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NFL News Wire
  • Driver who killed Colts' Jackson sentenced to 16 years
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    A man who had pleaded guilty in July to causing the death of Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver was sentenced Friday to 16 years in prison.

    • Manuel Orrego-Savala, 37, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, was convicted of two counts of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .015 or more, causing death. The judge in Marion County, Ind., sentenced him after hearing from Jackson's mother and the widow of Jeffrey Monroe, the Uber driver who was transporting Jackson at the time of the crash.

      Under the plea agreement reached with Orrego-Savala, the sentence was the maximum possible.

      Orrego-Savala had a BAC of 0.19 -- more than twice Indiana's legal limit of .08 -- when his truck crashed into the 26-year-old Jackson and 54-year-old driver Monroe shortly before 4 a.m. on Feb. 4. The accident happened as the two men stood on the shoulder of Interstate 70 in Indianapolis.

      Police investigators said Monroe had pulled the car over when Jackson became ill. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene by the Marion County Coroner's Office.

      Orrego-Savala was deported from the U.S. in both 2007 and 2009. He was again in the country illegally at the time of the crash, which prompted President Donald Trump to chime in.

      "So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!" Trump tweeted.

      Jackson was signed by the Colts on a reserve/future contract in January 2016 after joining the practice squad the previous month. Jackson played in 16 games (starting eight) in 2016 and was placed on injured reserve in September 2017.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pats' Brady working to build rapport with Gordon
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is working on developing a rapport with new wideout Josh Gordon, but indicated Friday that it will take time to assimilate Gordon into the offense.

    • "He's been here for a few days, so we're working at it every day," Brady told reporters Friday, "and every day you try to make improvements."

      Acquired for a conditional fifth-round pick from the Cleveland Browns on Monday after missing Sunday's game with a hamstring issue, Gordon is listed as questionable for Sunday night's game in Detroit. He was limited this week in practice with a hamstring injury, and Brady sounded like he doesn't expect the new wideout to play a major role against the Lions.

      "It's up to the coaches to decide those things," Brady said. "You could limit the number of plays and try to do that, and I think we've done that plenty of times. That's any time you get new players, that's what you try to do."

      If Gordon is not active for at least 10 games with the Patriots, New England will get a seventh-round pick in return from Cleveland, but that likely won't factor into whether Gordon plays Sunday.

      Head coach Bill Belichick has been complimentary of Gordon's approach since arriving in Foxborough.

      "I think Josh is a smart kid," Belichick said. "He's worked hard. He's picked up a lot."

      Sunday's game is the third of four for which the Patriots are without suspended wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is eligible to return to the team Oct. 1.

      --Field Level Media

  • Seahawks' Thomas misses practice again, status unclear
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    The status of Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas is up in the air after he missed practice Friday.

    • Seahawks coach Pete Carroll didn't commit regarding whether the veteran defensive back would play in the home opener Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys after Thomas missed practice for the second time this week for personal reasons.

      "Yeah, he couldn't work today," Carroll said Friday. Regarding Thomas' playing status, Carroll added, "We'll see how he's doing, make sure he's OK."

      The coach did confirm Thomas' absence was not injury-related, stating, "No, he's got some other stuff we're working on."

      Just four days before Seattle's opener against the Broncos in Denver, Thomas came back from a holdout. He started that game and Monday night's against the Bears in Chicago, where he played all but one defensive snap.

      Thomas did not speak to reporters in Seattle's locker room on Thursday.

      The Seahawks did announce that three starters are out for Sunday's game -- linebacker K.J. Wright (knee), receiver Doug Baldwin (knee) and left guard Ethan Pocic (ankle).

      Two others are listed as questionable -- center Justin Britt (shoulder) and linebacker Mychal Kendricks (ankle). Bobby Wagner (groin) will play after missing the Bears game.

      --Field Level Media

  • NFL notebook: Decision on Mayfield won't come until next week
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield gave Cleveland just its second win in 38 games on Thursday night, but Browns coach Hue Jackson isn't ready to anoint him the starter just yet.

    • Jackson said Friday all players were given the weekend off, and no personnel decisions would be made until at least Monday when the team convenes to prepare for a Week 4 game at Oakland.

      "It is impressive what he did last night; there's no way around that," Jackson said. "It was a short week, not a lot of practice time, and you would think he took all the reps."

      Mayfield relieved a concussed Tyrod Taylor and rallied the Browns from a 14-point deficit past the visiting New York Jets for a 21-17 win -- ending a 19-game winless streak. Mayfield, in his NFL debut, finished 17 of 23 for 201 yards in a little over one half of work for the Browns (1-1-1), who tallied their first victory since Dec. 24, 2016.

      --Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan is back from a concussion, but quarterback Marcus Mariota might not be ready to play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

      Lewan missed last week's game recovering from a head injury suffered at Miami in Week 1. Mariota wore a glove with two fingers cut out of it hoping to improve his grip on Thursday and Friday. He's been slow to bounce back from an elbow injury against the Dolphins.

      Right tackle Jack Conklin missed the first two games of the season and wants to play, but is listed as questionable. He has not played since suffering a torn ACL at New England in January.

      --Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette is in jeopardy of missing his second straight game when the Jaguars host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

      Fournette is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury but a decision on his availability isn't expected until Sunday. Backup running back T.J. Yeldon (ankle) and star cornerback Jalen Ramsey (ankle) also are listed as questionable as are cornerback D.J. Hayden (toe) and right guard A.J. Cann (triceps).

