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  • Rams CB Talib to undergo ankle surgery
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    Los Angeles Rams cornerback Aqib Talib will undergo ankle surgery on Thursday, according to coach Sean McVay.

    • On Tuesday, McVay gave no timetable for Talib's recovery, indicating that will be determined once surgery is completed. NFL Network initially reported that Talib, who limped off with the injury in the second half of Sunday's 35-23 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, would miss four to six weeks.

      The Rams also are without another top cornerback. Marcus Peters, who suffered a calf strain Sunday. Initial reports indicated he could be out two to four weeks.

      However, ESPN's Adam Schefter has reported Peters could be back sooner. He labeled him as "day to day," but indicated he would be unlikely to play against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night.

      Los Angeles currently has cornerbacks Sam Shields, Nickell Robey-Coleman and Troy Hill on the active roster, and Dominique Hatfield and rookie Ramon Richards on the practice squad.

      The Rams acquired Talib and Peters via trade this offseason, sending a second-round pick in a package to the Kansas City Chiefs for Peters and a fifth-rounder to the Denver Broncos for Talib. Peters is a two-time Pro Bowl selection who tallied 19 interceptions in his first three seasons in the league, while Talib has 34 interceptions (10 returned for touchdowns) three games into his 11th season.

      Through three games, the Rams rank sixth in total defense (296.0 yards per game) and first in points allowed (12.0 per game), as well as seventh in interception rate. Peters had a pick-six late in Week 1, while Talib had two pass-breakups in Week 2 and forced a fumble on Sunday.

      --Field Level Media

  • Vikes facing questions ahead of tilt with Rams
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    Once anticipated as a matchup between two of the better teams in the NFC, Thursday night's clash between the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum now comes with a bit of curiosity attached.

    • The Rams (3-0) continue to look the part of an NFL power, while the Vikings (1-1-1) have lingering questions following a 27-6 home defeat Sunday to a Buffalo Bills team that was more than a two-touchdown underdog.

      Thursday was supposed to be the start of a daunting stretch for the Vikings, not this past Sunday. Minnesota has the matchup with the Rams followed by an Oct. 7 NFC Championship Game rematch with the Philadelphia Eagles. The two-game stretch only looks tougher now.

      "I'm not too worried about that, honestly, about getting them back," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said about the short week. "We had a bad day. We've got to play better, obviously. I don't have any doubts about this football team. But this is the NFL and you've got to go out and play every week."

      Not only have the Rams met -- and possibly exceeded -- expectations after three weeks, they get to stay home and fine tune a team that has shown few weaknesses in compiling victories over the Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Chargers.

      Quarterback Jared Goff has thrown for over 350 yards in consecutive games, just the fourth Rams signal-caller since 1958 to accomplish the feat. And the Rams' offense is coming off a convincing 521-yard performance against the Chargers.

      Yet, if anybody on the Rams is about to pat themselves on the back, there is at least one veteran who will remind the team that the Vikings are still one of the toughest opponents in the league, even if the Bills had their way with them Sunday.

      "(The Vikings) not doing as well as they hoped, they're gonna be hungry coming out here," Rams defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh said. "A game on the road, short week, allows them to forget about it really quickly, prepare for our game. So we expect them to come out with a lot of firepower."

      Playing from behind Sunday, the Vikings rushed the ball just six times. Quarterback Kirk Cousins attempted 55 passes, completing 40 of them for 296 yards and one touchdown. He was sacked four times and fumbled three times, losing two of those.

      The Rams did not intercept a Philip Rivers pass Sunday, but they did recover two fumbles and blocked a punt in the end zone for a touchdown.

      Of major concern for the Rams are injuries to starting cornerbacks Marcus Peters (calf) and Aqib Talib (ankle). Talib is set for surgery Thursday and will reportedly miss a month, while Peters could reportedly be sidelined two to four weeks.

      Rams Pro Bowl kicker Greg Zuerlein remains out with a groin injury. His replacement, Sam Ficken, missed a 46-yard field goal in his only attempt Sunday.

      Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (hamstring) did not play Sunday, but is expected back Thursday after returning to practice on a limited basis Tuesday. Defensive lineman Everson Griffen will miss Thursday's game with a knee injury, though the team is more focused on his mental health after an incident at a Minneapolis hotel on Saturday.

      According to Deadspin, which posted a copy of the Minnetrista, Minn., police report detailing the incident, Griffen leapt out of an ambulance on his way to the hospital for a mental evaluation.

      The Vikings lead the all-time regular-season series 27-16-2 and are on a five-game win streak. The teams met last year on Nov. 19, with the Vikings winning 24-7 at Minnesota.

      --Field Level Media

  • Packers to place CB House on IR, sign Breeland
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    Green Bay Packers cornerback Davon House is scheduled to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, ESPN reported Tuesday.

    • The team will sign cornerback Bashaud Breeland to replace House, according to multiple outlets.

      House is expected to be placed on injured reserve, which would mean he will miss at least eight games.

      House, an eight-year veteran, was dealing with a shoulder injury he suffered last season. He aggravated it earlier this season and played just four snaps in Sunday's loss to the Washington Redskins.

      Breeland spent the past four seasons with the Redskins and initially signed a three-year, $24 million contract with the Carolina Panthers in free agency. But the deal was voided when he failed his physical due to a foot injury.

      Breeland had eight interceptions in 60 games (58 starts) with Washington.

      --Field Level Media

  • NFL notebook: Which Bucs QB will start?
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears .

    • And coach Dirk Koetter knows who it is but is keeping it a secret.

      Jameis Winston reported back to the team on Tuesday, giving the team access to its usual starter, after his three-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick started during Winston's absence and became the first quarterback in NFL history to threw for 400 or more yards in three consecutive games, leaving Koetter with an intriguing dilemma.

      Koetter said he has discussed his quarterback plan with Winston and Fitzpatrick but declined to share it with reporters. The

      --The New Orleans Saints placed cornerback Patrick Robinson on injured reserve, according to multiple reports. He broke his ankle Sunday in the team's overtime win over Atlanta.

      Players on injured reserve must miss eight weeks, so the earliest Robinson, 31, could return is for a Thanksgiving night rematch against the Falcons in New Orleans. The team has not announced a timeline for his recovery or whether he will return this season.

      The Saints lack depth at the defensive back position. They waived the defensive backs they drafted this year -- fifth-rounder Natrell Jamerson and sixth-rounder Kamrin Moore -- and both have found homes with new teams. Now, New Orleans is left to hope that P.J. Williams or Ken Crawley can assume the starting role.

      --The Buffalo Bills traded veteran offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse to the Carolina Panthers for a future conditional draft pick, the Bills announced.

      Carolina cut tackle Corey Robinson to create room on the roster.

      Newhouse, a TCU product, was a fifth-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2010. He played three seasons with the Packers, one with the Cincinnati Bengals, two with the New York Giants and one with the Oakland Raiders. Buffalo signed him to a one-year contract in March.

      --The Tennessee Titans plan to sign journeyman quarterback Austin Davis because of injuries at the position, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

      The Titans targeted the 29-year-old to provide veteran insurance with starter Marcus Mariota bothered by an elbow injury and backup Blaine Gabbert in concussion protocol.

      Gabbert suffered a concussion in last Sunday's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars and might not be cleared for this week's contest against the Philadelphia Eagles.

      --Former Oakland Raiders linebacker Neiron Ball is in a medically induced coma following an aneurysm that burst in his brain, according to multiple published reports.

      The 26-year-old Ball reportedly has been in the coma since Sept. 16.

      Ball has battled a rare blood vessel disorder called arteriovenous malformation, which is an abnormality in the connection between arteries and veins in the brain or spine. The diagnosis was made after he experienced headaches in 2011 as a member of Florida's football team.

      --Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen is under hospital supervision after an incident at a Minneapolis hotel on Saturday.

      Head coach Mike Zimmer confirmed at a press conference that the Vikings ordered Griffen to undergo a mental evaluation in a letter sent to Griffen and his agent.

      According to Deadspin, which posted a copy of the Minnetrista, Minn., police report detailing the incident, Griffen leapt out of an ambulance on his way to the hospital for the evaluation.

      --Head coach Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers were looking at quarterbacks on Tuesday with Jimmy Garoppolo out for the season. Colin Kaepernick was not among the veteran passers invited to the workout.

