Texans QB Brock Osweiler: No extra pressure on offense in Watt’s absence

Even though the Houston Texans invested heavily in the offense during the offseason, the identity of the team was still J.J. Watt and the defense.

And through three games, the defense has outplayed the offense. But even though Houston placed Watt on injured reserve on Wednesday, quarterback Brock Osweiler doesn’t think the three-time Defensive Player of the Year’s absence puts any more pressure on the offense.

“I don’t think there are any givens, and that’s not an indictment on anybody,” Fox said.

Cutler is in the middle of a seven-year, $126.7 million contract he signed in 2014. The Bears haven’t had a winning record since 2012. Fox and general manager Ryan Pace stuck with Cutler after taking over the Bears in 2015, in part because of a $10 million guarantee in his contract.

Working with offensive coordinator Adam Gase last season, Cutler responded well, cut down his interceptions, showed better leadership and had one of his best years statistically. But Gase is now in Miami, and Cutler looked back to his old self in the two games he started. His completion percentage is down and, most important, the Bears haven’t won.

Cutting Cutler is no longer a money issue, either. He’s signed through 2020, but his contract doesn’t have any guaranteed money after this season. He could be cut in the offseason and count only $2 million under the 2017 cap.

“I don’t think anything changes offensively now that the news of J.J. going on IR has come out,” Osweiler said. “Bottom line, we need to score points. We need to score a lot of them. We knew that whether he was put on IR or not.”

In the first three games of the season, Osweiler has completed 59.6 percent of his passes for 695 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. His worst game came Thursday in Houston’s 27-0 loss to the New England Patriots, during which he never established an offensive rhythm and the Texans didn’t cross midfield until less than two minutes left in the third quarter.

“So I went to the bank and got $3,900 in coins. It was pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters … everything. I didn’t care one bit. I took a truck load of it and put it right there where he wanted it, and got my truck towed back to my buddy’s shop.”

This he said-he said battle first was reported by Jalopnik.

Tolbert claimed Monday in an Instagram post that he was quoted a price and a 10-day completion time, and that more than two months later the work had not been completed. He also claimed the price from the original quote had gone up.

Danny Woodhead out for season with torn ACL

The Chargers continue to lose weapons on offense.

After wide receiver Keenan Allen was lost to a torn ACL in a Week 1 loss to the Chiefs, running back Danny Woodhead went down with the same injury in a blowout win over the Jaguars, forcing the Charges to place him on injured reserve, the team announced. The 31-year-old dual threat back has been a fine addition to San Diego’s offense over the past three years, although this will be the second time since 2013 he couldn’t make it past Week 3. Woodhead broke his fibula early in the 2014 season.

In a Monday appearance with WJFK-FM in Washington, Cousins said it’s “understandable” that teammates would grouse about their slow start to the season.

“I think people respond with emotion like you said. 0-2 is 0-2,” Cousins said. “It’s tough. No one wants to be there. I think we all feel like we’re too good to be 0-2. We have too many players, too much talent. In a lot of ways, (we) aren’t playing at the level we’re capable of.”

To Cousins’ credit, he is neither fanning the flames of discontent nor backing away from the criticism.

“You take ownership, you step to the forefront and you lead and you challenge guys and you say what you need to do better,” Cousins continued. “I think together, we can do that. That’s what I’m going to do. That’s what I’ve done my whole life, my whole life as a football player. This is no different. This is not new territory for me. I’ve faced challenges before, adversity before on the football field. We’re going to find a way to move forward and play better. We’re going to do it together.”

Colin Kaepernick biding time to grasp ‘next opportunity’ as starter

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been a backup before and now that he’s No. 2 on the depth chart again, he’s biding his time for the next chance to play.

After that game in San Diego, Kaepernick pledged to donate the first $1 million he makes this season toward helping organizations he believes can make a difference. He said Wednesday that he’ll also donate the proceeds from the sales of his jersey to those same causes.

As Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said, “This is not the Super Bowl.” The Panthers aren’t approaching this as a game for revenge or redemption for their 24-10 loss in Super Bowl 50. They have moved on.

Much of the credit for that goes to coach Ron Rivera, who spent the offseason preparing his team to avoid a “Super Bowl hangover.” In case you’ve missed it, since the 1992-93 Buffalo Bills, no team that lost the title game has returned the following year. Rivera has talked to everyone from John Madden to a retired admiral for advice. The message has been received loud and clear by his players.

The focus, as cliché as it sounds, is to win the next game. This is the next game, and minus Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman, Carolina has back most of the team that went 15-1 in the 2015 regular season.

Kelvin Benjamin. As good as the Panthers were offensively last season, they didn’t have their No. 1 receiver. Benjamin, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound target, will help bail Cam Newton out of trouble when he needs to complete tough passes over the middle to keep the chains moving. As Denver linebacker Von Miller said, Benjamin is Newton’s “safety blanket.” Benjamin’s presence will make it tougher for the Broncos to take Olsen out of the game, as they did in the Super Bowl. He’ll also create opportunities for second-year wide receiver Devin Funchess, who is light years ahead of where he was a season ago.

Norman has been a focal point ever since he signed with Washington in the spring, following Carolina’s decision to rescind the franchise tag it had placed on him. Part of it stems from his contract, worth $15 million a year, the highest for a corner. He has been in headlines for his matchup with Odell Beckham Jr., based on what happened last year and because they play twice this season.

“I’m ready to leave that all behind me,” he said. “I really don’t want to talk about it much. I tried to block it out and try to focus on football — what’s important. I know I didn’t do anything wrong.

“We were very confident since Day 1. I wasn’t really worried that much. I was really focused on ball and let my lawyers and representatives handle the rest.”

Union: Santa Clara police might boycott 49ers games over Colin Kaepernick’s stance

The Santa Clara police union has sent a letter to the San Francisco 49ers, warning that police might stop working the team’s home games due to Colin Kaepernick’s statements on police brutality and his wearing of socks during a practice that showed cartoon pigs dressed as police officers.

Sanchez is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end under his current contract, which would be nullified if he were released and make him a free agent immediately. There is also the business side, beyond Sanchez’ salary, that the Broncos would not have to surrender a draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles if Sanchez is not on the roster after Saturday.

Earlier this week Sanchez said he was determined to handle things in a “professional way,’’ and he promised to help Siemian and Lynch as much as possible.

“Few things are more important to me than my name and reputation. This might call that into question for some, which has me heartbroken,” Ninkovich said. “I don’t want to cut any corners. I want to do things the right way, with high integrity, and that’s what I have always wanted to stand for.”

Ninkovich, 32, has played in 116 consecutive games (including playoffs) for the Patriots since signing with the team as a free agent on Aug. 2, 2009.

“Any supplement I’ve ever used was bought at a store. I was unaware something I bought had a substance in it that would give me a positive test because it wasn’t listed [as an ingredient],” Ninkovich told ESPN.

“One thing I have learned is that if a supplement is not NSF certified, there are no regulations that ensure that what is on the label is 100 percent accurate. That is a hard lesson for me to learn at this stage in my career, but I take responsibility for it. It’s a mistake I made and it hurts that I won’t be there for my teammates.”

A team captain in 2015, Ninkovich tore his triceps during a training camp practice with the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 9 and was in jeopardy of missing the start of the season because of the injury.

He is valued for his pass-rush ability (47 career sacks, including playoffs) and toughness to set the edge against the run. Coach Bill Belichick has annually lauded Ninkovich’s toughness, versatility and intelligence.