CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is pressing.

You can see it in his body language. You can feel it in his performance. You can hear it in his voice.

Head coach Ron Rivera understands why.

"Because he wants to win in a very bad way," Rivera said on Friday as he explained Newton’s performance in Thursday night’s 28-10 loss to New Orleans that knocked Carolina out of first place in the NFC South.

[+] EnlargeCam Newton
AP Photo/Mike McCarnQB Cam Newton accepted much of the blame for Thursday's loss by Carolina against New Orleans.
Until he reached the NFL, Newton seldom lost. He won a national title in junior college. He won the BSC National title and Heisman Trophy during an undefeated season at Auburn in 2010.

But a little more than halfway through his fourth season with the Panthers, who made him the first pick of the 2011 draft, Newton is 28-28-1. If Carolina (3-5-1) doesn’t turn this season around, he will have suffered through three losing seasons out of four.

"You know how he gets?" Rivera said. "He wants to win in a bad way, and he puts it all on himself. One of the things he’s going to have to learn and grow on is that he’s got to be willing to take a step back and put the ball in the other playmaker’s hands as well."

Rivera sees what others see, that Newton sometimes tries to do too much.

When Newton presses as he did against New Orleans, his footwork sometimes gets off. That in part explains nine overthrows that led to a career-worst 35.5 completion percentage and 39.4 passer rating.

Sometimes pressing leads Newton to try and make a play on his own instead of dumping the ball to a running back or other open receiver. When he does dump the ball, as he did on a 30-yard pass to running back DeAngelo Williams in the second half, the result often is good.

Sometimes when Newton presses he gets fixated on rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds is a huge target. On Thursday Benjamin was targeted 10 times and caught only two passes.

"Absolutely," Rivera said. "He did press a little bit towards Kelvin. He had a couple of other throws he could have made. Again, he has a big target. And you’d like to see us come down with a couple of those."

To Newton’s credit, he doesn’t make excuses. He shouldered much of the blame for Thursday’s loss even though the makeshift offensive line with four undrafted players and at least three dropped passes made his effort look worse than it was.

He said he plans to spend the next few days off reflecting on how he can be better and why he’s not "firing on the cylinders."

Over the past three games, Newton has completed 48.1 percent (39 of 81) of his passes for 529 yards. He has one touchdown to three interceptions.

He has only 22 completions in the past two games combined.

If anybody needed a break, he did.

"This time off is going to allow everyone, including myself, to do a lot of self- scouting and just get back to the basics," Newton said. "It’s not anything that the teams we’re playing are doing that we aren’t prepared for.

"It’s just manning up. It’s just getting out and executing."

Rivera said Newton has to get back to his comfort zone and focus on the fundamentals that had him throwing better than at any time during his career while recovering from ankle surgery.

The coaches are trying to help.

"They continue to work on his footwork," Rivera said. "Keeping his left shoulder down, staying over his front foot, bending that knee as he delivers that ball. It’s all part of his fundamentals and it’s something that he’s just got to continue to push himself through."

And stop pressing.
RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks are a banged up lot entering Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.

Starting left tackle Russell Okung and starting strong safety Kam Chancellor will be game-time decisions, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Friday after practice.

The good news is starting center Max Unger probably will play for the first time in four weeks, even though he’s listed as questionable with his foot injury.

"Max made it through the week, so that’s a real good sign," Carroll said. "It will be nice to have him back out there."

Unger told reporters he’s healthy, but when Carroll was asked if Unger will start, he didn’t answer.

Carroll said backup center Stephen Schilling, who has a knee injury, will dress for the game. Schilling started the past three games while Unger has been out. It is likely third-string center Patrick Lewis will be active for the game.

Okung had practiced all week until Friday when a calf injury popped up. He has been playing all season with a sprained left shoulder that has a labrum tear. If Okung is out, Alvin Bailey is the likely starter a left tackle.

