Month: November 2019

Injury Updates: McDonald, Smith, Cichy

The Steelers faced the Bengals on Monday night without the services of tight end Vance McDonald, who was ruled inactive due to a shoulder injury. On the plus side – the Steelers have already safeguarded for this with the acquisition of Seahawks TE Nick Vannett and they are not expecting a prolonged absence for McDonald.

Also, as of this writing, the Steelers are handling the Bengals with ease, so they are getting by just fine without McDonald in the interim.

Here’s the latest on some notable injuries around the NFL:

  • Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith received good news after his MRI and a return against the Jets in Week 6 is thought to be possible, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears. He’ll miss the club’s next game against the Packers, but it appears that this is not the typical 4-6 week high-ankle sprain – the Cowboys may get Smith back on the field sooner than expected.
  • Colts safety Clayton Geathers suffered a concussion against the Raiders and finds himself in the concussion protocol, according to coach Frank Reich (Twitter link via Mike Wells of ESPN.com). There’s no word on his timetable just yet, but the Colts may need to bolster the position, particularly as Malik Hooker continues to recover from a meniscus injury.
  • Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians says linebacker Jack Cichy “could [miss] 2 to 4 weeks,” though his diagnosis is pending an MRI (Twitter link via the Bucs’ team website). That would be a welcome bit of news for Cichy, whose arm was twisted badly in Sunday’s win over the Rams.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/30/19

Today’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Philadelphia Eagles

49ers Sign CB Teez Tabor

The 49ers have signed former Lions cornerback Teez Tabor to the practice squad, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). To make room, they’ve released tackle Ryan Pope

Tabor, a second-round pick in 2017, lasted just two seasons in Detroit. He showed great promise coming out of Florida and earned All-SEC accolades in back-to-back years, but the 23-year-old logged just five total starts, 39 total tackles, and no interceptions before being released by the Lions in late August.

Tabor won’t turn 24 until December and is said to have strong zone coverage skills. With the Niners, he could be a backstop for Ahkello Witherspoon and Jason Verrett, who are both dealing with injuries. On a related note – the Niners were also said to be considering their old friend Dontae Johnson, former Raider David Amerson, and eight-year NFL veteran Coty Sensabaugh this week, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Cut Jalen Collins

The Colts have released former Falcons second-round pick Jalen Collins from the practice squad, per a team announcement. To fill his spot, they’ve signed cornerback Shakial Taylor.

Collins joined the Colts’ practice squad on September 1 after he missed the 53-man cut in late August. In the previous year, he moved between the Colts’ p-squad and active roster, but did not see live action. For his career, he has played in 24 games (all for the Falcons) with 43 tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions, ten passes defensed, and with a pair of ten-game bans for PEDs.

Taylor, a 5’11” corner, first joined the Colts as a UDFA in May of 2019. While at Kansas for his final two collegiate seasons, he tallied 55 tackles, one tackle for a loss, and three picks, including one returned for a touchdown.

The Colts presently carry two corners on their practice squad between Taylor and Deante Burton.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Trade Johnathan Cyprien To Falcons

The Eagles have traded safety Johnathan Cyprien and a seventh-round pick to the Falcons, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). In exchange, Atlanta will send linebacker Duke Riley and a sixth-round choice to Philadelphia. 

It’s a not-so-minor deal that addresses areas of need for two different contenders. The Eagles are now a bit better off in the front seven while the Falcons’ secondary has been somewhat fortified, with a small step down late in the draft for the Eagles.

Riley does his best work at weakside linebacker, where he makes an impact despite his less-than-ideal size. With Philly, he’ll fill the shoes of L.J. Fort, who has moved on to the Ravens. Meanwhile, Cyprien will help round out a Falcons safety group that is now without standout Keanu Neal.

Cyprien visited the Eagles in June, but did not join the club until August. This year, he’s been itching to show what he can do after missing the 2018 season with a torn ACL, but hasn’t been given much of an opportunity. A four-year starter with the Jaguars, and a ten-game starter with the Titans in 2017, Cyprien is still only 29 and capable of delivering big hits in the middle of the field.

Riley, 25, has also dealt with the injury bug. His 2017 rookie season was halted in October by a torn meniscus, though he has been on the field for every possible regular season game since then. Last year, Riley started ten times and amassed 60 total tackles.

The Eagles (2-2) and Falcons (1-3) already played their one matchup of the year on September 15, so Riley and Cyprien won’t cross paths until at least the playoffs, if the two teams happen to qualify and match up. By then, Cyprien could be in new threads – he’ll be out of contract in March. Riley, meanwhile, will be under Eagles control through 2020 on the final year of his rookie deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers’ Melvin Ingram To Miss Games

Another high-profile Charger will be out due to injury. Melvin Ingram suffered a pulled hamstring Sunday against the Dolphins, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (via Twitter) the veteran defensive end is expected to miss time — probably more than one game.

Ingram joins a lengthy list, even for what’s been an injury-prone team as of late, of ailing Chargers. This stands to strip the Bolts of one of their top defenders, with Ingram and Joey Bosa forming one of the NFL’s premier edge-rushing tandems.

