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Week Eight picks

The inability of referee Scott Green to properly apply the supposedly clear rule regarding going to the ground when making a catch not only cost the Vikings a win.  It also prevented me from extending to two my streak of victories over Rosenthal.

Yes, he beat me by one game in Week Seven, and the difference was the outcome of the Vikings-Packers game.

For the week, Rosenthal got 10 right and four wrong.  I was 9-5.

For the year, Rosenthal is 69-35.  I’m 65-39.

And though it pains me to type this (in part because I’ll never hear the end of it from him), Rosenthal currently has a better showing than all of the ESPN “experts,” including the Accuscore projections and the fan-based picks. 

Maybe he should apply for a job there.  They probably need someone with a sturdy shine box.


Broncos vs. 49ers in London

Florio’s take:  When the league picked this game to be the 2010 English export, it didn’t look like a bad choice.  The 49ers were viewed as the favorite to win the NFC West, and the Broncos were regarded as a middle-of-the-road team with the potential to improve.  Seven weeks into the season, the 49ers have only one win and the Broncos have two.  The decision to thrust quarterback Troy Smith into the starting lineup smacks of the desperation coach Mike Singletary surely is feeling, and even though Denver lost to one Bay Area team by 45 in Week Seven, Week Eight likely will bring a seventh loss for the Niners.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 30, 49ers 21.

Rosenthal’s take: The NFL should send teams to London earlier in the season, before they show how bad they really are.  The depleted Broncos defense gets worse every week, and the 49ers defense just made Matt Moore look like, well, Matt Moore from 2009.  This is a crossroads/gut check/insert cliché game for both coaches.  I trust Josh McDaniels and Kyle Orton far more than Mike Singletary and Troy Smith.

Rosenthal’s pick: Broncos 31, 49ers 21.

Jaguars at Cowboys

Florio’s take:  Four prior games between these two teams have been decided by seven points or less.  Continuation of that trend would help Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio, even if the Jags lose.  One more 20-plus-point blowout (the Jaguars already have suffered four) could get Del Rio fired.  The return of David Garrard and the departure of Tony Romo could help, but probably not enough.  But at least the Jags will possibly lose by less than 20.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 27, Jaguars 17.

Rosenthal’s take:  Jon Kitna versus the Jaguars secondary.  The immobile quarterback versus the force that provides no resistance.  If I was a betting man, I’d stay far away from this one because both teams are about as trustworthy as Florio’s hairpiece.  At least the Jaguars seem like they care. 

Rosenthal’s pick: Jaguars 20, Cowboys 16.

Dolphins at Bengals

Florio’s take:  From 1978 through 2000, the Dolphins won nine straight games over the Bengals.  Cincinnati has won the last two, but they haven’t played since Bill Parcells put his thumbprint on the Dolphins.  More importantly, the game won’t be played in Miami, where the Fins are 0-3.  Though the Bengals found some punch on offense against the Falcons, the Dolphins are more talented, more desperate, and (after believing they got screwed against the Steelers) more feisty.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 24, Bengals 16.

Rosenthal’s take: Chad Henne has quietly improved all season, and he should do well against a Bengals secondary without Adam Jones and possibly Johnathan Joseph.  Carson Palmer is also playing better, but it seems to take a 21-point deficit to warm him up.  The Bengals defense is providing too many chances for failed comeback attempts.

Rosenthal’s pick: Dolphins 24, Bengals 21.

Bills at Chiefs

Florio’s take:  Some (I’m looking at you, Rosenthal) think that Bills coach Chan Gailey has something up his sleeve for his most recent former team.  Pointing to an unlikely strong showing by Buffalo’s offense against a complacent Ravens defense, Rosey thinks the Bills can give the Chiefs a run for their money.  Let’s see if Rosey puts his money where his mouth is.  Arrowhead Stadium has been a-rockin’; Gailey and his team would be wise to not go a-knockin’.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 31, Bills 14.

