The NFL rejected the contract extension between Sean Payton and the Saints, meaning Payton will be a free agent at the end of the season. Will he be back in New Orleans? Plus, Mike Shanahan sounds like he is waving the white flag for the Redskins and the Vikings might as well do that now.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Payton’s future with New Orleans in doubt
It’s common for NFL head coaches to contact the league office when they have a complaint about the officiating. It’s less common for the league office to reach out to coaches about the officiating.
But Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said today that the league called him about the officiating in Sunday’s loss to the Ravens.
“The fact that they called should give you an indication of how they felt about things on that day. That was encouraging that they wanted to talk about that game from yesterday,” Frazier said, via 1500ESPN.com.
Frazier said he didn’t want to go into all the details about what was said in that conversation, but he did acknowledge the obvious: The Vikings weren’t happy about the officials’ ruling on Toby Gerhart’s fumble, which was upheld on replay even though the video showed that Gerhart’s knee was down.
“We did talk about the Gerhart play,” Frazier said.
The Vikings were also unhappy about the way pass interference was inconsistently called on Sunday, with those inconsistencies seeming to benefit from the Ravens. It’s a little surprising that the league office would reach out to Frazier, but it’s not surprising at all that there were more plenty of bad calls on Sunday, because this NFL season has been full of them.
The Patriots have officially ended tight end Rob Gronkowski’s season.
The team announced that Gronkowski has been placed on injured reserve after tearing his ACL and MCL on a shot to the knee by Browns safety T.J. Ward during Sunday’s 27-26 Patriots win. Gronkowski, who also suffered a concussion on the play, is likely going to be impacted for much of the 2014 offseason as well as he tries to work himself back to full health for the second straight year.
New England also announced that tight end D.J. Williams has been re-signed to the active roster. Williams played in the Week 13 victory over the Texans, but was released last week when Michael Hoomanawanui returned to the lineup. Williams also played seven games for the Jaguars earlier this season.
Williams is on the roster, but he isn’t filling Gronkowski’s shoes. No one’s going to be able to do that, as we saw during the first chunk of this season while Gronkowski recovered from back and forearm surgery. The Patriots will have to improvise and do it quickly in order to keep their offense humming with Gronkowski out of action.
The Sunday that the NFL became a snow globe is starting to recede from view, but we’re not quite ready to give up on one of the more memorable days of regular season action in many years.
We’ll be covering all of the fallout from the day’s games on Monday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN. Rodney Harrison and Scott Pioli will be on hand to help break down the 49ers defending their home turf, the Redskins ceding theirs to the Chiefs in a rout and everything that happened on snowy fields around the league.
We’ve got all the biggest news from Monday as well as we catch you up on everything you need to know in the NFL. We’ll also take a look ahead to Monday night’s matchup between the Bears and Cowboys from Chicago.
It all gets started at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
It sounds like they’ll continue to use the same kind of arrangement against the Chiefs in Week 15. Henry Wofford of CSN Bay Area reports that Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Monday that McGloin would start next weekend and that the team would make a plan for “when they can use” Pryor on offense.
McGloin said after Sunday’s loss to the Jets that it was difficult coming out of the game when Pryor entered, although he said it didn’t excuse his poor performance. McGloin played better in the second half, leading the Raiders to 24 points that kept the game in some doubt into the fourth quarter. He finished the day 18-of-31 for 245 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Pryor led the Raiders to a field goal on his only series.
Whatever other evaluations the Raiders make about their two quarterbacks in the next three weeks, the one that counts the most should have already been made. The Raiders have to be open to other options at quarterback because neither McGloin nor Pryor has cemented himself as the guy for the future.
Soon-to-be first-round NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney has already drawn comparisons to some of the game’s great defensive ends.
According to WIS-TV in Columbia, S.C., Clowney was pulled over Saturday night by the South Carolina Highway Patrol and cited for doing 110 mph in a 70 mph zone in his Chrysler 300.
It’s a dangerous and silly thing to do, and not just because he could put himself and others in peril.
NFL evaluators are going to be going over Clowney’s personnel file closely after his production dipped this season, so he shouldn’t give them any reason to downgrade his stock, which will only serve to take more money out of his pocket.
