DUIs have become more prevalent in the NFL and the PFT guys discuss the necessary steps the League needs to take to prevent these senseless crimes from occurring.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: How should DUIs be dealt with?
If Mike Shanahan isn’t talking to reporters off the record, someone committed to his version of reality is.
The latest twist in the Godfather RGIII saga comes from Mike Silver of NFL Network, who reports that owner Daniel Snyder was the “impetus” for the trade that sent three first-round picks and a second-round pick to the Rams for the ability to trade up and draft Griffin.
We say in response, “Baloney.”
Shanahan has final say over the composition of the roster. If Shanahan didn’t want to trade for Griffin, all Shanahan had to do was say so. While standing pat for, say, Ryan Tannehill would have placed extra pressure on Shanahan to earn an extension, Shanahan should have taken a stand if the owner were trying to impose his unqualified will on the football operation.
Even if it’s true (and we doubt that it is), Shanahan forfeited the ability to complain about the decision to give up so much to get Griffin by ultimately signing off on the trade. If Snyder pushed the issue and Shanahan ultimately went along to get along, Shanahan opted to try to have it both ways.
If Griffin had worked out well (like he did last year), Shanahan could be regarded as a genius. If Griffin didn’t work out (like he didn’t this year), Shanahan or someone close to him could start leaking like a racehorse the notion that Shanahan didn’t want Griffin in the first place.
Snyder has remained silent throughout the past few days of dysfunction. At first, we thought he was making himself look bad by letting Shanahan make him look bad. The truth may be that Snyder has opted to simply let Shanahan make himself look bad, before firing Shanahan for cause.
And when Snyder fires Shanahan for cause and Shanahan files a grievance with Commissioner Goodell and reporters from other networks can’t be forced to disclose at the hearing whether Shanahan or someone close to him were leaking detrimental information, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with reporters who work directly for the league, and indirectly for the Redskins.
The Texas Rangers got plenty of free publicity on Thursday by selecting Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the Rule 5 draft, a name that actually makes baseball sound even more boring than it is.
The Rangers got some more free publicity, via Wilson and others talking about whether he’ll play baseball.
“Obviously, I love baseball and just love the game,” Wilson told reporters on Thursday, via quotes distributed by the team. “It’s a relaxing sport, it’s a good sport. I played it my whole life, but there’s nothing better than playing the quarterback position and playing in front of 90,000 people and it being third and six and the game on the line or being in the red zone and having to make a play in a big situation. So that’s why I decided to play football because I love those moments and I love those big games.”
Wilson admitted that, at one point, he considered being a two-sport athlete at the professional level.
“[Rangers G.M. Jon Daniels] asked me if I’m trying to go Bo Jackson?” Wilson said. “I thought about it before, I’m not going to lie. But no. I mean I’m just focused on football.”
Some think he should consider playing baseball, including an NFL Hall of Famer who once played for the Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta Braves — on the same day. (Mrs. PFT and I attended the baseball half of that doubleheader, two years before she was Mrs. PFT. And nine years before PFT was PFT.)
During the Chargers-Broncos pregame show, Deion Sanders said that Wilson should weigh all options and consider playing baseball. 49ers owner Jed York tweeted, “I agree.”
I agree with his agreement, for reasons explained during Thursday’s PFT Live. Wilson will be eligible for a new contract after the 2014 season, but he’ll have no way to force the Seahawks to do a new deal that pays him close to market value. Playing baseball in lieu of playing football becomes a viable alternative, especially if the Seahawks make a below-market offer to extend a contract that would pay him a mere $798,000 in 2015.
Wilson’s “Go ‘Hawks!” attitude is refreshing, but if he carries that mindset too deeply into his career, he’s going to get hosed. Having options means having leverage.
Wilson currently has a significant option that eventually can be parlayed into significant leverage. While playing two sports at the same time is unrealistic for a modern NFL quarterback, Wilson shouldn’t close the door on taking up baseball — especially since he could play it a lot longer, emerge from the game a lot healthier, and if he rises to the major leagues make a lot more money.
