Jake Locker might wind up on short-term IR

Titans quarterback Jake Locker is “likely” headed to the injured reserve-designated to return list after injuring his right hip Sunday, according to a report from NFL.com.

Locker sustained the injury during Tennessee's 38-13 win over the New York Jets.

It's unknown how long Locker will be out, though a short-term IR placement will put the quarterback out until at least December.

The Titans, at 3-1, will now turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead the offense while Locker is out. Fitzpatrick did throw a deep touchdown to Nate Washington during Sunday's win.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

Browns tab Brian Hoyer starting QB for Thursday's game

Brian Hoyer will remain the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback this Thursday against the Bills, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Hoyer is now 2-0 as a starter in Cleveland. The Browns defeated the Bengals 17-6 with Hoyer throwing for two touchdowns on 25-38 passing for 269 yards.

One of Hoyer's favorite targets has become tight end Jordan Cameron, who caught a touchdown against the Bengals. Hoyer has 590 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions in two games.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

After further review: Week 5

Week 5 of the 2013 college football season is in the books, so let’s take a look back at some of the highlights from the fifth weekend of the season.

LSU and Georgia stole the show on Saturday, but there were plenty of other storylines playing out across the country. Here are my biggest takeways from the weekend's action.

• Lane Kiffin was given his pink slip at USC following the team's 62-41 blowout loss at Arizona State on Saturday night. Athletic director Pat Haden relieved Kiffin of his duties after the team arrived back in Los Angeles early Sunday morning after the loss in Tempe, which was the team's seventh defeat in its last 11 games going back to last year. The Trojans, sitting at 0-2 in the Pac-12, will be run by assistant Ed Orgeron for the rest of the season. Kiffin, meanwhile, finished his four-year stint at USC with a 28-15 mark. There's no question that the environment in Los Angeles was too toxic for Kiffin to overcome. However, that environment was predominantly created by him. NCAA sanctions and injuries plagued the Trojans, causing a lack of depth that would be difficult for a lot of coaches to overcome. The impact of those sanctions has, in my opinion, been underestimated. But for whatever reason, Kiffin had lost his team. And once that happens, rarely if ever can a coach reclaim his team's trust. Moving forward, Haden will have plenty of time to find the right leader for a program that continues to work through tough sanctions. Perhaps the biggest indictment of Kiffin's tenure was a rather high level of giddiness among recruits after the firing, and there's no question that the Trojans were struggling to compile a strong Class of 2014. While the new head coach will inherit some scholarship sanctions, this is still a top job. The team has its beautiful McKay Center as well as a fertile recruiting backyard. Names such as Jack Del Rio, Chris Petersen, Steve Sarkisian and James Franklin will continue to get tossed around, but USC would be smart to go hard after Greg Roman, who is the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator. Roman was integral to Stanford's success when Jim Harbaugh was in Palo Alto. However, he doesn't have the head-coaching experience.

Aaron MurrayUS PRESSWIREAaron Murray has thrown eight TDs and just one INT in his last two games against Top 10 teams.

• When a game turns into a shootout with pretty evenly matched teams such as the showdown in Athens on Saturday between LSU and Georgia, numbers don't usually tell the whole story. We saw two very good offenses take advantage of two talented yet still young and inexperienced defenses. Two very good signal-callers seemingly trying to will their teams to victory. In the end, it was the pressure that 'Dawgs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham dialed up on Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger that made the difference. I was a little surprised that Tigers DC John Chavis did not have his unit attack Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray more often. Murray, by the way, has thrown eight touchdowns and just one interception in his last two games against Top 10 teams.

• Notre Dame is finally missing Everett Golson. All three of the interceptions that Tommy Rees threw on Saturday led to Oklahoma touchdowns, although the first pick was off of a bust on the offensive line and the second was a tipped ball off the hands of TJ Jones in good coverage. The third one, however, was a badly forced ball on an Under route when the Irish were driving. Rees sometimes struggles to get off of his first read, and that was a problem on the last pick. He played well last season, but that was primarily in shorter spurts in relief of Golson. The last two weeks we have seen aggressive man-to-man defenses give ND problems in the passing game. One thing is certain about this Irish offense: they need to be dedicated to the run. George Atkinson III and Amir Carlisle just have too much speed to not get the football more, and we saw Atkinson's blinding speed on his 80-yard touchdown run. They are well-suited for a downhill attack because they have good size, and Carlisle plays bigger than his frame. Meanwhile, I was so impressed with how improved the Oklahoma front has been this year, as the 3-3 front is playing speedy and very active. It was the biggest question mark for the Sooners, and they have answered their critics thus far. Mechanically, though, I still have concerns about Blake Bell in the passing game. He has the arm to keep defenses honest, but his footwork is often poor, which affects his accuracy.

Other thoughts

• I am still amazed by the performance of West Virginia this past weekend. Head coach Dana Holgorsen completely shuffled his two-deep before the team's game against Oklahoma State, and in turn he received an inspired effort from his Mountaineers coming off of the previous week's shutout loss to Maryland. The 'Neers actually played defense and held the Cowboys in check, as quarterback J.W. Walsh had 27 incompletions and threw two interceptions. The game wasn't pretty. But this was the kind of gutsy effort that WVU fans should be proud of after the embarassment from the previous week.

• Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby didn't exactly help his NFL Draft stock on Saturday night in Columbus, as he was schooled by Wisconsin receiver Jared Abbrederis, who had 10 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown. I was impressed, however, with the play of the Buckeyes' front seven against the Badgers' prolific ground attack.

• East Carolina is going to be a nice addition to the American Athletic Conference next year. Ruffin McNeill is one of the better head coaches not often mentioned in the discussion, but his Pirates pounded a North Carolina team that many thought was an ACC sleeper. The 55-31 victory featured ECU recording 603 yards of offense, led by quarterback Shane Carden (three rushing and three passing scores) and running back Vintavious Cooper (career-high 186 yards).

• Barry J. Sanders, ladies and gentlemen. As Joe Tessitore said on the ESPN broadcast, “Just like dad.”

• Has there been a more impressive defensive performance this season than the one displayed by Virginia Tech last Thursday against Georgia Tech? Bud Foster's unit held Yellow Jackets quarterback Vad Lee to just 7-of-24 passing with two interceptions and a lost fumble. And GT had a mere 129 yards on the ground.

• San Jose State linebacker Keith Smith is a tackling machine. Smith, who leads the nation in tackles per game, had 20 tackles (10 solo) in the team's loss to Utah State on Friday night.

• It's a nice luxury for South Carolina's Steve Spurrier to have a capable backup quarterback in Dylan Thompson, who will take over starting duties with Connor Shaw expected to miss a few weeks after spraining his right shoulder early in the team's 28-25 win over Central Florida on Saturday. But while Thompson saw a lot of time spelling Shaw last year and has appeared in three of four games this year, the Gamecocks' offense is much different without Shaw. They lose his running ability and hard-nosed mentality, and Spurrier seems to lean a bit too much on Thompson's arm.

• N
athan Scheelhaase is fun to watch running the Illinois offense. The quarterback threw for 278 yards and five touchdowns and Illinois used a 29-point second quarter to blow out Miami (OH) 50-14 on Saturday. There is no question that new OC Bill Cubit has done a great job with the veteran signal-caller, but Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox really did a good job of getting Scheelhaase out of his comfort zone a few weeks ago in the contest at Soldier Field. Will the Illini get exposed in Big Ten play?

• Jordan Lynch and NIU continue to roll, as the Huskies dismantled Purdue 55-24 and became the first MAC team to beat two Big Ten foes in the same season. NIU also tied the MAC record for victory margin over a Big Ten school (Toledo beat Minnesota by 31 in 2001). Lynch became the 26th player in FBS history to top 4,000 yards passing and 2,000 rushing in his career, and all eyes are on the Huskies as they try to crash the BCS party for a second year in a row.

Dave Miller, the college football editor and writer for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.

UConn fires Pasqualoni

Connecticut has fired head coach Paul Pasqualoni, as first reported by Desmond Conner of The Hartford Courant.

Associate head coach and offensive line coach George DeLeone has also reportedly been fired as well.

Pasqualoni went 10-18 with the Huskies after taking over for Randy Edsall after the former Huskies head coach took over the Maryland program. Since the team's Fiesta Bowl appearance, the team has been on a downward spiral.

The Huskies went 5-7 in 2011 and 2012, and they currently sit at 0-4, including losses to FCS squad Towson and Buffalo. Not only is UConn struggling to score points, but its defense is a shell of its former self. The 0-4 start is the program's first since 1991, when UConn was in the FCS.

I would expect UConn to bring in a young coach with an exciting offensive style to attract better recruits. In terms of the interim leader, keep an eye on offensive coordinator T.J. Weist or defensive coordinator Hank Hughes.

Pasqualoni is the second head coach to be fired in as many days, as USC let go of Lane Kiffin on Sunday.

Dave Miller, the college football editor and writer for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.

Vince Wilfork reportedly tore his Achilles tendon

New England Patriots veteran nose guard Vince Wilfork's season is over.

Wilfork tore his Achilles and will likely be placed on injured reserve, according to the Boston Globe.

Wilfork is in a walking boot and was injured during a win over the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome.

Rookie defensive tackle Joe Vellano sacked Matt Ryan during the game, but the Patriots will need reinforcements as they try to replace an indispensable defender.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

Source: Tight end Danny Noble working out for Chiefs, Colts

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Danny Noble is working out for the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts, according to a league source.

Noble works out for the Chiefs today and the Colts on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-5, 248-pound Noble made the roster last season as an undrafted rookie free agent from Toledo.

He was cut recently when they signed fullback Spencer Larsen.

Noble played in four games before being placed on injured reserve with a hamstring issue.

During the preseason, Noble caught five passes for 43 yards.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

Source: Sherrod Martin visiting Raiders

Veteran free agent safety Sherrod Martin is visiting the Oakland Raiders today and Tuesday, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation.

He has visited the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs this year.

Martin, 28, is a former Carolina Panthers second-round draft pick from Troy who ended last season on injured reserve with torn right anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments that limited him to a dozen games.

He was selected 59th overall in the 2009 NFL draft.

In four seasons with the Panthers, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder has 199 career tackles, 20 pass deflections, seven interceptions and one forced fumble.

In his first career start against the Arizona Cardinals, Martin intercepted two passes.

He was an All-Sun Belt Conference selection at Troy.

At Troy, the native of Griffin, Ga., had 292 career tackles, nine forced fumbles, nine interceptions, four sacks and three fumble recoveries.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

5 up, 5 down for Sunday

So who does Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano blame now? Better yet, when does the Glazer family, which owns the Buccaneers, come to the realization that Schiano is pretty far in over his head?

On Sunday, the Bucs lost for the ninth time in the past 10 games and dropped to 0-4 on the season. Three of the four losses this season have been by three points or less and this game was especially bitter because the Bucs had a 10-0 lead to open the fourth quarter.

This was even worse because it came amid a week of controversy as former starting quarterback Josh Freeman was not only benched, but was dropped to the No. 3 spot on the depth chart after playing the role of petulant child. Freeman used the mature approach of missing team meetings after being benched.


But as easy as it would be to pile on Freeman after his poor play in the first three games, it's not like the Bucs were much better in switching to rookie Mike Glennon. Glennon had a nice first quarter with a 6-yard touchdown pass. He then went into predictable regression and threw two interceptions the rest of the way, finishing with some very Freeman-esque stats. On top of that, running back Doug Martin had his worst game as a pro, rushing for only 45 yards on 27 carries.

In other words, blame Freeman all you want, but there are overarching problems for the Bucs. That problem starts with Schiano, who has done a completely ineffective job of building a quarterback-friendly offense despite signing wide receiver Vincent Jackson and guard Carl Nicks as free agents and drafting Martin. In truth, Schiano is a guy who wants a game manager, not a game winner at quarterback.

That doesn't work in the NFL of today.

And Schiano won't be around much longer if he doesn't right this ship in a hurry.


1. Cleveland TE Jordan Cameron and CB Joe Haden: Cameron, a 2012 fourth-round pick from USC, has been hot all season. He has been particularly impressive in the past two games since Brian Hoyer took over at quarterback. Cameron has four touchdown receptions the past two games and five for the season. Against Cincinnati, he had 10 catches for 91 yards and even broke up a possible interception to preserve a field goal drive in the second half. Cameron has 30 catches for 360 yards in four games, putting him on pace for 120 catches and 1,440 yards for the season. As for Haden, he was spectacular in coverage all day, doing the primary work in holding Bengals star wide receiver A.J. Green under control.

2. Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh: Say what you will about Suh (in fact, say a lot because he deserves the criticism), but the man can play. On five occasions, Suh completely disrupted what Chicago was trying to do on offense. He simply overpowered rookie guard Kyle Long at times. His sack and forced fumble on Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler in the third quarter led to a touchdown return by fellow defensive tackle Nick Fairley that sealed the victory. Simply put, Suh was everything the Lions have ever wanted as they moved into a tie for first place.

Russell WilsonRussell Wilson and the undefeated Seahawks are flying high after Sunday's win.

3. Seattle: The Seahawks improved to 4-0 for the first time in team history with an overtime comeback win at Houston. Seattle was down 20-6 going into the fourth quarter and was obviously struggling on offense because of the loss of three starting offensive linemen. However, quarterback Russell Wilson led one TD drive and star cornerback Richard Sherman came up with a 58-yard interception return against Texans quarterback Matt Schaub to force overtime.

4. Denver wide receiver Wes Welker: Despite all his great numbers over the years (he has had more than 100 catches in five of the past six seasons), Welker has never been great at getting in the end zone. His career-high is nine TD catches in 2011. Through four games, Welker has six touchdown receptions. The really remarkable thing is how open Welker has been inside the red zone this season. He is getting clean looks on a constant basis.

5. The Buffalo defense: The revitalized Bills defense was spectacular against Baltimore and $20 million-a-year quarterback Joe Flacco. Buffalo sacked Flacco four times, hit him 12 times and intercepted him five times. The result was that the Bills eked out their second win of the season.


1. Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder: One of the great mysteries of this season is how Ponder (two TD passes, five interceptions) has been unable to play better considering he has running back Adrian Peterson behind him. Injury forced Ponder to the bench this week, but the more efficient play of Matt Cassel may keep him there. Cassel wasn't great, but he got the ball out quickly and let the receivers do the rest. The best example was the 70-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, 65 of which came after the catch. With Peterson getting 140 yards rushing, Cassel averaged 9.9 yards per attempt and finished with two touchdown passes in Minnesota's win over Pittsburgh.

Matt SchaubICONSchaub threw a costly fourth quarter pick in Sunday's loss to Seattle.

2. Houston quarterback Matt Schaub: There are moments when Schaub looks really good. Those times are when the play runs pretty much the way it was drawn up and Schaub doesn't have to improvise at all. When Schaub has to improvise, things get ugly in a hurry. That's what happened in the second half as the Texans dropped a game they should have won against Seattle.

3. Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler: We'll stay on the quarterback run with Cutler, who had one of those days that starts bad and just gets worse. Cutler finished with four turnovers, including a fumble that was returned for the clinching score in the third quarter. One thing to watch with Cutler is that he's a weather-vane player. If the wind is blowing bad, he continues to point that direction.

4. New York Jets defense: Sure, the real problem for the Jets was that quarterback Geno Smith had his first truly atrocious day with three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble) in the first half. That gave Tennessee a short field on two occasions. However, when any defense makes Jake Locker look like a precision passer (18 of his first 24 for 149 yards and three scores before leaving with an injury), you know there's a problem. Rex Ryan's defense is decidedly short on coverage and is banged up as well.

5. Pittsburgh offensive line: While Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has always taken more than his fair share of punishment, this could end up the worst season of his career. That's a big reason why the Steelers are now 0-4. He was sacked five times by Minnesota on Sunday and has been sacked 15 times overall. That puts Pittsburgh on pace to allow 60 sacks, the most ever since Roethlisberger was drafted in 2004. While the season-ending injury to center Maurkice Pouncey was a big blow, the play at offensive tackle has been far worse.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonPhilCole