Mike Florio talks with Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to discuss the realistic chance the Cowboys have of making the playoff this year. If DeMarco Murray is active for the ‘Boys, does that increase they’re postseason likelihood? Williams says it’s a possibility, but don’t count on it.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Cowboys have a realistic postseason shot?
The Falcons moved Vic Beasley to linebacker this offseason in hopes of putting him in position to better rush the passer in his second season after being drafted eighth overall in 2015.
Beasley missed a little time this summer with a shoulder sprain, but said it wasn’t the reason why he failed to register a sack or quarterback hit in a quiet outing against the Falcons on Thursday night against a Dolphins offensive line that’s been a subject of concern in Miami.
“Nah, it ain’t working right now,” Beasley said, via ESPN.com. “I have to go to the film room, go to the practice film, and try to critique some thing. It is [frustrating] at times. I just know I have to keep working. … I know what’s expected of me, but it’s not a sense of pressure. It’s just what’s expected of me. I just have to keep attacking each day.”
Beasley isn’t the only reason Atlanta’s pass rush is falling short. Dwight Freeney didn’t play on Thursday because of a back strain and Adrian Clayborn, the only regular with a sack thus far in the preseason, had to leave with a shoulder injury. Everyone will need to be better, but being drafted so early means there’s going to be a particular spotlight on Beasley this season and that sense of pressure will likely come if he doesn’t produce.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones might not like that running back Ezekiel Elliott was photographed at a legal marijuana dispensary in Seattle, but he probably likes that there wasn’t any sign of a mellow Elliott in his first game action of the preseason.
Elliott ran for 48 yards on seven carries against the Seahawks and showed no qualms about initiating contact with Seattle defenders in an effort to grind out a few more yards at the end of runs. Some of those collisions came with Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor, who said after the game that he was surprised by Elliott’s willingness to take on contact.
“I was, because there was no film on him,” Chancellor said, via the Seattle Times. “I didn’t know if he was going to juke me or not, so I was a little surprised. But not the second time. Second time you know I’m bringing that wood. I was a little surprised the first time, but he has a lot of courage for that. I’ll give it to him. But if it was a full game, it would have been a bloodbath.”
Chancellor picked up a personal foul for hitting Elliott late on an incomplete pass, something he said wasn’t meant as a “Welcome to the NFL” moment for a rookie who wasn’t showing any fear of getting hit. Chancellor might not have been sending a message with that hit, but Elliott was — “I had to let them know I belong here” — and it’s unlikely that any defenders will face him in the future without knowing that there’s going to be a lot of hitting.
Throughout the long spell this offseason when the Jets and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick were unable to agree on a new contract, wide receiver Brandon Marshall consistently expressed his hope that Fitzpatrick would be back at the helm of the offense in 2016.
Marshall wasn’t always so positive about Fitzpatrick, however. At the start of training camp in 2015, Marshall said he thought “we’re in trouble” if Geno Smith were to get hurt. Smith would get hurt, of course, and Fitzpatrick would set a Jets record with 31 touchdown passes.
Marshall says Fitzpatrick “proved us wrong” last year and he thinks that life with Fitzpatrick will improve in 2016.
“I actually think he’s better this year,” Marshall said, via the New York Post. “He’s throwing the ball much better, more velocity, he’s throwing it deeper. He seems comfortable back there. He’s looking really good. He’s impressive.”
Marshall thinks it took the offense a long time to jell last season, something that seems less likely to be an issue with everyone back in the same system as last season. With a schedule that features five 2015 playoff teams and a Thursday night game in Buffalo in the first six weeks, it would certainly behoove the Jets to find their groove right off the bat.
Via Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun, veteran wide receiver Steve Smith has already been ruled out by coach John Harbaugh, while wide receiver Breshad Perriman and outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are unlikely to play either.
“He’s not playing in this game – at least that I know of,” Harbaugh said of Smith. “We’ll see. Maybe he’ll be on the side.”
Smith’s coming back from a torn Achilles, and Perriman was just activated from the physically unable to perform list Monday.
As far as the outside linebackers, Harbaugh said Suggs was “fine,” but they’re expected to keep him and Dumervil (activated from the PUP Monday) out anyway, while they look at young pass-rushers Albert McClellan, Matthew Judon and Kamalei Correa.
Berry, the All-Pro safety who has still not signed his franchise tag, remains out of Chiefs camp. And yet with only 16 days before they kick off the season, Chiefs coach Andy Reid still thinks Berry will be there for Week One.
Reid said today on PFT Live that he trusts Berry to be taking good care of himself and ready to play when the Chiefs opened the season, even if he hasn’t practiced.
“Eric’s one of our good players and he’s in the business side of it right now,” Reid said. “This is all part of the profession, so I get it. But I also know when he comes in he’s going to be in great shape, he’ll be able to get himself back before the first game and be ready to go because that’s the way he trains in the offseason and the kind of shape he keeps himself in.”
Berry is so dedicated to fitness that he kept working out while he was undergoing chemotherapy. So Reid is surely correct to think that Berry isn’t just sitting on his couch and eating Twinkies while his teammates are sweating through August practices.
The only question, then, is whether the business side of it will get taken care of. If Berry doesn’t sign his $10.806 million franchise tender in time to play in Week One, he’ll lose $635,647 a week during the regular season. It seems unlikely Berry would leave that kind of money on the table, so it seems like a fair bet that Berry will be back in the fold within the next couple weeks. And Reid thinks he’ll be ready to play.
Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron didn’t have a great first season with the Dolphins in 2015, leading to a pay cut to remain with the team for this season.
Things haven’t gotten off to a great start in Year Two. Cameron dropped a pass in the end zone against the Cowboys last week and had two more catchable passes fall to the turf against the Falcons, including another one that could have been a touchdown. Reports from Dolphins practices have pointed out drops by Cameron as well, but the tight end insists he’s not worried about it.
“I’ve just got to catch the ball,” Cameron said, via the Miami Herald. “It’s football. It’s not my first one, it won’t be my last one. Maybe it’s a funk, but i don’t think about it as much as I think everyone else does. It’s not a concern for me. We’ll get things rolling in the season when it matter.”
Coach Adam Gase pointed out a good Cameron block on running back Arian Foster’s touchdown and shared Cameron’s feeling that he’ll start holding onto the ball soon, but there have been calls for more out of the tight end position from offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen and quarterback Ryan Tannehill this summer. If Cameron’s funk continues much longer, it will likely be time to see if someone else can provide it.
The NFL has various committees that oversee different areas of league business and the chairmen of those committees have long worked closely with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Now they’ll do it in a formal committee of their own. According to multiple reports, Goodell sent a memo to NFL teams announcing the formation of the Chairman’s Committee made up of some of the most prominent members of the group that employs Goodell. Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, Giants owner John Mara, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Texans owner Bob McNair and Steelers president Art Rooney II will serve on the committee.
The name that likely jumps out from that list is Kraft, who has had plenty of negative things to say about the way the league handled Deflategate over the last couple of years. He has remained an influential part of league operations as the chairman of the broadcast committee and member of the finance committee, however, and that keeps him in a prime spot at the table even if he’s been critical of Goodell.
The group isn’t expected to take any votes while serving as advisors for Goodell on the league’s internal priorities and strategies.
Identifying areas of uncertainty for the Dolphins.
Ravens TE Benjamin Watson helped feed first responders to the flooding in Baton Rouge.
The Jaguars are closing in on a plan for the left side of the offensive line.
Will opening on Thursday night affect Broncos roster decisions?
The Raiders will look at several running backs with the first team on Saturday.
The Chargers defensive line is coming together despite missing pieces.
Who will make the Eagles at linebacker?
Five players who can help their chances of making the Redskins on Friday.
Ball security is a priority for the Packers.
A look at what’s different at Panthers home games this year.
The worries about the construction schedule seem to be taken care of, and the Dolphins are confident they’ll be ready to host next week’s preseason finale in refurbished Hard Rock Stadium.
But while they can’t promise they won’t have to deal with weather (with a possible hurricane brewing in the Caribbean), they are taking aggressive steps to keep the stadium free from Zika-carrying mosquitoes.
According to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, team officials are taking extreme measures to kill any and all mosquitoes in the area, even though the stadium is 15 miles from the “Zika zone” in Miami.
They’ve hosed down the 265-acre site with pesticides, and have been treating areas of standing water around the stadium, and using backpack foggers to spray high-risk areas.
Of course, all those chemicals are EPA approved, the Dolphins say, and safe for people, pets and aquatic wildlife.
They’re hoping that eases the minds of their fans, who will then only have to worry about the Dolphins.
Las Vegas is fairly new to the business of being a potential host for professional football, but the group that’s trying to bring the Raiders there is already employing a good old-fashioned NFL shakedown.
According to the Associated Press, the group headed by Sheldon Adelson told a local oversight committee last night that they needed no less than $750 million of public money for the project, and would walk away from their project if they don’t get it.
“Not to be difficult, but we’re not negotiable,” said Sands president Rob Goldstein, who spoke on behalf of billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his family. “If we can’t get 750, we respectfully thank you but we’re going to move on.”
Of course, there are critics of the plan, as there are every place when NFL business is built on the back of public money.
“There’s been a lot of conversation on why are we giving money to billionaires,” said Steve Hill, chairman of the oversight committee and head of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “The public is not making a contribution to a privately owned stadium.”
Goldstein said the total cost of the project was going to be $1.9 billion, and he said the list of proposed sites was down to two. They also showed off renderings of a proposed 65,000-seat domed stadium.
The Raiders haven’t been able to get their current hometown to come up with $500 million toward keeping them in Oakland, and have been working on Las Vegas in earnest, even applying to trademark “Las Vegas Raiders.”
