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
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.
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 Today “no 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Huddling seems to be helping the Dolphins offense.
More personnel changes could be coming for the Jets.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis remains close with Browns coach Hue Jackson.
The Jaguars need their pass rush to slow down the Raiders offense.
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.
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.
There are a lot of outside linebackers on the field in the Cardinals’ newest defensive wrinkle.
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 ESPN.com. “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.
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 NJ.com. “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.
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.
Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long said after Thursday night’s loss to the Packers that he suffered a serious arm injury.
“My arm’s f—ed up,” Long said. “Tough spot to be in.”
Long was already playing through an injury to his left shoulder. He did not reveal precisely what happened to his arm last night, but he indicated that he’d like to try to keep playing through his injuries.
The 27-year-old Long has started every game but one in his four-year NFL career.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers might not be thrilled with the offense as called last night. But at the moment, he doesn’t have much choice but to live with it.
After effectively running out of running backs, Rodgers completed 39 of his 56 passes to beat the Bears.
“I think this is closer to how we’re going to have to play moving forward,” Rodgers said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.
Take a deep breath here, and follow the bouncing ball of their running back position. Eddie Lacy just went on IR after ankle surgery, meaning any comeback will be late in the season. James Starks is out a few more weeks after a knee surgery of his own. They promoted Don Jackson from the practice squad, and he injured his hand after just two carries. That left Knile Davis (acquired in trade during the short week) and a bunch of receivers to do the running, so it was hard to sustain a balanced attack.
“It’s one game; it’s a one-game victory,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “And that’s really the reflection of how you plan for a season. You do what you have to do, you play how you have to play. We have the ability to run it as much as we need to, the ability to throw it as much as we need to. Obviously Eddie Lacy is a featured, primary player for our offense, so having both him and James not available, you shift gears. Don Jackson obviously was injured there early, it was unfortunate Knile Davis just got here two days ago, so we’ll work through that.”
Rodgers did throw for 326 yards, but it took him until his 55th pass to top 300, and was the first time he’s done that since last November. The lack of deep-passing success (whether it’s on the receivers getting open or Rodgers getting it to them) has been a trend with the Packers lately, and something they have to address at some point.
If, you know, Rodgers’ arm is still attached to his body.
In announcing they were going to re-open their investigation into the domestic abuse history of New York Giants kicker Josh Brown, the NFL claimed the King County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Office denied any overtures made by the league to learn more about the case and allegations against Brown.
Sheriff John Urquhart fired back at the NFL in an interview with Dori Monson on KIRO 97.3-FM in Seattle on Thursday.
“I don’t like to get pushed around by a bully,” Urquhart said.
The NFL said in a statement Thursday that repeated attempts to seek cooperation from the Sheriff’s Office were denied.
Because the case against Brown was an open investigation, the Sheriff’s Office was not going to release case files. Urquhart said they never received any written requests from anyone claiming to be a representative of the NFL. He said four days after the incident with Brown opened an investigation, the Sheriff’s Office received a public disclosure request from a Robert Agnew from a generic Comcast.net email address. Another request came from Agnew months later where he again didn’t state his affiliation.
“Nowhere on the request does he say that he works for the NFL and so, we don’t know that it’s the NFL and we’re not gonna give it out anyway, so we denied it,” Urquhart said. “… To our discredit, perhaps, we didn’t use the Google, to Google this guy’s name. Turns out that he is a security representative based in Seattle for the NFL. But he never told us that. The NFL never told us that. At no time has the NFL ever filed a written request – public disclosure request – for any of these files. Period. It’s never happened.”
A different league representative did make calls to the Sheriff’s Office seeking the case file. She was also denied multiple times due to the fact the case was an open investigation. A Seattle police officer claiming to represent the league also asked for the files and was denied as well.
Urquhart said if the league had gone through proper public disclosure channels, the request would have come to his desk and a conversation with the league about the situation could have been more fruitful.
“I would have said exactly the same thing, ‘We cannot release the case file.’ But since this is a hot-button item in the NFL, since it’s the NFL, we probably would have told them orally a little bit more about what we had.” he said. “But we don’t have them calling us here. We’ve got some goofus from Woodinville named Rob Agnew asking for the case file. We have no idea who he is.”
“We would have told them… ‘Be careful, NFL, don’t rush into this. This case is blossoming way more than what happened on May 22nd of 2015. We’re getting more information, be careful,’” he said. “Again, we’re not gonna give them specifics but we certainly would have cautioned the NFL to be careful about what they were going to do.”
Urquhart said he was unhappy with the NFL’s placing blame on his department for the NFL not knowing enough about the case.
“I don’t like the NFL taking shots at the sheriff’s office when it’s not deserved,” Urquhart said. “It’s real simple.”
“I’ll give them credit, they did not have all the information. There’s no question about that,” he said. “And, frankly, I’m not criticizing them for only giving him a one-day suspension based on what they knew. What he was arrested for, in the scheme of things, was relatively minor but obviously there was much more under the surface that apparently they did not know and we couldn’t tell them.
“But for them to say it’s our fault — and it’s not our fault any more than it’s their fault when you get right down to it — for them to say it’s our fault that they only gave them a one-day suspension, that’s just not true. That’s what I object to.”
For someone who once said he couldn’t be a receiver because he couldn’t catch, Terrelle Pryor has done a fantastic job of making the transition for the Cleveland Browns.
Pryor has done so well in making the move to receiver that the Cleveland Browns are looking to give him a contract extension.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns and Pryor have had preliminary discussions on a new contract.
The former quarterback has become a bright spot on another underwhelming Browns team. Pryor has caught 33 passes for 413 yards and three touchdowns in six games for Cleveland this season. He’s rushed for a fourth touchdown as well. Pryor is currently on a one-year contract with the Browns.
With Seattle in 2014, Pryor wouldn’t entertain the idea of playing another position.
“I don’t know how to catch. I don’t know how to run the ball as a running back,” Pryor said. “I’ve been a quarterback my whole life.”
The Browns should be thrilled Pryor committed to a change. Pryor should be too.