Anthony Castonzo

AFC Notes: Colts, Texans, Pryor, Bolts

Anthony Castonzo will make his Colts debut on Thursday night. He’s active against the Patriots. The eighth-year left tackle has been sidelined for most of the past few months because of a hamstring injury, one he’s twice aggravated. Frank Reich said he did not intend to use an IR spot on Castonzo, and the first-year Colts coach’s confidence in the edge blocker being ready to return soon turned out to be appropriate. Castonzo participated in three limited practices this week.

Here’s the latest from the AFC, going into tonight’s intra-AFC matchup.

  • Indianapolis won’t, however, have the services of its top tackler. Darius Leonard, the NFL’s runaway tackles leader four games into his rookie season, will be out. The Colts tweeted the linebacker is not expected to dress against the Patriots. Both are technically active but are not going to play. An ankle injury is restricting Leonard, who has 54 tackles (seven for loss) and four sacks. He joins T.Y. Hilton, Marlon Mack and Kenny Moore among Colts who aren’t playing in Foxborough.
  • Seantrel Henderson‘s Texans stay did not produce much work. The one-year, $4MM free agent addition suffered a season-ending broken ankle in Week 1 against the Pats. The tackle who recently underwent surgery will be a UFA again in March but wants to return to the Texans. “Of course, I would like to be back,” Henderson said, via the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson. “I love it here.” Julie’n Davenport replaced Henderson at right tackle but was benched. Kendall Lamm‘s now playing there.
  • The AFC’s Los Angeles team has seen its wide receivers receive as much publicity as the Rams’ have, but the Chargers contingent’s quite deep in its own right. Although, it will be thinner for a bit going forward. Travis Benjamin is expected to be out for at least two weeks, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Benjamin’s been battling a foot injury this season. The Bolts hope he can return either for their Week 7 Titans game or after their Week 8 bye. L.A. still has Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams, however.
  • Terrelle Pryor only played two snaps against the Jaguars. He’s not happy with his current Jets role. “It’s kind of nerve-racking. I don’t like it,” Pryor said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, about his usage dissatisfaction. “It is what it is, though. You get frustrated, you know? You don’t go out there and make plays. I’ve shown when the ball comes to me, I make plays. I’m a big play waiting to happen.” Noting Jermaine Kearse surpassed Pryor in Gang Green’s wideout pecking order, Mehta adds Pryor suffered a groin injury during practice last week. Pryor’s experienced persistent injury trouble during his Jets and Redskins tenures. He did not live up to expectations in Washington and saw ankle problems recur in New York this offseason. Pryor, however, is averaging 19.8 yards per catch (eight grabs for 158 yards) but has only received one target the past two weeks.

South Rumors: Conklin, Freeman, Reid, Colts

Jack Conklin is in line to make his season debut for the Titans. The right tackle participated fully in Tennessee’s Friday workout and is set to play Sunday, per TitanInsider.com’s Terry McCormick (on Twitter). Finalizing a recovery from the torn ACL he suffered during the Titans’ divisional-round loss last season, Conklin missed the team’s first three games. Taylor Lewan returned from a concussion in Week 3. This will mark the first time the Titans have deployed their top two tackles together since that Patriots game in January.

Adoree’ Jackson also passed concussion protocol, per McCormick, paving a path for the second-year cornerback to play Sunday as well. Here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • Devonta Freeman‘s knee issue, though, has not progressed to the point he’ll reclaim his starting spot. The Falcons will hold their first-string running back out again this week, Dan Quinn said Friday (via ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure, on Twitter). Freeman has not played since injuring his knee against the Eagles on opening night.
  • Eric Reid‘s Panthers deal includes $390K in per-game roster bonuses, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (on Twitter). The $390K will be in addition to Reid’s $1MM base salary, and Schefter adds playing-time and Pro Bowl incentives could bump this pact up to $2MM. It’s unclear what the playing-time thresholds are, or how much a Pro Bowl nod would increase’s Reid’s pay, however.
  • Patrick Robinson underwent ankle surgery on Wednesday, ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett of ESPN.com reports. This operation came because the Saints cornerback tore multiple ligaments in his injured ankle, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (on Twitter). The Saints placed their slot corner on IR earlier this week. He is not expected to return this season.
  • Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo will miss another week because of his injured hamstring. Frank Reich confirmed (via The Athletic’s Stephen Holder, on Twitter) the eighth-year veteran is out for Sunday’s game against the Texans. Castonzo has not played in a game this season and has now experienced multiple setbacks in attempts to surmount this hamstring problem. He’s not yet being considered for IR, however.

