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PFT’s Week One picks

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With the start of the NFL regular season comes the start of a new picks competition.  This year, MDS will pit his prognostication skills against the proprietor of this portal.  At least I can proudly say I’m currently tied for the lead at 0-0.

And given that we disagree on only one game, I’m guaranteed to be no more than one game back after one week.

Cowboys at Giants

Florio’s take:  That Dallas playoff win by the Giants in 2007 not only fueled a Super Bowl run but also sparked the first of seven wins by New York in nine games against their NFC East rivals.  Underestimated by many (not me) as they try to become the first team to repeat in nearly a decade, the Giants should be able to continue the string of eight straight defending champs who launch the ensuing season with a win.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 30, Cowboys 24.

MDS’s take: I’m tempted to pick the upset in an attempt to put some distance between myself and Florio right off the bat, but this looks like a tough game for the Cowboys to win. The Giants’ pass rush is going to give Tony Romo fits, and Romo likely won’t have his favorite target, tight end Jason Witten. The Super Bowl champions will begin the 2012 regular season the way they ended the 2011 regular season, by beating the Cowboys.

MDS’s pick: Giants 24, Cowboys 14.

Colts at Bears

Florio’s take:  In 1961, a far less heralded rookie quarterback who would become a Hall of Famer launched his career with the Vikings (and the life of an expansion team) with a win over the Bears.  Though the Colts in many ways feel like a first-year franchise, lightning likely won’t be striking again, 51 years later.  Andrew Luck looks to be the real thing, but he’ll have to wait for a Week Two visit from the Vikings to get his first NFL win.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 27, Colts 13.

MDS’s take: Andrew Luck has looked outstanding in the preseason, but I’m not falling into the trap of thinking a new franchise quarterback means the Colts are going to pick up right where they left off when Peyton Manning was healthy. Even if Luck is outstanding when the games count for real, the Colts have all kinds of problems on defense, and I like Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, and Matt Forte to have big games on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Bears 31, Colts 17.

Eagles at Browns

Florio’s take:  A reunion of the Green Bay mafia will be conducted on Sunday, with various branches of the Mike Holmgren tree coming together in Cleveland.  But the Factory of Sadness will likely continue to churn out chagrin for the denizens of the Dawg Pound.  Though Mike Vick may not be able to stay healthy all season, he’ll be ready go to in Week One.  And so will the rest of his teammates.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 35, Browns 20.

MDS’s take: I’m not sold on the Eagles, but I am sold on the Browns — sold on the idea that they’re the worst team in the league this year. It’s going to be a rough season in Cleveland.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 17, Browns 7.

Rams at Lions

Florio’s take:  Even when the Rams won the Super Bowl, they couldn’t win in Detroit.  Now that the Lions are moving closer to a Super Bowl berth of their own, this one could get ugly.  Quickly.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 27, Rams 10.

MDS’s take: Jeff Fisher is going to turn the Rams around, and they’re going to be a much better team this season than they were last season. An upset over the team coached by Fisher’s old protege Jim Schwartz wouldn’t surprise me, but I’ll pick Detroit in a nail-biter.

MDS’s pick: Lions 21, Rams 20.

Dolphins at Texans

Florio’s take:  The Dolphins won’t truly experience Hard Knocks until they get a look at the Texans’ defense.  I rarely predict a shutout.  It’s not really all that much of a stretch on this one.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 20, Dolphins 0.

MDS’s take: This looks like Week One’s biggest mismatch. Ryan Tannehill will have a steep learning curve adjusting to the NFL, while Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and the Texans’ offense will be in midseason form. This is a beatdown.

MDS’s pick: Texans 34, Dolphins 7.

Falcons at Chiefs

Florio’s take:  Last year, I had a feeling that the much-hyped Falcons wouldn’t fare well on a Week One trip to the Midwest, against the Bears.  This year, the Falcons are on the road to the Heartland again, against the Chiefs.  But they’ve got too much firepower, notwithstanding the firewater-influenced fanatics at Arrowhead.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 28, Chiefs 24.

MDS’s take: Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel has expressed disappointment with his team’s performance in the preseason, and with good reason.  The Chiefs have looked shaky on both sides of the ball. Kansas City
got off to a very rough start last season and never recovered, and the start of this season could be rough as well.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, Chiefs 10.

Jaguars at Vikings

Florio’s take:  The battle for Matt Barkley would have been a hell of a lot more compelling in Week 17.  When the talent level is equally suspect, the home team gets the edge.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 20, Jaguars 17.

MDS’s take: Who’s more likely to play and play well in this one, Maurice Jones-Drew or Adrian Peterson? Jones-Drew is healthy and says he’s been staying in shape, but one week isn’t enough to completely learn an offense after a lengthy holdout, and I see Jones-Drew struggling early this season in much the same way Chris Johnson did last season. Peterson didn’t play at all in the preseason, but from all accounts he has recovered from last year’s season-ending torn ACL, and I like him to have a big game in Week One.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 23, Jaguars 16.

Redskins at Saints

Florio’s take:  In a May appearance on PFT Live, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan joked that he hoped Saints quarterback Drew Brees would be suspended for Week One.  That would have been Washington’s only chance to steal a win in a Superdome that will be rocking almost as loud as it was the night they reopened the place in 2006.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 38, Redskins 22.

MDS’s take: The Saints feel like they have a point to prove, and they’ll be motivated, and the Superdome will be a hostile environment for Robert Griffin III. I think the Redskins’ offense is going to be better than most people expect, and they’ll put some points on the board against the Saints, but Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense will score more.

MDS’s pick: Saints 27, Redskins 24.

Bills at Jets

Florio’s take:  Lost in the hand-wringing regarding the Jets’ offense is the fact that the defense is still pretty good.  Good enough to outscore a Bills team that, while improving, isn’t ready to steal one on the road to start the season.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 15, Bills 10.

MDS’s take: This looks to me like one of the most interesting matchups of Week One, because the Jets are desperate to show that their terrible offensive showing in the preseason didn’t mean anything. Unfortunately for the Jets, I think the Bills, bolstered by the addition of Mario Williams, have exactly the kind of defense that can pressure Mark Sanchez and force him into a multiple-turnover game. The
chants for Tim Tebow be deafening by the end of this game.

MDS’s pick: Bills 10, Jets 3.

Patriots at Titans

Florio’s take:  The last time these two teams got together, the Patriots scored 59, and the Titans scored nothing.  While much has changed in Tennessee since 2009, enough players are still there to remind the teammates and the coaches of that day.  And it would matter if the Titans had the horses of defense to keep up with New England’s offense.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 35, Titans 26.

MDS’s take: The consistency of the Patriots in the salary-cap era in the NFL is nothing short of remarkable. The Patriots look, once again, like one of the best teams in the NFL, and Bill Belichick’s defense will give fits to Titans quarterback Jake Locker, making his first NFL start.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 31, Titans 17.

Seahawks at Cardinals

Florio’s take:  The Cardinals didn’t have a shot at quarterback Russell Wilson, given that they sent their second-round pick to Philadelphia for a quarterback who is now second string.  But coach Ken Whisenhunt may be wishing that the team had traded up six spots to get the Seahawks’ new starter; Wilson looks to be better than anything the Cardinals have at the position, which may be enough to pull off a Week One division road win.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 24, Cardinals 21.

MDS’s take: Russell Wilson emerged as the starter in Seattle after one of the most impressive performances in the NFL preseason, while John Skelton became the starter by default in Arizona because Kevin Kolb was one of the least impressive players in the NFL preseason. Advantage: Seattle.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, Cardinals 20.

49ers at Packers

Florio’s take:  When one of the best offenses meets one of the best defenses, the game will turn on how the other offense fares against the other defense.  The Packers defense has improved just enough to hold serve at Lambeau Field in the season opener.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 30, 49ers 27.

MDS’s take: The NFL schedule makers gave us a potential NFC Championship Game preview in Week One, and I see the Packers’ offense picking right up where they left off last year — and the Packers’ defense looking better.

MDS’s pick: Packers 27, 49ers 14.

Panthers at Buccaneers

Florio’s take:  The Bucs are laying the foundation for a very good team.  The Panthers are on the brink of being a very good team.  Cam Newton will be out to prove last year was no fluke, and an improved defense will keep it from turning into a shootout.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 31, Buccaneers 21.

MDS’s take: Cam Newton won’t have a sophomore slump — he’ll be every bit the player this year that he as a rookie, and the Panthers will have a better team around him. Greg Schiano will turn the Bucs around, but there are going to be growing pains along the way, and they’ll struggle against the Panthers’ offense. This will be the Panthers’ first statement that they’re a team to be reckoned with in the NFC.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 30, Buccaneers 14.

Steelers at Broncos

Florio’s take:  Some say this could be the highest-rated regular-season game in NFL history.  Though the 1985 Bears-Dolphins game ultimately may keep the crown, the return of Peyton Manning could set the high-water mark for the entire 2012 season.  He wouldn’t have come back if he couldn’t get it done, and the Steelers have too many issues to come out of the gates with a road win.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 24, Steelers 17.

MDS’s take: This is a rematch of last year’s playoff meeting, but it’s a very different game with Peyton Manning at the helm in Denver and Tim Tebow off running the wildcat with the Jets. The result, however, will be similar: In a close, competitive game, the Broncos’ offense will get a late score to win it.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 24, Steelers 17.

Bengals at Ravens

Florio’s take:  Cincinnati gets its first chance in 2012 to win a game that it shouldn’t.  Though in time those wins will come, the Ravens have too much talent on both sides of the ball.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 31, Bengals 24.

MDS’s take: The Bengals took a big step forward last year with the emergence of a young offense led by Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. This is an opportunity for them to make a very big statement about re-ordering the AFC North, but I see the Ravens’ defense making a big statement that they’re not going to let their young rivals get the best of them just yet.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 16, Bengals 13.

Chargers at Raiders

Florio’s take:  Oakland is taking a step back in the hopes of eventually taking a giant leap forward.  The Chargers are trying to finally put the pieces together.  For now, advantage Chargers.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 27, Raiders 21.

MDS’s take: In the game that will have those in the Eastern time zone drinking coffee late into Monday night and showing up to work bleary-eyed on Tuesday morning, the Chargers will get a big game from Philip Rivers and get a leg up on the Raiders in the AFC West.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 27, Raiders 21.

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Seahawks re-sign center Lemuel Jeanpierre

Lemuel Jeanpierre AP

In need of additional depth along the offensive line, the Seattle Seahawks re-signed center Lemuel Jeanpierre on Monday.

Jeanpierre has spent each of the last four seasons as a backup to Max Unger for Seattle. He’s appeared in 53 games for the Seahawks and made 11 starts split between center and guard over that span.

Jeanpierre was placed on injured reserve at the end of training camp last year and released with an injury settlement. With Stephen Schilling going on injured reserve mid-season, Seattle re-signed Jeanpierre and he appeared in six games with three starts.

The Seahawks may have elected to move on from Jeanpierre this offseason but Schilling elected to retire rather than accept an offer from Seattle. With Unger in New Orleans, former left guard James Carpenter now with the New York Jets and Patrick Lewis as the only veteran center on the roster, a reunion with Jeanpierre once again became a viable option.

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Six RFAs re-sign with clubs on Monday

Austin Davis AP

The restricted free agent market continues to thin.

Six restricted free agents re-signed with their clubs on Monday, per the NFL’s personnel notice, which announces transactions.

