Mike Florio talks with Dave Birkett of the Detriot Free Press about the recent string of arrests and issues with players from the Lions’ 2011 draft class.
Problems persist for Lions’ 2011 draft class
Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes gave up $3.5 million in non-guaranteed salary before the start of this season to avoid getting cut by the Jets and he said Wednesday that he’d be open to another pay cut to stick around for another season.
Holmes said that he would do “anything for the team” and that it would “probably not” matter how much of a cut the Jets asked him to swallow because he believes big money follows strong production. There hasn’t been much production this season as Holmes has just 18 catches in nine games this season while missing five games with a hamstring injury. Holmes doesn’t think the injury should be the reason for the pay cut, but reiterated he’s ready to do what the team wants.
“I mean I wouldn’t agree with it, because you can’t do anything about injuries that occur, first time I’ve been injured in my career, but like I said for the team, sacrifices are to be made,” Holmes said, via the New York Daily News.
Holmes has been injured before, he missed most of last season with a Lisfranc injury, but that’s pretty much beside the point. Holmes is set to make $9.25 million next year and his current tune of being all about the team has not been one he’s sung in the past while bashing teammates and other members of the organization. That means the Jets can save themselves both headaches and cap space, two reasons to think that the team will pass on Holmes’ offer while letting him ply his trade elsewhere next year.
Injured Bengals punter Kevin Huber made a surprise visit to the locker room Wednesday, wearing a giant neck brace, but blaming himself for the hit that put him in one.
Huber suffered a broken jaw and a cracked vertebrae after being hit by Steelers linebacker Terence Garvin. He said he’d have surgery to repair his jaw Friday, after it was temporarily wired shut Sunday night. He said his neck should heal without surgery, and he has all his teeth, so he’s got that going for him.
“I’m good. I’m feeling pretty good. The pain’s pretty good, pretty tolerable. It’s more uncomfortable than anything,” Huber said, via Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Though the hit was illegal, and the league said a flag should have been thrown for hitting a defenseless player, Huber said he was as upset about punting the ball straight down the middle, allowing Antonio Brown to return it for a touchdown.
“I mean, that was the worst part of everything, it was my fault to begin with,” Huber said.
He said he’s heard from a few sympathetic punters, but hadn’t heard from Garvin and didn’t expect to or need to.
“If some guy would call to apologize for every hit they made, guys would be on the phone all the time,” Huber said. “I’m not expecting any calls.”
Huber was placed on injured reserve, and said there’s no reason he shouldn’t return next year, largely taking the high road.
“There’s not really much I can do about it now,” he said. “Me getting mad and stressed about it is only going to make it harder to get through. It is what it is. It’s part of the game, I know, big hits. Unfortunately I got one of the big hits and I got hurt and I have to deal with it. I’ll be fine. I’ll be back next year. It’s unfortunate and disappointing I can’t be playing right now, going forward in these last couple of games to get into the playoffs. I can get mad all I want, but what’s that going to do?”
Garvin can only hope the league is as forgiving when it’s time for fines to come out, but that’s unlikely.
Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh knows that coach Jim Schwartz is in danger of being fired as the Lions’ late-season slide has moved them from favorites to long shots in the NFC North. And Suh is still hoping he can help Schwartz save his job.
“Am I playing for Jim’s job?” Suh said, via FOXSportsDetroit.com. “I think that’s a part in it. Everybody wants to win. Owners expect winning. I don’t want that coach to go anywhere. I love his scheme.”
Whether the players want to keep playing for Schwartz or not, the fact is that their play hasn’t inspired much confidence in Schwartz’s ability to get the most out of them. Suh knows that losing the division lead hurt Schwartz’s chances of keeping his job.
“We’ve let go of an opportunity to put these other teams away,” Suh said. “We opened the door back for them. We still have an opportunity to take care of business. It’s most important that we do our part or none of it matters. That’s what we’ve yet to do to this point is do our part, close the door. We’ve let a bunch of ants in the house. Now you’ve got to go get an exterminator to get them out.”
At this point, even if the Lions win their last two games, the exterminator may be coming to get Schwartz out at the end of the season.
Ravens running back Ray Rice is nearing the end of his sixth NFL season and he admitted Wednesday that he’s already started thinking about when he’ll hang up his cleats for good.
During a conference call with media covering the Patriots ahead of this Sunday’s game, Rice explained that his goal when he entered the league was to play 10 years. Barring a catastrophic injury, Rice looks like a good bet to make it to the 2017 season. Anything beyond that will be subject to how good he feels at the time, though.
“It’s always something to think about at the running back position,” Rice said, via Tom Curran of CSNNE.com. “I’ll just put it out there — my goal was to make it 10 years in the NFL. Anything after 10, if I can’t do it the way I want to, then it’s something to think about. But, I’m young. I came in the NFL at 21 years old, a young guy. So, I’m still young; I’m only going to be 27 in January. So, there’s a lot of football left to be played. With that being said, I have priorities too. You know I have a young daughter, and you’ve just got to put all that in perspective when you’re going out there week-in and week-out, especially when you get older in your career.”
