It’s all but a foregone conclusion that the Rams will draft Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh with the No. 1 overall pick. Suh is the best and most qualified player in the draft, so he is the obvious top selection.
Lions have big decision at Number Two
The Lions and Patriots can work easily together, since Lions General Manager Bob Quinn used to work with Bill Belichick.
And now they’ve swapped a starter, a week ahead of the trade deadline.
The former second-round pick from BYU in 2014 had finally moved into the starting lineup this year, starting all seven games.
The Patriots have a track record of taking other people’s misfits and making them contributors, which will give them the benefit of the doubt on this one.
The Giants released kicker Josh Brown on Tuesday, several days after the NFL placed Brown on the Commissioner’s-Exempt list in the wake of the release of documents from police in Washington detailing Brown’s abuse of his then-wife and several months after the team re-signed Brown despite the kicker telling them that he had been abusive.
Giants owner John Mara said last week that the team was not aware of the “extent” of the abuse when they opted to bring Brown back to the roster. In a statement accompanying the announcement of Brown’s release, Mara called that decision “misguided.”
“We believed we did the right thing at every juncture in our relationship with Josh,” Mara said. “Our beliefs, our judgments and our decisions were misguided. We accept that responsibility. We hope that Josh will continue to dedicate himself to rehabilitation, and to becoming a better person and father. We will continue to support him in his efforts to continue counseling, and we hope that Josh and his family can find peace and a positive resolution.”
The team also included a statement from Brown that featured much of the language he used in a statement released through Adam Schefter of ESPN earlier in the day. One notable change is that Brown’s first statement included his belief that it was “important to share that I never struck my wife” and the one released through the Giants makes no such equivocation from a man who wrote that he “physically, verbally and emotionally abused my wife.”
The Giants made it clear they wanted as far away from Josh Brown as possible, when they left him home from their London game.
Today, they made it official.
The team announced that they were cutting the kicker, after admissions of abuse were released last week, casting them in an even worse light after they re-signed him this offseason knowing of the domestic violence allegations involving his then-wife.
Brown apologized to the Giants in a statement earlier today, but it obviously wasn’t enough for him to keep his job. He was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, effectively paid leave, last week.
The Dolphins lost safety Reshad Jones for the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury and they spent some time on Tuesday looking at veteran safeties who might be able to help them fill the hole that Jones left behind on their defense.
Ihedigbo was a teammate of current Miami starter Isa Abdul-Quddus in Detroit and was actually benched in favor of Abdul-Quddus last season. He spent two years with the Lions and has also spent time with the Ravens, Patriots and Jets since entering the NFL in 2008.
Wright was cut by the Buccaneers in August and had a workout with the Panthers a short time later that ended without a contract. He played in 21 games and made nine starts for Tampa over the last two seasons. Brown spent a week with the Falcons this summer and played in 15 games for the Jaguars last season.
The fan who fell out of Sports Authority Field at Mile High while leaving last night’s game has died.
According to Kirk Mitchell of the Denver Post, the office of the medical examiner confirmed the man’s death this afternoon.
The man fell last night around 11:44 p.m. ET, after the game with the Texans ended. He fell over a stairway railing from “an unknown height.”
Our thoughts are with the man’s family and friends.
The Browns started the year with a quarterback who has always struggled to protect himself.
And now that they’ve used six in seven games, Browns coach Hue Jackson doesn’t need to be convinced of any of their fortitude.
“Cody has proved his toughness,” Jackson said. “He doesn’t have to do that all the time. He can do some things better to protect himself in those situations, but it was a heck of a play that he and Gary made that gave us the chance to go score a touchdown. I don’t want to take the fight out of him, but he also has to understand the situation he’s in.”
It’s uncertain whether Kessler will be cleared in time to play the Jets this week, which could leave Kevin Hogan at the helm.
Regardless, Jackson knows the situation his quarterbacks (plural) have been in, and that dubious offensive lines leave them vulnerable.
“You can’t do it,” Jackson said. “At the end of the day, that’s what they’re going to learn because if not, you’re standing over there next to me or you’re in concussion protocol. You just can’t do it. That’s hard. It is a hard lesson to learn sometimes. I used to have this thing where quarterbacks just had to say ‘uncle.’ You throw the ball away or you take a sack just because it’s the right thing to do for your football team. This is not about one individual. This is about your team.
