It’s been reported that if the Browns clean house, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels would “jump at” the chance to coach in Cleveland. Mike Florio explains why this would make sense for both parties.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: McDaniels to Cleveland make sense?
A positive take on the Bills’ offensive plans.
More than 1,300 players took part in a Dolphins-hosted 7-on-7 tournament over the weekend.
A projection of the Patriots’ 53-man roster.
The five biggest moves of the Titans offseason.
Who are the top safeties in Broncos history?
Raiders rookies learned more than playbooks in the last couple of months.
The 1963 Chargers are waiting for company on the organization’s list of champions.
A running list of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ best offseason quotes.
Where might the Giants make an addition to the roster?
Redskins coach Jay Gruden and owner Dan Snyder got a picture with Axl Rose at Sunday’s Guns N’ Roses concert.
How will the Falcons approach extra points this season?
Where do the Panthers rank among the league’s best receiving groups?
The Rams have gotten to work in their new community.
Before he was shot while doing some naked breaking and entering last week, former Lions cornerback Stanley Wilson II had targeted three other homes — at least one of them while clothed.
According to Aimee Green of the Oregonian, Wilson was shot while breaking into the home of 78-year-old Robert McCall.
Police found the Stanford graduate naked in the back yard. He remains hospitalized, but is scheduled to appear in court today to hear charges of one felony count of first-degree burglary, one misdemeanor count of first-degree criminal trespass and two misdemeanor counts of second-degree criminal trespass.
The shooting happened last Wednesday afternoon, after he had been in at least one other home. The homeowner said Wilson stuck his head in her door after entering through the garage, but left without incident.
“He said, ‘Do you need anything?'” the woman said. “I said, ‘No, what are you doing in my garage?’ And then he said, ‘Isn’t this where I’m supposed to be?’ I said, ‘No.'”
She said Wilson was nicely dressed and polite, though she thought it unusual he wasn’t wearing shoes. That was apparently only the beginning of his neighborhood walkabout, and he lost clothing as he went.
It’s a strange story, fitting with a family tradition. His father once missed a Super Bowl because coaches found him doing cocaine in a hotel bathroom the night before the game.
The NFL plans to send investigators to the first day of Steelers training camp to interview linebacker James Harrison about allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs. Harrison says other ideas.
In a statement he posted on Instagram, Harrison said he’ll give an interview, but only if Commissioner Roger Goodell shows up at his house to do it.
“I never had a bully before in my life and I’m DAMN sure not about to have one at this point. But since I’m a nice guy & don’t mind helping to clear the air in the name of the NFL Shield, I’ll do this interview,” Harrison wrote. “WITH THESE STIPULATIONS: The interview will be done at MY house. BEFORE training camp. On a date of MY choosing. AND Mr. Goodell must be present.”
Harrison has said many derogatory things about Goodell, including, “I hate him and will never respect him.” Goodell probably won’t be taking Harrison up on the invitation to his house.
What’s clear is that the NFL’s investigation of the Al Jazeera documentary about performance-enhancing drugs is a long way from over. The other players accused in that documentary — Peyton Manning, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and Mike Neal — are also subject to the NFL’s investigation. Those players, however, haven’t made comments as inflammatory as Harrison’s.
When Lions quarterback said last week that the Lions might be tougher to cover without retired wide receiver Calvin Johnson, it sounded like the thing a quarterback has to say.
But Johnson, at least, believes he has a point.
The former Lions wideout suggested that others might not have always taken advantage of the double-teams he drew, and the element of mystery could work to their advantage.
“Well, I felt like it should have been easier because they were going to double me a lot of the time, especially in certain situations, so it’s breakout time for somebody to make something happen,” Johnson said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “One on one, that’s what you want. So, put it like this year, I don’t know who if anybody’s going to get double-teamed, so I think they have the playmakers. So if Matt can get them the ball, they make the plays, they can be good, man.”
Johnson still led the Lions with 1,214 yards on 88 receptions last year, showing it wasn’t his play that was holding them back.
They added wide receiver Marvin Jones in free agency, and they’re hoping they get more from tight end Eric Ebron, but at the moment, being better without one of the best wideouts in the recent history of the NFL seems more like a wish than a plan.
The annual Hall of Fame ceremony is coming soon, which means that the new class of inductees soon will be giving their speeches. One of those guys who will be speaking seems to be getting a little anxious about that.
