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Russell Wilson’s torrid start has him playing at an MVP level – Seattle Seahawks Blog

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SEATTLE — It’s been a season of superlatives so far for Russell Wilson.

The Seattle Seahawks quarterback was already off to the best start of his career when he delivered another surgical performance Thursday night against the Los Angeles Rams. Wilson tossed four more touchdowns — with one coming on an improbable throw to Tyler Lockett — and avoided trouble with his legs. He had a perfect passer rating through three quarters before finishing at 151.8.

You’d only need a few fingers, if any, to count better performances from Wilson in his seven-plus NFL seasons. But what he did in Week 2 at Pittsburgh might be on the same hand.

“Russell played one of the best games I’ve ever seen him play,” coach Pete Carroll said after the Seahawks’ 30-29 win. “… All of the plays that he came up with his legs, running, for one, but also, not just to get out of trouble, but to find the receivers and make the throws just one after another after another. The extraordinary play to ‘Lock’ … everybody’s just raving it’s one of the best catches they’ve ever seen.

“But it’s also one of the best throws ever made if that’s the case. Because there was no room for error. But I just thought Russ was — he stole the show tonight as he did so much. And on top of what he’s done to start the season off in great fashion. So really fired up for him and our team.”

Wilson’s play tops the list of reasons the Seahawks are 4-1 and a half-game behind the undefeated 49ers the NFC West standings heading into their Week 6 game at Cleveland. Wilson’s play has raised his odds of winning the MVP from 25-1 (10th in the NFL) to 5-1, second behind Patrick Mahomes, according to Caesars Sportsbook.

All of the most relevant passing numbers paint a clear picture illustrating that Wilson has never been better to begin a season than right now. As the chart below shows, it’s not all that close. His 12-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio is the best of his career through the first five games, as are his 73.1% completion rate, 9.0 yards per attempt and 76.8 Total QBR, which is third in the league behind Dak Prescott and Mahomes.

Wilson’s hot start reminds many of the second half of the 2015 season. Prior to this, Wilson has never been hotter than he was during that eight-game stretch, when he threw 25 touchdowns to two interceptions.

“It feels different because of the way it’s happened,” Carroll said. “I think that’s looking back. We’re right in the middle of it now. It’s hard to say if it’s the same or not. I have higher regard for Russ’ command of the game now than we did three, four years ago — the things that he’s doing and how he’s controlling things. That was a great streak. That was an all-time streak. He and [receiver] Doug [Baldwin] were just on fire for all that time. I need some more games just to compare it I think. It feels different.”

But some of Wilson’s current numbers compare favorably to those from the final eight games of 2015. He posted a lower completion rate (67.5%), yards per attempt (8.62) and passer rating (124.3) four years ago. Wilson’s 12 touchdown passes would average out to about 19 over eight games. His career-high for a single season is 35, set last year.

It’s safe to say Wilson is earning every penny of the record $140 million extension he signed in April, which made him the league’s highest-paid player.

“He’s been playing MVP-level all season, man,” Seahawks left tackle Duane Brown said. “He’s been doing this his whole career. I know a lot has been said about his performance thus far this season, but he’s been doing this every year. He’s just amazing, man, he’s just amazing. … He’s a generational talent. He’s a Hall of Fame player, man, and I’m just glad he’s on my team.”

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Safety Eric Weddle says he won’t share Ravens intel with Rams

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The Los Angeles Rams play the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. It’s a critical game for the 6-4 Rams, who desperately need a win to remain in the playoff hunt, only a season after appearing in Super Bowl LIII.

But don’t expect the circumstances to compromise the ethics of Rams safety Eric Weddle, who played the past three seasons with the Ravens.

Weddle said Wednesday that he won’t be sharing any inside secrets about his former team.

“I could tell them a lot of stuff, but that’s just not who I am,” said Weddle, who signed a two-year, $10.5 million contract with the Rams after the Ravens released him last March. “So, we’re going to play it on the field and the best team is going to win.”

Rams coach Sean McVay, who calls offensive plays, often acknowledges Weddle’s football intelligence and has said the 13-year NFL veteran has provided him with insights and perspective since his arrival.

However, McVay said Wednesday that he had not spoken to Weddle about the nuances of the Ravens’ defense, which is limiting opponents to an average of 19.6 points per game (ranks 6th).

“In terms of some of the intricacies, I think he’s got a lot of loyalty to those guys even if he’s not there anymore,” McVay said.

