Mike Florio runs down the NFL coaches most in danger of losing their jobs, including Mike Shanahan, Mike Mularkey, Mike Munchak, Pat Shurmur and Andy Reid.
PFT Live: NFL Week 10 coaching hot seat
Quinton Patton, the 49ers draft pick who got so excited when he was drafted that he bought his own plane ticket and showed up in San Francisco before he was allowed to under league rules, is officially under contract.
The 49ers have announced that Patton, one of their two fourth-round picks, has signed his four-year rookie contract.
In two seasons at Louisiana Tech, Patton started all 25 games at wide receiver and was first-team All-WAC in both seasons. He caught 183 passes for 2,594 yards and 24 touchdowns in his two college seasons.
The 49ers have also announced that they claimed long snapper Kyle Nelson off waivers from the Chargers and waived punter Anthony Santella.
Demps, 27, played his first two NFL seasons (2008, 2009) under now-Chiefs coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia. Demps has played the last three seasons with Houston, and he comes off his most productive campaign, notching 35 tackles and defending five passes in 12 games for the Texans.
Demps figures to vie for a reserve role behind Kendrick Lewis and Eric Berry at safety. Moreover, he can contribute on special teams. The Texans credited Demps with nine special teams tackles (six solo) in the 2012 regular season.
In other roster moves, the Chiefs signed undrafted free agent safety Malcolm Bronson and waived rookie cornerback Justin Glenn and first-year cornerback James Rogers.
Brian Urlacher has a surprising choice for the greatest play of his career.
Moments after he made his retirement official, Urlacher appeared on the Dan Patrick Show and was asked to name the play he’d like to be remembered for. Urlacher didn’t choose a play when he made a key tackle, or had a sack, or intercepted a pass or forced a fumble. He chose a play on which he threw a couple of blocks.
“The play didn’t even really involve me,” Urlacher said. “In 2005 we were playing San Fran at Soldier Field, it was like 40 mile an hour wind, they kicked a field goal from 50 yards and missed. Nathan Vasher caught it eight yards deep in the end zone and brought it out, and I blocked one guy in front of him, then I kept running beside him and blocked another guy, I think it was just an effort play. That was one of my favorite plays.”
The video confirms that Urlacher did show great hustle on the play: He threw his first block inside the Bears’ own 20-yard line, then turned upfield alongside Vasher and even ran past Vahser to throw a block and clear the path toward the end zone.
Urlacher said he knew it was time to shut down his career because his body was telling him to shut it down, and he also said that while he was disappointed that his departure from the Bears played out the way it did this offseason, he has no hard feelings.
“I still have a ton of respect for the Bears,” Urlacher said. “It didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, but I played 13 years for one of the best franchises in NFL history. I’m very proud of that.”
Urlacher deserves to be proud of the way he played the game.
The Dolphins spent the offseason insulating second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill with weapons.
And a first look in OTAs at a four-wide package had him thinking big things were possible.
According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins lined up with wide receivers Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson and tight end Dustin Keller on the field together Tuesday, a potentially potent group.
So yes, that’s an upgrade.
“Yeah you know we’re still learning, but I’m excited about what I see from those guys,” Tannehill said. “They’re all getting a grasp on the offense and we’re starting to get a lot of reps with each other, so [we’re going to] continue to work that to get better.
Rainy conditions made it hard for the group to show their speed, and it’s still early in the installation process, so it’s hard to know how much of the package the Dolphins intend to use.
But unlike last year, they have multiple options in the passing game, which takes away that excuse if Tannehill doesn’t continue to improve.
We’ve seen the designs for the new Vikings stadium and we’ve heard about the new routes that the state is exploring to finance its construction, so we thought it would be a good time to talk to someone from the team about how things are progressing.
That’s just what will happen on Wednesday’s PFT Live. Mike Florio will talk to Vikings president Mark Wilf about how things are progressing with the team’s new digs. They’ll touch on self-cleaning rooves and cigarette taxes among other topics having to do with the construction of a stadium that the Wilfs spent a lot of time trying to get built in recent years.
Paul Gutierrez of CSN Bay Area will also be on hand to talk about the Raiders signing Charles Woodson for a return engagement. Woodson made his call on Tuesday night, but we’ll see if Gutierrez has gleaned any information about how the team plans to use their 1998 first-round pick in his second stint with the team.
You can watch it all live at noon ET.
Urlacher sent out a tweet on Wednesday saying that it was an honor to play his entire career with the Bears and including a link to a longer statement announcing that he has decided to retire from professional football.
“After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire,” Urlacher wrote. “Although I could continue playing, I’m not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that’s up to my standards. When considering this, along with the fact that I could retire after a 13-year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear. I want to thank all of the people in my life that have helped me along the way. I will miss my teammates, my coaches and the great Bears fans. I’m proud to say that I gave all of yo everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss this great game, but I leave it with no regrets.”
The decision might have been different had Urlacher found a more robust market for his services as a free agent this offseason, but there was barely any market to speak of for the eight-time Pro Bowler. So he’ll ride off into the sunset after a very successful career that is likely to land him a yellow blazer as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at some point down the line.
The Panthers doubled up on defensive tackles to open the draft, and now they’ve gotten half of them under contract.
The team just announced they had signed second-rounder Kawann Short, the 44th overall pick.
“We are very pleased to have Kawann under contract,” Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman said. “We felt he was the best pass-rushing defensive tackle in the draft, and we are excited about what he can bring to our defensive front.”
A penetrator to go with first-rounder Star Lotulelei, Short has a chance to get plenty of snaps even with the retention of free agent Dwan Edwards. A four-year starter at Purdue, Short had 19.5 sacks and blocked a school-record eight kicks.
And while it’s just on paper at the moment, the additions this offseason give them a chance to have a solid and deep defensive front, which they’ll need to help mask the deficiencies in the back.
Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn’s second NFL season didn’t go the way he would have liked as a torn ACL ended his year after just three games.
Clayborn used his time away from the field to concentrate on both rehabbing his knee and adding muscle to his upper body, something that has earned him praise from coach Greg Schiano. Schiano said that Clayborn looks like a different person as a result of his work and that his work “is really going to pay benefits” when he gets back on the field. Clayborn’s knee is sound enough to get clearance for all activities, but Schiano said that the team will be taking it slowly with the defensive end this spring.
“Adrian is doing well in his recovery,” Schiano said, via the team’s website. “We are going to keep him out of team periods right now, just for safety. Could he do it? Yeah, he could do it but there’s no reason to right now. Maybe as we get into June, we’ll give him some, when I visit with [Head Trainer] Todd [Toriscelli] on some on that. I like where he is and what he’s doing.”
With Michael Bennett in Seattle and no surefire improvements to the pass rush made in free agency or the draft, the Bucs are relying on Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers to provide the lion’s share of pressure on the quarterback this season. That makes a cautious approach now all the more sensible as a limited schedule in May is far easier to swallow than a limited one in September.
The Broncos offered Charles Woodson a chance to contend for a Super Bowl.
The Raiders offered Charles Woodson a chance to, well, probably not.
But the difference in the offers apparently wasn’t that large in terms of dollars.
Acording to a report by Mike Klis of the Denver Post, Denver’s one-year deal with “reachable incentives” was worth $3.7 million.
The Raiders brought the veteran defensive back home with a deal that included a base value of $1.8 million and was reportedly worth a “maximum” of $4.3 million.
Now, without seeing a copy of the Broncos’ proposal, it’s hard to know how “reachable” those incentives actually were, or whether they were less attainable than the ones the Raiders offered.
And unless someone in the Broncos offices just feels spurned by a division rival and wants to shame them, we probably never will.
But the move obviously shocked some Broncos.
“There’s no freaking way he’d want to go to Oakland,” cornerback Champ Bailey told 102.3 FM Tuesday.
Looks like the Broncos let another one get behind their secondary, which is part of the reason they wanted Woodson in the first place.
The 2012 NFL coach of the year may be in for the coaching challenge of his life.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, who has inherited a Cardinals team that would be wise to petition for relocation back to the NFC East, isn’t happy with the performance of his offense during offseason workouts.
‘We’re just not picking it up fast enough,” Arians said Tuesday, via the Associated Press. ”We’re still not picking it up the way I’d like to — at all positions.”
Arians had specific criticism for the men charged with running routes and catching passes.
”I don’t like mistakes,” Arians said. “I really don’t like mental mistakes, especially if you made the same mistake last week. That should be corrected and in the books by now, and our receivers are not getting that done.”
Running back Ryan Williams applauds Arians’ tell-it-like-it-is style.
“Everybody’s accountable, that’s the No. 1 thing,” Williams said. ”It’s a respect thing. We used to have egotistical guys who felt like they couldn’t be touched and be able to do whatever they wanted to. So having guys like coach Bruce is able to nip that ASAP and we’re able to have a good, quality practice and sometimes that wasn’t able to happen because some guys were just doing whatever they wanted to do.”
Unfortunately, Williams didn’t name any of the “egotistical guys” who used to be on the team. It’s possible that he was talking about one or more former quarterbacks on the roster.
”I see [Carson Palmer] sometimes on the sideline, coaching the receivers and talking to the offensive line,” defensive lineman Darnell Dockett said. ”What a big difference from that position last year. Right now I think he’s more respected and a lot of guys are willing to go that extra yard for him. He’s a tough quarterback and he’s going to hang in there for us.”
Even without mistakes and with better quarterback play, the Cardinals have their work cut out for them in the NFC West. Not long ago the weakest NFL division by a wide margin, it’s now clearly the best.
New Eagles coach Chip Kelly has said he can adjust his style and run a different system in the NFL than he ran at Oregon. Former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski says he’ll have to.
Jaworski, who analyzes film in his work with ESPN, said on 97.5 The Fanatic that Kelly, who has no NFL experience at all, is much more likely to adjust his offense to the realities of the NFL than to revolutionize the NFL by bringing his spread offense to the next level.
“It’s going to be interesting to see if this style of offense projects to the NFL,” Jaworski said, via Phillymag.com. “I’m going to say no.”
Jaworski says there are fundamental differences between the way Oregon could exploit weaker defenses in college and the way an NFL defense would attack an offense like Kelly’s.
“It’s easy to say, ‘Yeah, it worked in college,’” he said. “But then I looked at a game like Stanford. Stanford, a good defensive football team, shut them down. I hope it works. I like the innovation, but I think it’s going to be very difficult. The NFL is a different league with fast players that have all week to prepare for you. At the collegiate level, you have 20 hours to prepare for that Oregon offense. Take out three hours of game time. You’ve got 17 hours in the course of a week to practice and prepare for that style of offense. It kills you in college. But in the NFL, these guys work 17 hours a day. A day, not a week – 17 hours a day getting ready, so there’s no secrets.”
Kelly’s system will certainly be different in the NFL than it was at Oregon. The question is how different. If Jaworski is right, it will need to be very different.
In an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio last weekend, Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel said that he found the Bills offense was easier to learn than the one he was in at Florida State and he’s picking it up quickly as a result.
If that’s the case, it’s the one thing Manuel can rest easy about when it comes to his transition to the NFL. Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett didn’t address that claim directly on Tuesday when he spoke to reporters, but he did make it clear that he thinks Manuel has plenty of work to do in order to get himself ready to play at the professional level.
“Everything,” Hackett said, via the team’s website. “He’s a young man that’s got to work on a lot of things from footwork to progressions to plays to formations, everything. Defenses in the NFL are obviously a little different. He’s got to work on that too. He’s got to work on everything.”
