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Monday, December 17, 2018

Stories by Grey Papke:

Chargers reveal how close Melvin Gordon came to playing vs. Chiefs

Melvin Gordon knee injury

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon looks poised to return this weekend, and it sounds like he could have last weekend had the game come at a better time.

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said Gordon will take part in a limited practice Monday, and admitted that had the team’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs come Sunday instead of Thursday, the running back likely would have taken part.

In other words, Gordon was really close to playing in Week 15, but the game came just a bit too soon. By all accounts, he and one of his high-profile teammates will be ready to go Saturday night against the Baltimore Ravens.

Adam Gase confirms Dolphins essentially benched Kenyan Drake

Despite Frank Gore’s early exit on Sunday, Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake received just one carry, and it had nothing to do with an injury.

Drake has been bothered by a shoulder injury, but coach Adam Gase said that was not a factor in the decision to barely use the running back, relying instead of Kalen Ballage after Gore went down.

Essentially, Drake looks to be pretty deep in Gase’s doghouse. He’s made some high-profile mistakes and hasn’t had double-digit carries since Oct. 25 against the Houston Texans. One has to wonder about his future with the organization.

Chiefs’ Kendall Fuller may return this season after wrist surgery

Kendall Fuller

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller underwent wrist surgery this weekend, but it isn’t necessarily season-ending.

Coach Andy Reid confirmed the surgery on Monday, but referred to it as a short-term issue and wouldn’t even rule out the chances of him returning immediately.

Fuller played through the wrist injury during last Thursday’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chiefs, who have struggled defensively all season, can ill-afford to lose Fuller for any extended period of time, especially with a playoff run looming. It sounds like they might get lucky in that regard.

Giants ‘hopeful’ Odell Beckham will return Week 16

The New York Giants have no plans to shut Odell Beckham down for the season.

Giants coach Pat Shurmur said Monday he is “hopeful” that Beckham, who has missed two straight games with a quad injury, will be able to play Sunday when the team travels to Indianapolis to face the surging Colts.

Beckham has been seeing a specialist for his quad issue, which has been a somewhat slow healer. There was some thought that, with the Giants officially eliminated from playoff contention and having nothing to play for, they might just shut down their star wide receiver for 2018, but that does not appear to be part of the plan.

Eagles rule out Carson Wentz for Week 16, will not place him on IR

Carson Wentz

The Philadelphia Eagles won’t have Carson Wentz on the field for Week 16, but they aren’t putting him on injured reserve, either.

Coach Doug Pederson announced Monday that Nick Foles would start again for the Eagles against the Houston Texans, but Wentz, who is dealing with a fractured vertebrae in his back, will not be placed on injured reserve at this point.

This will be viewed as the Eagles not completely ruling out Wentz for the season. While true, it’s pretty clear he’s bound to miss some more time, though he won’t need surgery and it sounds like his prognosis is good. It’s probably going to be up to Foles the rest of the way in 2018, though.

Rival teams reportedly believe Yankees eager to trade Miguel Andujar

Miguel Andujar

The New York Yankees may be making one of the league’s top rookies available for trade.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, rival teams believe the Yankees are eager to trade third baseman Miguel Andujar, last year’s runner-up for AL Rookie of the Year. Andujar’s poor defense at third base may be a motivating factor in that thinking.

It’s not clear how aggressive the Yankees are being, or how much interest Andujar is drawing. It figures, however, that a 23-year-old coming off a 27-home run season would intrigue a lot of teams, even if his defense is suspect. In fact, he lists the San Diego Padres as one potentially interested party.

Andujar hit .297 with power, though he didn’t walk much. He also tallied an impressive 47 doubles.

This is not the first time we’ve heard about this. He’s been floated as a possible return in a J.T. Realmuto trade, and also as evidence that the Yankees are serious about pursuing Manny Machado in free agency.

15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 15

Aaron Rodgers

NFL Week 15 was full of surprises, to say the least. Several likely playoff teams fell to defeat, including a pair of pretty big upsets, with one of those teams shut out on the road. There were other teams on the playoff bubble who showed up big time, while others suffered crucial losses that they may not be able to recover from. It wasn’t a good week for a handful of big-name quarterbacks, either.

Here are the 15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 15.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers

Rodgers has been keen to leave the door open on another remarkable late-season surge akin to the one he led in 2016, but Sunday’s performance demonstrated just how unrealistic that aim always was. He didn’t look like himself against the Chicago Bears, failing to find the end zone in 42 attempts and throwing his first interception in 402 passes. He missed open throws and had some bad luck with drops, but he wasn’t good enough, nor was his team. He later said he was bothered by a groin injury. The Packers are out of playoff contention, and nobody should be surprised.


Jalen Ramsey offers blunt take on Doug Marrone’s job security

Jalen Ramsey

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey offered a quote that might say a lot about why his team is struggling so much.

The Jaguars fell to 4-10 with a stunning home loss to the Washington Redskins, who looked like they might not win another game all season after a dreadful performance against the New York Giants in Week 14. They managed to beat Jacksonville, however, sparking new questions about coach Doug Marrone’s job status.

Ramsey isn’t worried about that. At all, in fact.

Maybe Ramsey likes Marrone just fine, but it’s hardly a ringing endorsement. It also plays right into a narrative developing around Ramsey that he’s becoming better known for his selfish quotes and off-field actions than his on-field performance despite his undoubted talent. That may be why his name may come up in trade chatter this offseason.