After getting cut by the Patriots this past weekend, Will Grier is back with the organization. Considering the uncertainty surrounding New England’s QB situation, there was some speculation that Grier could get a look before the end of the season, and his addition to the taxi squad leaves that door open. The former Cowboys backup started two games for the Panthers back in 2019, going winless while tossing zero touchdowns vs. four interceptions.
NOVEMBER 25: Finally, some good news for the Texans’ interior offensive line. After season-ending injuries to Quessenberry and Kenyon and Kendrick Green, and Patterson, the substitute starter at center, getting carted off with a broken fibula, nearly a month ago, Houston is finally getting some reinforcement. The team announced that they have officially activated Scruggs from injured reserve, allowing the second-round rookie to finally be available to potentially make his NFL debut. Whether or not he plays or starts has yet to be determined. He has only been back at practice since Wednesday and is trying to unseat the team’s fourth option at center, Dieter, who currently ranks as the NFL’s 23rd-best center, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
In order to make room for Scruggs on the active roster, the Texans have waived linebacker Garret Wallow. Wallow spent most of this year on the practice squad after being waived halfway through his rookie contract in the preseason. The former fifth-round pick started five games in his first two seasons but only made an appearance this year when he was promoted to the active roster a week ago. If he clears waivers, Wallow will almost certainly be retained on a practice squad contract.
Lastly, the Texans announced that cornerback Desmond King and wide receiver Steven Sims have been activated from the practice squad as standard gameday elevations for tomorrow’s divisional matchup against the Jaguars. King has appeared in three games this year for the Steelers after spending the past two seasons in Houston as a starter. The Texans brought him back to their p-squad this week. Sims was elevated last week and caught both his targets for 25 yards. Sims also took punt returner duties, fielding two for 16 yards.
NOVEMBER 22: Juice Scruggs has endured a long journey back from the hamstring injury he suffered during the preseason. The second-round Texans draftee has not yet made his NFL debut, despite his injury occurring in the team’s preseason finale.
The Texans have finally designated the Penn State product for return Wednesday, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. Scruggs, who was moving toward being the Texans’ starting center during training camp, now has three weeks to be activated from IR. No activation in that span will make this a true redshirt year for the high-end interior O-line prospect.
The Texans will give the No. 62 overall pick a chance to change that soon. Houston has also dealt with center availability issues in-season. Jarrett Patterson started seven games this season, but the sixth-round rookie is on IR after being carted off the field in Week 8. Free agent pickup Michael Deiter resides as option 4 for the Texans; the ex-Dolphins third-rounder has started the past three games at center.
Houston has just two IR activations remaining this season. It stands to reason Scruggs will be given a shot to come back. Though, the 6-4 team is contending for a playoff spot. A key performer going down with a short-term injury now could still be brought back later this season, but the ascending team may need to keep players on the active roster in the event of multiweek injuries going forward. DeMeco Ryans‘ previous team ran into this issue, with the 49ers using all their IR activations during the 2022 regular season.
Scruggs has already needed to overcome obstacles to keep his career going. A 2019 car accident left his playing future in serious doubt. The 6-3, 315-pound blocker earned third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2022, cementing his status as one of the top interior linemen in this year’s class.
Evans had been called up from the practice squad three times by the Cowboys, meaning he needed to be added to the 53-man roster this week to continue suiting up. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports “several teams” attempted to poach the veteran off the taxi squad, but his decision to remain with Dallas has culminated in today’s move. Evans has logged 74 combined defensive and special teams snaps with the Cowboys so far, recording three tackles.
James was out of the lineup for one game after being designated for return, but he will be eligible to suit up for the upcoming Super Bowl rematch against the Eagles. Mentioned as a trade candidate earlier this year, he will be able to add depth to a WR corps which has underperformed to date, and add to his single catch recorded in his two Kansas City games at the start of the campaign.
Howard missed the first four games of the season due to a training camp hand injury that required surgery to fix breaks in two places. He’s been a full-time starter for Houston since getting drafted in the first round in 2019, missing games here and there due to various injuries. To date, he’s started in 54 of a possible 70 games. He’ll look to step in for George Fant across from Laremy Tunsil this week.
Johnston likewise has missed time due to a preseason injury after pulling a calf muscle in late-August. Ty Zentner, an undrafted rookie out of Kansas State, had been fulfilling the punting duties in Johnston’s absence before being waived early in the week.
Finally, with this weekend’s contest in Atlanta coming up, the team announced that they will be calling up cornerback D’Angelo Ross and linebacker Garret Wallow as standard gameday elevations from the practice squad for tomorrow. Ross will be seeing his first action since making an appearance in the 2021-22 playoffs for the Patriots. This will also be Wallow’s first game of the season, as well, after starting five games over his first two years in the league.
Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These Colts, Jaguars, Texans and Titans moves are noted below.
Three veteran tight ends were let go in Mason Schreck, Eric Tomlinson, and Nick Vannett. Vannett has the most epxerience of the bunch, having seen time in 86 career games. He spent the 2022 seasons with the Giants and Saints, hauling in six catches. Tomlinson has appeared in 85 career games, including 34 over the past two seasons. He started 12 of his 17 appearances for Denver in 2022, serving mostly as an extra blocker.
Adam Humphries was an 800-yard receiver with the Buccaneers in 2018, but he’s compiled only 985 yards in three years since. He didn’t get into a game during the 2022 season, but he did haul in 41 catches for Washington in 2021.