It’s uncertain whether cornerback Marcus Peters, whom the Rams dealt to the Ravens in a mid-October trade, will share any specific insights about the Rams operation with his new team.

When asked if it could be considered unfair to share inside information about a former team, McVay said, “It’s totally at each person’s individual approach.”

However, it would seem the Rams, who have a 19% chance of making the playoffs, could use any and all information available to help slow down the 8-2 Ravens, who are averaging an NFL-best 34.1 points per game behind quarterback Lamar Jackson, the front-runner to win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award.

Still, Weddle won’t budge.

“I have a lot of respect for that place, not only how it helped my career and rejuvenated my career, how they treated myself and my family,” Weddle said. “But it’s a very tight-knit group and what would I be — what kind of man would I be if I just turned my back on all of them?”

The Ravens signed Weddle to a four-year, $26-million contract in 2016, after he had a falling out with the San Diego Chargers, where he spent the previous nine seasons of his career.

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Antonio Brown countersuing Britney Taylor for defamation

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Antonio Brown is countersuing Britney Taylor for defamation and interference with his NFL contracts and endorsements, according to documents obtained by ESPN.

Brown, the subject of an NFL investigation over Taylor’s claims of rape and sexual assault, is denying the accusations against him and requesting a jury trial.

Taylor had served Brown with a lawsuit in Broward (Fla.) County and gave him 45 days to respond.

In that response, Brown claimed his sexual relationship with Taylor was always consensual, and that Taylor attempted to secure a $1.645-million investment from Brown for her gymnastics business shortly after Brown signed a $72-million deal with the Steelers, the documents state.

Brown signed a confidentiality agreement with Taylor on March 8, 2019 while “under duress,” the documents state. Two days later, Brown was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders as part of a three-year, $54-million extension. The countersuit claims Taylor’s “false accusations” in 2019 affected his business dealings of which she had previous knowledge while spending significant time with him in 2017-18.

In the lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of Florida, Taylor accuses Brown of sexually assaulting her on three occasions in 2017 and 2018.

The two knew each other at Central Michigan before Brown entered the NFL draft in 2010, and the documents state the two had cursory communication from then until 2017.

“In summary, after enduring a failed business endeavor and also failing to gain the relationship status she desired with Brown, Taylor began a vicious campaign of lies and deceit targeting Brown both personally and professionally,” Brown’s filing states. “Taylor’s acts have all but ruined Brown’s career, causing him to lose a number of substantial and lucrative business contracts, and impacting the public persona in such a manner as to cause Brown and his family significant personal and financial harm.”

The NFL, which interviewed Brown last week as part of the investigation, is aware of the filing, according to a source.

Brown is out of the league as troubles continue to follow him. After Taylor’s suit surfaced in September, Brown also was accused of sexual misconduct at his home by an artist who was working there in 2017.

Brown was released by the Raiders for conduct detrimental to the team and signed with the New England Patriots, who released him after one game.

Brown is trying to get back into the league and even apologized to Patriots owner Robert Kraft for all the drama he caused.

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Biggest Week 12 injury questions for all 32 NFL teams

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The 2019 NFL playoff races are narrowing the potential field each week, and a number of key starters are battling injuries.

Get the latest scoop from inside NFL locker rooms on who’s in and who’s out for Week 12.

Jump to:
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN | NE
NO | NYG | NYJ | OAK | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH

AFC EAST

How long will Ty Nsekhe be out? The Bills’ right tackle was carted off the field Sunday with an ankle injury, and Sean McDermott described his status as “week-to-week” as the team prepares to play the Broncos on Sunday. It’s not likely that Nsekhe plays this week, and his status for Week 13 is uncertain as well, considering the Bills will play Dallas on a short week. Cody Ford will presumably take all reps at right tackle in Nsekhe’s stead. Also, special-teams stalwart Siran Neal is in concussion protocol; his absence was felt Sunday, when the Dolphins returned a kickoff for a touchdown and nearly did it again later in the game. — Marcel Louis-Jacques


The Dolphins placed veteran safeties Reshad Jones and Bobby McCain on injured reserve this week, making secondary a glaring issue for this team Sunday and moving forward. That makes three starters, including Xavien Howard, in the secondary gone for the season. Who will replace the two safeties? Versatile defensive back Eric Rowe is likely to move into a full-time safety role, with Steven Parker stepping in to the spot opposite him. — Cameron Wolfe


Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, who has also been handling punt-return duties, was not present at Wednesday’s practice after he was banged up in Sunday’s win over the Eagles while returning a punt. If Sanu is unavailable this week, the Patriots will need Phillip Dorsett II — who was knocked out of Sunday’s win by a head injury — to return quickly. Dorsett was present for the start of practice Wednesday. Also, rookies N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers would see expanded roles pending the health of the two veterans. — Mike Reiss


The biggest issue, as usual, is the offensive line. Right tackle Chuma Edoga (ankle) didn’t practice Wednesday and is considered day-to-day. If he can’t play, former starter Brandon Shell will return to the lineup. Left tackle Kelvin Beachum (ankle) is practicing, but he isn’t 100 percent and has been grinding through an injury that has lingered for weeks. — Rich Cimini

AFC NORTH

Defensive tackle Michael Pierce, who is dealing with an ankle injury, missed just his third game of his four-year career on Sunday. The Ravens are holding out hope that he can return for Monday night’s game against the Rams. “I’m kind of counting on him right now,” coach John Harbaugh said. “But you just never know how healing is going to go.” If Pierce can’t play, veteran run-stopper Domata Peko will start for the second straight week. — Jamison Hensley


In a surprising twist, Cordy Glenn could be starting for the Bengals this weekend. The left tackle hasn’t seen the field since he was diagnosed with a concussion in the middle of the preseason. Since then, he reportedly got into a dispute with the coaching staff, was suspended for a game and was a healthy scratch for the Week 10 loss at Oakland. But it appears that he is fully recovered from the concussion, made amends around the team facility and can help an offensive line that gave up five sacks to the Raiders. “Everybody is on the same page,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “We’re excited to see what he can provide for us this week.” — Ben Baby


Due to Thursday’s melee with the Steelers, the Browns are completely depleted along the defensive line, with Myles Garrett suspended for the season and Larry Ogunjobi out on a one-game suspension. That makes the healthy return of defensive end Olivier Vernon (knee) all the more important. But Vernon was unable to practice yet again Wednesday, dimming his chances of being cleared to play Sunday against the Dolphins. — Jake Trotter


How will JuJu Smith-Schuster‘s injury affect the Steelers’ wide receivers? Although Smith-Schuster hasn’t had the most productive season, he has at least attracted a good amount of attention from defenses, freeing up other receivers. But Smith-Schuster’s availability is in doubt for Sunday’s game against the Bengals as he deals with a concussion and a left knee injury that requires a bulky brace. Although the Steelers will have to absorb his likely absence with a cast of lesser-known receivers, there is at least some good news on the injured receiver front: Diontae Johnson (concussion) fully practiced Wednesday, and fellow receiver James Washington expects him to be able to go Sunday. — Brooke Pryor

AFC SOUTH

Will wide receiver Will Fuller V and cornerback Bradley Roby return from multiweek hamstring injuries? Neither made the trip to Baltimore on Sunday, but head coach Bill O’Brien said they both have a chance to play against the Colts on Thursday and will be game-time decisions. — Sarah Barshop


The Colts could be getting a boost on offense. Receiver T.Y. Hilton, who has missed four games this season, including three straight because of a calf injury, is questionable for Thursday’s key AFC South game at Houston after being listed as a full participant Wednesday. Hilton did not practice Monday or Tuesday. How good has Hilton played in Houston? He has owned the Texans there in his career: nine receptions, 199 yards (2018); five receptions, 175 yards (2017); nine receptions, 223 yards (2014); seven receptions, 121 yards (2013). — Mike Wells

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Stephania Bell anticipates that Jordan Wilkins will play Thursday and is hearing that it’s possible T.Y. Hilton will play.


The Jaguars are in bad shape at tight end after placing rookie Josh Oliver (back) on IR, and Seth DeValve missed Wednesday’s practice because of an oblique injury. The only healthy tight ends are Ben Koyack, undrafted rookie Charles Jones (promoted from the practice squad) and Nick O’Leary, who signed on Monday. That group has a total of 11 catches (including DeValve’s six). — Mike DiRocco


Tight end Delanie Walker (ankle) practiced for the first time in three weeks. He was a limited participant but looked smooth while running routes in the open portion of practice. Walker said Monday that the goal is to be back for the Jaguars game. Jonnu Smith has filled in nicely while Walker is out. Having Walker back would give them a potent 12 personnel package. Meanwhile, Corey Davis (hip), Jayon Brown (groin) and Jurrell Casey (shoulder) were full participants. — Turron Davenport

AFC WEST

Broncos coach Vic Fangio said Ja’Wuan James is “50-50” to play Sunday in Buffalo with a knee injury he has dealt with for much of the season. James has played just 32 snaps in two games this season, but his continued absence is a bigger issue this week, given that the Broncos’ line is banged up overall. Center Connor McGovern and guards Ron Leary and Dalton Risner were all held out of Wednesday’s practice. Fangio said he expected all three to be ready to play against the Bills on Sunday, but the Broncos were so thin during practice Wednesday that Corey Levin, who is on the team’s practice squad, was taking snaps with the starters in some of the drills. — Jeff Legwold


Having a bye this week gives Tyreek Hill a much better chance of playing in next week’s game against the Raiders, one that could decide first place in the AFC West. Hill left the Monday night game against the Chargers because of a strained hamstring. The injury doesn’t appear serious, but it might have prevented him from playing if the Chiefs had a game this weekend. — Adam Teicher


All-pro safety Derwin James has been out since the start of the regular season on the injured reserve with a fractured right foot that required surgery. However, James has been doing change-of-direction drills with the Chargers’ training staff the past few weeks and will continue to work at the team’s facility during the bye week with the hope of returning at some point before the end of this season. “I’m not going to say he’ll be back because I don’t like to put a timetable on it,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “But there’s a chance.” — Eric D. Williams


Nickel cornerback Lamarcus Joyner, who missed Sunday’s win over the Bengals because of a hamstring injury suffered against the Chargers on Nov. 7, sat out Wednesday’s walkthrough. Still, the absence was an “estimation” because it was a walkthrough and Joyner was on the field during warm-ups, working on his backpedal and starting and stopping. Nevin Lawson started for Joyner in the slot and would figure to get the assignment again against the Jets should Joyner be forced to miss a second straight game. — Paul Gutierrez

NFC EAST

Amari Cooper went through drills in Wednesday’s practice for the first time in two-plus weeks, which is a positive sign. He has played through a knee injury, but practice time is important, especially with the test he faces Sunday at New England. Right tackle La’el Collins (sprained MCL) did not practice Wednesday, but the team is hopeful that he will be able to play Sunday against New England, which would be a boost for a line that has protected well all season and is facing a multiple-front defense. Left guard Connor Williams could also be back in the lineup after missing last week’s game because of knee surgery. Xavier Su’a-Filo was OK filling in for Williams, but it looks like the Cowboys will turn back to the second-year player against the Patriots. — Todd Archer


There is good news and bad news for the Giants’ offense. Tight end Evan Engram (foot) didn’t practice Wednesday, and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion) was a full participant. It appears that Shepard is on the verge of a return after missing five games. “A lot of times what happens is they get cleared at the end of the week [and practice] with the anticipation that they will be cleared,” coach Pat Shurmur said. So it’s looking good for Shepard. Not so much for Engram, who did some light running on the side with a trainer for the first time since suffering the injury. He’s probably going to need another week to be ready. — Jordan Raanan


Lane Johnson remains in concussion protocol following a head injury suffered in a Week 11 loss to the Patriots. Rookie Andre Dillard, who has been working at left tackle, is taking first-team snaps at right tackle this week in the event that Johnson can’t play against Seattle. That happens to be the side on which Jadeveon Clowney lines up most of the time, making this a key situation to watch. — Tim McManus


Defensive lineman Daron Payne, who has been arguably Washington’s best defensive player this season, did not practice because of a right ankle injury suffered Sunday. He was in a walking boot Monday. Fellow lineman Jonathan Allen also didn’t practice, but he said it was mostly for rest. It helped the line that Tim Settle practiced after missing Sunday with a hamstring injury. But losing Payne would be a big blow. His effort shows up week after week, routinely sprinting back into plays and making tackles 10 to 15 yards downfield. He has been their best inside threat, even though he has just one sack. — John Keim

NFC NORTH

The Bears are calling quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (right hip pointer) “day-to-day,” but it seems likely that Trubisky will be healthy enough to start against the Giants on Sunday. “I feel a lot better,” Trubisky said Wednesday. “Day and night [compared to when I suffered the injury Sunday in Los Angeles]. If I feel good, I’m going to go [against New York].” Trubisky is also playing through a slightly torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, but head coach Matt Nagy does not believe that Trubisky would benefit from being shut down for the final six weeks. — Jeff Dickerson

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Stephania Bell, Field Yates and Mike Clay discuss how Mitchell Trubisky’s playing status has no effect on the fantasy value of key Bears players such as Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel.


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