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9hMatt Bowen

Vontaze Burfict is a villain I'd love to play with

NFL defenses thrive off physicality and intimidation. So when Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict returns to the field on Thursday night, he'll have a palpable effect on his teammates, writes Matt Bowen.

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Schlereth incredulous over Bryant's selfish actions (1:37)
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Russillo says Sherman is doing a 'disservice to his player's union' (2:33)
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NFL 60-second preview for Week 4 (1:03)
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How does Bryant being absent from team facilities impact Cowboys? (2:02)
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Stephen A. calls Rex Ryan 'mentally weak' (1:46)
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1dBill Barnwell

Breakout picks from small-sample-size studs

Lions RB Theo Riddick and Broncos pass-rusher Shane Ray have shined in limited snaps. Which other part-time standouts could grow into larger roles? Bill Barnwell breaks it down.

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1dJohn Clayton

NFL executives predict Jay Cutler's future

The clock is ticking on Jay Cutler's time in Chicago. The Bears can release the QB this offseason with minimal impact on their future cap. They don't, however, have a ready-made replacement.

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Michael Rothstein ESPN Staff Writer 

Marvin Jones a surprise add to the Lions injury report, limited with a hamstring injury.

Jeremy Fowler ESPN Staff Writer 

Le'Veon Bell has been activated. The team released RB Daryl Richardson as a corresponding move.

Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman did not practice today due to an illness. WR Julio Jones (calf) was limited, as was WR Mohamed Sanu (shoulder), and WR Justin Hardy (shoulder). WR Taylor Gabriel (hamstring) had full participation.

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

So who exactly is calling plays for the Bucs offense? Apparently it's a mix of Dirk Koetter and the voices he hears -- "Little Dirk" and "Big Jim" (his dad). What does "Big Jim" say? "Whatever opposite of what I say," Koetter said, laughing.

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Bob Holtzman ESPN 

Something to watch tonight when Miami throws deep: Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick told me Ryan Tannehill throws "line drive" deep balls. Kirkpatrick explained that some quarterbacks throw deep at a high angle and sort of drop the ball in. He said Tannehill's passes and flatter and if a DB gets his head turned around they'll have a play on the ball.

David Newton ESPN Staff Writer 

Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin said it felt like he skipped a game on Sunday. Coach Ron Rivera reminded his 1-2 team hasn't played a "bunch of slappies." In other words, it's too early to be concerned.

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Vaughn McClure ESPN Staff Writer 

Falcons WR Julio Jones today on his health coming off calf injury and short week: "I feel really good. I feel good about the way I played in the game. I didn't have any setbacks. I'm not injured or anything like that."

Bob Holtzman ESPN 

I'm told LB Vontaze Burfict and LB Vinny Rey will each have radio transmitters in their helmets tonight, which means they can't be on the field together. Burfict will play primarily on early downs. Burfict hasn't played in a game since January and told me he asked the coaches if he could wait a week before wearing the radio because he's worried about catching his breath while trying to make a play call. The coaches apparently said no.

Jeremy Fowler ESPN Staff Writer 

LB Ryan Shazier (knee) missed his second straight practice. He's unlikely to play against Chiefs.

Paul Kuharsky ESPN Staff Writer 

Titans-Texans Thursday injury report.

James Walker ESPN Staff Writer 

The Dolphins promoted OL Jamil Douglas from the practice squad, the team announced. Douglas is a 2015 draft pick with some starting experience at guard and center. Miami's offensive line is banged up heading into tonight's game against the Bengals.

Mike Rodak ESPN Staff Writer 

The Bills are remaining "hopeful" about Sammy Watkins' availability, but will he play Sunday in New England?

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Sarah Barshop ESPN Staff Writer 

CB Kareem Jackson (neck) is a new addition to the injury report. He was limited in practice. Otherwise no changes from yesterday.

Bob Holtzman ESPN 

Both the Bengals (Kevin Coyle and Bill Lazor) and the Dolphins (Vance Joseph and Matt Burke) have two coaches who were with the other team last season. Bengals CB Adam Jones told me they've changed their hand signals tonight because of it. Cincinnati will also try to show one defensive look, then adjust to a different look after the play clock reaches 15, which is when the radio cuts off in Ryan Tannehill's helmet.

Pat McManamon ESPN Staff Writer 

Injury report shows CB Joe Haden again was limited in practice, while Redskins CB Josh Norman missed due to illness.

Josh Weinfuss ESPN Staff Writer 

Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu said he hopes to stop wearing the brace on his right knee by Week 8 "if everything goes well." "A knee brace is a knee brace," Mathieu said. "It's going to restrict you. I really just have to get comfortable with it in the meantime."

John Keim ESPN Staff Writer 

Redskins second-year receiver Jamison Crowder, who is tied for the team lead with 16 receptions, says his improved play stems from feeling more comfortable. It's boosted his confidence.

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Sheil Kapadia ESPN Writer 

Russell Wilson (sprained MCL) says he has "no doubt" about playing Sunday. He said he did everything at practice yesterday and was listed as a full participant. Wilson will wear a brace on his left knee. He said he had to do that at N.C. State and it won't hinder him at all.

Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer 

There are no changes with the Patriots' injury report, as QBs Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett remain limited in practice.