Raiders WR Brandon LaFell Out For Season

The Raiders’ depleted receiving corps got a little thinner on Sunday after veteran wideout Brandon LaFell tore his Achilles vs. the Cardinals, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets

A nine-year veteran, LaFell served as a solid No. 2 or 3 receiver on a handful of squads, most recently with Cincinnati before signing with the Raiders in 2018. LaFell emerged as a serviceable pass catcher in his short time with Oakland, logging at least three grabs in three consecutive games. He posted two catches for 29 yards and a touchdown prior to the injury. He finished the 2018 season with 13 catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns.

With Amari Cooper traded to Dallas, and Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant both sidelined with knee injuries, the Raiders depth at receiver has dwindled down to veteran Seth Roberts and rookie Marcell Ateman. Should Nelson and Bryant remain out, the Raiders will likely look to bring in a veteran during the week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kaepernick Still Interested In Playing

With Alex Smith suffering a broken tibia and fibia on Sunday, the Redskins have begun searching for another quarterback, with several veterans expected to work out for the team on Monday. One name that has not been linked to a workout is Colin Kaepernick. If Washington called, however, people close to the quarterback said he is still interested in returning to the NFL, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes

This contradicts another story from USA Today’s Mike Jones, who tweeted that some people close to the former San Francisco signal-caller didn’t know if he wants to play anymore. Florio, however, says he still works out five hours per day, six days a week in the hopes of landing another gig. Regardless which source is right, any time a team has a void under center, Kaepernick’s name will appear.

After all, filling in for an injured Smith was how he rose to prominence with the 49ers in 2012. In seven starts, the dual-threat passer led San Francisco to a 5-2 mark and then proceeded to power the team to the Super Bowl, where it fell to the Ravens, 34-31.

Though he wants to play, it remains to be seen if he will be given the chance.

Kaepernick, of course, has not played in the NFL since 2016, as clubs have shunned him following his national anthem demonstrations. While he was scheduled to work out for the Seahawks earlier this year, the audition was eventually canceled after Kaepernick declined to stop kneeling during the anthem.

Kaepernick alleges that owners from around the league colluded to keep him unsigned. The alleged collusion stems from his protest of social inequalities in the United States, which included kneeling for the national anthem.

At 6-4, the Redskins sit atop the NFC East heading into a pivotal Thanksgiving Day tilt with the second-place Cowboys. A loss will drop them into a tie for first place with Dallas.

 

Chargers DT Corey Liuget Out For Season

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn told reporters defensive tackle Corey Liuget‘s season is over after he suffered a right knee injury in Week 11 vs. the Broncos, ESPN’s Eric D. Williams reports

The Chargers just can’t buy a break on the defensive end. After losing linebacker Denzel Perryman for the year earlier this week, the team received good news on Sunday when Joey Bosa made his season debut. The celebration was short lived now with the injury bug striking the veteran Liuget, who sustained the blow in the first half of Sunday’s loss vs. Denver.

Since being drafted by the Chargers in the first round in 2011, Liuget has appeared in 108 games, with 102 coming as starts. His presence up the middle following a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy has been key for Los Angeles in stopping the run.

In Liuget’s absence, the Chargers will likely turn to Darius Philon, who has made seven starts this season, and Justin Jones.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

A.J. Green Expected Back For Week 12

Though the Bengals fell to the Ravens on Sunday, 24-21, the team did get one bit of good news. Seven-time Pro Bowl wideout A.J. Green is expected to be ready for the team’s upcoming matchup against the Browns, ESPN’s Josina Anderson hears (Twitter link). 

Green has been sidelined since he suffered a toe injury on the last series vs. Tampa Bay in Week 8. With the injury coming just before Cincinnati’s bye week, the star receiver has only missed two games, defeats to New Orleans and Baltimore. The Bengals sputtered in both affairs, amassing just 174 yards through the air vs. the Saints, and following it up with 211 vs. the Ravens. Before he went down, Green was leading the Bengals in receiving yards (687) and touchdowns (six).

There was a remote possibility he could’ve suited up in today’s loss, but was ruled out after testing out his injured toe in warmups. With the team at 5-5 heading into Week 12, the Bengals are in a must-win game vs. the division-rival Browns to keep pace in the hunt for a wild-card berth. They are currently tied for the final spot with the Ravens, Titans, Colts and Dolphins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins To Work Out Mark Sanchez, Others

The Redskins are bringing in a group of quarterbacks to work out on Monday, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Mark Sanchez, E.J. Manuel, and T.J. Yates will show their stuff for Washington as they seek a new backup quarterback for new starting QB Colt McCoy. Kellen Clemens and Josh Johnson will also get a workout, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets.

McCoy was thrust into the starting lineup when Smith suffered a broken tibia and fibia. This trio of prospective QBs is not the most exciting bunch, but the Redskins are hoping that none of the three veterans will have to see action.

McCoy has not attempted a pass since 2015, but he is considered one of the NFL’s better No. 2 signal callers. In recent years, the team has flirted with the idea of starting him, so they clearly have confidence in his ability.

