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Dennis Allen away from team until Wednesday to be with sick father

Cleveland Browns v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

The Raiders took it on the chin again on Sunday in a 20-17 loss to the Browns and they now have to turn around to play the streaking Broncos on Thursday night.

And they’ll have to do it without their head coach being around for the first two days of preparation. Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group reports that Dennis Allen will be leaving the team until Wednesday in order to spend time with his father, former NFL player Grady Allen, who has “serious health issues.”

The timing is far from ideal for a team that’s reeling after five straight losses, but there’s no such thing as ideal timing for serious illness of loved ones. Life interrupts the best-laid plans every day.

When Allen returns, he expects to have running back Darren McFadden in the lineup. He said McFadden should play against the Broncos after missing a fourth straight game this week with an ankle sprain.

 

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Catch up on Jason Pierre-Paul and more with PFT Live at noon ET

Jason Pierre-Paul AP

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul remains in a Florida hospital after suffering injuries to his hand while setting off fireworks last weekend and he’ll get some visitors from the team on Tuesday.

The Giants are trying to get a better handle on Pierre-Paul’s outlook for the early part of the 2015 season and their best path for working around his potential absence. Meanwhile, Pierre-Paul hasn’t signed his franchise tender and has some choices of his own to make about how to move forward on the contractual front.

On Tuesday’s PFT Live, Dave Smith, who is filling in for Mike Florio, will talk to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post about all of the possible paths that things can take once the full extent of Pierre-Paul’s injuries are known.

We also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app.

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Tony Dungy expects some young Lions players to “really take off” this year

Jim Caldwell AP

Lions coach Jim Caldwell spent many years as an assistant to Tony Dungy on the Colts’ coaching staff and the two men helped lead Indianapolis to a Super Bowl title during their time on the sideline together.

Dungy isn’t predicting that kind of run for Caldwell and the Lions this year, but he does think that the team is going to build on the 11-win season that they turned in during Caldwell’s first year on the job. Dungy saw his teams in Indy and Tampa win more games in his second year on the job, something he credited to setting a strong foundation right off the bat. He sees the Lions poised to make the same kind of growth in 2015.

“The first year is teaching what you want and really getting the guys to buy in,” Dungy said, via the Lions website. “I think that’s what happened with the Lions. They started winning some games they hadn’t won in the past, overcoming adversity, and you could see them really buying in. Now, this year, that foundation is there and now it’s building on it. Some of those young players, I think, are really going to come together and really take off.”

Dungy didn’t point out any specific players, but the Lions would surely like to see more from tight end Eric Ebron and linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Those two players were Detroit’s top two picks in the 2014 draft, but neither one added much to the Lions’ efforts as rookies. Growth from those players would make the Lions deeper on both sides of the ball and that would go a long way toward putting the Lions on the path for more wins in 2015.

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Terrelle Pryor says he’ll out-work other players, become a great WR

Terrelle Pryor, Michael Huff AP

After spending the last four years trying to make it as an NFL quarterback, Terrelle Pryor is now in Cleveland, trying to make it as a wide receiver. He says he has the talent not just to earn a roster spot, but to be a great wide receiver.

“I believe I can get great at anything,” Pryor told KDKA. “Just need the reps and just got to prove it.”

Pryor said he has the work ethic that only the great ones have.

“There’s not a lot of guys who work like I work,” he said. “I truly believe that. I believe somebody who works extremely hard is Antonio Brown. Definitely I’ve worked with him, I have had to opportunity to work out with him an awful lot. We spent a lot of time together in 2011 down in Florida, so I saw his work ethic. The drive, the nights we would run in the sand along the ocean, run 6 miles every night.”

Pryor has the athletic talent to play wide receiver and says he’s now just learning to put that talent together at a new position.

“Just athletic cuts, moves, catching the ball with people on me, practicing that big time,” said Pryor. “Working on cuts, getting out of breaks. Really getting defenders on you and then losing them, the footwork and the timing of a route. So there’s a lot of stuff.”

Whether Pryor has the ability to match his confidence remains to be seen, but signing him was a move that made a lot of sense for the Browns. They’ll have a few weeks of training camp and the preseason to see if he really can make it as a wide receiver in the NFL. If he can’t do it, they’ll cut him and he’ll go back to being unemployed, as he was last season. If he can do it, he has the potential to be a big addition in Cleveland.

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Former Raiders CEO Amy Trask hopes Sarah Thomas gets booed

Sarah Johnson AP

Sarah Thomas has gotten widespread support, as she prepares to go to work as the NFL’s first full-time game official.

But one of the highest-ranking females in league history hopes she hears it from fans immediately.

Former Raiders executive Amy Trask wrote for TheMMQB.com that the true measure of equality will come when Thomas is badgered and hounded the way every other official in the NFL is.

“When Sarah Thomas throws a flag she shouldn’t have thrown—which she will, as all officials do—she should be booed,” Trask wrote. “When Sarah Thomas fails to throw a flag she should have—which she will, as all officials do—she should be booed. Sarah Thomas should be booed as loudly and as resoundingly as her male colleagues are booed.

“Gender equality means gender equality. And if gender equality is the expectation, all consequences that flow therefrom must be accepted, whether one likes them or not.”

Trask said that she experienced very little gender-based criticism when she was on the job (she was the CEO of the Raiders from 1997 to 2013), and hopes that Thomas doesn’t either.

But she said her best defense was to concentrate on doing her job to the best of her abilities.

The boos will come organically, because she’s an official.

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Cam Newton gives Australian rules football a try

Newman Getty Images

Cam Newton perhaps should check his American football contract to see if it prevents him from playing Australian football.

Newton, who is spending part of the window between offseason workouts and training camp in Australia, spent part of Tuesday practicing with the Richmond Tigers of the Australian Football League. For those of you who don’t recall ESPN before it acquired the rights to televise major American sports, the days of Tiddly Winks and tractor pulls included Australian rules football, a soccer/rugby hybrid made unique by game officials in fedoras and trench coats using abrupt hand gestures to signify things I never was able to really figure out.

“In our sport, they’re constantly putting things on you to protect you, but in this sport they’re taking things away,” Newton said, via the Herald Sun. “I’m seeing guys get prepared and all they’re wearing in essence is a tank top and a pair of boxers and going out there and giving it all they have. That makes them courageous.”

Apparently, Newton wasn’t a natural.

“It’s great to see someone so cool struggle at a sport,” Richmond defender Chris Newman joked.

While it’s unclear how physical things got for Newton at practice, anything would be enough to make the Panthers nervous, especially with every team getting a reminder over the weekend that anything can happen when players are left to their own devices.

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Giants hope to get more info about Pierre-Paul’s injuries

PierrePaul Getty Images

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul remains hospitalized in Miami, three days after a fireworks mishap. Standing alone, that’s pretty ominous. Making the situation even more gloomy is the reality that details remain elusive, confusing, and unclear. Understandably, the Giants want to know what’s going on.

“My understanding is Giant officials were going to visit Jason Pierre-Paul,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter said earlier this hour on SportsCenter. “They may already have been there, they may still be there now. But they could be or might be there right now visiting him to ascertain exactly how bad the damage to his hands actually is.”

Regardless of whether they were, are, could be, or might be visiting Pierre-Paul, the Giants need to know more about the situation, especially if player and team eventually will be trying to work together to minimize uncertainty and maximize his playing time in 2015.

Pierre-Paul’s short-term and long-term health remains far more important than his short-term and long-term football future, but the absence of hard facts about his health will continue to invite speculation that it could be a while until he’s able to play football again.

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Green Bay Police: Datone Jones became upset, identified himself as a Packer

Green Bay Packers Mini Camp Getty Images

Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones wasted no time in trying to start enjoying his offseason.

According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Jones was arrested for marijuana possession just a couple hours after the Packers’ team plane landed following their season-ending loss to the Seahawks in Seattle.

The Green Bay Police Department says that Jones “became emotionally upset, and told officers he was the first-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers.”

It’s to the credit of the Green Bay Police that Jones wasn’t able to employ the “Do you know who I am?” card successfully. It’s odd, though, that news of Jones’s arrest never became public until after the NFL announced that he had been suspended for the first game of the 2015 season.

Jones resolved the legal matter by paying an $880 fine. The suspension could cost him $122,765.

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Seattle hopes to get better performance from its offensive line

Seahawks Getty Images

As the Seahawks fret about how they’ll pay quarterback Russell Wilson while having enough money left for other key players on the team, they currently don’t have to worry about the offensive linemen busting the budget.

Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune takes a position-by-position look at the team’s potential starting lineup along the offensive line for 2015. With center Max Unger and left guard James Carpenter gone, the expected configuration consists of Russell Okung at left tackle, Alvin Bailey at left guard, Lemuel Jeanpierre at center, J.R. Sweezy at right guard, and Justin Britt at right tackle.

Per Bell, the Seahawks may begin to groom Gary Gilliam at left tackle as the season progresses, given that Okung is in the last year of his contract. Also, rookie Mark Glowinski eventually could push Sweezy at right guard.

Regardless of who plays in 2015, they’ll need to play better than they have. Quarterback Russell Wilson has faced consistent pressure in passing situations, which if it continues could make it difficult for the Seahawks to take full advantage of tight end Jimmy Graham.

And it could make running back Marshawn Lynch more likely to call it quits following a season of getting banged around by defenders that the offensive line fails to keep away from him.

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Eight days left for long-term franchise-tag deals

Eight Getty Images

At one point in the life of the franchise tag, the window for negotiating long-term deals with franchise-tagged players reopened on July 15. It now closes then.

Which means that, after July 15, the five players on whom the tag was used in 2015 (Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston, Giants defensive end Jason-Pierre Paul, Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas, and Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski) can sign only one-year contracts.

For Thomas and Houston, there are no signs of progress. For Pierre-Paul, it’s all gotten very complicated in the aftermath of his July 4 fireworks mishap. For Gostkowski, who already has signed the franchise tender but who can still sign a long-term deal through July 15, no one knows whether anything is happening in large part because the Patriots have found a way to keep that stuff quiet until they want someone to know about it.

Bryant’s situation has become the most fluid. News that agent Tom Condon negotiated with the Cowboys last month resulted a few days later in scattered rumors and reports that a deal is imminent. Eight days since those rumors and reports of an imminent first emerged, there’s still no deal — even though the latest round of equivocal bet-hedging out of Dallas seemed to vaguely suggest that the Cowboys and Bryant had a deal in place that would be unveiled on the Monday after the holiday weekend.

Monday has come and gone, with still no announcement or other tangible signs of a deal between the Cowboys and Bryant. Some will likely continue to suggest a deal is “imminent,” and then they’ll claim to have been right all along if a deal gets done just before the July 15 deadline, regardless of whether a deal was truly “imminent” at any point since Condon met with the Cowboys.

However “imminent” is defined, Bryant, the Cowboys, and the other four players and teams have eight days to do a long-term deal. Otherwise, it’ll be a one-year arrangement and then a 20-percent raise to do the franchise-tag dance all over again in 2016 — unless one of the teams dangles a promise not to use the tag again as a way to get the player to show up for training camp at the earliest, and before the Tuesday after Week 10 at the latest.

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Breshad Perriman hoping to make Ravens starting job his own

Breshad Perriman AP

With Torrey Smith chasing the money out the door and Jacoby Jones cut, the Ravens need a speed guy to make a quick impact.

And first-round pick Breshad Perriman is hoping to provide just that.

The rookie wide receiver has a clear path to a starting job opposite Steve Smith, but he’s trying to keep his focus narrower.

It’s a goal of mine, but at the same time, it’s not really on my mind,” Perriman said, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “I’m just really trying to focus on getting better every day, just going out there, take it day by day and see how it plays out.

“I just take it day by day, try to not think about the starting job or anything like that, because I feel like I’d get thrown off track. For the most part, I just try to come out and compete and work on craft, the little things I need to work on to make me become a good receiver.”

