Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Thursday that there was no chance Jennings would be able to play Monday, leaving the running game once again in the hands of rookie Andre Williams and fading veteran Peyton Hillis. Jennings will miss his third game in a row since spraining his knee in the Week 5 victory against the Falcons.
The Giants rank 27th in the NFL so far in rush yards per attempt -- 3.7. And in that category, there hasn't been a perceptible dropoff since Jennings went down. They were averaging 3.7 yards per carry in their first five games and are averaging 3.8 in their past two, which are the two Williams has started.
However, when Jennings was the starter, they were averaging 121 rush yards per game. In the two games Williams has started, they're averaging 95. Part of that may be skewed by the fact that they trailed and lost by so much in Week 6 in Philadelphia, but the Giants' run game hasn't generated nearly as much confidence as they had in it when Jennings was healthy.
The coaching staff doesn't yet trust Williams as a receiver or a blocker in passing situations, so there's more juggling going on in terms of substitution and play-calling, and as a result, they haven't established the same kind of rhythm on offense as they had during their three-game winning streak.
Williams himself is averaging 3.1 yards per rush attempt and has caught four passes for 25 yards on the season. Jennings is averaging 4.4 yards per carry and has 11 catches for 109 yards. He's the more complete back and obviously the more experienced, and Williams has played like a rookie still finding his way in the league and the offense, which is what you'd expect. He could have a hard time getting things going Monday night against the Colts, who rank ninth in the league in rush defense, allowing 99.3 rush yards per game.
As for when to expect Jennings back, he's working on it. He was planning to do some running and cutting Wednesday to evaluate the strength in his knee and the surrounding muscles. It's not out of the question he could return for the Week 10 game in Seattle, though he obviously has to make significant progress before that happens.
Also not practicing Wednesday was defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, who's likely to miss a few games with the calf injury he suffered in Week 7 in Dallas. Coughlin said cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who's been severely limited by back and hamstring problems, would continue to practice on a limited basis. Guard Geoff Schwartz, who's eligible to return this week from the toe injury that's kept him out since the preseason, is just starting to practice and likely isn't ready to be activated for this upcoming game.
Taylor said he suffered the injury when he was running down a punt.
“Kinda out of nowhere,” he said.
His calf is getting better already, Taylor said, but the second-year pro is taking it week-by-week. He’s not concerned about the injury lingering.
Taylor is on pace to top his output last season, when he finished with 186 total yards -- 115 rushing and 71 receiving. Through seven games, he has 103 total -- 63 rushing and 40 receiving. He’s scored three touchdowns this season, two coming against Oakland in Week 7, but Taylor didn’t have a carry or a reception Sunday against Philadelphia.
The timing isn’t ideal for Taylor, who grew up in Mansfield, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Coupled with a return home, Taylor’s production will be curtailed for as long as he’s out.
“It’s annoying,” he said. “You want to be out there on the field. That was definitely annoying.”
"Yeah, that's all it is," the Dallas Cowboys' second-round pick said.
Lawrence is expected to make his debut Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals after missing the first eight games while on short-term injured reserve as he recovered from a broken foot suffered in training camp.
The Cowboys need Lawrence, too. While they were able to come up with three sacks in Monday's loss to the Washington Redskins, they have only 10 sacks for the season. They have not been able to come up with a consistent pass rush and have not affected the opposing quarterback enough.
The Cowboys moved up to take Lawrence in the second round in hopes he could get to the quarterback. He had 20 sacks in his two seasons at Boise State and the Cowboys had him rated as the third-best right defensive end in the draft behind Jadeveon Clowney and Anthony Barr.
"I ain't going to say they need me because they've been doing it and winning games off of me not being there," Lawrence said. "I just say I'll be a help to them when I get back."
Lawrence has been practicing for the last two weeks, which he believes has helped him get in better football shape as well as ease his transition to the game.
"He was doing well," coach Jason Garrett said of Lawrence's work in training camp. "He's one of those guys who seemed to be picking things up the right way and maybe as much as anything else the physicalness and the tempo with which you have to play. Obviously from a technical standpoint he has to improve. He just doesn't have that much experience, but he's certainly off to a good start and it will be good to get him back."
