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PFT's Week Five picks

For the second straight week, I held a one-game lead over Rosenthal entering the Monday night game.

And, for the second straight week, Rosenthal got the Monday night game right and I got it wrong, forcing a tie.

We both finished 9-5 in the first 14-game weekend.  Rosenthal won Week One and Week Two; in Week Three and Week Four, we tied.

Overall, Rosenthal is 43-19.  I’m two games back, at 41-21.

For this week’s picks and explanations, read on.


Jaguars at Bills

Florio’s take:  The Bills are bad, but in this season of parity they’re not bad enough to lose all 16.  Even with former Bills quarterback Trent Edwards feeding the Jags with the Buffalo state secrets, Jacksonville is prime for a letdown after unexpectedly toppling the Colts.  

Florio’s pick:  Bills 20, Jags 19.

Rosenthal’s take: The Bills have no chance to move the ball against superior defenses.  The Jaguars do not have a superior defense.  In fact, the Jaguars’ secondary is one of the few groups in the league struggling as much as Buffalo during their transition to the 3-4 defense.  The Bills aren’t going 0-16, and this looks like one of their most winnable games of the year.  Bad David Garrard shows up this week.

Rosenthal’s pick:  Bills 23, Jaguars 21.

Broncos at Ravens

Florio’s take:  The Broncos pulled off an unlikely road win against a one-loss team on Sunday, but the Ravens has a few more horses than the Titans.  Despite Baltimore’s so-so secondary, Denver quarterback Kyle Orton won’t have time to find an open receiver if he’s being chased and/or pummeled by the Ravens’ front seven.  Meanwhile, the Baltimore offense finally is emerging from its vegetative state, with Joe Flacco looking more like Joe Flacco and less like Stoney Case.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 24, Broncos 10.

Rosenthal’s take: The Ravens and Broncos both have the records you’d expect, but they’ve arrived there in surprising ways.  Kyle Orton and his band of hodgepodge receivers are racking up passing yards like the ’99 Rams.  Baltimore’s secondary has played great, but their run defense has been soft.  Luckily, the Broncos don’t try to run.  When they do, it doesn’t work.  Denver is a tough out, but asking for back-to-back wins in Tennessee and Baltimore is asking too much.  

Rosenthal’s pick: Ravens 28, Broncos 24.

Chiefs at Colts

Florio’s take:  Scratch a little at the word “Chiefs” and a faint “Patriots” emerges, with the presence of Scott Pioli, Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis, Mike Vrabel, and Matt Cassel making this one a kinda-sorta renewal of one of the most compelling inter-division rivalries of the past decade.  The Chiefs have nothing to lose, and the Colts have no easy answers for their lackluster start.  It adds up to an upset.  In a PFTV video previewing what we regard to be the game of the week, I picked the Colts, but I left a little wiggle room.  I’m tempted to pick the Chiefs here, primarily because a win over the defending AFC champs would make this Chiefs team even more compelling.  (Besides, what’s the point of having wiggle room if you don’t, you know, wiggle?)  I’ll stick the home team, but I’ll gladly accept the “L” if I’m wrong.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 24, Chiefs 20.

Rosenthal’s take:  Chiefs fans are making too much out of this game.  It’s not a litmus test for the rest of the season.  It’s Week Five. There aren’t many teams that could go into Lucas Oil Stadium and win against an angry Peyton Manning.  I’m most interested to see how Kansas City’s young secondary holds up.  They have potential to carry this team, because Matt Cassel isn’t going to.  A mismatch in special teams should keep the Chiefs close, but they will only get a moral victory here.

Rosenthal’s pick:  Colts 27, Chiefs 21.

Packers at Redskins

Florio’s take:  But for a fast start against the Eagles from quarterback Donovan McNabb, in no doubt fueled by the enthusiastic response that Philly fans gave to a guy about whom they had been ambivalent at best, the Redskins would be 1-3.  Though the Packers have yet to develop a killer instinct, they suddenly feel the hot, stinky breath of the Vikings on their necks — and so the Packers can’t afford to lose games that they easily should win.  

Florio’s pick:  Packers 31, Redskins 21.

