Shaun King joins Mike Florio to preview NBC’s Sunday Night Football game pitting the San Francisco 49ers against the Seattle Seahawks. King thinks both young QBs have done a phenomenal job this season, but gives the winning nod to Colin Kaepernick due to the weapons he has at his disposal.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Shaun King credits 49ers’ young QB
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata spent the last nine years as a member of the Baltimore defense and had his responsibilities in that scheme down pat before he was traded to Detroit this offseason.
Now Ngata is being asked to be more aggressive at the point of attack by penetrating through the offensive line and getting upfield, something he says he enjoys even though he’s still getting used to having that frame of mind on a consistent basis.
“It’s definitely difficult,” Ngata said, via the Detroit Free Press. “You’re going to, when you get fatigued, you get back to your old technique, your old ways of doing things. I saw it on film [Tuesday], I just kind of seen some of my technique going back to what I used to do in Baltimore. So just knowing that once I’m fatigued I’ve got to still focus, understand what my technique is, what they want me to do on the defense and try to attack all the time.”
Ngata is set to be a free agent after the season and the Lions have talked about giving him some time to get his feet wet before serious extension talks begin, something Ngata echoed when discussing his plans on that front. With Ngata still getting comfortable, it seems likely that those talks won’t get underway for a bit.
We spent time on Wednesday listening to Vikings coach Mike Zimmer talk about running back Adrian Peterson and then we heard Peterson’s response to the coach saying that Peterson could play for the Vikings or not play at all in 2015, but Thursday will bring a conversation with a player who is actually practicing with the team right now.
Linebacker Chad Greenway will join Mike Florio on PFT Live to catch us up with the latest from Vikings OTAs, including any thoughts he might have about his longtime teammate’s future with the team. We’ll also ask Greenway about his decision to take a pay cut to remain with the Vikings for 2015 and what he thinks the team is capable of doing this season.
Florio will also check in with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News about the latest on the Jets quarterbacks and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson’s desire for a new contract. Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego will have the latest on the Chargers on the field and in their search for a new stadium and PFT‘s own Darin Gantt will drop in to talk about the Panthers during the show.
We also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.
It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour of the show by clicking right here.
The Cowboys knew they wanted La’El Collins, and felt like they got him at a bargain rate — even if they didn’t know where to put him.
But injuries are taking care of that for the moment, as the famously undrafted rookie is working at right tackle while incumbent starter Doug Free recovers from offseason ankle surgery.
“It’s definitely a new position for me, so a new challenge,” Collins said, via Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I have to go out each and every day and focus on the small things – my technique, my assignments. It’s been a great two days for the OTAs.”
Collins played exclusively on the left side at LSU, and might eventually slot in as the Cowboys left guard. But the fact they think he can do several things only underscores the value they see in him.
“We think he has the physical ability to play a couple of different spots,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He was a tackle for most of his career in college but did play guard. We see him as a guy who can maybe do both of those things as he goes.
“The big thing for him is to try to get him acclimated as quickly as we can. So right now he’s going to play right tackle for us. He and Darrion Weems are competing at that spot in Doug Free’s absence, and we’ll just see how that unfolds. All those guys, having some position flex and some versatility on the offensive line is really, really important. He’s someone who’s demonstrated that in college and has the physical traits to do it at this level.”
He also gives the Cowboys flexibility when it comes time to pay people, as they can leverage a guy who would have been a first-rounder before his name was linked to a double-murder investigation (in which he still isn’t considered a suspect).
It’s a long-term perk to what should be an excellent short-term move, giving the Cowboys the chance to keep an excellent line together for several years.
The Saints are coming back to West Virginia. And this year, they’ll have company.
Per multiple sources, the Patriots intend to join the Saints for three days of practices at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.
The practices will occur prior to the August 22 preseason game between the two teams in New Orleans. The Patriots will travel to West Virginia, the two teams will practice there, and then both teams will travel to Louisiana for the game.
