Collins began his latest Patriots stint by signing with their practice squad Oct. 3, but the veteran linebacker has only played in one game this season. That also came on a Monday night — against the Bears in October. Monday will be Collins’ 87th game as a Patriot. Stints with the Browns and Lions interrupted this run, but the 2013 second-round pick has re-signed with the Patriots three times.
Marcus Mariota‘s IR move created a need for a new Falcons backup. Woodside, who was with Arthur Smith in Tennessee, will step in behind new starterDesmond Ridderthis week. Ridder and Woodside are the only two QBs on Atlanta’s active roster or practice squad presently. Harris sustained a torn pectoral muscle Thursday night and will require surgery. A former fourth-round pick, Harris has bounced on and off the Rams’ active roster this season. He be retained via exclusive rights free agent tender next year.
With starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill missing three days of practice this week due to illness, along with an ankle sprain, the Titans are set to give rookie third-round pick Malik Willisthe first start of his career, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. After extended time leading the offense in the preseason, Willis will face the Texans this Sunday afternoon for his first full game of NFL football.
Willis started all three preseason games for the Titans this August. In his playing time, Willis was able to display the dual-threat ability that made him such an attractive draft pick. In three games, Willis completed 28 of 51 pass attempts for 318 yards, throwing two touchdowns and one interception. On the ground, he was able to add 159 rushing yards and a touchdown on only 14 attempts.
Willis’ regular season action has been extremely limited as Tannehill holds a pretty secure grip on the starting job. He did, though, make his NFL debut late in a Week 2 blowout loss to the Bills. Head coach Mike Vrabel threw Willis right into the fire against one of the league’s best defenses, and it didn’t go great. Willis completed one of four pass attempts for only six yards in garbage time. He was able to get some production out of his legs, gaining 16 yards on four rushes, but lost a fumble in the process.
Willis didn’t get a ton of time with the team’s top receivers in his preseason play but was afforded the opportunity to work with the first team offense all of this week in practice. Unfortunately for Willis, quarterback isn’t the only position affected by injury in Tennessee. The Titans are one of the league’s more battered teams with 13 players currently on injured reserve, six of those being on offense and three of those being his pass catchers. In addition to those 13, the Titans have two players, fullback Tory Carter and pass rusher Rashad Weaver, who are set to sit out this weekend.
Tannehill is listed as questionable and is likely available to play in case of emergency, but the illness may be a blessing in disguise, letting the Titans rest their starting quarterback while allowing his sprained ankle a little extra time to heal. Likely a step between Willis and emergency, the Titans have elevated quarterback Logan Woodside from the practice squad. They will elevate defensive lineman Larrell Murchison for the weekend, as well.
The Titans currently reside atop one of the NFL’s weaker divisions at 4-2. With the second-place Colts undergoing a transition at quarterback, Tennessee should feel fairly comfortable with their division lead, allowing them to make this play at quarterback. Tannehill will get some rest and Willis will get some experience.
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.
Here are Wednesday’s AFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
Logan Woodside could also land back on the Titans practice squad after the team opted to keep only two QBs on their active roster (Ryan Tannehill, rookie Malik Willis). Woodside has seen time in 11 games for Tennessee over the past two years, completing one of his three pass attempts (he did break out a sweet 18-yard run, though).
4:29pm: The veteran quarterback has indeed suffered a torn ACL, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who adds the Falcons will be on the hunt for a new backup quarterback. The team has since announced the unfortunate results of McCarron’s MRI. McCarron has seven years’ experience as a QB2, leaving the Falcons with work to do at an unideal time. However, Ryan’s durability (three missed starts in 13 seasons) will help the franchise on this front.
9:10am: Falcons quarterback A.J. McCarron suffered a serious knee injury during last night’s preseason matchup against the Dolphins. After handing the ball off to running back Qadree Ollison in the second quarter, McCarron grabbed his right knee and tried to walk off the field, though he was initially unable to do so. He ultimately walked gingerly to the locker room, and neither McCarron nor head coach Arthur Smith were encouraged by the prognosis.
“I really feel for [McCarron],” Smith said (via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com). “Any time something like that happens and it’s non-contact, it’s tough when you know what these guys put into it. I feel for A.J. We’ll obviously get the MRI to confirm but he’s heartbroken.”
Smith did not want to speculate on the specifics until after McCarron gets an MRI, but it certainly sounds as if it will be a season-ender for the former Alabama star. Which means that the Falcons, who signed McCarron to a one-year deal this offseason to serve as Matt Ryan‘s backup, could be in the market for a veteran passer.
The only other QB on the roster, undrafted rookie Feleipe Franks, took over for McCarron and completed four of his nine passes for 46 yards. He also threw an interception and took four sacks, adding three carries for 32 yards.
As one might expect, the current free agent quarterback list is uninspiring and includes the likes of Blake Bortles and Josh Rosen, though new ESPN talent Robert Griffin III could be an option. Paul Kuharsky of PaulKuharsky.com also speculates that, if the Titans were to cut Logan Woodside, he might become a target for Atlanta (Twitter link). Smith, Tennessee’s former offensive coordinator, is high on Woodside’s talent, and the McCarron situation might compel the Titans to keep Woodside on their roster to avoid having him poached.