He may be closer to moving out, himself.
The Lions have taken a stern approach to Young, but they also drafted him, and he didn’t suddenly become selfish and a headache for coaches when he crossed the Michigan state line.
He may be closer to moving out, himself.
The Lions have taken a stern approach to Young, but they also drafted him, and he didn’t suddenly become selfish and a headache for coaches when he crossed the Michigan state line.
According to multiple reports, they are signing longtime Bear Robbie Gould to fill Brown’s role for this weekend’s game. Gould is on his way to England to meet the team.
Gould was released by the Bears in early September after serving as their kicker since 2005. He made 85.4 percent of his field goal attempts over that period, which is only a little bit better than the 84.6 percent he managed on 39 attempts last season.
Gould is a temporary fill-in at the moment, but he could get the job on an extended basis. Brown could be facing further league discipline and/or paid leave from the team thanks to the renewed interest from the league in the domestic violence case that led to his one-game suspension to start the regular season. Brown could also be released by the Giants, who said they will “revisit this issue” after they return from London.
As the Packers prepare to host the 1-5 Bears in a game the home team should win, questions persist regarding the struggles of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
On Thursday’s PFT Live, I addressed 10 potential explanations, harvested not from film review or hot-take short-order cooks but from people in position to know what’s going on.
Here are the 10 possible explanations, all or some of which are causing the guy who not long ago was the clear-cut best quarterback in the NFL to experience a sharp decline while still in his prime.
1. Too many hits.
Although it doesn’t account for the full range of Rodgers’ struggles, which began with a 77-yard performance against the Broncos last October, recent issues may have something to do with the pounding he took against the Vikings five weeks ago. While never on the wrong end of a huge hit, Rodgers was constantly peppered with shots from an aggressive Vikings pass rush.
This has created a belief that he’s paying too much attention to the blocking and the rush, and not enough to watching which of his receivers is or will be open.
2. Defenses are keeping him in the pocket.
As noted recently by Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, whose assessments of the situation are regarded in league circles as completely accurate, Rodgers throws much better when he escapes the pocket. By keeping him inside the pocket, Rodgers is simply less effective than he otherwise could be.
3. Free plays aren’t happening.
Rodgers had become very good at using the hard count to get a defensive lineman to jump in the neutral zone, quickly call for the snap, and fire a nothing-to-lose ball down the field, often resulting in a big play.
Per McGinn, last year Rodgers turned neutral-zone infractions into gains of 52, 34, 29, 27, and 22 yards — along with a 52-yard pass interference penalty — in the first six weeks of the season. Since then, none.
4. Receivers aren’t getting open.
As noted both by McGinn and future Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, the receivers aren’t getting open quickly enough. Whether that’s due to the offensive design, which requires receivers to beat man coverage without a bunch of gimmicks and tricks (like bunch formations), or the limitations of the receivers, if they’re not open, it’s hard to get them the ball.
5. Rodgers isn’t trusting what he sees.
Rodgers may be partially responsible for the receivers not being open because he’s not trusting what he sees when receivers are trying to get open.
By not anticipating that the receivers will get open and waiting until they are, the delay in the process of seeing them open and delivering the ball results in them not being open by the time the ball arrives. Or it results in Rodgers holding the ball too long and missing the window completely.
6. Rodgers lacks a high-end pass-catching tight end.
Every since the retirement of Jermichael Finley, the Packers have struggled to replace the production of the tight end position in the passing game. Without that presence putting pressure on the middle of the defense, it’s easier to account for the pass-catchers on the outside.
7. Sitton’s departure.
Some think the absence of Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton is a factor in the regression of Rodgers. But the problems began while Sitton was still there.
Put simply, the belief is that the issues would still exist, even if Sitton was still a Packer.
8. Impaired running game.
It’s no secret that a potent running game makes it easier to throw the ball, especially via play-action. The Packers haven’t had a potent running game in recent months, which has allowed defenses to skew toward stopping the pass.
9. Rodgers may be freelancing.
It’s impossible to know this unless someone publicly or privately breaks ranks, but there’s a theory from some in the know that Rodgers has developed a habit of ignoring the plays that have been communicated to him from the sideline. Apart from creating extra tension with the coaching staff (regardless of whether Rodgers’ efforts are successful), it’s possible that Rodgers is changing the play from something that would have worked to something that doesn’t.
“My guess is that Rodgers, after 12 years as a pro, would be a hard man to coach,” McGinn recently wrote. That can manifest itself in many ways, including Rodgers thinking he knows what works better than the men paid a lot of money to decide on what will and won’t.
10. Personal issues.
Last year, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com threw a rock into the hornet’s nest by suggesting that Rodgers may be having issues with girlfriend Olivia Munn. For that reason and plenty of others, I won’t be nearly that specific.
