Tag:Cleveland Browns
Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:32 pm

Colt McCoy ruled out Saturday with concussion

McCoy will miss Week 16 with a concussion. (Getty Images)

By Will Brinson

Colt McCoy missed Week 15's game after suffering a concussion in Cleveland's loss to Pittsburgh during Week 14, and he won't play in Week 16 either, as the Browns have ruled him out for Saturday's game.

That's according to our Browns Rapid Reporter Marty Gitlin, who also notes that wide receiver Jordan Norwood (also suffering from a concussion) has been ruled out of the game.

Earlier in the week, it was believed to be "likely" that the Browns would start backup Seneca Wallace Saturday against Baltimore, even though McCoy was reportedly almost recovered from the concussion.

McCoy's injury, suffered on a nasty hit from Steelers linebacker James Harrison, generated plenty of controversy around the league. The Browns never tested McCoy for a concussion and inserted him in the game two plays after the injury, which led the NFL to institute a new concussion policy that begins this week.

Additionally, Harrison was suspended for a game as a result of the hit and later said he believed the Browns should also be punished by the NFL for failing to properly diagnose the concussion. (They weren't, and won't be.)

The Browns also placed safety T.J. Ward on injured reserve with a sprained foot, per Gitlin.

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 1:09 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 1:16 pm

Boldin to miss regular season with knee surgery

Boldin will miss Baltimore's remaining two games. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

The Ravens are in the middle of a push for a top AFC seed in the playoffs, but they'll have to play (at least) the final two games of the regular season without top wideout Anquan Boldin, who will undergo surgery for a torn meniscus.

Boldin, per our Ravens Rapid Reporter Jason Butt, will miss the remainder of the regular season, but John Harbaugh expects the wideout to return for the playoffs.

"He will be back for the playoffs, whichever round we have to play in," Harbaugh said. "It will be a little tighter if we have to play in the first round."

If Baltimore wins out, they'll land a bye in the first week of the postseason to go with their AFC North title, by virtue of their head-to-head record against the Steelers. That would give Boldin three weeks to recover from the surgery.

But if the Ravens stumble, Pittsburgh could land the top seed in the AFC and force Baltimore to travel, as well as play a week earlier than they'd like.

The good news is Boldin shouldn't be needed in Week 16, a home matchup against Cleveland. When the Ravens last played the Browns, Ray Rice handled almost all of the offensive production, rushing for 204 yards. Joe Flacco completed just 10 passes in the victory (on 23 attempts) and Boldin caught just two for 32 yards.

It'll be worth watching how rookie wideout Torrey Smith responds to his new role as the top wide receiver target for Flacco, particularly in the more interesting Week 17 matchup against the Bengals. Lee Evans will slide into the No. 2 spot, and Harbaugh said one of his rookies -- LaQuan Williams and Tandon Doss -- in the slot.

"You want to get your young guys out there on the field as much as you can," Harbaugh said. "You don’t want to do it before they’re ready to have success and I think those guys are very much ready to have success."

On the year, Boldin leads the Ravens 887 receiving yards and is second on the team with 57 catches (Rice has 71) and three touchdowns (Smith has seven).

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:40 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 12:41 pm

NFL sends memo to teams on new concussion policy

The NFL wants to make sure trainers don't miss hits like the one on McCoy. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

The NFL is instituting a new in-game concussion protocol beginning in Week 16, as first reported by CBS Sports Charley Casserly, and as previously mentioned on The NFL Today by Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Under this policy, certified athletic trainers will be present at all games in order to ensure players that suffer concussions aren't at risk to return to games following their potential brain injury.

On Wednesday, the NFL sent a memo to all its clubs detailing two changes that will take place beginning on Thursday night.

"First, we have arranged for a certified athletic trainer to be at each game to monitor play of both teams and provide medical staffs with any relevant information that may assist them in determining the most appropriate evaluation and treatment," the memo reads. "This athletic trainer will be stationed in a booth upstairs with access to video replay and direct communication to the medical staffs of both teams. In most cases, the athletic trainer will be affiliated with a major college program in the area or will have previously been affiliated with an NFL club."

However, the NFL noted that this trainer will not "diagnose or prescribe treatment, nor have any authority to direct that a player be removed from the game." The role of the trainer will be to "provide information to team medical staffs" in the event that said staffs missed a potential concussion or injury as a result of other action/injuries taking place.

Additionally, the NFL noted that medical staff will be allowed to use cell phones going forward when taking care of a player who was injured.

"Second, club medical staffs will be permitted to use their cell phones during games for purposes of obtaining information relating to the care of an injured player," the memo reads. "This is not limited to concussions and is intended to assist team medical staffs in addressing a variety of injuries."

There are sure to be plenty of snide comments made whenever a member of the Patriots staff fires up a cell phone (see: Gate of Spy), but the reality is that the NFL's taking a significant and important step in attempting to reduce the negative effect of concussions on its players.

Football players who suffer traumatic brain injuries (the not-as-nice name for concussions) are significantly more likely to sustain long-term brain damage if they suffer another concussion soon thereafter. And there's simply nothing safe about having someone on the field who can't process what's going during a play because of suffering a brain injury.
It's nice to see the league taking positive steps towards limiting the exposure to brain damage for its players.

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 12:20 pm

Roethlisberger denies rumors he's planning to sit

Big Ben limps down the steps to the locker room after Pittsburgh beat Cleveland last Thursday. (AP)
By Will Brinson

The logical conclusion for the remainder of the Steelers season is that they will rest quarterback Ben Roethlisberger against the Rams and Browns. In fact, on Wednesday we noted rumors that Ben would likely be out Saturday against Cleveland, despite the quarterback saying he was optimistic he'd play.

Roethlisberger was asked about those rumors specifically on Thursday, and, per Mike Bires of the Beaver County Times, staunchly denied that he's currently planning on sitting out against St. Louis.

"They always like to say things," Roethlisberger said when asked about reports that he wouldn't play. "Unless Coach said something, I will wait to hear it from him."

Roethlisberger, simply put, didn't look healthy against the 49ers. He looked like a guy with a bum ankle who needed rest in order to gain his mobility back, not to mention his ability to step into throws.

The Steelers obviously want to win the next two weeks, but they don't need to win. They hold the tiebreaker over the only three 8-6 teams -- the Bengals (head-to-head), the Broncos (conference record) and the Jets (conference record) -- that could potentially catch them for the fifth seed.

Pittsburgh could still win the AFC North, but it would require the Ravens losing to either the Browns at home or the Bengals on the road. Though the latter is certainly possible, it's still not likely, and if Charlie Batch is able to hand the ball off well enough to score 21 points each of the next two weeks, the Steelers could get away with resting Roethlisberger for the postseason.

Which is precisely why they should, even if Ben doesn't want to rest and is maintaining that the isn't planning on it yet.

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:52 am
Edited on: December 22, 2011 11:40 am

Matt Barkley to announce draft decision Thursday

Matt Barkley will announce where he'll play in 2012 on Thursday afternoon. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Thursday afternoon, Matt Barkley could give quarterback-needy teams at the top of the 2012 NFL Draft an early Christmas present. Or maybe he'll come sliding back down Lane Kiffin's chimney. Er, whatever -- he's announcing whether he'll return to USC or enter the NFL Draft on  Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET.

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"USC junior QB Matt Barkley will hold a press conference this afternoon to announce his decision regarding next season," the Trojans announced from their official Twitter account.

Barkley is the second-best quarterback prospect on Rob Rang's Big Board, behind only Andrew Luck, and in the latest NFL Draft Scout mock drafts, both Rang and Dane Brugler have Barkley going to Washington at No. 7 overall. (Brugler has Robert Griffin, III, going ahead of Barkley to Cleveland.) As our Eye on College Football colleague Tom Fornelli points out, RG3 is reportedly chatting with agents and looks like a good bet to enter the draft.

The Redskins, along with the Colts, Browns and Dolphins all qualify as top-10 teams (currently) who have a serious need at quarterback or might have serious interest in acquiring one of the top-three signal callers in the draft.

Barkley's USC teammate and blind-side protector Matt Kalil also recently announced he would enter the NFL Draft and that surely has to play a part in the decision that the Trojan quarterback will make.

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 9:46 pm

NFL won't punish Browns for handling of McCoy

Harrison wonders if Cleveland should be punished for their handling of McCoy. (Getty Images/AP)

By Ryan Wilson

Steelers linebacker James Harrison, fresh off a one-game suspension for an illegal hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy in Week 14, questioned Wednesday why Cleveland let McCoy back in the game only a few plays after he suffered what would later be diagnosed as a concussion.

"If he was hurt so bad I don't know why they let him back in ... two plays later," Harrison said via wire reports. "Something should be done to them, I would think. I don't know. I got a game, what should they get?"

Fair question. The answer, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer: nothing. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the Browns won't be disciplined for their handling of McCoy.

Last week, team president Mike Holmgren admitted that there was "no indication" that McCoy had suffered a concussion, and subsquently was never checked out before being sent back into the game. More Holmgren: “Our medical staff and our training staff, they are the best in football. These guys are really good. So one of the things that is troubling to me in this whole process is that they’re getting slammed a bit, along with the head coach. ...And it’s unfair.”

Also unfair: risking McCoy's life because the people in charge of his safety somehow missed one of the biggest collisions of the season.

The NFL Players Association hasn't decided if it will file a grievance against the Browns, but the incident has led to changes in the way teams deal with head injuries. Last Sunday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told CBS Sports' James Brown that he wanted doctors eyeing each game and its players "at all times."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke with James Brown about the recent concussion that Cleveland Browns QB Colt McCoy suffered from a hit by Steelers LB James Harrison. Goodell also goes into depth about the NFL cracking down on concussions.

