Thu Nov 8 12:55 am
The Los Angeles Rams will try to bounce back from their first loss of the season when they return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Seattle (4-4) is coming off a 25-17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, but the Seahawks gave the Rams all they could handle when the teams met on Oct. 7 in Seattle. Seahawks running back Chris Carson rushed for 116 yards and quarterback Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes without an interception that day but it was not enough to prevent the Rams from coming away with a 33-31 victory. However, Carson has been bothered by a hip injury that limited his playing time against the Chargers, and his status for Sunday is uncertain.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw two interceptions in that earlier game but he amassed 321 passing yards and had a touchdown pass.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll hopes his young, developing secondary shows progress.
"We have to work with the under coverage better than we did last (time)," Carroll said. "We gave up some stuff that they dumped off and made a lot of yards after the catch. A couple of those were tackles, but just deployment and stuff."
Rams wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp had to leave that game with concussions, but they are expected to play Sunday along with Los Angeles' third talented wideout Robert Woods.
"This group is fantastic -- all three guys getting almost 40 catches," Carroll said. "So, you don't know where the ball is going. They have great choices and those guys are fantastic in there."
Along with running back Todd Gurley II, who leads the league in rushing at 96.4 yards per game, the Rams present a problem for any defense. They lead the NFL in total offense and are third in scoring, averaging 33.2 points per game.
However, they are coming off a 45-35 loss to the New Orleans Saints. For the first time this season, they must respond to a little adversity.
"I think the sense that we got from our players (Sunday) and from our coaching staff is that, if anything, it creates an added sense of urgency," said Rams head coach Sean McVay. "That feeling in your gut when you wake up and you're kind of just sick because you didn't get the result that you wanted is something that you can't create unless you do end up losing. We try to be consistent whether you win or lose, but there is something that is created just based on not getting the result that you wanted."
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who is second in the league in sacks with 10, expects the team to respond appropriately.
"We are going to watch the film, make the corrections and fix things," Donald said. "This was just one game, we will fix it. We are disappointed that we lost, but like I said, we are going to fix it. We aren't panicking, we're not worried. We will make the corrections to fix it and continue to be better."
One player who needs to make corrections is cornerback Marcus Peters, who admitted he was not at his best against the Saints.
A majority of the 12 catches and 211 yards Saints wide receiver Mike Thomas racked up against the Rams came against Peters.
"But, the best part about him is the accountability that he took afterwards," said McVay. "The first thing he's going to do is look inward and figure out what he can do to be better. We still have a lot of confidence in him."
In the earlier game against Seattle, Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett burned Peters on a 39-yard touchdown reception.
Lockett is the Seahawks' leading receiver, but has just 28 receptions and averages 52.0 receiving yards per game. Their biggest receiving threat in recent years has been Doug Baldwin, but he has been limited to six games this season because of injuries and he has yet to have a 100-yard receiving game this season. He suffered a groin injury while collecting four catches for 77 yards in Sunday's loss to the Chargers and did not practice Wednesday. It is unclear whether he will play against the Rams.
Wilson will try to take advantage of a Rams defense that ranks 25th in the NFL in defensive passer rating.
Wilson had his most efficient game of the season two weeks ago in the road win over the Detroit Lions, when he completed 14 of 17 passes for 248 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He was somewhat less effective in last week's loss to the Chargers, when he completed 26 of 39 passes for 235 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
The Seahawks have lost their last two meetings with the Rams, and they desperately need to win Sunday to remain a factor in the NFC West. A Rams win would give Los Angeles a 4.5-game lead in the division while a Seahawks victory would reduce the Rams' advantage to 2.5 games.
"We have an enormous matchup this week with a team that's been flying the whole first half of this season," Carroll said. "We're up against it, we've got to play great football and we do that by practicing really well this week and jumping at the challenge, and that's what we're going to do."
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson (hip) has progressed in his rehab without setbacks since suffering a hip injury in October, according to a league source. Doctors have ruled out surgery once and for all for Wilson and has raised hope that he will be able to get back on the field this spring. The belief is that Wilson will be ready for the start of the offseason program in April. Wilson ranked third on the team in touchdowns (four receiving and one passing) despite missing nine games, and his yards-per-catch average (15.0) led the team. Although Miami's quarterback situation is up in the air, Wilson should have a prominent place in the team's offense next year regardless.
The New York Jets officially hired Dowell Loggains as their next offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach on Wednesday. Loggains has worked under head coach Adam Gase in both Chicago and Miami. With Gase likely running the show on offense, Loggains' main task will be to continue the development of quarterback Sam Darnold, who was very up and down in his rookie season. The Jets ranked 29th in yards per game (299.2), 25th in passing yards (197.8), 26th in rushing yards (101.4) and 23rd in the league in points per game (20.8) in 2018.
The Arizona Cardinals signed veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to a one-year deal on Wednesday so that he can return for a 16th season. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Fitzgerald will turn 36 at the end of August but will remain the No. 1 wideout on the team because of his experience. His numbers took a hit in one of the worst offenses in the NFL in 2018, but he still led the team in receptions (69), receiving yards (734) and touchdowns (six). While Fitz can still make an impact on the field, he'll be returning to his third head coach in three years, but the addition of Kliff Kingsbury could improve the offense moving forward. We won't say for sure that Fitzgerald will return to the 1,000-yard mark, but he should be a serviceable WR3 at the very least.
Former Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano is expected to land with the New England Patriots in a top defensive role when linebackers coach Brian Flores heading to the Miami Dolphins.
Former New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has emerged as the favorite to be hired as Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator, according to sources.
Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald announced Wednesday, Jan. 23, that he'll return for the 2019 season.
Fantasy Spin: Fitz had a 69-734-6 season, which was well below the 100-catch, 1,000-yard seasons the three years previously. The rookie quarterback was part of the problem, but he doesn't have much more upside next season. He's still a PPR asset, but he'll be a mid-round option as a WR3.
Updating an earlier report, Arizona Cardinals impending free-agent WR Larry Fitzgerald re-signed with the Cardinals on a one-year deal. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
Miami Dolphins WR Albert Wilson (hip) is on schedule with his recovery from an October hip injury that landed him on IR and could be at full speed when the team's offseason workout program begins in April.
Fantasy Spin: After four largely nondescript seasons in Kansas City, Wilson flashed some playmaking ability before getting injured against the Lions. There are far too many variables in Miami for an accurate read on Wilson's fantasy prospects for 2019, but he did enough last year to warrant your attention.
Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles would be eligible to be franchise or transition tagged and then traded if the team decides not to pick up his option, which ESPN's Chris Mortensen believes is a possibility as doing so would allow the Eagles to influence Foles' destination.
Fantasy Spin: Mortensen indicates such a move would prevent Foles from going to a division rival, but it's all speculation at this point. While it's far from a sure thing, Foles could have some fantasy value in the right situation.
Oakland Raiders CB Daryl Worley (shoulder) had successful surgery on his ailing shoulder last week, according to head coach Jon Gruden.
Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Crabtree is likely to be released in the offseason, according to The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec.
Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent WR Cole Beasley claimed Tuesday, Jan. 22, that the Dallas front office encourages the coaching staff to get the football to certain players. 'I haven't been a huge priority in that regard. Maybe that will change but I'm not sure,' Beasley said.
Fantasy Spin: Beasley's frustrations are evident and understandable, although Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott and Michael Gallup are all bigger, more talented threats with the ball. Beasley does have a role to play and put together his second best season from a statistical standpoint. That being said, he's only a mid- to late-round PPR flier if he stays in Dallas.
Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said the team is "optimistic" that quarterback Alex Smith (leg) will be ready for the start of the 2019 season, but he also said "we'll see." In his first year with Washington, Smith was a disappointment, throwing for 2,108 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions with an 85.7 QB rating in 10 games before his gruesome leg injury. He'll be heading into his age-35 season and is unlikely to be ready for training camp or the regular season, so he's one to avoid for fantasy purposes. The 'Skins are in dire need of a long-term quarterback.
The Kansas City Chiefs relieved defensive coordinator Bob Sutton of his duties on Tuesday. Sutton was head coach Andy Reid's defensive coordinator for all six of his years in KC, but the Chiefs defense continued to trend downward in 2018 and was their Achilles heel in the AFC Championship loss to the Patriots last weekend. Defensive end Chris Jones -- third in the NFL with 15.5 sacks in 2018 -- and linebacker Dee Ford are the linchpins of this defense, but they must improve their talent in the secondary. The Chiefs ranked 31st in yards allowed per game (405.5), 31st in passing yards allowed (273.4), 27th in rushing yards allowed (132.1), 24th in points allowed (26.3) and tied for eighth in takeaways (27) in 2018.
Oakland Raiders impending free-agent TE Jared Cook will be re-signed if head coach Jon Gruden has his way, but Gruden admitted that Cook will be a popular name on the free-agent market.
Fantasy Spin: Cook was one of the few bright spots for the Raiders this season, and maybe the lone bright spot. He's a top-five fantasy tight end candidate now after finishing 2018 as the TE5.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones led all receivers with 24 receptions for first downs on 30 third-down targets this past season.
Fantasy Spin: Despite a slow start in the TD department (none in his first seven games) Jones also wound up leading the league in receiving yards (1,677) for the second time in the last four seasons. And even with Jones turning 30 this offseason (on Super Bowl Sunday), he remains an elite WR1 in all fantasy formats.
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said the team is unsure if impending free-agent running back Marshawn Lynch plans to play in 2019. Gruden said "we'd love to have him back" if he decides to play another season. Beast Mode will turn 33 in April and is coming off a season in which he played in just six games due to injury. Lynch ran 90 times for 376 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and three scores. Even if Lynch returns, he'd be more of a low-upside, injury-risk RB2 for Oakland that is more attractive in standard-scoring leagues.
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said the team would like to re-sign impending free-agent tight end Jared Cook, but he knows the market for his services will be competitive. He'll be in high demand after he set career highs across the board in catches (68), targets (101), yards (896) and touchdowns (six) for the Raiders. Given the sad state of the tight end position in fantasy, Cook was a strong TE1 this year and will likely be drafted as one again this year, depending on where he lands. Staying in Oakland might be the best for his value.
The Cincinnati Bengals are hiring former Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan as their next offensive coordinator. Callahan has never been an offensive coordinator in the NFL but has been a QBs coach since 2015. He'll oversee an offense that could easily bounce back after serious injuries to quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green derailed them in 2018. Cincinnati finished 26th in yards per game (310.8), 24th in passing yards per game (205.6), 21st in rushing yards per game (105.1) and 17th in points per game (23.0) in 2018.
Oakland Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch, an impending free agent this offseason, hasn't announced whether he plans on playing in 2019, but if he does, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said Tuesday, Jan. 22, that 'we'd love to have him back.'
Fantasy Spin: Lynch will be 33 by the time next season rolls around, but he'd still be a fantasy RB2 consideration if were to be projected to be the primary RB in Oakland.