Jay Cutler

Dolphins QB Jay Cutler Will Start Sunday

Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler has cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol and will start Sunday against the Broncos, head coach Adam Gase told reporters, including Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).jay Cutler (Vertical)

Miami will turn back to Cutler following a start by backup Matt Moore in Week 12, a loss to the division rival Patriots in which Moore completed 23 of 34 attempts for 215 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. No matter who is under center going forward, the Dolphins aren’t likely to be contending for playoff spot, as the 4-7 club has only a 1% chance of securing a postseason berth, per FiveThirtyEight.

Cutler, who also missed Week 8 with a ribs injury, has struggled in his first season with the Dolphins. He ranks near the bottom of the league in most quarterback metrics, grades as the No. 33 quarterback among 37 qualifiers per Pro Football Focus, and isn’t throwing the ball down the field, as his 7.8-yard average depth of target ranks 32nd in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Gordon, Bolts, Cutler, Steelers

Browns receiver Josh Gordon declared himself ready to go despite having another week before he is ready to be activated, according to ESPN’s Tony Grossi.

It’s been awesome. It’s been a joy. It’s been fun. It’s been exciting,” Gordon said Friday. “I think I knocked that rust off prior to getting back to the building. I think I accomplished that. First day of practice, [I was] able to adjust pretty quickly.

Anyone worried about Gordon needing time to round into shape hasn’t kept up with his comeback. The former All-Pro receiver has been working out constantly and looks ready to go when the team can activate him in Week 13.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • The Chargers did not escape their Thanksgiving Day bout with the Cowboys unscathed. Kicker Nick Novak sustained a back injury and his status has led the team to possibly tryout kickers next week, Eric Williams of ESPN reports (Twitter link).
  • Staying in Los Angeles, the Chargers also expect rookie wideout Mike Williams to miss time, though it has ruled out an ACL injury, Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams writes. Williams was carted off the field with an injury during the game.
  • The Dolphins have ruled out Jay Cutler (concussion) for Week 12 vs. New England, ESPN’s James Walker reports (Twitter link). The team will turn to Matt Moore for the divisional bout.
  • Steelers rookie wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster has been ruled out of the team’s Sunday night matchup with Green Bay, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. (Twitter link). The first-year receiver from USC has been impressive in recent weeks, averaging 17.2 yards per reception and logging five touchdowns on the season. He will miss the game due to a hamstring injury.

AFC East Notes: Cooks, Dolphins, McCown

Brandin Cooks has made the successful transition from Drew Brees‘ top deep threat to Tom Brady‘s, not that it was in too much doubt this could happen. As a result, Cooks would like to extend his Patriots stay far into the future. The fourth-year wide receiver said, via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, he would “absolutely” like to play the rest of his career in New England. Multiple obvious caveats come with this statement, though. The first being Cooks’ contract runs through the 2018 season, via the fifth-year option the Pats picked up. After that, it will probably take a high-end WR1 contract to keep Cooks in the Boston area. And the Patriots have not exactly been the kind of team that doles those out. Secondly, Brady’s age naturally makes it a year-to-year proposition the Patriots have a dominant passing game. But for now, Cooks likes where he’s stationed. He’s on pace for another 1,100-plus-yard season, with the 786 he’s at actually putting him on track for a career-high figure.

Here’s more from the AFC East.

  • The Dolphins might have to again turn to Matt Moore on Sunday. Jay Cutler remains in concussion protocol. But the team hopes its starter is cleared Friday or Saturday, with Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reporting (on Twitter) Cutler is on track to face the Patriots. Cutler hasn’t been able to practice much this week, but Adam Gase said he would feel comfortable putting the 34-year-old passer out there because he’s a veteran, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald notes. Moore has played well in relief of Cutler twice this season but bombed in a 40-0 loss to the Ravens as a starter. Miami’s backup did fare better as a starter in 2016, however.
  • On the Cutler subject, Salguero writes no one in the Dolphins organization pushed back hard enough against Gase’s wishes to bring in the polarizing passer. And while Cutler may not be on Miami’s roster next season, his $10MM contract cost the Dolphins some potential cap-carryover money. Thanks to a roster that has two quarterbacks making eight-figure salaries, the Dolphins have less than $1MM to carry over, and Salguero points out the team passing on Cutler would have made it possible to carry at least $7MM over into 2018.
  • In the expansive piece judging the Fins’ offseason moves, Salguero writes that Lawrence Timmons and Julius Thomas will likely be cut. And Mike Pouncey won’t be automatic to see a seventh Miami season. The Dolphins can save $7MM by cutting Pouncey, who says he’s playing with a damaged hip, in 2018.
  • Josh McCown has made more starts in 2017 than he has in all but two seasons. The Jets quarterback looks set to eclipse his previous single-season high (13 with the 20o4 Cardinals), keeping Christian Hackenberg off the field. But as Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News observes, this productive age-38 season has cost the Jets long-term. McCown’s one-year contract might have been too good an investment since will have the Jets out of franchise-quarterback territory come draft time. Gang Green would pick 12th if the season ended today.

AFC Notes: Bills, Phins, Cutler, Broncos, Jets

Though there weren’t many positives to glean from a 54-24 drubbing by the Chargers, the Bills did receive one bit of good news on Monday. Newly acquired wideout Kelvin Benjamin did not tear his ACL in the loss, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (Twitter link).

Though the injury could force the physical receiver to miss a few games, he should be able to help the Bills, currently tied with Baltimore for the last playoff spot, contend for a wildcard berth down the stretch.

After letting Robert Woods walk and trading away Sammy Watkins in the offseason, Buffalo pulled off a deadline deal with Carolina for Benjamin, who was expected to serve as Tyrod Taylor‘s top target. That has yet to come to fruition with Benjamin catching four passes in two games and Taylor being benched for the first half vs. Los Angeles.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Dolphins QB Jay Cutler is officially in the NFL’s concussion protocol, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The Dolphins are 4-6 and mired in a four-game losing streak, so their showdown with New England could be a make-or-break game for their slim playoff hopes. Matt Moore will assume the starting role should Cutler not be fit for the game.
  • After being placed on injured reserve earlier this month, Raiders first-round pick Gareon Conley underwent surgery to repair his injured shin on Monday, NBC Sports’ Scott Blair reports. The cornerback suffered the injury in training camp and aggravated it in Week 3 vs. Washington.
  • The Jets are still holding out hope for the postseason. With that in mind, the team will roll with Josh McCown as the team’s starting quarterback unless injured, reports Newsday’s Calvin Watkins. McCown is on the same page as Bowles and appreciates the vote of confidence.
  • Following the firing of Mike McCoy as offensive coordinator, the Broncos promoted Bill Musgrave to the post and named Klint Kubiak quarterbacks coach, according to Schefter. The offensive coordinator in Oakland the last two seasons, Musgrave helped the Raiders produce one of the league’s most potent offenses in 2016. Kubiak, the son of former Broncos head coach and team senior personnel advisor Gary Kubiak, served as wide receivers coach at Kansas in 2015 before joining the Broncos as an assistant in 2016.
  • Remaining with the shakeup in Denver, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes that John Elway should also receive some blame for the team’s downward spiral in 2017. Florio writes: “Despite efforts to blame the players and, as of Monday morning, to blame offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, and possibly to blame coach Vance Joseph, responsibility for the six-game losing goes to every layer and level of the organization, and the buck ultimately stops on Elway’s desk.”

AFC Notes: Dolphins, Jets, Rosen, Darnold, McDermott, Bills QB’s, Kizer, Broncos Offense

The Dolphins dropped their fourth game in a row when the Bucs broke away in the fourth quarter of today’s contest, which has James Walker of ESPN.com saying that the team will start have to turn their attention to 2018. While Walker does note that the coaches and players will say that they’re still in the wild card hunt, the reality is that the team is showing no signs of making a run during the remaining weeks of the regular season. It’s a sobering thought for second-year head coach Adam Gase, who led Miami to a playoff birth during his first season as the Dolphins leader.

In addition to the defeat, the team also lost starting quarterback Jay Cutler to a concussion during today’s game. Cutler has already missed time earlier in the season, but the Dolphins continue to have an identity problem at the position, according to Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald. Although Matt Moore was effective in relief of Cutler in Week 11, the team did not signal what they intend to do at the quarterback position a week from now.

Gase told Beasley after the game that, “I want to get to tomorrow first, see how [Cutler is] feeling.” These situations usually get more light shed on them as the practice week goes on, however the Dolphins find themselves stuck in an unassuming gray area of the league with two veteran signal callers that can’t be relied on to deliver in the future. Miami still has Ryan Tannehill signed to a long-term deal when he fully recovers from his season-ending knee injury, but he hasn’t truly grabbed the reigns of the franchise since the team took the quarterback in the first round back in 2012.

  • Another team definitely looking ahead in regards to the QB position is the Jets, who had their general manager Mike Maccagnan, vice president of personnel Brian Heimerdinger and area scout Brian Shields on hand for the USC-UCLA game on Saturday to watch two of the best 2018 NFL Draft QB prospects in Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold square off, reports Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Cimini notes the interesting behavior of Maccagnan in particular, who he saw writing a “copious” amount of notes and decided to watch the game from behind the sidelines instead of in the press box, where most of the NFL scouts were sitting. The Jets are likely to cast a wide net in their search for their next franchise signal, but it would seem that the front office has a significant amount of interest in two of the best college quarterbacks in the country.
  • The Bills have produced themselves a tremendous QB controversy when they shockingly decided to bench starter Tyrod Taylor for rookie Nathan Peterman. However, after Peterman threw five interceptions in the first half of today’s loss at the hands of the Chargers, head coach Sean McDermott is confident and says that he is not second guessing his decision, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. The head coach didn’t reveal his intentions for who will start next week, even though Taylor did finish out the game today. The coach just said, “I’m going to evaluate.” when asked about his QB questions in his postgame media session, reports Vic Carruci of the Buffalo News (Twitter link).
  • On the other hand, Browns head coach Hue Jackson committed to his rookie signal caller for the rest of the season after today’s game, reports Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Jackson has turned to both Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler throughout the season, but he seemed very set on DeShone Kizer after his team suffered their 10th straight loss of the 2017 season. “Where we are right now, I need to continue to see him,” said Jackson. “Let’s let him play. Let’s let him play this thing out. As long as he’s healthy, let’s keep putting him out there. I want to walk away from this season knowing exactly what DeShone Kizer is top to bottom. He deserves that. I know this is all tough for him. Week in and week out, it’s the consistency he has to keep chasing. He just has to keep working at it.” While seeing how Kizer reacts to this adversity seems like the franchise’s main priority, they’re quickly running out of chances to not fall into the same breadth as the 2008 Lions, who were the first team in league history to go 0-16 in a season.
  • The Broncos suffered their sixth straight loss at the hands of the Bengals after starting out 3-1 to start the season. The team has shifted to backup Brock Osweiler and could be looking to implement second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch at some point in the remaining six weeks of the season. However, apart from the QB problems, the team is apparently dealing with pushback from players regarding their current offensive scheme, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Sources tell the reporter that players are starting to show frustration with the way the offense is running. The team does have two very good receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but there are a ton of holes throughout the unit that schemes won’t hide. We’ll see how first-year head coach Vance Joseph reacts to the losing streak, but it’s turning out that this is a lost season for the Super Bowl 50 champions.

Latest On Dolphins’ Quarterback Plans

Some rumors coming out of Miami prior to this season indicated it was possible Jay Cutler could stick around for the Dolphins as a potential Ryan Tannehill replacement. That doesn’t appear to be the franchise’s plan.

The Dolphins are committed to having Tannehill return as the starting quarterback in 2018, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link). Adam Gase and the Dolphins front office think “extremely highly” of Tannehill, and they’re committed to having him return for a seventh season in Miami before possibly deciding what to do at quarterback after next season, per Rapoport. Tannehill’s contract becomes a pay-as-you-go arrangement after 2018 (and only $4.6MM in dead money is attached to a Tannehill release after this season).

But the Dolphins have likely seen Tannehill emerge as their best option given what the Cutler-led offense has generated in his absence. However, the Cutler era looks set to continue once he returns from his rib injury.

