The NFL has seen a lot of changes and bombshells throughout the entire month of November, but this past week especially. Such turns of events could make or break the season for certain players, coaches, and franchises. Here’s what happened this week and how it will impact the league.
Justin Jefferson, arguably the Vikings’ most valuable wide receiver, was taken off Injured Reserve. Jefferson has been out since a Week 5 hamstring injury and fans have anxiously awaited his return to the field ever since. The Vikings do not have a Week 13 contest, but Jefferson is expected to play in the Week 14 matchup against the Raiders.
In other injury news, the Cleveland Browns’ roster was in a world of hurt following Sunday's loss to the Broncos. Wide receiver Amari Cooper, defensive end Myles Garrett, and QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson were just a few of the players who sustained injuries during the game. Cooper’s rib injury and Garrett’s shoulder injury caused both to miss practice this week, though the coaching staff regards them as hopeful to play in this Sunday’s game against the Rams. Thompson-Robinson remains in concussion protocol—the Browns are expected to start newly-signed Joe Flacco as their quarterback if Thompson-Robinson doesn’t improve.
Photo courtesy of AP Photo
While on the subject of head injuries, Chris Olave of the Saints was placed into concussion protocol earlier this week yet turned in a limited practice on Wednesday. His condition is one to be closely monitored to ensure a full recovery.
The most consequential injury of all this season was the torn Achilles that Aaron Rodgers sustained during Week 1. What many thought would have Rodgers benched all season has perhaps turned the Jets’ season around. Rodgers returned to practice this week in a miraculous rehab improvement, and the Jets have three weeks to make a decision regarding his injury status. Though seeing playing time is unlikely, Rodgers’ return to practice is a huge step in the right direction for both himself and the franchise.
Changes in Coaching Staff
Head coach Frank Reich of the Carolina Panthers was fired on Monday after Sunday’s 17-10 loss to the Titans. Reich is the first NFL head coach since the 1970 merger to be fired in back-to-back seasons after he was let go from the Colts last year. His time with the Panthers included an NFL-worst record of 1-10, including a less-than-ideal 0-6 record on the road. With the first overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Panthers were hopeful that a new head coach and Bryce Young quarterback duo would turn their franchise around. Young said the entire team feels a portion of responsibility for the firing of Reich by underperforming in games.
Photo courtesy of Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Offensive coordinator Matt Canada of the Steelers was also relieved of his duties last week, something the Steelers franchise has never done mid-season. Canada’s departure from Pittsburgh had many fans thinking Christmas came early, as he’s been regarded as the most disliked coach in sports. RB and QB coaches Eddie Faulkner and Mike Sullivan have since taken over what was once Canada’s job. With the Steelers being postseason contenders, Matt Canada’s absence will be crucial to the outcome of Pittsburgh’s season.
In Other News
Joshua Dobbs, QB of the Minnesota Vikings, has made it cool to be smart. Nicknamed “The Passtronaut,” Dobbs has a rather impressive résumé, with the only employer topping the NFL being NASA. Though he’s never actually been to space, Dobbs graduated with a degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Tennessee—while playing football for the Volunteers. Dobbs has continued to improve thus far in his few weeks with the Vikings while also being all the buzz in the brainy AND brawny conversation.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Veteran NFL star Von Miller of the Buffalo Bills turned himself in to police on Thursday after a verbal disagreement with his pregnant girlfriend allegedly turned physical. The couple was reportedly discussing travel plans at their Dallas apartment and Miller became upset when his girlfriend said she didn’t want to travel on her upcoming birthday. The argument progressed into a physical altercation and the woman was reportedly told to “get out” by Miller multiple times. After the woman called the police, Miller left the property before their arrival. The couple already share two children, and the woman told authorities she was six weeks pregnant. A charge of assaulting a pregnant person in the state of Texas is considered a third-degree felony. The Bills have a bye week and only made a brief statement acknowledging the news saying they had no further comment.
As one of the most anticipated matchups of the season, the 49ers will visit the Eagles in a rematch of the NFC Championship that the Niners fell short in. Last season, San Francisco’s QB Brock Purdy left the championship game with an arm injury, followed by a backup quarterback injury sustained by Josh Johnson. The high-stakes contest will take place on Sunday, as the 49ers are favored to win by three despite Philly boasting the best record in the NFL. Tune in to FOX Sports at 4:25 PM EST on Sunday to see the outcome of the NFC’s most crucial game.