      Shanahan said the 49ers already have made contact with former Miami Dolphins backup Matt Moore. NFL Network reported the long list of players the 49ers are evaluating includes Matt Simms, who was with the Falcons when Shanahan was offensive coordinator there, along with Tom Savage, T.J. Yates and Kellen Clemens. Yahoo Sports reported Kyle Allen, an undrafted free agent who left school early after playing for Texas A&M and Houston, also was scheduled to meet with the 49ers.

      Reports of trade interest from the 49ers in other veteran quarterbacks -- Tyrod Taylor of the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets backup Josh McCown -- are unlikely to bear fruit. Browns head coach Hue Jackson said Monday that Cleveland would not trade Taylor, even after No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield was promoted to the starting job.

      --Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the roughing the passer penalty is blurring the line of what he defined as a "man's game."

      "The way I see our future is I see a real serious emphasis on youth football, amateur football. I see it reflected at the high school level. Then a step above that will be the collegiate level and I see a collegiate game that certainly has a lot of finesse in it but is a great game and makes these kinds of adjustments we're talking about," Jones said on 105.3 FM in Dallas on Tuesday.

      "But when it comes to pro football, to use a boxing term, that's when you put the 6-ounce gloves on. That's when you don't want to fight with those 10-ounce gloves or you don't fight with those head gears. Everybody's being really paid to go out and you're paid a lot of money to go out and incur those type situations that have more risks in them. It's real important that pro football distinguish itself as a very physical game relative to the game at college, relative to the game at high school and amateur. That's very important. Now where to find that balance, that's one thing but when we get to a point in the future in time you'll see pro football where they've put the 6-ounce gloves on and where the men are playing."

      --Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer were selected as the broadcast team for all 11 Thursday night football games this season to be aired by Amazon Prime streaming service.

      Amazon produces multiple audio options, and users can select between the FOX broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman or three Prime audio streams: Storm and Kremer, a Spanish-language broadcast and a United Kingdom-English broadcast team.

      "NFL fans will hear history made this season -- bringing two female announcers together to call an entire NFL game has never been done before," said Greg Hart, Prime Video vice president. "Our customers around the world love to stream football. We are thrilled to have Andrea and Hannah bring their extensive knowledge of the game to fans on Prime Video."

      --Field Level Media

  • Saints place CB Robinson on IR with broken ankle
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    The New Orleans Saints placed cornerback Patrick Robinson on injured reserve on Tuesday, according to multiple reports. He broke his ankle Sunday in the team's overtime win over Atlanta.

    • Players on injured reserve must miss eight weeks, so the earliest Robinson, 31, could return is for a Thanksgiving night rematch against the Falcons in New Orleans. The team has not announced a timeline for his recovery or whether he will return this season.

      The Saints lack depth at the defensive back position. They waived the defensive backs they drafted this year -- fifth-rounder Natrell Jamerson and sixth-rounder Kamrin Moore -- and both have found homes with new teams. Now, New Orleans is left to hope that P.J. Williams or Ken Crawley can assume the starting role.

      During the first three games of the season, Robinson played 56 percent of the Saints' defensive snaps and 42 percent of their snaps on special teams.

      Robinson signed a four-year, $20 million contract in the offseason to return to the Saints, the team that drafted him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He played five seasons with the Saints, then a season each with the Chargers, Colts and Eagles.

      --Field Level Media

  • Bucs' Koetter won't say which QB will start
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a starting quarterback for this Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears.

    • At least coach Dirk Koetter knows the identity of the starter, but he is deciding to keep it a secret.

      after serving a three-game suspension for inappropriately touching a female Uber driver, Jameis Winston reported back to the team on Tuesday, giving the team access to its usual starter.

      But Ryan Fitzpatrick started during Winston's absence and became the first quarterback in NFL history to threw for 400 or more yards in three consecutive games, leaving Koetter in an intriguing dilemma.

      Koetter said he has discussed his quarterback plan with Winston and Fitzpatrick but declined to share it with reporters.

      "It is great to see Jameis back in the building," Koetter said during a press conference. "He was here early and working hard. We welcome Jameis back. Glad to have him. Short week ... he assured me that he is ready to go.

      "We know what we're going to do, both guys know what we're going to do. I hope everybody can appreciate that it doesn't do us any good to tell our opponents what we're going to do. That will work itself out as the week goes along. We do have a plan and both guys are aware of it."

      Fitzpatrick passed for 411 yards and three touchdowns in Monday night's 30-27 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers but was also intercepted three times. He has thrown for 1,230 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions this season.

      Meanwhile, Bucs safety Chris Conte was placed on injured reserve (knee).

      Conte reinjured his knee against the Steelers. At one point in the game, he was stiff-armed out of the way and to the ground by Pittsburgh tight end Vance McDonald on a 75-yard touchdown play.

      Koetter didn't specify when the injury occurred. Koetter said the team is hopeful Conte can return later this season.

      Conte, who has 14 tackles this season, initially injured the knee against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2.

      The Buccaneers also released cornerback Jeff Richards from the practice squad.

      --Field Level Media

  • Panthers acquire veteran OT Newhouse from Bills
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    The Buffalo Bills traded veteran offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse to the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday for a future conditional draft pick, the Bills announced.

    • Carolina cut tackle Corey Robinson to create room on the roster.

      Newhouse, a TCU product, was a fifth-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2010. He played three seasons with the Packers, one with the Cincinnati Bengals, two with the New York Giants and one with the Oakland Raiders. Buffalo signed him to a one-year contract in March.

      In three games this season, he played 14 snaps for the Bills. He has appeared in 103 games throughout his career, starting 70 of them.

      The Carolina offensive line is banged up and in need of reinforcements.

      Tackles Matt Kalil and Daryl Williams are on injured reserve, and guard Trai Turner has missed the last two games with a concussion.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Titans to sign journeyman QB Davis
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    The Tennessee Titans plan to sign journeyman quarterback Austin Davis because of injuries at the position, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday.

    • The Titans targeted the 29-year-old to provide veteran insurance with starter Marcus Mariota bothered by an elbow injury and backup Blaine Gabbert in concussion protocol.

      Gabbert suffered a concussion in last Sunday's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars and might not be cleared for this Sunday's contest against the Philadelphia Eagles.

      Mariota was injured in the season opener against the Miami Dolphins. He entered the game against Jacksonville in relief of the injured Gabbert.

      Davis last threw a pass in an NFL game in 2015 for the Cleveland Browns. He played in three games (two starts) that year and passed for 547 yards and one touchdown against three interceptions.

      He saw his most extensive action with the St. Louis Rams in 2014 when he started eight games and played in 10. Davis passed for 2,001 yards and 12 touchdowns and was intercepted nine times.

      Davis played in three games for the Seattle Seahawks in 2017 without throwing a pass.

      Davis was cut by the Seahawks on Sept. 7.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Raiders LB Ball in medically induced coma
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    Former Oakland Raiders linebacker Neiron Ball is in a medically induced coma following an aneurysm that burst in his brain, according to multiple published reports.

    • The 26-year-old Ball reportedly has been in the coma since Sept. 16.

      Ball has battled a rare blood vessel disorder called arteriovenous malformation, which is an abnormality in the connection between arteries and veins in the brain or spine. The diagnosis was made after he experienced headaches in 2011 as a member of Florida's football team.

      The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation indicated that it spoke to family members of Ball on Tuesday.

      "Upon speaking with @neiron_11's family, we've learned that he's been in a medically-induced coma since the 16th," the foundation said on Twitter. "We believed Neiron's #AVM was obliterated, that doesn't seem to be the case as he developed an aneurysm which burst. His family asks for continued prayers"

      Ball was a fifth-round pick of the Raiders in the 2015 NFL Draft and played in six games. He drew two starts and had nine tackles and one sack before his season was cut short by a knee injury.

      He was released by the Raiders prior to each of the next two seasons.

      --Field Level Media

  • 49ers audition QBs, Kaepernick not invited
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    Head coach Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers are looking at quarterbacks on Tuesday with Jimmy Garoppolo out for the season.

    • Colin Kaepernick is not among the veteran passers invited to the workout.

      Shanahan said the 49ers already have made contact with former Miami Dolphins backup Matt Moore. NFL Network reported the long list of players the 49ers are evaluating includes Matt Simms, who was with the Atlanta Falcons when Shanahan was offensive coordinator there, along with Tom Savage, T.J. Yates and Kellen Clemens.

      Reports of trade interest from the 49ers in multiple quarterbacks -- Tyrod Taylor of the Browns and New York Jets backup Josh McCown -- are unlikely to bear fruit. Browns head coach Hue Jackson said Monday that Cleveland would not trade Taylor, even after No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield was promoted to the starting job.

      Kaepernick remains unemployed and last played for the 49ers in 2016, the season before Shanahan and general manager John Lynch were hired.

      C.J. Beathard takes over as the No. 1 quarterback in San Francisco. Shanahan said he has total confidence in Beathard, who has "the respect of the team."

      --Field Level Media

  • Jerry Jones, competition committee rip penalty enforcement
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    Ben Roethlisberger joined the brigade of players unclear on what constitutes roughing the passer.

    • In the Pittsburgh Steelers' win at Tampa on Monday, Roethlisberger benefitted from two roughing the passer penalties, a personal foul designed to protect quarterbacks and defined by the competition committee in March as a point of emphasis this season.

      "I don't want to criticize officiating, especially when you're talking about a penalty that helps the quarterback out," Roethlisberger said. "I was surprised at the first one. The second one I thought was legit, he hit me in the helmet. But there sure are a lot of them. I can't imagine the fans at home are enjoying it too much."

      Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the penalty is blurring the line of what he defined as a "man's game."

      "The way I see our future is I see a real serious emphasis on youth football, amateur football. I see it reflected at the high school level. Then a step above that will be the collegiate level and I see a collegiate game that certainly has a lot of finesse in it but is a great game and makes these kinds of adjustments we're talking about," Jones said on 105.3 FM in Dallas on Tuesday.

      "But when it comes to pro football, to use a boxing term, that's when you put the 6-ounce gloves on. That's when you don't want to fight with those 10-ounce gloves or you don't fight with those head gears. Everybody's being really paid to go out and you're paid a lot of money to go out and incur those type situations that have more risks in them. It's real important that pro football distinguish itself as a very physical game relative to the game at college, relative to the game at high school and amateur. That's very important.

      Now where to find that balance, that's one thing but when we get to a point in the future in time you'll see pro football where they've put the 6-ounce gloves on and where the men are playing."

      NFL Network's Judy Battista reported on Tuesday that members of the competition committee are not pleased with enforcement of the penalty. A call to discuss the rule and its impact on games is scheduled for next week.

      Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said Monday he asked the NFL for clarification on the rule -- and how the league proposes coaching players pursuing the quarterback -- for the third consecutive week. Linebacker Clay Matthews was flagged for roughing in each of the first three games.

      San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman blasted the league on Monday for going too far to protect quarterbacks, leaving defensive players underprotected.

      Sherman was responding to news of Miami Dolphins defensive end William Hayes suffering a season-ending knee injury trying to avoid putting his body weight on Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

      "They don't care about the rest of us getting hurt. Long as the QB is safe," Sherman wrote via Twitter.

      Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said roughing calls are "out of control."

      --Field Level Media

  • Amazon Prime announces all-female NFL broadcast team
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer were selected as the broadcast team for all 11 Thursday night football games this season to be aired by Amazon Prime streaming service.

    • Amazon produces multiple audio options, and users can select between the FOX broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman or three Prime audio streams: Storm and Kremer, Spanish-language broadcast and a United Kingdom-English broadcast team.

      "NFL fans will hear history made this season -- bringing two female announcers together to call an entire NFL game has never been done before," said Greg Hart, Prime Video vice president. "Our customers around the world love to stream football. We are thrilled to have Andrea and Hannah bring their extensive knowledge of the game to fans on Prime Video."

      Kremer was recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award and has won multiple Emmy Awards. She is the chief correspondent for NFL Network, previously worked as a sideline and feature reporter for "Sunday Night Football" on NBC and prior to that on ESPN. Kremer has covered 25 Super Bowls.

      "Teaming up with Hannah and Amazon for this is truly special," Kremer said. "Hannah is a brilliant journalist and she has been a friend for many years. With decades of experience as storytellers, we will be bringing a different voice and viewpoint to covering the game of football."

      Storm is currently an anchor for ESPN's SportsCenter and hosts the 90-minute "Monday Night Football" edition of the program.

      She has worked for NBC Sports, CNN and CBS. Storm was the first female host of CNN Sports Tonight.

      --Field Level Media

  • QB Winston back from suspension; Bucs face QB quandary
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    Jameis Winston returned from the suspended list on Tuesday and landed smack in the center of a quarterback controversy with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    • One day after Ryan Fitzpatrick became the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for 400 yards in each of the first three games of a season, Winston is back and the Buccaneers have a decision to make.

      Head coach Dirk Koetter said Monday night after Fitzpatrick nearly led the Buccaneers to a comeback in a 30-27 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers that he needs to speak to Winston before sharing his decision.

      "Let's see what the injury report comes back," Koetter said. "Any time we have these games, it's not always obvious how the guys are going to come in the next day and come in on Wednesday. Let's see what happens. I'd love to get a chance to talk to Jameis face-to-face before I tell the rest of the world."

      Down 30-10 at halftime, the Buccaneers rallied behind Fitzpatrick's 30-of-50, 411-yard, three-TD showing. He had three interceptions in the first half. Wide receiver Mike Evans took the blame for one of the picks, saying he deviated from the planned route and "tricked Fitz."

      Koetter said Monday that if the Buccaneers decide Fitzpatrick gives the team the best chance to beat the Chicago Bears this week, the 35-year-old will remain the starter. He doesn't believe Winston would pout if he's not the No. 1 quarterback this week.

      "We love Jameis," Koetter said. "He's a member of our team and anxious to get back. He'll be great in our locker room. And I know Jameis -- in whatever role he ends up in -- I know Jameis will embrace that role and give it everything he's got."

      Fitzpatrick said he understands he's on the roster to do whatever it takes to help the team win. He remains hopeful that means playing, not backing up, quarterback.

      "I have so much fun playing this game," Fitzpatrick said. "I have fun playing with these guys. And I'm here just ready to whatever it takes to win. And I think that will be my mindset going forward.

      "I'm happy with the way the first two games went. I'm not happy with the way I turned the ball over (Monday), and I didn't finish that fourth quarter drive. So there's a lot of things I could've done better."

      --Field Level Media

  • Vikings ordered DE Griffen undergo mental evaluation
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen is under hospital supervision after an incident at a Minneapolis hotel on Saturday.

    • Head coach Mike Zimmer confirmed at a Tuesday press conference that the Vikings ordered Griffen to undergo a mental evaluation in a letter sent to Griffen and his agent.

      According to Deadspin, which posted a copy of the Minnetrista, Minn., police report detailing the incident, Griffen leapt out of an ambulance on his way to the hospital for the evaluation.

      "I just hope for the best for him," Zimmer said. "In the long run, he's a really good kid."

      The Vikings have not identified specifics of any ailment or mental disorder Griffen has or is being treated for at this time, only saying he's going through "a tough time."

      The Minnetrista police report said members of the Vikings organization felt Griffen was acting out of anger and erratically. Family members told police they feared for their safety and for Griffen's, detailing what one acquaintance described as a nervous breakdown.

      Zimmer said he hasn't talked to Griffen since the Week 2 overtime game at Green Bay. He said he was uncertain whether the team offered additional resources to Griffen beyond demanding an evaluation before he returns to the team facility.

      Zimmer said the Vikings will rely on their support system in place but added ownership has approved Griffen working with outside experts if necessary.

      "Obviously, he's been a really good model for us, and he's going through a tough time right now," Zimmer said.

      ESPN reported Tuesday that Griffen was "getting assistance on personal matters." The NFL is aware of Griffen's status and is "comfortable he has a good support system around him," ESPN reported.

      According to a police incident report, authorities from the Minneapolis Police Department were called to Hotel Ivy on Saturday because an individual was threatening to shoot someone if he wasn't allowed in his room. ESPN reported that though the name on the report is redacted, Griffen is the individual in question.

      The Vikings play in Los Angeles against the Rams on Thursday. Zimmer said the team will leave Tuesday after practice based on studies the team did on adjusting to the Pacific time zone.

      "Our guys really care and love Everson," Zimmer said Tuesday. "They also understand they have a job to do."

      Zimmer said Griffen was ruled out of Thursday's game because of a knee injury and wouldn't have been able to play regardless of other issues.

      "It's about him getting better. In the five years I've been here, I've always loved Everson," Zimmer said.