Miami remains committed to having Cutler come back as the starter, despite how Matt Moore fares against the Ravens on Thursday night, Rapoport reports. The team believes Cutler will be sufficiently healthy by Week 9, and the Dolphins intend on benching Moore for Cutler should that occur. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reported earlier this week the Dolphins were going to keep Cutler as their starter.

Despite the Dolphins’ offense noticeably less potent under Cutler than it was under Tannehill or even Moore last season, the team is evidently intent on continuing to see if the 34-year-old recently unretired passer can turn his season around.

Cutler and Moore threw for two touchdown passes apiece in the Dolphins’ Week 7 win over the Jets, but Cutler is averaging a career-worst 5.5 yards per attempt through his six starts. Moore averaged 8.29 yards per attempt last season and finished with eight touchdown passes compared to three interceptions in his three relief starts for Tannehill last December.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Hightower, Cutler

The Patriots were aware of Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks in the offseason when he was on the block and Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (Twitter link) wonders if he could be a consideration for them now that Dont’a Hightower is dealing with a serious pectoral injury.

Kendricks has long been talked about as a trade candidate and he even requested a trade himself back in January. However, he has become vital to the team in the wake of Jordan Hicks‘ season-ending Achilles tear. Kendricks was on the field for 55 snaps in Week 6 and probably would have been in line for lots of burn last week if not for a hamstring injury. With a 6-1 record, the Eagles probably aren’t inclined to trade away a key defender like Kendricks before the deadline.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • If he’s ruled out for the season, Hightower will lose out on $2.6MM+ in bonuses from the Patriots due to the torn pectoral and his previous knee injuries, Howe tweets. Hightower’s deal includes extra cash based on per-game play and play-time as well as Pro Bowl and All-Pro appearances.
  • Despite his cracked ribs, Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler is expected to be available a week from Sunday vs. Oakland, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). However, he will not be able to suit up for Thursday night’s game against Baltimore.
  • The Patriots had wide receiver Jake Kumerow and fullback Marquez Williams in for free agent workouts on Wednesday, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets. Kumerow was signed to the practice squad on Thursday morning.

Latest On Jay Cutler, Dolphins’ QB Situation

Confirming reports from Sunday night, Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler did indeed suffer cracked ribs in Miami’s Week 7 win over the Jets, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Cutler is initially expected to miss two-to-three weeks while recovering from the injury.jay Cutler (Vertical)

With Cutler sidelined, Miami is meeting with free agent quarterback David Fales, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Fales spent the summer with the Dolphins, and also worked under Miami head coach Adam Gase when the pair was in Chicago. Given that history, Fales should have enough familiarity with Gase’s offense in order to serve as Matt Moore‘s backup on Thursday night. If signed, Fales will have been chosen over Dolphins practice squad quarterback Brandon Doughty.

Despite Cutler’s struggles to begin the 2017 season, he’s expected to remain Miami’s starter under center when he returns from injury, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Moore could certainly change that with excellent play over the next several weeks, but the Dolphins plan to re-insert Cutler when he’s available. Cutler, who un-retired to join Miami, hasn’t performed well this year, as he ranks 28th in quarterback rating and 29th in adjusted net yards per attempt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Chargers, Cutler, Thomas

The LA Chargers experiment has come under fire from some for their small stadium, high prices and noticeable attendance from the road fanbases over the first six weeks of the NFL season. However, a Chargers team representative reportedly defended the move during last week’s owners meetings, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. La Canfora points out that the team does have a few years to get things right before they move into the new Inglewood stadium that will be shared with their Hollywood rival Rams. Although, there’s still concern about the lack of a Plan B if things continue to sputter for the newly relocated franchise. In addition to facing the challenge of capturing attention of the fanbase from the now 5-2 Rams, the Chargers are set in a smaller stadium and less certainty off the gridiron as well, even though it would seem that the team’s ownership group is not backing down from the problems that have stemmed from their controversial move from San Diego.

  • Jay Cutler will soon undergo X-Rays on his ribs due to an injury he suffered in today’s game vs. the Jets, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter Link). Rapoport adds that team officials fear he has suffered cracked ribs, but will “check it all”. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com adds that he is now hearing Cutler may be out for the next 2-3 weeks. The injury adds to what has been a pedestrian season for the once retired 34 year-old. Through six games, he’s accumulated a QBR in the 30s, throwing almost as many picks as touchdowns (7 TD-5 INT). For the time being, Miami will turn to backup Matt Moore who led the team to a second half comeback in today’s win over New York.
  • In another injury news, All-Pro Browns tackle Joe Thomas had his consecutive snaps streak broken after exiting with an apparent left arm injury. The injury represents another blow to what has been another gloomy season in Cleveland. The veteran lineman sent out a personal tweet after today’s game confirming that he will undergo an MRI tomorrow. Thomas has been a staple on the Browns offensive line since he was drafted by the team third overall in 2006. He played an incredible 10,363 offensive snaps until he exited today, which truly shows that grit and toughness of arguably best offensive lineman in the league for the past decade.
  • Patriots highly-paid cornerback Stephon Gilmore sat out last week after suffering a concussion when he collided with the Bucs Mike Evans in Week 5. However, even with Gilmore and fellow corner Eric Rowe sidelined, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com opines that the team is more likely to promote a player for the practice squad than sign a veteran free agent like Leon Hall. Without Gilmore, the Pats will be relying Malcolm Butler, Johnson Bademosi and Jonathan Jones in the short-term.
  • Jags rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook is eligible to come off the IR after week 8 and he could be a welcomed deep ball threat for an offense that lost Allen Robinson early in the season, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. DiRocco cautioned that the team’s 2017 fourth round pick hasn’t played an NFL snap, but could operate as the Jags third wideout behind Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns because of his speed and big play ability. Jacksonville had struggled passing the ball through the first six weeks of the season, but found their rhythm today, albeit against a struggling Colts defense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Rumors: Patriots, McCown, Cutler

The Patriots will be without two of their top cover men against the Jets. A late addition to the Pats’ injury report, Stephon Gilmore is out for Sunday’s game with a concussion. Gilmore was not listed on New England’s injury report prior to Saturday, but Josina Anderson of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter) the cornerback had experienced headaches since the Buccaneers game nine days ago. Eric Rowe is out with a groin injury, leaving the Patriots shorthanded on the outside. Gilmore’s concussion setback comes after he was a game-time decision to face the Bucs due to an ankle injury. Rowe hasn’t practiced since aggravating a groin problem in Week 4. New England did not sign anyone before Saturday afternoon’s deadline, so the team will not make a practice squad promotion for depth purposes as a result of these injuries.

Here’s more from New England and other AFC East headquarters prior to Week 6 Sunday.

  • Alan Branch, though, did make the trip with the Patriots to New York after being left off the travel roster for his team’s Week 5 tilt in Tampa, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports. Branch played in New England’s first four games after being re-signed this offseason. His season’s traversing a pattern Jabaal Sheard‘s did last year. After being left off the travel list for a midseason road trip, Sheard returned a week later and finished last season with 15 regular-season games played. Branch signed a two-year deal worth up to $12MM, so another healthy scratch would certainly be strange.
  • When the Jets were surveying the quarterback market, they became the latest team to turn to Josh McCown‘s five-game audition with the 2013 Bears as evidence of proficiency. New OC John Morton observed McCown’s work during that stretch — one that booked him the starting gig with the 2014 Bucs and probably played a key role in coaxing the Browns to sign him a year later — and tailored Gang Green’s offense around what McCown did well that season, Bob Glauber of Newsday notes. McCown has the Jets at a surprising 3-2, with the three wins exceeding his total with the Bucs and Browns combined. The 38-year-old quarterback is completing 71 percent of his passes in Morton’s offense.
  • That said, the Jets aren’t expected to let this season distract them from plans to acquire a long-term quarterback in 2018, Rich Cimini notes (on Twitter). In comparing this to the 2016 situation that saw the Jets re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick late in the offseason and then watching him regress last season, Cimini does not see the Jets turning to McCown again after this bridge season.
  • Despite some outside outcries for the Dolphins to bench Jay Cutler, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald doesn’t get the feeling Dolphins players are ready to see the recently acquired veteran demoted just yet. In attempting 26 passes against the Titans, Cutler completed just 12 for 92 yards. The Dolphins plan to stick with Cutler throughout the season, although that plan could certainly be revised down the road if this offense regresses further.