“At some point, I have to start preparing a speech — which I am not good at doing,” Favre said at an appearance at a golf course in Wisconsin on Sunday, via Jason Wilde of ESPN.com. “It’s closing fast. As we get older, we find that time flies. That’s the case here. It seems like yesterday I was just preparing for [returning to] Green Bay this past summer. It’ll be here quick.”
Preparing the speech isn’t difficult, especially when a guy has the money and/or the connections to get help in putting thoughts together. The key will be to deliver the speech as written without riffing or improvising or filibustering. Keep it simple, keep it short, come up with a few good lines, wave, smile, and sit.
It’s been argued that new Hall of Famers are entitled to drone on and on if they choose to do so. To the extent, however, that the speeches are part of a live TV show and not recorded and edited to trim out much of the droning on and on, the goal should be not to talk and talk and talk in the hopes of eventually tripping over something memorable but to come up with something memorable ahead of time, practice the delivery, walk up to the podium in that new gold jacket, and nail it.
The Seahawks gave former NBA player Nate Robinson a look-see not that long ago, and coach Pete Carroll made it clear that it won’t be easy for Robinson to make it in the NFL. To his credit, that hasn’t stopped him from trying.
Via Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com, Robinson continues to work out in the hopes of making it to the NFL. He’s been training with former Arkansas State receiver Dwayne Frampton. (Chris Berman perhaps would say that Frampton is showing Robinson the way.)
Although Carroll said it will be “all but impossible” for Robinson to make it in the NFL, Carroll admitted that “if anyone could it might be Nate.”
Here’s hoping Nate keeps trying. Too many people like to talk about all the things they could do if they truly wanted to. It’s nice to see someone try, regardless of whether he ultimately succeeds.
The NFL has taken a hard line over the last decade when it comes to players who get into trouble away from the field. Changes to the Personal Conduct Policy in 2007 had an impact, but even more changes (including the introduction of paid leave) sparked by 2014 incidents involving Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Adrian Peterson seemed to get the attention of most players.
Arrests are still happening, but not with the same frequency — as indicated by a “days without an arrest” meter that often gets well into the 20s, 30, and 40s between incidents. The fact that the number currently sits at 26 in the break between the end of offseason programs and the opening of training camps shows that players who are left to their own devices are avoiding trouble better than they once did.
There have been nine players arrests since January 1. Last year, there were 13 in the first half of the year. Two years ago, there were 21. In 2013, the number was 29.
It’s not just an offseason phenomenon. At one point last season, more than two months passed between arrests of any of the roughly 2,000 players on rosters or practice squads.
That’s real progress, a testament to the arguably heavy-handed (but apparently effective) efforts of the NFL to beef up the consequences for players accused of wrongdoing. So while viable arguments remain regarding the ability of the Commissioner to serve as a truly fair and impartial arbitrator of disciplinary decisions made by the league office, the current system seems to be working. Well.
There’s been plenty of news lately about the eventually-to-be-opened-Falcons stadium, and not much of it good.
The whole cheap-beer-and-hot-dog news was good. The whole $200-million-more-in-change-orders wasn’t good. The $172-million-in-money-for-nothing news was good for the team but not for the folks who have to buy the right to actually sit in the seats that go with their tickets.
Here’s another nugget that wouldn’t be good news for anyone: The Falcons haven’t ruled out the possibility that the stadium won’t be ready for the team’s 2017 preseason games.
“We would have options,” Falcons CEO Rich McKay said, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. “You’ve obviously got the University of Georgia. You’ve got Georgia Tech. But I wouldn’t say that we view this as . . . it’s not even a consideration of something we’ve looked into. We’re very confident in June 1, so we don’t view it as a problem. But we have alternatives.”
One alternative won’t be the team’s current home, the Georgia Dome.
“It will not be an option,” McKay said. “It will be on its way down.”
McKay also pointed out that another possibility would be to play all of the preseason games on the road, something the Buccaneers did when their current stadium opened in 1997.
The team still fully expects that the stadium will be ready to go on June 1, the new date that replaced the prior date (in which they presumably had full confidence) of March 1. If it isn’t ready for the preseason, however, it apparently won’t be a problem.
If it isn’t ready for the regular season, that would probably be a problem.
Giants rookie receiver Roger Lewis wasn’t drafted, quite possibly due not to talent but an off-field issue that nearly landed him in prison.
Charged as a high-school student with two counts of rape arising from incidents with the same alleged victim that occurred 36 days apart in December 2011 and January 2012, Lewis eventually landed at Bowling Green and did well enough to get a shot to make an NFL roster.
“Things had to make me stronger as a 18-year-old going through hard times,” Lewis told the New York Post. “I think I feel very prepared because, you know, situations make or break you.”
The situation nearly broke him. Acquitted by a jury on one rape charge, the jury couldn’t agree on a verdict as to the second charge. With a second trial on that charge approaching, Lewis pleaded guilty to providing false information to police.
“All this, everything that’s happening, is just God blessing me with just the little things,” Lewis said. “Just reminding myself that I’m an undrafted free agent. . . . I have to play with a chip on my shoulder every day.”
His new boss has noticed.
“He’s a guy that has a chip on his shoulder, doesn’t say much and goes about his business the right way,” coach Ben McAdoo told the Post. “He’s businesslike, and we like that about him.”
It still won’t be easy for Lewis to make the climb from 90 to 53.
“[It will be] a huge learning curve from the system he was in in college to what he’s asked to do here,” offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan told the Post. “We’ve seen some good things from Roger, and we’re excited to have him in the mix.”
Lewis has a long way to go to become the team’s next Victor Cruz. The more attention he receives, the more people will notice the fact that he was a hung jury away from going to prison for rape.
The Eagles have said they’re going to be patient with rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. They may be so patient that Wentz doesn’t even put on his uniform for a game this season.
With Sam Bradford slated to open the season as the starter and Chase Daniel penciled in at No. 2, Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice reports that there’s a very good chance Wentz won’t be active on game days.
Many teams only suit up two quarterbacks on game days now that the NFL has eliminated the “emergency quarterback” rule. So if Bradford and Daniel are both healthy, that could leave Wentz in street clothes.
Of course, that’s assuming things go according to plan and Bradford plays well and stays healthy. Given that Bradford has often not played well and not stayed healthy, there’s no guarantee things will go according to plan for the Eagles.
And teams have proclaimed in the past that they were going to give a rookie quarterback a “redshirt” year, only to change that plan. Two years ago, the Jaguars spent the entire offseason insisting that first-round rookie quarterback Blake Bortles would spend his rookie season on the bench. That grand plan lasted until Week Three.
If Bradford struggles or gets hurt, or if the Eagles are out of contention late in the season, it’s likely that Wentz would get some playing time. But as of now, the plan is to bury Wentz on the depth chart and let him learn from the bench.
The Jets and linebacker Darron Lee have yet to agree to terms on a contract. The Jets don’t seem to be concerned about it, probably because they’re too busy being thrilled with how Lee conducted himself during the offseason program. (With the exception of that time he tackled a guy in non-contact practice.)
“He’s been a pleasant surprise, Jets linebackers coach Mike Caldwell said, via Darryl Slater of NJ.com. “He’s been picking things up well. What we saw on film, what we saw in college, he’s been showing it.”
The “pleasant surprise” comes mainly from Lee’s professionalism.
“He comes into meetings and he’s hungry to learn,” Caldwell said. “Sometimes you see rookies that think they know it all. He’s eager to learn and he’s soaking it all up and the older guys are helping him. That’s a surprising part of it.”
“It’s a good situation for [Lee] because he has a personality that will accept other guys’ opinions and other guys’ knowledge,” Caldwell said. “David has a great deal of knowledge and so does Erin. He’s in a great situation because he can come in and learn behind those guys.”
It may not be long before he’s in front of one or both of those guys.
NFL coaches are competitors, but that doesn’t stop plenty of them from being friends. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter have been friends for years, dating back to their shared time at Idaho State, where they met as graduate students.
Now, they hold two of the most desirable jobs in all of sports, and Lewis, who has coached the Bengals since 2003, had some free advice for Koetter.
“Throw deep,” Koetter told the Idaho State Journal, via JoeBucsFan.com.
“I’m serious,” Koetter added. “Marvin’s a defensive coach. I’m an offensive coach. He said offenses don’t throw deep enough.”
Marvin is right. A deep pass carries a potentially significant reward at relatively low risk. The receiver can (duh) catch the ball or draw a pass interference penalty, which continues to be a spot foul in the NFL. The downside is an incompletion or an interception so far down the field that it simulates a punt.
I’ve joked (only half-jokingly) since the Packers-Cardinals division-round epic that Green Bay should make the Hail Mary part of its base offense, given the team’s uncanny ability to convert when the defense knows it’s coming. Maybe it shouldn’t be a joke at all; maybe every team should periodically fake a handoff to freeze the safeties for a half-second and then fire the ball deep on a regular basis.
So go ahead, head coaches. Your quarterbacks all believe they can throw the football over them mountains. Let them do try, often.
Not long after Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins said he expected to be on the field early in training camp, Watkins is apparently changing his prognosis.
Watkins told ESPN’s Vaughn McClure that though he “feels good,” he doesn’t know when he’ll be cleared and hopes to be able to participate in training camp.
“If not, then cool,” Watkins said. “Get ready for the first game.”
That takes his timetable for a projected return from early August to any time from August to early September. Watkins last week told TSN.ca that he’d “definitely be available” and might only miss two or three days of camp, which begins in late July.
The Bills won’t rush Watkins back from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot, and Watkins sounded like he’s fine waiting if that’s what it takes, too. He said he hasn’t run in the last three or four weeks.
“Really, I just [have] to stay healthy,” he said. “It’s about taking good time. Listen to the medical staff and hopefully it works out.”
When the Texans took linebacker Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick of the 2014 draft, their hope was that he’d team with defensive end J.J. Watt to lift the team’s defense to the top of the league.
Injuries have kept that from happening. Clowney has missed 15 regular season games and last year’s playoff loss to the Chiefs because of a variety of injuries, leaving his potential unfulfilled as he heads into his third season.
Linebackers coach Mike Vrabel said that he saw increased resolve from Clowney on the field and in the classroom during this year’s offseason program, something that he believes Clowney needs to make a bigger impact for the Texans in 2016. That can’t happen unless he’s healthy, of course, and there’s not much that General Manager Rick Smith and the rest of the team can do but hope that’s the case.
“When he’s been on the field, he’s been pretty disruptive, pretty impactful,” Smith said, via the Houston Chronicle. “It’s just that he has suffered some injuries, which you would hope is that he’s already had as many as he needs to have, right? Just from a standpoint of luck, hopefully the guy has had his share of injuries and he will have an opportunity to play for an extended amount of time because I think what you see, when you see him on the field, you see productive play. He’s going to work at that. Some of those injuries it’s not like he’s getting hurt because he’s not working. The nature of the injuries he’s had are not such that it’s an indicator of the guy’s not being conditioned or ready to play. It’s just the nature of the game. Hopefully, he’s had his share of them and he’ll be on the field consistently.”
There were flashes of good play for Clowney last season, but missing Week 17 and the playoff loss meant the year ended on another down note and the questions about his durability remain firmly in place. Should they still be in place after the 2016 season, the Texans’ hopefulness may give away to resignation that Clowney’s health won’t allow him to make good on their expectations.
Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly said last week that the Panthers need to bring the same mindset to the 2016 season that they had heading into last season, but they won’t be bringing back the same group of players.
The biggest departure is cornerback Josh Norman, who signed with the Redskins after the Panthers rescinded the franchise tag they used early in the offseason. Norman played a big role in Carolina’s success last season both with his play on the field and as an emotional leader off of it, but Kuechly thinks the team is well-stocked with players who can fill the latter void.
“When you lose a guy like Josh, obviously, he’s entertainment, energy, attitude, but that’s kind of been the attitude of our defense,” Kuechly said to Tiffany Blackmon of NFL Media. “You know, you still have Thomas [Davis] and Charles [Johnson] and Kurt Coleman bring an edge and we’ve got a bunch of guys that still bring that attitude, enthusiasm. We’ve got older guys that when the young guys come in and they can kind of teach them what the mentality’s like and get them on the same page.”
They drafted three cornerbacks in April to help fill out the corps in Norman’s absence and Kuechly said he thinks “they’ll be good for us” come the fall. With the likes of Kuechly, Davis, Johnson, Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei still on hand, the Panthers have plenty of talent left on defense to help ease their transition to the professional ranks and reason to expect more success after last year’s NFC title.