Joe Flacco acknowledged after Sunday's win over Minnesota that having Dennis Pitta back "means a lot" for Baltimore's passing attack.
Flacco has completed 75 percent of his red-zone passes to Pitta the past two seasons. He's at 44.6 percent to all other Ravens. "Obviously, he’s going to get better and better as the weeks go on," Flacco said. "He’s a huge player for us. He knows how to get open, he knows how to run routes, and he catches the football. He means a lot." Pitta will be a TE1 in Week 15 at Detroit.
The Washington Post reports owner Dan Snyder is exploring firing Mike Shanahan "with cause," which would take the Redskins off the hook for what's left on Shanahan's contract.
"Several people with knowledge" of the situation tell the Post it's "likely" Shanahan will be dismissed, whether it's "with cause" or without. Shanahan's contract runs through 2014 and would pay him $7 million in the entirely-unlikely event he were retained. Snyder is considering attempting to take himself off the hook for that money; coaches' contracts in the NFL are guaranteed. If Snyder indeed pursues firing Shanahan "with cause," the Redskins could contend an ESPN report that surfaced Sunday was leaked by Shanahan. The report stated that Shanahan cleaned out his office and nearly walked out on the Redskins last January, only to change his mind after Robert Griffin III's knee injury. Shanahan and Snyder are not on good terms, and haven't been for longer than a year.
Rob Gronkowski suffered a concussion along with his right ACL and MCL tears on the T.J. Ward hit in Sunday's Week 14 win over Cleveland.
Gronk banged his head on the turf at the end of the awkward injury. A source tells Profootballtalk that Gronk's concussion is considered "slight," but it's still something to file away. Gronkowski is headed to injured reserve.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Panthers believe Jonathan Stewart tore his MCL in Sunday's Week 14 loss to New Orleans.
The ligament tear would likely end Stewart's season, assuming it's confirmed via Monday's MRI. The Panthers played the Saints on Sunday Night Football, so confirmation probably can't be expected until tonight at the soonest. Stewart has rushed 48 times for 180 yards (3.8 YPC) and no touchdowns this season as a committee backfield partner with DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert.
Christian Ponder (concussion) has been cleared for Week 15.
The Vikings face Philadelphia next. Ponder is medically cleared, but whether he'll start remains to be seen. Backup Matt Cassel played well enough Sunday against Baltimore to keep Minnesota in the game late. The Vikings continue to let Josh Freeman rot as a healthy inactive third-stringer.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier revealed Toby Gerhart "tweaked" his hamstring toward the end of Sunday's Week 14 loss to Baltimore.
The extent of Gerhart's injury is unknown. With Adrian Peterson (mid-foot sprain) almost certainly out for Week 15, next up on Minnesota's tailback depth chart is FB/HB Matt Asiata. Asiata has three career carries for nine yards.
Coach Leslie Frazier told reporters Monday that Adrian Peterson (mid-foot sprain) is "still being examined."
ESPN's Adam Schefter guessed on SportsCenter early Monday that Peterson's season is over, but Frazier hasn't given up hope just yet. We may not have another substantive update on Peterson's status until the Vikings resume practicing Wednesday. Owners shouldn't expect him to play in Week 15.
Dolphins OC Mike Sherman acknowledged the team didn't even envision Daniel Thomas (ankle) playing in Week 14 as of last Wednesday.
Thomas went on to rush 16 times for 105 yards and a touchdown in one of the best games of his wholly underwhelming, three-year career. "It was a possibility he might not be able to come back [this season]," said Sherman. "On Wednesday, we never envisioned him even playing this week. It’s a credit to our training staff and to him." With Lamar Miller now facing concussion testing, Thomas has a chance to be a feature back in Week 14 versus New England.