AFC Notes: Browns, Chargers, Raiders

     

Browns

Browns’ WR coach Chad O’Shea says that WR Rashard Higgins is not in the doghouse after playing a limited number of snaps in the first few games and that he was simply beaten out for the No. 3 receiver job by WR KhaDarel Hodge.

Rashard Higgins has been outstanding in all areas,” O’Shea said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “He’s worked extremely hard. He’s playing in multiple positions for us on the practice field. He’s been very professional in everything that he’s done with us. I enjoy coaching him. I enjoy having him in the room with us. I know that the other players, whether it’s the receiver position or other positions, have respect for him. Unfortunately because of some of the issues you have on a game-day roster and so many people being active or inactive, there are always decisions to make and what’s best for the team. I’m encouraged by Higgins. I’m glad he is here, and I’m glad I have the opportunity to coach him. KhaDarel is a very dependable player for us. I know we have a lot of trust in him. The quarterback trusts that he’s going to do the right thing. He works extremely hard. He studies hard. He’s outstanding in his preparation. We’ve talked to them a lot about putting the team first, and I’d say Hodge definitely falls in that category, and I’d say I feel like our group falls in that category of we’re putting the team first, whether it is doing some things in the run game blocking or playing maybe in different roles than what they expected to play.”

Chargers

Chargers HC Anthony Lynn has maintained that whenever veteran QB Tyrod Taylor is healthy enough to return, he will still have his starting job waiting for him. The performance of first-round QB Justin Herbert is turning that into a tougher decision, however, as Herbert was once again outstanding despite the loss to the Buccaneers. He was 20-25 for 290 yards, three touchdowns and one interception and went toe-to-toe with Tom Brady for much of the afternoon, including a 72-yard bomb for a touchdown while under pressure to respond after Tampa Bay retook the lead. 

“I told Anthony after the game, You’ve got a great one. . . . That looked like Mahomes, where we had an all-out blitz, and he just kept retreating. Then he threw a dime down the field. For rookies to make plays like that, you know they’re special,” Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said via Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.

  • According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Chargers RB Austin Ekeler has a Grade 2 hamstring strain and will be out several weeks. 
  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Ekeler is looking at a 4-6 week timeline with his hamstring injury and hyperextended knee.
  • Lynn said he’s weighing what would be the best decision for Herbert, playing or continuing to learn from the sidelines: “I gotta balance whether throwing him in there right away into the fire or letting him sit and watch and learn like Patrick Mahomes did. That’s something that I’m evaluating.” (Gilbert Manzano)

Raiders

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