Adelson and his company are also trying to rush the project through a September special legislative session, so they can secure the funding before the next NFL owners meeting in January.
Marijuana is legal for recreational use in two of the 22 states in which the NFL does business. It’s legal, that is, for everyone except the NFL players who live in, work in, or visit those states.
The Cowboys visited the Seahawks on Thursday in Washington, one of the two states were marijuana legally can be purchased. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was photographed in a store that sells marijuana. There’s no evidence he bought any or that he smoked any. Regardless, his boss doesn’t approve of Zeke’s weed window shopping.
“Well, I think that, in and of itself, the reason we are talking about is in a way part of the learning process,” Jones said after Thursday’s game, via Clarence E. Hill, Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “But it’s not good. It’s just not good. It’s just not good.”
Setting aside the fact that Jones has been photographed in compromising situations that weren’t illegal but that were at least ill-advised, why is it not good that Elliott was looking at marijuana that was legally for sale if there’s no evidence he bought it or smoked it? While behavior can get a player evaluated for placement in the substance-abuse program, behaving like a tourist is a far cry from behaving like a pothead, Focker.
It still doesn’t look good, but only because of the NFL’s Big-Shield-Knows-Best mandate regarding things a player can and can’t do on his own time. (And because the Cowboys have more than a few guys who consistently choose consuming banned substances over football.) The mere fact that a guy walking down the street and passing a store can’t even go in the store and look but don’t touch underscores the folly of the league’s lingering finger wagging over marijuana.
But the marijuana ban is here to stay, in part because the issue has become part of the broader push-and-pull of collective bargaining — and in part because the NFL Players Association knows that it’s relatively easy for players not in the program to smoke, if they want to. Regardless of whether they do, they should be able to walk into a store that sells it without being called out by their coach, owner, or anyone else.
The Falcons have some problems coming out of last night’s game against the Dolphins. But apparently the condition of star receiver Julio Jones isn’t one.
Jones left the game with an ankle injury in the second quarter, but it’s apparently not so bad, since coach Dan Quinn said he’d be back on the practice field as soon as this weekend.
“I think Julio will hopefully be back in short order and hopefully as quick as Sunday,” Quinn said, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. “I think he definitely wanted to go back in. And just for me, it was a coach’s decision where I said, ‘OK, you’re done.’ He definitely wanted to go. He was loose and ready to go.”
Given his importance to the team, and his not-insignificant injury history, keeping him tucked away was the wise decision.
The rest, the Falcons are going to have to wait and see on. First-round safety Keanu Neal (knee) and veteran defensive end Adrian Clayborn (shoulder) will have MRIs today to determine the severity of their injuries.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo left Thursday night’s preseason game with a back injury, but he said afterward that he’s fine.
In fact, Romo said after the game that he was glad to take a hard hit, which he said has him mentally ready for the 2016 season after an injury-plagued 2015.
“In a weird way I feel good about the fact that – that was probably as tough a hit I took on the back as I have in the last five years,” Romo said. “From that regard, I feel very lucky that it can hold up and you can keep going.”
Romo said the hit he took from Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril hurt at first, but he felt fine within a few minutes and wanted to go back in the game.
“At the moment when you go down – you crunch. And so your back gets squished,” he said. “You kind of feel the, almost like a sensation of if someone gave you a stinger in your shoulder or something – where it just feels hot for a second and then that just dissipates after a minute.”
With Romo out, Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott continued his strong preseason, completing 17 of 23 passes for 116 yards, with a touchdown and no interceptions. Prescott’s preseason play has many in Dallas thinking they can withstand a Romo injury this year. But they’d prefer not to find out.
Falcons first-round safety Keanu Neal had a short night Thursday due to a knee issue, but signs point to Neal having avoided major injury.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported late Thursday night that Neal was telling teammates he believes he’ll be OK and ready to play in the season opener vs. the Buccaneers.
Neal was slow getting up after trying to make a tackle in the first quarter of Thursday night’s preseason game vs. the Dolphins. He ended up walking gingerly to the sideline after talking with trainers, then later was taken to the locker room.
Neal will undoubtedly continue to be evaluated and receive treatment as the Falcons return to Atlanta. He has more than two weeks until the Sept. 11 season opener, and being able to play in that game will be his focus.
The fourth overall pick from this year’s NFL Draft put on an impressive performance in his preseason debut on Thursday night.
Elliott had carries of 9, 9, 13 and 8 yards as part of Dallas’ seven-play, 81-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter that gave the Cowboys a 7-0 lead over Seattle.
He flashed speed in getting to the edges of the Seahawks’ defense, an ability to find creases between the tackles and ran over oncoming defenders. Elliott even won a couple of collisions with Seattle safety Kam Chancellor.
Elliott had been sidelined due to a hamstring injury suffered in the early stages of training camp. It didn’t look to be any issue Thursday night.