Ravens receiver Brandon Stokley suffered another concussion on Sunday, at least the 14th of his football career.
Stokley said after suffering a concussion at the end of the 2010 season that he had suffered more than a dozen concussions in high school, college and the NFL. Today Ravens coach John Harbaugh confirmed that Stokley suffered another one.
Like all NFL players, Stokley will have to go through the league’s protocol and get cleared by a doctor before he will be permitted to practice or play. Some would say Stokley shouldn’t play at all, and that at age 36 he ought to call it a career.
Stokley, however, has said every time the subject of concussions comes up that he loves football too much to walk away. He’ll keep playing as long as he can, even if the concussions continue.
The Packers got the win they needed to stay in the playoff hunt on Sunday, but they still don’t know if they’ll have they’ll have Aaron Rodgers back in the lineup.
Coach Mike McCarthy said Monday that Rodgers still hasn’t been medically cleared to return from the broken left collarbone that has kept him out for the last five games. That’s where things were last week as well, so there won’t be any update to his status until he visits with doctors.
That will come on Wednesday morning after Rodgers is evaluated. Rodgers was able to get on the practice field last week, McCarthy said he felt better Friday than he did on Wednesday, so a green light on the medical side is likely all that needs to happen for Rodgers to start in Week 15. Matt Flynn was 24-of-32 for 258 yards, a touchdown and an interception in Sunday’s win.
McCarthy also said that running back Eddie Lacy has a sprained ankle and that it is too early to say whether he’ll be able to play next weekend. Lacy was able to finish the game after getting hurt just before halftime.
The snowy field in Philadelphia claimed a victim before the game even started on Sunday when Lions running back Reggie Bush aggravated his calf injury while warming up before the game against the Eagles.
Bush didn’t play in the game as a result, leaving the Lions a little short at running back because they had already handed in their inactive list when Bush tweaked his calf. Coach Jim Schwartz termed Bush day-to-day on Monday, saying, via the Detroit Free Press, that it was too early to know if he’ll be able to play in Week 15 against the Ravens. The same is true for defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who hurt his shoulder, and right tackle LaAdrian Waddle, who hurt his elbow.
“We’ll just have to see this week how they respond. It’s a big game, it’s a home game,” Schwartz said. “Obviously, we’re three games left in the year, we’re at the top of our division, so every game is pretty critical, so I’m pretty sure those guys will do everything they can to get back on the field. But if they can’t go, we’ll have the next guy behind them ready to play.”
Schwartz also said cornerback Darius Slay had arthroscopic knee surgery, but the team has no plans to place him on injured reserve.
Under ordinary circumstances, an underachieving team firing a coach and making a quarterback change would be headline stuff.
But with the dumpster fire that is the Redskins raging as we speak, the Texans are barely a smoldering trash can.
If by “team” he means “owner Bob McNair said so as part of me being an interim coach again,” then yes.
Schaub has come on in relief in two of the last four games, and Phillips said Keenum deserves a chance to show he can work his way out of trouble. Of course, Gary Kubiak making that might is likely a large part of the reason Phillips is interim coach again, as of Monday morning.
Phillips also said he’d discuss playcalling responsibilities with offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, which is a step short of an endorsement.
Phillips is in an odd spot, because he’s going to interview for the head coaching job while trying to bail a leaking ship for three more weeks. He declined to answer whether he’d consider being defensive coordinator again, which makes sense as he’s applying for the head coaching job.
It’s all very awkward. Of course, compared to what’s going on in D.C., it’s barely uncomfortable at all.
As Washington coach Mike Shanahan mimics George Costanza trying to get fired by the Yankees so that he can work for another team and/or Costanza trying to get fired by Play Now so he can get a buyout, Shanahan could be poised to drop a giant ball of oil from the window at the team’s facility.
Shanahan explained on Monday that he’s considering shutting quarterback Robert Griffin III down for the rest of the season.
During Shanahan’s Monday press conference, he repeatedly referred to Griffin taking 24 sacks in five games, including six on Sunday against the Chiefs. Shanahan also said that the goal is to ensure that Griffin will be healthy for the 2014 offseason.
