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Almost eliminated from playoffs, Panthers might decide to sit Luke Kuechly vs Redskins

Almost eliminated from playoffs, Panthers might decide to sit Luke Kuechly vs Redskins

Just one season after a trip to the Super Bowl, the Carolina Panthers won't even return to the postseason.

Their fate was sealed Sunday when both Green Bay and the Atlanta won. The Packers win locked the Panthers out of a Wild Card possibility, and the Falcons win shut Carolina out of the NFC South playoff spot.

What does this mean for the Redskins on Monday night in the Week 15 finale

It could mean 2013 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly doesn't play.

Kuechly sustained a concussion in the Panthers win over the Saints in late November and has missed his team's last three games. He was cleared this week of the NFL concussion protocol and returned to practice, but some questions remain if the linebacker should play with the team eliminated from the postseason.

"We are excited to have Luke healthy and cleared from the protocol," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said via the team website last week. "I know he is extremely motivated to get back on the field and help us win games. Whether he plays this week or not, I don’t know. We have to balance our enthusiasm with what’s best for Luke and the team long term."

RELATED: NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 15

Sure sounds like the coach is hedging his position.

Reports show that Kuechly will make the trip up from Charlotte to D.C., but the decision if he plays is not expected until Monday afternoon. Kuechly has a history of concussions, as he also missed three games last season with a head injury.

A three-time Pro Bowler, the Panthers need to weigh the risk and reward of sitting their middle linebacker in a game with no meaning for the franchise.

For the Redskins, not facing Kuechly is obviously an advantage, though Carolina's defense is still quite stingy.

The Panthers lead the NFL in sacks and have forced eight turnovers in the last three weeks without Kuechly. 

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What's it like to sign with a team on Friday and suit up on Sunday? Aaron Colvin now knows

What's it like to sign with a team on Friday and suit up on Sunday? Aaron Colvin now knows

Aaron Colvin's last few days have been "overwhelming," according to him. After learning all that he's been through, "overwhelming" doesn't feel like a severe enough description.

Last Tuesday, the cornerback was released by the Texans following a rough performance on Monday Night Football. Then, on Friday, Colvin signed with the Redskins. And on Sunday, the 27-year-old actually suited up for Washington's game against Dallas, wearing a number he hated and going through warmups that were completely foreign to him.

So, even though he didn't register a snap at FedEx Field, still forgive him for looking a little winded as he recounted his past week to reporters on Monday.

"I really don't even know how to put it into words," he said. "To be honest, it was somewhat of a relief. But it was disappointing and kind of embarrassing. It was all part of the process."

The defensive back's tenure in Houston started with a loaded contract in 2018 but ended in an early-season cut in 2019. The Burgundy and Gold picked him up because Fabian Moreau and Quinton Dunbar are dealing with injuries, giving him a chance at reviving his reputation. 

"It was just a tough fit for me," Colvin said. "I'll just say that. It didn't work out, I don't think it was the right fit. Very thankful for that opportunity, but it was time."

"A year and a half ago, I was considered this really good player in the league," he added. "Just want to get back to being me, playing free, having fun, I just want to smile again when I'm on the field. I miss that part of it."

Whether Colvin turns out to be a serious contributor or just a temporary addition remains to be seen. After all, this is a guy who was just given a locker, hasn't practiced yet and was still referring to many of his new teammates by their numbers as opposed to their names.

However, Colvin and the Redskins defense already have one major thing in common: they're facing adversity. For what it's worth, he thinks he can add a little perspective.

"I just want to bring life," he explained. "In Houston last year, we started 0-3. We came back and went on a nine-game run and went to the playoffs. I've seen it done before." 

So, how can Greg Manusky's group get that process started?

"I think it's accountability and I think it's having an identity," he said. "You have to know who you are first and foremost every time you step on that field. The second part of that is holding each other to that standard."

Now that his wild weekend is behind him, Colvin is ready to get back to work. He's currently set up in a hotel and he anticipates being joined by his wife and his six-month-old soon. 

There's one thing that's really bothering him about his situation, however, and it's the digits on his uniform. Colvin is No. 47 for the Redskins. He'd truly rather be anything else.

"Worst I've ever felt," he said.

Later, with a laugh, Colvin delivered the punchline when talking about how he intends to purchase a new number if that's what it takes.

"I still got some money left over from Houston." 

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Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire adds for Week 3

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Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire adds for Week 3

Week 2 has come and passed, and injuries took the spotlight early-on. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger will miss the remainder of the 2019 season after injuring his elbow in the matchup with Seattle, Saints QB Drew Brees fractured his thumb in the loss to the Rams and will be sidelined for six weeks, and countless other fantasy options were banged up in the second week of NFL action.

As is common in the second week of the waiver wire, the options diminish. The breakout stars of the opening week have already been scooped up, and generally, the second go-round of options is a mix of long-shots, players that excelled in Week 1 that managers assumed would fall off, and replacements for injured players.

This crop of waiver options follows that same trend. Handcuffs, backups, and longshots are aplenty, but there is a clear No. 1 target to be added in all leagues that is somehow still available in more than 50% of ESPN leagues. 

That No. 1 target is none other than Redskins rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who was featured on the target list last week but is still available in nearly 60% of ESPN leagues. 

McLaurin torched the Eagles in Week 1 with five receptions for 125 receiving yards and a touchdown, and then followed that up in the home opener against the Dallas Cowboys and recorded five catches for 62 receiving yards and a score.

All Waiver Wire candidates must be available in at least 50% of ESPN leagues.

WEEK 3 Waiver Wire Options

Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Available in 70 % of ESPN Leagues.
Week 3 Opponent:

Mason Rudolph, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Available in 99.8 % of ESPN Leagues
Week 3 Opponent: at San Francisco 49ers

Jaylen Samuels, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Available in 74.5 % of ESPN Leagues.
Week 3 Opponent: at San Francisco 49ers

Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Redskins
Available in 59 % of ESPN Leagues.
Week 3 Opponent: vs. Chicago Bears

DJ Chark, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Available in 79.7 % of ESPN Leagues.
Week 3 Opponent: vs. Tennessee Titans

Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Available in 77.8 % of ESPN Leagues.
Week 3 Opponent: vs. Baltimore Ravens 

Will Dissly, TE, Seattle Seahawks
Available in 97.8% of ESPN Leagues.
Week 3 Opponent: vs. New Orleans Saints