Jake Locker heads to IR, Blake Bortles is questionable for Week 16, and other NFL news
Elsewhere, the Buccaneers are dealing with another major injury.
The carousel of quarterbacks continues spinning in Tennessee. The season started off with former first-round pick Jake Locker under center, though a hand injury knocked him out for several games in late September. Charlie Whitehurst stepped in for four weeks before poor play and the improving health of rookie Zach Mettenberger pushed the Titans‘ coaching staff to make another change. Mettenberger remained the starter until last week when he suffered a severe shoulder sprain. Once again, Locker was the team’s starting quarterback.
His return didn’t last long, however. According to The Tennessean, Locker separated his left shoulder and will undergo season-ending surgery on Tuesday.
The injury is the latest in a string of injuries for the one-time franchise quarterback of the Titans. After the team declined his fifth-year option this offseason, it appears highly likely his career in Tennessee is over. As far as depth in 2014 goes, Jordan Palmer was signed to backup Charlie Whitehurst who expects to start next week in Jacksonville.
Blake Bortles questionable for Week 16 with sprained foot
Blake Bortles has endured a rough first season in the NFL. The third-overall pick in this year’s draft has nearly twice as many turnovers as touchdowns, averages under 6.5 yards per pass attempt, and has already absorbed a conference-worst 46 sacks. Now, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, Bortles may miss the Jaguars‘ Week 16 game with a foot sprain.
Bortles didn’t miss any snaps during Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. However, as the Jaguars play on Thursday night, there may not be enough time for Bortles to heal. If he cannot go, Chad Henne would make his first start since mid-September, setting up one of the worst quarterback duels of the season with the aforementioned Whitehurst.
Gerald McCoy lands on IR
So little has gone well for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014. New quarterback Josh McCown failed to deliver the type of play he provided the Chicago Bears last year. Things didn’t get much better when Mike Glennon replaced him. All the while, Tampa was fighting through injuries to running backs and losing multiple defensive linemen for the season.
McCoy, the team’s best player and its only All-Pro, was enjoyed another quality season. His 8.5 sacks were the second most of his career as were his 35 tackles. Though his season is over, the injury will apparently not require surgery. If so, McCoy should be back to full strength well in advance of the team’s training camp in 2015.
Because of Julio Jones’ acrobatic catches and downfield playmaking, the Atlanta Falcons almost upset the Green Bay Packers a week ago. His 259 receiving yards was the most the Packers had ever allowed to a single player at Lambeau Field, and perhaps if Jones doesn’t hurt his hip late in the fourth quarter the Falcons emerge victorious. That injury kept Jones on the sidelines for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution he is expected back in time for Week 16′s tilt in New Orleans.
The Saints game could set up a playoff berth for the Falcons. Should they win, they’ll have a decisive advantage over New Orleans who they beat in the season opener. They can then overtake the Panthers in the final week of the season. If Atlanta loses, they could be eliminated from contention.
Nick Foles not cleared to play in Week 16
Mark Sanchez had another rough outing on Sunday night. He tossed two interceptions and zero touchdowns as the Philadelphia Eagles dropped an important divisional game to the Dallas Cowboys. Sanchez’s bad day increased interest in the eventual return of injured starter Nick Foles. However, the team revealed that Foles has not been cleared to play and will miss Week 16′s game in Washington.
Though Sanchez has struggled, it’s not as though Foles was playing tremendously before his injury. He completed less than 60 percent of his passes while throwing for only three more touchdowns than picks in his eight starts. However, Foles has shown in the past that he can elevate Chip Kelly’s offense. In 2013, he led the NFL in passer rating (119.2) while throwing 27 touchdowns against only 2 interceptions. If that Foles shows up before the season ends, the Eagles have a chance to make noise in the playoffs.