Brown received a second opinion on his foot injury Wednesday, and Dr. Robert Anderson confirmed a four- to six-week recovery timetable. Brown will be shut down until close to December. His injury led to the Cardinals making the trade for Anderson, whose Panthers stock cratered after his Week 6 banishment.
Arizona is also promoting Rodrigo Blankenship to its gameday 55-man roster, along with running back Corey Clement. Signed on Tuesday, Blankenship is in position to work as Arizona’s latest Matt Prater fill-in option. Prater has missed the past two games due to a hip injury. Matt Ammendola kicked in his place during that span, but the Cards are making a change here. Arizona has yet to rule out Prater, but the veteran kicker did not practice this week.
Hopkins will make his 2022 debut tonight, after serving a six-game PED suspension. The Cardinals traded for Brown during the draft, but news of Hopkins’ ban broke shortly after. Brown is under contract through 2023, like Anderson, but the former’s status is more assured beyond 2022. Tonight, however, it will be Anderson teaming with Hopkins. That said, ESPN.com’s Ed Werder notes the recently acquired receiver will only have a package of plays (Twitter link). A 10-15% snap share is expected for the former Jets and Panthers wideout.
Pugh’s injury opens the door for Ford, who joins Brown and Kyler Murray as Oklahoma alums chosen in the 2019 draft. Unlike the better-known ex-Sooners, Ford is in a contract year. The Bills shipped the underwhelming guard to the Cardinals for a fifth-round pick.
A 2019 second-rounder, Ford has made 29 career starts. It is not a lock he adds to that total soon, with the Cards having veteran eighth-year vet Max Garcia in the fold opposite Will Hernandez. But Ford provides decent depth for a team that suddenly needs it up front. Ford, who suffered an ankle injury not long after the Cardinals traded for him, joins Billy Price as notable Cardinals O-line depth pieces.
Matt Prater has missed the Cardinals’ past two games. If he is unable to go in Arizona’s short week, the team will roll out a third (fourth if Eno Benjamin‘s emergency kickoffs are counted) kicker this season.
A day after releasing Matt Ammendola from their practice squad, the Cardinals replaced him with Rodrigo Blankenship. Should a promotion to the team’s 55-man gameday roster ensue, this will be Blankenship’s first action since the Colts cut him earlier this season. Prater, who is battling a hip injury, has not practiced this week.
The Colts made Blankenship their full-time Adam Vinatieri successor in 2020, but a 2021 injury and a rough start to this season changed the organization’s plans. The 2019 Lou Groza award winner while at Georgia, who played one game with the Colts this season, worked out for the Cardinals earlier this month. But the team signed Ammendola, using the brief Chief as its Prater fill-in. Ammendola, who has been with three teams since August, is now out to make room for Blankenship.
In addition to missing a game-tying field goal try against the Eagles, Ammendola missed an extra point against the Seahawks on Sunday. Blankenship missed an overtime field goal in the Colts’ season-opening tie and sent two kickoffs out of bounds in that game. The Colts’ primary kickoff man, punter Rigoberto Sanchez, being on IR forced Blankenship into the kickoff role for that contest. During his full season with the Colts in 2020, Blankenship went 32 of 37 on field goals and 43 of 45 on PATs.
Additionally, the Cardinals designated guard Cody Ford for return. The fourth-year blocker has not yet debuted for his new team, having suffered an ankle injury not long after the Cards acquired him from the Bills. Ford can be activated before this week’s game, but Arizona has three weeks from today to make that transaction. If Ford is not activated in that span, he reverts to season-ending IR. The Cardinals have used two of their eight allotted injury activations thus far.
Following the Chiefs’ lead, the Cardinals used a position player as their emergency kicker Sunday. Backup running back Eno Benjamin logged a kickoff for the Cardinals against the Panthers on Sunday. That arrangement, similar to the Chiefs’ usage of safety Justin Reid against the Cards in Week 1, will not persist past Week 4. With Matt Prater battling a right hip injury, the Cardinals worked out multiple kickers Monday.
