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Mendenhall says “a lot of thought” went in to his decision to ditch Chargers game

Mendy AP

Like an increasing number of spectators, Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall decided earlier this month to watch the game at home.

He got to watch the next game at home, too.  Without pay.

But in response to coach Mike Tomlin’s explanation that Mendenhall was simply frustrated when he decided not to show up for a game in which he was told he wouldn’t dress, Mendenhall disagrees.

I wouldn’t use that word,” Mendenhall said, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  “There’s a lot of thought that goes into everything that I do.”

If there was a lot of thought that went in to his decision to boycott the game, he should have thought about it some more.  The one-game suspension cost Mendenhall more than $41,000.  And the open act of defiance won’t help the looming free agent’s already diminished marketability, given the position he plays, his injury history, and the controversial remarks he made after the death of Osama bin Laden.

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Odell Beckham limited again, but exits injury report

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 16:  Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants is attended to by trainers after taking a hit against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half of the game at MetLife Stadium on October 16, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Getty Images

Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has a hip injury that kept him from practicing on Wednesday, and that rendered him limited in practice on Thursday and Friday. But it won’t keep him from playing on Sunday against the Rams.

Beckham has no label attached to him in the final report, which means he definitely will play.

Also off the report despite not fully practicing at all this week is cornerback Eli Apple (groin), linebacker Keenan Robinson (knee), and cornerback Trevin Wade (ankle).

Running back Rashad Jennings has fully participated all week long with a thumb injury, and he’s also off the report. Ditto for defensive end Olivier Vernon, who has a wrist injury.

Out for Sunday’s game are safety Nate Berhe (concussion), tackle Marshall Newhouse (calf), and safety Darian Thompson (foot).

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Ben McAdoo: “We’re not going to turn our back on Josh” (Brown)

New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo answers questions from journalists during a press conference at Syon House in Syon Park, south west London, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. The Los Angeles Rams are due to play the New York Giants at Twickenham stadium in London on Sunday in a regular season NFL game. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) AP

The Giants flew across an ocean to get away from Josh Brown this weekend, but coach Ben McAdoo said they weren’t going to abandon the kicker who admitted to years of domestic abuse.

Via Jordan Raanan of, McAdoo offered some tepid support for his kicker, who will be inactive this week.

We’re not going to turn our back on Josh,” McAdoo said. “He’s our teammate.”

McAdoo told reporters he informed his players by position group yesterday to tell them Brown wouldn’t be joining them in London. They’re signing Robbie Gould to kick Sunday against the Rams, and perhaps longer.

The team is moving carefully through what seems like an inevitable parting of ways with Brown, following reports this week that he admitted to a pattern of abuse of his then-wife.

“We’re looking to get as much information as we can to make an informed decision,” McAdoo said.

Owner John Mara didn’t make things better yesterday, when he said that Brown: “admitted to us he’d abused his wife in the past. What’s a little unclear is the extent of that.”

The Giants say they knew about the initial charges against Brown when they re-signed him in April as a free agent. But they were not aware of this week’s documents until they were reported Wednesday.

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Brandon Marshall, Sheldon Richardson had heated argument

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 09: Defensive end Sheldon Richardson #91 of the New York Jets reacts in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a game at MetLife Stadium on November 9, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets are having an ugly season on the field. In the locker room, it’s not much better.

Brandon Marshall and Sheldon Richardson, the Jets’ top offensive and defensive players, got into a heated argument after the Week Three loss to the Chiefs. Marshall told that it was just a disagreement between “two Alpha males . . . two bulls,” but Jets coach Todd Bowles acknowledged it was something he had to intervene to stop.

I took care of it right there,” Bowles said. “I addressed the team and I addressed the two guys. It will not happen again.”

The Jets know that locker room disputes can get out of hand, as last year quarterback Geno Smith suffered a broken jaw in a fight with linebacker IK Enemkpali. But Bowles said the Marshall-Richardson incident was nothing like that one.

“There were no residual effects, no physicality,” Bowles said. “After the game, everybody was pissed off and you throw stuff. They should be pissed off, but not at each other. It was just one of those things.”

It’s one of those things that happens on football teams from time to time. But when the football team is 1-5, it raises questions about whether a divided locker room and bad play on the field are related.

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Rosenhaus: LeSean McCoy will be a game-time decision

BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 16:   LeSean McCoy #25 of the Buffalo Bills breaks a tackle by Rashard Robinson #33 of the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at New Era Field on October 16, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bills running back LeSean McCoy is out for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. Unless he isn’t.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus, contradicting an ESPN report that McCoy will definitely miss the Week Seven contest with a hamstring injury, said Friday on WQAM radio in Miami that McCoy will be a game-time decision.

More information will be available on Friday, when the Bills apply the questionable/doubtful/out label to McCoy. If he’s not ruled out Friday, the next question becomes whether McCoy will make the trip to Miami.

McCoy has rushed for 587 yards this season, including 470 in the four games since Anthony Lynn became the offensive coordinator.

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NFL disputes sheriff’s criticism of Josh Brown investigation

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 21:  Kicker Josh Brown #3 of the New York Giants looks on after an extra point against the Minnesota Vikings during a game at MetLife Stadium on October 21, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL is defending its investigation of the Josh Brown domestic violence case amid widespread criticism.

One source of that criticism was King County Sheriff John Urquhart, whose office investigated accusations that Brown abused his ex-wife. Urquhart says that when his office was contacted by an investigator looking for information, that investigator never made clear that he was representing the NFL and wanted information because Brown is the kicker for the Giants and the league wanted to know whether and to what extent Brown should be disciplined.

Responding to reports of the sheriff’s comments, NFL Senior Vice President of Communications Natalie Ravitz wrote on Twitter that the NFL did, in fact, make it clear to police that the league was seeking information on Brown’s domestic violence case.

According to Ravitz, the NFL submitted a public records request on May 26, 2015, and a police report acknowledges that the league had requested information. Ravitz also said four different individuals working for the NFL contacted police.

“It was clear we were looking for info for months,” Ravitz wrote.

The NFL has still not adequately explained what it knew about Brown’s abuse of his ex-wife, although Giants owner John Mara has acknowledged that Brown admitted he abused her, and Mara also acknowledged that he knew NFL Security had to intervene to protect Brown’s wife from him while their family was at an NFL-provided hotel at the Pro Bowl. Despite all that, Brown was only suspended one game and remained an active member of the team until Thursday, when the Giants announced that Brown will not play for them this week after new information about the domestic violence case surfaced.

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Terry Pegula: “No way” this year is playoffs or bust

Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan walks on the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) AP

Near the end of the 2015 season, there was a report that Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula were going to fire coach Rex Ryan and General Manager Doug Whaley if the team didn’t make the playoffs in 2016.

That was refuted, but the feeling took enough hold around the team that guard Richie Incognito said he felt the “unspoken rule” around the team was that “it’s playoffs or bust for us.” Terry Pegula says that’s not the right read on the situation.

Pegula told Tom Pelissero of USA Todayno way” when asked if the stakes were playoffs or bust in Buffalo and said he wasn’t even in Buffalo when he was supposed to have told Ryan and Whaley about his expectations for this season. Pegula said that the team’s players and coaches “need to know there’s stability” and that things won’t work if you’re constantly making changes.

The Bills did make one change to their coaching staff this year when they fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman after two losses to open the year. Reports at the time pointed to the Pegulas as the drivers for that decision, something Ryan disputed and Pegula also discussed with Pelissero.

“Rex had been talking about it,” Pegula said. “Any well-run organization, everyone has to communicate with each other. It was just a situation where he — and we were in agreement — felt that we needed the change. A lot of people said, ‘Oh, Rex is covering his ass. Why not fire himself because his defense was bad?’ Well, guess what? Our offense put the defense on the field the first two games for pretty much the whole first quarter, which set the tempo for the games.”

It’s obviously easier to take the position that stability is the right path when your team has won four straight games than it would have been at 0-2. If all goes well for the Bills, Pegula will be singing the same tune come January and the notion of playoffs or bust will have busted without any need for further explanation.

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Brock Osweiler learned about facing former team from Peyton Manning

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 16:  Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans warms up before playing the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall said this week that there’s no ill will toward Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler for signing a big deal in Houston in the offseason, but that the defense still wants “to kill him” when they square off on Monday night in Denver.

Osweiler joked that it “sounds like they miss me” when he was asked about Marshall’s comments and added that he’s “not blind” to the added interest in this week’s game because of the four years he spent with the Broncos. Osweiler served as Peyton Manning’s backup for most of that time and said he learned a lesson about keeping an even keel in emotionally charged situations from watching Manning prepare for a game in Indianapolis.

“I remember being in our Saturday night quarterback meeting, and when I got to that meeting I was kind of anxious to see how he was going to be, what kind of energy he would have,” Osweiler said, via the team’s website. “I’ll never forget it. He stepped into the meeting and the way he conducted himself, he was the same Peyton Manning that he was the week before, the week before that and the week before that.”

Osweiler says this week has felt normal to him, although it wouldn’t be a bad time to break from his normal routine of throwing at least one interception in every game.

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Ezekiel Elliott: Rookie rushing record “not important”

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball against the Green Bay Packers during the second quarter at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) Getty Images

Earlier this week, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant shared his opinion that running back Ezekiel Elliott will set a new rookie rushing record this season by gaining more yards than the 1,808 Eric Dickerson managed in 1983.

Bryant said he thinks Elliott can surpass 2,000 rushing yards, but Elliott isn’t as keen on discussing the topic. He said any yards he gets are an accomplishment for the entire team rather than just himself and that he always wants the focus to be on the team.

“Because it’s not important,” Elliott said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “You guys want to write stories about the rookie rushing record, and it’s about this team, honestly. It’s not about a record. That’s not what we’re focused on. We’re a team, and honestly I don’t want any attention being put towards that. It should be about this team, and it should be about these guys. It should be about our relationship. It shouldn’t be about records.”

The nice thing for Elliott is that we’ve already seen how much prodigious rushing numbers, record-setting or otherwise, boost the fortunes of the entire team. Elliott leads the league in rushing through six weeks and the Cowboys are 5-1, which provides plenty of reason to believe that continued success for Elliott as an individual will mean the same for the team as a whole.

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Tyler Eifert: “In my mind, I’m ready”

Tyler Eifert AP

When his ankle finally healed, his back gave out. So now after months of rehabbing one thing or another, Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert is ready to take the field again.


Via Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Eifert said he was ready to get back on the field this week, though he’s still being listed as limited.

In my mind, I’m ready,” Eifert said. “Two weeks ago, before it happened I was in really really good shape and I’ve kind of been laid up just trying to get the back right. All things considered, I don’t think there’s anything else I have to pass.”

Eifert joked that the recent back problem kept him from worrying about the comeback from the ankle injury, saying: “I can’t think about two things at once.”

“I didn’t want to tell anybody that I kinda hurt my back because I got the ankle right and I was ready to play,” Eifert said. “I tried to keep practicing and I couldn’t do anything else. Like I said, I had to tell someone.”

Eifert’s been sidelined by a number of injuries in his career, but when he’s on the field he’s incredibly productive. He caught 13 touchdown passes, and was one of the best red zone targets in the league. And for an offense that has lost its way this season, getting him back would be a huge benefit.

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Jim Schwartz says Eagles’ flat defense is his fault

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 19: The new Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz talks to the media on January 19, 2016 at the NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Getty Images

When Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz looked at the tape from last week’s game with Washington, he saw plenty of problems. When he looked in the mirror, he saw another.

Via Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News, Schwartz was brutally honest when asked about last week’s flat tire, in which the Eagles gave up 493 yards, 230 rushing yards and recorded no sacks.

“We were bad at all three levels,’’ Schwartz said. “No, let’s make that four levels. We were bad at defensive line. We were bad at linebacker. We were bad in the secondary.

And we were bad at the defensive coordinator position.’’

The Eagles got off to a great start as a defense, and bounced back from a bad first half against the Lions to play better. But there was nothing good about last week’s performance and Schwartz said that started with him.

“It’s my job to put the fires out,’’ Schwartz said. “And to find something, when we’re not having a great day, to be able to have a changeup somewhere. Unfortunately, my changeups didn’t work either.”

Schwartz has practical autonomy, as rookie head coach Doug Pederson doesn’t fiddle with the side of the ball he knows less about. So that puts a lot of pressure on Schwartz, and he knows that.

