Alfred Blue signs with Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed six-year veteran RB Alfred Blue, the club announced today.

According to ProFootballTalk.com, it’s a one-year deal.

“I feel like we are building up the offense, and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Blue said.  “I can say one thing about the Jaguars [after playing against them] – they do have a hell of a defense. That’s a good thing, and I’m glad to be here.”

Blue, 6’2, 225 was originally selected by Houston in the sixth round (181st overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft and has appeared in 73 games with 16 starts, all for the Texans. For his career, Blue has totaled 2,407 rushing yards and eight rushing TDs, while also adding 69 receptions for 470 yards.

In 2018, Blue played in all 16 games and rushed for 499 yards and two TDs and recorded career highs in receptions (20) and receiving yards (154). Blue has carried the ball at least 100 times in four of his five NFL seasons, including a career-most 183 carries in 2015 when he gained a team-high 698 yards.

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NFL announces matchups for the five international regular-season games in 2019

The National Football League today announced the matchups for its five 2019 international regular-season games – four in the UK and one in Mexico.

The quality of the 2019 international offering is apparent in three division games and five playoff participants, including the NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams.  Two of the four London Games will feature teams playing in the UK for the first time, while Mexico City will host a meeting of long-time AFC West division rivals.

​​The 2019 international games:

​Country Visiting Team Home Team
Mexico Kansas City Chiefs Los Angeles Chargers
UK Carolina Panthers Tampa Bay Buccaneers
UK Chicago Bears Oakland Raiders
UK Cincinnati Bengals Los Angeles Rams
UK Houston Texans Jacksonville Jaguars​​

Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium will host a matchup between the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers. Both teams, who finished the 2018 regular season with identical 12-4 records, will be playing in Mexico City for the first time.

The AFC South champion Houston Texans – who face the division-rival Jacksonville Jaguars – and the Carolina Panthers – who face their NFC South foes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – will both make their London debuts. It will bring the total number of NFL teams to have played in the UK to 31 in 28 regular-season games by the end of the 2019 season. The Jaguars will be playing a home game in London for the seventh consecutive season.

The Rams, who will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII, will host a London game for the fourth time when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals, while the Oakland Raiders will return to London for the second straight year, facing the NFC North division champion Chicago Bears.

The NFL will play two games at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium, with two at Wembley Stadium.

Dates, kickoff times and venues for all international games will be announced in conjunction with the release of the full NFL schedule this spring.

NFL playoff scenarios for Week 14; Saints, Chiefs, Pats, Chargers, Texans can clinch playoff spots

Another week in the NFL, another week where more teams can clinch playoff spots.

Here’s who can clinch playoff spots in Week 14 of the NFL:

NFC

CLINCHED: Los Angeles Rams – NFC West division title

LOS ANGELES RAMS (11-1) (at Chicago (8-4), Sunday night, 8:20 PM ET, NBC)

Los Angeles clinches a first round bye with:

1)    LAR win

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-2) (at Tampa Bay (5-7), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

New Orleans clinches NFC South division title with:

1)    NO win or tie OR

2)    CAR loss or tie

New Orleans clinches a playoff berth with:

1)    MIN loss + PHI loss or tie + WAS loss or tie

AFC

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (10-2) (vs. Baltimore (7-5), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

Kansas City clinches a playoff berth with:

1)    KC win or tie OR

2)    MIA loss or tie + IND loss or tie + TEN loss or tie

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-3) (at Miami (6-6), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

New England clinches AFC East division title with:

1)    NE win or tie

HOUSTON TEXANS (9-3) (vs. Indianapolis (6-6), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

Houston clinches AFC South division title with:

1)    HOU win + TEN loss or tie OR

2)    HOU tie + TEN loss

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (9-3) (vs. Cincinnati (5-7), Sunday, 4:05 PM ET, CBS)

Los Angeles clinches a playoff berth with:

1)    LAC win + MIA loss or tie + DEN loss or tie + IND loss or tie + TEN loss or tieOR

2)    LAC tie + MIA loss + DEN loss + IND loss or tie + TEN loss or tie as long as both IND and TEN both don’t tie

Texans QB Deshaun Watson talks bus ride to Jacksonville

Texans QB Deshaun Watson had a longer than usual trip to Jacksonville. Due to a bruised lung and injured ribs, the team had concerns about Watson flying, so he had to take a private bus from Houston to Jacksonville, and after what happened today, Watson should have a great bus trip back as the Texans defeated the Jaguars 20-7 on Sunday.

With the victory, Houston is in sole possession of first place in the AFC South.

After the game, Watson(12/24, 139 yards, 1 TD) discussed his bus ride to Jacksonville:

(On J.J. Watt wanting to travel back with him by bus)

“I have plenty of room. I have a little studio in the back. We’ll make an album or something. Tell him, ‘All good.’”

(On what the trip from Houston to Jacksonville by bus was like)

“It was smooth. We just kind of hung out, watched the film, recovery stuff, played a game, watched TV, slept, stopped and got something to eat. That was pretty much it.”

(On who traveled by bus with him)

“Just me, [Senior Director of Sports Performance] Luke [Richesson], [Assistant Athletic Trainer] Uriah [Myrie] and [inaudible].”

(On his reaction to traveling by bus)

“I was cool with it, you know. Whatever it takes to get me down here to be able to be with my teammates and be able to play and do what I do and help this team win, I’m up for it.”

Marrone on J.J.Watt: ‘He’s back playing like when he was the Defensive Player of the Year’

Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt is back to his old disruptive ways. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year is off to a great start. After six games, Watt has 7.0 sacks, which is tied with the Vikings’ Danielle Hunter for tops in the league. The four-time Pro-Bowler has made it all the way back from injuries to his back and a broken leg. These injuries have caused Watt to miss 24 games in the past two seasons.

After starting the season at 0-3, the Texans have won three in a row, and have clawed back to 3-3  Houston is deadlocked with the Titans and Jaguars atop the AFC South.

On Sunday, Houston has a big AFC South matchup as they travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars.

Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone has a lot of respect for Watt has done this season on and off the field.

“He’s back playing like when he was the Defensive Player of the Year,” Marrone said on Wednesday. “We all know he’s a good football player. He’s extremely tough, extremely active. He has 7.0 sacks, leads the league. I have a ton of respect for him, especially how he’s battled back and then all around. I don’t know him personally at all, but in the community what he has done there. He is just an outstanding person and an outstanding football player.”

The 29-year-old Watt is hoping to get the Texans back to the playoffs. If he continues to play at this level, and QB Deshaun Watson can stay healthy, Houston has a legitimate shot to win the AFC South and make the playoffs, but Jacksonville still has the most talent in the AFC South. Therefore, if Jags QB Blake Bortles can play like the guy we saw in the beginning of season, Jacksonville should win the AFC South.

NFL makes changes to the Concussion Protocol after Tom Savage injury

Here is a statement from the NFL:

The NFL and NFLPA have completed their joint review of the application of the Concussion Protocol involving Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage during Houston’s game against the San Francisco 49ers on December 10. As de​tailed below, the parties have both concluded that while the medical staff followed the Protocol, the outcome was unacceptable and therefore further improvements in the Protocol are necessary.

The review showed that following a hard tackle, Mr. Savage was immediately removed from the game and evaluated for a concussion.  The Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant (“UNC”) and team physician reviewed the initial broadcast video, saw the play and Mr. Savage’s response and followed the Protocol by performing a complete sideline concussion evaluation on Mr. Savage, which he passed.  The slow-motion video, which focused more directly on the fencing posture, was not broadcast until after the doctors had begun the sideline evaluation and thus was not seen by the medical staff prior to the evaluation. The Texans medical staff continued to monitor Mr. Savage after the initial evaluation and shortly after his return to the game, identified symptoms that had not been present during the sideline evaluation and took him to the locker room for further evaluation.

The NFL and NFLPA recognize that Mr. Savage’s return to the game did not reflect the expected outcome of the Protocol. As such, the parties have agreed that no discipline will be assessed, but have already implemented several improvements to the Protocol to prevent such an unacceptable outcome in the future. Working in conjunction with the NFL’s independent Head, Neck and Spine Committee, these improvements include:

  • Implemented a pilot program utilizing a centralized UNC based at the league office to monitor the broadcast feeds of all games. The UNC will contact the team medical staff on the sideline should they observe any signs or symptoms warranting further evaluation.

  • Defined impact seizure and fencing responses as independent signs of potential loss of consciousness, representing “No-Go” criteria under the current Protocol. Players who display either of these signs at any time shall be removed from play and may not return to the game.

  • Require a locker room concussion evaluation for all players demonstrating gross or sustained vertical instability (e.g., stumbling or falling to the ground when trying to stand).

  • Officials, teammates, and coaching staffs have been instructed to take an injured player directly to a member of the medical team for appropriate evaluation, including a concussion assessment, if warranted.

  • Require all players who undergo any concussion evaluation on game day to have a follow-up evaluation conducted the following day by a member of the medical staff.

  • Added a third UNC to all playoff games and the Super Bowl to serve as a backup who can step in immediately should one of the original two UNCs be absent from the sideline for a time to attend to a more severely injured player.

In addition to implementing these changes to the Concussion Protocol, the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer and NFLPA’s Medical Director have hosted conference calls with every Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant, Booth ATC Spotter and relevant team medical staff members to review the changes to the Protocol and the signs and symptoms of concussion. The NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, NFL and NFLPA will conduct a comprehensive off-season review of all aspects of the protocol with an emphasis toward continued improvement in detection and diagnosis.

Report: Deshaun Watson tears ACL in practice

The injury bug continues to hit the Texans. According to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, promising rookie QB Deshaun Watson has a torn ACL. He will miss the rest of the season.

Watson tore his ACL during a non-contact play in practice today, according to the report.

Watson, who threw four touchdowns against the Seahawks last Sunday, is tied for the NFL lead in passing touchdowns with 19.

Just awful news for the Texans who are already without J.J. Watt, and awful news for the NFL!

 

Cowboys and Texans will play preseason game in Dallas

Due to public safety concerns resulting from the ongoing weather emergency related to Hurricane Harvey, Thursday’s Dallas Cowboys-Houston Texans game originally scheduled to be played in Houston at 7 p.m. CT has been relocated to AT&T Stadium in Arlington.  Kickoff on Thursday will remain at 7 p.m. CT.  Details on tickets, parking and other game day logistics will be announced later this week.

As announced earlier today, The NFL Foundation will match Mr. McNair and the Texans’ $1 million contribution to the United Way Relief Fund to address the immediate needs of those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The total $2 million contribution will support first response efforts by the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and the United Way of Greater Houston. Our thoughts are with the Houston community during this difficult time and we encourage fans to text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey relief.​

The NFL and the Texans will continue to closely monitor the situation in Houston and adjust the team’s plans as necessary

Vince Wilfork announces retirement from NFL

Former Patriots and Texans NT Vince Wilfork announced his retirement from the NFL today. During his 13-year career, Wilfork won two Super Bowls with New England, and was a 5x Pro-Bowler.

Wilfork played the last two seasons with the Houston Texans. Wilfork finished his career with 16 sacks.

Here is how Wilfork announced his retirement on Twitter: