Houston’s unsung rookie class contributing to team’s success

HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans didn’t pick until the third round in this year’s draft.

That hasn’t stopped them from getting plenty of contributions from their unsung rookies, led by Justin Reid, a third-round pick whose 101-yard interception return for a TD helped Houston extend its winning streak to seven games last week.

Houston did not have a pick in the first two rounds after trading a first-round pick to Cleveland in 2017 to move up to get quarterback Deshaun Watson at No. 12. They previously sent their second-round pick in the 2018 draft to the Browns as part of the deal to get rid of Brock Osweiler.

Because of those moves their first pick this year was at No. 68 and they used it to select Reid, a safety from Stanford. They got center Martinas Rankin and tight end Jordan Akins later in the third round; picked up receiver Keke Coutee in the fourth; and added tight end Jordan Thomas in the sixth.

“Those guys have really been an impressive class just from a personal standpoint — maturity, work ethic and they really work hard to improve, and they understand their role on the team, their spot on the team,” coach Bill O’Brien said.

“Guys in that class are very respectful of the veterans in the locker room. I think they’ve added a lot to the chemistry of the locker room.”

Reid has appeared in every game for the Texans, has 53 tackles and leads the team with three interceptions. He might have had a leg up on most rookies because his older brother, Eric, is a six-year NFL veteran who recently returned to the NFL with Carolina. Justin said the two used to sit outside the house and break down film when he was still in college.

He knows it’s sometimes difficult for lower draft picks to contribute so quickly, but believes the success of this rookie class has been important to Houston’s turnaround.

“You need that,” he said. “All good teams you need your role players to play well. You need guys to step up in big-time situations and make some plays. That’s one of the best things about this team is we don’t know week to week who’s going to come up and make a big play … and when you have guys all around the field making plays and able to contribute to a team win, that’s when you know you have a good thing going.”

Veteran defensive back Tyrann Mathieu agreed and raved about Houston’s rookie class.

“I hear a lot of people talk about our leadership, obviously, coming from an 0-3 start, but I would probably say that our young guys have really helped us out a lot, too,” he said. “Just their character … just those guys showing up to work every day. That’s all you can ask for from rookies.”

Rankin has appeared in each game with three starts, and Akins, Thomas and Coutee have also contributed on offense. Coutee has played a bigger role since Will Fuller suffered a season-ending knee injury, and he has 26 receptions for 273 yards and a touchdown.

Akins has 11 receptions for 131 yards. Thomas has 10 receptions for 138 yards and has become a favorite red-zone target of Watson and has three short touchdowns.

Coutee said a key to finding success as a rookie is making sure the veterans know they can count on you.

“Just earning everybody’s trust and showing everyone that you can play and that you belong, as well,” he said. “Once you get these guys’ trust in this locker room, then you can make plays, and that’s what a lot of our rookies are doing this year.”

Reid credits his success this season to the work he puts in off the field and estimates that he spends 10-12 hours a week at home doing extra work to make sure he’s prepared for the games.

“You should see my IPad and the notes that I take,” he said. “I take notes on everything and I study it, and I’m a film rat and I love to be able to see things on tape. And when you see it over and over on film, then you see it in the game, you can almost anticipate it. And then you combine that with the leadership you have on this team and just with experience with having reps, things just slow down more and more.”

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Lashley wins by six in Detroit for first career title

Lashley wins by six in Detroit for first career title

Lashley wins by six in Detroit for first career title

DETROIT – Nate Lashley, in just his 33rd career start on the PGA Tour, capped a wire-to-wire performance on Sunday with a 2-under 70 to finish at 25-under 263 and win the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club, his first Tour victory.

Lashley took home the $1.314 million winner’s check, locked up his Tour card for at least then next two years and secured a spot on the British Open at Royal Portrush in three weeks.

“It was surreal, to be honest with you,” Lashley said of his walk up the 18th hole. “I didn’t know what to think. There was a lot going through my mind. It’s just an unreal feeling. Just so happy to be here and happy to be in Detroit, and I’ll always remember this place. Going to be a special place to me.”

Doc Redman, the 2017 U.S. Amateur champion, shot a 5-under 67 in the final round to finish six back of Lashley. The winner of Monday’s open qualifier, Redman was playing in just his second PGA Tour event of the season and locked up a spot in the British Open in three weeks while securing his Tour exemption for the rest of the season.

“I knew what was at stake, but I was trying not to think about it,” Redman said. “I actually didn’t even think about The Open Championship until someone said it to me after. … I actually just learned that not long after I got off the course. I didn’t even think about that, but I can’t wait.

“I’ve never been over there, it’s going to be an awesome experience and, you know, I can’t wait to see how it is.”

Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini and Wes Roach were another shot back at 18 under, while six players finished at 17 under, including 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed and 2012 FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker.

Lashley’s final round wasn’t nearly as sizzling as his first three, as he fired bogey-free rounds of 63 on Thursday and Saturday, sandwiching a 67 in the second round. But considering he entered Sunday with a six-shot lead, Lashley essentially just had to avoid a blowup.

He did so with two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine before cruising home for the victory.

Lashley was the last man in the field, getting in as the third alternate after a withdrawal from David Berganio on Wednesday. He became the first alternate to win a Tour event since Vaughn Taylor at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2016.

“One week can change — it’s a career-changing event getting a win out here,” Lashley said. “It gives you job security, it gets you into majors, you have two more years to basically get more comfortable and play better golf. So you really can’t put into words how much this means, and it’s just huge for my career.”

–Field Level Media

Read More 425 Words

Agent: ‘A few teams’ interested in WR Brown

Agent: 'A few teams' interested in WR Brown

"A

Agent: ‘A few teams’ interested in WR Brown

“A few teams” have reached out to express interest in free agent Antonio Brown since his release Friday by the New England patriots, according to the wide receiver’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

Rosenhaus told ESPN on Saturday he’s been in touch with a few teams, who “want information regarding (Brown’s) legal situation and the NFL investigation” into accusations against Brown of sexual assault and sending intimidating text messages.

ESPN reports that people around the league don’t expect any team to sign Brown until the league’s investigation is resolved.

The Patriots cut the controversial wideout on Friday afternoon, five days after Brown caught four passes for 56 yards and scored a touchdown in his debut with the team.

The NFL released a statement hours later in response to questions about Brown’s status.

“Our office is presently investigating multiple allegations, some of which are the subject of pending litigation,” the statement read, in part. “We have as yet made no findings regarding these issues. The investigation is ongoing and will be pursued vigorously and expeditiously.

“As long as Mr. Brown is a free agent, placement on the Commissioner’s exempt list is not appropriate. If he is signed by a club, such placement may become appropriate at any time depending on the status of the investigation. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, he may also be subject to discipline if the investigation finds that he has violated the law or league policies.”

Britney Taylor, Brown’s former trainer, filed a civil suit last week accusing him of three incidents of sexual assault or rape over a two-year period from 2017-18. According to multiple reports, the league met with Taylor for 10 hours on Monday, and a meeting with Brown was expected at some point.

On Thursday, Sports Illustrated reported that a female artist — who leveled claims earlier this week that Brown made unwanted sexual advances before firing her — contacted the NFL claiming the 31-year-old wide receiver sent her “intimidating and threatening” texts. On Friday, the woman’s attorney said the league had agreed to investigate the situation, and that the league had contacted the Patriots, who told Brown not to contact the woman any further.

In 10 NFL seasons (the first nine with Pittsburgh), Brown has 841 catches for 11,263 yards and 75 touchdowns. He is a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro.

–Field Level Media

Read More 335 Words

Saints QB Brees having surgery Wednesday

Saints QB Brees having surgery Wednesday

Saints QB Brees having surgery Wednesday

After seeing two specialists about his injured right thumb, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will have surgery Wednesday in Los Angeles, ESPN’s Ed Werder reported Tuesday.

Werder cited a source saying the timeline for Brees’ return won’t be known until after surgery, which will be performed by Dr. Steven Shinn. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the current expectation is six weeks.

“I’m confident in the surgery that will take place and will dedicate myself to the rehab process to get back as quickly as I can,” Brees wrote in a text to Werder.

Multiple reports Monday said Brees would require surgery. Head coach Sean Payton did not confirm the information Monday, saying the quarterback was seeking a second opinion.

Brees hurt his thumb in Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams after hitting his hand on Aaron Donald’s hand during a follow through of a throw. Teddy Bridgewater replaced him, going 17 of 30 for 165 yards, and is expected to start Sunday’s game at Seattle.

Brees, 40, has missed just one game due to injury since joining the Saints in 2006, which came in 2015 due to a shoulder issue. He has missed just two other contests of a possible 210 with the Saints, both while resting in Week 17 with the team’s playoff position secure.

The league’s all-time leading passer needs 155 yards to become the first in NFL history to pass for 75,000 yards. He is 18 passing touchdowns shy of passing Peyton Manning (539) for most all-time, though New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is tied with Brees at 522.

–Field Level Media

Read More 200 Words

Allen rallies Bills past Jets

Allen rallies Bills past Jets

Josh

Allen rallies Bills past Jets

Josh Allen overcame a four-turnover performance to rush for a touchdown and throw for another in the fourth quarter as the Buffalo Bills rallied to a 17-16 win over the New York Jets on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.

Allen scored from 3 yards out to trim New York’s lead to 16-10 early in the fourth quarter before his underthrown ball was reeled in by John Brown for a 38-yard touchdown with 3 minutes to play. Allen finished 24 of 37 for 254 yards passing.

In his first game since the 2017 season, Le’Veon Bell reeled in a touchdown pass and a two-point conversion pass for the Jets, who were hurt by kicker Kaare Vedvik misfiring on both an extra-point attempt and a 45-yard field-goal attempt.

Four-time Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley returned an interception 17 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and joined defensive tackle Steve McLendon in recovering a fumble. Linebacker Neville Hewitt also had an interception and New York added a safety in its first game under new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Signed to a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the Jets in offseason, Bell made a shoestring catch from Sam Darnold for a 9-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter. Bell provided the exclamation point as he jumped to snare the two-point conversion attempt and give the Jets a 16-0 lead.

