Skip to content

PFT’s Week Two picks

Buffalo Bills v New York Jets Getty Images

Last week, MDS and yours truly disagreed on only one pick.  I trusted the J-E-T-S, and he didn’t.

So I finished 11-5, and he’s already in second place with a 10-6 mark.

This week, we’ve doubled our disagreements.  Which means that there’s a good chance I’ll be in second place by next week at this time.

Tune in to PFT Live this Thursday and every Thursday for MDS and yours truly talking about three or four of Sunday’s games.  And, yes, there may be gloating.

Bears at Packers

MDS’s take: This is about as close as a Week Two game can get to being a must-win for the Packers. Lose here and they’re two games behind the Bears, plus the Bears have the tiebreaker edge, plus they’re 0-2 at Lambeau Field, plus they’re behind the Lions and Vikings in the NFC North as well. Jay Cutler will have a good game against the Packers’ suspect pass defense, but Aaron Rodgers will have an even better game, and the Packers will win with their backs to the wall.

MDS’s pick: Packers 34, Bears 31.

Florio’s take:  The Packers have beaten the Bears in five of their last six games.  And other than the 2010 NFC title game, none has been bigger than Thursday night’s contest at Lambeau Field.  If the Packers lose, the team that was 15-1 in 2011 will fall to 0-2 in 2012, with 25 percent of the home schedule completed.  Look for the Packers’ defense to find something close to their groove — finally — and for Green Bay to get things moving in the right direction with a strong offensive output.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 28, Bears 24.

Chiefs at Bills

MDS’s take: Picking the Bills burned me in Week One, costing me the head-to-head battle with Florio in last week’s picks. Will I learn from that mistake and avoid the Bills this time? Nope. I think the Bills are a better team than they showed against the Jets and should win a close one at home.

MDS’s pick: Bills 14, Chiefs 10.

Florio’s take:  Last year, the Bills went to Arrowhead in Week One and spanked the Chiefs.  This year, the Chiefs return the favor in Week Two.  (And as long as MDS keeps picking the Bills, I’ll keep building an edge in the season-long contest.)

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 34, Bills 21.

Saints at Panthers

MDS’s take: Can Cam Newton do to the Saints’ defense what Robert Griffin III did? Or is the Panthers’ offense going to lay an egg for the second week in a row? In a game that will leave the loser in a big hole in the NFC South, I’m picking the Panthers in a home upset.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 27, Saints 24.

Florio’s take:  The loser of this game will fall to 0-2.  For the Panthers, that would be a problem.  For the Saints, it would be grounds for panic.  Caught napping last Sunday against the Redskins, the Saints wake up in a big way.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 42, Panthers 24.

Browns at Bengals

MDS’s take: Both of these teams looked bad in Week One, but the Browns seem to be on a different level of bad, because Brandon Weeden just doesn’t look like he’s ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Joe Flacco showed on Monday night that a good quarterback can beat the Bengals deep, but Weeden is not a good quarterback.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Browns 10.

Florio’s take:  The Bengals lose the games they’re supposed to lose, and they win the games they’re supposed to win.  That trend held on Monday night, and it’ll hold on Sunday.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 28, Browns 16.

Vikings at Colts

MDS’s take: Andrew Luck had four turnovers in his debut against the Bears, but what would really concern me about that game if I were a Colts fan is that the Colts’ defense didn’t look any better than it did last year. Christian Ponder will have his second consecutive big game and the Vikings will start a surprising 2-0.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 27, Colts 20.

Florio’s take:  Andrew Luck will always be compared to Peyton Manning.  And Peyton Manning lost the first home game of his career.  So if Luck can pull this one off, he’ll already be ahead of the curve.  Though the Vikings aren’t nearly as good as they were the year that Peyton Manning entered the league, they’re good enough to spoil Luck’s debut at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 24, Colts 20.

