October 16, 2018 / 5:02 AM / a month ago

FLM All 32: Team-by-team NFL notes

Oct 14, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman (2) throws during the second half against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills: Backup quarterback Nathan Peterman entered the Bills’ Week 6 loss to Houston after rookie starter Josh Allen went out with an injury. He threw a touchdown pass to Zay Jones, but then the interception bug bit him again. He threw two, including one that became the game-winning pick-six for the Texans. His career has been defined by interceptions. He threw five in one half last season when he got the starting nod over Tyrod Taylor against the Chargers. In six career games, he has 79 pass attempts with nine interceptions and three touchdowns. “It’s tough,” Peterman said after the game. “You put everything you have into winning the game. It hurts for my teammates. Everybody out there for 60 minutes, giving it all they had, trying to come in here and help us win and didn’t do it today. I’m going to learn from it and take it day-by-day.” Head coach Sean McDermott clearly wasn’t happy. “Well, we’ve got to have more respect for the football,” McDermott said. “I felt he tried to force the football in those situations. You can’t do that. You have to take what the defense gives you.”

Miami Dolphins: Head coach Adam Gase said Monday he had no update on the medical condition of starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who missed Sunday’s win over the Chicago Bears. Gase wouldn’t commit to a timetable and said only that Tannehill’s right shoulder issue would be addressed on a day-to-day basis. “Nothing’s changed,” Gase said. “We’re gonna have to wait a couple days and see if he feels any better heading into Wednesday and Thursday. It’s just such an unusual situation because last week when we started the week, he was sore, but it got worse as the week went on. That’s why we found ourselves in a position that we weren’t really thinking we were gonna be in. Normally anytime he’s been banged up or had some kind of injury, he’s always progressed positively. That’s why we thought we’d probably get the same thing. That didn’t happen.” Backup quarterback Brock Osweiler led the Dolphins in Tannehill’s absence.

New England Patriots: When Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill scored on a 75-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter against the Patriots Sunday night, he wound up face-to-face with some New England fans in the stand who greeted him rather rudely — with an obscene gesture and beer thrown in his face. The Patriots, who won 43-40, didn’t appreciate the actions of the beer-splattering fan. The team announced Monday that they have identified the fan and given the name to police. “The matter has been turned over to local law enforcement and the fan will be sent a letter of disinvite to all future events at Gillette Stadium.” Hill, who scored his third touchdown of the night on that play, said he wasn’t crying over spilled beer. “My coach [Andy Reid] told me, ‘Don’t get emotional. Don’t get mad about it because it comes with the territory.’ I’m not mad at all,” Hill told reporters after the game.

New York Jets: The team got a boost before its victory Sunday over Indianapolis when ailing defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers made a pregame visit to the locker room at MetLife Stadium. Rodgers is fighting a serious undisclosed illness and watched the game but did not call the plays. The defense responded to his visit by intercepting quarterback Andrew Luck three times and recovering a fumble, which led to 20 points. “Just to see him walking is a blessing,” cornerback Morris Claiborne said, according to NJ.com. “When he came in, you could feel the positive vibes that arrived with him. I was just trying to feed off of those vibes when I saw him, and take it on the field with me.” On Monday, doctors cleared Rodgers to ease his way back into work.

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens: Left guard Alex Lewis avoided a serious neck injury and could return to the lineup as soon as next week. Lewis, who sustained the injury on a run-blocking play Sunday and was carted off the field in Nashville, Tenn., on a backboard, underwent multiple tests and all signs are positive, coach John Harbaugh said Monday. “It looks good. There’s no serious kind of injury there in terms of neurological issues,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “He’s possible for this week as far as I know right now.” Lewis would likely be replaced by Bradley Bozeman if he is ruled out for Week 7.

Cincinnati Bengals: Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said he wanted to apply pressure and dictate the direction the Steelers went with the ball on Pittsburgh’s game-winning TD pass, on which Antonio Brown came open because Cincinnati brought pressure. “The one thing I don’t ever want to do, I don’t want to second-guess myself, I don’t want our players to second-guess themselves when they’re out there playing,” Austin said. “So we’re going to play aggressively. We’re playing to win. And I thought at that point, that gave us the best chance to win. I didn’t want to leave it into the field-goal kicker’s hands. If you play and you play conservatively all the time, you may not reap the rewards you want.”

Cleveland Browns: General manager John Dorsey is “always looking” at the wide receiver market, coach Hue Jackson said on Monday, while allowing Rashard Higgins (knee) is still week-to-week. Downplaying the fact that the Browns parted with former first-round pick Corey Coleman and 2013 All-Pro Josh Gordon, Jackson said the Browns are going to lean on the wide receivers in the building to get the job done. “Have to get better. Have to make those plays,” he said. “We expect them to make those plays. They can. They had chances to make them. I did not see them totally. I will watch the tape. I know they were close, but we’ll see if they really truly had a chances to make those catches.”

Pittsburgh Steelers: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger joked that he was thankful to be part of James Conner’s last game with the Steelers, a jab at reports of Le’Veon Bell’s imminent return during the team’s upcoming bye week. “I know it’s his last game for us, with Le’Veon coming back,” Roethlisberger said. But Roethlisberger has already stated his opinion that the Steelers need Conner to remain involved even when Bell returns. Conner is fifth in the NFL in rushing yards (453) and second in rushing touchdowns with seven.

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans: Tensions will be high when the Texans visit the Jacksonville Jaguars this week as people in Jacksonville are still irate over Houston defensive end Jadeveon Clowney referring to Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles as “trash” last December. The timing of the remark was poor — Jacksonville had just stomped the Texans 45-7 — and Houston coach Bill O’Brien is still disappointed the comment was even made. “I don’t like that. I’ve talked to him about that,” O’Brien said, referring to Clowney. “First of all, we don’t believe that. We have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach (Doug) Marrone, the Jags and what they — I mean, think about what they’ve done. When we first got here into Houston, they weren’t really winning. They changed everybody. ... Blake is a very, very good quarterback, smart guy. I’ve known him for a long time, got a lot of respect for him, we have a ton of respect for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Jacksonville feels it is a Super Bowl contender, but there were no signs of that being valid while the Dallas Cowboys were delivering a 40-7 whipping on Sunday. The Jaguars have dropped three of the last four games and have been outscored 70-21 while losing to the Kansas City Chiefs and Cowboys the past two weeks. “The guys will truly bounce back and get this thing headed in the right direction,” Jacksonville safety Tashaun Gipson said. “We’ve got mature guys who know how to handle adversity, and adversity is definitely in this locker room right now.” There is a slight chance Leonard Fournette (hamstring) can return to play against Houston on Sunday. Fournette has missed four of the team’s six games and left early in the two he played.

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts are in transition mode under first-year coach Frank Reich, but a four-game losing streak is creating a lot of tension. Indianapolis is tied for the worst record in the NFL (1-5) and has allowed an average of 39 points over its last three games. Quarterback Andrew Luck doesn’t want to hear the youth excuse — “We’re six games into this,” Luck snapped. “We’re not young. No one’s young in the NFL.” Meanwhile, center Ryan Kelly doesn’t want to hear any chatter about the Colts being one of the worst teams in the league. “Absolutely not,” Kelly said. “Look at every game, we’ve been in there, and even if we were getting our (expletive) pushed in. If we were getting blown out by 40, I understand, that’s one thing. That’s how you lose games. ... I think we’re one of the toughest teams in the league for sure.”

Tennessee Titans: The pass protection was poor during Sunday’s 21-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, as the Titans allowed quarterback Marcus Mariota to be sacked 11 times. Coach Mike Vrabel bemoaned the multiple breakdowns and also said Mariota can be better in terms of avoiding sacks. “Sometimes the ball has to get out, and we have to block better,” Vrabel said. “It’s a lot of both. There’s times where we have to do a better job of stepping up, and there’s times where we have to do a better job of blocking and giving the quarterback a chance. It all goes hand in hand. Nobody is at fault, except for me, and then down to the coaches and to the players. We’ll coach it better, and we have to execute in better.”

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos: General manager John Elway didn’t mince words on Monday when discussing the team’s loss to the Rams, the Broncos’ fourth straight following a 2-0 start. Speaking with the team’s radio partner, Orange and Blue 760, Elway said, “At some point in time we have to play better football ... we’re still making the mistakes we shouldn’t make to beat good football teams like the Rams.” Elway finished the interview saying he hopes the team can “take a mentality into [Thursday’s game at Arizona] where we’re fighting for our lives.’’ Head coach Vance Joseph did not shy away from the suggestion that he is fighting for his own job. “Absolutely, absolutely,” he told reporters. “That’s every coach in this league every week. If you don’t feel that way, you’re missing something.”

Kansas City Chiefs: Despite a poor start Sunday night in Foxborough that included a pair of interceptions, Patrick Mahomes rallied the Chiefs from 15 points down to a fourth-quarter lead before Kansas City ultimately fell to the Patriots by three points. Head coach Andy Reid was impressed with the second-year starter’s resolve, he told reporters Monday. “He’s a young guy, and for him to be able to overcome those things during the game tells you a little bit about him,” Reid said. “On the other hand, we need to get better at those things and we need to start better. He’s the type that will do that, and he knows that every day isn’t going to be perfect, but he needs to keep battling, and that’s what he does. I appreciate that about him.”

Los Angeles Chargers: A big-play specialist, wide receiver Tyrell Williams caught three passes for 118 yards and two scores on Sunday, including a leaping grab amid three Cleveland Browns defenders for a 45-yard touchdown. He told reporters Monday that contested catches and high-pointing the football were major focuses for him entering the season. “I’ve still been working on it and I work on it every day, being one of the things I really wanted to get better at,” Williams said. “It’s nice to see it come to fruition in a game.” The fourth-year pro has 16 catches for 310 yards (19.4 average, third in NFL) and three touchdowns as he prepares to hit unrestricted free agency after the season.

Oakland Raiders: Many Raiders fans were thrilled by the return of head coach Jon Gruden, but after the team’s 1-5 start, some have apparently already turned on the man who signed a reported 10-year, $100 million deal to again lead the team. A website has emerged at the domain “isgrudengoneyet.com” featuring only a title (Is Gruden gone yet?), an answer (an extra-large “NO”), a ticking clock (counting the years, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds left in Gruden’s deal) and an updating counter of how much money Gruden has made and is still owed as part of his contract. The site’s emergence comes after the Raiders lost 27-3 to the Seahawks in London and amid rumors that recent first-round picks Amari Cooper and Karl Joseph are on the trade block.

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys: It’s tough replacing one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, but that’s just what Brett Maher is doing this season — and doing it well. When the Cowboys cut Dan Bailey and his $3.4 million salary and brought in the $480,000-a-year Maher, no one was quite sure how it would turn out. But on the season, he’s hit 15 of 16 field goals, missing only his first attempt of the year. On Sunday, in the Cowboys’ 40-7 drubbing of Jacksonville, Maher hit field goals of 32, 46, 50 and 55 yards. He also connected on all four extra-point attempts. “Hats off to our kicker, Brett, for doing his job,” defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence said after the game. “He’s pretty nice.” An even bigger compliment came from Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones. “We’re really pleased with how he’s kicking,” Jones said. “He’s kicking in form with how he kicked in preseason. It’s not surprising.”

New York Giants: ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Matt Hasselbeck shared on Sunday his idea about how the Giants and struggling quarterback Eli Manning could divorce amicably: trade him to Jacksonville. Despite being 3-3, the Jaguars have playoff aspirations, but quarterback Blake Bortles has been inconsistent. In Jacksonville, the 37-year-old Manning could reunite with the man he won two Super Bowl games with, Tom Coughlin, the Jags’ president. “I would do Eli Manning a solid. I would trade him to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville has a team and they’re making a run,” Hasselbeck said on the network. “Eli Manning is Tom Coughlin’s quarterback. If you were to ask Tom Coughlin what he’s looking for in a quarterback, he’s thinking about what Eli Manning does for him. Having him in the organization would be a value to the Jaguars and lets Giants fans turn the page.”

Philadelphia Eagles: Left tackle Jason Peters sustained a torn right biceps in the Eagles’ Week 6 win over the New York Giants, but he shouldn’t miss much time, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Rapoport reported Sunday that Peters could return in just a week or two. Peters, 36, has played just two complete games this season as he has battled a quadriceps injury. Halapoulivaati Vaitai struggled in the preseason and hasn’t dazzled in the regular season, but he most likely will start while Peters is sidelined. He started 10 regular-season games when Peters went down with a knee injury last year, plus three more in the postseason. The Eagles (3-3) meet the Carolina Panthers (3-2) Sunday in Philadelphia.

Washington Redskins: Adrian Peterson was listed as questionable before the Redskins’ game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The 33-year-old running back didn’t let a separated shoulder suffered a week earlier stop him, though. He rushed for 97 yards on 17 carries as the Redskins won 23-17. “I had already made up in my mind Friday, ‘Hey, I’m going to give it a go, and I know it’s going to be painful but it’s mind over matter and keep pressing,’” Peterson told reporters after the game. “So that’s what I ended up doing.” The coaches on both sides applauded his efforts. “I can’t say enough about what he did today, playing through the pain of the shoulder and the knee,” Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said of Peterson. “What a pro. What a pro he is.” Panthers coach Ron Rivera had this to say: “Adrian Peterson ran hard. I think he created the opportunity for them down the stretch to control the clock a little bit.”

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears: Linebacker Khalil Mack is expected to be upright and rushing the passer when Tom Brady and the Patriots visit Soldier Field on Sunday. While head coach Matt Nagy said at his Monday press conference he had no update on the ankle injury that limited Mack at Miami, he said Mack was able to play through the issue. It’s possible Mack would be limited in practice, and his involvement in the game is likely to be scaled based on his health as needed. Mack played 62 of 78 snaps in the overtime loss to the Dolphins.

Detroit Lions: Coach Matt Patricia and the Lions return from the bye week at 2-3 with visions of ... the playoffs? That’s what Patricia said Monday, circling back to a memory of an 11-5 team in New England that missed the postseason. Patricia said anything less than a postseason berth is not acceptable. “I just want to win in Miami. And when we get through that, we try to beat Seattle,” Patricia told the team’s website. “And then we go from there. We want to beat them all. ... I’m way too competitive to have any other mindset. I hate losing. It’s not OK. It’s not OK to come in here and lose. It’s just the bottom line.”

Green Bay Packers: The Packers were playing on Monday night.

Minnesota Vikings: The loss of cornerback Mike Hughes to a torn ACL was a direct hit for the Vikings because of the type of secondary depth the team covets in its scheme. “He was learning and continued to learn, and he’s got a lot of great attributes. I think toughness, and his skill set is really good. But he’s going to come back, and he’s going to be great,” head coach Mike Zimmer said Monday. Zimmer said the Vikings might take a look at the cornerback market. “Well the old saying, ‘You always need one more,’” he said. “In today’s game, they’re really valuable. If you can’t pressure the quarterback and you can’t cover, then you are going to have issues. That is part of our deal here is we want guys that can rush the quarterback and guys that can cover.”

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons: Matt Bryant injured a hamstring booting a 57-yard field goal in Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bryant has already been ruled out of next Monday’s game against the New York Giants, leading to auditions for his replacement. Giorgio Tavecchio will be one of kickers the team looks at after he was with the Falcons in training camp. Tavecchio made 16 of 21 field-goal attempts with the Oakland Raiders last season. “There’s a couple of guys that we’re talking to, but he’s certainly one of them,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said of Tavecchio. “Part of the reason of bringing some guys in (during the preseason) is contingency planning. If this situation ever came about, you’d like to be prepared for it.”

Carolina Panthers: Rookie wide receiver DJ Moore experienced growing pains by losing two fumbles during the first half of Sunday’s loss to the Washington Redskins. The 24th overall pick lost one on a punt return when he was trying to gain extra yardage and a second after catching a pass. Yet the Panthers stuck with him as they know rebounding from miscues are often part of a player’s development. “This is all about building confidence,” Carolina coach Ron Rivera said. “DJ is going to be a big part of what we do for a long time. We believe in him and we’re going to keep putting him out there. It’s the only way guys can learn and develop into guys we believe they can be. Stick with them.”

New Orleans Saints: New Orleans is an NFL-best 7-2 following a bye week since 2009 and looking to tack on another victory when it visits the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Saints coach Sean Payton doesn’t have an explanation for the success. “I don’t know that I can put a hand on it,” Payton said. “I think each team’s different and there’s a give and take with what you want to try to get done in advance (of the bye week) and then also getting guys away from the building to kind of recharge their battery if you will.” Cornerback Marshon Lattimore is still in concussion protocol — he suffered the injury against the Washington Redskins on Oct. 8 — but is expected to play against the Ravens.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Defensive coordinator Mike Smith was fired Monday and replaced by linebackers coach Mark Duffner. The defense ranks last in the NFL in scoring defense at 34.6 points per game and has given up 30 or more in four of five games. Coach Dirk Koetter was against firing his close friend just two weeks ago but Sunday’s 34-29 loss to the Atlanta Falcons was a tipping point. “Mike and I worked together in Jacksonville as coordinators and I worked for Mike in Atlanta,” Koetter said at a press conference. “So I never did see this day coming, but it’s here so we have to make the best decisions for our football team moving forward. That’s all you can do.” Duffner served as defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2001-02.

NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals: With the Cardinals’ offense last or next to last in a litany of categories (yards per game and per play, passing and rushing per game and per play, points, third-down percentage, time of possession), questions about coordinator Mike McCoy’s job security have increased. When asked Monday about the matter, head coach Steve Wilks replied, “I would say all our jobs are in jeopardy, including mine, if we don’t win.” McCoy was fired from the Denver Broncos last November after the team had lost six consecutive games. The Cardinals opened this season 0-4 before getting a win, but they slipped to 1-5 with a loss in Minnesota on Sunday. The Cardinals host the Denver Broncos on a short week this Thursday.

Los Angeles Rams: Coach Sean McVay was critical of himself immediately after the Sunday game in Denver, saying he “put us in some horrible spots” with his play-calling as the team scored a season-low 23 points. Asked how he felt about that criticism following a review of the film, McVay reiterated frustration with himself. “I just think some of the things we did in some of the spots — anytime you’re in the role that I’m in, our job is to try to put players in the best spots,” he said. “You don’t want to waste plays.” After describing a few examples, McVay couched the criticism somewhat, saying, “I don’t want to be some ‘Negative Nelly,’ either, and not be able to appreciate a big road win.”

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers were playing on Monday night.

Seattle Seahawks: The Monday afternoon news of Seahawks and Trail Blazers owner and Microsoft co-owner Paul Allen’s passing was met with an outpouring of support and praise for Allen, within the sports world and beyond. “I’ll miss him greatly,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “His gracious leadership and tremendous inspiration will never be forgotten.” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell credited Allen as the “driving force” behind keeping the NFL in the Pacific Northwest, while NBA commissioner Adam Silver called him “the ultimate trail blazer — in business, philanthropy and sports.” Fellow Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said, “Paul was a true partner and dear friend. Personal computing would not have existed without him.”

—Field Level Media

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