Jets concerned about Chiefs, Charles

Jamaal Charles has compiled quite a resume as a running back in the NFL.
The Kansas City Chiefs workhorse has the best rushing average (5.52 yards) in the history of the league, even better than Hall of Famer Jim Brown, whose career average was 5.22 yards per carry. That alone says a lot.

There’s more.

Charles is the Chiefs’ all-time leading rusher (6,186 yards) and has surpassed 1,000 yards on the ground in each of the last four seasons. He’s rushed for 200 yards or more in a game three times and has the two longest rushing plays (91 and 86 yards) in Kansas City history.

Simply put, Charles is on his way to legendary status in Kansas City Chiefs folk lore.

So as the New York Jets (1-7) travel to Kansas City (4-3) on Sunday afternoon, they have one thing in mind. They have to stop Charles.

”It’s a big concern for us,” said defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson. ”He’s a big threat on the edge and getting into open field. We have to try to contain him, which isn’t easy. We just have to try to stop the run the best way we can and make them a one-dimensional team.”
Charles, who was hurt earlier in the season and appears on the Chiefs’ injury list this week as probable with a back injury, is expected to play.

”I saw the films of him and he doesn’t look hurt to me,” Richardson said. ”He’s running 100 per cent to me. If he’s not 100 per cent, then he’s the fastest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s real simple. We have to make it very difficult for him to get to the edge. That has been one of our points of emphasis this week.”

Richardson noted the Jets are a proud Brian Quick large Jersey defensive unit, despite the losing record.

”We take pride in stopping the run,” Richardson said. ”We have to make sure that (Alex) Smith is the one who will beat us with the throw. That’s how we’re going to look at it.”

Charles isn’t even the Chiefs’ leading rusher this season. That distinction belongs to Knile Davis, who has 401 yards to Charles’ 363. Both have scored four touchdowns rushing. The Chiefs have the third best rushing attack in the league, averaging 140.7 yards per game.

”Davis is also very good,” Richardson said. ”We have to make sure we stop them from having long drives and controlling the ball and the clock.”

Charles has to be the main focus, because he’s a game breaker.

”We just have to knock him back,” said defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson. ”He’s very quick and elusive. As long as we stay in our gaps and knock him back, we’ll be fine. But they also have some other good guys in their offense, so we have to worry about them. But our goal every week is to stop the run first and try to make sure that no balls get thrown over our heads.”

Charles is also a threat out of the backfield. He has 237 receptions in his career for 2,074 yards, both marks among the top five in Chiefs history. Charles has 15 receptions this season for 99 yards and two touchdowns.

”We have our hands full,” Wilkerson said. ”He’s an elusive guy with a lot of talent. We have to make sure our guys are doing their jobs.”

NOTES: Coach Rex Ryan believes that his team is handling itself well despite the poor record. ”I understand we’re 1-7 and no one is happy about that,” Ryan said Friday after practice. ”We’re going to go out and give it our best shot. I feel pretty good about our guys. We’ve got a half of a season in front of us. You want to play, as they say, meaningful games, but they’re all meaningful games in this league. It just might not be where we want them to be right now.” … The Jets list only one player as doubtful CB Darrin Walls, who did not practice once again Friday. . Ryan joked he was ”probable” after appearing at his post-practice news conference bleeding from his neck. ”I’m going to list myself as probable with a cut from shaving,” Ryan said. . The Jets practiced on grass Friday to prepare Arrowhead Stadium’s tough sod, but nothing can prepare the Jets for the crowd noise. ”It’s challenging, because you try to explain to them that it’s one of those stadiums that gets really loud,” Ryan said. ”Until you experience it, it’s like ‘yeah, yeah, we get it,’ but until you get out there, it’s like ‘Wow, it really is.’ I guess we’ll see how it goes. There are some places that are tough to play in and Kansas City is one of them.”

Saints top Panthers 28-10 to take NFC South lead

Drew Brees and the Saints proved Blake Bortles Kids Jersey they know how to win big games on the road.
Brees overcame a shaky start and threw for one touchdown and ran for another and New Orleans defeated the Carolina Panthers 28-10 Thursday night to take over first place in the NFC South.

The Saints (4-4) piled up 375 yards to snap a seven-game losing streak on the road that dated back to last November.

Brees finished 24 of 34 for 297 yards and Mark Ingram turned in another solid performance with 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Brees threw an interception and fumbled in the first quarter before settling down late in the second and leading touchdown drives on four out of five possessions.

