Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson is trending towards playing in Sunday’s tilt versus the Cincinnati Bengals. Nelson practiced in full on Wednesday and said afterward he expects to play after missing most of last week’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons with a quad injury: “Today it feels a lot better than what it did on Sunday night, so everything is headed in the right direction. My expectations are to play, but you don’t know what can happen between now and then. That was my expectation when I came in here Monday morning as well.” The news from Nelson is a pleasant surprise after it was reported earlier in the week that he could be a coin flip decision for Week 3.
When Malcolm Butler didn’t start against the Saints on Sunday, it wasn’t something he was told ahead of time. It did surprise some of his teammates, though, during that week’s walkthrough when he wasn’t working with the starters. Butler sounded like a player who was set on earning a place back in the Patriots starting lineup: “I haven’t been performing at the level that I should be performing at. I gotta do whatever I gotta do to help the team. Whatever role that I get, I got a job to do so I gotta do it. Just gotta keep grinding, keep working hard.”
Butler found himself working in behind Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe in New Orleans as the team’s No. 3 corner. Asked if he was frustrated — he’s making $3.91 million this year and is scheduled to hit free agency after the season. He acknowledged that those types of feelings have crept in at times: “I kind of thought about it like that, but I can’t worry about anything but what’s happening right now. Complaining or feeling sorry for myself is not going to make me perform better. I just gotta keep rolling. I’m gonna get it rolling. That’s what I’m going to do.”
In the last year of his deal, and with a highly-paid corner on the roster for the foreseeable future, Butler’s name is a logical one to be tossed around as a candidate to be traded, but he said he tries not to pay attention to that speculation. Butler added: “As much as I can I try not to,” he said. “This is where I play. This is where I’m happy at. I just gotta continue doing my thing.”
Still without a long-term deal, Butler explained he has felt sorry for himself at times, but he’s done what he can, he said, to push those thoughts aside.
Ezekiel Elliott heard LaDainian Tomlinson’s criticism, and the Cowboys star running back didn’t dispute he showed a “lack of effort” on Chris Harris‘ interception.
Elliott defended himself: “I guess you could say it looked like that. I would say I was just very frustrated, but that’s no excuse for the lack of effort I showed on tape. I just can’t do that. Being one of the leaders on the team and being a guy that people count on, I can’t put that type of stuff on film.” Elliott said the Cowboys addressed the issue “in-house.” After the Cowboys’ loss to the Broncos on Sunday, Tomlinson said on NFL Network that Elliott “absolutely quit on his team today.” The Hall of Fame running back, who lives in the Dallas area, pointed to Elliott’s lack of communication with his teammates on the sideline, as he sulked on the bench.
The second-year running back had a career-low nine carries for a career-low 8 yards, outgained by quarterback Dak Prescott. Elliott, though, mostly has taken heat for failing to chase Harris after the interception. He instead pulled up, put his hands on his hips and walked off the field. “Just bad effort,” Elliott said. Elliott insists the play and the game were out of character.