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Jason Taylor sees "night and day" difference between Dolphins and Jets

nfl_taylor_250.jpgJason Taylor made a career out of hurling insults at the Jets and their fans.  Now that he’s a Jet, he has lobbed his first grenade at the team with which he spent all but one season of his career.

Asked whether he has noticed a difference in the culture with his new team, Taylor said, “It is night and day.  Everything here is a little more relaxed, I guess you can say.  There is a whole different vibe in the building.  The practices, walkthroughs and meetings are a little more positive and calm.”

If that’s true, why was Taylor essentially begging for an offer from the Dolphins?

Instead, our guess is that Taylor is in the process of treating the Fins with the same contempt he previously directed to the Jets.  And that’s just another reason why the 2010 season can’t get here soon enough.

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Jets tab Marcel Shipp as running backs coach

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A former NFL tailback not long removed from his playing days will coach the Jets’ running backs.

Ex-Cardinals tailback Marcel Shipp, who was last on an NFL roster with Houston in 2008, has been added to Todd Bowles’ coaching staff, the Jets announced Tuesday.

Shipp was the running backs coach at Massachusetts in 2014. He was an intern on the Cardinals’ coaching staff two years ago, when Bowles was defensive coordinator.

Shipp rushed for 2,197 yards and 11 TDs in seven seasons with Arizona (2001-2007).

In addition to hiring Bowles, the Jets have tabbed Steve Marshall as offensive line coach.

Marshall was the Texans’ offensive line coach in 2004 and 2005 and the Browns’ offensive line coach in 2007 and 2008. He was Green Bay’s assistant offensive line coach in 2014.

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Patriots say there’s nothing suspicious about their ball security

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As Deflategate has dominated the football world over the last 10 days, it’s been pointed out that the Patriots have a suspiciously good track record for avoiding fumbles. Is that because they’re using deflated footballs, which are easier to grip?

Not according to the players on the Patriots, who instead say that they simply go through so many ball control drills that they have become the best team in the league at holding onto the ball.

“I can definitely tell that the coaching and the drills that we do within the spring and the offseason and camp and OTAs have really paid off for a lot of guys,” Patriots receiver Danny Amendola said. “We take a lot of drills that we do within the week, within practice, and take them to the field. We do a lot of drills that really benefit that.”

Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount has fumbled three times in his 219 career touches as a Patriot (a little less frequently than his 10 fumbles in 518 career touches when playing with the Buccaneers and Steelers), and he says that in New England the coaches always make a big deal about ball security.

“We put a heavy emphasis on keeping the football,” Blount said. “We practice holding the football, we have the defense punch at the football a lot extra more than probably most teams do. We do everything to emphasis ball security because like I said, you can’t win the game without the ball.”

That has long been an emphasis of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and so he drills ball security into his players and avoids drafting or signing players who have a history of fumbling. That’s a more plausible explanation for the Patriots’ success at avoiding fumbles than deflated footballs.

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Rob Gronkowski happy to be healthy for this Super Bowl

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The last time the Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl, tight end Rob Gronkowski was slowed by an ankle injury that left him at less than 100 percent for the loss to the Giants.

Gronkowski spent the next two seasons battling a variety of injuries to his back, forearm and knee, but he’s been able to avoid any scrapes this season while playing a leading role on offense for the AFC champs. On Tuesday, Gronkowski said that he was happy to be feeling totally healthy for the Super Bowl this time.

“It’s definitely a tough experience, man. Definitely don’t take the game for granted anymore,” Gronkowski said. “It’s an honor to be out there on the field with my teammates and all. Throughout the whole year, especially this time of the year, going to the Super Bowl, being out on the practice field, helping my team do its job and just going out and practicing hard. I’m super excited for this game Sunday.”

Gronkowski’s feeling “totally back” to his old self, but that doesn’t mean he’s making any bold predictions for what’s going to happen against the Seahawks. When asked if he had any guarantees for the Super Bowl, Gronkowski said only that the game would be played this Sunday.

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Bears name Clint Hurtt outside linebackers coach

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The Bears have brought several of John Fox’s assistants to Chicago from Denver since hiring Fox as their head coach, but one member of the 2014 staff will be sticking around.

Clint Hurtt was the defensive line coach in 2014 and will remain on the staff in 2015 as the team’s outside linebackers coach. The position is usually found on staffs running a 3-4 defense, which isn’t what the Bears ran last season but is likely to be at least part of their scheme in 2015 with Vic Fangio coming aboard as the new defensive coordinator.

Hurtt helped the Bears defensive linemen record 35 of the team’s 39 sacks during the 2014 season and the outside linebackers will play a major role in the team’s pass rush if the Bears do move toward more 3-4 fronts under Fangio.

The Bears also announced that offensive quality control coaches Brendan Nugent and Carson Walch would not return to the team.

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Bobby Wagner: Seahawks “will be ready” for Patriots’ formation ploys

Bobby Wagner AP

In the divisional round, the Patriots caught the Ravens by surprise by declaring typically eligible receivers to be ineligible on certain plays.