Three Rams RFAs signed their tenders: safety Rodney McLeod, quarterback Austin Davis and tight end Cory Harkey. McLeod has been a two-season starter in the secondary, while Davis started eight games in place of the injured Shaun Hill and Sam Bradford a season ago.

Other RFAs signing their tenders were Browns linebacker Craig Robertson, Browns defensive back Johnson Bademosi and Steelers fullback Will Johnson. Robertson started 11-of-16 games for Cleveland in 2014, notching 99 tackles.

Teams have until Friday to sign other clubs’ restricted free agents to offer sheets. Thirty-four players were tendered as RFAs earlier in the offseason, with the majority already re-signing with their clubs.

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Hall of Famer Bob St. Clair dies at 84

St. Clair AP

Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bob St. Clair, who spent 11 seasons with the 49ers from 1953 through 1963, has died after a brief illness.  He was 84.

A third-round draft pick (32nd overall) from Tulsa, St. Clair served for three years as a team captain and made it to five Pro Bowls.

He blocked for the team’s “Million Dollar Backfield.”  In 1956, St. Clair used his height to block a whopping 10 field goals.  Those efforts helped qualify him for the All-Decade team of the 1950s.

St. Clair also was once kicked in the face while trying to block a punt by Hall of Fame quarterback Norm Van Brocklin.  St. Clair made the play, but he lost five teeth.

“I went over to the sideline and they shoved cotton in my mouth and until it got so bad I had to take Novocain in my mouth, but I kept playing,” St. Clair said in 2010.

Via his biography at the Hall of Fame website, St. Clair was an unusual character, with habits that included eating raw meat.  Late in his playing career, St. Clair served as the mayor of Daly City, California.

The San Francisco native entered Canton in 1990, as part of the class that included Franco Harris, Jack Lambert, Tom Landry, Ted Hendricks, Bob Griese, and Buck Buchanan.

The last line of St. Clair’s enshrinement speech often pops up in NFL Films productions with this simple message:  “I want to thank you very much for making my day in the sun so memorable.”

Condolences to the family and friends of Bob St. Clair, whose contributions to football at the dawn of the TV era helped make the game what it has become.

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Vikings remain intent on keeping Peterson, unless blown away by an offer

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When it comes to running back Adrian Peterson, the Vikings have three options:  (1) keep him and try to make him happy; (2) keep him regardless of whether he’s happy; or (3) trade him.

The Vikings have adopted the position that they’ll keep Peterson regardless of whether he’s happy, and it doesn’t appear to be a ruse aimed at coaxing a greater offer via trade.  The Vikings want Peterson, and they’re confident that the passage of time will smooth over any ruffled feathers.

That said, it’s possible that someone will make them a trade offer that gets Minnesota’s attention — under the same theory pursuant to which any player on any team is, in theory, available via trade. If another team puts enough picks and/or players on the pile, even an untouchable player will be asked to pack his bags.

In this case, that’s not expected to happen.  A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that a recent report that they’d want a first-round pick and a starting cornerback isn’t accurate, which suggests it would take even more than that to even begin to get the Vikings to consider making the deal.

And for good reason.  Absent a package that will have the same impact on the Vikings that Peterson could have in 2015, given an improving defense and a young franchise quarterback distributing the ball to a respectable complement of receivers, the Vikings have no reason to make a deal.

Look for plenty of noise and agitation about a possible trade over the next 10 days, with the possibility that someone will decide to put together a modern-day Herschel Walker-type package.  Absent that, the Vikings likely will keep Peterson’s rights and hope that he eventually realizes that his best move will be to honor his contract, accept $13 million, and resume his chase for the all-time rushing record, which remains 8,165 yards away.

Which requires five seasons of, on average, 1,633 yards per year.  That’s a total Peterson has surpassed only twice in his career.

Based on how he performed in 2012 after tearing an ACL on Christmas Eve of 2011, it wouldn’t be wise to ever bet against Peterson.  But if he plans to prove the doubters wrong and if the Vikings plan to keep him for the next three seasons, Peterson’s best bet will be to stay put and to play hard.

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Former Bears LB Doug Buffone passes away at age 70

Doug Buffone, Walter Payton, AP

Doug Buffone, a Bears linebacker for 14 seasons, died Monday at age 70, the club said.

Buffone passed away due to natural causes, police said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Buffone played 186 games from 1966 through 1979, intercepting 24 passes. Early in his career, he was a part of a Chicago linebacking corps that included Dick Butkus.

After retirement, Buffone worked in media, perhaps most notably for Chicago sports radio station WSCR, for which he handled postgame coverage with fellow former Bear Ed O’ Bradovich.

“He will always be celebrated as one of the Bears greats for his contributions to his team and the fans who loved him,” Bears chairman George H. McCaskey said of Buffone in a statement on the club’s website. “There was no one tougher on Sundays than Doug Buffone.”

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DeAndre Hopkins has no interest in talking about Andre Johnson

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For the first time since 2003, receiver Andre Johnson plays for a team other than the Texans.  And the receiver who arrived in Houston via round one a decade after Johnson isn’t inclined to talk about his one-time mentor.

Asked by reporters on the first day of the offseason program to discuss what it’s like not having Johnson on the team, DeAndre Hopkins said, “No comment.”

Asked later about being the No. 1 receiver with Johnson now gone, Hopkins said, “No comment.”

When the question didn’t include Johnson’s name, Hopkins said plenty.  For example, when asked to explain how it feels to be a leader of the receivers this year, Hopkins said, “It feels great.  My motto is I’m going to go out and work every day no matter who is here.  It’s a mentality that I always play with since I’ve been playing football.”

Later, when asked about helping new receivers learn the ropes, Hopkins managed to avoid saying Johnson’s name, referring to him only by number.

“I told those guys they could come to me,” Hopkins said.  “Coaches are going to help them transition into this offense, but a lot of wide receivers in there look up to me because we don’t have 80 here anymore.  I like that chip on my shoulder.”

The phrase “chip on my shoulder” doesn’t really apply in this specific context, but given Hopkins’ reluctance to answer questions mentioning Johnson and Hopkins’ decision to not even refer to Johnson by name hints at some possible tension between the former face of the franchise and the first-round pick who eventually supplanted him.

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Pierre-Paul to skip offseason program

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With all 32 offseason programs now open, the players most likely to make news are the players who aren’t there.  For players who have received the franchise tag and who have not yet accepted it, their absence isn’t surprising.  But it’s still worth mentioning.

In New York, Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul hasn’t signed the franchise tag, so he’s not under contract and won’t be participating in the offseason program, as noted by Jordan Ranaan of NJ.com.

Pierre-Paul, per Ranaan, will continue to work out on his own.  Which entails some risk; if he suffers a serious injury while doing his own thing, the Giants would immediately rescind the tag, and JPP would be SOL.  If he signs the tender and shows up for offseason workouts, that same fluke injury would result in his full salary of $14.8 million being paid.

There’s a middle ground that a player can utilize.  An unsigned player subject to the franchise tag may attend the offseason program, subject to the understanding that he’d receive his full pay if he suffers a season-ending injury.  Most franchise players, however, choose to withhold services by staying away.

That typically results in the franchise-tagged player missing the entire offseason program and then signing (or not signing) a long-term deal just before the July 15 deadline for inking a multi-year contract.  At the latest, the franchise-tagged player shows up for Week One, since no one wants to miss those gigantic game checks, which for Pierre-Paul will be $870,588.

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Eric Weddle not present for first day of voluntary workouts

Eric Weddle AP

The Chargers’ top defensive back was a no-show for the first day of the team’s voluntary workouts Monday.

Safety Eric Weddle, a three-time Pro Bowler, is seeking a new contract, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported.