Extra Points: Davis, Vea, Pats, Lamp, Colts

Prior to Vontae Davis‘ now-infamous halftime retirement, the 10-year NFL veteran cornerback told Bills defensive backs coach John Butler, “I’m done” while he was in uniform late in the first half. This one-sided conversation, per Davis (via The Undefeated’s Domonique Foxworth), occurred in the final minute of the half. Lafayette Pitts replaced Davis in the game and ended up having to play a larger role after halftime once Davis did not return for the second half.

I didn’t expect them to understand,” Davis said, via Foxworth, of his teammates’ reaction to his abrupt NFL exit. “That moment was shocking to me as well. … My intention was not to hurt my teammates. In that moment, my intuition was telling me I don’t belong on that field anymore.”

The Bills received a roster exemption after the 30-year-old defender’s retirement, and they placed Davis on the reserve/left squad list, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. While Davis sounds about as far away from a player who’d attempt a comeback, his placement on this list would not allow it — with the Bills or another team — this season.

Shifting back to some active NFLers, here’s what’s new going into Week 3:

  • Jack Conklin‘s 2018 debut is unlikely to take place Sunday, Titans insider Paul Kuharsky tweets. In the final part of his recovery process from a torn ACL sustained in January, Conklin appears likelier to suit up in Week 4 against the Eagles than Sunday against the Jaguars. The Titans didn’t have Conklin nor Taylor Lewan in Week 2, but Tennessee’s left tackle has been cleared to return from a concussion he sustained in the season opener. Swing tackle Dennis Kelly, however, remains out. An illness forced Kelly to be hospitalized before last weekend’s game.
  • Another AFC South tackle won’t play Sunday, but Anthony Castonzo‘s second hamstring setback in as many months has not caused the Colts to consider placing him on IR. Indianapolis’ left tackle remains week-to-week in his recovery, Frank Reich said (via the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer, on Twitter). Were Castonzo to land on IR, he would not be able to return for eight weeks.
  • Three Patriots deemed unlikely to play will, in fact, sit out New England’s Week 3 game in Detroit. The Patriots announced Trey Flowers, Patrick Chung and Eric Rowe are out against the Lions. The team did not declare Marcus Cannon or Josh Gordon out. Cannon returned to practice this week and made progress, pointing to the right tackle’s return.
  • Vita Vea‘s calf strain will delay his debut for another week. The Buccaneers‘ first-round pick is out for Monday night’s Steelers game, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Vea did practice on Saturday, doing so for the first time in a month, so the defensive tackle’s NFL debut appears imminent.
  • The Chargers continue to bring Forrest Lamp along slowly. The 2017 second-round pick has not yet debuted, and Anthony Lynn said (via Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times) Lamp isn’t ready for action yet. “It’s just that Forrest was an athletic guard,” Lynn said. “He moved a lot and we pulled him in space. He doesn’t feel that speed yet. He feels like he’s a step behind.” Lamp tore an ACL a few days into his rookie training camp and underwent an arthroscopic procedure in May. The Bolts are already down Joe Barksdale for another week. They’ve been playing guard-tackle Michael Schofield in Lamp’s spot, and Sam Tevi started in Barksdale’s right tackle position last week in Buffalo.

Injury Notes: Titans, Mariota, Falcons, McKinley, Colts, Doyle, Eagles, Ajayi

Marcus Mariota‘s injury remains a mystery. It hasn’t been disclosed exactly what he’s dealing with although it has reportedly caused him to lose some feeling in his hand. Blaine Gabbert started, and won, for the Titans last week, and it’s possible he’s asked to do so again this week against the Jaguars.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel told reporters that he would make the decision between Gabbert and Mariota within the next “24 hours” and that he would let them know then according to Jim Wyatt of the Titans’ official website (Twitter link). If Mariota can’t go it would be a huge blow for Tennessee against the league’s top defense. One thing that could make their matchup a bit easier is that Jalen Ramsey was added to the injury report Friday with an ankle injury, although it’s unclear if he’s in any danger of missing the game.

Here’s more injury updates from around the league:

  • The Falcons just can’t seem to catch a break. It was already known they’d be without Devonta Freeman and several other starters, but it was announced today that they’d also be without talented pass-rusher Takkarist McKinley. McKinley is currently dealing with a groin injury.
  • The Colts will be quite shorthanded for their trip to Philadelphia as the team ruled out tight end Jack Doyle, running back Marlon Mack, defensive tackle Denico Autry, and right tackle Anthony Castonzo. Doyle’s injury is a big blow, as he formed an effective tight end duo with Eric Ebron through the first two games.
  • The Eagles will also be significantly shorthanded on offense, with their backfield being particularly banged up. Running backs Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles have been ruled out, while Corey Clement is questionable. If Clement isn’t able to go, the running back situation would be dire. Alshon Jeffery is questionable, but reporters have written that he’s very unlikely to play.

Anthony Castonzo Experiences Setback

A hamstring injury has bothered Anthony Castonzo for months now, but after missing Week 1, the Colts’ starting left tackle was on track to suit up Sunday. He won’t, however.

Frank Reich confirmed Castonzo experienced a setback during Wednesday’s practice and is out Sunday, per Mike Chappell of IndySportsCentral.com (on Twitter).

The first-year coach added the Colts are not yet considering IR as an option for Castonzo, (Twitter link via Chappell), but the eighth-year blocker’s been battling this issue since before training camp began. Castonzo returned from an offseason hamstring injury in camp, but a setback in August caused him to miss most of Indianapolis’ camp schedule.

Castonzo’s started every game he’s played as a Colt, 105 dating back to the first-rounder’s 2011 debut. He’s played a full 16 games in five of his seven seasons and has never missed more than four in a season. The Colts started rookie Braden Smith in Castonzo’s place last week.

The Colts, though, will deploy a new O-line combination given that J’Marcus Webb is now on IR.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Rumors: Luck, Bucs, Saints, Texans

The Colts have their franchise centerpiece ready to resume his career after a hiatus so long it had many concerned his NFL days were over. But not everyone’s buying into Andrew Luck being able to pick up where he left off.

Have you watched the guy play? Go back and watch him pre-injury…like 2015. Now watch him today. His throwing motion is completely changed, and he has no deep velocity,” an AFC offensive assistant coach said, via Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller. “His entire game has changed. I bet he’ll be Checkdown Charlie. Like Alex Smith but afraid to get hit.”

An AFC South assistant, per Miller, doubted the Colts’ offensive line can protect Luck. That was an issue for the team when its 28-year-old quarterback was last healthy. Colts scouts and execs are obviously more bullish on Luck being ready to resume his trajectory.

The last time y’all saw Andrew, he threw for 4,200 yards with a (messed) up shoulder and a bad offensive line,” a “high-level” Colts executive told Miller. “Just wait.”

Continuing with some additional Colts news, here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • Both Anthony Castonzo and Marlon Mack returned to Colts practice this week, per ESPN.com’s Mike Wells and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter links). Castonzo injured his hamstring before training camp and re-aggravated it in the first week of August. He missed nearly a month of work but is optimistic he can still play in Week 1, the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer tweets. Mack missed almost a month of work as well because of a hamstring issue. He’s Indianapolis’ projected running back starter, but his status for the opener is also up in the air.
  • Both the Buccaneers and Saints paid premiums to sign certain practice squad players. Tampa Bay went well above the minimum $7.6K-per-week wages to add linebacker Azeem Victor, agreeing to pay him $28K per week, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The Saints are paying wide receiver Keith Kirkwood that amount as well, per Pelissero. Kirkwood is a rookie UDFA out of Temple who went to Saints camp, while Victor was sixth-round Raiders pick in April.
  • While Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson are expected to handle three-down work for the Panthers, David Mayo will start in place of the suspended Thomas Davis, DC Eric Washington said (via Joe Person of The Athletic, on Twitter). Mayo’s a 2015 sixth-round pick who’s started one game in his three previous Panther seasons.
  • The Texans worked out both Charles Sims and Akeem Hunt on Thursday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle notes (on Twitter). While Sims is a former regular on Buccaneers passing downs, Hunt’s workout went well, Wilson tweets, adding no deal is imminent. The Texans will be without D’Onta Foreman for the first third of the season. Alfred Blue, third-year back Tyler Ervin and recent waiver claim Gregory Howell are on Houston’s roster behind starter Lamar Miller.

Colts Rumors: Brissett, Castonzo, Hooker

Colts owner Jim Irsay said earlier this week that he wouldn’t consider trading backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett in exchange for a first-round pick, and it sounds like new head coach Frank Reich agrees, as Mike Wells of ESPN.com writes. “We actually talked right at the beginning of camp, and I just cannot emphasize enough how fortunate we are to have Jacoby,” Reich said. “I think this guy’s one of the top 20 quarterbacks in the NFL, and we have two of them on this team. It will be a different role for him. We talked about that, and Jacoby is a real pro in every sense of the word.” Brissett, who started 15 games for Indianapolis a season ago, will now act as the club’s No. 2 option behind Andrew Luck, who is recovering from a shoulder injury which cost him the entire 2017 campaign.

Here’s more on the Colts:

  • Left tackle Anthony Castonzo re-injured his hamstring last week and will now be “miss a little bit of time,” Reich told Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. Castonzo, who began camp on the physically unable to perform list while dealing with the same injury, has only missed five total games through seven NFL seasons. At this point, it’s unclear if Castonzo is in danger of missing regular season action, but the Colts don’t have much tackle depth behind him. While Indianapolis spent the offseason reinforcing the interior of its offensive line, tackle wasn’t necessarily addressed in the same fashion. Currently, journeyman J’Marcus Webb, who was signed at the end of July, is filling in on the blindside.
  • Speaking of Colts injuries, safeties Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers could both be ready for Week 1 after dealing with their own health questions marks, per Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. Both Hooker, who is recovering from a torn ACL, and Geathers, working his way back from January knee surgery, opened training camp on the PUP list but have since been moved to the active roster. If Hooker and/or Geathers aren’t available to begin the season, the Colts will turn to Matthias Farley (who started 15 games in 2017) or T.J. Green to carry the load.
  • On the Colts’ first unofficial depth chart of the preseason, 2017 second-round pick Quincy Wilson was not listed as a starter at cornerback. Instead, journeyman Pierre Desir and former undrafted free agent Kenny Moore are the current top options in the Indianapolis secondary. In a separate piece, Holder looks at the unlikely ascendance of Moore, whom the Colts picked up via waivers last September.

AFC Notes: Colts, Steelers, Perriman

An Anthony Castonzo stay on the PUP list due to a midsummer hamstring tweak was among the Colts‘ late-offseason concerns, but that won’t end up taking place. The Colts did not end up placing their top left tackle on the PUP list, per Mike Chappell of CBS 4 (Twitter link). However, Chappell notes (via Twitter) Indianapolis did follow through with placing safeties Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers on the PUP. Both were expected to land there, with Hooker (torn ACL, MCL in October) being a bit further away from a return.

Here’s the latest from the AFC on the final offseason Sunday for most teams.

  • August extensions have been one of the Steelers‘ traditions over the years, and an unlikely candidate for a significant pay bump’s emerged. Chris Boswell joined the Steelers midway through the 2015 season, but his production last year (35-for-38 on field goals, four game-winning makes en route to the Pro Bowl) and contract-year status make him a prime preseason-extension candidate, Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. The Steelers applied a second-round RFA tender (2.9MM) to Boswell this year, and Rutter believes it will take a guarantee in the $9MM-plus range to keep Boswell in Pittsburgh. Only two kickers — Stephen Gostkowski and Justin Tucker — received eight-figure guarantees, with the Bears’ Cody Parkey guarantee sitting in third.
  • Despite a light investment at linebacker to replace Ryan Shazier, don’t automatically look for the Steelers to deploy Terrell Edmunds as a hybrid safety just yet, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Kaboly expects the first-round pick to play in the William Gay role as a dime contributor as a rookie, with UFA linebacker add Jon Bostic or second-year man Tyler Matakevich replacing Shazier.
  • In what is Breshad Perriman‘s last chance to make an impact with the Ravens, he may be on the outside looking in to make the team, Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic notes. In addition to being behind new additions Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, Zreibec notes the 2015 first-round pick is “certainly” trailing Chris Moore and Tim White as well. (Moore is a career backup, and White is a former UDFA who has yet to play in an NFL game.) Considering rookies Jaleel Scott (Round 4) and Jordan Lasley (Round 5) also may be ahead of Perriman, this is a bind for the one-time highly regarded prospect. Ravens officials, however, wonder how much different the Central Florida product’s career would be had he been able to be on the field during the team’s past training camps rather than missing most of those sessions due to injuries, per Zreibec. Perriman looked on the verge of a promising season after shining in the 2017 offseason program, but a hamstring tear put the kibosh on those hopes. Baltimore picked up an option bonus of $649K earlier this week, but that will merely buy the fourth-year pass-catcher this preseason to try and make one final impression.
  • Phillip Lindsay now serves as a wild card in the Broncos‘ running back room. The Colorado product who blazed to a 4.39-second 40-yard dash clocking at his pro day received interest from several other teams before opting to stay in Denver, Mike Klis of 9News notes. The Denver native’s $15K signing bonus marked the third-highest in John Elway‘s eight-year tenure at the helm. Klis writes Vance Joseph plans to evaluate the 5-foot-7 speedster for a Darren Sproles-type role as a third-down back and return man. The Broncos have struggled on returns since parting ways with Trindon Holliday after the 2013 season. Primary 2017 return man Isaiah McKenzie fumbled six times as a rookie. The Broncos added two rookies — third-rounder Royce Freeman and seventh-rounder David Williams — to a backfield mix that includes veterans Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson.

