NFL latest: Foles, Matthews, Aldon Smith, and the Bills QB situation

Buffalo Bills Training Camp

Richard Moore brings you the very latest in the NFL.

Around the league in 80 plays!!

Roar of dissent?

Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwarz has been forced to deny that neither he nor his coaching staff heard center Dominic Raiola issue homophobic abuse in the direction of the University of Wisconsin band before last Sunday’s 22-9 loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field.

Raiola allegedly called one band member a derogatory name, and mocked others about their weight, reportedly turning to one and yelling “Hey fat guy, you want a hot dog?”

Raiola declined to comment, although the Lions revealed that they are ‘investigating the incident’. When pressed on the matter Schwarz told USA Today “I didn’t hear that personally on the field”. “No other coaches did”. He continued: “I’d be very disappointed, because that’s certainly not the character we [Lions] want”.

The bands director, Mike Leckrone claimed he heard nothing, but did say that several members reported abuse at the hands of Raiola, and “were quite shaken by it”. Lechrone went on to say that the incident occurred when he was situated along the middle of the field, along the Packers side-line, and that the band was near the north end zone preparing to finish its pregame show with the National anthem.

The investigation continues.

Counting your Bills!!

Following injury to starter EJ Manuel, out of action for at least 4-6 weeks, following a knee injury sustained in Thursday’s defeat to the Cleveland Browns in Ohio.

Bills Coach Doug Marrone announced on Monday that Thad Lewis had been selected to start Sunday’s game with Cincinnati at Ralph Wilson Stadium, with another rookie, Jeff Tuel on the bench for the 2-3 Bills.

Thumbs down!!

The Green Bay Packers are collectively bracing themselves for the very real possibility that they’ll be going into Sunday’s clash with the Baltimore Ravens without four-time Pro Bowler Clay Mathews, after the Linebacker (eighteen combined tackles, fourteen solo, four assists. 3.0 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles through four games played) broke his right thumb in Green Bay’s win against division rivals, Detroit, last Sunday.

Coach Mike McCarthy told the associated press on Monday that despite the initial prognosis “All the information’s not in yet”. “I don’t really having anything to announce”.

Mathews sustained the injury in the third quarter in the process of sacking Lions quarterback, Mathew Stafford.

Pink penalty!!

Seems yellow penalty flags are back in fashion, NFL spokesman Micheal Signora said in an e-mail to USA TODAY sport on Monday that the pink penalty flags used to coincide with the leagues breast cancer initiative, would no longer be used.

It’s widely understood that the flags, when coupled with the pink attire adoring the players, creates confusion.

Though it’s not thought other items used to highlight the NFL’s initiative - including pink equipment, such as coins, side-line hats, and goal-post padding - will have to go.

Fole-ing in?

Eagles Coach Chip Kelly said that Monday that quarterback Micheal Vick was “day-to-day” with a hamstring injury, but declined to acknowledge whether or not this signified a change under center for Sunday’s home clash with the 0 - 4 Buccaneers at ‘The Link’.

However Kelly conceded Foles could win the job, and the second-year triggerman certainly did his chances no harm with a pretty composed display at Metlife Stadium, where he went 16-of-25 for 197-yards, and three touchdowns, in Philadelphia’s 36-21 win over Tom Coughlin’s ailing Giants.

“There’s always open competition”, Kelly said. “So, if Nick goes out there and throws 100-for-100 and throws 27 touchdown passes, then yeah [he’s the number No.1 quarterback].

Al-done!!

When 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith threw what he probably thought would be the party to end all house parties in June 2012, he didn’t reckon on it being the party that would effectively end what was a promising career, one that was beginning the establish him as one of the most devastating pass rushers in the league; so much so that he finished 2012-13 with the second most sacks in the league, with 19.5.

But, reality for Smith is beginning to take on a much darker complexion, as two separate people have sued Smith claiming they were shot at the same party where Smith was stabbed.

On Wednesday, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office confirmed that it had filed three felony charges of possession of an assault weapon against Smith. The news first was reported by NBC Bay Area.

The DA's office stated that Smith is expected to surrender to the authorities later this month. If convicted, Smith could end up facing at least four years behind bars.

“The preamble to the assault weapons law states that each assault weapon ‘has such a high rate of fire and capacity for firepower that its function as a legitimate sports or recreational firearm is substantially outweighed by the danger that it can be used to kill and injure human beings,'" district attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement via the CBS Sports website. "California's prohibition of these powerful weapons is not about hunting or target practice. It is about interrupting the long history of death, carnage and grief assault weapons have inflicted on California communities."

The DA says that during the party, Smith fired his .45 handgun twice from his balcony to "dissipate the crowd." The DA also says one of Smith's friends also fired that same handgun "several times" in the air.

Following statements from the DA, the 49ers released their own: "The 49ers organization is aware of the recent developments with Aldon arising from an incident at his home in 2012. We recognize the serious nature of this situation, as does Aldon, and will continue to monitor it closely. As this is an on-going legal matter, we will have no further comment."

image: © dougtone