      If Yeldon (team-best 109 yards) and Fournette (41) are both on the sidelines, Corey Grant will take over as the feature back. Grant has 16 yards on five carries in two games.

      --After missing Thursday's practice with a heel injury, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman returned to the practice field on Friday and was removed from the team's injury report, signaling he will play Sunday when the team travels to Kansas City to face the Chiefs.

      The 30-year-old Sherman was a full participant Friday after sitting out a day earlier. Over the past 10 months, Sherman has undergone surgeries to both of his Achilles tendons, in addition to battling hamstring issues during the summer.

      In other 49ers injury updates, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (quadriceps) and safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) were listed as questionable for Sunday after being limited in Friday's practice. San Francisco also declared it will be without guard Joshua Garnett (toe) for a second straight week.

      --The Indianapolis Colts will be without a few key offensive pieces for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

      Left tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), tight end Jack Doyle (hip) and running back Marlon Mack (foot, hamstring) have been ruled out, team owner Jim Irsay tweeted on Friday. Cornerback Quincy Wilson (concussion), defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway (calf) and defensive lineman Denico Autry (ankle) were also ruled out.

      Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (quad) returned to practice on Friday and is no longer on the injury report.

      --The Carolina Panthers placed starting safety Da'Norris Searcy on injured reserve following his second concussion in five weeks.

      Searcy was injured in Sunday's 31-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. The Panthers expect to have rookie Rashann Gaulden and veteran Colin Jones split time at that position during Sunday's home game against Cincinnati.

      Searcy was also injured in Carolina's preseason game against the Miami Dolphins on Aug. 17 and entered the concussion protocol.

      --Philadelphia Eagles running back Corey Clement landed on the injury report with a quadriceps injury and is questionable for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

      Clement was expected to start with Jay Ajayi (back) and Darren Sproles (hamstring) already ruled out. If Clement can't play, the Eagles would likely make a roster move to add a running back to the 53-man roster.

      Either way, the Eagles are getting closer to good news at wide receiver. Alshon Jeffery, out since shortly after the Super Bowl due to shoulder surgery, was upgraded to questionable after being inactive the first two weeks of the regular season.

      --Minnesota Vikings' running back Dalvin Cook and defensive end Everson Griffen are out for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

      Cook left the overtime tie at Green Bay last week with a hamstring injury he described as a cramp. But Cook was unable to complete a practice this week, giving way to backup Latavius Murray.

      Griffen was also out of practice on Friday and ruled out for Week 3. He's dealing with a toe injury.

      --Dallas defensive end Randy Gregory is expected to play Sunday when the Cowboys visit the Seattle Seahawks after he missed last week's win over the New York Giants because of a concussion.

      Gregory, 25, was cleared from the NFL's concussion protocol last Friday but sat out the Cowboys' 20-13 win over the Giants. The pass rusher suffered a concussion in Week 1 at Carolina in his first game since he participated in two games in 2016.

      The Cowboys will be without defensive tackle Maliek Collins, who was ruled out for Sunday's game because of a knee injury. Dallas listed two others as questionable -- wide receiver Cole Beasley (ankle) and safety Xavier Woods (hamstring) -- while linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) is no longer listed on the report.

      --The New York Giants ruled outside linebacker Olivier Vernon and cornerback Eli Apple out for Sunday's road game against the Houston Texans.

      Vernon will miss his third straight game with a high ankle sprain, while Apple will be sidelined with a groin injury suffered during last Sunday's contest against the Dallas Cowboys.

      Connor Barwin and Lorenzo Carter will again see action in Vernon's spot. B.W. Webb and Donte Deayon will step in for Apple.

      --After two blowout losses to open the season, some Arizona Cardinals fans are calling for No. 10 overall draft pick Josh Rosen to get a shot as the starting quarterback.

      Arizona GM Steve Keim told fans not to get their hopes up during a radio appearance on Friday.

      "It's a tough question. When the time is right, Josh will have his opportunity," Keim said. "At the same time, you never know how a guy is going to be affected. Some guys have played too early and it has crippled their career. I'm not going to name names, but I think a lot of us can think of certain players. Then there are guys who have come in and had success right away. But usually it's a rocky road.

      "I don't think there is any exact science to that, but I think there is certainly a feeling of knowing when the time is right."

      --Minnesota Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo was fined $53,482 by the NFL for a hit on Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams last Sunday, multiple outlets reported.

      Sendejo was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness when the play occurred during the third quarter of the 29-29 tie.

      Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday on his weekly radio show that an official told Sendejo he did everything right while making the tackle. The heavy fine is partially due to Sendejo being a repeat offender. He was cited twice last season and received a one-game suspension for the second offense.

      --Atlanta Falcons safety Damontae Kazee was fined $10,026 for his hit on quarterback Cam Newton in last Sunday's win over the Carolina Panthers.

      The second-year safety Kazee, who was ejected from the Week 2 game against Carolina, is appealing the fine, NFL Network reported. Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley was also fined $10,026, and McKinley was ruled out for Sunday's game against the Saints due to a groin injury.

      Running back Devonta Freeman (knee), defensive end Derrick Shelby (groin) and linebacker Corey Nelson (calf) will also miss the contest.

      --Field Level Media

  • Panthers S Searcy (concussion) placed on IR
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    For the Carolina Panthers, another day meant another player lost to injury.

    • On Friday, multiple outlets reported that the Panthers placed starting safety Da'Norris Searcy on injured reserve following his second concussion in five weeks.

