Matt Schaub Will Not Play Against Patriots

10:38pm: Schaub left the team to be with his wife, who had an emergency C-section, says Ed Werder of ESPN.com (via Twitter).

2:57pm: Raiders’ backup quarterback Matt Schaub will not play this weekend against the Patriots as a healthy scratch, reports Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). Tafur adds that Schaub made the trip to Boston, but had to take himself away from the team due to an emergency (via Twitter).

The Raiders thought they were getting a starting quarterback when they traded for Schaub this offseason. Rookie second-round pick Derek Carr outperformed his veteran counterpart in the preseason, and surprisingly won the starting job going into week one.

Schaub struggled with performance, but was also dealing with a sore elbow that kept him from playing to his accustomed level. The 11 year veteran had his worst season as a starter for the Texans in 2013, including a streak of four consecutive games in which he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, which is an NFL record.

If he continues going forward as neither the starting quarterback nor the backup, there are serious questions to his future with the team and in the league. Earlier this season he was adamant that he was not considering retirement, as he becomes further removed from the team that possibility seems all the more likely.

With $8MM guaranteed on his contract during this year and next, Schaub will almost definitely wait until he is cut from the team before considering retirement to ensure he gets his last NFL payday. He will be hardpressed to find another team willing to employ his services if he fails to turn it around in Oakland.

Former Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin is slated to back up Carr in Schaub’s absence.

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NFC North Links: Peterson, Packers, Lions

While the Vikings travel to New Orleans and the Bears prepare for a Monday night contest against the Jets, the Packers and Lions will square off in Detroit in what could be an important early-season battle between division rivals. At the moment, the NFC North is the league’s only division in which all four teams are 1-1, so the winner of that Green Bay/Detroit showdown will be guaranteed at least a tie for first place, and considering Minnesota and Chicago head into their respective games as underdogs, it’s possible that either the Packers or Lions could be sitting alone atop the division on Tuesday morning.

Here are a few Saturday notes from around the division:

  • With Adrian Peterson seemingly on the outs for the Vikings, Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press wonders if the club will use a high draft pick to land a running back in 2015. Walters also adds that, in his view, “it still looks like” Peterson will end up playing for the Cowboys in 2015. A report last month indicated that the veteran running back expressed some interest in eventually heading home to Texas to play for the Cowboys, though of course that was before he was indicted and placed on Minnesota’s exempt list.
  • “Everyone with even minimal interest in the Packers understands [Ted] Thompson will live and die with his draft and develop philosophy,” writes Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In his piece, McGinn explores how the Green Bay general manager settled on that philosophy, and how it has worked out for the club.
  • In his latest mailbag, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com fields Lions-related questions, addressing why Corey Fuller continues to be active over Ryan Broyles, among other topics.

Chargers Place Melvin Ingram On IR-DTR

The Chargers have used the designated to return spot on their injured reserve, placing linebacker Melvin Ingram on the list, according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter). Ingram, who suffered a hip injury, will now miss at least the next six weeks of practices and eight weeks of games.

In Ingram’s absence, players like Jarret Johnson, rookie Jeremiah Attaochu, and perhaps Tourek Williams could be in line for expanded roles, though it won’t be easy for them to replicate Ingram’s production as a pass rusher. Like fellow starting outside linebacker Dwight Freeney, Ingram recorded a sack and 10 overall quarterback pressures during the season’s first two games, according to Pro Football Focus’ data (subscription required).

The Chargers haven’t made a corresponding move to fill Ingram’s spot on the roster, so for now, San Diego is the NFL’s only team carrying 52 players, by our count.

To keep tabs on how teams around the league have used their IR-DTR spot this season, be sure to check out our tracker.

Minor Moves: Saturday

We’ll keep tabs on all of Saturday’s NFL transactions here, with the latest moves at the top…

  • The Lions have cut veteran wide receiver Kevin Ogletree, reports Field Yates of ESPN (via Twitter). The move opened up room for practice squad cornerback Mohammed Seisay, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
  • The Raiders have signed linebacker Bojay Filomeatu from their practice squad, reports Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).
  • The 49ers have promoted tight end Asante Cleveland to their active roster, reports Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com (via Twitter). The team released quarterback Josh Johnson to make room.
  • The Dolphins have signed safety Brandian Ross from their practice squad to the active roster, reports James Walker of ESPN (via Twitter). They released defensive lineman Bruce Gaston to make room.
  • The Ravens have cut wide receiver Deonte Thompson, and signed running back Fitzgerald Toussaint from their practice squad, according to the team’s official Twitter page.

Earlier updates:

  • The Vikings announced that they have signed wide receiver Charles Johnson from the Browns practice squad. Johnson will take Adrian Peterson‘s spot on the roster.
  • The Lions will sign cornerback Mohammed Seisay from their practice squad, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Joe Person of The Charlotte Observer tweets that the Panthers have promoted running back Darrin Reaves from their practice squad to take Greg Hardy‘s roster spot.
  • The Cowboys announced (via Twitter) that the team has waived defensive end Lavar Edwards and signed linebacker Keith Smith from the practice squad. Edwards, a former fourth-round pick, was acquired from the Titans in late August. He’s only played 15 snaps in two games this season. Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com tweets that the release does not void the trade with Tennessee, noting that the Cowboys have to give up a seventh-rounder if Edwards stays on the roster for ten games. However, Archer also notes that Edwards will likely be back.
  • The Jaguars have signed wide receiver Kerry Taylor from their practice squad, the team announced. To make room, the team waived rookie safety Craig Loston. Taylor has 22 career receptions for 229 yards and one touchdown. Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union tweets that Taylor is injury-insurance for wideouts Cecil Shorts and Allen Hurns.

Teams To Better Evaluate Player Conduct

The player conduct policy getting some exercise these past few weeks, with the domestic violence cases dominating the news. The cases of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Jonathan Dwyer, and Greg Hardy all resulted in the players making headlines and missing games.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell attempted to address this in his press conference on Friday, but was undermined when the report by Don Van Natta Jr. and Kevin Van Valkenburg of ESPN was published.

Still, the best way for teams to avoid the embarrassment that the Ravens, Vikings, Cardinals, and Panthers are now deservingly subject to is to do a better job in selecting and guiding players in the organization, writes Albert Breer of NFL.com. Of course, if it was easy to pick out the future criminals and troublemakers, teams would be doing so already.

“I don’t think you’ll find an NFL team that has not put an emphasis on character, and gathering the background to understand the full picture of a player,” one AFC personnel executive told Breer. “You may have risk guys. You’re gonna measure risk to a degree. But you’re also gonna have values and principles that, in some cases, will be unwavering. … I just don’t think there’s a blanket response (in how this will change things).”

Breer writes that we will not see whether this peak in incidents will influence how teams will change their approach until the calendar draws closer to the draft and free agency. It isn’t simply a question of when teams will start becoming more cautious, but if their decisions will be effected altogether.

“I’ll be honest, it will not change anything we do,” a veteran general manager said. “I hate to say it, but it’s not like we’re saying, ‘OK, from now on, we can’t have domestic violence.’ I think the players come into the league, they’re younger, and we have to develop them from boys to men. And so we spend a lot of energy here doing that.”

The process of bringing players into the organization will be equally important as the guidance they are able to provide for those players. With young men anywhere, the NFL included, a system of developing them into mature members of society needs to continue after college.

Even still, no matter how hard the teams try to bring in high character players, it is impossible to be perfect while building a team.

“You really don’t know,” an NFC executive said. “You really, really don’t know. You gotta do your homework, but there’s no telling exactly what you’re getting.”

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is not playing this Saturday because of an off the field transgression that resulted in his suspension for the game against Clemson. Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report uses the Winston case as an example of the the effect the last two weeks in the NFL will have on player evaluations.

Winston won the Heisman Trophy last year for the national champion winning Seminoles, and as the reigning best player in college football, Winston and Florida State entered this weekend as the top ranked team in the country. Despite that, the most recent incident has caused many to drop Winston on their draft boards.

Freeman notes that draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN dropped Winston from third on his board down to the 25th best player available. His colleague Bill Polian, who formerly was the general manager of the Bills teams that made it to four consecutive Super Bowls and the Peyton Manning era Colts, was asked whether he would take Winston and replied “I don’t know.”

Freeman believes players like Winston will be used as a test case for the changing demeanor amongst NFL decision makers. It is unknown if the best player in college football will be drafted in the first round. There is a chance both Hardy and Rice are free agents this offseason, assuming they are not suspended. Peterson and Dwyer both could also be looking for new teams, depending on what the Vikings and Cardinals ultimately decide to do with them once their situations play out.

In time, it will be more clear whether player conduct becomes a more vital part of the evaluation process during the draft and free agency, and if that changes the climate of the NFL.

AFC North Notes: Gordon, Richardson, Rice

Josh Gordon recently had his season-long ban reduced to ten games, and both he and the team are grateful of the new ruling, writes Pat McManamon of ESPN.com.

Browns‘ general manager Ray Farmer released a statement:

“We are aware of the new NFL policy related to the reduction of Josh Gordon’s suspension to 10 games. We will continue to support and work with him under the NFL guidelines throughout this process. Our team’s focus right now remains on preparing for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.”

