Such that it matters, they’re going to play a football game in Kansas City tomorrow.
But when the Panthers line up against the grieving Chiefs, they’ll do it without running back Jonathan Stewart.
Such that it matters, they’re going to play a football game in Kansas City tomorrow.
But when the Panthers line up against the grieving Chiefs, they’ll do it without running back Jonathan Stewart.
The Dolphins announced a series of transactions Tuesday morning, including the signing of one rookie quarterback and the release of another.
The Dolphins added three players, including Seth Lobato, an undrafted free agent quarterback from Northern Colorado. The 23-year-old Lobato completed 56.6 percent of his passes in his collegiate career (637-of-1126), throwing 53 touchdowns. The Colts waived Lobato (6-6, 223) in June.
The Dolphins also signed tight end Brett Brackett (6-5, 246) and defensive end D’Aundre Reed (6-4, 260). Brackett, 26, was with the Cardinals earlier in the offseason, while the 26-year-old Reed was let go by the Jaguars in April. Reed was active for six games with Minnesota in 2012.
To make room for the three additions, the Dolphins waived three undrafted rookies: quarterback Brock Jensen (North Dakota State), linebacker Derrell Johnson (East Carolina) and offensive guard Davonte Wallace (New Mexico State). Wallace was waived-injured.
Unlike most of his peers, Eagles coach Chip Kelly is willing to pull the curtain back on the draft process and admit that it’s more blind luck than science.
“You don’t know how it’s going to pan out,” Kelly said the morning after round one of the 2014 draft. “Just going through the analytics of it, 50 percent of first-round picks don’t make it. That’s through the history of time.”
More recently, Kelly bemoaned the hype around the draft, which is driven in large part by the ever-growing draft-expert machine. Apart from the fact that the draft experts never acknowledge that half the prospects bust and that we don’t know and won’t know who they are until they’re in the NFL, Kelly believes that, for some guys, the hype makes it harder to not be a bust.
“I think a lot of times the hype turns into really, really hard times for the individual who got picked, because there’s so many expectations of everyone building them up to be Superman because they had three months to write about them and talk about them,” Kelly told Peter King.
Kelly was asked to elaborate on his point during a Monday press conference, specifically as it relates to the hype surrounding second-round receiver Jordan Matthews. While Kelly said he’s not concerned about the talk regarding Matthews, who already has been compared to Terrell Owens, Kelly explained his position on draft hype generally.
“I think the draft is integral obviously with putting together your team but literally from the day the Super Bowl ends until the draft, at the ending of May, or the beginning of June or maybe push it to July at some point in time; that’s all everybody talks about,” Kelly said. “I felt the same way in college. You devote everything to the signing day. Well, how many of those guys on the signing day are actually going to contribute? You may have one or two of your rookies that have an impact on your team but the rest of them it’s a part of having them develop. . . .
“The fact that people would watch the Combine; there’s times at the Combine where I fall asleep,” Kelly added. “So I don’t know why people watch it on television. They are running 40‑yard dashes.”
Kelly then reiterated his comparison of the draft-hype dynamic to other industries.
“[Y]ou guys are in the newspaper business,” Kelly said. “If someone is a rookie coming into the newspaper thing, I don’t think you all just start applauding and saying, ‘Oh my God, the savior is here and our paper is safe because we just signed a kid out of Northwestern because the kid has really good prose.’ But in football it seems to be the biggest deal in the world and if a guy is not an All‑Pro in his first year but he was drafted in the first five picks, obviously he’s a bust.”
Kelly is right. But what he didn’t say is that the NFL ultimately stirs the draft-hype drink via a TV and online media machine that no one will pay attention to if it’s not generating content.
I’m not complaining. We cover the draft and the hype and everything that goes along with it. But we’re always honest about the fact that there’s a disconnect between the impression that the draft experts have it all figured out and the reality that no one does.
Still, if the NFL or the rest of the draft-expert industry would use slogans like “Tune in for the crapshoot” in the ads and promos, fans eventually would ask, “Why am I watching?”
“Because it’s on TV” would only work for so long.
But sometimes in sending that message, they might be going overboard the other direction.
Well, they both play football, they both wear silly hats, and they both have three Super Bowl rings. OK, so they both play football.
We’ll let Thomas explain himself.
“When you look at the way he competes and the way he demands the most out of everybody around him, it’s no coincidence that those guys played together,” Thomas said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “[Hoyer] has a lot of those same mental attributes and that’s a great thing for a quarterback to have.
“He’s the ultimate competitor, and no matter if we drafted a quarterback No. 1 overall, I knew that in his mind he expects to win the job because that’s the type of competitor he is and the type of quarterback.”
OK then, so just like Tom Brady.
Hoyer’s in a tough spot, because it’s practically assumed that Manziel will take over sooner rather than later. But at the moment, he’s going to have to be the guy.
Which, if he plays like Tom Brady, I suppose, is fine.
The Steelers have parted ways with several veteran players in the last couple of years as they’ve tried to get younger and more athletic, but they aren’t totally closing the door on the return of a couple of elder statesmen.
Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert was asked Monday about bringing defensive end Brett Keisel and linebacker James Harrison back to Pittsburgh for another season. Both players have expressed interest in another spin on the carousel and Colbert said nothing is imminent or impossible on that front.
“We haven’t eliminated anybody from consideration because we don’t know what’s going to happen before the season. Even into the season there’s been times when we’ve brought back veteran players due to injury,” Colbert said, via ESPN.com. “If we have eliminated a player we always tell [him] don’t keep us in your thought process, if you have an opportunity don’t wait for us, something along those lines.”
While having veteran mentors for young players can be a helpful thing, the best case scenario for the Steelers defense is probably one that doesn’t include the return of Keisel, Harrison or anyone else who can remember a time when the Houston Texans weren’t in the NFL. The Steelers will be better off if young players like Stephon Tuitt and Jarvis Jones can handle roles in the rotation and they should give them a real chance to do so before turning back the clock.
Four times in recent memory, a team tried to stash a player on IR, only to have another team claim him off waivers before they could.
Three times, the Patriots did the claiming. Twice now, they’ve done it to Dave Gettleman’s employer.
The Panthers General Manager was philosophical about losing sixth-round pick Tyler Gaffney to the Patriots.
“This is a very competitive business, and people are going to try to improve their team within the rules,” Gettleman said, via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “And this is within the rules.”
Asked if he was upset the Patriots claimed Gaffney, Gettleman replied: “It’s business.”
It was also business when the Patriots claimed tight end Jake Ballard off waivers from the Giants in 2012 when Gettleman worked there.
And it was business when the Patriots claimed safety Josh Barrett off Broncos waivers in 2010, and when the Jaguars claimed Don Carey off waivers from the Browns in 2009, when both players were injured.
Ultimately, none of those players proved to be difference-makers, and Gaffney might not either.
The Panthers drafted him with the future in mind, but their present depth is the reason they needed a body.
With Jonathan Stewart out a few weeks with a hamstring strain and veterans DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert getting days off in practice, the Panthers felt they needed to bring in Fozzy Whittaker rather than carry an injured Gaffney on the roster for four weeks until they could safely put him on IR.
It was a bit of a risk, a pick and $96,600 in signing bonus that everyone would play nice.
Everyone did not.
Said Patriots WR Danny Amendola of working with Tom Brady, “The more experience you get with each other, the more you’re on the same page, the more you just feel each other out there. We’re just trying to maximize that and go from there.”
Starbucks gift cards are helping build chemistry in the Ravens passing game.
The Bengals hope that dealing with aches and pains now lead to better health in the future.
Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star doubts that the NFL will issue much discipline to Colts owner Jim Irsay.
How are things shaping up at receiver for the Cowboys?
Tempers boiled over at Falcons practice on Monday.
Holding Saints camp in West Virginia is making stars out of beat writers.
CB Anthony Gaitor is back with the Buccaneers.
The 49ers won’t do as much flying this year as they did last year.
Will this year’s emphasis on defensive holding and illegal contact hurt the Seahawks?
Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III was rushed into starting Week One last season after an offseason of rehabbing his surgically repaired knee left him unprepared to run the offense.
That’s the word from team President Bruce Allen, who said on ESPN 950 that Griffin was unprepared last year through no fault of his own.
“What you saw last year was almost a little disrespectful to the game of football,” Allen said, via the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “It’s impossible to ask a player to perform well during the regular season if you haven’t practiced. Last year at this time, he was still rehabbing his knee, and he wasn’t allowed to practice or work in team drills. We put him on the spot by trying to do that. And this year he’s had a full offseason, his knee is 100 percent, knock on wood, and he’s had all [the practices], and that’s how you get ready to play a football season.”
Although Allen didn’t name former head coach Mike Shanahan by name, that sure sounds like Allen is saying Shanahan botched the Griffin situation by starting him in Week One, rather than letting Griffin come along slowly. Just about everyone in Washington seems to agree that Griffin will be better off this year, with Jay Gruden as his coach.
Ravens running back Ray Rice may be loathed in most of America after an offseason that saw him face an assault charge for hitting his wife. But Rice is still beloved in Baltimore.
The Ravens had an open practice at their home stadium on Monday night, and Rice heard loud cheers from the fans in attendance. Rice was twice shown on the big screen, and both times he got enthusiastic ovations, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Rice tapped his chest to show his appreciation as he soaked in the applause.
Many fans wore Rice jerseys, and several Rice jerseys were spotted on women and children.
Rice’s actions this offseason have not been worthy of people cheering him, and when the NFL let Rice off with only a two-game suspension, it provoked nationwide outrage. That doesn’t seem to matter to the adoring public in Baltimore, however. What matters there is that Rice remains an important part of the Ravens’ offense.
It happens often, in every sport and every city. No matter how heinous an athlete’s actions, if he can help the home team win, he’s going to hear the cheers.
As with any Super Bowl winning team, it’s impossible to return every player the year after winning the championship. The Seattle Seahawks had to make a few salary cap related cuts and saw other players depart in free agency this offseason.
Defensive end Red Bryant, fullback Michael Robinson and receiver Sidney Rice were some of the most respected voices in the Seahawks locker room over the past few seasons. Now all three players are no longer on the roster.
Bryant was released and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Rice retired last week and Robinson is a free agent currently pursuing a media career.
Robinson wondered whether there would be a strong enough presence in Seattle’s locker room to keep the team focused following some of the veteran departures. However, cornerback Richard Sherman believes the young core of the Seahawks will be over to take over the burden as team leaders.
“I think we lead by example. And that’s how our team plays. Guys follow guys who make plays, and who show up on game days and make big plays in big games. We have all those things so we have tremendous leadership,” Sherman said.
Sherman, safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, defensive end Michael Bennett and quarterback Russell Wilson will likely assume most of the leadership duties for Seattle this season. Sherman and Thomas are more vocal leaders while Chancellor and Wilson are more prone to lead by example.
Sherman says they are up for the job.
“We lead by example and the example will be what it has been. Earl Thomas is going to say a lot, Kam Chancellor is not going to say a lot, guys know who the leaders are guys know who to follow and when you are following those guys then we will be fine,” Sherman said.
“We have guys who show up in big games. They don’t have to talk they don’t have to say what they are going to do, they don’t have to give a rah-rah speech but when you need them they will be there for you. That’s the kind of guys we got and those are the kind of guys we need.”
According to Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com, a scuffle took place between receiver Jeremy Maclin and cornerback Bradley Fletcher during the team’s first full-padded practice of camp. The two players hooked up and exchanged blows after a physical play toward the end of practice.
“One thing led to another,” Fletcher said. “It’s football. Emotions get going and things happen, but we’re all just working to get better.”
Head coach Chip Kelly didn’t seem to be overly concerned about the fight between McCoy and Cole on Sunday either.
“Yeah, their emotions got the better part of them. Those things happen. It’s no different than sometimes little kids don’t get along very well and throw Tonka trucks at each other,” Kelly said. “…That two kids push each other in practice somewhere. It’s not a real big deal.”
The Eagles had just two fights in all of training camp a season ago. Now they’ve had two fights in as many days.
Some would say that a player missing the offseason program exposes him to a greater injury risk when training camp opens. Those who would say that would point to Texans receiver Andre Johnson.
Johnson, who skipped all of the 2014 offseason workout program due to concerns regarding the direction of the team and his future role in it, tweaked his right hamstring muscle in practice on Monday.
After practice, both Johnson and coach Bill O’Brien downplayed the situation.
“I just got a little tight, it was just a precaution,” Johnson said. “We’re going to go in and see what’s what. Just from the feeling of it, it’s not anything bad.”
O’Brien called the injury “minor.”
Still, it makes sense to pay attention to Johnson’s health or lack thereof as he tries to make up for lost time. While having him back is better than not having him, an injury that knocks him out of action for an extended stretch will put the team in the same position as if he’d never shown up.
It’s a given in league circles that 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh has yet to sign a new contract because he wants more money than the 49ers are willing to pay. Per multiple reports (which are accurate), Harbaugh wants to be paid like a Super Bowl-winning coach, and the 49ers aren’t ready to do that until he, you know, wins a Super Bowl.
Earlier this year, Harbaugh denied wanting to be the highest-paid coach in football, without specifically addressing whether he wants to be paid like a coach who has won a Super Bowl. More recently, Harbaugh has gone the rest of the way.
“For the record, I have never asked to be the highest-paid coach in football,” Harbaugh tells Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. “I have never asked to be paid like a Super Bowl-winning coach. I have never asked for more power. Nor has anybody asked for those things on my behalf, which anybody in this organization can attest to, and all the focus will be on the 2014 season and achieving our goals of the team.”
Harbaugh also denies betting that his value will go up, not down, over time by not doing a new deal with two years left on his current contract.
“I don’t bet,” Harbaugh said. “If I bet on anything, it’s for a chocolate milkshake. That’s the extent of the stakes I bet on.”
Here’s the flaw in Harbaugh’s denials. If he didn’t want to be the highest-paid coach or to be paid like a Super Bowl-winning coach or to bet on himself in the hopes of getting more money later, he’d already have a new contract.
Last year, an effort to extend his contract occurred. And failed. This year, more talks occurred. As of June 5, the 49ers had made Harbaugh an offer. And Harbaugh had not responded.
Downplay it or deny it, there’s an impasse because Harbaugh wants more than the team has offered. If he didn’t, he’d already have financial security beyond 2015.
For even more obtuse remarks from Harbaugh that could trigger a sudden desire to bang your head against the wall, read the whole interview. But put on a helmet first.
Smith appeared in 43 games for the Arizona Cardinals over the last four seasons. He’s carried 48 times for 156 yards and two touchdowns in his career.
The 36-year-old Abraham has been excused from the club to attend to personal business since the beginning of training camp.
According to the Republic, the Cardinals know of Abraham’s arrest but declined comment on the matter.
On Monday, Cardinals G.M. Steve Keim told the club’s website that he was “not concerned at all” about Abraham’s time away from camp, noting that coach Bruce Arians had excused the linebacker.
DeKalb County public records show that a John Antonio Abraham was cited for DUI and parking, stopping or standing in a prohibited place on June 29. A booking photo of Abraham was included in the online records.
Abraham recorded 11.5 sacks for the Cardinals last season. He joined Arizona last July.
Abraham was also reportedly arrested on a DWI charge as a member of the Jets in 2003. According to published reports, Abraham pleaded guilty to driving while impaired and was benched for one game as punishment by Jets coach Herm Edwards.
One is a new arrival in Philly after spending five seasons in New York. The other landed in Washington after being cut by the Eagles. And they both have different views about the fans in the City of Brotherly Love.
Former Philly receiver DeSean Jackson’s perspective varies from Sanchez’s.
“In Philly sometimes things got a little negative,” Jackson told Chick Hernandez of CSNWashington.com. “And they booed their own players.”
Of course, it’s possible that Philadelphia are both nicer than New York fans while also booing their own. Regardless, it’s safe to say Jackson will be booed by Eagles fans; that’s expected. If/when Sanchez is ever booed by Philly fans, that’s a problem.