On the plus side, all four veterans offer NFL experience. By the end of business on Monday, one of them will take a step closer to seeing live action.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Likely To Tag Jadeveon Clowney

The Texans aren’t letting Jadeveon Clowney get away. The team plans to apply the franchise tag to him for 2019, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com writes.

However, the move may come with some controversy. Clowney will argue that he should be tagged as a defensive end, which would put him in line for more than $17MM in salary. Meanwhile, the Texans will contend that he is a linebacker, which would give him about $15MM.

The difference is relatively small, but it could be a major point of contention for Clowney and an opportunity for the Texans to gain a bit of cap relief. Beyond the tag, the two sides will find themselves in an interesting long-term contract negotiation.

When on the field, Clowney is among the league’s most feared edge rushers. Since the start of the 2015 season, Clowney has recorded 25.5 sacks and 55 tackles for a loss. And, this year, he has been one of the NFL’s best at generating quarterback pressure, but his injury history may be something of a concern: The 25-year-old (26 in February) missed 3/4ths of his rookie season and a few games in ’15 and ’16. Then again, he has back-to-back Pro Bowl nods and appeared in all 16 regular season games last year.

On Sunday, Clowney recorded yet another sack as the Texans edged the Redskins, 23-21. Next, the Texans will take their seven-game winning streak to the Titans on Monday night.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

5 Key NFL Stories: 11/11/18 – 11/18/18

Le’Veon Bell won’t play in 2018. A 2019 franchise tag for Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell would cost more than $25MM, so that tender isn’t an option for Pittsburgh. Bell doesn’t need to accrue another season to reach free agency next spring, so he never reported by Tuesday’s deadline, meaning he won’t play during the 2018 campaign. The transition tag is still in play for Bell next year, but that option wouldn’t give the Steelers any compensation if Bell leaves via free agency.

Redskins lose Alex Smith. 33 years to day of Joe Theismann’s horrific leg injury, another Washington quarterback suffered a gruesome break of his own. Smith fractured both his tibia and fibia and will require immediate surgery, and he’ll miss the rest of the season. In the midst of a solid season that nonetheless failed to match the highs of his 2017 campaign, Smith had guided the Redskins to a 6-3 record and first place in the NFC East. Colt McCoy, who hasn’t attempted a pass since the 2015 season, will now take over under center.

Cooper Kupp goes down. Kupp had already missed two games earlier this season after suffering an MCL injury, but an ACL tear will now knock him out for the rest of the year. One of Jared Goff‘s favorite red zone weapons, Kupp has been incredibly efficient since entering the league as a third-round pick in 2017. After racking up 62 catches for 869 yards and five scores last season, Kupp was on pace for roughly 70 catches, 985 yards, and ten touchdowns in 2018. Josh Reynolds figures to take over as Los Angeles’ third receiver and will see a ton of action given the Rams’ use of three-receiver sets.

Eagles pass defense loses another starter. Philadelphia has already witnessed safety Rodney McLeod go down for the year, while cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones have also missed a good deal of time. Now, starting corner Ronald Darby will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn ACL. Darby had graded as a top-30 CB on the year, per Pro Football Focus, while Football Outsiders ranked him as a top-15 defensive back in both yards allowed per attempt and success rate. Scheduled to become a free agent next spring, Darby’s market will certainly be affected by his injury.

Bengals make staff changes. Following an embarrassing Week 11 loss to the Saints, Cincinnati fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, who had just joined the club this season. The change marks the second consecutive season the Bengals have terminated a play-caller, as Ken Zampese lost his job as Cincinnati’s OC after two 2017 games. Head coach Marvin Lewis will take over as DC, while recent hire Hue Jackson could eventually pitch in on defense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bruce Arians Likely To Be Considered In 2019 Head Coaching Searches

Bruce Arians is currently retired and working as a CBS commentator, but he’s expected to be considered for a number of head coaching vacancies in 2019, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Arians has already been linked to one open position, as he suggested earlier this month he’d be interested in the Browns’ head coaching gig, going as far as to say it’s the “only” job he’d consider this offseason. Arians later (somewhat confusingly) walked those comments back, saying he was merely trying to pump up Chuck Pagano‘s chances of landing in Cleveland.

The Browns are one team that will definitely be looking for a new head coach next year, but many other clubs could also make a change. If Arians does take another position, the Cardinals — Arians’ former employer — could theoretically attempt to seek draft pick compensation from his new club. Arians still had time left on his contract when he retired in January, so Arizona still holds his rights.

Arians, 66, served as an offensive coordinator for several teams before taking over as the Colts’ interim head coach in 2012. He served in that capacity while Pagano dealt with a cancer diagnosis, leading Indianapolis to nine wins while taking home Coach of the Year honors. Arians subsequently landed in the desert, and posted a 49-30-1 regular season record with the Cardinals over five seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

PFR Originals: 11/11/18 – 11/18/18

The original content and analysis produced by the PFR staff during the past week:

NFL News & NFL Rumors