Things have gotten so bad in Washington that the ongoing debate regarding the team’s name arguably represents not an unwanted annoyance but a welcome diversion from current football-related controversies.
On Thursday, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights voted unanimously to urge the owner of the Washington Redskins to change the team’s name.
“This is not someone else’s problem, this is everyone’s problem,” said Wade Henderson, CEO of the The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 diverse national organizations. “Having an offensive slur for the Washington team name teaches young people to celebrate the denigration of people for being who they are. That has a damaging psychic impact on individuals, as well as on the entire nation. Changing the name is the right thing do, regardless of how comfortable fans have become with it. And when Mr. Snyder does decide to put the slur away, I think he’ll discover a new market of consumers who recognize the dignity of all people and want to honor that with the sports teams they support.”
The team, which has remained largely (but not completely) silent in response to the persistent calls for change, has issued a statement in response to the resolution.
“The Washington Redskins hold these civil rights leaders in high regard, but we respectfully believe they are mischaracterizing decades of honor and respect toward America’s Indian heritage that our name represents for generations of Redskin fans and Native Americans alike,” the team said. “We understand these leaders hold their views deeply, but so do hundreds and hundreds of Native Americans who have written to us expressing an opposite point of view. . . .
“We believe it is important to listen to and respect all sides on this issue, and that includes also listening to and learning from Native Americans and countless Redskin fans who, for generations, believe our name represents the strength, character and pride of our Indian heritage.”
In other words, the team’s current position is that the issue falls squarely within the realm of subjects on which reasonable minds may differ. Some people reasonably find the term offensive. Others reasonably find the term not offensive. And while the team will listen to those who find the name offensive, the team won’t change the name as long as sufficient Native Americans and Redskins fans are not actually offended.
So, basically, the team won’t change the name unless and until a unanimous consensus emerges that the name is offensive. And that likely won’t happen any time soon.
On the first drive of Thursday night’s Chargers-Broncos game, Manning marched Denver’s offense down the field on a drive that culminated in a touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell, Manning’s 46th touchdown pass of the season.
Brady set the current NFL record of 50 touchdown passes in a season in 2007, breaking a record that previously belonged to Manning, who threw 49 touchdown passes in 2004. Now Manning is just five away from breaking Brady’s record.
Manning now looks like a lock to break Brady’s record. With a few touchdowns to spare.
The longstanding agreement that gives DirecTV exclusive access to the Sunday Ticket package that gives NFL fans the ability to watch every game expires after next season. But the two sides have apparently come to terms on a new deal.
Multiple reports on Thursday say the league and the satellite TV provider have agreed to keep Sunday Ticket on DirecTV for years to come.
DirecTV, which pays about $1 billion a year to the NFL for exclusive access to Sunday Ticket, expects to keep that exclusive access going forward.
“We’ve had very, very constructive conversations with the NFL, but it’s complex,” DirecTV CEO Michael White told Variety. “I’m very optimistic we will get an exclusive deal done on NFL Sunday Ticket.”
There had been talk that the NFL might open up the Sunday Ticket package to cable companies, or that an Internet distributor like Google’s YouTube could bid on the contract. But DirecTV seems set to keep the competitors at bay and hold onto exclusive access to Sunday Ticket.
A new deal would need to be approved by DirecTV’s board of directors and the NFL’s owners, but this is a deal that has made both sides a lot of money, and now seems likely to keep making both sides a lot of money for many more years.
The Broncos are without Champ Bailey for tonight’s game against the Chargers.
Bailey, the veteran cornerback who was listed as questionable with a foot injury, is inactive tonight. It will be the 11th game Bailey has missed this season.
Chargers receiver Eddie Royal, who was listed as questionable with a toe injury, is active. Royal leads the team with seven touchdown catches this season, so having him available is a big plus for San Diego.