Chancellor now has a groin injury that makes him questionable for the game. He has been playing with ankle problems and a hip issue after having offseason hip surgery.

The Seahawks are thin at safety if Chancellor can’t play. DeShawn Shead would start because backup Jeron Johnson did not make it through the concussion protocol this week. The only other backup safety is Steven Terrell, so the Seahawks might make a roster move on Saturday to add a defensive back.

Starting cornerback Byron Maxwell will miss his third consecutive game because of a calf injury. Tharold Simon will start again for Maxwell. Simon returned to practice Friday after missing Thursday's practice with a sore knee.

Also out for Sunday are outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (groin), tight end Zach Miller (ankle), middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (turf toe) and defensive tackle Jordan Hill (ankle).

Cornerback Richard Sherman (knee) and defensive end Michael Bennett (toe) were full participants in practice after resting on Thursday. Carroll said both players are fine.

Another bit of positive news is newly acquired fullback Will Tukuafu, the 285-pound former San Francisco 49er, will play fullback Sunday. Tukuafu has played most of his career as a defensive end.

"Will was really impressive this week," Carroll said. "He has way more experience playing the [fullback] position than we thought. He showed an ability to pick stuff up real quick, and when he’s laying into someone at 280 [pounds], there’s a difference at that spot and exciting to see. He’s going to be playing and we’re anxious to see what he can do."
INDIANAPOLIS -- First it was Trent Richardson and Vontae Davis on Thursday. Then it was Reggie Wayne on Friday.

Wayne joined Richardson and Davis as full participants in practice Friday, giving the indication he is headed in the right direction to play for the Indianapolis Colts on Monday against the New York Giants. He missed last Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh with an elbow injury.

Coach Chuck Pagano said Thursday that he wanted to see Wayne in practice Friday and Saturday before making a decision on his status for Monday.

Wayne’s presence was felt during practice Friday.

"It makes all the difference," offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. "We just finished our third-down practice, and having Reggie Wayne available makes it a lot easier for the quarterback. Find Reggie and find a way to get him the ball."

In other injury news, defensive lineman Art Jones' status for Monday is in doubt after he missed practice for a second straight day because an ankle injury. He has been wearing a walking boot around the locker room.

Did not practice: Linebacker Josh McNary (ankle), linebacker Erik Walden (ankle)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Geno Smith is questionable with the injury to his right shoulder, but all signs point to the New York Jets' quarterback being available in the event starter Michael Vick can’t continue against the Chiefs on Sunday.

Here is the rest of the injury report:


Doubtful: CB Darrin Walls (calf/knee).

Questonable: QB Smith (right shoulder).

Probable: OL Oday Aboushi (shoulder), LB Antwan Barnes (knee), OL Willie Colon (knee), TE Jeff Cumberland (shoulder/finger), LB Demario Davis (finger), WR Eric Decker (hamstring), LB David Harris (shoulder), RB Chris Johnson (ankle), WR Jeremy Kerley (illness), OL Nick Mangold (shoulder), LB Trevor Reilly (knee), WR Greg Salas (wrist/ankle).


Out: WR Donnie Avery (groin), CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring), LB Josh Martin (hamstring), CB Chris Owens (knee).

Probable: S Eric Berry (ankle), TE Travis Kelce (ribs), RB Jamaal Charles (back), TE Anthony Fasano (shoulder), CB Phillip Gaines (quad), WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring), OL Mike McGlynn (foot), QB Alex Smith (right shoulder), CB Sean Smith (groin), RB Cyrus Gray (hand).
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' coaches have one defensive game plan for Monday Night if cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie can play and another in case he can't. But based on the way Rodgers-Cromartie has practiced this week, they are optimistic he'll be able to help them against the Colts.

"We're working him, and it depends on how he feels," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said Friday. "He's been good in back-to-back practices now, and that's something he didn't do before our last game. So we'll see how he feels (Saturday) and if it stiffens up, but it's that day-to-day assessment with him right now."

Rodgers-Cromartie has been dealing with leg and back problems for more than a month, and wasn't able to play in much of the team's Week 7 loss in Dallas. He's been getting treatment through the bye week, but his health issues obviously haven't cleared all the way up, and head coach Tom Coughlin said "I don't believe we can do that at this point" when asked about counting on Rodgers-Cromartie being able to play the whole game.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck leads the league in passing yardage, so he obviously poses a serious challenge to a Giants secondary that is already without nickel cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Trumaine McBride. A limited Rodgers-Cromartie is a potentially big problem in a game like this.

On the offensive side of the ball, Coughlin called guard Geoff Schwartz "a long shot" to return from injured reserve this week. Schwartz just started practicing this week on the toe injury that's kept him out since training camp, and they still have 17 more days before they are required to activate him.

And running back Rashad Jennings, who has already been ruled out of a third straight game with his knee injury, said he's still a few days from trying to move laterally on his leg, and that Week 11's game against the 49ers is a more realistic goal than the Week 10 game in Seattle, though he wouldn't rule that out.
ASHBURN, Va., -- Washington Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland injured his knee near the end of practice, but coach Jay Gruden said the rookie should be fine. However, they probably won’t know until Saturday whether he will play against Minnesota.

Breeland is starting for the injured DeAngelo Hall and is coming off his best game of the season, with several key plays in the win against Dallas.

Gruden said during his news conference that the injury was not serious. Later, during his weekly appearance on ESPN980, Gruden said Breeland had the knee checked out and that "it looks like it’ll be OK." Gruden called it a sprain and said they will find out more Saturday. They want to make sure it doesn’t swell overnight.

The injury occurred late in practice when Breeland’s foot got caught in the grass.

If Breeland can’t play, then the Redskins could turn to veteran Tracy Porter or second-year player Chase Minnifield.

"We have other guys, but obviously we want Breeland," Gruden said.

METAIRIE, La. -- Five days ago, New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram had just one 100-yard rushing game in his NFL career.

Now he has three.

Ingram ran the ball 30 times for 100 yards in Thursday night's 28-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers -- the most carries ever by a running back in Sean Payton's nine years as New Orleans' coach. That's new territory for Ingram, as well.

[+] EnlargeMark Ingram
AP Photo/Chuck BurtonMark Ingram had 30 carries Thursday for the Saints, but coach Sean Payton wants to maintain durability with other backs returning from injury.
"I've never carried the ball 30 times since high school. I think my most at Alabama was maybe 24 or 27, something like that," said the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, who has finally gotten the opportunity to showcase himself as the kind of every-down back he was in college.

Asked how he felt on the field after carrying the ball a combined 54 times for 272 yards in five nights, Ingram told CBS that he felt great and wanted to keep running it more.

Now the question looms: Will the Saints keep riding Ingram once fellow backs Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas return from injuries?

Chances are, the Saints will return to some form of timeshare -- mainly because those two guys are so talented and were also thriving in their part-time roles before they got hurt.

That's the main reason they've always had a timeshare under Payton in New Orleans -- because the Saints have always been loaded with a wealth of talented backs, from Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush to Thomas, Chris Ivory, Darren Sproles, Ingram and Robinson.

Payton was a little dismissive last week -- maybe even defensive -- when asked about the notion that it would be better to feed one back like Ingram so he could get into a rhythm instead of using a rotation. But when asked again Friday if Ingram has earned the opportunity to play a greater role at the head of the timeshare, Payton seemed open-minded.

"Listen, he certainly is [earning the opportunity]. Yet the key is just the durability. But he's been outstanding," Payton said. "I think that Sunday and then what he did last night, those are a lot of touches. And so we're gonna have to, as we get guys healthy, break those up. And yet to his credit, he's handled that workload. And I think our guys up front, I think it's all kind of come together to some degree.

"Now, it wasn't as clean as you'd hope last night. And yet there were some tough yards and still effective."
The Miami Dolphins (4-3) will host the San Diego Chargers (5-3) in a big game for both teams. Miami enters on a two-game winning streak, while San Diego has lost two in a row.

Here is a look at the final injury report for Miami:

Out: TE Dion Sims (toe)

Questionable: G Daryn Colledge (illness, back), LB Koa Misi (ankle)

Probable: TE Charles Clay (knee), LS John Denney (knee), CB Cortland Finnegan (neck), G Nate Garner (neck), LB Chris McCain (foot), C Mike Pouncey (hip), S Jimmy Wilson (hamstring)

Analysis: The Dolphins are very healthy to enter the midpoint of the season. Sims, Miami's backup tight end, will miss his first game of the season. Rookie Gator Hoskins will take some reps behind starting tight end Clay on Sunday. Colledge is a wild card, because he hasn't practiced all week. However, Colledge also is one of Miami's toughest players and said he's aiming to play. If Colledge cannot start, backup guard Dallas Thomas or Nate Garner will replace him. For the Chargers, running back Ryan Mathews (knee) has been ruled out, which is good news for Miami’s defense. Matthews gave the Dolphins trouble last season and rushed for 127 yards. San Diego linebacker Manti Te'o (foot) and cornerback Jason Verrett (shoulder) also were ruled out.
HOUSTON -- The rest did Houston Texans inside linebacker Brian Cushing some good.

"Moving around, cutting, running, endurance," Cushing said. "Feel a lot better; just excited."

Cushing added that he wasn't sure yet if he would play Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, but he did say this:

"Nothing's definite, but I feel good. I want to play and hope to play. That's the plan."

The Texans listed inside linebacker Jeff Tarpinian (knee) as out. Three players are questionable: Cushing, Jadeveon Clowney, who is dealing with a flu-like illness, and cornerback Darryl Morris, who could return for the Texans after being out with an ankle injury for several weeks. Morris did not practice on Friday.

What the Texans and Cushing are weighing are the pros and cons of bringing him back. He didn't feel like himself during the Texans' Monday night game, and the team decided it would be better for his knee to get some rest rather than play in Tennessee. If Cushing sits out this Sunday, he'd get three consecutive weekends off, as the Texans' bye week follows the Eagles game.

"Yeah, but I kind of don't think like that, you know," Cushing said. "Obviously I love playing, I want to be out there, but at the same time I want to play at my best level and feel as best as I can and have a good rest of the year. We gotta figure out a specific technique and formula that works for that to happen."
No position in sports has evolved more than quarterback, a notion veteran college football reporter Bruce Feldman deftly chronicles in his new book, "The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks."

Part of the book focuses on how Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel navigated the height of his mushrooming fame, around the time he appeared at SEC Media Days in July 2013 as Texas A&M's reigning Heisman winner. I figured this would be a good chance to take Browns fans into what exactly Manziel was dealing with in college.

Here's an excerpt from the scene in Birmingham, Alabama, when his role in an autograph scandal was in the news:
By this point of the offseason, the hype around Manziel had surpassed the hype around Tim Tebow at the peak of his media frenzy. Before Manziel was ushered around to a dozen different media platforms and interview sessions, he was brought to the main ESPN stage, where he was grilled by host Joe Tessitore for 10 minutes. Manziel, after having spent much of the previous 48 hours with PR coaches, did his best to downplay the story. His answers were measured. His smile was ready. He repeatedly pointed out that he was still a twenty-year-old kid who could make mistakes and who still wanted to live his life. At one point, he told Tessitore that he sometimes felt like Justin Bieber — a comment that, no doubt, made NFL personnel men wince.

“I’m not going to change who I am because of the spotlight,” he said, but he added that he would “adapt.”

Later, he told reporters at the print-media session, “At the end of the day, I’m not going for a Miss America pageant. I’m playing football.”

