Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Sports

Belichick mum on QB plans

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Bill Belichick isn't ready to rule out injured quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for Thursday night's game against the Texans. The Patriots coach also isn't interested in sharing any contingency plan he might have.

Garoppolo was limited in practice Tuesday as he continues to recover from the right shoulder injury he sustained late the first half of New England's win on Sunday over Miami. The third-year quarterback sat out Monday's practice.

The Patriots have yet to add another quarterback to the roster, increasing the possibility that rookie Jacoby Brissett could make his first career start against Houston if Garoppolo can't go. In that situation receiver Julian Edelman, who played quarterback in college at Kent State, would be the emergency option.

It didn't stop an onslaught of Garoppolo-related health questions on Tuesday. It drove Belichick to the point of agitation as he was pressed about Garoppolo's status.

As inquiries persisted, he made it clear that whatever is going on with Garoppolo, what was best for his health would take precedence.

"I'm a football coach. I'm not a doctor," Belichick said.

Fired-up Eagles: A 2-0 start in Philadelphia has some comparing Carson Wentz to Peyton Manning and Doug Pederson to Vince Lombardi.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz deserves some credit, too.

Wentz has exceeded expectations. After Monday's 29-15 win at Chicago, in which he threw for 190 yards and a touchdown, Wentz is the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to win his first two starts and not commit a turnover. Pederson has pushed all the right buttons, showing strong leadership and excellent playcalling.

Meanwhile, Schwartz has taken a defense that ranked among the worst each of the past three seasons and turned it into a stingy unit. They're ranked fourth in yards allowed (286 per game) and have allowed the second-fewest points (24, and that includes a punt return for a score).

"I like the way it's coming together," middle linebacker Jordan Hicks said. "We're playing stout, pretty strong and aggressive. That's what this defense is. I'm excited. The sky is the limit with this defense. We have a lot to improve and it's a long season, but we've started out pretty well."

Schwartz, a former head coach in Detroit, returned to coaching after sitting out the 2015 season. He has brought an aggressive, 4-3 scheme to the Eagles. They held the Bears to 284 total yards and one offensive touchdown.

After beating the 0-2 Browns and Bears, a bigger test awaits Sunday as the unbeaten Steelers visit Philadelphia.

McCluster signs: The Chargers signed running back Dexter McCluster, a former Largo High standout and six-year NFL veteran, to replace the injured Danny Woodhead. McCluster has played with Kansas City and Tennessee.

Giants mull protest: All of the Giants stood at attention on the sideline for the national anthem during the first two games of the season. That might change. After police in Tulsa, Okla., shot and killed Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, on Friday night, a handful of Giants told Newsday that they were considering some form of protest. "As of right now we're not doing anything different, but that could change," linebacker Keenan Robinson said.

Bears banged up: The Bears, coming off their loss at home to the Eagles, might have to get by without quarterback Jay Cutler. Coach John Fox said Cutler has a sprained right thumb that does not appear to require surgery; he would not rule Cutler out for Sunday's game against the Cowboys. If Cutler is out, Brian Hoyer will start. Also, outside linebacker Lamarr Houston suffered a season-ending torn left ACL and nose tackle Eddie Goldman is expected to miss at least four weeks with a high left ankle sprain, the Chicago Tribune reported.

McCoy suit: Bills running back LeSean McCoy was sued over a Philadelphia nightclub brawl that injured two off-duty police officers. The civil suit claims McCoy beat and kicked one officer and punched another in the eye. The suit was filed Tuesday in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and seeks money damages from McCoy, two other men and the club. McCoy's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, declined comment. McCoy's attorney has said he was only trying to break up a fight on Feb. 7.

Browns: They signed former USF center Austin Reiter and waived linebacker Scooby Wright and defensive lineman John Hughes.

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