Even though he was a late-preseason casualty, former Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden is still on the Cleveland Browns’ tickets Sunday as they host the New York Jets and try to win their first game of the season:
Haden was released by the Browns on Aug. 30 after seven seasons with the team, which included two Pro Bowl nods and a second team All-Pro selection in 2013. The 2010 No. 7 overall pick from Florida was signed to a three-year, $27 million deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers just hours after his release. After the Steelers beat the Browns in Week 1, Haden got the game ball for what was his first Week 1 victory in his pro career.
Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers, knee, 1:00 p.m. ET: Gordon’s knee has been a topic of conversation since he was added to the Week 3 injury report, and he hasn’t looked particularly sharp the past two weeks, even exiting the game for a period of time in the third week. This week, however, things appear to be looking up. Gordon was a full participant in practice each day and is off the pregame injury report. There is no doubt surrounding his status as the Chargers travel to face the New York Giants.
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Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins, knee, 1:00 p.m. ET: Ajayi’s practice involvement has varied weekly, perhaps in relation to how his knee is faring. Last week, his practice participation was increased, but it certainly didn’t translate to a percentage of offensive snaps. It appears the Dolphins are trying to find a balance for Ajayi’s role. This week, Ajayi was a full participant except for a day off on Thursday (listed as his customary Thursday off on the team’s official website) and has a favorable matchup against the Titans.
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Defensive back Lamarcus Joyner missed Sunday’s game against the Cowboys because of a hamstring injury and remains “week-to-week,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. McVay added that Joyner has made “a lot of good progress,” and it looks like he at least has a chance of being available against the Seahawks. Joyner, the NFL’s third-highest-graded safety by Pro Football Focus, acts as both a free safety and a slot corner for the Rams. If he can’t go, Cody Davis will get the reps at free safety and Nickell Robey-Coleman will see time at slot corner. — Alden Gonzalez
The other winless teams — the 49ers and Browns — have winnable games. So which team will get its first victory?
Bowen: I’ll take the Giants to get their first win of the season at home against the Chargers. Los Angeles can’t run the ball, and it can’t stop the run. That’s a bad combination at any level of the game. Maybe this is the week the Giants establish some sense of tempo with the ground game and get an explosive play over the top from Odell Beckham Jr. to pull away from the Chargers late.
Clay: It feels sacrilegious to go against the Chargers, but I actually expect both the Giants and Browns to notch their first wins this weekend. The Chargers-Giants game should be a tight one and can certainly go either way, but the Browns should get a boost with Myles Garrett, Danny Shelton and Jamie Collins potentially back in the lineup. I have them knocking off the overachieving Jets 22-20 in the Dawg Pound.
After suffering an elbow injury Sunday against the Jaguars, Jets linebacker Dylan Donahue has been placed on injured reserve, the team announced Wednesday.
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The Jets also announced a series of roster moves that included the signing of defensive lineman Ed Stinson and linebacker Obum Gwacham.
Stinson comes to the Jets after he was released off the Cardinals’ injured reserve last month. He was with the team for three years, totaling 26 tackles and a sack through 29 games.
The Saints dropped Gwacham in September when they went to a roster of 53 players. The linebacker played in 10 games over the past two years with the Saints.
While the Jets add two new defensive players to their roster, the team still has wide receiver Jalin Marshall, who is back from his suspension this week. If the Jets want to put him back on the roster before playing the Browns on Sunday, the team will have to make another roster change.
Authentic Mens Bill Russell Jersey What has gone right: The Redskins have developed a nice running back rotation with Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley and rookie Samaje Perine to support quarterback Kirk Cousins. The defense has improved thanks to the additions of linebacker Zach Brown, safety D.J. Swearinger and rookie end Jonathan Allen.
What has gone wrong: Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have failed to adequately replace free-agent departures DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon at wide receiver. The secondary must now deal with the multi-week absence of top cornerback Josh Norman, who will be out several weeks with a rib injury suffered against the Chiefs.
What’s next: Redskins coach Jay Gruden must make sure his team isn’t looking past Sunday’s game against San Francisco (0-4) because of what looms ahead 鈥?a nasty three-game docket against Philadelphia, Dallas and Seattle.
Using fantasy points determined by ESPN’s standard scoring, the charts contained in this column rate players based upon how consistently reliable they have been from the 2015 through 2017 seasons, a span of 38 weeks’ worth of games (17 weeks apiece in each year from 2015-16, four weeks in 2017). For IDPs (individual defensive players), the following scoring is used: solo tackle (1), assisted tackle (0.5), sack (3), interception (3), forced fumble (3), fumble recovery (3), touchdown (6), safety (2), pass defended (1). To familiarize you with some of the terminology and column headers listed in the charts below:
He got mad one play, so what?” Heyward said. He’s not Bob Knight. He’s not throwing a chair on the court, saying this and that, cursing out everybody. It’s sports. You’re supposed to be competitive. You’re supposed to be mad sometimes.”
Brown is second in the NFL in receptions (30) and receiving yards (388), but Roethlisberger opted to spread the ball around more in Baltimore, resulting in four catches for 34 yards for the All-Pro receiver.
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Still, Roethlisberger cited his amazing chemistry with Brown, who’s working on an NFL-record fifth consecutive 100-catch season. In the past, the receiver and quarterback have hashed out differences with communication, Roethlisberger said.
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Roethlisberger’s goal is to win and not make people happy, he said, but he knows Brown is always central to the game plan.
You have to understand what the defense is giving you, try not to force it at times but also knowing sometimes forcing it works too with (Brown), Roethlisberger said.
DeMaurice Smith was unanimously re-elected as executive director of the NFL Players Association late Tuesday night.
Kids Tom Waddle Jersey Smith needed seven to 13 votes from the selection committee to retain his position as the NFLPA’s executive director. Had he not gotten the required number of votes he would have faced challengers for his position. According to ProFootballTalk, lawyer Cyrus Mehri had emerged as a possible primary challenger.
Smith has been the executive director since 2009 and was re-elected in 2012, 2015 and now 2017. The union still needs to renegotiate the length of his current contract, which expires next March.
There also were seven fumbles in this game, and the Bears recovered six of them, which is a bit ironic given the Steelers recovered a league-high 62.2 percent of fumbles in their games last season. (Pittsburgh is 3-for-10 so far this season.) A muffed punt by Eli Rogers, who has taken over for Antonio Brown on punt returns, set up Chicago with a short field for its first score. Chicago’s fumble into the end zone stuck around long enough to require Vance McDonald batting it out of the end zone, which gave the Bears three points.
John Fox’s offense also fumbled twice during the final drive of regulation, recovering both fumbles in a spot where a Steelers recovery would have resulted in a game-winning field goal try.
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We’re still waiting to see a great game from the Steelers. They were fortunate in Week 1 to have a first-quarter blocked punt against the Browns somehow bounce violently backward and stay inbounds for a Pittsburgh touchdown, given that the Browns outscored their divisional rivals 18-14 the rest of the way. Mike Tomlin’s team beat the Vikings 26-9 last week, but that was with Sam Bradford as a surprise inactive. The higher gear we were supposed to see from this offense with Roethlisberger, Bell, Brown and Bryant all on the field together hasn’t yet been realized.
So, 2014 comes, and Jay Gruden comes in, and he don’t care, Moss continued on Monday. We see that now. He doesn’t care. He don’t care what he says about you, he doesn’t care what he says at you. And he rips RG every chance he gets, like every meeting, and we’re sitting there looking like, ‘Yeah. You know what? You were just sooo happy that Mike and [offensive coordinator] Kyle [Shanahan] and them is gone, but now you’re getting your behind ripped every day, because you’re not playing the kind of football that we need to play for us to be successful.’ So, it comes back and bites you in your behind, because now you see this guy is at home.
In the interview, Moss also says he spoke up about it because it bothered him that much. He also said the Shanahans believed in him, and allowed him to be in Washington longer by moving him to the slot.
The Niners defense actually looks a bit improved over last season, but it’s probably not going to be enough to be competitive with this offense.
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And the Cardinals and Rams aren’t much better. Arizona gave up yet another fourth quarter comeback to Matthew Stafford and the Lions in Week 1, and their only win was over the hapless Colts in Week 2. The Rams look like the best team in the division right now, but you have to weigh that against how bad the rest of the division is.
Back in 2010, the best team in the division was the Seahawks, and they won it with a 7-9 record. They got to host a Wild Card matchup against the Saints at home. That was the day Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Quake shook the world, or at least a small part of it, and the Seahawks won and advanced to the divisional round.
So, yes, the NFC West is looking pretty terrible so far. But someone’s got to win it, and who knows what could happen after that?
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Cam Newton remains on the mend.
The Panthers quarterback is listed as questionable on the team’s injury report ahead of the regular-season opener Sunday against the 49ers, but coach Ron Rivera still expects his starter to be under center.
“As far as injuries go, Eric Berry looks like he has an Achilles tendon potential tear,” Reid said (via the team’s website). “We’ll find out more after his MRI and that whole deal.”If Berry’s Achilles is torn it will end his season, marking another bump in the road for the talented defender who all but shut down Rob Gronkowski Thursday.
He’ll undergo an MRI on Friday, the team said.
Berry, the highest-paid safety in the league this season, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Dec. 8, 2014, but returned to make the Pro Bowl in 2015. He then built on that season by earning his fifth Pro Bowl appearance in 2016 after finishing with four interceptions and two touchdowns.
Though Berry has never had more than 92 tackles in a season, he has been a star contributor at all levels of the defense over his six-year career.
“When an assistant coach becomes a head coach, it’s different,” Hurney told co-host Gil Brandt and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio during Panthers training camp. “I’ve heard a lot of guys say, ‘Man, when can I get back just to coaching ball?’
“It’s the same as a general manager. It’s not fantasy football. You’re not just picking guys. You have so many other things to address. There’s a lot of balls in the air at once.”
If you were wondering if cornerback matchups matter, check out Dez Bryant’s production through two games. Bryant has been targeted a whopping 25 times, but he has only nine catches for 102 yards and one touchdown to show. Bryant was shadowed by Janoris Jenkins in Week 1 and had his hands full with the Broncos elite cornerback group on Sunday. Bryant is up to a whopping seven end zone targets on the season, which is four more than any other player. The obvious thought here is Well, the schedule can only get easier, but that’s not necessarily the case.
Bryant still has matchups against Patrick Peterson, Trumaine Johnson, Josh Norman (twice), Marcus Peters, Desmond Trufant, Casey Hayward, Janoris Jenkins and Richard Sherman on the docket, most of which will be shadow scenarios. Bryant will need to sustain this obscenely heavy usage, especially near the goal line, to remain afloat in fantasy. That’s asking a lot, but you can’t say you weren’t warned.
Limited Youth Frederik Andersen Jersey The Cowboys are in trouble. Or are they? Kareem Hunt will be the best of the rookie running backs. Or will it be someone else? We’re examining early-season storylines for legitimacy and sustainability in Week 2’s lessons.
Tom Brady returned to his old self against the friendly Saints defense, while DeShone Kizer threw two costly fourth-quarter interceptions.
Here’s a rundown of our Week 3 Power Rankings as determined by ESPN’s power panel — a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities — through rose-colored glasses.
Authentic Youth Cameron Wake Jersey Methodology note: These rankings reflect which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams would be favored against lower-ranked teams. Coming off a win doesn’t guarantee a jump, and coming off a loss doesn’t guarantee a fall.
Elite Kids Kyle Juszczyk Jersey One of the most interesting matchups of opening week in the NFL is New Orleans’ visit to Minnesota on Monday night. A key subplot in that game will be Adrian Peterson facing his former team, for which he is the all-time rushing leader.
MCMANUS’S MILLIONS : McManus was the last restricted free agent to sign his tender this summer, waiting until June 15 to put his signature on a one-year, $2.75 million deal after making $600,000 last season. He did it in hopes of getting a long-term deal, which he finally got Monday just hours before kickoff when he agreed to a three-year extension worth $11.25 million.
BEEFY BRONCOS : The Broncos beefed up their depleted defensive line before kickoff by promoting rookie nose tackle Tyrique Pot Roast Jr. Jarrett to their active roster and waiving Kyle Peko.
INJURY UPDATES: Chargers backup SS Rayshawn Jenkins left in the second half with a concussion. So did Broncos starting right guard Ronald Leary, who was replaced by second-year pro Connor McGovern. Leary will be in concussion protocol during the week as the Broncos prepare to face his former team, the Dallas Cowboys. Broncos rookie CB Brandon Langley left in the fourth quarter with a knee injury and Stewart left in the closing minutes with a strained left groin after collecting six tackles.
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UP NEXT: The Chargers host the Miami Dolphins, whose opener was scrubbed by Hurricane Irma. The Broncos are home again to take on the Cowboys.
The decision on Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension will likely come sooner than later due to the pressure to reach a resolution immediately, ESPN.com reported Thursday.
Apparently pressure has been put on NFL arbitrator Harold Henderson to have a ruling by Monday. Elliott’s appeal began Tuesday and ended Thursday.
Elliott is trying to get his suspension for an alleged domestic violence incident overturned. Many are speculating Elliott will still be suspended, but that the amount of games will be reduced.
The season-ending injury is another bump in the road for the talented defender who all but shut down the Pats’ Rob Gronkowski on Thursday.
Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Dec. 8, 2014, but returned to make the Pro Bowl in 2015.
He then built on that season by earning his fifth Pro Bowl appearance in 2016 after finishing with four interceptions and two touchdowns.
The Chiefs rewarded him with a six-year, $78 million deal before this season, making him the highest-paid safety in the NFL in 2017.
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Elite Kids Julius Randle Jersey Berry’s agent, Chad Speck, reflected the spirit the veteran DB and cancer survivor brings to the NFL, tweeting in part: The best is yet to come.
When you’ve been through that and he’s done it, and it’s happened again, it’s happened again, done it, and it sucks, Bears tight end Zach Miller said. You can’t control that stuff. Kevin is such a good football player. He’s had unfortunate stuff happen to him early in his career. It won’t derail the kid. It won’t. I mean, if I can do it, he can do it.