hamstring during Monday’s game and was limited in Wednesday’s practice.

The Raiders travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers this week.