Rosenthal’s take: No one knows how good the Packers are because they’ve faced one of the easiest schedules in the league.  No one knows how good the Redskins are because a wildly different team shows up every week.  I know this much:  The Redskins aren’t worse off with Ryan Torain starting at running back, but the Packers are much worse off without Nick Barnett at linebacker.  Washington doesn’t have the passing attack to take advantage, though.

Rosenthal’s pick: Packers 27, Redskins 20.

Rams at Lions

Florio’s take:  Last year, the Rams’ only win of the season came against the Lions, who eventually won only two.  This year, both teams are better, even though the Lions are 0-4.  In fact, the Lions are good enough to win, even though the Rams are good enough to win the NFC West.

Florio’s prediction:  Lions 20, Rams 16.

Rosenthal’s take:  Due to a forgiving schedule and a surprising pass rush from James Hall and Chris Long, the Rams defense has been impressive this year.  They haven’t allowed more than 17 points yet.  The Lions offense has played well with Shaun Hill, which makes you wonder what they’ll do with Matthew Stafford.  Detroit has lost three games by one score and played three games on the road. Like Cleveland last week, they are overdue for a victory.

Rosenthal’s pick:  Lions 21, Rams 14.

Bears at Panthers

Florio’s take:  A loss would send the Panthers to 0-5 at their bye, putting coach John Fox at risk of possible termination.  Last week, Carolina showed progress against the Saints, and the Panthers have a blueprint for turning the Jay Cutler (or, as it turns out, Todd Collins) black and blue, courtesy of Big Blue.  The correction for Chicago continues, and Carolina gets in the win column by sticking it former Panther and Tar Heel Julius Peppers.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 14, Bears 12.

Rosenthal’s take:  A lot of fun questions can be answered here.  What does the worst passing attack in football look like after Carolina loses Steve Smith?  How many forward passes will John Fox call with a rookie quarterback and three rookie wide receivers?   Would you rather have a wobbly Jay Cutler (or, as it turns out, Todd Collins) or a healthy Jimmy Clausen?  I’ll take Cutler (or, as it turns out, Todd Collins), especially since the Bears rush defense can stop Carolina’s one strength.

Rosenthal’s pick:  Bears 17, Panthers 10.

Buccaneers at Bengals

Florio’s take:  The Bucs beat the Browns and the Browns beat the Bengals so the Bucs should beat the Bengals, right?  Even though Tampa has had the benefit of the bye week, the Bengals are a better team at home than on the road and the Bucs are still learning how to become a good team anywhere.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 21, Buccaneers 13.

Rosenthal’s take:  When the Bengals win, they don’t seem happy.  When they lose, Carson Palmer keeps his fantasy owners happy.  It’s a wobbly team [editor’s note:  Rosenthal uses “wobbly” almost as much as Steve Young uses “leaking oil”], which makes this a huge game for Cincinnati.  Despite all the offensive concerns, they can enter their bye week at 3-2, and then re-group.  In the end, the veteran Bengals defense should be the best unit in this game.

Rosenthal’s pick: Bengals 17, Bucs 14.

Falcons at Browns

Florio’s take:  The Browns have been competitive in every game, and they’re riding the momentum of a big win over the Bengals.  The Falcons struggle

d with the 49ers last week, one game after stealing a win from the Saints.  These two teams are more evenly matched than their records suggest; as a result, I’m giving the edge to the home team.

Florio’s pick:  Browns 17, Falcons 16.

Rosenthal’s take:  Falcons coach Mike Smith raised a good point this week.  His team could be 1-3 just as easily as 3-1 after Garrett Hartley’s gaffe and Nate Clements’ fumble.  The Browns are similarly incapable of playing in a blowout.  These two teams have played eight games this year, with seven decided by an average of three points.  Jake Delhomme’s likely return breaks the tie.

Rosenthal’s pick: Falcons 23, Browns 21.

Giants at Texans

Florio’s take:  The Giants played well with their backs against the wall, and now that their backs are a little bit off the wall, the Giants can dial up another lackluster effort.  The Texans, though not dominant, have been solid, and they can sense that a playoff appearance could be coming.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 24, Giants 20.

Rosenthal’s take:  Outside of the embarrassment in Indianapolis, the Giants defense has shown steady improvement this year.  Of course, that game against the Colts was their only road test yet.  Houston’s wideouts are banged-up, but the offensive line is coming off its best performance of the year.  They won’t let Matt Schaub get assaulted like Jay Cutler was last week.

Rosenthal’s pick:  Texans 28, Giants 17.

Saints at Cardinals

Florio’s take:  The current Drew Brees meets up with the guy who eventually could be the next Drew Brees, Cardinals rookie Max Hall.  But Hall gets a tough draw in his first start, and it will likely be a long day for the 2008 NFC champs when the 2009 NFC champs come to town.  The only question is whether the Saints can display some of the same dominance from 2009, or whether they’ll continue to eke out narrow wins.  For one week at least, I envision dominance.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 34, Cardinals 13.

Rosenthal’s take: The Cardinals are the most depressed 2-2 team in the land because they’ve played worse than some 0-4 squads.  Derek Anderson has taken all the heat, but the offensive line is in shambles, there’s no running game, Larry Fitzgerald is hurt, Joey Porter looks his age, Darnell Dockett has been inconsistent, and they don’t have a second cornerback.  Other than that, they look great.

Rosenthal’s pick: Saints 28, Cardinals 14.

Titans at Cowboys

Florio’s take:  Two weeks after beating the team that currently plays in Houston, the Cowboys host the team that used to play in Houston.  With a bye week to prepare and the Titans simply not as good as initially believed, the Cowboys will welcome the Titans back to the Lone Star State with a Texas-sized butt whipping.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 35, Titans 17.

Rosenthal’s take:  I picked both these teams to win their division in the PFT Season Preview.  One of them will fall into a major hole after this game.  Tennessee may be getting called dirty, but where’s the toughness on offense?  Their run-blocking has been abysmal.  Chris Johnson is often breaking two tackles to get back to the line of scrimmage.  The Titans need to air it out more, especially to Kenny Britt.  The Cowboys are a tough defense to play when you are searching for answers.

Rosenthal’s pick: Cowboys 23, Titans 17. 

Chargers at Raiders

Florio’s take:  The Chargers are continuing to dig out of their funk, just as the Raiders are settling in to theirs.  The only question about this one is whether it will be the last one of Tom Cable’s career.  

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 35, Raiders 19.

Rosenthal’s take: Where did all that offseason optimism about the Raiders go?  This looks like the same old team.  The defense was supposed to carry the day, but they’ve been among the league’s worst.  Bruce Gradkowski has improved the passing attack, but the offensive line still struggles.  This is a game Oakland desperately needs to stay relevant, and they usually play the Chargers tough at home.  They also usually find a way to lose.  Mike Tolbert Fever: Catch it!

Rosenthal’s pick:  Chargers 24, Raiders 20.

Eagles at 49ers

Florio’s take:  Though 0-4, the 49ers remain in contention to win the NFC West, especially since the three teams in front of them are 2-2 each.  The 2-2 Eagles enter the game without the NFC’s offensive player of the month for September, and there are real concerns that quarterback Kevin Kolb won’t be able to perform as well as he can, given the problems with the team’s offensive line.  With a national audience, an increasingly restless home crowd, and the ability to put together a string of four wins before their bye (the next opponents are the Raiders, Panthers, and Broncos), the 49ers have every incentive to put together a powerful performance.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 28, Eagles 22.

Rosenthal’s take: How little respect is there for Kevin Kolb nationwide?  The winless 49ers are favored in this game by 3.5.  With Oakland and Carolina on the schedule next, San Francisco has a real opportunity to turn their season around. There’s just very little reason to believe they’ll do so.  I’m taking the Eagles, if only for organizational superiority.  They are a team that finds ways to win over the years, while Mike Singletary’s squad searches for new and painful ways to lose each week.

Rosenthal’s pick: Eagles 24, 49ers 21.

Vikings at Jets

Florio’s take:  Suddenly, the Monday night game at the New Meadowlands Stadium becomes as compelling as the Thursday night season opener.  The Jets have won three in a row since losing on their home field to open the season, and the Vikings are desperately trying to keep pace with the Packers and the Bears.  The Jets are 7-1 against the Vikings; even with Randy Moss, win No. 2 isn’t likely to come on Monday night.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 23, Vikings 21.

Rosenthal’s take:  Randy Moss can’t pass protect.  He can’t make Brett Favre turn back the clock a year, and Moss definitely can’t re-arrange a challenging schedule that even the ’09 Vikings would struggle to win 11 games against.  The Jets have lived up to the hype so far. The offense is playing better than the defense.  Don’t expect that to continue with Calvin Pace and Darrelle Revis likely returning Monday night.

Rosenthal’s pick: Jets 20, Vikings 13.

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Broncos re-sign Jordan Taylor, and the guy they sent home last week

during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images

When Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was throwing on the side when he was injured, he sang the praises of wideout Jordan Taylor, who became his personal receiver when he threw.

So upon the recommendation, the Broncos kept him.

Via Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post, the Broncos signed Taylor and eight others from the practice squad to future deals Wednesday, including running back Kapri Bibbs, safety Ryan Murphy, guard Dillon Day, tackles Cameron Jefferson and Kyle Roberts, tight end Nick Kasa, defensive end George Uko and linebacker Zaire Anderson.

Murphy shows that they’re a forgiving organization, as he was sent home during Super Bowl week after he was involved but not arrested in a prostitution bust in San Jose last week.

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Brees picks up more leverage, sort of

Tony Romo AP

The news that more than half of Drew Brees‘ salary for 2016 became fully guaranteed on Wednesday wasn’t news. From the time the five-year deal was signed and filed, it was known that more than half of the base salary in the out years of the contract would become fully guaranteed on the third day of the waiver period.

The fact that the Saints neither cut Brees nor restructured the deal before Wednesday gives Brees extra leverage. If they cut him at this point, the Saints will take a $20.85 million cap charge for 2016. If the contract has offset language, however, the extra $10.85 million that vested on Wednesday would disappear if he were cut and then signed by a new team for that much money, which undoubtedly would happen. (If there’s no offset language for the 2016 salary, there’s no way the Saints would cut him at this point.)

Here’s one last point on Wednesday’s trigger. It’s accepted in league circles that a vesting date tied to the waiver period in February is used not to give the team a chance to cut a player, but for funding purposes. If the team wants to retain the ability to cut the player, the vesting date is tied to the start of the league year in March. When teams cut players before a vesting date tied to the waiver period in February, it’s viewed by agents as a major breach of etiquette, making it harder to get agents to agree to use that device in future deal.

As of March 9, Brees hits the books for $30 million in 2016, which will make it very difficult for the Saints to put a competitive team around him. The only way to reduce the number will be to extend the contract — unless Brees unilaterally decides to take less cash in 2016.

Putting a value on an extension becomes the challenge. In 2012, Brees parlayed significant leverage into a then-record contract worth $20 million per year. How much will he want per year at age 37? Another $20 million per year? Or will he want to get back to the top of the market, where Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers currently is making $22 million per year?

However it works out, an extension would allow the Saints to convert a huge chunk of the $19.75 million base salary into a signing bonus, spreading it over multiple years and reducing the cap number significantly for 2016. Apart from the raw numbers of an extension, the structure of a new contract will say plenty about the duration of the team’s commitment to Brees.

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Thursday’s PFT Live has C.J. Anderson, Rick Spielman, Orlando Pace

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If you’re up late, get to bed. If you’re up early, welcome. Now stick around for Thursday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio.

The three-hour show, starting at 6:00 a.m. ET with a full replay at 6:00 a.m. PT, has for a limited time a one-hour simulcast on NBCSN, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. ET. During that hour on Thursday, the guests include Broncos running back and unsung Super Bowl hero C.J. Anderson, Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman, and new Hall of Fame offensive tackle Orlando Pace.

The rest of the show will include plenty of news, analysis, and hot takes. It’ll also be interesting to see if PFT Live producer Rob “Stats” Guerrera continues his unblemished streak of wearing a solid-colored sweater over a dress shirt with a gigantic collar.

Well, “interesting” may not be the best word to describe that. Regardless, dial us up on Sirius 213, XM 202, NBCSportsRadio.com, and any of the fine affiliates broadcasting the program.

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Jim Irsay promises “shocking” contract for Andrew Luck

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Peyton Manning has made it to two Super Bowls since the Colts let him go. The Colts are still trying to get to one.

The heir to Manning’s throne in Indianapolis becomes the biggest beneficiary of the ongoing quest to win championships.

Owner Jim Irsay has made some strong promises about the next contract to be signed by quarterback Andrew Luck. Via the team’s official website, Irsay recently said the eventual deal will be “shocking,” promising that Luck will make more than $20 million per year.

It’s shocking that Irsay would call it shocking, since the goal should be to do the best possible deal under the circumstances, not to hand the checkbook to Luck and say, “Shock me.”

It’s also a bit shocking that Irsay is willing to pay Luck before his rookie contract expires. Twice, Peyton Manning had to play every game of every contract with the Colts before getting another one. With Luck injured and ineffective for most of 2015, why not let him play out the fifth and final year of his deal before signing him to a blockbuster contract?

If anything, last year gave the Colts more than a little leverage in long-term talks. Irsay has squandered it in one sound bite.

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Andy Dalton still hasn’t thrown since thumb injury

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If the Bengals had made it past the wild-card round, they would have needed quarterback A.J. McCarron to keep playing. And if they’d made it all the way to the Super Bowl, they apparently would have still needed McCarron.

Starter Andy Dalton, who broke a thumb in December against the Steelers, told ESPN.com on Wednesday that he still hasn’t thrown since suffering the injury.

Not throwing yet but will soon,” Dalton said, via Coley Harvey of ESPN.com. “Just being conservative with my hand and waiting for it to be officially 100 percent before I start up.”

The injury happened nearly two months ago, as Dalton made a tackle after throwing an interception.

Dalton, by the way, finally has recovered a pair of suitcases that fell off his truck on a highway in Texas. Which is good because I’m not sure I would have been able to sleep if a guy who can afford to buy new stuff hadn’t found his old stuff.

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Vernon Davis heads to free agency with no postseason stats

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Tight end Vernon Davis finally won a ring. But his contributions to the effort were minimal.

Traded to the Broncos from the 49ers in the last year of his contract, Davis caught no passes in three postseason games. He also had no receptions in a Week 17 win that clinched the top seed in the AFC. His last catch came on December 20 at Pittsburgh, when Davis had one reception for five yards.

For whatever reason, things never clicked between Davis and Peyton Manning, especially after Manning’s return to the lineup in Week 17. And so Davis, who said after being traded that he’d been dreaming of playing with Peyton since leaving college, ended up doing nothing with Peyton in crunch time of the 2015 season.

It suggests there’s a potentially great untold story regarding why Davis and Manning never connected. Maybe at some point that story will surface, especially as Davis tries to persuade another team to sign him to a contract worth something more than the veteran minimum.

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Hakwins says (again) that widening field would cut down on injuries

Andrew Hawkins AP

Writing that it’s a “fact” that players are bigger, stronger and faster than ever before, Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins took to Twitter Wednesday to say it would “logical” for the NFL to explore widening the field to cut down on injuries.

Hawkins believes the big hits pass catchers take between the numbers could be standard tackles with more space available. He played in the Canadian Footbal League before sticking with the Bengals but wrote that he’s advocating the NFL to widen the field by 3-4 yards, not to make it 65 yards wide as it is by CFL rules.

Hawkins said basically the same thing three years ago, when the topic was discussed in NFL circles but ultimately didn’t make it to the competition committee. At the time, NFL V.P. of football operations Ray Anderson basically said the idea was old news and something he wasn’t sure would make the game safer.

Hawkins had his 2015 season ended by a second concussion in November. He was hospitalized overnight for observation after being hit by Steelers linebacker Jarvis Jones following an interception.

Back in 2013, Hall of Fame general manager Bill Polian took Hawkins’ side and pushed for the NFL to explore widening the field.

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Jerry Jones hates not being a Super Bowl participant

Zz05ZWUxNGYxMjAzMjIyM2E0NWJkYjUwYzYxM2ZjMTQ2YQ== AP

The Dallas Cowboys appeared in eight of the first 30 Super Bowls. They’ve appeared in none of the last 20. And that drives owner/G.M. Jerry Jones crazy.

“I hate it,” Jones said over the weekend at the NFL Honors ceremony, via the Dallas Morning News. “I scream in my pillow when I go home at night when we’re here. I want [the Dallas Cowboys] to be here so bad, but it’s filling my bucket up so we can go.”

Still, experiencing the Super Bowl makes Jones want to get back even more.

It’s inspirational,” Jones said. ” It makes you want to just empty your bucket to get in here and have this kind of experience. We feel that way. It’s deliberate.”

For 2016, the Cowboys once again have hope, and it starts with the ability of quarterback Tomy Romo to have a big year.