Texans at Jaguars

MDS’s take: Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert looks like he’s taken a big step forward since last season, and Jacksonville should put some points on the board. But the Jaguars won’t be able to keep pace with the loaded Texans offense, and this game could get ugly.

MDS’s pick: Texans 35, Jaguars 14.

Florio’s take:  Jaguars owner Shahid Khan wants to remove the tarps at EverBank Field.  His players may want to hide under them when the Texans come to town.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 35, Jaguars 17.

Raiders at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Both of these offenses looked like they leave a lot to be desired in their Week One losses, but I have a lot more faith in Carson Palmer turning things around than I have in Ryan Tannehill turning things around. The Dolphins, who started last season 0-7, will take another step toward another dismal start.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 24, Dolphins 6.

Florio’s take:  The Raiders may need sunglasses to dull the glare of all those empty orange seats.  And it will only get more empty in the second half.

Florio’s pick:  Raiders 24, Dolphins 17.

Cardinals at Patriots

MDS’s take: The Cardinals somehow seem to keep playing in close, competitive, exciting games: Last year 13 of their 16 games were decided by a touchdown or less, and they went down to the wire against the Seahawks in Week One as well. So will they be in a close game again? No. The Patriots win this one easily.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 34, Cardinals 14.

Florio’s take:  The two hottest teams over the last 10 regular-season games get together in Foxboro, but there’s still a huge gap between the 9-1 Patriots and 8-2 Cardinals.  Actually, there’s a pretty big gap right now between the 9-1 Patriots and 31 other teams.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 31, Cardinals 13.

Buccaneers at Giants

MDS’s take: Greg Schiano had his team playing exactly the kind of tough, physical football he promised they would play in Week One against the Panthers, while the defending champion Giants looked surprisingly out of sorts in their Week One loss to the Cowboys. But the Giants are still the Giants and the Buccaneers are still the Buccaneers, and Week One will look like an anomaly when this game is over.

MDS’s pick: Giants 27, Buccaneers 10.

Florio’s take:  This is the kind of game that Giants could have lost, if they’d beaten the Cowboys in Week One.  But since the Giants lost to the Cowboys in Week One, they’ll be guarding against another letdown — and quarterback Eli Manning will do what he has to do to propel the team in an early must-win situation.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 27, Buccaneers 17.

Ravens at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Eagles won ugly in Week One, while the Ravens won big. Much like they did last year, the Eagles look like a team that’s less than the sum of its parts, and I like the Ravens to go to Philadelphia and win.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 24, Eagles 17.

Florio’s take:  A week after barely beating the toothless new Browns, the Eagles get a taste of the old Browns.  By the time it’s over, Mike Vick may need Jeffrey Lurie to push the wheelchair.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 30, Eagles 21.

Redskins at Rams

MDS’s take: I liked the way the Rams’ defense looked in the first game of the Jeff Fisher era: Yes, they gave up 355 passing yards to Matthew Stafford in a loss to the Lions, but they also mixed up their coverages and picked Stafford off three times. The Rams will do a better job of containing Robert Griffin III than the Saints did, but the problem for St. Louis is that the offensive line is a mess, and they’re not going to be able to put many points on the board.

MDS’s pick: Redskins 20, Rams 13.

Florio’s take:  If the Rams had known how RG3 would make his NFL debut, the price for the pick that was sent to the Redskins would have been a lot higher than three ones and a two.  And the Rams may regret sooner rather than later the decision to not simply pick Griffin themselves.

Florio’s pick:  Redskins 28, Rams 20.

Cowboys at Seahawks

MDS’s take: Russell Wilson struggled against the Cardinals’ defense, and he’s going to struggle again against an athletic Cowboys defense that can limit Wilson’s mobility. The fans in Seattle may be calling for Matt Flynn soon.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 21, Seahawks 6.

Florio’s takeTony Romo returns to Seattle for the first time since he fumbled the snap on a field goal that would have secured a win in his first career playoff game.  This time around, the defense will be the difference, especially since the Seahawks’ receivers are banged up.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 24, Seahawks 13.

