Mike Florio takes tweets and calls from PFT Planet and discusses if Adrian Peterson is in the conversation for best running back the NFL has ever seen, who will take a chance on Michael Vick in 2013, if Tim Tebow will ever get a starting gig, and more.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Peterson the best of all time?
If you skipped last night’s game and just looked at the box score this morning, you might think Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles played well. You’d be wrong.
Yes, Bortles’ stat line looks good: He completed 33 of 54 passes for 337 yards, with three touchdowns. But Bortles padded those stats with a second-half performance against a Titans defense that was happy to let the Jaguars march down the field with time-consuming drives.
Take a look at the first half stats and you see the truth about Bortles’ game: In the first half, Bortles was 8-for-16 for 64 yards, and the Jaguars trailed 27-0 at halftime. Yes, in the second half, Bortles completed 25 of 38 passes for 273 yards, but so what? With a four-touchdown second-half lead, the Titans’ defense was happy to let Bortles complete lots of short passes, and that’s exactly what Bortles did.
And it wasn’t just last night. It’s been that way for Bortles throughout his career. Check out Bortles’ career stats by quarter:
First quarter: 1,598 yards, 4 touchdowns
Second quarter: 2,356 yards, 15 touchdowns
Third quarter: 1,912 yards, 13 touchdowns
Fourth quarter: 3,364 yards 26 touchdowns
Bortles puts up huge stats in the fourth quarters of games. Now, if Bortles were doing that while leading fourth-quarter comeback wins, it would be one thing. But the Jaguars are 10-26 in Bortles’ 36 career starts, and Bortles has engineered just five game-winning drives in his three NFL seasons.
Put it all together, and it’s clear that Bortles is not as good a quarterback as his statistics suggest. The Jaguars are going to have a big decision to make this offseason when they choose whether to pick up his fifth-year option and give him a vote of confidence as their franchise quarterback, or decline that option and make clear that they don’t think Bortles is the man to lead their team going forward.
Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis gets paid like a quarterback, so it only makes sense that he’s being micro-analyzed like one.
And after a slow start to the season, Revis said he thinks he’s “played better” over the last two weeks.
“I brought it upon myself by playing the game and the position at such a high level for so long,” Revis said, via Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News. “There’s nothing you can do. You take the good with the bad and you go with it.
“It’s almost like you’re getting critiqued like you’re a QB, and I’m a DB. But at the same time, it’s how it goes. Win or lose games, for the DB position, what I’ve done in this league, it’s how I get critiqued: as a quarterback. If we’re winning and losing games or if a pass is getting caught, it’s just like a quarterback throwing a game-winning touchdown or a game-losing interception.”
There was plenty of criticism of the veteran corner early this year, but after coming back from a hamstring injury, he did a solid job against Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald.
Coupled with an ankle injury sustained in practice and his offseason wrist surgery, the 31-year-old has had to overcome a number of physical challenges this year.
“Just one thing after another in my journey here — the hamstring, and even before that, coming off the wrist surgery, trying to get back in shape. So it’s a lot of things that was going on at the time,” Revis said. “At the end of the day, I’m a person who perseveres through things. I don’t make excuses for anything that’s going on with me.”
Whether he does or doesn’t, his every move is going to be watched closely, because that’s what happens with stars.
During the Vikings’ bye week, there were stuffed cats scattered around the team’s locker room including one festooned with a sign reading “Fat Cats Get Slaughtered” as a message to remind the team not to get complacent after a 5-0 start to the season.
Some of those plush cats wound up with their throats cut and red paint splattered on them, which may have foreshadowed the result when the Vikings took the field in Philadelphia. It’s not clear who decided to go to work on the toys, but coach Mike Zimmer wanted to make it clear that it wasn’t him when he met with the media on Thursday.
Zimmer read headlines from stories suggesting he was the culprit while defending himself against those accusations.
“I want to set the record straight on an erroneous report that I feel like attacked my character and reputation,” Zimmer said, via the Pioneer Press. “I had nothing to do with that. The stuffed animals I did have here were given to charity and Toys for Tots. I just want to make sure we get the record straight because my foundation website is getting things saying, ‘Your dad’s crazy, blah, blah, blah’; all this stuff. I do a lot of crazy stuff but I’ll admit to it.”