Bell, who rushed for 60 yards and had six catches for 32 more, became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 8,000 yards from scrimmage following a 5-yard gain on his first carry of the contest. The 27-year-old Bell was playing in his 63rd game, one fewer than Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson.

Darnold completed 28 of 41 passes for 175 yards, with Jamison Crowder emerging as a trusty outlet with a 14-catch, 99-yard performance.

The Jets seized the early lead as Mosley snared the ball after it caromed off the hands of wide receiver Cole Beasley before rumbling 17 yards for a touchdown.

New York extended its lead to 8-0 lead early in the third quarter after its swarming defense swallowed up veteran running back Frank Gore inside the end zone for a safety.

–Field Level Media

Read More 300 Words

Munoz fires 63, surges to Sanderson Farms lead

Munoz fires 63, surges to Sanderson Farms lead

Munoz fires 63, surges to Sanderson Farms lead

Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz blistered a 9-under-par 63 on Saturday to surge into the lead through three rounds of the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss.

The low round of the tournament thus far leaves Munoz at 16-under 200, one stroke ahead of third-round playing partner Carlos Ortiz of Mexico (65 on Saturday) at the Country Club of Jackson. The two were teammates at North Texas.

“It was pretty comfortable, I’ve played with him quite awhile,” Munoz said, per Golf Digest. “He made birdies, I made birdies. It was good vibes from the beginning.”

South Korea’s Byeong Hun An (70), the 36-hole leader, is another stroke back in third. Australia’s Cameron Percy (68) is alone in fourth at 13 under, completing a top four who are all seeking their first career PGA Tour victory. Five players are tied for fifth another stroke back.

Saturday’s action began with the final third of the 155 players finishing the second round, which was halted due to darkness after inclement weather prevented half of the field from finishing the first round on Thursday.

Munoz, 26, opened Saturday on fire, with birdies on the first three holes and another at the fifth. He gained another stroke at No. 8, finishing the front nine at 5-under 31, then added four more birdies on the back nine to complete a bogey-free round.

Munoz, who birdied all four par-5s, holds a 54-hole lead for the second time in his career. The previous time, he finished tied for third at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier in 2017.

“I’m going to have a great opportunity tomorrow,” Munoz told PGATour.com. “Just one shot at a time.”

Ortiz also had a bogey-free round, making hay with two highlight-reel moments to start the back nine. First, he holed a 50-foot bunker shot for birdie at the par-3 10th. Then he put his 227-yard approach at the par-5 11th inside 20 feet and sunk the eagle putt. Ortiz added birdies at the 13th and 15th before parring out.

An was 1 under through 12 holes before a birdie spree from Nos. 13-15. But he dropped out of a share of the lead with back-to-back bogeys at 16 and 17.

Defending champion Cameron Champ is tied for 25th at 7 under after shooting a 69. No winner has ever defended his title in the event.

–Field Level Media

Read More 324 Words

Ex-NFL QB Lorenzen hospitalized

Ex-NFL QB Lorenzen hospitalized

Former NFL quarterback Jared Lorenzen remains hospitalized in the intensive care unit, battling an infection as well as heart and kidney issues.

His family released an update on his condition late Saturday through Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio.

"On Friday, June 28th

Ex-NFL QB Lorenzen hospitalized

Former NFL quarterback Jared Lorenzen remains hospitalized in the intensive care unit, battling an infection as well as heart and kidney issues.

His family released an update on his condition late Saturday through Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio.

“On Friday, June 28th Jared began playing a bigger, more important game than he’s ever played before. Jared had not been feeling well for a few weeks and that finally caught up with him,” the statement began.

It continued: “He is fighting with every thing he has and his immediate family is by his side.”

Lorenzen, 38, played four seasons at Kentucky (2000-03) and led the SEC in passing yards (3,687) as a freshman. He still holds the Wildcats’ record for career passing yards with 10,354.

Despite his collegiate success, he was undrafted in 2004 and later signed with the New York Giants as a free agent, backing up Eli Manning in 2006-07. He appeared in four games, completing four passes for 28 yards.

Because of his weight, which was listed at 285 pounds in his NFL career, he was nicknamed “The Hefty Lefty.” Weight continued to be an issue for him after retirement and he said it climbed to more than 500 pounds.

In 2017, he launched The Jared Lorenzen Project, a videotaped weight-loss journey. He lost about 100 pounds within the first year.

–Field Level Media

Read More 162 Words

NFL notebook: Browns DE Garrett fined $42K for two hits

NFL notebook: Browns DE Garrett fined $42K for two hits

NFL notebook: Browns DE Garrett fined $42K for two hits

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was fined $42,112 by the NFL on Saturday for two hits he made on New York Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian during Monday night’s game.

Each hit cost Garrett a $21,056 fine in a game in which he was penalized four times, including twice for roughing the passer, while recording a career-best three sacks. Siemian suffered a season-ending ankle injury on the second roughing call, which occurred midway through the second quarter. The backup quarterback started in place of Sam Darnold, who was out with mononucleosis.

Also fined after the Jets-Browns game were Browns rookie linebacker Mack Wilson ($28,075), who was penalized for lowering his head and delivering a helmet-to-helmet hit on Jets wide receiver Ty Montgomery, and Jets safety Jamal Adams ($21,056) for a roughing-the-passer penalty against Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

–Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed was ruled out for Monday night’s game against the visiting Chicago Bears due to lingering effects from a concussion.

Reed has yet to play this season after being hurt in Washington’s third preseason game. The 29-year-old Reed sustained a concussion following a helmet-to-helmet hit by Atlanta safety Keanu Neal on Aug. 22. The hit drew a penalty and later a $28,075 fine.

An NBC Sports Washington report Saturday cited a source saying Reed could still be “weeks” from a return. Reed has recorded 329 receptions for 3,371 yards and 24 touchdowns in six seasons with the Redskins, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2016.

–Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy said he expects Eddy Pineiro to play Monday night at Washington despite the kicker being listed as questionable on the Bears’ injury report.

Nagy told reporters Pineiro hurt his right (kicking) knee Friday in the weight room but termed the injury “minor.” Pineiro, 24, kicked Saturday and “felt like it was hurting him a little bit,” Nagy said. “I really do think that we’ll be OK.”

Also listed as questionable were tight end Trey Burton (groin), safety Eddie Jackson (shoulder/knee) and right guard Kyle Long (hip). Defensive end Bilal Nichols (broken hand) is out.

–The Cleveland Browns put linebacker and team captain Christian Kirksey on the injured reserve list with a chest injury.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that he was believed to have torn a pectoral muscle on Monday night in the Browns’ 23-3 win against the New York Jets. He’d be eligible to return on Nov. 24 against the Miami Dolphins but could be out for the season.

–The Philadelphia Eagles placed offensive tackle Jordan Mailata on injured reserve, further pushing back his eventual NFL debut.

Mailata, a seventh-round pick by the Eagles in 2018, has been dealing with a back injury since the preseason. He didn’t play at all last year and eventually was placed on IR in December. A former rugby player in Australia, the 6-foot-8, 346-pound Mailata made his way to the NFL via the International Pathway Program.

–The Green Bay Packers put starting left guard Lane Taylor on injured reserve with a biceps injury.

The 29-year-old suffered the injury in practice on Thursday. He will be eligible to be activated in eight weeks. Taylor started 45 of 48 games over the past three seasons.

–The New England Patriots promoted German running back Jakob Johnson to the 53-man roster after fullback James Develin (neck) was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.

Johnson takes the roster spot of receiver Antonio Brown, who was released Friday by the team. Johnson, who played his collegiate ball at Tennessee, played running back and linebacker for the Patriots in the preseason. He is a native of Stuttgart, Germany.

–Field Level Media

Read More 542 Words

Report: Kaepernick’s agent working the phones

Report: Kaepernick's agent working the phones

Report: Kaepernick’s agent working the phones

Colin Kaepernick’s agent has reportedly been working the phones during a rough week for NFL quarterbacks.

“Colin is literally in the best shape of his life,” a source close to Kaepernick told SNY on Tuesday. “He’s been working out five days a week at 5 a.m. for three years. He wants to play, and his agent has been contacting teams in need of a quarterback.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers and New York Jets are all dealing with injuries to their starters this week, and the Jacksonville Jaguars lost their starter in Week 1.

Kaepernick, 31, passed for 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in 69 games for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-16.

Kaepernick reached an undisclosed settlement in February with the NFL after filing a lawsuit alleging collusion by NFL teams to keep him out of the league because of his activism, including kneeling during the national anthem before games while playing with the 49ers.

–Field Level Media

Read More 103 Words

Brown, Rams hold off Panthers’ rally

Brown, Rams hold off Panthers' rally

Brown, Rams hold off Panthers’ rally

Malcolm Brown scored on a pair of short touchdown runs, and the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams overcame some missed scoring chances to defeat the Carolina Panthers 30-27 in the season opener Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff was 23 for 39 for 186 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton completed 25 of 39 passes for 239 yards and an interception.

Alex Armah’s 1-yard plunge allowed the Panthers to pull within 30-27 at the 1:58 mark. But with only one timeout remaining, Carolina didn’t get another possession after the Rams recovered an onside kick.

Running back Christian McCaffrey scored Carolina’s first touchdown of the season on an 8-yard run in the third quarter on a direct snap, cutting the Rams’ lead to 16-10.

The Rams countered with a 13-play drive, with Brown scoring from 1 yard out.

Panthers rookie kicker Joey Slye booted a 52-yard field goal to make it 23-13 with 11 seconds left in the third quarter.

Momentum shifted when Carolina’s Jermaine Carter Jr. blocked a punt to give the Panthers the ball at the Los Angeles 5. McCaffrey ran in from 2 yards out two players later, and the Panthers were within 23-20 with 13:10 left.