Rodrigo Blankenship, Matt Ammendola — the Chiefs’ first post-Reid solution to fill in for Harrison Butker — Jose Borregales and Jonathan Garibayauditioned for the Cardinals, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. Blankenship, whom the Colts turned to in their first full season without Adam Vinatieri, missed much of last year with an injury and was removed from his gig after struggling in Week 1 this year. Blankenship worked out for the Jaguars last week. Ammendola lasted two games as the Chiefs’ Butker fill-in, being cut after struggling in Week 3, while Garibay was part of the Cowboys’ kicking competition. The rookie UDFA did not make it out of training camp.
Ahead of Monday’s Rams-49ers matchup, here is the latest from the NFC West:
Although the 49ers turned to Jaylon Moore to replace Trent Williams in Week 3, Colton McKivitz will start against the Rams on Monday night. An ankle injury prevented McKivitz from replacing Williams against the Broncos, who pounced after the All-Pro’s exit, but he was the team’s swing tackle throughout the summer. With Williams facing a four- to six-week recovery timetable, McKivitz may have the blindside gig for a bit. The 49ers let 2021 swing tackle Tom Compton sign with the Broncos, but McKivitz — who filled in for Williams in a do-or-die Week 18 tilt in Los Angeles — has been with the team since arriving as a 2020 firth-rounder.
The 49ers have made a few changes at the slot cornerback spot over the past several weeks. After Darqueze Dennard entered camp with the job, rookie Samuel Womack supplanted him and led to the 49ers releasing the veteran. Deommodore Lenoir has since replaced Womack, with Kyle Shanahan indicating the 2021 fifth-rounder played ahead of the 2022 fifth-rounder due to superior practice work recently, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Lenoir played 29% of San Francisco’s defensive snaps last season but likely does not have a firm grip on the job over Womack, who impressed during training camp, just yet.
Staying on the subject of 49ers corners, Shanahan expressed optimism Jason Verrett would practice this week. Verrett’s practice window opens ahead of Week 5, with the 49ers carrying the injury-prone vet on their reserve/PUP list. Should Verrett prove recovered from his September 2021 ACL tear, Barrows notes a starting job should not be ruled out. Verrett played well as a 49ers starter in 2020, showing form that enticed the team to re-sign him in 2021 and this year. Emmanuel Moseley‘s past in the slot could allow for a transition, forming a Verrett-Mosley-Charvarius Ward trio, if Verrett is healthy.
Sean McVay did not seem to expect Van Jefferson to miss a third of the season, but that will happen. The Rams placed Jefferson on IR ahead of their Week 3 game, but McVay is adamant the third-year wideout did not suffer a setback upon returning from arthroscopic knee surgery, Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com tweets. Jefferson’s IR move was more about roster construction, and The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue adds (via Twitter) the Rams expect their WR3 to be back when first eligible in Week 8 (following the team’s Week 7 bye).
Seahawks cornerback Tre Brown will not be ready to return when first eligible to come off the team’s PUP list. Pete Carroll confirmed the third-year corner remains a few weeks away, via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson (on Twitter). Brown missed last season’s first five games and was down for their final seven, with a Nov. 21 knee injury leading to the latter hiatus. Seattle’s cornerback room has changed considerably since Brown last played; it will be interesting to see what role the 2021 fourth-rounder will play upon returning.
Smith is an undrafted rookie out of Baylor who converted from linebacker to running back in 2020. The Texans got a look at him some weeks ago when he played against them as a member of the Saints in the preseason. He led the Saints that day with 30 rushing yards on seven carries. Smith also worked out for the Seahawks yesterday, likely a result of Seattle placing running back Travis Homer on injured reserve.
Williams is a former Raven who came into the league after going undrafted in 2020. He spent much of his time on the practice squad but got the opportunity to start for Baltimore when injuries landed J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill all on injured reserve. He eventually was supplanted by free agent additions such as Le’Veon Bell and Latavius Murray.
The hope for Texans fans is that the workouts are solely precautionary measures that don’t speak to the injury status of Pierce, who had a strong outing last week.
Here are a few other workouts from around the league:
The Ravens reportedly worked out offensive tackleTy Nsekhe yesterday, according to Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus. Nsekhe has been a long-time backup tackle in the league, spending time with St. Louis, Washington, Buffalo, and Dallas since going undrafted back in 2009. The 36-year-old tackle has appeared in 93 games over his career and started 17. He has never served as a full-time starter and all but one of his starts came in Washington. The Ravens are getting desperate at tackle, once again. Star blindside blocker Ronnie Stanley still has not returned from an injury sustained in November 2020. The player meant to fill in until his return, Ja’Wuan James, had their season ended with a torn Achilles in the season opener. They replaced James with their sixth-man of the offensive line, utility lineman Patrick Mekari, but he left last week’s game against the Patriots with a low ankle sprain. Mekari may be able to recover quickly, but, in the meantime, the Ravens have two healthy tackles on the depth chart: free agent addition Morgan Moses and rookie fourth-round pick Daniel Faalele. If Nsekhe can earn a contract, he’ll be a much needed depth addition at tackle.
Former Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenshipworked out with a team yesterday for the first time since he was waived by Indianapolis, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. He and veteran kicker Sam Ficken worked out for the Jaguars, who currently roster second-year kicker Riley Patterson. After two full seasons with the Colts that turned out middling results, Blankenship was waived after he kicked two kickoffs out of bounds and missed a potential game-winner in overtime of the team’s season-opening tie. Patterson, on the other hand, hasn’t given Jacksonville any reason to search for his replacement yet. In three games with the team, Patterson has converted seven of eight field goal attempts, including a 52-yarder, and all seven extra point attempts. He’s showing continued success from his rookie season, in which he played seven games for the Lions and made 13 of his 14 field goal attempts and all 16 extra points.
September 13th, 2022 at 2:40pm CST by Sam Robinson
Back after missing most of last season, Rodrigo Blankenship missed a crucial field goal that would have avoided the Colts’ first tie in 40 years. The team is now moving on from the third-year kicker.
Indianapolis is waiving Blankenship Tuesday, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). The team may be set to hold a pre-Week 2 practice competition. Chase McLaughlin and Lucas Havrisik are signing to the Colts’ practice squad, Pelissero adds (via Twitter). Former Jaguars Matthew Wright and Josh Lambo also worked out for the team Tuesday, per the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson (Twitterlinks).
This will mark an Indiana return to Indianapolis for McLaughlin, whom the team used during part of the 2019 season. An an Adam Vinatieri injury brought in McLaughlin, who had already kicked in games for the Chargers and 49ers that year. McLaughlin finished the season with the Colts, who replaced him with Blankenship in 2020. McLaughlin went 5-for-6 on field goals with Indy in 2019. He was 15-for-21 in 16 Browns games last season. A UDFA rookie out of Arizona, Havrisik was the Wildcats’ kicker for most of the past five seasons. His two 57-yard makes in college double as the Pac-12 program’s record. Havrisik also participated in the Colts’ rookie minicamp this year.
In addition to his 42-yard overtime miss, Blankenship sent two kickoffs — his final regulation kick and the overtime opener — out of bounds. The Texans scored on neither of the ensuing drives, but some with the Colts were more frustrated with those sequences than the OT field goal miss, The Athletic’s Zak Keefer tweets.
Blankenship has not been the Colts’ primary kickoff man for most of his career. Longtime punter Rigoberto Sanchez handled those duties when available. The latter going down during a training camp practice led to the Colts signing Matt Haack but using their kicker as their kickoff man in Week 1.
Last season, the Colts placed Blankenship on IR — after his injury in Baltimore contributed to a Monday-night collapse — and used Michael Badgley as their kicker in the final 12 games. The team did not bring Badgley to training camp, however, with Keefer adding it viewed rookie UDFA Jake Verityas the higher-upside choice (Twitter link). The Colts waived Verity as they moved their roster to 53.
