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NFL notebook: Cowboys to go with Cassel at QB

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The Dallas Cowboys are turning to Matt Cassel as their quarterback, according to multiple reports on Tuesday.

Brandon Weeden was told that the Cowboys are going to start Cassel against the New York Giants on Oct. 25 after their bye week. Cassell was acquired in late September from the Buffalo Bills in a trade.

The Cowboys (2-3) apparently decided to make the change after their loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday. Weeden started three games after Tony Romo went down with a broken collarbone and lost all three, completing 64 of 91 passes for 666 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Against the Patriots, Weeden passed for a season-low 188 yards and completed 26 of 39 passes with one interception. In Weeden’s last 11 starts as an NFL quarterback, his record is 0-11.

Cassel lost a quarterback competition in Buffalo during the preseason with Tyrod Taylor for the starting job.

—Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly was cleared to return to practice for the first time since leaving the Carolina Panthers’ Week 1 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Kuechly was diagnosed with a concussion in that Sept. 13 game and did not play against the Texans, Buccaneers or Saints. Still, the Panthers are 4-0 entering Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.

In addition to Kuechly, Marshawn Lynch is expected to be back for Week 6. Lynch missed the last two games with a hamstring injury.

—Wide receiver Julio Jones will be challenged to take the field with the Atlanta Falcons this week.

Jones has a hamstring injury and with a Thursday night game at New Orleans, head coach Dan Quinn told ESPN’s Ed Werder on Tuesday that the reduced recovery window means it’s “going to be close. Not sure he can go.”

Jones has 43 receptions for 545 yards and four touchdowns in five games for the 5-0 Falcons. He said Tuesday that he is planning to play.

—Dwight Freeney signed with the Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday.

To make room on the roster, the Cardinals placed linebacker Kenny Demens on injured reserve with a knee injury. Freeney might be forced into a regular role immeditely.

Outside linebacker Alex Okafor, who is expected to miss significant time with a calf injury, will not play Sunday at Pittsburgh.

Freeney agreed to a one-year deal with a minimum salary and incentives for sacks.

—Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor could miss multiple games with a sprained knee ligament.

The injury, compounded by Taylor also playing with a season-long ankle issue, led the Bills to sign journeyman Josh Johnson as the likely backup to E.J. Manuel. The Bills released kicker Billy Cundiff.

Bills head coach Rex Ryan said Monday that Taylor has been dealing with an ankle injury all season, a day after the quarterback took several hits while rushing for 76 yards in a 14-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans. The Bills are preparing Manuel to start Sunday against the unbeaten Cincinnati Bengals.

—The Pittsburgh Steelers were shorted 18 seconds on their game-winning drive at San Diego on Monday night and the NFL said it will look into the operation of the game clock and why the error wasn’t noticed or corrected.

The Steelers beat the Chargers 24-20 on a last-second touchdown run by Le’Veon Bell.

“With 2:56 remaining in the fourth quarter, San Diego kicked off to Pittsburgh. The kick resulted in a touchback. By rule, the game clock does not start if the receiving team possesses the ball in the end zone and does not carry it into the field of play,” the NFL said in a press release. “Because of an error by the clock operator, the game clock was incorrectly started before the Steelers’ first play from scrimmage following the touchback. That first down snap came with 2:38 left to play instead of 2:56, a difference of 18 seconds.

“The official game time is kept on the stadium scoreboard, but it is the responsibility of the side judge to supervise the timing of the game. Had the side judge or any of the other six on-field officials noticed the timing error, they could have corrected it.”

—Miami Dolphins vice president Mike Tannenbaum might already be experiencing buyer’s remorse, but just four game into a $114 million contract, he’s not wishing for a refund on defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

“Let’s be fair,” Tannenbaum said on ESPN Radio 640. “We signed him to a six-year contract, so we’re four games into a six-year contract. He hasn’t played as well as we hoped, we haven’t played as well as we hoped. But again, I think we have to give it a grade of incomplete.”

Suh is guaranteed $60 million in the contract he signed in March to leave Detroit.

—Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson could be on the field for the first time since Week 1, and just in time to measure his own words.

Jackson said in August “no one could guard me, no one can stop me. You can get Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman — whoever you want to get.”

Because of a hamstring strain, no cornerback has covered Revis since Sept. 13. But for the first time since that game, Jackson is optimistic he will be back in the lineup for the Redskins. He practiced twice last week but didn’t play in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

—The Baltimore Ravens signed cornerback Shareece Wright and promoted cornerbacks Asa Jackson and Charles James II from their practice squad to fortify their struggling secondary.

Cornerback Will Davis, who suffered a torn ACL in Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Browns, was placed on injured reserve and veteran outside linebacker Jason Babin had his contract terminated.

—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released cornerback Isaiah Frey from the practice squad on Tuesday.

Frey signed with the Buccaneers’ practice squad on Sept. 16. He played in eight games for the Buccaneers and three games for the Chicago Bears in 2014, finishing the season with 27 tackles, one pass defensed and two forced fumbles.

—The Pittsburgh Steelers activated wide receiver Martavis Bryant and added him to the 53-man roster on Tuesday after he served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL substance abuse policy.

To make room on the roster, the Steelers terminated the contract of safety Ross Ventrone.


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