Bucs RB Blount Ruled Out of Bears Game in London

BAGSHOT, England (AP) — Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris says running back LaGarette Blount will not play against the Chicago Bears in London on Sunday.

Morris ruled out Blount again after he missed practice all week in London.

Blount took a hit on his left knee in a Week 5 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and missed the win over the New Orleans Saints.

Morris says center Jeff Faine was doubtful after missing practice this week with an arm injury. Wide receiver Sammie Stroughter will be a game-time decision.

The Bucs and Bears play at Wembley Stadium in the fifth straight annual overseas game in the British capital.

Jets’ Ryan Is Not as Sure Sanchez Will Start in Chicago

On Wednesday, Ryan labeled Sanchez’s chances of playing as a near certainty, a full 99 percent. One day later, with a more accurate report from team doctors, Ryan amended that estimation to somewhere from 80 to 90 percent and said that Sanchez could be a game-time decision, depending on what happens the rest of the week.

“I still think he’s going to play,” Ryan insisted.

That said, while Sanchez took more repetitions Thursday than he did Wednesday, Ryan said he did not see the necessary zip on passes delivered by his franchise quarterback. Later, the offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer played down that notion, saying Ryan probably noticed those soft tosses early in practice, before Sanchez was fully warm.

Ryan lauded Sanchez’s toughness and his will to play hurt, but added that he would make the final decision on whether Sanchez would play, with input from the team doctors. The Jets could make that determination as early as Friday.

The doctors told Ryan that he misspoke Wednesday, after he stated that Sanchez would have played had the game been held that night (he would not have). The exact nature of the shoulder injury remained murky.

A person with direct knowledge of it said that Sanchez sustained a slight tear in his cartilage against Pittsburgh.

Ryan, though, continued to cling to his description of Sanchez’s “sore shoulder,” saying that team doctors described the injury that way to him.

The Jets need to win only one of their final two games to clinch a wild-card playoff berth, and with the A.F.C. East division crown headed to New England barring a collapse, it would seem tempting to rest Sanchez for the postseason. But Ryan said Sanchez would start if healthy.

If not, the backup will start instead. Brunell last started a meaningful game in 2006, but Ryan expressed a high level of confidence in him Wednesday. Brunell, faced with an atypical scrum of reporters around his locker, said: “Everyone knows the situation. Fortunately, we’ve got a very good football team.”

STATE OF THE JETS Earlier Thursday afternoon, the owner Woody Johnson met with reporters at the Jets’ facility. He declined to discuss the team’s latest, strangest potential distraction — Rex Ryan faced a barrage of questions Wednesday about posted on the Internet of a woman who looked like his wife — calling it a personal issue.

Johnson did, however, disagree with the notion that the Jets have made an “inordinate” amount of national news this season. This despite at least 10 incidents of varying degrees.

“I disagree with the word inordinate,” Johnson said, insisting that all sports teams faced similar levels. He added: “I think we’re pretty good at addressing each one of these incidents that we’ve had this year. I hope we don’t have quite as many going forward.”

Johnson expressed full support for Ryan, but he sounded a different theme in regard to the controversy surrounding the suspended strength coach Sal Alosi, who two games ago tripped a Miami on a punt return and failed to disclose that he also had instructed inactive players to form a sideline wall on punts. Johnson said he called the Dolphins’ owner, Stephen Ross, to apologize.

Johnson said he also called , the owner in New England, with apologies, after the Jets’ special-teams coordinator, Mike Westhoff, said the Patriots engaged in similar sideline-wall shenanigans. Westhoff, who also met with reporters Thursday, said he never accused anyone of anything.

Alosi has been suspended indefinitely, but Johnson did not place a timetable on when the Jets would deliver Alosi’s final punishment. Westhoff described the ’s investigation as thorough.

Johnson also disagreed with the idea that Ryan had created an anything-goes atmosphere with the Jets.

“I don’t think it’s loosey-goosey,” Johnson said. “And I don’t think we lack discipline. You can’t win the number of games we’ve won with a loosey-goosey anything. I mean, we’re very disciplined. The perception is that he smiles, whatever, and that maybe gets confused for a lack of whatever. But I don’t look at it that way.”


Mike Westhoff, a special-teams coach for three decades, had high praise for the Bears’ return man, Devin Hester, who recorded his 14th career return touchdown last week. Westhoff labeled Hester one of the most productive returners in N.F.L. history, called him the fastest player ever to come out of Miami and lauded his long-jump skills. “This guy, he’s the best of the best,” Westhoff said. “He does it all.” … The defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said cornerback Marquice Cole played safety against the for the first time ever, despite one week of preparation. Cole also logged more plays against the Steelers than in the rest of his career combined. Why Cole? “Because he was the only one left,” Pettine said of his injury-depleted secondary.

Jets’ Mark Sanchez Is Expected To Start Against Chicago

Sanchez partly tore cartilage in his right shoulder last Sunday at Pittsburgh, and on Thursday, Coach said Sanchez’s status “could” be decided at game time. Instead, Sanchez impressed Ryan enough during Friday’s practice that Ryan made his decision earlier.

“He was zipping it,” Ryan told reporters at the Jets’ facility in Florham Park, N.J. “He sent a message to all of us, mainly me, that he’s ready to go.”

Throughout his first two seasons, Sanchez has endured and played through a variety of injuries. He has missed only one game, last season at Tampa Bay. Sanchez is listed as probable on the injury report and Ryan placed his chances of playing at 90 percent, or “maybe a little over 90.”

Sanchez, in comments released by the team, said his shoulder felt better Friday than on the day before. He seemed certain that he would play. He added: “The treatment has been working. I felt better than the two days prior, and I’m going to be ready to play on Sunday.”

The Bears have already clinched the N.F.C. North division, but they will be playing for a first-round bye on Sunday at Soldier Field. The Jets will earn a playoff berth with a victory in either of their final two games or with one Jacksonville loss or one Indianapolis loss.