The Ravens have an odd lot of receivers behind him, with Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown and Michael Campanaro also in the mix for the job. But it’s clearly there for Perriman to take. His speed was the reason he was drafted in the first round, but he has to become more consistent catching things to be effective.

“I really just talk to myself,” Perriman said. “It’s really all mental. I talk to myself, tell myself the things that I need to do to complete those passes and just try to step it up a notch more.”

Others are talking to him as well, knowing they have to refine him, and fast.

“He’s a worker,” Ravens receivers coach Bobby Engram said. “On the field, we just keep working the fundamentals, getting in and out of breaks, transitioning, tracking the ball, being aggressive back to the ball – all the things he’s working on since he started playing receiver.

“I love what I see. We’ve just got to continue to build on it.”

And with the offseason changes in their offense, they need to get it built quickly.

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Andrew Luck isn’t circling Patriots game on his schedule

AFC Championship - Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots Getty Images

The Colts have seen their last two seasons come to an end on the wrong side of blowout losses to the Patriots in the playoffs and they also took a thumping from New England during the 2014 regular season, leaving the unshakable impression that the Colts are going to need to find a way to beat the Patriots if they ever hope to win the Super Bowl.

Quarterback Andrew Luck thinks his team has a “realistic chance” of doing that after the 2015 season, although that doesn’t mean he’s looking at the team’s Week Six game as a referendum on how realistic those chances will be. The Colts will host the Patriots that Sunday night, but Luck says it is just one of 16 games.

“The Patriots are obviously the defending Super Bowl champs and our defending conference champs so there’s a high amount of respect for that team and what they do,” Luck said, via Neil Reynolds of Sky Sports and BritViewNFL.com. “They’re the kings of the league right now and everybody would like to de-throne them — we’d like to de-throne them but you have to look at the season as 16 games. There are fans and media who will hype up certain games and circle them in red on the calendar but, as a player, you lose sight of what’s important if you get into that mode.”

People are circling that game in red for reasons beyond the Patriots’ status as defending champions. The Colts were involved in getting the ball rolling on Deflategate and the Week Six matchup would be quarterback Tom Brady’s first week back with the Patriots if his suspension is not altered by Commissioner Roger Goodell as a result of Brady’s recent appeal.

Those sidebars and the results of the last three games with the Patriots make it feel like a lot more than one of 16 games even if the result will count the same as the result of the Jaguars’ visit to Indy in Week Four.

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Tuesday morning one-liners

San Diego Chargers v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

WR Caleb Holley is trying to overcome the odds and make the Bills.

Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry threw out the first pitch at a Marlins game.

CSN New England ranks OL Dan Koppen as the No. 22 player of the Bill Belichick era with the Patriots.

Forecasting LB Calvin Pace’s role on the Jets Defense.

Ravens rookie WR Breshad Perriman has his eye on a starting job.

Spreading optimism about the Bengals.

The Browns have announced their training camp schedule.

Steelers DE Ethan Hemer likes Pittsburgh more than he thought he would.

A couple of positive takes about what’s ahead for the Texans.

No defenses are overlooking Colts WR T.Y. Hilton.

Five Jaguars rookies to watch during training camp.

Fans visiting the Titans stadium for a soccer match weren’t impressed with how the facility handled the event.

Breaking down the tight ends and fullbacks with the Broncos.

Rookie Mitch Morse has made a good early impression on the Chiefs coaching staff.

The Raiders’ record book for kickers is heavy on Sebastian Janikowski’s accomplishments.

Everything you need to know about Chargers CB Brandon Flowers.

T Doug Free is the veteran leader on the Cowboys offensive line.

How does the Giants defensive line measure up to the one in Philly?

Eagles rookie WR Nelson Agholor already has some admirers around the league.

Is T Trent Williams going to get a long-term contract with the Redskins?

Rex Ryan and the Bills want their defense to perform like the one Buddy Ryan put together for the 1985 Bears.

WR T.J. Jones is fighting for a role with the Lions after injury ruined his rookie year.

Packers CB Casey Hayward could be asked to do more this season.