Shanahan’s comments come amid a report from Mark Maske of the Washington Post that the team currently is considering the possibility of firing Shanahan and withholding his pay for 2014. If it can be proven that Shanahan orchestrated Sunday’s report that he nearly quit in January 2013 over the relationship between Griffin and owner Daniel Snyder, the team could be able to show that Shanahan engaged in conduct detrimental to the team or otherwise violated his contract.
With the prevailing opinion in league circles being that Shanahan leaked the information to Adam Schefter of ESPN, who then covered Shanahan’s tracks by handing it to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com, the team’s suspicions may be accurate. Proving the link will be a different issue, since no one from ESPN will ever admit that Shanahan was the source, under oath or otherwise.
The broader goal could be to work out a compromise, with Shanahan for example getting half of his money for 2014.
Shanahan’s leverage apparently includes the threat of benching Snyder’s BFF, opening the door for Kirk Cousins to prove over the final three weeks of the season that maybe he should be the quarterback of the future.
Washington coach Mike Shanahan met the media today but declined to answer repeated questions about his status as the coach in Washington, now and in the future.
As reporters pressed him about the fallout from the odd ESPN report claiming he had cleaned out his office last year and was planning to quit because he didn’t like the relationship between team owner Dan Snyder and quarterback Robert Griffin III, Shanahan said all he’s focusing on is Sunday’s game against the Falcons.
“I’m not going to speculate through all those different things,” Shanahan said. “If you’d like to talk about Atlanta I’ll be more than happy to talk about Atlanta.”
Shanahan did confirm that he talked to Snyder today and said their relationship is good, but he declined to go into specifics.
“I’ve talked to Dan,” Shanahan said. “Our conversation will stay between us.”
Shanahan did not directly address whether he considered quitting at the end of last season, or whether he wants to return next season.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is heading to a specialist for more tests on his injured foot on Monday, but said that an initial round of evaluations has ruled out a Lisfranc injury that would likely end his season.
“Initially you don’t know exactly what’s going on when you’re feeling it,” Peterson said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “That initial contact definitely didn’t feel good. I was kind of worried. But kind of cleared up a little bit after getting the MRI. I’ll see how things play out after the CT scan.”
Peterson said he wants to play, although coach Leslie Frazier said that the team would wait for tests before deciding on a course of action. Frazier said the team’s 3-9-1 record will factor into decisions about whether Peterson returns. Toby Gerhart’s status might be part of the discussion as well.
Gerhart is day-to-day with a strained hamstring suffered near the end of Sunday’s loss to the Ravens and he’ll likely be limited in practice if he’s able to practice this week. Matt Asiata is the only other running back currently on the roster.
One player who definitely won’t be playing this week or any other week in 2013 is tight end Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph broke his foot last month and the team’s decided to place him on injured reserve instead of continuing to hope he recovers.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning isn’t happy unless he’s unhappy. Currently, he’s unhappy about the perception that he stinks in the cold weather.
“Whoever wrote that narrative can shove it where the sun don’t shine,” Manning told KOA radio after Sunday’s win over the Titans.
But the narrative wrote itself, fueled by Peyton’s results in cold-weather games. But as we suggested on Sunday, the proper narrative may not be that Peyton struggles in cold-weather games. The accurate narrative could be that Peyton struggles in big games, and that cold-weather games are often big games.
The narrative/reality preceding Sunday’s game against the Titans (which hardly was a big game) was that Peyton has a 3-7 record when the temperate at kickoff is 32 degrees or colder. NBC Sports researcher Aaron Feldstein has tracked down the details of the 10 other games.
The first came in December 1999. The 12-2 Colts visited the 2-13 Browns. The temperature was 31 degrees at kickoff, and Peyton led a late drive that resulted in a game-winning field goal with four seconds left. He completed 27 of 43 passes for 276 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. 1-0.
The next year, the 7-3 Colts went to Lambeau Field in November. The temperature was 27 degrees at the outset of the game. Peyton completed four of 12 passes for 35 yards an one interception in the first half. A comeback effort narrowed the gap to two point, but the Packers thereafter were able to run out the clock. Green Bay won, 26-24. Manning completed 25 of 44 passes for 294 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. 1-1.
In November 2002, the 6-4 Colts visited the 7-3 Broncos. Kickoff temperature was 25 degrees. The Colts forced overtime at the end of regulation (thanks to Peyton’s favorite liquored-up kicker) and said liquored-up kicker won the game in overtime. Manning completed 27 of 44 passes for 229 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions but one lost fumble. 2-1.
In January 2004, the Colts lost by 10 to the Patriots in the AFC title game; it was 32 degrees at the start of the game. Peyton completed 23 of 47 passes for 237 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions. 2-2.
In January 2005, the 12-3 Colts traveled to Denver for a Week 17 game, with the temperature again at 32. Peyton started and played only one drive, because the Colts had their postseason position secured. Denver won, 33-14. 2-3.
Later that month, the Colts again visited the Patriots, with the Pats again winning by double digits. The temperature at kickoff was 25. Peyton completed 27 of 42 passes for 238 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. 2-4.
In November 2006, Peyton and the 8-0 Colts returned to New England, for a game with a 31-degree temperature at kickoff. The Colts won by a touchdown, and Manning completed 20 of 36 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. 3-4.
In January 2010, on a 12-degree day in Buffalo, Manning played in only the first three possessions of a meaningless Week 17 game against the Bills. The 14-1 Colts lost 30-7. Peyton completed 14 of 18 passes for 95 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception. 3-5.
The last three cold-weather games have come in the past year. At Denver vs. the Ravens in the AFC divisional playoffs. 3-6. At New England last month. 3-7. Sunday against the Titans. 4-7.
So it’s 1-3 at New England, 0-2 in meaningless games where he played sparingly, and most importantly 0-3 in the playoffs.
Ultimately, that’s the real narrative. The Jim Irsay one-Super-Bowl-win-in-16-seasons narrative. The only way Irsay or anyone else will be able to stick that one where the one doesn’t shine will be for Peyton to get a time machine.
Or maybe to end his career like John Elway, with back-to-back Super Bowl wins.
With so much going on in the final minutes of the Ravens’ 29-26 victory over the Vikings, the return of tight end Dennis Pitta to the Baltimore lineup wasn’t a big story in the aftermath.
Pitta’s return from his August hip dislocation went about as well as the team could have hoped for, though. He had a drop early in the game, but Joe Flacco looked for him frequently and Pitta delivered with six catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. Pitta played a big role on the final drive, drawing a pass interference flag on linebacker Chad Greenway and catching an 18-yard pass to set up Marlon Brown’s winning touchdown.
Not bad for the first day back at work.
“I remember when I got injured, I didn’t know if I was even going to play football again,” Pitta said, via the team’s website. “So being able to stand here and talk about a victory and being a part of that is special for me. And just being a part of this team and being able to fight the way we did today is pretty remarkable.”
Pitta jumped right back into his role as a favored target on third down, gaining a first down that set up his touchdown in the fourth quarter. That score set off the scoring frenzy that closed the game and was part of a day filled with evidence of Pitta’s value to Baltimore’s offense as they vie for a playoff spot.
The Bengals took another step closer to a division title with Sunday’s victory over the Colts, but they may be shorthanded for some or all of their remaining regular season games.
Coach Marvin Lewis said on Monday, via Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, that Newman was “a little sore” after injuring his knee in the win. Reedy thought that might have been an understatement since Newman was in a brace and “not moving it at all.”
A report from Chris Mortensen of ESPN suggests the same. Mortensen reports that Newman is expected to miss up to three weeks because of a sprained MCL, which would take the Bengals right through the end of the regular season.
While they haven’t officially booked their passage, it would take a monumental collapse and a lot of bad luck for the Bengals to miss the playoffs at this point. Winning the division will still take a little work, though, and losing Newman will hurt at a position that’s already missing Leon Hall. It would hurt more to be thin for a playoff game, though, so caution will likely be the route chosen in Cincinnati.