We’re told that Vikings receiver Percy Harvin has re-joined the team. He could practice as soon as today.
So that’s one big-name member of the offense down, and one to go.
We’re told that Vikings receiver Percy Harvin has re-joined the team. He could practice as soon as today.
So that’s one big-name member of the offense down, and one to go.
The Ravens had to wait a long while to get wide receiver Breshad Perriman on the field after drafting him in the first round of the 2015 draft thanks to a knee injury that made his rookie year a total washout.
Perriman then dealt with another knee injury this summer, limiting his practice time ahead of the regular season. Perriman has been able to get on the field for all seven Ravens games thus far, but his 14 catches for 183 yards have only made coach John Harbaugh want to see Perriman start taking greater strides in his development as a professional player.
“I told him, ‘I just am impatient. You have all this talent, and there is a lot to learn, but I just want to speed the curve up,'” Harbaugh said, via the Baltimore Sun. “Obviously, he said that he could not agree more. We just have to keep chasing it. It is going to happen, and let’s try to make it happen sooner rather than later.”
Perriman’s snaps went up when Steve Smith hurt his ankle, but his production hasn’t seen a similar spike. Wanting more out of a first-round pick is understandable, but asking for more than a player is ready to give is an easy way to be disappointed by the results and Perriman has looked like a player still finding his way in the NFL.
It’s been a rough year so far for the Vikings offensive line. Injuries, a revolving cast of replacements, and your boss calling you “soft.”
But they also realize there’s only so much they can do at the moment.
“I think it’s just playing better with what you have,” veteran left guard Alex Boone said, via Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I mean, what are you going to do? There’s not much you can do. It’s not like you’re not going to go down to Carl’s Jr. and find somebody.”
They’ve done everything but so far, including dragging Jake Long out of what appeared to be retirement to start at left tackle. And the lack of continuity is as important for an offensive line as any group in the game, and with both starting tackles on IR, that’s hard to find.
But the ultimate indignity was being labeled “soft” by head coach Mike Zimmer, who added for good measure: “We didn’t block anybody.”
“We’ve got to play better. That’s the bottom line,” Boone said.
When the “soft” remark was run by him again, Boone kept it low-key.
“I feel like we’ve got to play better. I think when you get your quarterback hit that many times it’s a problem,” Boone said. “So we’ve got to play better.”
Of course, there’s a meat-grinder aspect to the Vikings season as a whole, but after Sam Bradford was sacked six times and hit 13, they may need more than a sack of burgers (or the guy who sells them) to fix things.
The Jaguars have picked up an NFL-low 21 third-down conversions this season.
The Eagles are the best team in the NFL, according to the stats at Football Outsiders.
Never mind football. It could be months before Texans offensive tackle Derek Newton is able to walk again.
Newton tore both patella tendons in Monday’s loss to the Broncos, and was kept overnight in Denver to stabilize his injuries before he was flown home.
According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, more tests were expected once he returns home to reveal the true scope of the damage, though it is obviously severe. Newton is expected to be in a wheelchair for several weeks before he’s even able to get on crutches, and it could be three months before he’s able to walk on his own. His legs have been immobilized, though he is able to wiggle his toes.
“We’re still gathering a bunch of information,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said Tuesday. “He’ll obviously be out for the season. I can’t give you any specifics on the injuries and things like that because we still have doctors’ visits.
“He stayed overnight in Denver and he’s on his way back now. I feel bad, just a tough injury, but I know he’s going to work hard to come back.”
Such injuries have been career-enders for other players such as Wendell Davis and Gary Baxter, and even one patella tear would require a lengthy rehab. Newton is already consulting with Dr. James Andrews, in anticipation of the surgeries he will need to start the process.
Until the MRI results come back, we won’t know if Newton suffered additional injuries (like a run-of-the-mill ACL tear).
“To lose your brother like that, we hold him dear to our hearts,” said tackle Chris Clark, who replaced Newton in the lineup. “When that happened to him, we all felt that internally. That’s not just another guy that went down. That’s our brother.
“Can you bounce back from that? I’m not talking about the team. I’m talking about him as a player. How do you even start rehab? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We have a tight-knit group. We hold each other accountable and get things done together.”
Newton signed a five-year, $26.5 million contract in 2015, which included $10 million guaranteed.
The Steelers finally got their new Ferrari off blocks, and took it for a first spin around the block.
Tight end Ladarius Green went through his first practice of the season with the Steelers yesterday, as they hope to get the big-money offseason acquisition on the field after the bye. He’s been on the physically unable to perform list after offseason ankle surgery.
“I was excited,” Green said, via Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “A little nervous. It was good to get out there with the fellas.”
Green said he thought his ankle “held up good,” and that he was eager to see how he responded today, in their final workout before the bye week.
And while the Steelers don’t exactly lack for offensive options, adding Green to the mix would be huge. He was signed to replace the retired Heath Miller.
He even caught some passes from starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (recovering from a knee surgery of his own), and Roethlisberger said on his radio show on 93.7 FM that Green: “Looks good to me — but don’t have much to compare it to.”
When Green was on the sidelines during minicamp practices, Roethlisberger joked about the high-octane jolt he could provide.
“You’re like a brand-new Ferrari in the impound lot that I’m just looking through the fence at,” Roethlisberger said to him then.
A few more test drives, and they might be ready to put him on the open road.
But there are other ideas. Picking the best one becomes the basis for Wednesday’s question of the day on PFT Live.
Cast a ballot, battle it out in the comments, and suggest any other ideas you may have.
Most importantly, tune in a 6:00 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Radio and/or 7:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle will join us at 7:35 a.m. ET to discuss the Brock Osweiler Experiment through seven starts, and Ross Tucker will give us a call at 8:35 a.m. ET to talk about a variety of things, including but not limited to in-game urination etiquette.
As if Cleveland doesn’t have enough to fell good about at the moment, there’s also the hope that springs eternal from the Browns.
No, they can’t match an NBA title celebration and an opening night win by the Cavaliers, or a 1-0 lead in the World Series by their baseball neighbors, but there’s always the 2017 NFL Draft.
Via Scott Patsko of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns would own the top overall pick, if the season ended today. And the fact they’re already tracking that speaks volumes about the 0-7 Browns.
Of course, if the season ended today (to steal a line from the witty and urbane Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times), a lot of people would be wondering why it happened on Wednesday and what about the last 10 weeks of the season.
In addition to what would be their own first and 33rd overall picks by virtue of being the only winless team in the league, the Browns also own the Eagles’ first-rounder from the trade to move up to get Carson Wentz, and the Titans’ second-rounder from the move to get offensive lineman Jack Conklin.
While the final order of draft picks is based on playoff results and ties broken by strength of schedule, the 3-4 Titans would currently be picking 10th overall, giving the Browns the first, 26th, 33rd and 42nd overall choices.
Based on current records, the 49ers would pick second overall, followed by the Bears, Panthers, and Jets.
Of course, the season doesn’t end today, so a lot could change. Even if Cleveland’s status doesn’t.
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is still unhappy about the field goal block attempts of Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner from Sunday night’s 6-6 tie.
Wagner twice leaped over Cardinals long snapper Aaron Brewer in an attempt to block kicks. Wagner succeeded in blocking the first one while Chandler Catanzaro’s 24-yard field goal hit the left upright to thwart Arizona’s chances to win the game in overtime. Arians was livid after the blocked kick and was seen screaming at officials on the sideline. He also lost a timeout for attempting to challenge the play, which is not reviewable.
In an interview with Tom Pelissero and Bill Polian on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Arians believes that such plays are dangerous and shouldn’t be legal in the first place.
“The Competition Committee went through that play and the officials wanted it taken out,” Arians said. “The committee left it in, but it cannot be officiated. Whether he touches, whether it was leverage, was his foot within the framework of the defensive lineman’s feet before he jumped, all those things that go into that call, I think it’s bad for football.
“Because what you’re going to have to do now is start having centers raise their face up and get kicked in the face and things that are just dangerous to the players. I think it’s a dangerous play as it is and should be taken out of the game.”
Wagner grazed Brewer’s back with his left foot on his first attempt to leap over the line. His second attempt had guard Earl Watford attempt to block him with an extended arm, but he still cleared the line into the Arizona backfield. If Wagner had landed on Cardinals’ linemen in either attempt, it would have been a penalty. Incidental contact isn’t considered to be enough to warrant flags. Players also can’t use teammates or opponents as leverage either when attempted to block kicks in such a way.