“Candidly, I’m just counting on Tony to come back and have some of the greatest years, if not the best years, of his career,” Jones said. “We want to make sure that we’ve got him the supporting cast. . . . We tried to do it this year. We didn’t get here. We’ll keep trying to get it done.”

Along with the other 31 teams. And all of them are currently 0-0, with seven months to get ready for the chase to win the 51st Super Bowl trophy to be awarded by the league.

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Jim Fassel blames Cam’s Super Bowl performance on his gold shoes

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  A detail of the shoes worn by  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers prior to Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

Now we’ve heard everything about Cam Newton and the Super Bowl.

Jim Fassel, the former coach who took the Giants to the Super Bowl after the 2000 season, had what may be the strangest assessment yet of Newton’s Super Bowl-losing performance on Sunday. According to Fassel, Newton set the stage for his disappointing game with his choice of footwear in pregame warmups.

“All of the numbers pointed to Carolina. And when I saw Cam Newton walk out in gold shoes — ‘MVP’ — I switched my mind, essentially, right then,” Fassel said on Mile High Sports 1340. “I said, ‘That’s not what a starting quarterback, MVP, leading his team — and I had a lot of respect for him during the season — that’s not what happens.’ You don’t do that. And I said, ‘This guy’s already become soft,’ and that’s what he was.”

It’s true that Newton wore gold shoes with “MVP” on them in pregame warmups, before switching to the blue shoes he and his teammates wore for the game. Why Fassel thinks those shoes had anything to do with Newton’s style of play, however, is unclear. Newton has always had a unique fashion sense, and it didn’t seem to hurt him during the regular season or the first two games of the postseason.

There are legitimate things to criticize about Newton’s Super Bowl performance, from his fourth-quarter fumble to his quick press conference departure. But criticizing his footwear is silly.

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Ex-NFL receiver Josh Morgan charged, accidentally shot himself

Josh Morgan AP

Former NFL wide receiver Josh Morgan is facing misdemeanor weapons charges after he accidentally shot himself.

Morgan was charged with misdemeanor reckless use of a firearm in Virginia, TMZ reports. The charge reportedly comes as a result of an accidental shooting in which Morgan was cleaning his gun and shot himself. His injuries were not serious.

The case brings to mind that of Plaxico Burress, who spent two years in prison after accidentally shooting himself in the leg. Burress, who was possessing the gun in New York illegally, was convicted of a felony.

The 30-year-old Morgan was a sixth-round draft pick of the 49ers out of Virginia Tech in 2008. He played three years in San Francisco, two in Washington and one in Chicago. He was cut after spending training camp with the Saints last year.

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George Toma: Sod on Levi’s field was second-best we’ve had at a Super Bowl

during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images

The quality of the playing field at Levi’s Stadium has been an issue since the stadium opened and it was an issue for some players during Super Bowl 50.

Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward each criticized the surface after Denver won the game and a video showing Panthers tackle Michael Oher looking like he was wearing roller skates while trying to pass protect has been making the rounds online.

Other players, including Von Miller, had no complaints and NFL turf consultant George Toma, who has worked on the fields at all 50 Super Bowls, said he hasn’t seen many better fields in the history of the game.

“I’m an 87-year-old man and I’ve been in this game for 74 years and been to 50 Super Bowls,” Toma said, via Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area. “And I thought this was the second-best sod we’ve had at a Super Bowl.”

Toma said the turf in Miami for a rainy Super Bowl XLI, which was also won by a Peyton Manning-quarterbacked team, was the only one better than the one the Broncos and Panthers played on last Sunday. Toma said that players are “hard-headed” about which cleats to wear and that “all they had to do was their change cleats” to get better footing.

CBS reported early in the game that several players on both teams were doing just that, although the Oher video shows that different players had different experiences on a field that the NFL’s longtime turf guru says was perfectly fine.

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Bill Polian: Peyton Manning could be a G.M. “immediately”

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos celebrates with his son Marshall Manning and Bill Polian after defeating the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. The Broncos defeated the Panthers 24-10.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Peyton Manning hasn’t shared his plans for the future, but if he wants to one day become a General Manager, one of the best to ever do that job thinks he’s ready now.

Hall of Famer Bill Polian said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that Manning was a “football nerd” who used to have in-depth conversations about personnel with him when they were both with the Colts.

“During our 14 years together in Indianapolis, he would often discuss with me prospects coming out in the draft, SEC players he’d seen, players he’d seen in other parts of the country,” Polian said, via the Indianapolis Star. “He pays close attention to the rosters of the other players in the league, with specific attention to the AFC.

He knew the strengths and weaknesses of every player on every defense in the AFC and many on offense, because he met them and got to know them at the Pro Bowl and soaked up information. He is a football nerd, as am I. He’s more than prepared to do that job.”

Many have wondered what path Manning will pursue — once he stops drinking beer — but Polian said he could start soon, and not need much time to get up to speed.

“All he would need would be a brief tutorial on the league rules and things like the general terms of trades and contract language — of which he’s also very familiar, because of his own contract,” Polian said. “He’s well-prepared to do that. He could step right from the playing field into a role like that, because he’s ready. I don’t know that he will, but if someone wanted him to do it, he would be ready immediately to do it.”

The teams most closely linked with Manning as an executive — the Titans and Browns — have each made hires on that side of the ball recently.

But if Manning indicated he was interested in pursuing such an option, there would likely be even more teams interested in giving him that chance.

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Dungy would take Harrison over Owens “every day of the week”

during the game between the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts on December 28, 2008 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images

Former coach Tony Dungy will be entering the Hall of Fame with one of his former players in Indianapolis, receiver Marvin Harrison. Appearing on Wednesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, Dungy was asked whether his teams game planned to stop Owens, given the recent comments from former linebacker Jonathan Vilma that his team’s didn’t.

“It depends on where he was,” Dungy said. “There were some places where you knew he was gonna be a big factor.”

Dungy then offered a comparison of Owens and Harrison: “Terrell Owens was a great receiver but I’ll say this, if I’m going for Marvin Harrison or Terrell Owens I’m taking Marvin Harrison every day of the week. Just as productive, just as hard to defend and made his teams better. There still is to me a characteristic that goes into that. I’m not taking anything away from Terrell Owens’ ability but when you get traded or released five times in your prime and you’re a great player but teams are not re-signing you, that says something.”

Dungy’s comments mesh with the widespread belief that Owens didn’t make it over Harrison due to Owens’ disruptiveness. Presumably, Owens eventually will make it. But if the concerns about T.O. are significant, it could take a while.

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Texans hire female head of communications

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  A referee is seen standing on a Houston Texans logo while the Texans host the Cincinnati Bengals during their 2012 AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Reliant Stadium on January 7, 2012 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Texans have promoted Amy Palcic to senior director of communications, making her the only woman in charge of an NFL media relations department.

“We don’t discriminate or give preferential treatment,” Texans owner Bob McNair said, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “Amy was the best person for the job.

“We promoted Amy because she was the most qualified. She’s done a great job for us. She comes from a football family.”

Palcic’s father, Bob, is a longtime college football assistant coach who also coached 12 years in the NFL. Her brother, Joe, is an assistant coach at Miami (Ohio) University. She takes over for Kevin Cooper, who left the Texans to work for the Houston Super Bowl committee.

Amy Palcic had been the director of corporate communications for the Texans. She previously worked in media relations and communications with the Browns.

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Report: Police recommend criminal charges for LeSean McCoy

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy ponders a question while speaking to the media during NFL football minicamp in Orchard Park, N.Y., Wednesday, June 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) AP

Bills running back LeSean McCoy is moving closer to returning to Philadelphia for reasons unrelated to football.

According to 6abc.com, police have recommended that McCoy be charged with, among other things, aggravated assault following a weekend fight in a Philadelphia nightclub.

Per the report, a group of off-duty police officers had ordered multiple bottles of champagne. One of the men with McCoy took one of the bottles from an officer’s hands. A fight ensued, and one of the officers was “punched, kicked and stomped on his body and head multiple times” by McCoy and three other suspects.

The final decision on charges for McCoy and anyone else will come from prosecutors. If, however, the police are recommending charges, prosecutors will be more likely to proceed, given the symbiotic relationship between police departments and those who use the work of police departments to obtain convictions of those who break the law.

The NFL began investigating the incident immediately after news of it emerged. The league also said that placement of McCoy on paid leave is not imminent because players currently are not with their teams.

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