New Chiefs coach Andy Reid joins PFT Live to discuss his new job after 14 years with the Philadelphia Eagles. Reid emphasizes his want for a fresh start in Kansas City and says the Chiefs will keep their eyes on the QB market this off-season.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Reid: ‘Sometimes change is good’
Although the Giants have made no official decisions about the status of wide receiver Victor Cruz, it’s looking like he may be done for the 2013 season.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said that Cruz “has a knee that will probably prevent him from doing anything” today, and he also has concussion.
There’s already talk in New York that the decision to call up receiver Julian Talley may signal the end for Cruz, and playing it safe with Cruz would make a lot of sense for the Giants. Considering that just five months ago the Giants guaranteed Cruz a total of $15.6 million this year and next, it’s hard to imagine that they would put him on the field for a couple of meaningless games if he’s anything less than 100 percent. It would make a lot more sense for the Giants to get Cruz healthy for next year.
So as bad as the Giants’ passing game has been this season, it may be even worse as they close out the year against Detroit and Washington.
The Lions have lost four of their last five games, forcing coach Jim Schwartz to make a public statement of support for quarterback Matthew Stafford even as speculation about his own shaky job security whirls around him.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press joins Mike Florio on Wednesday’s edition of PFT Live to talk about what’s gone wrong for the Lions over the past few weeks. We’ll see if Birkett thinks the team can win their two remaining games to give themselves a shot at climbing back into first place in the NFC North and what he thinks will happen this offseason if they don’t.
Schwartz isn’t the only coach in the league that’s on the hot seat right now and we’ll run through all of the most vulnerable coaches during the show as well. And, as always, we’ll make sure you’re caught up on all the other biggest news from around the NFL.
You can watch it all live at noon ET by clicking right here.
The Cardinals did their very best to blow last Sunday’s game against the Titans by giving up 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, but they picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick in overtime to set themselves up with a chance to win.
And win they did when Jay Feely banged home a 41-yard kick to give Arizona a 37-34 win that kept their playoff hopes alive heading into the final two weeks of the season. That boot helped Feely gain the honor of being the NFC special teams player of the week.
Feely hit three field goals overall for the Cardinals in Week 15, the first two of which helped them build a secure-seeming 34-17 lead with a little more than six minutes left to play. It was a good rebound for Feely, who missed both of his field goal tries against the Rams in Week 14, and moved him to 25-of-29 on field goals for the season.
It’s the third time that Feely has been named the winner of a weekly award, but it’s been a bit of a wait as he was last honored in 2010.
The Browns got one key part out of the concussion protocol Wednesday, but another one went into it.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, running back Willis McGahee was cleared to practice Wednesday and to play this week, while tight end Jordan Cameron was held out after reporting concussion symptoms Monday.
Cameron didn’t do much against the Bears Sunday, but two of his three receptions were on the final drive.
He’s caught 75 passes for 848 yards this year in a tight end-friendly offense, made more impressive by the fact he can’t know who his quarterback’s going to be or whether that guy will be any good.
The Browns are also holding cornerback Joe Haden (hip pointer) out of practice today.
The Cowboys defense will be trying to rebound from their second half meltdown against the Packers when they face the Redskins this week and they’ll be doing it without cornerback Morris Claiborne.
The 2012 first-round pick will miss his fourth straight game as a result of the hamstring injury he aggravated against the Giants in November. Claiborne had missed the previous two games with the same injury before returning briefly against the Giants.
The team was hoping to get Claiborne back this week, but he had a chaotic week last week that saw him go to Shreveport, Louisiana to be with family after the death of his father before heading back to Dallas for the birth of his daughter. That left Claiborne behind in his rehab and, as a result, he won’t play in Week 16.
“Last week, we were shooting for this week, but since we missed a week, last week, getting treatment and not being here to do stuff because I had to go home, it set us back,” Claiborne said, via ESPNDallas.com. “It was a big setback. I sat down with the trainers, I feel like I’m good. I’m in the same sense of where I was the first time. So I sat down with the trainers and we talked about it and it could go either way. ‘We need you. But we’re not going to play you this week.’ [It] gives it a little bit more time and see what happens for the last game.”
Claiborne has not lived up to his position as the sixth overall pick in last year’s draft to this point. He’s missed a good chunk of time with injuries and frequently been ineffective when he’s on the field, although the Cowboys could really use every available hand on deck to fill out a defense that’s been far too giving to the opposition this season.
Charles was named AFC offensive player of the week, the kind of thing that usually happens when you score five touchdowns in a game.
Charles had eight catches for 195 yards and four touchdowns against the Raiders last week, which made his eight rushes for 20 yards and a touchdown seem paltry.
Of course, his catch-and-run antics made the Raiders look the same way.
On Monday night, the Ravens scored no touchdowns in Detroit. But Justin Tucker delivered six field goals, including a 61-yard field game winner that looked like it was going to fade to the right before straightening out and falling over the upright.
Not surprisingly, the effort gave Tucker the AFC special-teams player of the week award.