Rosenthal’s take:  I’m not sure people have really wrapped their mind around the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Bills racked up 514 yards on the Ravens.  514! The Harvard product is a joy to watch, with decisive, difficult throws often into tight windows.  He’s a great runner and seems to like contact.  And he has a red beard.  The Bills will keep losing most weeks because their defense is an embarrassment, but at least they’ll be fun to watch.

Rosenthal’s pick: Chiefs 34, Bills 31.

Redskins at Lions

Florio’s take:  For the third straight year, these two franchises meet in Detroit.  In 2008, the Redskins kept the Lions winless by only eight points.  In 2009, the Lions ended a 19-game losing streak with a win over the ‘Skins.  Assuming Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, back after suffering a shoulder injury in Week One, won’t throw four passes to DeAngelo Hall, the rested, ready, and confident (perhaps delusional) Lions should be able to get it done.  Last week’s meltdown by the Chicago offense concealed the fact that the Washington offense isn’t dramatically better, and the Lions look to be in line for their second win of the year.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 20, Redskins 13.

Rosenthal’s take: Signs the Lions have come a long way:  (1) they are still talking playoffs after a 1-5 start and it doesn’t seem completely insane; (2) they’ve outscored their opponents this year (thanks Rams!); (3) they are favored against a 4-3 Redskins team and I’d still give the points.

Rosenthal’s pick: Lions 24, Redskins 17.

Panthers at Rams

Florio’s take:  Like the other team that will contend for the NFC West crown, the Rams are tough at home and soft on the road.  This week, a win at home would pull the Rams to 4-4, and it would end a four-game losing streak against Carolina, a slide that began in St. Louis nearly seven years ago with a double-overtime loss to the eventual NFC Super Bowl representatives.  This time around, the Rams simply have the better team — which given the state of the Panthers isn’t really saying much.

Florio’s pick:  Rams 24, Panthers 13.

Rosenthal’s take: The Rams are winless on the road, so it’s good the league loaded them up with home games before a three-game road trip after Thanksgiving.  The Panthers finally found a passing game, which could make them a dangerous spoiler the rest of the way.  Every game for the Rams is dangerous because they aren’t that talented, but they’ve responded very well to losses this year.

Rosenthal’s pick: Rams 22, Panthers 20.

Packers at Jets

Florio’s take:  The Jets remain the hottest team in the NFL, with a swarming defense and a sufficiently competent offense.  Receiver Santonio Holmes had two extra weeks to hone his timing with quarterback Mark Sanchez, which should result in an even more souped-up passing attack.  The Packers aren’t remotely close to being Super Bowl ready, and without again getting a couple of gift calls on touchdown plays they can’t expect to win this one.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 27, Packers 20.

Rosenthal’s take: The Packers lost another linebacker for the season, while the Jets are fully healthy after their bye.  Revis Island is ready to re-open with tougher immigration laws and there’s a sense New York hasn’t played their best despite being 5-1.  All logic points to the Jets. (I’m sure Florio is taking his beloved Jets.)  All the more reason to take the Packers, who are ready to go on a run.

Rosenthal’s pick: Packers 26, Jets 21.

Titans at Chargers

Florio’s take:  Vince Young likely will return for a Tennessee offense that did fairly well without him.  But the two Tennessee losses have come against teams that run a 3-4 defense, the preferred attack of the Chargers.  And the Charger

s have much more talent than their 2-5 record suggests.  Assuming that the late surge in Week Seven against the Patriots woke up the four-time defending AFC West champions, the Chargers will stay alive for at least another week.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 23, Titans 20.

Rosenthal’s take: The Titans have a knack for frustrating opponents and forcing them into mistakes.  The Chargers have a knack for frustrating their fans and making unforced errors.  The Titans lead the league in takeaways and have scored the most points off turnovers.  The Chargers have the most giveaways in the AFC.  Add it up, and Norv Turner’s head should explode sometime in the third quarter.

Rosenthal’s pick: Titans 26, Chargers 21.

