Dec 20, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) talks with Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Falcons offer HC job to Arthur Smith

Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith received a formal offer to become head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, according to multiple reports Friday.

Smith was a coveted candidate in the coaching cycle that began churning in early January. He received requests to interview for all seven vacancies, ESPN reported.

The Titans finished fourth in the NFL in scoring at 30.7 points per game and won the AFC South.

Smith has received praise for his work as offensive coordinator since he was promoted from tight ends coach two years ago. Current Titans head coach Mike Vrabel gives Smith credit for turning Ryan Tannehill’s career fortunes around last season, and the Titans just produced a 2,000-yard rusher in Derrick Henry.

The Falcons parted with Dan Quinn during the 2020 season and promoted Raheem Morris to interim head coach.

Myriad issues face the new braintrust of the Falcons, which will include a new general manager. Interviews for both positions took place unilaterally since the season ended.

Atlanta is squeezed against the salary cap by massive contracts for quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones. Owner Arthur Blank said he would not block an attempt by the new regime to trade one or both players in a rebuilding effort.

The Titans reportedly have been anticipating Smith’s departure by reaching out to prominent college offensive coordinators in recent days.

Smith has worked with the Titans in multiple capacities since 2011 under coaches Mike Munchak, Ken Whisenhunt, Mike Mularkey and Vrabel.

Smith worked closely with current Packers head coach Matt LaFleur with the Titans and during his initial NFL job, Smith was quality control coach of the Washington Football Team. Joe Gibbs was the head coach of the team in 2007, and Jim Zorn took over in 2008.

Smith, 38, attended the University of North Carolina to play basketball but his career was shortened because of a foot injury. He played offensive line in high school.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) is sacked by New Orleans Saints defensive ends Cameron Jordan (94) and Trey Hendrickson (91) in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Injury update favors Saints’ offense vs. Bears

The New Orleans Saints final injury report of the weeks suggests they are still anticipating the return of star offensive players Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, and Deonte Harris in time for Sunday’s wild-card playoff game against the visiting Chicago Bears.

But the Saints’ sack leader, Trey Hendrickson, has been ruled out of the game with a neck injury.

For the Bears, the most significant update is that standout inside linebacker Roquan Smith (elbow) is listed as questionable. The team’s leading tackler, Smith injured the elbow in the first quarter last week in the loss to Green Bay and has missed practice all week.

The Saints have bounced through a succession of injuries through the season, but by the time they start what they hope to be a long playoff run Sunday, only Hendrickson and guard Nick Easton (concussion) are listed as out of the game, with no other players even listed as doubtful or questionable.

Significantly, Thomas and Harris appear to be ready after returning to limited practice this week. Thomas missed the last three regular-season games because of an ankle injury, and return specialist Harris participated fully this week for the first time in more than a month.

The Saints have missed Thomas and Harris in recent weeks, as quarterback Drew Brees returned from his own broken ribs only to have a depleted cast of his receivers at his disposal. The Saints are expected to activate Thomas from the injured reserve list on Saturday.

Kamara, meanhile, remains on the COVID-19/Reserve list until Sunday. He tested positive for the coronavirus after scoring six touchdowns on Christmas Day in leading a 52-33 victory over Minnesota. He missed the regular-season finale at Carolina and has joined the team only via video conferencing since then.

On Thursday, Kamara said on social media he would be playing on Sunday.

“See y’all Sunday” Kamara posted on Twitter.

Had the Saints been scheduled to play on Saturday, Kamara would not have been eligible to return. As it is, he would have to play against the Bears without having practiced all week, and coach Sean Payton had declined to say early in the week whether Kamara would start Sunday.

In the Saints’ 26-23 overtime victory against the host Bears on Nov. 1, Kamara had 163 yards from scrimmage, including a 20-yard run to set up Wil Lutz’s winning field goal.

The loss of Hendrickson, however, is a setback for the Saints. He missed Week 16 because of his neck injury, but returned to play last weekend and had a sack, finishing the season with 13.5 sacks and 25 quarterback hits.

Easton’s concussion sustained Sunday is of particular concern because it was his second concussion in three weeks.

