Westbrook reunion goes awry
Monday night's Westbrook family reunion -- the first time the Westbrook brothers squared off against each other in the same NFL game -- did not turn out the way anyone expected.
Eagles running back Brian Westbrook suffered a concussion that could sideline him for Sunday's game against the New York Giants. It was so bad Monday night that Westbrook briefly lost feeling in his arms and his legs were paralyzed, according to two NFL sources. Fortunately the feeling was fleeting and didn't last more than a handful of minutes.
Westbrook's younger brother, Redskins cornerback Byron Westbrook, tore a knee ligament that required surgery last week and will sideline him at least one game.
The brothers had been anticipating Monday night's game for a long time. Byron spent last season on the Redskins' practice squad and won a spot on the 53-man roster this season. He also earned a chance to play against Brian, with their parents in attendance. But each brother went down early. Brian never returned, though Byron did. Now that one game is expected to knock the brothers out of future games.
No matter what his team's record is, the league's longest tenured coach, Titans coach Jeff Fisher, has been in demand in the past and is expected to be in the future.
At least two NFL owners have, in the past, approached Titans owner Bud Adams about trying to see if they could take Fisher away from Tennessee, according to an NFL source. Adams has rebuffed those advances in the past.
But this time, with Fisher having two high-priced seasons left on his contract after this one, and with Tennessee coming off the disappointing season it is experiencing, some people around the league believe Adams will be more amenable to listening.
Coaches no longer can be traded, but their contracts essentially could be handed off to another owner.
If that were the case, the star-studded Coaching Class of 2010 -- a group that already includes Mike Holmgren, Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden and Brian Billick -- could include another unexpected candidate: Fisher.
Extension for Childress?
Today's focus on Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre is likely to shift this week to Vikings head coach Brad Childress.
With the Vikings on their bye week after Sunday, talks between Minnesota and Childress are expected to heat up to see if the two sides can hammer out a contract extension. Childress is in the fourth year of a five-year contract. Minnesota has been working to get an extension done, it wants to get it done, and it's possible the two sides could complete and announce it this week.
Minnesota has been attempting to re-sign Childress, who in his first three seasons has taken the Vikings from six wins in 2006 to eight wins in 2007 to 10 wins in 2008 to the 6-1 start this season.
Of course, even this story connects back to Favre. If the two can come to an agreement on a new deal for Childress, then it might enhance the chances that Favre could return for a second season in Minnesota. As usual, it will depend most of all on how Favre feels physically, but knowing Childress would be in place indefinitely in Minnesota certainly wouldn't hurt the chances that Favre would return.
Extra security for Favre
It won't just be Minnesota's offensive line trying to protect Favre on Sunday. The Vikings plan to bring a couple of extra security guards to Green Bay to help guard their quarterback. It is the Packers' job to provide security for Lambeau Field, and the Vikings customarily bring some of their own security personnel on any road trip, but one team official admitted that it plans to have "some extra bodies" on its security team. Logistically and operationally, the Packers are treating Sunday's game just like another regular-season game. They are not adding any extra security, despite the fact Favre is returning. With area law enforcement, Packers security staff and private security, Green Bay will have 200 security personnel in place for Sunday's game.
Forget for a moment that Brett Favre is returning to Green Bay. It is a game with enormous ramifications in the NFC North.
Minnesota is 6-1, Green Bay 4-2, and the Vikings already have beaten the Packers once. Should Minnesota beat Green Bay again, it would be difficult and unlikely for the Packers to catch the Vikings to win the NFC North. But if Green Bay wins Sunday, the two teams will have split against each other, they will have the same number of losses, and the NFC North will be wide open.
Much of the talk is about Favre, and rightfully so. But the significance of the game cannot be understated.
Too often, football fans are starting to hear the word "lockout." But now there's talk of a "lock in."
In a letter sent to the NFL, the NFL Players Association is asking for the two sides to be locked into a hotel room after the Super Bowl until the two sides can produce a new collective bargaining agreement.
In the unlikely event there is an agreement by then, the proposal wouldn't be needed. But the NFLPA said it is trying to do what it can to bring the two sides together in an effort to negotiate a new CBA.
It is not expected that this letter will trigger the meeting that will result in a new CBA. But the NFLPA figures that throwing it out can't hurt.
QB controversy in Buffalo
After Buffalo's bye week, Bills quarterback Trent Edwards will be ready to play at Tennessee on Nov. 15.
Whether he will actually do so is another issue.
But those close to Edwards say the concussion he suffered on Oct. 18 against the Jets was not as severe as the one he suffered last season that sidelined him for one game. Still, when he suffered it, the Bills determined then that they would hold out Edwards two games and three weeks, through the team's bye.
Edwards will miss his second straight game today when the Bills host the Houston Texans.
Yet with Edwards out, his replacement Ryan Fitzpatrick led Buffalo to an overtime victory over the Jets, then a road win last Sunday at Carolina. Should Fitzpatrick take Buffalo to its third straight win, it's likely he would keep his job for the Bills' next game at Tennessee.
For now, the Bills have made no decisions as to who will be their quarterback beyond this week. The only thing they know for sure is that Edwards will be ready.
To collect $11 million in bonus money over the next two seasons, Browns quarterback Brady Quinn needs to play in 70 percent of Cleveland's plays this season.
But it's now or never, literally. If Quinn is not on the field for at least a half of Sunday's game at Chicago, it will make it impossible for him to play in 70 percent of his team's plays this season -- and it will eliminate the possibility of him earning an extra $11 million in incentives.
So in a different way, with Cleveland fighting to improve its 1-6 record, Quinn could be personally eliminated Sunday.
Oakland receivers have issues
Oakland has had well-documented issues at quarterback. But less documented are the issues it has had at wide receiver.
Based on an ESPN video analysis, no NFL wide receivers have been less likely to catch the football than the Raiders'.
Raiders first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey has the lowest catch percentage of any receiver in the league with a minimum of 15 passes thrown his way. Heyward-Bey has had 25 passes thrown his way and caught only four -- a catch percentage of 16.
San Diego wide receiver Chris Chambers (30 targets, eight catches, catch percentage of 27) and Tampa Bay wide receiver Michael Clayton (33 targets, 11 catches, catch percentage of 33) are the other two wide receivers least likely to come up with a pass thrown in their direction.
But rounding out the top five are two more Raiders wide receivers: Todd Watkins, who has caught five of the 15 passes thrown his way (33 percent), and Louis Murphy, who has caught 16 of 44 passes thrown in his direction (36 percent).
Point is, it's not all JaMarcus Russell's fault.