Arians believes it creates a safety issue for long snappers. If such plays are going to be legal, then the offense will need to compensate to block leaping players. That could prove problematic in Arians’ mind.
McNary’s hit negated an interception by Patrick Robinson. Walker was running a pass route when he was blindsided by McNary.
McNary wrote on his Instagram account that he believed the ball had been thrown to Walker and tried to let up when he realized that Walker wasn’t the intended receiver on the play.
“Almost simultaneously, I struck him on his pads to reroute him not knowing the ball had just been released,” McNary wrote. “Unfortunately he was hurt on the play and our team suffered the untimely penalty. It is never my intention to hurt a fellow player, as I pray for an injury free contest before every game. Not everyone can understand, but it is a fast, physical sport and I am very much a work in progress.”
Walker was helped off the field but returned later in the series to catch a touchdown pass.
Colts Coach Chuck Pagano told reporters Monday that he didn’t believe McNary made an intentionally dirty play.
“We don’t have cheap-shot guys on this football team,” Pagano said. “That’s not Josh. That’s not any of our guys. There was no malice there. It was a bang-bang play, [McNary] was reacting to what he thought he saw and it was unfortunate.”
Titans Coach Mike Mularkey said he thought the play was “unnecessary,” and it’s likely the league office will agree. McNary will find out by the end of the week if he’ll be fined for the hit.
As the 2011 lockout was coming to a conclusion, the owners made a series of concessions that cost them no money, at least not directly. Five years later, a real question has emerged regarding whether diminished practice time is resulting in a diminished product on Sundays (and Mondays, and now every Thursday) and, in turn, diminished ratings.
Plenty of coaches and General Managers insist that the reduction in practice time and intensity has harmed the sport, resulting in subpar offensive line play, poor fundamentals (like tackling), and bodies that aren’t “hardened” by fully-padded two-a-days and are more in-season practices in pads.
Others disagree, pointing to the immediate impact of a player like Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa as proof that full participation in the offseason program, training camp, and the preseason is overrated. Still, it’s one thing for a guy like Bosa to rush the quarterback; it’s another for a player to move in concert with other players, like offensive lineman and quarterbacks/pass-catchers do.
Last week, Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged that the practice rules should be re-evaluated in conjunction with the next round of Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. But Goodell prefaced those remarks but suggesting that everything is fine as it is.
“I just spoke to John Madden on Monday night for an hour,” Goodell said last Wednesday regarding the perception of reduced quality of offensive line play. “I had this conversation with him and actually made exactly the opposite point: That offensive line play looks better, and he agreed. And so I don’t see that. When you have either injuries or inconsistency on the front line, that’s a cohesive group, and when one person is missing that’s a difficult thing, and so that group does need time to gel. That often gets better as the season goes along.”
That wagon-circling/all-is-well mindset won’t help the NFL solve its current problems. The league needs to be honest with itself and everyone else (more importantly with itself) about the fact that fewer people are watching, or that the same people are watching less fervently.
Instead, the league seems to be tempted to adopt a position of inaction, hunkering down and treating the lost ratings points the same way Homer Simpson reacted to the first globs of hair that fell out of his head — by shrugging and saying, “Well, there’s still plenty more where those came from.”
The Buccaneers launch on Sunday a three-game home stand that starts with a Super Bowl XXXVII rematch against the Raiders, with the Falcons coming to town four days later. Fans who hold season tickets may be tempted to peddle their seats to Sunday’s game on the open market, and Tampa’s first-year head coach wants them to resist that urge.
“We as a team have to do our part, making [Raymond James Stadium] a place that opposing teams don’t want to play,” Koetter told the Buccaneers Radio Network, via JoeBucsFan.com. “So we need the crowd’s help on that. We do our part. We’ve got to play better at home. The other thing is, we got to keep the opposing fans out of the lower bowl. I mean, let’s keep those Raiders jerseys out.
“I keep beating that drum. I know I’m going to get criticized and [hear], ‘Hey, Dirk, your job is to coach the team.’ Yeah, it is. I promise you I’m going to do my part to the best of my ability. It’s just not a good sign for us to have that many opposing jerseys in the lower bowl. Hey all you fans out there, tell all your neighbors selling your tickets to Raiders fans, give’em away as Christmas gifts to somebody who’s a Bucs fan.”