For the year, Tucker has converted on 33 straight field-goal attempts. His performance has caught the attention of former Redskins kicker Mark Moseley, the only kicker to ever win the NFL’s MVP award by making 20 of 21 straight-on field goals during the nine-game, strike-shortened season of 1982.
“In 1982 and ’83, I didn’t think I could miss,” Moseley told Clifton Brown of CSNBaltimore.com. “That’s where [Tucker] is now. I was really kind of surprised [Monday] night that they couldn’t get in the end zone. But that’s where a good kicker comes in. If you have a good defense and a good kicker, you can stay in games. That’s why George Allen brought me to Washington.”
Tucker has become so reliable that there’s a danger the Ravens may get too cautious and conservative once they get in range for the kind of field goal that used to be considered hard to make but that with Tucker has become automatic. As long as Tucker doesn’t cool off, it may not matter.
When last week started, Michael Thomas was a safety on the 49ers practice squad.
It ended with Thomas intercepting a Tom Brady pass in the end zone to seal a 24-20 Dolphins victory that left them in position to take a playoff spot with victories in their last two games. In between was a phone call from Miami offering a job that Thomas nearly slept through and the whole thing has been capped with the NFL’s announcement that Thomas is the AFC defensive player of the week.
Thomas, pressed into expanded duty a few days after joining the team because of injuries all over the secondary, added a couple of pass breakups and tackles to that interception to further make his case for the weekly honors. There were other strong performances on defense on Sunday, but none had the same mix of a great individual story and the great team story of beating a division nemesis that you haven’t beaten in years.
The Dolphins are looking healthier in the defensive backfield this week, but Thomas’ successful debut will likely keep him in the mix for snaps for however long the Dolphins remain alive this season.
Apparently, the NFL thought this week’s NFC offensive player of the week was an “easy” decision.
Eddie Lacy won the award, after the Packers rookie running back ran for 141 yards and the game-winning touchdown in their dramatic comeback over the Cowboys.
Lacy now has 1,028 yards on the season, leaving him 77 yards short of the Packers rookie rushing record.
That’s impressive stuff, even though Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said the choice to take Le’Veon Bell in the second round instead was “an easy one.”
Lacy will get a chance to make his case in person when the Steelers and Packers meet this week.
It’s been six weeks and two days since Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers fractured a collarbone. With the team now two wins away from an unlikely (given the 0-4-1 run right after Rodgers exited) NFC North crown, Rodgers seems to be more intent than ever on playing when the Steelers come to town on Sunday.
At a minimum, Rodgers is finally speaking the language that gets to the root of the balance that team doctors are trying to strike.
“I think there has to be on some level a risk-reward conversation,” Rodgers said during his weekly radio spot on ESPN Milwaukee, via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “You have to base that on the evidence you see on the scan, but also how I’m feeling and if I’m able to do normal football movements without pain. That obviously goes into the equation.”
Rodgers is right. The reward becomes qualifying for a playoff berth and chasing a championship, with the collarbone getting more and more healthy each and every week. The risk, apparently, arises from the possibility of breaking the collarbone again, possibly badly enough to require surgery.
Whatever the risk, that’s the discussion Rodgers and Dr. Pat McKenzie need to have. After decades of teams bullying (subtly or otherwise) doctors into letting players play, Dr. McKenzie seems to have gone the other way, protecting a grown man from consciously accepting the possibility that the collarbone could break again.
It’s hard not to wonder whether the situation would be different if the Packers had a traditional owner — someone who ultimately held the keys to the car and who would be tempted to push his underlings to push the doctor to let Rodgers play if he wants to play, and to explore finding a different doctor who possibly would provide a different opinion.
Dr. McKenzie’s willingness to protect Rodgers is admirable. Not enough team doctors have, over the years, put the interests of their player-patients over the importance of keeping happy the entity that has the power and funds to find a new doctor. But as the Packers compete for a playoff berth, it’s hard not to wonder how many other teams would allow a doctor to trump the wishes of a player who understands the risk and who is willing to accept it.
Regardless, Rodgers seems to be moving closer to taking a stand.
“Sometimes those guys have to save you from yourself,” Rodgers said. “Doc and I always have had a close relationship and an honest relationship. I think he trusts me on how I’m feeling. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to battle him.”
At some point, it’s a battle that the franchise quarterback will win. Every play of every NFL game entails risk of injury. If Rodgers understands what could happen if the collarbone breaks again and accepts that enhanced risk, he should be allowed to make the final decision.
Cornerback Richard Sherman’s play is one of the reasons that many people think the Seahawks will be playing in MetLife Stadium in February.
His play at MetLife Stadium last weekend is one of the reasons why the Seahawks shut out the Giants. It’s also the reason he’s the NFC defensive player of the week.
Sherman was on the receiving end of two of Eli Manning’s five interceptions and added three pass breakups and two tackles to help keep the Giants offense from sniffing the end zone. Sherman now has 14 interceptions over the last two seasons, more than anyone else in the league.
It’s the third time that Sherman has been the NFC defensive player of the week, which is the most of any Seahawks cornerback. There will likely be more accolades coming Sherman’s way once the season comes to an end, although he’s surely hoping that he’ll have to pass on a Pro Bowl selection this year.
