Tom Brady out of practice with right shoulder, right finger injuries

Kansas City Chiefs v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Bucs quarterback Tom Brady missed practice Wednesday with right finger and right shoulder injuries, the team announced.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported earlier this week that Brady is dealing with a minor rotator cuff injury. Brady injured his shoulder on a strip-sack by Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed in the first half Sunday night but didn’t miss a play.

Brady injured his right ring finger in a Sept. 18 game against the Saints on a fumbled snap exchange with center Robert Hainsey. The Bucs added him to the injury report with the finger injury Sept. 23.

He has not missed a snap the past two games because of his finger injury.

Brady was one of four Bucs who didn’t practice Wednesday, joining defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (foot), safety Logan Ryan (foot) and tight end Cameron Brate (concussion).

Receiver Russell Gage (hamstring), receiver Chris Godwin (knee), receiver Julio Jones (knee), receiver Breshad Perriman (knee/hamstring) and left tackle Donovan Smith (elbow) were limited.

Cornerback Carlton Davis (shoulder) was a full participant.

Dak Prescott officially a non-participant in Wednesday’s practice

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The Cowboys haven’t ruled out Dak Prescott for Sunday officially, but every sign points to a fourth consecutive missed start for the quarterback. He missed practice Wednesday, and coach Mike McCarthy said this week that Prescott needs a full week of practice prep before returning.

Prescott got an update on his recovery in a visit to the doctor Tuesday, and McCarthy said the next step for Prescott is “to get enough strength in the hand to throw the football.”

“He’s doing everything he can,” McCarthy said, via Schuyler Dixon of the Associated Press. “I mean, we all know that. He was here yesterday. Obviously, here again early this morning. . . . His first step for football, from my view, will be when he’s inserted into the quarterback school. So, he’s working with the rehab group today. He will not be part of the quarterback school.”

The Cowboys signed third-string quarterback Will Grier to the active roster earlier this week, an indication that he will dress Sunday against the Rams. Grier was out of standard elevations from the practice squad.

Cooper Rush is expected to start for the fourth consecutive week with a chance to beat both of the Super Bowl teams, having led the Cowboys to a win over the Bengals in Week 2.

Tight end Jake Ferguson (knee) and cornerback Jourdan Lewis (groin) also sat out practice Wednesday. Defensive tackle Quinton Bohanna (neck/shoulder) and safety Donovan Wilson (ankle) were limited.

Receiver Noah Brown (neck), safety Malik Hooker (thumb), safety Jayron Kearse (knee), left guard Connor McGovern (ankle) and tight end Dalton Schultz (knee) were full participants.

Russell Wilson has another limited practice but good to go for Thursday Night Football

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Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson said Tuesday he was “super confident” he would play in Thursday Night Football despite a right shoulder injury. Indeed, Wilson will start against the Colts.

He was listed as a limited participant again Wednesday, but he has no designation.

The Broncos did rule out four players. Outside linebackers Jonathon Cooper (hamstring) and Aaron Patrick (concussion), safety P.J. Locke (concussion) and guard/center Quinn Meinerz (hamstring) will not play this week. None of them practiced this week.

Wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland (hamstring), cornerback Darius Phillips (hamstring) and offensive lineman Billy Turner (knee) are questionable. They all were limited in practice this week.

Running back Melvin Gordon III (neck) and safety Caden Sterns (hip/chest) improved to full participants Wednesday and don’t have a game status. Guard Dalton Risner (ankle) and cornerback K'Waun Williams (wrist) remained full participants and exited the report.

Daniel Jones practices, says ankle feels good

Chicago Bears v New York Giants
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The Giants worked out quarterbacks on Tuesday, but they didn’t sign anyone and that seemed to be an optimistic sign about Daniel Jones‘ outlook for Sunday’s game against the Packers.

Jones injured his ankle in last Sunday’s win over the Bears and left the game before returning at the end of the fourth quarter after Tyrod Taylor suffered a concussion. Jones took part in practice on Wednesday and said after the session, via Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, that he feels good and will “do everything I can to be out there.”

The team’s injury report isn’t out, but Jones should be listed as limited because he said he was “in and out” over the course of the workout.

Davis Webb is the only other healthy quarterback for the Giants and he’ll likely be elevated from the practice squad to back Jones up in London if Jones remains on track to play.