Starting this Saturday, that will be a reality.

"NFL contacting teams asking them to put a Certified Athletic Trainer in the Press Box for this weekend's game," CBS Sports Charley Casserly reported Tuesday. "College trainers may be used."

More details via CBSSports.com's Will Brinson:
The league will send a memo to all 32 clubs Tuesday or Wednesday to break down the new protocol for using the trainer during the game.

The trainer will be situated in the press box and monitor the entire game while having direct communication to the sideline to ensure that anyone who may have suffered a concussion will receive proper medical treatment.
Harrison, meanwhile, appears to have learned his lesson, too.

"I'm doing everything [the league] asks me to do," Harrison said. "I've lowered my target area, that's it. … I'm not worried about anything. I can't foresee the future. I'm not a fortune-teller. I'm going to deal with it as it comes."

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 11:57 am
Edited on: December 21, 2011 4:12 pm

Big Ben doesn't practice, optimistic on playing

By Will Brinson

Ben Roethlisberger looked like a statue (or, if you prefer, "the best 49er") during Pittsburgh's 20-3 loss to San Francisco on Monday night but is optimistic that he'll play on Saturday against St. Louis.

The Steelers quarterback said on Wednesday that he wasn't negatively affected by remaining in the game and throwing 45 times, and that his ankle is no worse because of it. Roethlisberger did not practice on Wednesday, however.

As Clark Judge pointed out Monday, it was a bad decision to leave Ben in against San Francisco. But it doesn't look like the same mistake will be made against St. Louis this week, as the Steelers would reportedly be "shocked" if Roethlisberger played against the Rams.

"Steelers officials would be shocked if Ben plays this week," Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network tweeted Wednesday. "Fully expect him to rest at least one week. Mike Tomlin yet to reveal decision."

Tomlin's decision should be pretty obvious: sit Ben against the Rams.

The entire point of putting Roethlisberger on the field against the 49ers was to gamble on a shot for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. If Pittsburgh beat San Francisco, they would've jumped into the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC, with a very good shot at homefield advantage and a bye in the first week of the playoffs.

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Instead, the Steelers now need to both win out and have the Ravens slip up against either Cleveland or Cincinnati. As we noted this morning, anything's possible with the Ravens on the road.

But the likely scenario for Tomlin's crew involves traveling for the first round of the playoffs (perhaps to Denver) and preparing for any other reality by playing Roethlisberger against the Rams just wouldn't be prudent, particularly given the way he looked on Monday night.

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Posted on: December 20, 2011 2:02 pm

Browns 'more than likely' to start Wallace at QB

It looks like Wallace will get his second start of the season when Cleveland travels to Baltimore Saturday. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Last Friday, Browns head coach Pat Shurmur hinted that if quarterback Seneca Wallace played well in place of concussed Colt McCoy, it could shed light on McCoy's future as Cleveland's starter.

"To see another quarterback operate with other players will help us learn something about everyone involved," Shurmur said at the time, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Marty Gitlin. "It'll help us evaluate Seneca. That's why you want to wait until the end of the year to [make a personnel decision]."

Wallace was 18 of 31 for 226 yards (1 TD, 0 INTs) in the Browns 20-17 overtime loss to the Cardinals Sunday, but he committed a critical fourth-quarter fumble deep in Cleveland territory that allowed Arizona to tie the score, 17-17.

On Tuesday, Shurmur all but indicated that Wallace will start Saturday against Ravens. Gitlin reports that McCoy remains out, though Shurmur said he's not certain he is still being held back by concussion symptoms.

"I talked to [McCoy] a long time," Shurmur said Tuesday via the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. "His spirits are good. Like anybody who wants to play, he's anxious to get out there. But he understands there's a process he has to go through before he can play again," he said.

“I don’t know that," Shurmur said, when asked if McCoy was headed for injured reserve. But he's also not willing to rule McCoy out for Browns' Week 17 game against the Steelers. "We’ll have to see.”

A day earlier, Shurmur was noncommittal about McCoy's immediate future.

"I'm going to cross that bridge when they're both healthy," Shurmur said, via the Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot. "Right now, until Colt's healthy, we're going to go with Seneca. … If Colt is OK — when Colt is OK — we'll talk about (where he is on the depth chart). How's that? Good answer?"

Of course, the reason McCoy didn't play last week was because he suffered a concussion against the Steelers in Week 14 and the Browns sent him back into the game a few plays later. That led to more conversations about player safety, including NFL commissioner Roger Goodell telling CBS that "We want to make sure someone -- a medical professional -- has his eyes on that field at all times and can see when an injury occurs to somebody so that the proper medical care is being given."

For now, here's what we know: Wallace "more than likely" will play against the Ravens. Everything after that? To be determined.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com