News Roundup and Analysis Around the NFL for Week 8

Nicks-FantasyNew Minnesota Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman had the single worst game of his career in his debut with the team on Monday Night Football against the previously winless New York Giants. He became only the fifth quarterback in NFL history to attempt 50 passes in a game without completing as much as 20 of them. Freeman has an excuse, however, as he had only been with the team for 12 days prior to making his initial start.

Reports surfaced on Wednesday that Freeman suffered a concussion in the game. If he isn’t cleared to play, Christian Ponder will get the start against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football this upcoming week. This may impact whether the Vikings decide to deal Ponder prior to the trade deadline next week. Common logic seemed to suggest that he was on his way out. Freeman’s concussion may or may not change that.

Could Josh Gordon be traded before the end of the month? (via ESPN).

Could Josh Gordon be traded before the end of the month? (via ESPN).

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN three teams now have concrete offers on the table for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon. The offers are said to include a high-round draft pick and a player. Gordon, one of the most talented young receivers in the game, brings a lot of baggage with him. He’s one more off-field incident from receiving a one-year suspension from the National Football League. It is our belief that the San Francisco 49ers are one of the teams that have put an offer in for Gordon. Based on needs and the makeup of San Francisco’s roster, that player is likely second-year running back LaMichael James.

Schefter indicates that the Browns are “balking” at the offers they have received thus far, but are still willing to discuss the parameters of a deal. Other contending teams with needs at wide receiver include the Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens, among others.

It remains to be seen who will step up for Indianapolis with No. 1 wide receiver Reggie Wayne out for the season with a torn ACL. What is a huge blow to Andrew Luck and Co. could give youngster T.Y. Hilton the ability to prove that he can be a go-to guy. The issue with this is that the 2012 third-round pick has been prone to dropped passes, which could force Luck to look in another direction. LaVon Brazill played just seven snaps last week and David Reed was a healthy scratch. One of them will have to step up as a No.3 wide receiver in order for the Colts’ passing game to succeed without Wayne in the mix. As mentioned before, Indianapolis could also look to the trade market over the next week. It goes without saying that general manager Ryan Grigson hasn’t been afraid to pull off the major trade in his year plus with the team.

Fresh off losing Sam Bradford for the season with a torn ACL, the St. Louis Rams addressed the quarterback position with short-term “fixes” this week. They signed former Cleveland Browns first-round pick Brady Quinn and former Rams’ signal caller Austin Davis for the remainder of the season. Kellen Clemens, who has been nothing more than a serviceable No. 3 quarterback in the NFL, seems destined to start under center until further notice. This isn’t exactly what the 3-4 Rams had in mind in a week that they will have to go up against the “Legion of Boom” on Monday Night Football in St. Louis.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin has returned to practice after suffering a hip injury in the offseason. Russell Wilson‘s newest weapon is questionable to play Monday night against the Rams, but his impact will be felt at some point this season, even if he’s not at 100 percent. Sidney Rice has struggled getting open on the outside and will likely be the receiver pushed down on the depth chart. As a player with one of the most unique skillsets in the entire NFL, Harvin will add another dimension to a Seahawks’ team that is currently riding high at 6-1 and in first place in the ultra competitive NFC West. Watch out, NFL.

The Dallas Cowboys are no longer sold on the injury-prone DeMarco Murray (via ESPN).

The Dallas Cowboys are no longer sold on the injury-prone DeMarco Murray (via ESPN).

Fresh off missing his 10th game in three seasons, Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray may no longer be the answer in Big D. Team officials have indicated that they’re not 100 percent sold on Murray moving forward. This has led to speculation that the first-place Cowboys could be looking for a running back prior to the trade deadline next week. They had been linked to Ben Tate in the past, but his recent injury throws a wrench into that idea. Other possible running backs on the block may include Darren McFadden (who also has a propensity towards injuries) and Maurice Jones-Drew. Of course those names represent pure conjecture on my part.

Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley has officially been declared out for Sunday’s matchup against the Vikings. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise after the scary neck injury he suffered against Cleveland last week and ensuing trip to the ICU. With a bruised spinal cord, it remains to be seen whether Finley will have to undergo surgery at any point. Indications from doctors in Green Bay aren’t good.

Jermichael Finley's serious injury is another blow to the Packers (via CNNSI).

Jermichael Finley’s serious injury is another blow to the Packers (via CNNSI).