There’s no great reason for concern about Hackett’s assessment of the first-round pick nor are Hackett’s thoughts reason to suspect Manuel won’t be the starter this year. You wouldn’t expect any player to come from the college ranks as a finished product, especially not a quarterback who is going to be dealing with faster defenses capable of showing more looks than he was exposed to before coming to the NFL. You’d expect even less to hear one of his coaches say that all was well before a significant time has been spent working with the rookie.
If Hackett’s saying the same things about Manuel in August, there will be more of an impact but, for now, it sounds like Manuel’s pretty much where he’s supposed to be in his progression to the NFL game.
Hundreds of players will get cut by NFL players before the start of the regular season, and most of those players will keep working out and hoping for another chance at making it in professional football.
But some of those players may try to make it in professional wrestling.
Jim Ross, who works with World Wrestling Entertainment in talent development, has a meeting scheduled with the NFL Players Association today in which he’ll make the case that football players who lose their jobs on NFL teams should be informed that a second career in pro wrestling may be available to them.
“Everybody doesn’t make the 53-man roster,” Ross told Alex Marvez and Jim Miller on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Some guys are going to be looking for work, and we’ve got some job openings. Maybe we can put the synergies of those two entities together and create something wonderful some day.”
From the WWE’s perspective, it’s easy to see why this makes sense: Pro wrestling needs big, strong, agile athletes, and football produces lots of those. And some of the guys cut by the NFL would bring name recognition from their playing days into the wrestling ring.
There’s also a long history of athletes dabbling in both wrestling and football, from Bronko Nagurski to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and dozens of others in between. If you’re a football player who couldn’t quite make it in the NFL, you could do worse than turning to wrestling.
Colts owner Jim Irsay can be quirky. At times, unpredictable. At other times, a little belligerent. And he’s taken a few shots at yours truly, who has taken a few shots at him.
But when there’s a cause that would benefit from the donation of funds, he’s typically at the front of the line.
Irsay has pledged to donate up to $25,000 to the tornado relief effort in Moore, Oklahoma, matching contributions made by the general public.
Before anyone complains that $25,000 is a drop in the bucket for a billionaire, keep this in mind: It’s still $25,000. How many other billionaires out there aren’t giving 25 cents to the effort?
So we applaud Irsay’s efforts, we encourage other billionaires, millionaires, thousandaires, and hundredaires to do what they can, and we’ll be glad to publicize other efforts by other NFL teams to raise money to help folks whose insurance policies will take them only so far through this time of intense crisis.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has been engaged for more than a month in the intricate task of saying enough to protect and advance his business interests, but not saying things that would undermine and jeopardize his legal interests.
That balancing act entered a new frontier on Tuesday, when Haslam addressed his fellow owners at the quarterly meetings in Boston.
As Gantt pointed out, Haslam also offered to provide private explanations to any owner who wants more than the five-minute presentation Haslam made to the full league ownership.
Before any owner takes him up on that offer, the owner needs to consider the possibility of becoming a potential witness, at some point down the road. Since no one outside of federal law enforcement currently knows the contents of files and computers seized last month at Pilot Flying J headquarters or communications secretly recorded by a company employee that weren’t included in the 120-page affidavit in support of the issuance of the search warrant, it’s unknown whether the Justice Department has or will have enough evidence to target Haslam personally. If Haslam is indicted, anything Haslam has said to anyone — including privately to other owners — can be used against him.
This means that other owners could find themselves being interviewed by federal prosecutors and, possibly, being subpoenaed to testify.
The chances of that happening are slim, but the lawyers currently on retainer for Haslam and the other 31 owners are compensated handsomely to keep an eye on every possible worst-case scenario.
Thus, if Haslam wants to keep his fellow owners out of this mess, he’ll not make good on the offer to provide private explanations. And if his fellow owners want to stay out of this mess, they won’t accept.