Feldman also recounts a moment with Manziel away from the spotlight.
Weeks earlier, when he is told he is like a guy who is fifty pounds overweight and trying to diet, only he keeps breaking down and gorging on ice cream and sweets, reasoning to himself, “I don’t need abs. I already got the hot girl,” Manziel smiled and nodded. He was neither embarrassed nor proud of it. He seemed simply resigned to it. As if that was just how he’d been wired. Manziel knew he didn’t have it all figured out, he said. Many times he got angry at himself for how he responded to things, but it always seemed to work out. Somehow.

Nothing punctuated Manziel's impact like the ESPYs after-party, where Manziel and LeBron James were the athletes whose images were displayed in the background.

Feldman writes about an exchange with A&M coach Kevin Sumlin: Asked, how does all this not mess with the head of a twenty-year-old, Sumlin laughed. “It messed with my head.”
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants don't play until Monday night, which is a nice break for rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. His mother, Heather Van Norman, is running in the New York City Marathon on Sunday, and because he has no game that day, Beckham has a chance to go and watch her.

"I'm going to try and find her, maybe help her with that last stretch," Beckham said Friday. "I know she'll make it, but I'm going to be there for her."

Van Norman was a six-time All-America sprinter at LSU and is now the track and cross country coach at Nicholls State University. Beckham said she runs more than 10 miles a day but that this will be her first marathon. He said he'd like to run the final eight miles with her, though that seems unlikely considering he has a game the next night and the security measures the marathon has in place to make sure only registered runners are on the course.

Regardless, Beckham will be there to support his mother, with whom he has a strong running rivalry.

"We have this ongoing bet. She thinks she can beat me in the mile," Beckham said. "I don't even know what I run a mile in, but I know I'm faster than my mom."

Beckham said he didn't know how he'd navigate the course as a spectator, since he refuses to ride the subway and he knows streets will be closed. He also said his mother doesn't have a time goal -- that since it's her first marathon, "she just wants to finish."

Her and thousands more.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Three starters for the Baltimore Ravens are listed as questionable, but tight end Owen Daniels is the biggest question mark heading into Sunday night's game at the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Daniels, the second-leading receiver on the Ravens, returned to practice Friday after sitting out the previous day. He missed last Sunday's game after having his knee scoped.

"It'll probably be a game-time [decision] with Owen, realistically," coach John Harbaugh said after Friday's practice.

Defensive end Chris Canty and guard Marshal Yanda are listed as questionable, although both had full participation in Friday's practice. Canty has been sidelined the past four games with an infection in his wrist.

"Overall, I feel good and I feel healthy," Canty. "I think the coaches think I'm coming along nicely, and hopefully I'll have an opportunity to help this team win Sunday."


Out: CB Jimmy Smith (foot, did not practice Friday), WR Michael Campanaro (hamstring, did not practice Friday).

Questionable: DE Canty (wrist, full participation Friday), G Yanda (knee, full participation Friday), TE Daniels (knee, full participation Friday).

Probable: RB Justin Forsett (ankle, full participation Friday), DT Haloti Ngata (shin, full participation Friday), LB Terrell Suggs (neck, full participation Friday), CB Lardarius Webb (not injury related).
IRVING, Texas – After DeMarco Murray ran for 100 yards in his sixth straight game to open the season, the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive linemen received iMac computers.

Four days after Tony Romo was sacked five times and injured his back, the quarterback gave tight end Jason Witten and his offensive linemen Louis Vuitton travel bags just in time for the team’s trip to London on Monday.

“Appreciate it,” Witten said. “Timing is now for the London trip, I’m assuming. So perfect timing.”

The Cowboys will travel to London on Monday, leading up to a Nov. 9 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.

Left guard Ronald Leary could not stop smiling. The bags also included a London travel book in case the players want to see the city while overseas.

“They’re taking care of us this year,” Leary said. “We appreciate it.”
BEREA, Ohio -- Competitor who wants to play? Sure.