They seem to think this particular injury will require surgery. Even if that isn’t the case, it’s hard to believe that Ted Thompson and Co. would risk throwing Finley out there after such an injury. He could very well be done for the 2013 season, if not longer. With Finley out of the lineup, Green Bay may be turning to former Penn State standout Andrew Quarless to take first-team reps. The issue there is that Quarless isn’t a top-receiving threat and is pretty much Green Bay’s blocking tight end. There has been a lot of talk that young tight end Brandon Bostick will make more of an impact as a receiver than Quarless.

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin doesn’t seem prepared to quiet the rumors that wide receiver Hakeem Nicks could be traded before the end of the month. Despite winning their first game of the season, New York is still at 1-6 on the year and completely out of the NFC Playoff race. Coughlin seems to believe that reliability has been an issue for Nicks this season, per NY Post. 

You’ve got to get to the point where the reliability factor is there as strongly as it always has been…Has it been there up to this point? No. But we’re saying ‘Let’s get back to work and get this done.’ We count on this guy.

Nicks, a free agent following the season, likely won’t be returning to the Giants. They signed Victor Cruz to an expensive contract extension in the offseason and exhausted a second-round pick on Rueben Randle in the 2012 NFL draft. Randle has stepped up a great deal this year and was actually the Giants most consistent receiver last week against Minnesota. Indianapolis and San Francisco, among other teams, have shown interest in Nicks.

After Nick Foles disastrous performance against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, any thought of him winning the job over a healthy Michael Vick has pretty much been thrown away. Vick, who has missed the past game-plus, returned to practice with the first team this week and could be ready to go against the Giants on Sunday. Foles suffered a concussion against Dallas last week and would have to pass a battery of tests before he’s cleared to play. He was replaced by Matt Barkley, who struggled by throwing three interceptions in the first regular season action of his career. If Vick goes full speed at practice tomorrow, he’ll more than likely get the call in an important game against the Giants on Sunday.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, the Cleveland Browns announced on Wednesday that Jason Campbell, who was their third-string quarterback for a majority of the season, will get the start this week. With Brian Hoyer lost for the year due to a torn ACL and Brandon Weeden seemingly ineffective in his opportunities this season, Campbell will be the third-man up. It’s somewhat of a disastrous situation for Cleveland considering that the rest of the team is playing at a playoff level right now. If Campbell can manage the game by avoiding turnovers and putting up just a 15-20 points, Cleveland could get right back into the AFC North race.

europe-articleLargeThe Jacksonville Jaguars will be hosting “America’s Team,” the Dallas in Cowboys in one of three games set to represent the NFL in “The International Series” next season in London. The Atlanta Falcons will host the Detroit Lions, while Oakland will play the role of the home team against Miami in the other two games. It’s the first time that Dallas has played a regular season game in the European capital.

Vince Young doesn’t seem to be too happy that he hasn’t been called by quarterback-needy teams. The former top-five pick was released by the Green Bay Packers during the preseason but showed a lot more than what we’ve seen from the likes of Brady Quinn and Austin Davis, both of whom were signed by the Rams this week.

Here are Young’s comments to SiriusXM NFL Radio this week…

Me and my wife and all my peers and fans, we’re all trying to figure this stuff out. I don’t have the slightest idea. It’s like a huge question mark over my head every day I wake up in the morning to take care of my responsibilities and know I should be playing.

Young is 100 percent correct. There is no logical reason why he hasn’t received at least a workout from one of these teams. After all, the Cleveland Browns have just benched Brandon Weeden in favor of Jason Campbell.

Much like Seattle, it appears the 49ers are getting some reinforcements back at the wide receiver position. Mario Manningham has been activated from the PUP list. Head coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t rule him out against Jacksonville this week, but it’s more likely he returns after the 49ers’ Week 9 bye. Michael Crabtree is a bit further away, but will likely return before the end of next month.

 

Vincent is the head sports editor at eDraft, co-host of eDraft Sports Radio (which airs every Tuesday and Thursday from 3-6 p.m. ET) and a fantasy writer for Pro Football Focus. He’s also the news director at PFC and co-host of Football Debate Central with Ryan Riddle every Tuesday on both PFC and 91.2 FM WVUD in Delaware and New Jersey. He’s also a former league-wide featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a contributor at Yahoo!

Check out Pro Football Central’s Radio Network for in-depth analysis of current events around the NFL and interviews with both players and scribes.

 

 

 

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