LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- All through the Chicago Bears locker room, players insist the coaches are doing all they can, that the offensive scheme is just fine.
Yet, clearly, something isn't adding up.
Jay Cutler is taking a beating. The running game seems like an afterthought, and with two ugly losses in three games, the calls for more balance are getting louder.
Cutler said the players have "to take more responsibility" for the recent struggles, and the Bears have "excellent" coaches. He also pointed out that for all the issues, the Bears are still 4-2 and leading the NFC North heading into this week's game against Washington.
"We're 4-2," Cutler said. "We've got one more game before the bye. We're still in a good position in the division, the NFC. I don't think there's a need to hit the panic button by any means, but we've got to get better. There's no doubt about it."
While Cutler sees no reason to panic, there is plenty of angst surrounding this team -- particularly when it comes to the quarterback.
With 15 sacks in his last two games and 23 on the season, no one has taken a bigger beating than Cutler. A nine-sack first half against the New York Giants knocked him out of that game and left him sidelined for the following week at Carolina, and things weren't much better in Sunday's loss to Seattle. Full Story
METAIRIE, La. -- Saints All-Pro safety Darren Sharper says he feels good and hopes to play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
Wearing a brace on his left knee, Sharper practiced for the first time this season. He began the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list while recovering from microfracture surgery.
Now in his 14th season, Sharper says he feels fresh, in shape and doesn't really feel rusty.
Saints coach Sean Payton described Sharper's first day of practice as, "pretty good." Payton stopped short of saying Sharper would play this weekend and added that he would be evaluated daily.
SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Chargers signed free agent kicker Kris Brown, a sign that Nate Kaeding won't be able to kick Sunday against the Patriots.
Kaeding injured his groin in last Sunday's 20-17 loss at St. Louis that dropped the Chargers to 2-4.
To make room on the roster, the Chargers released third-string quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan.
Brown, a 12-year veteran, was Houston's kicker from 2002-09 before being released in September.
Brandon Meriweather's gotten more flak than anyone else during this whole "he hit my helmet/she hit my helmet" NFL kerfuffle this week, just because his hit was considered the dirtiest of them all.
Good news is, he's very sorry about what he did.
"Once again, I’m going to say I’m sorry for the hit. I understand the league is trying to protect the health of all our players," Merriweather, who according to Mike Reiss 'might have been fighting [to] keep his emotions in check,' said.
"To be honest, I just want all this to go away. I want to focus, with the rest of my team, on the Chargers and really not let this come up again. I’m going to try my best to play within the rules, like my coach had always taught us. I’m going to hit and play the game like my coaches have always taught us. Even in training camp, we have always been taught the proper way to hit. Just focus on that and try to put it in my game in some way, shape or fashion.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Vince Young is walking with a limp and Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher says whether his quarterback plays against Philadelphia depends on whether he's able to run around in the pocket.
The Titans only went through an hour-long walkthrough -- with Young watching. Fisher said Young would not have worked if they had practiced. As for Thursday, the Titans are in a wait and see mode.
"I'm not going to get into whether he needs to practice or not," Fisher said. "He's paying attention, he's in the meetings, it will be day-to-day with it. He's come a long way. There is always a potential for him to play without practicing, and of course there is always the potential he may not play this week. We just don't know."
Young was hurt on the second series of Monday night's 30-3 win at Jacksonville. He fumbled a snap, recovered the ball and had his left leg twisted underneath him. The quarterback, who did not speak with reporters Wednesday, initially thought he was hurt badly enough that his season was over.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford warmed up by softly tossing screens, then put some zip on 10- and 15-yard passes to teammates.
"I felt pretty good," he said. "Threw it around and felt pretty normal."
When the workout was closed to reporters, Stafford showed his teammates that his right shoulder has healed enough for him to go deep.
"That was pretty cool to see him do that," running back Jahvid Best said. "It doesn't look like he's lost a step."
BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns have lost starting defensive end Robaire Smith and offensive right tackle Tony Pashos to season-ending injuries.
The team placed both players on injured reserve. The move with Smith was expected because of a bad back, but coach Eric Mangini said nothing about any injury to Pashos during his news conference on Monday.
To fill the roster spots, the Browns signed wide receiver Yamon Figurs and offensive lineman Paul McQuistan.
The Browns are in need of a wide receiver after Joshua Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi suffered concussions in Sunday's loss to Pittsburgh.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings tight end Jim Kleinsasser has a groin injury that kept him from practicing.
Cornerback Lito Sheppard was also held out with a hand injury, and safety Husain Abdullah sat with a concussion. Coach Brad Childress said before practice Abdullah was still "foggy" after a hit to the head last Sunday.
Quarterback Brett Favre was a limited participant because of ankle and elbow injuries that have lingered all year.
The Vikings play at Green Bay on Sunday night.