It’s unusual to hear a 26-year-old talk about retirement, but Rice has averaged just 3.1 yards per carry this season while playing through a hip injury that he said has been “very hard to play through week in and week out.” He’s also likely seen the quick trip downhill that most backs take once they turn 30 and the combination makes it easier to understand why the possibility has crossed Rice’s mind.
Retiring (most likely) Redskins linebacker London Fletcher, one of the most respected players in the NFL, has some advice for coach Mike Shanahan and owner Daniel Snyder.
Work it out.
Fletcher, who said he’s 99-percent sure he’ll retire, is 100-percent certain that Shanahan should remain the team’s head coach.
“The way I look at it, I think Coach Shanahan is a great coach,” Fletcher told reporters, via 106.7 The Fan in D.C. “Any player who’s played for him, probably 95 percent of the guys who’ve played for him, would love playing for him. “
Even though he admitted that it sounds “crazy,” Fletcher thinks Shanahan should get an extension, so that he’s not a lame duck in 2014.
“As I look at the current situation, I think coach Shanahan is definitely the right guy,” Fletcher said. “I think Mr. Snyder would be wise to let him see this thing through. Obviously, there’s going to have to be some changes made because right now we’ve won three ball games. Even if we win these next two, we’ll have five games. So there is change that needs to take place, but I don’t think it needs to be with the head coach.
“I feel like he’s the right guy for it. I think Coach Shanahan will have to have a conversation with Mr. Snyder at the end of the year, let them get some time, maybe a week or two, let the season get past them, and let them two just get into a room and really say, ‘Hey, What’s the situation? How do we move forward? How do we get this thing right?’”
Fletcher believes that stability in the coaching position becomes critical to success, and he’s right. The Redskins haven’t had that continuity. Firing Shanahan would only underscore the lack of stability.
The Giants offensive line has been one of the leading sources of the team’s misery this season.
Injuries and ineffectiveness have combined to create a leaky front line for the Giants and things could get even worse this week. Guards James Brewer and David Diehl both missed practice on Wednesday because of injury, leaving open the possibility that the Giants will have to dig even deeper on their unimpressive depth chart.
It’s a tough spot to be in with Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley on the other side of the line this Sunday and coach Tom Coughlin admitted Wednesday that the team considered sitting quarterback Eli Manning to keep him from any undue harm. Manning wanted nothing to do with it, though.
“As a matter of fact, we talked about this,” Coughlin said, via the Newark Star-Ledger. “He wants to play. He’s looking forward to playing and competing and having a better game. I wouldn’t expect anything different.”
Manning has been sacked a career-high 36 times this season and has tied his career high with 25 interceptions. He’ll get a chance to add to both totals this weekend and should have a pretty good shot if the Giants are forced to further downgrade his blocking.
The NFL has assembled a panel of former coaches and general managers who will recommend head-coaching candidates to teams with a vacancy, and that panel will put a special emphasis on encouraging teams to hire minorities.
Peter King of TheMMQB.com reports that the panel was created in response to the fact that no minority head coaches were hired last offseason. Bill Polian, Tony Dungy, Ron Wolf and John Madden are among the members of the panel.
King reports that former Bears coach Lovie Smith, Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Louisville head coach Charlie Strong, Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, Bengals assistant Hue Jackson, Packers assistant Winston Moss, Packers assistant Darren Perry, Broncos assistant Eric Studesville and Texans assistant Karl Dorrell are minorities who have been identified as strong candidates. Under the NFL’s Rooney Rule, every team must interview at least one minority candidate before hiring a new head coach.
Non-minority NFL assistant coaches identified by the panel as good head-coaching candidates include Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, New Orleans offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, Buffalo defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Kansas City defensive coordinator Bob Sutton and Washington tight ends coach Sean McVay.
The chances of wide receiver Wes Welker missing a second straight game for the Broncos because of a concussion appear to be good after Welker missed another practice on Wednesday.
Welker has not been cleared to return to work after suffering a concussion against the Titans in Week 14 and would still need to pass a series of tests between now and Sunday before he’d be given the green light to play against the Texans.
Welker has suffered a pair of concussions in a short period of time, which has led some to wonder if the Broncos might shut Welker down for the remainder of the regular season and focus on getting him healthy for the playoffs. The Broncos still have some work to do to clinch the AFC West and the first seed in the conference, but they may not need Welker to get that work done as the schedule brings them the Texans and Raiders in the next two weeks.
Joan Niesen of the Denver Post reports that the only other Broncos to miss practice were cornerback Kayvon Webster, who has a broken thumb, and defensive end Derek Wolfe, who has been out since suffering seizure-like symptoms late last month.
Jon Gruden won’t be coaching the Texans. But maybe he’ll be coaching the Texas.
According to OrangeBloods.com, Gruden is “open to hearing” from the Longhorns about their vacant coaching job.
Setting aside for now our growing suspicion that someone from Texas is leaking this stuff to Orangebloods.com and other media outlets as a way to make the job look bigger and more attractive than it has become, when it comes to college programs Gruden seems to be far more interested in attracting interest than in actually taking a job.
Gruden knows the best way to stay at the top of the “A” list is to be linked to “A” list jobs. So with Texas reportedly interested in several current NFL head coaches (names on the wish list supposedly include Jim Harbaugh, Mike Tomlin, Sean Payton, Mike McCarthy, Pete Carroll, and Chip Kelly), the absence of Jon Gruden from such a lengthy roster becomes glaring. Especially for Gruden.
The prospect of a Burnt Orange Chucky helps the program and it helps Gruden, who inevitably will be coaching again. As each year passes without Gruden abandoning the broadcast booth, it becomes even more important that he continue to be viewed as an attractive candidate.
Ultimately, Gruden may be indeed bound for Texas. But not Austin or Houston. If/when the Cowboys fire Jason Garrett, Gruden could be the top choice to take over in Dallas.
At a minimum, Gruden will be interested in the Cowboys being interested in him.
We’ve reached that point in the season when it no longer makes sense for teams that are out of the playoffs to wait around for injured players or expose them to further injury in hopes of squeezing out another win.
The Texans are such a team and they made the call to shut down running back Ben Tate on Wednesday. The team announced that he has been placed on injured reserve because of a rib injury that’s bothered him for several weeks. Tate cracked four ribs in Week Eight and has since cracked a fifth, which led to the decision to sit him for the rest of the year.
Tate has 771 yards on 181 carries and has scored four touchdowns this year. He’s set to become a free agent after the season, so last Sunday’s game against the Colts may turn out to be his final game as a member of the Texans.
Everyone is waiting to find out the Packers’ plans for quarterback Aaron Rodgers this week, but he’s not the only important offensive player trying to make it back from an injury in Green Bay.
Wide receiver Randall Cobb is also working to return and he took a big step toward that goal on Wednesday. Cobb practiced for the first time since being placed on injured reserve/return in October because of a fractured fibula.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Cobb, who is eligible to play against the Steelers this week, did “very basic” work during the portion of the practice open to the media. We’ll see what coach Mike McCarthy has to say about Cobb later on Wednesday and later this week to see if that means he has a chance of being in uniform this Sunday.
Running back Eddie Lacy did not practice on Wednesday, although it’s believed that his absence was to rest the ankle he sprained in Week 14 and that he’ll be good to go after running for 141 yards on it against the Cowboys.
‘Tis the season to air out your backup quarterbacks for games that don’t mean anything to you.
Texans interim coach Wade Phillips told reporters that Case Keenum would be out this week because of a torn ligament in the thumb of his throwing hand, and that whipping boy/ostensible reason Gary Kubiak was fired Matt Schaub would get the start against the Broncos.
While Phillips knows that’s not going to be a popular move with a fan base that’s watched 12 straight losses, but he also doesn’t have much of a choice. He said, via Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com that “I know our real fans” will cheer Schaub, who has had a rough year “like all of us.”
If nothing else, it will be a nice going-away party for Schaub, who is expected to be released this offseason as the Texans clean house. The Texans finish on the road at the Titans next week.
Well, that escalated quickly.
Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel was thought to be fine after spraining his knee last week, but won’t play this week because of the injury.
Marrone said Monday that Manuel “should be OK,” but in the two days since, the condition apparently became problematic.
Marrone told reporters that Manuel was limited in practice and could throw from the pocket, but wasn’t able to move around well enough to put him out there. While Marrone said Manuel would not play this week, he expressed confidence in his ability to return for the regular season finale.
You’d think that would be a huge boost for the Dolphins’ playoff chances, but Lewis did beat them there in October.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were just five years into their existence when center Brad Meester joined the team and he’s played 207 games with the team since then, more than anyone else in the history of the franchise.
They’ll have to start getting used to life without him in 2014. On Wednesday, Meester announced that he will retire after the final two games of the regular season and call it a career after 14 seasons in the NFL. Meester said he’s spoken to the team about coming back for another year, but that he feels the time is right to move on to something else.
“I think there will be a bunch of emotions,” Meester said, via the team’s website. “It’s going to be tough leaving this game because I’ve done it for so long. I know I’m going to miss the memories and the things that happen in the locker room, but it’s going to be exciting, too.”
Meester started all 207 games he’s played for the Jags and has missed just 15 games over the course of his career.
The Redskins promoted a major player announcement at 1:30 p.m., and they beat their own deadline with something about as major as they could offer that didn’t involve a quarterback.
The Redskins play their home finale Sunday against the Cowboys, and the 38-year-old Fletcher said he wanted a chance to say goodbye to the fans there before he went.
It will be the 255th straight game for the 16th-year linebacker, and he’s one of just four players in league history with a streak of more than 250 games.
He spent the first four years of his career with the Rams, then spent five with the Bills before the last seven with the Redskins.
His announcement will make the game a bit of a celebration for the Redskins, something they haven’t had much reason for this year.
It will also be a bit of a distraction from the ugly mess their season has become, which doesn’t represent the class with which he played for so long.