<
>

Tuesday NFL preview: Titans, Steelers have quarterback questions

play
Titans QB Mariota diagnosed with MCL sprain (2:09)

ESPN NFL analyst Eric Allen reacts to the news regarding Marcus Mariota's MCL sprain. (2:09)

NFL Nation reporters look ahead to what Tuesday has in store for each team.

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills: The Bills took Monday to get acclimated to the time change after arriving in London early in the morning. They'll be back to their normal practice scheduled Wednesday. The biggest question as the week unfolds for the Bills: Will quarterback Tyrod Taylor play against the Jaguars? Taylor didn't look too hampered by a knee injury when he was warming up prior to Sunday's game against Cincinnati, so with several more days of rest, a return in London this weekend could be realistic. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins will spend Tuesday finalizing their game plan against the Texans. The major question is how to stop Pro Bowl defensive end J.J. Watt, who should have an advantage against Miami's inconsistent offensive line. -- James Walker

New England Patriots: What might linebacker Jamie Collins do for an encore? After leaping over the line of scrimmage to block a PAT late in Sunday's fourth quarter in a highlight-reel play in Indianapolis, Collins' athleticism is once again in the spotlight. During NBC's broadcast, analyst Cris Collinsworth said Colts coaches told him that other than J.J. Watt, Collins is the only defensive player in the NFL they have to account for in their game plan. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets: Tuesday is game-plan day, and that means the Jets have to figure out a way to contain Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has five touchdowns and an 18.5-yard receiving average. The Jets have struggled in the past against athletic tight ends, but new free safety Marcus Gilchrist has man-to-man coverage ability. He should have a prominent role in the game plan. -- Rich Cimini

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco is starting to press because of a struggling defense and lack of playmakers at wide receiver, which has led to increased mistakes. He has thrown interceptions in five of six games this season, including two in Sunday's 25-20 loss to the 49ers. How big are those turnovers? Since 2013, Flacco has thrown 29 interceptions in losses (19 games) and 12 interceptions in wins (19 games). -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals, who are on a bye, have a pretty quiet next few days coming up. As coach Marvin Lewis mentioned Monday, this be a good opportunity for players banged up in Sunday's 34-21 victory at Buffalo to get healthy. Lewis indicated he believed defenders Michael Johnson, Darqueze Dennard and Vincent Rey should be good to go at Pittsburgh in Week 8. It's likely the Bengals practice only one day this week. -- Coley Harvey

Cleveland Browns: Mike Pettine spent a fair amount of time answering questions about Johnny Manziel on Monday, a week after Manziel's driving incident and argument with his girlfriend. Pettine stressed that the team is supporting Manziel through his treatment process, and that Manziel "made huge strides around this building" since he left a treatment center in April. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers have an off-day Tuesday, and that gives Michael Vick the chance to rehab his hamstring injury, Ben Roethlisberger more rest before Wednesday's practice and Landry Jones one more day to hit the playbook in preparation for a potential start against the Chiefs. A three-headed quarterback is intact. Meanwhile, Martavis Bryant is showing he's adaptable to any quarterback after his 137-yard, two-touchdown season debut. The Steelers are encouraged by the receiver's progress. -- Jeremy Fowler

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans: Texans coach Bill O'Brien said it is unlikely that cornerback Kareem Jackson (ankle) and linebacker Benardrick McKinney (concussion) will play Sunday against the Dolphins. O'Brien added that we should check back at the end of the week in case that's changed. -- Tania Ganguli

Indianapolis Colts: Coach Chuck Pagano said safeties Mike Adams (hamstring) and Clayton Geathers (knee) are day-to-day after both left Sunday's game against New England with injuries. Adams is the backbone of the Colts' secondary, and Indianapolis likes to use Geathers on athletic tight ends because of his physical abilities. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars: The X-ray results on wide receiver Allen Robinson's shin were negative, which is good news for the Jaguars. Tight end Julius Thomas suffered a rib contusion after falling on the ball Sunday, but he is not expected to miss Sunday's game against Buffalo in London. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota has a sprained left knee, but the Titans are not sharing what grade the sprain is. While he moved well Monday around the team facility, what he's able to do in Wednesday's practice will tell us a lot about who will take the snaps Sunday against Atlanta. Zach Mettenberger is the backup. -- Paul Kuharsky

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos: With outside linebacker Shane Ray expected to miss several weeks because of a sprained MCL in his knee, the Broncos will lean on Shaquil Barrett to pick up some additional snaps. Barrett, who started in place of DeMarcus Ware against the Browns on Sunday, has been one of the Broncos' most efficient impact players all season. Against Cleveland, Barrett played 70 snaps on defense and had a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery, all on one game-changing play. He consistently harassed Browns quarterback Josh McCown, was active at the point of attack in the run game and came within an eyelash of an interception as well. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs: Coach Andy Reid said he was encouraged by the debut of Charcandrick West as the featured back in Sunday's loss to Minnesota. West rushed for 33 yards on nine carries, but he failed to convert on a key fourth-and-1 and also lost a fumble in the fourth quarter. "He had a couple good blitz pickups," Reid said. "He had a couple of good runs. He ran hard, aggressive." -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders: The good news, as the Raiders return from their bye week, is that their run defense is ranked No. 4 in the league, allowing 83.2 yards a game. The bad news is that teams are instead opting to throw all game on the Raiders. Oakland has the NFL's 30th-ranked pass defense, allowing 299.2 yards a game. That is something that has to be addressed with a visit to San Diego coming Sunday. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers leads the NFL with 2,116 passing yards. -- Bill Williamson

San Diego Chargers: Coach Mike McCoy was asked if Melvin Gordon will return to the starting lineup after being benched against the Green Bay Packers for fumbling, and McCoy said he's going to do what's best for the team. McCoy said the Chargers discussed Gordon's fumbling issues as a group Monday. He later added that Gordon will get some carries Sunday in San Diego's first AFC West division game against the Oakland Raiders. But whether Gordon is the starter or comes off the bench remains to be seen. "We're going to move on," McCoy said. "We're going to give him the ball again. And when he's in there he's got to protect it. And he understands that." -- Eric D. Williams

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys: For the first time this season, the Cowboys' pass rush should be at full strength now that rookie defensive end Randy Gregory is returning from a high ankle sprain, suffered in the regular-season opener, and Greg Hardy playing his second game. During training camp, the Cowboys felt they would be able to get to the quarterback with Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence at defensive end and Hardy and Tyrone Crawford at tackle. With the way the Cowboys like to rotate their defensive linemen, they feel they can maximize their nickel pass-rushers better. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants: Last year, the Giants were 3-2, came into Philadelphia and lost 27-0 in Week 6. It was the beginning of a seven-game losing streak. This year, the Giants were 3-2, came into Philadelphia and lost 27-7. While that seems to represent only incremental progress, the Giants insist this year will be different. "All our goals are still right in front of us," guard Justin Pugh said. "This is nowhere near last year's team. We've just got to go back to work and get ready to play Dallas [on Sunday]. Because we owe Dallas." -- Dan Graziano

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles' challenge this week is simple enough. Get over a big division win against the Giants on Monday night and shift their focus to the undefeated Panthers. The Eagles beat Carolina 45-21 in Philadelphia last season. This game figures to be very, very different. -- Phil Sheridan

Washington Redskins: The run game was supposed to be a strength this season; instead, it has turned into a mystery over the past four weeks. Injuries played a role in the Redskins' ineffective game versus the Jets -- they gained only 34 yards on 17 carries. But it extends beyond Week 6. In the past three games, no back has topped 62 yards in a game, and in the past two weeks, no back has a gain longer than nine yards. -- John Keim

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears: The Bears practice Tuesday and Wednesday before taking the rest of the week off. Coach John Fox said he will not discuss specific injuries until after the bye, but he did acknowledge the week off is an opportunity to rest banged-up players. The Bears clearly missed inside linebacker Shea McClellin and safety Antrel Rolle in their overtime loss at Ford Field. Fox said the coaches will use the bye week to self-scout, specifically the Bears' red-zone offense, which has failed to generate an acceptable number of touchdowns. The Bears went 3-for-8 in red-zone efficiency in Week 6. The Lions converted 3 of 5 chances. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions: Watch for potential running back workouts Tuesday after Zach Zenner (cracked ribs, punctured lung) was effectively lost for the season during Sunday's win over Chicago. The Lions have George Winn on the practice squad and he could be a candidate for a call-up. Detroit has also brought in running backs in recent weeks for workouts. With Joique Bell inactive Sunday and Theo Riddick suffering an injury last week in practice -- but playing -- the Detroit backfield is clearly beaten up. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers: The Packers got good news on receiver Ty Montgomery, who sustained no more damage other than the sprained ankle he suffered against the Chargers. The bye week should give the rookie a chance to play in the Packers' next game, on Nov. 1 at Denver. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings: Sharrif Floyd had a half-sack, caused a holding penalty that could have gone for a safety and helped hold the Chiefs to 57 rushing yards Sunday. But coach Mike Zimmer said Floyd can be even better if he stops thinking so much. "He's a better player when he just lets it loose," Zimmer said. "He's a pleaser. Sometimes guys want to be perfect all the time, but you've got to just cut it loose." -- Ben Goessling

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons: Coach Dan Quinn said Wednesday should provide a better idea about whether starters Justin Durant (elbow) and Mike Person (ankle) will be able to return from their respective injuries. The snap issues James Stone had at center against New Orleans have folks screaming for Person's return, while Durant could help solve some of the defensive breakdowns evident in a loss to the Saints. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers return to a normal practice schedule after changing things up last week in an attempt to end a 0-for-5 skid following the bye week. That means Tuesday is an off-day, although it won't be for quarterback Cam Newton. This is the day he makes suggestions to offensive coordinator Mike Shula and others on the offensive staff on plays he believes might work against the upcoming opponent, in this case Philadelphia. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints: The Saints' secondary passed a big test last Thursday by keeping Falcons receiver Julio Jones relatively in check. But this week they'll face a Colts offense that has multiple threats, including dynamic speedster T.Y. Hilton, emerging size-speed talent Donte Moncrief and veteran big man Andre Johnson. Rookie Delvin Breaux is emerging as a No. 1-caliber cornerback with his physical presence, but the Saints still have depth issues with Keenan Lewis battling a lingering hip injury. It will help if they can get rookie Damian Swann back from a concussion. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Players return to work Tuesday after their weekend off. Will this be the week Mike Evans starts to heat up? Quarterback Jameis Winston called Evans the Bucs' "secret weapon" last week, though the second-year wide receiver has just six catches for 73 yards in his past two games. Evans enjoyed seeing the Washington Redskins last season, when he had a career-high 209 yards with two touchdowns on seven catches in Tampa Bay's victory at FedEx Field in Week 11. The Bucs need more production from him. -- Andrew Astleford

NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals: Carson Palmer had one of the best games of his career statistically in Sunday's loss to the Steelers, but he threw a key interception at the most inopportune time for the Cardinals and it derailed a comeback. Coach Bruce Arians described his game as "average to poor." -- Josh Weinfuss

St. Louis Rams: Rams quarterback Nick Foles is coming off the worst game of his career after four interceptions in Week 5 against Green Bay. He has had the bye week to shake it off but knows the team's already-struggling offense can't afford to have to overcome so many giveaways. As the Rams prepare for Cleveland, Foles' focus this week will be on managing the game more efficiently. -- Nick Wagoner

San Francisco 49ers: Carlos Hyde's sore left foot is not the result of plantar fasciitis, according to coach Jim Tomsula. But you have to wonder about Hyde' effectiveness against the Seahawks on a short work week come Thursday night at Levi's Stadium. -- Paul Gutierrez

Seattle Seahawks: Pete Carroll said he has never before been in a situation where he has had this talented a team that has so much trouble finishing. Asked what methods he'll call on to get things right this week, he said: "Everything I've got." The Seahawks have two more days to get things right before taking on the 49ers on Thursday night. -- Sheil Kapadia