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One and Done - FFL: Week 4 | NFL: Superbowl

Panthers to stick with Allen at QB instead of playing Grier

Mon Dec 9 3:06pm ET
By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer

Players: Matt Ryan, Greg Olsen, Cam Newton, Will Grier, Kyle Allen, Christian McCaffrey, Olamide Zaccheaus, Calvin Ridley, Ian Thomas

CHARLOTTE, NC. (AP) The Panthers have lost five straight games and are out of playoff contention, which would appear to be a perfect time to get a look at rookie third-round draft pick Will Grier.

But that won't happen - at least not this week.

Interim coach Perry Fewell said Monday the quarterback situation will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis, but that right now the team is sticking with Kyle Allen this week against the Seattle Seahawks because he give the team the best chance to win.

But is that what it's really about? Shouldn't the Panthers be finding out what they have in Grier, who hasn't taken a regular-season snap from center?

If the Panthers decide to move on from Cam Newton this offseason - they can save $19 million under the salary cap by trading or cutting him - then they will need a plan in place under center.

Allen has struggled in the past five games with his decision-making and turnovers.

The second-year QB has lost six of his past seven starts and was part of a team that turned the ball over four times in a 40-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. It's the second time the Falcons have routed Allen and the Panthers, beating them 29-3 last month.

Grier is the great unknown.

When the former West Virginia quarterback and local Charlotte-area product came to Carolina, former coach Ron Rivera basically said Grier wasn't quite ready to be a starting QB in the NFL. But if Grier doesn't get any playing time it will be difficult for the Panthers to decide if he or Allen - or someone else - will become the quarterback of the future.

WHAT'S WORKING

While the losses keep piling up, there has been no quit in Christian McCaffrey's game. The third-year running back continues to put up solid numbers. McCaffrey had 11 receptions for 82 yards and 11 carries for 53 yards on Sunday. About the only drama, per say, left in Carolina's season is whether or not McCaffrey becomes only the third running back in NFL history to have 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in a season. He already has a career-high 1,220 yards rushing and needs 274 yards receiving in the next three games to join Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig in that elite club.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

It's not hard to figure out why the Panthers have lost five straight. Over that stretch, Carolina has turned the ball over 13 times while forcing just one takeaway. On Sunday, Allen threw two interceptions and the Panthers fumbled twice while not forcing any turnovers on defense. Allen has thrown 12 INTs in his past seven games after beginning his career with zero in his first five starts. ''It's just kind of the same things,'' Allen said. ''Just shooting ourselves in the foot.''

STOCK UP

TE Ian Thomas. With Greg Olsen in the concussion protocol, Thomas stepped into a starting role at tight end and had five receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons. But Thomas also had a costly mistake, bobbling a well-thrown pass from Allen that resulted in a Falcons interception. Had Thomas cleanly caught the ball, the Panthers would have had a big gain. That interception aside, Thomas has the skills to be a dynamic tight end in the NFL. Thomas hasn't played much despite a solid rookie season a year ago in which he had 33 receptions with Olsen sidelined with a foot injury. But he will get his chance now with Olsen out.

STOCK DOWN

Team dysfunction. Panthers CB Donte Jackson reportedly called out the coaching staff after Sunday's game for ''two horrible calls.''

''We sent everybody,'' Jackson griped of a 93-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Olamide Zaccheaus. ''Zero coverage. No help. Backed up. With a quarterback like that? I don't care if you're Champ Bailey or any of those cornerbacks on the 100 (greatest players in NFL history) list, that's a play that's hard to make for any guy. Especially with a quarterback like Matt Ryan.''

Jackson was also upset about the call on a TD pass to Calvin Ridley, saying the team didn't practice that defensive look during the week.

Fewell, who made most of the calls on defense on Sunday, said he spoke to Jackson about the remarks. He said that the matter will be handled internally and that he was ''disappointed'' Jackson aired his concerns to the media instead of talking to coaches.

INJURED

Panthers star linebacker Luke Kuechly left the game briefly after getting hit in the knee, but did return Sunday and led the team with 11 tackles and had one pass breakup.

KEY NUMBER

50 - Number of sacks allowed this season by the Panthers, second most in the NFL to the Miami Dolphins (51). Carolina gave up five more against the Falcons on Sunday. Offensive line will be an area the team needs to focus on upgrading in the offseason.

NEXT STEPS

The Panthers (5-7) have lost five straight and are playing out the string. It's a chance to get a look at some young players and help the front office make some decisions for next season.

Player Notes
Jimmy Graham Jan 23 1:33am ET

Green Bay Packers TE Jimmy Graham is expected to be released during the offseason, in the opinion of The Green Bay Press-Gazette's Pete Dougherty, who called the prospective move a 'given.' Graham has one year remaining on his deal. Releasing him would free up $8 million in cap room.

Fantasy Spin: Graham posted a 38-447-3 line in his age-33 season, and despite playing well in the playoffs he has been a disappointment since signing with the Packers. Wherever he plays (if he does) in 2020, Graham's days as a TE1 seem far in the rear view.

From TheHuddle

Adrian Amos Jan 23 1:23am ET

Green Bay Packers S Adrian Amos (pectoral) is unlikely to require surgery on his injured pec, according to head coach Matt LaFleur. Amos suffered the injury during the NFC Championship Game.

From TheHuddle

Austin Hooper Jan 22 11:23pm ET

Updating a previous report, impending free-agent Austin Hooper (Falcons) is expected to receive overtures from the Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins if he is allowed to reach the open market, according to sources via Pro Football Network's Tony Pauline.

From TheHuddle

Robert Quinn Jan 22 11:23pm ET

Impending free-agent DE Robert Quinn (Cowboys) would prefer to remain with the Dallas Cowboys, and sources have told Pro Football Network's Tony Pauline that team owner/general manager Jerry Jones has been 'aggressive' in letting Quinn know he wants him to return.

From TheHuddle

Austin Hooper Jan 22 11:03pm ET

Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper is not close to a contract extension with the team, according to general manager Thomas Dimitroff Tuesday, Jan. 21. 'The reality right now is that we are trudging along,' Dimitroff said. 'Once we get back from the Super Bowl, after the Super Bowl week we'll continue to look and see how we are moving forward. But at this point there are no updates on Austin.'

Fantasy Spin: Hooper is coming off a career year in which he caught 75 passes for 787 yards and six touchdowns. He's an excellent third option behind WRs Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley in Atlanta, but his play this year may have priced him out of the Falcons' budget for 2020 and beyond. His potential free-agent destination would have a big impact on his 2020 draft stock.

From TheHuddle

Josh McCown Jan 22 10:20pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Josh McCown spoke with head coach Doug Pederson about a potential role on the coaching staff, but McCown isn't ready to retire just yet. The veteran QB came out of retirement last August to sign a one-year deal with the Eagles. He's currently recovering from a torn hamstring that he suffered in the wild-card loss to the Seahawks. McCown threw only five passes during the regular season and served as a de facto player/coach as Carson Wentz's backup. He has some potential as a future offensive coordinator, but it's unlikely he would immediately be considered as Mike Groh's successor in Philly. Wherever McCown is playing in 2020, he'll strictly be a backup and won't have any fantasy value.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Brown Jan 22 10:13pm ET

Free-agent WR Antonio Brown (Patriots) had an arrest warrant on a felony charge of burglary and battery issued against him Wednesday, Jan. 22, by Hollywood, Fla. police. A moving truck driver claimed he was assaulted by Brown and his trainer. Brown also was charged with one count of burglary of an occupied conveyance and one count of criminal mischief.

Fantasy Spin: Dynasty owners should be preparing to move on from Brown before finalizing their rosters ahead of 2020 drafts.

From TheHuddle

Odell Beckham Jr. Jan 22 10:03pm ET

Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. will sit down with new head coach Kevin Stefanski Thursday, Jan. 23, to discuss Stefanski's plan for personal conduct. 'I'm looking forward to sitting down with Odell face to face,' Stefanski said. 'I haven't had the chance to do that yet and I get the chance to do that (Thursday). And at that point, that's when I can start laying out my expectations for Odell and all of our players.' Beckham was caught on video at the College Football Playoff Championship Game earlier this month appearing to hand out cash to LSU Tigers players, as well as appearing to slap a security officer on the butt in the locker room. Charges had been filed against Beckham for the latter incident, but they were later dropped.

Fantasy Spin: Beckham totaled 1,035 receiving yards and four touchdowns in his first season in Cleveland. Bigger things were expected, and the hiring of Stefanski should help lead to improvements for 2020. He remains a top-end WR1.

From TheHuddle

Travis Kelce Jan 22 8:00pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (knee) was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday. Kelce will be just fine to suit up on Feb. 2 against the 49ers in the Super Bowl. He was the top fantasy tight end in 2019 and hasn't slowed down in the postseason, catching 13 of 16 targets for 164 yards and three touchdowns against the Texans and Titans. Most of that production came in the Divisional Round when he had 10 grabs for 134 yards and three scores, but Kelce can go off at any time and could be the X-factor in the Super Bowl in two weeks.

From RotoBaller

Tevin Coleman Jan 22 7:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (shoulder) was unable to practice on Wednesday, but the team remains hopeful that he will be available for the Super Bowl against the Chiefs. The team didn't practice on Wednesday, but they were required to submit an estimated practice report. Coleman dislocated his right shoulder in the first half of the NFC Championship against the Packers and played just eight snaps. If he's active for the Super Bowl, Coleman will split snaps with Raheem Mostert, who ran for over 200 yards and four touchdowns against the Packers. Matt Breida will be the No. 3 back.

From RotoBaller

Dalvin Cook Jan 22 7:33pm ET

Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (shoulder) indicated that he will be ready for the start of offseason workouts. Cook is entering the final year of his contract and is a candidate for an extension this offseason.

Fantasy Spin: Cook was one of the top running backs in the NFL this season with 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns during the regular season. He will continue to be a focal point on offense for the Vikings next season and will be an early round pick in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Dee Ford Jan 22 7:03pm ET

San Francisco 49ers LB Kwon Alexander (pectoral), DE Dee Ford (hamstring, quadriceps) and S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs) were limited during practice Wednesday, Jan. 22. LB Dre Greenlaw (ankle) fully participated in practice. The 49ers did not hold a practice Wednesday, so the injury report is an estimation.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Jan 22 6:53pm ET

San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Jan. 22. The 49ers did not hold a practice Wednesday, so this is an estimation.

Fantasy Spin: The 49ers are optimistic about Coleman's status for Super Bowl LIV, but he may be a game-time decision. He will share snaps with Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida if he plays and could be a flex option in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Drew Brees Jan 22 6:43pm ET

New Orleans Saints impending free-agent QB Drew Brees is a player that the Saints want to keep as long as he wants to keep playing, according to general manager Mickey Loomis.

Fantasy Spin: Brees will be a free agent this offseason, but the Saints will try to re-sign him. He finished with 2,979 yards and 27 touchdowns in the regular season and can be considered a No. 1 quarterback in most fantasy leagues in 2020.

From TheHuddle

Jarvis Landry Jan 22 6:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (hip), who had a career-high 1,174 receiving yards and six touchdowns on his way to his fifth Pro Bowl selection in six years, said he played the entire 2019 season with a hip injury. "I'm good. I'm good," Landry said. "Just in this recovery process, this rehab process to make sure I can get back to my 100 percent self." The good news is that Landry won't require surgery on his hip in the offseason, and he should be fully healthy in 2020 under new head coach Kevin Stefanski. Cleveland's offense struggled to find consistency last season, but Landry was a consistent bright spot next to Odell Beckham Jr. He should once again be a rock-solid WR2 for owners in PPR leagues.

From RotoBaller

Travis Kelce Jan 22 6:13pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (knee) was limited during practice Wednesday, Jan. 22.

Fantasy Spin: Kelce probably will be limited over the next two weeks but will be ready to play in Super Bowl LIV. He is a must-start fantasy option in all leagues as long as he is healthy.

From TheHuddle

Morris Claiborne Jan 22 6:13pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs DT Chris D. Jones (calf) was limited during practice Wednesday, Jan. 22. WR Mecole Hardman (back), CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder), DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (hand) and C Austin Reiter (wrist) fully participated in practice.

From TheHuddle

A.J. Green Jan 22 5:23pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals impending free-agent WR A.J. Green is a player the Bengals plan to have on their roster next season, according to director of player personnel Duke Tobin.

Fantasy Spin: Green did not play during the 2019 season because of an ankle injury but could still receive the franchise tag this offseason. Green is a weekly starting option when healthy, but fantasy players should monitor his situation during the offseason.

From TheHuddle

Eli Manning Jan 22 5:20pm ET

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will hold a news conference on Friday to announce his retirement, according to sources. The writing has been on the wall for Manning after the Giants replaced him with rookie Daniel Jones during the 2019 season. The 39-year-old former first overall pick played in just four games for the G-Men in his 16th and final NFL season. Manning will finish his career with a 60.3 completion percentage, 57,023 passing yards, 366 touchdowns and 244 interceptions. He'll best be known for besting Tom Brady and the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl. Manning's best season came in 2011 when he threw for 4,933 yards, 29 TDs and 16 picks.

From RotoBaller

Andy Dalton Jan 22 4:53pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton's future with the Bengals is uncertain at this time, according to director of player personnel Duke Tobin. The Bengals would save $17.7 million in salary cap space if they trade or release Dalton.

Fantasy Spin: The Bengals have the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and appear likely to take a quarterback with the pick, so Dalton could be let go this offseason. Dalton may have a chance to find a starting job in free agency but can be avoided in most fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle