NFL notes: New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley full-go at practice
The wait for Saquon Barkley may finally be over for the New York Giants.
The 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year was a full-go at practice Wednesday, increasing the likelihood he will play against the Arizona Cardinals (2-3-1) this weekend. It will be the first time the running back has played since sustaining a high sprain to his right ankle on Sept. 22 against Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Coach Pat Shurmur said the team would watch Barkley in practice the rest of the week before determining whether he will play.
Barkley was not in the locker room to comment. He usually talks to the media on Thursdays.
The Giants (2-4) also might get tight end Evan Engram back Sunday. He also practiced fully Wednesday and said he ran and cut on his injured knee without any problem.
The offense has struggled in recent losses to Minnesota and New England, averaging 212 yards. Barkley, Engram, top wide receiver Sterling Shepard and backup running back Wayne Gallman missed the game against the undefeated Patriots.
While they are only a game behind Dallas and Philadelphia (3-3) in the NFC East, quarterback Daniel Jones said the team needs to get back on track.
“I think we’re always going to feel the urgency to fix things we haven’t done as well,” Jones said. ”To improve, I think that should always be there. Starting today at practice, really starting Monday at practice, I think there’s an urgency and a sense of making sure we prepare as well as we possibly can, so we can play as well as we possibly can.”
The game will feature Jones, the No. 6 overall pick in the draft, against Cardinals rookie Kyler Murray, the top pick.
The Giants have scored 24 points in the past two games.
Barkley, the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft, adds a dimension to the offense with his ability to run and catch passes. He had 37 carries for 237 yards (a 6.4 yard average) before being hurt late in the first half against the Bucs. Gallman, Jon Hilliman and Eli Penny, who all ran in his absence, have 68 carries for 234 yards, or a 3.44 yard average
Ryan Tannehill to start over Marcus Mariota for Titans
Tennessee will start Ryan Tannehill at quarterback instead of Marcus Mariota on Sunday against the Chargers, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press on Tuesday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the change.
Coach Mike Vrabel benched Mariota in the third quarter of a 16-0 loss in Denver, the first time the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft had been pulled from a game for poor play and not because of injury. Vrabel said Monday the Titans (2-4) would decide who would start against the Chargers (2-4) by Tuesday and then tell both quarterbacks and the rest of the team.
Now Tannehill will get his first start since the Titans acquired the veteran in March from Miami through a trade initially designed to improve Tennessee’s backup to Mariota.
Mariota turned in his worst career performance in Denver. He was seven of 18 for 63 yards and had two passes intercepted for his first turnovers of the season. He also was sacked three times.
Mariota is being paid $20.9 million under the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, and he has a 91.7 passer rating with seven touchdown passes.
Tannehill was 13 of 16 for 144 yards while being sacked four times after coming off the bench for the second time this season. He also played at the end of a season-opening rout in Cleveland. He started 88 games in Miami, including 11 last season.
This is the eighth NFL season for Tannehill, who has a career quarterback rating of 62.9, having thrown for 20,578 yards with 123 touchdowns and 76 interceptions. The eighth overall pick out of Texas A&M in 2012, Tannehill is being paid $1.75 million under a one-year deal.
The Titans hope Tannehill jump-starts an offense that has scored 98 points all season, including one touchdown over its past 10 quarters. Tennessee has lost four of five.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is Dolphins’ starter again
Ryan Fitzpatrick will make his first start since Week 2 when Miami plays at Buffalo on Sunday. Dolphins coach Brian Flores had previously said Josh Rosen would remain the starter after Fitzpatrick came off the bench and nearly rallied the Dolphins to their first victory last Sunday against Washington.
“We moved the ball better with Ryan in the game, and I think we need to stay with that,” Flores said Wednesday. ”Came to that conclusion over the last couple of days. We feel that was the best thing for this team, and it’ll give us the best opportunity for this team to go up into a tough environment and try to pull out a win.”
The Dolphins (0-5) are 17-point underdogs against the Bills (4-1).
Rosen had perhaps his worst game of the year Sunday and was benched at the start of the fourth quarter with Miami trailing 17-3.
Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins to two late touchdowns, doubling their season total, but they failed to convert a two-point try with six seconds left and lost 17-16.
Rosen ranks last among qualifying quarterbacks in passer rating, completion percentage and yards per attempt, and the second-year pro from UCLA is 3-13 as a starter.
Fitzpatrick’s statistics are only slightly better, but he threw for 132 yards in one quarter against the Redskins, with no sacks or interceptions.
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