National Football League
NFL News Wire
  • NFL notebook: Packers rule out Matthews, Burnett
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 24, 2016

    The Green Bay Packers ruled out linebacker Clay Matthews and safety Morgan Burnett for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions.

    • The two players were downgraded on Saturday after previously being listed as doubtful.

      Matthews aggravated an ankle injury in the 17-14 loss at the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday night. He also is dealing with a hamstring injury.

      Burnett sustained a hamstring injury in the second half against the Vikings, but he was listed on the injury report this week with a groin injury.

      The Packers also downgraded outside linebacker Datone Jones (knee) and defensive tackle Letroy Guion (knee) from questionable to doubtful.

      --The Lions signed linebacker Zaviar Gooden to the active roster and waived wide receiver Aaron Dobson.

      Gooden was signed to the practice squad this week after originally participating in training camp. He spent the 2013 and '14 seasons with the Tennessee Titans, where he had 27 tackles (17 solo) in 24 games (three starts).

      Injured cornerback Adairius Barnes and linebackers DeAndre Levy and Antwione Williams were downgraded to out for Sunday's game at Green Bay.

      --Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who is listed as doubtful to play Sunday night against the Cowboys because of a sprained right thumb, made the trip to Dallas.

      The Bears also announced that running back Ka'Deem Carey and nose tackle Eddie Goldman did not make the trip and will not play against the Cowboys.

      Cutler, Carey (hamstring) and Goldman (ankle) had been listed as doubtful. Linebacker Danny Trevathan (thumb) already had been ruled out.

      Cutler suffered the injury during last Monday night's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bears anticipated that Cutler would be sidelined for multiple games.

      --San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick joined players and coaches of a high school football team in Oakland, Calif., on Friday night in their protest during the national anthem

      Kaepernick kneeled with the team and numerous players were photographed lying on their backs with their hands raised.

      Kaepernick said earlier this week he has received death threats for his protest of what he calls racial inequalities and injustices taking place in America, including fatal police shootings.

      Kaepernick visited with players from Castlemont High School and spoke with the team in the locker room before the game.

      "You are important, you make a difference, this matters. Everything you do matters," Kaepernick told the players in videos circulating Saturday morning on social media.

      --Lady Gaga is expected to be the headline performer at halftime of Super Bowl LI in Houston.

      Sources told SportsBusiness Daily that the official announcement likely will be made on Sunday during FOX's NFL pregame show.

      Billboard.com first reported last week that the music artist was in talks with the NFL to serve as halftime entertainment at NRG Stadium on Feb. 5, 2017.

      Gaga received rave reviews for her rendition of the national anthem at Super Bowl 50 between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. Coldplay was the halftime act.

      --The New York Giants promoted rookie safety Andrew Adams from the practice squad because of recent injuries to safeties Mykkele Thompson and Darian Thompson.

      Cornerback Michael Hunter, who was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster Tuesday, was waived.

      Mykkele Thompson was placed on season-ending injured reserve this week with a knee injury and the Giants announced Friday that rookie starting free safety Darian Thompson would miss Sunday's home game against the Washington Redskins with a foot injury.

      --Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is listed as questionable for Monday night's game against the New Orleans Saints but returned to practice in a limited capacity Saturday while recovering from a calf injury.

      Jones, who was held out of practice Thursday and Friday, said he will be ready to play in New Orleans.

      "Yes, yes I'll play Monday night," Jones told reporters Saturday. "I wouldn't chance it if I didn't (feel right), if I felt like I was going to overcompensate and something else was going to get tore up or it was going to get worse or anything like that. It's just warming that muscle up, warming up everything, making sure everything is firing properly."

      Jones caught five passes for 106 yards and a touchdown in the Falcons' 35-28 win over the Oakland Raiders last Sunday. In the game, he was injured after colliding with two Raiders defenders.

      --Former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn compared commissioner Roger Goodell to Russian leader Vladimir Putin in an interview with Sports Illustrated.

      Last week, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was fined by the NFL for his end-zone gesture and for violating uniform protocol in his team's season-opening victory over the Washington Redskins.

      Brown was wearing baby blue cleats, which is against the league's uniform protocol.

      Brown was penalized 15 yards for his celebratory "twerking" gesture in the end zone following a 26-yard touchdown.

      "Roger Goodell wants to control," Horn said. "Referees think you're overly celebrating and they throw flags. It's either going to count against your team or it's going to count out of your pocket. It's control, man. They want to control. He controls the players.

      "Roger Goodell is like the Vladimir (expletive) Putin of the NFL. You quote me on that. ... Roger Goodell is the Vladimir Putin of the NFL when it comes to players. Putin punks every country when he gets ready to. And there's no rules when it comes to Putin, and Goodell is the same (expletive) way when it comes to players. He sets all the standards. ... As far as dictatorship, as far as making moves to do what he wants, that's what Putin does."

  • Doubtful Cutler accompanies Bears to Dallas
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 24, 2016

    Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who is listed as doubtful to play Sunday night against the Cowboys because of a sprained right thumb, made the trip to Dallas.

    • The Bears also announced Saturday that running back Ka'Deem Carey and nose tackle Eddie Goldman did not make the trip and will not play against the Cowboys.

      Cutler, Carey (hamstring) and Goldman (ankle) had been listed as doubtful. Linebacker Danny Trevathan (thumb) already had been ruled out.

      Cutler suffered the injury during last Monday night's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bears anticipated that Cutler would be sidelined for multiple games.

      Goldman, the Bears' starting nose tackle, also was injured in last week's game.

      The 0-2 Bears are expected to start journeyman quarterback Brian Hoyer against the Cowboys (1-1). Quarterback Matt Barkley was added to Chicago's 53-man roster on Thursday.

      Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (knee soreness) is among nine Bears listed as questionable.

      Cowboys Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith was unable to finish Friday's practice because of a tight back, but he is expected to play.

      The Cowboys might not have the option of moving former left tackle Doug Free from right tackle, as Free is also on the injury report with a quadriceps strain. Free went through a full practice Friday after being limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

  • Lions sign LB Gooden, list three as out vs. Packers
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 24, 2016

    The Detroit Lions signed linebacker Zaviar Gooden to the active roster on Saturday and waived wide receiver Aaron Dobson.

    • Gooden was signed to the practice squad this week after originally participating in training camp. He spent the 2013 and '14 seasons with the Tennessee Titans, where he had 27 tackles (17 solo) in 24 games (three starts).

      Injured cornerback Adairius Barnes and linebackers DeAndre Levy and Antwione Williams were downgraded to out for Sunday's game at the Green Bay Packers (1 p.m. ET).

  • Horn sounds off on Goodell with Putin comparison
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 24, 2016

    Former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn compared Commissioner Roger Goodell to Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.

    • Last week, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was fined by the NFL for his end-zone gesture and for violating uniform protocol in his team's season-opening victory over the Washington Redskins.

      Brown was wearing baby blue cleats, which is against the league's uniform protocol.

      Brown was penalized 15 yards for his celebratory "twerking" gesture in the end zone following a 26-yard touchdown.

      "Roger Goodell wants to control," Horn said. "Referees think you're overly celebrating and they throw flags. It's either going to count against your team or it's going to count out of your pocket. It's control, man. They want to control. He controls the players.

      "Roger Goodell is like the Vladimir (expletive) Putin of the NFL. You quote me on that. ... Roger Goodell is the Vladimir Putin of the NFL when it comes to players. Putin punks every country when he gets ready to. And there's no rules when it comes to Putin, and Goodell is the same (expletive) way when it comes to players. He sets all the standards. ... As far as dictatorship, as far as making moves to do what he wants, that's what Putin does."

      Horn was fined $30,000 for pulling a hidden cell phone out of goal post as part of a touchdown celebration while playing for the New Orleans Saints in 2003.

      Horn had 603 receptions for 8,744 yards with 58 touchdowns in his NFL career.

  • Packers rule out Matthews, Burnett against Lions
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 24, 2016

    The Green Bay Packers ruled out linebacker Clay Matthews and safety Morgan Burnett for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions.

    • The two players were downgraded on Saturday after previously being listed as doubtful.

      Matthews aggravated an ankle injury in the 17-14 loss at the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday night. He also is dealing with a hamstring injury.

      Burnett sustained a hamstring injury in the second half against the Vikings, but he was listed on the injury report this week with a groin injury.

      The Packers also downgraded outside linebacker Datone Jones (knee) and defensive tackle Letroy Guion (knee) from questionable to doubtful.

