Mike Florio talks with John Mullin of CSN Chicago about the Bears chances of making the playoffs this season. Then, Florio runs down the list of the coaches on the “Hottest Seat,” “Hot Seat,” and those who are “Warming-up.”
Mike Florio talks with John Mullin of CSN Chicago about the Bears chances of making the playoffs this season. Then, Florio runs down the list of the coaches on the “Hottest Seat,” “Hot Seat,” and those who are “Warming-up.”
Fifty-two weeks ago tonight, the Colts ran up a 24-0 lead against the Texans in Houston and then held on for a 33-28 win. Tonight, the Colts stopped a promising opening drive by the Texans with an interception on a tipped pass, and Indy opened up a 13-0 lead.
But the Texans have gotten a spark, thanks to a helmet to the midsection of quarterback Ryan Mallett. After Colts linebacker Sio Moore applied the illegal hit to the quarterback who became the starter in Week Two, Week One starter Brian Hoyer re-entered the game — and he then marched the home team down the field.
After missing a couple of snaps, Mallett was trying to get back in to the game. Hoyer then converted a third down, and the Texans kept him in the game, even though Mallett (according to Tracy Wolfson of CBS) has been cleared to return. A chop block penalty caused the drive to sputter, with Houston settling for a field goal.
It’ll now be interesting to see whether the Texans go with Mallett or Hoyer when they get the ball back. As the cliché goes, guys don’t lose their jobs due to injury. Mallett could be losing his not by an injury that knocked him out for a game but by an injury that sidelined him for a couple of plays.
[Editor’s note: FanDuel is an advertiser of PFT and PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. Also, NBC Sports has an equity stake in FanDuel.]
Any company with deep pockets that keep getting deeper by the day becomes a lightning rod for litigation. Throw in a real controversy, and the civil complaints will pile up, quickly.
Via Deadspin, a man named Adam Johnson has filed suit in Manhattan federal court against DraftKings and FanDuel, alleging causes of actions including negligence, fraud, misrepresentation, civil conspiracy, unjust enrichment, and violation of state consumer protection laws. As Kevin Draper of Deadspin notes, it’s the first lawsuit, but it’s hardly the last.
The gist of the complaint is this: Johnson wouldn’t have wagered money on daily fantasy football is he had known “defendants were working in concert to allow employees of DFS sites to play against them.”
Although Johnson didn’t lose big money (he alleges he spent at least $100), the kicker is the request that the case be certified as a class action, with the proposed class including “[a]ll persons in the United States who deposited money into a DraftKings account before Oct. 6, 2015 and competed in any contest where other entries were made by employees from DraftKings, FanDuel or any other DFS site.”
That’s the part where $100 in losses can mushroom, with DraftKings and FanDuel required to scour their contests for evidence of employee involvement and, if the claims are successful, refunding the money spent by customers — along with other potential damages that could make the amounts even bigger, including punitive damages aimed at punishing the violations of civil law and deterring future misconduct.
The smart move for DraftKings and FanDuel could be to take a page from the Pilot Flying J handbook and offer an immediate settlement that pays back all money spent by non-employees of DFS companies in DFS games involving DFS employees. That first would require crunching plenty of numbers and putting together what could be a very large pot of money. But with the industry, which grew too fast for internal or external regulation, immediately recognizing after its first scandal that employees of one DFS company should not be playing in contests offered by other DFS companies, the next logical step would be to work backward and refund money from any contests tainted by the presence of employees of DFS website.
While that may not be sufficient to constitute complete justice, it could be enough to get a nationwide class action quickly certified and settled, especially if it gives the lawyers representing the class a large pile of money for not doing very much work.
Which makes the attraction of class-action litigation a little like the allure of daily fantasy.
In a bizarre moment in the first quarter of tonight’s game in Houston, a penalty on the Texans was initially called, then waved off without explanation.
Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph clearly committed an illegal contact penalty on a Colts third down incompletion, which should have given the Colts an automatic first down. Referee Terry McAulay announced the penalty, and the Colts’ offense huddled up for the next play.
Then, McAulay told Colts coach Chuck Pagano that there was no penalty after all. There was no apparent explanation given. Former NFL referee Mike Carey said on the CBS broadcast that the penalty was waved off because Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was outside the pocket when he threw the pass. However, it still looked like Joseph could have been flagged for defensive holding.
