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Cardinals G.M. Steve Keim: We don’t want to lose Kliff Kingsbury


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 4, 2021 - 1:35 AM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
Arizona Cardinals Introduce Kliff Kingsbury - Press Conference
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When asked earlier this week about the possibility that the University of Oklahoma will try to bring failed former Texas Tech coach, but successful (for now) Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury back to college football, Kingsbury wisely didn’t slam the door on an opportunity that could help Kingsbury secure a second contract with his current team.

Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim was asked about the situation on Friday. Like Kingsbury, Keim said all the right things.

“To me, it’s a compliment to our organization,” Keim said during his appearance on the Burns and Gambo Show on 98.7 FM Arizona Sports. “It really goes to validate the the things Michael [Bidwill] and I saw in him when we made that hire, and he’s obviously earned it. The guy has done a tremendous job. He and our organization have grown together. We’re really excited about the future when you look at the work he’s put in, the improvements he’s made, the improvements we’ve made with the roster.”

Keim didn’t say whether the Cardinals and Kingsbury are working on an extension to a contract that expires after the current season.

“Any time you hear someone attached to a job, especially in today’s day and age, when sometimes the rumors are correct and sometimes they’re not, obviously we don’t want to lose Kliff,” Keim said. “He’s done a phenomenal job and Michael and I are his biggest fans. He’s got a great job here, as Kyler Murray mentioned, and I think the future is bright.”

The future may be bright, but at some point the present needs to be shiny. With the shine coming from the silver or the gold that the Cardinals have stuffed into Kingsbury’s pockets.

The third-year coach has done a nice job this year, given that he entered the season squarely on the hot seat. With nine wins in 11 games, the seat has cooled considerably. Now, Kingsbury may be in a position to put the heat on the Cardinals to pay him or risk seeing him walk.

T.J. Watt tests negative for COVID on Friday, setting the stage for a potential return on Sunday


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 4, 2021 - 1:15 AM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
Pittsburgh Steelers v New York Giants
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Take heart, Steelers fans. You may have linebacker T.J. Watt for Sunday’s game against the Ravens.

Per multiple sources, Watt tested negative for COVID on Friday. If he generates a second negative test at least 24 hours after today’s test, he will be able to return for Sunday’s game against the Ravens.

Watt originally tested positive on Monday. By rule, a vaccinated player who generates a pair of negative tests at least 24 hours apart can return, with no minimum mandatory absence.

Watt would be the first player to return so quickly from a positive COVID test. Because, however, players are tested once per week, it’s possible that he became positive for the virus not long after generating a negative test the prior week. Thus, he may already be 10 or more days removed from first becoming positive with the virus.

Regardless, he’s one negative test away from playing against the Ravens on Sunday. And that’s very good news for the Steelers. It will be even better news if he tests negative on Saturday.

Pete Carroll sees a “really determined” Russell Wilson


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 4, 2021 - 12:43 AM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
Seattle Seahawks v Washington Football Team
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The Seahawks, at 3-8, may already have a fork buried into their underbelly. But they’re not giving up, because they have no other choice.

With the 49ers coming to town this weekend, the Seahawks hope to reverse a trend that has seen them lose three games in a row, and six out of seven.

So how is Russell Wilson looking, as he continues to work his way back from a finger injury that caused him to miss three games?

“Really determined, on it, early, stayed late, everything,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters on Friday, regarding Wilson. “He’s going for it with everything he has. This is the best he has felt, this is eight weeks. We are at eight weeks right now for broken bones. This will be the best he’s been, there’s margins, and I’m excited for him to play again. He needs to get back on the field again.”

Wilson has struggled since he returned from finger surgery. He insists he’s fine. Obviously, something’s wrong. The offense stinks.

It’s too basic. Too predictable. Too simple. It is Wilson? It is the play calling by offensive coordinator Shane Waldron? It is the intervention of head coach Pete Carroll? It’s something that will need to be figured out. And if the Seahawks can’t turn it around, it’s something that will require serious changes after the season ends.

Their next chance to get a rare win comes in two days. Beat the Seahawks, and they can stave off the fork for at least a week. Lose again, and they’ll surely be done at 3-9.

NFL Week 13 injury report roundup: Asante Samuel Jr. remains out for Chargers


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 3, 2021 - 11:14 PM UTC
By Josh Alper · Original Article
New England Patriots v Los Angeles Chargers
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Week 13 of the 2021 NFL season kicked off on Thursday with a win by the Cowboys and it continues with 12 more games on Sunday, which means that the 24 teams in those games submitted their final injury reports of the week on Friday.

The teams playing on Monday night won’t release their final injury reports until Saturday and are not listed here.

Chargers at Bengals

Chargers rookie CB Asante Samuel Jr. (concussion) will not be on hand to help defend against the Bengals’ high-powered offense on Sunday. S Alohi Gilman (quad) is also out this weekend.

The Bengals put doubtful tags on RB Chris Evans (ankle), DE Khalid Kareem (illness), WR Auden Tate (calf), and WR Mike Thomas (illness). C Trey Hopkins (ankle) and T Riley Reiff (ankle) have questionable designations and a better chance of playing.

Eagles at Jets

QB Jalen Hurts (ankle) expressed confidence that he’ll play this week, but the Eagles listed him as questionable. RB Boston Scott (illness) got the same tag and RB Jordan Howard (knee) is out.

DT Sheldon Rankins (knee) and TE Trevon Wesco (ankle) are doubtful to be in the Jets’ lineup this weekend. WR Corey Davis (groin), DT Folorunso Fatukasi (back), DE John Franklin-Myers (hip), T Morgan Moses (knee), and LB Quincy Williams (calf) were listed as questionable.

Buccaneers at Falcons 

The Buccaneers won’t have WR Jaelon Darden (concussion) or S Jordan Whitehead (calf) in Atlanta. CB Jamel Dean (shoulder), G Ali Marpet (abdomen), and LB Devin White (quad) make up the team’s questionable contingent.

DE Jonathan Bullard (ankle) is out and is the only Falcons player with an injury designation.

Colts at Texans

Colts DT DeForest Buckner (knee, foot), TE Jack Doyle (knee), and S Andrew Sendejo (calf) are all listed as questionable for the trip to Houston.

WR Danny Amendola (knee), S Terrence Brooks (hamstring), C Justin McCray (concussion), DE DeMarcus Walker (hamstring), and QB Deshaun Watson (not injury related – personal matter) will not play for the Texans. WR Chris Conley (illness), WR Brandin Cooks (illness), DE Jonathan Greenard (foot), RB David Johnson (illness, thigh), DT Roy Lopez (illness), and C Cole Toner (illness) could play after being listed as questionable.

Vikings at Lions

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (shoulder) was never expected to play this week and he was formally ruled out on Friday. S Camryn Bynum (ankle) and T Christian Darrisaw (ankle) will also be out of the lineup. CB Mackensie Alexander (ribs), LB Anthony Barr (knee, hamstring), and LB Eric Kendricks (biceps) are listed as questionable.

The Lions are also down a back with RB D'Andre Swift (shoulder) ruled out. LB Trey Flowers (knee), CB Bobby Price (shoulder), and LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (shoulder) will join him on the sideline. DE Michael Brockers (knee), T Matt Nelson (ankle), and T Penei Sewell (illness, shoulder) are considered questionable for the NFC North clash.

Giants at Dolphins

QB Daniel Jones (neck) is out and Mike Glennon will start for the Giants, who are also set to be without WR Sterling Shepard (quad) and WR Kadarius Toney (quad, oblique) after listing them as doubtful. LB Trent Harris (ankle), CB Adoree' Jackson (quadricep), and TE Kaden Smith (knee) were ruled out along with Jones and the Giants later placed Harris and Smith on injured reserve. FB Cullen Gillaspia (calf), WR John Ross (illness, quadricep), TE Kyle Rudolph (ankle), and T Nate Solder (elbow) are listed as questionable.

Dolphins LB Jaelan Phillips (hip) is listed as questionable and head coach Brian Flores expressed confidence that he’ll play on Sunday. S Brandon Jones (ankle, elbow) is also listed as questionable and three players — RB Phillip Lindsay (ankle), TE Adam Shaheen (knee), and CB Trill Williams (hamstring) — are listed as doubtful.