It’s not too late to make an example of someone.
So on the eve of their biggest game of the regular season, the Saints are taking the dramatic step of replacing their left tackle.
Saints coach Sean Payton just told reporters (and the team tweeted out the news, in case the message wasn’t being sent clearly enough) that rookie Terron Armstead would start at left tackle Sunday against the Panthers.
The third-round pick was competing for the starting job in training camp, but Brown held him off for most of the year.
Brown was benched during last week’s loss to the Rams when Robert Quinn had his way with him, and the prospect of Greg Hardy doing the same thing with the NFC South title on the line obviously gave Payton second thoughts.
The Saints also cut longtime kicker Garrett Hartley, replacing him with journeyman Shayne Graham, so the implication is clear. Payton’s not messing around, and even the most important jobs aren’t safe.
Trindon Holliday is in the NFL because of his ability to return kicks, but the Broncos special teams ace feels like he’s underworked.
Moving kickoffs to the 35-yard line before the 2011 season has led to a dramatic rise in the number of touchbacks around the league, leaving Holliday to admit that he wants to take kicks out from deep in the end zone because it “might be the only one you get all day.”
“You feel like it’s time for you to spark your team and you get so anxious and you see the ball go over your head again and again and you get frustrated,” Holliday said, via the Denver Post.
He’s probably not the only frustrated kickoff returner. Nearly half the kickoffs in the league this season, 49.4 percent in all, have been touchbacks and the current pace would end the season with the fewest kickoff returns since the league expanded to 32 teams in 2002.
The Panthers have been the team’s most successful team when it comes to kicking off as 75.7 percent of their kicks have resulted in touchbacks and it’s certainly helped their defense defend long fields so often this season. Three of the next four teams on the list are also likely on their way to the playoffs, so the benefit is being felt around the league.
Teams that return kicks also do well as the top six teams in kick return average (there’s a tie for fifth between the Lions and Bengals) are still alive in the playoff race, which suggests that having a player like Holliday to make the most of the few opportunities pays off well.
When a team gives up on a high draft pick as a rookie, there’s usually a good reason.
But when a player is picked highly, there’s usually a reason for that too, and he gets more chances.
The Raiders have apparently signed former Texans outside linebacker Sam Montgomery, per a tweet from his agent.
The Texans released the third-round pick (95th overall) in October, which was the latest in a long line of authority figures having problems with him. The release was reportedly for smoking marijuana the night before a game, though Montgomery denied smoking, saying he merely walked into a room where others were.
He showed up out of shape for his rookie training camp, after admitting he didn’t always play with great effort at LSU, where the strength coach had to shame him into attending workouts.
He was a productive player at LSU, with 32.5 tackles for loss and 19.0 sacks. That’s going to make teams take notice, and the Raiders are playing to an old stereotype by giving him a look (after the Bengals worked him out this fall).
Of all the postseason awards to be announced the night before the Super Bowl (when everyone will have stopped being interested in who wins them), the most interesting award this year could be coach of the year.
It’s typically the most subjective of the awards, despite the objectivity of a team’s win-loss record. The more accurate measure comes from performance relative to expectations, and nothing is more subjective than expectations and the extent to which they’re exceeded.
This year, various favorites have emerged from time to time. When the 2-14 Chiefs started 9-0, Andy Reid appeared to be a lock. When the Panthers won eight in a row after starting 1-3, Ron Rivera moved to the top of the list. Now, with the Dolphins winning five of seven games in the wake of the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito mess, Joe Philbin (pictured) becomes perhaps the most viable candidate to secure the title.
But it’ll be impossible to make an accurate assessment until the regular-season ends and the playoff seedings are set. If, for example, the Panthers secure the No. 2 seed and a bye in the NFC, Rivera’s candidacy improves dramatically. If the Dolphins finish the job and qualify for the playoffs by winning their final two games, Philbin could be the favorite.
Other coaches deserve consideration, too, based on how their teams finish. If the Patriots secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC, Bill Belichick should get some votes. If the Ravens complete their late-season climb to the AFC North title — and possibly swipe a bye — John Harbaugh deserves votes.
How about Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who’ll possibly win the NFC East despite no prior NFL experience? Or Bears coach Marc Trestman, who may win the NFC North in his first year of running a team after many years as an assistant and no prior opportunities to take over the top job?
If the Saints rebound and take the No. 2 seed, should Sean Payton get consideration for instantly turning his team around after a one-year suspension?
The NFC West has produced a trio of candidates. The Seahawks arguably have the most talent in the league, but Pete Carroll has guided them through periods of injury on the offensive line and injury/suspension in the secondary. The 49ers continue to find a way to thrive under Jim Harbaugh. And Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, in his first year as a head coach, could become the first back-to-back winner since Joe Gibbs in 1982-83, and the first to ever win the award in consecutive years with different teams.
The winner won’t begin to become clear until the dust settles on the regular season. Even then, chances are a healthy debate could emerge — and that the 50 total votes could result in the first tie since George Allen and Don Shula shared the honor in 1967.