The Josh Robinson injury hasn’t left the Vikings too thin at cornerback.

Panthers QB Cam Newton hit Australia during his time off before camp.

The Saints have more intriguing matchups in 2015 than their meeting with the Jaguars.

Buccaneers fans can share their love for the team on a license plate.

Are opposing defenses worried about Cardinals QB Carson Palmer?

Some of the most impressive statistics in Rams history.

The first practice of 49ers camp will be open to the public.

The Seahawks are sorting out their offensive line.

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Pierre-Paul’s best move could be to hold out until he’s healed

JPP

With the Giants yanking a long-term offer that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul wasn’t going to accept, it’s now likely that he’ll spend 2015 under the one-year franchise tag. But if he’s going to miss all of training camp and possibly the start of the regular season as he recovers from hand injuries suffered during a fireworks mishap, his best move could be to not sign the tender until he’s cleared to play.

By showing up before he’s ready, Pierre-Paul forces the Giants to decide what to do with him. While it would be easy to carry him on the non-football injury list through the preseason, a decision would have to be made before Week One: Move him to the active roster (and pay him) or keep him on NFI (and not pay him, if the Giants so choose) for at least the first six weeks of the regular season.

If Pierre-Paul is on track to be cleared in, for example, the middle of September, a decision to stay away until he’s cleared would allow the Giants to activate him as soon as he’s ready to go, circumventing the requisite six-week absence arising from the regular-season NFI list.

These various moving parts suggest that it would make far more sense for the Giants and Pierre-Paul to work cooperatively toward finding a solution, with a clear understanding as to whether the Giants would or wouldn’t pay Pierre-Paul while on NFI being the most important factor in their talks. While the most important factor for Pierre-Paul currently remains getting himself healthy, a complicated situation looms in September, with more than $870,000 on the line, each and every week.

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Harry Douglas: Mariota’s “unbelievable accuracy” will increase yards after catch

Marcus Mariota AP

During the Titans’ offseason program, wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson was impressed by quarterback Marcus Mariota’s “deadly accurate” passing during the team’s practices.

Mariota’s accuracy and overall feel for the offense left Jefferson feeling “giddy” about the future of the offense with Mariota at the controls and he’s not the only one feeling good about the rookie’s ability to put his teammates in position to succeed. Wide receiver Harry Douglas said that Mariota has shown “unbelievable accuracy” that he thinks will lead to bigger gains after the catch for him and his fellow receivers.

“If you have an accurate quarterback, it allows us to get more yards after that catch,” Douglas said, via Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. “And that’s one thing that makes a receiver dynamic — first being able to catch the ball and then being able to do some things with it after you catch it. I feel like [to this point] Marcus has done everything he needs to do to get the ball to his receivers.”

Kuharsky points out that a high completion percentage and yards after the catch totals don’t always go hand in hand and that they don’t always lead to great offenses when they are linked, as evidenced by Pittsburgh and Washington finishing in the top five of both categories last season. That may be the case, but it’s hard to see the Titans getting any better on offense if they aren’t a more accurate team throwing the ball and that’s obviously going to have almost everything to do with Mariota’s performance.

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Dolphins selling off old Sun Life Stadium seats

Sun Life Stadium construction Getty Images

In case what you were looking for to tie the room together was an brightly colored plastic chair, you’re in luck.

According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Dolphins are selling old seats from Sun Life Stadium this week, including some autographed by past and present stars.

The seats were removed during this offseason’s renovations, and will be sold to benefit the team’s foundation to support education, health and volunteer work in the region.

Seats are being sold as pairs or singles, with season ticket-holders from the 1960s and 1970s having first priority for the sale that starts at 11 a.m. The general public gets their crack at 2 p.m.

They’re also auctioning off seats signed by players including Don Shula, Bob Griese and Dan Marino, along with Jason Taylor, Mark Duper, Larry Little, Nat Moore and Ryan Tannehill.

Now you just have to convince your wife to let you put this ugly orange chair in the living room, and with their record in recent years, have fun describing it as your lucky seat.

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