Gordon also released a statement through the NFLPA:

“I”m happy that the NFLPA and NFL worked hard to agree on a new Substances of Abuse policy. I”m very thankful to my union for fighting for a significant reduction in my suspension. I”m glad I can go to the facility during my suspension. I look forward to going to meetings, working out individually, and learning from my coaches and teammates. I can”t wait until game 11 to get back on the field!”

Here are some other notes from around the AFC North:

  • Yesterday, the Colts were lamenting the long term effects of the Trent Richardson trade. The Browns, on the other hand, are reaping the benefits, writes Tom Reed of Cleveland.com. Just one year later, the Browns, while not perfect, are progressing as an organization, highlighted by last week’s win over the Saints. The 0-2 Colts have a top heavy roster that seems to be crumbling around Andrew Luck, and while they ran the ball well against the Eagles last week, Richardson fumbled twice.
  • Ravens‘ linebacker Courtney Upshaw was fined $16,537 for a hit he put on Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger last Thursday, writes Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Upshaw will appeal the fine.
  • The Ravens have already denied the accuracy of the report on how the team and the NFL handled the domestic violence case against Ray Riceand ESPN did trip over itself in reporting incident. Bob Ley of Outside the Lines misreported that the team had actually received a copy of the tape, and then backtracked to say they had received an account of what transpired. This hurts the overall credibility of the report, writes David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun.

NFC Mailbags: Cardinals, Panthers, Giants

We took a look at ESPN.com’s AFC mailbags earlier today, so now let’s see what the NFC writers have to say…

  • Josh Weinfuss writes that the Cardinals need another player to contribute at defensive end, but he also notes that acquiring an upgrade at the position would be difficult.
  • David Newton puts Greg Hardy‘s chances of returning to the Panthers after the season at 50-50, saying it will all come down to the jury trial.
  • The Panthers will be looking to extend Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly this offseason, and David Newton “almost guarantees” that the team will restructure Charles Johnson‘s contract.
  • Dan Graziano believes that the Giants have a two-year plan, with hopes that they’ll see offensive improvements by 2015. As a result, the writer thinks coach Tom Coughlin will be around for at least two more seasons.

Josh McCown Could Miss Several Weeks

SATURDAY, 11:25am: Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that McCown has a “significant” sprain and will visit a hand specialist on Monday. As a result, it’s unlikely that the quarterback will play this weekend.

However, in an earlier tweet, Stroud said the team was optimistic that McCown would play against the Steelers, perhaps indicating that the quarterback’s injury is not as severe as initially thought.

FRIDAY, 8:08pm: Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown injured his thumb in the 56-14 blowout loss to the Falcons Thursday night. Early on, it looked as if the injury was not serious, but Alex Marvez of Fox Sports 1 is reporting that it could force McCown out of the linup for several weeks (via Twitter).

McCown went under a second test that found the injury to be severe enough to sideline the Buccaneers’ free agent signal caller.

Mike Glennon will be slated to start in his place, as he filled in for McCown during the Thursday Night Game.

McCown had been struggling mightily during his two and a half games as a starter in Tampa Bay. He failed to move the offense, and the team remained winless through three games. Even still, head coach Lovie Smith remains committed to him as the starter, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

“Josh is our starter,” Smith said. “We’re looking at one game right now. It would be simple if Josh was the only guy who played bad. It seems like the only guy I’m asked about is Josh. You can ask that about quite a few people starting with me. Am I still the head coach based on that effort? But a little more goes into it than that.”

Now that McCown will miss action, Glennon will have an opportunity to put his stamp on a job that he performed admirably at just last season. As a rookie, Glennon went 4-9 as a starter for a bad Buccaneers team. His touchdown to interception ratio was better than two to one during the 2013 campaign.

AFC Mailbags: Jaguars, Ravens, Colts, Raiders

It’s Saturday, and that means a fresh batch of ESPN.com NFL mailbags. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the AFC…

  • The Jaguars have rookie Telvin Smith waiting in the wings, but Michael DiRocco thinks the team still needs an upgrade at linebacker.
  • Looking forward to next year’s draft, DiRocco opines that the Jaguars should focus on drafting a pass rusher. The writer suggests Randy Gregory (Nebraska), Shane Ray (Missouri), and Shilique Calhoun (Michigan State).
  • Even with wideout Steve Smith‘s presence, Jamison Hensley says it would be “shocking” if the Ravens don’t extend Torrey Smith.
  • Mike Wells would be surprised if the Colts signed defensive end Michael Sam from the Cowboys practice squad. To thrive in the team’s defense, the writer says that Sam would need to learn to play outside linebacker.
  • If the Raiders lose to the Patriots this weekend, coach Dennis Allen will certainly be feeling some pressure, writes Bill Williamson.