Previously slated to return in Week 14, Christian McCaffrey has run into another setback. The All-Pro Panthers running back suffered a quadriceps injury during the team’s bye week, and Matt Rhule said it tightened up during Wednesday’s practice, David Newton of ESPN.com notes. Rhule pointed to an offsite workout for the cause of McCaffrey’s latest malady, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. A high ankle sprain and a shoulder ailment have limited McCaffrey to just three games this season. Rhule said earlier this week McCaffrey was set to play against the Broncos on Sunday. This latest update could change that status. Given McCaffrey’s long-term importance to the Panthers, it would not exactly surprise at this juncture if the team opted to hold him out for the rest of the season. But it is too early to tell on that front, and Rhule said Wednesday that McCaffrey wants to return as soon as possible.
Here is the latest from the NFC South:
- The Panthers placed eight players on their reserve/COVID-19 list this week after two tested positive for the coronavirus. This appears to have stemmed from an outside gathering of players, with NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills indicating a bye-week gathering led to the virus cases, via Person (on Twitter). Seven of those players — including starters Shaq Thompson, D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel and Derrick Brown — remain on Carolina’s COVID list.
- Antonio Brown should be in the clear on finishing the 2020 season, and a recent change for his civil trial date could affect his 2021 free agency. A Florida judge moved the Buccaneers wide receiver’s trial date — for a civil case stemming from Britney Taylor’s rape allegation — to Dec. 6, 2021, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The NFL suspended Brown eight games this season, but Taylor’s allegation did not factor into that ban. The Taylor suit threatens to lead to another Brown ban, but that issue will be tabled for a while.
- Tom Brady‘s assimilation to Bruce Arians‘ offense has not gone especially smoothly, despite the future Hall of Famer’s sporadic success in his first Bucs season. Particularly, the bevy of deep passes Arians’ offense calls for have resulted in Brady struggling as of late. From Weeks 8-11, Brady was just 5% (1-for-19) on passes that traveled 20-plus yards in the air, and ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine notes the Bucs staff had discussed adjusting the offense before their bye week. Arians said recently coverage recognition, and not ability, contributed more to Brady’s deep-ball issues. It will be interesting to see if the staff made larger-scale changes to the offense during the bye, considering Brady’s penchant for quick-strike, shorter passes. The Bucs, who have lost back-to-back games, will face the Vikings on Sunday.
- The Falcons are set to interview Saints assistant GM Terry Fontenot for their GM post. One of three known candidates to succeed Thomas Dimitroff, Fontenot has been with the Saints for more than 15 years.