Lawrence said he does not feel pressure to become an impact player.
"I feel like I put pressure on myself," Lawrence said, "so it's me going out there maintaining my goals and my focus and really doing what I think and I know I can do."
He was on the practice field Wednesday, a day after clearing the protocol, going through some light stretching during the open portion of practice. Earlier Wednesday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Peterson was "ready to roll."
"I was kinda worried when I woke up because I was like, 'Oh man, I was knocked out for a second,'" Peterson said. "But at the moment, you're out there playing football, you play for those moments.
"It was a scare for me but not only me: the fans, my family."
Peterson said he's symptom-free after a friendly-fire hit from rookie safety Deone Bucannon in Arizona's 24-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Late in the second quarter, Peterson was on the receiving end of a brutal hit from Bucannon that went through Philadelphia's Jeremy Maclin first. Maclin's helmet knocked into Peterson's and sent him to the ground.
Until Peterson saw the replay, he thought Bucannon had hit him directly.
"I thought it was kinda awkward, honestly," Peterson said. "Obviously, it was in slow motion so you can't really see the absorption of the hit.
"It was a kinda weird, awkward hit."
As a result of the hit, Peterson said he received a new, updated helmet model with more padding.
He also hopes Maxwell (calf injury) can return, but it appears Smith may be out with a groin strain he suffered in the Carolina game last weekend.
Backup safety Jeron Johnson must go through the mandatory concussion protocol and did not practice Wednesday. Backup defensive tackle Jordan Hill still is not practicing because of an ankle sprain.
Left guard James Carpenter was limited in practice because of back spasms. Punt returner Bryan Walters returned to full participation at practice after missing the Carolina game with a concussion.
Running back Marshawn Lynch had his usual day of rest Wednesday, but is not injured.
As an aside, though, two players who began practicing this week -- nose tackle Glenn Dorsey (right biceps) and running back Marcus Lattimore (right knee) -- are not currently on the active roster, so they do not count against the injury report.
In fact, the 49ers only have 52 players currently on the roster and because they do not have a practice squad player in his third year, they can stay at 52 players. And, of course, that leaves open a roster spot should linebacker Aldon Smith's nine-game suspension be reduced anytime soon.
Following is the 49ers' injury report for Wednesday:
Limited participation: CB Tramaine Brock (toe), S Jimmie Ward (quadricep), ILB Patrick Willis (toe)
Full participation: CB Chris Culliver (hamstring)
“I don’t know if you could say today looked that way on the practice field,” joked Rivers. “I almost thought, ‘Where is everybody?’”
Even after a long weekend to recuperate from nagging injuries, eight Chargers players still missed practice.
Brandon Flowers (concussion), Ryan Mathews (knee), Manti Te'o (foot), Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring), Dwight Freeney (knee), Rich Ohrnberger (back), Jason Verrett (shoulder) and Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice.
However, Flowers, Mathews, Attaochu and Addae did some work on the side. Freeney and Ohrnberger are expected to play against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
After missing three games with a concussion, running back Donald Brown finally cleared the NFL concussion protocol and was a full participant in practice on Wednesday, along with cornerback Steve Williams (groin). Linebacker Reggie Walker (ankle) was a limited participant.
“It felt good to get back out there, get back into a routine and get back into the swing of things,” Brown said. “You put so much time and effort into the offseason to play in games. And to sit out and watch your team compete while you have to sit there and not do anything, it’s tough. But I’m excited about the opportunity this coming week to play Miami. It’s a good test, and it will be a challenge.”
The addition of Brown gives San Diego more depth at running back, with Branden Oliver taking the lion’s share of the reps in the backfield the last three games.
Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said even with eight players missing practice on Wednesday, his team is inching closer to being fully healthy.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that are extremely close to coming back,” McCoy said. “You see some of those guys running around today on their own doing things. But we’ve got one thing on our mind – finding a way to get to 6-3. That’s all that is on our mind for the rest of the week.”
