Ben Roethlisberger, just a few weeks removed from knee surgery, will apparently attempt to play this Sunday in Baltimore, and Jason La Canfora isn’t the least bit surprised.
“When other people were reporting four to six weeks, I was reporting two weeks ago he was going to play in this game, so no, no surprises here,” the CBS Sports NFL insider said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney, chuckling. “But I will say this caveat: It’s ultimately his call. If he wakes up Saturday morning or he goes through the walk-through on Saturday and he feels like the knee is swollen or there’s anything that feels off to him, and he feels likes maybe one more week (of rest would be good), they’re not going to say no. Medically, they don’t see anything holding him back. The doctors, the coaches, feel like he can play. But if he doesn’t ultimately feel right, then they know he’s the franchise and they know that he knows this body better than anybody else. There’s always the chance something like that happens, and it has happened with him in the past. But even then, it would be one more week as a precaution. The idea that he was ever going to miss a month to a month-in-a-half is just folly.”
The Steelers (4-3), who have two straight games, and the Ravens (3-4), who have lost four straight, kick off at 1 p.m. ET.
While Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh are by no means on the hot seat, the same cannot be said for other coaches around the league.
“There’s quite a few depending on how the second half plays out,” La Canfora said. “The Buffalo Bills have been a team prone to wild extremes, and that’s Rex. They’re striving for a steady ride, but it’s always super bumpy or super smooth. Their schedule gets pretty tough. If they can’t show more out of the offense, (Ryan could be in trouble).”
The 49ers and Jaguars could also have new coaches next year.
“Chip Kelly, they’re not going to win many games there,” La Canfora said. “I don’t think Chip Kelly will be pushed out by any stretch, but where will his head be (about returning to the college ranks) come January? Jacksonville, I can’t imagine that there’s not sweeping changes there. The only question is does it include the entire front office or not?”
The Vikings (5-2), meanwhile, will play their first game of the season this Sunday without Norv Turner, who resigned as offensive coordinator this week. Minnesota hosts Detroit (4-4) at 1 p.m. ET.
“Norv has been very much tied to Teddy Bridgewater and developing Teddy Bridgewater,” La Canfora said. “That was a huge part of why he was there. Now obviously there isn’t Teddy Bridgewater anymore, and you’ve got Sam Bradford who’s not able to throw the ball downfield with five- and seven-step drops because they have no offensive line, and you’ve got a coach on staff there, (Pat) Shurmur, who had worked with him in the West Coast offense before where, at this point, they probably can’t throw more than 7-yard slants and some curls. They can’t really do much else with the ball. Some version of the West Coast offense might be what they need, and Shurmur was with Bradford in St. Louis and Philadelphia.
“So am I buying that Norv Turner woke up Wednesday morning, went into work at 6:30 and said ‘I’m out’?” La Canfora continued. “No, I think there was a little more friction there and a little more tension there and probably a heated conversation or two leading up to that. Bottom line is, though, good luck, Pat Shurmur. You don’t really have tackles. You don’t really have a blocking tight end. You’re averaging 2.6 yards per carry – dead-last in the NFL. The next-closest team is the Rams at like 3.2 That’s a huge disparity. Almost a half yard per carry worse than any team in the league. And Sam Bradford is now getting blitzed, and he’s starting to look like Sam Bradford again with the happy feet – and I don’t blame hm. He’s getting bludgeoned the last two weeks. I don’t know that this changes much, guys. I really don’t.”