Mike Florio recaps Week 12 in the NFL season by starting with the Giants’ dominating win over the Packers and if it’s too early to rule any team out of the playoff picture. He also discusses the suspension of two Seahawks CBs and the wide open NFC playoff chase.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Recapping a wild Week 12
Coach Jim Caldwell isn’t so sure. Caldwell said Thursday that Houston has a clean slate with the new coaching staff after a season that saw him deal with a toe injury and his father’s name coming up during former NFL wide receiver Sam Hurd’s drug trafficking trial, but pointed out that a rebound is far from certain after such a sharp drop in productivity.
“I’m not certain,” Caldwell said, via the Detroit Free Press. “You’re never 100 percent certain about anything. I can’t be certain if I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning. Tomorrow’s not promised to me, so I’m not certain. We’ll see. He’s a young man, and typically, they heal pretty quickly, unlike old guys like me. We anticipate that he’ll come along, but we’ll have to just wait and see.”
Caldwell said Houston’s toe problem is still affecting him and the uncertainty about Houston’s future could lead the Lions to look for help at corner during the draft. Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert visited on Thursday and could be a possibility with the 10th pick in the first round. That wouldn’t make a Houston rebound unnecessary, but it would give the team another option in the event Houston can’t recover his old form.
The NFL will have its kickers try longer extra points in the first two weeks of the preseason.
However, the attempts will be shorter than first announced in March.
NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said Thursday that the longer preseason extra points will be snapped from the 15-yard-line, not the 20-yard-line, Bob Glauber of Newsday reported.
According to Glauber, Blandino said the NFL’s Competition Committee suggested the change. Glauber also reported that some teams believed extra points snapped from the 20 would be exceedingly challenging.
In March, NFL owners tabled a proposal to move the line of scrimmage on extra points to the 25-yard-line. However, the league did agree to try the extra points from the 20 in the preseason.
Now, the line of scrimmage has been moved five yards closer for those early-preseason extra points. For those looking for a serious, lasting shakeup to the staid extra point, today’s news is a downer.
The case of Aldon Smith’s fake bomb threat is being passed around like a real hot potato.
First, LAX police gave the file to the LAPD Criminal Conspiracy Unit. Now, the L.A. County district attorney’s office has punted the prosecution to the L.A. city attorney.
According to the Associated Press, the case has been sent from the county D.A. to the city D.A. for “misdemeanor consideration.” That’s good news for Smith, who previously was facing a potential felony charge.
There’s a chance Smith ultimately faces no prosecution at all, if the powers-that-be decide he was making a really dumb joke. But if they decide to deter non-celebrities from making similarly dumb jokes in an airport security line, they should consider pushing the issue.
Mark Cuban may have been right.
It took me a while to type that. I don’t want Mark Cuban to be right, for various reasons. Including, you know, Mark Cuban.
But I’ve come to wonder whether Cuban may be on to something when he talks about the NFL getting too big for its own good. Of the league getting so big that the audience becomes taken for granted.
Whatever the motivation — the given excuse was a scheduling conflict at Radio City Music Hall for an event that eventually was canceled due to lack of interest — the NFL’s decision to bump back the draft by two weeks has been as much of a dud as the NFL-sanctioned film Draft Day. A palpable fatigue has emerged regarding the draft. We sense it, and we (or at least I) currently have it.
While the league reportedly would like to space out the three major offseason tent poles (Scouting Combine, free agency, and draft) to March, April, and May, respectively, moving the draft to May while leaving the other two in place has created the worst thing any media-driven industry can have: A lull.
No one likes the lull. Also, agents don’t like the fact that teams have more times to ask players to engage in private workouts. Teams don’t like having more time to evaluate and obsess and think and re-think.
As one G.M. said via text on Wednesday night, “Remind me again why the draft is not tomorrow? Is it so we can see another two weeks of mock drafts?”
We’ve yet to hear from anyone who likes the two-week delay, and the extended vacuum that it creates in the offseason.
By the time the draft begins, nearly two months will have passed since the start of free agency. And while the schedule release provided a temporary oasis from the lagging of the offseason calendar, a feeling remains that too much time is elapsing between major offseason events.
Here’s hoping the NFL, in its admirable desire to always improve the product, recognizes and admits that the effort to improve the product by delaying the draft by two weeks hasn’t. Here’s hoping that the NFL moves the draft back to what would have been tonight, keeping it there unless and until the other two major offseason events move deeper into the calendar as well.
Will the Vikings draft a quarterback with the eighth overall pick in the NFL draft? That’s the big question as we examine the Vikings’ draft needs.
Three years ago, the Vikings used their first-round pick on a quarterback, Christian Ponder. Although Ponder remains on the roster, no one thinks he’s the franchise quarterback of the future. That raises the question of whether the Vikings will use this year’s first-round pick on a quarterback. If they do, Blake Bortles of Central Florida, Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville and Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M are all candidates.
But quarterback is far from the only need for a team that also has question marks at several other positions and is coming off a very disappointing 2013 season. The Vikings may be better off turning elsewhere at No. 8.
Tell us what you think the Vikings should do, and check out our look at the Vikings’ draft needs here.
The Ravens have reportedly reached a deal with wide receiver LaQuan Williams, who played 23 regular season games for the club from 2011 through 2012.
Williams indicated he would be returning to Baltimore on his verified Twitter account. The Baltimore Sun and WNST-AM in Baltimore also reported Williams’ agreement with the Ravens. According to Aaron Wilson of the Sun, Williams will receive a one-year contract.
The 25-year-old Williams notched nine special teams tackles and caught four passes for 46 yards in his two seasons with the Ravens. The club waived him in September 2013. After his departure from Baltimore, Williams had a 10-day stint with the Patriots during the 2013 regular season.
A University of Maryland product, Williams seems likely to compete for the reserve wideout and special teams coverage roles he had in his previous stint in Baltimore.
The Bears, who signed tailback Shaun Draughn on Wednesday, also took a look another veteran running back with kick-returning experience yesterday.
According to Howard Balzer of The Sports Xchange, the Bears tried out Darius Reynaud, who had stints with the Jets and Titans a season ago. Other media outlets have also reported Reynaud’s workout for Chicago.
The 29-year-old Reynaud has made his biggest impact as a kickoff and punt returner on the NFL level. The sixth-year pro from West Virginia has returned 104 kickoffs for 2,347 yards, and he has brought back 102 punts for 985 yards. He has three career return touchdowns: two on punts and one on a kickoff.
The Bears allowed Devin Hester to leave in free agency, leaving the club a little more unsettled at the returner positions than it’s been in some time. However, the Bears do have multiple players with return experience on the roster, with Draughn, Eric Weems and Josh Morgan among the potential candidates to return kicks.
An expanded NFL playoff field is probably inevitable, even if it’s not imminent.
But don’t tell that to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Goodell told Bob Glauber of Newsday that owners would discuss the proposal at their May 20 meeting in Atlanta, with a vote possible.
Of course, even the owners involved aren’t sure it can be fast-tracked for the 2014 season, with Giants president John Mara saying this week he wasn’t sure there was time to implement such a plan for the coming season.
Then there’s also the matter of getting the players to sign off.
Mara noted “my guess is that it’s going to pass at some point,” and that’s probably the right approach to take. Even if some believe the NFL risks oversaturation by fiddling with a good product, the move to 14 teams looks like something that’s happening, and the only real discussion is the when.
Making an NFL schedule is complicated enough, but with the Vikings in someone else’s building, it added a layer to the proceedings.
According to Master Tesfatsion of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the league had to work around a number of requests from the University of Minnesota while the Vikings are using TCF Bank Stadium.
The agreement between the Vikings and the school said that the Vikings could only have one weeknight game when class was in session (which they avoided by playing their Thursday night game on the road).
They also have to work preseason games around move-in week in August, and finals in December. The Vikings play at Detroit while Minnesota students are studying for finals.
The Vikings and Gophers will only have one shared weekend of home games, when the University plays Northwestern on Oct. 11 and the Vikings host the Lions the next day. (So much purple in Minneapolis that weekend, even Prince will be confused.)
Perhaps most importantly, they were able to avoid conflicts with the Minnesota State Fair (Aug. 21-Sept. 1).
For the sake of the enthusiasts of walleye-on-a-stick and rhubarb pie contests, we can all breathe a sigh of relief for that.
Since the draft should be today but won’t be today because the NFL moved it to two weeks from today, we’ll spend today and the next 13 tomorrows wondering what will happen when draft day finally is today.
The guy about which everyone wonders the most is quarterback Johnny Manziel. Though some continue to insist Manziel won’t be taken in round one, we’d be shocked if he’s on the board when Thursday night ends.
We won’t be shocked if Manziel hears his name called in the top 10. The latest team to join the list of potential top-10 teams that could take Manziel is the Buccaneers.
Ed Werder of ESPN reports that the Buccaneers would “seriously consider” taking Manziel, if he’s on the board at No. 7. The Bucs see Manziel as being “very unique,” having a “good arm and accuracy,” and generally being a “great athlete.”
That all may be true, but we can’t help but “seriously consider” whether the Bucs would like to see someone cut the line in front of the Buccaneers and take Manziel, pushing down the board a player the Bucs actually prefer. There’s otherwise no reason to let it be known that the Bucs would take Manziel.
But since we’ve got two more weeks to go, get ready for more smokescreens and obfuscations (hey, watch your mouth) before the time comes to pick the players.
The headliner at Candlestick’s Park final concert is a legendary musical performer who has some experience playing at the soon-to-be closed stadium.
The show, according to PaulMcCartney.com, has been tabbed “Farewell to Candlestick: The Final Concert.”
PaulMcCartney.com bills itself as the “Official Website” of the 72-year-old performer.
Earlier this month, the San Francisco Chronicle had reported that the 49ers had wanted McCartney to perform the first show at Levi’s Stadium.
According to McCartney’s website, The Beatles’ final concert was at Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says the Houston Texans have only one option with the first overall pick in the NFL draft: Select former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
“Yeah, I think you have to,” Spurrier said when asked by Dan Patrick if the Texans should take Clowney.
Spurrier said if there was a franchise quarterback like Andrew Luck in this draft, it might be a different story. But Spurrier doesn’t believe any of the quarterbacks in this year’s draft is that kind of elite talent, and as a result he says CLowney is the clear choice.
“He’s a really good football player, and obviously pass rushing is what he does best,” Spurrier said. “He’s a pass rusher like nobody I think I’ve ever seen in college football.”
Spurrier has been candid about Clowney not always having the best work ethic, but that doesn’t change the fact that there’s no question about who the most talented player in this draft is. That’s Clowney.
Linebacker Josh Hull was released by the Redskins earlier this month, but it looks like he’s landed a new job.
Adam Caplan of ESPN reports that the Patriots have signed Hull to a one-year deal.
No financial terms were disclosed, but it is unlikely that Hull got more than the minimum salary for a player with four years in the league. Hull had 14 tackles in 11 games for the Redskins last year in a special teams role. The 2010 seventh-round pick also played 28 games for the Rams before they cut him at the end of the summer.
His work in St. Louis was mostly on special teams as well, so you’d expect that New England will be asking him to compete for a role on those units in 2014.
It seems like the Scouting Combine was forever ago, but some prospects are heading back to Indianapolis for one of the final steps in the pre-draft process.
According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton is among a group of players going back to Indy for a medical re-check.
Players are given vigorous and thorough examinations at the Combine, and teams view those checks as the main benefit of the event. Any players with red flags then are brought back in for a re-check later.
Crichton had a stinger, which was the reason he has to head back, but said he had no serious neck issues.
Assuming the physical confirms that, Crichton could be a second-round selection.
The NFL Draft kicks off two weeks from tonight and we’ll be looking ahead to it on Thursday’s PFT Live.
Former NFL defensive back Corey Chavous of DraftNasty.com will join Mike Florio to break down the latest about what he’s hearing about how things will play out over three days next month. They’ll take a look at players who could go earlier and later than expected, profile some lesser known prospects and more when Chavous drops by the show.
The NFL schedule was released on Wednesday night and we’d like to hear what PFT Planet thinks about it, the draft and everything else in the NFL. Florio will be responding to those thoughts during the show, so send them in on Twitter — @ProFootballTalk — or give a call to 888-237-5269 to share what’s on your mind.
Whether you have a question or not, it all gets started at noon ET and you can watch it all live by clicking right here.