Frustrated with his backup role? Johnny Manziel won't go there.

Two days after Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine said he could sense frustration from his first-round pick because of his competitive nature, an introspective Manziel sounded appreciative of the chance to play the background.

"I'm sure there are signs of this being a different situation for me," said Manziel, who's gone from Texas A&M star quarterback to running scout team reps as a rookie. "I don't feel frustrated. Obviously being a competitor I want to play, but there is a difference."

Manziel is sitting behind Brian Hoyer, who's 4-3 as the starter, but still garners attention because of the hype surrounding his Heisman Trophy-winning career at Texas A&M, the contingent of Browns fans that wants to see him play and the interest in his personal life fueled by social media.

Manziel doesn't seems interested in feeding that beast right now.

"No focus, no attention needs to be really placed on me," Manziel said. "I'm doing little things to try to help this team get better throughout the week, but when it comes to Sundays, obviously I'm not out there directly contributing ... I think I'm just where I need to be and kind of falling back a little bit is good for me and I like it."

Completely falling out of the spotlight seems far-fetched. He's a topic around here. But Manziel is doing his best to redirect energy to a team playing well, with a good chance to go 5-3 on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Sitting has reinforced Manziel's desire to play quality NFL football but also reminds him of training camp -- when he had a chance to win the job.

"I think I'm still extremely hungry," Manziel said. "I still feel, obviously coming out of training camp, I was disappointed and I wanted to play better. At the same time I am a rookie and I can't be too hard on myself. I remember thinking back to the days I was learning the offense at A&M, it was frustrating. It's like that for everybody coming into a new system and a new place a long way from home. There are a lot of things that were going on in my life where now I'm settled in and a lot more comfortable with everything that's going on on a daily basis."

Rookie left guard Joel Bitonio rooms with Manziel on the road and has noticed a player who's serious about his football. Whether breaking down college games on Saturdays or lifting weights early in the week, Manziel is always intentional, Bitonio said.

"He seems like he wants to be good at it," Bitonio said. "You can tell he wants to be a good football player in the NFL. He's been putting in the work in the weight room. You can tell, the day after the game he hasn't played but he comes in and works his tail off in the weight room, trying to stay in shape in case he has to play."

This could be an example of Manziel working to quash the perceptions that surround him, fair or not. His goal, he said, is not to burden teammates with any off-field distractions. He admits he's a "reserved guy" in the locker room.

"When I'm here in the building is a lot different for me than life outside away from the building," Manziel said. "I feel at times the people think I'm always going, always doing this -- that's not always the case. It just always seems to get out that way and you hear about it. ... The thing I've tried to do since I got here is to let these guys know it's not all it's chalked up to be and it's not all the hype that it is. If you ask guys here, they'd say that's been the case."
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Eric Decker is standing by his woman in a low-level skirmish with Jets fans, and said his wife will be reactivating her Twitter account.

"She wasn't attacking Jets fans, she was attacking people that were saying negative comments. And I've got a lot of respect for the fact that she's going to say what a lot of people feel," Decker said Friday in the Jets locker room.

In case you missed the fracas, Decker tweeted at fans to tell him how much they loved the team and he'd give away a prize. But with the Jets being 1-7 and some fans a little roiled, things kind of spiraled.

Obviously annoyed at the abuse directed at her husband, Decker's wife, the country singer Jesse James Decker, tweeted: "You think he really cares what y'all think, haters? He's laughing his ass alllll the way home ... Life is pretty good here, can't complain."

Soon after, she deleted her account.

Decker blamed the negative people who used his giveaway as an opportunity to vent their frustration with the team.

"If you don't like something, don't say anything," Decker said. "That's my attitude to those people. But at the end of the day, she's got my back. I did a nice gesture as far as reaching out to fans and giving a prize away, so I guess if you guys don't like that, then don't write about it."



Thursday, 10/30
Sunday, 11/2
Monday, 11/3