Yet the Rams were in good shape at the 6:37 mark when Goff threw a 5-yard touchdown dart to tight end Tyler Higbee.

Slye’s first attempt was wide right from 53 yards out late in the first quarter.

Greg Zuerlein’s 49-yard field goal opened the scoring for the Rams. He added one from 56 yards late in the first half.

Two plays after taking over at the Carolina 10 following a turnover when Newton’s throw was deemed a backward pass, the Rams scored on Brown’s 5-yard run at 12:44 of the second.

Carolina finally scored on the last play of the first half on Slye’s 46-yarder, cutting the deficit to 13-3. It came after the Rams gambled on defense by calling a pair of timeouts, but the Panthers converted a third down and then went on to gain two more first downs and end up in field-goal position.

Los Angeles Rams safety Eric Weddle left with 5:23 remaining in the second quarter with a head laceration, with blood dripping off his head and down both sides of his jersey. Weddle, in his first season with Los Angeles, took a knee to a head as leaping McCaffrey tried to make a play. He was evaluated for a concussion and did not return.

–Field Level Media

Read More 351 Words

Bears K Pineiro (knee) expected to play vs. Redskins

Bears K Pineiro (knee) expected to play vs. Redskins

Chicago Bears coach

Bears K Pineiro (knee) expected to play vs. Redskins

Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy said he expected Eddy Pineiro to play Monday night at Washington despite the kicker being listed as questionable on the Bears’ injury report Saturday.

Nagy told reporters Pineiro hurt his right (kicking) knee Friday in the weight room but termed the injury “minor.”

Pineiro, 24, kicked Saturday and “felt like it was hurting him a little bit,” Nagy said. “I really do think that we’ll be OK.”

Pineiro was the last man standing after the Bears spent the offseason searching for a kicker to replace Cody Parkey. Pineiro has converted all four of his field-goal attempts, including a last-second 53-yarder to defeat the Denver Broncos last Sunday.

Also listed as questionable were tight end Trey Burton (groin), safety Eddie Jackson (shoulder/knee) and right guard Kyle Long (hip). Defensive end Bilal Nichols (broken hand) is out.

–Field Level Media

Read More 92 Words

Tiger to skip inaugural 3M, return for The Open

Tiger to skip inaugural 3M, return for The Open

Tiger to skip inaugural 3M, return for The Open

Tiger Woods confirmed that he will not play in next week’s 3M Open and will return to competition for The Open Championship in Northern Ireland beginning July 18.

Woods has not played since tying for 21st at the U.S. Open earlier this month. He wasn’t expected to play in next week’s inaugural event in Blaine, Minn., despite missing the cut at the PGA Championship last month after remaining out of competition following his win at the Masters in April.

Woods told ESPN that he plans to “enjoy some family time” and will prepare for the year’s final major at Royal Portrush by playing at home.

He is ranked No. 5 in the world and needs one win to tie Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA Tour victories, but has acknowledged that at 43 years old, he needs to plan his schedule carefully — especially with the new schedule featuring six prominent events — including all four majors — over six consecutive months.

Woods has won 15 major championships, including three Opens (2000, 2005, 2006).

–Field Level Media

Read More 119 Words

Browns DE Garrett fined $42K for hits on Jets QB Siemian

Browns DE Garrett fined $42K for hits on Jets QB Siemian

Browns DE Garrett fined $42K for hits on Jets QB Siemian

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was fined $42,112 by the NFL on Saturday for two hits he made on New York Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian during Monday night’s game.

Each hit cost Garrett a $21,056 fine in a game in which he was penalized four times, including twice for roughing the passer. Siemian suffered a season-ending ankle injury on the second roughing call, which occurred midway through the second quarter. The backup quarterback started in place of Sam Darnold, who was out with mononucleosis.

Earlier this week, Garrett sounded remorseful for ending Siemian’s season.

“You do not want to put anybody out for the season,” Garrett said. “That is their job. That is something that you do not do unless you love it, and you do not want to take that away from anybody. I hope [Siemian] comes back faster and stronger than he ever has. I wish the best for him.”

Yet that apparently isn’t going to change his style of play as Garrett has a league-leading five sacks this season, including a career-high three sacks against the Jets.

“It’s hurting now because you want to play aggressive, you want to play passionate and you just want to finish the play,” Garrett said. “I’m gonna keep on playing with the same aggression, just gotta be smarter, better in the strike zone and try and pull off so I don’t land on them with all my weight.

“That was the main point of emphasis when the refs talked to me, and I just gotta be better at that. … I’m not trying to do anything dirty. I’m not trying to injure anybody.”

In the season opener against the Tennessee Titans, Garrett received a $10,527 fine for his palm strike to tight end Delanie Walker’s face mask.

Also fined after the Jets-Browns game were Browns rookie linebacker Mack Wilson ($28,075), who was penalized for lowering his head and delivering a helmet-to-helmet hit on Jets wide receiver Ty Montgomery, and Jets safety Jamal Adams ($21,056) for a roughing the passer penalty against Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

–Field Level Media

Read More 293 Words

Jets’ Siemian out for season; Darnold improving

Jets' Siemian out for season; Darnold improving

Jets’ Siemian out for season; Darnold improving

New York Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian is out for the season with a left ankle injury and likely will need surgery, coach Adam Gase announced Tuesday.

Siemian, filling in for ill starter Sam Darnold, was injured in the second quarter of Monday night’s loss to the Cleveland Browns. The New York Daily News reported he had ligament damage but did not break his ankle.

A somber Gase announced last Thursday that Darnold had mononucleosis and declared Siemian the starter. Now, he will turn to second-year player Luke Falk, who had been elevated from the practice squad after Darnold was sidelined. The Tennessee Titans selected Falk in the sixth round of the 2018 draft, but he was waived at final cuts and spent the 2018 season with Gase on the Dolphins.

Darnold won’t play on Sunday against the New England Patriots, and the Jets have a bye the following week. He is expected to miss three to seven weeks, depending on his recovery.

“He’s feeling better. … The doctors are letting us know how to proceed with him,” Gase said, per the Daily News.

Darnold, who was allowed back at the team’s facility on Tuesday, said on ESPN radio he is targeting Week 5 at Philadelphia.

He also said that he wasn’t 100 percent for the season opener, a 17-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills, after sleeping poorly and having cold sweats, estimating he played around 80-85 percent.

“After the game, my body decided to shut down,” Darnold added.

Gase told reporters on Tuesday that wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (knee/hamstring) and linebacker Jordan Jenkins (calf) are on a week-to-week basis. Linebacker C.J. Mosley is day-to-day with a groin injury.

The first-year Jets coach also addressed the status of cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who didn’t see action in Monday night’s 23-3 loss until late in the fourth quarter. In March 2018, Johnson signed a five-year $72.5 million contract with the Jets, $45 million of it guaranteed.

“We just decided not to play him,” Gase said, adding it wasn’t for disciplinary measures.

–Field Level Media

Read More 282 Words

Jaguars CB Ramsey to play Thursday vs. Titans

Jaguars CB Ramsey to play Thursday vs. Titans

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey plans to play

Jaguars CB Ramsey to play Thursday vs. Titans

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey plans to play as normal in Thursday night’s game at Tennessee — assuming he is still a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“Right now I’m still a part of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and I’m happy about that,” said Ramsey, whose agent confirmed Monday that the cornerback requested a trade. “I’m getting ready for the game as well. That’s where my focus is right now.”

Defensive coordinator Todd Wash also expects Ramsey to play as normal, saying the cornerback has been preparing like he does every week.

“He’s a competitor, so if he’s in our building and all that stuff, we anticipate he’s going to play and play well,” Wash said. “That’s just who Jalen is.”

Meeting reporters Tuesday, Ramsey declined to acknowledge his trade request directly or discuss the reasons behind it, citing a desire to avoid being a distraction to his teammates.

“I’m gonna let God do his work, let my agent do his work and everybody gonna work it out,” he said.

One thing Ramsey did address was how the trade request got out into the media, which he emphasized he was not responsible for.

“I didn’t leak that information,” Ramsey said. “Me and my agent, we are not the ones who leaked that information. And I was very strict about that, because I did not want it to get out, and I didn’t want to be a distraction.

“… Y’all need to ask the other side, or whoever.”

Pressed about his reasoning behind wanting out of Jacksonville, Ramsey mostly deflected questions, saying repeatedly that he had “nothing bad or negative to say at all about anybody in this building.” He also emphasized that he loves the city of Jacksonville and its fans.

“I want to f—ing win,” Ramsey said. “Straight up. Excuse my language, but s–it, everybody know that. That’s who I am, that passion, that fire, that heart. … I’m gonna continue giving that as long as I’m here.”

Asked if the lack of a contract extension was a factor, Ramsey replied, “Oh I don’t care about that. God gonna work that out.”

According to various reports, multiple teams have already offered the Jaguars packages including a first-round pick for the All-Pro cornerback, but it’s unclear how quickly a deal might materialize.

“Obviously we want the best for Jalen, but selfishly I want him to be a Jaguar forever,” Wash told reporters.

Head coach Doug Marrone, who got into a heated exchange with Ramsey on the sideline during Sunday’s 13-12 loss at Houston, will meet reporters later Tuesday. Ramsey said the two have not spoken.

Ramsey, 24, has started all 50 games since being drafted fifth overall in 2016. He has nine career interceptions and 202 tackles (178 solo) in his career.

Ramsey earns a base salary this season of $3.6 million, which jumps to $13.7 million next year.

–Field Level Media

Read More 418 Words

Patriots LT Wynn to IR; Benenoch added

Patriots LT Wynn to IR; Benenoch added

New England

Patriots LT Wynn to IR; Benenoch added

New England Patriots left tackle Isaiah Wynn was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a toe injury, putting him out until at least mid-November.

Wynn cannot practice for six weeks or play for eight weeks, at which time he could be recalled from injured reserve if healthy. He is first eligible to play Nov. 17 at Philadelphia, after the Patriots’ Week 10 bye.