For the Bears, only cornerback Buster Skrine (concussion) is listed as out. Four players were listed as questionable Friday: Smith, wide receiver Darnell Mooney (ankle), cornerback Jaylon Johnson (shoulder), and inside linebacker Josh Woods (toe/glute).

Like Smith, Mooney missed practiced all week, while Johnson was limited in workouts.

–Field Level Media

Sep 23, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; FIU Golden Panthers place kicker Jose Borregales (30) kicks a 37 yard field goal in the third quarter against the Rice Owls at Rice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

DeVonta Smith, Alabama clean up at awards’ show

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith won two more major awards and four of his Crimson Tide teammates earned one apiece on Thursday at the virtually held 30th annual The Home Depot College Football Awards.

Smith, who won the Heisman Trophy on Tuesday, became the first receiver to win the Maxwell Award as the nation’s top player since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. He also won the Fred Biletnikoff Award (outstanding receiver) in his latest haul.

Asked where he will display the new hardware, Smith said “I’ll leave that up to my mom.”

Smith has 105 receptions for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns entering Monday’s College Football Playoff game against Ohio State. He has 22 touchdowns overall.

Alabama’s Mac Jones won the Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback), Najee Harris was named winner of the Doak Walker Award (premier running back), offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood won the Outland Trophy (most outstanding interior lineman) and Landon Dickerson won the Rimington Trophy (outstanding center).

Jones’ 4,036 passing yards is an Alabama season record and he has also thrown 36 touchdowns against four interceptions. Harris has rushed for 1,387 yards and a national-high 24 touchdowns on the ground and 27 overall.

“It’s definitely an honor to win this award and be up there with the greats of college football,” Jones said on the show televised by ESPN.

Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins won the Chuck Bednarik Award to give him a sweep of the national Defensive Player of the Year awards. Collins won the Lombardi Trophy last month.

Collins registered 53 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, four interceptions and two forced fumbles in eight games for the Golden Hurricane. He returned two picks for touchdowns.

Florida’s Kyle Pitts won the John Mackey Award (outstanding tight end), TCU safety Trevon Moehrig received the Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back) and Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell won the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.

Miami’s Jose Borregales won the Lou Groza Award (outstanding place kicker) after making 20 of 22 field-goal attempts this year, a 90.9 percent accuracy rate that was tied for the best in the nation among kickers with at least 20 attempts.

Pressley Harvin III of Georgia Tech won the Ray Guy Award (top punter).

AWARDS ANNOUNCED THURSDAY
Maxwell Award Winner — DeVonta Smith, Alabama
Davey O’Brien Award — Mac Jones, Alabama
Outland Trophy — Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
Chuck Bednarik Award — Zaven Collins, Tulsa
Doak Walker Award — Najee Harris, Alabama
Fred Biletnikoff Award — DeVonta Smith, Alabama
John Mackey Award — Kyle Pitts, Florida
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award — Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina
Jim Thorpe Award — Trevon Moehrig, TCU
Lou Groza Award — Jose Borregales, Miami
Ray Guy Award — Pressley Harvin III, Georgia Tech
Rimington Trophy — Landon Dickerson, Alabama

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) passes the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

WFT QB Alex Smith ‘sore’, Taylor Heinicke takes first-team reps

Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith watched practice without a helmet and is officially questionable for Saturday’s wild-card playoff game against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Smith is “a little sore,” according to Washington head coach Ron Rivera.

Backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke practiced with the starters Thursday and would be the team’s quarterback if Smith can’t play.

Smith played on Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles but was visibly limited by a calf injury. Smith said Wednesday that he felt Thursday’s practice would be “telling” to his availability for Saturday night.

Washington gave Smith a rest day Tuesday and he was limited Wednesday.

“Wish we had an extra day just to be sure,” Rivera said Thursday. “We’ll see how he is (Friday) morning and go from there.”

Smith, wide receiver Terry McLaurin (ankle) and running back Antonio Gibson (toe) all are listed as questionable Thursday.

–Field Level Media

Oct 18, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith talks with quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) before a game against the Houston Texans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Six vacancies, six interview requests for Titans OC Arthur Smith

Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith could be primed to become a first-time head coach.

