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Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford opens up about ‘different,’ ‘stressful’ week, toll of being away from family

Matthew Stafford’s daughter, Hunter, had fallen off her high chair onto a granite floor Friday night and the Detroit Lions quarterback didn’t know what to do. He was quarantined in a Detroit-area hotel away from his family due to NFL COVID-19 protocols after he came into close contact with an infected person. His wife, Kelly, couldn’t find anyone to watch their other three daughters.

So Stafford jumped in the car Friday night and started to head home.

“It’s a long story,” Stafford said Sunday, after his team lost to the Minnesota Vikings 34-20. “But yeah, I was on my way home.”

Stafford had told the story to CBS during a production meeting, which reporter Melanie Collins shared before Sunday’s game. Stafford didn’t want to go into details again after the game, but Collins reported he called general manager Bob Quinn and told him he would have to break protocol and be unable to play Sunday.

Collins said he was a mile from home when Kelly found someone to take care of the kids. He turned around, returned to the hotel and stayed away from his family and in protocol. Hunter ended up with a concussion, and Kelly explained what happened Saturday on Instagram.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

After Sunday’s game, Stafford said Hunter was “doing OK.”7

“That was probably the closest it got [to not playing] and obviously just depended on if I continued to test negative,” Stafford said. “But the plan, early on in the week, was that if I continued to test negative that I’ll be able to show up on Saturday night and do all the meetings virtually and all that kind of stuff and then play.

“So the week was obviously a different one, a little bit of a stressful one, but no excuse, got to come out and play better.”

Stafford did play against Minnesota, completing 23 of 32 passes for 211 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions before leaving to be checked for a concussion in the fourth quarter. He cleared concussion protocol and then spoke with the media, where he explained how difficult the week was for him.

In terms of football, Stafford was able to be in meetings and watch practices virtually, and he constantly communicated with backups Chase Daniel and David Blough while trying to stay mentally ready himself. It was being away from his family that was the hard part and the part that weighed on him.

It’s also the part he’s still unsure of. While Stafford said he believed he’d be able to fly back to Detroit with the team, he was under the impression after the game he would have to remain quarantined from his family.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“It’s not something I take lightly. I understand it’s a pandemic and people’s health and safety are at risk, and I would feel terrible if I brought that in and infected a bunch of teammates or coaches or whatever it is,” Stafford said. “So I understand it. Doesn’t make it easy, but everybody in the league is doing it.

“I just hate being away from my family, you know, and finish a practice, finish a game, go hug my daughters, hug my wife. That’s what sometimes makes it worth it for me, and not being able to see them and hang with them has been really tough. But there’s other people dealing with the same kind of stuff I am. That’s just the hard part for me.”

Will Chargers receiver Mike Williams put it all together after up-and-down start?

Mike Williams is everything you’d want in a wide receiver. Big — 6-foot-4, 220 pounds — fast (4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash) and able to land in the most awkward positions imaginable. And get up standing. Unhurt. Well, maybe with a few aches and pains.

“I don’t even think about it,” said of his often-acrobatic landings. “My mind is ‘catch the ball.’ When you land it can be pretty violent.

“But I don’t think about it. However I land, I land. I’m just trying to make a football play.”

He’s made plenty of football plays for the Los Angeles Chargers thus far this season, developing an early connection with rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. He is averaging 17.3 yards per reception, hauling in 18 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns, despite dealing with nagging injuries.

Williams has always stronger and bigger than just about everyone dating back to his childhood growing up in Tampa, Florida, playing both football and basketball for Plant High School. He signed to play football at Clemson but the hops from hoops always stayed with him.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap7

“Me and the homies playing in the backyard,” he explained. “Throw the ball up … we all made catches like that. It’s nothing to the people back home.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Herbert took notice once he got settled into the starting role and coaches pulled out the playbook. He discovered that Williams is a matchup nightmare for nearly any cornerback or safety.

