Skip to content

Michael Turner: Have to “keep grinding” to fix run game

Getty Images

The Falcons obviously need to run better.

But it might also help if they got together to get their stories straight as to why they’re not running better.

After center Todd McClure said he didn’t want the line taking all the blame for the recent problems, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter responded that running back Michael Turnerdidn’t have a chance” on many of his runs against the Saints.

Now, Turner, the man whose name is next to those 15 yards on 13 carries, said he agreed with the coach.

That’s what I’m saying,” Turner said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “Sometimes defenses are going to have good schemes against us and be able to get good penetration and things like that. It’s just something we have to handle and run different types of plays sometimes and just clean it up.”

Turner’s averaging 3.8 yards per carry this year, and appears to have lost his old burst, leading to more games like the loss to the Saints than he’s used to.

“Everybody’s going to nitpick,” Turner said. “We’re a different team this year, obviously with philosophies and things like that, but I mean we’re 8-1. That’s the bottom line; to get Ws.

“We’re not worried about it. Of course we want to get better and improve in all areas we need to improve in and just maintain the things we’re doing great. We’ve just got to keep going, keep grinding.”

But he said part of the problem is getting used to a new way of doing business, as the team has gone from featuring him to building around quarterback Matt Ryan and an array of big-play receiving targets.

“Oh yeah, it was talked about,” Turner said. “It’s been talked about for years, but this year it’s finally showing. But there is nothing that I can do really.

“Everything is revolving around the quarterback and we have a great one and he’s striving to be elite. You have to let him do his thing.”

Considering the fact Ryan’s doing his thing more efficiently than Turner’s doing his these days, that was a good decision on behalf of the Falcons.

Permalink 7 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Atlanta Falcons, Home, Rumor Mill

Cowboys think they’re OK “staying put” at 28

Getty Images

The dearth of quarterbacks may make other teams desperate to trade up. But for one guy who loves a good deal, the depth at cornerback makes him more likely to sit tight.

According to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he was willing to to sit tight at No. 28 overall and see what comes to them.

This is a real good year for staying put,” Jones said. “I don’t know if it’s because we need so many good football players or because there are some good football players there, especially in those early rounds. But in my experience, it’s wasting your time to talk about what you might do trading in the later rounds.

“As far as value, what opportunities we might have there, you don’t ever want to predetermine what you’re going to do. But certainly if you stay there we will have an opportunity to really help our team, in my view.”

The Cowboys have been willing, if not downright eager, to make deals in either direction in the past. From trading up for Morris Claiborne and Demarcus Lawrence to moving back for players such as Travis Frederick and Terrance Williams, to failed bids for quarterbacks Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook last year (before they settled for Dak Prescott), he’s always up for some action.

But this draft is perceived as being deep at one of the positions the Cowboys need most. After losing cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Claiborne in free agency (along with safety Barry Church and others), they need to infuse some young talent into the secondary. They also need pass rushers, but it appears they think they’ll be able to find what they need later.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Chad Kelly says NFL teams know he’s moved past “dumb mistakes”

Getty Images

Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly wasn’t at the Scouting Combine as a result of the NFL’s new policy banning players who have been involved in acts of violence off the field. But Kelly said he believes NFL teams know what kind of person he is.

Kelly pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct two years ago as part of a case in which he was initially accused of punching two people, threatening to shoot up a bar with an AK-47 and resisting arrest. He said this morning on PFT Live that he has told NFL teams that he’s grown up since then, and he thinks those teams believe him.

“I’ve made it clear that I just had my 23rd birthday, if I don’t get it now I’ll never get it. I think they understand my sincere apologies for making those dumb mistakes,” Kelly said.

A bigger problem for Kelly right now may be that he’s rehabbing both knee and wrist injuries, and he hasn’t been able to work out for teams the way he would have liked. So there are some significant questions about him, but he’s hoping he has answered those questions as well as possible, and will hear his name called this week by some team that’s satisfied with the kind of player and person he is.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Latavius Murray plans on being ready for training camp

Getty Images

Adrian Peterson earned a prominent spot in the headlines on Tuesday by signing with the Saints in a move that sets him up for an early return to Minnesota because the two teams will square off in Week One.

The plan for the Vikings is for Latavius Murray to be in Peterson’s old spot as the team’s starting running back, although the Vikings will have to wait a little while before they have a chance to see exactly how Murray fits into their offense. He had ankle surgery shortly after signing with the team as a free agent and said Tuesday that he’s still going through the rehab process with designs on being ready to go when training camp starts.

“That’s the plan,” Murray said. “That’s my goal, obviously. I don’t want to miss any more time than I have to, but, at the same time, I have to continue to trust the plan [the medical staff] has in place for me. I want to be out there when it’s time to lock and load.”

When that time arrives, Murray says that he knows the Vikings want him on the field as much as possible as an every-down back and said he’s confident that his receiving skills will allow that to happen. It will be a spell before there’s on-field evidence to support those feelings, but little doubt that the Vikings will need Murray to hit the ground running upon his return to action.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Mixed signals from Rams on Trumaine Johnson

Getty Images

The Rams opted to apply the franchise tag to cornerback Trumaine Johnson for a second time, despite the 20-percent raise over last year’s eight-figure salary. Since then, mixed signals have emerged as to whether the Rams will keep him under the one-year, $16.74 million tender (which he has signed), trade him, or sign him to a long-term deal.

As the first minicamp of the Sean McVay era began on Tuesday, the mixed signals continued.

“Today he’s a Ram,” G.M. Les Snead told reporters regarding Johnson. “First walk-through [practice on Tuesday], and then we’ll get this minicamp going and it’ll go through OTAs, and the plan I mentioned is still the same. It’s not necessarily going to affect the draft at all. We’ll try to rank the corners from top to bottom. You can always use more than one or two or three good corners. His situation won’t affect it, but right now he’s a Ram, and we plan to go from there.”

The “today he’s a Ram” line prompted an obvious follow-up — is there a chance he’s traded from the Rams tomorrow or one of the next days?

“No, right now, I think we’re more into OTAs and let’s see if we can get something done by the end of this thing,” Snead said. “That’s where we’re at right now.”

Johnson separately spoke to reporters about his situation.

“I’m glad to be a Ram, point blank,” Johnson said. “Coming out here, it’s a privilege to play football. I’m glad I’m on the team, and I’m with the Rams.”

Does he wants a long-term deal?

“Of course,” Johnson said. “We’ve got time right now. That’s not my main focus, I’m going to let my agent handle that. In the meantime, get to know the new guys, be back with the old guys and get all of these new defenses in with the coaches.”

Either way, Johnson is saying he’d like to stay.

“Of course, I love these guys,” Johnson said. “I’m here because I love my teammates. I don’t want to leave and hopefully we get a long-term deal.”

It still seems as if all options are on the table, especially since Johnson has plenty of leverage when it comes to long-term talks. With $16.74 million already guaranteed for 2017 and quarterback money looming if he’s tagged again in 2018, Johnson can (and should) ask for a huge deal in order to commit beyond this season. The Rams also have options; they can draft a replacement, and/or they can use Johnson as bait to replenish draft picks after sending their 2017 first-rounder (No. 5 overall) to Tennessee as part of the Jared Goff trade.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Sean Payton: Adrian Peterson’s role will be “very clear and defined”

Getty Images

There was a point in his career when it would have seemed laughable to suggest that Adrian Peterson would be playing a complementary role to another back, but we’re no longer at that point.

Peterson is coming off an ineffective and injury-filled final season with the Vikings and lingered on the market for a couple of months before signing with the Saints on Tuesday. That sets him up as an alternative to Mark Ingram in the New Orleans backfield, which is a role that led to 155 touches for Tim Hightower last season.

The Saints aren’t likely to use Peterson in precisely the same way that they used Hightower and they aren’t detailing their plans for public consumption, but coach Sean Payton did suggest there’s already a vision in place for how Peterson will be used.

“I think the role will be very clear and defined,” Payton said, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “It’s a tough, long 16-week season. I think that he’s someone that certainly will be able to complement Mark. Those guys are different in some ways, and yet we feel like we’ve added another quality player. It goes without saying, [Peterson is] a guy that eventually is going to be in the Hall of Fame. But I think — we think — that he’s got more years in his career, so we’re excited for that to happen.”

One possible difference between how the two backs will be used could come in the passing game. Ingram has 96 catches over the last two seasons and it has never been a strong suit of Peterson’s game, so that should factor into that clear definition once the Saints are in position to share it with the league at large.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Titans have offers on table for No. 5, considering moving down again


Titans General Manager Jon Robinson isn’t afraid of making bold moves with draft picks, in either direction.

But this time, it appears he wants to recoup a few from last year.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Titans have trade offers (plural) for the No. 5 overall pick, and are considering moving down.

The Titans made a pair of moves last year before and during the draft, trading the top overall pick to the Rams so they could acquire quarterback Jared Goff. They then traded back up with the Browns so they could draft tackle Jack Conklin.

They also have the 18th overall pick and an extra third-rounder this year, but no second-rounders after last year’s deals. Moving down would likely address that shortfall.

If they’re moving out, it’s likely somebody wants to get in front of the Jets at No. 6 in search of a quarterback. That could well be the Browns again (assuming they do the sensible thing and take defensive end Myles Garrett first overall) but there are plenty of other teams in the market as well.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Vince Young back on the field for CFL team minicamp in Florida

Getty Images

Former No. 3 overall pick and Texas hero Vince Young was back on a football field yesterday. In Florida. For a Canadian team.

According to the Canadian Press (via the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix and we say that just because it sounds so awesome), Young took part in his first workout with the Saskatchewan Roughriders Tuesday, as he attempts some degree of a comeback.

“I’m just happy to be here, hanging out and laughing with the guys,” Young said after the workout in Vero Beach, Fla. “A lot of guys gave me a lot of respect and the [defensive backs] were talking noise: ‘We’re going to pick you off, V.Y.’

“We’re having a good time. I love that and I did miss that.”

Roughriders coach Chris Jones said it was a positive day for the 33-year-old who hasn’t played in a regular season game since 2011 or been employed by a a professional football team (unless you count the University of Texas) since the Browns cut him in 2014.

“I thought he did a real nice job,” Jones said. “For the first time being on a CFL field, and we threw a lot at him . . . I thought Vince had a good day.”

There are technical changes to playing on the longer, wider field with fewer downs and more players on the field, but Young said he was just trying to learn and work his way through as he tries to make the roster.

“Oh yeah, I’ve got to work,” Young said. “And me, I don’t mind doing that. My energy was good. The things I was doing at home, training and taking notes from coach, things he wanted me to work on actually paid off. Thank God I did them and paid attention.”

Regardless the level of competition, Young could still be a long shot to make a roster, but give him credit for pursuing his dream, even if this is far from the dream team he declared himself a part of long ago.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Wednesday morning one-liners

Getty Images

Does Bills G.M. Doug Whaley need to look good coming out of this draft to save his job?

The Dolphins have two defensive ends they covet in the first round.

Patriots QB Jacoby Brissett had a moving Instagram post about his White House visit.

Don’t expect the Jets to draft RB Joe Mixon.

The father of the late former Raven Konrad Reuland threw out a first pitch while Rod Carew, who received Reuland’s heart and kidney, looked on.

The Bengals would like to bolster their offensive line this week.

The Browns are willing to be aggressive in moving up from No. 12 to draft a quarterback.

Pittsburgh is looking to improve its secondary in the draft.

Air Force OLB Ryan Watson is a player the Texans would love to draft.

Here’s a look at how much the Colts’ roster has changed in the last year.

Jaguars G.M. Tom Coughlin has a history of missing in the second round.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey doesn’t know why RB Derrick Henry is missing workouts.

The months-long quarterback competition in Denver has started.

Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs draft a quarterback.

Will the Raiders spend their first-round pick on an inside linebacker?

The Chargers are looking at a couple of safeties in the first round.

The Cowboys would love to come out of the draft with a game-changing pass rusher.

What kind of linebacker do the Giants want to draft?

The Eagles may be looking at a late-round sleeper at tight end.

Former Washington QB Joe Theismann doesn’t think there’s a single quarterback in this year’s draft worthy of a first-round pick.

The Bears may be looking to trade down.

Could Miami TE David Njoku end up with the Lions?

Could the Packers pick T.J. Watt?

Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman says he might still draft an offensive tackle, despite signing two in free agency.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan has a longtime bond with Clemson QB Deshaun Watson.

The Panthers hope a quarterback or two are drafted in front of them.

Could the Saints trade the first-round pick they got from the Patriots?

The Bucs may draft a backup quarterback.

Darryl Washington has been reinstated, but that doesn’t mean he’s in the Cardinals’ plans.

Rams coach Sean McVay was finally on the field with his team.

Could the 49ers take Mitch Trubisky second overall?

Seahawks G.M. John Schneider thinks he has an offensive line with potential.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Dontrelle Inman signs tender with Chargers

Getty Images

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Dontrelle Inman signed his restricted free agent tender with the team on Tuesday.

Inman was given a second round tender by the Chargers prior to the start of free agency. The tender carries a value of $2.746 million for the 2018 season.

Inman was free to seek contract offers from other teams but elected to re-sign with the Chargers. His tender would have entitled the Chargers to a second round draft pick in compensation should Inman left for another team by signing an offer sheet and the Chargers had declined to match.

Inman emerged as a full-time starter for the Chargers last season and caught 58 passes for 810 yards and four touchdowns. In three seasons, Inman has appeared in 37 games with 23 starts and has caught 105 passes for 1,454 yards and seven touchdowns.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Alabama safety Eddie Jackson has minor surgery

Getty Images

Just days before the NFL Draft, one of it’s expected selections had a minor surgery.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Alabama safety Eddie Jackson had surgery on Monday to remove a screw from his leg. The screw had been causing discomfort after surgery to repair a broken leg suffered sustained last season. Following the medical recheck for the NFL Combine, Jackson was advised by teams to get the surgery to correct the issue.

Jackson is expected to be able to fully take part in all of a team’s offseason program, including rookie mini-camps which would begin as early as next weekend.

Jackson is one of the top safety prospects in the draft and is projected to be selected early on day two or three of the draft.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Seahawks still waiting for Raiders, Marshawn Lynch to reach an agreement

Getty Images

It was reported more than a week ago that the Raiders and running back Marshawn Lynch had reached an agreement on a contract. Currently, they still haven’t.

And it’s clear that the delay is coming from the Raiders and Lynch, not from the Seahawks. During a recent pre-draft press conference, Seattle G.M. John Schneider made it clear that the team that currently holds Lynch’s rights is waiting for word from his possible next team.

They’re still talking,” Schneider said, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “The steps after that were to be that if they came to an agreement, [Raiders G.M.] Reggie [McKenzie] and I would discuss a form of compensation.”

Schneider realizes that the Raiders hope to resolve this thing soon, one way or the other.

“I would think Reggie would want to go into the draft knowing that they have another runner or not,” Schneider said.

It’s unclear what the Seahawks want, or what the Raiders would give, to send Lynch to Oakland. Seattle has no other clear suitors for Lynch, and if he continues to sit on the reserve-retired list, they’ll get nothing for him.

Likewise, if he shows up out of the blue in Seattle, with his $9 million salary hitting the books, the Seahawks likely would release him sooner than later.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Daryl Washington thanks Commissioner for reinstatement

Getty Images

Suspended three years ago, linebacker Daryl Washington has been conditionally reinstated to the NFL generally, and to the Cardinals specifically.

“I’m honored and humbled to be back in the National Football League,” Washington said in a statement provided to PFT. “These last three years have been the most difficult of my life without the game I love so much. That said, I’ve used this time to make tremendous strides as a man and have grown into a proud husband, father, and contributing member of my community.”

Washington returns at the game at the age of 30. He has played only four seasons, two of which resulted in Pro Bowl and All-Pro recognition. So he has less wear and tear, and more tear on the tires.

“Physically I’m in the best shape of my life and have maintained a strenuous six-day per week workout plan for over a year in anticipation of this day and next season,” Washington said. “I understand the physical and mental demands that it takes to be an All-Pro linebacker in this League, and I fully intend to play at that level this season.

“I’d like to thank Commissioner Goodell and his staff who I’ve met with multiple times, my attorney Daniel Moskowitz for all of his work on my journey back, my amazing teammates who I’ve stayed in contact with, and most importantly, my family for all of their unconditional support. As I told Mr. Goodell, I will use this opportunity to help lead and mentor younger guys in the locker room and in my community to learn from my mistakes and understand it’s an honor to be in the NFL.”

The Cardinals have been circumspect so far regarding whether they want Washington. That’s the next question that needs to be answered before Washington suits up for the team again. It’s expected he’ll get the chance to show the Cardinals what he can still do; few franchises are in the business of sending away quality contributors who can make the team better.

Permalink 5 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

49ers to induct Tom Rathman into Hall of Fame

Getty Images

Tom Rathman’s 23-year run with the 49ers ended earlier this year. He’ll now permanently be part of the organization.

The 49ers will induct Rathman into the franchise’s Hall of Fame.

“Tom Rathman embodies everything this organization wants in its players, coaches and staff,” 49ers CEO Jed York said in a statement. “Throughout his more than two decades with our team, Tom set a tone for the 49ers both on and off the field. As a player, he was selfless, hard-working and dedicated to bringing his best every single day. Tom coached very much the same way. It was his mission to help every man he coached realize his full potential, as both a player and a man. Tom is family and we are so thrilled to induct him into the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame, where he will take his place among the all-time greats in our team’s history.”

The move comes roughly two months after Rathman decided not to remain with the team as part of Kyle Shanahan’s staff.

I’m not going to be back,” Rathman, a former fullback and running backs coach, said at the time. “I feel like it’s the best for everybody if I just parted and let those guys do their thing and take me out of the equation so that nobody’s uncomfortable. I’m looking to coach running backs and that’s what I want to do. I’m just going to wait for the next opportunity and go for it when it happens.”

 “I spent 23 years with the 49ers,” Rathman said in Tuesday’s press release. “I’ve always considered myself a 49er and I always will consider myself a 49er. I’ll take that brand with me wherever I go because that’s who I am. It feels great to be with the guys who are already in the 49ers Hall of Fame. Dating back to Joe Perry, it’s an honor to be associated with the likes of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Roger Craig and Dwight Clark. That’s a lot of history right there. To be able to say that you’re in a fraternity with those guys so to speak, the 49ers Hall of Fame fraternity, says volumes. It’s pretty special.”

Rathman’s 23 years puts him behind only 49ers Hall of Famer in terms of tenure with the team. Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr., the man for whom the Hall of Fame is named, had 24 years with the franchise.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Deshaun Watson likes how he looks in a Cardinals uniform in Madden

For free agents and incoming draft picks, the Madden game provides a way to get a look at how the player will look in a variety of NFL uniforms. For quarterback Deshaun Watson, he particularly liked how he looked in one specific uniform.

Appearing on PFT Live, Watson said he likes how he looks in Cardinals attire, specifically with the black jerseys. (The photo accompanying this post is an image of virtual Larry Fitzgerald wearing the 2016 Color Rush uniforms.)

The Cardinals are in the market for a successor to Carson Palmer, and Palmer has embraced the possibility of mentoring a youngster. Watson likewise said he’d welcome the chance to learn from a veteran, even if it means sitting for a year or two. He’s also fine with being drafted later than earlier, if it means landing in the right spot.

Watson visited thr Cardinals, Browns, Jaguars, 49ers, Texans, and Chiefs in the weeks preceding the draft. The 2017 PFT Worst Mock Draft Ever has Watson going to the Cardinals at No. 13.

Permalink 7 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Titans’ 2016 second-round pick Kevin Dodd still dealing with foot injury

Getty Images

The Titans took linebacker Kevin Dodd with the 33rd overall pick of last year’s draft, only to see him suffer a foot injury in his first rookie minicamp. A year later, that injury is still an issue.

Although Dodd did manage to play in nine games last season, the foot remained a problem and eventually landed him on injured reserve. Today coach Mike Mularkey confirmed that the foot is still bothering him now.

Via Paul Kuharsky of ESPN Mularkey described Dodd as not completely healthy, with pain still lingering in the foot. Mularkey described it as a delicate injury.

Eventually, the Titans hope to see Dodd get healthy and become the type of player they thought he was when they drafted him. But they certainly didn’t think at this time a year ago that an injury would be the dominant theme of his first year in the NFL.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top