Month: August 2019

Lions LB Jarrad Davis To Undergo MRI

These past two days have not provided a strong endorsement for preseason football, with a game being played on an 80-yard field and several key players going down. The Lions saw multiple starters suffer injuries on Friday night and may have lost Jarrad Davis for an extended time period.

After being helped off the field after the second play of Detroit’s game against Buffalo, the third-year linebacker will undergo an MRI on his right foot Saturday, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com notes. Davis left for the Lions’ locker room on a cart.

This strikes former Chargers team doctor David Chao as a significant injury, with the current San Diego Union-Tribune injury expert estimating the best-case scenario for Davis may be a high ankle sprain (Twitter link).

Davis has started all 30 games he has played for the Lions, who took him in the 2017 first round. The Florida product registered 100 tackles and six sacks last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Rumors: 49ers, Metcalf, Raiders

It’s been a rough year for 49ers injuries. A few of their key players may not be ready for Week 1. It is now possible Nick Bosa and Jason Verrett will join the likes of Garrett Celek and Jerick McKinnon (in all likelihood) as being sidelined for San Francisco’s opener. During an interview with KNBR (via Pro Football Talk), John Lynch called both Bosa and Verrett 50-50 to suit up for the 49ers’ opener against the Buccaneers. Bosa is battling a high ankle sprain — his latest in a string of maladies since his junior year at Ohio State — and Verrett is also dealing with ankle trouble. The injury-prone cornerback, who tore an Achilles’ tendon in July 2018, sprained an ankle August 7.

Shifting first to some issues the Seahawks’ Week 1 contingent may have, here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • Two key Seahawks wide receivers may not be ready for the team’s 2019 opener. D.K. Metcalf underwent knee surgery this week and is uncertain for Week 1, while Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets David Moore will not be ready for Seattle’s 2019 debut. Moore will seek a second opinion on a shoulder injury, one Pelissero notes is not expected to require surgery. But Pete Carroll confirmed Moore (26 receptions for 445 yards and five TDs in 2018) will not suit up in Week 1. Moore and Metcalf are expected to play key roles for the post-Doug Baldwin Seahawks. They may have to supplement Tyler Lockett with lower-profile players early.
  • Thought to be on the wrong side of the 49ers‘ roster bubble, Jordan Matthews may be on the verge of making the team. The 49ers held the veteran receiver out of action Monday in Denver, and Kyle Shanahan confirmed he did so to get a look at his younger talents. “Jordan’s had a hell of a camp,” Shanahan said, via Matt Barrows of The Athletic (subscription required). “He’s done very good in practice; he’s been consistent in OTAs. He’s been very consistent in training camp, and we’ve seen him a lot on tape before he got here. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Jordan, and I know we can win with Jordan.” This, of course, does not mean the 27-year-old pass catcher is a roster lock. But it does paint a picture of the 49ers potentially opting for dependability here.
  • Hard Knocks has chronicled rookie UDFA Keelan Doss‘ attempt to make the Raiders, and after three preseason games, Vic Tafur of The Athletic has the receiver making the team over Ryan Grant. As for the former Redskins and Colts talent, the Raiders held him out of action Thursday in Winnipeg. While that could mean Grant has secured a spot on Oakland’s 53-man roster, Tafur expects a trade to occur in the coming days rather than the team keeping seven wideouts.
  • The most recent Hard Knocks episode showed plenty of an irritated Jon Gruden, with the ire being primarily directed toward backup quarterbacks. But Tafur expects the Raiders to keep both Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman, pegging Gruden as viewing the former as the more reliable player and the latter with greater upside (despite his previous regular-season resume).

Panthers Optimistic Newton Can Play Week 1

Cam Newton left Thursday night’s game early due to injury, and Panthers GM Marty Hurney said Friday the ninth-year quarterback suffered a sprained foot. Newton left Gillette Stadium in a walking boot.

The Panthers are “cautiously optimistic” Newton will be able to suit up in Week 1, David Newton of ESPN.com notes. While Hurney called the injury a “mild” sprain, it is officially a mid-foot sprain, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link).

A first-quarter sack (Twitter link via SI.com’s Albert Breer) ended Newton’s night and shifted uncertainty surrounding the Carolina quarterback from his throwing shoulder to his left foot. This particular injury can linger. Although Newton has been incredibly durable throughout his career, this is certainly not ideal after the months of shoulder rehab the 30-year-old passer went through this year.

