Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie injury: Giants CB questionable after injuring calf

New York Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left the Thursday night game against Washington with an apparent calf injury and is questionable to return, according to Tracy Wolfson of NFL Network.

Midway through the second quarter, Rodgers-Cromartie exited the game and was on the sideline receiving treatment from the team’s medical staff.

Houston has been able to dominate on the ground behind Arian Foster. The sixth-year back, who is taking on the bulk of the carries after Ben Tate left for the Cleveland Browns in free agency, has 241 yards on 4.4 yards per carry. Rookie Alfred Blue has stepped into Tate’s old role, gaining 118 yards on 4.7 yards per attempt.

Over at CBS Sports, only Jason La Canfora and Ryan Wilson believe the Bills can go on the road and come away with a victory, while the rest of the eight-member panel is going with the Texans. However, half of the panel thinks Buffalo will be able to keep it close and cover the small 3.5-point spread.

USA Today features seven experts, and only Nate Davis is going with Buffalo to pull the upset. Only one man at SB Nation selected the Bills, as evidenced below. All the other picks can be seen by clicking here.

There’s nothing partisan about that. It’s just common sense. And wouldn’t it be nice to see something come out of Washington, D.C., that is for the benefit of the American people? I would love for this to be the issue that every party could agree on.

“Frankly, I’ve never heard a really good reason as to why they have this non-profit status,” she told me. We talked about why she’s doing what she’s doing, and why she believes her cause will win.3

Hawks get Ersan Ilyasova, trade Tiago Splitter to Sixers

The Atlanta Hawks have acquired forward Ersan Ilyasova from the Philadelphia 76ers for Tiago Splitter and draft considerations.

The Hawks were looking for frontcourt help in talks with teams in recent days and landed Ilyasova, who has been traded five times in the past three years. He is averaging 14.8 points and 5.9 rebounds in 56 games for the 76ers. He will be a free agent at the end of the season.

How does this deal affect Philly’s future and its young players? Will Ersan Ilyasova help the Hawks in the East? Kevin Pelton grades the trade.
Splitter has been plagued by injuries over the past two seasons and has not played this season due to a calf injury. He is also on the final year of his contract.

The Hawks will send a future second-round pick and give the 76ers swap rights on another second-round pick as part of the deal.

During the first two weeks of the season, Garoppolo went 13-of-17 for 205 yards and two touchdowns versus the blitz (five or more rushers). Yes, that speaks to his vision, quick release and ability to read coverages as we have already discussed, but I’ve also looked at plays on the tape that show his ability to buy time and throw from unstable platforms.

Take a look at this play, a touchdown pass to Amendola versus Miami where Garoppolo identified the pressure and bought extra time to deliver a perfect ball for six points.

George is scheduled to become a free agent in the summer of 2018. In last week’s interview with Stein, when asked about the possibility of signing a contract extension of more than $200 million that Indiana is expected to offer him this summer, George said: “As I told Larry, I always want to play on a winning team. I always want to be part of a team that has a chance to win it [all]. That’s important. … I want a chance to play for a chance to win a championship.”

 

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I can move around that’s huge, because you’re trying to make the team.

“We have positionals twice a week,” said Alabama lineman A.J. Shepherd, “where I train so I was working with the coach to learn guard and learn some more pulling. It’s different because at guard, you have to punch right away, but at tackle you can wait and see. I’ve just been working on both because I don’t know where I’m going to play.”

“I feel guard is a little easier,” noted Utah tackle Jeremiah Poutasi, “because of the fact the D-tackle is just right there. Right out of your stance, he’s right there in front of you. At tackle you need to be a little bit more fluid in your steps because you’re going against some of the best speed rushers. Not only that, you’re out in space by yourself. At guard you’ve got a lot of help, but guard also is more about being physical.”

I played left tackle in my career, but early on I played right tackle. I also took snaps at [center] at practice at the NFLPA Game, did some 9-on-7 work, some things like that, so to have the ability to snap the ball and play center, play a little guard out there too, I can move around that’s huge, because you’re trying to make the team. If there’s a hole at guard and all you know how to play is tackle, it’s hurting you for getting onto the field.”

At one point a Cleveland Browns beat writer asked him about Johnny Manziel and how last year’s must-see rookie quarterback’s first-year struggles will impact him. Winston waved it off, for one of the more refreshing moments of the 10-minute melee. He wasn’t worried about it, and reminded the audience that he was “not Johnny Manziel.” At least he wasn’t asked to “talk about” it.

The highlight of the whole affair came with just a few questions left on the clock when he reminded the huddle masses of pleated khakis about his weight.

“A lot of people thought I was fat, but I’m proving everybody wrong. I look good and I know it.”

Bell was to running backs what Aaron Rodgers was to quarterbacks in 2016

The only realistic candidate for the Bills’ franchise tag is cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The tag is expected to cost about $15 million, which could be too rich for a defense that already has devoted big money to defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and defensive end Jerry Hughes. If the Bills decide to keep quarterback Tyrod Taylor this offseason at a $15.9 million cap number in 2017, they might not have the salary-cap space to assign the franchise tag to Gilmore.

Could it work? It’s hard to see it, given how rarely the Packers dip into the free-agent market and how many questions they have to answer on their offensive line, where T.J. Lang is a free agent. They’re also not a team that would offer Peterson a boatload of carries.

Le’Veon Bell is the easy call here. Bell was to running backs what Aaron Rodgers was to quarterbacks in 2016, a wizard with the ball who shifted and cut with ease. The Steelers would be willing to let Bell play on the $12.7 million running back tag if necessary, but the tag is a placeholder for a long-term deal if it makes sense. The team won’t pay Adrian Peterson money ($14 million per year). The $9 million to $10 million range might be more feasible for both parties.

Running back situation: Jacquizz Rodgers led the team in rushing with 560 yards, but he’s a free agent. Doug Martin and his $7 million cap hit could also be on the way out after a violation for performance-enhancing drugs last season. Charles Sims, who played only seven games in 2016, is in the final year of his contract.

Could it work? It might have been no accident that Peterson mentioned the Bucs (remember in 2015 when his agent, Ben Dogra, posed in a Tampa Bay hat next to Peterson’s jersey during his standoff with the Vikings?). They’ve got the cap space to pay him plenty of money, though an up-and-coming young team might look to stick with a back like Rodgers as it builds around quarterback Jameis Winston. Should the Buccaneers have interest, though, they’ve got the wherewithal to get Peterson.

Long described the pendulum of emotions for him.

For background: Luck’s deal averages $24.594 million; he also received $87 million in guaranteed money. I don’t know that Cousins will receive that much in guaranteed money — it was $47 million fully guaranteed at the time of signing — but the average per year? If he signs a long-term deal, that number has to be in play for a couple of reasons.

Here’s the thing, as Joel Corry (former agent who now works for CBS Sports) told me this past week: Even if Cousins tops Luck, that doesn’t mean he’ll enter next season as the highest-paid quarterback. Actually, by then he could be fourth. There’s a chance Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford and Derek Carr all get new deals. Each one would top Luck, too. Again, this isn’t about who’s better but rather about the position they play, a rising salary cap, timing and leverage.

Long described the pendulum of emotions for him.

“It went from the worst nightmare in the world to the best dream all within an hour. You go from the lowest point of your career to the highest point of your career, just like that. It was the most insane thing I’ve ever been a part of,” he said on the Russillo and Kanell program.

Long added that one “could make the claim this is the toughest team in Super Bowl history. It’s unprecedented, that type of comeback.”

He noted that when the Patriots won the overtime coin toss and took the ball, some defensive players looked at each other on the sideline and said, “We’re not going back out there.”

Long, who is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, plans to keep playing in 2017.

“I’m excited for the next step,” he said. “I didn’t know coming into this year that I could still play football at a high level. I feel like I can play just as well as I did before I started getting hurt [in 2014-2015]. I’m happy to be back.”

It’s possible that Oakland will have none of its original speedsters on the roster when training camp starts this summer.

Heading into the season, the Lions were seemingly in fine shape up front, but the unit finished just south of mediocre in 2014, giving up 47 sacks and springing the running game for just 3.6 yards per carry with Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. The veterans got pooped. Dominic Raiola has already been let go for being a poor center, as well as an unpleasant person. Nine-year left guard Rob Sims may be next.

What would be left are a bunch of youngsters entering, at most, their fourth season in the NFL, and that’s fine. The Dallas Cowboys’ top-notch unit was exactly the same way last season, outside of right tackle Doug Free. Travis Swanson (2014) and Larry Warford (2013) appear to be hits. If the Lions can find something other than an undrafted rookie to plug into the right tackle spot for next season, the line could be in great shape for years to come, and that would help Matthew Stafford and the offense much more than trying to give him another splashy playmaker.

We didn’t need to do much research to confirm that conclusion, but the numbers are still pretty stark when you see them in print. The Raiders picked eight of the 135 players with the fastest Combine 40 times over the last nine NFL Drafts, twice the expected rate based on all 32 teams and the most out of any team since 2006. The most surprising part might be that only three were first-round picks (Michael Huff, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Darren McFadden).

Only three of those eight were on the roster last year (McFadden, Tyvon Branch and Chimidi Chekwa). McFadden is an unrestricted free agent this year, and few expect him to return. Chekwa, a low-cost special teams guy, could return as a restricted free agent. Branch is the only one under contract for 2015. However, he’s seen action in a grand total of five games over the last two seasons and is owed almost $20 million over the next three years of his contract.

It’s possible that Oakland will have none of its original speedsters on the roster when training camp starts this summer.