And that’s why Herbert said he knows now that anytime he sees Williams, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2017 draft, on the sideline covered by a single player, he’s going to Williams because he knows the receiver will make a play on the ball.

“It’s on tape,” Williams said. “I’ve shown I can do it. He [Herbert] has seen it. Coaches have seen me multiple times doing it.”

And so he does and, at times, is very successful. After a shoulder injury before the season began (from diving in practice, something Chargers coach Anthony Lynn obviously frowns upon) he has, also at times, been show-stopping. But is this the year that he finally breaks through?

In 2019, he had 49 receptions for 1,001 yards and a 20.4-yards-per-catch average (which led all receivers) and two touchdowns. He caught 10 touchdown passes in 2018, a season in which he had 43 receptions for 664 yards. He leads the league in receptions of more than 35 yards dating to the start the 2019 season.

When Keenan Allen left the Week 5 game against the New Orleans Saints with back spasms, coaches told Williams to “go out and play.”

He did that, and then some. He caught a dazzling 64-yard touchdown pass with 3:40 left in the fourth quarter to give the Chargers a 27-20 lead, one of his five receptions for 109 yards against the Saints while battling a hamstring injury.

He also put the Chargers in position to win by making a leaping, 29-yard catch in double coverage with 15 seconds left to play and the game tied at 27-27, setting up Michael Badgley for a game-winning field-goal attempt. Badgley missed the 50-yard try, but Williams put him in position to be the hero.

Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles have ‘trust and faith’ in Carson Wentz amid struggles

Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson said that he did not consider replacing Carson Wentz with Jalen Hurts during Sunday’s night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, adding that Hurts and Nate Sudfeld need to be ready in case that situation comes up down the road.

Wentz turned the ball over four times and ended 15-of-27 for 123 yards with a pair of touchdowns in a 23-9 win over the Cowboys.

“Carson is our starter, and we’ve got a lot of trust and faith in him that he can get the job done. By no means was I in a position to make a decision or make a move [Sunday],” Pederson said. “It’s just something that we’ve got to continue to coach, we’ve got to continue to get better. He understands he has to get better in that area. We also understand that our backup quarterbacks here, Jalen and Nate, have got to be prepared, whether it’s a situation like that or an injury situation where they have to go in and play. My mind wasn’t there. I wasn’t going there. I was going to give Carson every opportunity to win that game for us. He’s capable of doing that, and I wasn’t in that frame of mind.”nike cheap nfl jerseys

Wentz is on pace for the worst statistical season of his career. He leads the league in turnovers (16), interceptions (12) and sacks (32), is 31st in completion percentage (58.4) and 29th in yards per attempt (6.1). His play had picked up over the past few games as he led multiple comeback efforts before tailing off against Dallas, which entered the game as the most giving defense in the NFL.8

Hurts, the team’s second-round pick this past April, has been sprinkled into the offense over the first half of the season, lining up all over the formation including at quarterback, where he’s completed two passes on as many attempts for 27 yards. Hurts has played 23 snaps total. The offense has generated 215 yards (9.3 average) and two touchdowns on those plays.

“Jalen’s doing a nice job. He’s prepared during the week, and he understands the game plan,” Pederson said.

“I think that you can’t do go in and say, ‘hey, learn the offense like Carson knows it right now,’ but I think you can do some things with him that allow him to be successful if we had to. But he’s in a good position. He studies hard during the week with Nate, and he’s prepared if called upon.”nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Pederson referenced his experience during the 2015 season, when he was offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs, in explaining why he is sticking with Wentz. The Chiefs started 1-5 but the coaching staff kept Alex Smith at quarterback, and Kansas City rattled off 11 straight wins from there.

“Not saying that we are going to win 11 straight here, but what I’m saying is, we are going to work through our issues. We are going to work through our problems,” Pederson said. “Carson understands that we’ve got to hold everybody accountable, and it starts with me, and I’m going to look at myself in the mirror. I’m going to look at some of the decisions and calls I’ve made in the first eight games, and that’s part of what this [bye] week is about, and it’s about getting better. The only way we get better, especially with some young players on offense that are playing, who are getting valuable reps, is to continue to work, and they have to work with Carson. That’s what we are going to do, and that’s our focus moving forward.”

Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson: Lower numbers not a concern

As the Baltimore Ravens reached the bye, quarterback Lamar Jackson has led Baltimore to a better record than last year at 5-1, but he has not thrown the ball as effectively as in last year’s NFL MVP season.

Jackson believes the decline in every passing category — from completion rate to passing yards to touchdowns — has nothing to do with his mechanics.nfl cheap nike jerseys

“I don’t think I’ve slipped,” Jackson said. “There are certain situations in the game where you have to throw in certain windows, with the guys putting their arms up trying to slap the ball. There were a lot of tipped passes during our games, and I’m trying to find angles. So, that’s why sometimes my elbow drops trying to get the ball out.”

Jackson’s sidearm delivery has surfaced at times over his three NFL seasons. But it appeared he dropped his arm to deliver the ball more often in Sunday’s 30-28 win over the Philadelphia Eagles after getting some passes batted down at the line.

Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban isn’t worried about Jackson’s delivery.

“I’m more concerned about his base, his platform and the biomechanics of the delivery than some of those things that he does great naturally,” Urban said. “I know there are some other players around this league who get publicized for how amazing it is that they can throw sidearmed.”8

Entering this season, the Ravens were hoping for Jackson to take a step forward as a passer. But Jackson has regressed in every passing category through six games.

Jackson ranks 24th in completion rate (63%), 25th passing yards (1,135), 23rd in yards per attempt (7.01) and 14th in passer rating (99.2). He is 13th with 10 touchdown passes after leading the NFL last year.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

The Ravens work hard on the “biomechanics” of a quarterback’s delivery, which includes the coordination of his feet, hips, arms and then the follow through.

Has Jackson struggled with that the past couple of games?

“I don’t see that at all,” Urban said.

Jackson has struggled to complete passes recently. Over his past four games, he ranks 31st in completion percentage, ahead of just Joe Flacco and Sam Darnold.

“I think he had about five throwaways this past game — that’s part of it — which, as coaches, we applaud,” Urban said. “One of our quarterback commandments is, ‘Do what’s best for the team at that moment.'”

What hasn’t changed with Jackson is the victories. He’s 24-4 since taking over as the Ravens’ starting quarterback midway through the 2018 season, which is the best in the NFL over that span.

But Jackson has been visibly more frustrated than last season.

“It’s how the game is going,” Jackson said. “My emotions will probably flare up a little depending on that, but it’s just a competitive edge. I don’t like to mess up, and I feel like our guys should feel the same way.”

New Orleans Saints’ Michael Thomas can return after discipline if healthy

Michael Thomas’ discipline lasted only one game, according to New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton. As long as he is healthy, the Saints’ star receiver is eligible to return Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

Thomas was listed as limited in Wednesday’s practice with the ankle injury that has sidelined him since Week 1 and a new hamstring issue. Thomas did not participate in the early portion of Wednesday’s practice that was open to the media. But he was dressed in uniform and apparently returned to practice later based on the limited designation.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Thomas has been sidelined since he suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 1. But he appeared close to returning in Week 5 before he was disciplined by the team for an altercation during practice that included him punching teammate C.J. Gardner-Johnson.7

The Saints had a bye in Week 6, which should have given Thomas even more time to heal — though Payton declined to offer any injury projections.

“We’ll see. I think he’s feeling better. [But] we really don’t get into injuries or projections,” Payton said Wednesday morning.

Payton also declined to get into any further details of Thomas’ disciplinary incident when asked how Thomas responded to his punishment.nfl cheap nike jerseys

“Not interested in talking about how he responded,” Payton said. “We’re getting ready for Carolina this week, we had a good bye week, and here we are.”

Thomas himself said that he will be back this week while making a cameo appearance in the background of teammate Cameron Jordan’s interview with ESPN’s First Take last week. Otherwise, Thomas has not spoken with the media since the incident.

Dallas Cowboys DT Trysten Hill has torn ACL

Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Trysten Hill has a torn ACL in his right knee.

Hill suffered the injury in the third quarter of Sunday’s 37-34 win against the New York Giants as he approached quarterback Daniel Jones and fell awkwardly. An MRI confirmed the diagnosis, making Hill the ninth starter to land on injured reserve this season.

Hill started the first five games of the season after playing sparingly as a rookie in 2019. He was credited with 14 tackles, a tackle for loss and five quarterback pressures.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Without Hill, the Cowboys have Dontari Poe, Antwaun Woods and third-round pick Neville Gallimore at defensive tackle.7

Hill will join quarterback Dak Prescott, who suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle after Hill was hurt, on injured reserve, along with right tackle La’el Collins (hip), left tackle Tyron Smith (neck), tight end Blake Jarwin (knee), linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (collarbone), cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) and center Joe Looney (knee). Linebacker Sean Lee, who was expected to be a key contributor, is also on IR after undergoing surgery for a pelvis/sports hernia issue.

Defensive tackle Geraldo McCoy, a projected starter, suffered a torn quadriceps in the first padded practice of training camp and was released over the summer.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Cornerback Anthony Brown missed three games on injured reserve with broken ribs suffered in a Week 2 practice but returned Sunday against the Giants and returned a fumble for a touchdown. Vander Esch returned to practice last week and could see his first action since the season opener next Monday against the Arizona Cardinals. Awuzie is also eligible to return to action against Arizona.

Looney will miss at least two more games; Lee is looking at a potential return Oct. 25 against Washington.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy: Everyone on same page despite Xavier Woods’ comment on effort

Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday he has not had a conversation with safety Xavier Woods after Woods’ comment that it is not realistic to expect full effort on every play.

“Our effort’s been good,” Woods said Wednesday. “I mean, on certain plays some guys, I mean, me included, there may be a lack, but overall the effort is there. I mean, you don’t expect, we’re in the NFL, you don’t expect guys full speed for 70 plays. That’s not possible. But you’re going to push all you can. I mean, we know. You don’t expect a backside corner to make a play on the opposite side. If he’s running full speed the whole time, it’s just not possible, to be honest.”cheap nfl nike jersey

The Cowboys (1-3) allowed a franchise-record 307 rushing yards in their 49-38 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and have allowed 146 points, the most in the first four games of a season in franchise history. The Cowboys are 30th in yards allowed per game (430.5) and 31st in rushing yards allowed (172.5).8

“I think it was a situation of trying to answer questions after a poor performance is the way I would classify it,” McCarthy said Thursday of Woods’ comments. “I don’t think it’s a statement that can be laid up against every possible situation in football as far as hypotheticals and things like that. We’ve addressed our performance Sunday. It was poor. The coaching on pursuit and expectations is on line with everybody’s expectations and understanding on how you play this game.”

On Monday, McCarthy said effort was not an issue, and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan backed him up, although defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, in postgame comments, called the unit’s play “soft.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Linebacker Joe Thomas said Wednesday that he believes lack of consistency, not lack of effort, is what is hurting the defense most.

“That [criticism] is outside-the-building noise. It doesn’t really affect us inside the building,” Thomas said. “If there was an effort issue, it would’ve been addressed inside the building. I don’t think that was an issue at all. It’s just communication. When we’re all on the same page and we know what’s going on, we play faster and it looks a lot better.”

Atlanta Falcons activate cornerback A.J. Terrell from COVID list

The Atlanta Falcons have activated rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Terrell, who tested positive before the Falcons’ Week 3 home game against the Chicago Bears, returned to team meetings for the first time Wednesday. He is on track to return this Sunday against Carolina after missing the past two games.nfl nike jersey cheap

The first-round draft pick from Clemson played 137 defensive snaps in his first two games while starting at left cornerback. He has 11 combined tackles.7

The Falcons started Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield outside at cornerback on Monday night against Green Bay as Sheffield made his season debut off a foot injury.cheap nfl nike jersey

Terrell’s return could mean Sheffield and Terrell line up outside against the Panthers, unless the Falcons decide to let Sheffield play the nickel role while leaving Terrell and Oliver outside. Blidi Wreh-Wilson has been playing the nickel role since Darqueze Dennard was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

New York Giants fill need in secondary, add veteran Logan Ryan

The New York Giants have agreed to a one-year contract with cornerback Logan Ryan, a source confirmed to ESPN.

The deal is worth $7.5 million, a source told ESPN’s Dianna Russini.

Ryan will slide into the safety/nickel/corner role the Giants had slated for rookie Xavier McKinney, who fractured his left foot last week.nike cheap nfl jerseys

The news of Ryan’s agreement was first reported by NFL Network.

The Giants had been monitoring Ryan’s situation since the start of free agency. His salary was undoubtedly a factor, with Ryan originally looking for something in the range of $10 million.8

That was too rich for the Giants, who entered Monday more than $24 million under the salary cap, per ESPN’s roster management system. But the Giants waited, and Ryan become a serious option as the secondary became depleted: DeAndre Baker was charged with armed robbery; Sam Beal opted out of the season; and McKinney is out until late November with his injury.nfl cheap nike jerseys

Ryan was a jack-of-all-trades for the Tennessee Titans last season. He became only the third player since 2000 to finish with at least 4 sacks (4.5), 4 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles in a season.

Ryan posted on Instagram in May that his “chapter in Tennessee has come to a close” and later said on Devin and Jason McCourty’s “Double Coverage” podcast that “Tennessee really never offered me a contract … they never really tried to bring me back.”

Ryan played primarily as a nickelback but was used frequently on blitzes and relied upon to be a force against the run. He started all 16 games last season for the first time in his career and set highs with 18 pass breakups and 113 tackles.

In the playoffs, his pick-six of former Patriots teammate Tom Brady sealed the Titans’ upset victory in the wild-card round.

Since entering the league with the Patriots in 2013, Ryan has 494 tackles, 11 sacks, 8 forced fumbles and 17 interceptions, with one defensive score.

Source: Chargers’ Derwin James to have knee surgery, out 6-8 months

Derwin James, the young Los Angeles Chargers safety with star potential, needs surgery on his right knee, a procedure that is expected to keep him out six to eight months and essentially would rule him out for the 2020 NFL season, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday.nfl cheap jerseys nike

James, 24, was injured during Sunday’s practice and later received a second opinion, which confirmed what probably would be considered a worst-case scenario.

The Chargers drafted James 17th overall out of Florida State in 2018 and watched him immediately blossom into an All-Pro strong safety. He missed the first 11 games of the 2019 season with a fracture in his right foot, but many expected James to play a starring role in an exceedingly talented Chargers defense in 2020.7

Earlier in training camp, James was asked about his goals for the upcoming season and said: “Just being out there all 16 games. That’s the only goal I’m making this year. I feel like as long as I’m out there, the plays are gonna come.”nfl nike jerseys cheap china

James also was limited to two games in his sophomore year of college because of a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn didn’t go into specifics on James’ condition during Monday’s practice because the final results were not yet known. Lynn mentioned the possibility of Rayshawn Jenkins moving to strong safety and slot corner Desmond King also getting reps at that position. Lynn dismissed the possibility of adding decorated free agent Earl Thomas, but ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that there is mutual interest in a reunion between the Chargers and free safety Jahleel Addae.

The Chargers also boast Casey Hayward, Chris Harris, Michael Davis and Nasir Adderley throughout their secondary.

“I like the depth we have in our secondary,” Lynn said before the severity of James’ injury was revealed. “We have to make some different combinations, but we have some good players in that secondary.”