      Searcy, 29, was injured in Sunday's 31-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. The Panthers (1-1), who have not signed a player to replace Searcy on the roster that's currently at 52, expect to have rookie Rashann Gaulden and veteran Colin Jones split time at that position during Sunday's home game against Cincinnati (2-0).

      Searcy was also injured in Carolina's preseason game against the Miami Dolphins on Aug. 17 and entered the concussion protocol.

      Other Carolina players who have been hurt and are on injured reserve include cornerback Ross Cockrell (broken leg in training camp) and starting offensive tackles Matt Kalil and Daryl Williams (both knee injuries).

      Only two of those players can be activated later in the season. Cockrell will not return, though, and Williams is also expected to be out for the season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Vikings S Sendejo fined $53,482 for hit
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    Minnesota Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo was fined $53,482 by the NFL for a hit on Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams last Sunday, multiple outlets reported on Friday.

    • Sendejo was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness when the play occurred during the third quarter of the 29-29 tie.

      Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday on his weekly radio show that an official told Sendejo he did everything right while making the tackle.

      The heavy fine is partially due to Sendejo being a repeat offender. He was cited twice last season and received a one-game suspension for the second offense.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cowboys DE Gregory to play Sunday; DT Collins out (knee)
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    Dallas defensive end Randy Gregory is expected to play Sunday when the Cowboys visit the Seattle Seahawks after he missed Monday's win over the New York Giants because of a concussion.

    • Gregory, 25, was cleared from the NFL's concussion protocol last Friday but sat out the Cowboys' 20-13 win over the Giants. The pass rusher suffered a concussion in Week 1 at Carolina in his first game since he participated in two games in 2016.

      Gregory had missed most of the previous two seasons after numerous substance-related suspensions.

      The Cowboys will be without defensive tackle Maliek Collins, who was ruled out for Sunday's game because of a knee injury. After sitting out for the entire preseason while rehabbing after surgery to help repair a broken foot, the 23-year-old Collins hurt his knee against the Giants on Monday.

      The Cowboys listed three others as questionable to play against the Seahawks on Sunday. Linebacker and team co-captain Sean Lee was limited at practice this week because of a hamstring issue, although he reportedly expects to play. Wide receiver Cole Beasley hurt his ankle at Thursday's practice, leaving his status for Sunday in question.

      The Cowboys hope to see the season debut of safety Xavier Woods, who has been out since injuring his hamstring early in the preseason.

      Travis Frederick, Dallas' four-time Pro Bowl center, was ruled out for the third straight game because of a nerve disorder.

      --Field Level Media

  • 49ers CB Sherman back at practice; WR Goodwin questionable
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    After missing Thursday's practice with a heel injury, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman returned to the practice field on Friday and was removed from the team's injury report, signaling he will play Sunday when the team travels to Kansas City to face the Chiefs.

    • The 30-year-old Sherman was a full participant Friday after sitting out a day earlier.

      Over the past 10 months, Sherman has undergone surgeries to both of his Achilles tendons, in addition to battling hamstring issues during the summer. He has played in all 148 of the Niners' defensive snaps this season, allowing just one reception in the team's first two games.

      In other 49ers injury updates, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (quadricep) and safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) were listed as questionable for Sunday after being limited in Friday's practice.

      Goodwin did not play in last Sunday's 30-27 win over Detroit.

      The Niners also declared they will be without guard Joshua Garnett (toe) for a second straight week.

      --Field Level Media

  • Falcons S Kazee fined $10K
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    Atlanta Falcons safety Damontae Kazee was fined $10,026 for his hit on quarterback Cam Newton in last Sunday's win over the Carolina Panthers.

    • The second-year safety Kazee, who was ejected from the Week 2 game against Carolina, is appealing the fine, NFL Network reported.

      Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith was fined the same amount -- $10,026 -- for his retaliation, flying in to shove Kazee, drawing a penalty flag for unnecessary roughness.

      Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley was also fined $10,026. On Friday, McKinley was ruled out for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints due to a groin injury.

      Running back Devonta Freeman (knee), defensive end Derrick Shelby (groin) and linebacker Corey Nelson (calf) will also miss the contest.

      --Field Level Media

  • Giants will be without OLB Vernon, CB Apple vs. Texans
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    The New York Giants ruled outside linebacker Olivier Vernon and cornerback Eli Apple out for Sunday's road game against the Houston Texans.

    • Vernon will miss his third straight game with a high ankle sprain, while Apple will be sidelined with a groin injury suffered during last Sunday's contest against the Dallas Cowboys.

      Vernon and Apple each missed the week's practice sessions.

      Connor Barwin and Lorenzo Carter will again see action in Vernon's spot. B.W. Webb and Donte Deayon will step in for Apple.

      "Certainly any time your first-line players go down (it's a loss), but we've got guys that we trust if we put them in there," Giants coach Pat Shurmur said. "We trust that they're going to go out there and play."

      The Giants are Texans both have 0-2 records.

      --Field Level Media

  • Titans OT Lewan cleared, QB Mariota questionable vs. Jaguars
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan is back from a concussion, but quarterback Marcus Mariota might not be ready to play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

    • Lewan missed last week's game recovering from a head injury suffered at Miami in Week 1. Coach Mike Vrabel maintains the Dolphins "targeted" Lewan.

      Mariota wore a glove with two fingers cut out of it hoping to improve his grip on Thursday and Friday. He's been slow to bounce back from an elbow injury against the Dolphins.

      Right tackle Jack Conklin missed the first two games of the season and wants to play, but is listed as questionable. He has not played since suffering a torn ACL at New England in January.

      Blaine Gabbert started Week 2 and guided the Titans to a 20-17 win over the Houston Texans.

      Mariota said he's improving and getting stronger, but remains a game-time decision.

      --Field Level Media

  • Clement injury gives Eagles trio of injured RBs
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    Philadelphia Eagles running back Corey Clement landed on the injury report Friday with a quadriceps injury and is questionable for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

    • Clement was expected to start with Jay Ajayi (back) and Darren Sproles (hamstring) already ruled out.

      If Clement can't play, the Eagles would likely make a roster move to add a running back to the 53-man roster.

      Either way, the Eagles are getting closer to good news at wide receiver. Alshon Jeffery, out since shortly after the Super Bowl due to shoulder surgery, was upgraded to questionable after being inactive the first two weeks of the regular season.

      Clement would be replaced by Wendell Smallwood and Josh Adams, who was promoted from the practice squad this week.

      Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said Ajayi's back injury would be re-evaluated on Monday.

      --Field Level Media

  • RB Cook, DE Griffen out for Vikings
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook and defensive end Everson Griffen are out for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

    • Cook left the overtime tie at Green Bay last week with a hamstring injury he described as a cramp. But Cook was unable to complete a practice this week, giving way to backup Latavius Murray.

      Griffen was also out of practice on Friday and ruled out for Week 3. He's dealing with a toe injury.

      Because Cook is coming back from a season-ending knee injury sustained in 2017 as a rookie, the Vikings are likely to be overly cautious with any injury.

      Cook has 26 carries for 78 yards (3.0-yard average) this season, and Murray has 15 carries for 61 yards (4.1).

      --Field Level Media

  • Jags' Fournette, Ramsey questionable for Titans
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette is in jeopardy of missing his second straight game when the Jaguars host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

    • Fournette is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury but a decision on his availability isn't expected until Sunday.

      Backup running back T.J. Yeldon (ankle) and star cornerback Jalen Ramsey (ankle) also are listed as questionable as are cornerback D.J. Hayden (toe) and right guard A.J. Cann (triceps).

      "We've been playing a lot of tough games," Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone told reporters. "Players are doing the best job they can to get themselves ready to go, but we played a home opener in New York. We played a home opener here. Now we've got a divisional opponent.

      "When you look at it a lot of teams are going through the same thing, just trying to keep everybody as healthy as they possibly can."

      Fournette injured his hamstring in the opener against the New York Giants. He held out hope that he would play against the New England Patriots last Sunday before being ruled out hours before kickoff.

      Ramsey was added to the injury report on Friday when he experienced ankle soreness.

      Marrone declined to take a stab on rating the players' chance of being ready Sunday.

      "I'm like O-for when I try to judge it," Marrone said. "I just think we've still got a lot of time so we'll just see where we're at."

      If Yeldon (team-best 109 yards) and Fournette (41) are both on the sidelines, Corey Grant will take over as the feature back. Grant has 16 yards on five carries in two games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cardinals GM: 'Tough question' when to start Rosen
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    After two blowout losses to open the season, some Arizona Cardinals fans are calling for No. 10 overall draft pick Josh Rosen to get a shot as the starting quarterback.

    • Arizona GM Steve Keim told fans not to get their hopes up during a radio appearance on Friday.

      "It's a tough question. When the time is right, Josh will have his opportunity," said Keim. "At the same time, you never know how a guy is going to be affected. Some guys have played too early and it has crippled their career. I'm not going to name names, but I think a lot of us can think of certain players. Then there are guys who have come in and had success right away. But usually it's a rocky road.

      "I don't think there is any exact science to that, but I think there is certainly a feeling of knowing when the time is right."

      Keim added that he preferred Rosen makes his first start after a full week of practice with the first team, rather than take over mid-game.

      The Cardinals have been outscored 58-6, losing Sunday in Los Angeles to the Rams, 34-0. Arizona lost to the Washington Redskins in Week 1.

      Veteran quarterback Sam Bradford, signed to bridge the gap between the retired Carson Palmer and Rosen, has thrown for just 243 yards in the two games, with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

      On Sunday, he threw for 90 yards with a 3.3 yards per pass average, and the Cardinals had just five first downs. That was Arizona's worst offensive showing since a 72-yard performance late in the 2012 season.

      First-year Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks said Monday that personnel changes are being considered in light of the woeful start.

      "I'm not going to sit here and say right after the game what we're going to do from a personnel standpoint," Wilks told ESPN. "But I will say this: Everybody will be evaluated."

      Wilks said he didn't consider inserting Rosen in the game Sunday against the New York Jets.

      "Well, I think when you look at the climate of the game and how it was going, I don't know if it was going to make a major difference there because, again, it just wasn't one guy," Wilks said. "It was several on both sides of the ball in all three phases. Again, we'll evaluate personnel moving forward and seeing exactly what we're going to do next week as far as putting the best guys on the field."

      --Field Level Media

  • Browns, Jackson won't commit to Mayfield yet
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    Rookie No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield gave Cleveland just its second win in 38 games on Thursday night, but Browns coach Hue Jackson isn't ready to anoint him the starter just yet.

    • Jackson said Friday all players were given the weekend off, and no personnel decisions would be made until at least Monday when the team convenes to prepare for a Week 4 game at Oakland.

