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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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Chargers awarded TE Kyle Miller on waivers

Tyrell Johnson, Tay Glover-Wright , Kyle Miller AP

The Chargers have added yet another tight end to their roster, successfully claiming Kyle Miller off waivers from Atlanta, the team said Tuesday.

In a corresponding roster move, the club waived second-year defensive lineman Damik Scafe, who was on San Diego’s injured reserve list last season.

The 27-year-old Miller spent the 2014 campaign on the Falcons’ practice squad. He has also had stints with the Jaguars, Colts and Dolphins. He has played in one regular season game in four NFL seasons, suiting up for Indianapolis in 2012 at New England.

The addition of Miller gives the Chargers eight tight ends, with Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green atop the depth chart.

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Seahawks waive five players

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The Seahawks waived five veteran backups on Tuesday, including fullback/linebacker Mike Zimmer, defensive end Julius Warmsley and offensive tackle Justin Renfrow, each of whom had stints on the Seattle practice squad last season.

The transactions were announced in the NFL personnel notice.

Zimmer (6-2, 239) has played offense and defense in his NFL career, with Seattle employing him as a practice squad fullback in the latter stages of the 2014 season. Zimmer is not related to Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer.

Warmsley (6-2, 269) was on the Seahawks’ practice squad from September through November 11, when he was placed on practice squad injured reserve.

Renfrow (6-6, 310) was a defensive lineman at Miami (Fla.).

The Seahawks also waived linebacker Mike Taylor (failed physical) and center Jared Wheeler.

The Seahawks’ online roster currently lists 91 players, which could mean more transactions may have to occur.

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Bears sign RB Jeremy Langford

Langford Getty Images

And now they’re up to three.

Not long after announcing deals with fifth-round safety Adrian Amos and sixth-round tackle Tayo Fabuluje, the Bears announced a four-year contract with fourth-round running back Jeremy Langford.

It could be that the Bears already have struck deals with most of their draft picks, and that they’ll be bleeding out the announcements every 30 to 60 minutes, throughout the evening.

Langford was the 106th overall choice in the draft.  He scored 22 rushing touchdowns in 2014, and added 1,522 rushing yards.

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Second Hernandez murder case returns to court on May 21

Hernandez AP

Last month, a jury in Bristol County, Massachusetts convicted former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez of murdering Odin Lloyd.  Later this month, a court in Suffolk County, Massachusetts will move closer toward setting a trial date in connection with the allegation that Hernandez killed two men in Boston, 11 months earlier.

Per multiple reports, a status hearing will be held on May 21 for the murder case arising from the shooting deaths of Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu.  Hernandez will not be present for the hearing.

Presumably, a trial date will be set at that time.  The trial at one point was scheduled to begin in late May.  An indefinite postponement occurred, in deference to the trial arising from the Lloyd murder.

Hernandez currently is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, subject to appeal of the verdict.  In multiple respects, the second case against him is even stronger.

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Bears start signing draft picks

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Even with a new coach and a new General Manger, the Chicago Bears continue to do one of the things that has become their signature in recent years:  Sign draft picks earlier than anyone.

The Bears have announced four-year contracts with a pair of rookies selected on Saturday.  Fifth-round safety Adrian Amos and sixth-round tackle Tayo Fabuluje are under contract.

The Buccaneers signed quarterback Jameis Winston, the first overall pick in the draft, on Friday.  The Bears presumably will continue to sign pick after pick until signing all of their class.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Rams typically wait until the end of the offseason program, signing all rookies in one fell swoop.

Regardless, the 2011 labor deal makes it easier than ever to get these deals negotiated quickly.

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Raiders waive TE Nick Kasa

Oakland Raiders Rookie Camp Getty Images

The Raiders have let go of a recent draft pick, waiving tight end Nick Kasa with a failed physical designation on Tuesday, per the NFL’s personnel notice.

A sixth-round pick in 2013, Kasa played all 16 games as a rookie, catching a nine-yard TD pass in the season finale. However, he missed the 2014 season with an ACL tear suffered in August.

In addition to parting ways with Kasa, the Raiders waived linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu, linebacker Justin Jackson, defensive tackle Kona Schwenke and defensive back Jansen Watson on Tuesday.

Also disclosed by the NFL were the previously reported departures of wide receiver James Jones, offensive guard Kevin Boothe and linebacker Miles Burris.

The transactions leave the Raiders with 76 players on the roster, including the team’s 2015 draft picks.

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Bears claim Paul Cornick off waivers

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Paul Cornick will continue playing for John Fox and Adam Gase.

Cornick, an offensive lineman who was waived by the Broncos yesterday, was claimed by the Bears today.

Last year Cornick played in 12 games for the Broncos, starting six. Fox coached the Broncos and Gase was their offensive coordinator last year, and now Fox and Gase have those roles in Chicago.

With the Bears, Cornick likely won’t start but provides depth at offensive tackle.

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Manziel moves from Downtown Cleveland to the suburbs

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As Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel tries to put a disastrous rookie season behind him, he’s putting Cleveland in his rear-view mirror. Sort of.

Via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, Manziel has moved from an apartment in Downtown Cleveland to a suburban community surrounding a golf course.

The lobby of Manziel’s building was the scene of one of the various Manziel-related incidents in 2014 — a scuffle involving a zealous fan and one of Manziel’s associates.

Per Fowler, Manziel has embraced golf as part of his recovery from issues that landed him in rehab for 10 weeks earlier this year. He continues to have a long way to go to become the starter in Cleveland, but it’s clear that he’s making the changes that could lay the foundation for success.

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Unlike Mariota, Dorsett didn’t get an apology

Dorsett Getty Images

On Thursday night, the Commissioner wasn’t 31 for 32.  He was 30 for 32.  Which is a great average when it comes to getting on base safely or putting a basketball through the hoop from a line painted 15 feet away.

It’s not a great average when it comes to properly pronouncing the names of the newest NFL employees.

In addition to pronouncing Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota’s name incorrectly (Marioto), Commissioner Roger Goodell said the name of Colts receiver Phillip Dorsett with the emphasis on the first syllable, a la Tony Dorsett before he made the move from Pitt to the Cowboys.

Mariota said Monday that he received a phone call from the Commissioner with an apology.  On Tuesday, Dorsett told PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio that he didn’t.  Dorsett also said he didn’t mind the incorrect announcement of his name.  (Mariota didn’t know his name had been butchered until the apology came.)

Dorsett also said he hadn’t heard from the Colts since the Scouting Combine, making their decision to select him even more of a surprise.  To hear everything Dorsett had to say, click here and select the “Big Name Guests” tab.

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Chiefs cut Terrelle Pryor

Terrelle Pryor AP

Terrelle Pryor’s tenure with the Chiefs didn’t last long.

Pryor, the former Raiders starter, was cut by the Chiefs today. He’s been with the Chiefs since January.

The Raiders spent a third-round pick in the 2011 supplemental draft on Pryor after his controversial career at Ohio State was cut short. He showed flashes of talent as the Raiders’ top quarterback for most of the 2013 season, but the team ultimately decided he simply wasn’t a good enough passer to make it as an NFL quarterback. He was traded to the Seahawks last year and then cut by Seattle at the end of the preseason.

Now that Pryor has been cut again by the Chiefs, he may be nearing the end of the run. Although he’s a gifted athlete who can make things happen with the ball in his hands, his chance with the Chiefs could have been his last chance.

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Oddsmaker gives 49ers longest odds to win NFC West

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In the last three seasons, the 49ers have gone from first to second to third place in the four-team NFC West.

Perhaps, then, it is not a surprise to see San Francisco as the longest shot to win the West in 2015 at one notable Nevada sports book.

As of Tuesday, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists the 49ers as 9-to-1 to capture their division. The Cardinals and Rams are given 13-2 chances to win the NFC West behind Seattle, which is an overwhelming favorite at 2-to-7.

The 49ers’ odds seem to reflect the team’s sharp fade at the end of 2014. The club also took a perception hit after the departure of head coach Jim Harbaugh, who was 49-22-1 in four seasons in San Francisco.

While the 49ers are the biggest price to win the NFC West, they are the shortest-priced longest shots in any division, with the Browns (10-to-1), Bears (12-to-1), Jets (12-to-1), Buccaneers (12-to-1), Washington (15-to-1), Jaguars (20-to-1), Titans (25-to-1) and Raiders (25-to-1) all having higher odds.

Here are the SuperBook’s division-winning odds for all 32 teams:

AFC East: Patriots 4-to-9; Dolphins 4-to-1; Bills 5-to-1; Jets 12-to-1.

AFC North: Ravens 8-to-5; Steelers 2-to-1; Bengals 2-to-1; Browns 10-to-1.

AFC South: Colts 1-to-5; Texans 7-to-2; Jaguars 20-to-1; Titans 25-to-1.

AFC West: Broncos 5-to-12; Chiefs 7-to-2; Chargers 9-to-2; Raiders 25-to-1.

NFC East: Cowboys 13-to-10; Eagles 3-to-2; Giants 3-to-1; Washington 15-to-1.

NFC North: Packers 2-to-7; Lions 9-to-2; Vikings 8-to-1; Bears 12-to-1.

NFC South: Panthers 9-to-5; Saints 9-to-5; Falcons 9-to-5; Buccaneers 12-to-1.

NFC West: Seahawks 2-to-7; Cardinals 13-to-2; Rams 13-to-2; 49ers 9-to-1.

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Who will be the 2015 NFL offensive rookie of the year?

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Now that the draft has ended, we can start focusing on which of the players will be any good.  Especially those players who will end up generating a lot of yards and scoring a lot of points.

The poll question for Tuesday’s Pro Football Talk on NBCSN focuses on which rookie will become the 2015 NFL offensive rookie of the year.

Cast a vote now, and then tune in at 5:30 p.m. ET to see the results.  Along with everything else we’ll be talking about, with the involvement of Paul Burmeister, Ross Tucker, and Jason Taylor.

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Cardinals sign 14 undrafted free agents

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The unexpected retirement of tight end John Carlson might have caught the Cardinals unaware on Tuesday, but they didn’t have to wait long to fill his roster spot.

The team announced the signing of 14 undrafted rookies to round out their roster for the rest of offseason and training camp. They also announced that cornerback Roc Carmichael and running back Zach Bauman have been released.

Among the new additions is wide receiver Jaxon Shipley, who followed in his brother Jordan’s footsteps as a productive wideout at the University of Texas. Like his brother, he’s also best suited for the slot on offense and has experience as a returner.

The rest of the new Cardinals are Adams State cornerback Cariel Brooks, N.C. State tackle Rob Crisp, BYU linebacker Alani Fua, Shippensburg wide receiver Trevor Harman, Georgia Southern linebacker Edwin Jackson, Florida Atlantic linebacker Andrae Kirk, BYU running back Paul Lasike, Bowling Green linebacker Gabe Martin, Iowa wide receiver Damond Powell, Colorado State-Pueblo cornerback C.J. Roberts, Missouri State tight end Gannon Sinclair, Montana linebacker Zack Wagenmann and Northern Iowa nose tackle Xavier Williams.

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Mike Wallace: Nobody in the NFL can run with me

Mike Wallace, Harrison Smith AP

Speed has long been Vikings wide receiver Mike Wallace’s calling card, although it was hard to tell at times in Miami.

Whether because of scheme, chemistry with Ryan Tannehill or something else, Wallace wasn’t the deep threat for the Dolphins that he was earlier in his career with the Steelers. On Tuesday, Wallace made it clear that he doesn’t think it was because the league has caught up to his fleet feet.

“Without a doubt, I’m the fastest player in the NFL,’’ Wallace said, via the Pioneer Press. “If somebody feels foggy about that, we can (race). I’m never going to back down from competition. “I’ve run a lot of routes and I’ve got a lot of miles on my legs, but I still feel that there’s nobody (in the NFL) who can run with me. I might have slowed down a little but I could still run 4.25.”

Wallace didn’t point the finger at Tannehill, saying that there were things that both he and his Dolphins teammates could have done better over the last two years. He also said that “when you separate, you still have to connect” and that he’s “positive” he’ll be able to “showcase” his ability to get free of defenders in Minnesota.

The Vikings likely have the same optimism after trading for Wallace and planting him at the top of their receiver depth chart this offseason. If they’re right, the offense in Minnesota should be more explosive this time around.

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Panthers hire Russ Purnell to fill in for Bruce DeHaven during leave

purnell Getty Images

The Panthers suffered a football and a personal blow Tuesday, with the news that special teams coach Bruce DeHaven was taking a medical leave of absence.

But they’ve also lined up someone to fill his role until he’s ready to return.

The team confirmed the news of DeHaven’s undisclosed illness, but offered no other details.

“Our thoughts are with Bruce and his family, and we wish him a quick recovery,” coach Ron Rivera said in a statement. “Out of respect for Bruce and his family’s privacy, no additional information will be disclosed.”

They also announced that Russ Purnell would coach their special teams while DeHaven was out.

Purnell has 26 years of NFL experience, with the Seahawks, Oilers, Ravens, Colts and Jaguars, with a pair of Super Bowl rings with Indianapolis in 2006 and Baltimore in 2000.

He’s been out of coaching since working in the UFL in 2012.

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