The Saints held three weeks of training camp at the Greenbrier in 2014, providing them an environment with lower temperatures and humidity.
In West Virginia, the two teams will practice at a first-class facility that the Greenbrier built in a fairly short period of time. The Cardinals are considering spending the week practicing there between October games at Detroit and Pennsylvania.
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall restructured his contract this offseason to take away any guaranteed money and make his entire $4 million salary contingent on making the Redskins’ 53-man roster for the start of the regular season.
Hall made the move after tearing his Achilles tendon last season and likely would have been looking at unemployment while he was rehabbing had he not agreed to the adjustment. Now he just needs to prove to the team that the injury hasn’t taken away his ability to play at a good level.
That proof will have to wait. Hall says that he feels good eight months after the injury, but he’s not going to practice until training camp.
“They have a plan and they’re sticking with that plan,” Hall said, via John Keim of ESPN.com. “As good as I feel now, I look at it as more time to feel better. I feel I can go out there and make plays. If they want to hold me out for a while that’s fine with me. I got one shot to show what I can do, whether that’s waiting or going right now. I definitely want to be as healthy as possible. It wasn’t me coming to them and saying ‘let’s wait.’ It was them saying, ‘Let’s stick to this timetable. I know you feel good. I know you want to get out there. But let’s take our time and ease into it.’ I’ve been following that motto.”
Hall will have to show that he’s a better option than either Bashaud Breeland or David Amerson to start across from Chris Culliver in the fall, something that should be within reach if he’s healthy when he does make it back to the field.
The makeover of the Eagles front office didn’t end when Chip Kelly got Howie Roseman kicked upstairs (and out of his football building).
In fact, it was only beginning.
Kelly has made a series of moves since then to restructure and restock his football operation, with some of the moves subtle and unannounced.
According to Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com, the Eagles have hired former Dolphins executive Chris Shea as their director of scouting administration/strategic management.
The move wasn’t publicized, putting it in line with other hires Kelly has made this offseason since former General Manager Roseman was given a better title but stripped of authority over the roster (though Kelly swears he has no problem with him).
But with vice president of player personnel Ed Marynowitz working underneath/alongside him, Kelly has put his own imprint on things.
Shea has Kelly’s preferred diverse background, which includes scouting, coaching, contracts and analytics. He also has a law degree and worked for the league’s management council. That kind of broad-based experience sounds a lot like what a G.M. does, and that’s probably not an accident, as every hire Kelly makes increases the distance between him and Roseman.
Several Roseman loyalists were already fired this offseason, and Shea gives Kelly another voice which sings in the same key he does, and a guy who could ostensibly handle Roseman’s duties (cap and contracts specifically).
So if Kelly’s goal is to not only marginalize Roseman’s influence but to get rid of it, this could easily be construed as a next step in that direction.
In 2012, the Lions suffered through a plague of arrests and off-field issues. With the arrival of coach Jim Caldwell in 2014, the Lions opted for a different approach.
“Jim has a great saying, a great thing that he lives by and that he espouses to the team,” CEO Tom Lewand said Wednesday at an event for the Kensington Community Church, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “It’s very simple. He doesn’t believe in a lot of rules, but he encapsulates it in a great way. He says, ‘Do right and fear no one.’ Do right and fear no one. You don’t have to worry about a whole lot else if you do right. You don’t have to worry about a lot of those things. And those are the kind of players that we look for.”
The Lions are now gravitating toward players who exude high character and/or who demonstrate maturity and stability. The team, as Birkett notes, has drafted five players in the last two years who were married or engaged.
“This group that we have that we drafted and signed as free agents is probably the best group of players as [far as] checking the three boxes of physical talent, emotional intelligence and maturity and work ethic that I’ve seen in maybe the 21 years I’ve been with the Lions,” Lewand said. “And we’ve got players coming in here who have a previous disposition to doing the right thing, whether that’s how they work off the field, whether that’s how they work on the field, how they prepare, their love of the game.”