The Saints’ defense sacked Cam Newton four times and forced two turnovers.
Newton, who spent much of the night under heavy duress playing behind an offensive line without three of its regular starters, was limited to 151 yards passing.

New Orleans pushed inside the Carolina 15-yard line on the game-opening drive before Brees’ pass for Kenny Stills was deflected to Panthers defensive lineman Dwan Edwards for the interception.

Then, after the Saints forced a punt, Brees quickly pushed the Saints to midfield only to have Carolina’s Charles Johnson push fullback Erik Lorig into him and knock the ball loose as he looked downfield for a fumble.

However, Newton and the Panthers couldn’t take advantage and were forced to punt after both turnovers.

”It’s hard when you don’t take advantage of those opportunities,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said.
The Saints didn’t have the same problem on the next possession.

With the Panthers pinned back in their own end, Junior Galette sacked Newton from behind and stripped the ball, allowing linebacker Curtis Lofton recovered at the Carolina 3. Mark Ingram took advantage two plays later with a 3-yard run to give the Saints a 7-0 lead.

Then, after forcing a three-and-out, Drew Brees directed an 85-yard drive that ended when he slipped a 1-yard pass just past Melvin White to Graham on the right side with 3 seconds left in the half and the Saints were off and running while the Panthers (3-5-1) headed to the locker room serenaded by a chorus of boos.

One of the few highlights for the Panthers came from Newton.

He turned in one of the most athletic plays of the season when he scrambled out of the pocket, raced around the left end and took off from the 5-yard line and soaring toward the goal line with the ball outstretched in his right hand for a touchdown, cutting the Saints lead to 14-7.
But Brees stopped any Carolina momentum when he led a 14-play, 80-yard drive that took more than six minutes off the clock.

Brees jumped forward and stretched the ball over the goal line on a fourth-down sneak to give the New Orleans Saints a 21-7 lead.

Ingram, who carried 30 times, added his second scoring run to seal the game in the fourth quarter.

While Newton struggled, his receivers didn’t give him much help.

Jerricho Cotchery couldn’t haul in a catchable deep ball inside the 10 in the first quarter and Newton’s on-target throw hit Brenton Bersin in the hands and popped straight to Corey White for an interception on the next drive. Rookie Kelvin Benjamin also dropped a pass in the end zone for the second straight week.
The Panthers had won just one of their past six games coming in along with a tie at Cincinnati in Week 6, including falling at home last week to Seattle on a late touchdown.

The Saints, meanwhile, were 0-4 on the road this season.

Still, New Orleans was coming off a dominating second-half performance – at home, fittingly – in which it scored 28 points after the break to speed past the Packers 44-23.

There were no shortages of promising signs for the Saints in that one, from Jimmy Graham hauling in a touchdown catch and looking healthier after a shoulder injury to Ingram running for a career-best 172 yards to complement Brees through the air.

Graham had seven catches for 83 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers.

RG3 can’t wait to get started again

After six-plus games Vincent Jackson Limited Jersey on the sideline, Robert Griffin III is back as the quarterback of the Washington Redskins.
”I feel great,” said Griffin, who dislocated his left ankle in the first quarter of the Week 2 victory over Jacksonville. ”I’m real excited to get back out there. I’m going to lean on my guys to help me get through this game. I look forward to being able to dish (the ball) to them and let them do the work. With these guys around me, I don’t have to try to do too much. You’ve got to trust the guys around you. If there’s any rust, I’m sure they’ll overshadow me because they’re playing at a high level. (But) if there comes a time when I have to carry the team, I’m willing to do that.”

Griffin returned to individual drills last week and the full practice on Wednesday.

”Robert got the majority of the (work) with the ones today and we have every intention of giving him the start,” said first-year coach Jay Gruden, who initially replaced Griffin with Kirk Cousins before turning to Colt McCoy at halftime of the Tennessee game on Oct. 19. ”He’s done all the drills the right way. He made some good throws today. Everything’s checking out good.”

Griffin said he felt ready to play this past Monday at Dallas, which would have been the low end of the six-to-eight week timetable for the injury when it was diagnosed.

However, as Griffin explained, ”We just wanted to give it a little bit Vincent Jackson Womens Jersey more time and be smart about it. With the past, you learn from that, you learn from those mistakes.”

