Reports were initially all over the place after Dez Bryant went down with a broken right foot in the season opener against the Giants. It was initially a 4-6 week injury before some were speculating Bryant could miss 10-12 weeks. Not much has been said since Week 2.
But both owner/GM Jerry Jones and executive VP Stephen Jones have said over the past two weeks that Bryant returning after the Week 6 bye is a real possibility. Being that the Cowboys didn’t send Bryant to I.R./designated for return, it sounds like the injury is more of a week-to-week thing at this point and suggests he could be back within a month.
If you drafted Bryant and didn’t trade him right after his injury, there’s no point in bailing now; you’ve come this far with Bryant taking up a bench spot. And the last two items of information on Bryant have been positive. Foot injuries are always tricky, especially with skill players that have to make sudden movements and put pressure on their feet. But Bryant is tending upward. If you bought low on Bryant, good on you. We might see the top-end elite WR1 back contributing by midseason.
In the meantime, the Cowboys will continue to roll out Terrance Williams as the default No. 1 receiver, followed by Cole Beasley, Devin Street, and Lucky Whitehead. Williams has just seven catches for 133 yards in three games since Bryant went down, but has scored two touchdowns. He’s an extremely-volatile boom-or-bust WR3. Jason Witten will continue to soak up midfield targets.
In Other News…
Cam Newton is on pace to run the ball 172 times this season, which would be a career-high by 45. With the Panthers just signing Newton to a mega-extension in the offseason, the thought was Carolina might run him less. Instead, he’s running more in the wake of Kelvin Benjamin’s torn ACL and being exposed to more hits. Panthers OC Mike Shula, however, said he’s okay with Newton taking off more. With so much rushing upside, Newton will remain a high-end QB1.
Andrew Luck wasn’t present at the portion of Tuesday’s practice open to the media, but he was listed as limited and said he’s “preparing to start” Thursday night against the Texans. We can’t set it and forget with Luck in season-long lineups just yet, but Tuesday’s news was encouraging at least. Luck’s status will be updated a number of times on Wednesday after practice.
After canning coach Joe Philbin on Monday, most expected DC Kevin Coyle to follow him out the door. However, Coyle remains employed, though the situation “remains fluid,” according to NFL Network’s Albert Breer. With the Dolphins on their bye week, it’s not necessary to fire Coyle until Monday at the latest. The Dolphins reportedly reached out to ex-Bills DC Jim Schwartz, who drafted and coached prized free-agent signing Ndamukong Suh in Detroit.
Eric Ebron went down with a knee injury in the second quarter of Monday night’s loss to the Seahawks. He was seen in obvious pain on the sideline before heading to the locker room. X-rays and an MRI on Tuesday showed no damage. He’s likely dealing with a mere sprain. Ebron seems doubtful for Week 5 against Arizona, but the Lions are hoping to get blocking specialist Brandon Pettigrew (hamstring) back from injury. Tim Wright could play and expanded role in the pass game.
Coach Pete Carroll said he hopes Marshawn Lynch (hamstring) is “ready to go” for Week 5 at the Bengals. With so much wear and tear on his body at 29, the healing process is taking a little longer for Lynch. It sounds as if he’s on track to play Sunday, though, and with Fred Jackson suffering a high-ankle sprain Monday night, it’ll be Lynch and Thomas Rawls in the backfield. It’s not a great matchup for Lynch, but he’d be an obvious must-start in season-long leagues.
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Quarterback & Running Back Slants
Charles Sims has excelled in pass protection this season, which could lead to even more snaps for the sophomore. He doesn’t impress much as a runner, but Sims has a good pair of hands. … The Cardinals expect Andre Ellington (knee) to return Week 5 after giving him an extra week of rest against the Rams. … The Cowboys plan to roll with Christine Michael as the No. 3 running back following Lance Dunbar’s season-ending torn ACL. … Free agent Bryce Brown worked out for the Colts on Tuesday, while free agent Travaris Cadet paid a visit to the Jets. … Arian Foster (groin) remained limited Tuesday. He’ll be fine for Thursday night against the Colts. … Frank Gore (foot) got in a full practice Tuesday. … Ben Roethlisberger (knee) denies he’s aiming to return Week 7. … The Bills signed RB Dan Herron, formerly of the Colts. He’ll provide quality depth with LeSean McCoy (hamstring) still sidelined and Karlos Williams in the concussion protocol. The Bills also worked out free agent Trent Richardson. … The Cowboys say Joseph Randle wasn’t benched after nearly fumbling at the goal line in Week 4. … Coach Jack Del Rio said Latavius Murray wasn’t benched after his Week 4 fumble and remains confident in the young back. He should remain the Raiders’ workhorse.
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Wide Receiver & Tight End Slants
Cowboys WR Brice Butler hurt his hamstring on Sunday night but hopes to be back after the Week 6 bye. … Saints released WR Joe Morgan. … Nate Washington (hamstring) and Cecil Shorts (shoulder) both missed practice again on Tuesday. Keith Mumphery could see a big uptick in snaps Thursday night. … Dwayne Allen (ankle) is practicing in full for Week 5. … Roddy White insists he isn’t upset with his reduced role in the passing game behind Julio Jones, Leonard Hankerson, and even Devonta Freeman. … Charles Johnson (ribs) hopes to return Week 6, following this week’s bye. … Bills placed TE MarQueis Gray on I.R. with a broken arm. … Falcons re-signed TE Tony Moeaki and released TE Mickey Shuler. … Falcons placed Devin Hester on I.R./designated for return with turf toe. … Dorial Green-Beckham was arrested for failing to pay a parking ticket. He paid his fine and released from custody. The Titans confirmed DGB won’t face any discipline. … Bills GM Doug Whaley said Sammy Watkins’ calf injury isn’t a long-term issue.
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