Ryan McDowell

Football Daily Dose

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Dose: Brady Banged Up

Friday, January 19, 2018


Championship weekend is here! We have two huge games coming up and by Sunday evening, the Super Bowl matchup will be set. The Vikings travel to Philadelphia as favorites coming off their miraculous win a week ago, while the Patriots are big home favorites over the surprising Jaguars. Here’s all the news you need to know as the big games near.

 

The Patriots' mid-week routine was shaken up on Wednesday when word began to leak that superstar QB Tom Brady had injured his hand during practice and would be unavailable to speak to the media. That led to a great deal of speculation and concern, but in the end, most brushed it off with the assumption that Brady would be back on the practice field on Thursday. Longtime beat writer Mike Reiss was told Brady’s hand “should be okay” for Sunday’s AFC Championship and an early report from the Boston Globe put Brady on the practice field. That eased all the nerves of Patriots fans, but it was later revealed the future Hall of Famer actually had been unable to practice and had also not been available to the media for a second consecutive game. This still seems a bit fishy and the popular assumption is that Brady will suit up Sunday, but concern is mounting as evidenced by the spread, which has dropped two points since word of Brady’s injury was made public. Veteran Brian Hoyer is Brady’s backup.

 

 

Championship Round News

 

Although Brady was unable to go, RB Rex Burkhead did practice on Thursday after being limited the previous day. Burkhead missed last week’s game against the Titans and his status is still uncertain for this week’s game. Regardless of Burkhead’s injury, Dion Lewis will maintain the lead role with James White also factoring in, as well.

 

Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette was once again limited in practice due to the ankle injury that has been a consistent concern for the back dating to his college days at LSU. Fournette is expected to suit up against the Patriots this weekend.

 

Vikings WR Adam Thielen (back) got in a limited practice again on Thursday, which was a repeat of the previous day. Thielen’s injury doesn’t seem to be a concern for Minnesota as the NFC Championship game nears.

 

Minnesota’s DB Andrew Sendejo was also limited in Thursday’s practice. Sendejo was forced from last week’s game after suffering a concussion on a huge block from Saints WR Michael Thomas. The prevailing thought is that Sendejo will be cleared from the concussion protocol in time to play this weekend.

 

Coaching News

 

After surprisingly parting ways with their HC Mike Mularkey following their loss to the Patriots last week, the Tennessee Titans are playing catch up in the interview process. On Thursday, they met with Houston DC Mike Vrabel and Panthers DC Steve Wilks. The Titans also have an upcoming interview scheduled with Rams OC Matt LeFleur.

Despite a step back following their run to the Super Bowl, the Atlanta Falcons announced they would retain OC Steve Sarkisian for the 2018 season. The Falcons points per game dropped by nearly two touchdowns from the previous season when they were led by current 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan. The Falcons are also set to interview former Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell for their open QBs coach position.

 

A day after officially parting ways with OC Todd Haley, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced they had promoted QBs coach Randy Fichtner to their offensive coordinator position. Fichtner has been with the team for over a decade and reportedly has a good relationship with star QB Ben Roethlisberger. Expect the 2018 Steelers offense to look essentially the same as recent seasons.

 

Another team that dumped their offensive coordinator this week is the New York Jets, who surprisingly chose to move on from former OC John Morton. On Thursday, Jets beat writer Manish Mehta reported that Jets QBs coach Jeremy Bates is a strong candidate to get the job. Much like the Steelers, if Bates were to get the gig, the Jets offense should look very similar to what we saw in 2017, despite questions at quarterback and running back, among other positions.

 

 

Quick Hits

 

Cardinals RB David Johnson is reportedly 100% healthy after missing the majority of the season with a wrist injury. ... Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will not need surgery to repair his injured MCL/PCL. ... Heisman Trophy winner took to social media Thursday, stating his desire to play for the Miami Dolphins, who currently own the eleventh overall pick in the first round. ... Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff suggested his main focus of the off-season would be a contract extension for veteran QB Matt Ryan. ... Browns LT Joe Thomas (triceps) expects to be fully cleared by July.



Ryan McDowell is a senior writer for dynastyleaguefootball.com. You can follow him on Twitter @RyanMc23.
Email :Ryan McDowell



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