A former four-year Georgia Bulldogs kicker, Blankenship signed with the Colts as a 2020 UDFA. Blankenship made 87% of his field goals as a rookie, though he was 1-for-3 from beyond 50 yards. This will be the third time in four seasons the Colts will have needed to make an in-season kicker switch. Vinatieri’s early-season struggles in 2019 led to a late-season surgery, beginning the stretch of uncertainty. Prior to that, the most notable in-season kicker change the Colts had made occurred back in 2009, when a Vinatieri injury prompted the eventual AFC champions to sign Matt Stover. Excepting the Stover year, the Colts used two kickers from 1998-2010 — Mike Vanderjagt and Vinatieri.
The Colts placed Hilton on IR before Week 1, and he underwent surgery after suffering a neck injury in practice. The 31-year-old returned to practice earlier this week, an indication that he was close to returning to the field. The veteran hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2018, but he’ll still provide Carson Wentz with a reliable target. Hilton finished the 2020 campaign with 56 receptions for 762 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games.
Blankenship’s hip pain played a major factor in the Colts blowing a 19-point lead Monday night, as the second-year kicker missed an extra point and two field goals in an Indianapolis overtime loss. Ultimately, that injury will land Blankenship on IR, and the team will turn to their recent practice squad acquisition. Badgley is best known for his three-year Chargers stint, as the Money Badger kicked in 34 games for the Bolts from 2018-20. He made 94% of his field goal attempts as a rookie but connected on less than 73% of his tries in 16 games last season. The Titans cut Badgley after he missed a field goal and an extra point in Week 1.
Lucas joined the Colts practice squad in late September. The defensive back opted out of the 2020 campaign, but he previously appeared in 30 games for the Chiefs between the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Indianapolis might not stop with just these two for workouts, Rapoport notes, with Blankenship in jeopardy of missing time. But for now, these are the free agents the Colts have identified as their top fill-in options. Blankenship, who arrived in Indy as a UDFA last year, has not missed a game yet as a pro.
The Colts are expanding this workout, with Tom Pelissero of NFL.com adding that Aldrick Rosas and Riley Patterson are also part of the audition (Twitter link). The Saints released Rosas earlier this month, while Patterson — a four-year kicker at Memphis — is a rookie UDFA who has yet to make his NFL debut.
The team gave Badgley a physical, according to the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson (on Twitter), potentially a sign he won the competition. But no signing has as of yet taken place.
Badgley, 26, kicked in one game for the Titans this season but could not hold the job. Tennessee cut him after he missed a field goal and an extra point in a Week 1 loss to Arizona. While Badgley is best known for his three-year run as the Chargers’ kicker, he entered the NFL in 2018 as a Colts UDFA. The Colts waived Badgley after his rookie training camp, with Adam Vinatieri still going strong at that point.
Maher, 31, has not kicked in a regular-season game since the Cowboys cut him late in the 2019 season. The former CFL specialist has, however, caught on with several teams in the many months since. Maher has made stops with the Jets, Washington, Texans, Cardinals and Saints but did not make his way onto any of the teams’ regular-season rosters. Maher, whom New Orleans released with an injury settlement in August, has made three 60-plus-yard field goals during his short NFL career (29 games from 2018-19).
The Colts have cut kicker Eddy Pineiro (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). That leaves Rodrigo Blankenship as Indy’s top leg moving forward and puts a decent kicker on the waiver wire just before the start of the season.
Pineiro was perfect throughout the preseason but the Colts have decided to go in another direction. Pineiro joined the Colts back in May and seemed to have a real chance of unseating Blankenship. The UDFA out of Georgia was shaky throughout 2020, going just 1-of-3 from 50+ yards. Blankenship was supposed to be an accuracy kicker, but he also had a few critical misses from close range. To his credit, he did go 43 of 45 on extra point tries.
Pineiro appeared in all 16 of the Bears’ 2019 games, going 23-of-28 on field goals (82.1%) and 27-of-29 XPs. He’s perhaps best known for the trade that sent him from the Raiders to the Bears, furnishing Las Vegas with an extra seventh-round draft choice.
The rest of the league will have 24 hours to claim Pineiro. If he goes unclaimed, he’ll be free to sign with any club.