It finally seems Ken Whisenhunt has realized what everyone else has known for quite some time. After several confusing comments about “footwork,” Whisenhunt finally admitted the Titans needed to better utilize Bishop Sankey. Better late than never I suppose.
"You will see (more reps for Sankey). That's coming," Whisenhunt said. "And I think you'll see more of that earlier in the game this week.”
This is great news for Sankey, but it needs to be put in some perspective. “Earlier in the game” could mean Sankey will start, or it could simply mean Sankey gets to touch the ball before the Titans are down by 30. Sankey did not get his first touch against Indianapolis last week until the start of the third quarter, and did not get his third touch until the Titans were down 34-10 late in the third. Only four of Sankey’s 19 touches the last two weeks have come in the first half.
The Titans are not going anywhere this season. They would be much better suited rolling out Bishop Sankey as the lead back to see what he can do instead of wasting time on Shonn Greene. Whether or not Whisenhunt agrees is a different matter, though, meaning Sankey is not worth a start until (if) we see him dominate the early touches in Tennessee.
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In Other News…
Ben Tate (knee) was limited in practice on Wednesday, but is still expected to start this week. Whether he will get the most carries in the Browns’ backfield is still up for debate. Clevelandbrowns.com’s Kevin Jones does not think OC Kyle Shanahan “will ignore” rookie RBs Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West. “If one of the rookies does develop a hot-hand in a game,” Jones said, “it will be hard not to keep feeding them the football.” Tate will get the first crack, but it is not inconceivable Crowell takes his chances and never looks back.
Arian Foster (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday. He may not practice at all this week, and will be a game-time decision against the Cowboys on Sunday. Alfred Blue would get the start if Foster cannot go. Foster was ineffective against the Bills playing at well below 100 percent, and would be a risky play even against the Cowboys.
Rob Gronkowski (knee) is practicing in full this week for the first time this season. The bump in practice usage likely foreshadows an increase in snaps for the Patriots’ best offensive weapon. Gronk is the 10th highest scoring tight end in fantasy football despite only playing 48.2 percent of the Patriots’ offensive snaps so far this season. Expect him to climb those rankings quickly once he returns to full-time work.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera confirmed Darrin Reaves is the Panthers’ starting running back, though it is basically by default. DeAngelo Williams (ankle) and Mike Tolbert (leg) are both definitely out Week 5, and Jonathan Stewart (knee) is still a question mark despite getting in a limited practice on Wednesday. Reaves struggled to 26 yards on 12 carries against Baltimore, but would at least be an interesting flex against the Bears’ middling run defense if he gets the start.
Carson Palmer missed practice Wednesday to meet with a specialist after suffering a setback with the nerve issue in his throwing shoulder. Palmer looked to be nearing a return after two promising throwing sessions last Thursday and Friday, but coach Bruce Arians said Palmer “regressed” following the sessions. It appears Drew Stanton will get his third straight start.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher announced Austin Davis will be the Rams’ starting quarterback moving forward. Fisher originally claimed Shaun Hill would return to the starting role once he was healthy, but a 72.3 percent completion percentage and an 8.0 YPA from Davis in his two-and-a-half games of work changed Fisher’s mind.
News and Notes
Calvin Johnson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, but said he is “definitely” feeling better. After playing a decoy role against the Jets Week 4, Johnson should be more involved in the game plan this week. … Jake Locker (wrist) threw with “no issues” in his return to Titans practice on Wednesday. Locker looks poised to return to action against the Browns. … Jerick McKinnon (ankle) is probable for Thursday night’s game against the Packers. He carries some usage risk, but is a high-upside flex play. … Jarrett Boykin (groin, knee) has been ruled out for Thursday night’ game against the Vikings. Davante Adams will once again handle the No. 3 receiver duties for Green Bay, though he only saw three targets in the same role last week. … Aaron Dobson was reportedly inactive against Oakland and Kansas City because he “mouthed off” to OC Josh McDaniels. The penalty seems excessive, especially from a team desperate for playmakers on the outside. The Patriots have scored 30 total points the last two weeks. … Coach Chip Kelly said Jordan Matthews will continue to play exclusively in the slot while Riley Cooper will remain the starting outside receiver. Cooper has 125 yards and no touchdowns on 25 targets this season. … Matt Schaub rejoined the Raiders after missing two weeks to deal with a family matter. With Derek Carr dealing with both ankle and knee injuries, there is a chance Schaub could start following the Raiders’ Week 5 bye. … Marvin Jones was listed as did not practice after tweaking his ankle on Wednesday, his first official participation since breaking his foot during training camp. The guy just cannot catch a break. Jones was expected to make his season debut this week against New England, but his status is now up in the air. … Knowshon Moreno (elbow) said he is still four weeks from returning. Lamar Miller will continue to be the Dolphins’ lead back while Moreno is out. Miller is averaging 5.7 yards per carry this season. … Seahawks TE Luke Willson will start while Zach Miller (ankle) is sidelined. Willson is an excellent athlete with 4.51 wheels. His volume is a concern, but he has the talent to make an impact. … Jaguars coach Gus Bradley expects Ace Sanders to play in Sunday’s game against the Steelers. With Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and Marqise Lee (hamstring) both out, Sanders will serve as the No. 3 receiver this week. Sanders was suspended the first four weeks of the season. … Panthers DE Frank Alexander was suspended 10 games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He just returned Monday from a four-game suspension for violating the same policy. … Justin Blackmon enrolled in a voluntary 90-day treatment program. He can apply for NFL reinstatement on November 1, but it is unlikely he is reinstated this season. Even so, it is good to see Blackmon getting his life back on track. … Cowboys S C.J. Spillman is being investigated for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman on September 20. He has played in two games since the incident. … Tramaine Brock (toe) will miss the 49ers Week 5 game against the Chiefs. … Cardinals re-signed Desmond Bishop. … Texans released RB Ronnie Brown. … Lions worked out free agent RBs Tashard Choice and Alex Green. … Free agent S Chris Clemons worked out for the Falcons.
Injury Quick Slants
Jordan Cameron (shoulder), Dez Bryant (shoulder), Brandon Marshall (ankle), Michael Crabtree (foot), Bernard Pierce (thigh), Jeremy Maclin (hamstring), De’Anthony Thomas (hamstring) and Marquise Goodwin (concussion) practiced in full on Wednesday. … Jamaal Charles (ankle), Julio Jones (ankle), Eric Decker (hamstring), Andre Ellington (foot), Delanie Walker (shoulder), Ladarius Green (hamstring), Markus Wheaton (groin), Odell Beckham (hamstring) and Tavon Austin (knee) were limited participants in practice on Wednesday. … Joique Bell (concussion), Vernon Davis (back), Andre Johnson (ankle), Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), Harry Douglas (foot), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (foot), Malcolm Floyd (illness), Donnie Avery (groin), Ryan Mathews (knee), Josh McCown (thumb), Joseph Fauria (ankle) and Theo Riddick (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday.