Monday was a tough night to be a running back, as Willie Parker sat out with a sprained knee and Willis McGahee, Rashard Mendenhall, LeRon McClain, and Carey Davis exited early with various maladies. Mendenhall got the worst news when the Steelers announced immediately after the game that he's headed for season-ending injured reserve with a fractured left shoulder.
Mendenhall finishes his much-hyped rookie season with 58 yards on 19 carries and along with Davis' ankle injury leaves the Steelers' backfield very thin. Parker isn't due back until after the Week 6 bye, so for at least Sunday's game against the Jaguars it'll likely be Mewelde Moore and Gary Russell splitting work. Moore was already the team's third-down back and is the guy to claim off waivers.
While Gregg Rosenthal celebrates Moore joining Matt Forte to potentially make two Tulane alums starting at running back in Week 5, here are some other notes from around football .
* After leading the Rams to a 0-4 record this season and an 11-25 mark overall, Scott Linehan was fired Monday. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett replaces him and is expected to make his first major change by moving Marc Bulger back into the starting lineup following a one-week benching. While no official decision has been announced, Haslett called Bugler an "upper echelon" quarterback Monday.
Trent Green was 17-of-32 for 236 yards and one interception in a Week 4 loss to the Bills, which was expected aside from his avoiding an injury. Over the past 15 games Bulger has completed just 58 percent of his throws for an average of 6.2 yards per attempt while being picked off 17 times versus 13 scores, but he's hardly been the Rams' biggest problem and at 31 years old deserves a final chance.
* Carson Palmer said Monday that he doesn't need surgery on his injured elbow and definitely plans to return in Week 5, but there's speculation that he'll require Tommy John surgery and coach Marvin Lewis said that the team is preparing as if Ryan Fitzpatrick will start again. Whether or not he's able to practice later this week will ultimately tell the story, but for now be ready with another QB1 option.
Not that Palmer was great himself early on, but Fitzpatrick struggled mightily with a favorable on-paper matchup Sunday, completing just 21-of-35 passes for 156 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions against the Browns. He ran for 41 yards to help make up for some of the passing struggles, but just 14 of his 35 throws went to T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Ocho Cinco.
* Plaxico Burress and the Giants avoided a grievance with the NFL by reaching a settlement Monday that keeps his one-game suspension intact but reduces his fine by over $100,000. Burress will sit out Sunday's game against the Seahawks for "insubordination" while Domenik Hixon starts alongside Amani Toomer in his place and Steve Smith remains the Giants' slot receiver.
Meanwhile, Charley Casserly of CBS notes that the NFL "is looking into possible discipline or counseling" for Burress based on two recent domestic disputes that involved restraining orders. Burress may face further suspension from the league even after taking his Giants punishment. Oh, and Jay Glazer of FOX reports that Burress has been fined 40-50 times while playing 50 games for the Giants.
Two-Minute Drill: According to the Lions front office, the team isn't seeking out a trade for disgruntled impending free agent Roy Williams prior to the October 14 deadline . Coach Jon Gruden said Monday that Brian Griese won't be benched despite a poor Week 4, but did say that Jeff Garcia "was our starter and might be our starter again at some point" . It was obvious after he dominated the Week 3 workload, but Rudi Johnson has officially overtaken rookie Kevin Smith on the Lions' depth chart heading into back-to-back tough matchups against the Bears and Vikings . Jason Campbell has 124 throws and 11 runs without a turnover this season and the Redskins are said to be putting together a long-term contract offer for him soon . Thanks to a one-week roster exemption, the Bengals aren't committed to using Chris Henry immediately after his suspension . Coach Ken Whisenhunt gave Kurt Warner a vote of confidence Monday after his six-turnover Week 4, so don't count on seeing Matt Leinart soon . Coach Jeff Fisher said Monday that Alge Crumpler's production "will come" eventually despite five grabs through four games.
Red Zone:Anquan Boldin avoided a serious injury despite being knocked out by an ugly helmet-to-helmet hit Sunday and his status for Week 5 is "up in the air" according to coach Ken Whisenhunt . Maurice Morris (knee) is iffy to return this week after missing Monday's practice, but Bobby Engram (shoulder) announced "I'm back" after putting in a full workout . After a week off Jon Kitna (knee) was healthy enough to practice Monday and is set to start versus the Bears . Randy McMichael was seen using crutches and a boot after aggravating his ankle injury Sunday, but has the bye week to get healthy . Coach Jon Gruden said Monday that he's "unsure" about Joey Galloway's (foot) status for Week 5 . Coach Lane Kiffin guessed Monday that Justin Fargas (groin) will return following the Week 5 bye, setting up a very crowded backfield . Donte' Stallworth (quadriceps) said Monday that he was "real close" to playing in Week 4, indicating that he'll debut after the Browns' bye . According to coach Brad Childress, Gus Frerotte's hand injury isn't serious and won't keep him from his third straight start Monday night against the Saints.