Wednesday, December 16, 2015
LeGarrette Blount was supposed to be a locked-in RB1 and touchdown monster following the season-ending torn ACL suffered by Dion Lewis in Week 9 against the Redskins. “Supposed to be’s” seem to never come to fruition in the New England backfield, which is one of the most unpredictable in the sport. Since Lewis went down, Blount has carried the ball 67 times for 256 yards (3.82 YPC) with one touchdown and zero Weeks 11-14. Blount didn’t top 66 yards in a single Dion Lewis-less game over the past five weeks and had been frustrating fantasy owners.
Well, the frustration has come to an end. Blount carried the ball 10 times for 53 yards this past Sunday night against the Texans before hobbling off the field with a hip injury and never returning to the field. He was spotted on crutches Tuesday. On Wednesday, the bombshell dropped that Blount will miss the remainder of the season and head to injured reserve. It’s a big blow to the Patriots’ rushing attack, even if Blount wasn’t running the ball all that effectively of late. He’s been a big-game player for the Patriots in recent years. Having just turned 29, Blount will be a free agent in March.
With Blount now out of the picture, the Patriots are left with a depth chart of Brandon Bolden, James White, and practice squadders Montee Ball and Trey Williams. One of Ball, who was just signed on Wednesday, or Williams will likely be promoted to the active roster this week. Following Blount’s departure Sunday night, Bolden dominated carries with 16 of them for 51 yards. He’s definitely worth adding as an RB2 for Weeks 15 and 16. James White should remain in his pass-game role.
In Other News…
With Thomas Rawls (ankle) done for the season and Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) still rehabbing, DuJuan Harris and recently-signed — for the third time this season — Bryce Brown were expected to compete for lead-back duties in practice this week. The Seahawks ended that battle before it even got started by waiving Harris on Tuesday. Harris was rather ineffective last week against the Ravens, rushing 18 times for a measly 42 yards. Brown should now start and has a real chance to see a heavy workload against the Browns’ bottom-barrel run defense in a game Seattle is favored by 14.5.
Jonathan Stewart bowed out of the Panthers’ 38-0, Week 14 win over the Falcons early with a foot issue. Coach Ron Rivera said Stewart would be fine, but Monday, Stewart was spotted in a walking boot and has been diagnosed with a sprained foot. Stewart has a history of foot and ankle injuries, so this definitely raises some concern. It sounds like there’s a real chance Stewart misses Week 15 with the Panthers erring on the side of caution. Cameron Artis-Payne, Fozzy Whittaker, and Mike Tolbert would likely all split backfield duties in his absence, forming some sort of a committee.
According to ESPN Colts reporter Mike Wells, Andrew Luck (kidney) has to be 100 percent healthy before he can return to game action. Reports have been all over the place early this week on Luck’s immediate status, as some have suggested he’ll practice Wednesday, while others have said Luck may be done for the season. We should have a better idea of things when the Colts return to practice Wednesday. Matt Hasselbeck (ribs, arm) is really banged up, meaning Charlie Whitehurst could start against the Texans on Sunday.
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Quarterback & Running Back Slants
Contract-year QB Ryan Fitzpatrick said he’d “love to be back” with the Jets next season. … Todd Gurley (rest) remained limited Tuesday. He’s going to be fine for Thursday night against the Bucs. … The Broncos have confirmed Brock Osweiler will start Week 15 against the Steelers. Peyton Manning (foot) returned to practice Wednesday. … Bengals signed QB Keith Wenning off their practice squad. … Christine Michael was cut from the Redskins’ practice squad. … Browns signed RB Daryl Richardson. … Chris Johnson (leg, I.R.-return) expects to be ready to play if the Cardinals reach the Super Bowl. … Free agent RB Trent Richardson worked out for the Broncos on Tuesday. … Coach Marvin Lewis said it’s “very likely” Andy Dalton (thumb) plays against this season. … Tim Hightower is expected to remain the Saints’ lead running back. … Andre Ellington (toe) didn’t practice Tuesday. … Ravens waived QB Bryn Renner. … Coach Lovie Smith blamed game flow for Doug Martin’s 11 Week 14 carries. … Bengals OC Hue Jackson won’t limit the offense for fill-in QB A.J. McCarron. … Jaguars signed RB Jonas Gray off the Dolphins’ practice squad with T.J. Yeldon (knee) hurt. … Brian Hoyer is “concerned” after suffering his latest concussion that is expected to sideline him the remainder of the season. … There is “some hope” Matt Schaub (chest) will start Week 15.
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Wide Receiver & Tight End Slants
DeSean Jackson (knee) expects to play Week 15 against the Bills. … Free agent WR Jon Baldwin worked out for the Panthers on Tuesday. … Free agent WR Danario Alexander worked out for the Jets on Tuesday. … Lions signed TE Bear Pascoe. … Bears first-round WR Kevin White (leg) won’t be activated from reserve/PUP, ending his season. … Greg Olsen (knee) expects to play Week 15 against the Giants. … Vincent Jackson (knee) missed practice again Tuesday and isn’t expected to play Thursday night at the Rams. … Jaguars waived WR Rashad Lawrence. … Redskins signed TE Alex Smith. … Falcons waived Leonard Hankerson (hamstring) from I.R. … Jordan Matthews (back) didn’t practice Tuesday. … The Cowboys won’t shut down Dez Bryant (foot, knee) for the remainder of the season. Matt Cassel is doing that for them. … Coach Bill O’Brien said the Texans are working really hard to get the ball to DeAndre Hopkins despite his dip in production.