Kent Somers joins PFT Live to discuss the big news coming out Arizona. Somers tries to make sense of the Cardinals’ decision to fire both coach Ken Whisenhunt and GM Rod Graves. He also discusses what Arizona’s next step should be when hiring leadership, and if Andy Reid is a legit candidate to fill the vacancy.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Big changes in Arizona
The Browns will be short a running back because of a concussion, but the good news (I guess) is that they get a quarterback back.
According to Mate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Browns have ruled out running back Willis McGahee for Sunday’s game against the Bears, along with left guard John Greco (knee) and tight end Andre Smith (calf).
In McGahee’s place, fullback Chris Ogbonnaya will get more work, as they’re thin in the backfield. Against a run defense as leaky as the Bears’ it might not matter who’s back there, as everyone seemingly runs for 100 yards against them.
It has been another down season for the Bills, but one of the bright spots has been the play of rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso.
As mentioned in Friday’s one-liners, Alonso has played every defensive snap for the Bills this season and he’s done it at a high enough level to be a candidate for defensive rookie of the year honors. That candidacy is secure, but Alonso may not be able to keep up his perfect attendance record this weekend.
Alonso has been limited in practice all week because of a knee issue and he tweaked it in practice Friday. That’s led to a questionable designation, although coach Doug Marrone said the second-round pick is intent on playing against the Jaguars.
“He tweaked it,” Marrone said, via the team’s website. “Talking to him, in his mind he wants to play. We have 48 hours and we’ll see how it goes.”
Whether or not they have Alonso on Sunday, it doesn’t look like the Bills will have to deal with Jags running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Jones-Drew is doubtful to play because of a hamstring injury, leaving Jordan Todman as the likely starter against Buffalo. Wide receiver Cecil Shorts is questionable because of a groin injury, so the Jags may be down two of their top offensive players in a game that will help shape the top of next year’s draft.
Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau doesn’t think age is a problem with the team’s defense. He also doesn’t think his own age is a problem.
According to Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, LeBeau said Thursday that he wants to return for another season.
“I’ve been blessed to be able to coach this long, and I want to coach, obviously. Because I am a coach,” said the 76-year-old Hall of Famer. “Again, we’ll have to see if people want you to coach.”
Reggie Bush was viewed as a can’t-miss prospect coming out of USC, where he was the best player in college football. But as Bush wraps up his eighth season in the NFL, he’s viewed not as a great player but merely as a good one. Which in Bush’s mind is not good enough.
Bush said on Jim Rome on Showtime that it’s disappointing to him when he compares what he has accomplished to what he thought he would accomplish in the NFL.
“I don’t feel like I’ve met all the expectations,” Bush said. “Nobody sets higher standards for myself than me. When I was coming out of college, I thought I’d be winning Super Bowls every year, I’d be in the Pro Bowl every year, competing for MVPs every year. It’s been a very humbling experience since the day I set foot in the NFL.”
Forget being a Pro Bowler every year, Bush has never been to a Pro Bowl. And his numbers have been fine, but far from spectacular: He averages about 600 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards a year.
However, despite missing two full games and parts of others with injuries, Bush has a good chance of setting career highs in both rushing yards and yards from scrimmage this season. And he likes his chances of continuing to contribute for several more years.
“I still feel like I have a lot left to give this game and we’re still hacking away,” Bush said. “But I would say my career has been OK. It’s been good but not great. I feel like there’s a lot left in me to give this game, so I look forward to the years to come and I’m going to ride this thing until the wheels come off.”
Bush’s college career was rewritten by others, when his stats were erased from the record books and his Heisman Trophy was taken away because of NCAA rules violations. But the 28-year-old Bush still has a chance to rewrite his NFL history himself, starting now. If big games from Bush lead the Lions to the playoffs, and to their first playoff win since Barry Sanders was in Detroit, Lions fans will remember him as a major success.
The disappointing second season of Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill has come to a premature end.
The Jets announced they placed last year’s second-round pick on injured reserve because of knee problems.
Hill had just 24 catches for 342 yards this season, which is actually an improvement over his rookie year. Granted, he’s not in the best situation to flash receiving talent, but he’s also been part of the problem.
Of course, it’s not like the Jets passed on anyone useful with that pick, so it’s not as if they have regrets.
Thursday night’s stabbing at the parking lot of Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium apparently did not involve issues between Chargers and Broncos fans, according to the Denver Police Department.
In an video update posted on YouTube and linked through Twitter, Sgt. Steve Warneke explains that “it appears that this stems from a traffic altercation.” Warneke says that the suspects were backing out of a parking space and nearly struck the vehicle in which the victims were located.
The condition of the three victims has been upgraded. They have non-life threatening injuries. There still may be a fourth victim.
A 29-year-old man has been held for investigation of three counts of aggravated assault. Two other men have been released pending further investigation.
It looked like one of the dirtiest things you’ll ever see on a football field. But Steelers center Cody Wallace says it was an innocent mistake.
Wallace reached out and touched Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks in a place Starks clearly did not want to be touched during Sunday’s game, and the video isn’t pretty. Wallace, however, says there’s a simple explanation for what he did.
“I was trying to get under the pile and get a hand on the football,” Wallace said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get low enough As soon as I realized what was happening, I definitely stopped. It’s unfortunate it looks that way and came out that way. . . . I thought I was going to be able to get under there and I wasn’t able to and I wasn’t able to get a hand on the football.”
We’ll find out today if the NFL fines Wallace, or if the league office buys Wallace’s explanation.
Pitta will join Mike Florio on Friday’s PFT Live to talk about his return to the field. They’ll discuss how his hip, which was dislocated during summer work, held up in the return to action and how it felt to be a participant in the wild final two minutes of Baltimore’s Week 14 win over the Vikings.
The direction of the rest of the show will have much to do with PFT Planet. We’re looking for your questions, so send them in on Twitter — @ProFootballTalk — or give a call to 888-237-5269 during the show.
You can watch it all live at noon ET by clicking right here.
Earlier this week, the names Jim Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin emerged out of the burnt orange in connection with the expected vacancy at the University of Texas.
Since the report came after Tomlin’s weekly press conference but before Harbaugh’s, Harbaugh has been asked about it publicly. Tomlin hasn’t been.
But Tomlin has told the team’s in-house publication, Steelers Digest, that he has no interest in being a college coach.
The question is whether interest could be generated by, for example, a huge financial offer dwarfing his current deal. Surely, there’s an offer that would prompt Tomlin to “lose my placement” as it relates to his employment.
Even if the folks in Austin were willing to break the bank for anyone not named Saban, the question would become whether Tomlin would be able to get out of his contract in Pittsburgh, even if he ever wanted to.
It’ll likely never get to that point. Sure, if the Steelers keep losing beyond 2013 Tomlin may have to consider coaching in college eventually. For now, it appears highly unlikely that he’ll be bolting for Texas or any other college job.
So much for making the most of a second chance.
But Mincey was effectively on double-secret probation after missing a meeting and being left home from a trip to Houston, so it’s easy to wonder whether he had another distraction crop up.
Mincey said the previous punishment was a wake-up call, and after missing two games, he was back in the lineup last week against the Texans.
Mincey was one of the last big contracts signed by the previous administration, getting a four-year, $20 million deal in 2012, with $9 million guaranteed.
Dexter McCluster popped up on the injury report with an ankle injury on Thursday after practicing in full on Wednesday, raising the possibility that the Chiefs would have to play without their punt returner and frequent Alex Smith target against the Raiders this weekend.
Kansas City made a move Monday to give themselves an option at receiver in the event McCluster can’t play. The team announced that they have re-signed wide receiver Chad Hall.
Hall was claimed off waivers from the 49ers in September and played in eight games with the Chiefs before getting released to make room for wide receiver Kyle Williams. Williams has subsequently landed on injured reserve with a torn ACL, opening the door for Hall’s return. Hall caught one pass in those eight games, so he’s not likely to step right into McCluster’s role. He’s also returned punts in the past, although there’s no word on whether he’d do so this weekend.
The Chiefs released defensive tackle Jerrell Powe.
For a time this summer, it looked like wide receiver Riley Cooper might not be a member of the Eagles for the 2013 season.
In the immediate aftermath of the release of a video of Cooper using a racial slur at a concert, there were team meetings with angry teammates and Cooper spent a few days away from the team before returning to work. There were flareups after that, but things have been publicly calm during the season and Cooper has proven to be an important member of the offense.
He’s caught 37 passes for 714 yards and seven touchdowns and has played particularly well with Nick Foles, two things that have been vital to the Eagles with Jeremy Maclin out of the lineup. Cooper is set to become a free agent after the season, but said Thursday that he’d like to stay in Philly.
“I want to be back here,” Cooper said, via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Everyone around here knows that I love the scheme. I think I fit in it well with the bubble screens and the stuff that we do with blocking and being a bigger guy and a bigger target.”
McLane quoted an executive from another team saying that he thought Cooper’s use of the racial slur could impact the market for him in free agency, although he added that his feelings didn’t mean his team wouldn’t pursue Cooper on the open market. The Eagles have a decision to make about Maclin as well this offseason, but Cooper’s play this year has certainly made a strong case for keeping him in town far longer than it appeared he’d stay in early August.
Last night’s NFL Network pregame show included a lively discussion regarding the still-unfolding situation in Washington.
Former Cowboys teammates Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders argued about the treatment Robert Griffin III has received in Washington.
Deion, who once received a lot of money from the Redskins organization and who quit after Marty Schottenheimer was hired to be the head coach, believes that Griffin “needed a little humble pie,” and that his benching for the balance of the season will give it to him.
Irvin disagreed. Strongly.
“I’ve always spoke highly and thought highly of Mike Shanahan,” Irvin said. “Check the tapes, go back as far as you want. But I’m so disappointed with what I’m seeing. . . . This is personal, and I don’t care what you say. And there’s no way you sit your quarterback, RGIII, in his second season. We already know that Cam Newton went through a second season that wasn’t quite what it is, and look at what Cam is doing now. It is amazing to me.
“And here’s something nobody’s talking about. This is the third person that Mike Shanahan has had an issue with that was a star player for the Washington Redskins. I understand, coaches come in and they want to grab control. And they usually go after a star player to get control. Donovan [McNabb], Albert Haynesworth. Say what you will, say what you will. And now RGIII.
“RGIII’s handling it the best he can. Donovan said something like this was going to go down. So I’m not giving Mike Shanahan a pass when someone predicted what’s happening right now to this young man. You are tearing him down!”
I added the exclamation point for a reason. By the time he got to that sentence, Irvin was worked up and animated and yelling.
“I doubt that any man can come back from this, walking around three weeks around these guys that you have to lead,” Irvin said. “And I don’t want to hear about teammates either, [Deion]. I understand that. We understand as teammates and players, quarterbacks do get special treatment. You don’t see people arguing when Peyton Manning gets it or Tom Brady gets it. I don’t want you arguing when this kid gets it. He’s the quarterback, and the rest of us brothers have to understand that and treat him as such. I got an issue with all of it.”
Deion remained amazingly calm in the face of Irvin passionate remarks.
“Peyton Manning and Tom Brady won Super Bowls, that’s the difference,” Deion said.
“And you got to give this kid, he’s only in his second year, time to get there and win a Super Bowl,” Irvin said. “And he’ll never do it with this. You think they could do this to Andrew Luck? Let me ask you this question, you think they could to do this to Luck? Give me a yes or no. No. No.”
Sanders answered the question while Marshall Faulk was otherwise trying to speak.
“I don’t think any of Luck’s teammates would ever come out against him, either,” Sanders said.
Both men have a point. Griffin deserves blame, Shanahan deserves blame, and Daniel Snyder deserves blame.
Ultimately, the guy who finagled a five-year $35 million contract and full control despite winning only one playoff game after a pair of Elway-and-cap-violations fueled Super Bowls deserves the most blame because he had the power to not draft Griffin. Mike Shanahan also had the authority — and the duty — to ensure that, once Griffin was drafted via a trade for three first-round picks and a second-round pick, Snyder and the rest of the organization would ensure from the get-go that Griffin wouldn’t be permitted to take advantage of the celebrity and power that necessarily come from being the first franchise quarterback that the franchise has enjoyed in decades.
The Redskins now have a franchise quarterback without a franchise. Whether he’s ever the franchise quarterback again in Washington will depend on many things, starting with who the coach will be in 2014.
But that seems to be precisely what doctors are telling him to do. That’s the word from Adam Schefter of ESPN, who said it has been recommended that he not play again this year because of his shoulder injury.
The Giants have nothing to play for but pride, and that seems to be what’s driving Pierre-Paul’s motivation to play as well.
But in a year slowed by his recovery from back surgery, then knee problems and now the shoulder, it’s almost like somebody’s trying to send him a sign.
Maybe he needs to see a few broken mirrors and black cats before he gets the message.
Despite multiple reports on Thursday saying the NFL and DirecTV have reached a new agreement to keep the exclusive Sunday Ticket package on satellite television, the league says no deal has been reached.
“We do not have an agreement. Any speculation or reports to the contrary are not accurate,” NFL Media Group VP/Communications Alex Riethmiller told Sports Business Daily.
An agreement may not be done, but DirecTV’s CEO declared himself “very optimistic” that a deal will get done to keep Sunday Ticket exclusively on DirecTV. So it sounds like DirecTV is prepared to spend whatever it will take to keep the NFL’s owners happy. If DirecTV can’t come to terms with the NFL on a new deal, the NFL could open it up to cable companies, or to Internet distributors like YouTube or Netflix.
Under the current deal, which extends through the end of the 2014 season, DirecTV pays the NFL about $1 billion a year.