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Josh McDaniels could be closing in on his second chance as a head coach

AP

In his first stint as a head coach, things didn’t go very well for Josh McDaniels.  Hired by the Broncos in 2009, he was fired during the 2010 season.

At first, things were looking good for McDaniels, leading the team to a 6-0 start that included a fist-pumping win over his mentor, Bill Belichick.

Unlike other Belichick pupils who went elsewhere and failed, McDaniels’ road led back to Foxboro, where he is serving as offensive coordinator a year after having that same job in St. Louis.  Now, as the 2013 coaching carousel approaches, McDaniels’ name is bubbling back onto the list of potential head-coaching candidates.

The first rumor that has landed on our radar screen links McDaniels to Cleveland.  Coincidentally, that’s where Belichick ultimately failed as a first-time NFL head coach, before becoming regarded as one of the best ever in New England.  As the rumor goes, McDaniels and G.M. Mike Lombardi would come to the Browns as a package deal.

A native of nearby Canton, it’s unclear how McDaniels would be received by Browns fans.  The local media already has been bristling at the notion that Lombardi could supplant G.M. Tom Heckert.

And with plenty of coaching jobs expected to be available this season, McDaniels could be lured elsewhere.  Perhaps he’d be interested in coaching up Cam Newton, if the Carolina job is open.  Or perhaps McDaniels would be willing to work with likely front-office chiefs Jimmy Raye and John Spanos in San Diego, if that also means working with Philip Rivers.

Jacksonville remains an intriguing possibility for McDaniels, given that he could then try to reunite with the quarterback he selected in the first round of the 2010 draft.  (You know, the guy in the picture with McDaniels?)

Either way, McDaniels could soon be once again in demand as a head coach, which would make him one of the few members of the FFCA for whom NFL owners may clamor.

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Pardon My Take guys crash PFT Live set

Last Monday, Barstool Big Pat and PFT Commenter, hosts of the immensely popular Pardon My Take podcast, made a scheduled appearance on set with me at the temporary PFT Live studio in 30 Rock. This Monday, they made an unexpected visit to the set in my home studio.

They’d come to town as part of their second annual Grit Week tour, hanging out in the PFT barn and eating the PFT possum-flavored steak and swinging axes in the PFT woods. Before their chariot of choice, Vanny Woodhead, left for the next stop (Detroit), they walked onto the set.

It happened during the segment from Monday’s show that is attached to this post, which includes Big Cat giving back to me a Grit Week gift I’d previously given to him.

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Josh Dobbs signs with Steelers

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The Steelers took a quarterback in the draft for the first time since 2013 and they now have him under contract.

Fourth-round pick Josh Dobbs tweeted out a picture of his contract signing on Monday. He’s the sixth member of the team’s eight-player draft class to agree to a deal.

Dobbs started 35 games for the University of Tennessee and had a 53-29 touchdown-to-interception ratio over the course of his career in Knoxville. He also left school as their all-time leader in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns for a quarterback.

Landry Jones signed a two-year extension this offseason so Dobbs will likley be starting out his NFL career as the No. 3 quarterback in Pittsburgh. Both moves came after Ben Roethlisberger mused about retirement earlier this year and a strong showing for Dobbs in practices could have him set to move up a couple of rungs should Roethlisberger go through with it at some point in the near future.

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L.A. stadium should want to delay Super Bowl by a year

Immediately after word broke that the new L.A. stadium will have its opening delayed by a year, the leak/spin cycle began to sell the idea that the NFL could waive its rule requiring a stadium to be open for two years before hosting a Super Bowl. As the leak/spin cycle continues, an important point is being lost in the shuffle: The folks in L.A. should want to delay the stadium’s first Super Bowl by a year.

The reason for the rule (which the leak/spin cycle most recently described to Peter King of TheMMQB.com as an “unofficial policy,” which makes it even easier to disregard) is obvious. The NFL wants to be sure that all kinks have been worked out of a new stadium before it hosts the NFL’s premiere annual 100-million-plus-viewer event.

As King notes, the leak/spin cycle points to the fact that, with the Chargers and Rams sharing the venue, it will have hosted as many NFL games as the new stadiums in Minnesota and Atlanta will host before staging a Super Bowl. The counter to that, however, is that an already hectic and stressful year, with 20 preseason and regular season games in five months, should not be made even more hectic and stressful via the extra work and effort and time and money and everything else spent in order to host a Super Bowl.

Security concerns remain paramount at the Super Bowl. From design to construction to operation of the stadium, new challenges will emerge regarding the process of letting the right people in and keeping the wrong people out. Last year in Minnesota, at the end of the first year of the new stadium’s life cycle, mischief-makers were able to make mischief with equipment they never should have been able to sneak through the doors.

While similar issues problems have happened at older stadiums (like the one in Charlotte), deviating from a rule/unofficial policy/whatever invites a big, fat I-told-you-so if anything happens that shouldn’t during Super Bowl LV.

Then there’s the possibility of further construction delays. Already behind by a full year, what if more unanticipated delays emerge? It would make much more sense to push the Super Bowl back by a year now in order to avoid having to scramble at a time when it may be much harder to reserve thousands of hotel rooms and the various large halls and other spaces needed to pull off the full Super Bowl experience.

For those reasons, the folks building the L.A. stadium shouldn’t be trying to keep their current Super Bowl in place; they should be clamoring to get it delayed. As King notes, the new venue will host multiple Super Bowls. Whether the first one happens to cap the 2020 or 2021 season shouldn’t matter.

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Panthers reorganize scouting department

The Panthers have shuffled their personnel department a bit after the departure of assistant General Manager Brandon Beane for Buffalo, passing out some titles which should keep their scouting department largely intact.

The team hasn’t named a new assistant G.M., but pro scouting director Mark Koncz was named director of player personnel.

They also bumped veteran college scouting director Don Gregory to “senior executive scout,” putting him in an overseeing role for both pro and college scouting. They named longtime college scout Jeff Morrow their new director of college scouting.

“You are always looking to improve your scouting operation,” G.M Dave Gettleman said in a statement. “We made some moves after taking a look at everything. I feel really good about our personnel group, both pro and college. We feel this strengthens us even further.”

The Panthers also named Matt Allen the new director of pro personnel, Jonathan Fields a pro scouting assistant and Eli Montague an area scout.

Photo credit: Panthers.com

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Darrelle Revis won’t be punished by NFL after February incident

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Darrelle Revis doesn’t have a job at the moment.

But at least if he finds one, the former All-Pro cornerback won’t have to worry about any future punishment.

According to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, the league has completed its review of the case surrounding assault charges (which were dismissed in March) and has decided to do nothing.

The 31-year-old Revis hasn’t found a taker since being released by the Jets, and frankly this decision shouldn’t have much bearing on his future employment.

The Jets still owe him $6 million, so it’s not like he’s out there hurting for cash. But his play last year was nothing to create a robust market for himself.

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Josh Doctson to work in full at OTAs

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Wide receiver Josh Doctson’s rookie season was almost a total washout as the first-round pick played in just two games while dealing with an Achilles injury that kept him out of most offseason and preseason work as well.

Doctson moved along slowly in the early parts of this offseason and Redskins coach Jay Gruden said in April that the team was planning to continue with a cautious approach through their organized team activities. Those get going this week and Doctson’s outlook has improved.

Gruden said Monday, via multiple Washington beat reporters, that Doctson will be “full for everything” during OTAs.

That should be a plus for the offense as the departures of Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson has left space to fill alongside Jamison Crowder and Terrelle Pryor. Doctson went in the first round because the Redskins were convinced he could provide such help to the passing game and it looks like he’ll get a bigger chance to prove it this year.

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Mike Zimmer will miss some OTAs after eighth eye surgery

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Vikings coach Mike Zimmer disclosed over the weekend that he recently had an eighth surgical procedure on his right eye. On Monday, Zimmer has disclosed that the development will cause him to miss some of the team’s OTA sessions.

Zimmer told Paul Allen of KFAN that the fourth-year coach will miss an undetermined number of offseason practice sessions while he rests at home following the latest operation.

“As the Vikings begin OTA practices, Coach Zimmer will be taking time away from the team to dedicate to recovering from eye surgery and restoring his health,” the Vikings said in a statement. “We all agree Mike’s health is the priority and we believe rest and recovery are in his best interest for the long term. We anticipate Mike back on the field in a few weeks.”

The OTA process represents the culmination of the offseason program, during which much of the offense and defense for the coming season is installed. Apart from the impact of Zimmer’s absence on this preparations, the situation will serve for any of the players who were on the roster last year as a reminder of one of the most bizarre and disappointing seasons in team history.

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Bruce Allen believes July 15 will be “driving point” in Kirk Cousins contract talks

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When he was asked about his desire for a long-term contract recently, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins said that he’s in a “good place” right now and noted that many players are on one-year contracts without anyone making a major fuss.

It was team president Bruce Allen’s turn to talk about Cousins’ contract status on Monday and cited Cousins’ comments when saying the team was comfortable going into the season with Cousins playing on the franchise tag. Allen also said that the team remains interested in extending Cousins’ deal because the quarterback has gotten “better and better” and that he’s “always an optimist” about things working out.

If a deal is going to be struck, it sounds like it might not come until we draw closer to the July 15 deadline for tagged players to sign multi-year deals.

“It’s ongoing,” Allen said, via Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post. “There’s been constant dialogue, I don’t want to say it’s been every day. I really believe July 15, the league deadline, is really going to be the driving point to it. It’s ongoing.”

There hasn’t seemed to be much momentum toward a deal, but we’ve seen the deadline lead to action in other cases where an agreement seemed like a longshot. In a little less than two months, we’ll know which side of the fence the Cousins talk wind up.

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Giants bringing Devin Taylor in for a visit

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The Giants have written big checks lately for pass-rushing defensive ends, but they still need some depth.

A league source confirms to PFT the Giants are bringing former Lions defensive end Devin Taylor for a visit.

Taylor had 7.0 sacks as a reserve two years ago, but only 4.5 last year as a starter in Detroit.

After signing Olivier Vernon a year ago and extending Jason Pierre-Paul this offseason, the Giants are covered with starters but could use more depth.

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Gerald Hodges visiting Bills, Giants

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The Gerald Hodges job tour continues.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the free-agent linebacker will visit the Bills today and the Giants on Tuesday.

Hodges recently met with the Jets. Before that, he visited with the Chiefs and Seahawks.

Hodges, No. 61 on the PFT Free Agent Hot 100 list, previously played for the 49ers. Because the window has closed on the compensatory draft-pick formula, any team that signs him won’t have that count against their net free agency gains/losses for the purposes of dishing out extra third-, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-, and/or seventh-round picks.

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Orlando Franklin visiting Jags, Sam Barrington visited last week

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The Jaguars are slated to have wide receiver Victor Cruz in for a visit this week, but he’s not the only veteran free agent on their radar.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports and PFT has confirmed that guard Orlando Franklin is visiting the team on Monday. Franklin was released by the Chargers last week.

Franklin started 26 games for the Chargers over the last two seasons and has been a regular in the starting lineup since joining the Broncos as a second-round pick in 2011. The Jaguars are in need of a left guard, although there’s been some speculation that the loser of the left tackle competition between Branden Albert and Cam Robinson could slide inside.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Jaguars also had linebacker Sam Barrington in for a workout last week. He split last season between the Chiefs and Saints and would be a depth pickup for Jacksonville.

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New overtime rule could let receiving team win with just a field goal

AP

When the NFL changed its overtime rule in 2012, it was supposed to guarantee both teams the ball, unless the team that received the overtime kickoff scored a touchdown on its first possession. But as the NFL prepares to change its overtime rule again, that “guarantee” is no longer so solid.

The league is expected this week to shorten overtime from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. That means that if the team that receives the opening kickoff marches into field goal range on a long, sustained drive, it could just try to run out the clock until there’s a second or two left in the game, send out the field goal team and win the game with a kickoff at the end of a 10-minute opening possession.

Granted, 10-minute possessions are rare, but they’re not unheard of: According to Pro Football Reference, since 1999 there have been 29 possessions that took 10 or more minutes off the clock and ended in a field goal. An additional seven possessions that took 10 or more minutes off the clock ended in a missed field goal.

There’s never been a 15-minute possession (the longest drive of any kind in the Pro Football Reference database lasted 12:29), so this wasn’t a concern with the longer, 15-minute overtime. But with a 10-minute overtime, it’s a real possibility that a receiving team could win with a field goal, and the kicking team never gets the ball.

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Michael Bennett says he will “boycott” local newspaper

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Near the end of last season, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman took some time off from speaking to reporters following a press conference argument that saw Sherman threaten to ruin a reporter’s career.

Sherman eventually apologized for that and resumed speaking to the media, but now one of his teammates has elicited memories of that stretch by vowing not to speak to one of Seattle’s newspapers. Defensive end Michael Bennett responded to a tweet from the Seattle Times about a column by Matt Calkins by saying he would “boycott” the paper and encourage his teammates to join him in refusing to speak to reporters from that outlet.

Calkins wrote a column calling Bennett “as direct and as fearless as they come” in regards to both his play on the field his commitment to issues and causes he believes in off of it. Calkins also criticized Bennett for bouts of “immaturity” when dealing with the media and closes the column by writing that he loves Bennett’s message but “sometimes, I wonder about the messenger.”

There’s nothing too unusual about players taking an issue with something written or said about them in the media. These things often blow over in time, so we’ll have to see if this proves to be an exception.

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Vinny Curry said he played through knee injury last year

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Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry responded to a big contract with a lackluster season, but he’s explaining now there was a reason for that.

Via Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, Curry said during an interview on 94 WIP that he tried playing through a knee injury which bothered him all season.

I messed my MCL up,” Curry said. “I tried to play through it, and in the long run it ended up hurting me. It is going to be a better year, everything has been perfect so far.”

Curry said he suffered the injury prior to the opener against the Browns. He was on the injury report with a knee problem the first three weeks of the season, but then wasn’t listed.

Curry played well in stretches, but had just 2.5 sacks last season, far from what many expected after the Eagles gave him a five-year, $46 million contract extension.

His kind of cap figure ($9 million next season) will keep the attention on him, and with the Eagles using their first-round pick on defensive end Derek Barnett, Curry will need to get back to producing soon.

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Celebration rule change of some sort coming

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The celebration rules, they are a-changing. It’s still unclear what they’ll be a-changing to.

Despite an expectation in the days preceding the annual meeting in March that changes of some sort would be made to the rules regarding player celebrations, the rules never changed. In fact, the topic never even came up again.

It’s coming up now. Via Peter King of TheMMQB.com, the ownership meeting set for Tuesday in Chicago will result in changes to the current 15-yards-and-a-five-figure-fine punishment for things that currently are forbidden. But it remains unclear what will and won’t be allowed, and what the consequence will be for doing something that will, when things change, be forbidden.

Currently, players are prohibited from: (1) going to the ground when celebrating; (2) celebrating in a group; and (3) using the ball as a prop. King points out that maneuvers like shooting the ball through the uprights as if they’re a basketball hoop (which Washington tight end Vernon Davis did a year ago) will be allowed. It’s still not clear what won’t be allowed.

We’ve argued in the past that, whatever the rules may be, the sanction should be a fine and not a penalty. This allows the league office to carefully consider whether a violation occurred, without requiring the officials to determine in the heat of the moment whether (or not) to take out the flag and tilt the playing field by 15 yards.

As noted by King, Commissioner Roger Goodell, his staff, and a “large group of players” met twice this offseason to discuss the issue. Based on King’s report, it sounds as if, at a minimum, the prohibition on using the ball as a prop will go away. Still, there will be a line, somewhere; in Super Bowl XLIX, Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin used the ball as a prop in one very specific (and some would say hilarious) way, which the league surely doesn’t want to endorse or embrace.

So whatever they decide to do on Tuesday in Chicago, the new rules need to be clear, and they need to be consistently enforced. Discretion should be at a minimum for the officials. Ideally, the officials won’t be involved at all, with the downside of a downright inappropriate celebration being a postgame fine, not an in-game penalty.

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