Dallas running back Felix Jones(notes) has averaged 9.4 yards per carry during his nine-game NFL career, yet he hasn't reached double-digit carries in any week. That was supposed to change on Monday night. Marion Barber(notes) was inactive with a quad injury, which left the Cowboys' rushing responsibilities to Jones and Tashard Choice(notes).
Felix had seven carries for 54 yards at half against the Panthers, so it appeared that he was finally going to cruise past the 10-carry threshold...and perhaps the 10-highlight threshold, too. The first time Jones ran the ball on Monday, he juked Charles Godfrey(notes) off his feet. (Tirico laughed. That's never good. Video here).
Jones' eighth carry was a well-blocked bit of misdirection in the third quarter that went for 40 yards. It was also his final touch of the night. He strained his left knee while being tackled by Quinton Teal(notes). After that, he was used only as a decoy in the Wildcat, and as a stationary cyclist.
Bad news for Jones owners, obviously, since we've been given no reason to believe he's a quick healer. But after the game he downplayed the severity of the knee issue, offering this to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
"It just felt a little weak," Jones said. "But I'm good. I'm good."
Choice took over the full rushing workload against Carolina, finishing with 118 total yards and a touchdown. Barber is a decent bet to return in Week 4 (at Denver), since he was actually a limited participant in practice leading up to Week 3. Felix investors are hoping for a Week 5 return – Dallas travels to Kansas City to face the winless and traditionally user-friendly Chiefs – but Choice is a necessary add.
Here's the MRI news on Frank Gore(notes), directly from the Niners' official site: "The results of MRI on 49ers RB Frank Gore show a right ankle strain and a right hind foot sprain that will sideline him for approximately three weeks." [Goal Posts]
Miami will lose the most accurate passer in NFL history for the remainder of the year: "Starting quarterback Chad Pennington(notes), who injured his throwing shoulder on Sunday, likely will miss the rest of the season, according to multiple sources. … Two sources told The Miami Herald that Pennington has torn the capsule in his right shoulder. The capsule is a sheet of tough fibers and fluid that surround the shoulder joint and hold the joint in place." Chad Henne(notes) takes over for Pennington. He offers greater arm strength, which may help preserve Ted Ginn Jr.'s(notes) value, but this switch won't benefit the one Dolphin you're actually starting each week. The gameplan versus the Fins is all about Ronnie Brown(notes). [Miami Herald]
Over at the New York Times, a debate rages about the relative merits (or the lack of merits) of JaMarcus Russell(notes), Jake Delhomme(notes) and Brady Quinn(notes). And death is not an option. Nor is Chad Hutchinson, or Kordell Stewart. We'll say this much in Delhomme's defense: Monday's interceptions were more about the receivers than the quarterback. But that doesn't excuse the other five picks he's thrown in '09. [Fifth Down]
There's great stuff to be found in Greg Cosell's coaching tape review. Here's a Vikes-Niners note worth highlighting: "Favre very erratic throwing the ball, missed a number of routine throws due to inaccuracy – also forced some throws into coverage based on poor reads." Despite the Favrotic enthusiasm of the national media (real and fantasy), it's not as if No. 4 played a flawless game. A fun game, yes, but not a perfect game. If all you saw was the Greg Lewis(notes) TD, then you missed a contest in which Favre completed just 52.2 percent of his passes. As we mentioned on Sunday, the fourth down throw with 1:49 remaining could have easily been a pick-six for Dre' Bly(notes), clinching a win for San Francisco. [Fantasy Guru]
Andy Reid's Monday press conference was full of useful fantasy nuggets, but this one is essential: "LeSean McCoy filled in admirably for Westbrook yesterday, running for 84 yards on 20 carries and scoring a TD. Reid said that the rookie could be mixed into the running back rotation more often once the aging Westbrook returns. 'I think that will take place,' Reid said. 'He will rotate in there. I don’t know exactly the rotation that we would do. … I want to see how Brian does after this week and where he gets to healthwise.'" The Eagles get Tampa Bay, then Oakland, then Washington following their Week 4 bye. [Birds' Eye View]
"There's nothing wrong with a little celebration, but once you put your body at risk, that's when you want to take a step back and look at the big picture. There's nothing wrong with just handing the ball to the ref."
Jamaal thinks DeSean might heed his advice, especially because the receiving Jackson also vomited on the sideline after his celebration.
Of course the flip – not to mention the 64-yard TD itself – put to rest any concerns about DeSean's groin injury. [More Birds' Eye View]
It sounds as if Dwight Freeney(notes) (quadriceps) may return after the Colts' Week 6 bye, which isn't the worst possible news. Freeney has 4.0 sacks and one forced fumble after three games, but in most IDP leagues, you can't really afford to stash defensive players on the bench. [Stampede Blue]
Preseason standout Chaz Schilens(notes) is considered questionable for Week 4 against Houston. He's a nice stealth add right now, despite his Raiderness. Left guard Robert Gallery(notes) is contemplating an early return, even though he reportedly has a steel plate and several screws in his broken leg. [Oakland Tribune]
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