But the reality is that personal issues can indeed make it harder to be successful at work for anyone. It can be even more of an issue for NFL franchise quarterbacks, who carry their work pretty much everywhere they go.
Regardless of what the issues may be or how they may have arisen or who they may involve, when trying to identify the potential reasons for a consistent dip in the play of a short-list franchise quarterback, it’s fair to wonder whether something unrelated to football is affecting his football performance.
This isn’t about intruding on his privacy or pouring salt into any wounds. It’s about trying to understand why, at a time when his remaining physical skills and ever-accumulating experiences should be causing him to enter the mid-30s sweet spot where he essentially becomes a coach on the field, Rodgers isn’t playing like he did in his 20s.
That said, he still has the skills and the brains to turn it around. If/when it happens, the Packers will be a dangerous presence down the stretch and in the postseason.
But it hasn’t stopped her from making it clear she’s not thrilled with her son’s employer today.
In the wake of Giants owner John Mara’s rather tone-deaf comments about the Josh Brown situation, Apple went on a bit of a Twitter rant, and rightfully so.
The tweet came after Mara’s appearance on WFAN to explain the decision to leave their kicker home from the London trip, after reports emerged of his admission of physical and emotional abuse of his then-wife.
“He’s admitted to us he’s abused his wife in the past,” Mara said. “But what I think is a little unclear is the extent of that.”
Mara said in August that they had done their “due diligence” before re-signing the free agent kicker this offseason, but the team admitted they didn’t know about the most recent information until it was reported last night.
Apparently, the abuse they knew about fell within the threshold allowed for a kicker. Because knowing and signing him anyway (did we mention he’s a kicker?) sends a horrible signal for a franchise often cited as one which operates in a first-class manner.
And their first-round pick’s mother picked up on that hypocrisy, and isn’t pleased.
Unfortunately for both the Bears and the Packers, injuries made filling out their respective inactive lists ahead of Thursday night’s game in Green Bay relatively easy.
The Packers had already ruled seven players out. The Bears had previously listed two as out, four as doubtful and seven as questionable.
Notably, Bears cornerback Tracy Porter and tight end Zach Miller will play after being listed as questionable. Guard Josh Sitton, a former Packer, is out with an ankle injury after being listed as doubtful. Rookie Jordan Howard again starts at running back with Jeremy Langford still out.
The Packers list rookie Don Jackson as their starting running back. He was just promoted from the practice squad Thursday afternoon, filling the roster spot opened when the Packers put starting running back Eddie Lacy on injured reserve.
Also potentially in the mix for snaps at running back are wide receivers Ty Montgomery and Randall Cobb and veteran running back Knile Davis, just acquired in a trade with the Chiefs earlier this week.
Jets Coach Todd Bowles told reporters Thursday that rookie linebacker Darron Lee has been ruled out of Sunday’s game vs. the Ravens.
Lee suffered an ankle injury during Monday night’s loss at Arizona. Bowles said he’s hopeful that Lee only misses one game.
Lee, the team’s first-round pick last April, started in Arizona because veteran linebacker David Harris missed the game due to injury. Harris has been back at practice this week.
Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle), right tackle Brent Qvale (neck) and tight end Braedon Bowman (knee) all missed Thursday’s practice due to injury. Seferian-Jenkins missed the Arizona game; Qvale left that game after suffering a stinger and did not return.
The NFL has reopened its investigation, the Giants have closed the door on his trip to England, and the union has opted for silence. For now.
The NFL Players Association has no comment (yet) on recent developments regarding kicker Josh Brown. Information obtained by the media demonstrates that Brown’s domestic violence issues extended far beyond a supposedly isolated incident in May 2015, and now the NFL and the Giants are commencing the process of taking enhanced action against Brown — months after the league imposed a mere one-game suspension.
Some will call on the union to discipline or to condemn Brown on its own, but that’s not how labor unions operate. The NFLPA has an absolute obligation under federal law to defend Brown’s rights. The union is his paid representative, and if he chooses to fight further discipline from the league and/or the team, the union has no choice but to defend him.
Brown has rights. He already has been punished once for domestic violence, under circumstances where the league and the Giants had limited information, due to their own incomplete efforts (wilful or otherwise) to get to the truth. Forced by the efforts of the media to get to the truth, the league and the team are now being shamed into doing more.
That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. By all appearances, the league and the team wanted to look the other way, and so they did. Now that their eyes have been pried open, Clockwork Orange-style, they have no choice but to take action, from a P.R. standpoint.
Brown should have received a more stringent punishment in the first place. The league and/or the team, in potential violation of his rights, will try to impose further punishment on him — not because of anything new he did, but because facts about which they should have known are suddenly news to them.