Vikings at Patriots

Florio’s take:  Vikings coach Brad Childress has been talking lately.  A lot.  His words regarding the officiating in Sunday night’s loss to the Packers got him a $35,000 fine.  His barbs directed at the Patriots and Bill Belichick could get Chilly a butt-whipping on par with the 31-7 defeat his team absorbed from Belichick and company four years ago.  Brett Favre, who won’t play only if he can’t move, will be jumping on his “broke foot” when things go well, and he’ll be walking like John Wayne with hemorrhoids when things go poorly.  Count on plenty of Rooster Cogburn on Preparation H sightings.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 35, Vikings 13. 

Rosenthal’s take:  After the Patriots released Lawyer Milloy then lost to the Bills 31-0 to open the 2003 season, ESPN’s Tom Jackson said the “Patriots hate their coach.”   Three weeks after New England traded Randy Moss to Minnesota, it’s the Vikings that seem to hate their coach.  The rest of the country hates Brett Favre, who seems to know it and wear it on his face during every depressing press conference.  This is the week Moss begins to realize how good he had it in Foxborough.  

Rosenthal’s pick: Patriots 24, Vikings 14.

Buccaneers at Cardinals

Florio’s take:  Bucs coach Raheem Morris thinks he has is the best team in the NFC.  Less than two years ago, the Cardinals actually were the best team in the NFC.  Though the Cardinals have looked horrible at times, the managed to take down at home a Saints team that thumped the Bucs in their own stadium.  And that’s good enough for me.

Florio’s pick:  Cardinals 24, Buccaneers 20.

Rosenthal’s take: The “best team in the NFC” isn’t favored in Arizona, where the Cardinals are 2-0 this season.  If the Bucs are to live up to Raheem Morris’ hype, this is a game they win going away.  Arizona’s passing game is a mess, while the running game isn’t much better.  It’s a miracle they are 3-3. Still, these teams are more similar than different.  And they’ll have the same record after this one.

Rosenthal’s pick: Cardinals 19, Bucs 14.

Seahawks at Raiders

Florio’s take:  Here’s the toughest call of the week.  Tony Dungy thinks the Seahawks are the best team in the NFC.  Raiders cornerback Chris Johnson thinks his team is the most talented in the entire NFL.  The Seahawks had been unable to win on the road before taking down the Bears two weeks ago.  Before a far=less-than-full stadium against a Raiders team buoyed by a 59-point uprising against the Broncos on Sunday, the Raiders likely will finish an unlikely ascension to .500 at the halfway point of the season.

Florio’s pick:  Raiders 27, Seahawks 17.

Rosenthal’s take: Every time the Raiders win a game, they say they turned the corner.  Even though they haven’t won back-to-back games since 2008, I’m just crazy enough to believe them this time.  The Seahawks whole offensive gameplan seems to be “don’t throw interceptions” but they need a little more than that on the road.

Rosenthal’s pick: Raiders 23, Seahawks 16.

Steelers at Saints

Florio’s take:  At one point in September, it looked like this game would feature a clash of the best two teams in the league.  It remains half right, with the Steelers among the best of the bunch and the Saints sliding toward irrelevance.  Though the defending champs’ backs are being pushed against the wall, that 13-point loss to the Browns means the days of dominance have ended, at least for now.  A one-dimensional offense is no match for a multi-faceted Steelers defense, and this one could turn into a rout, which would mean the ratings will only double those from Game Four of the World Series.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 34, Saints 21.

Rosenthal’s take:  A lot of tough games to pick this week. I’ve debated this one for days, but the tiebreaker goes to the Steelers.  Even though Pittsburgh’s pass defense has looked shakier the last two weeks, New Orleans has struggled against far worse groups.  At some point, it’s worth recognizing the 2009 Saints passing attack just may not come back.

Rosenthal’s pick: Steelers 27, Saints 24.

Texans at Colts

Florio’s take:  The Texans obsessed over their Week One visit from the Colts, and it paid off.  Since then, the Texans have been roughly average.  They get another crack at the Colts on Monday night, at a time when plenty of Indy players are missing.  But as long as Peyton Manning remains healthy, the Colts will be tough to beat, especially at home.  Manning realizes the importance of not being swept by the Texans — and not falling to 0-3 in the division.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 33, Texans 27. 

Rosenthal’s take: Dallas Clark and Austin Collie will be missed, but I’m not really that worried about the Colts offense in this game. They have great depth and the Jeff George Colts could score 30 points on this awful Texans defense.  The bigger question is whether the Colts defense can snap out of their funk.  At home, in a huge division game, I’ll take my chances they make enough plays.

Rosenthal’s pick: Colts 38, Texans 31.

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Exploring the 49ers’ end game for Kaepernick

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Even before the football-following world realized that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had opted to not stand for the national anthem during each of the three preseason games, a weird vibe existed between player and team. Starting in February (when his agents asked for permission to seek a trade), continuing in March (when he met twice with the Broncos about a trade), and extending into August (when he didn’t practice for more than a week due to a supposedly dead arm), some developed the distinct impression that Kaepernick would never play another regular-season game for the 49ers.

Now that the situation has been complicated by Kaepernick’s refusal to participate in the anthem and his vow to keep sitting, the 49ers are in a much tougher spot. The trade market, if there was one, has likely evaporated, at least for now. Cutting him is complicated by the reality that, with a strong possibility that no one else would sign him, the 49ers would end up stuck with his full $11.9 million salary, with no offset.

Then there’s the question of whether and to what extent the 49ers would absorb a P.R. hit for cutting Kaepernick. The organization has taken great pains to support his right to sit, which easily can be interpreted as an effort to ensure that an eventual move to cut him could be sold as a football-only gesture. Still, plenty of casual fans will be inclined to not accept that explanation, since they remember Kaepernick as a guy who nearly won a Super Bowl but are oblivious to his regression over the past three years.

Letting him play entails the risk of an injury that lingers into 2017, and that keeps the 49ers from avoiding a $14.5 million base salary that becomes fully guaranteed as of April 1. At a minimum, then, there’s a belief that he’ll be kept in bubble wrap, RGIII-style, once the regular season begins.

With the team on the hook either way for the $11.9 million, and in light of the P.R. fallout that could arise from cutting him, the 49ers could choose to keep Kaepernick on the roster and wait for a possible injury to a starter elsewhere. Five years ago, Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell broke a collarbone two days before the trade deadline, opening the door for the Bengals to unload Carson Palmer, who had retired (i.e., quit). If a team that believes it can get the most out of Kaepernick (and/or that has seen first hand the havoc he can wreak) needs a starter, trading for Kaepernick could be the best way out of a bad situation.

The Sunday report from FOX’s Jay Glazer, who said he’ll be shocked if Kaepernick is on the team at the end of the season (for football reasons), is being viewed by some as a message from the team that the plan is to squat on Kaepernick for now, hold out hope (slim as it may be) for a trade, and then cut him later in the year, after the controversy dies down, as all controversies inevitably do.

Regardless, it will still be a surprise if he actually suits up and plays for the 49ers in the regular season, which means that it will be a surprise if he ever plays for the team again after Thursday’s preseason finale.

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Kaepernick’s college coach calls his national anthem stance “selfish”

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At Nevada, coach Chris Ault and quarterback Colin Kaepernick were a great combination. Today they part ways when it comes to Kaepernick’s decision to sit out the national anthem.

Ault wrote in a letter to the Reno Gazette-Journal that he strongly disagrees with the way Kaepernick is expressing his concerns about police brutality.

Kap using an NFL game as his platform to show the importance of his cause was selfish,” Ault said. “Not standing up for an American treasure such as the National Anthem is disrespectful and clearly has shortchanged the essence of his message because the attention of an uneasy America is on him, not the cause he values.”

Ault also said he’s concerned that Kaepernick’s career will suffer.

“You never lead by sitting down – during the national anthem or anywhere – so for me it’s not the message that’s troubling, it’s the platform and the way it was delivered,” Ault wrote. “Kap is too young and talented to get written off and I worry an act like this could have a negative impact on him and his career. He’s a great young man. Guys like him can make a difference, but it’s just a lot easier to make that point when you’re excelling on the field.”

Football coaches tend to be conservative and generally want players focused on nothing more than the game on the field, so it’s not surprising that Ault and former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh don’t agree with Kaepernick’s stance. It’s also a reminder that if Kaepernick gets cut by the 49ers, he may have trouble finding another coach who wants him on his team.

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Cardinals drop Jake Coker, 11 others from roster

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 11:  Jake Coker #14 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks to pass during the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Crimson Tide defeated the Tigers with a score of 45 to 40.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

With the news that cornerback Mike Jenkins suffered a torn ACL in Sunday’s game, the Cardinals lost a potential contributor in the secondary.

They officially ended his season later in the day by placing Jenkins on injured reserve. Eleven other players learned that they won’t be part of the team’s roster as well.

The Cardinals dropped long snapper Danny Dillon, leaving Kam Canaday as the winner of that competition, and they waived/injured quarterback Jake Coker. Coker, who suffered a knee injury, was the quarterback for Alabama when they won the national title last season but was behind Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton and Matt Barkley before his injury.

Arizona also parted ways with guard Jake Bernstein, receiver Amir Carlisle, tight end Gerald Christian, tackle Clay DeBord, defensive tackle Iosia Iosia,  cornerback Asa Jackson, wide receiver Franky Okafor, cornerback Shaun Prater, punter Garrett Swanson and safety Tyrequek Zimmerman. They have two more moves to make to get down to 75 players.

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Raiders announce cuts, trim roster to 75

Oakland Raiders v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

The Raiders announced a bunch of roster moves Monday as the team cut its active roster to 75 players ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to do so.

Waived Monday were safeties Chris Edwards, Chris Hackett and Jimmy Hall; wide receivers Joe Hanley, Max McCaffrey and Nathan Palmer; defensive tackle Leon Orr; kicker Giorgio Tavecchio; tight end Colton Underwood; defensive back Tramain Jacobs; long snapper Andrew East; linebacker Lenny Jones and offensive linemen Terran Vaughn and Ross Burbank.

All but Hall, Palmer and Jacobs are either rookies or first-year players.

The Raiders also placed tight end Gabe Holmes on injured reserve.

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Myke Tavarres won’t be sitting during national anthem after all

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 19: The Philadelphia Eagles announce their new head coach Doug Pederson on January 19, 2016 at the NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Getty Images

Eagles rookie linebacker Myke Tavarres said Monday that he would not be standing during the national anthem when the Eagles play the Jets in their final preseason game on Thursday.

Tavarres said he felt his pride and that he was “definitely going to stand my ground” in the face of any backlash. As it turns out, Tavarres will be standing on the ground during the playing of the national anthem.

Tavarres’ agent Corey Williams said that he advised his client to reverse course on his plan to sit during the national anthem and that Tavarres agreed.

“Myke does not want to be a distraction to the Philadelphia Eagles organization,” Williams said to Tim McManus of ESPN.com. “Myke’s goal is and always will be to make the Eagles 53-man roster and help the team win a Super Bowl.”

Eagles coach Doug Pederson released a statement of their own concerning players standing during the anthem.

“We respect the national anthem, its history and our many freedoms as Americans that it celebrates,” Pederson said. “We also respect an individual’s freedom of expression.”

Pederson’s statement suggests that Tavarres wouldn’t have jeopardized his chances of making the team if he had sat during the anthem, although the change in course suggests Tavarres and his agent weren’t quite so sure what the fallout would be.

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Jim Harbaugh clarifies, still disagrees with Kaepernick’s action

Colin Kaepernick’s first coach, Jim Harbaugh, didn’t hold back when asked today what he thinks of Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem.

“I acknowledge his right to do that, but I don’t respect the motivation or the action,” Harbaugh said today.

With some time to reflect, Harbaugh changed that, to say that he does support the motivation — just not the action.

“I apologize for misspeaking my true sentiments. To clarify, I support Colin’s motivation. It’s his method of action that I take exception to,” Harbaugh wrote on Twitter.

Harbaugh seems to be saying that he thinks Kaepernick’s concerns about police brutality are valid, but Harbaugh doesn’t agree that sitting out the anthem is the right way to express those concerns. That’s been a common response to Kaepernick’s decision, which has quickly become the biggest controversy in the NFL.

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Report: Seahawks to cut Brandon Browner

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 29:   Brandon Browner #39 of the Seattle Seahawks waits on the field during the game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on September 29, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

It appears cornerback Brandon Browner’s second stint with the Seahawks will come to an early end.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the team will release Browner as they pare down their roster this week. He returned to the Seahawks in April after being released by the Saints following a dismal 2015 season in New Orleans.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said during the offseason that the team had a hybrid safety/corner role in mind for Browner this season because Browner “matched up well” with tight ends and slot receivers. That idea didn’t play out as well on the field as it did in Carroll’s mind, however, and Browner was passed by others vying for roles in the Seattle secondary.

Neither Browner’s poor 2015 nor his inability to make the Seahawks this summer bode particularly well for him moving forward, although the constant need for cornerbacks could earn him looks with other teams before and after the regular season gets underway.

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Joey Bosa holdout ends, but could the damage linger for the team?

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With defensive end Joey Bosa finally agreeing to terms with the Chargers, plenty of the people who were pressuring Bosa to cave will be ready to point to his holdout, if he struggles as a rookie. By next year, however, Bosa’s decision to stand firm will be irrelevant to his performance, after he has a full year in the system and the opportunity to participate in all of the offseason program, training camp, and the preseason.

For the Chargers, the stain may not wipe away quite so easily. Like the jersey on the mannequin in Cleveland with the names of all the starting quarterbacks since 1999, Bosa becomes the next name on a list of Chargers holdouts that dates back at least 15 years.

So why is it happening? Former Chargers safety Rodney Harrison addressed the topic earlier in the day on PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio and NBCSN.

“The San Diego Chargers are a bunch of bullies,” Harrison said. “If you look at the way they’ve handled business, why is it the San Diego Chargers out of all the teams have this issue? Because they are a bunch of bullies, and they haven’t treated their star players correctly. You look at junior Seau and what they did to him. Look at how they treated me. Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers held out, Quentin Jammer, LaDainian Tomlinson. I know he came out and he was outspoken about the holdout but — guess what? — he held out, too. So when I look at the San Diego Chargers, I’d say this is why they’re an average organization, because of things like this. How can you draft a guy at the position that you drafted him in and not have him in camp?

“I think the San Diego Chargers are being a bunch of bullies and it just looks bad and reflects bad. If I’m a free agent why the heck would I even think about going to San Diego if I know that this is the way they treat their players?”

It’s fair to wonder who the next holdout will be in San Diego. And it’s also fair to question whether free agents eventually will choose to sign elsewhere, if all other factors are equal. It’s the kind of perception that, if not reversed by the team, could force the Chargers to pay more than other teams will pay in order to get players to join the team — especially if the Chargers are on the verge of not being able to make living in San Diego a selling point.

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Chargers claim a running back, place Chris Watt on reserve PUP

Chris Watt AP

The Chargers have added a running back to the roster a day after Branden Oliver went down with an injured Achilles.

The team announced that they have claimed running back Gus Johnson off of waivers from the Falcons. Johnson split last season between the Cowboys and Falcons practice squads and gives the Chargers more depth behind Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead.

In a move that helped push the team toward a 75-man roster, the Chargers placed center Chris Watt on the regular season version of the PUP list. Watt has been out with a knee injury and will not be able to play or practice in the first six weeks of the season as a result of Monday’s maneuver.

The Chargers also waived wide receiver Torrence Allen, cornerback Greg Ducre, cornerback Mike Lee, defensive tackle Bruce Gaston, linebacker Zack Hodges and center Bruce Johnson. They have 84 players on their roster, leaving nine moves to make by Tuesday’s deadline.

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Browns trade punter Andy Lee to the Panthers

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 15: Andy Lee #8 of the Cleveland Browns punts the ball during the 2nd quarter of the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 15, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
 (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Browns and Panthers swapped punters Monday.

No, that’s not a misprint.

The Browns traded Andy Lee and a 2017 seventh-round pick to the Panthers for punter Kasey Redfern and a 2018 fourth-round pick.

The trade comes three days after Lee appeared to let up during a punt return touchdown by Adam Humphries of the Buccaneers during last Friday’s preseason game. Browns Coach Hue Jackson got in Lee’s face on the sideline after the touchdown and clearly wasn’t happy that Lee hadn’t done more to at least slow Humphries.

Lee, who was acquired by the Browns in a trade with the 49ers prior to the 2015 season, figures to be the final answer in an ongoing punter competition the Panthers have been holding since the spring. He’s been punting in the NFL since 2004 and set Browns franchise records last season with his 46.7-yard gross average and 40.1-yard net average.

Redfern is a first-year player who’s never punted in an NFL game. He’ll get an extended tryout with the Browns at least through this week.

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San Diego visit becomes first test case for the anti-Kaepernick crowd

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49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has the right to not stand during the national anthem. People in the crowd have the right to let him know that they think he’s wrong.

It becomes a potentially more problematic issue when the 49ers are on the road. Their first road game comes in San Diego, on Thursday night.

Although the Chargers aren’t a natural rival of the 49ers, thousands of military personnel live in and around San Diego. For those who see Kaepernick’s gesture as an affront to the military (even though Kaepernick explained on Sunday that he means them no disrespect), Thursday’s game becomes something other than the least meaningful of four meaningless preseason tuneups. It’s an opportunity to show up and let Kaepernick hear loudly from those who disagree with his decision to sit during the anthem.

Remember the goofy, over-the-top commercial that had Kaepernick wearing headphones to tune out Seattle fans who were yelling and screaming and giving him the finger and shouting apparent obscenities and actually urinating on the team bus? It likely won’t come to that in San Diego, but Kaepernick may need those headphones prior to, during, and after the game to drown out all the stuff that he’ll be hearing from those in the crowd who strongly object to the manner in which he is making his point.

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49ers OC “would anticipate” Kaepernick on roster in Week One

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, left, runs with the ball as Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones pursues during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) AP

On Sunday, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported that quarterback Colin Kaepernick “has a very, very big uphill battle to make” the 49ers for reasons outside of his choice not to stand for the playing of the national anthem.

Glazer reported the 49ers believe Kaepernick is “regressing as a player” and he said he would be “shocked” if Kaepernick was on the team through the entire season. On Monday, 49ers offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins was asked about Kaepernick’s chances of making the 53-man roster to start the year.

“I would anticipate that, but it’s not, you know, that’s not where we’re at right now,” Modkins said, via the Sacramento Bee. “We’re getting ready for the Chargers right now and he’ll be there. So I don’t anticipate that not being the case.”

The 49ers haven’t made any announcement about who their starting quarterback will be in Week One and coach Chip Kelly said that the Niners “plan on playing him this week” in San Diego, which could make for an interesting scene given how many current and former members of the armed services are in and around the city.

Kaepernick will be making $11.9 million this year whether he makes the 49ers or not, which gives the 49ers reason to want to keep him around unless they think there’s no way he can help the football team. Given Glazer’s report, it would seem at least some in the organization are ready to make that call but it remains to be seen if the team goes that route or not.

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Eagles LB Myke Tavarres plans to sit during anthem on Thursday

eagles helmet getty Getty Images

Over the last few days, we’ve heard plenty of opinions from current players about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the playing of the national anthem in protest of the way people of color are treated and now we’ve heard one who says he plans to do the same before the final preseason game of the summer.

Eagles linebacker Myke Tavarres, an undrafted rookie out of the University of the Incarnate Word, told ESPN that he “will be taking a stand — or sitting down — for the fourth game” against the Jets this week. He said that people around the team know his plans and the Eagles had an “open forum” to discuss the issue during a meeting on Monday that reportedly saw Tavarres share his thoughts.

“We’ve got an issue in this country in this day and age, and I feel like somebody needs to step up and we all need to step up,” Tavarres said. “We’ve got that right. There’s just a lot going on that people don’t want to talk about, and I feel like us as athletes, we’re looked at as role models. And I feel like with Colin Kaepernick, he’s doing a great job for standing up in what he believes in, and most people may not like that, but that’s his opinion, he’s entitled to it, and I respect him for doing it.”

Tavarres survived the Eagles’ cut to 74 players, but there’s another big one to go and he says he expects there to be some “backlash” for his decision. Whether that backlash would weigh into the Eagles’ decision or not, Tavarres added that “what’s at stake is my pride” and that outweighs any negative response that might come for his action.

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Chargers sweeten language of training-camp roster bonuses, signing bonus payout to get deal done

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 07:  Third overall 2016 NFL draft pick Joey Bosa of the San Diego Chargers throws out the ceremonial first picth prior to the start of the San Diego Padres game against the Atlanta Braves at PETCO Park on June 7, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Chargers and defensive end Joey Bosa finally found a middle ground. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t much. For Bosa and the Chargers, it was everything.

Per a league source with knowledge of the situation, the kicker came from the team’s willingness to apply language that makes it easier for Bosa to earn $6.5 million in guaranteed training-camp roster bonuses. Specifically, he gets the training-camp roster bonuses if he’s on any type of “active” list, including the non-football injury or non-football illness list.

Training-camp roster bonuses have become an alternative to the removal of offset language from a player’s guaranteed money at the top of the draft. Multiple players, however, have language in their contracts that allow the roster bonuses to not be paid if the player is on the NFI list. For example, Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan lost $1.7 million this year because of a knee injury that caused him to land on the non-football injury list. Other players have a similar term in their contracts.

Bosa doesn’t, which ensures he’ll get the training-camp roster bonuses unless he’s on a “reserve” list when the money comes due.

Also, the Chargers altered the payout schedule of the signing bonus in 2016. He still gets 85 percent this year and 15 percent next year, but Bosa gets more of the 85 percent up front. Although the specifics aren’t yet known, Bosa gets a greater percentage of the bonus payout this year than the last four No. 1 overall picks did.

Finally, the Chargers didn’t take a penny off the table, despite last week’s vow to do so.

So the deal is done and Bosa is a Charger and we’ll all soon forget the holdout ever happened. Until the next time a Chargers player holds out and the long list of other Chargers is rattled off, with Bosa’s name as the most recent. Other than, you know, the next guy holding out.

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Bengals make their way to 79 players

Jacksonville Jaguars' Corey Grant (30) runs back a 37-yard kickoff return as he gets past Cincinnati Bengals' Jayson DiManche (51) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/John Raoux) AP

The Bengals cut 11 players from their 90-man roster on Monday, leaving them four shy of the 75-man limit ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to pare the roster to that number.

The unlucky 11 are wide receiver Michael Bennett, fullback Jeff Luc, defensive lineman Jack Gangwish, cornerback Corey Tindal, safety Floyd Raven, linebacker Darien Harris, quarterback Joe Licata, wide receiver Antwane Grant, kicker Zach Hocker, tight end John Peters, and linebacker Jayson DiManche.

DiManche played 28 games for the team in 2013 and 2014 before being released last September. He returned to the team in January after spending time with the Browns and Chiefs last season. Hocker kicked for the Saints and Rams in 2015, but couldn’t unseat Mike Nugent.

The Bengals could place defensive tackle Andrew Billings, who tore the meniscus in his knee, on injured reserve and move defensive tackle Brandon Thompson to the regular season PUP list as they continue making their way to 75 players.

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