      "It is impressive what he did last night; there's no way around that," Jackson said. "It was a short week, not a lot of practice time, and you would think he took all the reps."

      Mayfield relieved a concussed Tyrod Taylor and rallied the Browns from a 14-point deficit past the visiting New York Jets for a 21-17 win -- ending a 19-game winless streak.

      Mayfield, in his NFL debut, finished 17 of 23 for 201 yards in a little over one half of work for the Browns (1-1-1), who tallied their first victory since Dec. 24, 2016.

      "Baker did some great things, again, we don't play until next Sunday," Jackson said from the podium afterward. "We've got some days, let's not get into those debates tonight. What he did tonight was outstanding for the football team and for his teammates and just the way he competed. Again, I have to watch the tape and we'll go from there."

      Rookie cornerback Denzel Ward, the No. 4 overall pick of the Browns, told the "Dan Patrick Show" on Friday that he expected Mayfield to be the starter in Week 4.

      Mayfield entered the game with the Browns down 14-0 and 1:42 remaining in the first half after Taylor was hurt. The rookie completed his first three passes for 47 yards and led the Browns to a field goal for a 14-3 halftime deficit.

      After another field goal by new Browns kicker Greg Joseph cut the deficit to eight, Hyde scored from a yard out to make it 14-12 with 47 seconds left in the third quarter. Mayfield caught a pass from wide receiver Jarvis Landry on a variant of the Eagles' famous "Philly Special" for a two-point conversion to tie it at 14.

      "Once Baker got in the game at quarterback, you just saw a different rhythm, which was good, good to see," said Jackson.

      Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, whom many thought the Browns would take No. 1 overall in the April draft, finished 15 of 31 for 169 yards and two picks. He has thrown five interceptions through three games.

      Taylor went 4 of 14 for 19 yards, taking three sacks and an intentional-grounding penalty as the Browns punted on their first six possessions. Taylor underthrew wide-open rookie wideout Antonio Callaway for a potential 75-yard touchdown four minutes into the game.

      Per ESPN Stats & Info, Taylor was the first QB to throw for fewer than 20 yards on 14-plus attempts in the first half of a game since 2011.

      --Field Level Media

  • Take 5: Key Week 3 matchups
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    Coming off a two-game suspension, Reuben Foster won't be ramping up slowly in his return to the 49ers on Sunday. Instead, he'll be at the center of San Francisco's attempt to halt the hottest player in football, Patrick Mahomes, in the Kansas City Chiefs' home opener.

    • Mahomes and coach Andy Reid have set opposing defenses on fire so far.

      Reid has used misdirection and Tyreek Hill's incomparable speed to create chasms in zones, and Mahomes has capitalized with his eyes, accuracy and touch to maximize yards after the catch for his targets. He found a rhythm with Travis Kelce in Week 2, picking on Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jon Bostic for several chunk plays, including an indefensible, dropped-in-a-bucket throw up the middle of Tampa-2 coverage for 31 yards.

      Foster is no Bostic, however. Despite his issues off the field, the 2017 31st overall pick has a combination of size, movement skills, physicality and instincts that only a handful of other NFL linebackers possess. The instincts (to diagnose plays amid a series of fakes and jet sweeps) and speed (to make up for when he diagnoses incorrectly) will be particularly crucial on Sunday.

      Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh's Cover-3-heavy scheme comes from the same tree as Gus Bradley's, which the Chiefs torched in Week 1 in a 38-28 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Reid is a master at getting a wide receiver -- usually coming from the inside slot of a trips formation -- on a vertical route against a linebacker in Cover-3, which is just one way Foster will be tested. It would certainly aid Foster's fortunes if DeForest Buckner (3.5 sacks, second in NFL) continues his red-hot start as a pass-rusher.

      --Joe Haden must help clean up Steelers' secondary

      As great as the Chiefs' offense was last week, the Steelers' defense -- and particularly the secondary -- aided its own undoing. With Haden out nursing a hamstring injury, replacement Cameron Sutton was exploited in a variety of zone assignments, both deep and underneath. Free safety Sean Davis was a beat late reading and reacting throughout the game, and defensive coordinator Keith Butler appeared to scale back his disguises and blitzes somewhat, as if he didn't trust the group in Haden's absence.

      Like Foster against Kansas City, Haden will be given a major challenge in his return, as the Steelers visit the red-hot Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night. New Bucs play-caller Todd Monken and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick have adeptly dismantled the New Orleans Saints' and Philadelphia Eagles' defenses, which finished last season ranked 10th and fourth, respectively, in points allowed. Last week, Tampa Bay took advantage of Philadelphia's zone-heavy approach, including on a 75-yard TD to DeSean Jackson -- who already has five gains of 25-plus yards this year -- on the game's first play.

      Haden's hamstring must be ready to run on Jackson's deep routes when Butler calls Cover-3 and Cover-4, and he'll be tasked with taking away deep corners and outs to Mike Evans (17 grabs, 230 yards and two scores this year) when playing Cover-2. We should also see more wrinkles and blitzes from Butler, which could force Fitzpatrick into a turnover or two.

      Haden's return won't fix all of Pittsburgh's woes on defense, but he should help eliminate some of the busts and big plays that cost the Steelers in last week's shootout loss.

      --Mind games abound in Philadelphia

      Carson Wentz's return highlights the Sunday meeting between the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles, but just as intriguing will be the matchup of head coaches, as former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich meets old friend Doug Pederson.

      The familiarity theoretically should benefit the Colts more, as Reich was fully versed in Eagles' offense -- the foundation of which likely hasn't changed much over the past seven months -- while Pederson hasn't seen Reich's full playbook with the Colts. Reich also should have an excellent feel for what defensive schemes Wentz doesn't like to see, which should be incorporated heavily into defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus' game plan.

      But perhaps Pederson can turn the tables on Reich, showing looks he expects the Colts to recognize -- such as a condensed formation suggesting a mesh concept, which features crossing routes from both sides -- before running misdirection off of it -- like turning those crossers into whip routes (a shallow route that breaks inside before pivoting back out). It's also possible Pederson has kept new ideas for Wentz on the backburner, in the same way he tailored special plays for Nick Foles during his time as the starter.

      With sizable advantages in the trenches on both sides of the ball, the Eagles are rightfully heavy favorites. We'll see if Reich's intel can level the playing field or if Pederson will get the better of his former pupil.

      --Can Melvin Ingram harass Jared Goff?

      With Joey Bosa (foot) apparently not close to a return, the burden of the Chargers' pass rush continues to fall on Ingram, who is tied for second in the NFL with six QB hits. With opponents keying on Ingram, those hits have turned into just 1.5 sacks, but any type of pressure is helpful for a team whose sack leader is currently a defensive back: rookie safety Derwin James (two).

      The Los Angeles Rams' Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein are two of the league's most reliable tackles, and Sean McVay's heavy use of play-action and screens inherently slows down opposing pass rushes, but Ingram could pose a few problems.

      The springy edge rusher moves so explosively in every direction that the Chargers line him up all over the place (even at safety on occasion, believe it or not). Often in a two-point stance, Ingram is regularly deployed on twists and stunts, allowing him to use his lateral agility to pick on overmatched guards or centers. He also has the stop-and-start quickness to get pressure against play-action, even when initially stymied while preparing to play the run.

      McVay's offense hasn't cooled off thus far in Year 2, while the Bolts have allowed 58 points in two games (tied for 25th) without Bosa after allowing just 17.0 points per game in 2017 (third). Ingram's ability to get to Goff is the Chargers' best chance to even the playing field on Sunday.

      --Trench warfare in Baltimore

      The Denver Broncos' offensive line, nearly as complicit as the quarterbacks in a disastrous 5-11 campaign last season, has quietly been excellent during the team's 2-0 start.

      Despite adding just one new full-time starter (right tackle Jared Veldheer), the group has taken major strides, especially in the run game, where Denver ranks second in yards per game (157.0) and fourth in yards per carry (5.2). Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's expansive approach -- mixing in inside zone, outside zone, power, counter, trap and jet-sweep variations -- has been a key factor, and the execution has been excellent.

      Back at his preferred left guard spot, Ron Leary is destructive on double teams, especially working in tandem with left tackle Garett Bolles, who looks much stronger after a full year in an NFL weight room.

      Matt Paradis remains steady at the pivot, while 2016 fifth-round pick Connor McGovern looks much sharper on second-level blocks, as he showed last week in springing rookie Phillip Lindsay for 53 yards. Veldheer had stopped the revolving door at right tackle before sustaining a concussion last week, but veteran Billy Turner held up just fine in his stead.

      Sunday's trip to Baltimore brings a whole new challenge. Ravens defensive tackles Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce are among the nastiest and hardest-to-move pluggers in football, and Chris Wormley plays with excellent discipline and leverage. Even approaching age 36, Terrell Suggs remains a ferocious edge setter.

      However, though ranked No. 1 in yards per play (4.0), the Ravens' defense is just 14th in yards per carry (3.8) through two games, and Pierce (foot) and linebacker C.J. Mosley (knee) could join backup defensive tackle Willie Henry (abdomen) on the sideline. Given Case Keenum's shakiness (tied for the league high with four INTs) even with a good running game, the Ravens would hold a major edge if they can shut down Lindsay and Royce Freeman on the ground.

      --David DeChant, Field Level Media

  • Reports: 49ers CB Sherman misses practice with heel issue
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 20, 2018

    San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman sat out Thursday's practice with a reported heel injury, according to multiple reports.

    • The 30-year-old Sherman was not listed on the team's Wednesday injury report and he did not discuss his status with reporters following the team's practice. Per the San Francisco Chronicle, Sherman was not visibly walking with a limp.

      Over the past 10 months, Sherman has undergone surgeries to both of his Achilles tendons, in addition to battling hamstring issues during the summer. He has played in all 148 of the Niners' defensive snaps this season, allowing just one reception in the team's first two games.

      Sherman, 30, signed with the Niners in March on a three-year contract after their archrival Seattle Seahawks released him. He ruptured his Achilles tendon last season and was limited to two interceptions in nine games after not missing a game in his first six NFL seasons.

      The California native has 32 interceptions in 107 career games along with four Pro Bowl appearances while with Seattle from 2011-17.

      --Field Level Media

  • Browns QB Mayfield replaces injured Taylor
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 20, 2018

    Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield led the Cleveland Browns to a field goal on the first drive of his NFL career Thursday against the visiting New York Jets after taking over for injured teammate Tyrod Taylor.

    • Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, completed 3 of 4 passes for 47 yards when he entered with under two minutes remaining in the first half, setting up a 45-yard Greg Joseph field goal. The march cut the Browns' halftime deficit to 14-3.