Newton’s troublesome throwing shoulder, which required another surgery in January, prompted the Panthers to hold him out of their first two preseason games. It may now come down to the wire for Week 1 because of this sprain. Newton has battled shoulder problems since 2017 and underwent left ankle surgery in 2014. He has only missed five games in his career.

Carolina featured an underwhelming contingent of backups behind Newton last season but drafted Will Grier in this year’s third round. Rivera turned to Kyle Allen over Grier after Newton’s exit Thursday, however, pointing to the former UDFA (and Week 17 Panthers starter) being first in line to replace Newton if necessary. The Panthers do not plan to bring in any additional quarterbacks, with Rapoport adding Allen indeed will likely take the majority of the first-team reps in near-future practices.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Added Chris Foerster To Staff?

Veteran offensive line coach Chris Foerster has resurfaced with the 49ers. Nearly two years after resigning from his Dolphins post after a video emerged showing him snorting a white substance, Foerster is back in the NFL, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports.

The 49ers brought in the 57-year-old assistant this offseason, Laine adds, but did not announce the hire. He is not listed on the team’s website. Foerster has assisted San Francisco’s staff on the game-planning front, per Laine.

Foerster has coached for seven NFL franchises since 1993 and was the 49ers’ O-line instructor for two prior stints — under Jim Tomsula in 2015 and under Mike Singletary from 2008-09. He also spent five seasons (2010-14) as the Redskins’ O-line boss, and his tenure overlapped with Kyle Shanahan‘s run as Washington’s OC. Foerster’s highest-profile job came as the 2004 Dolphins’ offensive coordinator, but due to the ignominious nature of his most recent Miami departure, he is probably most-known for that at this point. The Rams, however, tried to interview him for their OC job in early 2017. The Dolphins, who Laine notes were paying Foerster between $2.5-$3MM per year, denied the Rams permission at the time.

Foerster resigned in October of 2017. This is his first NFL job since. Foerster was not suspended for the video, but if indeed he is back in coaching, that may be in the cards going forward. Foerster checked into rehab later in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC South Notes: Texans, Robinson, Colts

Rumblings about the Texans attempting a last-ditch Jadeveon Clowney trade have cooled down, with the team unlikely to recoup too much value for the three-time Pro Bowler after the franchise tag extension deadline passed (and with Clowney being able to effectively block a trade by virtue of not signing his tender). The last report on Clowney’s return indicated he was expected to report back between the start of next week and the end of the preseason. Clowney also has a grievance rumored, seeking to be tagged as a defensive end ($17.1MM) instead of as an outside linebacker ($15.9MM). But the former No. 1 overall pick should be fighting to ensure the Texans cannot tag him again in 2020, Joel Corry of CBS Sports writes. However, with this prohibition clause having not occurred since 2008 (Albert Haynesworth with the Titans), Corry predicts the sixth-year Texans edge defender will fail on this front and end up being tagged again in 2020.

Here is the latest news from the AFC South, shifting to a player who will draw Clowney blocking assignments this season:

  • Recently deemed iffy for Week 1, Cam Robinson appears a good bet to suit up against the Chiefs in two-plus weeks. The Jaguars‘ left tackle starter took snaps with the first unit in the team’s third preseason game, with Phillip Heilman of The Athletic tweeting Robinson joined the likely starting line of Andrew Norwell, Brandon Linder, Will Richardson and Jawaan Taylor on Thursday night. Robinson tore one of his ACLs in September of last year and spent the next several months rehabbing.
  • D’Onta Foreman will not have a chance to exact any revenge on the Texans this season, with the now-Colts running back set to miss the season. But the Colts still have him in their plans. A torn biceps will shelve Foreman, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets, but the team will not opt for an injury settlement. The Colts plan to stash the former third-round pick on IR and have him learn their system in time for a hopeful 2020 debut in Indianapolis.
  • While Matt Kalil was recently named the Texans‘ starting left tackle, Wilson adds that Roderick Johnson is “firmly” in the conversation to start against the Saints in Week 1. The Texans have held Kalil out of recent practices for conservation purposes, per Bill O’Brien. Kalil missed all of last season with a knee injury. Encouraging work in games and practices has allowed Johnson, a former Browns fifth-round pick and Texans waiver claim, to improve to the point of being a first-stringer. The Florida State product appears set to receive the first crack if Kalil cannot go, pointing to first-round rookie Tytus Howard staying at left guard.
  • Titans running back David Fluellen underwent knee surgery recently, but Paul Kuharsky (of PaulKuharsky.com) notes the backup is expected to be ready by Week 1. Fluellen is expected to keep his job as Tennessee’s No. 3 back.

Justin Hunter Working Out For Four Teams

Former Steelers wide receiver Justin Hunter has healed up from a torn labrum and will work out for four NFL teams, a source tells ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter). The Jets, Redskins, Texans, Patriots, and Ravens will all kick the tires on Hunter, giving the former Steelers wideout an opportunity to get on the field for 2019.

Hunter, a freakish athlete, has yet to really make his mark at the pro level. He seemed to hold serious promise when he entered the league as a second round pick of the Titans in 2013. but he has spent time with three other teams in his young career.

Hunter managed just 14 catches with the Bills, Dolphins, and Steelers between 2017 and 2018. His most productive season came in 2014 when he had 28 catches for 498 yards and three scores with the Titans, though he did manage four TDs with Buffalo in 2016.

The Patriots auditioned Hunter before the start of training camp, but he left New England without a deal.

Titans’ Taylor Lewan Loses Appeal

Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan has officially been suspended for the first four games of the 2019 season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, according to a team announcement. Lewan was first hit with the ban late last month and the official denial of his appeal means that he will be out for the first four games of the season. 

Lewan vehemently denied the use of PEDs and even said that he took a polygraph test to prove his innocence. Unfortunately for him, that wasn’t enough to sway those in charge.

It’s a really horrible situation to feel like this, and to walk into the locker room and tell those guys you’re not going to be with them for four games – it breaks my heart,” Lewan said last month. “It’s tough, man. But I’ve been very candid with [GM] Jon (Robinson) and [head coach] (Mike) Vrabel and [owner] Amy (Adams Strunk) and told them right away. I don’t want the legacy, or whatever I have done in the last five years, to be tarnished because of this, because of something like this, that was a complete accident that I’m going to try and make up for.”

According to the league, Lewan popped positive for ostarine, which is used to combat muscle wasting. Lewan, meanwhile, says he didn’t “knowingly” take anything to skirt the rules.

Lewan will be eligible to play for the first time in 2019 on October 6 vs. the Bills.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Equanimeous St. Brown To Miss Time

The Packers will be without Equanimeous St. Brown to start the season. The wide receiver has been diagnosed with a left ankle sprain that will keep him out of action for 5-6 weeks, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). 

Initially, it seemed like things would be much worse for the rising NFL sophomore. St. Brown, 23 in September, was hit hard up top after catching a slant pass in the second quarter of the Packers’ preseason game against the Raiders. As he went down, his left ankle contorted in an unnatural direction and he had to be carted off of the field. All things considered, St. Brown is likely relieved by the diagnosis and outcome.

If St. Brown is out for a full six weeks, he’ll be sidelined for regular season games against the Bears, Vikings, Broncos, Eagles, and Cowboys. Of course, he’ll also be held out of the team’s preseason finale against the Chiefs on Thursday.

St. Brown, taken in the sixth round of last year’s draft, finished out his rookie season with 21 catches for 328 yards across 12 games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Antonio Brown Ruling To Come Next Week

For the second time this month, an independent arbitrator has concluded a grievance hearing regarding Antonio Brown‘s helmet (via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). A ruling is expected to come next week, according to one source.

This seemingly minor issue has had – and may still have – major implications for Brown and the Raiders. The NFL barred Brown from playing with his beloved Schutt AiR Advantage helmet and the wide receiver reportedly walked out of training camp due to his dissatisfaction. Later, agent Drew Rosenhaus claimed that Brown’s absence was actually due to the malady he sustained while receiving cryotherapy treatment.

Brown is now back in camp and practicing with a certified helmet, but there’s no telling what could happen next with the mercurial star if he does not win his second grievance. The 31-year-old has not suited up for preseason action in the midst of all of this and it not be a shock if he were to change course yet again before the start of the season.

The Raiders open their season in Oakland on Sept. 9 against the Broncos.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.