More importantly, even if Joseph hadn’t committed a penalty, McAulay did a poor job of communicating what had happened. The referee shouldn’t announce a penalty until he has conferred with his fellow officials to ensure that they’re all on the same page. And in a rare occasion when the referee does change a call after announcing it, he needs to make sure he explains the change to both teams, and to the fans. That’s why referees have microphones.
The call was reminiscent of last year’s Lions-Cowboys playoff game, when a pass interference penalty on the Cowboys was picked up after it had been announced. NFL referees need to get better at communicating about why flags are thrown, and why they’re picked up.
After the flag was picked up, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri made a field goal to give Indianapolis an early lead.
It started as a press conference. It ended like a Cartman dream sequence. Sort of.
The final topic for Commissioner Roger Goodell during his end-of-ownership-meeting media Q&A focused on the NFL’s new practice of randomly checking football air pressure at halftime of games this year. Some thought the NFL is doing it in order to better understand the science of PSI. Instead, it’s all about the rules.
“I think the most important thing we’re trying to ascertain is that the balls in play are within the regulations that were established,” Goodell said. “That’s the core of the issue: Protecting the integrity of the game and making sure the game is played within the rules. We’re a game of rules, the rules need to be followed by everyone and the objective there is to make sure the rules are being followed.”
So will the information randomly collected by the NFL during these random checks be shared with the public?
“I don’t know,” Goodell said. “The most important thing to us is making sure the rules are followed.”
He’s right, but it’s also important to know whether any perceived deviations from the rules are the result of cheating or science. The possibility of the operation of the Ideal Gas Law never entered into the NFL’s thinking when the Patriots’ footballs were being measured at halftime of the AFC title game.
Now, instead of worrying about the rules, the NFL should be using every game as an opportunity to gather data regarding the expansion and contraction of air pressure under various weather conditions.
Or maybe they’ll just assume if the footballs aren’t within 12.5 and 13.5 PSI that there has been another violation of the rules.
Dales tweeted that Hasselbeck is on antibiotics and hoping he can play four quarters. He doesn’t have much choice; the only other quarterback on the roster is Josh Johnson, who was signed last week because of Luck’s injury, released earlier this week then brought back as the Colts discovered Luck would probably miss his second game.
Luck is among the seven players the Colts made inactive for the game.
The Texans have a quarterback issue of their own with Ryan Mallett having been benched last week with the team down 42-0. Mallett is starting again, but Brian Hoyer will stay ready in a game the Texans need to win Thursday night. It’s a game that’s suddenly really interesting with Luck out again and Hasselbeck ailing.
The inactives have officially been turned in, and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will miss his second straight game tonight when the Colts play at the Texans.
Josh Johnson — signed last week, released earlier this week and re-signed Wednesday — will be the backup quarterback.
As expected, the Texans will be without veteran wide receivers Cecil Shorts and Nate Washington and running back Jonathan Grimes. The Texans’ other inactives are Akeem Dent, Quintin Demps, Greg Mancz and Kourtnei Brown.
The situation involving Giants tight end Daniel Fells has become a very serious health situation.
According to Jordan Raanan of NJ.com, Fells remains hospitalized after having a fourth surgical procedure on Thursday. Per Ranaan, Fells needs at least one more surgery.
Fells went to the hospital over the weekend with a MRSA infection in his ankle, and doctors have tried to clear the infection out of the affected area. Earlier this week, coach Tom Coughlin expressed optimism has that Fells would be out of the hospital by Thursday.
Several teams have been affected by MRSA infections in recent years. Fells is the first Giants player to be stricken. We wish him a fast and complete recovery.
On Monday night, ESPN’s Trent Dilfer and Ray Lewis teed off on Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham regarding his contributions to the offense when he’s not running pass routes.
“He is unwilling and incapable to hold up in the run game as an in-line tight end,” Dilfer said.
On Thursday, ESPN’s Darren Woodson jumped on the pile with Dilfer and Lewis, in an appearance on ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith (on his SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio show).
“Let me tell you this about Jimmy Graham,” Woodson told Smith, via a transcript provided by SiriusXM. “Jimmy Graham, to me, and I’m watching this guy and I know he’s a special athlete, I know he’s a guy that makes big plays, probably one of the best pass-catching tight ends to play the game, hands down. He can run any route you want to run, he stretches the defense, he does a lot of things you want him to do. But you talk about a complete teammate? He’s not even close. He won’t block to save his life. He’s not a teammate. I wouldn’t even call him a teammate.
“This guy is all about Jimmy Graham, and that’s the shame in this. This team has been built, and Pete Carroll has done a great job over the last few years of getting the team mentality, you know, it’s all about us winning games, who cares about the individual rewards, we want to win Super Bowls. Well, in order to do that you have to get down in a three-point stance and block someone sometimes. Sometimes you’ve got to get a little dirty for the running back so he can get that extra yard. Jimmy Graham will not do it and that is the shame in watching this Seattle Seahawks team. And I’m sure, knowing that team, knowing Richard Sherman, knowing Cam Chancellor, knowing [Michael] Bennett on the defensive line, I’m sure someone has told him or reminded him that, ‘You are a Seattle Seahawk, you had better do the dirty work.’ At least I hope so.”
So what did the Seahawks expect when they traded for Graham? It’s not like Graham suddenly changed when the Saints traded him to Seattle. Graham is exactly what Tony Gonzalez, Kellen Winslow, Ozzie Newsome, and all other great tight ends were: Weapons in the passing game.
For whatever reason, the Seahawks feel compelled to make Graham something other than a pass-catching tight end. They want him to be a blocking tight end, too. And the bulk of the criticism for the team’s effort to make Graham into something he isn’t is landing not on the Seahawks but on Graham.
“It’s been good sometimes, it hasn’t been good sometimes,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell told reporters on Wednesday regarding Graham’s blocking. “He’s willing to do it, he’s willing to continue to work on it. He’s a tight end for us. That’s something that’s part of the position. We’re trying to put him in positions to be successful, and that he’s going to be able to do it when we need it to be done, and we know that’s not where we want to make our living with him in there, but that’s part of the position. That’s going to be something that he’s going to have to do, and it’s something that he wants to do, believe it or not.”
Plenty of people want to do what they can’t do, and their employers are smart enough to not ask them to do those things. Taking a square peg like Graham and trying to jam him into the round hole of Seattle’s vision of a complete tight end makes no sense, and it’s unfair to Graham for guys like Dilfer, Lewis, and Woodson to blame Graham for the team’s decision to trade for a player who has one specific skill set and then asking him to do things that fall beyond it.
Maybe he can rush the passer, too. Cover receivers. Kick extra points. If being a “teammate” in the eyes of Darren Woodson requires embracing everything about football, maybe Graham also should play some quarterback. (At least he’d be able to see over the team’s makeshift offensive line.)
Graham is who he is. The Seahawks knew who he is. They now want him to be who he isn’t. And no one is criticizing the Seahawks for that, for failing to get the ball in his hands, and for trading for him in the first place.
Surely, they didn’t give up a first-round pick and $27 million over three years for a blocking tight end. They made that investment for a weapon in the passing game. And he’s quickly becoming the latest high-priced weapon in the passing game that the Seahawks can’t figure out how to properly use.
The Chargers will be getting one of their key passing-game weapons back on Monday night, when tight end Antonio Gates returns from suspension. They may be missing another key passing-game weapon for the Week Five home game against the Steelers.
Receiver Stevie Johnson missed Thursday’s practice with a hamstring injury, according to the team’s official injury report. Johnson injured the hamstring in Sunday’s game against the Browns.
The better news is that receiver Malcom Floyd (pictured), who exited the Cleveland game with a concussion, fully participated in practice. He’ll still need to be separately cleared by an independent neurologist to play.
Gipson was one of four players to miss practice Thursday; the others were Shaun Draughn, Craig Robertson and Brian Hartline. Robertson is expected to miss at least another game, while Hartline had been limited Wednesday with rib and thigh injuries before sitting out Thursday.
Gipson briefly left the Browns’ Sept. 27 game vs. the Raiders with what the team called a groin injury. He was limited in practice last week but played last Sunday at San Diego.
Gipson led the NFL with six interceptions last November before he suffered a knee injury in late November that ended his season. He’s playing this season on a restricted free-agent tender and is eligible for unrestricted free agency next March unless he works out a new deal with the Browns before then.
The Bears picked up their first win of the season last Sunday without wide receiver Alshon Jeffery in the lineup, but their chances of adding to that total would look better if the wideout gets back into the lineup.
It remains unclear when that is going to be. Jeffery was limited in practice on Thursday because of the hamstring injury that has kept him from playing in the last three games, just as he was on Wednesday and last week, and said that he was trying to stay patient while waiting for the injury to feel better.
“It just comes with the territory of playing football,” Jeffery said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “There’s a 100 percent chance that you’re going to get injured. I mean I miss being out there a lot, but at the same time, it’s a process. But I’ll be back out there soon, hopefully.”
Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy was a full participant in practice Thursday for the second straight day and is on track to make his season debut Sunday vs. the Cardinals.
The 0-4 Lions anxiously await his return. Levy, who led the team and was second in the NFL with 151 tackles last season, has been battling a hip injury.
Levy participated in practice last week but the Lions listed him as limited on their injury report for all three days. He ended up not making the trip to Seattle.
The Lions were without four players in practice for the second straight day: Joique Bell, Eric Ebron, Haloti Ngata and Travis Lewis. Larry Warford also missed practice Thursday after being limited Wednesday. He’s battling an ankle injury.
The Lions have signed two defensive tackles in the last two days, a sign they believe Ngata will be at best limited for Sunday’s game.
At this point, the Cowboys kind of have to accept that bad decisions are part of the deal with Joseph Randle.
But the running back swears, this time, he’s learned his lesson.
Randle was chewed out by coaches two weeks ago for leaping in the air and reaching across the goal line against the Falcons. He showed contrition by doing the exact same thing last week against the Saints, with the ball swatted away and ruled a fumble, before it was reversed and called a touchdown.
“It wasn’t the most fundamental thing to do, but I’m going to keep grinding,” Randle said, via Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Whether “grinding” includes continuing to ignore direct instructions from his coaches in the future is unclear, because Randle then ended the interview after four questions.
But it’s reasonable to wonder if he learned his lesson.
After all, this is the same guy who said that if he knew he’d have been arrested for stealing underwear and cologne from a mall last year, that he’d have kept walking when approached by a security guard. Then when he was being processed at the jailhouse, he offered a female cop $100 for a massage while wondering aloud if the arrest would make the local news.
It hasn’t been enough to keep him off the field entirely, though it’s easy to wonder if he gets lost in the locker room at halftime. He has 17 carries for 117 yards in the first halves of the last two games, but just eight carries for minus-4 yards in the second halves.
When Eagles linebacker Kiko Alonso hurt his left knee in Week Two, there was some fear that he re-injured the ACL he tore before the start of the 2014 season.
That injury kept him out for the entire year, so another similar injury would have been a terrible turn of events for Alonso. He went to see Dr. James Andrews for an evaluation, which Alonso says confirmed his initial feeling that there was no injury to the ACL after he had his knee scoped.
“I knew it wasn’t that bad, because obviously I’ve had it twice,” Alonso said, via the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It didn’t feel like that. I knew I didn’t have it. They went in there and cleaned it out. …Like when you take a car for a clean.”
While Alonso avoided another season-ending injury, he’s not sure when he’ll be able to return to the team. He isn’t practicing and says there’s no timetable for when he’ll be able to get back on the field with hopes it will be sooner rather than later. Until then, the Eagles will rely on DeMeco Ryans, Jordan Hicks and Mychal Kendricks at inside linebacker, although Kendricks is currently sidelined by a hamstring injury.
Lions owner Martha Ford has maintained a very low public profile since becoming the sole owner of the franchise following the death of her husband, William Clay Ford, last year. But privately, Ford is speaking up about NFL officiating.
That’s the word from the Lions’ website, which is highlighting a statement coach Jim Caldwell made during his weekly radio appearance about Ford’s frustration with the bad call that went against the Lions on Monday night.
“I think people were kind of expecting our organization to put out a public statement about how egregious that particular no-call was, and all those kinds of things,” Caldwell said. “And don’t think Mrs. Ford is not upset. Don’t think that she doesn’t tell them [NFL officials] and give them a piece of her mind, because she is there at the league meetings – this week or yesterday. And without question, that’s done. We have a protocol that we go through.”
The NFL has told teams not to criticize the officials publicly, but the Lions are tiptoeing around that directive with Ford complaining privately and the team website spotlighting Caldwell’s confirmation of Ford’s complaints.
However they’re expressing their concerns, the Lions have every right to be miffed. Their 2014 season ended with a bad call in a playoff loss to the Cowboys, and now their 2015 season has been dealt a crippling blow in Seattle. Ford absolutely should complain to the league about that.
Plenty has been said in the last day regarding whether the NFL admitted to an officiating error late in Sunday’s game between the Browns and Chargers. Browns cornerback Tramon Williams contend the league acknowledged the blunder; the league has denied it.
On Thursday, Browns coach Mike Pettine opted to say as little as possible about it.
“It is our policy, I am not going to comment on the officiating reviews,” Pettine told reporters on Thursday. “Just on a general statement on that — I have said this before – I think [NFL V.P. of officiating] Dean Blandino and his crew in New York do an excellent job. They are very candid when mistakes are made — I am not saying that is the case here — but just in general, they are very open about it. That crew in New York is working hard to get the officiating right, and we are very appreciative of it. I don’t get into the details of the report for obvious reasons, but I think also even if you took the TV copy of that play or had access to the All-22 and just watched it in slow motion, it is such a difficult thing to officiate. Imagine putting yourself on the line in front of it and trying to gauge if somebody moves exactly and nobody else moves what it looks like. That is behind us. I have had good communication with the league about it. I feel good about their stance and I feel good about where we are with it.”
Technically, the officials got it wrong. But Tramon Williams’ jump was so perfect, his timing so much better than everyone else’s, that he looked offside. Only careful inspection of the All-22 tape shows that Williams begins to move just as the snap process is starting.
It’s all the more reason for the NFL to embrace replay in all situations where it can fix a mistake. Not every mistake is an error; some mistakes happen because the naked eye can’t process the speed of the game properly. In those cases, it’s even more important to rely on any and all available technologies.
When it comes to selling football tickets (or, you know, anything), the law of supply and demand applies. In Washington, the supply has been outweighing the demand in recent years. And so the time possibly has come for owner Daniel Snyder to shrink the inventory.
According to Mike Jones and Liz Clarke of the Washington Post, Washington may be exporting a 2016 home game to London. Other teams are under consideration. An announcement could come by next month.
The NFL is expected to stage three games in London next year, with a fourth international game played in Germany or Mexico.
As noted by the Post, Washington is one of the 12 teams that have not yet played a regular-season game in London. Eventually, more and more teams will have to give up home games, if the NFL intends to continue to play more and more games in other countries. At some point, the league will have to expand the supply of total regular-season games if it ever hopes to persuade teams with a high demand on tickets to host a game somewhere other than their home stadium.
As Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell continues to shake up the coaching staff he inherited from the fired Joe Philbin, former NFL player Jeff Burris has received a promotion.
Burris’s title has changed from “defensive assistant” to “assistant defensive backs coach.” That might sound like a minor distinction akin to the difference between “assistant regional manager” and “assistant to the regional manager,” the Dolphins’ website makes clear that the move is considered a promotion.
Burris was an All-American at Notre Dame and a first-round draft pick of the Bills in 1994, and he played cornerback for 10 seasons in the NFL with the Bills, Colts and Bengals. He has been with the Dolphins since 2013 and has previously served on the coaching staffs at UMass and on the United Football League’s Sacramento Mountain Lions, as well as having a coaching internship with the Bills.
The Dolphins have also confirmed, as PFT reported, that Lou Anarumo has been promoted to defensive coordinator and Kevin Coyle has been fired.
The Giants won’t have wide receiver Victor Cruz in the lineup against the 49ers on Sunday night and they should have a better idea of when he’ll be able to make his first appearance of the 2015 season next week.
That’s when Cruz is scheduled to have his injured calf reevaluated by doctors. Cruz had platelet-rich plasma therapy done on the calf last week and explained on Thursday, via Jordan Raanan of NJ.com, that doctors said it would take 10 days to see if it worked well enough for him to ramp up his rehab work.
Cruz doesn’t need that examination to give him confidence in his ability to come back and help the team this season.
“I’m thoroughly convinced at some point this year I’ll be back on the field playing at high level,” Cruz said.
While Cruz likely has plenty of company in believing he’ll be back on the field at some point this season, the high level part of things is going to be a harder sell until he’s actually able to do it.
Injury reports come and go, and news of players in and out of lineups can make our eyes glaze over sometimes.
And sometimes, you remember these are human beings playing games.
Agent Greg Williams said that Brooks’ 40-year old sister Casandra died of Lupus.
Brooks has been having a tumultuous last few months, including facing a misdemeanor count of sexual battery, though the league chose to not place him on paid leave, and he has played as normal for the 49ers so far this season.