In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune‘s Kevin Acee, Weddle expressed unhappiness with the Chargers’ unwillingness, at least at this point, to come to the table with a new deal. Weddle is the final year of his contract and set to make $7.5 million in 2015.

“I feel highly, highly disrespected,” Weddle told the Union-Tribune in a story published Monday.

Weddle, 30, told the Union-Tribune he wanted to stay in San Diego for the remainder of his career, but he also felt a need to show the Chargers that he was “not very happy” regarding the lack of progress in negotiations.

The matter of how to pay Weddle in the next deal could be tricky for San Diego. By the 2016 postseason, he will be 32 years old. However, he has not missed a game since 2009.

Weddle notched 119 tackles and intercepted one pass a season ago for San Diego, for which he’s been a starter the last seven seasons.

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Greg Hardy asks for expungement of his criminal case

Greg Hardy AP

In February, criminal charges against Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy were dismissed on the first day of trial, after his accuser failed to show up in court — which happened after Hardy reportedly reached a settlement with her.  Hardy now wants the State of North Carolina to pretend that none of it ever happened.

Per multiple reports, Hardy has filed a request that all records regarding the case be expunged.

“He’s been found guilty of absolutely nothing and he’s entitled to have a record of that charge eliminated,” attorney Tony Scheer said, via WSOC-TV.

If granted, everything related to the case would be removed from the Mecklenburg County court system — from Hardy’s mugshot to the conviction issued by a judge at the conclusion of a bench trial last year.  Given the intense coverage of the case and the long memory of the Internet, it’s a meaningless gesture; the accusations against Hardy will live a much longer and more noticeable life beyond the walls of the Mecklenburg County courthouse.

Most importantly, they’ll live long enough at 345 Park Avenue to result in a potential suspension of Hardy for the outset of the 2015 regular season.

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Dion Jordan does not attend first day of Dolphins’ workouts

Dion Jordan AP

Dion Jordan wasn’t there when the Dolphins reported to offseason workouts today.

Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports that Jordan wasn’t there, although it wasn’t immediately clear why.

It could simply be that Jordan chose not to attend the voluntary workouts. That’s his right, although it would be a disappointment to the Dolphins, who are considering giving him more work at linebacker this offseason in the hopes that he can be a better contributor there once the season starts. Jordan has played primarily at defensive end in his first two NFL seasons, and has been a disappointment.

The Dolphins packaged both their first-round pick and their second-round pick in 2013 to move up and draft Jordan third overall, and in his first two seasons Jordan has only started one game and recorded three sacks. They’re counting on getting more from him this year, but this year is not off to a good start.

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Chris Harris says new defense will put corners on an island more

Harris Getty Images

Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. has the kind of confidence that only comes from making it in the NFL despite being an undrafted, five-foot, ten-inch defensive back.  That confidence will serve him well in the team’s new defense under coordinator Wade Phillips.

“We’re going to be out there on an island a lot, so there is a lot of responsibility on us to be able to shut our guys down,” Harris told reporters on Monday.  “Jack [Del Rio] put us on an island too, so it’s something that if you play corner you’re going to have to be on an island. In this defense, we’re just so aggressive that we’re going to be on an island even more.”

Harris still wishes he’d been on an island against T.Y. Hilton when the Broncos lost to the Colts in the playoffs.

“You always want to cover a guy like him,” Harris said.  “He’s small and shifty.  That’s what God put me on this earth for — for guys like him.  I was definitely irritated, but it’s a new year.  We’re going to play them again.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be on him this year.”

If Harris and Talib can both stay healthy and perform at a high level and cover their men with little or no help, the other nine members of the defense will be able to do other things aimed at keeping opposing offenses from scoring points.  Which will take pressure off the offense, and make it easier for the Broncos to make good on what multiple members of the team insist is a “Super Bowl or bust” season.

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Amid trade talk, Rivers gets to work with the Chargers

Philip Rivers AP

Despite talk that he could be traded before next week’s draft, Philip Rivers is at work in San Diego.