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Steve Smith: “Our system is broken”

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 2:  Steve Smith Sr. #89 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL learned the hard way two years ago the problems that can arise from failing to employ proper diligence when investigating domestic violence allegations involving former Ravens running back Ray Rice. A current Ravens player has opted to say things that need to be said given the reality that, two years later, the league failed to employ proper diligence when investigation domestic violence allegations involving soon-to-be-former Giants kicker Josh Brown.

“We have valued the amount of air in a ball but yet devalued when a person or persons may have been harmed and fail to put forth necessary actions of energy and time in which far less important things have taken precedent!” Steve Smith said on social media last night. “There have been players with far less [offenses,] some have been banned, cut on the spot. But this person had behavior patterns behind closed doors unknown to everyone while swift and harsh action handed down to many players without half the details or amount of time.

“Our system is broken the NFL needs to stop acting like they care and start showing people they mean what they say. I will continue to speak for the voiceless and for my mother who is a survivor of domestic violence.”

Smith’s more length comments came after he provided a more succinct assessment of Josh Brown’s situation: “You know what ex-wife was my daughter yo ASS would be on IR.” Smith later admitted that his initial response was “a bit extreme [and] for that I apologize.”

Smith’s assessment of the state of the league isn’t extreme. Millions of dollars and thousands of hours were devoted to justifying an unjustified suspension of Tom Brady over air pressure, and the league trotted out the Keystone Cops for a serious case of domestic violence.

Meanwhile, the NFL once again finds itself hunkering down and circling the wagons and waiting for the storm to blow over. One of these days, the storm is going to blow the house down.

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Friday morning one-liners

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2016, file photo, Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota passes against the Cleveland Browns in the second half of an NFL football game in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans can win three straight games for the first time in five years if they beat Indianapolis on Sunday, a win that could put them into a tie for first in the AFC South.  (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File) AP

WR Justin Hunter has two catches and two touchdowns for the Bills this season.

Huddling seems to be helping the Dolphins offense.

Patriots WR Julian Edelman isn’t sweating his stats over two games with QB Tom Brady.

More personnel changes could be coming for the Jets.

QB Ryan Mallett says he’s ready to go if the Ravens need him.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis remains close with Browns coach Hue Jackson.

CB Joe Haden knows he can’t help the Browns if he can’t run with A.J. Green.

Steelers WR Sammie Coates is still working with an injured finger.

The Texans expect CB Kareem Jackson back this week.

Colts QB Andrew Luck may be short on receivers this weekend.

The Jaguars need their pass rush to slow down the Raiders offense.

A look at Titans QB Marcus Mariota’s production in the red zone.

LB DeMarcus Ware is getting closer to a return to the Broncos lineup.

All went well in Chiefs LB Justin Houston’s return to the practice field.

Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. hasn’t lost faith in his unit.

The Chargers would like to see improvement in their special teams work.

Five of the best plays from Cowboys QB Dak Prescott in the first six games.

As you’d expect from a man with the nickname Snacks, Giants DT Damon Harrison knows where to get a good meal in London.

Are more targets in the cards for Eagles WR Dorial Green-Beckham?

The Redskins have been pleased with CB Kendall Fuller’s play in the nickel.

Bears rookie LB Leonard Floyd had a good night in the team’s loss.

Rookie G Graham Glasgow has done well for the Lions.

Packers WR Davante Adams had a career-best night against the Bears.

Facing Carson Wentz may cost the Vikings some fans in North Dakota this weekend.

Assessing Falcons QB Matt Ryan’s chances of being the MVP.

Said Panthers coach Ron Rivera of his defense, “We’ve got to make sure everybody is on the same page. If they’re not, we’ve got to get guys that are going to be on the same page and get them out there.”

The Saints may be making a change at kick returner.

How will the Buccaneers replace WR Vincent Jackson?

There are a lot of outside linebackers on the field in the Cardinals’ newest defensive wrinkle.

Rams DE Robert Quinn hopes to play this weekend.

DL Arik Armstead’s playing time is on the rise with the 49ers.

Seahawks S Kam Chancellor’s status for this weekend remains up in the air.

