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Giants pass rush not inspiring fear like it used to

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When the Giants have made playoff runs in recent years, they’ve always been able to count on their pass rush, the kind opponents feared.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he respected the Giants pass rush, but said he “wouldn’t use that word.”

He shouldn’t,” Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said, via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. “Not at all. There’s been years here it should have been feared. But this year, we haven’t had that year.”

The Giants have 32 sacks at the moment. Not awful (16th in the league), but hardly dynamic (they had 48 last year). The trio of Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul have combined for just 15.5 sacks — or 15 fewer than last year.

Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said he thinks there are several reasons the number is down, from teams paying extra attention to the edge rushers to opponents game-planning toward quick passes to give them fewer opportunities.

“I do believe this about them,” Fewell said. “They’re a proud unit. I think they will have success in the next couple of weeks. And I think you’ll see their numbers go up. . . .

“I think they’re frustrated a little bit mentally because of how [opponents] are taking their approach against them. I think it weighs heavily on them because they are a very proud defensive unit.”

It should weigh on them. Their ability to disrupt the passer has been central to their Super Bowl runs, and they’ve invested heavily in the position. So more is going to be expected of them now.

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Adrian Peterson’s rant misses the mark


Mt. Peterson finally erupted. And it went about as well as Peter Brady’s volcano. (Timely reference, I know.)

Arguably he last man who should be painting himself as a victim but who nevertheless tried to shift blame to the Vikings for a predicament created by his own behavior has gone to Twitter for a general rant regarding the system of paying players.

“Question for the people, is a contract two sided or one?” Adrian Peterson asked. “There’s never no talk about honoring a contract!”

But NFL contracts are indeed one-sided, unless they’re individually negotiated to be two-sided. If Peterson wanted in 2011 (when he signed his latest deal) to ensure that his contract would be two-sided through its final year of 2017, he could have — by insisting on the contract being fully guaranteed for its full duration. When NFL contracts aren’t fully guaranteed, the team can insist on the player honoring every game of every season while in turn tear up the deal whenever the team wants.

That’s just the way it is, and that system was reiterated via the Collective Bargaining Agreement ratified by the players only weeks before Peterson signed his latest deal.

On one hand, it’s good that Peterson has dropped the passive-aggressive approach to the Vikings. On the other hand, it’s not good that he opted to take a shotgun to a system that won’t be changing — especially after that system (as enhanced by the Commissioner-Exempt list) resulted in Peterson making plenty of money last year from the Vikings despite playing in only one game.

But now that Peterson has decided to attack the situation the same way that he attacks a defense, it may be only a matter of time before Peterson is doing shirtless driveway situps and agent Ben Dogra is rattling off “next question” at a press conference held on Peterson’s front lawn.

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Dez Bryant shows up at Cowboys OTAs, does individual drills

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The Cowboys thought Dez Bryant was in “great shape,” despite his staying away from voluntary workouts and OTAs.

But Thursday, they saw for themselves.

According to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the franchise-tagged wide receiver showed up at OTAs Thursday and participated in individual drills.

That’s a bit of a surprise, considering he hasn’t signed his $12.823 million franchise tender.

But apparently, Bryant wanted to be around the team, and see his teammates. He apparently went through individual drills, but didn’t do any team drills. Considering what happened to Ryan Clady and Dante Fowler, it’s prudent to not push himself with so much money on the line.

Bryant’s not even required to attend mandatory minicamp since he hasn’t signed yet, but his showing up today is at least a sign of good faith.

Whether it’s a sign of progress toward a long-term deal, or whether Bryant just wanted to get out of the house remains to be seen.

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Adrian Peterson: Players need “same power” NFL clubs hold in contracts

Adrian Peterson AP

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, in the midst of a dispute with Minnesota, used his verified Twitter account Thursday to vent about teams being able to void contracts while players are bound to those same deals.

Here are Peterson’s thoughts on the subject, which were published one day after he told ESPN his absence from Minnesota’s offseason program was “about securing my future” in Minnesota:

“I love people who think they know it all! Smh, Research how many NFL teams hasn’t honored a player’s contract & learn something.

“Question for the people, is a contract two sided or one?

“Ok great two sided! Well why when one party decides . . . Mr. ? we wan’t you to take a pay cut now or better yet flat out release you!

“There’s never no talk about honoring a contract!

“I know hundreds of player’s that wished their team would’ve HONORED the contract! But instead got threw to the side like like trash.

“A lill crazy how one side has so much power that they can do as they please when it come to the contract! But when the other-side (player’s)  . . . Feels for whatever reason! Family, Change of scenery or simply – what they feels just might work best for them! Those same laws don’t apply!

“It’s all about honoring you’re contract! Sounds like free will is being a lil challenged to me!

“All I’m saying as a Minnesota Viking player! WE need the same power to do as all 32 teams do we they feel, under contract or not!

“It’s time for a change! Then again I’m grateful because at the end of the day, I know some of those same guys that wish a team held on!”

Peterson has three years left on his current contract. He is set to make $12.75 million in salary in 2015, $14.75 million in 2016 and $17.75 million in 2017. However, the salaries are not guaranteed.

The Vikings have insisted they will not trade Peterson. On Wednesday, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said the 30-year-old tailback would play for Minnesota or not at all.

Peterson spent most of last season on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list after being charged with felony child abuse. He eventually pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault.

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DeMarco Murray hopes Joseph Randle “can taste some of that meat this year”

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Cowboys running back Joseph Randle shared his opinion about how much the Cowboys might miss running back DeMarco Murray this week by saying that he thought Murray “left a lot of meat on the bone” on his way to a league-leading 1,845 rushing yards in 2014.

That comment made its way to Murray on Thursday, but Murray didn’t fire back at Randle or try to make the case that he gnawed all the way down to the bone while carrying the ball the seventh-most times in league history last year. Instead, Murray wished Randle well in his opportunity to do a little feasting of his own behind the Cowboys offensive line.

“Hopefully he can taste some of that meat this year,” Murray said, via “They’re a good team. Hopefully he can get a chance to run behind that line and do some good things. But I’m not worried about it. I didn’t hear about it until now. It’s not a big deal.”

It’s a good response to Randle since Murray has no need to defend himself for his 2014 performance. His chief concern now should be making sure that he wasn’t worn down to the bone after being used so heavily last season because the Eagles will need Murray to play well to vault themselves above the Cowboys and the rest of the NFC East in 2015.

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Jets release Matt Simms

Matt Simms, Josh Mauga AP

Former NFL quarterback Chris Simms recently shared his opinion that his younger brother Matt hasn’t gotten a serious shot to be a starting quarterback in the NFL because he’s the son of Phil Simms and, therefore, a victim of “the politics of the NFL.”

Simms got some more fodder for his feeling on Thursday. The Jets announced that they have released Matt Simms from their roster.

The decision isn’t a great surprise with the Jets adding Bryce Petty in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick are going to hold down the top two spots on the depth chart and Petty will be developed behind them, which doesn’t leave many reps for the latest member of the Simms family to play quarterback in the NFL.

Getting released now will give him a chance to catch on with another team in time to make his case for a roster spot in the fall, assuming, of course, that the anti-Simms bias doesn’t rear its head once again. Simms played in four games for the Jets over the last two seasons and completed 19-of-39 passes for 195 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

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Bills open training camp on July 31

EJ Manuel AP

The Bills, who made multiple high-profile moves in the offseason, will commence training camp on Friday, July 31 at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, New York, the club said Thursday.

Seventeen practices are open to the public, with six requiring fans to have tickets.

The Bills’ preseason opener is August 14 vs. Carolina. The last practice open to fans is Tuesday, August 25.

In an attempt to jump-start their offense, the Bills acquired tailback LeSean McCoy and signed wide receiver Percy Harvin and tight end Charles Clay. The club also added Matt Cassel at quarterback. The Bills’ defense, formidable a season ago, could be all the more imposing with new head coach Rex Ryan at the helm.

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Broncos sign Ryan Harris

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The Broncos may not be ready to rule Ryan Clady out for the 2015 season, but they didn’t wait long to add to their tackle options in the wake of his torn ACL.

Jeff Legwold and Adam Schefter of ESPN report that the team has added veteran Ryan Harris to the roster. It will be Harris’s third tour of duty in Denver after he began his career with the team as a third-round pick in 2007 and spent the 2012 offseason and preseason with the team.

Harris also has history with head coach Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison after spending the 2012 and 2013 seasons with the Texans when both men were on Houston’s staff. He started 15 games for the Chiefs at right tackle last season and has also played on the left side of the line during his time in the NFL.

Harris joins Chris Clark, Ty Sambrailo and Michael Schofield as options at tackle as the Broncos try to sort out their offensive line with Clady out of the picture.

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NFL got free use of Grant Park for the draft

GrantPark Getty Images

So what did it cost the NFL to use Grant Park in Chicago for the 2015 draft? How about nothing?

According to Jared S. Hopkins of the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Park District waived a $937,500 rental fee, along with the security deposit.

Hopkins explains that the Chicago Park District will give discounts to nonprofit and charitable organizations that are using Park District properties. The application for the use of Park District facilities doesn’t contemplate a full waiver. Likewise, the NFL didn’t request a not-for-profit discount when submitting the application.

(Sure, the league office was a non-profit organization when making arrangements for the 2015 draft, but the NFL is and always has been a for-profit operation.)

In response to the suggestion that the three-letter football league is getting the kind of treatment typically enjoyed by a currently-embattled four-letter fútbol federation, NFL points out that it spent “millions” on the draft, via the placement of tents and exhibits in and around a 900,000-square-foot area they called “Draft Town.”

“We also hosted free football clinics for more than 1,500 area schoolchildren in the park,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Tribune. “ESPN and NFL Network went live for the week of the draft from sets on site inside the theater and also out in the park. Our hotel needs alone in Chicago were 1,000 rooms for draft week.”

Those are fair points, similar to the arguments raised when a city does a bad financial deal to host a Super Bowl. But the reality remains that local governments will continue to do bad financial deals in order to do business with the NFL. As long as local governments will keep competing with each other to do those bad deals, the NFL will continue to get great deals for the Super Bowl, the draft, stadiums, or anything else the league wants.

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Kubiak on Ryan Clady’s 2015 status: No decisions will be made quickly

Denver Broncos v Cincinnati Bengals AP

The Broncos Offense suffered a serious blow on Wednesday when left tackle Ryan Clady tore his ACL, but coach Gary Kubiak isn’t ready to rule Clady out for the season yet.

Kubiak met with the media on Thursday and said that the team wasn’t ready to make a decision about whether or not Clady will be able to return at some point in 2015. Even in the best-case scenario they are going to need to replace Clady for a large chunk of the year, however, and the team isn’t ready to make any final calls on that front either.

Kubiak said, via Troy Renck of the Denver Post, that the team will move players around to figure out the best mix in front of quarterback Peyton Manning. The coach added that the initial thought is to leave Chris Clark, who replaced Clady after a 2013 foot injury, on the right side and second-round pick Ty Sambrailo on the left side. Sambrailo, who Kubiak said isn’t “a rookie anymore,” played left tackle at Colorado State.

Michael Schofield is another option at both tackles and the Broncos will likely keep a close eye on players who become available before the start of the regular season. However they line up come September, though, the team will be scrambling to fill a spot they weren’t expecting to be an issue during an offseason that’s already seen a lot of change in Denver.

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Bengals sign Tyler Kroft

Tyler Kroft AP

The Bengals are down to one unsigned 2015 draft pick with agent Mike McCartney announcing that his client Tyler Kroft has signed a four-year deal with the team.

The tight end was a third-round pick this month and his agreement leaves first-round tackle Cedric Ogbuehi as the only member of the draft class without a deal. He is one of 11 first-round picks still waiting to sign deals with their teams.

Kroft is expected to help fill the role vacated by the still-unsigned free agent Jermaine Gresham during the 2015 season. That should mean a heavy dose of blocking duties alongside Tyler Eifert. Eifert hasn’t been fully participating in offseason work after having a torn labrum in his shoulder and dislocated elbow surgically repaired after last season.

“We’re just kind of taking it day to day, just easing back into things,” Eifert said, via “My shoulder and elbow are cleared 100 percent, but I’m just getting back into things gradually. I’ll be out there soon enough.”

The Bengals also took tight end C.J. Uzomah in the fifth round to fill out their depth chart at the position.

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Jaguars hire former Jets G.M. John Idzik to full-time position

Idzik Getty Images

Maybe now all the people who went to the Tim Tebow rally in Jacksonville can divert their attention to buying airplane banners.

Because the Jaguars have hired a man who created far more of a grassroots effort among his former fanbase.

According to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, the Jaguars have hired former Jets General Manager John Idzik to a full-time position with the team.

Idzik was hired by the Jaguars as an consultant prior to free agency. His new title is special assistant to the G.M. (apparently assistant to the traveling secretary was taken).

“He’ll do a little bit of everything,” Jags G.M. Dave Caldwell said. “He’s a great cultural fit for us. He has a great understanding of the salary cap and the different ways to do a contract.”

Idzik was fired by the Jets after the 2014 season, but not before he became a lightning rod for fans, complete with planes bearing “Fire John Idzik” banners flying over practices there.

The Jaguars also promoted Chris Polian from director of pro personnel to director of player personnel and Chris Driggers from pro scout to director of pro personnel.

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Mike Wallace: Vikings offense “more what I’m accustomed to”

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Wide receiver Mike Wallace caught just 12 passes of 20 or more yards over two season with the Dolphins, which wasn’t what most people expected after he averaged 11 such plays a season in his four years with the Steelers.

That inability to make plays down the field made for a sour relationship between Wallace and the team at various points during his stay in Miami and it helped make Wallace a Viking earlier this offseason. On Thursday, Wallace said that he’s finding things more to his liking in Norv Turner’s offense.

“I think it’s more so [like] my first four years,” Wallace said, via “It’s a vertical offense, [rather] than a short, West Coast offense. You go down the field a lot more here, more what I’m accustomed to.”

Wallace and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater have been spending extra time together at practice to sharpen their chemistry, something that never developed with Ryan Tannehill the way the Dolphins hoped it would. All of that paints a promising picture for Wallace in 2015, but we’ll have to wait until the fall to see if it is any more grounded in reality than the optimism that accompanied Wallace to Miami in the first place.

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Ryan Clady suffers torn ACL

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One of the NFL’s top left tackles has suffered an injury likely to end his 2015 season.

Denver’s Ryan Clady sustained a torn left ACL in Wednesday’s organized team practice activities, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday. PFT’s Mike Florio has confirmed the injury to Clady, a four-time Pro Bowler who protects Peyton Manning’s blind side.

The Broncos have since announced Clady’s injury and have said it is likely to keep him off the field in 2015.

With the 28-year-old Clady out indefinitely, the Broncos will have to adjust at a vital position. Veteran right tackle Chris Clark could be an option on the left side; he filled in for Clady in 2013 when Clady missed most of the campaign with a foot injury.

Rookie Ty Sambrailo and second-year pro Michael Schofield are other potential replacements for Clady, whose loss is a tremendous blow to a Denver club that lost tight end Julius Thomas, offensive lineman Orlando Franklin, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and safety Rahim Moore in free agency.

Clady suffered a patellar tendon tear in his left knee in 2010, but he played the preseason finale and all 16 regular season contests that year.

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Sam Bradford expected to start 7-on-7 drills next week

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The Eagles started their organized team activities this week, but quarterback Sam Bradford hasn’t been a full participant.

Bradford is recovering from his second torn ACL in as many years and the Eagles have been easing him into the flow of things with individual drills this week while Mark Sanchez takes the first-team snaps in team work. Coach Chip Kelly said the plan is for that to change next week when Bradford should begin participating in the 7-on-7 portions of practice.

“He is on schedule,” Kelly said, via “We all think there’s three phases — there’s medical rehab, performance rehab, and prepare to play. He’s probably at the tail end of medical rehab. He’ll probably start throwing some 7 on 7 next week, and I think he’s right on schedule.”

The Eagles haven’t etched Bradford’s name into the top spot on the depth chart yet, but Kelly didn’t trade for a player making $12 million for him to sit on the bench behind Sanchez, Matt Barkley or Tim Tebow unless the reasons for doing so were too compelling to resist. As long as Bradford is healthy, it’s hard to imagine other reasons qualifying.

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Michael Vick: Last year with Jets “certainly a wake-up call”

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With each team able to carry 90 players this time of year, the idea of not being one of the top 2,880 players in the league is tough for Michael Vick to accept.

And he admitted to his hometown newspaper that it’s hard realizing he might be out of the league.

“Sometimes, it takes certain things to wake you up and [last year] was certainly a wake-up call for me,” Vick told Ed Miller of the Virginian-Pilot.

For all the highlights and controversy he created early in his career, last year might be remembered for his admission that he wasn’t prepared to play against the Chargers, and things didn’t really get better from there.

But he’s continuing to work. A month away from his 35th birthday, he’s continuing to work, saying he’s added muscle and that his arm is stronger than ever.

“I still feel like I can help a football team win a couple of games,” he said. “I see my role as being a mentor first and foremost, a confident quarterback who can come off the bench if necessary in whatever the situation may be and win football games.

“Whether it’s two or three games a year or four or five, I feel like I can put myself in that situation where I can, . . . use the weapons around me, play some smart football.”

Whatever the role, he said he’d like to play three more years. But at this stage, he might need to worry about one more, since there doesn’t appear to be much of a market for his services.

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