“If you’re not playing, then we’re hurting the team. I don’t think Cody was trying to do anything to hurt his football team. He was trying to do everything he could to help his team score. There’s a fine line, but right now in the situation that we’ve been in losing quarterbacks, the quarterbacks all have to say to themselves, ‘Hey, look, maybe I need to throw this ball away or go down because it is the best thing for our team right now.”’
Sounds like advice that was given to Robert Griffin III. And Josh McCown. And Terrelle Pryor. And Charlie Whitehurst. And Hogan. And eventually Joe Callahan, who seems destined to get a turn this year.
OK, maybe not Whitehurst, he’s gone. But the point stands.
The Steelers held a practice on Tuesday before everyone scatters for the bye week and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was a limited participant in the session.
Roethlisberger said on 93.7 The Fan that he did individual work a little more than a week after he had surgery on the injured meniscus in his knee. He also said that he hopes to return to play against the Ravens in Week Nine, something that he thinks would require getting in a fuller practice session in the days leading up to the game.
“Typically I would say no, but it would be nice because I need to know what I can and can’t do,” Roethlisberger said. “Mentally, no, I don’t need it. But physically, just to know what I’m capable of doing … I think in this situation it would smart to get a good, full practice in.”
There were various reports about how long Roethlisberger would be out after he was injured against the Dolphins in Week Six with Steelers president Art Rooney II calling a 2-3 week timeline the best-case scenario.
Jaguars fans in Jacksonville have supported the team steadfastly, despite nearly a decade of mediocrity. But with increased expectations in 2016 that aren’t being met, the locals are getting restless.
And that isn’t sitting well with receiver Allen Robinson.
“When you hear the atmosphere of when we step out on the field, when we go to punt or before halftime when Blake [Bortles] takes a knee and you hear the booing, it’s kind of funny to me,” Robinson said, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. “It’s funny that we get our best home-field advantage when we go to Wembley [Stadium].”
The Jaguars have been playing one home game in London per year, with the other seven played in Jacksonville.
The team has played six games this year, winning two but not performing on offense the way they did a year ago. The next chance to win comes on Thursday night against the Titans. Another loss could grease the skids toward major changes for the organization.
Giants kicker Josh Brown was placed on the Commissioner’s-Exempt list last week after the release of documents by the King County (WA) Sheriff’s Office.
Included among those documents were writings from Brown that had him admitting that he “physically, verbally and emotionally abused my wife” and viewed her as his slave. Many others weighed in on the matter over the last week, but Brown had remained silent until issuing a statement to Adam Schefter of ESPN on Tuesday.
“I am sorry that my past has called into question the character or integrity of The New York Giants, [Giants owner John] Mara or any of those who have supported me along the way. I have taken measures to get help so that I may be the voice of change, not a statistic. It is important to share that I never struck my wife, and never would. Abuse takes many forms, and is not a gray area. Through the past several years I have worked to identify and rectify my own behaviors. The road to rehabilitation is a journey and a constant modification of a way of life. My journey will continue forever as a person determined to leave a positive legacy and I embrace the opportunities to show and speak about what has helped me to be that man. In the interim, I am cooperating with the Giants and the NFL. Thank you to everyone that has supported me, I will not let you down.”
Schefter previously reported that Brown will not appeal the league’s decision to put him on the list, which bars him from playing while he continues to receive his full salary. Brown was suspended for one game to open the year and would have the right to appeal any further discipline the league tries to enact under the auspices of new information coming to light, although Mara’s admission that Brown admitted to the team that he abused his wife may make that difficult for the league.
Joe Namath has issued an apology for something that didn’t require the advance consumption of Tic Tacs.
On Sunday, Namath questioned the severity of Jets quarterback Geno Smith’s knee injury.
“If you’ve got a right knee injury keeping you out of the game why are you standing on the sideline the entire 2nd half?” Namath tweeted. “How bad can it be?”
As it turned out, pretty bad. Geno Smith has a torn ACL.
“Somebody tell Joe that the doctors have the final say on whether you can or cannot get back into the game,” Smith tweeted, “and also that I love him!”
Namath then issued an apology, although arguably half-hearted and incomplete.
“My bad Geno,” Namath said. “In the dark ages we players had the say. I hope you heal and play as long as you choose!”
So, basically, Namath is saying that, in his day, players played with a torn ACL, if they wanted to. Presumably, they also played with various other ailments, if they wanted to. Including concussions, presumably.
Eagles running back Ryan Mathews lost a fumble in the fourth quarter for the second time in three games against the Vikings, although the turnover didn’t wind up hurting the team in a 21-10 victory.
That wasn’t the case in Week Five against the Lions, when Detroit took advantage of Mathews’ miscue to drive for a go-ahead field goal in what became a 24-23 victory. Mathews lost three fumbles for the Eagles last year and has fumbled 20 times over the course of his career, although neither recent nor distant history have coach Doug Pederson feeling down about the back.
“Well, it’s definitely a concern and we don’t want to see it, especially in those situations – four-minute situations there at the end of the game,” Pederson said in his Monday press confrence. “We’ve got to continue to either find out if he’s tired, where he’s at at the end of the game; if we need to put Wendell [Smallwood] or Darren [Sproles] in there – we’ll find out more about that. But by no means am I down on Ryan at all. We just have to make sure that he understands that he can’t obviously do that and put ourselves in a situation where we’re giving the ball back to the opponent.”
Whether Mathews understands that it’s a negative to fumble the ball or not is secondary to whether he’s doing the right things to avoid turnovers that can make life more difficult for his team. His history says its an issue and it probably won’t take more than another fumble or two for the Eagles to rethink who is getting the ball down the stretch in games.
Cleveland may be in store for yet another quarterback change.
The Browns’ official depth chart this week lists Kevin Hogan as the first-string quarterback. Joe Callahan, claimed on waivers yesterday, is listed as the second-string quarterback. Josh McCown, who is still recovering from a broken collarbone, is third, while Cody Kessler, who suffered a concussion on Sunday, is listed as fourth.
Hogan’s spot atop the depth chart doesn’t mean he’s going to start on Sunday against the Jets, but it does indicate that he’d be the starter if the Browns had to play today. If Hogan does start he’d be the Browns’ fourth different starting quarterback this season, following Robert Griffin III, McCown and Kessler.
After Kessler suffered his concussion on Sunday, Hogan came in and showed impressive rushing ability, catching the Bengals by surprise with his feet and carrying seven times for 104 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, Hogan wasn’t as successful passing the ball: He completed just 12 of 24 passes for 100 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
The Cowboys got a head start on scouting this week’s opponent, although when they were looking at Carson Wentz, it was with an eye toward the possibility he might be around for longer than a week.
The guy they coached at the Senior Bowl was taken before they had a chance to draft him, and as you may have heard, they found a rookie of their own they like in Dak Prescott. But make no mistake, they were convinced Wentz had the chance to be good.
“He clearly loves football,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of the Eagles quarterback, via Todd Archer of ESPN.com. “He’s very passionate about it. He’s a smart football player. He’s a talented football player. I thought he grew over the course of the week, a real tribute to the approach that he took. He had a real command with his teammates. I thought he played well in practice, played well in the game. Very impressed by him.”
Wentz was able to go through the week under Cowboys coaches before they knew they’d be facing him twice a year, and he ran a scaled-back version of their offense. And they liked the way he was able to pick up things quickly, which would have made things interesting if he had somehow lasted until the fourth pick in the draft, as he was the highest-rated quarterback on their board.
“I’m not so sure he had ever lost a game, maybe one or two,” Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. “The thing that blew me away was he never made anything lower than like an A in school. I said, ‘Well, you broke my record. I didn’t make it through kindergarten without getting a B.’ But he was really sharp. And he’s a really talented kid. I’m not surprised he’s doing well at all.”
But the Senior Bowl was also when the Cowboys met Prescott, who was playing for the South team that week. And while Wentz got off to the high-profile start, Prescott has shown himself more than able to be a starter, now and in the future.
When the Dolphins were 1-4, plenty of their fans were ready to abandon ship. But first-year coach Adam Gase continued to believe.
His belief has paid off with a pair of wins, heading into the bye week. Appearing on Monday’s PFT Live, Gase attributed the surge to one primary factor.
“I think the fact that we got our five starting offensive lineman back has been obviously a big part of that,” Gase said. “It’s changed the whole way that we’ve been able to play the game where the offense is staying on the field for a longer period of time. We have better time of possession. Our defense is actually getting to do what we built it to do, which is rush the passer and really not play 75 to 80 plays a game. It was a little ridiculous there for the first five games of the season where they were playing just way too many snaps.”
Gase helped weather the early-season storm by shutting out the noise.
“I think it’s easy when you don’t look at the Internet and don’t look at Twitter and don’t listen to radio and don’t watch TV,” Gase said. “So that makes it easy. You just kind of live in your own little bubble and just keep working every day. Our players, I think, did a great job of trying to do the same thing. I know it’s a little tougher for them because they’re out in the public a lot and people have family members and agents and fans. They have more access to them so they probably have to hear a little bit more than what a lot of our coaching staff has to hear. So I’m sure it’s a little tougher to just kind of stay in that tunnel and just keep fighting.”