Thus, the union can and should fight any further effort to discipline Brown, both for his sake and for the sake of any other player who may find himself in this situation in the future. As the team and the Giants stumble through a potential minefield of CBA violations, it makes no sense for the union to say anything that would cause management to figure out a way to punish Brown without violating his rights.
Giants coach Ben McAdoo had little to say today about kicker Josh Brown, who will miss Sunday’s game amid new information about his history of domestic violence becoming public. Instead, McAdoo is focused on the field.
“We decided not to take Josh with us, make sure we get all the facts, do everything right by Josh, the organization and the locker room,” McAdoo said on WFAN about the decision not to take Brown to London for Sunday’s game against the Rams.
McAdoo said he doesn’t know who his kicker will be on Sunday in London, but he expects that the team will contact a kicker tonight or tomorrow and have him fly to London in time to play on Sunday. Randy Bullock, who kicked for the Giants while Brown was suspended in Week One, is still an available free agent. The best free agent kicker available is former Bear Robbie Gould. McAdoo said wide receiver Odell Beckham can kick in an emergency, although McAdoo doesn’t expect to use Beckham in that role.
It was telling that in his WFAN interview, McAdoo was focused on getting his team ready and getting a kicker in place, and not on the ugly story that is swirling around the Giants regarding Brown and the team’s and league’s failure to discipline him appropriately for multiple domestic violence incidents that the team now admits it knew about. In the NFL, it’s all about getting ready to win on the field.
The Giants have announced that kicker Josh Brown will not accompany the team to London for Sunday’s game against the Rams.
The decision comes after the King County, Washington Sheriff released damning documents related to allegations of domestic abuse against Brown by his former wife. Brown, who was arrested on related charges, was suspended one game by the NFL, which said Thursday that it is reopening their investigation because they say they were unaware of the information.
The Giants made a similar claim and cited the new information as the reason for leaving Brown in New Jersey. Brown remains on the roster and, per the statement, continue to support Brown.
“In light of the news reports regarding the documents released by the State of Washington yesterday, we think it makes sense to review this newly disclosed information and to revisit this issue following our trip to London. The Giants do not condone or excuse any form of domestic violence. Josh has acknowledged that he has issues in his life and has been working on these issues through therapy and counseling for a long period of time. We remain supportive of Josh and his efforts.”
During a Thursday afternoon appearance on WFAN, Giants owner John Mara said it is “too early to tell” what the team will do regarding Brown’s spot on the roster. The Giants re-signed Brown this offseason and Mara said the team was comfortable with keeping Brown on the team “based on the information we had at the time.” Mara said during the interview that the information they had included NFL security moving Brown’s former wife to a different hotel room after an incident at the Pro Bowl this year and Brown’s own admission of abusing his wife, with Mara adding that they did not know the “extent” of the abuse.
The Steelers aren’t happy with what they feel was a dirty play in last week’s game by Dolphins defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh.
Per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers have filed a formal complaint with the NFL and asked the league office to look into Suh intentionally kicking Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter. The report says Roethlisberger told teammates that Suh kicked him, and Steelers guard David DeCastro said the tape backed up his quarterback’s claim.
“I don’t know what [Suh] was thinking,” DeCastro said.
The conversation about Suh’s play and history got Steelers guard Ramon Foster talking about Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who’s been involved in dirty plays against the Steelers in the past and was back in the headlines this week for two plays in last week’s Bengals-Patriots game. Foster said the NFL is “absolutely not” doing enough to punish repeat offenders when it comes to player safety.
“[Burfict] has a known history,” Foster said. “[The Bengals] are going to say he’s getting targeted because of his history. But he’s getting new cases against him. What are [NFL Commissioner] Roger Goodell and [his staff] saying about player safety? They’re not saying anything about it. You have a known repeat offender getting a $75,000 fine when he has a $20 million contract. That [fine] doesn’t matter to him. You fine [Antonio Brown] more for freaking dancing in the end zone than you do when you know for sure that he tried to do that. His history showed he tried to do that.
“It just wasn’t the instances in that game…Roger Goodell really needs to come off his high horse and do something about that.”
Foster said he would “live” with Suh’s kick more than he would with plays Burfict has made over the last several seasons. Wednesday, Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams called Burfict “a danger to the game.”
“Burfict is trying to injure guys,” Foster said. “I still think his celebration on the tackle with Le’Veon Bell [last season] shows he’s trying to injure guys. It changed the whole complexion of that game. It’s on film. They see it. But Goodell doesn’t give a [darn] about that. He’s more worried about the ratings dropping and the owners fattening his pockets. He knows that type of attention brings more viewers for a Cincinnati game.”
The NFL and the Giants both said that they had no knowledge of the information included in the release of new documents by the King County, Washington Sheriff regarding Giants kicker Josh Brown’s history of domestic violence, but it appears that’s not quite true.
One of the pieces of information included in those documents, as reported by Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv, involved NFL security moving Brown’s ex-wife Molly from her hotel room at the 2016 Pro Bowl after an incident with the kicker. Per Molly Brown, she took the trip with her sons and the daughter she had with Brown while the couple was in the process of getting a divorce at her ex-husband’s request.
Once there, she said she was subjected to “cutting comments” and had her phone taken by Brown so he could search her texts before pounding on her door (they had separate rooms) while drunk until NFL and hotel security intervened. She said NFL security eventually moved her to a new room on the Friday night before the game, something that Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com confirmed with the league, and the family had no further incidents over the course of the weekend.
That information raises further questions about why the league cited “insufficient information” about the issues between Brown and his ex-wife when they opted to suspend Brown for one game earlier this year.
One of the lead storylines for Monday night’s game is Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler’s return to Denver to face the team he played for during his first four NFL seasons.
The Texans issued their first practice report ahead of that game on Thursday and Osweiler’s name is among the most notable on it. Osweiler is listed with a foot issue, although there doesn’t seem to be a high likelihood that he’ll miss the game as he is listed as a full participant.
Another name that catches the eye on the injury report is wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is listed as limited with a hamstring injury, but there’s no word from Houston at this point to indicate that he’s in danger of missing the game.
The Texans are expected to get Will Fuller back in the lineup after he didn’t play in Week Six due to his own hamstring injury. Fuller was also limited in practice along with defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and right tackle Derek Newton.
In a league where, at the most important position, supply doesn’t match demand, Steelers quarterback Landry Jones now has an important opportunity, for anywhere from one to five games.
Jones, who appeared in five games last year with two starts, will be starting at least one game in his contract year. If he can play like he did when he replaced Mike Vick against the Cardinals a year ago, completing eight of 12 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns in a 25-13 win, Jones could position himself for a chance to be a starter elsewhere next year.
Jones lost at Kansas City in his first start last year, a tough spot for any quarterback to thrive. For the years, he had three touchdowns and four interceptions, but an impressive per-attempt average of 9.3 yards.
He gets a chance to build on that starting Sunday against the Patriots, with possible future chances against the Ravens, Cowboys, Browns, and Colts. If he passes the eyeball test, he could be getting his fingers on plenty of cash come March.
On Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he expected the reduction of practice time negotiated as part of the last Collective Bargaining Agreement will “undoubtedly” come up again during negotiations for the next CBA.
Count Packers coach Mike McCarthy among those who would like to see those reductions go away. McCarthy’s team has been hit by enough injuries that they ruled seven players out for Thursday night’s game against the Bears and he said that he believes the “outrageous” amount of injuries around the league are a result of the limits placed on practice time.
“I think it’s clearly a reflection of the training part of it. People don’t want to hear coaches say that, but how can you not be in tune to the fact you have a younger football league than pre-2011 and now you’re spending five less weeks with the players?” McCarthy said, via Mike Garafolo of NFL Media. “I mean, that’s not the best formula. I think it’s been proven since then.”
McCarthy also bemoaned the impact of less practice time on the quality of play around the league, a notion that Goodell rejected on Wednesday but has come up with other coaches since the new regulations were put in place in 2011.
As with anything in the CBA, negotiating a change would require the league to give the players something else they want in return for increasing the amount of time players spend with the team. That’s not an impossibility, but it will be up to owners to decide what’s worth giving up to put practice time back on the table.
Bills running back LeSean McCoy hurt his hamstring in Wednesday’s practice and didn’t take part in Thursday’s session, which appears to be a prelude to him missing Sunday’s game against the Dolphins.
Josina Anderson of ESPN reports that McCoy will not play this weekend. Anderson adds that McCoy could miss more time, which would put him at risk of missing Buffalo’s home game against the Patriots in Week Eight. The rate that McCoy heals would determine that, however, and that won’t be known until some point next week.
McCoy has a history of hamstring issues, something that will likely factor into the decision as the Bills would like to avoid aggravating the injury in a way that leads to an extended absence.
The Bears have activated linebacker Pernell McPhee ahead of their Thursday night game in Green Bay.
McPhee had been on the team’s physically unable to perform list. He had missed the team’s offseason program and preseason while recovering from knee surgery, and the Bears kept him on PUP to start the regular season to give him extra time to heal.
McPhee, who’s probably the team’s best pass rusher, had six sacks and one interception last season, his first with the Bears.
Fullback Paul Lasike was waived to make room on the roster for McPhee.