      Police reported to the hotel Saturday at 1:30 p.m. when a call taken by dispatch from the hotel reported a suspect had said "if someone doesn't let him in his room he is going to shoot someone."

      No weapon was found and Griffen was allowed to leave the property, per police.

      Griffen, 30, has spent his entire nine-year career with the Vikings. He was arrested twice as a rookie in 2011, once for public intoxication and soon after for allegedly assaulting a police officer during a traffic stop.

      The Vikings issued a statement late Monday after reports of Griffen's health began percolating.

      "We are aware of the situation involving Everson Griffen and certainly concerned by what we have heard," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said in a statement. "We are currently focused on Everson's well-being and providing the appropriate support for him and his family."

      The Minnesota Police Department said Griffen allegedly created a scene almost every time he entered the hotel. Multiple professional athletes live in the hotel.

      Griffen has gone to the Pro Bowl three consecutive seasons. He signed a four-year, $58 million contract extension in 2017.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Vikings' Griffen undergoing mental-health check
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen reportedly was undergoing a mental-health check at a Minneapolis-area hospital on Monday.

    • According to NFL Network, questions about Griffen's mental health arose before last weekend, when he didn't play Sunday due to what the team said were personal reasons.

      Additionally, Griffen reportedly was involved in an altercation at a Minneapolis hotel on Saturday.

      KSTP-TV's 5 Eyewitness News cited sources saying that Griffen threatened to shoot someone at the hotel. The Minneapolis Police Department report detailed the incident, with the name of the person making the threat redacted.

      Vikings general manager Rick Spielman issued a statement that read, "We are aware of the situation involving Everson Griffen and certainly concerned by what we have heard. We are currently focused on Everson's well-being and providing the appropriate support for him and his family."

      KSTP, citing the police report, indicated that hotel staffers moved to the back of the office as a man paced in the lobby. Police audio indicated that the man said he would shoot someone if he wasn't let into his room.

      A caller to police also reported the man threatened to assault hotel employees.

      No arrests were made.

      Griffen, 30, is in his ninth season with the Vikings, who made him a fourth-round draft pick in 2010 out of Southern California. In 123 games, including 65 starts, he has 62 sacks, one interception and 10 forced fumbles. He logged a career-high 13 sacks last year.

      --Field Level Media

  • NFL notebook: Garoppolo tore ACL, MRI confirms
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 24, 2018

    An MRI confirmed San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Sunday and is out for the season, the team announced Monday.

    • Coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters following the 49ers' Sunday loss to the Kansas City Chiefs that the team feared Garoppolo had torn his ACL. C.J. Beathard, a 2017 third-round pick who went 1-4 as a starter last season, will be the team's starter moving forward.

      The 49ers are also bringing in former Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage for a visit, per an ESPN report.

      Garoppolo was carted to the locker room after his left knee buckled on a third-and-20 scramble with the 49ers down by 14 points late in the fourth quarter. He could have stepped out of bounds but instead cut upfield, planting his left leg just before taking a big hit from Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson.

      --Baker Mayfield is the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, coach Hue Jackson announced to reporters following practice.

      The proclamation confirmed what already seemed to be a foregone conclusion after Mayfield replaced an injured Tyrod Taylor last Thursday against the New York Jets and led the Browns (1-1-1) to a come-from-behind win -- the team's first in 635 days.

      "I informed the group this morning that we're going to start Baker Mayfield, and Tyrod will be the backup if healthy," Jackson said.

      --Rookie Josh Rosen was named the Arizona Cardinals' starting quarterback, with coach Steve Wilks sending veteran Sam Bradford to the bench.

      "Josh plays with a lot of confidence," Wilks told reporters. "I think he gives us an opportunity to be able to be successful."

      Rosen, the No. 10 overall pick, relieved Bradford late in the team's 16-14 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. He got two chances in the final five minutes to move the Cardinals into range for a game-winning field goal, but was unable to do so. "I think he handled it well," Wilks said.

      --The New York Jets reached out to the Pittsburgh Steelers regarding holdout running back Le'Veon Bell, according to multiple reports.

      The exchange was merely a "preliminary conversation" with no trade offer, per multiple reports.

      ESPN reported Sunday that the Steelers are listening to offers for Bell, who has yet to report to the team or sign his franchise tender after getting tagged for the second consecutive offseason. Bell ended his 2017 holdout before the regular season, but it remains unclear if or when he'll join the Steelers this season.

      --The Los Angeles Rams will be without starting cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib for a few weeks, NFL Network reported.

      According to the report, Peters will miss two to four weeks with a strained right calf, and Talib is out four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain. The report added that initial tests showed no structural damage for Peters, and that he will have an MRI exam to confirm.

      Peters went down in the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday and could not put any weight on his right leg as he was carried to the sideline. He was then helped to a cart and taken to the locker room. Talib limped off with an ankle injury in the second half and did not return.

      --San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman is expected to miss two to three weeks with a left calf injury.

      NFL Network reported Sherman was relieved to hear the injury was relatively minor. He left Arrowhead Stadium in a walking boot following the loss to the Chiefs.

      Sherman was noticeably limping and grimaced as he left the field at halftime. The 30-year-old missed the second half of last season with a torn Achilles and battled a heel injury in practice last week.

      --New York Giants tight end Evan Engram likely will miss a few weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee.

      ESPN reported the extent of the injury, but the Giants already had resigned themselves to the idea that Engram would be out for multiple games.

      Engram left the locker room in Houston with a brace on his right knee and said he knew immediately something was wrong with the knee.

      --Green Bay defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson underwent surgery Sunday night after suffering a "significant" injury to his left ankle in the loss to the Redskins, Packers coach Mike McCarthy confirmed.

      Wilkerson left the field on a cart in obvious pain during the second quarter of Green Bay's 31-17 defeat. He was taken from FedEx Field to a Washington-area hospital, where he remained overnight.

      "There was a procedure he needed before he could travel," McCarthy said. NFL Network reported that the injury is likely season-ending.

      --Atlanta safety Ricardo Allen tore his Achilles in the Falcons' Sunday game and will miss the rest of the season.

      The Falcons confirmed Allen's injury on Monday and will play the rest of the year without their starting safeties. Strong safety Keanu Neal sustained a season-ending knee injury in Week 1 at Philadelphia.

      Falcons coach Dan Quinn said the team is not planning to add a starting-caliber safety, which would seem to rule out signing free agent Eric Reid or trading for Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas. Quinn said the team is confident in reserve Damontae Kazee at free safety and the duo of Jordan Richards and Kemal Ishmael at strong safety. Reid has previously been mentioned by Quinn as an option after Neal's injury.

      --Miami Dolphins defensive end William Hayes is out for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee, coach Adam Gase confirmed.

      Hayes sustained the injury while sacking Oakland quarterback Derek Carr in the second quarter of the undefeated Dolphins' 28-20 win against the Raiders on Sunday. According to Gase, Hayes got his foot "caught in the ground" while "trying not to put body weight on the quarterback," a response to the NFL's emphasis on roughing-the-passer penalties this season.

      Meanwhile, Dolphins defensive end Andre Branch will miss two to four weeks with a knee injury, according to a Miami Herald report.

      --Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook said he is taking his hamstring injury "day-to-day" and believes there's a good chance he can play Thursday night against the Los Angeles Rams.

      Cook hurt his hamstring late in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers but told reporters afterward he was fine and wouldn't miss time. However, he didn't practice last week and was held out of the Sunday loss to the Buffalo Bills, a move described as precautionary with the short week upcoming before a Thursday game.

      Cook said over the weekend he would "definitely" play against the Rams, but he was listed as a non-participant on Monday's practice report.

      --Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee injured his left hamstring against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday and could miss a few weeks, according to multiple reports.

      Lee entered the game with a right hamstring issue that kept him limited in practice last week after he hurt the hamstring initially in Week 2. Lee left the Sunday game early and played just 36 snaps (52 percent), with first-round rookie Leighton Vander Esch stepping in and making 11 tackles on 33 snaps.

      "He didn't feel great after the game," head coach Jason Garrett said of Lee on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.

      --Redskins left tackle Trent Williams is having "a very minor procedure" on his knee during the team's Week 4 bye, according to a report from 106.7 The Fan in Washington.

      Williams, who had knee surgery after the season, reportedly will not miss any time due to the new procedure. The Redskins' next game will be at the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 8 on "Monday Night Football." Williams did not miss a snap Sunday in Washington's win over the Packers.