That past includes two torn ACLs, one of which occurred in the divisional-round playoff loss to Seattle that ended his record-setting 2012 rookie season, sidelined him throughout the ensuing offseason and hampered him at times during his underwhelming 2013 campaign.

So this time, Griffin said, ”We took the proper precautions to make sure I was able to go for the foreseeable future. That’s why we’re doing it this week.”

The Redskins are 3-5, as are the Vikings, who rank fourth against the pass and are tied for second with 25 sacks. Although McCoy led Washington past Tennessee and Dallas, Gruden said he didn’t consider waiting to play Griffin until the Redskins return from their bye week, when they face Tampa Bay’s NFL-worst defense on Nov. 16.

”We waited (an extra) week,” Gruden said. ”He was champing at the bit. There’s not a (defense) in the National Football League that’s going to take it easy on him. He’s going to have to rise to the occasion this week, next week, the week after. Will he be perfect? No, but I think Robert at 100 percent gives us the best chance to win.”

NOTES: Rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland, who has played well since replacing the injured DeAngelo Hall in Week 3, injured a knee during Friday’s practice and is questionable for Sunday. . Hall, who tore his left Achilles tendon on Sept. 21 at Philadelphia, tore it again this week and needs a second surgery. Gruden said he hopes the three-time Pro Bowl pick will be ready for the start of the 2015 season.

Mack making impact for Raiders even without sacks

Khalil Mack has done just about everything the Oakland Raiders have asked of him his rookie season
He has solidified the run defense with his ability to fight off blocks and get into the backfield, pressured quarterbacks consistently as a pass rusher and forced offenses to alter their game plans.

The only thing lacking so far from Mack is something he was supposed to get frequently: a quarterback sack. Through seven games, Mack is still seeking his first sack despite being compared to pass rushing specialist Von Miller when he was drafted fifth overall in May.

”It’s something that’s kind of sitting on my mind,” Mack said. ”All my teammates talk about it. It will come soon enough but even then I’m working hard to get there.”

Mack has come awfully close, especially in recent weeks. He has been credited with 15 quarterback hurries and hits the past three games, according to Pro Football Focus, and his 22 pressures for the season are the most for any player without a sack.

The consistent pressure is bound to lead to sacks soon enough.

”They will come,” defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. ”Keep pressuring the heck out of them, making sure everybody knows who you are and where is 52 and that stuff Sen’Derrick Marks Black Jersey will happen. As long as he’s around the ball, we’re happy.”

While Mack has lacked sacks, he has not lacked praise. Opposing quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Brian Hoyer singled him out after the past two games for his stellar play.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson called him a spectacular player who was playing like the defensive rookie of the year heading into Sunday’s game against the Seahawks.

”He jumps off the film,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ”Every one of our coaches, when they break up and start looking at the Raiders and taking seriously what they’re doing well, everybody comes back talking about him. He’s almost unblockable and he’s got a great motor. He’s fast, he’s tough, he’s instinctive. We think he’s an obvious factor.”

Mack played down the wide-spread praise he has received in recent weeks, saying it means nothing until the Raiders (0-7) have more success on the field.

”It’s gratifying in a personal aspect but you want to go out and win the game,” he said. ”It can mean something once you stamp a win. But we’re still working on that win. All you see out there is hunger for a win.”

Mack has been dominant against the run, where he is the biggest reason for a dramatic turnaround in recent weeks by the Raiders. Oakland has allowed just 2.9 yards per carry in October, second to Denver for the NFL lead.

Mack is tied with Tampa Bay’s Lavonte David for the NFL lead with 8 1/2 tackles behind the line of scrimmage against the run, including 5 1/2 the past two weeks.

”He’s going to be measured in whether or not he sacks the quarterback, but I would just say that it’s been a long time since I’ve seen somebody do that in the run game,” interim coach Tony Sparano said. ”What he did in the run game to an opponent, this guy Khalil has just really dominated.”

NOTES: CB Carlos Rogers (knee) did not practice for a second straight day with a knee injury and his status is unknown for Sunday. … TE David Ausberry (foot), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring) and WR Kenbrell Thompkins (personal issues) also did not practice.

Ravens wary of Roethlisberger vs Steelers

The Baltimore Ravens won’t drastically alter their game plan Lavelle Hawkins Jersey Sunday night just because Ben Roethlisberger threw for 522 yards and six touchdowns last week.
Harassing and containing Roethlisberger would have been a priority regardless of how the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback fared in a 51-34 rout of Indianapolis.