To take Wynn’s place on the active roster, the Patriots signed offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch.

Wynn reportedly had an MRI exam on Monday after leaving Sunday’s win against the Miami Dolphins in the first half. The 22-year-old was a first-round pick in 2018 out of Georgia but missed all of his rookie campaign with a torn Achilles before earning the starting job at left tackle this preseason.

Benenoch, 25, was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, having played as a reserve in Week 1. He started all 16 games at right guard for the Bucs in 2018, allowing nine sacks and committing seven penalties, according to STATS LLC. He also played in 13 games, including five starts at right tackle, in 2017, allowing four sacks and committing two penalties.

According to NFL Network, Benenoch had nine teams request to work him out after his release from Tampa Bay, but he wanted to play for Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.

The Patriots were already without right tackle Marcus Cannon (shoulder) entering Week 2’s game in Miami, which thrust recent signee Marshall Newhouse into the lineup. After Wynn was hurt, Newhouse moved to left tackle while Korey Cunningham — acquired in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals during the preseason — entered at right tackle.

Left guard Joe Thuney was also banged up during the game, leaving for six snaps. The Patriots were already without longtime starting center David Andrews, who was ruled out for the season due to blood clots in his lungs.

“That group is a hardworking group,” head coach Bill Belichick said of his offensive line earlier Tuesday. “They’ve communicated well together, and the guys with more experience helping some of the guys with less experience, but overall we’ve just tried to take it day-by-day and do the things that we can do.”

Each NFL team can recall up to two players from injured reserve each season. The Patriots’ 2019 first-round pick, wideout N’Keal Harry, is already on injured reserve and expected to be recalled at some point this season.

–Field Level Media

Read More 347 Words

Reports: OT Wynn ‘week-to-week as Patriots sign Benenoch

Reports: OT Wynn 'week-to-week as Patriots sign Benenoch

New

Reports: OT Wynn ‘week-to-week as Patriots sign Benenoch

New England Patriots left tackle Isaiah Wynn is “week-to-week” with turf toe, and the team is signing lineman Caleb Benenoch, according to two reports from NFL Network on Tuesday.

Wynn reportedly had an MRI exam on Monday after leaving Sunday’s win against the Miami Dolphins in the first half. He is now expected to miss some time, although it’s unclear how long.

Benenoch, 25, was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, having played as a reserve in Week 1. He started all 16 games at right guard for the Bucs in 2018, allowing nine sacks and committing seven penalties, according to STATS LLC. He also played in 13 games, including five starts at right tackle, in 2017, allowing four sacks and committing two penalties.

According to NFL Network, Benenoch had nine teams request to work him out after his release from Tampa Bay, but he wanted to play for Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.

The Patriots were already without right tackle Marcus Cannon (shoulder) entering Week 2’s game in Miami, which thrust recent signee Marshall Newhouse into the lineup. After Wynn was hurt, Newhouse moved to left tackle while Korey Cunningham — acquired in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals during the preseason — entered at right tackle.

Left guard Joe Thuney was also banged up during the game, leaving for six snaps. The Patriots were already without longtime starting center David Andrews, who was ruled out for the season due to blood clots in his lungs.

Wynn, 22, was a first-round pick in 2018 out of Georgia. He missed all of his rookie campaign with a torn Achilles before earning the starting job at left tackle this preseason.

–Field Level Media

Read More 225 Words

Cook carries Vikings to 28-12 victory over Falcons

Cook carries Vikings to 28-12 victory over Falcons

Cook carries Vikings to 28-12 victory over Falcons

Dalvin Cook ran for 111 yards with two touchdowns and safety Anthony Harris recorded two interceptions and recovered a fumble as the Minnesota Vikings rolled to a season-opening 28-12 victory over the visiting Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in Minneapolis.

Kirk Cousins (8 for 10, 98 yards) threw for a touchdown and ran for another as the Vikings scored TDs on three of their first four possessions. Minnesota recorded all of its points off three Atlanta turnovers and a blocked punt.

Cook, limited to 15 games over his first two seasons because of injuries, ran the ball 21 times and had 40 yards on his first two carries. The Vikings, who averaged 93.3 rushing yards in 2018, had more than 100 on the ground in the first half and 172 for the game.

Atlanta’s Matt Ryan was 33 of 46 for 304 yards with fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones. However, Ryan was intercepted twice and sacked four times. Devonta Freeman was held to 19 yards on eight carries for the Falcons, who totaled 345 yards as Minnesota flexed its defensive muscle early and often.

Anthony Barr sacked Ryan on the first play and Eric Wilson blocked Matt Bosher’s punt to start the Vikings’ first possession at Atlanta’s 21-yard line. Three plays later, Cousins connected with Adam Thielen for a 23-yard touchdown pass.

After Harris’ interception at the Falcons’ 41-yard line, the Vikings were back in the end zone on Cook’s 19-yard scoring run around the left end for a 14-0 lead with 8:22 left in the first quarter. Harris was again in the right spot, thwarting a Falcons’ drive by recovering Freeman’s fumble at the Minnesota 21 early in the second quarter.