Colts RB Jonathan Taylor is out for Thursday night at Broncos

NFL: SEP 25 Chiefs at Colts
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Whatever the real numbers have been for the first three weeks of the streaming-only Thursday night games, this week’s audience could be real small, relative to other primetime games.

The Colts have ruled out star running back Jonathan Taylor for Thursday night in Denver, due to an ankle injury suffered on Sunday against the Titans.

It will be the first game Taylor has ever missed due to injury.

Also out for the Colts are linebacker Shaquille Leonard (concussion, nose, back), safety Julian Blackmon (ankle), and defensive end Tyquan Lewis (concussion).

Defensive tackle DeForest Bucker (elbow) and center Ryan Kelly (knee) have no designation for the game, which means they are good to go.

Running back Nyheim Hines presumably gets the start in place of Taylor.

Myles Garrett is expected to practice Wednesday

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Browns defensive end Myles Garrett is expected to participate in practice for the first time since he was injured in a car crash last Monday.

Garrett suffered injuries to his shoulder and biceps in the wreck and did not practice at all last week. He did not play in the Browns’ Week Four loss to the Falcons either.

On Wednesday, however, Garrett’s name was not on the list of players expected to miss practice that the team released to the media. It remains to be seen if he’ll be a limited or full participant in the session, but either would be a welcome step back toward the lineup.

Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (ankle), tight end Hunter Bryant (illness), guard Joel Bitonio (biceps, rest), wide receiver Amari Cooper (rest), and tight end David Njoku (knee, rest) are the Browns players who are not expected to practice Wednesday.

Cole Beasley retires from football

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Cole Beasley waited for the right opportunity to emerge. It finally did, in Tampa.

Two weeks later, Beasley is deciding to call it a day.

Beasley’s agent, Justin Turner, tells NFL Network that Beasley has retired from the NFL.

“He is ready to be with his family after playing in 11 seasons and it’s time to be a full-time dad and husband,” Turner said. (It’s hard not to wonder whether that message will register with the team’s starting quarterback.)

Beasley has made plenty of money in his career, upwards of $50 million. This year, the money simply wasn’t there, for whatever reason.

One team, we’ve heard, was willing to pay him $2 million and vowed that he’d have 85 receptions. So why offer him only $2 million?

In his second and final game with the Bucs, Beasley was on the field for four plays. He caught one pass for five yards.

Dak Prescott will remain in rehab group at practice

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Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said that quarterback Dak Prescott had a good visit with doctors about his right thumb on Tuesday, but there won’t be any change to his status at practice on Wednesday.

McCarthy told reporters at his press conference that Prescott will continue working with the team’s rehab group rather than participating with the full roster.

Prescott had surgery on the thumb after injuring it in Week One and he had stitches removed last week, but McCarthy still needs to rebuild strength before he’ll be able to return to the lineup. That’s in line with what Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said about Prescott’s status on Tuesday and it points to Cooper Rush making his fourth straight start when the Cowboys play the Rams this weekend.

They’ve won the first three starts, which has made it much easier to be patient and wait until Prescott is fully ready to get back on the field.

Sean Payton has some ideas for getting more out of Russell Wilson

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
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In early 2021, quarterback Russell Wilson‘s agent made it known that Wilson wanted to stay with the Seahawks, but that Wilson would accept a trade to the Cowboys, Raiders, Bears, or Saints.

The head coach of the Saints at the time was Sean Payton. Throw in the fact that Payton is in play to be a coach again in 2023, anything Payton says about Wilson should command immediate attention.

Appearing earlier this week with Colin Cowherd, Payton explained what he would do if he were coaching Wilson.

“I’d want a cut up of all Russell’s pass plays of 30 or more yards from the field, and I’d want to see are there some schemes that he felt very comfortable with,” Payton said. “Like, I know that they did a great job in Seattle of bringing him off of a naked boot[leg] and then pulling up and we all saw that like throw back to [receiver Tyler] Lockett across the field where the ball traveled 60 yards in the air. Then, I’d want to look at another film of his red-zone touchdown passes inside the 20. And so what I’m asking for from assistants, I’m asking for some of his greatest hits and to make sure we have those song lyrics available. And if not, let’s put them in.”

That’s the key to smart coaching. Figure out what a guy does well, and do it. There hasn’t been enough of that from the Broncos.

If there isn’t more of it soon, Payton’s place for next season could indeed be in Denver. Unless some other destination becomes more attractive.

Commanders designate Brian Robinson to return to practice

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On August 28, Commanders running back Brian Robinson was shot multiple times in a robbery attempt. On October 5, it was announced he has been designated to return to practice.

It’s an amazing development that underscores the incredibly good fortune of Robinson, who had a bullet pass through his knee but not seriously injure the ligaments and cartilage and bone.

The return to practice opens a 21-day window for a return to the active roster. Presumably, he’ll be back sooner than later. He could play, in theory, as soon as Sunday, against the Titans.

Robinson, a third-round pick from Alabama, had essentially won the starting tailback position before the shooting. Given that he’s now healthy and ready to go, he’s likely destined to officially claim the top spot on the depth chart.

Antonio Gibson is the leading rusher through four games, with 173 yards. Next is J.D. McKissic, with 65.

Geno Smith named NFC offensive player of the week

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PFT named Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith our offensive player of the week for Week Four and the NFL came to a similar conclusion.

The league announced that Smith has been named the NFC offensive player of the week. It is the first time he’s received that recognition, but he was named the AFC offensive player of the week in Week 5 of the 2013 season while playing for the Jets.

Smith was 23-of-30 for 320 yards and two two touchdowns in the Seahawks’ 48-45 win over the Lions last Sunday. He added 49 rushing yards on seven carries.

For the season, Smith is now 102-of-132 for 1,037 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions. His 77.1 completion percentage leads the league and the total package has been a lot better than many people expected when the Seahawks opted to roll with Smith as their starter this season.

Patrick Mahomes is the AFC offensive player of the week

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Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had a strong outing against the Buccaneers on Sunday.

Now he’s received an honor for the performance.

Mahomes has been named the AFC offensive player of the week after he threw for 249 yards with three touchdowns — including his brilliant pass to running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Mahomes also rushed for 34 yards in the contest.

His only mistake was an interception midway through the fourth quarter. But at that point, the game had largely been decided.

Though Mahomes and Kansas City’s offense lost Tyreek Hill during the offseason, the Chiefs still rank No. 2 in points scored and No. 4 in yards through the first four weeks of the season.

The Chiefs will host the Raiders on Monday night in Week Five.

PFT’s Week 4 2022 NFL awards

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It’s awards time, Week Four edition.

You know the drill by now. Offensive player of the week. Defensive player of the week. Rookie of the week. Coach of the week. Play of the week.

Each award winner is bestowed below, along with the finalists.

As always, these awards are based on the input from the PFT staff, with me eventually making the decision as to each category via a complicated and proprietary mathematical model that you must accept and respect, because I say so.

Offensive player of the week: Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith.

Smith, who has played very well post-Russ, completed 23 of 30 passes for 320 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 48-45 win over the Lions. He averaged 12.0 yards per attempt.

Through four games, he has a completion percentage of 77.3 and a passer rating of 108.0. Wilson’s numbers are 61.1 and 91.1, respectively.

Other finalists: Raider running back Josh Jacobs (144 rushing yards, two touchdowns), Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny (151 rushing yards, two touchdowns), Eagles running back Miles Sanders (134 rushing yards, two touchdowns), 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel (115 receiving yards, one touchdown), Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson (147 receiving yards, one rushing touchdown), Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson (179 receiving yards, two touchdowns).

Defensive player of the week: 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga.

The emerging star clinched San Francisco’s seventh straight regular-season win over the Rams with a 52-yard pick six.

He’s already drawing comparisons to Hall of Famer Troy Polamau, and not because of the hair. Hufanga has an innate knack for knowing where to be and when to be there, like he was on Monday night.

Get used to seeing more of the same from Hufanga.

Other finalists: 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (two sacks), Bill safety Jordan Poyer (two interceptions), Bengals safety Vonn Bell (two interceptions), Packers linebacker Rashan Gary (two sacks); Eagles linebacker Haason Redick (two sacks).

Rookie of the week: Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe.

With starter Mac Jones out and backup Brian Hoyer injured, Zappe was thrust into service at Lambeau Field. He nearly led the Patriots to an upset win over the Packers.

He completed 10 of 15 passes for only 99 yards and a touchdown. So he’s not getting this for the stats. He’s getting it for not shrinking in the moment, and for nearly delivering what would have been an unforgettable moment in his first NFL game.

Other finalists: Texans running back Dameon Pierce (131 rushing yards, one touchdown), Patriots defensive back Jack Jones (pick six of Aaron Rodgers), Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (two rushing touchdowns, but three interceptions).

Coach of the week: Jets coach Robert Saleh.

The Jets finished a crippling tour of the AFC North by winning two games on the road. They trailed by double digits in the fourth quarter of each game.

Most recently, Saleh kept his team focused and confident throughout a game full of momentum swings. He has them believing, which has them achieving.

Other finalists: Chiefs coach Andy Reid, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, Bills coach Sean McDermott

Play of the week: The Patrick Mahomes touchdown pass to Clyde Edward-Helaire.

Mahomes has an instinctive flair for the dramatic. It’s always authentic, never forced. There’s a hair-on-fire quality that makes every step and body movement more exciting, causing the anticipation to reach a crescendo just before Mahomes does something memorable.

He did it on Sunday night, with another uncanny moment of running around as defenders couldn’t get to him, capped by a casual flip to a wide open Edwards-Helaire.

It’s easy to take what Mahomes can do for granted. We never should. He does it like few if any ever have.

Other finalists: Deebo Samuel’s 57-yard catch and run for a touchdown, Raiders defensive back Amik Robertson‘s 68-yard fumble return for a touchdown, Jaguars safety Andre Cisco‘s pick six, the Jets’ Philly Special, the Double Doink.

Kyle Shanahan thinks Nick Bosa is getting held a lot, 49ers have addressed it with the league

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers
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San Francisco defensive end Nick Bosa is having another strong season, leading the NFL with six sacks through four games. But 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan thinks Bosa could do even more if offensive linemen wouldn’t get away with holding him so much.

When a reporter on Shanahan’s conference call said Bosa appears to be getting held on many plays, Shanahan replied, “I couldn’t agree with you more.”

Shanahan said Bosa has been getting held since his rookie of the year-winning season in 2019, and the 49ers often send plays in to the league office to ask why Bosa isn’t drawing more flags.

“It’s something I’ve seen a lot with him since he’s been here, going back to his first year in the Super Bowl. So it’s always been tough. We turn everything in every week. Sometimes they agree, sometimes they don’t,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan said there’s not much the 49ers can do other than continue to point out to the league that Bosa is getting held.

“You just hope it improves,” Shanahan said.

NFL: Spotters concluded Cameron Brate was hit in the shoulder, not the head

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The NFL’s “Concussion Game Day Checklist” consists of a flow chart that commences with a first step: “Player receives impact to the head.”

In the case of Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate, the NFL contends that step one didn’t happen.

“Immediately following the game, the NFL contacted team and unaffiliated medical personnel to gather information concerning the injury sustained by Tampa Bay’s Cameron Brate,” the NFL said in a statement provided to PFT. “The league reviewed the information with the NFL Players Association. Based on the standardized gameday reports, it is clear to both parties that the spotters in the booth concluded that Brate was hit in the shoulder and therefore did not trigger the concussion protocols. As soon as medical personnel identified concussion symptoms, they removed Brate from the game.”

The NFL Players Association has informed PFT that it reviewed the situation as well, and that it backs that assessment.

Beyond the fact that Brate did indeed sustain a concussion (as proven by the fact that he was removed from play, but only after returning for several snaps before halftime), the video doesn’t indicate a blow to the shoulder. At the end of the play that started with 1:35 remaining in the first half, Brate’s head CLEARLY collides with the torso of Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin.

The impact, combined with Brate’s reaction to it, absolutely should have prompted the two spotters (one is a Certified Athletic Trainer and the other is an Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant) to activate the protocol. We reject flatly and unequivocally the contention by the NFL and the NFLPA that Brate did not receive an impact to the head.

We realize that things are a little dicey right now, given the Tua Tagovailoa situation. There’s a natural inclination to circle the wagons. To look the other way so as not to make the heat too hot in the kitchen. Perhaps even to trot out some good, old-fashioned alternative facts. That’s absolutely the wrong approach.

While the system may not be “broken” (as Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy described it), the system failed in this situation. Brate received impact to the head. Everyone saw it. Everyone, apparently, except the two people who are paid to see it.

And if the league and the union can’t see that, maybe there should be a governmental agency that manages (and, as needed, micromanages) the game of professional football.