”We knew before they even played that game that we were going to have to be on point in the secondary,” Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb said Wednesday.

Then, referring to Roethlisberger by his jersey number, Webb added, ”It’s always been: Stop 7. If we can stop 7, we can win the game.”

That’s what the Ravens did in a 26-6 victory over Pittsburgh last month. Roethlisberger was sacked twice, threw an interception and had only 217 yards passing in the lopsided defeat.

”It’s how you execute,” Baltimore safety Matt Elam said. ”We executed well in that first game, and that’s how we held them to no touchdowns.”
In the rematch, the Ravens (5-3) will be without cornerback Jimmy Smith, who sprained his left foot Sunday in a 27-24 loss to Cincinnati.

”Somebody’s got to step up. That’s how we do it around here,” Webb said. ”If one man goes down, the next man has be up and ready to play. We have the talent in the room.”

Dominque Franks and Chykie Brown will see extended time in place of Smith, whose run of 24 straight starts will end.

”We’ve got some great corners that can come in and do things while Jimmy’s out,” Elam said. ”He might not be Jimmy Smith, the great player that he is, but we’ve got guys who can come in and compete.”

The key to stopping Roethlisberger transcends merely blanketing his receivers. Some quarterbacks use their agility and quickness to elude oncoming linemen; Big Ben uses his 6-foot-5, 241-pound frame to keep his footing after being hit.
”Every quarterback is unique, and Ben is very unique,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. ”He’s big, very strong, hard to bring down. Nobody does the extended play thing better than Ben. They built their offense around that for years.”

That makes linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs, as well as everyone on the line, just as important to the pass defense as Elam and Webb.

”It’s going to be all 11 guys, especially with Ben because he’s great at making plays when the pocket breaks down,” Ravens rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley said.

Webb said, ”You’ve got to put pressure on him, and you’ve got to tackle him when you get the chance. He can break any tackle.”

Roethlisberger, meanwhile, hopes his performance last week might be the start of something big for Pittsburgh’s passing game.
”Well, I hope so,” he said. ”There are things that we can take and learn from. We know there’s going to be challenges this week with a great defense coming in here in Baltimore and the rivalry and prime time. It’s not going to be easy. I’ve said I don’t care what our stats are as long as at the end of the game we have more points than them.”

Against the Colts, Roethlisberger completed 40 of 49 passes and connected with nine different receivers. His philosophy appears to be, if you can get open, I’ll get you the ball.

”I’m working with all the guys and making sure that we all know what page to be on and where each guy needs to be,” Roethlisberger said. ”You have to be comfortable with each guy because you never know when you’re going to have to use them.”

His main target last week, Antonio Brown, believes Roethlisberger is poised for an encore Jared Cook Nike Jerseys to his stellar outing against the Colts.

”He’s working at it,” Brown said. ”He’s preparing like a champion.”

Sexton has been in the jersey

Because little Curry Sexton always Rod Streater Womens Jersey knew all the Kansas State players. Knew their jersey numbers. Knew their stats.

“He knew everything about the game,” said his father, Ted Sexton, who began taking his son to K-State games as a child. “Always soaked it all in.” Once the smartest kid in Section 14, Curry Sexton is now the smartest player on the Bill Snyder Family Stadium field. At 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, the senior isn’t the biggest. And with a time of 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash, he certainly isn’t the fastest. But driven by his intelligence and knack for getting open at opportune moments, Sexton has filled a major role at slot receiver for the Wildcats, who remain in the thick of the Big 12 title and College Football Playoff races.

“His best asset is his knowledge,” said Tyler Lockett, Sexton’s cohort at receiver. “He knows how to get open, and every time we call on him to make a big play, he makes it.”
With 40 receptions and 450 receiving yards, Sexton has surfaced as a much-needed secondary receiving target alongside Lockett for quarterback Jake Waters, who is Sexton’s roommate. Thanks in part to Sexton’s emergence, K-State ranks 23rd nationally in scoring, despite playing at a slower pace than most Big 12 offenses.

“I’m not flashy. I’m not big. Nothing about me really sticks out,” Sexton said. “But I pride myself on being reliable and being in the right place.”

Sexton has been in the right place all season. But before that, he had to decide if K-State was the right place for him.

Sexton grew up on a wheat, soybean and alfalfa farm in Abilene, Kansas, a 45-minute drive from Manhattan. His capacity for football knowledge at an Jeff King Womens Jersey early age wowed everyone, including John Dorsey, his uncle who is the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. When Sexton was 10, Dorsey was at the Sexton farm helping with the annual harvest and casually mentioned a Florida State player he was considering drafting.

“Curry immediately rattled off all his statistics, and John was like, ‘My gosh, Curry knows more about this kid than I do, and this is my job,’” Ted Sexton recalled.

That acumen didn’t stop with football. Curry excelled in the classroom as well. His grades, combined with his savvy on the field, drew the interest of the Ivy League.

The boy from Abilene was accepted into Harvard, Columbia and Princeton, which all offered the chance to play football, too.
“We were kind of sold on Harvard,” Ted said. “They were telling him, ‘Curry, come here, get your degree from here and you can go anywhere in the world — and you won’t have to ask how much they’re paying, you’ll tell them what you’re going to make.’”

But a Harvard education wasn’t really what Sexton coveted. He wanted to be a coach, or possibly even follow in his uncle’s footsteps with scouting or football personnel.

On New Year’s Eve of his senior year, his dream school finally called. Bill Snyder offered Sexton a scholarship, with the caveat he’d have to grayshirt, meaning he’d have to wait a year before he could enroll and join the K-State football team.
“I felt like coming to K-State would be a better learning experience if I wanted to go into coaching,” Sexton said. “I didn’t feel like Harvard would have benefited me as much as learning from this staff.”

Rams make multiple moves to fill holes

The often-invoked cliche ”next man up” is really getting put to the test for the sliding, injury-plagued St. Louis Rams.
They have so many holes to fill that safety Mark Barron, acquired from Tampa Bay on Tuesday, could play this week at San Francisco.

”I wouldn’t rule it out whatsoever,” coach Jeff Fisher said Wednesday after a walkthrough to allow bodies to heal instead of the standard practice. ”We’ll see how quickly things go this week.”

The Rams (2-5) are coming off a dispiriting 34-7 loss to the Chiefs, with six players sidelined during the game. Moving forward, Fisher said he wouldn’t be using injuries as an excuse.

”We’re going to bounce back this week,” the coach said. We’ll have some people come back as the week goes on.”

So far, Barron said it’s ”been a whirlwind, most definitely,” and was unaware he’d been on the trading block at Tampa Bay.

”I had no idea that any of it was going on,” Barron said. ”But I am excited about the situation.”
Barron entered the field midway through the one-hour walkthrough, which was followed by a private session on the indoor field. Fisher said there are 13 players on the injury report, an estimated list given everything was slowed down, and he’s trying to conserve bodies.

”I felt like we needed to back down,” Fisher said. ”Our focus is having them ready on Sunday.”

Fisher said it was a bit of a surprise Ziggy Hood Medium Jersey that Barron, a first-round pick in 2012, was available. He didn’t say how Barron would be used right away.

”Whatever the reasons are down there, we had an opportunity to take advantage of getting a good player,” Fisher said. ”I spoke with him last night after we put the deal together and obviously he was surprised and shocked, but excited about a new start.”

The Rams are more aggressive defensively than Tampa Bay, and said sitting back in Cover 2 ”honestly didn’t play to my strengths.”

”Yeah, it is passive,” Barron said. ”A lot of times I had to sit back and not be as aggressive as I wanted to in that system. I feel like I’m an athletic guy, I can do whatever I’m asked to do.”
Both Rams safeties, T.J. McDonald and Rodney McLeod, are healthy.

”Whenever and wherever he plays, I can’t answer that right now,” Fisher said. ”But we got a good player.”

The Rams have plenty of questions on offense, too.

”We’ll see who recovers and who doesn’t,” quarterback Austin Davis said. ”We’ll be ready to go by Sunday. We don’t have to be ready today.”

Quarterback Case Keenum, released a day earlier, was re-signed to the practice squad.

”Just took the day off,” Keenum said, joking.

They added depth at wide receiver by signing Damian Williams and elevated linebacker Korey Toomer and offensive lineman Brandon Washington to the active roster. Wide receiver Emory Blake, tight end Justice Cunningham and offensive linemen Travis Bond and Steven Baker were signed to the practice squad.

”That’s the business, and you’ve got to learn to adapt to it,” Toomer said.

Offensive tackle Jake Long (knee) and wide receiver Brian Quick (shoulder) were placed on injured reserve.

Rookie quarterback Garrett Gilbert was released from the practice squad and the Panthers signed tackle Mike Remmers off St. Louis’ practice squad. Cornerback Jemea Thomas was released.

Two other offensive linemen, center Scott Wells and guard Rodger Saffold, were injured in the Chiefs loss. Washington has been with the team much of the last two seasons and appeared in one game last year.

Meet us back here every jersey

The San Antonio Spurs, in the words Zach Miller Youth Jersey of coach Gregg Popovich, didn’t “look very interested” during their month-long preparations for Tuesday night’s launch of the 2014-15 NBA season.

Yet I suspect you know the drill by now. The defending champions always grace the top spot in the first two editions of’s NBA Power Rankings, barring some sort of injury catastrophe during training camp.

The Spurs haven’t seen much of Kawhi Leonard this month thanks to a nasty eye infection, but that’s not enough to cost them their No. 1 status before a real game is played. Remember that Oklahoma City, San Antonio’s nearest rival in the West, has weathered its own slew of early injuries on top of the loss of Kevin Durant for at least a month because of a foot fracture.
Cleveland, Chicago and the Los Angeles Clippers are undoubtedly threats to take their turns at the top in the next 24 weeks, but not yet — not when the Spurs’ status as the preseason favorite in the West has been only strengthened.

Meet us back here every Monday during the regular season as we take the pulse of the teams 1 to 30, courtesy of your trusty committee (of one) by weighing what we’re seeing in the present in equal measure with each team’s big-picture outlook, along with the standard dash of subjective whim.

You can comment below on the rankings, which are compiled with the usual helpful dishing from ESPN Stats & Info and the Elias Sports Bureau. More insight into this week’s order can be found on Stein Line Live.After ending a four-game winless streak, the Devils will try to keep their away success going Tuesday night in a visit with the Penguins.
The Devils (4-2-2) are winless in three home games but improved to 4-1-0 on the road with Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win in Ottawa. Jaromir Jagr scored the winner on the power play, giving the 42-year-old former Penguins star four points in four games after going pointless in his previous three. He had two goals and an assist in four games against the Penguins a season ago.

“The scoring doesn’t show, but I feel the best I’ve felt in probably the last 10 years,” Jagr told the team’s official website. “I don’t worry about it. I try to play hard every shift. I think I have more confidence. Hopefully my luck is going to turn the right way and it did today. Even if the scoring is not there, that’s OK.”
Rookie defenseman Damon Severson had a goal and an assist, giving the 20-year-old four goals and three assists through his first eight games. All of his goals have come in road environments.Just outstanding. He’s got poise, composure. He’s a special player,” coach Peter DeBoer said.

Winning in Pittsburgh has been considerably more difficult as the Penguins have won eight of 10 at home in the series while limiting the Devils to 1.50 goals per game. They split last season’s four-game series, with the home team winning every game.
The Penguins (4-2-1) got back in the win column with Saturday’s 3-0 victory in Nashville after dropping their previous two with nine goals allowed.

Jets backup Geno Smith limited by shoulder injury

Geno Smith could go from being benched Ziggy Hood Black Jersey to being inactive for the New York Jets.
The backup quarterback, sent to the sideline in favor of Michael Vick, has a shoulder injury that makes his availability uncertain for the team’s game at Kansas City on Sunday.

Smith was limited at practice Wednesday and did not throw any passes during the session.

”Very precautionary,” said Smith, adding that his right shoulder is sore. ”I just have to take it slow.”

Smith was hurt a few plays before throwing his third interception in the first quarter against Buffalo last Sunday, but said it didn’t affect his play. He tossed interceptions on three straight possessions, making a shoulder tackle of Aaron Williams to save a touchdown on the last of them.

”I took a hit early on and kind of had a stinger,” Smith said. ”And then, that last play really hurt me.”
Smith gave way to Vick after that last interception, but it was uncertain if he could have even continued on in the game because of the injury if he hadn’t been benched.

”I would have tried,” he said. ”I always try to push through those things. I’m not sure if I would have or not.”

Both Smith and coach Rex Ryan think the quarterback should be ready to play if needed against the Chiefs, but Matt Simms – currently on the practice squad – could be elevated to the active roster if Smith can’t go.

Smith will not be the starter for the first time in his NFL career, a span of 24 regular-season games in which he has thrown 31 interceptions against 19 touchdowns and lost six fumbles. The last time he didn’t start a game was in his freshman year at West Virginia, so the backup role is not a familiar one for Smith.

”It is difficult, but at the same time I’m a professional athlete and I’ve been playing football my entire life,” Smith said. ”I’ve seen these things happen and it’s all about how you respond. I fully expect to respond well and come back from this and be stronger.”

Smith believes the organization still has faith in him to be the quarterback to lead the franchise. But he acknowledged that if Vick plays well, he could be stuck on the sideline the rest of the season.

”If he’s giving us the best chance to win games, then he should be the starter,” Smith said. ”And I’m going to fully support Mike, just the same way he did for me.”

NOTES: WR Jeremy Kerley (illness) and CB Darrin Walls (calf, knee) did not practice. RG Willie Colon (knee), LG Oday Aboushi (shoulder), LB David Harris (shoulder) and LB Trevor Reilly (knee) were all limited. … Ryan on the Jets being on pace to set an NFL record for fewest turnovers – they have three so far – in a season: ”I have been a part of a lot of record-setting defenses, but I never thought I would set one in futility. Thank goodness the year isn’t over. I bet we won’t be there. I bet we won’t break that record before the year is over, but we can’t buy one.”

Texans look to build on win over Titans

The Houston Texans picked up their first win since Sept. 28 and got back to .500 by routing the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Now they’re focused on building on the win by correcting their mistakes as they prepare for the Eagles.

”There’s a lot of things we can improve on,” Ryan Fitzpatrick said.

The quarterback had a solid game in the 30-16 win, throwing for 227 yards and a touchdown and not turning the ball over for the first time since Week 2.

He still thinks the offense needs to be more consistent and is working on accuracy and getting the ball to the right players.

Fitzpatrick was sacked five times against the Titans, which tied a season high. The offensive line believes better communication is the key to getting that number down this week, but Fitzpatrick shouldered the blame for those hits, saying he needs to be smarter and get rid of the ball quicker.
”Everybody just has to continue to look at themselves and figure out what they can do,” he said. ”I’ve got a long list of things every week that I know I can get better at.”

The Texans are 4-4 at the halfway point and are looking for a victory against Philadelphia on Sunday to enter their bye week with a winning record.

A positive through the first half of the season has been the resurgence of Arian Foster. The running back finished with just 542 yards rushing in last year’s injury-abbreviated season.

He had back surgery after playing eight games, but looks to have returned to form in 2014 and is second in the NFL with 766 yards rushing, despite missing one game with a hamstring injury.
With 151 yards on Sunday he reached more than 100 yards rushing for a career-best Brian Quick Navy Blue Jersey fourth straight game to help the Texans finish with a season-high 212 yards rushing.

He had two rushing and one receiving touchdown on Sunday, highlighted by a 34-yard scamper where he ran inside before cutting back and outrunning three defenders on his way to the end zone.

”I told him when I saw him: ‘That’s the 23 I’m used to seeing’ – making plays like that, cutting it back side,” left tackle Duane Brown said of that run.

”I had no idea where he was and next thing you know – touchdown. That’s the type of stuff we’re used to seeing from him and it’s great to see it again.”

Foster, who had three straight 1,200-yard plus rushing seasons before last year, deflected attention from himself and instead focused on the team’s performance.

”We just have to strive to be more consistent as an offense,” Foster said. ”Our defense holds it down week in and week out, so as an offense we take that to heart … we have a lot of work to do.”

It’s a defense that got another big game from defensive end J.J. Watt, who had two sacks, swatted down a pass and forced a fumble on Sunday. The unit also got a boost from the return of top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney.

The outside linebacker finished with one tackle in limited action in his first game since having arthroscopic surgery after injuring his knee in the season opener.

Coach Bill O’Brien said Clowney did a good job, but that his conditioning will need to improve as his workload increases.

”I don’t think he’s ready to play 80 plays in a game, but we’ll continue to work him in there more,” O’Brien said.

The defense was without middle linebacker Brian Cushing, who is dealing with a problem with his left knee. Cushing tore a ligament in that knee in Week 7 last year and had season-ending surgery. He hopes to return this week, but doesn’t know if he’ll be able to.

”The first four games I felt like I was progressing,” he said. ”Then there has obviously been a little bit of an issue.”

O’Brien said Cushing will be listed day to day this week and that they’ll know more about his status when they return to practice on Wednesday.

”He’s going to do everything he can to try to play on Sunday,” O’Brien said.