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Kliff Kingsbury tests positive for COVID-19, to miss Arizona Cardinals’ game against Cleveland Browns

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TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury will miss Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns after testing positive for COVID-19, the team announced Friday night.

Quarterbacks coach Cam Turner and defensive tackle Zach Allen also will miss the game because of positive tests.

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers will share the head-coaching responsibilities Sunday.

The team hadn’t been notified as of Friday night who will call the plays in place of Kingsbury.

The Cardinals are 100% vaccinated, Kingsbury had previously said, but the team has been dealing with virus-related issues this week.

It put outside linebacker Chandler Jones on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and he has yet to come off it, putting his status for Sunday’s game in doubt.

When discussing Jones’ positive test and how COVID-19 is affecting the Cardinals in 2021, Kingsbury said then: “It’s just the way it goes. We’ve been fully vaccinated now for a while.”

NFC West leader Arizona is the NFL’s lone undefeated team at 5-0.

Joseph has previous head-coaching experience, having led the Denver Broncos in 2017 and ’18.

Kingsbury, meanwhile, isn’t the first head coach to miss a game because of COVID-19.

Last season, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski missed a wild card playoff game because of a positive test. Darrell Bevell also missed a game last season as the Detroit Lions‘ interim coach because he was considered a close contact through COVID-19 protocols. Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel tested positive for COVID-19 during training camp this year, and former Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson tested positive in training camp last year.

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Washington’s Logan Thomas feared to have suffered torn ACL, MCL in win over Las Vegas Raiders, sources say

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LAS VEGAS — The Washington Football Team‘s four-game win streak was muted by more bad injury news: tight end Logan Thomas‘ season could be over.

Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Sunday night that the team fears that Thomas suffered a torn ACL and MCL late in its 17-15 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Thomas will undergo more tests Monday after Washington returns home.

Losing Thomas would be a big blow to Washington, which is now 6-6 and two games behind first-place Dallas in the NFC East. The WFT currently holds the sixth playoff spot in the NFC with five games remaining.

Thomas was hurt with 10 minutes remaining in the game when he pulled to the left side and was hit low in the left knee by Las Vegas defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. Thomas left on his own power. Washington coach Ron Rivera said in his postgame news conference that he did not see the play.

Thomas was Washington’s top red zone target and its most productive tight end in that area over the last two years. He entered Sunday leading all tight ends with 144 yards receiving in the red zone over the past two seasons — even with missing six games this season with a hamstring injury.

On Sunday, he showed his worth in that area when he made a leaping one-handed grab in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown catch. He caught three passes for 48 yards. In six games this season, Thomas caught 14 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns.

Washington signed Thomas to a three-year contract extension worth up to $24.05 million in August. That came after his breakout 2020 season when he caught 72 passes for 670 yards and six touchdowns. He established himself as a pivotal piece to Washington’s offense.

Without Thomas, Washington will have to rely on Ricky Seals-Jones, who has missed the past three games with a hip injury. But he was able to return to practice last week, albeit in a limited fashion. He was inactive Sunday because of the injury. The WFT also have rookie John Bates and Sammis Reyes.

In the five games Seals-Jones played after Thomas was hurt, he caught a combined 20 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown. For the season, he has 23 catches for 230 yards and two scores. Bates is primarily a blocker, but he’s caught nine passes for 74 yards this season.

Washington has been banged up lately, yet continues to win. Sunday, it played without running back J.D. McKissic (concussion) and safety/linebacker Landon Collins (foot). Defensive end Chase Young is out for the year with a torn ACL and fellow end Montez Sweat has not played during the four-game streak because of a jaw injury. The team started its fourth center, Keith Ismael, on Sunday.

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Houston Texans coach David Culley says Tyrod Taylor as starting QB to be evaluated

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HOUSTON — After the Texans‘ 31-0 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, head coach David Culley said Tyrod Taylor isn’t necessarily the team’s starting quarterback when healthy.

“When you don’t score any points during a game, you evaluate everything,” Culley said.

Culley’s admission is a departure from the stance he has taken all season, including less than a week ago when he said Taylor was the team’s starter and rookie quarterback Davis Mills would only play “if something happens to Tyrod [Taylor].”

In the third quarter on Sunday, Taylor went to the blue medical tent. On the Texans’ next offensive drive he was replaced by Mills. Mills finished the game, completing 6 of 14 passes for 49 yards.

After the game, Culley said Taylor hyperextended his wrist, but a team spokesperson said Taylor was healthy enough to return to the game. The Texans did not make an announcement with an injury update during the game, but trainers were seen looking at Taylor’s left wrist.

“He probably could have came back into the game if we needed him to, but I don’t know how effective he would have been in throwing the football,” Culley said.

Before Taylor was replaced by Mills, he completed 5 of 13 passes for 45 yards. The Texans, who were shut out for the second time this season, fell to 2-10.

Taylor played the first 1 1/2 games of the season for the Texans before injuring his left hamstring against the Cleveland Browns. He was replaced by Mills, who went 0-6 in his six starts while Taylor was on injured reserve.

This season, Taylor has completed 60.7% of his passes for 966 yards, with five touchdowns and five interceptions.

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Las Vegas Raiders running back Kenyan Drake’s right ankle injury ‘a little bit of an issue’

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LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas Raiders running back Kenyan Drake was carted off the Allegiant Stadium field with a right ankle injury midway through the second quarter of a 17-15 loss Sunday to the Washington Football Team.

Drake, who joined the Raiders this offseason after signing a two-year contract worth up to $14.5 million with $11 million guaranteed, was tackled awkwardly as he was pulled down by Daniel Wise from behind while being hit from the front by Deshazor Everett and Jamin Davis.

The Raiders were down to two running backs in starter Josh Jacobs and Peyton Barber, as Jalen Richard was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier in the day. Drake was officially ruled out at halftime.

Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia said, after the loss, that Drake’s injury is “a little bit of an issue” and would have an update on Monday. And Jacobs said Drake told him, “It’s broke,” before the trainers arrived on the field.

“I know he’s had significant injuries in the past,” said Jacobs, who was a bit choked up. “So, I’m just praying for him right now and praying for his family. His whole family was here at the game.”

Drake, 27, has rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns on 63 carries and caught 29 passes for 283 yards and a score as a change-of-pace back, often spelling Jacobs. He also has returned 10 kickoffs for 192 yards.

The Raiders’ rushing attack clearly suffered without Drake. They ran for just 76 yards in the loss, on 16 carries, and even though it was a tight game throughout, Las Vegas relied on its passing attack.

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