      Jones did not practice this week and Guion is recovering from a sprained MCL he sustained in the second quarter against Minnesota.

      Packers cornerback Sam Shields was already ruled out with a concussion.

      The Lions will be without their best pass rusher, defensive end Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, who was ruled out Friday with an ankle injury.

      Ansah injured the ankle during the first series of Detroit's loss to the Tennessee Titans last Sunday.

      The Lions are likely to be without linebacker DeAndre Levy, who is listed as doubtful, for the second straight week. Levy, who is listed as doubtful, has missed every practice the past two weeks with a quad injury.

      In addition, the Lions listed another key defensive player, linebacker Antwione Williams, as doubtful with a hamstring injury.

  • Injury-ravaged secondary earns Giants S Adams a promotion
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 24, 2016

    The New York Giants promoted rookie safety Andrew Adams from the practice squad Saturday because of recent injuries to safeties Mykkele Thompson and Darian Thompson.

    • Cornerback Michael Hunter, who was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster Tuesday, was waived.

      Mykkele Thompson was placed on season-ending injured reserve this week with a knee injury and the Giants announced Friday that rookie starting free safety Darian Thompson would miss Sunday's home game against the Washington Redskins with a foot injury.

      The injuries left the Giants with Landon Collins and Nat Berhe as the only healthy safeties until Adams was promoted.

      Adams was originally signed on May 6 as an undrafted free agent from Connecticut. He was waived on Sept. 3 and signed to the practice squad the following day.

      At UConn, Adams played in 44 games with 33 starts and tallied 263 tackles, nine interceptions and 15 passes defensed. As a senior in 2015, he played in 13 games and led the Huskies with 103 tackles.

  • Falcons WR Jones adamant he will play vs. Saints
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 24, 2016

    Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is listed as questionable for Monday night's game against the New Orleans Saints but returned to practice in a limited capacity Saturday while recovering from a calf injury.

    • Jones, who was held out of practice Thursday and Friday, said he will be ready to play in New Orleans.

      "Yes, yes I'll play Monday night," Jones told reporters Saturday. "I wouldn't chance it if I didn't (feel right), if I felt like I was going to overcompensate and something else was going to get tore up or it was going to get worse or anything like that. It's just warming that muscle up, warming up everything, making sure everything is firing properly."

      Jones appeared to have his explosion running across the red zone and catching passes near the start of practice, according to ESPN.com. Jones was spotted bouncing up and down to make sure his calf was fine.

      Jones caught five passes for 106 yards and a touchdown in the Falcons' 35-28 win over the Oakland Raiders last Sunday. In the game, he was injured after colliding with two Raiders defenders.

      Jones leads the team with 172 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions after two games. He has nine catches, second to tight end Jacob Tamme (11).

      Falcons coach Dan Quinn previously said he expected Jones to play barring any last-minute setback.

      Quinn confirmed that first-round rookie safety Keanu Neal will get his first action of the regular season. Neal underwent knee surgery after Atlanta's third preseason game and has been limited all week.

      "He had an excellent week, he's fully cleared," Quinn said of Neal. "He's another one who I was pleased with the work he put in the rehab. And now that's carried over onto the field. We are expecting him to get his first action, and we know he's excited."

      Rookie De'Vondre Campbell, a starting inside linebacker, was ruled out for the second consecutive game with a left ankle sprain. Linebacker Paul Worrilow also is out after undergoing groin surgery.

  • Kaepernick joins protest by high school team
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 24, 2016

    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick joined players and coaches of a high school football team in Oakland, Calif., on Friday night in their protest during the national anthem

    • Kaepernick kneeled with the team and numerous players were photographed lying on their backs with their hands raised.

      Kaepernick said earlier this week he has received death threats for his protest of what he calls racial inequalities and injustices taking place in America, including fatal police shootings.

      Kaepernick visited with players from Castlemont High School and spoke with the team in the locker room before the game, according to ESPN.com.

      "You are important, you make a difference, this matters. Everything you do matters," Kaepernick told the players in videos circulating Saturday morning on social media.

      Castlemont's team gained attention in the Bay Area last weekend when players kneeled with their fists raised in the air during the national anthem.

      "I had to come support you all, because the same way you all took a stand and stood with me, I had to come out here and stand with you all," Kaepernick told the players. "So I appreciate what you all did. I love you all. You all are my brothers, I'm here with you."

  • Lady Gaga expected to perform at Super Bowl halftime
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 24, 2016

    Lady Gaga is expected to be the headline performer at halftime of Super Bowl LI in Houston.

    • Sources told SportsBusiness Daily that the official announcement likely will be made on Sunday during FOX's NFL pregame show.

      Billboard.com first reported last week that the music artist was in talks with the NFL to serve as halftime entertainment at NRG Stadium on Feb. 5, 2017.

      Gaga received rave reviews for her rendition of the national anthem at Super Bowl 50 between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. Coldplay was the halftime act.

      "We have had conversations with several fantastic artists about the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show. However, at this point we do not have a final decision," the league told Billboard.com when asked about Gaga. "We're happy there is so much excitement about the show."

      In August, Adele told fans during a performance at the Staples Center that she was not interested in doing the Super Bowl halftime show.

      "First of all, I'm not doing the Super Bowl," Adele said. "I mean, come on, that show is not about music. And I don't really -- I can't dance or anything like that. They were very kind, they did ask me, but I said no."

  • Pats' Blount off to best start of career
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount topped 100 yards for the second straight week and reached the end zone twice in the win over Houston, including a 41-yard scamper in the fourth quarter that shut the door on the Texans. Through three games, Blount has 75 carries for 298 yards with four touchdowns for the undefeated Patriots.

    • Though many thought the veteran might be in a fight for his job this summer as the lead back or big back in the New England offense, Blount is off to the best start of his career. He's clearly enjoying himself in his role early in the season, and also clearly has the utmost faith in Bill Belichick to put him and the rest of his teammates in the best position possible to succeed each and every week.

      "In my opinion he's the greatest coach to ever coach this game so anything he says I'm going to do and I feel like that goes for anybody else on this team. The results, the results speak for themselves," Blount said.

      --LB Jamie Collins had a game-high 14 tackles, including 11 solo stops in the win over Houston. The Pro Bowler also notched an interception, his second in as many games.

      Collins put forth the impressive performance while wearing the green-dot helmet as New England's defensive playcaller, a role he assumes when linebacker Don't Hightower is unavailable, as he's been the last two games due to a knee injury.

      Now, Collins incredible versatility and athleticism are combined with improved comfort and intelligence in his role. It's all coming together for the fourth-year player and impending 2017 free agent.

      "It can be a contagious thing and Jamie's an impact hitter," Bill Belichick said of the playmaking and hitting that Collins brings to the field. "He's got a lot of explosion, a lot of power. He can certainly deliver a solid blow, and he's long, and he's athletic, he has got good range. So yeah, he's a good player. He brings a lot to our team both in his talents and also in his playing style and his aggressiveness and ability to do whatever we ask him to do. Whether that's playing zone-coverage, playing man-coverage, rush the passer, play on the end of the line, play in the middle of the line. With (Dont'a) Hightower out he's had a lot of communication and play-calling responsibilities and he has not only handled those well, but it hasn't affected any other parts of his game; that added responsibility. Yeah, he has given us a high level of play.

      --New England was successful in the Thursday Night Football Nike Color Rush uniforms that had the home squad in blue jerseys and blue pants. Bill Belichick's team tried a similar, blue-on-blue look early in the 2000s, only to scrap the uniforms after a couple of losses. Asked about getting on track in color scheme more than a decade later, Belichick had a pretty predictable response in his own dry sense of humor.

      "Yeah, I mean I wish that was all there was to it. Just put on a new pair of socks or change uniforms or something like that. It's a lot more to it than that. I mean I can't even tell you how excited I was about the uniforms last night. That's really incredible," Belichick deadpanned.

      --TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) saw his first action of the season against the Texans, though it came in a very limited role. The All-Pro played just 14 of 64 offensive snaps and was utilized almost entirely as a blocker, targeted with just a single throw on the night.

      --QB Jimmy Garoppolo (right shoulder) was inactive against Houston, four days after suffering a reported grade 2 AC sprain against the Dolphins. With Garoppolo out of the picture, rookie third-round pick Jacoby Brissett got his first career start, while WR Julian Edelman served as the backup while also fulfilling his usual duties on offense.

      --LB Dont'a Hightower (knee) was inactive against the Texans, missing his second straight game from the injury suffered early on opening night in Arizona. Hightower was officially listed as questionable for the game after returning to practice on a limited basis earlier in the week, though New England held only walkthroughs on the short week.

      --CB Eric Rowe (ankle) missed his second straight game to the injury suffered a week earlier in practice, just a couple days after joining New England via trade from the Eagles.

      --RB D.J. Foster was a healthy scratch against the Texans

      --G Jonathan Cooper (foot) was inactive for the third straight game to open his Patriots career. The offseason traded addition has been practicing on a limited basis all season due to the injury suffered on the first day of padded training camp practice July 30.

      --LB Elandon Roberts, a rookie sixth-round pick, dressed but did not play against Houston.

      --T LaAdrian Waddle was a healthy scratch against the Texans.

      --TE AJ Derby was a healthy scratch against Houston.

      --G Shaq Mason (hand) started for the second straight week and played all of the offensive snaps for the first time this season as he works back from the summer injury.

  • Texans' Osweiler let his eyes inticate his intentions
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    HOUSTON -- This staring contest wasn't even close, a high-profile case of the New England Patriots exploiting a troublesome tendency of Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler.

    • Osweiler has a habit of locking onto his primary read, staring down his targets, often allowing defensive players to simply read his eyes to determine which direction the football is going.

      That poker tell from Osweiler manifested itself in a major way during the second quarter of the previously undefeated Texans' embarrassing 27-0 debacle of a loss to the Patriots on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.

      Osweiler looked at Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the moment he took the snap, failing to use a head fake or pump fake to get the defense off-balance. Because of that shortcoming and a fast reaction from Jamie Collins, Osweiler never saw the gifted Patriots outside linebacker breaking on the football as he undercut his errant pass intended for Hopkins.

      "I tried forcing the football where the football probably shouldn't have gone," Osweiler said. "That was something we talked about throughout the week when they play zone defense, you check the ball down, check the ball down, check the ball down, stay patient. That was a play where I thought I had a window to throw and unfortunately Jamie made a heck of a play. That's a throw I need to learn from when a team is playing zone."

      The interception was one of the few Houston miscues that didn't lead to points for the Patriots as the Texans' defense forced a three-and-out on the subsequent series. But it was a play that defined Osweiler's night and his season so far. He was ineffective against a Patriots defense that prevented him from getting into a rhythm as he completed just 24 of 41 passes for 196 yards, no touchdowns and one interception for a 60.6 passer rating.

      "I think any time an offense struggles to develop a rhythm, struggles scoring points, the first thing you have to examine is the quarterback," Osweiler said. "I'll take the blame for this one. Anytime a team doesn't score points, it's on me.

      "I'll examine the tape very closely. I'll become a better quarterback for this experience. Bottom line: I needed to play better to allow our team to have an opportunity to try to win the ballgame."

      Osweiler has now thrown four interceptions in just three games since joining the Texans as their $72 million franchise quarterback. Signed to a four-year contract that included $37 million guaranteed to leave the Denver Broncos as a free agent, the 6-foot-8, 235-pound former Arizona State standout has had mixed results.

      Texans coach Bill O'Brien acknowledged that Osweiler was trying to do too much on the interception.

      "It looked like on that one he probably tried to force it," O'Brien said. "He's just trying to make a play. It's not concerning to me. It's just something that we have to go over with him and coach him up on what that coverage was and what that route was and where he should go with the ball the next time. We'll fix that."

      Several of the interceptions he has thrown were intended for Hopkins, who led the Texans with 111 catches for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.

      "Every time we break the huddle and a pass play is called, DeAndre is on my radar: 'What route is he running? Can I get him the football?'" Osweiler said. "But there's no excuse for the interception. My job is to protect the football and score points and lead this offense.

      "Bottom line, I didn't do that. I turned the ball over and I wasn't efficient enough. I need to play better. I will play better and will learn from this experience."

      -- The Texans' special teams were supposed to be improving under new special-teams coordinator Larry Izzo, a former Pro Bowl special-teams ace with the New England Patriots.

      This wasn't the kind of performance that Izzo envisioned, though.

      Instead of having rookie running back Tyler Ervin return a kickoff in the first quarter, the Texans had reserve cornerback Charles James back deep for the return after a field goal by Stephen Gostkowski staked the Patriots to a 3-0 lead.

      James made a questionable decision to take it out of the end zone and fumbled it away as running back Brandon Bolden popped it out of his hands.

      The turnover led to immediate points for the Patriots as rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett rushed for a 27-yard touchdown to boost the lead to 10-0.

      "I was trying to make a play and saw a little crack and he did a good job of getting a hat on the ball," James said. "I put that blame on me. When you're carrying the ball, you carry the hopes and dreams of the team and I didn't do a good job with that.

      "I know I'll be resilient. I'll be up long hours of the night rethinking. I hate to have that happen. I'm a team guy and I feel like I let the guys down."

      Problems would occur again in the third quarter when Ervin fumbled away a kickoff. That led to another touchdown for the Patriots as running back LeGarrette Blount capitalized on the short field for a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Texans away as they fell behind 20-0.

      "I got to make sure I carry the ball with my left hand on the left side," Ervin said. "I got to do a better job of securing it. We got to continue getting better."

  • NFL notebook: Severity of Brissett's injury reportedly premature
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    Reports that New England Patriots third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb and likely would need surgery appear to be premature.

    • Brissett was injured in Thursday's 27-0 victory over the Houston Texans, but multiple media outlets reported that the diagnosis is not as bad as initially feared.

      CSNNE.com reported that Brissett did not sustain a complete tear of the ligament and thus would not require surgery. ESPN also updated its own report, citing a source that said: "No tear, it's fine."

      New England does not play again until Oct. 2 against the Buffalo Bills.

      A third-string draft pick out of North Carolina State this year, Brissett was pressed into action when backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo sustained a grade 2 AC sprain in his throwing shoulder in Sunday's win over Miami. Starting quarterback Tom Brady is serving a four-game suspension and is eligible to return in Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns.

      --Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers within hours of being released from jail on Friday.

      Seferian-Jenkins, 23, was arrested early Friday morning and charged with driving under the influence.

      "We are very disappointed in today's news," Bucs general manager Jason Licht said in a statement. "After careful consideration, we felt this was the right decision at this time."

      --The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed rookie linebacker Devante Bond on injured reserve with a hamstring injury and re-signed linebacker Josh Keyes on Friday.

      The 6-foot-1, 236-pound Bond was a sixth-round pick out of Oklahoma by the Bucs in the 2016 NFL Draft. He hurt his hamstring earlier this year and was ruled out of the first two games this season.

      The 6-2, 223-pound Keyes played in two games on special teams for Tampa Bay this season before being waived Wednesday. He was on the active roster for the last seven weeks in 2015 and started this year on the practice squad but was promoted before the season opener to provide depth.

      --Josh McCown played the final three quarters of Cleveland's Week 2 loss to the Baltimore Ravens with a broken collarbone.

      The Browns, who list the veteran quarterback as week-to-week, confirmed the injury Friday after defensive coordinator Ray Horton disclosed the severity of what the team previous termed a "shoulder injury."

      The 37-year-old was in the Week 2 starting lineup after Robert Griffin III was injured in Week 1 and placed on injured reserve. McCown has started games for the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Browns the past four seasons.

      --Running back Adrian Peterson might not miss the rest of the 2016 season, but he won't play until at least Week 11 after the Minnesota Vikings placed him on injured reserve Friday.

      Peterson had surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus on Thursday, four days after leaving Minnesota's home opener against the Green Bay Packers with a knee injury.

      The Vikings moved Peterson to injured reserve but can activate one player from the list provided he misses eight weeks. Minnesota is planning to split carries between Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata in Week 3 at Carolina.

      --Minnesota Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil underwent surgery on Friday to repair a torn labrum in his right hip.

      The surgery comes one day after defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee.

      The Vikings placed Kalil, who has started all 66 games during his NFL career, on injured reserve Wednesday

      Floyd, the Vikings' first-round pick in 2013, has 95 tackles and 9.5 sacks in 43 career games. He played 23 snaps in the season opener but hasn't played or practiced since.

      --Third overall pick Joey Bosa's NFL debut won't happen in Week 3.

      The San Diego Chargers ruled out their rookie top pick for the third consecutive game because of a hamstring injury, which occurred as Bosa was attempted to get up to speed for Week 1. He reported to camp following a protracted contract holdout.