Jets at Steelers

MDS’s take: No one saw the Jets’ offensive explosion coming last week, so maybe I’m underestimating them here, but I just don’t like Mark Sanchez’s chances of moving the ball effectively against the Steelers’ defense.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 17, Jets 10.

Florio’s take:  The Steelers saw some Tebowing late in Sunday’s loss to the Broncos.  The Steelers will be hoping to see none of it on Sunday.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 20, Jets 10.

Titans at Chargers

MDS’s take: Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips had an excellent game against the Raiders, and he’s going to make Titans quarterback Jake Locker’s life very difficult on Sunday. The Chargers will be off to their first 2-0 start since 2006.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 24, Titans 17.

Florio’s take:  The Chargers begin what could be one of their final seasons in San Diego  in style.  Except for all the empty seats at the stadium.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 21, Titans 17.

Lions at 49ers

MDS’s take: The Lions survived with an unimpressive win over the Rams at home, while the 49ers had an extremely impressive win over the Packers on the road. San Francisco may just have the best team in the NFL.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 27, Lions 17.

Florio’s take:  The 49ers have gotten better since the last time these two teams met in Detroit.  The Lions haven’t.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 31, Lions 17.

Broncos at Falcons

MDS’s take: The loss of starting cornerback Brent Grimes is a huge blow to the Falcons, and Peyton Manning is the worst quarterback to face for a team trying to adjust to an injury in the secondary: Manning will find places to pick apart the Falcons’ secondary and get a big road win against a good team.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 31, Falcons 28.

Florio’s take:  Last year, Denver’s defense kept games close long enough for the quarterback to do something heroic.  This week, they’ll do the same thing — without having to give up so few points.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 38, Falcons 35.

Permalink 57 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Features, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
yo

Todd Gurley involved in scuffle at Rams practice

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, right, runs the ball while under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Eric Murray during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang) AP

Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher made it abundantly clear during Tuesday night’s episode of “Hard Knocks” that running back Todd Gurley is not to hit the ground during practice.

“So everybody understands defensively that “30” doesn’t need to be f—— hit in the 9-on-7 (drill). Ok?” Fisher said in a coach’s meeting. “I don’t want “30” tackled. We need “30.” So individual groups let your guys know that “30” doesn’t go to the ground in a team period or a 9-on-7. … We need to treat him like the fricking quarterback.”

On Wednesday, Gurley hit the ground during practice as part of a scuffle with teammates.

According to Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com, Gurley ended up on the turf amid heated tempers a few plays after linebacker Alec Ogletree and running back Benny Cunningham got in an altercation.

“It was his choice,” Fisher said of Gurley ending up at the bottom of a scrum. “We all need to be smarter than that. But, that was his choice. It shows you what kind of competitor he is.”

After the second incident with Gurley, Fisher called a halt to practice before starting things anew minutes later.

“The first drill was really good. And then we got into the second period, they got a little testy so we gave them a timeout. Go sit in the corner, go to your room, take a little time out,” Fisher said. “So we cooled off and we got a lot done. You don’t like to see this happen. I’m not concerned about this carrying over to the games. It was a good learning experience for us, they’re competing, 1s against 1s, we had some good work. At this point, we move on. Start to game plan, start focusing for the Broncos.”

Fisher apparently needs to make sure Gurley gets the message as well about not having their star running back end up on the ground in practice.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Russell Wilson addresses moving his wedding from North Carolina, sort of

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) prepares to sack Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) AP

Word emerged earlier this week that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson moved his wedding to Ciara out of North Carolina because of controversial House Bill 2, a law that restricts bathroom use to the facilities that correspond with a person’s gender of birth, not the gender he or she identifies with.

On Wednesday, Wilson was asked to address the decision during a routine press conference. He didn’t deny it, but he didn’t elaborate much, either.

“I just believe Jesus loves all people and that’s honestly what I believe,” Wilson told reporters. “I constantly pray for world peace, I pray for peace in the world and I pray for joy, but my focus right now is just on the Cowboys and scoring in the red zone.”

