The PFT guys preview the NFC matchup between the Packers and 49ers and wonder if Green Bay is ready to face a versatile QB like Colin Kaepernick. They also discuss field conditions in San Francisco and predict who will come out on top.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Previewing Packers at 49ers
Sean McVay is the youngest head coach in the NFL after being hired by the Rams and Kirk Cousins had a hand in getting McVay to that spot.
Cousins’ play as the starter over the last two seasons has created a big question for the Redskins to answer about his future with the organization, but it didn’t hurt McVay to be associated with the development of a quarterback who went from backup to the franchise tag in 2015 before turning in another good season in 2016.
During an interview with ESPN 980 in Washington, McVay called Cousins someone you can “absolutely win a championship with” and said he thinks that Cousins will continue to move up the ladder of NFL quarterbacks in the years to come.
“I don’t think there’s any question in my mind,” McVay said. “Look at his body of work the last two years. These guys are great players and they have a long resume. They’ve accumulated that experience and gone through things good and bad. Anytime you look at someone who is successful at anything, one thing they’ve had to do is overcome some adversity. It’s an inevitable part of this game, but it’s something when you look at Kirk over the course of his career and through his life, he continually responded to challenges in a way that makes you believe in him.”
McVay added that he hopes Jared Goff can progress on the same kind of trajectory in the coming years. Goff’s presence in Los Angeles should keep anyone from connecting dots between the coach’s praise and Cousins’ impending free agency, which promises to be a major storyline in Washington while McVay is trying to have the same kind of success with another quarterback.
The social-media platform known as Twitter can be used for plenty of good things, and for plenty of not-so-good things.
Here’s one very good thing for which it recently was used: A retweet from Raiders quarterback Derek Carr of a message aimed at finding a missing boy resulted in a reply with information that helped police find him, via CSNBayArea.com.
It’s a reminder of the potency of the device. Carr, with more than 247,000 followers, clicked a button and performed a significant service for his fellow man.
Meanwhile . . . . Never mind.
The Chargers have left San Diego, but they’ll still have a presence there.
Via the San Diego Union-Tribune, the local CBS affiliate plans to carry “a lot of Chargers games” in 2017.
The station’s general manager told Tom Krasovic of the Union-Tribune that CBS corporate executives make the decision on which games will be televised in which market, and that the “local station doesn’t have any say.”
“I think the Chargers televised games will be the highest-rated games in the market,” Alberto Mier y Tieran told Krasovic. “So I would prefer we carry as many Chargers games as possible.”’
Much was made regarding the news that TV ratings were down in L.A. after the return of the Rams. But the reality of the league’s broadcast rules is that, without a team in a given market, the networks can assign more compelling games to the local affiliate that otherwise would have its hands tied. The Rams weren’t good, but FOX had its hands tied following more than 20 years of flexibility.
If the Chargers struggle, CBS will be able to give San Diego games involving better teams and higher stakes. And, in turn, better ratings.
Luke Kuechly was medically cleared to play late in the season, after missing four games with a concussion.
And since he didn’t play the last two because the Panthers were out of the playoff hunt, he’s not going to play in any other meaningless exhibitions.
There’s a reasonable case to be made that Lee should have been there anyway, especially with Kuechly missing six games.
But Lee had a phenomenal season in his own right, for a defense which overachieved throughout the year.
The Texans are out of the playoffs, and their star defensive end is out of the postseason all-star game.
For Dunlap, it’s his second straight Pro Bowl, and the second of his career. He had eight sacks in 2016.
Chiefs safety Eric Berry pulled out of the Pro Bowl this week, but the Chiefs are still gaining in the number of players from their roster who will take part in the game.
The team announced on Tuesday that quarterback Alex Smith and punter Dustin Colquitt have been added to the roster. They join tight end Travis Kelce, cornerback Marcus Peters and rookie returner Tyreek Hill as representatives from Kansas City in the game.
It is the second time that Smith has been part of a Pro Bowl roster and he will be replacing Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who fractured his fibula late in the season as the Raiders and Chiefs were vying for the AFC West title. The Chiefs took it with a win in Week 17 while the Raiders lost, but Smith’s season came to an end in an 18-16 loss to the Steelers last Sunday night.
Colquitt is also going to the Pro Bowl for the second time. He’s going in place of Colts punter Pat McAfee, who announced over the weekend that he will be having knee surgery.
The Chargers hired a head coach with an offensive background in Anthony Lynn, but that won’t lead to a change at offensive coordinator.
During his introductory press conference, Lynn said that Ken Whisenhunt will “definitely be retained” for the 2017 season. Lynn said that he would have tried to bring Whisenhunt with him if he’d gotten a head coaching job when interviewing with teams last year.
Whisenhunt worked under Mike McCoy in 2013 and then left after getting a head coaching job with the Titans. He was dismissed after going 3-20 and returned to the coordinator job in 2016.
On the defensive side, Lynn confirmed the Chargers have interviewed Gus Bradley about taking the coordinator job and said that he’d be talking to Bradley again on Tuesday. Bradley has also interviewed with the Redskins and is thought to be a possibility with the 49ers if they hire Tom Cable as their head coach.
Browns left tackle Joe Thomas doesn’t say much. So when he does, people pay attention.
On Tuesday, Thomas had something to say about offseason workouts at the University of Oregon sufficiently intense to put three players in the hospital.
“Whoever is behind this should be fired, nothing to do with football. Where’s NCAA? How about protecting athletes instead of your paychecks!” Thomas said on Twitter. “These are the petty games ‘coaches’ play when they are clueless about actually coaching the game and developing the kids. Gives [football a] bad name. . . . If NCAA won’t protect these student athletes, maybe they need to form some type of coalition that has power to stand up to the ‘coaches’.”
Thomas is right. It’s bad enough that these kids are exploited, getting compensation that pales in comparison to the revenue they generate. They also have no real protection against abusive practices, whether it’s unsafe workouts in January or unlimited padded practices during the season or grown men coming back to school and practicing against kids who supposedly are kept out of the NFL due in part to the goofy notion that they need to be protected against grown men.
Apparently, college players do need protection against grown men. And if the grown men into whose care they are charged can’t be trusted to take proper care of them, hopefully there are other grown men and women in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches of the government who will.
When Anthony Lynn was introduced as the Los Angeles Chargers’ new head coach today, he remembered one of the most influential coaches he ever knew: Bill Walsh.
Walsh was a Hall of Fame coach for the 49ers and worked in the 49ers’ front office in 1996 when he contacted Lynn, a backup running back for the 49ers, and said they needed to talk.
“I remember the day when Bill Walsh came down to the locker room in 1996 and he grabbed me and he said, ‘We need to talk.’ And I said, ‘Oh, s–t, he’s about to cut me,'” Lynn said, perhaps not realizing his press conference was on live television.
But Walsh didn’t cut him. Walsh told him he had a better future in football than he realized.
“He goes, ‘No, I want to take you to lunch, I want to talk to you about something.’ He started talking to me about coaching. He said, ‘I’ve identified you as a coach in the National Football League and I want to tell you about my program for minority coaches.’ And we begin this talk about coaching, and I’d never thought about coaching before. But that’s where the seed was planted, from Coach Walsh. . . . From that moment on, every team meeting I sat in I started taking notes like a coach, I started preparing like a coach.”
Walsh realized that African-Americans were underrepresented on coaching staffs in the NFL at a time when few others were talking about it. The league now recognizes Walsh with the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, and coaches like Lynn recognize how Walsh helped pave the way for their career success.
The Broncos secondary will be well represented at the Pro Bowl in Orlando.
The Broncos announced on Tuesday that safety Darian Stewart has been named to the game as a replacement for Chiefs safety Eric Berry. Stewart will join cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris on the AFC roster, leaving safety T.J. Ward as the only regular member of the starting lineup who has not gotten the nod. Linebacker Von Miller is also on the team.
It will be the first Pro Bowl appearance for Stewart, who finished his second season with the Broncos after five seasons with the Rams and Ravens. He had 68 tackles, three interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery while starting all 16 games.
Stewart’s stay in Denver will continue beyond this season as he signed a four-year extension with the team during the season.
When Lions running back Zach Zenner was at South Dakota State, people told him he wouldn’t make it in the NFL, and so he majored in biology with a plan to start medical school when his college career ended.
But Zenner, who said when he was in college that he just hoped to make an NFL practice squad before becoming a surgeon, is now playing well enough for the Lions that he expects to have a long NFL career ahead of him.
Still, Zenner has decided to keep his medical options open. With the idea that he might still become a doctor some day, Zenner is working on a medical research project, studying ultrasounds of rat arteries, at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Detroit.
“I think it’s important to [do these kind of projects], not only for the career aspect of it — kind of building the resume — but also, mentally, for the brain,” Zenner told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s a totally different type of mental exercise than preparing for a defense. You can make similarities between the two in just the fact that football isn’t just a running straight, ramming your head against brick wall over and over. [There are] a lot of mental aspects to football, as well, but it’s just totally different from that.”
Zenner now says he isn’t sure whether he’ll go to medical school. It’s entirely possible that by the time he retires from football he’ll have enough money that he doesn’t have to work again, and that he’ll be pretty old to just be starting in a field that requires several years of schooling. But with his offseason work, he’s keeping his options open.
The Browns brought Gregg Williams in from the Rams to be their defensive coordinator and one of Williams’ assistants in Los Angeles will reportedly be making the trip with him.
Alex Marvez of Sporting News reports that Clyde Simmons will be joining the Browns coaching staff. Simmons spent the last five years as the assistant defensive line coach in the Rams.
Marvez reports that he will be coaching that position group with the Browns as well, although neither defensive line coach Robert Nunn nor assistant defensive line coach Ken Delgado were among the four defensive coaches relieved of their duties earlier this month.
The Rams job was Simmons’ first position on an NFL staff. He spent 15 years as an NFL player for the Eagles, Cardinals, Jaguars, Bengals and Bears and ranks 20th in NFL history with 121.5 sacks.
The Steelers have one receiver in a bit of hot water with his coach, but they have another one who is trying to work his way back into the good graces.
According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, suspended Steelers wideout Martavis Bryant has applied to the league for reinstatement. The process can take some time for the league to process (see Aldon Smith), so this simply sets the stage for a potential return next season.
Bryant was suspended for a year for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.
The Steelers made their disappointment with Bryant clear, so it’s not automatic that they’re going to want to bother with him.
They’re not overburdened with depth without him, but they’re also proving by still being on the field in January that his absence didn’t kill their chances.
The big headline from Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s press conference will be about his response to wide receiver Antonio Brown’s decision to film the scene inside the team’s locker room after they beat the Chiefs, but there was also information about the health of some of the team’s players.
Tomlin said, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that linebacker James Harrison is expected to be limited this week because of shoulder and triceps injuries. The veteran has been playing well in the first two weeks of the postseason and has 2.5 sacks to go with the crucial holding penalty he drew against Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher on a fourth quarter two-point conversion.
Tomlin also said that safety Sean Davis continues to be bothered by a shoulder injury, but it didn’t stop him from practicing in full last week or playing against the Chiefs. The rookie moved into the starting lineup down the stretch and has helped push the defense to a better place it was early in the year.
The final update was more of a reaffirmation of the status quo as Tomlin confirmed tight end Ladarius Green remains in the concussion protocol.
Panthers wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl has informed the team that he plans to resign.
Per the Panthers’ official website, Proehl is stepping down for family reasons. He has two sons who will be playing college football next fall.
Proehl spent six years with the Panthers, the last four as wide receivers coach. He had a 17-year career as a player and played three seasons with the Panthers.
Proehl caught 669 passes and 54 touchdowns passes in his career while playing for the Cardinals, Seahawks, Bears, Panthers, Rams and Colts.