Ultimately, the fans can decide what to do with the tickets. If they choose to sell them and make a profit, that’s their choice. The team’s job is to make the game sufficiently enticing that the fans would rather experience the game than pocket the extra cash.
To get to that point, the Bucs will have to bite the bullet and endure some home games that feel like road games. Which may not be a bad thing, given that the Bucs are 3-1 on the road, and 0-2 at home.
Veteran wide receiver Nate Washington worked out for the Buccaneers Tuesday.
Washington, 33, was released by the Patriots in August. He caught 47 passes for the Texans last year and has caught at least 40 passes every season since 2008.
Last week, the Bucs placed wide receiver Vincent Jackson on injured reserve. The Bucs signed veteran Cecil Shorts last month after he was released by the Texans but Shorts only has one catch on the season.
The Bucs also worked out fullbacks Austin Johnson and Will Ratelle on Tuesday.
The Seahawks played to a tie with the Cardinals on Sunday night, and quarterback Russell Wilson wasn’t happy about it.
Wilson said after thinking about the 6-6 tie in Arizona that the league needs to come up with a tiebreaking rule. Wilson’s idea is an interesting one: A final field goal to either win or lose.
“Let’s say we’re the away team. We win the coin toss, we get the ball on the 35-yard line going in. You kick one field goal,” Wilson said. “You can’t do anything else but a field goal. You make the field goal, the game’s over. If you miss the field goal, the game’s over and the other team wins. I just think that if you play that long, you’re putting your lives on the line. You should find a way to win. I don’t like ending in a tie.”
Wilson’s idea is wacky and has no hope of being implemented. But as long as we’re talking about wacky ideas that have no hope of being implemented, let’s think about some alternatives.
How about, instead of one field goal, each kicker attempting five field goals, and the team whose kicker makes more of them wins? That would make the ending like penalty kicks in soccer. Or they could have the kickers start with a chip-shot 20-yard field goal and then move back five yards until someone misses. Whenever they reach a distance where one kicker makes it and the other kicker misses it, the kicker who makes it wins the game for his team.
Or if you want to get really fun, how about having five 35-yard field goals attempted by five different players? Every team could have its kicker try one of those field goals, but then it would have to choose four other players who can try a field goal. It would be fascinating to find out which non-kickers are good at kicking field goals when the game is on the line. Ndamukong Suh and Odell Beckham are among the players who have been floated as fill-in kickers when their teams’ primary kickers have been injured. How fun would it be to see Suh and Beckham trying field goals with the pressure on at the end of a tied Dolphins-Giants game?
Or maybe kicking shouldn’t be involved in the tiebreaking procedure at all. How about a “shootout” with a one-on-one pass coverage format? The offense could have its quarterback and best receiver on the field, the defense could have its best cornerback on the field, and the quarterback would have one chance to throw a touchdown pass to his receiver with the cornerback in coverage.
Or the NFL could turn the Oklahoma drill into the tiebreaking procedure: The home team goes on offense with one player on the field as a ball carrier. The road team goes on defense with one player on the field as a tackler. If the offensive player gets into the end zone, his team wins. If the defensive player makes the tackle, his team wins.
The possibilities are endless. An XFL-style scramble for the ball? Each team picks its fastest player to race in a 100-yard dash? Each quarterback throws the ball as far as he can? Maybe you’ve got a better idea. Or maybe we should just accept that some games will end in a tie.
The Seahawks signed defensive end Malliciah Goodman on Tuesday.
Goodman played in 34 games over three seasons with the Falcons, starting 11. The Falcons released him in September when they trimmed their roster to the regular-season size of 53.
A fourth-round pick in 2013, he has two career forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
The Dolphins kicked the tires on veteran safeties James Ihedigbo, Sergio Brown and Major Wright on Tuesday as they tried to fill out the position with Reshad Jones done for the season with a shoulder injury.
They’ll be adding a veteran safety to the roster, but it won’t be any of those three men. Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that Bacarri Rambo will be the new addition to the Dolphins secondary.
Rambo was a sixth-round pick by the Redskins in 2013 and played 13 games for them over his first two seasons before moving on to the Bills. Rambo played 15 games and started eight times for Buffalo last season. He had 62 tackles, a sack, an interception and two forced fumbles with the interception and both forced fumbles coming in a November win over the Jets. Rambo was named the AFC defensive player of the week for that effort.