Press Coverage

What are Week 13 outlooks for Deebo Samuel, Jerry Jeudy, Joe Mixon?

by Rivers McCown
Updated On: December 2, 2022, 8:56 pm ET

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Press conferences: They're either the most important thing in the world or something to be entirely ignored, depending on if they validate how you already felt or not. Nonetheless, they are an important window into an NFL organization. Much as the eye in the sky don't lie about players, coaches can't cover up every emotion or lean they have when they're asked questions. In omission, or in tone, even someone as tight-lipped as Bill Belichick or Nick Caserio can give something away. And that's what this column scans for. 

Let's look at some of the trickiest situations for Week 13 lineups. 

Deebo down after playing in Week 12?

After not practicing at all on Thursday, Deebo Samuel could only give a token appearance in front of the media on Friday. He arrived late and didn't do anything all that serious in practice. Kyle Shanahan did not help matters with a presser that can only be described as a grim state of the Samuel situation:

"Not much" and "just hasn't been as good as we're expecting by now." The 49ers weren't able to get Samuel close to full at this point and that is what Shanahan calls a cause for "some concern."

Samuel was able to play through a hamstring injury that limited him last week, but he didn't provide much spark to the 49ers with just 43 scoreless yards. He also, notably, practiced all three days that week and looked relatively good throughout. We covered Samuel's recent injury history in last week's report of his chances of playing through the hamstring injury, but the gist of it is that when he practices, he tends to play. We have a limited practice, a no practice, and a practice that was barely a practice. I'm pessimistic. Here's what Jennifer Lee Chan says he's dealing with:

Even if he did play, Deebo has been ineffective enough over the past few weeks that he'd be in the iffy WR3 zone. He hasn't cracked 60 receiving yards or a receiving touchdown since Week 6. He did salvage a decent enough PPR game against Arizona in Week 11 with a rushing score, but that's 3 of the last four weeks where he's delivered pretty replaceable production. I'd be curious about sitting him even if he were healthy -- it feels like this thigh bruise is just a good final straw.

The status of the Jerry Jeudy comeback

We have not seen Jerry Jeudy on the field since Week 10. He had not set foot on the practice field at any point during his absence due to this "day to day" ankle injury he was dealing with. All of the sudden emerging from the rubble of Denver's season, Jeudy is questionable for Week 13 after getting in a limited practice on Friday where reporters described him as stretching and took a video of him lightly jogging to catch a ball

Nathaniel Hackett spoke and called him a "game-time decision." Here's how that looked:

Hackett said it was "good to have him out there for a little bit" and said they got him in some team work -- that was a question asked by media -- and noted that they "wanted to be sure" that Jeudy is ready to go.

Some extra context to this is the fact that Courtland Sutton came down with a stomach bug on Friday and didn't practice. Between Sutton and Jeudy both being questionable and KJ Hamler's hamstring keeping him sidelined, the Broncos are officially Down Bad at wideout heading into the week. Are they down bad enough to force Jeudy on to the field on Sunday? Kind of feels like a thing a desperate team would do except for the fact that the Broncos are 3-8. They may not literally have no chance of making the playoffs, but their Football Outsiders playoff odds are 0.0%. They are a rounding error in the grand scheme of things. 

If Jeudy miraculously turns up on Sunday active with a noon kickoff against the Ravens and Courtland Sutton is out, well, I guess you kind of have to start him? The potential volume outweighs the risk in most scenarios. But if Sutton is active too, why would you try to count on someone who has had one limited practice when your playoff life is at stake? Particularly when that team is not fighting for anything and could snap count him, could see a re-aggravation, and so on? I don't see many pathways to finding value with Jeudy this week. Week 14, if he gets through some more practices? That, I could see. 

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Joe Mixon's concussion lingers on

In stark contrast to the situation with Ja'Marr Chase -- where the Bengals have been pretty optimistic, have let Chase talk to the media, and so on -- we haven't heard a whole lot about Joe Mixon this week other than the fact that he hasn't cleared concussion protocol yet. That kind of feels like it's leading to a rule out as we keep ticking on and on. Mixon did not get a full practice in at any point this week -- as someone who does a lot of blurbs for this website, that feels like a fairly important step. And while we keep getting rumblings about optimism for Mixon, there's not an easy quote to be pointed to that says it's going to be alright. Zac Taylor does not speak in front of cameras on Friday, but here's what he said about Mixon per reporters: 

What stops me here is the 12-hour segments. We can't even take it day-to-day anymore, it's half-days at a time. That strikes me as a thing that's said in hope rather than a thing that's said feeling like Mixon is going to suit up.  

The Bengals have also spent a lot of this season holding players out when they have any doubt. Chase last week. Tee Higgins played in Week 6 after aggravating his ankle injury but was eased in to the lineup. He was held out of most of Week 5 after re-injuring the ankle even though Taylor said he could have returned in some situational packages. They have tended to be pretty conservative on injuries.  

Mixon drafters likely already have their head on a swivel after last week. Hopefully they managed to pounce on Samaje Perine before it was too late. I think we'll probably get word on this by Saturday because of the protocol, but as we sit here Friday night, I'm a little pessimistic that Mixon will actually suit up. If he does -- you've got to play him and there's not much question about that unless you're in a six-team league. But the rhetoric and actions do not quite match the fervor over Chase and that leaves me a little skeptical that we'll see Mixon in Week 13. 

Rivers McCown

Rivers McCown has been writing about football since 2009, most notably at Football Outsiders and covering the Texans for The Athletic. He most recently wrote that thing you just read. He hails from Houston, TX, and has not been traded to Arizona for magic beans yet. You can say nice things about him on Twitter @riversmccown, and you can yell at him on Twitter @RotoPat.