NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt maintained Monday that nothing had changed for his team from the quarterback perspective.

He echoed that in a conference call with Houston reporters and indicated to Nashville media that Jake Locker was doing better and would speak Thursday rather than Wednesday because the coach "figured we'd have a little more clarity."

ESPN's Adam Caplan has confirmed an earlier report that the Titans are turning to rookie Zach Mettenberger rather than Locker or Charlie Whitehurst as the starter Sunday against the Houston Texans at LP Field. Citing sources, Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean first reported the news.

It's a bold move with plenty of upside for the Titans, who are going nowhere with what they've used through seven games en route to a 2-5 record. Mettenberger might spark the team.

Even if he struggles, Tennessee can cast it as a rookie taking his lumps for the greater, long-term good.

It's the scenario a large percentage of vocal fans have clamored for on talk radio and Twitter.

Mettenberger is a big, strong-armed pocket passer. His draft stock fell after an ACL tear at LSU and a reportedly diluted urine sample at the scouting combine.

His composition and style make him the Titans quarterback best equipped to run the offense Whisenhunt brought with him to Tennessee. Whisenhunt employed it as offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, as head coach for six seasons in Arizona and last year as coordinator in San Diego.

The Titans are as anonymous as any team in the NFL. Mettenberger will now get an extensive chance to take on a role as the young face of the franchise.
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The winless Oakland Raiders are getting more battered each week, and the latest casualty may be defensive end LaMarr Woodley.

Woodley suffered a biceps injury Sunday's loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Raiders interim coach Tony Sparano said Wednesday the injury "could be" serious. The Raiders continue to evaluate Woodley, and there is concern he could be out several weeks.

Because biceps injuries can be difficult to gauge, the Raiders could be forced into putting Woodley on the injured reserve.

Oakland signed Woodley, 29, this offseason to a two-year, $12 million deal after he was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has been unproductive as a Raider, with just five tackles in six games. The Raiders will use C.J. Wilson and Benson Mayowa in his place.

Reserve tight end David Ausberry is also facing a long recovery with a foot injury. Sparano said the diagnosis "probably isn't great" for Ausberry.

Oakland could make a flurry of roster moves this week. It has yet to put safety Usama Young, who tore his ACL and MCL in Week 7, on injured reserve.

One potential addition could be cornerback D.J. Hayden. The Raiders have 14 days to either activate Hayden from the physically unable to perform list or shelve him. He started practicing last week after being out since breaking his foot in June. Hayden has looked good in practice and Sparano said Wednesday he could be activated this week.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In following up on the story of cornerback Darrelle Revis being sent home for being late to Tuesday's practice, as initially reported by the Boston Globe, the conclusion I came to is this after speaking with multiple sources: Revis made a mistake, can probably expect to be fined by the team as is normally the case in situations like these, and was ultimately accountable for his actions by personally meeting with coach Bill Belichick later in the day to apologize.

The Patriots have a hardline rule, and this goes back 15 years under Belichick, that if a player is late he doesn't practice. That is just standard operating procedure and Revis is hardly the first player to break that rule (albeit unintentionally).

I don't think this was anything about message-sending to the rest of the players. It was just maintaining the integrity of a rule that has always applied to everyone on the roster and is communicated regularly.

If Belichick lets it slide once, for anyone, his word loses its meaning and his standing as the leader of the team is compromised.

Being late and having the story come out publicly doesn't reflect well on Revis, but at the same time, Belichick himself often says "No one makes more mistakes than me." That's why I think Belichick, while certainly displeased with Revis missing practice, probably feels the accountability Revis has taken is what was necessary to move on with limited repercussions other than a fine.

I had wondered if Belichick might sit Revis for the start of Sunday's game against the Bears as part of discipline for being late -- somewhat similar to what we've seen in the past in other situations (e.g. Wes Welker) -- but I'd be a bit surprised if that happened at this point.
Percy Harvin and Geno SmithAP Photo, Getty Images
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- We're five days removed from the Percy Harvin trade, and there's still an element of mystery surrounding the New York Jets' motivation for the deal. One theory being floated is they believe a playmaker of Harvin's ilk will accelerate the development of Geno Smith, assisting the organization as it formulates an evaluation of the quarterback over the final nine games.

I don't think that was the primary reason for the trade. If it was, my question is this: Why didn't they take that approach in the offseason? Why didn't they try to sign another wide receiver to go along with Eric Decker? Bringing Harvin into the fold at this point in the season, asking him to learn an offense on the fly and develop a rapport with Smith, is a too-little, too-late move. It may provide some help to Smith, but it won't elevate him to a new level.

Harvin won't save Smith. The only person who can save Geno is Geno. He has nine games to convince the brass he's their long-term answer. Let's be honest, it'll have to be one whale of a nine-game run to erase the first 23 games.

"Receivers don't make quarterbacks; quarterbacks make receivers," a longtime personnel executive said Wednesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "I don't think Geno can play, I don't care who you put around him. Yeah, [Harvin] will make him a little better, but I've seen enough of Geno. You can't saddle the next coach with another year of Geno."

Smith played one of his best all-around games in last week's loss to the New England Patriots, managing to go a full game without an interception -- only the fifth time he's done that in 23 starts. There were some positives (an 88.6 passer rating), but the question is whether he can sustain it. This is hard to believe, but only once has he posted an 80 rating or better in back-to-back games -- the final two games last season.

Starting Sunday against the Buffalo Bills (4-3), Smith needs to put together a string of feel-good performances. He dismissed the idea that last week was a building block, saying, "No, we lost the game. That's that."

Good answer.

Smith has made slight improvements from last season in most of the major statistical categories, but as Bill Parcells always used to say, the quarterback's job is to get his team into the end zone. Smith isn't doing that. The Jets are averaging only 17 points per game, tied for 28th in the league. That's not good enough. Not even close.

Decker believes Harvin's presence will take some pressure off Smith, because he can take a short, high-percentage throw and break it for 40 or 50 yards. That's a fine theory. The Seattle Seahawks felt the same way, except the longest of Harvin's 22 receptions was only 33 yards. The Seahawks didn't know how to use Harvin and gave up. Why should we believe the Jets will be any different?

Smith spoke highly of Harvin's "dynamic" ability -- that's the new favorite word in the Jets' locker room -- but he stopped short of making any bold predictions. "This isn't video games," he said, meaning that integrating Harvin into the offense will take longer than popping a disc into a Play Station.

It's funny how general manager John Idzik and Rex Ryan have tried to remove Smith from the Harvin equation, insisting their young quarterback's development wasn't the impetus for the trade. "No, I don't see that," Ryan said. Of course, if he acknowledged that, he'd basically be calling out his GM for doing a lousy job of stocking the receiver position in the offseason.

Which he did. Stephen Hill was hopeless, Jalen Saunders was a bust, Jacoby Ford was an inexpensive flyer who couldn't fly (at least not with the ball in his hands) and David Nelson was a possession receiver who didn't excite the brass. And yet Idzik said Monday, "I think we have some weapons, I really do."

If the Jets have weapons, they're dormant. The reason is Smith. The quarterback makes everybody better -- or worse. Maybe Harvin can provide a spark, but a spark won't ignite a damp firecracker.
METAIRIE, La. -- When you lose a game the way the New Orleans Saints did last week, coughing up a 13-point lead in the final four minutes at Detroit, quarterback Drew Brees said "it was painful for all of us."

"It bugs you for like 24 hours. I mean, it really bugs you," said Brees, who bluntly admitted after the game that he let his team down with a late interception.

Ultimately, though, Brees insisted that the way the Saints played for the first 56 minutes of that 24-23 loss at Detroit still breeds confidence that things are heading in the right direction.

[+] EnlargeDrew Brees
AP Photo/Paul SancyaDrew Brees said Sunday's loss to the Lions "was painful for all of us."
And now that the page has officially turned toward a Sunday night showdown against the Green Bay Packers in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Brees said the overriding emotion is excitement for that next opportunity to build on that progress.

"As you got into Tuesday and into today, you said, ‘Man, guys, we're getting close.'" Brees said. "I don't think we've scratched the surface with what we can do this year yet offensively. I think we've showed signs, and yet I think just on a consistent basis we haven't quite found it yet. But we're on our way, and that's the exciting thing. You keep chipping away at it, knowing that your best is still yet to come.

"And we're gonna need it this week against Green Bay."

Players like Brees and offensive tackle Zach Strief admitted that they have to be prepared to engage in a shootout with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, who might have the hottest offense in football right now.

The Packers (5-2) have averaged 36.25 points per game over their current four-game win streak. Rodgers has thrown for 18 touchdown passes with just one interception this year -- with that only interception coming in Week 1.

"Anytime you go up against a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers on the other side of the ball, you know how sharp he's gonna be and you know you have to be at your best," Brees said. "You don't have to be perfect. But, man, just everything is magnified in a game like this. …

"It just makes you feel like you have to be even that (much) more precise and execute that much better, take advantage of every opportunity that you get."

The Saints have to be especially precise against a Green Bay defense that has forced 14 turnovers this year. The Packers lead the NFL with a turnover ratio of plus-10, having only turned it over four times.

"More than anything, I think we need to protect the ball against this team," Strief said. "So we don't just have to put up points, we need to do it efficiently. Because they've been really good at taking it away, and that offense has really fed on that."

Turnovers have been a problem for the Saints this year. Brees has thrown seven interceptions, and the Saints have lost five fumbles. And some of Brees' recent interceptions have been very poor decisions while trying to force a throw under pressure -- including the most costly one of the year to date at Detroit.

Brees' TD-to-interception ratio is 11-to-7 this year, which is far below his normal standard. But he said those numbers in and of themselves don't worry him or concern him or "keep me up at night" because he's more concerned with the improvement going forward.

Coach Sean Payton said earlier this week that Brees is "the least of our worries." And Strief offered a similar vote of confidence Wednesday.

"I think that Drew is doing what Drew's always done. And he's not getting a lot of help," Strief said. "I think you look at the two-minute drill at the end of the game (at Detroit), we ran six plays, he was pressured on all six of them.

"So obviously Drew is always gonna probably get more credit and he's gonna get more criticism than he's due. We understand that. And if there's one guy in this locker room we're gonna support 100 percent, it's gonna be Drew."
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- There will come a time in Sunday's game in New Orleans when one of the two quarterbacks won't be able to keep up.

And it may be only because there's no more time left.

When Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees get together -- and it's not often -- the scoreboard operator usually gets a workout.

Nearly two thousand passing yards and 211 points combined in the only three head-to-head meetings between those two giants of the quarterbacking world is evidence enough that the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints appear headed for another shootout in the Superdome this Sunday night.

"You're not playing against him," Rodgers insisted on Wednesday. "This is the Saints against the Packers."

But that doesn't mean the Packers quarterback won't have to react to what Brees and the Saints' offense throws at him. Or vice versa.

In those three meetings, Brees has thrown for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. However, Rodgers has the edge in Total QBR (see accompanying chart).

The three meetings were:
  • 2008 -- Saints 51, Packers 29: On "Monday Night Football" in New Orleans, the Saints tied a team record for points (which they have since surpassed) and scored seven touchdowns. Brees threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns.
  • 2011 – Packers 42, Saints 34: In the Thursday night season opener at Lambeau Field, Rodgers threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns, while Brees put up 419 yards and three touchdowns but was stopped on the 1-yard line on the final play of the game.
  • 2012 – Packers 28, Saints 27: In Green Bay, Brees threw for 446 yards and four touchdowns, while Rodgers threw for 319 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. The Saints missed a field goal with less than three minutes remaining.

Those three games may play no role whatsoever on Sunday. But the way Rodgers has started this season, it's hard to envision a defensive struggle is in the offing. He has thrown 18 touchdowns and just one interception this season. In the Packer' four-game winning streak, they have averaged 36.3 points per game. That's better than their scoring average (35.0 ppg) in 2011, when they set the franchise record for points (560).

"The year that he's having has been, you just kind of shake your head," Brees said Wednesday on a conference call with reporters at Lambeau Field. "He’s so impressive. Anytime there's a guy like that on the other side of the ball, you know you have to be at your best and it seems like all the little things in a game like this, all the little details are magnified.

"It's not one of these, 'Hey, we've got to be perfect.' Nobody is perfect. But you have to be pretty darn close. You have to be as good as you can be to have a shot at these guys when he's pulling the trigger on the other side."

In spite of the Saints' struggles in their 2-4 start, their offense has been as explosive as usual at home. In their two games at the Superdome (both victories), they have combined for 907 yards and 57 points.

"It's easy to say, "Well, you start with both teams [which] have had good offenses,' yet just as we say that, you can find yourself in one of those 17-13 games," Saints coach Sean Payton said.

That hardly seems possible, but both Payton and Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday that they have no preconceived notions about the way the game will play out. McCarthy said Wednesday that the plan in every game is to "shoot all your bullets. Hopefully, you're hitting them and they're not hitting you."

"If it ends up being a shootout, we've got to be prepared to do that," Packers right guard T.J. Lang said. "And I think we are every week [with] the amount of production that we've been having. I hate predicting games like that, saying it's going to be a shootout or a defensive battle. We've got to be prepared to do whatever it takes on game day."
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- For the second time in two months, Rex Ryan played reporter.

The New York Jets' coach popped his head into an interview room Wednesday during a conference call between the media and Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Ryan joined the group and fired away.

"Sammy, I've got a question," Ryan said. "How did you help Seth Ryan out? How'd he do out there? And if you could really help him, you wouldn't play this game [on Sunday]. This sounds like Rex Ryan -- I know it does -- but this is a reporter."

Watkins laughed, but never really answered the questions.

The back story: Ryan's son, Seth, is a wide receiver at Clemson. Seth Ryan and Watkins were teammates last season, so it was only natural for the elder Ryan to pay close attention.

Earlier on the conference call, Watkins was asked by a reporter -- a real reporter -- about his relationship with Rex Ryan.

"I know Rex, I have seen him down there at Clemson a couple of times," Watkins said. "He’s a great guy, great coach, great dad and he’s always been funny with me at times, but he’s a great coach."

Ryan has a high regard for Watkins, comparing him to A.J. Green and Julio Jones.

"He's like he’s one of those guys that doesn’t come around very often," Ryan said.

You may recall Ryan pulled a role reversal in training camp. In mid-August, during the dog days of camp, Ryan sat with the reporters one day and fired questions at a grizzled beat reporter.

He loves coaching, but it sure seems like he has a hidden desire to be a sports writer.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Denard Robinson carried the ball 22 times for 127 yards and a touchdown in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 24-6 victory over Cleveland last Sunday.

He might have more touches in Sunday’s game against Miami. Or fewer.

Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch isn’t yet sure how the carries will be split with Toby Gerhart expected to make his return for a foot injury. Robinson could get the bulk of the work again, or it could be the Gerhart show. Rookie Storm Johnson could get more work.

"I think we’ll continue to mix and match a little bit," Fisch said Wednesday. "I don’t know exactly how that will all play out yet."

Gerhart practiced Wednesday on a limited basis after being held out of the last two games in order to give his right foot time to heal. He first injured the foot in the season opener against Philadelphia and aggravated the injury against Pittsburgh on Oct. 5. The Jaguars signed him to a three-year, $10.5 million contract in March to be the team’s No. 1 back, but the injury and offensive line struggles have limited him to 123 yards and 2.6 yards per carry in five games.

The Jaguars started Johnson against Tennessee on Oct. 12 and he gained just 21 yards on 10 carries; Robinson rushed for 22 yards on five carries. That production, plus the continued improvement Robinson has shown throughout the season in his transition from college quarterback to running back, earned him the start against the Browns.

"He showed that he is understanding the run game better," Fisch said. "He is understanding the stretch and cut, he’s understanding the stretch and bounce and understanding when you’re running outside zone, what’s your reads? Even earlier in the season, maybe we missed a read because we were too fast to the hole and the block didn’t develop quick enough. I think he’s understanding that and he’s understanding when he’s running inside he’s got to run with lower pad level and continue to protect the football."

Robinson averaged 5.8 yards per carry against the Browns in the most work he’s received in his career. He had never carried the ball more than nine times in any game, so Robinson was the most sore he’s been in his two-year NFL career on Monday.

"Got in the cold tub yesterday, stretched out a little bit, so I felt pretty good," Robinson said.

The former Michigan quarterback isn’t dwelling on his performance, though. He didn’t even revel in it on Sunday night.

"You’ve got to move forward," he said. "Right after the game I really wanted to move forward and watch film and try to break it down to see things I could have worked on. There was a couple plays I left out on the football field. I want to get better so I’ve got to make it happen this week."

Robinson and the running game will face a much tougher defense this Sunday. The Dolphins have the league’s fourth-ranked total defense and are ranked 10th against the rush. That doesn’t change Fisch’s commitment to run the ball because the passing game is predicated on play-action. How they split the carries, however, is still undetermined.

"I’m not ready to say that one yet," Fisch said. "It depends on how he [Robinson] is carrying the ball, I guess. I will take 22 for 120. If he wants to do that again, I’m all in."
RENTON, Wash. -- Former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice, who made an appearance in the team's locker room Wednesday, said he believes trading Percy Harvin was the right thing to do.

"I was surprised, but at the same time, it may have been the best thing for the team," Rice said. "It's tough losing a guy like Percy. He's one of a kind. The league has never seen a player like Percy Harvin.

