Last week, Jacksonville lost starting QB Nick Foles, who suffered a broken left clavicle in Week 1 and has been placed on injured reserve. The franchise’s collective health has put a damper on what should have been a bounceback year for the Jags. As the team carries on in Houston, let’s take a look around the AFC:
Browns S Damarious Randall has been ruled out of Monday’s game, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Randall showed up to Cleveland’s facility with a concussion and was placed in the concussion protocol.
A.J. Green, who injured his ankle during the Bengals‘ training camp, is out of his walking boot and feels like is he ahead of schedule in his recovery, as Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer relays. “I’m only six weeks out and I’m already walking,” Green said. “You never know what the next two weeks or three weeks are going to bring to where I can start back putting on shoes and actually running and doing some on the field stuff. You never know.”
In addition to the Chargers’ Russell Okung announcement, they finalized their 53-man roster.
Cardale Jones did not make the team, with Los Angeles going with Tyrod Taylor and rookie Easton Stick behind Philip Rivers. The XFL has openly mentioned Jones on multiple occasions, so the former Bills and Ohio State passer could be a high-profile candidate for the upstart league.
The battle to replace Cody Parkey in Chicago is getting a little tighter. The Bears have released kickers Redford Jones and John Baron II as part of a handful of roster moves made Sunday, they announced on Twitter.
After Parkey’s now infamous double-doink eliminated the Bears from the playoffs last year, they’ve gone all out in their search for his replacement. They just had eight kickers at their rookie minicamp for tryouts, and they had four on the roster before making this move. Jones is the former Tulsa kicker who the Bears signed back in January. Baron was an undrafted free agent from San Diego State who Chicago just added last week.
With Baron and Jones gone, only Elliott Fry and Chris Blewitt are left. The Bears have left no stone unturned, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they weren’t done adding to the kicking group just yet. Fry shined in the recently-folded AAF, while Blewitt is the former Pitt kicker signed back in March.
Jones and Baron weren’t the only ones who got bounced from the 90-man roster, as defensive back Adarius Pickett and defensive end Lawrence Marshall were both cut as well. Pickett and Marshall were both rookie undrafted free agents who were just signed recently, from UCLA and Michigan respectively.
The Bears signed two rookie undrafted free agents to take their place, offensive lineman Tommy Doles from Northwestern and defensive lineman Jalen Dalton from North Carolina. Both players participated in the minicamp.
The Bears have had an unstable kicking situation recently, and it’s one of the team’s biggest needs as they look to repeat as NFC North champions in 2019. The battle will be closely monitored in training camp.
The Bears opted for a lot of small school players, adding guys from places like Limestone, Colgate, Fort Hays State, Lindenwood, and Laval. The signings of Bars and Mustipher are notable because they have a connection to the coaching staff. Both players were coached by current Bears offensive line coach Harry Hiestand when they were at Notre Dame. The Bears hired Hiestand away from Notre Dame before last season, and he knows what he’s getting in these two players.
It’s also notable that the Bears signed a kicker, because the job will be up for grabs in training camp. Chicago is looking to replace Cody Parkey after his disastrous 2018 season, and they need someone consistent. Baron was a solid college kicker at SDSU with a big leg, as his career long was 54 yards, which is pretty impressive for a college kicker. The Bears already have former AAF kicker Elliott Fry and former Tulsa kicker Redford Jones on the roster, so they’re clearly planning on having a battle royale kicking competition this offseason.