Tagged in: packers

Green Bay Packers WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring) out for Week 3 game at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This game still has Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, but the quarterbacks of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers won’t have anything close to their full complement of receivers on Sunday.

The Packers for sure won’t have Sammy Watkins, their leading receiver through two games, because of a hamstring injury. Two of their other top receivers, rookie second-round pick Christian Watson (hamstring) and veteran Randall Cobb (illness), were listed as questionable on Friday.

The only one of the Packers’ top four receivers who has been cleared to play and taken off the injury report is Allen Lazard, who has been limited in practice this week because of the ankle injury that kept him out of the season opener.

Lazard returned for last week’s game versus the Chicago Bears and is the only receiver on the roster to have caught a touchdown this season

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Packers coach Matt LaFleur stated Friday that rookie receiver Romeo Doubs is “probably going to have to take more of a [work] load this week.”

The Buccaneers already knew earlier in the week that they would be without leading receiver Mike Evans because of his one-game suspension for last Sunday’s altercation in their game versus the New Orleans Saints.

Tampa Bay also won’t have receiver Chris Godwin, who was ruled out Friday because of a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Julio Jones (knee) was listed as questionable. The Packers also could be without one of their top tight ends, Marcedes Lewis (questionable with a groin injury).

Left tackle David Bakhtiari, who has yet to play in the 2022 season, also was listed as questionable as he tries to return from multiple knee surgeries.

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Dak Prescott undergoes surgery on right thumb as Dallas Cowboys prep for QB’s absence

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had surgery on his right thumb Monday afternoon, and sources continue to believe he will miss six to eight weeks as he goes through rehabilitation.

Given that timeline, Prescott is looking at a return date of Oct. 30 vs. the Chicago Bears at the earliest, but it’s more likely to be Nov. 13 versus the Green Bay Packers in Mike McCarthy’s return to Lambeau Field.

Prescott suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of the Cowboys’ 19-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after his hand twice hit the hand of linebacker Shaq Barrett. After a screen pass to Ezekiel Elliott, Prescott went to the sideline because he could no longer grip the ball.

After the game, Prescott said, “I was told it was much cleaner than it could have been.” He visited with the team’s hand specialist, Dr. Thomas Diliberti, on Monday and had the surgery soon thereafter. “You know Dak’s personality, I mean, he would’ve had the surgery last night if they would have allowed it,” McCarthy said. “That’s the way he’s wired.”

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The Cowboys now have to figure out how to win without Prescott while he recovers, starting with Sunday’s matchup versus the Cincinnati Bengals with Cooper Rush as their starter. The Cowboys are 5-7 in games without Prescott in his career, although Rush won his first career start last year against the Minnesota Vikings, throwing for 325 yards and two touchdowns.

He completed 7 of 13 passes for 64 yards after replacing Prescott against the Buccaneers.

“I think the biggest thing is especially at the quarterback position because obviously the importance of it, is don’t overreact to it,” McCarthy said. “… Because at the end of the day, we’ve got to make sure we’re giving the players the tools to win the game on Sunday. The nice thing about Cooper is Cooper’s been in our system, knows our system inside and out. We won’t be in that position of trying not to do too much or vice versa. Cooper gives us the ability to keep playing.”

McCarthy acknowledged there is an emotional challenge the Cowboys will have to deal with in losing their leader.

In 2020, Prescott suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle that knocked him out for the season, and the Cowboys lost their first four games without him.

“Definitely going to be tough, but being in the NFL, that’s all a part of this game,” running back Tony Pollard said. “It’s a 100 percent injury rate so guys get injured, so we just have to make up for it. Everybody has to lock in, continue doing what they’ve been doing and just focus on doing their job the best that they can.”

McCarthy stated the Cowboys are looking to add a third quarterback to the roster with Will Grier on the practice squad and ready to assume the No. 2 role in Prescott’s absence. He has started two games in his career, both with the Carolina Panthers in 2019.

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Green Bay Packers star LT David Bakhtiari on PUP list ahead of first training camp

Green Bay Packers All Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari’s return from the torn ACL in his left knee has hit another snag.

More than a year and a half removed from his injury, he’s still not in the clear. Bakhtiari was placed on the physically unable to perform list Saturday, according to ESPN’s Field Yates, meaning he almost certainly won’t be on the field when the Packers hold their first training camp practice on Wednesday.

Bakhtiari was injured in practice Dec. 31, 2020. It took more than a year for him to return to game action following his initial surgery. He played 27 snaps in last year’s regular-season finale — his only game action of the 2021 season — but then was shut down for the playoffs.

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The Packers held him out of all OTA and minicamp practices this offseason, letting Bakhtiari to work with the group of players rehabbing from injuries.

As recently as June, Packers coach Matt LaFleur stated the hope was that Bakhtiari would be ready for the start of training camp.

“Our plan all along was to hold him from [offseason workouts] and make sure he’s continuing to get stronger and ready to go hopefully for training camp,” LaFleur said. “We just thought that this is a guy that’s played a lot of ball and it’s best to hold him from this portion of it.”

Bakhtiari returned to practice briefly last fall but then underwent a second surgery to help reduce swelling in his knee. That delayed his return until the Week 18 game versus the Lions.

It’s uncertain whether Bakhtiari had another procedure done this offseason. The Packers placed nine players on PUP on Friday, but Bakhtiari was not one of them. They were: WR Christian Watson, TE Robert Tonyan, G/T Elgton Jenkins, K Mason Crosby, DE Dean Lowry, RB Kylin Hill, DL Hauati Pututau, OLB Randy Ramsey and RB Patrick Taylor.

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Arizona Cardinals star Kyler Murray agrees to $230.5 million deal, is now among NFL’s richest QBs

Arizona Cardinals star Kyler Murray has agreed to a five-year extension worth $230.5 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, a deal that makes him one of the NFL’s highest-paid quarterbacks.

The deal, which runs through the 2028 season, contains $160 million guaranteed for injury, the source told Schefter. Murray will make $105 million fully guaranteed upon signing the deal, according to the source.

The average annual value of Murray’s deal is $46.1 million, which is the second highest in the NFL behind only Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers ($50.3 million). Deshaun Watson’s deal with the Browns has an average annual value of $46 million, and Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes’ deal averages $45 million per year.

The only deal in NFL history with more guaranteed money than Murray’s is Watson’s $230 million fully guaranteed with the Browns. The Cardinals officially revealed Murray’s five-year extension Thursday but did not disclose terms.

Some of Murray’s teammates, including newly acquired receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and star safety Budda Baker, congratulated the quarterback on Twitter.

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Murray’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, and Cardinals general manager Steve Keim worked on the deal into Wednesday night and finalized the agreement Thursday morning after months of ongoing negotiations, according to Schefter.

Murray, 24, already had been under contract through the 2023 season after the Cardinals exercised their fifth-year option on his rookie deal in April.

But the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner’s long-term future in Arizona became unclear earlier this year after Murray scrubbed his Instagram page following the Pro Bowl, leaving just two posts: one of him at Oklahoma from 2018 and one from the Pro Bowl.

Keim stated earlier this year that there was “zero chance” Murray would be traded and indicated a long-term deal could be finalized at some point during the summer after the organization had an oportunity to “take a deep breath and sort of refocus” after free agency and this year’s NFL draft, similar to negotiation timelines that culminated in lucrative deals for other third-year quarterbacks such as Mahomes and Buffalo Bills star Josh Allen.

Murray, who was drafted first overall by the Cardinals in 2019, has established himself as one of the NFL’s top young quarterbacks over the past three seasons. He led the Cardinals to year-over-year improvement each season — from five wins in 2019 to eight in 2020 and 11 in 2021, all while setting records.

Murray is the first player in NFL history with at least 70 passing touchdowns, 20 rushing touchdowns, 3,500 passing yards, 400 rushing yards and 17 games with a completion percentage of at least 70% in his first three seasons. His overall completion percentage of 66.86 is the best for a player in his first three seasons.

Murray also was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2019 and a Pro Bowler in each of the past two seasons.

Arizona missed the playoffs in 2020 after losing six of its last nine games — including consecutive win-and-they’re-in contests to close out the season. Murray was injured throughout the second half of 2020 and spent the offseason frustrated and lamenting self-inflicted mistakes that cost the Cardinals a postseason berth.

In 2021, however, the Cardinals appeared to have figured out their issues from the end of 2020. They started 7-0, and Murray was part of the MVP conversation. He then missed three matches because of an ankle injury, and Arizona went on to finish the season 4-6 and was blown out by the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC wild-card round.

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Aaron Rodgers: ‘Definitely’ will finish career with Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers stated Tuesday he doesn’t know how many more seasons he will play — admitting that the three-year, $150 million contract extension he signed in March shouldn’t be an indicator — but he knows where he will conclude his career.

A year after he skipped the Green Bay Packers’ mandatory minicamp as part of his offseason of discontent with the organization, he was asked whether he planned to finish his career with the only team he has ever played for in the NFL.

“Yes, definitely,” Rodgers said.

That was in doubt as recently as March, when everything from retirement to asking for a trade was on the table.

Rodgers put any of that doubt to rest on Tuesday after the first practice of the Packers’ mandatory minicamp. He had previously skipped most of the voluntary offseason program to instead work out in Southern California.

“I’m just here so I won’t get fined,” Rodgers said with a smile, channeling his inner Marshawn Lynch.

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He may have only been half joking. A source said that last June, after Rodgers skipped the mandatory minicamp, the team sent him a letter informing him that he would be fined for his absence.

Tuesday’s practice was his first opportunity to throw to newly acquired receivers.

Sammy Watkins (signed as a free agent) and 2022 draft picks Christian Watson (second round), Romeo Doubs (fourth round) and Samori Toure (seventh round).

The only key member of the Packers’ offense not in attendance was receiver Allen Lazard, who has not yet signed his restricted free-agent contract.

“I miss the guys,” Rodgers said, “I love being around the guys. It’s been a nice offseason. I appreciate my [training] team back in Southern California and the work we put in. But it’s good to be back out here with the guys. Good to meet Christian and Romeo and get reacclimated with some of the older guys. It’s just about timing and them feeling the cadence and the urgency and stuff, and just nice to be back in the building with these people.

“They’ve been great about me taking care of myself the way I best need to. Obviously it’s worked out the last couple years by my play, and I expect nothing less.”

Packers coach Matt LaFleur originally wasn’t sure how much work he would give Rodgers on Tuesday, but after seeing that the reigning MVP was in good shape, he allowed Rodgers to take part in almost every drill, including some 11-on-11s that were at a jog-through speed.

The Packers are coming off three straight 13-win seasons but failed to reach the Super Bowl in any of them, including two losses in the NFC Championship Game.

And now Rodgers has to deal with life after Davante Adams, the All-Pro receiver who wanted out of Green Bay and was traded this offseason to the Las Vegas Raiders.

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Green Bay Packers, Jaire Alexander finalizing four-year, $84M extension

It was never a question of if the Green Bay Packers were going to sign All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander to a contract extension. It was only a matter of when and for how much.

It happened on Monday, and it included a defensive-back-record signing bonus of $30 million as part of a four-year, $84 million contract, Alexander’s agent, John Thornton, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Alexander’s new deal averages $21 million per year, also a new mark for defensive backs.

Alexander had previously been tied to the Packers for only this season on the fifth-year option to his rookie contract. That would have paid him $13.294 million for 2022, and the whole total would have counted on this year’s salary cap. With the signing bonus prorated and a lower base salary of $1.076 million, the Packers will create significant additional salary-cap space.

Before this deal, they had about $11 million in cap space. Exactly how much cap space was created won’t be known until the full details of the contract become available.

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Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst had hinted that an extension for Alexander wouldn’t be far off.

When asked before the draft last month whether they could get a long-term deal done with him, Gutekunst said: “I think we’ll get [through] this draft weekend and we’ll go down that road with some of those players.”

“He’s such a big part of what we’re doing; he’s been such a good player for us since the day he kind of arrived,” Gutekunst said of Alexander earlier this offseason. “We’d love for [an extension] to happen. Certainly we’ve been in communication with his representation and we will continue to be as we go through the year.”

The Packers’ first-round pick (No. 18) in 2018 quickly became a star. He was named to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie team in 2018, was picked as a Pro Bowl alternate in 2019 and made his first Pro Bowl in 2020 — when he also earned second-team All-Pro honors.

Although he played in only four matches last regular season because of a shoulder injury, he returned after a three-month absence to play in the NFC divisional playoff game versus the 49ers.

He led the Packers in pass breakups in each of his first three seasons and had the fourth-most pass breakups in the NFL from 2018 to 2020 with 42, according to ESPN Stats & Information data. Only James Bradberry (with 45), Stephon Gilmore (43) and Janoris Jenkins (43) had more.

The Packers have made a significant commitment to the cornerback position in the past year. They drafted Eric Stokes in the first round of the 2021 draft and then this March re-signed Rasul Douglas to a three-year, $21 million deal.

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Green Bay Packers sign veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins

The Green Bay Packers are finally adding to their receiver room by signing veteran Sammy Watkins.

The team revealed the deal on Thursday but didn’t reveal terms. A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Watkins’ contract is for one year and worth up to $4 million.

The Packers have lost three of their top receivers this offseason, headed by All-Pro Davante Adams in a trade to the Las Vegas Raiders. They also lost Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Chiefs) and Equanimeous St. Brown (Bears) in free agency.

The Packers’ top remaining receivers are Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers.

They haven’t used a first-round pick on a receiver since 2002 (Javon Walker) but have two picks in each of the first two rounds after the Adams trade, putting them in position to address that spot high in the draft.

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Packers head coach Matt LaFleur coached Watkins with the Rams in 2017, and Packers receivers coach Jason Vrable was in Buffalo when the Bills drafted him fourth overall in 2014.

Watkins, 28, has had difficulty staying healthy throughout his career.

He continued to struggle with injuries in his only season with the Baltimore Ravens in 2021, ending with career lows in receptions (27) and receiving yards (394).

He has missed 30 matches over the past seven seasons, and he hasn’t played a full season since his 2014 rookie season.

He made two of the biggest catches of the season for Baltimore, setting up winning scores versus the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears, but Watkins had no catches — and just three targets — in his final four games as he fell behind Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay on the depth chart.

In his eight-year career, Watkins has totaled 348 receptions for 5,059 yards receiving and 34 touchdown catches for the Bills, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs and Ravens.

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Seattle Seahawks agree to trade QB Russell Wilson to Denver Broncos, get three players, picks

After weeks of negotiations, in one of the biggest trades in NFL history, the Denver Broncos have agreed to send a significant package of players and draft picks to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson, sources told ESPN.

The Broncos have agreed to trade quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, two first-round picks (2022 — No. 9 overall — and 2023), two second-round picks (2022 — No. 40 overall — and 2023) and a 2022 fifth-round pick to the Seahawks for Wilson and a 2022 fourth-round pick, sources said.

The trade gives Denver the quarterback it has sought since Peyton Manning retired, and it gives Seattle a foundation on which to rebuild without the quarterback who led the Seahawks to their only Super Bowl title.

Upon Wilson’s approval to waive his no-trade clause, the Seahawks will send him to Denver, concluding his historic 10-season run in Seattle that included nine Pro Bowl selections, one Super Bowl title and more wins than any quarterback ever has posted during his first 10 seasons in the league.

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The Broncos were Wilson’s preference, if he was traded, sources told ESPN’s Brady Henderson.

Wilson also will have to pass a physical. The trade can’t be officially announced until Wednesday, March 16 at 4 p.m. ET, which is the beginning of the 2022 league year.

Denver acquiring Wilson has nothing to do with Aaron Rodgers’ decision to return to Green Bay. Denver general manager George Paton initiated trade talks with Seattle for Wilson at least two weeks ago. But in recent days, as trade talks with Seattle heated up, it became clear that Wilson was the Broncos’ Plan A.

The Broncos and Packers have not discussed a Rodgers trade this offseason.

The Seahawks quietly were listening to offers for Wilson and got calls from multiple teams. One league source estimated the total to be over a dozen teams.

Wilson sensed he was going to have to move on, and if he did, he wanted to be going to a winning program. Denver, with all its offensive talent and its tough defense, is in “win-now” mode.

Denver has been trying to find a suitable quarterback since Manning retired, just as the organization tried for years to find a suitable quarterback after John Elway retired. Enter the 33-year-old Wilson.

Wilson will join a Broncos team managed by new head coach Nathaniel Hackett. The team’s offense includes wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler, tight end Albert Okwuegbunam and running back Javonte Williams.

The Broncos’ odds to win the Super Bowl improved from 25-1 to 12-1 Tuesday at Caesars Sportsbook. Only three teams — the Buffalo Bills (15-2), Kansas City Chiefs (8-1) and Green Bay Packers (10-1) have better odds to win the Super Bowl than the Broncos at Caesars Sportsbook.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, saw their odds to win the Super Bowl fall from 40-1 to 75-1 at Caesars. Wilson beat the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII and will become the first quarterback to start for a team he defeated in the Super Bowl, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

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Strong fourth quarter carries San Francisco 49ers past Green Bay Packers, into NFC Championship Game

The San Francisco 49ers simply will not go away.

The same Niners that were once 3-5 and headed for a long offseason full of questions are now headed to the NFC Championship match for the second time in three seasons.

To get there, San Francisco had to pull out the type of late-game magic that has been a hallmark of its late-season surge to the playoffs. The result was a wild 13-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night at Lambeau Field.

The 49ers await the winner of Sunday’s NFC divisional game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams.

