Thu Sep 23 6:30pm ET
By SCHUYLER DIXON
AP Pro Football Writer
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) leaves the field after an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) catches a ball as the team runs through drills during practice at the team's NFL football training facility in Frisco, Texas, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) walks onto the field followed by offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and practice squad quarterback Ben DiNucci (3) at the team's NFL football training facility in Frisco, Texas, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Dak Prescott's first home game since the star Dallas quarterback's gruesome ankle injury at AT&T Stadium last October is the second chance for Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts to beat the Cowboys in his home state.
Hurts actually made a good first impression a couple of hundred miles from his home in the Houston suburbs, throwing an 81-yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson before the Eagles were outscored by 31 points the rest of the way in a 37-17 Week 16 loss last year.
The former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback gets another shot at Dallas in his first prime-time NFL start Monday night, a matchup of 1-1 teams in their first NFC East meeting of the season.
''I think the the most valuable thing that could happen was just having the opportunity to play a little bit and get my feet wet,'' said Hurts, who replaced Carson Wentz with four games remaining and took over when the 2016 No. 2 overall draft pick was traded to Indianapolis.
''You could argue that a preseason games or whatever it is, how you look at it now, have an opportunity to have now taken those experiences I've had from last year and this offseason and learned from it.''
Prescott's season had long since ended when Hurts finished 21 of 39 for 342 yards with two interceptions and three sacks while Andy Dalton led the Cowboys to a victory that kept their improbable playoff hopes alive in what ended up being a 6-10 season.
There have been plenty of milestones during the 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year's recovery. This could be the latest - playing for the first time on the field where Prescott fractured and dislocated his right ankle, with the 80,000-seat stadium full for the first time in the pandemic, the scene potentially more spectacular with the retractable roof open if the weather cooperates.
''I think it's going to be exciting,'' said backfield mate and fellow 2016 rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott. ''First home game with him back in the home stadium. First game with all the fans there. I think everyone's excited. I think everyone's ready.''
REVERSAL OF FORTUNES
Hurts led a dominant showing for the Philadelphia offense in a rout of Atlanta in the opener before struggling in a 17-11 loss to San Francisco. Hurts' 27-yard run, the club's longest of the season, set up a late touchdown, but the Eagles couldn't get the ball back.
Prescott was phenomenal in his return from the injury, throwing for 403 yards in a 31-29 loss to Super Bowl winner Tampa Bay and seven-time champ Tom Brady. The passing numbers were way down in a 20-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, but Prescott led Dallas on the drive to Greg Zuerlein's game-ending, 56-yard field goal.
REPLACING THE BRANDONS
The Eagles lost Pro Bowl defensive end Brandon Graham for the season because of a ruptured Achilles tendon and three-time Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks was placed on injured reserve with a strained chest muscle. Graham, a team leader on the field and in the locker room, will be replaced by veteran Ryan Kerrigan and Josh Sweat.
''I talked to our guys about the void that has taken place with Brandon and from a leadership and a character and an attitude standpoint, I think collectively everyone has to try to fill that void because not one guy is going to be able to do that,'' defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon said.
Second-round pick Landon Dickerson filled in for Brooks after he went down and is expected to make his first career start. ''Obviously, there's things he can improve on, it was his first time playing, but excited about Landon going forward,'' offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said.
The Cowboys are getting one defensive lineman back but losing two more. Pass rusher Randy Gregory is returning from the COVID-19 list while defensive tackle Carlos Watkins (knee) and defensive end Dorance Armstong (ankle) will be out after getting hurt in L.A.
Rookie Micah Parsons, drafted as a linebacker at No. 12 overall, played almost exclusively as an end against the Chargers while getting his first career sack. It could be more of the same with depth on the defensive line remaining an issue. The most experienced and accomplished end, DeMarcus Lawrence, is likely out until November with a broken foot.
''I think it's clearly why you play chess all week,'' Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. ''You play the different combinations. You want to have foresight on what move you want to make next. When you get into the game, you want to be playing checkers. You want to be playing fast and things like that.''
Philadelphia wide receivers had five receptions in the first quarter last week against San Francisco but only one the rest of the game. Hurts completed just 12 passes. Rookie DeVonta Smith had two of the six catches by wideouts.
''We always want to get the ball into our playmakers' hands,'' coach Nick Sirianni said. ''Obviously a lot of that is what they give to you and what they don't give to you. But no doubt we've got to get our guys the ball and give them an opportunity to make plays.''
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (shoulder) missed another practice on Tuesday. His DNP designation on Monday came on the estimated practice report, but he actually missed practice on Tuesday. Beckham is looking truly questionable after missing some game time in the Week 6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. It could be a death blow to Cleveland's offense, as they'll also be without both starting running backs Nick Chubb (calf) and Kareem Hunt (calf). If OBJ cannot play on Thursday night against the Denver Broncos, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Rashard Higgins and rookie Anthony Schwartz would operate in three-receiver sets if Jarvis Landry isn't ready to come off Injured Reserve. Peoples-Jones would be the most attractive after going for nine catches (11 targets), 171 yards and two touchdowns in the last two weeks.
New York Giants OT Korey Cunningham and WR Dante Pettis were signed off the practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 19.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB Rashard Robinson was signed off the practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 19.
The New York Giants placed left tackle Andrew Thomas (ankle, foot) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday, so he'll be forced to miss at least the next three games. Thomas is dealing with a right foot injury and also a left ankle issue, so he was pretty hobbled in the Week 6 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The Giants offensive line will be more vulnerable in the near future, beginning in a Week 7 matchup with the Carolina Panthers. It's bad news for quarterback Daniel Jones, especially if he's without starting running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) for a second straight game this weekend. Expect Matt Peart to fill in on Jones' blind side in the immediate future.
Denver Broncos WR David Moore was released Tuesday, Oct. 19.
New York Giants rookie wide receiver Kadarius Toney (ankle) is expected to be out for at least one game, according to a source. However, as of right now, it doesn't sound like the Giants plan on placing Toney on Injured Reserve, which would require him to miss at least three games. The 22-year-old first-rounder exploded for 10 catches and 189 yards in Week 5 when Kenny Golladay injured his knee, and he was in line for another big role in the Week 6 loss to the Los Angeles Rams before he aggravated his ankle on Sunday. Toney should remain involved in the passing game whenever he returns from his ankle injury, so he's worth stashing in deeper leagues. With Golladay not a lock to return in Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers, Sterling Shepard could be in line for a massive target share.
Chicago Bears S Deon Bush (quad) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Oct. 19. DB Teez Tabor was signed off the practice squad to replace him on the roster.
Free-agent RB Chris Thompson was signed to the practice squad of the Chicago Bears on Tuesday, Oct. 19.
New Orleans Saints LB Kwon Alexander (elbow), DE Marcus Davenport (shoulder) and WR Tre'Quan Smith (hamstring) were designated for return from the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Oct. 19.
The Indianapolis Colts are signing defensive tackle Antwaun Woods to their active roster on Tuesday, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Woods was signed to the Colts practice squad before the Week 3 game against the Tennessee Titans, but he was released last week. He'll now rejoin the team and provide defensive line depth at nose tackle. Woods, 28, recorded 23 tackles (seven solo), two QB hits and a sack in 14 games (seven starts) for the Dallas Cowboys in 2020. He played on just 18% of the defensive snaps and had one solo tackle in the Week 3 loss to the Titans. Woods will serve in a rotational role once again.
Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (shoulder), RB Nick Chubb (calf), OT Jack Conklin (knee), A.J. Z. Green (shoulder, groin), C JC Tretter (knee) and OT Jedrick Wills (ankle) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Oct. 19. DE Jadeveon Clowney (ankle, chest, knee), DE Malik Jackson (knee), QB Baker Mayfield (shoulder), TE David Njoku (limited), LB Malcolm Smith (abdomen), and LB Mack Wilson (calf) were limited. DE Myles Garrett (knee, ankle), DE Takkarist McKinley (ankle), DT Malik McDowell (elbow, foot), CB Greg Newsome (calf), CB Denzel Ward (neck) and CB Greedy Williams (knee) practiced in full. The Browns did not practice Tuesday, so the report is an estimation.
Chicago Bears DE Robert Quinn was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, Oct. 19.
Denver Broncos LB Baron Browning (concussion), S Caden Stearns (illness), LB Alexander Johnson (chest), LB Andre Mintze (hamstring) and LB Aaron Patrick (ankle) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Oct. 19. OT Garett Bolles (knee), QB Teddy Bridgewater (foot) and TE Noah Fant (foot) were limited. RB Melvin Gordon (hip), DE Shelby Harris (wrist) and S Justin Simmons (hand) practiced in full. The Broncos did not practice Tuesday, so the report is an estimation.
Baltimore Ravens RB Le'Veon Bell was signed off the practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 19.
Cleveland Browns running back D'Ernest Johnson said that he's excited to get the start on Thursday night against the Denver Broncos with both Nick Chubb (calf) and Kareem Hunt (calf) out. Johnson will be a popular waiver-wire target this week with Chubb set to miss his second straight game and Hunt on Injured Reserve. He has only three carries for 11 yards and one catch for seven yards in six games this season, but he should get the nominal start and be the team's primary option on early downs. Rookie Demetric Felton should also have an opportunity for a much bigger role, mainly on passing downs. It's unclear if Chubb is in danger of missing the Week 8 game, but Johnson will at least be in the RB3/flex mix for fantasy managers with the bye-week blues or for those dealing with injuries at the position.
The Minnesota Vikings activated rookie running back Kene Nwangwu (knee) from Injured Reserve on Tuesday and released running back Ameer Abdullah in a corresponding move. Nwangwu was a fourth-round pick this year out of Iowa State and will now serve as the team's No. 3 running back behind Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. Abdullah carried the ball seven times for 30 yards and caught three of four targets for 17 yards in six games with the Vikings this year. Minnesota is on bye in Week 7 before facing the Dallas Cowboys at home in Week 8.
The Indianapolis Colts placed wide receiver Parris Campbell (foot) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday and also waived quarterback Jacob Eason and defensive tackle Chris Williams. Kicker Michael Badgley was elevated to the active 53-man roster and quarterback Sam Ehlinger was activated from Injured Reserve. The injury bug hit Campbell yet again in the Week 6 win over the Houston Texans, but he caught his only target for a 51-yard touchdown before leaving the game. The 24-year-old will miss at least the next three weeks of action after catching 10 of his 17 targets for 162 yards and the one touchdown in five games this year. With T.Y. Hilton back in the fold, Zach Pascal should operate as the No. 3 receiver in the Colts offense behind Hilton and Michael Pittman Jr.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has had a tough start to his sophomore season, catching just eight passes for 90 yards and a touchdown as we head into Week 7. General manager John Lynch said in a recent interview that the 49ers still "very much believe in" Aiyuk. Time will tell if the former Arizona State star can get back on track and build on his impressive rookie season, as the struggling 49ers need all the help they can get. If he is going to carve out a more significant role in the offense, Week 7 would be the perfect time to do so against a weak Indianapolis Colts pass defense. The former first-round pick shouldn't be trusted in fantasy lineups just yet, but he could be someone to monitor if he is on the waiver wire.