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PFT Live 11/21: Michael David Smith

Mike Florio and Michael David Smith reveal their picks for the Week 12 matchups and then in the Wendy’s Rapid Reaction segment, Mike brings viewer comments into the conversation of whether or not coaches should pull their star players out of games when they have a bid lead.


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PFT’s Week 13 picks

Peyton AP

As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m quite thankful for my three-game lead through 12 weeks of action.

The three-game lead survived Week 12, because we split the four games on which we disagreed last weekend (I was right on Bengals and Browns, MDS nailed it with the Bears and Seahawks).

This week, with all 32 teams playing for the first time since Week Three, we disagree on only one game.  For all picks for Week 13, scroll down.

For the week, we were both 11-4.  For the year, I’m at 116-60 (65.9 percent).  MDS stands at  (64.2 percent).

Bears at Lions

MDS’s take: The Lions have gone from first place to on the verge of collapse, just as they did around this time last year. But the difference is that the Lions’ two-game losing streak has gone against two of the best teams in the league. Against the Bears at home, the Lions should be able to get back to their winning ways.

MDS’s pick: Lions 14, Bears 10.

Florio’s take:  The Lions can’t afford to stumble again, at a time when they can’t find the end zone.  Fortunately, they’ll be facing an opponent far less potent than the Cardinals and Patriots.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 31, Bears 20.

Eagles at Cowboys

MDS’s take: First place in the NFC East is up for grabs, and I’m leaning toward the Cowboys mostly because I don’t trust Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez. Although Sanchez is putting up plenty of yardage in Chip Kelly’s offense — three straight 300-yard games — I expect him to throw a couple of interceptions and the Cowboys to capitalize on his mistakes.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Eagles 21.

Florio’s take:  The Eagles won’t be capable of keeping pace with a Cowboys Offense that will present a pick-your-poison dilemma for Philly’s defense.  The Dallas offense continues to fire on all cylinders, and it’ll be enough to secure the first of two games between these teams in only 17 days.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 34, Eagles 27.

Seahawks at 49ers

MDS’s take: The way the NFC playoff race is shaping up, it’s very unlikely that both of these teams can make the playoffs. The loser of this game will be on the outside looking in, without much time left to make up ground. The Seahawks made a statement last week against the Cardinals, and I think they’ll make another one on Thanksgiving.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 20, 49ers 13.

Florio’s take:   The Seahawks held serve at home against the Cardinals to keep Seattle’s playoff hopes alive.  The Seahawks now have a chance to break serve in Santa Clara — and in turn to deliver a potential death blow to the 49ers’ playoff chances.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 20, 49ers 17.

Washington at Colts

MDS’s take: Remember when there was actually a debate about who was better, Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck?  That feels so long ago. Luck’s team will whip Griffin’s team on Sunday, while Griffin stands on the sideline watching.

MDS’s pick: Colts 31, Washington 10.

Florio’s take:  In April 2012, this would have been one of the most anticipated games for the entire 2014 regular season, pitting the first and second overall picks n the draft against each other.  The game now has far less cachet, with Andrew Luck clearly the better quarterback and Robert Griffin III taking a seat on the bench.  Again.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 34, Washington 20.

Titans at Texans

MDS’s take: The loss of Ryan Mallett is bad news for the Texans in the long term because it prevents them from knowing whether he’s the type of quarterback who could be the face of their franchise. But for this week, Ryan Fitzpatrick is just as capable of helping Houston beat a bad Tennessee team.

MDS’s pick: Texans 31, Titans 17.

Florio’s take:  Ryan Fitzpatrick gets another crack at a team that gave up on him, playing quarterback for another team that gave up on him.  The latest team that gave up on him is better than the prior team that gave up on him.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 27, Titans 13.

Browns at Bills

MDS’s take: The Bills have gone through a long, rough week, and they emerged looking great in a big win over the Jets. I think they’ll keep it going against the Browns.

MDS’s pick: Bills 23, Browns 20.

Florio’s take:  The Bills return home after a detour to Detroit, and the Browns roll in with a chance to move to 8-4.  Perhaps the toughest game to call given what Buffalo did to the Jets on Monday night and in light of the fact that the Browns are the better team, the Bills have an extra level of motivation in this one, given the snowstorm that turned the region on its head last week.

Florio’s pick:  Bills 24, Browns 20.

Chargers at Ravens

MDS’s take: I think we can officially write off the loser of this one. The AFC playoff pool is just too deep for the loser to remain in contention. I like the Ravens’ chances in a must-win game at home.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 28, Chargers 17.

Florio’s take:  Baltimore has started to make a push to the postseason with a win at New Orleans; the Chargers have won a pair of home games that they easily could have lost.  Baltimore seems to have the better talent on both sides of the ball to get to eight wins before San Diego.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 27, Chargers 20.

Giants at Jaguars

MDS’s take: The Giants’ season is a mess, but they’re still better than the Jaguars. This looks like it’s going to be a lousy, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Giants 15, Jaguars 7.

Florio’s take:  Tom Coughlin heads back to Jacksonville.  Some may want him to stay, if the Giants decide they want him to go.  On the field, always take a Manning against a Bortles.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 24, Jaguars 17.

Bengals at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Bucs have played competitive football at times, but on balance they’re a pretty terrible team. The Bengals remain the leaders in the AFC North, and they won’t lose their lead in Tampa Bay.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 27, Buccaneers 7.

Florio’s take:  Another game not on national TV, another appearance from the Dr. Jekyll version of Andy Dalton.  The good news for the Bucs is that they’ll likely still be only two games out of first place after this one ends.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 27, Buccaneers 17.

Raiders at Rams

MDS’s take: I’m impressed with the way the Rams are playing, even though they have no chance of getting to the playoffs in the tough NFC West. Put the Rams in the NFC South, and they’re in the playoffs. Those are the breaks. At least they’ll whip the Raiders in the battle of former Los Angeles teams.

MDS’s pick: Rams 28, Raiders 14.

Florio’s take:  The Raiders have their one win for the season.  The Rams have fewer than they should.  To make this one more interesting, the winner should get dibs on L.A.

Florio’s pick:  Rams 27, Raiders 14.

Saints at Steelers

MDS’s take: I have a simple philosophy: I’m not picking the Saints outside, in a cold-weather city, against anybody. The Steelers will take this one and remain in the AFC North race, while the Saints will lose and remain in the NFC South race because the NFC South is terrible.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 27, Saints 17.

Florio’s take:  The Saints have lost three games in a row at home.  So it would be fitting for them to win one in Pittsburgh.  But the Steelers are rested and ready and aware of the importance of getting an eighth win in a division of seven-win teams.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 24, Saints 20.

Panthers at Vikings

MDS’s take: I liked the way the Vikings’ defense played against the Packers last week, and if Teddy Bridgewater can just avoid making too many mistakes, Minnesota can win this one. Against a better defense I wouldn’t have a lot of faith in Bridgewater, but against the Panthers’ defense, the Vikings can win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 16, Panthers 10.

Florio’s take:  The Vikings win the games they should and lose the games they should.  They should beat the Panthers, swarming Cam Newton with a potent pass rush and methodically gaining yards with a running game and passing game that are good enough to move the ball against a struggling franchise.  Yes, the Panthers are still pushing for a playoff berth.  The Vikings, however, are trying to lay the foundation for long-term success.  Winning winnable games is part of the culture change over which Mike Zimmer is presiding.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 20, Panthers 16.

Cardinals at Falcons

MDS’s take: The Cardinals aren’t as good a team with Drew Stanton as they were with Carson Palmer, but they’re still a whole lot better than the Falcons. Bruce Arians will have his guys ready to bounce back from last week’s loss in Seattle.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 24, Falcons 10.

Florio’s take:  Have two division leaders in late November ever had a gap this big in overall quality?  The gap will be obvious, with or without poor clock management.

Florio’s pick:   Cardinals 23, Falcons 13.

Patriots at Packers

MDS’s take: It’s the best game of the day and one of the best games of the season. The Packers have played excellent football at home, but the Patriots are the best team in the NFL and will show it in Green Bay.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 31, Packers 28.

Florio’s take:  I’ve gone back and forth on this one, and I finally need to pick a horse.  Given the ability of Patriots coach Bill Belichick to construct a game plan perfectly suited to each and every game, look for the Pats to grind the clock, keep Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines, actually cover Jordy Nelson, and ultimately prevail on the only stat that matters — points scored vs. points allowed.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 27, Packers 24.

Broncos at Chiefs

MDS’s take: If Denver takes this one, the AFC West race is all but over. Although the Broncos have been inconsistent of late, they haven’t had a loss as bad as the Chiefs losing in Oakland last week. I like the Broncos to complete the season sweep of the Chiefs and take control of the division.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 34, Chiefs 20.

Florio’s take:  The Broncos have looked vulnerable in recent weeks, and Chiefs continue to be one of the toughest teams to beat at home.  Eric Berry’s absence hurts them from a football standpoint, but it will further galvanize a franchise that has overcome plenty of adversity in recent years.

Florio’s pick:   Chiefs 27, Broncos 24.

Dolphins at Jets

MDS’s take: Losing to the Broncos on Sunday may have knocked the Dolphins out of realistic playoff contention, but they’re still a much better team than the Jets. Miami takes this one easily.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 34, Jets 17.

Florio’s take:  The Jets were a “zillion ways” better after the bye, and it wasn’t nearly enough to hand with the Bills.  The Dolphins are better than the Bills.  Not even Jumbo Elliott could make a difference in this one.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 27, Jets 13.

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Report: Patriots extend Matthew Slater’s contract through 2016

Chicago Bears v New England Patriots Getty Images

The Patriots switch up offensive and defensive game plans as much or more than any team in the league, which leads to a fair amount of turnover at some positions as the Pats look for the right mix for each and every situation.

Special teams work doesn’t fluctuate as much, which means the job profile for players on those units doesn’t change much from game-to-game or season-to-season. Wide receiver Matthew Slater has filled one of those roles quite well for the last seven years and the Patriots have reportedly moved to make sure he’s filling them for a few more.

Field Yates of ESPN reports that Slater, a 2008 fifth-round pick and the son of NFL Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, and the Patriots have agreed on a contract extension that runs through the 2016 season. Slater, who could have become a free agent after this season, will reportedly stand to earn $4 million over the course of the extension.

Slater has made 99 tackles over his seven years with the team and has been named a team captain for the last four seasons.

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Jets wouldn’t let Rex talk about Buddy’s health situation

RexandBuddy Getty Images

Leave it to the Jets to be dysfunctional even in the process of disintegrating under the weight of dysfunction.

According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the Jets blocked coach Rex Ryan from talking to Mehta about a bye-week visit to his ailing father, legendary NFL defensive guru Buddy Ryan.  Buddy, who rose to prominence as defensive coordinator of the ’85 Bears and then coached the Eagles and Cardinals, is battling cancer.

“Ryan was happy to discuss the visit, but a media relations official intervened presumably because of the News’ critical stories about Idzik,” Mehta wrote.  “Asked who made the decision to prevent a willing Ryan from sharing stories about his father, the media relations official said, ‘I don’t have to tell you.'”

Mehta interprets the muzzling of Rex Ryan as proof positive that, once the season ends, Ryan will no longer be the team’s head coach.  Apparently, the team fears that Rex would become more sympathetic in the eyes of the fan base if he’s dumped by the team at a time when his father is fighting a serious illness.

That sounds more than a little goofy, but why else would the Jets not let Ryan talk about his father, especially when his father is a famous former NFL coach?

The disclosure comes as part of a broader column in which Mehta goes all in against G.M. John Idzik, arguing that Idzik should be fired, too.  Although an unlikely upset of the Steelers seemed to go a long way toward saving Idzik, a 35-point Monday night blowout loss to the Bills may have pushed the needle the other way.

With Ryan surely done, the question becomes whether he’ll win enough games down the stretch to save Idzik.  If it was Idzik who gave the order to keep Rex from talking about Buddy, Rex should mail in the last five.

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Jamal Anderson charged with DUI in Atlanta

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Former Falcons running back Jamal Anderson has landed in some legal hot water in Atlanta.

Anderson was arrested and charged with DUI last Friday evening after an off-duty police officer found him passed out behind the wheel of his car in the travel lanes of I-85. The officer called Georgia State Police and a state trooper said he found Anderson “unsteady on his feet” with bloodshot eyes.

“I asked Anderson why he was stopped in the middle of the interstate, noting that it was extremely dangerous and asked him if he was trying to hurt himself,” the trooper said in the police report, via the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “He stated that he wasn’t trying to hurt himself and didn’t really have a good explanation as to why he had parked in the middle of the interstate.”

Anderson told officers he had been drinking the night before, but refused to take a field sobriety test. He was arrested, charged with DUI and improper stopping in the roadway and booked into Gwinnett County jail.

Anderson faced a DUI charge in 2012 as well and wound up pleading guilty to a charge of reckless driving. His sentence included a fine, probation and court-mandated attendance at a drunk driving impact panel.

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Lance Briggs expects groin injury to keep him out “a few weeks”

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears Getty Images

Longtime Bears linebacker Lance Briggs knows the clock is ticking.

And his time in Chicago might be even shorter than he imagined, thanks to a groin injury picked up last week.

Briggs said during his weekly show on CSN Chicago that his groin issue would likely keep him out “a few weeks.”

While originally mentioned as a game-time decision for Thursday’s game with the Lions, that likely knocks him out for the game.

With only four games left, it’s unclear how many times Briggs will suit up for the Bears again, since he’s accepted the fact he’s probably not going to do it in Chicago next season.

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Wednesday morning one-liners

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

Bills WR Robert Woods made the Jets pay for single coverage.

The Dolphins have had some bad luck.

Patriots QB Tom Brady and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers have never started against each other, until Sunday.

The latest “Fire John Idzik” billboard tells Woody Johnson to sell the Jets if he’s not going to make a wholesale change.

The Ravens’ Monday night win gives their playoff hopes a shot in the arm.

Cincinnati needs OT Marshall Newhouse to step up in place of OT Andre Smith.

The Browns have a meaningful game with the Bills in late November. Who saw that coming?

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says the team just needs to take care of business: “If we do what we need to do on a week-in and week-out basis in terms of our business in our stadium, then it’s not going to be required that we look around. We play some significant people moving forward.”

Texans DE J.J. Watt delivered some pizza to Houston police officers and firefighters.

Will running woes plague the Colts in the playoffs?

Jaguars coach Gus Bradley bristled at questions about whether his assistant coaches are getting the job done.

Members of the Titans are volunteering to feed the homeless this Thanksgiving.

Said Broncos coach John Fox of getting LB Danny Trevathan back from a knee injury, “We won’t give him a lot of work because we’re not getting him game ready yet. He hasn’t played football for a while. He will participate in individual drills and probably some scout-team work just to get him back into playing shape.”

The Chiefs added DL Nick Williams to the active roster to replace S Eric Berry.

Said Raiders coach Tony Sparano of FB Marcel Reece, “The thing that I’ve noticed is that he’s a guy who, when given the opportunity to run the football, makes yards that way, no matter when.”

The Chargers helped get 1,000 people to donate blood in San Diego.

Said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett of Eagles coach Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense, “It certainly challenges you. It’s different than what the NFL has seen for a number of years, but it’s been in place here for a little bit. You have to be ready to play an up-tempo style of offense and you have to be able to get yourself lined up and play sound defense against it.”

Eagles QB Mark Sanchez and Cowboys QB Tony Romo are both hoping to re-shape their reputations with a run to the playoffs this year.

Here’s a look at some of the Giants who should be part of the franchise’s future.

Is Jay Gruden doing what Dan Snyder hired him to do?

Bears DE Willie Young is excited to return to Detroit.

His numbers are way down, but Lions WR Calvin Johnson says he’s the same guy he’s been for years.

As the Packers prepare for the Patriots on Sunday, are they also preparing for their Super Bowl opponent?

A bum knee is bad news for Vikings LT Matt Kalil.

The Falcons are leading a historically awful division.

It may be Amini Silatolu’s turn at right tackle for the Panthers.

If the Saints get to six wins, is that enough to get to the playoffs?

Buccaneers QB Josh McCown says the defense played well enough to win on Sunday.

Said Cardinals coach Bruce Arians of his rookie defensive lineman, “Josh Mauro would have gotten a game ball if we would have won the game. He played his tail off, stout at the point of attack. Really, really nice surprise.”

Rams WR Stedman Bailey is finally emerging as a part of the passing game.

The 49ers say they’re not seeking revenge against the Seahawks on Thanksgiving.

The Seahawks have generally kept 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick from using his big arm to his advantage.

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J.J. Watt, human being, thanks cops and firemen with free lunch

J.J. Watt AP

Proving it’s possible to be a star player, be in many commercials, and still be a human being, J.J. Watt continues to impress on and off the field.

Via the Houston Chronicle, Watt had pizzas delivered to police and a fire station in Houston, thanking them for their service.

“You show up day in and day out, never knowing what the day might hold and never getting enough thanks for what you do, yet you still continue to put others ahead of yourselves,” Watt said in a hand-written note.

While the gesture is impressive, Watt’s handwriting is also perfect, which is one more reason to wonder if he’s a real person, or was born on Krypton and sent to save the planet Earth.

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Jim Caldwell: Lions have no comfort zone on offense

Detroit Lions v New England Patriots Getty Images

Going two weeks without a touchdown is a sign that things aren’t working for your offense, but the signs were there for the Lions even before they lost their last two games while scoring a total of 15 points.

They are scoring their fewest points per game since the 2009 season, haven’t run for a touchdown since the seventh week of the season and they’ve had to patch together an offensive line around injuries that have sapped the unit’s effectiveness. According to quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is coming off a career-low in completion percentage in Week 12, it’s left the team “trying to figure out what we’re really, really good at.”

Coach Jim Caldwell believes there’s nothing the team is really, really good at right now, however.

“We have no comfort zone,” Caldwell said, via “We have no area that we are comfortable with at this point in time with our offense.”

That’s clearly not where you’d like to find yourself heading into the final month of the regular season, especially since the offensive issues have been widespread enough that it’s hard to believe everything is just going to click into place all of a sudden.

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Jets name Geno Smith starting quarterback

Geno Smith AP

Geno Smith is back as the Jets’ starting quarterback.

The Jets announced this morning that Smith, not Michael Vick, will start on Monday night against the Dolphins.

Jets coach Rex Ryan met with both Smith and Vick this morning and informed them that he has made the switch. Vick had a disastrous game against the Bills on Monday night, and Smith was slightly better after Vick was benched, so that may have been what made Ryan make the decision.

It’s also possible that the decision wasn’t up to Ryan. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported that Ryan preferred Vick — but that the decision might be taken from Ryan by G.M. John Idzik and owner Woody Johnson.

Regardless, the Jets are going nowhere this season. And the quarterback to lead them in the future probably isn’t on the roster right now.

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Math, trustworthy, shows Washington better with Luck not RG3

Griffin and Luck shake hands at midfield after their NFL preseason football game in Landover, Maryland Reuters

In the 2012, the Colts had a choice — Stanford’s Andrew Luck or Baylor’s Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.

Washington was going to take the other one.

And with Griffin benched, it looks like this is shaping up like another Colts draft call — when they took Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf.

But the numbers show that if the roles were reversed, RG3 might not be as big a disaster as he is now.

The website ran 50,000 computer simulations which put Luck in Washington and Griffin in Indianapolis. The verdict’s hardly surprising.

“If Luck were the starter all season in Washington, the Redskins would be projected to win the NFC East with a 10-6 record. Indianapolis, with RG3 would finish second in the AFC South behind Houston with a projected 7.5 wins.

Luck would be projected to throw for 4,529 yards, 34 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in Jay Gruden’s offense. RG3, assuming a full healthy season, would be projected to throw for 2,994 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions as a Colt.”

Washington would probably have taken that kind of line out of Griffin, and he might not have been benched if he were playing that well.

We already know the Rams are glad to have traded with Washington, so there are at least two teams grateful for how this one has turned out.

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Aaron Rodgers: It’s not me against Tom Brady

Aaron Rodgers AP

Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have both been around the NFL long enough that they are running low on new things to experience in the professional ranks.

One of the few things left on each man’s list will get checked off on Sunday when Brady and the Patriots hit Lambeau Field to face the Packers. Brady and Rodgers have never started the same game, adding some intrigue to a game that already had plenty by pitting the two hottest teams in football against each other.

Rodgers, who missed a 2010 matchup with the Patriots because of injury, is focusing on the team part of things this week instead of on his matchup with a player who won’t be on the field at the same time or the lack of a foil like Peyton Manning has been to Brady over the years.

“I have a ton of respect for them in their careers, but again I don’t ever look at it like it’s one quarterback against another. It takes 11 every single play to be effective. We play against some great teams in the NFC all the time. They’ve spent their careers in the AFC and that’s kind of the way it’s gone,” Rodgers said on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show. “I’d like to think that at some point by the end of my career, I’ll have a number of matchups against a quarterback in the NFC who they like, much in the way that they like Brady and Manning, and they can make some comparison there, but I won’t have any void from not playing those guys. I’d rather not; they’re great players.”

Rodgers is right about it being 11-on-11 obviously, but it’s a quarterback-driven league and the fact that we’ve never seen Brady and Rodgers in the same game means that it’s an angle that will get played heavily between now and Sunday’s kickoff. And the accompanying noise will only grow should the teams remain hot and force a second meeting that comes much quicker than the first.

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Jason Avant compares himself to NBA great Tim Duncan

Carolina Panthers v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

It’s hard to remember a player who has sounded so relieved at getting fired.

But Jason Avant, cut by the 3-7-1 Panthers after he made some comments critical of the offense, is now back in an offense he knows and loves and trusts. He said he wanted to sign with coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs this offseason, yet he ended up in Carolina, where he was little more than a stable pony.

“He’s had big receivers like [Dwayne] Bowe, smaller receivers like DeSean [Jackson], . . . and he’s able to use guys in the right way,” Avant said, via Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star. “He looks at everybody as having an ability. Everyone has a strength and he tries to find that strength and use it to their ability and also to the team’s best interest.

“I’m pretty sure coach Reid is going to move me around as he sees fit. I believe in what he’s preaching. I believe in everything he’s about, so I trust him in whatever that decision is.”

Gosh, when he says it like that, it sounds like he wasn’t a fan of the offensive stylings of Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula.
But Avant was in the mood to take shots during his reunion, he was more interested in explaining how he can play a role for a team that hasn’t gotten the most out of their wide receivers (they’re still waiting for their first touchdown from a wideout this year).

“You see Tim Duncan still play at a high level because he was a fundamental person,” Avant said of the NBA’s best post player for the last two decades. “So when his talent or speed kind of diminished, he was still able to play at a high level because he learned the game the right way. That’s what I want to be as a pro — learn the game the right way and as I get older, I’m still able to perform at a high level.”

The Panthers thought he was far less than Tim Duncan, that’s for sure. So it will be interesting to see if he returns to the productive player he was for Reid in Philadelphia.

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DeMarco Murray has no doubts he can keep up workload

DeMarco Murray AP

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray continues to lead the NFL by a wide margin in both rushing attempts and rushing yards and he also leads the league in questions about whether he can keep up his current pace without slowing down or breaking down.

Murray has run the ball 268 times this season, leaving him on pace for 390 carries after 16 games. Murray said Tuesday that he has no doubts that he’ll be able to continue working at that pace for the rest of the year and that he’s actually feeling better now than he was during the early part of the season.

“As the year goes on, you feel better,” Murray said, via the Dallas Morning News. “I feel like I’ve gotten stronger throughout the year, so I have to continue to work hard during the week and it’ll show up on Sundays.”

Injuries can strike at inopportune moments, of course, but Murray certainly hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down to this point. He keeps churning out similar performances behind the Cowboys’ high-performing offensive line and there’s little reason to predict otherwise as long as those holes keep opening with regularity.

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Rex Ryan sounds like a man who knows what’s coming

Rex Ryan AP

Boastful Rex Ryan is so much more fun, with all his jokes and playoff promises.

Beat-down-by-life Rex Ryan’s kind of depressing, watching him acknowledge that’s almost certainly fired.

Ryan’s tone was downcast when he met with Jets reporters yesterday, following their latest catastrophe, a 38-3 loss to the Bills.

We’re running out of tomorrows,” Ryan said, via Seth Walder of the New York Daily News.

Ryan has to know what’s coming, because he called this a month ago. When the Jets were 1-4, he said in a radio interview that “if… we don’t get this thing on the right track, I don’t think for a minute I’ll be here.”
They’ve gone 1-5 since then.

“My thoughts haven’t changed,” Ryan said Tuesday. “I know we have to clearly get better.”

With the Jets mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, and Ryan admitting it’s time to play some younger guys, it’s hard to see how that’s going to happen.

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J’Marcus Webb tweets he’s signing with Vikings

San Diego Chargers v Chicago Bears Getty Images

After hosting free agent tackles J’Marcus Webb and Eric Winston for workouts on Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings have apparently made a decision on their replacement option for injured right tackle Phil Loadholt.

Webb tweeted Tuesday night that he is re-signing with the Vikings.

Webb appeared in eight games for Minnesota in 2013 while making one start. Webb had played his first three seasons for the Chicago Bears before joining the Vikings last season.

The Vikings will likely turn to Mike Harris to take over as the starter in place of Loadholt with Webb replacing Harris as the backup tackle.

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