And that was the extent of Wilson’s remarks on the topic. The real question is whether he intended his wedding planner to blurt out the relocation of the ceremony, or whether he would have preferred word of the change to never have emerged, so that he wouldn’t have to address it at all.

Whether Wilson does or doesn’t talk about social issues is his business. He’s hardly unique; when it comes to the small handful of true franchise quarterbacks in the NFL, most have little or nothing to say on controversial topics. Whether that’s because franchise quarterbacks, as team leaders, are more likely to not do anything that may make waves with the coaches or whether franchise quarterbacks are so caught up in their jobs that they don’t have the time or the inclination to worry about anything else, franchise quarterbacks typically remain in their very narrow — but prominent and profitable — lane.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Deadline is approaching for Drew Brees contract

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks on during NFL football training camp at the New Orleans Saints facility in Metairie, La., Monday, Aug. 22, 2016. (David Grunfeld/NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune via AP) AP

With the regular-season opener little more than two weeks away, the artificial — but very real — deadline for the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees to hammer out a new contract is arriving. Appearing on Wednesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio and NBCSN, Brees reiterated his position that, once the regular season begins, negotiations will stop until the season ends.

“That’s always been my mindset and my approach,” Brees said. “That’s what it was back in 2011. We were kind of in a similar situation and we got into the season, first couple weeks, and I just felt like it was becoming a distraction and I’d just rather focus on football. I hope that we can get something done between now and then, I’m confident that we can but you know at this point still just very much focused on getting us ready to play for Week One.”

A source with knowledge of the situation has suggested that next week could be the week in which something happens. If nothing happens before Week One, and if Brees sticks to his plan to not negotiate once the season begins, the Saints will either use the franchise tag (at a 44-percent raise over his $30 million cap number, which equates to $43.2 million) or they will essentially let the market set his value, hopeful to sign him before he officially hits the open market in March.

As we’ve seen time aged again, if a player hits the market, there’s a chance he hits the road. For Brees, that remains unlikely. It’s less unlikely, however, if a deal doesn’t get resolved by Week One.

Brees said plenty of other interesting stuff. Click the video box to hear it all.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Kubiak hasn’t decided on second quarterback for next preseason game

From left, Denver Broncos quarterbacks Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch take part in drills during the team's NFL football practice at the Broncos' headquarters on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) AP

Trevor Siemian will start at quarterback in Denver’s third preseason game; that much is known. It’s also known that Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch will play in Saturday night’s home game against the Rams.

Here’s what isn’t known: The name of the second quarterback to enter the game.

“I’m going to decide that probably at the end of the week,” coach Gary Kubiak told reporters on Wednesday. “I’m going to continue to watch Trevor and how he’s doing, and then make that decision depending on how much we play up front.”

Kubiak is going to watch Trevor in part because Trevor has a bum shoulder, which limited him to taking 80 percent of his normal reps on Wednesday. The real thing to watch is whether Sanchez or Lynch enter the game after Siemian. If it’s Lynch, that means Sanchez could be regarded as No. 3 on the depth chart. If he is, the next question becomes whether the Broncos would cut Sanchez before Week One, avoiding his $4.5 million salary and keeping the seventh-round pick that otherwise would go to the Eagles.

Sanchez still has $1 million in guaranteed salary, but if someone else picks him up, the Broncos would benefit from the offset. Even if he doesn’t play elsewhere in 2016, the Broncos would save $3.5 million and a seventh-round pick by releasing Sanchez.

Of course, this would require heading into the regular season with a pair of quarterbacks who have never thrown a regular-season pass. But if Sanchez can’t beat out either of those guys, that’s a major problem for the fifth pick in the 2009 draft.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bosa’s college position coach says he’s “dying” to play

San Diego Chargers rookie defensive end Joey Bosa (99) and teammate rookie defensive tackle Carlos Wray train during an NFL football rookie training camp Friday, May 13, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) AP

It’s been a day of statements and jabs and a pretty ugly case of he said/they said in the negotiation — or lack thereof — between the Chargers and unsigned first-round pick Joey Bosa.

Meanwhile, Bosa has missed a month of work and the Chargers will soon start preparing for the regular season without Bosa having played a single snap or taken part in a single meeting unless a deal gets done soon.

The banter Wednesday indicates no deal is close, but Bosa’s college position coach, Larry Johnson, told reporters in Columbus Wednesday night that he believes this standoff will end with Bosa signing and reporting to the Chargers.

“I think he’s going to play,” Johnson said. “I’ve talked to him. He wants to play football but he understands the business side of the NFL…he’s dying to get on the field.”

Cleveland.com posted video of Johnson’s interview. Johnson, the father of the former NFL running back by the same name, was Bosa’s position coach for Bosa’s final two seasons at Ohio State. He now coaches Bosa’s brother, Nick, a true freshman.

“Joey is working hard,” Johnson said. “I talked to his dad today. He’s doing everything he can to get ready.

“If he goes in and he’s in great shape, other than knowing the playbook and playing with grown men, he can still play [as a rookie]. He can catch up. He’s got a great shot.”

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Orlando stadium crew will have a quick turnaround for Thursday night’s game

Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco, right, moves the ball past Orlando City's Tommy Redding during the first half of an MLS soccer game, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) AP

Picture this: An NFL preseason game played in a stadium where the league ordinarily doesn’t play games, one night after another event was held at the same venue.

No, I’m not talking about the Hall of Fame Game that wasn’t. Tonight at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, one night before the Falcons take on the Dolphins there, Orlando’s MLS team is playing a game.

This means that the field will have to be reconfigured promptly after the game ends, with all of the appropriate NFL markings painted on the field.

In Canton earlier this month, the painting wasn’t the problem. It was the drying of the paint. Because the field covering was removed later than expected, the paint was still wet as kickoff approached. When someone decided to apply heat to the paint, the rubber pellets that provide cushioning for the artificial turf melted, turning the rubber goo and wet paint into a Deepwater Horizon mess that was unfit and unsafe.

Presumably, the hair dryers won’t be used this time around. Still, the quick turnaround needed to play the game in a stadium that hasn’t hosted an NFL game since 1997 could lead to other problems — especially since there could be separate issues with the infrastructure and other technology needed to properly operate an NFL game.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bosa’s agents blame Chargers for delay, suggest tactics are harming relationship

la-joey-bosa-roger-goodell-20160428 AP

The agents representing Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa remained silent after the team issued a strong statement regarding the sputtered negotiations on Wednesday. In the aftermath of even stronger comments from Chargers president of football operations John Spanos, Bosa’s representatives have replied.

They’re not saying much, but they have pointed to an alleged 14-day delay by the team in responding to the offer made by Bosa’s camp on July 28. After that two-week period of silence, the Chargers have decided that, if Bosa doesn’t show up right now, he won’t be able to help them much as a rookie.

The bigger problem is reflected in the opening paragraph of the statement: “It is unfortunate the San Diego Chargers have decided to manipulate facts and negotiate in the media.  The team surely is not strengthening its relationship with Joey Bosa by taking this stance and making their position public.”

Here’s the bottom line from Bosa’s camp: “The Chargers can focus on trying to sway public opinion, but our focus will remain on our client and securing a contract for him that is fair and consistent with his draft position.”

That continues to be the primary basis for the impasse. Bosa wants to be paid based on his draft position. The Chargers want to pay him consistently with how they have paid every other player they have ever employed, even though they’ve never employed a top-10 pick under the 2011 labor deal.

Permalink 28 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

John Spanos unloads on Joey Bosa’s bargaining position

184672475 Getty Images

After the Chargers issued a blistering statement regarding the Joey Bosa negotiations, I contacted the team to offer someone/anyone a chance to join PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio and NBCSN to discuss the situation. The Chargers said, as of 2:48 p.m. ET, “right now we’re going to let the statement stand on its own.”