      He also was sacked once on the drive and fumbled, but Cleveland offensive lineman Joel Bitonio recovered the ball.

      Tyrod was 4 of 14 for 19 yards, taking three sacks and an intentional-grounding penalty, as the Browns punted each of their first six drives.

      He was ruled out of the game during halftime.

      On the third sack, Taylor was slammed to the turf by Jets linebacker Avery Williamson and hit his head. After the drive, Taylor was taken to the medical tent for evaluation and then led to the locker room.

      Mayfield, 23, won the 2017 Heisman Trophy as a senior at Oklahoma.

      --Field Level Media

  • Vikings' Zimmer: Ref said NFL wants more flags
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 20, 2018

    Vikings coach Mike Zimmer maintains that a referee told one of the Minnesota players last week that a penalty was called merely because of the NFL's desire "for us to throw the flag."

    • Speaking Thursday on KFAN's "X's and O's," according to ESPN.com, Zimmer said the league's new emphasis on flagging dangerous hits caused a questionable call Sunday against Andrew Sendejo. The Vikings safety was penalized for hitting a defenseless receiver after a third-quarter tackle on Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams.

      Adams caught a pass and was hit by cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Sendejo came in to assist as Adams lowered his head, and Sendejo's helmet struck the side of Adams' helmet.

      "It's very difficult for a defender -- really playing defense, nowadays," Zimmer told KFAN. "(Sendejo) said (to the ref), 'What could I have done different?' (The ref) said, 'You did everything right. You couldn't have done anything different. They just want us to throw the flag.' "

      Zimmer added that he only learned of the exchange a day after the Vikings and Packers played to a 29-29 tie.

      The coach asked the NFL for its interpretation of the play but said he had yet to receive a response as of Thursday. NFL spokesman Michael Signora told ESPN that the league would have no comment on the situation.

      --Field Level Media

  • Ravens' Mosley and Collins return to practice
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 20, 2018

    The Baltimore Ravens got a pair of key pieces back at practice Thursday with the return of linebacker C.J. Mosley and running back Alex Collins.

    • Mosley was limited in his first session since he was carted off the field last Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals with a left knee injury. He avoided ligament damage and was diagnosed with a bone bruise.

      Collins sat out Wednesday's session with an illness but was a full participant on Thursday, leaving little doubt about his availability to face the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

      Head coach John Harbaugh has been vocal about plans to crank up the ground game, which has produced just 183 yards on 56 carries (3.3 per carry) this season. Collins has 16 carries for 48 yards (3.0) and a score so far.

      "We're not in any way pleased with the numbers, and we are very determined to run the ball well, because we think it helps our offense," Harbaugh said Monday. "We've got to get that going."

      Whether Mosely can play against the Broncos remains unclear, but defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale noted the middle linebacker's absence changes the way his unit runs.

      "Losing C.J. after the first three-and-out [against the Bengals], that set us off balance a little bit, just like it would be if, I guess, your computers crashed or something right in the middle of a story that you're writing," Martindale told reporters Thursday. "It took us time to get our thoughts together on how we were going to attack it, and I thought we did a much better job in the second half of the Cincinnati game."

      The Ravens have a few other injuries on defense, with defensive tackles Michael Pierce (foot) and Willie Henry (abdomen) again missing practice on Thursday and outside linebacker Matt Judon (hamstring) limited for the second straight day. Pierce and Judon have played in both games this year, while Henry has yet to make his season debut.

      Left tackle Ronnie Stanley remained limited with an elbow injury on Thursday, after leaving the game against the Bengals early. James Hurst moved to left tackle and rookie Orlando Brown Jr. played on the right side in Cincinnati after Stanley left.

      The Broncos are tied for fifth in the NFL with seven sacks this season, and Von Miller leads the NFL with four.

      --Field Level Media

  • Vikings RB Cook still sidelined by hamstring injury
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 20, 2018

    Running back Dalvin Cook did not practice with the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday.

    • Cook is fighting a hamstring injury and also sat out Wednesday's practice, opening reps for Latavius Murray, who would start against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday if Cook can't play.

      Cook said after last week's overtime tie at Green Bay that he was cramping, but not injured.

      Because Cook is coming back from a season-ending knee injury sustained in 2017 as a rookie, the Vikings are likely to be overly cautious with any injury.

      Cook has 26 carries for 78 yards (3.0-yard average) this season, and Murray has 16 carries for 61 yards (4.1).

      --Field Level Media

  • Titans QB Mariota, LT Lewan making progress at practice
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 20, 2018

    Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota and left tackle Taylor Lewan each took encouraging steps at Thursday's practice as they attempt to return from injury.

    • Still practicing wearing a glove with two fingers cut out on his right hand, Mariota increased his workload and threw with more velocity to deeper parts of the field, though he again was listed as a limited participant.

      "I would say that Marcus is actually better," head coach Mike Vrabel told reporters. "I felt like he threw the ball better today, so that's positive. It's moving in the right direction. And then we'll just see where he's at tomorrow."

      Mariota dressed but did not play against the Houston Texans on Sunday as he works his way back from an elbow injury that caused nerve issues in his fingers. He said Wednesday that he still has some numbness and tingling in a few fingers, as well as weakness in the whole hand.

      Blaine Gabbert played all of Sunday's game, throwing for just 117 yards but leading a drive for a game-winning field goal in the final minutes.

      Meanwhile, Lewan returned to a full practice Thursday after missing Sunday's game with a concussion, putting him on track to play against the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend, barring a setback. Lewan was limited on Wednesday.

      The Titans were without their top three tackles last week, as right tackle Jack Conklin continues his recovery from January knee surgery and Dennis Kelly was hospitalized with a virus. Vrabel said Conklin, who has been limited in practice, took an increased role on Thursday, while Kelly should be back at the facility on Friday.

      Kevin Pamphile and Tyler Marz -- the latter promoted from the practice squad before Week 2 -- started for the Titans at left and right tackle, respectively vs. Houston. The Titans gave up just one sack and two QB hits, along with four tackles for loss.

      --Field Level Media

  • Giants WR Beckham frustrated with lack of scoring
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 20, 2018

    The New York Giants have scored a total of 28 points in their first two games and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. isn't quite sure why.

    • "I feel like there's no way you can't score a touchdown in every quarter, and one somewhere else. It just doesn't seem unrealistic to me," Beckham told reporters Thursday. "I feel personally, I could score two touchdowns every game. I feel like Saquon [Barkley] could score two every game. There are other people on this team who could score every single game. That's over 35 points. It's just a matter of executing it and making it happen, really. But it doesn't seem out of reach for me in my mind, I don't want to win 24-21. I'm trying to win 52-18, whatever they score - zero. Nobody said it had to be close."

      The truth is, though, that the Giants' offense is struggling -- and has been for some time. The Giants haven't scored 30 points since the final game of the Tom Coughlin era, a 35-30 loss to Philadephia to end the 2015 season.

      Now, the Giants are 0-2 on the season and will face the winless Houston Texans on the road Sunday.

      "I just know, and I guess it's for anybody, if you can make one or two big plays early, your confidence is up. You know that I'm ready for whenever it comes to me again, but if you don't get it, you kind of can't find a rhythm, it's hard. It'll be like a three-point shooter getting in a game and doesn't get to get his shot up. It's hard to find a rhythm, so it's just about finding a rhythm, collectively."

      After the game against Jacksonville in Week 1, which the Giants lost 20-15, Beckham said he thought the offense was starting to click. The 20-13 loss to Dallas last Sunday left him with a different feeling.

      "It wasn't as close as the first week. They just came out and outplayed us," Beckham said. "Some days, a team comes out and they just play a really good game and Dallas did that. Not to say we weren't prepared, they just played a better game. Same thing as last week - 0-2 now, we've got to win. But it's not like the whole season is over if you don't. It's just, you want to win games. We game plan it, we got some good stuff in and we've got to come up with a victory."

      On the season so far, Beckham has 15 catches for 162 yards and no touchdowns. During training camp, he signed a five-year contract extension worth $95 million, with $65 million guaranteed.

      --Field Level Media

  • Wilks seeking first win vs. Nagy, Bears
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 20, 2018

    New Chicago coach Matt Nagy recorded his first victory last week, helped by the kind of aggressive defensive the Bears anticipated with the addition of Khalil Mack.

    • First-year Arizona coach Steve Wilks is still waiting for his first victory... and for returns on either side of the ball.

      The Cardinals (0-2) will look to recover from one of their worst showings since relocating to the desert 30 years ago when they play host to the Bears at newly renamed State Farm Stadium on Sunday.

      The Bears (1-1) will hope to turn a short week into another long day for the Cardinals, similar to what the Los Angeles Rams did last week in posting a 34-0 shutout after playing the previous Monday. The Cardinals did not cross midfield until the final minute of the fourth quarter against the Rams.

      Nagy got his first victory last Monday, a 24-17 decision over Seattle in which the Bears had six sacks and two turnovers, including a late pick-six by cornerback Prince Amukamara that clinched the game.

      "We took it over the top," Mack said.

      The Cardinals have yet to mesh offensively under new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and new quarterback Sam Bradford. They are last in the league with 350 total yards and have scored only six points on a rushing touchdown. They had five first downs and 137 total yards against the Rams. Their stated plan this week is to simplify the playbook and give halfback David Johnson more looks.

      "David is very effective when he is out in space," Wilks said. "We've got to utilize David from the standpoint of getting him out of the backfield, putting him in the slot, putting him out there to try and create that matchup that we need."

      Johnson, a Pro Bowler in a breakout 2016 before missing all but one game with a wrist injury last year, has 22 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown and six receptions for 33 yards. Bradford has completed 37 of 61 passes for 243 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

      Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald suffered a hamstring injury late in the Rams' game and did not practice Wednesday but returned for a limited session Thursday and will play, per Wilks. Arizona could also welcome back tight end Jermaine Gresham and defensive end Markus Golden, who both returned to a full practice Wednesday for the first time since suffering serious injuries in 2017.

      Halfback Jordan Howard has 117 yards rushing and 58 yards receiving for the Bears, and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has completed 48 of 69 passes for 371 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also has run for 56 yards and a touchdown.

      The Bears celebrated their Monday victory with a post-game locker-room dance party complete with disco ball.

      "These wins are so hard to get," Nagy said before almost immediately jumping into preparation for the Cardinals. "I want everybody to understand on that team it's OK to enjoy them. You're allowed to have fun and enjoy them."

      The Cardinals took quarterback Josh Rosen with the 10th pick in the 2018 draft, but Wilks said now is not the time to change starters.

      "If I thought it was just that one position, I would be more than willing to say, ‘We need to make a change. We need a spark. We need something to happen.' But it is not just Sam," Wilks said.

      --Field Level Media