The Seahawks are well-aware of this. And as Pro Bowl middle linebacker Bobby Wagner tells it, the Seattle defense will be prepared for it.

“Everybody will be ready for it,” Wagner told reporters at Media Day on Tuesday. “It’s going to be run maybe once or twice in the game, so it’s not going to be a big deal.”

Wagner indicated the responsibility for recognizing the Patriots’ formation fell on the entire defense, as well as the officials, who have to announce the ineligible receiver.

Wagner observed that the opposition’s fatigue is a factor in New England’s formation ploys.

“They do it at a time where they feel like the team is tired, so they’re always going to catch you when you’re not thinking as much or when you’re tired, but I think we do a great job of not getting tired,” Wagner said.

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Robert Kraft: Party with Roger Goodell made Richard Sherman money

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When Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman arrived in Arizona for the Super Bowl, he opined that the Patriots wouldn’t be punished as a result of the NFL’s investigation into their use of under-inflated footballs because of a “conflict of interest” illustrated by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell attending a party at Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s house before the AFC Championship game.

Kraft didn’t seem to agree with that take on Monday when he deplaned with a statement demanding an apology from the league “for what [the Patriots have had to endure this past week” in the event that the league’s investigation determines the team didn’t intentionally tamper with the balls.  Kraft then slammed the league for using “circumstantial leaked evidence” to paint the Patriots in a bad light.

At Tuesday’s Super Bowl Media Day, Kraft said he only wanted to answer questions about football, but did respond to a query about Sherman’s remarks. After calling Sherman “a very smart marketing whiz,” Kraft explained that the party in question would actually benefit Sherman.

“If you go into the facts of what he said, the NFL always used to pay for a big party for the AFC Championship Game. We’ve been privileged to own the team for 21 years, and this was our 10th championship game. When the league stopped giving the parties, we started doing it. This is our third one,” Kraft said, via ESPNBoston.com. “I think Mr. Sherman understood that he’s the biggest beneficiary, because they get over 50 percent of the revenues. So he didn’t go to Harvard, but Stanford must be pretty good because he figured it out.”

The league’s investigation isn’t expected to wrap up anytime soon, which leaves plenty of time for plenty of people to share opinions about what will  or won’t happen in the most watched study of air pressure in memory.

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Richard Sherman: Roger Goodell should have to talk weekly

Super Bowl Football AP

While Marshawn Lynch is trying to make himself into a counter-culture commodity by not talking, there are other people who might have things to say who aren’t terribly available either.

And that’s the point Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman made Tuesday at media day, specifically mentioning commissioner Roger Goodell.

Every one of the NFL’s personnel should be obligated to speak weekly,” Sherman said, via Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. 

See, as political statements against the moneyed bosses who make them put on the red nose to participate in the circus media day has become, this one was a lot more effective.

Lynch is just doing it to be difficult, and frankly, I’m not sure he has that much to say.

Goodell has many things to address, and he’ll get his chance Friday.

That press conference could easily become the same kind of performance art as today (though league PR manages to filter out the costumed silliness better for the boss).

But Sherman’s right. I’m far more interested in what Goodell has to say than Lynch. But Roger’s not threatening to fine himself, either.

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Perry Fewell joining Jay Gruden’s staff as defensive backs coach

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Perry Fewell drew up game plans to stop the Redskins a couple of times a year since becoming the Giants’ defensive coordinator at 2010, but he’ll have a different take on Washington’s team this year.

According to multiple reports, Fewell has agreed to become the team’s defensive backs coach a couple of weeks after the Giants canned him after a 6-10 season. Fewell also interviewed for a job on the 49ers staff and reportedly received an offer to come on board, but opted to stay in the NFC East.

Fewell will inherit a group that contributed to Washington allowing 249.4 yards per game in 2014 under Raheem Morris, who has departed for a job with the Falcons. With safeties Brandon Meriweather and Ryan Clark and cornerback E.J. Biggers all headed for free agency and Joe Barry replacing Jim Haslett as defensive coordinator, there will likely be a lot of new faces in the group next season.

Should Fewell want those faces to be familiar, he could push the team to bid for Giants defensive backs hitting free agency. Safeties Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown join cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Zack Bowman in that group.

 

 

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Thousands of fans spend $28.50 to attend Media Day

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Many of the players at Super Bowl Media Day don’t want to be there, even though it’s their job. Many of the reporters at Super Bowl Media Day don’t want to be there, even though it’s their job. But while Super Bowl Media Day is often disdained by those who participate in it for a living, thousands of people in attendance wanted to be there so much that they paid for the privilege.

The NFL sold tickets to Media Day at $28.50 a pop, and thousands of fans turned out to the US Airways Center in Phoenix to be there to see it live. Most of those fans seemed to be enjoying themselves.

The fans in the stands got a radio that allows them to tune to whichever podium they choose and hear whatever player they like, and fans were cheering, laughing and otherwise indicating that they liked hearing from their favorite players.

So while most of us who attend Media Day as part of our jobs probably don’t think it’s an event worthy of buying a ticket to attend, there are a lot of football fans who think it’s a fun experience. Which means that the NFL will surely continue selling thousands of tickets to Media Day.