Why doesn’t Gase consume any media about his team?
“I think it’s just putting negativity in your head,” Gase said. “I just stay away from it. I think we’ve been so busy, there’s so much going on for us right now as far as kind of what we’re trying to do down here. I know our coaching staff is working really hard to keep coming back every day and giving our players a great plan and try to put them in a good position. We haven’t had a lot of time for anything out side of football.”
Whatever they’re doing (or not doing), it’s currently working. And with some extra time to further heal up and plan for the final nine games of the season, Gase and the Dolphins could still make plenty of noise in the AFC.
1. Patriots (6-1; last week No. 2): They may be here for a while, especially if they can avenge their only loss of the season to date.
2. Cowboys (5-1; No. 4): A return to glory is entirely possible.
3. Vikings (5-1; No. 1): They weren’t going to win them all. On Sunday, they wouldn’t have won against anyone.
4. Seahawks (4-1-1; No. 3): There’s a sense that the wheels could come off at any point for this team. There’s also a sense they’ll eventually mash on the gas pedal. It remains to be seen which one happens first.
5. Packers (4-2; No. 7): As long as they play inferior opponents, the offense will look just fine.
6. Broncos (5-2; No. 9): “This one’s for Brock.”
7. Falcons (4-3; No. 5): The Second Annual Collapse has begun. How long will it last?
8. Steelers (4-3; No. 8): Linebacker Ryan Shazier says the team is “garbage” right now. Plenty of teams would love to smell that bad.
9. Chiefs (4-2; No. 12): This may be the one team no one wants to play in January.
10. Raiders (5-2; No. 13): Maybe they should start their home games at 10:00 a.m. PT, too.
11. Lions (4-3; No. 18): Maybe Matthew Stafford will start getting the credit he deserves.
12. Washington (4-3; No. 6): The closest this team will come to No. 1 happened on the sideline of Sunday’s game in Detroit.
13. Eagles (4-2; No. 15): Shrugging off a couple of losses and three first-quarter turnovers from Carson Wentz, the Eagles have re-established themselves as an unlikely postseason contender.
14. Giants (4-3; No. 17): Based on his interception return for a touchdown against the Rams, maybe Landon Collins should play running back.
15. Bills (4-3; No. 10): The Bills last swept the Patriots in the same year the Bills last went to the playoffs. Ending one streak on Sunday would go a long way toward ending the other one.
16. Texans (4-3; No. 11): They could have won the division and made a quick exit from the playoffs by spending a lot less than $18 million per year on a quarterback.
17. Cardinals (3-3-1; No. 14): They get a chance to exorcise their lingering 2015 demons with a trip back to Charlotte. And if the Cardinals lose this one, it could be over.
18. Buccaneers (3-3; No. 20): The next two games will tell us plenty about whether this team is ready to contend.
19. Bengals (3-4; No. 21): They’ll fly a long way to try to extend the winning streak against former Bengals offensive coordinators to two.
20. Dolphins (3-4; No. 25): At a time when plenty of NFL players are the last ones to realize it’s over, Arian Foster deserves credit for being quick to admit it.
21. Chargers (3-4; No. 26): Could this be the best team in the division?
22. Colts (3-4; No. 28): Could this be the best team in the division?
23. Titans (3-4; No. 16): This could have been the best team in the division.
24. Ravens (3-4; No. 19): This could be a problem for John Harbaugh, eventually.
25. Rams (3-4; No. 22): This could be the formula for 7-9.
26. Saints (2-4; No. 23): This could be a little awkward when Jimmy Graham returns to New Orleans on Sunday.
27. Panthers (1-5; No. 27): This could be the first step in a slow climb out of the basement.
28. Jaguars (2-4; No. 24): If they don’t win in the Star Trek uniforms, Gus Bradley could be teleported to a new job.
29. Jets (2-5; No. 29): “How dare you react to the fact that I wasn’t good at my job.”
30. 49ers (1-6; No. 30): Those “traffic problems” in Santa Clara that made the stadium seem sparsely attended for a Thursday night game are here to stay.
31. Bears (1-6; No. 31): The Cubs are providing the Bears with the cover they need to keep stinking.
32. Browns (0-7; No. 32): The Indians are providing the Browns with the cover they need to keep stinking.