Here's a look at some of the top rumors for Tuesday, Dec. 1:
Updating an item from yesterday, Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports 910 Phoenix is reporting that Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a fractured tibia. Fellow Arizona running back Andre Ellington is also ailing, dealing with turf toe that he suffered on the same possession as Johnson's injury. The bulk of the running back duties will almost certainly fall on the shoulders of rookie David Johnson in the coming weeks while Ellington works his way back to the field. In the meantime both Jurecki and team writer Darren Urban suggested that the Cardinals might promote Kerwynn Williams from the practice squad as an insurance policy in the backfield. Urban noted that head coach Bruce Arians would prefer to wait and see the progress of both Johnson and Ellington in their recovery efforts before making a roster move, but with Johnson now shelved for six to eight weeks a move seems more than likely. ESPN's Josh Weinfuss took a look this morning at the major impact losing Chris Johnson for the stretch run will have on Arizona's Super Bowl chances.
As if losing in heartbreaking fashion wasn't bad enough, Cleveland Browns starting QB Josh McCown left FirstEnergy Stadium last night with his right arm in a sling, according to ESPN's Pat McManamon. While the Browns await x-rays on McCown's collarbone, McManamon and Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot both asked the same obvious question: Will the Browns go back to Johnny Manziel? Pettine wasn't prepared to name a starter following the loss, although McManamon asserted that Pettine would certainly start McCown again if he was healthy. Austin Davis was Cleveland's No. 2 quarterback heading into last night's game with the Baltimore Ravens due to Manziel's recent demotion. Davis was impressive in relief, finishing the night 7-for-10 with 77 yards and a score, while also getting the Browns into position for a potential game-winning field goal. Manziel has also been impressive in short stints this season, earning the starting job two weeks ago before his most recent partying incident forced Pettine to sit the polarizing QB. What makes this decision so interesting, as McManamon points out, is the multiple layers that all factor into the situation. McManamon writes, "The decision is part football, part discipline, part accountability and part evaluating for the future." Will the Browns continue to hold Manziel accountable for his actions over the bye week? Or will they seemingly discard the demotion, and evaluate the possibility of having Manziel lead Cleveland into the future?
Head coach Dan Quinn and the slumping Atlanta Falcons expect their offense and special teams to both receive a major boost this week. According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Falcons are anticipating the return of Devonta Freeman and Devin Hester for their Week 13 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Quinn expects Freeman to clear the NFL's concussion protocol this week. "We anticipate getting Free back,” Quinn said. “He was able to participate in all of the meetings and do all of the stuff today. We’re heading into the week anticipating full action with him." Quinn also told reporters that the Falcons will take a look at Hester in practice this week before activating him off of Injured Reserve. “We want to really take a look at him at practice and then we’ll make a decision toward the end of the week,” Quinn said. Hester has been sidelined with turf toe, which has severely limited his explosive capability in the return game. With Freeman's return seemingly imminent, fantasy owners might want to hang onto Tevin Coleman as a handcuff for the time being.
Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston left Sunday's game in the first quarter with an apparent knee injury. According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, Houston had an MRI on Monday which confirmed that he had a strained PCL, leaving the OLB's status week-to-week. While Houston could miss some time, the fact that his injury is not season ending is obviously good news. The Chiefs had to fill in for Houston on the fly, forcing Tamba Hali to play 100 percent of the defensive snaps for just the second time this season, as team writer Pete Sweeney noted. Veteran linebacker Frank Zombo also received extended playing time in Houston's absence, according to Sweeney, and made the most of it with a sack that preserved the lead on the Buffalo Bills' attempted two-point conversion.
If St. Louis Rams quarterback Case Keenum clears the NFL's concussion protocol he will once again start at quarterback, according to team writer Myles Simmons. Head coach Jeff Fisher spoke to reporters about Keenum's progress over the last week. "He got some reps on Wednesday and then on Friday, he took a few reps and he was honest with us and said he just doesn’t feel right. So we pulled him out on Friday. At that point, it was very, very unlikely that he’d play in the game," Fisher continued. "He has to really be back to 100 percent. From what I’ve been told, today was good." Fisher went on to say that he doesn't believe in players losing their job due to injury, stating that he's "going to give Case a fair shot.” If Keenum is not cleared, Nick Foles, who threw three interceptions in Sunday's loss, will get another opportunity to start in his place.