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Marquez Valdes-Scantling questionable for Packers; Davante Adams out again



GREEN BAY, Wis. — The best hope for any of the Green Bay Packers‘ top three receivers to play Sunday rests with Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and he’s dealing with a pair of injuries.

Davante Adams won’t go for the third straight week because of turf toe, and Geronimo Allison remained in the concussion protocol and was listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.

That leaves Valdes-Scantling, who did not practice all week but held out hope that his left knee and left ankle injuries would made significant improvements before the 1 p.m. ET kickoff at Lambeau Field.

Otherwise, barring a late roster move, the Packers’ receiver group will have three former undrafted free agents (Allen Lazard, Jake Kumerow and Darrius Shepherd) with a combined 18 career NFL catches, plus a veteran signed off the street this week (Ryan Grant) who has never played in a game with Aaron Rodgers.

Valdes-Scantling is listed as questionable on the injury report. When asked Friday which injury was bothering him more, he said, “Both.”

Valdes-Scantling returned to Monday night’s game against the Detroit Lions after his second-quarter injury and made a 46-yard catch in the fourth quarter of the Packers’ comeback win. When asked how he returned, he said, “Adrenaline is a great drug.”

He walked through the locker room on Friday with his left ankle wrapped and a small electronic stim machine attached to his knee.

“I was really, really proud of him how he battled and stayed in the game and showed some toughness, because we needed him,” coach Matt LaFleur said. “And he definitely provided a huge spark on that catch.”

For Adams, the hope is that he can return for next Sunday’s prime-time game at the Kansas City Chiefs.

“Next week’s not out of the question,” Adams said Thursday. “It’s going to be day to day.”

Last week, Adams said his turf toe “doesn’t feel how I want it to feel,” but on Thursday, he said it feels “a million times better.”

The Packers also could be short-handed at tight end, although Jimmy Graham (ankle) returned to practice Friday and was removed from the injury report. However, fellow tight end Robert Tonyan (hip) was listed as doubtful.

Lazard was the hero of Monday night’s win over the Lions with four catches for 65 yards — all in the fourth quarter — including his first NFL touchdown. That came after Shepherd dropped a pass near the goal line that ricocheted off his hands and was intercepted.

Grant signed with the Packers on Wednesday and went through a crash course in the offense.

“It’s been a grind,” said the sixth-year veteran with 123 catches for three different teams. “Really just been honing in on the plays and trying to learn as much as I can for this weekend and just taking it a day at a time and trying to learn as much as possible to help us on Sunday.”

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Jaguars’ Josh Dobbs says SpaceX teamwork like a football team



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Josh Dobbs was nervous and awestruck at the same time while he was watching the historic SpaceX Crew Dragon launch on Saturday morning.

The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback had spent a month at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, participating in an NFLPA externship so he knew how much work and preparation went into the launch of the capsule that would eventually dock with the International Space Station. He told NBC Sports that he was still amazed at the experience.

“I really felt the nervousness watching the countdown, knowing what those astronauts have gone through to get to this moment,” Dobbs said. “Being able to see the teamwork involved in preparation for this launch was incredible for me. It’s so much like a football team — you see how everyone doing their job fits together and makes something great happen. That’s what I really appreciated about the experience.”

Last Saturday’s launch is part of the DEMO-2 mission, which is a partnership with SpaceX to send Americans to the International Space Station for the first time since 2011. The Crew Dragon capsule launched at 3:22 p.m. ET Saturday and docked with the International Space Station at 10:16 a.m. ET Sunday. Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are expected to remain aboard for one to three months.

What Dobbs told NBC Sports echoes what he said earlier last month for an ESPN story in regards to what he experienced while he was watching a live simulation of the process of loading a rocket with propellant during his NFLPA externship last February. Dobbs said he was impressed at the intricacies of the teamwork required for just that one part of the totality required to launch a rocket into space. That’s no different than the process required to run just one football play, Dobbs said — on a significantly larger scale, of course.

