Guest of the League
Appleton Papermakers Blue Est. 2004
FFL: Offseason | NFL: Superbowl

Browns-Cardinals Preview

1576180313

Players: Larry Fitzgerald, Odell Beckham Jr., Kenyan Drake, Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Chase Edmonds, Kyler Murray

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury watches the clock during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)


Arizona Cardinals middle linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) knocks the helmet off Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels on the tackle during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt, right, scores a 3-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. The Browns won 27-19. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws during the fist half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens answers questions during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)


GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Cleveland's Baker Mayfield might be headed for some relief in his up-and-down second season in the NFL.

Arizona's defense has made a lot of opposing quarterbacks look pretty good.

The Browns (6-7) will try to keep their playoff hopes alive and win for the fifth time in six games when they visit the Cardinals on Sunday. Mayfield hopes to play better than he did last week, when he completed just 11 of 24 passes for 192 yards and two interceptions in Cleveland's 27-19 win over Cincinnati.

''As long as we win, ultimately, that is the main goal, but you have to continue to work on that stuff, get the ball in our guys hands and let them make plays,'' Mayfield said.

Arizona's defense is last in the league in yards allowed and passing yards allowed. The Cardinals have given up at least 21 points in all 13 games this season.

Arizona's Kyler Murray is looking to bounce back from his first three-interception game as an NFL quarterback. Murray has usually avoided big mistakes during his rookie season, but Sunday's three interceptions - all in the second half - were a big reason the Cardinals (3-9-1) lost their sixth game in a row.

''I think as a couple of these losses have stacked up, maybe (he's) trying to do a little too much, trying to win it by himself,'' Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury said. ''He's got to get back in that rhythm like he was prior to the bye, where, `Hey, you're just doing your job, executing at a high level and not trying to do too much.' We'll work through that.''

GO-BJ?

The rumors, rumblings and reports of Odell Beckham's unhappiness in Cleveland aren't going away any time soon. And while there's smoke, it's still not clear if there's any fire.

Beckham has not said he wants to leave the Browns, but he hasn't publicly stated that he's planting roots either.

This week, coach Freddie Kitchens and several teammates said Beckham has not given them any indication he wants out. In fact, they claimed he has been engaged, motivated to win and seems to enjoy being part of the team's rebuilding effort.

Mayfield was asked if Beckham, who has been dealing with a sports hernia injury for months, will be back for a second season with the Browns.

''I can't answer that for him,'' he said. ''There are all the rumors going around, but I have had my conversations with him and I know what we talk about so I trust him wholeheartedly.''

Beckham's injury has limited his production, but he has played in all 13 games and 96.4 percent of the snaps.

JOHNSON'S RETURN

It has been a mostly disappointing season for Cardinals running back David Johnson, who hasn't had much of a role in the offense since returning from an ankle injury a few weeks ago. He did have a good moment against the Steelers last Sunday, catching a 24-yard touchdown pass to pull the Cardinals within 20-17 in the fourth quarter.

He hopes to have a bigger role in the offense going forward. Johnson has lost time in the running back rotation to Kenyan Drake - who was added by the Cardinals in a midseason trade with the Dolphins - and to a lesser extent Chase Edmonds.

''Any guy who's in the NFL wants to be on the field, so it's tough when you're not out there,'' Johnson said.

BACK ON TOP

Nick Chubb's second season has been impressive. It may also be historic.

The Browns haven't had an NFL rushing leader since 1968, when Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly gained 1,239 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. Chubb enters Sunday's game with a league-leading 1,281 yards, but his only goal remains getting wins - not titles.

The unassuming Chubb said leading the league would be nice, but nothing he planned to do.

''It will mean a lot to me only because how hard I worked and it paid off for me,'' he said. ''That's really the biggest thing for me is just when I work hard, it shows and I get the results that I want.''

TIMELESS FITZGERALD

Even at the age of 36, Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald is having another productive season.

He's leading the team with 64 catches for 669 yards. Fitzgerald hasn't committed to playing a 17th season, but Kingsbury said there's no doubt the team wants him back.

''You see what he's done every week, and that's with a young quarterback and with an offense that's still learning how to play in the system,'' Kingsbury said. ''He's as productive a player as we've had on this offense week-in, week-out, reliability and catching the football. He's still a huge weapon for us, and I don't see that changing.''

FAMILIAR FACE

Browns defensive coordinator Steve Wilks was fired last year after just one season as the Cardinals coach. As he prepared to return to Arizona, Wilks said he's not seeking revenge - simply a victory.

''To be honest, I don't really have any emotions in regards to this week,'' said Wilks, who was dismissed after going 3-13. ''I want to win this game just like I wanted to win last week's game just like I wanted to win the first game against Tennessee.''

Wilks had numerous challenges during his first head coaching gig, but said they made him better.

''What I learned is just really how to deal with adversity as a head coach trying to prepare each and every week, trying to get your guys up to perform at a high level,'' he said. ''So it was difficult going through the struggles, but I thought the guys performed and played well and they stayed together throughout.''

Player Notes
Kirk Cousins Jan 23 11:50am ET

The Minnesota Vikings are turning to Gary Kubiak, who has been an assistant head coach and offensive advisor, as their next offensive coordinator, according to sources. Minnesota's previous offensive coordinator, Kevin Stefanski, has left to become the Browns head coach. Not much will change in Minnesota with Kubiak at the helm of the offense, but it is mostly good news for running back Dalvin Cook, who will continue to be the focal point of this offense moving forward. Quarterback Kirk Cousins also benefited from plenty of play-action passing plays while Kubiak was an offensive advisor.

From RotoBaller

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