Saturday's NFL: Ravens activate ex-Spartan Le'Veon Bell for Denver game
Owings Mills, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens activated running back Le’Veon Bell (Michigan State) from the practice squad and put defensive end Derek Wolfe on injured reserve Saturday.
The Ravens play at Denver on Sunday.
Bell was one of three prominent veterans Baltimore brought in to help the backfield after injuries to J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Latavius Murray and Devonta Freeman have played already for the Ravens, and now Bell is active.
Baltimore also activated defensive back Kevon Seymour and tackle Andre Smith from the practice squad.
Wolfe has been dealing with back and hip injuries.
Fields gets nod for Bears
The Bears say rookie quarterback Justin Fields will start against the Lions on Sunday.
The team announced that Fields will make his second straight start while listing Andy Dalton as doubtful. Coach Matt Nagy had said the Bears would wait until game time to announce who would be behind center.
Both quarterbacks are dealing with injuries, but Fields was able to go through full practices the entire week while Dalton was limited every day. Dalton is recovering from a bone bruise to his left knee while Fields wore a brace on his injured right hand all week in practice.
Fields injured his right thumb during last weekend’s 26-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Dalton got hurt right before halftime in Week 2 against Cincinnati.
The Bears (1-2) are last in the NFL in offense and passing. Their offense has scored three touchdowns, and they haven’t had one since Dalton left the second game.
Brady vs. Belichick
Tom Brady’s legacy is forever steeped in each of the six Super Bowl championship banners he had a part in hanging above New England’s Gillette Stadium.
Yet, he might as well be playing in front of a mirror when he returns to face the Patriots.
Everything will be in reverse.
“I know that home locker room. I know that home tunnel. I know which way the wind blows. I know everything about that,” Brady said this week. “So, in some ways it’ll be unique. I’ve never had that experience. New England will be the first time for me being on the other sideline.”
Brady will be back in Foxborough on Sunday night to meet the Patriots for the first time since he left after 20 seasons to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’ll be opposite not only former coach Bill Belichick, but past teammates who have also never taken an NFL field and looked across at Brady wearing another team’s jersey, let alone ever had a chance to tackle him.
“The opportunity is wonderful and I’m looking forward for the moment,” Patriots defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. said.
While they all have played against former teammates before, the Patriots acknowledge this time is much different. None of those other players has the institutional knowledge Brady does of their defensive schemes or tendencies.
It makes the margin for error minute against a quarterback who is a master at getting the ball out quickly and reading and deceiving defenses with his eyes.
“It’s gonna be a guy that he’s gonna know a lot of what we do,” said veteran safety Devin McCourty, who won three Super Bowls with Brady. “So what we do, we’ve gotta do a good job of. We have to play our best football.”
This 44-year-old version of Brady is still playing at a high level after taking the Bucs to a Super Bowl title last season. He leads the league this season with 10 touchdown passes and his 362.3 passing yards per game are second to Las Vegas’ Derek Carr.
Tampa Bay’s 34.3 points per game are also tied for tops in the NFL, thanks largely to one of the most stacked offenses in the league that includes receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.
“This is one of those weeks where we can’t have a bunch of ‘my bads,’” McCourty said. “We gotta be on.”
At least New England won’t have to worry about Rob Gronkowski, another old friend. The tight end, who teamed with Brady on so many big plays over the years with the Patriots, is out because of a rib injury.
As much as Brady knows the Patriots, they also know him. But Belichick, 8-11 since Brady’s departure, said it doesn’t mean they will reinvent themselves this week.
“Certainly, Tom has an intimate knowledge of everything that we do here, more so than any other player in the league by far. So, I’m sure he’ll use it to his advantage. I would expect him to,” Belichick said.
“I don’t think it would be in our best interest to go in there and do everything differently than we’ve done it all year. What we need to do is continue to do the things we do and do them better. That would help us more than anything else.”
Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski will miss his return trip to New England because of a rib injury.
Gronkowski was downgraded to out by the team and did not travel with the Super Bowl champions for Sunday night’s anticipated matchup with the Patriots. Gronkowski was listed as doubtful on Friday.
It’s the first game Gronkowski will miss since he came out of retirement to play alongside Tom Brady with the Buccaneers.
… The Colts placed three-time All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson on injured reserve, a move that will keep him out at least three weeks. He sprained his right ankle in last Sunday’s loss at Tennessee.
… Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling has gone on injured reserve after hurting his ankle in a victory at San Francisco.