The Chargers opened their offseason program today, and Rivers was in attendance. Although there’s been speculation that Rivers could be traded to the Titans for the No. 2 overall pick, and that the Chargers could then use that pick on quarterback Marcus Mariota, everyone in San Diego seemed to believe that’s nothing more than talk.

Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego quoted multiple Chargers players as saying Rivers is their leader.

“That’s our quarterback. That’s our quarterback,” left tackle King Dunlap said.

Running back Danny Woodhead told reporters he hasn’t followed the Rivers rumors.

“No offense, I’m not too much into media. I’m sure you guys are great writers and stuff,” Woodhead said.

New arrival Jacoby Jones has already started working out with Rivers and likes what he sees.

“I’ve never seen a quarterback work like he does in the offseason,” Jones said.

If the Chargers are thinking about trading Rivers, they’ve done a good job of concealing that fact from their players. Because everyone in the locker room seems to think Rivers will remain their teammate.

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Russell Wilson continues to lead the NFL in merchandising

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

How much he’s paid in relation to other quarterbacks will be determined at some point in the future.  How much fans are paying for his merchandise in relation to other quarterbacks has been determined:  Russell Wilson is the king of the NFL.

For the second straight year, Wilson leads all players in merchandise sales, according to figures released by NFL Players, Inc. for the period of March 1, 2014 through February 28, 2015.

Quarterbacks dominated the top five, with Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers following Wilson.  The next five were Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, and Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Via Darren Rovell of ESPN.com, Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III fell from No. 4 to No. 25.  Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson each fell 14 spots.

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Arrest video from Warren Sapp’s prostitution charges emerges

Warren Sapp AP

We hate to do this to you so close to the dinner hour on the East Coast, but the news breaks when the news breaks.

There’s video of Warren Sapp, regarding his Phoenix prostitution arrest, where he refers to getting naked.

Thankfully for all of us, the video obtained by TMZ is of his interview with Phoenix cops, and everyone is fully clothed.

Sapp was arrested during Super Bowl week after allegedly agreeing to terms with a pair of prostitutes. (There must have been a breakdown over the bonus language — or something.)

In the police video, Sapp told the cops: “I put the $600 dollars on the table, everybody got naked.”

(This is where we really need a disposable bag sponsor, or perhaps a good disinfectant.)

Sapp, ever the romantic, also said that he told one of the prostitutes to stop talking, saying: “Why don’t you use your mouth on me, instead of using it?”

At a later stage in the video, Sapp gets emotional, likely around the time he realized he was going to get arrested and lose his job. At that point, he cackled wildly to himself and pulled his shirt up over his head, exposing his belly.

Thankfully, that’s all we saw. And with that, we leave you to your appetizer course.

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Andy Reid on Justin Houston: It will all work out

Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers AP

The Chiefs and linebacker Justin Houston haven’t been talking about a long-term contract since the Chiefs used the franchise tag to keep Houston from becoming an unrestricted free agent last month, but that’s not causing coach Andy Reid to lose his optimism about having Houston on hand to help the team in 2015.

The Chiefs have pledged patience since the beginning of the process and that was the message Reid sent on Monday as well. The coach spoke to the media as Chiefs players other than Houston arrived at the team’s facility for the start of offseason workouts and said that he thinks a deal that keeps Houston in town remains the likeliest outcome.

“We want him here, that’s been stated before. He’s a good person and a good player…sometimes these things take time,” Reid said, via Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star. “He knows this is a good place for him. We know this is a good place for him. They’ll get it all worked out.”

Houston’s unhappiness with the tag was reported even before he officially got it and there’s been talk about soliciting an offer sheet from other teams, although the two first-round picks another club would have to hand over to K.C. makes that an unlikely turn of events. Houston could hold out into training camp and the regular season before signing the tag, something that we haven’t seen happen often but it isn’t every year that a player hits free agency after a 22-sack season.

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