We still don’t know who ordered the code red, but it seems likely Zimmer and company will be looking in directions other than the stuffed animal aisle for motivational tools for Monday night’s game against the Bears.
Running back Matt Jones didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday because of a knee injury, which doesn’t bode well for his chances of playing when the Redskins meet the Bengals in London on Sunday.
Neither does the news that the Redskins have promoted a running back from their practice squad. The team announced on Friday morning that they have added Mack Brown to their 53-man roster.
Brown spent time on the team’s practice squad last year as well and has never played in the regular season. He did make a push for a roster spot with 149 rushing yards in the preseason finale and an NFL-high 227 rushing yards over the entire preseason, but got cut in favor of Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson.
Both of those backs remain on hand and are set to play this weekend. If Jones’ situation didn’t take a major turn for the better on the flight over to London, Brown will likely be joining them in the lineup.
NFL players almost always refer to every surgery as “a success.” Broncos running back C.J. Anderson has gone a bit further than that.
Anderson, who had surgery to repair a torn meniscus on Thursday, wrote on Twitter this morning that his surgery was not just a success but “a super success.”
“Surgery was a super success been resting all day. FaceTime all my teammates got some good laughs #blessed love them boys,” Anderson wrote.
It remains to be seen whether that “super success” will be enough to get Anderson back on the field this season. Although Anderson initially disputed a report yesterday that he had already declared himself out until 2017, he later acknowledged that he might miss the rest of the year.
The Broncos’ starting running back, Anderson has 110 carries for 437 yards and four touchdowns this season. Rookie Devontae Booker, who has shown a lot of promise as Anderson’s backup, will now be Denver’s starting running back. Kapri Bibbs will move up to No. 2 on the depth chart, and Juwan Thompson could be called up from the practice squad.
I know, I know. Jaguars owner Shad Khan said after Thursday night’s more-hideous-than-their-jerseys loss to the Titans that he’s not making a coaching change.
But let’s think about this one for a second. What else under those circumstances could Khan have said?
“Yes, I am. Now please don’t tell Gus until I get a chance to”?
“Maybe. Maybe not”?
Even a “no comment” would have sparked widespread speculation that the bell is tolling for Gus Bradley, without Khan having the chance to give his head coach the courtesy of a meeting at which Bradley doesn’t already know what the message will be — or without Khan having the chance to make sure the preferred interim coach will take the job. Which means that “no” was the only possible answer, regardless of whether it’s the true answer.
Maybe the hint came via this succinct elaboration from Khan: “Actions speak louder than words. Very little for me to say.”
The words are what they are. The actions are what matters, and Khan in the immediate aftermath of one of the ugliest games of Bradley’s 55-game tenure really can’t say anything more on the topic of a possible coaching change than to deny it.
Change or not, wins will be hard to come by for the Jaguars over the final nine games of the season. At Kansas City is next, which means 2-5 becomes 2-6. A visit from the Texans means 2-7, probably. Then, back-to-back games at Detroit (2-8) and Buffalo (2-9) are on the docket.
Next up, visits from the Broncos (2-10) and the Vikings (2-11).
Tennessee comes to town on Christmas Eve, which could be the next game in which the Jags are possibly favored. A season-ending trip to Indy could be the difference between 2-14, 3-13, or 4-12.
Either way, the wheels have flown off the wagon, and it will take a major turnaround to get this one back on track — especially after the effort or lack thereof that anyone who had the misfortune of watching last night’s game witnessed.
The Bills could use better work from their offensive line.
Larry Csonka likes the direction the Dolphins running game has taken the last couple of weeks.
Who is the MVP of the Ravens season thus far?
The Broncos are dealing with a long injury report this week.
The Raiders defense could get a pair of reinforcements in the coming weeks.
Said Cowboys G Ron Leary, “We pride ourselves in the front five and Philly prides themselves in the front seven. We’ve got a lot of respect for them and it’s going to be a good game.”
The Redskins say there’s no rift on their defense.
Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin explained why his unit has struggled on third downs.
Punt returns haven’t been a strength for the Packers.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera reminisced about a dinner with late Cubs announcer Harry Carey.