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Kubiak: Trevor Siemian has been much better this week

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos runs with the ball during the first half of a game against the San Diego Chargers  at Qualcomm Stadium on October 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Getty Images

Broncos coach Gary Kubiak and quarterback Trevor Siemian were both dealing with health issues last week.

Kubiak wasn’t on the sideline when Siemian made a return from a week on the bench with a left shoulder injury in a Thursday night loss to the Chargers. Siemian didn’t look entirely comfortable, especially when he’d take a hit from a San Diego defender, and finished the night 30-of-50 for 230 yards.

Kubiak returned to the team on Monday after a week of rest following a hospital trip and said he feels better as a result. He thinks the extended time off has also been a benefit to Siemian after watching him in practice.

“[I] think he’s been much better — obviously last week when he played in the game he was still sore,” Kubiak said, via “To me, watching him turn a few balls loose [in San Diego], he didn’t rotate the way he normally does … It’s been a week now, and you can see a difference.”

Siemian’s injury and a sluggish running game have contributed to two straight losses for the Broncos and the team will be trying to get things back in gear against the Texans on Monday night. With Brock Osweiler making his return to Denver, a good outing for Siemian would be beneficial to the Broncos on a couple of fronts.

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Jordan Matthews: NFL’s talk of integrity rings hollow

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 21:  Jordan Matthews #81 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates his touchdown late in the second quarter against the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on September 21, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) Getty Images

There are plenty of people scratching their heads over the NFL’s and the Giants multiple failures in the handling of the Josh Brown case.

But from Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews’s perspective, it’s hard to square a teammate getting a 10-game ban for a second offensive of the PED policy while an admitted domestic abuser gets one game.

They always use the words they want to protect the integrity of the game,” Matthews said, via Eliot Shorr-Parks of “I think it is always looked at as the integrity of the football game. Obviously, if somebody makes a mistake like Lane did, or even if somebody does it intentionally if they might try to do something to get an edge, then yes, that can affect a game. So obviously there are some disciplines that should take place.

“But then when we talk about the integrity of the game, and the shield [the NFL logo] . . . you talk about the values that you want to instill in families that actually watch us and look up to us. Then it sends the wrong message that every single time there is an incident with domestic violence or something where there is a physical altercation, especially with a lady . . . it never seems like there is a really big punishment handed down.

“Even with the Ray Rice incident, nothing was really serious until there was public outrage or until the video came out. But my thing is, why do people have to see something for there to be actual steps taken?”

Having empathy and intellectual curiosity would be a good starting point, as well as being good at investigating such instances. The league’s 0-3 on that scorecard at the moment, as more and more people realize how broken their system is.

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Jim Caldwell is not interested in your talk of the postseason

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 09: Head coach Jim Caldwell of the Detroit Lions watches his team against the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field on October 9, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Eagles 24-23.(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) Getty Images

Lions coach Jim Caldwell rarely responds to much of anything.

But if you really want to see nothing, ask him when he might discuss his team’s chances to make the playoffs.

Never,” Caldwell replied, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “Next question.”

Of course, the Lions are just 3-3, but they’ve beaten the Eagles and Rams in succession and are playing at a high rate lately. And With Washington (4-2) coming to town this week, they have a chance to stake themselves as legitimate wild card contenders. Beyond the division leaders, only this week’s opponent, the Eagles (3-2) and Packers (4-2) are about .500 in the NFC.

Caldwell said “it’s nonsense to be talking about” playoff possibilities at this stage of the season. in the season and that his team is all-in with its one-game-at-a-time approach.

“These guys have been around,” Caldwell said. “They understand how hard it is, how tough it is. We don’t start making projections. We haven’t done anything. We’re still trying to survive, we’re fighting and scratching for every — we’re trying to make it through practice half the time, let alone talk about looking that far down the road. We’ve got to find a way to keep getting better. Against these teams we’re facing — we’re facing a team that’s got a four-game winning streak, that’s playing awfully well right now, and we’re talking about something else other than that. We don’t do that. That’s kind of what you guys do. We never do it.”

And while it wasn’t exactly a Jim Mora rant, Caldwell’s steady approach seems to be working for the Lions, after their closed last year with a 6-2 finish.

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