Cardinals at Bears

WR DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) and QB Kyler Murray (ankle) are set to be gametime decisions for the Cardinals. G Justin Pugh (calf) and CB Byron Murphy (foot) are also listed as questionable while S James Wiggins (knee) has been ruled out.

Bears QB Justin Fields (ribs) is listed as doubtful, so Andy Dalton will start again for the Bears. WR Allen Robinson (hamstring) has the same listing, so he’s set to miss a third straight game. DT Mario Edwards (ribs), WR Marquise Goodwin (foot, ribs), DT Akiem Hicks (ankle), and RB Damien Williams (calf) are all out. LB Roquan Smith (hamstring) is the lone questionable Bear this weekend.

Washington at Raiders

S Landon Collins (foot), RB J.D. McKissic (concussion), and G Wes Schweitzer (ankle) will not play for Washington. G Ereck Flowers (foot), C Tyler Larsen (knee), WR Curtis Samuel (groin), and TE Ricky Seals-Jones (hip) are listed as questionable.

The Raiders don’t expect TE Darren Waller (back, knee) to play after listing him as doubtful. WR DeSean Jackson (calf), RB Josh Jacobs (ankle), LB Nick Kwiatkoski (ankle), and CB Keisean Nixon (ankle) are listed as questionable while DE Carl Nassib (knee) and LB Patrick Onwuasor (hamstring) are out.

Jaguars at Rams

Jaguars CB Shaquill Griffin (concussion) won’t play on Sunday and RB James Robinson (heel, knee) is listed as questionable.

Rams head coach Sean McVay would be “surprised” if WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hip) doesn’t play, but he’s officially listed as questionable. T Rob Havenstein (foot), RB Darrell Henderson (thigh), and CB David Long (illness) are also considered questionable while RB Buddy Howell (thigh) will not play.

Ravens at Steelers

CB Marlon Humphrey (illness) missed a second straight practice before the Ravens listed him as questionable on Friday. CB Anthony Averett (shoulder, ankle), TE Nick Boyle (knee), LB Jaylon Ferguson (illness), G Patrick Mekari (ankle), LB Odafe Oweh (shoulder), LB Patrick Queen (ribs), FB Patrick Ricard (foot, thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (neck, ankle), CB Chris Westry (thigh), and CB Tavon Young (illness) are also in the questionable category. WR Miles Boykin (finger) is listed as doubtful and T Cedric Ogbuehi (thigh) was ruled out before being waived with an injury designation.

CB Joe Haden (foot) is out for the Steelers again this weekend. DE Isaiah Buggs (ankle) is also ruled out, but the rest of the Steelers are ready to go.

49ers at Seahawks

LB Dre Greenlaw (groin), DT Maurice Hurst (calf), WR Deebo Samuel (groin) and RB Trey Sermon (ankle) will not play for the 49ers on Sunday. LB Fred Warner (hamstring) is listed as doubtful and LB Marcell Harris (concussion) is listed as questionable.

Three Seahawks running backs — Alex Collins (abdomen), Travis Homer (calf), and Rashaad Penny (hamstring) — are listed as questionable. G Damien Lewis (elbow, not injury related – medical) is their only doubtful player this week.

Broncos at Chiefs

The Broncos are set to be without RB Melvin Gordon (shoulder, hip) on Sunday night after listing him as doubtful. T Garett Bolles (ankle), LB Jonathon Cooper (neck), CB Nate Hairston (hip), DE Shelby Harris (ankle), T Bobby Massie (ankle), G Quinn Meinerz (knee), and G Dalton Risner (back) are all listed as questionable.

Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (illness) is listed as questionable after missing Friday’s practice, but head coach Andy Reid expects him to play. CB Rashad Fenton (knee) and T Lucas Niang (ribs) have been ruled out.

Mike McCarthy hopes to return “sooner than later” from COVID-19


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 3, 2021 - 10:44 PM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers
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Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy spent Thursday night watching his team from a hotel room in Frisco, Texas, as he isolates after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Cowboys won 27-17, but McCarthy couldn’t enjoy it.

It was brutal just not to be a part of it,” McCarthy said, via the team website. “I just hope there’s no one next door, that’s for sure. That’d probably be a good story.

“But I think the emotion of it is like any true fan, I would assume. You’re rooting for your team. You’re rooting for your guys.”

McCarthy was involved in meetings virtually leading up to game day, and he spoke to the team pregame. But his contact with the team was cut off 90 minutes before game time.

“I thought the staff did an incredible job under the leadership of Dan Quinn and (assistant head coach) Rob Davis,” McCarthy said. “I thought the staff did a great job, and the players, because it’s all about the communication and the urgency of keeping your pace of operation intact. Because that’s the way we train, and that’s the way you want to ultimately play when you get to the game. I thought the dots definitely connected. Just very impressed and very thankful for the job the staff did.”

The players have the weekend off since the Cowboys don’t play again until Dec. 12. McCarthy can return once he has two negative COVID tests at least 24 hours apart.

“I’m hopeful to be in there sooner than later,” he said.

Seahawks list Damien Lewis as doubtful, three running backs as questionable


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 3, 2021 - 10:15 PM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks
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The Seahawks list left guard Damien Lewis as doubtful for Sunday’s game. Lewis dislocated his elbow, has a shoulder issue and has another medical issue that Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports is the removal of a perineal cyst.

Kyle Fuller is expected to start for Lewis for the second consecutive week.

The Seahawks also list three running backs as questionable, which is the reason they signed Adrian Peterson to the practice squad this week. Chris Carson is on season-ending injured reserve with a neck injury. Alex Collins (abdomen), Rashaad Penny (hamstring) and Travis Homer (calf) are questionable.

Collins leads the team with 101 carries for 395 yards and two touchdowns. Homer has 11 carries for 66 yards, and Penny 17 carries for 43 yards.

No other players received an injury designation.

Fred Warner doubtful, Dre Greenlaw out for 49ers


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 3, 2021 - 9:55 PM UTC
By Josh Alper · Original Article
San Francisco 49ers v Jacksonville Jaguars
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49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said earlier this week that linebacker Fred Warner will not play against the Seahawks because of a hamstring injury, but the team stopped just short of ruling him out on Friday.

Warner is listed as doubtful, so he’s still likely to miss the game on Sunday and could be downgraded on Saturday if the team decides not to bring him on the trip to Seattle.

The 49ers are definitely going to be without one linebacker. As expected, Dre Greenlaw has been ruled out with a groin injury after returning from core muscle surgery for last Sunday’s win over the Vikings. Marcell Harris is listed as questionable due to a concussion, so there’s no shortage of injury issues at linebacker for the Niners.

Wide receiver Deebo Samuel has been officially ruled out with a groin injury. He hopes to be back in Week 14.

Defensive lineman Maurice Hurst (calf) and running back Trey Sermon have also been ruled out.

Darren Waller doubtful for Sunday; DeSean Jackson, Josh Jacobs are questionable


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 3, 2021 - 9:51 PM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
Chicago Bears v Las Vegas Raiders
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The Raiders might not have three of their top offensive playmakers Sunday.

Tight end Darren Waller (back/knee) is doubtful, and receiver DeSean Jackson (calf) and running back Josh Jacobs (ankle) are questionable.

Waller played only 21 snaps against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day before leaving, and he missed all three practices this week. He has 53 receptions for 643 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Jackson termed his injury “just a spasm,” and he returned to a limited practice Friday after missing Thursday’s session. He is coming off a big game against the Cowboys when he caught three passes for 102 yards and a touchdown and drew 47 yards in two defensive pass interference penalties.

The Raiders added Jacobs to the practice report Thursday, and he remained limited Friday. He leads the team with 111 carries for 420 yards and six touchdowns.

Las Vegas ruled out defensive end Carl Nassib (knee) and linebacker Patrick Onwuasor (hamstring). Cornerback Keisean Nixon (ankle) and linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (ankle) are questionable.

Daniel Jones’ status for the rest of the season unknown


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 3, 2021 - 9:33 PM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants
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Giants quarterback Daniel Jones won’t play this week because of a neck strain. The question is: Will Jones return this season, and, if so, when?

The Giants appear uncertain about that.

Coach Joe Judge wouldn’t say for certain that Jones is expected back this season, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News reports. Jones is considered week-to-week, according to Leonard.

Judge, though, cast doubt on Jones’ availability for Week 14 and beyond.

“We don’t have any answers on the immediate future yet,” Judge said.

Jones is not yet cleared for contact, and Judge admits there is a “gray area” in Jones’ timeline to be cleared to return to game action.

“There’s really no final decision on that,” Judge said. “There’s been a series of checkups, and this morning we had a meeting with the medical team. Based on the information that was given, we made the decision that was best for Daniel.”

Judge called Jones’ injury a neck strain and nothing more but declined to go into specifics. The Giants will “evaluate [Jones] for the future as soon as next week.”

The Giants will spend next week in Tucson, Arizona, between games in Miami and Los Angeles.

“Daniel always wants to play,” Judge said. “That being said, we needed to make the decision. We’re pushing to get him on the field as soon as he’s healthy and ready to go. He wants to be on the field. He just wasn’t cleared for contact today.

“In terms of what it’s going to look like in the immediate weeks coming up and future weeks down the stretch, there’s no answers right now. Everything else would be hypothetical or guessing at this point.”

Blindside block foul called against the Saints was proper application of horrendous rule


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
December 3, 2021 - 9:17 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
NFL: AUG 24 Preseason - Saints at Jets
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We saw this coming in August 2019. It reared its head again in a big spot on Thursday night, with millions watching the Saints host the Cowboys.

With Dallas leading 13-10 in the third quarter and the Saints facing first and 10 from their own 21, the officials called New Orleans tight end Garrett Griffin for an illegal blindside block, as he crossed the formation to pick up blitzing Cowboys defensive back Jayron Kearse.

The foul wiped out an 11-yard gain and resulted in an 11-yard penalty, a 22-yard swing that put the Saints at first and 21.

Three plays later, the Saints punted. Four plays later, Cowboys running back Tony Pollard went 58 yards for a touchdown. And it was then 20-10 and the lights were almost entirely out.

Troy Aikman of Fox immediately described it is a “terrible call.” The NFL has kept its head low and its mouth shut about it.

But that’s the rule, bad as it may be. Check out our story from the preseason of the first year in which the rule was put on the books. As we explained at the time, the inaccurately-labeled rule “doesn’t carve out situations where the opponent sees the hit coming,” and “it prohibits a blocker from blocking with his helmet, forearm, or shoulder while moving in any direction other than toward the opponent’s end line.”

It’s just a bad rule. It’s a rule created by non-football people looking for ways to reduce the number of big hits in a given game, potentially as part of the broader quest to finish the push for 17 games and to commence the effort to expand to 18.

When it happened in 2019, the NFL posted the clip on Twitter and defended the call. This time around, it’s publicly crickets.

Privately, the league will describe it as a “judgment call,” and will explain that Walt Anderson and Perry Fewell will review the film from all angles, and then get back to the club on any questions it may have.

Here’s a question? When else has this actually been called in the last two-plus seasons?

The league previously admitted that the rule was improperly applied in a Bills-Texans playoff game, because the hit applied by Buffalo tackle Cody Ford was not “forcible.” Last night, Griffin applied a helmet-to-helmet hit to Kearse, even though he other (as he should have) used his hands to make the block. Without the collision of helmets, it’s not a foul.

Again, it’s a bad rule. It’s poorly named. It’s surely not aggressively enforced, or we’d be writing stories like this more frequently.

The likelihood that it isn’t regularly enforced becomes a huge part of the problem. As one person with extensive NFL experience observed last night, “If that’s a penalty, they’ve literally missed over 20 flags a game, because that was a common pass pro[tection] block.”

The fact that it was called last night is precisely the kind of thing that makes people think the fix is in, even if it isn’t. The best approach for the league, then, would be to fix the blindside block rule.