Denard Robinson hasn't been anything close to an ''offensive weapon'' for the Jacksonville Jaguars. And now he doesn't even have the label.
The Jaguars (0-3) say the NFL requested Robinson be listed at just one position, so the team decided to call him a wide receiver instead of an OW. It's an odd designation because Robinson has played 11 snaps in three games and hasn't been targeted in the passing game.
But the decision seemingly allows Robinson to keep No. 16, his college number at Michigan. Only quarterbacks and receivers can wear No. 16.
The Jaguars chose Robinson in the fifth round, the 135th overall pick in April's NFL draft. They hoped he would provide some much-needed speed to a relatively slow offense.
But Robinson has struggled with ball security since arriving in Jacksonville. He has four carries for minus-1 yard, lining up at running back and at quarterback in the wildcat formation. He fumbled on his only carry in last week's 45-17 loss at Seattle.
He's been more productive on kickoffs, returning two for 54 yards.
DANCING FOR DOLLARS: Detroit Lions tight end Joseph Fauria caught only one pass in last week's win at Washington, and made the most of it.
After scoring a 5-yard touchdown, Fauria did part of the dance N' Sync does to its song, ''Bye, Bye, Bye,'' in the end zone. Jimmy Fallon said he would donate $10,000 to charity if an NFL player was fined for imitating any of the dance moves seen during a skit on ''Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,'' performed by him or Justin Timberlake.
''He looked way cooler than I did doing it,'' Fallon said on his show. ''As it turns out the NFL didn't fine him. But I still want to keep my word, so Joseph, as promised, I'm going to donate $10,000 to the Make-A-Wish foundation of Michigan.''
Fauria, who caught two TDs in the season-opening win against Minnesota, is an undrafted rookie from UCLA and a nephew of ex-NFL tight end Christian Fauria.
THAT OTHER FOOTBALL STAR: The biggest football - make that futbol - star in the world can be seen during Sunday night's telecast of the Patriots-Falcons game.
Pele, who has had an interest in the NFL since his Cosmos days in the 1970s, will appear in a commercial for Subway as their latest ''Famous Fan'' and first global brand ambassador. That his appearance happens on a day when American football is played at the English soccer shrine of Wembley Stadium seems fitting.
As a member of the Cosmos, Pele was one of the first sports legends to call the Meadowlands home, showcasing the beautiful game on the site of this year's Super Bowl, albeit in another stadium.
''When I came to America, I learned so much about this 'other' game of football,'' Pele said. ''I have great respect and admiration for players in the NFL and many of them have shared my same memories of playing at the Meadowlands Stadium.
''I still remember once, Joe Namath asked me if I have ever thought of kicking field goals in the NFL. My answer to him is that I cannot score any goals with a helmet on.''
AIR MARTY: For an offense lacking many big-name players, the New York Jets have still managed some big-time plays.
With new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg installing his West Coast-style system, the Jets have been taking more shots down the field this season. New York had four passes of 40 or more yards in its 27-20 victory over Buffalo last Sunday, just two shy of how many the Jets had all of last season under Tony Sparano.
Adding a dynamic aspect to the offense was a priority for coach Rex Ryan in the offseason.
''He wanted to be very aggressive and attack,'' Mornhinweg said, ''and that's one of the reasons I ended up here.''
Rookie Geno Smith connected with Santonio Holmes on plays of 69 and 40 yards, and Stephen Hill for 51 and 45 yards last Sunday.
According to the team's official site, it was the first time the Jets had as many as four passing plays of 40 or more yards since the second game of the 1972 season, when they had five. Joe Namath hit Richard Caster for touchdowns of 79 and 80 yards, while also connecting with WR Eddie Bell on plays of 65 and 42 yards, and John Riggins for 67.
Last Sunday's game also marked the first time in team history the Jets had a 300-yard passer (Smith, 331) a 100-yard rusher (Bilal Powell, 149) and two 100-yard receivers (Holmes, 154, and Hill, 108).
''One of the things that coach Mornhinweg came in preaching was that we have to get an opportunity to stretch the field and make some big plays,'' Holmes said. ''He felt like he had a group of guys that could really make a really big impact for this offense in stretching the ball down the field.
''That's what we really have to believe in in this offense, and I think the guys are believing in his philosophy and what he's bringing to the table for us.''
ANOTHER LONG TD RUN: Chris Johnson already has twice as many touchdown runs of 80 yarders or longer than anyone else in NFL history with six. The Titans running back isn't satisfied.
''It makes me want to get even more, but it's a situation where I know I can't go out there looking for the long run,'' Johnson said. ''I got to let it come to me.''
Johnson plays the Jets on Sunday, the team he got the longest TD run of his career against with a 94-yarder last December. Johnson said it ranks right near the top of his favorite runs. He was barely touched, with the Jets stacking eight defenders near the line. But don't think Johnson didn't have to do too much to finish off the run.
''You still don't got many guys that can break a 94-yarder and not get caught,'' Johnson said.
Jets coach Rex Ryan remembers that TD only too well, and said they can't give Johnson any space at all to run.
''If he has it, we all know what he can do,'' Ryan said.
GATES VS. WITTEN: San Diego's Antonio Gates and Dallas' Jason Witten came into the league together 10 years ago. Gates has more touchdowns receiving than any player since 2004. Witten set a record for tight ends with 110 catches last year.
They get to size up each other for the third time Sunday, but they aren't strangers. Plus, they went to seven straight Pro Bowls together and have eight appearances apiece.
''I've got a good relationship with him,'' Witten said. ''Over the years you compete with each other, but you form a bond and relationship of always picking each other's brains.''
If it weren't for Tony Gonzalez being in his 17th season, Gates and Witten would be the top two active tight ends. Although Gates has a big lead over Witten in touchdowns (84 to 46), Witten has the edge in yards (9,097-8,549) and catches (822-657).
''I think they're the quarterback's best friend,'' San Diego coach Mike McCoy said. ''Regardless of what the situation is, whether it's in the red area, whether it's third down, the game's on the line, (they are guys) that you know you can count on.''
For the curious: The Cowboys and Chargers have split their two games with Gates and Witten on the roster. Gates missed a 28-24 San Diego victory in 2005, and had four catches for 44 yards with a touchdown in a 20-17 Dallas win four years ago. Witten had one catch for 12 yards the first time and four for 49 the second. He hasn't scored against the Chargers.
This year, Gates leads the Chargers with 228 yards receiving and Witten is tied for the Dallas lead in touchdowns receiving with Dez Bryant at two.
''You're always competing against him, but it's somebody you definitely have a lot of respect for,'' Witten said. ''I don't know about the box score, but you take a peek at the film every once in a while and see what kinds of plays they're running.''
AP Sports Writers Larry Lage, Mark Long, Dennis Waszak Jr., Schuyler Dixon and Teresa M. Walker contributed to this story.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Jimmy Fallon
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Marty Mornhinweg
- Christian Fauria
- Denard Robinson