ESPN reported the Tennessee play-caller has received — or soon will — interview requests from all six teams with head-coaching vacancies.

According to multiple reports, the New York Jets, Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons have already requested a sitdown with Smith. The Houston Chronicle reported Smith could interview with the Texans after Houston wraps us interviews for its vacant general manager position.

Smith has received praise for his work as offensive coordinator since he was promoted from tight ends coach two years ago. Current Titans head coach Mike Vrabel gives Smith credit for turning Ryan Tannehill’s career fortunes around last season, and the Titans just produced a 2,000-yard rusher in Derrick Henry.

Smith has worked with the Titans in multiple capacities since 2011 under multiple coaches: Mike Munchak, Ken Whisenhunt, Mike Mularkey and Vrabel.

Smith worked closely with current Packers head coach Matt LaFleur with the Titans and during his initial NFL job, Smith was quality control coach of the Washington Football Team. Joe Gibbs was the head coach of the team in 2007, and Jim Zorn took over in 2008.

Smith, 38, attended the University of North Carolina to play basketball but his career was shortened because of a foot injury. He played offensive line in high school.

–Field Level Media

Oct 18, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Travis Fulgham (13) catches an 18-yard touchdown pass against Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey (44) and cornerback Marcus Peters (24) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens’ Smith out, four other CBs questionable

Veteran Jimmy Smith was ruled out and four other Baltimore cornerbacks are listed as questionable for Sunday’s home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Smith will miss the contest due to rib and shoulder injuries. Star corner Marcus Peters (calf) is questionable, along with Anthony Averett (ankle), Davontae Harris (ankle) and Tramon Williams (thigh).

Peters, who was injured during Monday’s game against the Cleveland Browns, didn’t practice this week. He has missed just three games in six NFL seasons.

Marlon Humphrey, who leads the NFL with eight forced fumbles, is the team’s lone healthy cornerback.

“We’re just learning as we go,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of the dilemma involving the cornerbacks. “It’s only Friday, so we’ll see when we get there.”

The Ravens (8-5) could promote Pierre Desir off the practice squad or activate Terrell Bonds (knee) from injured reserve.

Also, linebacker Kristian Welch (foot) was ruled out of the contest. Starting defensive ends Calais Campbell (calf) and Derek Wolfe (neck/back), safety Anthony Levine Sr. (abdomen), tight end Luke Willson (hip), and defensive tackle Broderick Washington (concussion) are also listed as questionable.

–Field Level Media

Dec 7, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool (11) catches a pass against Washington Football Team free safety Deshazor Everett (22) during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Washington places S Everett on IR

Washington Football Team safety Deshazor Everett was placed on injured reserve Thursday due to a torn pectoral muscle.

Everett sustained the injury during last Sunday’s 23-15 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

The 28-year-old Everett has 31 tackles and one forced fumble in 11 games (six starts) this season. His physical play has helped a defense that has fueled the team’s current four-game winning streak.

Overall, Everett has 160 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in 75 games (17 starts) over six seasons with Washington.

Also, quarterback Alex Smith (calf) and running back Antonio Gibson (toe) both missed practice Thursday for the second straight day.

Second-year pro Dwayne Haskins is being prepared to start in case Smith can’t go. Washington coach Ron Rivera said he has no qualms starting Smith even if the veteran doesn’t practice all week.

Washington (6-7) hosts the Seattle Seahawks (9-4) this Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Nov 15, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws a pass against the Detroit Lions during the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Smith might be Washington’s best QB option for 2021

Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera is starting to believe his 2021 quarterback is on the current roster. A guy named Alex Smith.

Rivera has been impressed with Smith’s production over the past two weeks as the 36-year-old has put up yardage outputs of 325 and 390 yards after replacing injured Kyle Allen (ankle).

Smith has gone from feel-good story to the best quarterback option for the Washington Football Team. Smith suffered a gruesome right leg injury two years ago, a setback so severe that amputation was a possibility. He endured 17 surgeries before he was deemed clear to return to football earlier this year.

“You judge him by his performance,” Rivera told reporters on Monday. “You don’t get caught up in his story, you don’t get caught up in his age. Now, when you talk about going forward, now you talk about these other things.”

Other things typically include the contract for an older NFL player. Smith is due $40 million in base salary over the next two seasons as part of a four-year, $94 million pact.

Also, can Smith be counted on to perform at a high level over a 17-game NFL season? That will be part of the evaluation process.

“You’ve got to look at how much longer do you think he can play? How much longer does he want to play? And if so, is he part of your plan? That’s something that we as a coaching staff and as an organization have to talk about, most certainly if this continues, if he continues to play at this high level.”

The one thing Rivera does know is the old Alex Smith is now on the field for Washington. At least it appeared that way as Smith completed 38 of 55 passes against the Detroit Lions in his first start since suffering the compound fracture of the right tibia and a fracture of the right fibula in a game against the Houston Texans on Nov. 18, 2018.

“He’s pretty much back,” Rivera said. “There’s still some things that he still has to work on, and he knows that, and he’ll continue to work on them, but this really was his first full week of work. But I think that he’s proven that he’s back as the player, and again, that’s something that we’re going to most certainly discuss going forward.”

Smith was also encouraged despite the team’s 30-27 setback. He has been sacked 10 times in three appearances and the leg has held up fine.

“That was the scary part is how normal it felt,” Smith said of Sunday’s game. “I’ve got to pinch myself how lucky I am to feel that way. I’m lucky to progress this far and that I am where I am.”

Smith was a three-time Pro Bowler in five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs (2013-17) before being traded to Washington. He also was the No. 1 overall selection of the San Francisco 49ers in 2005 and started 75 games for that franchise.

Perhaps another factor in Smith’s favor for next season is that Rivera doesn’t appear overly fond of 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins. Rivera inherited Haskins and recently said the quarterback needs to work on his preparation skills.

Haskins began the season as the starter and passed for 939 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions before losing the job to Allen. He was sacked 13 times in four games.

–Field Level Media

Sep 22, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive guard Pat Elflein (65) in action against the Oakland Raiders at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings release Elflein, remove Cutting from COVID-19 list

The Minnesota Vikings released offensive lineman Pat Elflein on Saturday, one day after activating him off injured reserve.

Elflein sustained a thumb injury in practice during Week 2 and was placed on IR on Sept. 17. He started at right guard in the season-opening loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Minnesota also activated long snapper Austin Cutting from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Cutting was placed on the list on Tuesday and is now expected to play in Monday night’s road game against the Chicago Bears.

Cutting, 24, in his second season as the Vikings’ long snapper.

Elflein, 26, started 42 of 43 games played over the previous three seasons — the first two at center and 2019 at left guard.

Second-round pick Ezra Cleveland, who played left tackle in college at Boise State, will be counted on at right guard. He will be making his fourth straight start at the position.

“We just felt like we had some better options,” Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said of the transaction. “… These guys come in and compete and work real hard. There are times when you have to make those decisions.”

Minnesota also ruled out tight end Irv Smith Jr. (groin) for Monday. Cornerback Cameron Dantzler (concussion) is questionable.

Zimmer said Pro Bowl linebacker Eric Kendricks is the team’s backup long snapper.

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Kyle Allen (8) passes the ball as New York Giants cornerback Logan Ryan (23) chases in the first quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

WFT QB Allen carted off with severe ankle injury

Washington Football Team quarterback Kyle Allen exited Sunday’s game against the New York Giants with an ankle injury with 1:04 remaining in the first quarter.

NFL Network reported that Allen was diagnosed with a dislocation and a small fracture.

Allen was injured as he was sacked by New York safety Jabrill Peppers. Receiver Antonio Gibson tried to block Peppers, but Allen was accidentally leg-whipped by Peppers and fell to the ground while trying to elude the pocket.

Washington’s medical team attended to Allen for a few minutes and he was carted off to the locker room as Alex Smith warmed up on the sidelines.

Allen completed 5 of 7 passes for 62 yards before exiting. Allen was making his fourth straight start since replacing Dwayne Haskins, who was inactive.

Smith returned to action from his own serious leg injury last month after being injured during a game in November 2018. He sustained a compound fracture of his right tibia and fibula.

–Field Level Media