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NFL Monday lateral: Five Week 5 storylines to watch in Week 6

October 8 2019 12:27 AM

Another week, another quarterback disaster.

But that is nothing compared to the coaching catastrophe in Washington, where Jay Gruden is out of a job just five weeks into the season.

Here we look back at the biggest headlines from Week 5 and the impact they will have heading into Week 6.

 

What's next in the Rudolph aftermath?

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback's status "for this week and beyond" is reportedly "very much in doubt" after a knockout hit by Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas left Mason Rudolph motionless on the ground on Sunday. The loss forced third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges under center after Pittsburgh lost Ben Roethlisberger to a season-ending elbow injury in Week 2, and it looks like the former undrafted free agent could be filling in for at least a couple weeks.

As for Thomas, it is unlikely he will face suspension for the hit, though the play could be reviewed for a possible fine. He was flagged on the play but did not get ejected.

Then there is the issue of the malfunctioning medical cart that forced Rudolph's team-mates to carry him off the field. The NFL released a statement claiming Rudolph did not need the cart, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted the cart failed because of operator error while adding Rudolph wanted to walk off the field rather than use the cart.

McCaffrey heats up MVP conversation

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey had a historic day in Carolina on Sunday, exploding for 237 total yards to become the first player since Jim Brown in 1963 to total 175-plus yards from scrimmage in four of a season's first five games. The 237 scrimmage yards tied McCaffrey's own franchise record.

"If I was writing, I would see if he's from earth," defensive lineman Gerald McCoy said. "I'd have to check to see if he's from Asgard or something. I don't know where that dude's from. If the season ended right now, he's the MVP."

McCaffrey leads the NFL with 587 rushing yards, averages 5.6 yards per carry and leads the Panthers with 31 catches. He has also scored seven touchdowns.

Callahan takes over Redskins after Gruden firing

The writing was on the wall after the Washington Redskins were routed by the New England Patriots to remain winless through Week 5 for the first time since 2001, ending Gruden's tenure with an underwhelming 35-49-1 record with one playoff appearance.

"Nobody's told me anything. If the key works on Monday, I'll keep working," Gruden told reporters when asked about his job security after Sunday's loss.

Now, Redskins assistant head coach Bill Callahan is set to take over as interim coach, and he wasted no time ruling out rookie Dwayne Haskins as a candidate to start under center in Week 6. Callahan claimed the first-round pick will be the Redskins' starting quarterback at some point, but insisted he's not ready "right now."

That leaves Colt McCoy or Case Keenum to be tasked with helping get the team back on track. 

Officiating seems more inconsistent than ever

This issue is certainly nothing new, but it grows more concerning each week. While officials do not appear hesitant to throw flags, many calls this season seem to have been blatantly wrong.

The league reportedly held a conference call last month with its referees to address the surge of flags, which comes after the NFL made changes to include pass interference as a reviewable penalty earlier this year. The league also stepped up enforcement of holding penalties even if they occurred away from the play.

Ramsey visits specialist for injury answers

The Jacksonville Jaguars requested cornerback Jalen Ramsey see a back specialist in Houston, after he missed the last two games with a back injury.

But the team reportedly is not budging on Ramsey's request for a trade. Ramsey was involved in a heated exchange with Jaguars coach Doug Marrone on the sidelines in Week 2 and asked to be traded the next day. Jacksonville already have reportedly turned down one trade offering two first-round draft picks for the Pro Bowl cornerback.

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