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Carolina Panthers LB Haason Reddick calls out New England Patriots’ Mac Jones for ‘dirty’ play

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers edge rusher Haason Reddick called the first-quarter no-call in which New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones held Brian Burns‘ right ankle as the outside linebacker twisted to get away after a strip sack “egregious” and “completely dirty.”

Burns returned after spending time in the sideline medical tent, but in the fourth quarter, he had to again be helped off the field with an injury to the same ankle. Whether the two were related was not immediately known.

“Definitely thought it was a dirty play,” Reddick said. “I actually saw and witnessed the play while it was happening. At first it felt like he was trying trip or kick Burns. And the next thing you know I saw him tugging on Burns’ ankle. I thought it was completely dirty. Hopefully, it’s something the league addresses.”

Referee Clete Blakeman said it was a “subjective call” and something the league would have to deal with in its evaluation of the game crew as to whether the officials should have called something.

But in general, Blakeman said: “Holding is holding, on any play and throughout the entire game.”

Carolina coach Matt Rhule said “a foul should have been called,” whether it was a personal foul or holding.

“I don’t want to call out any of their players or anything like that,” said Rhule, who said earlier in the week he loved Jones, a player his staff coached in the Senior Bowl. “I’m always gonna protect our guys, and it looked like it was an injury that happened after the play.”

The replay showed Jones holding Burns’ right ankle after the fumble and continuing to hold it as Burns twisted to get away and chase the loose ball. Burns lay on the field while trainers evaluated the injury before helping him to the sideline the first time.

“It seems they always are protecting the offensive players,” Reddick said. “There’s the protection for the protection for the defensive players as well.

“That was a call that shouldn’t be missed. I’m going to speak out on it, whatever the consequences are. It looked completely intentional from where I was standing, and I was pretty close. I don’t think that was a call that should have been missed.”

Reddick said he talked to Burns after the 24-6 loss and said the former Florida State star “will be fine.”

But Reddick continued to criticize Jones, who was not asked about the play during his postgame news conference.

“I understand everybody is out there competing,” he said. “I understand everybody wants to win. I don’t think there is no room for that inside of the game. Everybody needs to be respectful, right? Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt.

“For no penalty, nothing to be thrown, it’s egregious, I think it’s unfair. I really do hope the league addresses it.”

Jones was not asked about the play after the game.

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Sean McVay expects bigger roles for Odell Beckham Jr., Von Miller when Rams play Packers on Sunday

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Coach Sean McVay expects wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and outside linebacker Von Miller to have increased roles when the Los Angeles Rams play the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

“A lot more, hopefully,” McVay said Friday when asked if he expected to get more out of the veteran duo in their second appearance since joining the Rams, who are 7-3 and coming off a bye.

The Rams will need an all-hands approach against Aaron Rodgers and the 8-3 Packers at Lambeau Field as they attempt to end a two-game losing streak.

Beckham agreed to a one-year, $1.25 million contract with the Rams four days before he suited and played 15 of 55 snaps in a Week 10, 31-10, loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The eighth-year pro caught 2 passes for 18 yards and was targeted on a third pass, but the deep throw from quarterback Matthew Stafford was intercepted as Beckham apparently broke off the route.

“Odell [is] just getting more familiar,” McVay said. “I mean for him to be able to even play in the game against the Niners is an incredible credit to him.”

The Rams did not practice Thursday because of high winds at their training facility but instead held a walk-through. McVay noted that more physical reps were added to Friday’s schedule to atone for the change and said that the additional walk-through could help Beckham.

“It helps because he’s getting up to speed mentally,” McVay said. “You don’t take for granted how important those physical reps and the rapport that he and Matthew are continuing to develop is and so because we’ll do a little bit more reps today, we’ll end up getting about the same amount that we would in a normal week, so it will be a good thing, but he’s done great.”

Beckham, who has been held under 30 receiving yards in five of his last six games played, said he spent the bye week concentrating on the playbook and his physical fitness, which was affected due to a lack of routine after his last game with the Cleveland Browns on October 31.

“I’ve definitely felt like I haven’t been in that flow that I would’ve normally stayed in with a regular schedule,” Beckham said. “So just trying to get back into that and find my way back to where I know I can be.”

Stafford said he’s been impressed by what Beckham has been able to grasp in his short time with the team.

“Nine times out of 10, he breaks the huddle with a whole bunch of confidence, knowing what he’s about to do, which is awesome for me as a quarterback to be able to just kind of do my job,” Stafford said.

Miller, who was acquired in a blockbuster deal with the Denver Broncos ahead of the trade deadline earlier this month, was inactive in his first game in Los Angeles as he continued to recover from an ankle sprain, so the three-time All-Pro also made his debut ahead of the bye against the 49ers.

Miller played 45 of 68 snaps and recorded two tackles, including one for a loss.

“Von did a good job, played a lot of snaps,” McVay said. “I think he’ll be that much more healthy, that much more fresh coming off the bye and giving his ankle another handful of days to continue to make progress and steps in the right direction without having any setbacks over these last couple of weeks.”

With the Rams’ bye coinciding with the Broncos, Miller said it came right on time,

“I’m feeling pretty good, feel a little bit more comfortable with the playbook, ankle is a whole lot healthier,” Miller said. “So the bye week was great.”

When asked to clarify how well his ankle, which he sprained in Week 7, felt, Miller said it was something he did not even think about.

“It’s a non-factor,” Miller said about the injury. “What we did was perfect by waiting one week, playing a week and then having a bye week after. Just kind of cleaned up some stuff, so it’s really a non-factor and I really don’t think about it.”

In eight games this season, Miller has 4.5 sacks.

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Minnesota Vikings’ Everson Griffen goes on non-football illness list

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EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings have placed defensive end Everson Griffen on the reserve/non-football illness list, the team announced Friday.

Griffen, 33, was transported to a mental health facility Wednesday after he refused to come out of his home following a disturbing series of posts he made on Instagram, including one in which he held a gun and said people were trying to kill him. Griffen called 911 shortly after 3 a.m. local time Wednesday and said someone was inside his home and that he needed help from the police. He told the 911 dispatcher that he fired a weapon but that nobody was injured.

Local law enforcement and Vikings team psychologists were on site and in communication with Griffen beginning around 7 a.m. Wednesday before the defensive end finally came out of his residence without incident around 1:30 p.m.

Griffen’s wife and three children were not inside their Minnetrista, Minnesota, home at the time of the incident.

Coach Mike Zimmer did not provide any update on Griffen’s condition Friday afternoon, shortly before the team placed him on the NFI list.

“You know, I don’t know,” Zimmer said. “I don’t have much of an update on him. You know, we’ve been so busy with everything.”

Griffen was officially ruled out of Minnesota’s Week 12 game at San Francisco on Friday. His absence is considered indefinite in nature.

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Dallas Cowboys consider sitting Ezekiel Elliott to heal injured knee, source says

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The Dallas Cowboys will consider providing running back Ezekiel Elliott some time off to heal from the knee injury he has been managing, including the possibility of holding him out of next Thursday night’s game in New Orleans, a source told ESPN.

The source does not believe that placing Elliott on injured reserve is a consideration at this time.

Elliott has consistently downplayed the significance of his injury. Asked last week whether he had discussed with the coaches taking time off, Elliott said it wasn’t necessary.

“It’s football,” he said. “You get hurt. You aren’t going to be 100%. I’m tough. Play through it.”

However, in a conference call Friday, coach Mike McCarthy admitted concern about Elliott.

“It’s that time of year, McCarthy said. “Zeke’s running style is ferocious. He gives a pounding, and he takes some hits. We need to evaluate that, and this week we’ll see what the preparation looks like for him.”

The Cowboys have lost three of their past four games, and Elliott’s rushing total has declined each of the past four weeks — from 51 to 41 to 32 to 25 yards against the Las Vegas Raiders.

After Thursday’s 36-33 overtime loss to the Raiders, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Elliott has limitations and that the coaches went into the game seeking to establish the running game and planning 25 touches for Tony Pollard.

The Cowboys were averaging 152 rushing yards per game and nearly 5 yards per attempt through Week 8. That’s down to 84.5 yards per game and 3.8 yards per rush over the past four contests.

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