      --Hall of Fame wide receiver Tommy McDonald, a star of the Philadelphia Eagles' 1960 NFL championship team, died. He was 84.

      Drafted in the third round from Oklahoma in 1957, McDonald led the NFL in touchdown receptions in 1958 with nine, and in 1961 he led the league in touchdowns (13) and receiving yards (1,144).

      Following a seven-year stint with Philadelphia, he played for the Cowboys, Rams, Falcons and Browns before retiring after the 1968 season. McDonald finished his career with 495 catches for 8,410 yards and 84 touchdowns in 152 games.

      --Cincinnati defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the Bengals' Sunday loss to the Carolina Panthers and will miss the rest of the season, according to an NFL Network report.

      Glasgow, a fourth-round pick from Michigan in 2017, appeared to get his knee caught in the turf while being blocked to the ground in the fourth quarter. He had to be carted off the field, and an MRI on Monday confirmed the ACL tear, per NFL Network.

      Glasgow, who turns 25 on Sept. 30, tallied 11 tackles in the Bengals' first three games.

      --The Indianapolis Colts released running back Christine Michael after claiming cornerback Arthur Maulet off waivers from the New Orleans Saints.

      Michael had two carries for 9 yards in the opener but has not played since. He was inactive in Week 2 and did not see a snap as an active player Sunday in Philadelphia. His release is a good sign for the health of Marlon Mack, who missed Week 1 with a hamstring issue and sat out Week 3 with hamstring and foot injuries.

      Meanwhile, coach Frank Reich said offensive lineman Joe Haeg will miss a few weeks with an ankle injury. Haeg started at left tackle for Anthony Castonzo in Week 1 and the last two games at right tackle before getting injured Sunday.

      --The Los Angeles Chargers promoted running back Justin Jackson from the practice squad and waived running back Detrez Newsome.

      A seventh-round rookie out of Northwestern, Jackson missed much of the preseason with an injury and did not make it through final cuts. Coach Anthony Lynn told reporters Jackson is fully healthy and has earned a chance to contribute.

      Newsome is an undrafted rookie from Western Carolina who made the initial 53-man roster.

      --The Baltimore Ravens signed center Hroniss Grasu and waived defensive back Robertson Daniel.

      Grasu was a third-round pick of the Chicago Bears in 2015 and started eight games as a rookie, but he missed all of 2016 with a preseason knee injury before playing in just six games (four starts) last year.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Jets contact Steelers about Bell
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 24, 2018

    The New York Jets reached out to the Pittsburgh Steelers regarding holdout running back Le'Veon Bell, according to multiple reports on Monday.

    • The exchange was merely a "preliminary conversation" with no trade offer, per multiple reports.

      ESPN reported Sunday that the Steelers are listening to offers for Bell, who has yet to report to the team or sign his franchise tender after getting tagged for the second consecutive offseason. Bell ended his 2017 holdout before the regular season, but it remains unclear if or when he'll join the Steelers this season.

      Any trade of Bell would have to come before the Oct. 30 deadline, and the acquiring team would have to take on significant salary. Bell is currently owed just under $12 million for the rest of 2018, after forfeiting $2.6 million ($853K per game) for missing the Steelers' first three games.

      An acquiring team also would not be assured of keeping Bell long-term. Bell is not allowed to sign a contract extension with any team until after the season, and at that point, he could simply choose to hit free agency. It's unlikely any team would use the franchise tag on Bell, as it would cost around $18 million if used a third straight time on him.

      The Jets have the cap space (around $17 million) to take on Bell, but they would also have plenty of space (in the neighborhood of $90 million) to sign him as a free agent in March.

      In Bell's absence, the Steelers have gotten good production out of second-year back James Conner, who had 192 yards on 36 touches with two touchdowns in a Week 1 tie against the Cleveland Browns. He was held to 17 yards on the ground against the Chiefs, but scored a touchdown and added five catches for 48 yards.

      In his five seasons in Pittsburgh, Bell has had at least 1,200 yards rushing and 600 receiving yards three times. He is a two-time first-team All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler.

      But his contract squabbles with the club have become an annual offseason ritual. After not signing under the franchise tag until Sept. 4 last season, Bell averaged fewer than 3.5 yards per carry through the first three weeks. But he finished 2017 with a league-high 321 carries for 1,291 yards along with 85 catches for 655 yards and 11 total touchdowns.

      --Field Level Media

  • FLM All 32: Team-by-team NFL notes
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 24, 2018

    AFC East

    • Buffalo Bills: Rookie quarterback Josh Allen led his team to a victory for the first time in his career on Sunday. The Bills were a 17-point underdog. But there was no chest thumping from Allen after the game. He was 15-of-22 passing for 196 yards and a touchdown, but was far from content. "There's still a lot of plays I'd like to have back from that game, a lot to learn from, a lot to improve on," Allen said. And he refused to call a much-discussed leap over linebacker Anthony Barr anything special. "There was a guy (Barr) maybe 3 yards in front of the sticks and I knew we needed a first down there and I think we went on to score on that drive. Obviously it was a big play, but it was just another first down."

      Miami Dolphins: It will be a case of role reversal when the Dolphins meet the Patriots on Sunday in Foxborough. Who would have thought the Patriots would be struggling with a 1-2 record and the Dolphins would be undefeated? Miami coach Adam Gase said it means nothing. "I don't look at records right now. It's too early. Nobody cares. I mean, at the end of the day, nobody will give a s--- unless you win the last one. You've got to focus on one week, and that's what we need to do. When we get to that, when we get to Wednesday, we'll worry about them. Right now, our guys are going to get their things corrected from this game, and then, we'll move on to New England when it's time to move on."

      New England Patriots: Coach Bill Belichick discussed his team's startling loss to Detroit and said New England's rough start correlates to a lack of execution and not effort. "We're just not having a lot of success in any area and I think as soon as we start having some you'll see a difference, but it's hard to have it when you're not making enough plays," he said. "We're not making enough plays in any phase of the game, so we've just got to perform better. I think the energy and the effort and all of that -- we're trying. Everybody's trying hard. We're just not getting it done, which is all that matters."

      New York Jets: Could the Jets surround rookie quarterback Sam Darnold with one of the league's brightest talents? According to the New York Daily News, the team has contacted the Steelers to kick the tires about a trade for holdout All-Pro Le'Veon Bell. The running back has refused to sign his $14.54 million franchise tag tender, and he won't be on the sidelines when the Steelers face the Buccaneers on Monday night. The NFL trade deadline is Oct. 30, and the Jets have the cap space of about $17 million now and $90 million-plus next season to pay Bell, according to the Daily News. Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell currently are manning the position for the Jets, but they're no Bell. In five seasons in Pittsburgh, he has rushed for 5,336 yards and 35 touchdowns.

      AFC North

      Baltimore Ravens: Red-zone opportunities have become points - specifically, touchdowns - for the Ravens this season. Quarterback Joe Flacco has six touchdown passes in the red zone and Baltimore has six rushing touchdowns in 12 red-zone trips. "We've got good playmakers, and we put a lot of pressure on the defense with the guys that we have out there," Flacco said. "I think ‘Buck' Allen has become one of the real legitimate players in this league - kind of quietly. He's become a top-level player."

      Cincinnati Bengals: There was no update Monday on wide receiver A.J. Green's groin injury from head coach Marvin Lewis. Green said Sunday afternoon he did not hear a pop but significant discomfort, forcing him out of the game. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick said he's not fretting Cincinnati's first loss of the season, because it occurred without Green, running back Joe Mixon and linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Burfict returns from a suspension on Oct. 1. "No panic. No panic," Kirkpatrick said. "I haven't seen a team go undefeated since '72. So, I'm not panicked."

      Cleveland Browns: Speculation that teams hit by injury might reach out to the Browns to acquire Tyrod Taylor was shot down by Hue Jackson on Monday. Jackson said the Browns are hopeful Taylor (concussion) is healthy enough to be the No. 2 quarterback at Oakland as Baker Mayfield makes his first NFL start. As for Taylor's forgettable performance against the Jets, Jackson said there is plenty of blame to go around. "We put him in a tough spot - it wasn't just Tyrod." Worth noting, general manager John Dorsey traded the entire quarterback depth chart he inherited in the offseason and continues to seek draft compensation for veteran talent. Most recently, the Browns dealt wide receiver Josh Gordon, a starter in Week 1, to the New England Patriots.

      AFC South

      Houston Texans: The club is one of three 0-3 teams in the NFL, and the players feel their poor starts are a big reason. "Every game this year we've started slow and we've lost three games by 15 points," safety Tyrann Mathieu said. "It's not like guys are just blowing us out. We're really beating ourselves." Mathieu said the leadership, passion and intensity must improve. Defensive end J.J. Watt sees a lot of inconsistency. "We need to start fast, and we need to finish stronger," Watt said. "We figure it out for a little while in the middle, and we need to come up with a solution as to why and how we can get it going early and finish stronger at the end."

      Indianapolis Colts: Rumblings that quarterback Andrew Luck's passing shoulder is still not at full strength picked up Sunday as he averaged 4.1 yards per attempt in the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Backup Jacoby Brissett was called on to throw a last-second Hail Mary pass -- a decision Luck said was proper -- as coach Frank Reich wanted to make sure the ball reached the end zone. Reich said he is pleased with Luck's arm strength. "What I've seen is he makes all the throws," Reich said. "There's been plenty of throws down the field, in my mind ... I've seen a guy who is extremely accurate. I have no concerns about velocity."

      Jacksonville Jaguars: Defensive tackle Malik Jackson is ready to contest a lowering of the head penalty he received in Sunday's loss to the Tennessee Titans. The call negated a Jacksonville fumble recovery as the officials determined Jackson used the crown of his helmet to hit Titans quarterback Blaine Gabbert (who sustained a concussion) in the head. "I hope once I kind of talk to them about it, they see what I see," Jackson said. "If they can't tell me what to do better or different, then I don't think I should be fined. ... Nobody's dirty on this team. Nobody's going out to try to hurt people or get people out of the game."

      Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota is still experiencing elbow issues, but he will be back in the starting lineup for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Blaine Gabbert is in concussion protocol after being knocked out of last Sunday's game by the Jaguars, and his availability won't be firmed up until later in the week. Mariota is bothered by numbness and tingling in his fingers that is affecting his throwing. "It's what he feels like he can handle physically with his recovery, and what the trainers feel like is best for him," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of Mariota. "We'll do what's best for Marcus as he continues to come back. But we'll give him everything he can handle, and he'll tell us what he can handle and what he can't physically."

      AFC West

      Denver Broncos: Last week, head coach Vance Joseph said he was disappointed with the Broncos' cornerbacks lack of aggressiveness by allowing easy completions. After Joe Flacco threw for 277 yards on 40 attempts Sunday, Joseph said Monday teams are following the same approach to beat Denver's secondary. "It's a blueprint on tape right now the last three weeks -- throw it quick," Joseph said. "Challenge the DBs and throw it quick and keep Von Miller and [Bradley] Chubb and those guys at bay by throwing the football quick." Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. told reporters after the game Sunday that the defense is "making it too easy" on opposing QBs. "We gotta move and disguise better," he said. "We're not tricking anybody right now. They know exactly what's coming."

      Kansas City Chiefs: With the offense soaring in a 3-0 start to the season, could the Chiefs look outside the organization to shore up a shaky defense? Reports emerged Sunday about possible interest in trading for Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, while NFL.com reported Monday the Chiefs continue to ask Seattle about Thomas. "Right now we don't have anything and that's not where we're at," head coach Andy Reid told reporters Monday. "I know the rumor is out there, but that's not where we're at." Per NFL.com, the Chiefs' interest in Thomas is not related to any concerns over Eric Berry's health, though Berry has yet to play this season while battling a heel injury.

      Los Angeles Chargers: The team's loss in the "Battle for L.A." was discouraging, but one positive was the two-touchdown performance from wideout Mike Williams, who beat Marcus Peters for a 42-yard touchdown and added a 20-yarder after halftime. Head coach Anthony Lynn told reporters Monday that he's seen major strides from the 2017 first-round pick, who was slow to get going last year due to injury. "Last year he wasn't healthy," Lynn said. "He didn't practice a lot, he was kinda learning on the run. This year he's more comfortable, he hasn't missed many practices. So he's just been really consistent. I think his confidence right now is at an all-time high." Williams leads the team in TD receptions (three) and is second in yards (189) through three weeks.

      Oakland Raiders: Despite outgaining the Dolphins 434 to 373 and holding the ball for 38:31, the Raiders wound up down 11 points in the fourth quarter before a late field goal narrowed the defeat to 28-20. A major culprit for the defeat was field position, as the Raiders took four special-teams penalties and started their average drive at their own 20, including four possessions that began at the Raiders' 10 or worse. "It's been horrible," head coach Jon Gruden said Monday of the team's field position. It's been the worst in football. ... It's a credit to our offense, really, for moving the ball out of negative territory. But we have to get more out of our return game and we have to minimize penalties." The Dolphins started their average drive at their own 31.

      NFC East

      Dallas Cowboys: Running back Ezekiel Elliott said he is to blame for Sunday's loss to Seattle. He carried the ball 16 times for 127 yards, but he said his errors -- a dropped wide-open pass, a penalty the nullified a 31-yard touchdown and a fourth-quarter fumble -- outweighed the good. "That loss is on me," he said, via the team's official website. "I had a poor performance today. Did well in the run game. But overall, I dropped the ball." Of the fumble, he said: "When you've got that ball in your hand, that's the team in your hand. Me being a leader on the team, me being a better player on this team, I've got to do a better job taking care of the ball. That cost us the game."

      New York Giants: It's amazing the difference a win can make. The Giants had love and smiles all around in the locker room after their 27-22 win over Houston on Sunday -- their first victory of the season. Head coach Pat Shurmur started off the postgame celebration by praising his team. "I've always known you're tough. I've always known you're gritty," Shurmur said. "And now we made enough plays through the course of the game to beat a pretty good football team. And this feeling that we have, it's got to be this weird drug you can't get enough of -- because that's why we do this thing." Shurmur followed by presenting the first game ball to general manager Dave Gettleman; captain Eli Manning presented Shurmur with one of his own.

      Philadelphia Eagles: Coach Doug Pederson finally got his starting quarterback, Carson Wentz, back from injury. Now, Pederson said Wentz's top target could be back soon. The coach said Monday afternoon that wide receiver Alshon Jeffery hasn't been cleared for contact but that his shoulder injury is improving and he is getting closer to a return. He added that running backs Jay Ajayi (back) and Darren Sproles (hamstring) are day to day and should practice this week. Pederson said the offense isn't operating at full speed yet. "But it's OK because defense and special teams kind of carry the load early in the season, and our offense kind of plays catch-up just a little bit," he said. "And when the offense catches its stride, then you've got a good thing going."

      Washington Redskins: Members of the Redskins' defense felt good about their effort in their 31-17 victory over Green Bay on Sunday. "We're not here to play games, man," safety D.J. Swearinger Sr. said. "This is not your old Redskins that, you know, is something to laugh at." The Redskins held the Packers to 100 yards rushing and 340 yards on 66 plays. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has a lingering knee injury, completed 27 of 44 passes. "Yeah, he's not [100 percent]. But, he's still Aaron Rodgers," cornerback Josh Norman said. "His 60 or whatever percent he is, 65 percent, is still better than, out of the quarterbacks there's 32 in the league, I'd say 30."

      NFC North

      Chicago Bears: Down 14-0 at Arizona, Bears head coach Matt Nagy said there was no finger pointing on offense or defense, which was his highlight takeaway from the 16-14 win. Upon review of the game film, Nagy said quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was more willing to attack deep. But when the field shrinks in the red zone, Nagy came away frustrated. "Red-zone wise wasn't good enough. We need to be better in the red zone," Nagy said. "We need to get to the point we're putting touchdowns up and not field goals." Nagy said when Trubisky threw the ball on time, the Bears were "unstoppable."

      Detroit Lions: Quarterback Matthew Stafford bumped head coach Matt Patricia from the podium in the postgame locker room and awarded the first-year Lions coach with the game ball after beating the New England Patriots. Patricia deflected the emotional gravity of the win and of receiving the game ball. His players did not. "It was great," receiver Marvin Jones said. "We were jumping up and down. It was just a great moment because we know how hard him and all the coaches worked to prepare the game plan and, us to just go out and execute it. It was big for him. And you could see it in his face."

      Green Bay Packers: While the NFL is using the Clay Matthews-Kirk Cousins hit to educate referees, the Packers are asking the league for language to instruct the players on what constitutes a legal hit on quarterbacks. Matthews has been flagged for roughing the passer in each of the first three games. "You've got to make sure you look at all the variables when you are applying definition to an emphasis," McCarthy said Monday. "For the officials to apply it to the play in the game, they have to have indicators." McCarthy, who came unhinged when Matthews was flagged at Washington on Sunday, said his animated explosion on the sideline was a direct correlation to a conversation he had with his own quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.

      Minnesota Vikings: As Buffalo left town having controlled the Vikings with its front seven, attention shifts to the star-studded Rams and a matchup on Thursday night. "Moving forward, definitely we have a lot to prove," center Brett Jones said. "This Thursday night game is a good chance for us to prove that." Jones said the time change playing in Los Angeles and on a Thursday night is a double whammy. "Everything is just crammed in there," Jones said.

      NFC South

      Atlanta Falcons: Safety Ricardo Allen suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon during Sunday's loss to New Orleans, joining safety Keanu Neal (season-ending ACL tear) and middle linebacker Deion Jones (foot surgery) as key defenders hurt through the first three games. Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said the team will look for a backup safety but strongly believes in Damontae Kazee as a starter with Jordan Richards possibly lining alongside him. The Falcons also are hoping for progress from injured defensive ends Takkarist McKinley (groin) and Derrick Shelby (groin) as well as running back Devonta Freeman (knee). "I would say probably Takk is the closest," Quinn said. "And then with Devonta and Derrick, we'll get them better steps through the week."

      Carolina Panthers: Quarterback Cam Newton has thrown five touchdown passes over the past two games and is completing 67.4 percent of his passes on the season. He also has been intercepted just once, and Panthers coach Ron Rivera likes what he is seeing. "Very consistent is a good word for it," Rivera said. "His play has truly matured, and by that I mean he's learning to take what's being given. In the past he may have tried to force some things downfield. He was a little high early in the game (Sunday), and once he kind of got the ball down and went through his reads quickly, he was getting the ball where it needed to be. He was very efficient that way."

      New Orleans Saints: Quarterback Drew Brees is the new record holder with 6,326 completions -- he passed Brett Favre (6,300) during Sunday's game against Atlanta -- and also is just 417 yards shy of matching Peyton Manning's all-time yardage mark of 71,940 passing yards. "I hope there's a lot more coming, but I just think about all of the people that had a hand in that," Brees said of the completions mark. "A lot of hands have caught those passes, and a lot of guys have blocked to make those happen. They all are a part of this, absolutely." Brees has a league-most 104 completions this season with receiver Michael Thomas making an NFL-leading 38 catches and running back Alvin Kamara ranking third with 30.

      NFC West

      Arizona Cardinals: It might have seemed odd that the Cardinals had rookie quarterback Josh Rosen make his debut late in the fourth quarter while needing a game-winning field-goal drive, but that's not how coach Steve Wilks saw it. "It looked like Josh was thrown in in the end, but he wasn't," Wilks said, adding that he would have put Rosen in sooner if the Bears' previous drive hadn't taken nearly seven minutes. "He can handle those types of situations. I think he handled it well. He went in, commanded the huddle, did a great job of moving the ball. We just, as an offense in the end, didn't work well together." Wilks named Rosen his Week 4 starter on Monday, while lauding the youngster's approach. "His demeanor is what you want at that position," Wilks said. "I don't think it's too big for him.

      Los Angeles Rams: The Rams' specialists are well known, as kicker Greg Zuerlein, punter Johnny Hekker and returner Pharoh Cooper (currently on injured reserve) each were first-team All-Pro last year. But don't forget about linebacker Cory Littleton, who might be the NFL's best punt-blocking specialist. After stuffing Chargers punter Drew Kaser in the end zone Sunday -- which Blake Countess recovered for a touchdown -- Littleton has three blocked punts since the start of 2017. "Basically, with any blocked punt, you just have to believe in the plan and hope everything works," Littleton said. "Trust in it. I believe in it and launched out and got the block."

      San Francisco 49ers: With Jimmy Garoppolo lost for the season with a torn ACL, the 49ers will turn to C.J. Beathard, who coach Kyle Shanahan has plenty of confidence in. "C.J. is a gamer," Shanahan said after Sunday's game. "Everyone in here has a ton of respect for C.J. and how he handles himself. He is a man out there and he is a very good quarterback. We are fortunate to have him." As important as Beathard's play will be, Shanahan expects him to play a big role as a leader, too. "Keep these guys together, keep leading them," Shanahan said. "...It is just a matter of our psyche and keeping everyone in it on the next week and staying positive."

      Seattle Seahawks: After running the ball a total of 38 times through two weeks, the Seahawks pounded the ball repeatedly on Sunday against the Cowboys, racking up 39 carries. Coach Pete Carroll indicated afterward that he wants that approach to define Seattle's offense moving forward. "We talked about it all week, we've been talking about it for some time," Carroll said. "I was really disappointed that we didn't come into the season in that mode. ...This is where we want to be, so we've righted it hopefully. It won't mean anything unless we come back and do it next week." The Seahawks' efficiency on the ground, however, could use some work, as they averaged just 2.9 yards per carry, including 3.2 for starter Chris Carson.

      --Field Level Media

  • Broncos' secondary looking for answers
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 24, 2018

    Denver Broncos: Last week, head coach Vance Joseph said he was disappointed with the Broncos' cornerbacks lack of aggressiveness by allowing easy completions. After Joe Flacco threw for 277 yards on 40 attempts Sunday, Joseph said Monday teams are following the same approach to beat Denver's secondary. "It's a blueprint on tape right now the last three weeks -- throw it quick," Joseph said. "Challenge the DBs and throw it quick and keep Von Miller and [Bradley] Chubb and those guys at bay by throwing the football quick." Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. told reporters after the game Sunday that the defense is "making it too easy" on opposing QBs. "We gotta move and disguise better," he said. "We're not tricking anybody right now. They know exactly what's coming."

    • Kansas City Chiefs: With the offense soaring in a 3-0 start to the season, could the Chiefs look outside the organization to shore up a shaky defense? Reports emerged Sunday about possible interest in trading for Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, while NFL.com reported Monday the Chiefs continue to ask Seattle about Thomas. "Right now we don't have anything and that's not where we're at," head coach Andy Reid told reporters Monday. "I know the rumor is out there, but that's not where we're at." Per NFL.com, the Chiefs' interest in Thomas is not related to any concerns over Eric Berry's health, though Berry has yet to play this season while battling a heel injury.

      Los Angeles Chargers: The team's loss in the "Battle for L.A." was discouraging, but one positive was the two-touchdown performance from wideout Mike Williams, who beat Marcus Peters for a 42-yard touchdown and added a 20-yarder after halftime. Head coach Anthony Lynn told reporters Monday that he's seen major strides from the 2017 first-round pick, who was slow to get going last year due to injury. "Last year he wasn't healthy," Lynn said. "He didn't practice a lot, he was kinda learning on the run. This year he's more comfortable, he hasn't missed many practices. So he's just been really consistent. I think his confidence right now is at an all-time high." Williams leads the team in TD receptions (three) and is second in yards (189) through three weeks.

      Oakland Raiders: Despite outgaining the Dolphins 434 to 373 and holding the ball for 38:31, the Raiders wound up down 11 points in the fourth quarter before a late field goal narrowed the defeat to 28-20. A major culprit for the defeat was field position, as the Raiders took four special-teams penalties and started their average drive at their own 20, including four possessions that began at the Raiders' 10 or worse. "It's been horrible," head coach Jon Gruden said Monday of the team's field position. It's been the worst in football. ... It's a credit to our offense, really, for moving the ball out of negative territory. But we have to get more out of our return game and we have to minimize penalties." The Dolphins started their average drive at their own 31.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cardinals name Rosen starting QB
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 24, 2018

    Rookie Josh Rosen was named the Arizona Cardinals' starting quarterback on Monday, with coach Steve Wilks sending veteran Sam Bradford to the bench.

    • "Josh plays with a lot of confidence," Wilks told reporters. "I think he gives us an opportunity to be able to be successful."

      Rosen, the No. 10 overall pick, relieved Bradford late in the team's 16-14 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. He got two chances in the final five minutes to move the Cardinals into range for a game-winning field goal, but was unable to do so.

      Starting from his own 25 with 4:31 left, Rosen moved Arizona to the Chicago 42 before being intercepted on fourth-and-5. The Cardinals got the ball back at their own 20 with 43 seconds left and no timeouts, and Rosen moved the ball near midfield, but he was sacked on the final play before he could get a Hail Mary attempt off.

      Wilks said he had decided to put Rosen in earlier -- after Bradford's third straight turnover with 11:23 remaining -- but the Bears ran nearly seven minutes off the clock before the Cardinals got the ball back. Still, Wilks wasn't worried about thrusting a rookie into the high-pressure, late-game situation.

      "It looked like Josh was thrown in in the end, but he wasn't," Wilks said. "He can handle those types of situations. I think he handled it well. He went in, commanded the huddle, did a great job of moving the ball. We just, as an offense in the end, didn't work well together."

      Wilks wouldn't fully commit to Rosen starting the rest of the season, saying only, "Josh is our starter, and it's his job to lose." But the coach sounded optimistic about the rookie's ability to succeed.

      "His demeanor is what you want at that position," Wilks said. "I don't think it's too big for him. ...

      "I think you can sort of tell yesterday with some of his throws, and some of the accuracy. ... I thought he was pinpoint on all of them besides one."

      Wilks commended Bradford for how he handled the demotion, and added that the veteran will continue to help Rosen out.

      Rosen thanked Bradford on Instagram later Monday, writing: "Since day 1, Sam has had my back and helped me become the best quarterback I could be. I cannot thank him enough for showing me how to be a professional in every sense of the word. He is a leader, mentor, and great person. He and Mike Glennon couldn't have been more supportive at a time that I thought might be a bit tense or awkward today. I couldn't be more thrilled to be in a QB room with two of the most selfless people I've ever been around as I start my career as a quarterback in the NFL. For that I say thank you."

      Bradford led Arizona to a 14-0 lead against Chicago while going 7 for 10 for 95 yards and two scores in the first half, but he threw interceptions on the first two drives of the second half before losing a fumble on the third. On the season, he is 50 of 80 for 400 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions, with the team scoring just 20 points in three games.

      The Cardinals could have incentive to move on from Bradford -- who signed a one-year, $20 million deal in the spring -- sooner than later. Bradford's contract includes a total of $5 million in roster bonuses, meaning he receives around $300,000 for every game in which he is active. The Cardinals paid Bradford a $10 million signing bonus.

      Arizona has Glennon, also a free agent addition, third on the depth chart.

      --Field Level Media

  • Browns not planning to trade QB Taylor
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 24, 2018

    Baltimore Ravens: Red-zone opportunities have become points - specifically, touchdowns - for the Ravens this season. Quarterback Joe Flacco has six touchdown passes in the red zone and Baltimore has six rushing touchdowns in 12 red-zone trips. "We've got good playmakers, and we put a lot of pressure on the defense with the guys that we have out there," Flacco said. "I think ‘Buck' Allen has become one of the real legitimate players in this league - kind of quietly. He's become a top-level player."

    • Cincinnati Bengals: There was no update Monday on wide receiver A.J. Green's groin injury from head coach Marvin Lewis. Green said Sunday afternoon he did not hear a pop but significant discomfort, forcing him out of the game. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick said he's not fretting Cincinnati's first loss of the season, because it occurred without Green, running back Joe Mixon and linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Burfict returns from a suspension on Oct. 1. "No panic. No panic," Kirkpatrick said. "I haven't seen a team go undefeated since '72. So, I'm not panicked."

      Cleveland Browns: Speculation that teams hit by injury might reach out to the Browns to acquire Tyrod Taylor was shot down by Hue Jackson on Monday. Jackson said the Browns are hopeful Taylor (concussion) is healthy enough to be the No. 2 quarterback at Oakland as Baker Mayfield makes his first NFL start. As for Taylor's forgettable performance against the Jets, Jackson said there is plenty of blame to go around. "We put him in a tough spot - it wasn't just Tyrod." Worth noting, general manager John Dorsey traded the entire quarterback depth chart he inherited in the offseason and continues to seek draft compensation for veteran talent. Most recently, the Browns dealt wide receiver Josh Gordon, a starter in Week 1, to the New England Patriots.

      --Field Level Media

  • Ankle surgery recommended for Rams CB Talib
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 24, 2018

    Los Angeles Rams cornerback Aqib Talib likely will need ankle surgery, coach Sean McVay said Monday.

    • McVay had a more upbeat injury update regarding the team's other starting cornerback, Marcus Peters, saying he is day-to-day.

      Earlier Monday, NFL Network reported that Talib would miss four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain. Talib was seeking a second opinion regarding the surgery recommendation, according to McVay.

      The Rams hope to "get him back at some point in time," McVay said.

      According to NFL Network, Peters will miss two to four weeks with a strained right calf. The report added that initial tests showed no structural damage for Peters and that he will have an MRI exam to confirm.

      Peters went down in the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday and could not put any weight on his right leg as he was carried to the sideline. He was then helped to a cart and taken to the locker room.

      Talib limped off with an ankle injury in the second half and did not return.

      The Rams acquired both players via trade this offseason, sending a second-round pick in a package to the Kansas City Chiefs for Peters and a fifth-rounder to the Denver Broncos for Talib. Peters is a two-time Pro Bowl selection who tallied 19 interceptions in his first three seasons in the league, while Talib has 34 interceptions (10 returned for touchdowns) three games into his 11th season.

      Through three games, the Rams rank sixth in total defense (296.0 yards per game) and first in points allowed (12.0 per game), as well as seventh in interception rate. Peters had a pick-six late in Week 1, while Talib had two pass-breakups in Week 2 and forced a fumble on Sunday.

      After the Sunday game, McVay reported that returner/receiver JoJo Natson broke his hand and is out indefinitely.

      The team was already without Pro Bowl returner Pharoh Cooper, who went on injured reserve due to an ankle injury after Week 1.

      --Field Level Media

  • MRI confirms 49ers' Garoppolo tore ACL
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 24, 2018

    An MRI confirmed San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Sunday and is out for the season, the team announced Monday.

    • Coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters following Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs that the team feared Garoppolo had torn his ACL. C.J. Beathard, a 2017 third-round pick who went 1-4 as a starter last season, will be the team's starter moving forward.

      The 49ers are also bringing in former Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage for a visit, per an ESPN report.

      Garoppolo was carted to the locker room after his left knee buckled on a third-and-20 scramble with the 49ers down 14 late in the fourth quarter. He could have stepped out of bounds but instead cut upfield, planting his left leg just before taking a big hit from Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson.

      Garoppolo was 20 of 30 for 251 yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs when he went down. He also rushed three times for 23 yards. He finishes the 2018 season 53 of 89 for 718 yards, five touchdowns and three picks.

      The 49ers made Garoppolo the highest-paid player in the NFL, at the time, when they signed him to a five-year, $137.5 million deal during the offseason. The contract included $74.1 million guaranteed.

      In 26 career games (10 starts) with the 49ers and New England Patriots, Garoppolo has thrown for 2,968 yards, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions. This is the second time he'll miss games due to injury -- he sprained the AC joint in his shoulder in his second career start in 2016 and missed two games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Packers DE Wilkerson undergoes ankle surgery
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 24, 2018

    Green Bay defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson underwent surgery Sunday night after suffering a "significant" injury to his left ankle in the loss to the Redskins, Packers coach Mike McCarthy confirmed Monday.

    • Wilkerson left the field on a cart in obvious pain during the second quarter of Green Bay's 31-17 defeat. He was taken from FedEx Field to a Washington-area hospital, where he remained overnight.

      "There was a procedure he needed before he could travel," McCarthy said. "I would say it's significant."

      The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the injury is likely season-ending.

      Wilkerson, 28, is in his first season with the Packers. He played the previous seven seasons with the New York Jets, earning a Pro Bowl selection in 2015 with a career high 12 sacks.

      A 2011 first-round draft pick from Temple, Wilkerson signed a one-year, $5 million contract with Green Bay last March.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Bengals DT Glasgow (knee) out for season
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 24, 2018

    Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Sunday's loss to the Carolina Panthers and will miss the rest of the season, according to an NFL Network report.

    • Glasgow, a fourth-round pick from Michigan in 2017, appeared to get his knee caught in the turf while being blocked to the ground in the fourth quarter.

      He had to be carted off the field, and an MRI on Monday confirmed the ACL tear, per NFL Network.

      Glasgow, who turns 25 on Sept. 30, tallied 11 tackles in the Bengals' first three games. He played all 16 games as a rookie last season and registered 23 tackles and one fumble recovery.

      --Field Level Media