After being knocked out (literally) of the game last weekend, New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones returned to practice on Thursday on a limited basis. Jones' status is still up in the air, as he is currently progressing through concussion protocol and has to be cleared in order to play this week.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers are struggling this season, but they finally snapped their losing streak last week. Could this be the spark they need to keep things going? Roethlisberger says they still have a lot of work to do. "We're not by any means going to sit here and say we're fixed; we're this great offense. We're not there yet. We still have a long way to go." Well, at least he's aware.
In probably one of the best quotes I've heard this entire season, Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said of Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert... well, I'll just leave it here.
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packers reiterate they want Aaron Rodgers to stay in green bay
Amidst all the rumors and reading between the lines during this Aaron Rodgers versus Green Bay Packers gauntlet, head coach Matt LaFleur finally spoke to the media after the first rookie minicamp meeting. If LaFleur thought he would be asked about just the rookies and not this whole thing, he was mad wrong. LaFleur stated that the team still wants Rodgers as their quarterback (who wouldn't) and that the team is working through the situation.
This sounds like someone who is being broken up with and told that they have to "learn to love themselves before they love someone else," no?
LaFleur has a point, and really, what else is he supposed to say? But also, actions speak louder than words in this situation. Rodgers deserves to speak his mind and be consulted regarding certain decisions (like Tom Brady was in Tampa Bay). I'm in the camp that believes the two will come to some sort of agreement eventually, but crazier things have happened.
fully vaxxed players and staff no longer have to wear masks in team facilities
Hallelujah! While we folks who believe in science are getting vaccinated and doing the right things to get this horrible past year and a half behind us, the NFL is also incentivizing players and staff who do the same. The NFL sent a memo to teams on Friday, stating that fully vaccinated personnel (which means two shots and two weeks following the second shot) are no longer required to wear masks in team facilities. The memo also mentioned that teams will have to adhere to any local regulations.
broncos release ja'Wuan james
This is an odd one. The Denver Broncos placed offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James on the non-football injury list last week after he tore his Achilles while working out away from the team facility. They released him from the team over the weekend.
Long story short: The NFLPA was urging players to not show up to in-person workouts because it worked perfectly fine for everyone last year doing it virtually. However, there was a snag in that line of thinking which was: What happens if you get injured (and/or are declared out for the season) and it happened away from the facility because they chose not to show up, is the team still inclined to pay said player? Now, James is that example.
James sent a tweet stating his thoughts on the situation (which I agree with, by the way):
James is also considering filing a grievance against the team, so this will be something to keep an eye on.
giants give kelvin benjamin a shot.. maybe at tight end
If this sounds familiar, it's because there seems to be an influx of older players trying to convert to tight end and sign with a team. The New York Giants are signing free agent wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin after a tryout this weekend, but there's a catch. Benjamin may be playing tight end.
He has the size at 6'5" and 245 pounds. But, converting to a new position after not having played in the NFL in three seasons isn't an easy task.
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the Browns are going through it
The Cleveland Browns did not practice on Thursday due to positive COVID-19 tests, one of which was cornerback Denzel Ward. Ward will not be able to go on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers and could miss the Browns' wild card game the following week, should they make it.
There is some good news -- The NFL gave the Browns the OK to practice on Friday, after no new positive tests. The situation is still one to monitor, as we all saw the Baltimore Ravens' and Tennessee Titans' situations earlier this season.
bills activate john brown
The rich get richer -- the Buffalo Bills activated wide receiver John Brown off the COVID-19 reserve list. Buffalo added Brown to the 53-man roster after being named a close contact of TJ Yeldon. Brown missed Monday night's game due to being on the reserve list and four other games due to an ankle injury. They will need him, as WR Cole Beasley has been ruled out for Sunday's game.
giants offensive line coach tests positive for covid
A new year and all the top NFL stories today are COVID related. Shocking. New York Giants offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo tested positive and will not coach in Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys.
cowboys have a player test positive
Speaking of the Giants' opponent... the Cowboys are also working remotely on Friday due to a player testing positive. The plan for the team (if there are no other positives) is to return to practice on Saturday before traveling to New Jersey.
alvin kamara will miss sunday, maybe postseason with positive test
Another one. New Orleans Saints star running back Alvin Kamara will miss Sunday's game due to a positive COVID-19 test. He may miss the first postseason game as well, which will certainly put a damper on the Saints' chances of winning.
And yes, most of the top stories today are COVID-19 related. We're a week out from Christmas, and it'll only get worse based on what I saw on Instagram stories last night.
In a storyline I completely forgot about to be honest with you, the New York Giants are playing the Dallas Cowboys this week, meaning Jason Garrett will be returning to his future home. Of course, reporters are going to ask him about this scenario. But leave it to Garrett to give the most generic, robotic answer known to man.
Neither of these teams are doing particularly great so far this season, but the Giants are winless with no offensive identity beyond Saquon Barkley who is done for the season.
That being said, if the Cowboys somehow lose this game, like they have been doing lately, they're in big trouble.
Losing star running back Saquon Barkley could be the worst thing ever for the New York Giants. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is trying to see the positive side of such a huge loss.
I get the premise behind this -- you want to try to be as positive as possible when you lose basically your entire offense. However, Barkley is such a tremendous loss for this team that it can't all be sunshine and rainbows.
'Next Man Up' will be huge here, and with Barkley the usual go-to, the team will likely need some time to gel together in-game situations. Subtle reminder that they're going up against a banged-up San Francisco 49ers squad, so this gives them a chance to try out many things.
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