The Chargers have defensive backs Derwin James, Adrian Phillips and Trevor Williams on IR. Wideouts Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin missed Sunday’s game. Hunter Henry is without a return timetable, and Russell Okung is on the Bolts’ reserve/NFI list. The Bolts have not had kicker Michael Badgley this season yet, either.

Los Angeles has deployed Ingram as a key edge piece since selecting him in the 2012 first round. He’s posted two double-digit sack seasons and has one this year. For much of last season, Ingram operated without Bosa. Now, the Bolts will see that scenario flip. They do catch a bit of an apparent schedule break while dealing with these myriad maladies, though. Their next two games are home tilts against the winless Broncos and Steelers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

QB Notes: Darnold, Allen, Bears, Colts

Previously targeting Week 5 for his return from mononucleosis, Sam Darnold did not hit a key checkpoint Monday. Doctors did not clear the Jets quarterback for full work Monday, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. This scuttles some momentum for a Darnold return against the Eagles. Adam Gase said Darnold remains a “question mark” as to his Week 5 availability. While Cimini adds the second-year passer received partial clearance and can begin doing some non-contact work, he points out Gase did not sound optimistic about having Darnold back for the Jets’ next game. This points to Luke Falk receiving another start, with recently promoted backup Mike White being the Jets’ QB2 against the Eagles. Falk completed 12 of 22 passes for 98 yards and an interception against the Patriots.

Here is the latest from some quarterback situations around the league:

  • The Bears have yet to announce anything on Mitch Trubisky‘s injury, but Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets the team may be without its starting passer for a bit. Trubisky’s MRI revealed a dislocated left shoulder and a slight labrum tear, per Schefter, who adds the third-year QB is unlikely to face the Raiders in London. Trubisky is not expected to need surgery. Chase Daniel has proven to be a capable fill-in, having piloted the Bears to two wins in relief of Trubisky in the past two seasons. Trubisky missed two games with a right shoulder malady last season.
  • As expected, Josh Allen is going through the Bills‘ concussion protocol. Sean McDermott said backup Matt Barkley will prepare this week like he will start against the Titans. With the Bills having a Week 6 bye, it would make sense if the improving team held its starter out this week.
  • Chad Kelly made his way back to the Colts after initially being waived. Now on Indianapolis’ practice squad, the 2017 Mr. Irrelevant will still make a fair amount of cash in his third NFL season. Kelly will earn $33K per week, Mike Chappell of CBS4 tweets. That comes out to around $570K for the season. The NFL’s practice squad minimum is $8K weekly. Kelly is back on the developmental track, serving as the Colts’ de facto third-string quarterback behind Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer.

NFL Eyeing Games In Canada, Germany

The league’s London slate will begin Sunday, with the Bears and Raiders breaking in Tottenham Hotspur’s $1 billion stadium. While the NFL plans to continue the same international format next season — four games in London, with a fifth likely in Mexico City — future games in Canada and Germany are being considered, Albert Breer of SI.com notes.

While momentum appears to be building for a game in Germany at some point in the early 2020s — but not 2020 — the NFL’s push for a London-based franchise by 2022 looks to have slowed. Issues with the schedule, including what would happen if the London team made the playoffs, remain the top roadblock, per Breer. But one item that may help matters — giving a London team a U.S. base to assist with travel — has generated discussions. A scenario involving the NFL buying the Falcons’ Flowery Branch, Ga., practice facility, with the Falcons moving closer to downtown Atlanta, has been discussed, Breer notes.

Next season will feature two games at the English Premier League club’s new stadium and two more at Wembley Stadium. Beyond 2020, though, Germany could be in play. The NFL’s recent pivot to discussing a 17-game season, something Jerry Jones confirmed (via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, on Twitter), would open the door to future international dates.

The next CBA including a 17-game schedule would accelerate the league’s international push, and Canada games would not require the unique preparations contests in England do. The NFL has played regular-season games in Toronto before, with the Bills hosting multiple games there in the recent past, and the Raiders and Packers convened for a preseason game in Winnipeg this year. (Though, that did not exactly go as planned.)

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals To Release S D.J. Swearinger

After using their top waiver position on D.J. Swearinger late last season, the Cardinals are releasing the veteran safety, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Unlike last season, when the vested veteran landed on waivers due to being cut after the trade deadline, Swearinger will go straight to free agency. Swearinger has started all four Cardinals games this season, so this move comes as a bit of a surprise.

Washington waived Swearinger in December after his critical comments of the team’s coaching staff. The Cards picked up his contract, a three-year, $13.5MM deal. That pact was set to expire after the 2019 season. The former Texans second-round pick is only in his age-28 season. He has gone through two stints with the Cardinals, having initially played for Arizona from 2015-16.

After viewing Swearinger as one of the NFL’s better safeties from 2016-18, Pro Football Focus has slotted the seventh-year veteran as its No. 73 safety through four Arizona games. He played on 100% of the Cards’ snaps. Rookie Deionte Thompson has only seen 27 snaps; that figure is likely to increase beginning in Week 5. The Cardinals also used a fifth-round supplemental draft pick on Washington State’s Jalen Thompson and signed Chris Banjo last week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.