"But there are certain things you've got to do to get the ball in his hands and it's tough. It takes away from what this team was built upon and that's Marshawn Lynch. I think now they will get back on track. I think it will end up being the best thing for both Percy and Seattle. I'm sure there's no bad blood."

Rice and Harvin played together in Minnesota in 2009-10 before Rice signed with Seattle in 2011. They were teammates again last season in Seattle.

Rice decided to retire before the start of training camp this season because of numerous injuries over his seven-year career, including several concussions. He missed the second half of the 2013 season after undergoing knee surgery and did not get to play in the Super Bowl. However, he was one of the most popular players on the team and was at every practice and game down the stretch last year.

Rice now owns five Wingstop restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. He had a message for his buddies, who are a surprising 3-3.

"I just told them to keep up their pace and get back to Seahawks football," Rice said. "If they do, they'll be back to where we were last year.

"This is a week-by-week game and it's a tough sport. Everybody is going to give their best shot to this team coming off the Super Bowl win. They have a target on their back. But losing two in a row is not a big deal. They still have a lot of football to play and the main focus now in on the [NFC West] division."
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears first-year free safety Brock Vereen has had the date circled on his calendar for months.

S. Vereen
B. Vereen
Sunday’s game in New England potentially pits Vereen against old brother Shane -- the Patriots' starting running back and key contributor on offense with 259 rushing yards (one touchdown), and 23 receptions for 185 yards and two scores.

The brothers have yet to battle each other during a game -- until now.

"After draft day obviously we looked up each other's schedules," Brock Vereen said. "Since then it's something that we've both been anticipating, but we're very excited for it to actually be here.

You know, it's an exciting time for my parents and my family. But from a personal standpoint I've got to stay focused and get ready to go."

A fourth-round draft pick, Vereen started Week 7 against the Miami Dolphins (five tackles), and is a candidate to see the field on defense in New England. Vereen is also tied for fifth on the team with five special teams tackles.

Of course, Vereen’s defensive playing time likely hinges on the health of safety Chris Conte (shoulder). Conte practiced without restrictions Wednesday, but the safeties' 2014 track record is concerning. Conte failed to finish four of the first six games before being inactive against the Dolphins.

"There are definitely things I feel I did well and there's definitely things I need to improve on," Vereen said regarding his first NFL start.

Would Vereen hesitate to clobber his brother Sunday, if the opportunity presented itself?

"That's my job; just like he would be looking to run me over or break my tackle," Vereen said. "So we're very excited."

There is only one county in the entire state of New York where Jets fans outnumber Giants fans. Cortland County -- home of the Jets' annual training camp -- take a bow.

Nearby Hamilton County, meanwhile, owes us an explanation. It houses more New England Patriots fans than those who root for either of the New York teams.

That's all according to Twitter, of course, our modern-day source of truth and justice. The social media behemoth has released an interactive map of counties across the country, one that quantifies the number of Twitter followers for each NFL team.

Of those who use Twitter in Cortland County, for example, 19.94 percent follow the Jets' official handle (@nyjets). In Hamilton County, 16.27 percent of Twitter users follow the Patriots (@Patriots).

Obviously, the decision to follow a team does not necessarily require allegiance, nor does every football fan user Twitter. But as Boon said to Otter, "Forget it. He's rolling." ("Animal House," circa 1978.)

In a broader sense, it's easy to see the Cowboys' dominance over the Texans in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico. You might be surprised, however, to see them pop up in Montana's Powell County, Idaho's Cassia County and a host of counties throughout Virginia, which is supposed to be Redskins country.

It's tough to miss the range of Broncos fandom, ranging from eastern Nebraska to western Nevada with -- randomly -- an outpost in Jefferson County (Washington). Seahawks country!

Go ahead and explore the map yourself. Check out your county. Compare your team and its most hated rivals. Argue! Debate! Decide, once and for all, who is better!

Colt McCoy readies for return to Texas

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
ASHBURN, Va. -- Colt McCoy sees a difference in himself from the last time he started. The Washington Redskins quarterback is a little older, a little stronger and, he hopes, a little wiser from the lessons he’s learned. His road to this point hasn’t been easy, going from a rookie starter to a third-stringer in his fifth season.

But now he’ll get one game, at the least, to show that he is better than he was during his last time starting. McCoy hasn’t started since Dec. 8, 2011, with Cleveland. Since then, he’s appeared in eight games, having thrown a combined 30 passes.

He relieved Kirk Cousins for the second half of Washington’s 19-17 win over Tennessee. McCoy completed 11 of 12 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.

“It’s tough, but I wouldn’t change a thing,” McCoy said of his career. “I wouldn’t change some of my past experience. I’ve learned a lot from them -- a whole lot. My path in the NFL so far has been a lot different than other guys, but I’m thankful for the things I’ve learned and the experience I’ve gained."

Redskins coach Jay Gruden called McCoy one of college football’s most successful quarterbacks. And, he said, having watched him play in Cleveland, Gruden viewed McCoy as a talented player.

“I always liked the way he played,” Gruden said. “His accuracy, his toughness, has always been a strong quality of his."

McCoy will start Monday’s game at Dallas, barring a major improvement from Robert Griffin III in practice. Griffin has always been considered a long shot to start Monday, but the Redskins have left open a just-in-case possibility.

For McCoy, it would be a chance to start in his native state -- he did start a game there against Houston when he played for the Browns (they lost, 30-12). He also starred at the University of Texas.

“It’s really unbelievable,” McCoy said of a possible start in Texas. “I can’t even sometimes take my mind there. But I’m really just trying to approach this as a professional and know this is our next game.

“I was going to get a few tickets before I wasn’t playing and now it has turned into a laundry list. I don’t want it to be too big of a distraction though. I am excited about going back to Dallas. It is going to be a lot of fun.”

This will be the first time McCoy has taken first-team reps in practice since the '11 season. If Griffin is ready next week, then it could be the last time he takes those reps for a while.

“I’ll get some timing down with receivers, with the O-line, work on silent counts,” McCoy said. "A lot of things that I just hadn’t been able to do. So it’ll be a huge week in practice for me to get more comfortable. This is a huge game for us and our season."
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier did not practice on Wednesday, a curious development a day after coach Mike Tomlin said the rookie is "extremely close to returning" to action.

Shazier practiced on a limited basis all of last week, and the Steelers allowed him to test his right knee Monday night before deactivating the first-round pick for their game against the Houston Texans.

Shazier, who has missed the past four games because of a sprained knee, was held out of the Steelers' first practice of the week along with right tackle Marcus Gilbert (concussion) and nose tackle Steve McLendon (shoulder).

Safety Shamarko Thomas (hamstring) and cornerback Ike Taylor (forearm) were limited participants in practice.

Thomas has missed the past two games, but Tomlin said the second-year man is also close to returning. Taylor took part in some drills for the first time since breaking his forearm in the Steelers' 37-19 win against the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 21.
INDIANAPOLIS – The MRI done on Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne’s left elbow didn’t show significant damage, coach Chuck Pagano said Wednesday.

Wayne didn’t practice Wednesday because that’s his normal rest day and the Colts are calling him day-to-day when it comes to his availability for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pagano said they’ll be fine if Wayne, who missed the final nine games of the 2013 season with a torn ACL, is forced to miss any time.

“I feel great,” Pagano said. “You have a guy like [Hakeem] Nicks who has been on a Super Bowl championship team. Caught a lot of passes in his career. We all know what Donte [Moncrief] is capable of doing. I feel really good.”

Nicks, who has gotten off to a slow start in his first season with the Colts, would slide into the No. 2 receiver role if Wayne doesn’t play.

“He comes here every day with his hat on, lunch pail, ready to work,” Pagano said about Nicks. “He’s a competitive guy. We have a ton of competitive guys in that locker room. They all want to contribute and they all want to make plays. He understands that. He’ll be ready no matter when his number is called. He knows his stuff; he practices hard, prepares hard.”
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Trevor Reilly is the only New York Jet who did not practice Wednesday, per coach Rex Ryan.

The rookie linebacker from Utah has a knee injury, which also forced him to miss the Jets' game against the New England Patriots last Thursday.

The official injury report:

New York Jets

Did not practice: Reilly.

Limited: G Oday Aboushi (shoulder), CB Phillip Adams (groin), G Willie Colon (knee), WR Eric Decker (hamstring), LB David Harris (shoulder) and WR Greg Salas (wrist, ankle).

Full: LB Antwan Barnes (knee), RB Chris Johnson (ankle), C Nick Mangold (shoulder), RB Bilal Powell (foot) and CB Darrin Walls (knee).

Buffalo Bills

Did not practice: WR Marquise Goodwin (hamstring), RB Fred Jackson (groin) and LB Ty Powell (ankle).

Limited: WR Marcus Easley (knee), S Aaron Williams (neck).

Full: LB Brandon Spikes (ribs), WR Sammy Watkins (groin) and DE Mario Williams (thumb).