Hooker, Geathers Likely To Land On PUP List

While Andrew Luck is expected at long last to be ready to go at Colts training camp, three of his teammates aren’t likely to join him at the Frank Reich-led practices’ outset.

Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo, along with safeties Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers, are likely to begin training camp on the PUP list, Mike Chappell of CBS 4 notes.

Castonzo’s issue is merely a hamstring he tweaked this offseason, per Chappell, who adds he should be back soon. Hooker, Indianapolis’ top safety, was not expected to be ready in time for camp. But Chris Ballard provided an update on his initial draft pick as Colts GM.

The second-year Indianapolis GM said Hooker “should return” in time for the second half of the Colts’ preseason. This represents a more definitive timetable for Hooker, who tore an ACL and MCL Oct. 22, 2017. Previous updates were vague and didn’t have the Ohio State safety looking certain for Week 1.

While that’s still uncertain, Ballard supplied more clarity. Geathers, however, has encountered a new problem than the one that plagued him last offseason.

A neck injury shelved Geathers for 10 games last season, but he won’t be landing on the PUP because of it. He underwent knee surgery earlier this offseason and is working his way back, with Ballard indicating the fourth-year safety is 80 to 85 percent at present. Injuries have limited Geathers significantly during his career. He played in just nine games in 2016 and five last year.

The Colts report to camp Wednesday. Players who begin camp on the PUP list can be taken off and deployed in Week 1. If they land on the Reserve/PUP list at the end of the preseason, they are out for the season’s first six weeks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Willing To Trade Jimmy Graham?

Texans LT Duane Brown is expected to suit up for Houston for the first time this season as the club takes on the Seahawks in Seattle today. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, though, today might be Brown’s last day in a Texans uniform.

Jimmy Graham

Per Rapoport (Twitter links), the Seahawks are continuing their attempts to acquire a veteran left tackle, and Seattle and Houston have engaged in talks involving Brown. Brown, of course, has held out all season to express his dissatisfaction over his current contract, and he has only reported to the team in order to accrue a year of service time; if he missed any more game action, he would not receive any credit for the 2017 season and would remain under club control for two more years instead of being eligible for free agency at the end of the 2018 campaign.

Seattle, though, is pretty strapped for cap space, and as Rapoport points out, if the Seahawks were to trade for a left tackle like Brown — they are also interested in the Bills’ Cordy Glenn and the Colts’ Anthony Castonzo — they would need to cut or trade other players to remain under the salary cap. One player who could be moved is TE Jimmy Graham, who is earning $7.9MM in base salary this year and who is counting for $10MM against the cap. Rapoport says Seattle would be willing to move Graham if such a move would allow them to acquire a left tackle.

However, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll strong denied that Graham would be available before Tuesday’s deadline, calling any reports to that effect “total bull—-“, as Michael Silver of NFL.com tweets. Similarly, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) has been told Seattle has no plans to trade Graham.

Graham, 30, is averaging a career-low 9.6 yards per catch through six games this season, which comes on the heels of an excellent 2016 season, his best in Seattle. The Seahawks continue to believe Graham is a critical part of the offense, but they feel acquiring a quality left tackle is more important.

For what it’s worth, Rapoport says it is unlikely that the Seahawks and Texans agree to a one-for-one swap involving Brown and Graham, but it could be a possibility (Twitter link). Houston, however, is probably more interested in acquiring draft capital than a 30-year-old tight end on an expiring contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.