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Marshawn Lynch shows up at media day to avoid fines

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A year ago at Super Bowl media day, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch played peek-a-boo with reporters, using a side entrance to make a late arrival and an early getaway.

This year, the NFL put him on a podium for a tougher escape, probably as the league’s reminder they set the rules.

Lynch showed up and did his part. Our guy Curtis Crabtree was in the best position to hear this nothing, as Lynch gave the same answer to all the early questions.

I’m just here so I won’t get fined,” he said repeatedly.

Lynch left after less than five minutes, making the appropriate gesture of whatever it is he’s trying to prove.

It really doesn’t have to be that hard. Lynch was able to make a promotional video for candy, but he can’t talk to the people who want to hear from him on other matters.

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Raiders hire Rob Moore, Bernie Parmalee to coaching staff

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A pair of former NFL players are among four new coaching staff hires announced by the Raiders on Tuesday.

Ex-Dolphins and Jets tailback Bernie Parmalee will coach Oakland’s running backs, while former Jets and Cardinals wideout Rob Moore will coach the club’s wide receivers.

The 47-year-old Parmalee previously coached tight ends for Kansas City (2010-2012) and Miami (2004). He also was a special teams assistant with Miami in 2002 and 2003.

Moore, 46, was the Bills’ wide receivers coach in 2014.

In addition to Parmalee and Moore, the Raiders have hired Bobby Johnson to coach tight ends and Tracy Smith as assistant special teams coach. Johnson was the Lions’ assistant offensive line coach in 2014, though he coached the Lions’ special teams the previous season. Smith was the 49ers’ assistant special teams coach the last three seasons.

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Wilfork calls Belichick the greatest coach ever

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Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been peppered with questions about whether he did anything improper in Deflategate, but Belichick is also getting strong support from his players.

Several Patriots spoke out about their respect for Belichick at Super Bowl Media Day, most notably defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who said he feels privileged to have played his entire career for Belichick.

“He’s the best coach in the game — the best coach ever in the game,” Wilfork said. “When it’s all over I can say I was coached by the greatest.”

If the Patriots beat the Seahawks on Sunday, Belichick will join Chuck Noll as the only head coaches to win four Super Bowls, and Belichick is already the coach with the most postseason wins in NFL history. Wilfork may be biased by his own relationship with Belichick, but you can make a good case that he’s right, and that Belichick really is the best coach in the history of the game of football.

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Thomas Davis: Knee injuries may have extended my career

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Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis is thought to be the first player to return from three torn ACLs and reconstructive surgeries on the same knee, but the 31-year-old doesn’t feel like all the injuries robbed him of part of his career.

It’s the opposite, actually. Davis explained this week that he feels like he’s going to get back the time he missed because of his knee issues in the years to come.

“That’s the way I’m looking at it,” Davis said, via ESPN.com. “I lost two and a half years to injuries, but I also feel I gained two and a half years. … This was my 10th year and I’m going on year 11, and I still feel I have a lot of football left in me.”

Davis is entering the final year of his contract with the Panthers and is set to count a little more than $10 million against the salary cap. He said that he is “pretty sure [the Panthers will] address” his contract in the near future and an extension would lower that cap hit while also keeping around a player who has rebounded from his injuries with over 100 tackles in each of the last three seasons.

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Stuffed animal question brings out Bill Belichick’s softer side

Bill Belichick AP

We have a soft spot for kids asking questions at Media Day, for they usually have more interesting questions than the assembled adults.

Which brings us to Bill Belichick’s Tuesday media session, when a young questioner asked the 62-year-old Patriots coach about the stuffed animals he liked.

The cub reporter asking about this particular topic? Jerod Mayo’s daughter, Chya, according to Monique Walker Jones of USA Today.

“What stuffed animals do I like?” Belichick asked, smiling. “Um, I like, like, a little puppet. You can kind of put your fingers in. It’s a little monkey, and then he can talk and move his fingers and nod his head, so he can kind of talk back to you.”

Belichick then asked Mayo’s daughter: “What’s your favorite stuffed animal?”

The Patriots’ head coach had another question for Chya.

“Can I ask you one question? Did your daddy fix your hair?” Belichick said.

Her response elicited a laugh from Belichick, who then asked if she any more questions.

And when it was over, Belichick, who has three children of his own, said: “Thank you.”

He was still smiling when he turned to his left to field the next question.

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PFT Live from the Super Bowl keeps rolling on Tuesday

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It’s Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday and we’ll be bringing you everything you need to know from Arizona on PFT Live.

Once again, Mike Florio is coming to you live from the Super Bowl and we’ve got a packed show that’s sure to make for three entertaining and informative hours. Former NFL great Jason Taylor, Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis and Browns cornerback Joe Haden will all stop by to share their thoughts on the Super Bowl participants and we’ll also have PFT’s own Michael David Smith and Darin Gantt on hand for the show.

We also want to hear from PFT Planet. You can call the show by dialing 855-323-4NBC, email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. And, again, you can also watch a simulcast of all three hours of the show by clicking right here.

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