      Darius Philon has been starting at defensive end in Bosa's stead.

      San Diego said tight end Antonio Gates (hamstring) is doubtful for Sunday's game at Indianapolis. Offensive guard Orlando Franklin (hamstring) is questionable and participated in the entire practice Friday.

      --Injuries could sideline both starting offensive tackles for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night against the Chicago Bears.

      Left tackle Tyron Smith is questionable with a back injury. He experienced spasms during practice Friday.

      The Cowboys might not have the option of moving former left tackle Doug Free from right tackle, as Free is also on the injury report with a quadriceps injury.

      Chaz Green, a third-round pick out of Florida 2015, is listed behind Free on the depth chart. La'el Collins, the Cowboys' starter at left guard, has experience at offensive tackle from his college days at LSU. Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin also played tackle in college at Notre Dame.

      The Bears have multiple injuries on both sides of the ball and lost linebackers Danny Trevathan (thumb) and Lamarr Houston (season-ending knee) to injuries in Week 2.

      --Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler did not practice Friday and is listed as doubtful to play Sunday night in Dallas against the Cowboys because of a sprained right thumb.

      The news is not a surprise after Cutler suffered the injury during Monday night's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bears anticipate Cutler being sidelined for multiple games.

      The 0-2 Bears will start journeyman quarterback Brian Hoyer against the Cowboys (1-1). Quarterback Matt Barkley was added to the Bears' 53-man roster on Thursday.

      --Hall of Fame coach Mike Ditka blasted San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other players for kneeling during the national anthem prior to NFL games, saying "if they don't like the country, they don't like our flag, get the (heck) out."

      --Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and cornerback Leodis McKelvin were ruled out for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

      Ertz and McKelvin also sat out last week's win against the Chicago Bears with injuries they suffered in the season-opening win over the Cleveland Browns.

      Coach Doug Pederson said Friday he expects the two players to be back after the team's Week 4 bye.

  • NFL Injury Report
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    NFL Injury Report for Sunday's games

    • ARIZONA CARDINALS at BUFFALO BILLS

      ARIZONA CARDINALS

      --Out: G Evan Mathis (foot, toe)

      --Doubtful: LB Kareem Martin (knee), DT Frostee Rucker (knee)

      --Questionable: CB Justin Bethel (foot), DT Robert Nkemdiche (ankle)

      BUFFALO BILLS

      --Out: S Colt Anderson (foot), T Cordy Glenn (ankle)

      --Questionable: TE Charles Clay (knee), CB Ronald Darby (hamstring), QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder), WR Greg Salas (groin), WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

      BALTIMORE RAVENS at JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

      BALTIMORE RAVENS

      --Out: RB Kenneth Dixon (knee)

      --Questionable: LB Elvis Dumervil (foot), T Ronnie Stanley (foot), G John Urschel (shoulder)

      JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

      --Out: T Kelvin Beachum (concussion), TE Ben Koyack (knee)

      --Questionable: CB Prince Amukamara (hamstring), S Tashaun Gipson (hamstring), RB Chris Ivory (not injury related - illness), G Brandon Linder (knee), DE Jared Odrick (triceps)

      CLEVELAND BROWNS at MIAMI DOLPHINS

      CLEVELAND BROWNS

      --Out: S Ibraheim Campbell (hamstring), WR Corey Coleman (hand), C Cameron Erving (chest, lung), QB Josh McCown (left shoulder), DE Carl Nassib (hand)

      --Questionable: CB Joe Haden (groin), K Patrick Murray (left knee)

      MIAMI DOLPHINS

      --Out: RB Arian Foster (groin), C Mike Pouncey (hip)

      --Questionable: CB Xavien Howard (knee), LB Jelani Jenkins (knee), DE Jason Jones (ankle), LB Koa Misi (shoulder), WR DeVante Parker (hamstring), LB Spencer Paysinger (neck)

      DENVER BRONCOS at CINCINNATI BENGALS

      DENVER BRONCOS

      --Out: TE Virgil Green (calf), T Donald Stephenson (calf), LB DeMarcus Ware (forearm)

      --Questionable: WR Bennie Fowler (elbow), LB Corey Nelson (ankle), S Justin Simmons (hand), LB Dekoda Watson (elbow)

      CINCINNATI BENGALS

      --Doubtful: TE Tyler Eifert (ankle)

      --Questionable: CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), G Eric Winston (back)

      DETROIT LIONS at GREEN BAY PACKERS

      DETROIT LIONS

      --Out: DE Ezekiel Ansah (ankle)

      --Doubtful: LB DeAndre Levy (quadricep), LB Antwione Williams (hamstring)

      --Questionable: CB Adairius Barnes (ankle), TE Eric Ebron (back), DE Wallace Gilberry (abdomen), T Riley Reiff (ankle), DE Devin Taylor (ankle), LB Kyle Van Noy (calf), DT Tyrunn Walker (calf), G Larry Warford (illness)

      GREEN BAY PACKERS

      --Out: CB Sam Shields (concussion)

      --Questionable: S Morgan Burnett (groin), DT Letroy Guion (knee), DE Datone Jones (Knee) G T.J. Lang (hip), LB Clay Matthews (ankle, hamstring)

      LOS ANGELES RAMS at TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

      LOS ANGELES RAMS

      --Doubtful: WR Pharoh Cooper (shoulder), WR Nelson Spruce (knee)

      --Questionable: S Maurice Alexander (thigh), RB Benny Cunningham (knee), CB E.J. Gaines (thigh), CB Lamarcus Joyner (toe)

      TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

      --Out: DE Robert Ayers (ankle), LB Lavonte David (shoulder), RB Doug Martin (hamstring), WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring)

      --Questionable: T Donovan Smith (hip), S Ryan Smith (hand), TE Luke Stocker (ankle)

      MINNESOTA VIKINGS at CAROLINA PANTHERS

      MINNESOTA VIKINGS

      --Out: DT Sharrif Floyd (knee), RB Adrian Peterson (knee)

      --Questionable: TE MyCole Pruitt (knee), CB Xavier Rhodes (knee)

      CAROLINA PANTHERS

      --Out: RB Jonathan Stewart (hamstring)

      --Doubtful: LB Jeremy Cash (hamstring)

      --Questionable: DT Kawann Short (shoulder), G Trai Turner (ankle)

      NEW YORK JETS at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

      NEW YORK JETS

      --Out: QB Bryce Petty (right shoulder)

      -- Questionable: LB David Harris (shoulder), LB Erin Henderson (foot), WR Brandon Marshall (foot, knee)

      KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

      --Out: LB Sam Barrington (hamstring), G Parker Ehinger (concussion, foot), T Jah Reid (knee, ankle)

      --Doubtful: RB Jamaal Charles (knee)

      --Questionable: G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle), CB Phillip Gaines (knee)

      OAKLAND RAIDERS at TENNESSEE TITANS

      OAKLAND RAIDERS

      --Out: T Austin Howard (ankle), T Matt McCants (knee)

      --Questionable: CB David Amerson (concussion), C Rodney Hudson (knee), G Gabe Jackson (knee), RB Taiwan Jones (knee), DT Darius Latham (concussion), DE Jihad Ward (hip), T Menelik Watson (groin)

      TENNESSEE TITANS

      --Questionable: LB Derrick Morgan (hamstring), TE Delanie Walker (hamstring), WR Kendall Wright (hamstring)

      PITTSBURGH STEELERS at PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

      PITTSBURGH STEELERS

      --Out: CB Senquez Golson (foot), C Cody Wallace (knee)

      --Doubtful: RB Roosevelt Nix (back)

      --Questionable: G Ramon Foster (elbow)

      PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

      --Out: TE Zach Ertz (rib), CB Leodis McKelvin (hamstring), G Isaac Seumalo (pectoral)

      --Questionable: LB Mychal Kendricks (nose, quadriceps)

      SAN DIEGO CHARGERS at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

      SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

      --Out: S Jahleel Addae (collarbone), DE Joey Bosa (hamstring)

      --Doubtful: TE Antonio Gates (hamstring)

      --Questionable: G Orlando Franklin (hamstring)

      INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

      --Out: CB Darius Butler (hamstring), T Denzelle Good (back), WR Donte Moncrief (shoulder), CB Patrick Robinson (concussion)

      --Questionable: LB Trent Cole (back), CB Vontae Davis (ankle), S Clayton Geathers (foot), S T.J. Green (knee), WR T.Y. Hilton (knee), C Ryan Kelly (shoulder), QB Andrew Luck (right shoulder)

      SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

      SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

      --Out: T Anthony Davis (concussion)

      --Questionable: S Marcus Cromartie (ankle), S Jaquiski Tartt (knee)

      SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

      --Doubtful: G Germain Ifedi (ankle), RB Thomas Rawls (shin), TE Nick Vannett (ankle)

      --Questionable: WR Tyler Lockett (knee), RB C.J. Prosise (wrist)

      WASHINGTON REDSKINS at NEW YORK GIANTS

      WASHINGTON REDSKINS

      --Out: DE Kendall Reyes (groin)

      --Questionable: DE Chris Baker (rib, elbow, toe, knee), S Su'a Cravens (hip), WR Josh Doctson (Achilles), C Kory Lichtensteiger (back), T Ty Nsekhe (foot), LB Martrell Spaight (concussion)

      NEW YORK GIANTS

      --Out: T Marshall Newhouse (calf), DT Robert Thomas (illness), S Darian Thompson (foot)

      --Questionable: RB Rashad Jennings (thumb)

      CHICAGO BEARS at DALLAS COWBOYS on Sunday night

      CHICAGO BEARS

      --Out: LB Danny Trevathan (thumb)

      --Doubtful: RB Ka'Deem Carey (hamstring), QB Jay Cutler (right thumb), DT Eddie Goldman (ankle)

      --Questionable: S Adrian Amos (concussion), CB Bryce Callahan (concussion), CB Kyle Fuller (knee), WR Alshon Jeffery (knee), T Bobby Massie (toe), CB Tracy Porter (knee), S Chris Prosinski (calf), G Josh Sitton (shoulder), DT Will Sutton (elbow), LB Willie Young (knee)

      DALLAS COWBOYS

      --Out: QB Tony Romo (back), DE Charles Tapper (back)

      --Doubtful: LB Mark Nzeocha (Achilles)

      --Questionable: DE Jack Crawford (shoulder), T Doug Free (quadricep), CB Orlando Scandrick (both hamstrings), T Tyron Smith (back)

      ATLANTA FALCONS at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS on Monday night

      ATLANTA FALCONS

      --Out: LB De'Vondre Campbell (ankle), LB Paul Worrilow (groin)

      --Questionable: WR Julio Jones (calf)

      NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

      --Out: T Terron Armstead (knee), CB Delvin Breaux (fibula)

      --Questionable: DT Tyeler Davison (shoulder, foot), LB Dannell Ellerbe (quadricep), TE Josh Hill (ankle), DE Cameron Jordan (knee), WR Willie Snead (toe), S Kenny Vaccaro (ankle)

  • Hall of Famer Ditka rips Kaepernick's stand
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    Hall of Fame coach Mike Ditka blasted San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other players for kneeling during the national anthem prior to NFL games, saying "if they don't like the country, they don't like our flag, get the hell out."

    • Ditka, an analyst for ESPN, appeared on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas and was asked about Kaepernick, who said earlier this week he has received death threats for his protest of what he calls racial inequalities and injustices taking place in America, including police-related violence.

      "I think it's a problem, anybody who disrespects this country and the flag," Ditka said Friday. "If they don't like the country, they don't like our flag, get the hell out. That's what I think.

      "So if you're asking me, I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick. He probably has no respect for me, that's his choice. My choice is that I like this country, I respect our flag. And I don't see all the atrocities going on in this country that people say are going on.

      "I see opportunities if people want to look for opportunity. Now, if they don't want to look for them, then you can find problems with anything, but this is the land of opportunity because you can be anything you want to be if you work. Now, If you don't work, that's a different problem."

      The outspoken Ditka, who has supported Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton for president, previously called Barack Obama "the worst president we've ever had."

      Other NFL players have joined Kaepernick in kneeling for the anthem, including 49ers teammate Eric Reid. Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins' players Arian Foster, Kenny Stills and Jelani Jenkins are among other players who have joined in.

      .

  • Chargers DE Bosa out with hamstring injury
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    Third overall pick Joey Bosa's NFL debut won't happen in Week 3.

    • The San Diego Chargers ruled out their rookie top pick for the third consecutive game because of a hamstring injury, which occurred as Bosa was attempted to get up to speed for Week 1. He reported to camp following a protracted contract holdout.

      Darius Philon has been starting at defensive end in Bosa's stead.

      San Diego said tight end Antonio Gates (hamstring) is doubtful for Sunday's game at Indianapolis. Offensive guard Orlando Franklin (hamstring) is questionable and participated in the entire practice Friday.

      Gates, who has six receptions for 35 yards this season, did not practice Friday.

      Rookie tight end Hunter Henry would start in place of Gates. Coach Mike McCoy is high on the club's second-round pick, who has one catch for 20 yards.

      "He's a very talented player. There's a reason why we picked him where we did," McCoy said. "He's going to help us win. I think Philip (Rivers) is going to love him."

      Safety Jahleel Addae (clavicle) is also out for the Chargers.

  • Cowboys OTs Smith, Free both ailing
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    Injuries could sideline both starting offensive tackles for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night against the Chicago Bears.

    • Left tackle Tyron Smith is questionable with a back injury. He experienced spasms during practice Friday.

      The Cowboys might not have the option of moving former left tackle Doug Free from right tackle, as Free is also on the injury report with a quadriceps injury.

      Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has been sacked four times in two games, and the vaunted Dallas offensive line has helped the Cowboys to a subpar 3.4-yard-per-carry rushing average against the Giants and Redskins to start the season.

      Chaz Green, a third-round pick out of Florida 2015, is listed behind Free on the depth chart. La'el Collins, the Cowboys' starter at left guard, has experience at offensive tackle from his college days at LSU. Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin also played tackle in college at Notre Dame.

      The Bears have multiple injuries on both sides of the ball and lost linebackers Danny Trevathan (thumb) and Lamarr Houston (season-ending knee) to injuries in Week 2.

  • Patriots dealing with more uncertainty regarding Brissett's injury
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Less than a week after dealing with injury uncertainty with fill-in starter Jimmy Garoppolo's right shoulder following last Sunday's win over the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots appear to be in a similar situation with third-string passer Jacoby Brissett after he suffered an apparent right thumb injury in Thursday night's win over the Texans.

    • Brissett, a third-rounder out of N.C. State, is dealing with a thumb issue following his first career start. WEEI.com, a Boston radio station, first broke the news Friday afternoon, saying Brissett had a torn ligament in his thumb and that surgery was "likely" to stabilize the thumb.

      ESPN followed up that report indicating that the Patriots were still evaluating the issue and would know more this Monday, after the players have the weekend off. Later, ESPN reported a source as saying of Brissett's thumb, "No tear, it's fine."

      Brissett was forced into action against Houston on Thursday night because of Garoppolo's reported grade-2 AC sprain in his throwing shoulder. Initial reports indicated he might miss six weeks, but as of the morning of the Texans game, NFL Network was reporting that Tom Brady's fill-in backup would be dressed later that night. That did not turn out to be the case, as Brissett was forced into his first career start and wide receiver Julian Edelman was the backup with Brady continuing to serve his four-game Deflategate suspension.

      Depending on the health status of both Brissett and Garoppolo next week when the team prepares for its Week 4 battle with the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium, New England could certainly be in the mix to add a healthy body to the quarterback depth chart. The Patriots reportedly worked out former Texans quarterback T.J. Yates and former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Sean Renfree last week before choosing to stick with just Brissett and Edelman as healthy options for the Texans game.

      The team also has second-year tight end AJ Derby on the roster, a former quarterback in college at Arkansas before he transitioned to his current position.

      REPORT CARD VS. TEXANS

      PASSING OFFENSE: B-MINUS -- There is no doubt the Patriots employed a limited, simplified passing attack on a short week with a rookie, first-time starter in Jacoby Brissett. The focus was on protection -- protecting Brissett and protecting the football. And it worked. The rookie was sacked just once and did not turn the ball over. He put up pedestrian numbers -- completing 11 of 19 throws for 103 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions for a 72.9 passer rating -- but it was more than enough in conjunction with the impressive other two phases of the game to get the win. Julian Edelman -- who would also have been the backup quarterback had an issue arisen -- led the receivers with four catches for 38 yards. Rookie Malcolm Mitchell had the biggest play of the night through the air for either team, a 27-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter to set up New England's opening points on a short field goal. Other than that the passing attack didn't do all that much to either win or lose the game for New England, which was pretty much part of the plan that Brissett executed with solid poise in a tough situation.

      RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- For the second straight week New England found very little room to run early on, but piled up the carries and broke off enough runs late to put up a statistically-solid day.

      LeGarrette Blount had just seven rushes for 12 yards in the first half, on the way to his second-consecutive 100-yard day as he totaled 24 attempts for 104 yards and a pair of touchdowns by the final gun. A lot of that came on a 41-yard score in the fourth quarter that was the final, knockout blow in the shutout win. With the rookie under center, New England had some scheme runs to add to the team total of 37 carries (when kneel-downs are removed) for 187 yards (4.7 avg.).

      Brissett had the prettiest play of the game on a naked boot in the first quarter that resulted in a 27-yard touchdown when Mitchell ran the only defender on right side of the field off the ball and then blocked him to finish the score. Brissett ran some option looks as well, finishing with six carries for 50 yards (removing the pair of kneel-downs). Edelman had a trio of end-arounds for 14 yards, while Martellus Bennett even had an end-around for 6 yards. The ground game balanced out the offense, took the pressure off Brissett and was good enough for the complementary team victory.

      PASS DEFENSE: A -- Just a few days after left disappointed and seemingly embarrassed by their second-half performance against the Dolphins, New England's pass defense was nearly perfect against Bill O'Brien's Brock Osweiler-led offense. Houston never got anything going with any consistency through the air, failing to even more into New England territory until very late in the third quarter.

      Osweiler threw the ball 41 times with 24 completions for just 196 yards. He was sacked once, threw an interception to linebacker Jamie Collins and finished the shutout loss with a 60.6 passer rating.

      Rookie Will Fuller didn't help out his quarterback, dropping a couple passes. Backup tight end Ryan Griffin led Texans pass catchers with eight receptions for 52 yards. New England clearly focused on taking away the big play from the Texans repertoire and it worked. With mostly two-deep safeties, Houston didn't have a completion longer than 18 yards and the Patriots kept everything in front and tackled well.

      Malcolm Butler had a big bounce-back effort, but fellow cornerbacks Logan Ryan and Justin Coleman were equally impressive. Rounding it all out, the Patriots pass rush took advantage of a matchup with a suspect and banged up Houston line, notching a pair of Jabaal Sheard sacks, four QB hits and enough pressure to keep Osweiler out of rhythm. Extremely solid all-around effort from the pass defense from front to back.

      RUSH DEFENSE: A -- While the pass defense was avoiding the big plays and putting the clamps on DeAndre Hopkins and Co., the run defense was doing the same to Lamar Miller. The Texans back never had much room to work behind a struggling line. Miller had a 9-yard run on the first play from scrimmage and a 15 yarder in the fourth quarter when the game was long over, but for the day he tallied just 80 yards on 21 attempts (3.8 avg.).

      Alan Branch was just one of many Patriots front seven players to show up at various times, notching a tackle for a loss on Miller's second run of the night. One constant was linebacker Jamie Collins who had game highs with 14 tackles and eight solo stops, double his next closest teammate in each category. The run defense made sure the Texans never got a complementary attack going, putting pressure on the Houston passing attack that it wasn't able to handle.

      SPECIAL TEAMS: A-MINUS -- Aside from a few curious decisions and fortuitous breaks on would-be fumbles by rookie punt returner Cyrus Jones, the kicking game was a major, game-changing advantage for the Patriots. After an opening field goal, Brandon Bolden forced a Charles James fumble on the ensuing kickoff that was received by Duron Harmon to set up New England's first touchdown of the night. That same scenario played out in the third quarter when Nate Ebner forced a Tyler Ervin fumble on a kickoff return that was recovered by Jordan Richards and set up another touchdown that extended the lead to 20-0. Beyond the turnovers, Ryan Allen and the punting unit owned the field position battle. Bouncing back from recent struggles, Allen punted seven times for a 47.6 average, both net and gross. He had six of his seven punts downed inside the 20, five of those inside the 11 yard line. Houston's average drive start was the 16 yard line, compared to the 40 yard line for the Patriots. Just the way you would draw it up for a team looking for a three-phase win under a rookie, first-time starting QB on a short week.

      COACHING: A -- Bill Belichick and his staff got a third-round, third-string rookie quarterback ready for his first career start on a short week. Even just on the surface, that's an impressive job. Josh McDaniels put together a balanced, conservative game plan that took advantage of Brissett's skill set and didn't put a ton on the young passer's plate. The offense was far from explosive or overly productive, but it was by no means a detriment to the team effort. Matt Patricia was even more impressive with his defensive game plan that was executed to perfection. He used a lot of two-deep safety looks, playing primarily sub packages most of the night. He mixed up looks with his cornerback and had the front in position to stop the run and get after the passer just enough. The tone and game plan put forth by Belichick and his staff seemed to overwhelm Bill O'Brien and his troops, many of whom are, like the Houston head coach, also former Patriots assistants. This was a dominant effort by the New England coaching staff yet again.

  • Vikings place RB Peterson on injured reserve
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    Running back Adrian Peterson might not miss the rest of the 2016 season, but he won't play until at least Week 11 after the Minnesota Vikings placed him on injured reserve Friday.

    • Peterson had surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus on Thursday, four days after leaving Minnesota's home opener against the Green Bay Packers with a knee injury.

      The Vikings moved Peterson to injured reserve but can activate one player from the list provided he misses eight weeks. Minnesota is planning to split carries between Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata in Week 3 at Carolina.

      Peterson had 31 carries for 50 yards in the first two games of the 2016 season.

      There is a chance Peterson will be ready to run for the Vikings again in December and into the playoffs.

      Long-term, as in March 2017, the Vikings have a bigger call to make: whether to pay Peterson's $11.75 million base salary, triggered by a $6 million roster bonus due on the third day of the league year. Relative to his age and other running back salaries, that represents a mountain of money, even for a player who has defined the Vikings' offense for more than a decade.

  • Browns QB McCown played with broken collarbone
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    Josh McCown played the final three quarters of Cleveland's Week 2 loss to the Baltimore Ravens with a broken collarbone.

    • The Browns, who list the veteran quarterback as week-to-week, confirmed the injury Friday after defensive coordinator Ray Horton disclosed the severity of what the team previous termed a "shoulder injury."

      "I was probably most disappointed for Josh," Horton said of losing to Baltimore after the Browns built a 20-2 lead. "He went out there and played with a broken collarbone ... until the last throw had a chance to win. We talk about the heritage of Ronnie Lott getting a finger amputated to play the game and how precious this game is and what guys will do to play in this game. And so, for me, it was disappointing that we didn't win it for Josh."

      McCown ran to the locker room after he took a hit in the first quarter but returned to play through the painful injury. It was the second time he fractured his collarbone; McCown missed five games with the injury in 2015. This time, the injury is on the left side of his body.

      The 37-year-old was in the Week 2 starting lineup after Robert Griffin III was injured in Week 1 and placed on injured reserve. McCown has started games for the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Browns the past four seasons.

      McCown was sacked three times and hit eight times against Baltimore last week but said after the game there was a reason he kept getting up.

      "I have a dad and an older brother who get up and go to work and sometimes they don't feel great and they go," McCown said. "They go and they grind. I have two little boys that are playing football now. They get hit and they get banged up, and I'm trying to teach them what toughness means.

      "For me, it's those things and just knowing the window for me right now (is closing) and understanding that I don't want to miss snaps."

  • Bears list QB Cutler as doubtful for Dallas game
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler did not practice Friday and is listed as doubtful to play Sunday night in Dallas against the Cowboys because of a sprained right thumb.

    • The news is not a surprise after Cutler suffered the injury during Monday night's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bears anticipate Cutler being sidelined for multiple games.

      The 0-2 Bears will start journeyman quarterback Brian Hoyer against the Cowboys (1-1). Quarterback Matt Barkley was added to the Bears' 53-man roster on Thursday.

      Hoyer took the Houston Texans into the playoffs last season but then had a four-interception game in a playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

      Hoyer, with his fifth team in eight seasons, was 9-of-12 passing for 78 yards in relief of Cutler, who was injured late in the third quarter against the Eagles.

      Also listed as doubtful for the Bears are defensive tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle) and running back Ka'Deem Carey (hamstring). Linebacker Danny Trevathan (thumb) had already been ruled out.

      Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is listed as questionable with knee soreness.

  • Eagles TE Ertz, CB McKelvin to miss game vs. Steelers
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and cornerback Leodis McKelvin were ruled out for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    • Ertz and McKelvin also sat out last week's win against the Chicago Bears with injuries they suffered in the season-opening win over the Cleveland Browns.

      Ertz, who had 75 catches for 853 yards and two touchdowns last season, suffered a rib displacement near his left shoulder and McKelvin injured his left hamstring.

      Coach Doug Pederson said Friday he expects the two players to be back after the team's Week 4 bye.

      Rookie cornerback Jalen Mills will get an increased workload once again and Trey Burton will be featured at tight end, Pederson said.

      Pederson also ruled offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo, who continues to recover from a mid-August pectoral strain.

      Linebacker Mychal Kendricks is expected to play Sunday. He has been dealing with a broken nose and strained quadriceps.

  • NFL Persons of Interest: Clues on whom to watch Sunday
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    Crime scene investigators usually have inside knowledge on persons of interest who aren't necessarily prime suspects, but may know what's up or even had a hand in the deed being scrutinized.

    • It is the same in the NFL, where each team and each game has players who could hold an important key to the outcome, or maybe just their own future. These are not necessarily the known stars of the hour, but perhaps they once were or will be some day or just this one day.

      Investigators for The Sports Xchange, embedded with each NFL team, reported clues of just such persons of interest in each of this Sunday's games.

      They are listed here with supporting evidence:

      Arizona Cardinals (1-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-2)

      THE SCENE: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET at New Era Field. TV: FOX, Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin.

      PERSONS OF INTEREST

      --Cardinals LB Sean Weatherspoon. In the starting lineup for the injured De'Vondre Campbell (ankle), Weatherspoon made his first NFL start since the 2013 season last week. This former first-round pick started seven games in 2013, including the one against Washington on Dec. 15, 2013. He suffered an Achilles injury and missed the 2014 season and signed with Arizona in 2015, but was a reserve after being slowed by a hamstring pull. He re-signed with the Falcons and made the team as a reserve weak-side linebacker and special teamer. Weatherspoon finished with nine tackles against the Raiders in the 35-28 victory.

      --Bills WR Greg Salas. If the Bills' passing game is going to have any success in this game, or any other game, it has to get more production from the wideouts behind Sammy Watkins. Not that Watkins is blowing anyone's socks off right now, but he draws double teams almost every snap, so someone else has to take advantage. Salas got free for a 71-yard touchdown reception against the Jets, and he needs to play a bigger role in the offense. He's also a player who can go over the middle, which has been a noted weakness in the Bills' offense.

      Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Tennessee Titans (1-1)

      THE SCENE: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, at Nissan Stadium. TV: CBS, Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker, Steve Beuerlein.

      PERSONS OF INTEREST

      --Raiders LG Kelechi Osemele. He is worth every penny of the guaranteed $25.4 million the Raiders paid him in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. His aggressive run-blocking has been contagious so a previously poor rushing offense has been transformed into a good one.

      --Titans G Josh Kline. How quickly Kline can acclimate to the Titans offense will be tested this week. After two weeks of being inactive, Kline is likely to be pressed into the starting lineup because of Chance Warmack's season-ending injury.

      Washington Redskins (0-2) at New York Giants (2-0)

      THE SCENE: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET at MetLife Stadium. TV: FOX, Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews.

      PERSONS OF INTEREST

      --Redskins WR Jamison Crowder. Crowder might be the least well-known of Washington's receiving weapons (Jordan Reed, Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson). But he had 59 receptions as a rookie and has been targeted by quarterback Kirk Cousins 18 times in two games. Crowder has caught 12 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.

      --Giants WR Sterling Shepard. While all eyes are going to be on Odell Beckham Jr., Sunday is a golden opportunity for the red-hot Shepard to continue his play-making ways. Shepard has caught 11 of 12 pass targets so far this season, and has emerged as a nice third-down threat for the Giants. Last week, six of Shepard's eight receptions helped move the chains; five of those came on third down.

      Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Miami Dolphins (0-2)

      THE SCENE: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET at Hard Rock Stadium. TV: CBS, Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots.

      PERSONS OF INTEREST

      --Browns RG Alvin Bailey. He is being forced into the starting lineup because normal right guard John Greco is shifting to center due to regular center Cameron Erving being out with a bruised lung. Bailey will be tasked with blocking Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Pressure will be on Bailey because pass protection has been an issue for the Browns the first two weeks.

      --Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake. If Arian Foster (groin) doesn't play or is limited, the rookie third-round pick from Alabama could get the majority of the work in the backfield. Drake showed promise last week with two carries for 12 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown run, along with two receptions for six yards and one kickoff return for 15 yards. Drake, who only played one preseason game because of a hamstring injury, showed good burst on the touchdown run but lost his footing on the kickoff return. Still, he might have more potential than fellow backups Damien Williams, Isaiah Pead and Jay Ajayi.

      Baltimore Ravens (2-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)

      THE SCENE: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET at EverBank Field. TV: CBS, Tom McCarthy, Adam Archuleta, Chris Fischer.

      PERSONS OF INTEREST

      --Ravens TE Dennis Pitta. He is fully recovered from a pair of hip injuries that almost ended his career. Over the first two games, Pitta has caught 12 passes for 141 yards and is a favorite target of quarterback Joe Flacco. He will look to keep the momentum going against a stout Jaguars team that has the eighth-ranked pass defense in the NFL.

      --Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue. The third-round draft pick from Maryland earned his first NFL start last week at the LEO spot on the defensive line. He responded with three tackles including his first sack/forced fumble when he knocked the ball away from San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers in the second quarter and the Jaguars recovered. Ngakoue continues to make great strides as a rookie and will likely be in the starting lineup again this week.

      Detroit Lions (1-1) at Green Bay Packers (1-1)

      THE SCENE: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET at Lambeau Field. TV: FOX, Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis, Peter Schrager.

      PERSONS OF INTEREST

      --Lions RB Dwayne Washington. Ameer Abdullah's foot injury means a changing of the guard at running back for the Lions. Theo Riddick will start this week and get the bulk of the snaps, but Washington is in line for an expanded role as the No. 2. Riddick had a career-high 11 carries last week, but he's still best suited to play a receiving role out of the backfield. Washington has shown flashes of potential in his limited playing time so far. He is already in most of the Lions' goal-line sets, and if he gets hot, there is no reason the Lions won't get him more involved in the running game.

      --Packers DT Kenny Clark. The Packers, who have their early bye week after playing the Lions, will get one more game out of their first-round draft pick this year before he turns 21 on Oct. 4. Head coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers felt Clark grew up in a hurry last Sunday night, when he was pressed into extended service after veteran nose tackle Letroy Guion sustained a knee injury early in the 17-14 loss at the Minnesota Vikings. After playing only nine snaps on defense in the season-opening road win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the rookie was in for 38 plays and helped limit Adrian Peterson to 19 yards in 12 carries before the Vikings' star left with a knee injury. Clark had three tackles and also knocked down a pass from Sam Bradford.

      Denver Broncos (2-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)

      THE SCENE: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET at Paul Brown Stadium. TV: CBS, Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn.

      PERSONS OF INTEREST

      --Broncos DE Derek Wolfe. He isn't a Pro Bowler -- yet. But Wolfe is emerging as one of the best interior pass rushers in the game, and he maintained his presence despite the loss of Malik Jackson, with whom he tag-teamed for most of his big plays in the previous two seasons. Wolfe has 9.5 sacks in his last 12 games, including 1.5 in last week's win over Indianapolis.

      --Bengals WR Tyler Boyd. Boyd played well in his return home to Pittsburgh last week with six catches for 78 yards, including a 29-yard reception. But it was a controversial fumble by the University of Pittsburgh product that ended a late comeback bid for the Bengals in a 24-16 loss. Replays indicated that Boyd's knee was down when the ball came loose, but the officials did not overturn the ruling. Boyd is helping take some of the pressure off A.J. Green after Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu left via free agency in the offseason. Through the first two games of his career, Boyd has eight catches for 102 yards, but is still looking for his first touchdown.

      Minnesota Vikings (2-0) at Carolina Panthers (1-1)

      THE SCENE: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium. TV: FOX, Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale.

      PERSONS OF INTEREST

      --Vikings RG Brandon Fusco. The Vikings have 65 yards rushing and a 2.3-yard average per carry in two games. So far, the hype surrounding the allegedly revamped offensive line has been just that: hype. Fusco isn't the only problem. But he was supposed to be a rock of consistency when he was moved back to right guard after a failed move to the left side a year ago. Fusco signed a big contract extension a couple years ago and has pretty much struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness ever since. He has been overpowered in the running game and in pass protection the first two games. Fusco tends to get out of shape as the season progresses, so he's going to have to step it up if the Vikings are to improve up front. But he's not the only one.

      --Panthers CB James Bradberry. Nominated for rookie of the week after a solid performance against the 49ers, Bradberry could see significant snaps against Stefon Diggs, who was named the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week.

      Los Angeles Rams (1-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)

      THE SCENE: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET at Raymond James Stadium. TV: FOX, Dick Stockton, Chris Spielman, Kristina Pink.

      --Rams CB Troy Hill. A second-year undrafted free agent, Hill replaced Coty Sensabaugh early in the win over Seattle. While the Seahawks went right after the unproven cornerback, completing a 53-yard pass to Tyler Lockett in the closing minute, he held his own while playing 44 of 67 defensive snaps. Hill should see plenty of time against Tampa Bay and will be under the gun just as much as he was last week.

      --Bucs P Bryan Anger. He is a huge upgrade for the Buccaneers this season. The free agent has been effective whether flipping field position or pinning teams inside their 20-yard line. Anger is averaging 48.1 yards per punt with five punts inside the 20 and only one touchback.

      San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1)

      THE SCENE: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET at CenturyLink Field. TV: FOX, Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver.

      PERSONS OF INTEREST

      --49ers LB Michael Wilhoite. With Ray-Ray Armstrong placed on injured reserve, head coach Chip Kelly indicated Wilhoite will be the reserve asked to step up and fill the coverage role of Armstrong, who was a converted safety. Armstrong won a battle for that role over Wilhoite during the preseason.

      --Seahawks RB Christine Michael. He has been the lone runner capable of finding yards for Seattle through the first two weeks. However, his costly fumble in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams ended the Seahawks' comeback chance. With Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise battling injuries, Michael will need to take control of the position for the near future.

      New York Jets (1-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-1)

      THE SCENE: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET at Arrowhead Stadium. TV: CBS, Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl.

      PERSONS OF INTEREST

      --Jets WR Quincy Enunwa. His surprising emergence over the first two games -- 13 catches on 14 targets -- gives the Jets perhaps the top trio in the entire NFL. Enunwa has gained the trust of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and could be in for an even bigger role Sunday with Brandon Marshall (knee) and Eric Decker (shoulder) banged up.

      --Chiefs WR Jeremy Maclin. The Chiefs have elevated the talent level on their roster at wide receiver, but there's no question who is the team's best pass-catcher and that's Maclin. But the eight-year veteran has gotten off to a very slow start, with only 11 catches for 131 yards in two games. He was targeted by quarterback Alex Smith 22 times, including 15 times against Houston. Maclin was able to grab only six of those passes, while dropping two throws. Maclin was listed down for a single drop last season. However, he may have been out of sorts against the Texans with the game coming four days after the death of a long-time friend, Isaiah DeLeon-Mares. The 29-year-old passed away on Sept. 14. The day after the game, Maclin posted on Instagram: "For 18 yrs he was by my side thru everything. He seen me at my worst and my best. One of the most selfless ppl I've ever had the privilege of knowing. ... Rest easy Zay. I love you bro."

      San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Indianapolis Colts (0-2)

      THE SCENE: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium. TV: CBS, Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon.

      PERSONS OF INTEREST

      --Chargers RB Kenneth Farrow. With Danny Woodhead lost for the season, Farrow's chance for more touches increases. The team signed running back Dexter McCluster, who is also a versatile back in the mode of Woodhead. But how quickly he can get up to speed is worth watching, which means keeping an eye on Farrow.

      --Colts WR Chester Rogers. With WR Donte Moncrief sidelined 4-6 weeks with a broken shoulder blade, the undrafted Grambling receiver will see the field. He led all Colts receivers in total receptions during the preseason. Rogers (6-foot-1, 180) has good size and has shown the ability to be a playmaker downfield.

      Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)

      THE SCENE: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field. TV: CBS, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson.

      PERSONS OF INTEREST

      --Steelers WR Sammie Coates. The second-year receiver is developing into the offense's big-play threat. He only has four catches through the first two games, but he's averaging 38.2 yards per reception. He had catches of 56 and 44 yards to help set up two of three touchdowns the Steelers scored in last week's victory over the Bengals.

      --Eagles RB Wendell Smallwood. The rookie fifth-rounder was sidelined for much of the preseason with a quad injury and then a concussion. But he is healthy now. He rushed for 16 yards on two carries last week, and probably will get more work this week against the Steelers.

      Chicago Bears (0-2) at Dallas Cowboys (1-1)

      THE SCENE: Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET at AT&T Stadium. TV: NBC, Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya.

      PERSONS OF INTEREST

      --Bears DE Akiem Hicks. At 330 pounds, he's going to have to be the rock on the Bears' defensive front with many of the other stout run stoppers injured, like Danny Trevathan, Lamarr Houston (injured reserve) and Eddie Goldman. The offensive line is Dallas' greatest strength and Hicks has to stand alone and plug the gap.

      --Cowboys WR Cole Beasley. Beasley has a team-leading 13 passes for 140 yards. It puts him on pace for a 104-catch, 1,120-yard season. His career bests are the 52 passes he caught last season for 536 yards and five touchdowns. He is the third receiver, but has become one of the team's most trusted targets, alongside Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten.

      --Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, is in his sixth decade covering football and 26th year on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

  • Vikings OT Kalil undergoes hip surgery
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    Minnesota Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil underwent surgery on Friday to repair a torn labrum in his right hip, the team announced.

    • Kalil's procedure was performed by team physician Chris Larson at Twin Cities Orthopedics.

      The surgery comes one day after defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee.

      The Vikings placed Kalil, who has started all 66 games during his NFL career, on injured reserve Wednesday

      The 27-year-old Kalil, the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, had knee issues in 2013 and 2014. The Vikings picked up Kalil's $11.1 million fifth-year option for 2016.

      Floyd's procedure was performed by Dr. James Andrews at the Andrews Institute in Pensacola, Fla.

      The 25-year-old Floyd had surgery to clean up damaged cartilage in his right knee. He had operations on both of his knees in the past 12 months, but he is expected to return this year.

      Floyd, the Vikings' first-round pick in 2013, has 95 tackles and 9.5 sacks in 43 career games. He played 23 snaps in the season opener but hasn't played or practiced since.

  • Bucs place LB Bond on IR, re-sign Keyes
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed rookie linebacker Devante Bond on injured reserve with a hamstring injury and re-signed linebacker Josh Keyes on Friday.

    • The 6-foot-1, 236-pound Bond was a sixth-round pick out of Oklahoma by the Bucs in the 2016 NFL Draft. He hurt his hamstring earlier this year and was ruled out of the first two games this season.

      The 6-2, 223-pound Keyes played in two games on special teams for Tampa Bay this season before being waived Wednesday. He was on the active roster for the last seven weeks in 2015 and started this year on the practice squad but was promoted before the season opener to provide depth.

  • Bucs TE Seferian-Jenkins cut following DUI charge
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers within hours of being released from jail on Friday.

    • Seferian-Jenkins, 23, was arrested early Friday morning and charged with driving under the influence.

      "We are very disappointed in today's news," Bucs general manager Jason Licht said in a statement. "After careful consideration, we felt this was the right decision at this time."

      According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Seferian-Jenkins was stopped at 3:42 a.m. and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail in Tampa, Fla., at 6:24 a.m. He was stopped after entering southbound Interstate 275 traveling at 75-80 mph in a 55-mph zone.

      Seferian-Jenkins also faces a misdemeanor charge of violating a court-ordered Ignition Interlock Device restriction from a previous arrest for DUI in 2013 while attending the University of Washington. He later pleaded guilty to DUI.

      Seferian-Jenkins, a second-round pick of the Bucs in 2014, was booted on the final day of OTAs in June by new coach Dirk Koetter for not knowing where to line up.

      Seferian-Jenkins had two catches for 14 yards last Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. He had a 30-yard reception in the season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

      The Buccaneers also promoted tight end Alan Cross from the practice squad to the active roster. He has been with Tampa Bay since the offseason and has been on the practice squad since Sept. 13.

      The Bucs host the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday in their home opener.