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Week 12 Thanksgiving 10-pack

Packers Lions Football

We’ve moved the Friday 10-pack to Thursday, since posting it on Thursday puts the Thanksgiving games in play for our 10 takes regarding the coming weekend of games.

I also needed to get it done early because I’ll be spending Thursday night preparing to host The Dan Patrick Show on Friday, a process which may look a lot like achieving and maintaining a turkey-induced stupor.  Primarily because that’s precisely what it will be.

1.  At least the NFL tried to give us good games on Thanksgiving.

Every year, complaints arise regarding the quality of the games played on the fourth Thursday in November.  This year, the NFL did something about it.

Though the Lions continue to have a hammerlock on the early game, the NFL picked the Patriots to be the visiting team.  (Because CBS will televise the game, the road team had to be from the AFC; this year, the choices were the Jets and the Patriots.  Either way, a quality opponent would have been pegged for the game.)

For the afternoon contest, the NFL earmarked a game that, as of April, looked to be one of the 10 best of the year — Saints at Cowboys.  Though the Cowboys’ struggles have made the game less intriguing, the NFL opted not to take advantage of its captive audience by offering up the weakest home game on the Dallas schedule.  (Then again, the Lions already were booked.)

The night game — Bengals at Jets — also looked as of April to be a potentially great game, given that the Bengals and Jets both made the playoffs in 2009.  Who knew that the Bengals would be after 10 games The 2-Ocho Show?

Short of moving Thanksgiving to September, the risk that games that looked great in April will be relevant in November applies to every NFL season.  All we can ask is that the NFL attempt to provide quality games.

Even if the Lions and Cowboys would lose their automatic home games, there’s no way of knowing that the games picked prior to the season will involve quality teams by the time the games are played.  What if the Vikings had “earned” a home game on Thanksgiving as a result of their 2009 performance?  Or the 49ers, based on the widespread belief that they’d be much improved in 2010?

In April, every season is a crapshoot.  At least the NFL has finally decided to shoot for something other than crap on Thanksgiving.

2.  Favre could thrive under Frazier.

The decision of Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier to keep brett Favre at quarterback makes sense.  Frazier will earn the job for 2011 only by winning games, and Farve at quarterback gives Frazier the best chance to do that.

The Vikings don’t need to know what Tarvaris Jackson can do; he had relevance only when a change of quarterbacks may have belped salvage a playoff berth.  And Frazier has no interest in developing Joe Webb to become the possible starter for the next regime.

So what of the notion that Favre will continue to produce more turnovers than a baker on an IV full of Red Bull?  Without former coach Brad Childress peering over Favre’s shoulder and constantly telling him what to do and what not to do, it’s entirely possible that Favre will perform better.

Even though reeling off six in a row likely won’t be enough to edge out one of the three-loss teams currently in position to take both of the wild-card spots, a strong finish to the season would partially rehab Favre’s fading legacy — and it would give Frazier a fighter’s chance at keeping the job.  Having Childress out of the picture will make if easier for Favre to just relax and play.

3.  Delhomme’s revenge.

Earlier this year, the Carolina Panthers discarded quarterback Jake Delhomme like an empty bottle of screw-top wine.  And for good reason.  Ever since the completion of the 2008 regular season, Delhomme had been playing like a guy whose Gatorade had been spiked with a full bottle of screw-top wine.

On Sunday, Delhomme will get his first start since Week One, due to Colt McCoy’s ankle sprain.  Coincidentally, that start will come against the Carolina Panthers.

So the game will provide Delhomme with a shot at redemption, a chance to prove the Panthers wrong.

Then again, given that Delhomme received a contract worth $20 million guaranteed before the 2009 season, it’s the Panthers that should be thinking about revenge.

Either way, the link gives a sliver of meaning to an otherwise meaningless game.

4.  It’s getting no easier for Mike Vick.

If the Eagles and quarterback Mike Vick struggle at Soldier Field on Sunday, it’ll be easy to blame the Sports Illustrated jinx, given that he graces the magazine’s cover this week.  But we’re not much for jinxes, unless the person to be jinxed allows himself to think that the jinx exists.

For Vick, the bigger concern should be opposing defenses studying ever bit of tape from his performances to date, building on game plans that slowed him down and trying to devise the one tactic that will shut him down and/or knock him out.

Though the Bears present the latest challenge, a pair of games against the Cowboys, a rematch with the Giants, and a date with the Vikings remain.  With each passing week, defenses will be trying even harder to be the team that solves the Vick riddle, preferably by putting him back on the injury report.

Look for the Bears, mired in a seven-quality-teams-but-only-five-spots chase for the postseason, to pull out all the stops.

5.   Monday night loser could still be alive.

Thanksgiving weekend wraps up with a Monday night game between the 49ers and Cardinals.  It presents a rare stinker on ESPN’s 2010 slate.  But it’s not as bad as it appears, if we ignore the fact that each team has a record of 3-7.

If the 5-5 Seahawks lose on Sunday against the Chiefs, the loser of Monday night’s game will remain only two games out of first place with five games to play.

Sure, the loser will be a woeful 3-8.  But if we can get past that won-loss record, the reality is that the loser can still get hot in December and steal the division and reset its record to 0-0 in the single-elimination tournament that will commence with the NFC West champion hosting a playoff game.

6.  In Atlanta, home-field advantage possibly hangs in the balance.

The game of the week undoubtedly occurs in the Georgia Dome, where the red-hot Packers take on the red-hot Falcons.

Under quarterback Matt Ryan, the Falcons have won 18 games and lost only one at home.  Under quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have scored a total of 76 points in consecutive games against the Cowboys and Vikings.

The Packers are more than a good offense; their defense has allowed only 10 points in three games, including the pitching of a shutout of the Jets at the New Meadowlands Stadium.

With these two teams destined to play beyond January 2, this game will go a long way toward determining where the second game may occur.  And regardless of what happens this time around, the location of a January rematch will have a lot to do with its potential outcome.

7.  Keep an eye on Tom Brady’s foot.

Vikings quarterback Brett Favre has no qualms when it comes to talking about his injuries.  Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is more apt to talk about his hair.

And so it’s impossible to know the exact diagnosis of and prognosis for Brady’s current foot injury, which caused him to miss practice on Tuesday and Wednesday and to be listed as questionable for Thursday’s game, a rare departure from his usual designation as probable.

Sporting a defensive line that could give the Patriots flashbacks to Super Bowl XLII and a Detroit team that is otherwise irrelevant in NFL circles, it’ll be interesting to see whether these Lions use their rare national spotlight as an occasion to roar, by pouncing on Brady’s bum foot.

8.  Colts are suddenly in trouble.

If the season ended today, the Colts’ season would be over.  And while they’ll play four of their final six games at home, the Colts face the prospect of missing the playoffs — and of winning fewer than 10 games — for the first time since Jim Mora refused to use the “P” word.

The slide very well could continue on Sunday night, when the surging Chargers come to town.  The Chargers have played the Colts well in recent years, providing Indy with a consistent thorn in their side.

And while both of the quarterbacks have had to overcome injuries to their supporting cast on offense, the Chargers are getting healthy a lot faster than the Colts.  And the Chargers will have receiver Vincent Jackson back, for the first time all year.

It could spell trouble once again for the Colts.  At 6-5, the Colts would have to make like the Chargers and finish strong in order to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade.

9.  Bucs get their chance to impress.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have handled every team they’ve faced, with the exception of the three elite franchises they’ve played — the Steelers, Saints, and Falcons.

This weekend, the Bucs draw the Ravens.  On the road.

On paper, this is another game that Tampa should lose.  If the Bucs find a way to win, it’ll be time to take this team seriously.

Actually, it’s already time to take this team seriously.  With upcoming games against the Redskins, Lions, and Seahawks, 10 wins could be in the offing.  With the Ravens, Falcons, and Saints also on the docket, victory in any one of those games will help the Bucs do the unthinkable — nailing down coach of the year honors for Raheem Morris, and possibly executive of the year recognition for Mark Dominik.  With a roster devoid of pricey veterans, the Bucs are one of the few teams that is playing like a true team.

10.  Chargers are following form, and will likely continue to do so.

After the Chargers lost five of their first seven games, we said (one or twice, or more often) that the team eventually would try to follow a slow start with a fast finish — and fail.

But the Chargers have shown that they can do it again, reeling off three wins and moving to within a game of first place in the AFC West.  And they’ll likely continue their climb to the playoffs.

Where they’ll likely lose in one of the first two rounds.

While, as mentioned above, they match up well with the Colts, the Chargers eventually would face the Patriots, Jets, Ravens, or Steelers.  And with five losses already in the standings, the Chargers will have to take their pass-first offense to an open-air stadium in the Northeast.  In the middle of January.

Moving forward, and as our friend Scott Caplan of XX 1090 in San Diego pointed out during our weekly Wednesday morning radio visit, the Chargers should redouble their efforts to figure out why they can’t win more games in September and October.  If they could emerge into November and December with a better record, they’d be able to force some of the other elite teams to San Diego in January.

Hey, at least the Chargers wouldn’t have to face a long flight home after losing.

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Reports: Seahawks trying to trade Christine Michael; Robert Turbin to be waived/injured

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 14:  Running back Robert Turbin #32 of the Seattle Seahawks warms up prior to the game against the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field on August 14, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The running back group for the Seattle Seahawks  appears to be undergoing a serious overhaul.

Marshawn Lynch is firmly set as the team’s starter, but the players behind him on the depth chart seem to be changing.

Former Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson is expected to sign with the team by the end of the weekend to serve as Lynch’s backup.

Robert Turbin, who had been Lynch’s backup each of the last three seasons, suffered a high-ankle sprain in last week’s preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Turbin will be waived/injured by Seattle as he is expected to miss around five weeks due to the ankle injury.

Teams can claim Turbin off waivers despite the injury. If he goes unclaimed, he would revert to injured reserve with Seattle.

Meanwhile, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports the Seahawks are also attempting to trade third-string running back Christine Michael.

Michael has failed to earn substantial playing time with Seattle despite being a second round pick in 2013.

Undrafted free agents Thomas Rawls and Rod Smith have looked strong in preseason action for the Seahawks as well and could become beneficiaries of Seattle’s shuffling.

Rawls had 87 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in the team’s preseason finale against the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night. He would be the favorite to land a third roster spot behind Lynch and Jackson if Turbin and Michael are gone.

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Tom Brady: “I am sorry our league had to endure this”

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In his first public comments since winning the legal battle to overturn his Deflategate suspension, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady expressed some regret.

Brady released a statement saying he’s sorry that the NFL went through Deflategate, and sorry “to anyone whose feelings I may have hurt.” Brady did not mention NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or anyone else by name.

“The regular season starts tomorrow morning and I can’t wait to fully commit my energy and emotion to focus on the challenges of the 2015 NFL season,” Brady said. “I want to thank my family, my friends, all of the fans, past and current players and my teammates for the support they have given me throughout this challenging experience. I also want to thank Judge Berman and his staff for their efforts to resolve this matter over the past five weeks. I am very grateful. My thanks also to the union’s legal team who has fought so hard right along with me.

“While I am pleased to be eligible to play, I am sorry our league had to endure this. I don’t think it has been good for our sport – to a large degree, we have all lost. I am also sorry to anyone whose feelings I may have hurt as I have tried to work to resolve this situation. I love the NFL. It is a privilege to be a member of the NFL community and I will always try to do my best in representing my team and the league in a way that would make all members of this community proud. I look forward to the competition on the playing field and I hope the attention of NFL fans can return to where it belongs – on the many great players and coaches who work so hard every week, and sacrifice so much, to make this game great. Most importantly, I look forward to representing the New England Patriots on Thursday night in our season opener. I hope to make all of our fans proud this year … and beyond!”

Brady has avoided answering questions from the media during the Deflategate investigation. By NFL rules, he will have to answer questions after the season-opening game on Thursday.

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Raiders trade LB Sio Moore to Colts

San Francisco 49ers v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

The Colts are trading a late-round draft pick to the Raiders for linebacker Sio Moore, both teams announced Friday night.

Moore, a third-round pick in 2013, started 22 games in two seasons with the Raiders and should get an immediate chance to contribute with the Colts, who need help at linebacker and on defense in general.

Moore has never played in a 3-4 defense but he had 3 sacks last season and 4.5 as a rookie. It’s unclear which position he’ll play with the Colts or where he’ll fit in a linebacker corps that’s probably not settled.

The Colts added veteran Trent Cole in the offseason and hope to have Robert Mathis back soon but might not have seen enough from backup outside linebackers Bjoern Werner and Jonathan Newsome in the preseason. Werner, a first-round pick in 2013, had 4 sacks last year; Newsome had a strong rookie year getting after the quarterback and had 6.5 sacks.

Moore, who’s recovering from hip surgery, had fallen out of the rotation this summer with the Raiders.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the compensation the Raiders will receive for Moore is a sixth-round pick.

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Seahawks, Fred Jackson agree to one-year deal

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Getty Images

Fred Jackson’s career will march on to Seattle.

Jackson, the aging veteran running back who was cut by the Bills this week, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Seahawks, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The 34-year-old Jackson appears to have lost a step and is coming off a season in which he averaged a career-low 3.7 yards a carry. But he can still provide valuable depth behind Marshawn Lynch in the Seahawks’ backfield, and he’s also excellent at picking up the blitz, which will help keep Russell Wilson upright behind an unproven Seattle offensive line.

Lynch and Jackson were previously teammates in Buffalo, and they remain close friends. Now they’ll be the 1-2 punch in Seattle.

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McDaniels says Brady suspension never affected preparation

Tom Brady AP

Shortly after Tom Brady was suspended, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels vowed that any looming suspension wouldn’t affect how the offense prepared. Now that Brady has had his suspension rescinded, McDaniels says the Patriots never allowed it to become an issue.

“Quite honestly, it hadn’t changed a whole lot of what we had done up to this point, and our preparation for the Steeler game should be normal. That’s kind of how it had gone the last so-many months anyway, trying to get everybody prepared for the season,” McDaniels said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.

The Patriots’ mantra is “do your job,” and McDaniels says that’s exactly what Brady has done.

“Tom’s a veteran player with a lot of experience, and he’s had to deal with different types of adversities and distractions in the past, whether it be injuries or personnel or something else,” McDaniels said. “I thought he went out and practiced and improved, tried to do his job, worked at his craft and put in a lot of hard work in different areas of playing the position of quarterback. He was prepared, studied hard for practice and games, the OTAs, and all those things we’ve done. That’s the best way to try to go about — control the things you can control — and I thought he did a good job of that.”

Brady did not play well in the preseason, completing just 10 of 22 passes for 107 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. But if McDaniels is to be believed, that’s not a cause for concern in New England. Brady is as ready for this season as he has been for any other.

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Patriots work out DE Lawrence Okoye

Denver Broncos v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

The Patriots worked out nine players Friday, per a league source, including defensive end Lawrence Okoye.

Cut by the 49ers earlier this week, Okoye is a former Olympic discus thrower and rugby player from England. He spent the previous two seasons on the 49ers practice squad while trying to transition to American football.

At 6’6, 304, he’s the kind of project Patriots coach Bill Belichick has taken on before.

The Patriots also worked out running backs Joe Don Duncan and Joey Iosefa, wide receivers Nathan Palmer and Marquez Clark, defensive linemen Derrick Lott and Jimmy Staten, quarterback Jeff Tuel and defensive back Justin Coleman.

Coleman signed with the Patriots after his workout. He’s an undrafted rookie who was cut by the Vikings earlier in the week.

Tuel started two games for the Bills in 2013. The Patriots released quarterback Ryan Lindley Friday, a day after a federal judge overturned Tom Brady’s four-game suspension in time for Brady to start next Thursday’s season opener.

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Matt Cassel: Every indication is that Bills will keep three QBs

Matt Cassel AP

The Bills parted ways with Matt Simms on Friday, leaving them with three quarterbacks on the roster with Saturday’s deadline to set a 53-man roster fast approaching.

We know the plan is for Tyrod Taylor to start Week One, which makes him highly unlikely to wind up on the waiver wire. How EJ Manuel and Matt Cassel fit is less clear and coach Rex Ryan cited “strategic purposes” as the reason he wasn’t willing to discuss the team’s plans for them on Friday.

Cassel was a bit more forthcoming.

“I don’t know if they want to go into depth about what the conversation was about, who’s going to be No. 2 or No. 3,” Cassel said, via ESPN.com. “But every indication was made that we’re probably gonna keep three quarterbacks, and that’s all I can go off of right now.”

Indications don’t mean anything until the moves are submitted to the league, obviously, and the team could decide to move forward with just two quarterbacks or bring in a different player to hold the No. 3 job if someone they like shakes loose from another team. For now, though, Cassel thinks he’ll be spending the next few months in Buffalo along with Manuel and Taylor.

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Patriots cut Ryan Lindley and nine others

Devon Kennard, Ryan Lindley AP

It’s not every year that a team cuts a quarterback that started a playoff game the previous year, but, then, it’s not every year that events conspire to allow a quarterback like Ryan Lindley to start a playoff game.

Lindley was forced into action with the Cardinals late last season and led the offense in their playoff loss to the Panthers before hitting the ranks of the unemployed this offseason. The Patriots signed him last month and he started Thursday’s preseason finale, but there wasn’t much need for him on the 53-man roster now that the team is assured of having Tom Brady in the lineup next week.

Lindley will be joined by running back Tony Creecy, wide receiver Zach D’Orazio, wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, guard Ryan Groy, tackle Caylin Hauptmann, tackle Chris Martin, linebacker James Morris, defensive tackle A.J. Pataiali’i and defensive tackle Casey Walker on the list of former Patriots.

The Patriots signed cornerback Justin Coleman, who was dropped by the Vikings last weekend. The moves leave them with 66 players and 13 moves to go before Saturday’s deadline to set a 53-man roster.

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Jets work out Brandon Bostick, four receivers

Kansas City Chiefs v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

Brandon Bostick, the tight end best known for not recovering the onside kick in last year’s NFC Championship Game that allowed the Seahawks to complete an improbable comeback, worked out for the Jets Friday.

Per a league source, the Jets also worked out four wide receivers — Shane Wynn, DeAndre Carter, Vernon Johnson and Alan Bonner — and quarterback Matt Blanchard.

Bostick, 26, was released earlier this week by the Vikings. He caught nine passes over the last two seasons with the Packers.

Wynn caught a touchdown pass from Johnny Manziel in the second preseason game but was waived earlier this week, mostly because the Browns already have a bunch of smaller wide receivers. Bonner was a sixth-round pick of the Texans in 2013 and was also let go earlier this week.

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Jaguars cut 18, including two 2015 draft picks

Jacksonville Jaguars v New York Giants Getty Images

The Jaguars are down to 57 players after saying farewell to 18 members of their roster, including four players drafted by General Manager Dave Caldwell in the seventh round in last three years.

Running back Storm Johnson was a seventh-round pick last year and ran for 86 yards on 29 carries as a rookie, but the arrival of T.J. Yeldon and Bernard Pierce this offseason likely pushed him off the roster. Cornerback Jeremy Harris, a 2013 seventh-rounder, was also axed.

Wide receiver Neal Sterling and tight end Ben Koyack have both been waived after arriving in the final round of the draft this year. Both could be candidates for the practice squad if they don’t catch on somewhere else in the roster shuffling that will go on this weekend.

The Jags also waived quarterback Stephen Morris, which leaves them with Blake Bortles and Chad Henne as the only quarterbacks currently on the roster.

Jacksonville rounded out this wave of cuts by parting ways with defensive tackle Richard Ash, defensive end Camaron Beard, defensive end Cap Capi, wide receiver Kasey Closs, guard Will Corbin, tight end Connor Hamlett, defensive end Ike Igbinosun, wide receiver Erik Lora, guard Chris Reed, cornerback Rashaad Reynolds, linebacker Todd Thomas, cornerback Peyton Thompson and wide receiver Tony Washington.

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Dolphins cut Josh Freeman

Miami Dolphins v Chicago Bears Getty Images

After throwing a pair of interceptions in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Buccaneers, quarterback Josh Freeman vowed to “exhaust every option” available to him before giving up on his hopes of resuming his NFL career.

That didn’t sound like a man who was confident in his chances of making the Dolphins’ 53-man roster and it looks like he’ll have to find his next chance somewhere other than Miami. Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report reports that the Dolphins have released the former Buccaneers first-round pick.

It’s the second time that the Dolphins have released Freeman since initially signing him in April, but they came into the cut to 53 players with three quarterbacks already on the roster and it’s hard to imagine that they would let Freeman go free at this point if they had their hearts set on having him on the team in 2015.

Freeman, who last played in a regular season game with the Vikings in 2013, was 23-of-48 for 332 yards, a touchdown and four interceptions with the Dolphins in the preseason. Those aren’t numbers that would seem to make anyone else’s heart set on having him on their roster, but one can never predict how often the quarterback carousel will spin in a given season.

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League office must find a way to restore credibility

NFL-Shield-Logo1 Getty Images

The dictionary (do they even make dictionaries anymore?) defines credibility as “the quality of being believed or accepted as true, real, or honest.”

Based on that definition, and on the topic of discipline imposed for violations of the Personal Conduct Policy or for conduct detrimental to the game, the National Football League currently has no credibility.

Harsh? Possibly. True? Absolutely.

Moving forward, who will believe the league office or accept as true, real, or honest anything the NFL has to say regarding investigations conducted or discipline imposed under policies that give Commissioner Roger Goodell final say? I sure won’t. And no one else should, either, not without reading all documents with a skeptical eye, asking tough questions, doing independent research, and contemplating whether someone possibly is embellishing, exaggerating, or fabricating facts.

The NFL has earned the inherent lack of trust since 2012, from: (1) imposing cap penalties on Dallas and Washington for contracts executed in the uncapped year that were approved when filed to (2) trumping up “bounty” charges against the Saints based on players getting a modest amount of cash for the application of clean, legal hits that they already had an incentive to apply to (3) ignoring the fact that other teams had been using “bounties” for years (including teams coached by former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the mastermind of the bounty scandal) to (4) hiring an outside lawyer to provide the patina of legitimacy to an investigation which found in part that Anthony Hargrove shouted “Bobby, give me my money!” when closer inspection of the audio and video is conclusive at best to (5) a second suspension of Ray Rice that clearly violated his rights under the CBA to (6) the manipulation of league policies to keep Adrian Peterson off the field for the 2014 stretch run against the Vikings because someone apparently had decided in September that Peterson wouldn’t be playing again this year to (7) the sudden abandonment of a 95-year history of not paying any attention to the air pressure in footballs in the apparent hopes of catching the Patriots cheating to (8) the complete lack of any understanding that the air pressure in footballs decreases on cold days to (9) the leak of grossly false air-pressure information to a pair of prominent journalists in order to create a national presumption of cheating to (10) the failure to correct that blatantly false information to (11) the hiring of a lawyer for an “independent” investigation that clearly wasn’t independent to (12) the review of the “independent” investigator’s report by the league’s general counsel to (13) the refusal to make the league’s general counsel answer questions about his role to (14) suspending Tom Brady for “general awareness” of an equipment violation, in violation of the CBA and the “law of the shop” to (15) expressing righteous indignation over Brady “destroying” his phone in the hopes of swaying public opinion against him to (16) attempting to suspend Brady for obstructing an investigation even though no player had ever been suspended for obstructing an investigation, the findings and conclusions of the league office as currently constructed on matters of discipline cannot be accepted at face value.

So how can that change? Taking final say from the Commissioner in all matters of player discipline would be a good start. But even for teams, coaches, and other non-players who aren’t protected by a union, the Commissioner should no longer have final say. Earlier this year, the Missouri Supreme Court found that the Commissioner can never be objective when handling an arbitration involving a former employee of one of the NFL’s 32 teams and one of the 32 teams that employs the Commissioner.

The Missouri Supreme Court is right. And the fans, media, and players finally have figured it out. No matter how or why it got to this point, the best interests of the NFL aren’t served by the Commissioner having final say, because the NFL has abused final say enough times in recent years to make any exercise of final say subject to skepticism, criticism, and derision.

The NFL likes to say that final say is exercised to protect the integrity of and public confidence in the sport of professional football. Over the last three years, however, has any one thing done more damage to the integrity of and public confidence in the sport of professional football than the way the league office has exercised this power?

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Falcons clearing the decks at QB, cutting Rex Grossman and T.J. Yates

T.J. Yates AP

On a day when Tim Tebow appears to have sewn up a job in Philadelphia, all the news about iconic quarterbacks is not so happy.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, the Falcons have released veteran quarterback Rex Grossman.

The Falcons signed him just over a week ago, so he clearly didn’t have a chance to establish himself there. That leaves just Sean Renfree behind starter Matt Ryan, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that they’re also cutting T.J. Yates.

Grossman hasn’t played in a regular season game since 2011 in Washington. He did appear in last night’s preseason finale, going 4-of-9 passing for 41 yards.

Sometimes life just isn’t fair.

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Browns will name acting GM by Saturday

Ray Farmer, Jimmy Haslam AP

Like 31 other teams, the Browns are busy trimming their roster and exploring options to bolster it through the weekend as teams explore trades and rosters are trimmed to 53.

The work won’t end across the league after the initial round of waiver claims and practice squad additions this weekend, but it will end for Browns general manager Ray Farmer for 30 days, starting at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 7.

That’s when Farmer begins serving a 30-day suspension for breaking the NFL’s rules on gameday communication last year. It’s hard to call what Farmer did a “scandal” — and it’s even worse to call it TextGate — but Farmer admitted to sending texts to the sideline during games last season. He later cooperated with the NFL by turning over his phone during the investigation, unlike some other guy who’s been in the news lately.

Friday, Browns coach Mike Pettine told reporters on a conference call that the team would release a statement on Saturday announcing who will serve as acting general manager during Farmer’s absence. The acting GM will likely be either Bill Kuharich, who came to the team when Farmer was hired and carries the title of executive chief of staff, or Morocco Brown, the team’s vice president of player personnel.

We’re talking about the Browns, though, so anybody from the team president to a guy on the sidewalk or even Sonny Weaver could end up with the job while Farmer serves his suspension.

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Eagles ship Matt Barkley to Arizona for conditional draft pick

Indianapolis Colts v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

Eagles quarterback Matt Barkley lost the third-string quarterback job to Tim Tebow on Thursday night, and now Barkley is heading to Arizona.

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports that the Cardinals are sending a conditional draft pick to Philadelphia to acquire Barkley. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Eagles get a seventh-round pick from the Cardinals if Barkley is on the Cardinals roster for six games.

A fourth-round pick of the Eagles in 2013, Barkley has played sparingly in Philadelphia. With Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez firmly ahead of Barkley on the quarterback depth chart and Tebow out-playing Barkley in the preseason as well, it appeared that Barkley was on the verge of getting cut.

But the Cardinals, whose season fell apart last year after injuries to starting quarterback Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton, have decided that it’s worth giving a late-round pick up to acquire a third-string quarterback with some potential. And the Eagles get something out of a player who was going to give them nothing.

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