“Right now” didn’t last very long.

In an item published at 5:23 p.m. ET by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Chargers president of football operations John Spanos unloaded on Bosa in a team-friendly forum.

“I’m highly, highly disappointed in the path we’ve had to take,” Spanos told Kevin Acee of the Union-Tribune regarding the team’s decision to reduce its total financial offer. “It’s so overly clear we had no choice. It would have been more difficult if I felt they were being reasonable. But when you’re dealing with someone who isn’t reasonable, it makes it easy.”

Acee characterized the (in his assessment) usually even-keeled Spanos as speaking in a voice that (in Acee’s assessment) “could have shattered glass.”

“I’m blown away,” Spanos said. “At all costs I wanted to avoid going down this road. They made it overly clear we had no other option. . . . It’s absolutely asinine. He would have gotten more cash in this calendar year than anyone except Carson Wentz.”

Spanos contends that, over the next four months, Bosa would have received $14.5 million under the team’s latest offer.

Regardless of who’s right and who’s wrong, the implosion of the talks will spark a P.R. battle. For the Chargers, the primary battleground is San Diego, where voters eventually will be determining whether to harvest other people’s money for a stadium for a team that currently isn’t using any of its money to pay Bosa. For Bosa, the audience resides beyond San Diego, where folks may be inclined to look at all of the various holdouts the Chargers have endured over the years and wonder whether the problem is more about the team than the players they want to sign by using glass-shattering rhetoric that accuses people of being “asinine.”

For the most part (with the exception of Bosa’s mother saying she regrets not “pulling an Eli Manning“), Bosa’s camp has avoided inflammatory statements that could be hard to get past if/when the time comes to do a deal. If that approach changes, Bosa may indeed miss the season and re-enter the draft.

It would be stunning if it happens. Based on today’s events, however, “stunning” already has happened.

Permalink 19 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bosa has moved on deferral issue, but not enough for the Chargers

San Diego Chargers rookie defensive end Joey Bosa (99) and teammate rookie defensive tackle Carlos Wray train during an NFL football rookie training camp Friday, May 13, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) AP

Wednesday’s statement from the Chargers on the Joey Bosa talks buried the lede at the bottom: The team will begin to reduce the monetary package offered to Bosa.

Far closer to the top of the statement appears the team’s characterization of various issues relevant to the negotiations. Each point appears below followed by Bosa’s counter-position, courtesy of a source with knowledge of both sides’ bargaining positions.

Point 1 from the Chargers: “An initial signing bonus payment that is larger than any player in the League has received in the last two drafts.”

Bosa’s take: He wouldn’t get the initial payment until September and multiple players over the past three years have been paid much more by this time than he would get. Some were even at 100 percent payout by now. This is why they limit the statement to the ‘initial portion’ and to 2 years.

Point 2 from the Chargers: “More money in this calendar year than every player in this year’s draft except one (QB Carson Wentz).”

Bosa’s take: Bosa should be getting more because he’s the third overall pick. The inclusion of No. 1 pick Jared Goff is misleading because he has a deal with no offsets on the guaranteed money. If the Chargers were to offer no offsets to Bosa, he’d accept the deferral.

Point 3 from the Chargers: “The largest payment and the highest percentage of signing bonus received in the first calendar year of any Chargers’ first-round selection since the inception of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (2011).”

Bosa’s take: He should receive the largest payment in Chargers’ history because he’s the highest pick they’ve had under the current system. Since 2011, they hadn’t even had a top-10 pick.

Other aspects of Bosa’s current position include the following: (1) his proposal calls for less cash to be paid out in 2016 than Carson Wentz’s deal at No. 2, as it should; (2) Bosa’s proposal deferred more money (measured by percentages and dollars) into 2017 than five of the top seven picks in 2016 who had offset language in their deals; (3) his proposal preserves the team’s precedent of offset language and final payment of the signing bonus in March 2017.

That last point is significant. Bosa has offered to defer a significant portion of the signing bonus to March 2017 in order to get the deal done. The team’s position is that it’s still not enough of a deferral.

Other discrepancies exist regarding language (specifically, for example, the language of the training-camp roster bonuses in future years), but on the major terms Bosa has moved on the deferral issue. The Chargers don’t think he has moved enough. And so now the question is whether the Chargers make good on their threat to move the total dollars lower.

Permalink 28 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jordan Matthews vows to play in season opener

Jordan Matthews, J.J. Wilcox AP

Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews has been out for almost three weeks and hasn’t played in the preseason, but Matthews has vowed to return for his team’s Sept. 11 season opener for the Browns.

I promise,” he said.

Matthews suffered a bone bruise on his knee in early August, and the Eagles had originally targeted this week as his potential return date. Now, though, Matthews is focused on being back to work in early September as the Eagles start working on the games that count.

“I don’t like to put percentages on anything, but at the same time, I’m definitely feeling good,” he said. “I’m doing a lot better. I’m running around, moving, lifting, jumping. I’m back doing pretty much all of that stuff.

“The coaches want me to be patient because if there ever was a time to be patient, this is it. We’re just being smart with it.”

Matthews led the Eagles with 85 catches for 997 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Though the Eagles added Dorial Green-Beckham via trade last week and plan to get Green-Beckham some work with the No. 1 offense this week, the Eagles have a young and unsettled receiving corps that’s even younger with Matthews out.

Matthews will again be a key part of the passing game as soon as he’s back to full speed.

“Two or three years ago, I probably would’ve been upset about how [the injury] happened,” Matthews said. “But now, it’s [like], these things happen. It’s part of the game. I’ve been around enough veterans. I’ve seen them handle injury well. Go attack rehab and come back even better.”

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Colts may be using more crossing routes in 2016

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/R Brent Smith) AP

The Colts have a new offense to go with a franchise quarterback and a glut of talented receivers. The team’s new offense, designed and run by offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, may be incorporating a heavy dose of one of the primary Madden game crutch plays: Crossing routes.

As explained by Kevin Bowen of the team’s official website, Andrew Luck’s eight-for-eight passing performance in Week Two of the preseason was fueled by taking advantage of speedy receivers running horizontal routes across the formation.

“You’re going to want to get the ball in your best players’ hands with a little space,” Luck said.

With T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, and Phillip Dorsett each having sub-4.4-second speed, these crossing routes could lead to big gains.

“It’s an easy throw for Andrew and we can create the yards for him,” Dorsett said. “I think we should definitely have that more and more in our offense because we got guys that can [make plays]. If we catch a crossing route in man coverage and break a tackle, there’s nothing but room.”

If it works, defenses will adjust, trying to take away the crossing routes. But that will serve only to open up the other avenues of attack, eventually allowing Hilton, Moncrief, and Dorsett to run deep.

Permalink 16 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Washington, New England announce Bryan Stork trade

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 16: Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws a pass against the Indianapolis Colts during the second quarter of the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 16, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Center Bryan Stork may still retire, but if he does he’ll do so as a member of a new team.

Washington and New England have announced that Stork, a fourth-round pick in 2014, has been traded from the Patriots. The move came hours after news emerged that Stork would be cut, which apparently sparked trade interest from Washington.

Why trade for a player who was going to be released? With fewer than four seasons in the NFL, Stork would have passed through waivers — and Washington is low on the pecking order due to making it to the playoffs in 2015.

If Stork retires, he’ll owe Washington half of the $477,000 signing bonus he received in 2014. That’s a potential obligation of $238,500, along with $600,000 in lost salary for 2016.

So if he retires, Stork will be out $838,500.

Permalink 42 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Kaepernick’s view differs from what Baalke called “a good conversation”

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers attempts a pass against the Seattle Seahawks during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on October 22, 2015 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is back in practice this week and planning to return to preseason game action this weekend.

He’s back on speaking terms with 49ers general manager Trent Baalke, too, but maybe no better than that.

Asked by reporters Wednesday about what Baalke had deemed “a good conversation” between the two last week, Kaepernick offered a bit of a clarification.

We had a conversation,” Kaepernick said.

Pressed further on the matter, Kaepernick said, “We have a business relationship. That’s the point that we’re at.”

And Kaepernick wasn’t going to be pressed any further than that. He again said he’s done discussing how the team handled his injuries last season and his request for a trade last spring.

“Once again, I’m not getting into all of the specifics, anything like that,” he said. “We’re focusing on football and my focus right now is this game Friday.”

Earlier Wednesday, 49ers coach Chip Kelly said he’s glad to have Kaepernick back working in practice this week but has not yet named a starter for this week’s preseason game.

Permalink 32 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Chargers taking page out of familiar playbook

Unknown Getty Images

For Chargers fans, Wednesday’s statement from the team about defensive end Joey Bosa may have seemed like deja vu all over again.

A dozen years ago, the Chargers threatened to take money off the table during the holdout of quarterback Philip Rivers.

“Negotiations have broken down,” Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith said in August 2004. “Prior to the training camp report date, we made an effort to get Philip signed. Also, during the past week, we exchanged ideas and could not come to an agreement. On Friday, we offered a great deal to Philip. We also notified both Philip and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, that the offer will stand until 5 p.m. Sunday evening and if not accepted, the final offer will be pulled off the table. . . . We also informed them that the package we talked about and offered will now only go down in value.”

The Rivers holdout had some of the same perspective-based disagreements that allowed the team to cling to a set of principles premised on paying less, and that allowed the player to cling to a set of principles premised on getting more, with the team locked into the spot at which Rivers was picked and the Rivers camp applying a quarterback premium.

“The offer we made to Philip is not a slot offer at No. 4, but in fact, an offer that exceeds [those of] No. 2 Robert Gallery and No. 3 Larry Fitzgerald,” Smith said. “We believe it’s a great offer. Jimmy Sexton has been informed several times that the Eli Manning-Tom Condon deal with the New York Giants was of no concern to us before, no concern now nor will it be in the future. This is very unfortunate and disappointing but it is what it is.”

The Rivers deal eventually got worked out, and presumably the Bosa deal will, too. Otherwise, he’ll re-enter the draft in 2017 and the Chargers will get nothing for him.

It’s hardly the first holdout in San Diego, but with a stadium vote looming and all hands needed on deck in order to win as many games as possible before November 8, it could be the last holdout in San Diego. But not the last holdout for the Chargers.

Permalink 15 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Dorial Green-Beckham will “play with the first group” this week

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01: Dorial Green-Beckham #17 of the Tennessee Titans warms up before playing against the Houston Texans on November 1, 2015 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Eagles didn’t wait long to put wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham into game action, throwing him into the lineup for last week’s game against the Steelers two days after he was acquired in a trade with the Titans.

Green-Beckham will be in the lineup again for this week’s game against the Colts and he’ll be getting a chance to see how he fits with the team’s projected starters. Coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday that the Eagles will “put a little package together” for the wideout while the first team is in the game.

“We put a couple plays in for him this week, expanded his role from a week ago,” Pederson said in comments distributed by the team. “Full week of practice. He’s comfortable with what we’re doing with him. Can’t tell you how many [or] the number of snaps he’ll get, but he’ll definitely play and play with the first group.”

Green-Beckham’s acquisition and quick move into the lineup may not be an indictment of the receivers that have seen time since Jordan Matthews suffered a knee injury, but they aren’t votes of overwhelming support either. Should Green-Beckham do well in the limited package Pederson’s proposing this week, an expanded role in future weeks will likely be coming at the expense of someone who thought his spot on the roster was more secure than it turned out to be.

Permalink 12 Comments Feed for comments Back to top