The Chargers also released cornerback Aaron Hester from the practice squad and signed cornerback Kendall James from Maine in his place.
NBC4 D.C. earlier reported the decision.
Griffin hasn't played since dislocating his left ankle in Week 2.
Griffin was a full participant Wednesday in practice for the first time since injuring his ankle and again took snaps with the first-team offense.
Quarterback Colt McCoy, who replaced an ineffective Kirk Cousins after halftime in the Redskins' Week 7 win against the Titans, has helped the Redskins win their past two games, including Monday night's overtime victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen, NFL Insider Adam Schefter and Redskins reporter John Keim contributed to this report.
"I just landed on it funny, it'll be all right," Hillman said following Wednesday's practice.
Asked if he had any concern he wouldn't be able to play in the showdown with the Patriots, Hillman said:
"No, I'm not, I'll be at practice (Thursday). So, I mean, I plan on being at practice (Thursday). I don't know what they're talking about. But I'll be fine. It's nothing that I can't deal with."
Hillman has helped give the Broncos run game a boost over the last three games. The third-year running back has two 100-yard games in those last three outings and has averaged 4.9 yards per carry in the three starts.
Rookie Juwan Thompson, who briefly left the game against the Arizona Cardinals with a knee injury before he returned in the second half, has been the team's No. 2 back since Ball's injury.
Thompson has missed some practice time since the injury, but has played in the last three games and leads the team in rushing touchdowns with three.
"(The Patriots) are clicking," Hillman said. "It's going to be interesting to see what happens when we get out there … but we know we have to be on our game, no mistakes."
Situations such as these are why it's particularly useful for the Vikings to have Corey Wootton, who had 7 1/2 sacks two years ago with the Bears and has proved to be a capable backup for both Robison and Everson Griffen. Wootton played 24 snaps on Sunday, registering three tackles, and if he's asked to take on a larger role on Sunday, the Vikings should be in good hands. Rookie Scott Crichton could also get more work this week after playing eight snaps when Wootton was hurt two weeks ago. He returned to the inactive list last Sunday.
Cornerback Jabari Price missed practice with a lingering hamstring injury and tight end Kyle Rudolph also sat out, though he continued to do some conditioning work on the side as he recovers from sports hernia surgery. Tight end Chase Ford (foot) and cornerback Josh Robinson (ankle) both appeared to be struggling with their injuries in the portion of practice open to the media, and both were limited in practice. Safety Antone Exum (ankle/shoulder) and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (ankle/knee) also were limited.
Both players were injured Sunday in a 23-13 loss at Cleveland. Watson had a stinger and Carrie had a lower-back injury.
Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa did not practice Wednesday. He left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury.
Let's start with the easiest things to figure out: Cornerback Alan Ball was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday with a biceps injury and nickelback Will Blackmon will miss at least three weeks with a broken left index finger, which he had surgically repaired on Tuesday.
After that ... well, it will take a while. Here goes:
Cornerback Dwayne Gratz was limited in practice on Wednesday with a groin injury. That's separate from the hip flexor injury that nearly kept him out of last Sunday's game against Miami. If he's healthy, he'll likely start at right cornerback (replacing Ball) against Cincinnati on Sunday. If not, his likely replacement is Jeremy Harris, one of the team's two seventh-round picks in 2013. Harris played a career-high 10 snaps on defense and on special teams in last Sunday's loss to Miami.
The starter at left cornerback will be Demetrius McCray, the Jaguars' other seventh-round draft pick in 2013. McCray was inserted into the lineup after Gratz suffered a concussion against San Diego on Sept. 28. He started the following week when Gratz was out and held on to the job when Gratz returned.
With Blackmon out, the Jaguars will use safety Sherrod Martin as the nickelback. He spent 2009-12 with Carolina before signing with Jacksonville last December. He was waived in final cuts but re-signed on Sept. 23. He has played mainly on special teams in the last five games.
The Jaguars promoted cornerback Peyton Thompson from the practice squad last Saturday as insurance in case Gratz couldn't play against the Dolphins.
While there is a rash if injuries at corner, the safeties remain healthy. Second-year players Johnathan Cyprien and Josh Evans will start against the Bengals. Undrafted rookie Craig Loston would be next up in the rotation with Martin working at nickel back.
Got all that? All cleared up? Good, but don't get too comfortable -- things could change quickly.
Those two positions are the ones with the least depth in the roster, and that has gotten general manager John Idzik criticism as the team falls to 1-7.
As for the rest of the injury report:
Did not practice: WR Jeremy Kerley (illness), CB Darrin Walls (calf, knee).
Limited: T Oday Aboushi (shoulder), G Willie Colon (knee), LB David Harris (shoulder), LB Trevor Reilly (knee), QB Geno Smith (right shoulder).
Full: CB Phillip Adams (groin), LB Antwan Barnes (knee), TE Jeff Cumberland (finger, shoulder), LB Demario Davis (finger), WR Eric Decker (hamstring), RB Chris Johnson (ankle), C Nick Mangold (shoulder), WR Greg Salas (ankle, wrist).
Out: WR Donnie Avery (groin)
Did not practice: CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring), LB Josh Martin (hamstring).
Limited: S Eric Berry (ankle), TE Travis Kelce (ribs), CB Christopher Owens (knee).
Full: RB Jamaal Charles (back), TE Anthony Fasano (shoulder), CB Phillip Gaines (quadricep), RB Cyrus Gray (hand), WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring), G Mike McGlynn (foot), QB Alex Smith (right shoulder), CB Sean Smith (groin).
"We've got to play it day by day," Smith said, "follow the instructions of the training staff and see how it goes."
Smith said he was injured against the Bills a few plays before his third interception, sustaining a stinger, and then reinjured when he pushed Bills safety Aaron Williams out of bounds a yard shy of the end zone on an interception return.
"That last play really hurt me," Smith said.
In more ways than one. Smith was done for the day, but if Ryan hadn't pulled him after throwing three interceptions, Smith isn't sure he would've been able to finish the game.
"I would've tried," Smith said. "I always try to push through those things. I'm not sure if I would've or not."
The team took X-rays of his shoulder after the game and, although they didn't officially announce the results, he has been cleared to practice.
So now Smith has to rehab his shoulder and his wounded ego on the bench. He hasn't been anything but the starter since his freshman year at West Virginia, so this is an unfamiliar spot.
"I'm just preparing myself to be able to play on Sunday," Smith said. "You never know what can happen, so I'm preparing to be ready to play."
Cameron missed practice Wednesday because he is part of the NFL's concussion protocols. He was injured in the win over the Raiders on a penalized hit at the end of a diving catch.
Cameron was not on the field for the portion of practice open to the media.
"I don't know where he was today, as far as symptoms," coach Mike Pettine said before practice started, "but you don't even start the clock [on practicing] until [players are] 'symptom-free.' ... That'll be a day-to-day thing based on where he is."
Cameron's loss is significant, especially because the Browns start the game without the suspended Josh Gordon. But the Browns have played well without the tandem this season. Cameron missed the New Orleans game, but Brian Hoyer threw for 204 yards and the Browns won 26-24. Backup tight end Gary Barnidge also caught a pass to convert a fourth-and-10 on the game-winning drive.
Cameron, though, is one of the Browns' better players and his absence would be felt.
If he misses the game, it's the third time since December of 2012 that Cameron missed time with a concussion.
He missed two games at the end of the '12 season, and another at the end of '13 with concussions.
ESPN injury analyst Stephania Bell, though, said effects of concussions are not always linear, so all situations are different.
"We don't like seeing multiple concussions clustered together within a relatively close time frame," Bell wrote in an e-mail. "I would certainly expect them to be cautious with him, just as they would with any other player with a concussion history . But there's no magic number that delineates when someone is approaching the maximum to remain in the game of football, for instance. All are evaluated on an individual basis, which takes into account the person's specific documented concussion experience -- including type of symptoms, duration of symptoms -- and are counseled accordingly."