After a disappointing offensive performance, the Niners pieced together the drive they needed at the biggest moment, with wide receiver Deebo Samuel taking a handoff nine yards for a first down on third-and-7 at Green Bay’s 38.

Samuel’s run set up place-kicker Robbie Gould’s winning 45-yard field goal as time expired.

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“This team has been through a lot,” San Francisco tight end George Kittle said. “We’ve been through a lot of adversity. We’ve dealt with a lot. We’ve lost games by making mistakes. We’ve won games dirty. This is a gritty team. It’s a salty team, and we just keep bouncing back.”

That toughness has been on display a lot over the past couple of months.

The Niners went 7-2 over their final nine games to get into the postseason.

That run culminated in a 17-point comeback triumph over the Rams in the final week that clinched a playoff spot.

The Niners went 7-2 over their final nine games to get into the postseason. That run culminated in a 17-point comeback triumph over the Rams in the final week that clinched a playoff spot.

It continued versus the Dallas Cowboys last weekend, when the Niners nearly coughed up a 16-point advantage but managed to squeeze by to advance to the divisional round against the Packers.

But Green Bay presented a unique challenge, one that for most of Saturday looked like it would be too much for the 49ers to overcome. As they’ve done for most of the past 2½ months, the Niners didn’t flinch.

It has become the signature trait of a team that is not as dominant as the 2019 juggernaut but that makes up for its shortcomings with an unrelenting will to win.

The Niners became the first team since the 1988 Buffalo Bills to block a punt and a field goal in the same playoff game. San Francisco also became just the fourth team to win a postseason contest without an offensive touchdown since 2000.

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QB Jimmy Garoppolo has ‘slightly’ sprained throwing shoulder, should be OK for Saturday vs. Green Bay Packers

Already playing through a torn ligament in his right thumb, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered another injury in Sunday’s triumph over the Dallas Cowboys.

This time, Garoppolo is dealing with what coach Kyle Shanahan called Monday a “slightly” sprained right (throwing) shoulder. According to Shanahan, the injury occurred in the second quarter.

Garoppolo joins linebacker Fred Warner (sprained right ankle) and defensive end Nick Bosa (concussion) on the list of key Niners nursing injuries to watch this week as the team prepares for Saturday night’s NFC divisional-round game versus the Green Bay Packers.

The good news, according to Shanahan, is that Warner and Garoppolo should be ready to go versus Green Bay. In fact, Shanahan believes Garoppolo will be able to practice when the team resumes those sessions on Tuesday.

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“He should be fine for practice,” Shanahan said. “He had to play through some pain and stuff, but he ended up checking out all right. Just a slight shoulder sprain and he should be good for [Tuesday’s] practice.”

Warner sprained his ankle in the fourth quarter and was writhing in pain and grabbing at it, which put a scare into the Niners and their fans. Further testing on Monday, however, revealed it was a low ankle sprain, which means he should also be OK this week, though it’s unclear if he will resume practice right away.

“We’ll evaluate and see as the week goes,” Shanahan stated. “The initial scare was that it could have been high, so we got good news on that. He had something similar to this earlier in the year, but we’ll evaluate him on Wednesday, which I think is Tuesday this week.”

Earlier Monday, Warner had indicated that his injury wasn’t as serious as first feared, tweeting: “Sorry for the scare yesterday everyone, I appreciate everyone showing love and support for me and the fellas. We’ll be good to go. Huge win, onto the next.”

Bosa’s status is more unclear because he must clear the necessary steps of the concussion protocol in order to play.

Bosa suffered his concussion just before halftime of San Francisco’s 23-17 win against Dallas.

Shanahan said he did not get a chance to speak to Bosa on Sunday night or Monday morning but got positive reports from those who did.

“We’re being pretty optimistic with it,” Shanahan said. “I’ve seen that a few times and he seems like he’s in a pretty good spot right now, but I’m not going to be the one who judges that.”

In addition to Garoppolo, Bosa and Warner, Niners defensive end Jordan Willis suffered a high ankle sprain against the Cowboys, which puts his status in doubt against the Packers.

With a short week and less time for their injured players to heal, Shanahan said the Niners will have a lighter schedule this week. They will have a late start time on Tuesday, followed by less strenuous practices on Wednesday and Thursday before traveling to Green Bay.

“I think the biggest thing about this week is going to be about recovery,” Shanahan said. “So, the more sleep we can do, we’ll slow most of the stuff down. I doubt we get many full-speed reps in this week. … [We’ll] make it pretty easy on the guys this week.”

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