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Green Bay Packers meet with free-agent cornerback Tramon Williams

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers and Tramon Williams are expected to reunite after three years apart.

The Packers are bringing in the veteran cornerback, a source confirmed, although it’s unclear whether a deal has been finalized.

Former Packers receiver James Jones, now of NFL Network, reported that Williams will sign a two-year deal with the Packers.

Williams last played for the Packers in 2014, the final season of a successful eight-year run in Green Bay. He had 28 interceptions for Green Bay and and earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2010.

He then played two seasons for the Browns, one of which was during Mike Pettine’s tenure as head coach, and last year played for the Cardinals.

Pettine was hired as the Packers’ defensive coordinator in January after coach Mike McCarthy fired Dom Capers.

Williams would be the second former Pettine player to sign with the Packers. They previously signed defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, who played for Pettine when he was the Jets’ defensive coordinator.

Williams finished with two interceptions — giving him 32 for his career — and started nine of the 13 games he played for the Cardinals in 2017. He also had 41 tackles and a fumble return.

Williams was released last offseason by the Browns after starting in 22 of the 27 games in which he appeared, playing both safety and cornerback. Overall, he made 105 tackles and had two interceptions for Cleveland.

ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss contributed to this report.

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Former Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas to visit Houston, will likely sign with Texans, source says

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The Houston Texans are bringing in safety Earl Thomas for a workout and his signing this week is more likely than not, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Baltimore Ravens abruptly parted ways with seven-time Pro Bowl selection in August after Thomas had an on-field altercation with teammate Chuck Clark.

The Ravens said they terminated Thomas’ contract for personal conduct that adversely affected the team. A source told Schefter that Thomas, 31, punched Clark during the practice.

On Monday, the Texans put safety A.J. Moore on injured reserve with a hamstring, although he is expected to return later this season. Moore is eligible to return from injured reserve after Week 6. If Thomas signs and plays significant snaps for Houston, he will replace Eric Murray, who signed a three-year, $20 million contract in March as a free agent. He played 91% of the defensive snaps in Sunday’s loss but struggled in coverage against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Through three games, Houston does not have an interception, one of three teams this season in that fold. Thomas’ 30 interceptions rank third since he entered the NFL in 2010.

The Texans also rank 29th in opponent QBR (75.6) and have allowed at least 28 points in all three games this season.

It all adds up to an 0-3 mark after losses to the Chiefs, Ravens and Steelers. The Texans sit three games back of the Titans in the AFC South.

While the Texans have held opposing quarterbacks to fewer than 220 net passing yards in every game this season, that is in part because of how well opponents are running the ball against them. After Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 138 yards in his debut in Week 1 and the Ravens ran for 230 yards the following week, the Steelers had 169 rushing yards on 38 carries on Sunday.

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Green Bay Packers LB Christian Kirksey out at least one game, source says

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Packers will be without Christian Kirksey for at least a game and possibly longer, sources told ESPN after the starting linebacker suffered a shoulder injury in Sunday’s win over the New Orleans Saints.

A source said the injury is not considered season ending, and although Kirksey is awaiting a second opinion, surgery likely will be avoided.

The best-case scenario is that Kirksey will miss next Monday night’s game against Atlanta and then return after the Packers’ Week 5 bye to play at Tampa Bay on Oct. 18.

However, injured reserve is a possibility, meaning Kirksey would be unavailable for at least three weeks.

The Packers signed the former Cleveland Browns starter to a two-year, $13 million contract in March to replace Blake Martinez, who signed with the New York Giants in free agency. Kirksey played every snap in the first two games and until he got hurt on the 17th defensive play against the Saints.

Kirksey missed all but the first two games last season because of a broken collarbone and played in just seven games in 2018 while missing time because of hamstring, ankle and shoulder injuries.

The injury means the Packers will be without their two preferred starters at inside linebacker. They lost rookie fifth-round pick Kamal Martin, a projected starter, to a knee injury in training camp. Martin was expected to miss at least the first six weeks of the season. Undrafted rookie Krys Barnes, out of UCLA, has filled in for Martin, but Kirksey’s shoes may be tougher to fill because he’s the defensive signal caller.

Second-year pro Ty Summers, who had not played a snap on defense before Sunday, took over for Kirksey against the Saints and played the final 44 snaps. He wore the speaker helmet, taking the playcalls from defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and relaying them in the huddle. The speedy Summers, a seventh-round pick in 2019 who had played only on special teams in his first season-plus, led the Packers with nine tackles. The team reported no communication issues with Summers in charge.

“Ty stepped up,” said Packers defensive tackle Kingsley Keke, who had two sacks against the Saints. “At practice, you can tell he’s dialed in, he’s locked in. I know he prepared well at practice, you know, it’s going to happen into the game. Kirksey went down and Ty stepped in and made some key plays for us. So it’s all about trusting each other and keep building.”

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More proof Bills’ Josh Allen is an MVP candidate? Third-and-22 conversion – Buffalo Bills Blog

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — To think it all started with a miscommunication.

In Week 1 of the 2019 season, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen threw receiver Cole Beasley a pass he wasn’t expecting. Determined not to let that happen again, they discussed the route ad nauseam afterward. That paid off in Sunday’s wild 35-32 win against the Los Angeles Rams.

Allen found Beasley for a first down on third-and-22 during the fourth quarter. It was perhaps the team’s biggest play of the young season after Los Angeles roared back from a 28-3 deficit to take the lead. At the very least, it was one of two plays on Buffalo’s go-ahead drive that saved what was nearly a historic collapse.

“Honestly, it just turned into some backyard ball. Me and Cole have talked about this route many a time,” Allen said. “Cole found a spot in the middle [of the field], made a good catch, knifed upfield and got the first down. It was a huge play for us.”

Buffalo controlled the game for two-and-a-half quarters, leading by 25 midway through the third quarter. Los Angeles answered with 29 unanswered points to take the lead with just under three minutes to play.

Allen — who entered the game playing like an MVP candidate, with a league-high 727 passing yards and seven total TDs — needed a touchdown drive with his team trailing by four points. He found Beasley for a 19-yard gain on the first play of the go-ahead drive before taking a long sack. Two plays later, Allen rolled to his right and hit an open Beasley in the middle of the field.

“You never really know how a team is going to react. It’s those moments where we find out what we’re really made of,” Beasley said. “Because that’s tough, man, when you’re up 28-3, and they come back and take the lead from you with not much time left? That can deflate a team. But these guys are all dogs, and they don’t shy away from that. They’re all competitive as hell, and they fight to the finish.”

The other play that saved the Bills happened when Allen finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Kroft, giving Buffalo the lead for good. Allen finished with 311 passing yards and five touchdowns, including one on the ground. Through three games, he ranks second in the league in both passing yards and passing touchdowns, with 1,038 and 10.

Plays such as the long third-down conversion are a microcosm of what Allen brings to the field, especially late in games. His 10 game-winning drives since 2018 tie that of Houston’s Deshaun Watson for most in the NFL in that span.

“The guys play for him,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “Like all games, I’m sure there’s some plays he wants back, but at the end of the day, to come back in the NFL and win the game, that’s tough to do, and he’s now done it twice in the past two weeks. It just goes back to the ability to stay calm in critical moments of the game and have that winning mindset.”

The Bills will take that mindset and their three-game win streak into Week 4. They play Sunday at the Las Vegas Raiders (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS).



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