Injuries: Titans’ Matt Cassel (thumb) to miss six weeks

By Nick Shook
NFL.com
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It’s not yet a big deal as we flip the calendar to June, but the Titans sure seem to have some tough luck at quarterback.

Five months after losing starting quarterback Marcus Mariota to a broken leg, backup Matt Cassel has become the latest signal-caller to go down. The veteran suffered a thumb injury on Tuesday and will need a pin inserted in his thumb, keeping him sidelined for about six weeks, coach Mike Mularkey told reporters Wednesday. Continue reading

Top 100 Players of 2017, Nos. 41-50: Cam Newton in freefall

By Nick Shook
NFL.com
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What can a Super Bowl hangover do to the ranking of the NFL’s top player from the previous year? How about a 40-plus freefall in theĀ Top 100 Players of 2017?

Cam Newton fell from No. 1 to No. 44 in this year’s rankings. A year after his Panthers flirted with regular-season perfection, steamrolled conference competition and the quarterback took home MVP honors, Carolina fell back to earth rather quickly, and the quarterback’s ranking took a hit in the process. Continue reading

Kirk Cousins: We’ll see what happens with deal in July

By Nick Shook
NFL.com
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Kirk Cousins‘ long-term desires with the Redskins have yet to be addressed, and the quarterback said he’s in a “good place” with his current deal. But does that mean the quarterback will get a multi-year contract before the July 15 signing deadline for franchise tagged players?

According to Cousins, we aren’t going to find out the answer to that anytime soon. Continue reading

Jamaal Charles aiming to be ready in time for camp

By Nick Shook
NFL.com
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Jamaal Charles always wanted to be a Bronco, and now he is. He just isn’t going to be participating as a Bronco until late July.

That’s according to NFL Network’s James Palmer, who reported Tuesday that the running back aims to be ready in time for training camp.

Coming off November surgery on both of his knees, Charles continues to rehab in preparation for the 2017 season. He expressed confidence in the process and his status heading forward when he signed with the Broncos in early May, though this is the first we’re hearing of a tangible timetable.

Charles made a push to play last season but pulled the plug in November in favor of surgery, the latest in a series of setbacks that have kept the formerly explosive running back sidelined. When he was healthy and 27 or younger, Charles was among the league’s best backs, armed with top-end speed to win almost every race down the sideline. His highly publicized yards-per-carry dominance stands as proof that he gained them in chunks when at his peak.

What Denver is getting in Charles is largely unknown; he’s 30 years old and hasn’t put together even half of a season’s worth of work in the last two campaigns. New offensive coordinator Mike McCoy wants to use Charles as a dual threat, catching passes out of the backfield and attacking inside the tackles on the ground. He stands as the lone exciting complement to C.J. Anderson, who is also looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2016 campaign tat saw him gain 437 yards and score four touchdowns in just seven games. Devontae Booker‘s paltry 3.5 yards per carry during his rookie campaign isn’t getting many in Denver antsy for the season.

New medical information on Charles typically isn’t a welcome sight at this point, but the optimist’s takeaway is this: At least he’ll have had eight months to rehab and prepare for full contact come camp. From there, it’s anyone’s guess how he’ll fare.

Josh Norman one spot ahead of Dez Bryant in latest Top 100

By Nick Shook
NFL.com
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We’re back with more Top 100 ranking releases, and fans of the pewter pirates will be happy with the arrival of two of their stars. A certain Colts quarterback is back from the bottom of the rankings, and new arrivals of young and old dot this group of players, including a defensive end whose inclusion was long overdue.

The most intrigue lies at the bottom, though, with a corner and receiver who had a memorable Thanksgiving meeting. One sees a massive drop, while the other is just minor, but are they warranted?

Dez Bryant‘s division got much tougher in 2016 with the arrival of Josh Norman and Janoris Jenkins. Spoiler alert: all three are listed below. But which of the two corners deserves the higher ranking? Let’s dive into some statistics.

Against Norman, Bryant was targeted seven times and caught three passes in two games. Five of those targets came in the second contest, the aforementioned Thanksgiving classic, which Bryant took for only 32 yards. The Cowboys won that game, though the most important contributions came outside of this matchup.

New York, meanwhile, was responsible for two of Dallas’ three regular-season losses, with much thanks due to the Giants‘ defense. In those contests, Jenkins held Bryant to just one catch on eight combined targets for a mere 10 yards. An interception of Dak Prescott was the cherry on top of Jenkins’ sundae of success against Bryant.

Considering this, maybe these rankings below will make more sense. Then again, maybe the flag you wave says differently. May the arguments continue deep into the night. Continue reading

Kirk Cousins rises to No. 70 in Top 100 Players of 2017

By Nick Shook
NFL.com
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We’re back for more rankings, and more internet outrage — or, if you’re a Redskins fan reading this week, pleasant surprises.

Scroll down to the bottom if you’re a Redskins fan who believes in a world with Kirk Cousins behind the wheel. His go-to tight end with tantalizing athleticism is on this list this week, too. We can’t forget about the punishing running of a tailback in South Florida, either.

Let the debates rage on. Continue reading