“You’re in this big wide room with hundreds of monitors and the people I was with in instrumentation take up the five monitors to the right,” Dobbs told ESPN. “Everyone else is working on a completely different subsystem of this rocket and everyone has to be on the Ps and Qs for the rocket to launch, for them to have a go for launch. So to be able to sit in there and see, OK, this correlates so much to football. … You have 53 people but everyone’s different. But everyone still has to understand their position and how it affects the big picture for something as little as a play to go right and then for the team to win.

“To see the dynamics and it kind of is good to see them not in your normal everyday world of football. You’re able to see them in a different light so you’re able to kind of rewire your mind to be able to apply those concepts to the football world.”

Dobbs graduated from Tennessee in 2017 with a degree — and 4.0 grade point average — in aerospace engineering.

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Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes hopes world can become like locker rooms ‘where everyone is accepted’



Patrick Mahomes posted a statement to his Twitter account saying “the senseless murders that we have witnessed are wrong and cannot continue in our country.”

“All I can think about is how I grew up in a locker room where people from every race, every background, and every community came together and became brothers to accomplish a single goal,” wrote Mahomes, whose father Pat was a longtime major league pitcher.

“I hope our country can learn from the injustices that we have witnessed to become more like the locker room where everyone is accepted. We all need to treat each other like brothers and sisters, and become something better. Let’s be the world where my little sister, generations to outcome, and even my future kids will grow up never having to experience these tragedies and instead love each other unconditionally!”

The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback also sent prayers to the family and friends of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

“As I have watched everything that has happened over the last week and even before then, I have tried to put my feelings into words,” he wrote. “As a kid who was born with a black dad and a white mom, I have been blessed to be accepted for who I am my entire life, but that isn’t the case for everyone.”

He concluded his post with: “Love and Unite! #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd”

Also Monday, Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich opened his media availability with a statement on racial injustice.

“Injustice. Few things stir the human heart and soul like injustice. When we see it, feel it, experience it, it’s heart-wrenching. It’s not enough for a person who looks like me to say, ‘I’m not racist.’ This kind of talk and thinking typically lends itself to a posture of neutrality, indifference and passivity. It’s easy to be silent and do nothing when it doesn’t directly impact you. This attitude simply doesn’t invoke any conviction about doing that is right and standing up for the inherent dignity and rights of all people, no matter the color of their skin.

“I stand firmly behind the Colts statement and in particular, the phrase that says, ‘We abhor racism.’ Racism is vile, deplorable, detestable. There’s no form of it that is acceptable, and in no way can it be justified. Our black community has bore the brunt of this injustice for far too long. I believe that I, we, all have a personal responsibility to speak up and act in ways that build each other up, not tear each other down. I believe each one of us can make a difference if we’re willing to grow personally and display the courage necessary for us to take steps of progress in this most important of issues.”

ESPN’s Mike Wells contributed to this report.

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DeSean Jackson — If no fans at games, players should be miked up



PHILADELPHIA — Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson said “it’s definitely going to be a culture shock” if NFL teams have to play in empty stadiums this season due to the coronavirus pandemic, but if that is the case, he believes players should be miked up to give fans a behind-the-scenes look they normally don’t get.

“I think they should [mic up players]. They should give fans the inside to see what really goes on between the white lines,” Jackson said on teammate Lane Johnson’s “Outside the Lane” podcast. “It gets crazy, bro. I know in the trenches it gets crazy. And I know on the outside, too, it gets crazy, the conversations we go back and forth on.”

The NFL continues to plan for a 2020 season while “being prepared to address any contingencies as they arise,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a memo last month. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told CNBC he believes “there definitely will be a football season this year. Real question is, will there be fans in the stadium? Right now — today — we’re planning to have fans in the stadium.”

Given the unique circumstances, the Pittsburgh Steelers are holding back 50 percent of their individual game ticket sales inventory in consideration of possible social distancing scenarios.

If fans aren’t able to attend games, Jackson said there will be a definite adjustment period for the players.

“At the end of the day, we’re all professionals, we’ll all adapt to it. It’ll be weird at first but hopefully they can figure out [an alternative] because I definitely think a lot of teams and players feed off the energy.”

Johnson offered an idea to help fill the void: personalized music blaring out of the loudspeakers for when each team is on offense.

“Maybe if they could give is a play list,” he said. “Each team has a play list and each time you’re up on the ball, that’s what you’re hearing.”

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