The Vikings made it 21-0 with a 10-play, 79-yard drive — aided by pass interference and holding penalties by the Atlanta defense — that was capped by Cousins’ 1-yard surge with 4:40 left in the half.

Atlanta was driving on its first possession of the second half, but Harris halted a 13-play drive by intercepting Ryan in the back of the end zone. The Vikings followed with a six-play drive, with Cook’s 7-yard TD run pushing the lead to 28-0.

–Field Level Media

Read More 297 Words

Jackson, Ravens eviscerate Dolphins in historic fashion

Jackson, Ravens eviscerate Dolphins in historic fashion

Lamar

Jackson, Ravens eviscerate Dolphins in historic fashion

Lamar Jackson tied a franchise record with five touchdown passes as his Baltimore Ravens routed the host Miami Dolphins 59-10 in Sunday’s season opener for both teams.

Jackson, who led all NFL quarterbacks last year with 695 rushing yards in just seven starts, spent the offseason working on his passing, and it was evident on Sunday. He completed 17 of 20 attempts for 324 yards with no interceptions.

Thanks in part to Jackson, the Ravens also set a franchise record for most points in one game. Baltimore tied for the second-most points ever in an NFL season opener, trailing the 1973 Atlanta Falcons (62).

There was also a record set on the Miami side, as Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick became the first player in NFL history to toss at least one touchdown pass for eight different teams.

Jackson, a second-year pro, and rookie wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown — both 22 years old — had successful homecomings. Both of them are from South Florida.

Brown, a first-round pick and the cousin of NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown, caught four passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns in his NFL debut.

Two other Ravens had 100-plus-yard games. Running back Mark Ingram rushed 14 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Mark Andrews caught eight passes for 108 yards and one score.

Baltimore scored touchdowns on its first four possessions and six of its first seven before a kneeldown entering halftime. The Ravens raced to a 42-3 second-quarter lead, and it was 42-10 at halftime.

The Ravens were dominant from the game’s first play from scrimmage — a 49-yard run by Ingram.

Several Miami mistakes led to Baltimore’s first-half assault, including a Fitzpatrick interception and a fumbled punt return by Jakeem Grant.

In addition, the Ravens — leading 35-10 at the time — faked a punt with a direct snap to safety Anthony Levine, who rumbled 60 yards on a fourth-and-1 play for a first down to Miami’s 10 late in the second quarter.

Miami’s only touchdown came on a 6-yard slant pattern run by Preston Williams, who scored with just 13 seconds left in the first half. He spun around to catch a throw that was behind him, doing an acrobatic job of keeping his feet in bounds toward the back of the end zone.

It was the first career touchdown for Williams, a 6-foot-4 undrafted rookie free agent who caught 96 passes for 1,345 yards and 14 touchdowns as a Colorado State senior and could be a Dolphins bright spot this year.

A second-half highlight was turned in by Ravens backup quarterback Robert Griffin, who tossed his first touchdown since 2016.

–Field Level Media

Read More 375 Words

Patriots promote German RB Johnson to active roster

Patriots promote German RB Johnson to active roster

Patriots promote German RB Johnson to active roster

The New England Patriots on Saturday promoted German running back Jakob Johnson to the 53-man roster after fullback James Develin was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.

Johnson takes the roster spot of Antonio Brown, who was released Friday by the team.

Johnson, 24, who played his collegiate ball at Tennessee, played running back and linebacker for the Patriots in the preseason. He is a native of Stuttgart, Germany.

Develin, out with a neck injury, will miss his first game with the team since 2015.

–Field Level Media

Read More 38 Words

49ers WR Goodwin wins ’40 Yards of Gold,’ $1M

49ers WR Goodwin wins '40 Yards of Gold,' $1M

San Francisco 49ers

49ers WR Goodwin wins ’40 Yards of Gold,’ $1M

San Francisco 49ers wideout and former Olympic long jumper Marquise Goodwin beat Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson by .05 seconds in the final Saturday night to win the “40 Yards of Gold” competition and claim the $1 million prize.

The pay-per-view event, hosted by former NFL wideout Chad Johnson and held in Sunrise, Fla., featured 16 players running 40-yard dashes against each other in a single-elimination bracket.

Goodwin, a four-time All-American in track and field in college at Texas and a participant at the 2012 London games, advanced through the “offense” side of the bracket with wins over Arizona Cardinals wideout Damiere Byrd, Atlanta Falcons wideout Christian Blake and Denver Broncos running back Khalfani Muhammad before beating Jackson.

Muhammad was a replacement for New Orleans Saints wideout Ted Ginn Jr., who inspired the event by claiming he would race any NFL player in a 40-yard dash for $10,000 but did not show for Saturday’s action.

Blake replaced New York Jets wideout Robby Anderson after the latter withdrew from the quarterfinals. Anderson had beaten Saints running back Alvin Kamara in the opening round.

Jackson beat Minnesota Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes and free agent corner Jalen Myrick in the first two rounds before clipping Chicago Bears cornerback John Franklin III by .01 seconds in the semifinals.

–Field Level Media

Read More 160 Words