In looking for players who “do right,” the Lions are tiptoeing through a potential minefield by incorporating Christianity into their business approach. Lewand mentioned that he, Caldwell, and G.M. Martin Mayhew gather for weekly Bible study, and that their shared values have “a lot” of influence over the construction of the roster.
“There’s not a test that we put guys through,” Lewand said. “Are you a Christian? What’s your religious background? Or anything like that. Far from it.”
Lewand is smart enough to know that no employer can make decisions based on religious beliefs and/or practices. But when all things are equal between two players and the Lions know one is a Christian and one isn’t, will that be a factor in the decision regarding which one has a job and which one doesn’t? If so, that could be a problem, from a legal perspective.
From the franchise’s perspective, however, that’s a much better problem to have than a locker room with more than a few guys who don’t know how to “do right.”
The Texans got back to work on Wednesday after canceling Tuesday’s practice because of the flooding in Houston, which meant that the team got its first look at the competitors for the quarterback job in team drills.
Brian Hoyer was the first of those competitors to work with the first team at Wednesday’s practice, which may not wind up meaning much in August or September but is the kind of thing that people obsess over in May as they try to get some idea about what’s going on inside the heads of the coaching staff. Hoyer lived through the same kind of spotlight in Cleveland last year and, as a result, he says he won’t be thrown by the process.
“I’ve been through it before,” Hoyer said, via the Houston Chronicle. “I’m not going to let it affect me and I’ll just be myself and really focus on the things that I can control.”
The only big difference from last year will be the addition of cameras filming the action for Hard Knocks, although that rise in attention may be mitigated by the absence of Johnny Manziel. Ryan Mallett will be Hoyer’s competition this time around and the holdover from 2014 said he felt “ready to go” after recovering from surgery to repair an injured pectoral.
But that doesn’t mean Tyrod Taylor is giving up on his chance to win the starting job.
“I know what I’m capable of,” Taylor said, via Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News. “It’s my job to prove it to the coaches. I think that they are aware, but as long as I continue to work and continue to impress them each and every day. . . . It’s not my job to call it. I’ll let the coaches decide.”
At a minimum, the man who arrived via free agency after four years with the Ravens could be used in a specialty package. Forcing a defense to prepare for Taylor dilutes the amount of time that can be devoted to preparing to face the base offense under Manuel or Cassel or, in theory, Jeff Tuel.
Or maybe Taylor could win the job outright. Regardless, the sooner the Bills pick a starter and give him all of the first-team reps, the better off the Bills will be. Otherwise, the guy who wins the right to start Week One also will win the privilege of being the first guy benched.
There may not have been much to like about the Chiefs passing game last season, but tight end Travis Kelce certainly qualified as a positive.
Kelce caught 67 passes for 862 yards and five touchdowns in 2014, leading the team in all three categories a year after missing all but one game of his rookie season because of a knee injury. The Chiefs saw Anthony Fasano walk as a free agent this offseason and they didn’t make any big moves at tight end, leaving both the full-time job and increased expectations for productivity for Kelce.
“Nobody puts more expectation on me than myself,” Kelce said, via ESPN.com. “That’s just the heart of the competitor. That’s how I was raised. My father taught me that you can buy a man’s back, but you can’t buy his heart. With that being said, I come out here and make sure I put all my effort and focus into being the best player I can be.”
Kelce played on about two-thirds of the Chiefs’ snaps last season and that number should go up given the lack of other options at the position in K.C. this time around. If the rise in playing time is joined by a similar rise in productivity, Kelce’s going to put up impressive numbers although the Chiefs are going to need the same kind of jump from their wideouts to see their offense reach a better place this time around.
The Colts drafted Bjoern Werner in the first round of the 2013 draft with the idea that he’d provide a boost to their pass rush, but those hopes have gone largely unfulfilled.
Werner has 6.5 sacks through his first two seasons with the Colts and didn’t have any after the seventh week of the 2014 season despite starting all but one game for the rest of the regular season. Werner was also shut out in the playoffs and missed the AFC Championship game with a shoulder injury that was the latest in a series of aches and pains that Werner says have kept him from reaching his full potential.
“I don’t want to sound cocky, but personally, I feel like when I’m out there and healthy, I can be a baller,” Werner said, via the Indianapolis Star. “I can do it all. You always have to get that mojo going of course. But I’m telling you, I’m confident I can be an NFL player and a starter in this league.”
Werner delivered this message after missing the team’s practice session as he continues to deal with the shoulder injury that limited him last season and that underscores the issue for Werner. Werner may well be a “baller” when he’s healthy, but he may also be an excellent flyer if wings sprout from his back. Both remain hypotheticals and the Colts can’t put all their eggs in that basket after two years of waiting for Werner to break through.
With HBO’S “Hard Knocks” choosing to document the Texans this year, it’s clear that defensive end J.J. Watt is going to get a lot of attention.
But Watt’s hoping for some more notoriety for center Ben Jones, who could also steal the show.
According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Jones “will eat or drink just about anything on a dare,” which makes him incredibly popular with teammates.
“I think Ben’s going to be a big winner,” Watt said. “I think there’ll be plenty of storylines following him because of his escapades – some of the things he eats, some of the things he does. Just Ben Jones being Ben Jones, so I think that’ll be great.”
Young players who exist on the fringes will often do what their elders ask, and all the spare time and spare money some of these guys have lead to some pretty unusual chances to supplement their income.
(Which reminds me of former Panthers backup offensive lineman Louis Williams, who was able to buy a motorcycle with the money he made eating mayonnaise and bugs and a lot of other stuff on dares from Todd Steussie and Kevin Donnalley.)
That kind of color is what HBO and NFL Films are looking for, which could make the Texans surprisingly entertaining.
“You’re a little different between the lines than you are off the field,” Watt said. “That’s what makes great players great.
“I think you’ll see a little bit different side. You may have to choose your vocabulary a little more wisely, though.”
And your diet, apparently.
There are lots of ways for quarterbacks to build chemistry with wide receivers, such as completing passes, or working out together during the offseason.
But Jets quarterback Geno Smith decided to take it a step further, by taking in a boarder.
According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall moved into Smith’s New Jersey home, and has been living with him for a month.
Smith’s apparently not the slob of the tandem, leaving his socks and cigar butts around the place.
“I was just blown away by his maturity and how much he knows,” Marshall said. “This kid is really smart. The sky is the limit for him.”
The two met a few years ago, and caught up in South Florida shortly after the trade that brought Marshall to New York.
And frankly, it’s in each of their best interest to develop a rapport, and this is Marshall’s fourth team, and Smith is actually going to have to compete for a job, though it’s probably his to lose.
The Dolphins have reasons for concern and optimism on their offensive line.
The cloud of #DeflateGate won’t be leaving the Patriots anytime soon.
The Ravens have already released a rookie.
The Broncos will be using more play action this year.
Chiefs Hall of Famer Will Shields walks through team history.
The Raiders are already shuffling the roster.
The Chargers have the best offensive line in their division.
The Packers are looking for more from their return game.
A number of injured Saints are looking for a fresh start.
The Cardinals aren’t looking for immediate impact from their draft class.
The 49ers still have plenty of questions to answer on the offensive line.
The Lions addressed the losses of defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley this offseason by trading for Haloti Ngata, signing Tyrunn Walker as a free agent and drafting Gabe Walker, but they may still be looking for more veteran help at the position.
Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports reports that the team visited with defensive tackle Mike Patterson. Patterson spent the last two seasons playing with the Giants, making appearances in all 32 regular season games and starting nine times for the NFC East club.
A move to Detroit would mark Patterson’s first trip outside that division as he spent his first eight seasons with the Eagles before moving up the turnpike. He’s thrived as a run stopper in both stops and added 16.5 sacks during his time in Philadelphia.
If Patterson does land in Detroit, he’ll be reunited with defensive line coach Jim Washburn. Washburn held the same job with the Eagles in 2011 and 2012.