Texans linebacker Mario Williams is out for the season after tearing a pectoral muscle in Sunday’s 25-20 loss to Oakland.
Coach Gary Kubiak said Williams will go on injured reserve and undergo surgery in the next week.
Williams appeared to be hurt while sacking Jason Campbell with about five minutes left in the first quarter. He walked to the locker room on his own, and was on the sideline in the second half wearing a T-shirt and shorts.
Williams, the top overall pick in the 2006 draft, moved from defensive end to outside linebacker this season in new coordinator Wade Phillips’s 3-4 alignment. He was growing more comfortable with the role each week, and had five sacks and a forced fumble before the injury.
“I feel so bad for Mario, because he’s such a heck of a player,’’ Kubiak said yesterday. “He had really taken to the position he’s playing. He was improving every day in practice, improving in every game. I’d never seen him so upbeat about what was going on.’’
Rookie Brooks Reed, a second-round draft pick, will move into Williams’s spot in the starting lineup.
Williams isn’t the only injury concern for the Texans (3-2).
Quarterback Matt Schaub has a sore throwing shoulder and a thigh bruise, and fullback James Casey left Sunday’s game with a strained pectoral muscle. Kubiak said both players are “day to day.’’ Right guard Mike Brisiel left Sunday’s game with injuries to his ankle and knee, and Kubiak said he will be reevaluated tomorrow.
The Texans were already playing without star receiver Andre Johnson, who injured his right hamstring in last week’s win over Pittsburgh. Kubiak didn’t say if Johnson would be ready for Sunday’s game against the Ravens.
Jets stay confident Rex Ryan and the Jets are saying all the right things, at least publicly, and using all the clichés in the book to try to convince everyone that their team is not on the verge of falling apart.
“This team is not going to [break] just because we’re 2-3 right now,’’ Ryan said. “That’s when you get stronger. That’s when you come in together and you build character. This is a resilient bunch. I’m telling you, we’ll see. I believe in this football team.’’
That might be because the Jets have been in this position before. In fact, New York has gone through difficult stretches in each of Ryan’s first two seasons only to rebound and make it to the AFC Championship game both times.
Following another poor performance by quarterback Mark Sanchez and the offense in a 30-21 loss at the Patriots Sunday, Ryan reiterated his support of coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, saying he feels “great’’ about him.
But many are wondering if the Jets’ locker room is one more loss away from being an extremely uncomfortable place.
“Our confidence isn’t down. We’re still very confident in our abilities,’’ tight end Dustin Keller insisted. “We’re going to get it right . . . We’ve been in a spot like this before and turned it around.’’
Eagles standing pat The Eagles are 1-4 and their Super Bowl expectations have been reduced to a mere fantasy. Yet coach Andy Reid sees reasons to be encouraged.
“I thought the effort was good,’’ Reid said of Sunday’s 31-24 loss at Buffalo. “I thought as the game went on we continued to get better in most phases of the game. There are some good things we can take out of this game.’’
Reid, in his 13th season with Philadelphia, insisted that he’s not going to make drastic changes, meaning he’ll stick with his coaches and the same schemes. If the Eagles don’t find a way to improve and make the playoffs, it could end up costing Reid his job.
“In the National Football League, your job is on the line every week,’’ Reid said.
The offense has 14 turnovers during Philadelphia’s first four-game losing streak since 2005. The Eagles are at NFC East-leading Washington (3-1) next Sunday, and Reid said it’ll be “a stretch’’ for defensive end Trent Cole (calf) and left tackle Jason Peters (hamstring) to play.
Bad news Browns Browns defensive end Marcus Benard broke his hand yesterday in a motorcycle accident shortly after leaving the team’s first practice following its bye week. Coach Pat Shurmur said Benard is in stable condition and will be transferred to the Cleveland Clinic for further tests and evaluation. Benard will likely miss significant time and may have to go on injured reserve . . . The Browns practiced without top cornerback Joe Haden and center Alex Mack. Haden sprained his left knee against Tennessee Oct. 2, and Mack had an appendectomy last week. It’s not known how long either will be sidelined . . . Running back Peyton Hillis is beginning to doubt he’ll be with the Browns beyond 2011. Hillis, who rushed for nearly 1,200 yards last season, is making $600,000 in the final year of his contract. “Whenever something’s not set in stone, then I guess anything is possible, which means your career’s not here,’’ he said. “So, yeah, that definitely worries me.’’ Hillis said he wants to stay in Cleveland, and he believes team president Mike Holmgren’s comment that the Browns were “trying like crazy’’ to sign him to an extension. Hillis downplayed being distracted by his uncertain future in Cleveland, but acknowledged he wishes his contract situation could be resolved. “You feel unappreciated because you want to get something done and nothing has gotten done at this point.’’
Morgan has broken leg 49ers wide receiver Joshua Morgan will miss significant time with a broken bone in his lower right leg that requires surgery. Morgan was injured late in San Francisco’s 48-3 victory over Tampa Bay Sunday. “It’s more serious than what I thought after the ballgame,’’ coach Jim Harbaugh said. Harbaugh isn’t counting out Morgan returning late this season or for a potential playoff game . . . Bills receiver Donald Jones will miss 4-6 weeks with a sprained left ankle, and starting defensive tackle Kyle Williams is uncertain for the team’s game Sunday at the Giants with a left ankle injury. Coach Chan Gailey has already ruled out starting left tackle Demetrius Bell (shoulder) and linebacker Chris Kelsay (calf) . . . Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has a “high-grade’’ strained pectoral muscle in his chest and will be rested during Seattle’s bye week. Coach Pete Carroll said there is no timeframe for how long Jackson might be out after sustaining the injury in Sunday’s comeback win at the Giants . . . Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes has a broken bone in his left foot and will be sidelined for several weeks. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the injury is not season-ending but surgery may be required. Rashad Johnson will move into Rhodes’s free safety spot . . . Packers coach Mike McCarthy said veteran left tackle Chad Clifton has a “significant’’ hamstring injury after leaving Sunday night’s victory over the Falcons. McCarthy said it may be “a couple of weeks’’ before the Packers medical staff even has a full picture of how serious the injury is.
Tebow decision today John Fox is going to wait a day to announce his starting quarterback. The Broncos coach gave his players yesterday off and didn’t want to let everyone else know before Tim Tebow or Kyle Orton found out. Tebow replaced Orton and energized the Broncos and their fans before coming up short in a 29-24 loss to San Diego Sunday. Fox insisted he didn’t even know himself who his quarterback will be, choosing to meet with his staff and review the film yesterday. “We have to communicate as a staff, as a building, and go from there,’’ Fox said . . . The Broncos placed starting defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson on injured reserve with an ankle injury and added fullback Quinn Johnson off waivers from Tennessee . . . Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor is now eligible to practice with the team after completing his five-game suspension for violations at Ohio State. Pryor, who was selected in the third round of the supplemental draft, has been attending meetings and doing individual drills . . . Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said he will work out punters today after 43-year-old Matt Turk had punts of 32 and 23 yards Sunday in the second half of Jacksonville’s fourth consecutive loss . . . The Packers, the NFL’s only publicly owned team, are moving toward a new stock sale by the end of the year to raise money that would help pay for $130 million in renovations at historic Lambeau Field. Each share would likely cost about $200 and include voting rights, though the value wouldn’t appreciate and there would be no dividends. Stockholders would be able to attend annual meetings at Lambeau, and they’d enjoy such perks as tours of the playing field and locker rooms. The Packers plan to add thousands of seats and other stadium amenities in time for the 2013 season. Green Bay last sold stock in 1997. There are currently 112,205 shareholders who own a total of 4.75 million shares.