- Plus, Hue Jackson working on the defensive side of the ball in Cincinnati, Dalvin Cook is ready to return in full, Joey Bosa should be on the field, O-line woes for Dallas and Washington, and the Eagles need Sidney Jones right now.
News and notes to know heading into Week 11…
1. While coach John Harbaugh has kept his cards close to the vest, the expectation this week has been Lamar Jackson will start for the Ravens on Sunday. Baltimore has been ready for this. Harbaugh, OC Marty Morhinweg, QBs coach James Urban and assistant head coach Greg Roman actually put together a presentation ahead of the April draft to show the personnel people how they’d built a scheme that could work for both Jackson and Joe Flacco. At least on paper, the move from quarterback to quarterback should be seamless.
2. One of the guys working on defending Lamar Jackson today? That’s right, new Bengals assistant Hue Jackson. Hue spent this week working on the defensive side of the ball, I’m told, and will likely be there the rest of the season. In the aftermath of DC Teryl Austin’s ouster, Jackson gives Marvin Lewis, who will be helming the defense again, another set of eyes.
3. I’m not giving anyone fantasy advice on Dalvin Cook after what happened this summer (I wrote nice things about him, he got hurt, and people said not nice things about me). But I’m told he’s good to go, restriction-free, against the Bears tonight. We should see the full version of the second-year back, which is what the Vikings (and a lot of fantasy owners) have been waiting for. Both Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are good to go as well.
4. The biggest difference in the Vikings’ defense’s play of late, according to the players there, has been their focus on playing assignment football. Early in the year, the team’s struggles lead to guys trying to do a little too much. And I’d expect that Bears coach Matt Nagy, with a bevy of motioning and misdirection, will test just how far they’ve come tonight.
5. The long-awaited return of Joey Bosa is upon us—I’m told things are trending towards the Chargers’ third-year pass rusher being up for their game against the Broncos. He’ll be managed, of course, and foot injuries can be tricky. But a 7-2 Chargers team adding one of the best players in football should be fun to follow over the next few weeks.
6. The Cowboys’ offensive line shuffling bears watching. The expectation is that Zack Martin, listed as questionable with a knee injury, will go against Atlanta. Things are less certain on the other guard, rookie Connor Williams. Even if Williams does dress, Xavier Su’a-Filo, who has played well in his place, is expected to get the start.
7. Washington has tried to accelerate Trent Williams’s timetable, but it still looks unlikely that he’ll be able to play with a dislocated thumb. Because it’s a thumb injury, this one really comes down to his ability to function out there.
8. Sammy Watkins’s foot injury has come along to the point where it looks like they’ll leave his status open into Monday, and work him out before the showdown against the Rams to see if he can go.
9. I thought this was an interesting thing for Eagles coach Doug Pederson to say regarding second-year corner Sidney Jones on Friday: “He’s going to be a great player for us.” Philly needs him to be one, with all the attrition it’s had at the position. Jones likely would’ve been a top-20 pick, had he not torn his Achilles at his 2017 Pro Day. The Eagles took him as a futures pick in the second round two Aprils ago, and essentially redshirted him last year. As things stand now, the sooner they can get an increased return on that investment (like this afternoon at the Superdome?) the better.
10. Good on Dirk Koetter for acknowledging his mistake in taking play calling from offensive coordinator Todd Monken, and giving it back after last week’s three-point effort against Washington. Monken has been a bright spot in a spiraling season for Tampa Bay, and should find a home somewhere as a coordinator next year based on that.
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