With Fitzpatrick, Marshall lobbied constantly, which probably explains the inordinate number of targets

“I won’t do that, and I haven’t done that,” he said. “You really can’t do that. … (Petty) has so much going through his head. You don’t want to disrupt that. If you ask for the ball, you’re selfish. It can be disruptive.”

With Fitzpatrick, Marshall lobbied constantly, which probably explains the inordinate number of targets. Fitzpatrick forced balls to Marshall, perhaps to appease him. Petty is simply following the script.

A revolving door: Because of injuries, the Jets have used a league-high 68 players. Remarkable. The biggest impact is felt on special teams, prompting coordinator Brant Boyer to say, “It’s like a yard sale when you put all your stuff out on the grass and you try to mix and match and fit it in.”

Petty struggled in his second start since being named the No. 1 quarterback. He completed 20 of 36 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown, but he threw two interceptions and lost a fumble on a strip sack.

“You obviously want to be one of the top defenses in the league, but our mindset is, ‘Get a stop on third down. Get a stop. Get our offense back on the field in good field position.'”

Washington has battled ankle injuries throughout this season and Zenner suffered a concussion last week against Chicago.

Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who suffered a back injury earlier in the week, also is on track to face Washington.

The Panthers ruled defensive end Charles Johnson (hamstring) and offensive tackle Daryl Williams (ankle) out.

Project Petty 2.0: The Jets’ coaches were kind in their public assessment of Bryce Petty’s first start as the No. 1 quarterback. True, he made a couple of plays with his arm and a couple with his legs last week against the San Francisco 49ers, but he also committed an alarming number of mistakes at the line of scrimmage. His failure to recognizes blitzes resulted in unblocked rushers on three of the six sacks. At times, he held the ball too long, freezing up when his No. 1 read was covered. He held it so long on one sack that a three-man rush had time to beat a six-man protection.

“I hope he’ll learn from that experience and, hopefully, he’ll be better this week,” offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said. “That’s what you hope young players do.”

Problem is, the Dolphins are a better defensive team than the 49ers, starting with a seasoned front four that includes Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake. They smell blood. With right tackle Brent Qvale (hamstring) listed as doubtful, the Jets are expected to start rookie Brandon Shell — the fourth man up. His only game experience at the position came last week — all of eight snaps. Look for them to give Shell plenty of help. He’ll need it.

Silent Brandon: In two starts, Petty has attempted only 11 passes to Brandon Marshall, who usually received twice as many targets from Ryan Fitzpatrick. A close review of the San Francisco tape reveals how little Petty actually looked in Marshall’s direction. The bigger upset? Marshall isn’t complaining.

Adrian Peterson intends to play for Vikings vs. Colts

The Minnesota Vikings running back told Dash Radio on Friday that he intends to play this week against the Indianapolis Colts.

“Being out there confirmed I’m ready to roll,” Peterson said, via the Star Tribune. “I’ve had my head in the playbook.”

The Vikings would need to make a corresponding move to activate Peterson to the 53-man roster.

All Day has been out since Sept. 18 with a torn meniscus. He returned to practice this week.

The Vikings could certainly use a boost on the ground. Behind a porous offensive line, Minnesota ranks last in the NFL with just 73.4 rushing yards per game. Prior to the injury in Week 2, Peterson was averaging just 1.6 yards per carry.

Coach Dan Quinn said Thursday that he wanted to see Jones “explode pain-free” before green-lighting him for Sunday. That obviously didn’t happen, leaving Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel to operate as the team’s top two receivers against the Niners.

If there’s a week to sit Jones, this would be it. The 49ers are allowing more points per game than any team in the league while the versatile Falcons are scoring more per tilt than anyone else. With Jones out of the lineup last week, the Falcons still dropped 42 points on the Rams.

In the thick of a playoff race, Atlanta can hardly afford to rest Jones after Week 15, but it makes plenty of sense to get him as healthy as possible for the final two weeks of the regular season — and beyond.

Cam Newton just keeps setting records

It’s pretty clear that the league has been trending toward more prolific passing numbers, and 2015 was no exception. With Matthew Stafford and Ryan Fitzpatrick joining the club on Sunday, the league saw 11 quarterbacks throw 30-plus touchdowns this year, up two from the nine that accomplished that last year, and up six from the five quarterbacks that did it in 2013.

Not surprisingly, there were more passing touchdowns this year than any previous NFL season ever.

So let’s take a look at a few players that broke records this year. First up, the surprising and intriguing case of Kirk Cousins. After a rough start, Cousins turned a corner for Jay Gruden and put up some truly amazing numbers en route to leading Washington to a playoff berth. Cousins finished with 29 touchdowns to 11 picks and became the first Washington quarterback since 1978 to throw a touchdown pass in all 16 games.

Hickey, who spent 14 years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and worked his way up to the team’s director of personnel, was hired by the Dolphins in January 2014. One year later, however, after a second straight 8-8 season, Miami brought in former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum. Tannenbaum was assigned the label of executive vice president of football operations and became Hickey’s boss.

In his one season calling the shots, after replacing the deposed Jeff Ireland, Hickey drafted offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James and wide receiver Jarvis Landry. He also made a number of free agent signings. The most notable was the five-year, $47 million contract he handed left tackle Branden Albert.

This is the seventh straight year the Dolphins missed out on the playoffs. They haven’t finished with a winning record since 2008.

In the AFC the Cincinnati Bengals will play host to the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers in a Wild Card Weekend matchup, with the Bengals having lost 33-20 at home to the Steelers as a 1-point favorite when they last met in Week 14. Cincinnati topped the Steelers 16-10 as a 1-point underdog at Pittsburgh in the Week 8 battle between the two teams at Heinz Field.

The White Sox would want right-hander Tyler Glasnow and outfielder Austin Meadows

Unlike Sale, whose fastball velocity declined in 2016 (perhaps because he made more of a conscious effort to pitch to contact but perhaps because he simply wasn’t throwing as hard), Quintana averaged a career-high 92.0 mph with his fastball. There are no signs that he is due to regress. And Buster’s right: In what looks like a weak AL Central aside from the Indians in the coming years, the White Sox might be contenders sooner than most rebuilding jobs, especially if they can dig into the lucrative free-agent market that will arrive after the 2018 season.

Anyway, Quintana remains a valuable trade chip, and deals will be discussed. Let’s see if we can find one that might work.

Houston Astros: This is the team everybody mentions as a potential trade partner. The Astros have improved their lineup, and adding Quintana alongside Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh and a healthy Lance McCullers would make for a nice rotation. Any deal would have to start with Francis Martes, Houston’s top prospect and one of the top pitching prospects in the minors. He pitched in Double-A last season, so he isn’t far away.

Four teams that could have been fits (Blue Jays, Yankees, Astros, Rockies) all turned elsewhere. So the theme I heard most from executives and agents is this: Encarnacion should stop counting money he never had, take a short or creative deal with a team like Cleveland or Texas, and then try this again next winter, with no qualifying offer attached.

The Pirates and Nationals got so far down the line on a deal to send McCutchen to Washington — for a package that would have been extremely close to what the Nationals offered for both Chris Sale and Adam Eaton — that some of the Pirates’ delegation thought it was on the verge of happening. But once the Nationals decided they preferred Eaton and pivoted away, the Pirates had a whole different sort of challenge on their hands.

By which we mean … damage control.

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Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson entered this season as a relative unknown

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson entered this season as a relative unknown, with more than one hurdle to clear. He’ll exit it with the Heisman Trophy.

Jackson capped his remarkable rise with the first Heisman Trophy in school history, having wowed enough voters — despite losses in his final two games — with 51 total touchdowns and 4,928 total yards.

What Jackson accomplished in 2016 goes down as the greatest season ever at Louisville — a school where Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas starred in the 1950s.

Jackson had a speech prepared but he stopped at various points to say, “This is crazy.” He got through the written portions while also improvising, saying his speech “started coming from the heart.”

“To be the first person from Louisville to win it, it’s an honor. I’m humbled.”

Jackson is the third player in FBS history — joining Cam Newton and Tim Tebow — with 30 passing touchdowns and 20 rushing touchdowns in a season. He set ACC and school records for touchdowns responsible (51) in a season and yards in a single game (610, versus Syracuse), plus school records for most single-season rushing yards (1,538) and most touchdowns in a single game (eight), and he became the first quarterback in school history with a 1,000-yard rushing season.

After finishing third in the balloting in 2015, Watson, meanwhile, became the 11th player with multiple top-three finishes without a Heisman win and the first to do so since Andrew Luck during the 2010-11 seasons.

It is only the seventh time in Heisman history — and first since 2008 (Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford and Texas’ Colt McCoy) — that the winner and runner-up hailed from the same conference.

Before the ceremony began, Jackson was asked whether he ever dreamed about winning the Heisman.

“I thought about it a lot growing up, playing the NCAA video games,” Jackson said. “I was like, ‘Man, it would be great to go to college and win that award.’ So just to be sitting here right now and having my name talked about, it’s crazy.”

Derek Carr hasn’t been an MVP against the Chiefs

The Oakland Raiders were in great position to claim an important victory last December against the Kansas City Chiefs, winners at the time of five consecutive games, as they entered the fourth quarter with a 20-14 lead.

Then the Chiefs did what they always seem to do against Oakland quarterback Derek Carr. They forced him into some game-changing mistakes. Early in the fourth quarter, Carr threw an interception that was returned to the Oakland 2. The Chiefs converted the favorable field position into a touchdown that tied the game when they missed the point-after attempt.

Then they intercepted Carr again, returning it to the Oakland 13. The Chiefs would again go on to score a touchdown. They intercepted him one more time and turned this one into a pick-six that sealed their 34-20 victory.

Carr might play like an MVP candidate against the rest of the league, but he hasn’t been one against the Chiefs. Even this season, as the Raiders bolted to a 10-2 start, Carr had by far his lowest QBR of the season (31.4) in a 26-10 loss to the Chiefs on Oct. 16, when he was intercepted once and lost a fumble.

It’s been an eventful start for a group of quarterbacks that elicited polarized reactions during the 2014 draft, and as the Vikings face the Jaguars this weekend, desperately in need of a win after losing six of seven games, they’ll hope they can get the better of the one quarterback they didn’t have the chance to take two years ago.

“He’s a lot like the guy we looked at when he was coming out,” Zimmer said. “He’s got a big, strong arm. He’s an athlete. He’s been making a lot of plays with his legs. The scramble tape this week is twice as big as any other tape. He can make all of throws. He’s got a good, strong arm, big rangy athlete.”

Bortles has run for 325 yards already this season, after posting 729 during his first two years, but his 50 interceptions in that time are the main reason why he admitted Wednesday his season “hasn’t been great — not the results you’ve wanted, not the personal play I’ve wanted.” While he said he believes the Jaguars’ offense is headed in the right direction under new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Bortles is coming off a game against the Denver Broncos where he completed just 19 of 42 passes for 181 yards, while being picked off twice.

I’ll acknowlege the fact that maybe even if Griffin had done all the above

If your as big a competitor as Griffin claims to be, you find a way to get your ass on that field. Whether its using your vast knowlege of the mechanisms behind knee injurys to pull a Nancy Kerrigan on Kirk Cousins, or simply reminding your coach that Mack Brown recruted you as a safety and that you can help the defense, there’s only one person to blame for not playing- thats yourself.

I’ll acknowlege the fact that maybe even if Griffin had done all the above, he still wouldnt of gotten into any games due to his huge injury liabilty in his contract. Even in that case his mere presence around the facilty is enough to instill a jinx on a franchise that has recently performed like they play on some sort of cursed burial ground. Griffin now has the dubious distincton of having the worst playoff winning percentage of any backup QB with a minimum of 2 non-starts.

And like any good jilted ex-lover, Griffin couldnt quietly make his way out the door without getting in one last dig. Now we can all agree that RG3 should of been a more agressive passer, but no one will ever acuse him of not being passive agressive enough. He cleaned out his locker at the team facilty but left this note behind:
Folks even Hitler didnt leave a note. What is RG3 your roomate who washed your dinner dishes from last night before you even had a chance to wake up in the morning? You know who else use to leave cryptic messages? The Zodiac killer. As reader Matt points out, Griffins letter actually comes across reading more like this:

The irony of Griffin quitely leaving a franchise in shambles using the same method that folks use to apologize for destroying a parked car is not lost, even though Washingtons season is.

Its our first ever three way tie for RGOTW here with the Father Son and Holy Ghost bringing home the hardwear. God certanly packed his lunchpail this week folks and you can see His fingerprints in the outcome of every single game:

Chiefs 30, Texans, 0: Funny how the team who elected atheist- Arian Foster as there captain, lost in a biblical blowout at the tiny hands of Alex Smith. Smiths Mormonism was a weakness as Smith used to had to follow the rules of the church- meaning no drinking, caffeine, or completing TD passes to wide recevers on Sundays. But ironically as the Latter Day Saints have opened up the playbook, Smith has been looking more and more like yetseryear’s Drew Brees.

Jordan Reed banged up and with a bad matchup and the recent struggles of Greg Olsen

Clearly, I’m all-in on stars who received no targets in their previous game. But seriously, Antonio Gates had scored in three straight games prior to last week’s stinker.

Antonio Gates, Chargers: I’m not worried about last week, which was a function of game flow and specific matchups. After at least eight targets in four straight games before last week, Gates gets back on track this week as the Bolts face a Bucs squad allowing more than 81 yards a game to opposing tight ends, including double-digit fantasy points in three of the past five.

Travis Kelce, Chiefs: With Rob Gronkowski out, Jordan Reed banged up and with a bad matchup and the recent struggles of Greg Olsen, I have only Jimmy Graham higher in my tight end rankings this week than Kelce. He is a huge part of the offense and coming off a big game, so I like Kelce’s chances at a top-three day against a Falcons team that gives up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends — including a nine-point effort last week to Jermaine Gresham. I repeat, Jermaine Gresham.

Others receiving votes: Just like I am with Cooks and Gates, I am back on board with Eric Ebron after a brutal game. Before last week, he had been on a tear and, you know, New Orleans. Expect Stafford to get his tight end back involved in a shootout. …

Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions, ankle, (Q): Riddick was limited in practice throughout the week and comes into the game as questionable. This has been the pattern for multiple weeks now, ever since Riddick returned from a two-week absence following the injury. He remains their go-to back when he is on the field, regardless of his designation.

Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders, ankle, (Q): Murray is again listed as questionable this week with an ankle injury. Last week he carried the ball 19 (!) times, so it’s not as if the team is reducing his workload because of an injury concern. He was a limited practice participant each day this week, and he is expected to be the majority ball carrier again in Week 13. As always with the late games, fantasy owners are advised to verify the status of players like Murray with a questionable designation.

Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, foot, (Q): Last week Rodgers was listed as questionable after getting his first practice reps since his foot injury but ended up being inactive. This week Rodgers increased his practice activity, fully participating each day. His questionable status feels much more like a probable designation, but even if he is active, Doug Martin is still expected to shoulder most of the workload for the Buccaneers.

How the Panthers keep it positive through their Super Bowl hangover

At this moment, the only form of music inside the Panthers’ locker room emanates from under the towel draped over Greg Olsen’s head.

The All-Pro tight end is howling something that sounds an awful lot like the Chainsmokers’ “Closer” on his way from the showers to his locker. It’s lunchtime on a recent hump day inside the Panthers’ workplace, that strange and sacred inner sanctum known as an NFL locker room. And as players trickle in from meetings, film study or the weight room, the space around Olsen bursts to life. Across the room, backup quarterback Derek Anderson fills his lip with dip and conducts an impromptu clinic for a lineman on the undercarriage etiquette of the QB-center exchange.

Cam Newton, battered and bruised most of the season, is all smiles today; he’s luxuriating in a short plush gray robe and squeaky red shower flip-flops. Rotund fullback Mike Tolbert, having heard enough of Olsen’s a cappella performance, fires up some old-school hip-hop on the coffee-table-size speaker that occupies half his locker.

This is something receiver Julian Edelman touched on as well, saying on WEEI, “[Gronkowski’s] a pivotal part of the offense and you have backup plans, and you prepare for these situations, but … you’re not really thinking it’s going to happen and when it does happen usually it takes you a little time to get things going.”

Meanwhile, signing tight end Kennard Backman to the practice squad Tuesday might be an indication that the Patriots don’t plan to have Gronkowski practicing much. They possibly could even limit Bennett, who has been hobbled with ankle and shoulder injuries.

For his part, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said the team is always working different contingency plans and credited players for “embracing that responsibility when it comes up.

“It’s not always easy,” he said. “There’s a lot of double learning that has to take place or just quick thinking on your feet because you start calling some things with guys in places that maybe they haven’t practiced as much … It’s part of our game. It’s part of our preparation, especially when you go into a game week and you’re not 100 percent sure if you have these players. You have to consider that as you go through the week.”

Those considerations, with Gronkowski and his importance to the team, are one of the topical storylines surrounding the Patriots as the calendar turns to December.

But Rivera is not delusional. Of course he’d rather have a locker room filled with healthy linemen, last season’s MVP version of Newton and some playmaking ability in the defensive backfield to make up for Josh Norman’s departure. Barring that, at least he has an intact locker room. That’s no small thing, because by this time in the season, most also-ran teams would be a vat of toxic tension filled with infighting and finger-pointing. One tiny spark over something as innocuous as the locker room stereo can lead to meltdown.