Punt return ace Dexter McCluster did not practice because of an ankle injury. McCluster was not on the injury report at all on Wednesday, indicating a new injury that may be tough for him to battle through at this point in the week.
McCluster has been a big factor on special teams for the Chiefs this season, returning two punts for touchdowns and an average of 11.7 yards per return. He’s also caught 46 passes for 438 yards and a touchdown, so they’d also have a role to fill on offense as well.
The same could hold at left tackle. Branden Albert missed practice for the second straight day with the knee injury that kept him out of last week’s game. The better news in Kansas City is that Houston and Fasano were both limited for the second day in a row. Houston has missed two games after dislocating his elbow while Fasano missed last week’s victory with a concussion.
As part of the effort to make the Pro Bowl less unwatchable, the NFL has fashioned another three-hour block of unwatchable television.
The league has announced that the first-ever Pro Bowl draft will be televised on Wednesday, January 22. The event will come a day after the teams, led by Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders, draft 11 players who play the least interesting positions — guard, center, fullback, interior defensive linemen, punter, and special teams.
Those players will walk the red carpet at the site of the made-for-TV Wednesday night draft, which should help chew up a few of the 180 minutes devoted to the effort.
Once finalized, the teams will “practice” on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before “playing” on Sunday.
The new approach won’t make the players play any harder. Which continues to be the biggest problem with the Pro Bowl.
Indeed, Rice himself — who will have a key role in the reconfigured, no-conference-affiliation Pro Bowl — has said that he doesn’t think the changes will work.
“You’ve got prima donnas, egocentrics, who act like it’s not an honor,” Rice said earlier this year, via Jarrett Bell of USA Today. “Plus, they’re thinking, ‘Why should I go and jeopardize what I’m doing?’ But it should be for the fans. How can you get the players to recognize that it’s an honor? You’ve got to play your best football in the Pro Bowl. So the spirit of this needs to be changed. I’m not sure that can be accomplished now.”
It’ll never be accomplished as long as players who have made it through a regular season and, for many, part of a postseason healthy enough to suit up and play to play so hard that they risk spending the offseason rehabbing and injury and, for some, squandering a free-agency payday.
The 49ers’ only touchdown in Sunday’s win over the Seahawks came on a Colin Kaepernick pass to tight end Vernon Davis, with Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner in coverage. That was coverage Davis knew he could beat.
As shown on NFL Turning Point on NBCSN, before the series that ended with Davis’s touchdown, backup quarterback Colt McCoy approached Kaepernick on the sideline and told him that Davis recognized single coverage he could beat.
“Vernon said their guy was playing him straight up man. He said he can run right by him,” McCoy told Kaepernick.
Once the 49ers reached the red zone on the ensuing drive, Kaepernick threw three passes to Davis, one a 13-yard pass down to the 6-yard line, one incomplete and one that touchdown. Clearly, Davis was right when he said he could beat that coverage.
That drive came at the end of the first half, and in the second half Kaepernick never threw a pass in Davis’s direction. So the Seahawks apparently made some halftime adjustments. But the damage had been done.
Johnson responded, saying that he’d show off his old-man strength to Elam while saying that he thought Detroit could make some plays against the Ravens safety. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco wondered what Elam was thinking by calling out the league’s best wide receiver before a game and now coach John Harbaugh has chimed in with further criticism of Elam’s verbal volley.
“I don’t appreciate it,” Harbaugh said, via the team. “It doesn’t help us. You get a guy like Calvin Johnson all fired up, that’s really not the idea.”
Flacco said earlier in the day that the team took deep shots at Elam throughout practice to try to get him ready for what he’ll face against Johnson on Sunday. It doesn’t help matters that linebacker Elvis Dumervil wasn’t able to practice with the ankle injury that kept him out last week. Whatever Elam’s feeling about the best way to approach defending Johnson, keeping balls from getting in the air at all would be safer.
