'T-Magic' may not be ready to return this week

Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez could remain sidelined this week when the team plays host to Illinois in its Big Ten opener.

Cornhuskers head coach Bo Pelini said Monday that it has yet to be determined whether “T-Magic” would be healthy enough to play against the Illini, although Martinez's turf-toe injury is improving.

“I think he's getting closer to being 100 percent,” Pelini said. “He's feeling a lot better.”

The fifth-year senior is questionable for a return Saturday after missing the Cornhuskers' September 21 victory over South Dakota State, which snapped a streak of 32 straight starts. Redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong and senior Ron Kellogg III split time in that contest, and the pair led the team to more than 300 yards rushing and 300 passing for the first time in school history. Armstrong was the starter, going 12 of 15 through the air for 169 yards, while Kellogg completed 8 of 9 passes for 136 yards.

Nebraska did not practice Monday, so we'll see if “T-Magic” gets on the field Tuesday.

Dave Miller, the college football editor and writer for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.

Colts sign fullback Robert Hughes

The Indianapolis Colts have re-signed fullback Robert Hughes and cut wide receiver Griff Whalen.

Hughes rejoins the Colts after being waived by the team following the preseason finale at Cincinnati. He played in five games with one start with the Colts last season, with one carry for five yards and one reception for three yards. Hughes was originally signed by the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2011.

Whalen played in three games this season and caught two passes for 28 yards. He was originally signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent last year.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

Jaguars sign Ricky Stanzi, Jacques McClendon

The Jacksonville Jaguars re-signed quarterback Ricky Stanzi and offensive guard Jacques McClendon and quarterback Ricky Stanzi, cutting wide receivers Jeremy Ebert and Tobais Palmer.

Stanzi was signed to a two-year contract.

McClendon opened the season on the 53-man roster after he was claimed off waivers from Atlanta on Sept. 1. He was waived the last three weeks on a Saturday and re-signed the following Monday as the club added a wide receiver from the practice squad.

He has spent time with Indianapolis, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Atlanta. McClendon is a former fourth-round draft pick of the Colts in 2010 where he played in four games as a rookie, his only career action. He spent the 2013 preseason with the Falcons before he was waived on final cuts.

Stanzi was claimed off waivers by the Jaguars on Aug. 27 from Kansas City and was waived on Sept. 28. He was a fifth-round pick of the Chiefs in the 2011 NFL draft. Stanzi spent the last two seasons on the Chiefs active roster but did not play in a regular season game.

Stanzi started 35 games at Iowa and posted a 26-9 record as a starter, completing 542 of 907 passes for 7,377 yards.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

Browns claim Fozzy Whittaker off waivers, cut Montario Hardesty

The Cleveland Browns claimed running back Fozzy Whittaker off waivers from the San Diego Chargers.

The Browns waived wide receiver Josh Cooper and running back Montario Hardesty, who was removed from injured reserve with a knee injury.

Whittaker is a 5-10, 202-pounder in his first NFL season out of Texas. He spent the final two weeks of the 2012 season on Arizona’s practice squad before being acquired by the Chargers via waivers on March 12, 2013. Whittaker appeared in three games this season and returned six kickoffs for 156 yards with a long of 42 yards.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

The Broncos and Jaguars could make history in two weeks

What happens when an unstoppable force meets a very moveable object? We’ll find out the answer in two weeks when the currently undefeated Denver Broncos play host to the currently winless Jacksonville Jaguars in a game that is expected to make history in the city of Las Vegas.

Since 1989, there have been 15 games posted at sports books in Las Vegas with a point spread of 19.0 or higher, with the 1993 meeting between the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers and the 2007 showdown between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots both closing at an all-time high of 23.5 points.

Peyton ManningManning and the Broncos are expected to be installed as the largest favorites in NFL history for the team's Week 6 meeting with the Jaguars.

At the moment, it appears as if the Week 6 Jacksonville-Denver tilt will eclipse that mark.

The National Football Post spoke with Johnny Avello, the Executive Director of Race & Sports at the Wynn Las Vegas, Monday morning, who said he anticipates listing the Broncos as a 25-point favorite for their meeting with the Jaguars, which would be the highest NFL point spread Avello has posted during his lengthy career.

R.J. Bell of Pregame.com tweeted Monday morning that the LVH sports book could hang the number as high as Denver -28.

Through four games, the Broncos are currently 4-0 straight-up and 3-0-1 against the spread, while the Jaguars are 0-4 both SU and ATS, losing by a ridiculous average of 24.5 points per game.</p>

But there’s a silver lining for Jaguars fans: In the 15 games since 1989 that have featured a point spread of 19.0 points or higher, the underdog has gone 10-5 against the spread.

However, those dogs have also gone 0-15 straight-up.

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Mark Sanchez to have surgery, sit out season

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has decided to undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum, according to a report from NFL.com.

Sanchez is in a contract season to which he was presumably playing to stay in New York for a new deal or head elsewhere as a backup candidate. However, in the third week of the preseason, the Jets auditioned rookie Geno Smith for three quarters and placed Sanchez in to finish up.

It was then when Sanchez injured his shoulder.

Initially, it appeared Sanchez would hold out and try to return for the 2013 season. But the writing appeared to be on the wall that Smith is the quarterback for the Jets moving forward, at least under Rex Ryan's watch.

In fact, Ryan told reporters after the Jets' 38-13 loss to Tennessee that even with Smith's struggles at time, that he has no plans to bench him.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

The NFL season at the quarter pole

After tonight’s Miami–New Orleans game the 2013 NFL season will have hit the quarter pole. In that short time, we have seen some unexpected surprises, both good and bad, making for a very interesting season. Teams that were supposed to be poor are playing very good football, and some teams that were expected to compete for a division title are struggling.

Cleveland Browns

Two weeks ago, Cleveland traded 2012 first round pick Trent Richardson to Indianapolis. Most of the mainstream media felt Cleveland was throwing in the towel on the season and trying to lock up the first pick in the draft. Since the trade, the Browns have played very good football with wins over Minnesota and Cincinnati. Many had both of those teams as favorites to win their respective divisions this year.

The Browns defense has been steady, which was expected. They are a physical group and don’t give up yards easily. In the last two weeks they have come up with the big plays when they were needed. The real surprise for the Browns has been the play of quarterback Brian Hoyer and tight end Jordan Cameron. Cameron was the Browns 4th round pick in 2011. Going into this season he had only 26 career catches and one touchdown. In the first four games of this season, he already has 30 catches for 360 yards and five touchdowns. The way he is playing, he could end up in the Pro Bowl.

Hoyer has only been with the Browns since May. He was signed as a free agent to be the third quarterback, and it took an injury to starter Brandon Weedon to get on the field. Hoyer is not about to give up the job. Yesterday he completed 25 of 38 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns with a rating of 103. I like that Hoyer knows how to play within himself. He doesn’t try to do things he can’t. He is smart and conservative with his play. Is he the answer to Cleveland’s QB problems? It’s far too early to answer that question, but in the last 2 weeks he has played better than any Cleveland quarterback in the last few years. If the Browns can continue with this efficient play, they won’t be looking at the top 5 pick that many “experts” thought they would.

Kansas City Chiefs

In 2012 the Chiefs had the worst record in football. The GM and head coach were fired. Along came Andy Reid and John Dorsey with a different plan and new ideas. Four weeks into the season, the Chiefs are 4-0 including a win over Reid’s former team, the Philadelphia Eagles. The people in Philly thought Reid couldn’t coach any more, but he has done an excellent job in turning around Kansas City.

New quarterback Alex Smith is playing the best football of his career. He has been very consistent and given the Chiefs the leadership they needed at the position. The Chiefs defense has been physical and taken advantage of opportunities. They have 18 sacks in just four games as well as five interceptions and recovered seven fumbles. Are they a complete team? No. They still have holes, but they are going in the right direction. I can see them getting to the halfway mark at 7-1. Who would have thought that 4 weeks ago?

Chicago Bears

The Bears started out 3-0 under new coach Marc Trestman. Yesterday, in Detroit, they ran into a fired up Lions squad who took it to them 40-32. The game wasn’t as close as the score. The Lions outplayed the Bears in all aspects of the game. I knew the Bears would miss all-pro defensive tackle Henry Melton, but I didn’t think it would show as much as it did yesterday. The Bears' defense is usually fairly stout against the run, but yesterday, they gave up 159 yards and 5.3 yards per carry. Going forward, the Bears are going to have to find a way to shore up that run defense.

Quarterback Jay Cutler had been playing some of the best football of his career in the first three weeks of the season. Against Detroit, he looked like he was reverting back to the Cutler of old, forcing throws, throwing three interceptions, and fumbling once. What jumped out at me was Cutler's reactions after the miscues. In the past, we would have seen Cuter sulking on the sideline or chewing out teammates. That wasn’t the case yesterday. After each mistake, Cutler was seen sitting with quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh going over the mistakes and getting ready for the next series. Cutler came back and played well in the 4th quarter, but it was too little too late. A test will be next week when a good New Orleans team comes into Chicago. Many in Chicago want to see if Cutler has matured and can overcome adversity better than he has in the past.

Philadelphia Eagles

What’s wrong with Philly? After an opening game win in Washington everyone was jumping on the bandwagon saying what a great hire Chip Kelly was. The thought was that Kelly’s fast paced offense was the beginning of things to come in the NFL. Three weeks later, the talk has all but ended. The Eagles have not improved since opening day. The NFL is filled with some pretty smart coaches, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Give these coaches a few weeks of film to watch, and they will figure out how to stop any new offense.

While their offense has slowed down, they have one of the worst defensive units in the league, right now. Yesterday in Denver, they flat out quit. There was no emotion, intensity, or enthusiasm. They just went through the motions. The Eagles spent a lot of money during free agency to acquire players for their new 3-4 defense. One highly respected Director of Player Personnel told me last week that most of the players Philly bought were vastly overpaid. He felt that there was only one player the Eagles signed deserving of a big contract. He went on to say that with the rest of the players, Philly was bidding against themselves to get the contracts done.

Another former GM asked me, “Didn’t the Eagles talk about what happened in Washington with Steve Spurrier?” He went on to say that, “if you don’t learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it.” This was an experiment that was bound to fail.

It remains to be seen whether or not these opinions are accurate, but it doesn’t help that the Eagles have the least experienced coaching staff in the NFL. That being said, the Eagles have a chance to turn things around the next two weeks. They play a New York Giants team that has gotten old fast and a Tampa Bay team that is in total disarray. If Philly doesn’t come out on top in both these games, their fan base may be calling for heads.

Follow me on twitter @greggabe

C.J. Spiller hopeful to play against Browns

Bills running back C.J. Spiller might have broken the 100-yard barrier if it wasn't for a sprained ankle suffered in the second half against Baltimore.

At that point, Spiller had run for 77 yards on 23 carries and was beginning to churn out yards. But an ankle injury sidelined him and put the ball in the hands of Fred Jackson and Tashard Choice. The Bills' running game totaled 203 yards against the Ravens in a 23-20 win.

The Bills have a quick turnaround as they play the Cleveland Browns on Thursday.

Spiller said he'll do what he can to be ready for the game.

“If I can get to 80-85 percent, that’ll be good,” Spiller told reporters, via the team's official website.

Spiller has had some minor injuries pestering him throughout the year. But against a tough Cleveland front that's riding a two-game winning streak, the Bills will need Spiller available.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

No suspension, fine likely for Dashon Goldson

Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson isn't being suspended for his latest illegal hit, according to the NFL.

Goldson was flagged for hitting a defenseless receiver Sunday when he struck Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown. Goldson delivered a shoulder blow.

Goldson has been fined $130,000 this year, including a $100,000 fine that was overturned on appeal and replaced the suspension.

Goldson is a hard-hitting player who plays with an edge. He's in the NFL crosshairs, though, with every hit whether illegal or borderline.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

Darren McFadden's hamstring injury not considered serious

The Raiders received some good news following their 24-14 loss to Washington.

Running back Darren McFadden does not have a serious hamstring injury, according to a report from NFL.com. The injury was sustained against the Redskins, which forced McFadden to leave the game. He was unable to return.

In addition, Marcel Reece injured his knee during the game. It's unknown how much time he'll miss.

Rashad Jennings filled in with both McFadden and Reece sidelined with injuries against the Redskins. The Raiders also have Jeremy Stewart in the backfield, who scored a touchdown off of a blocked punt on Sunday.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.