When he decided to sit out of training camp this summer, waiting for a new contract, Titans RB Chris Johnson wanted to be paid not only like an elite running back, but an elite playmaker. Safe to say, the Titans arent getting a great return on their investment through three weeks. Johnson signed a four-year, $53.5-million contract extension, with $30-million guaranteed, on September 1, ensuring that he would be in the Titans lineup for the start of the season. While the case has been made that running back is a position that doesnt require the same kind of timing as other offensive performers, so it should be easier to step in and produce with little practice, Johnson has found it difficult to perform at his customary level following his absence from training camp. Through his first three seasons in the league, Johnson has rushed for 4598 yards, adding 1098 yards in the passing game, an average of 121.2 yards per game from scrimmage, to go with 38 touchdowns. So far this season, Johnson has gained a total of 189 yards from scrimmage (and average of 63.0 yards per game) and has yet to find the end zone. With 59 touches through the first three games, Johnson isnt getting the ball quite as often as he has in previous seasons (22.5 touches per game last season, 25.5 touches per game in 2009), but not by such an amount that it would justify his lack of production. The Titans go on the road for their next two games, at Cleveland and at Pittsburgh, before a bye in Week Six. If Johnson cant get going this week against the Browns, who rank 29th in the league in run defence, allowing 128.7 yards per game, then the bye week may not come soon enough. FRESH WESPatriots WR Wes Welker was a medical miracle, in some respects, playing all 16 games last season despite tearing his ACL in the final game of the 2009 regular season. Welker turned in a solid season, recording 86 catches for 848 yards and seven touchdowns. Now healthy, and still the most trusted weapon in Tom Bradys arsenal, Welker has 31 catches for 458 yards and four touchdowns through three games after catching 16 passes for 217 yards and a pair of scores against Buffalo on Sunday. After three weeks, Welker has been targeted 43 times by Brady, nine more than Atlantas Roddy White, who ranks second with 34. Welker is targeted three more times per game than any other receiver in football! INJURIES- In this weeks Michael Vick Injury Segment, it appears that Vicks right (non-throwing) hand is bruised, not broken as initially feared. That doesnt guarantee that hell play in Week Four against San Francisco, but it means that he might play and likely wont miss a month, as was considered possible if the hand was broken. - Titans WR Kenny Britt suffered a torn ACL against Denver, making Nate Washington the new primary target for Matt Hasselbeck. The other wide receiver spot is up for grabs, with Damian Williams and Lavelle Hawkins due to receive more looks. - Browns RB Peyton Hillis sat out Sundays win against Miami with strep throat. Montario Hardesty was in his place, rushing for 67 yards on 14 carries, but Hillis should return to the starting role once healthy. - 49ers RB Frank Gore suffered a sprained ankle against Seattle on Sunday, which could give Kendall Hunter a significant role in the San Francisco offence if Gore isnt capable of playing next week. - Colts QB Kerry Collins left Sunday nights game against Pittsburgh with a concussion, which puts his status for next Mondays game, against Tampa Bay, in doubt. Curtis Painter would get the call of Collins cant go, further downgrading the value of Colts receivers. - Panthers CB Chris Gamble suffered a concussion against Jacksonville. If he remains out, it could allow Darius Butler to get into the lineup. - Redskins WR Anthony Armstrong left Mondays game against Dallas with a hamstring injury. WEEK THREE NOTES:- Lions QB Matthew Stafford passed for 378 yards in the Lions comeback win against Minnesota. The Lions arent flying under anyones radar at 3-0, but WR Calvin Johnson is a game-breaking target for Stafford and has scored a pair of touchdowns in all three games so far this season. TE Brandon Pettigrew had the most productive game of his career with 11 catches for 112 yards against Minnesota. - Buffalos offence has suprised, in part, because of the production of unheralded receivers. Donald Jones broke through with five catches for 101 yards to lead the way against New England and David Nelson has 16 catches for 167 yards in the last two games. That production is even better when one considers that Stevie Johnson (20 receptions, 256 yards, three touchdowns) is the Bills leading receiver. - Raiders RB Darren McFadden took over the league rushing lead after going for 171 yards against the Jets on Sunday. With 393 yards on the ground through three games, McFadden is the engine that drives the Raiders offence and, despite suffering a groin injury Sunday, hes expected to be ready for the Patriots in Week Four. - Dolphins RB Reggie Bush got off to a decent start with 94 yards from scrimmage in Week One, but has quickly been surpassed by rookie RB Daniel Thomas, who has gained 239 yards on 45 touches in the last two weeks. - Cowboys RB Felix Jones, who was questionable due to a dislocated shoulder, accumulated 155 yards on 17 touches against Washington Monday night, the best regular season yardage in a game for Jones in his career. - Texans FB James Casey, who moved into the role after starting his pro career as a tight end, had five catches for 126 yards and a touchdown against New Orleans. Too soon to recommend Casey since its the first time in his career hes had more than 50 yards from scrimmage in a game, but he could make a bigger impact than other full backs. - Saints TE Jimmy Graham has seen his yardage increase in each game this season (56, 79, 100). He was a sleeper at the start of the season and is already one of the most productive at the position, ranking fourth in yardage (235) thus far. - Packers TE Jermichael Finley had seven catches for 85 yards and three touchdowns against the Bears; he now ranks sixth among tight ends with 206 yards through the first three games. - With Lee Evans finally sitting out to nurse an ankle injury, Ravens rookie WR Torrey Smith rose to the challenge with five catches for 152 yards and three touchdowns against St. Louis. Smith, who ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at the Combine, could be a good fit for a big-armed quarterback like Joe Flacco if he healthy. Smith suffered a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter against St. Louis. - Seahawks WR Sidney Rice made his first start of the season against Arizona, catching eight passes for 109 yards, his most yards in a game since Week 10 of the 2009 season. - Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams may be in danger of losing more touches to RB Jonathan Stewart. In Sundays win over Jacksonville, Stewart had 85 yards on 13 touches while Williams had 35 yards on 12 touches. - With RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis struggling (16 yards on nine carries), Patriots rookie RB Stevan Ridley got more touches, gaining 44 yards on seven carries. The Patriots arent shy about going by committee in the backfield, so Ridley could play a significant role as the season goes on. - Chargers RB Ryan Mathews has been battling Mike Tolbert for touches in the San Diego backfield, but the competition has brought out the best in Mathews, who has 275 yards on 44 touches over the last two weeks. As far as the splits go for the Chargers, Mathews appears to have the edge right now. - In Green Bay, where it appeared that Ryan Grant was losing ground to James Starks, Grant emerged as the better of the two against Chicago, gaining 92 yards on 17 touches, compared to Starks 14 yards on 14 touches. However, Grant suffered a bruised kidney in the game, leaving his Week Four status in doubt. - With Jamaal Charles out, the Kansas City Chiefs split touches between Dexter McCluster and Thomas Jones. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the results had a similar feel to Charles-Jones production in recent years. McCluster gained 62 yards on 14 touches while Jones managed 33 yards on 15 touches. - Despite saying his hamstring would be ready to go against Seattle, Beanie Wells sat out for the Cardinals, who turned to Alfonso Smith, an undrafted rookie out of Kentucky. Smith managed 75 yards from scrimmage on 20 touches, which isnt great, but hes worth keeping an eye on (apparently ahead of veteran Chester Taylor) if Wells cant stay healthy. wholesale jerseys china
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.Y. -- Familiar inconsistencies.NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur has been the masked face of the New Jersey Devils for 20 years. But on the eve of the NHL trade deadline, both the goalie and the only team he has played for are contemplating an uncertain future. "I dont know," Brodeur said about the possibility of being traded following a 20-save effort in a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night that could have marked his final game with New Jersey. "I had some good conversations with Lou (Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello) about what I want to do for the rest of the year and maybe next year. From there you know its up to him to make the decision that he wants. He knows exactly where I stand." Stephen Gionta scored the tiebreaking goal with under 37 seconds left to lift New Jersey to victory. Adam Henrique, Marek Zidlicky, and Travis Zajac also had goals for the Devils (27-23-13), who closed within one point of Detroit (28-21-12). "Thats a game we cant lose," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "I would have taken (a win any way). Winning in regulation was huge." Johan Franzen, Brendan Smith and Todd Bertuzzi scored for the Red Wings against Brodeur, who has been the subject of trade rumours leading up to Wednesdays deadline. "Well see whats going to happen," said Brodeur, who has a no-trade clause and stated he wasnt asked to waive it. Gionta put the Devils ahead for good when he tipped Mark Faynes point shot past Jimmy Howard for the winning goal. "Its always nice scoring goals, especially one that can help out the team in a big way," Gionta said. Howard finished with 25 saves. "Its not what we wanted to see happen here," Howard said. "To let one slip away is frustrating." Zajac snapped a 2-2 tie with his 10th of the season 6:30 into the third period. Ryane Clowe forced a turnover in the defensive zone with a hit, and Zajac and Jaromir Jagr quickly moved the puck up ice. But the lead lasted for only 3:13 when Bertuzzi tied it with a power-play goal. Henrique opened thee scoring 27 seconds into the game when his shot pinballed in off of the sprawled Howard.dddddddddddd Franzen tied it for Detroit 11 minutes later with his 13th goal during a power play. Franzen stole the puck from forward Dainius Zubrus in the left circle and manoeuvred along the goal line before snapping a quick shot past Brodeur. Detroit went ahead 2-1 on Smiths second of the season 7:03 into the second period, but Zidlicky got New Jersey even on a power play 42 seconds into the third. The Red Wings were 2 for 4 on the advantage. New Jersey went 1 for 3. Devils fans chanted Brodeurs name during the national anthem and throughout the game. "It was great," Brodeur said. "I didnt expect that. I think (reporters) did a good job to kind of create maybe a sellout for the Devils. But definitely it was nice that the fans reacted like that. "I havent played since Jan. 7 here in this building. Its been a while so I was happy to get back in here and play well enough to win." The 41-year-old goalie is the NHLs career leader in wins, minutes played, games played, losses and shutouts. He has been awarded the Vezina Trophy as the leagues top goalie four times and is a three-time Stanley Cup champion while playing his entire career with the Devils. "I use consummate pro. "You never see any breaks," DeBoer said of Brodeur, who is in the final year of a two-year, $9 million contract, and has lost playing time to Cory Schneider. "I hope they dont trade him," said Babcock, who coached Brodeur on the 2010 Canadian Olympic team that won gold. "A decorated athlete like him ... I hope he stays a New Jersey Devil." NOTES: The teams will complete their three-game season series on March 7 in Detroit. ... Devils alumni will play a select group of Russian legends in a charity game on Wednesday at Prudential Center to raise funds for a New Jersey high school hockey player who sustained a broken neck in a game on Jan. 4. ... Jagrs assist on Zajacs goal gave him 1,041 in his career, passing Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne for ninth on the NHL career list. ' ' '