The Cardinals will try to keep their playoff hopes alive in Tennessee this weekend and we’ll spend some time on Thursday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN talking to one of the guys who will help them in that effort.
Wide receiver Michael Floyd has blossomed into the complement to Larry Fitzgerald that the team hoped he would become when they drafted him in the first round and Erik Kuselias will talk to Floyd about the role coach Bruce Arians has played in helping him develop. They’ll also talk about quarterback Carson Palmer and we’ll find out who Floyd thinks was the best team that Arizona’s played this year.
Week 15 kicks off on Thursday night, so we’ll spend some time looking ahead to the matchup between the Broncos and Chargers before setting the stage for the entire week. We’ve got all the latest news from practice, injury updates and everything else you need to know about this week in the NFL coming your way.
It all gets started at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
We’ve heard plenty from the folks directly involved in and affected by the decision to shut Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III down for the season. We’re now hearing from members of the organization who are on the periphery.
Receiver Santana Moss expressed concern on Thursday regarding the decision to throw Cousins into the fire.
“It’s kind of tough to put him into this situation right now and hope for him to be excellent,” Moss said, via Mike Jones of the Washington Post. “It’s almost like setting a guy up for failure. But you just want him to go out there and be at ease and just take his time, be as efficient as he can because it’s one of those situations that’s like, you know, Catch[-22]. He don’t play as well, then you’re gonna say, ‘Well, should he have been in there?’ But you can’t do that to him because he hasn’t had all this season to go out there and jell with us. But he has been ready enough to go out there and be able to run this offense. So we’re just hoping for the best.”
Helping to make it better than it otherwise would be is that the Redskins end the season against a trio of not-so-stifling defenses. The Cowboys are last in yards allowed, the Falcons are the seventh worst. When it comes to points allowed, the Falcons are fourth from the bottom, the Cowboys are seventh, and the Giants are in the bottom third as well.
So it’s possible that coach Mike Shanahan is setting Cousins up not to fail but to thrive. To thrive so well that Shanahan could try to go with Cousins as the starter if Shanahan returns next year. So well that if Shanahan doesn’t return his parting gift to the franchise will have been a quarterback controversy.
The Eagles will try to take another step toward an NFC East title against the Vikings this weekend and they might have to do it without one of their starting cornerbacks.
Cary Williams showed up as limited on Thursday’s injury report because of a hamstring injury. Williams was not on the injury report at all on Wednesday and Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that he was on the field for the start of Thursday’s work, which suggests picked up the injury during Thursday’s practice.
Either way, his status will be something to watch when the Eagles practice and release their final injury report of the week on Friday. He’s started all 13 games this year, turning in play that has fluctuated from good to inadequate over that span. Inconsistent though he may be, Williams’ absence would test the Eagles’ depth at cornerback beyond Bradley Fletcher and Brandon Boykin.
Safety Earl Wolff and linebacker Najeh Goode were also limited for the Eagles on Thursday.
A pair of high-profile NFC West wideouts missed most of the season before returning from injury. For Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin, it was a one-game cameo before again being shelved with the same hip injury. For 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree, he has a different injury after two games back.
Crabtree has an ankle injury. He was officially limited in practice on Wednesday because of it.
According to Bill Williamson of ESPN.com, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Thursday that the ankle problem is unrelated to the Achilles injury that kept Crabtree out of action from May until Week 13.
Crabtree caught two passes for 68 yards in his 2013 debut against the Rams. He had four catches for 40 yards against the Seahawks.
As you might imagine, it didn’t take Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson to notice when somebody called him old.
And it took less time for Ravens safety Matt Elam’s teammates to light him up as well.
And then his teammates had their turn.
Flacco also said the Ravens took shots downfield at Elam all day in practice, to prepare him for what he’s likely to face Monday, when Johnson gets a chance to prove his strength in person.
It’s a good strategy, and perhaps Flacco can offer Elam advice on how to be dull at the right times.