Leonard Fournette

Injury Notes: Fournette, Ansah, Michel, Burkhead, Barron

Inactive lists for the late slate of games are starting to roll in, and are providing answers to some key injury questions. Perhaps the biggest mystery of the week was the status of Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette. We finally have clarity, as Fournette will officially miss Jacksonville’s Week 2 game against the Patriots with his hamstring injury according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link).

It’s a big blow for the Jaguars who like to establish the running game and make things easy for Blake Bortles. They did get some good news however as Calais Campbell, who was a very late add to the injury report, will play. Here are more injury notes from around the league:

  • The Lions’ already weak defense will be without their best player, as Ezekiel Ansah will be sidelined with a shoulder injury per Michael Rothstein of ESPN (Twitter link). Ian Rapoport had previously tweeted Ansah was expected to play, so this is a bit of a surprise.
  • The Patriots’ backfield got some good news as both Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead will suit up per Ben Volin of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). Burkhead was cleared from the concussion protocol while Michel will make his NFL debut after missing most of the offseason with a knee injury.
  • The Rams will be without starting linebacker Mark Barron for a second straight week per ProFootballTalk (Twitter link). It’s bad news for Los Angeles as their linebackers were shredded over the middle last week by tight end Jared Cook for 180 yards.

Injury Notes: Wentz, Bosa, Mariota

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz could be cleared for contact this week, and that may put him on track to make his 2018 debut in Week 3, as was suggested last Sunday. But Rapoport says the team is in no rush to have Wentz return to game action, because it is more concerned about the next 10 to 15 years, not the next 10 to 15 minutes. As such, if the Eagles need to keep Wentz out longer to make sure he is fully recovered from his torn ACL and LCL, they are fully committed to doing so.

However, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that Wentz is indeed on track to be back under center for the Eagles against the Colts next week, and he suggests that Philadelphia will have no issue in deploying Wentz as soon as he is cleared for contract.

Now let’s take a look at a few more reports concerning injuries to some of the league’s biggest names:

  • This is not much of a surprise given a report from earlier this week, but Schefter reports that Chargers DE Joey Bosa is expected to be sidelined until at least October. Bosa is continuing to rehab his foot with the hope that the swelling goes down and the foot stabilizes, but surgery is still very much in play if that does not happen.
  • Titans QB Marcus Mariota has not yet regained complete feeling in his fingers, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Schefter adds (via Twitter) that Mariota is still unable to grip the football normally as a result, which means that Blaine Gabbert may be starting under center for Tennessee for at least Week 2.
  • Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette is unlikely to play against the Patriots today, per Schefter, but it sounds as though Fournette is making good progress in his recovery from the hamstring injury he suffered last week. Even if the second-year back is unable to suit up today, he could be back in action next week.
  • Rapoport confirms (via Twitter) a report from Tuesday that Panthers TE Greg Olsen is hoping to return much sooner than was originally anticipated when he fractured his foot in the team’s season-opening win over the Cowboys. Rapoport says that Olsen hopes to be back on the field in four to five weeks, and he will have the foot — the same one he broke last year — reevaluated after the season.
  • We received a status update on Packers QB Aaron Rodgers earlier today.

Latest On RB Leonard Fournette

After suffering a hamstring injury during last weekend’s win over the Giants, it was uncertain if Leonard Fournette would suit up for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. While the running back has sat out the last two days of practice, he’s optimistic that he’ll be ready to go.

“I like [the chances of playing] now since the day’s been going on more and more,” Fournette told ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco. “It’s feeling better and better…Any person would give anything to play, especially [since] it’s a great football team we’re going against. Just have to see. My main focus is to strengthen it back up, get the swelling or whatever that is in there [down], and come out Sunday and play.”

Fournette also told ESPN’s Jeff Darling that it will likely come down to a game-time decision (Twitter link).

After compiling 41 yards on nine carries, Fournette said he heard a pop after planting his right leg during a first-half play. Head coach Doug Marrone didn’t sound overly worried about his running back’s status for Sunday, noting that the injury was suffered in a “good part” of the leg. Marrone also cited that Fournette knows how to deal with the pain.

If Fournette is forced out of the lineup, the Jaguars will likely turn to backup T.J. Yeldon. The former second-round compiled 51 yards on 14 carries last weekend, and he added another three receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown. Corey Grant is the only other running back on the active roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Fournette, Texans, 49ers, Jackson

Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette left today’s win over the Giants with a hamstring injury. While the second-year star was forced to sit out more than half the contest, the team isn’t overly worried about his availability for next week’s game against the Patriots.

“They said it was in a good part,” said head coach Doug Marrone (via Hays Carlyon of 1010XL on Twitter). “I don’t know if there’s any good part of those things. It’s something that he felt like, he’s had it before, he knows how to treat it. That makes things pretty optimistic, which normally I’m not that optimistic.”

Before exiting today’s contest, Fournette had run for 41 yards on nine carries. He also added another three receptions for 14 yards. If the running back were to miss any time, the Jaguars would presumably turn to backup T.J. Yeldon.

Let’s take a look at some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Texans right tackle Seantrel Henderson broke a bone in his ankle during today’s loss to the Patriots, reports NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter). It’s uncertain how much time the 26-year-old will miss. The lineman suffered the injury after getting his ankle stuck under Patriots defensive lineman Keionta Davis. Henderson missed the preseason after having a noncancerous cyst removed, but the free agent addition was expected to still serve as a starter for the Texans.
  • 49ers linebacker Brock Coyle suffered a concussion during today’s loss to the Vikings, reports Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (via Twitter). The 27-year-old had compiled six tackles during the contest. Coyle appeared in 16 games (10 starts) for San Francisco last season, finishing with 64 tackles. 0.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. Maiocco adds that offensive guards Mike Person and Joshua Garnett both looked fine in the locker room after leaving the game with foot injuries.
  • Buccaneers wideout DeSean Jackson suffered a concussion during today’s win over the Saints, according to ESPN’s Jenna Laine. The receiver suffered the injury in the fourth quarter following a hit from Ken Crowley. The 31-year-old had a standout day for Tampa Bay, hauling in five catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns.

Fournette Ruled Out For Week 15

Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette will not suit up for the team’s Week 15 matchup with division rival Houston, reports ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Michael DiRoccoleonard fournette (vertical)

This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise after the burgeoning star did not practice all week due to a quad injury. In addition to that injury, DiRocco also notes Fournette is still suffering from a lingering ankle injury. In November, Fournette claimed the ankle could bother him the rest of the season.

At 9-4 entering the tilt with Houston, the Jaguars can clinch their first postseason appearance since 2007 with a win or a tie/loss and some help from a handful of teams. It isn’t ideal for the team that Fournette will miss the chance to clinch, but it has to make sure the star running back is close to 100 percent when they do enter the playoffs.

This will be the third game the LSU product has missed this season. He missed Week 7 with an injury and was inactive in Week 9 for violating a team rule. Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon will shoulder the load.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Luck, Fournette, Watson

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) says no one is exactly sure what the future holds for Colts QB Andrew Luck, who was recently placed on IR and ruled out for the remainder of the year. Per Rapoport, Luck has met with at least four doctors and has been advised that he should not throw for two to three months, though surgery is not in the cards at this point. Rapoport says all indications are that Luck will be healthy for the start of 2018, but Alex Marvez of Sporting News is not so optimistic. Because of the way the Colts publicly handled the situation, Marvez does not put much stock in reports that Luck will be ready to go by the start of 2018 — especially since he still cannot throw without soreness 10 months after surgery — and he says Indianapolis is facing the possibility of Luck never playing again at a high level and being on the hook for $87 million in salary guaranteed against injury. Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com tweets that Luck will be reevaluated in December, and that the Colts are “not ignoring” the 2018 QB draft class.

On that sobering note, let’s take a look at more rumors from around the AFC:

  • The Colts claim that cornerback Vontae Davis is out for today’s game due to non-injury reasons, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk hears that is actually a cover-up for the fact that the Colts have not disclosed Davis’ lingering groin injury in recent weeks. Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star says there is more to Davis’ absence than the team is letting on, but he believes Davis’ absence is due to personal reasons and is not injury-related.
  • Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette was deactivated for today’s game against the Bengals, and Jay Glazer of FOX Sports tweets that the star rookie missed treatment, a workout, and a team photo this week, which led to his benching. Head coach Doug Marrone is clearly trying to change the culture in Jacksonville, though Jags fans have to hope it doesn’t come at the expense of the team’s playoff push.
  • Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that Texans QB Deshaun Watson is expected to miss eight to nine months as a result of his ACL tear, though the last time he tore his ACL, he missed only five months, so Houston is hopeful for a shorter timeline.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says Broncos QB Paxton Lynch is under consideration to start in the team’s Week 10 matchup against New England, but Mike Klis of 9News.com says (via Twitter) that report is inaccurate. Klis reports that Lynch is not yet physically ready and that Brock Osweiler will keep the job if he plays well.
  • As La Canfora writes in a separate piece, there are some Browns coaches who believe GM Sashi Brown intentionally scuttled the team’s near trade for A.J. McCarron, presumably because he believed the cost (a second- and third-round draft choice) was too high. Even if Brown is right about that, his efforts to intentionally sabotage the trade represent a massive breach of protocol and will only intensify the much-discussed rift between the team’s coaching staff and front office. But even if Brown did not act duplicitously, and even if the botched trade was simply due to human error, the fact that the coaching staff thinks Brown intentionally nixed the deal suggests things have gone beyond the point of no return in Cleveland.

Leonard Fournette To Miss Week 7

Jaguars star RB Leonard Fournette will miss the team’s Week 7 matchup against the Colts this afternoon due to an ankle injury, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Chris Ivory will get the nod in Fournette’s absence.

Fournette, whom the Jaguars selected with the fourth overall pick of this year’s draft, has not disappointed in his rookie campaign. As the focal point of the team’s offense (and opposing teams’ game plans), the LSU product is averaging a shade under 100 yards per game on the ground, to go along with a 4.6 YPC average. He has rumbled for six touchdowns on the ground and has added a receiving touchdown as well (he is averaging 22.7 yards per game through the air).

The Jaguars have looked like perhaps the best team in football some weeks and the worst in others, but they are still tied for first place in the wide open AFC South, and Fournette is arguably the biggest reason for their status as legitimate division title contenders.

Christ Mortensen of ESPN.com tweets that Fournette was pushing to play today, but team doctors did not feel comfortable with that after examining Fournette this morning. Jacksonville does have a bye next week, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) suggests Fournette will be ready to go in Week 9.

Jaguars Sign DuJuan Harris

The Jaguars have signed running back DuJuan Harris, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union tweets that the team has waived/injured CB Charles Gaines to make room for Harris.

DuJuan Harris

With Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon both battling injuries, Jacksonville needed depth at the running back position. Harris began his career with the Jags back in 2011, when he signed with the club as an undrafted free agent out of Troy. He has also seen regular season action with the Packers, Seahawks, and 49ers, and he accumulated 38 carries for 138 yards (3.6 YPC) for San Francisco last year, along with eight catches for 115 yards and a score. The 49ers re-signed him to a one-year deal this March but released him just a few weeks later.

Fournette, of course, is expected to anchor the Jags’ offense after being selected with the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft, and O’Halloran reports that Fournette is very optimistic about his chances of suiting up on Week 1. He sustained a foot injury on August 12 but indicated he has made good progress in the last week. And, although the high ankle sprain that he suffered with LSU last year was on the same leg as his current foot ailment, he indicated that the two injuries are not related.

Chris Ivory will be Jacksonville’s No. 2 back this season, so assuming Fournette is healthy, Harris will compete with Yeldon for the team’s No. 3 job, along with the likes of Jonathan Grimes, Corey Grant, and Tim Cook.

In the same piece linked above, O’Halloran reports that wide receiver Marqise Lee, who is dealing with an ankle injury that initially looked severe, also plans to be ready by Week 1.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Rumors: Fournette, Albert, Vaccaro

Leonard Fournette recently inked his rookie deal with the Jaguars, and as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports, Fournette is the only 2017 top-10 draft choice under contract to entirely avoid offset language. Executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin is apparently unconcerned about being on the hook for the full amount of Fournette’s rookie contract if Fournette should be cut within the first four years of his contract, or maybe he is just confident that Fournette will not fizzle out that quickly. This is in keeping with Jacksonville’s standard operating procedure, as the Jags have not included offset language for former top-5 picks Blake Bortles, Dante Fowler, Luke Joeckel, and Jalen Ramsey.

  • The Jaguars recently touched base with left tackle Branden Albert, who continues to stay away from the team as he pushes for a new contract. Albert still has roughly a month before he can be fined for his absence, but Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders believes he is only hurting himself. The club drafted Cam Robinson in the second round of this year’s draft and has already stated that he will compete for the starting LT position, and given Robinson’s upside, there’s reason to think that he could win it. As such, Cummings does not believe that Albert will hold out of training camp.
  • David Grunfeld of the Times-Picayune believes the Saints should let Kenny Vaccaro play out the 2017 season, his contract year, and then determine whether or not to give him a big-money deal or put the franchise tag on him in advance of free agency next offseason. The club has two former second-rounders, Marcus Williams and Vonn Bell, who could theoretically replace much of Vaccaro’s production at a fraction of the cost.
  • We heard several months ago that the Buccaneers could be preparing to move on from Roberto Aguayo, and as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk (citing PewterReport.com) writes, Aguayo is ready for his competition with newly-signed Nick Folk. Said Aguayo, “It is motivation. When I was in college there would be walk-on kids come in and I didn’t know who they were or if they were good or whatever. But whoever they were, it was always a competition for me. Just seeing someone else out there trying to compete. I like it.”
  • We learned yesterday that Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff is confident the team will reach a long-term pact with RB Devonta Freeman.

Jaguars Sign RB Leonard Fournette

Leonard Fournette is officially a member of the Jaguars. The Jags have signed the running back to his four-year rookie deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Leonard Fournette cropped (vertical)

Per the terms of his slot as the No. 4 overall pick, Fournette will receive a four-year, fully guaranteed deal worth $27.15MM. That sum includes fat a $17.89MM signing bonus. By virtue of being a first-round pick, the Jaguars will also reserve the right to keep him for a fifth season.

Fournette was widely regarded as the best running back in this year’s class and he impressed evaluators at the combine with his faster than expected 40-yard-dash time. If he stays healthy, the Jaguars figure to have a superstar on their hands. Before the draft, one anonymous NFC director of scouting told NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein that the LSU back has an exceptionally bright future ahead of him:

I can’t wait to see how the draft guys pick at Fournette and tell everyone what he doesn’t do right. He was healthy last year and that is what you are going to get. Big, fast and dominant.”

Photo via Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.