The Buccaneers need to cut down on explosive plays allowed.
Are the Cardinals overworking RB David Johnson?
Mike Martz has fond memories of his days coaching the Rams.
The 49ers are on a bad trajectory this season.
Considering how inexperienced in the secondary they were to start the year, and then how thin they became after injuries, it doesn’t take much for the Panthers to see tangible improvement there.
So getting a key cornerback back had coach Ron Rivera feeling good about things.
“He’s progressed very well,” Rivera said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “We’re pretty excited about him right now.”
Of course, the “him” in question is veteran nickel Leonard Johnson, who has made it through four straight practices in his comeback from Achilles surgery, and could be activated from the non-football injury list today or tomorrow.
Johnson, who spent three years in Tampa Bay and played four games for the Patriots last year, isn’t the kind of name that normally makes a coach light up. But considering the mess the Panthers secondary became when they replaced Josh Norman with three rookies and then injuries began to mount there, getting Johnson back is a relative boost.
They’re still unsure whether the best of the rookies (second-round pick James Bradberry) will be ready to come back from his turf toe injury, which has cost him the last two games. If he can’t go, the Panthers will be trying to stop their slide against the Cardinals with some combination of third-rounder Daryl Worley, Robert McClain and perhaps Johnson.
UPDATE 9:38 a.m. ET: The Panthers activated Johnson from the NFI list Friday, and placed special-teamer Teddy Williams (knee) on injured reserve to create the roster spot.
It’s still very unclear when or if Tony Romo will be back on the field.
But just having him back on the practice field was a welcome sight for the Cowboys yesterday, as he took part on a limited basis in his first day of work since breaking bones in his back on Aug. 25. Thursday was the nine-week mark of a recovery pegged between six to 10 weeks. He’s not going to play this week against the Eagles, and the Cowboys didn’t want to get too far down that road considering how well rookie replacement Dak Prescott’s playing.
“I don’t think we knew exactly how long or still know how long it will be,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said, via Todd ARcher of ESPN.com. “I’m sure he’s been chomping at the bit to get back out there, but he’s got to listen to the doctors, trainers and his body and just don’t be impatient. Just get better on a daily basis.”
Linehan stuck closely to “We’re just getting ready to play this game this week,” in terms of Romo’s future, but it was hard for those who have known Romo the longest to not be a little excited.
“He looks good. Young 9 out there throwing it,” veteran tight end Jason Witten said. “He looks rejuvenated. As I say, he brought a lot of energy. It’s always good to have him back out there. I know he’s worked hard to come back and excited to see him take that next step of going on the field.”
When he takes the next step as a starter again is anyone’s guess.
After opening the year only playing free safety for the Cardinals, Tyrann Mathieu back into his role as a slot corner a few weeks ago in hopes of starting to have the same kind of impact on games that he had before tearing his ACL last season.
When Mathieu was playing safety, he wasn’t in the thick of things the way he is when he’s playing corner and that means he wasn’t being tested by opposing offenses anywhere near as often as he had been in the past. That’s changed with the move back to the slot and Mathieu says the tests he’s facing have shown him that he’s still not 100 percent back to form.
“It will probably be that way until I start making plays,” Mathieu said, via the Arizona Republic. “Drag routes, pick routes, drive routes, they just want to see if I can explode and be able to get from Point A to Point B. A lot of teams are going to attack me like that. … What hurts the most is when you know what teams are going to do and you can’t stop them. I know it’s coming and I’m still a step behind.”
Mathieu feels like the brace he’s wearing on his right knee is part of the problem, saying it “restricts me a lot” but that he doesn’t want to take it off too soon and leave himself vulnerable to another injury.
It’s easy to look at last night’s Titans win over the Jaguars (such that it was easy to look at) as a case of a bad team rolling over on the road.
But the Titans had something to do with it too, and now that they’re 4-4, they’re feeling pretty good about themselves.
“I think it speaks loudly,’’ veteran tight end Delanie Walker said, via Jim Wyatt of the team’s official website. “I think everyone saw how we felt coming in at halftime, and how we felt coming in after the game. I know they are not blind.
“I think they understand this is the way we need to play every week. . . . Guys like this feeling.”
Of course, it’s hard to separate the conditional — It was against the Jaguars — but it was a strong performance on a number of levels. Quarterback Marcus Mariota was efficient (148.1 passer rating), but they ran for 214 yards, with DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry establishing the personality they want to show.
“It is hard to run the ball in this league, and it is definitely hard to run for 200 yards,’’ Murray said. “We have a good team, and we all believe in that and we have all said that all along. Just to see the three phases play collectively well throughout the night, obviously it wasn’t perfect.
“But to have that game, it was huge for us going forward.”
They now exceeded last year’s win total (three) and have as many wins as the division leader (the 4-3 Texans). Even though it’s not the best division in the NFL, somebody from the AFC South is going to get invited to the playoffs. And as easy as it is to dismiss the division, the Titans at least made a statement that they’re a serious threat to win it.
On Thursday, Bills coach Rex Ryan confirmed that there were long-term concerns about safety Aaron Williams‘ neck after he was injured for the second time in as many seasons during last Sunday’s game against the Dolphins.
Ryan didn’t specify how long Williams will be out, but it didn’t sound like there was great hope that Williams will be back in the lineup anytime soon. There’s also a chance that Williams won’t be returning at all, although that won’t be known for a while.
Williams’ father told the Associated Press that his son will make a decision about continuing his playing career in the offseason. Anthony Williams said that they haven’t talked about retirement yet, but his son was open this offseason about the possibility that he’d have to walk away from the game after having neck surgery and this year’s plan to “make the best decision that’s right for him” will obviously include an end to his playing days.
The 2011 second-round pick has spent his entire career with the Bills, seeing action in 59 games and establishing himself as a starter before the neck injuries that now cloud his future.
The game we all were least looking forward to watching has come and, thankfully, gone. So we can now focus on the rest of Week Eight, and specifically the game we’re much more excited about watching.
That’s the subject of Friday’s PFT Live question of the day.
Make your choice from the options listed below, complain in the comments about the games that were omitted, and then before watching the games on Sunday check out the last show of the week, featuring a visit from Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry.
The show gets started at 6:00 a.m. on NBC Sports Radio, and the simulcast begins at 7:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN.
Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said after last night’s blowout loss to the Titans that his team needs to look within itself and address why this season has gone so poorly.
“This is some soul searching. We need to find out what’s the issue,” Bradley said. “I think all of us are frustrated in our play.”
Bradley acknowledged that his players came out not looking like they were playing very hard, but he was unsure what he could have done differently to get them ready.
“It wasn’t good enough, obviously,” Bradley said. “We looked like we got punched in the mouth and we didn’t respond real well. All of us take responsibility. There are some coaching things and some playing things.”
Jaguars owner Shad Khan indicated after the game that he doesn’t plan to fire Bradley, and so Bradley will get plenty of time to figure out how to clean up this mess. He has some soul searching of his own to do.
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan met with coaches and players this week in an attempt to figure out just why his team was not winning more football games.
The Jaguars responded with an absolute dud Thursday night in Nashville against the Tennessee Titans. Jacksonville fell behind 27-0 in the first half. Dante Fowler Jr. picked up a personal foul for a pseudo punch to an Titans player just four days after Mailk Jackson (personal foul accumulation) and Jalen Ramsey (fighting) were ejected against Oakland.
Head coach Gus Bradley is now 14-41 during his tenure in Jacksonville. With 10 days before the Jaguars have to play again, the question is whether Khan would look to make a change at head coach.
According to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, Khan said there will not be a coaching change following Thursday night’s 36-22 loss.
However, Khan also said “actions speak louder than words. Very little for me to say.”
Unless something drastic changes, Bradley’s time in Jacksonville would seem to be running short. Changing coaches in season likely won’t do anything significant and a real change won’t realistically be possible until January at the earliest. But having your previous head coach, Mike Mularkey, hand your team a beat down like the Jaguars experienced Thursday night can’t sit well with Khan.
There’s enough talent on the roster now that Jacksonville should be beyond these types of performances. If they can’t make a change with Bradley at the helm, they’ll probably be making changes without him in the near future.