As the playoffs continue, the NFL world is captivated by Robert Griffin III’s injury and the events that led to the re-aggravation. After successful surgery, Mike Florio wonders where blame needs to be place. Florio also discusses the firing of Rob Ryan in Dallas and if Bill Cowher has missed his opportunity to find another job in the NFL.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: RGIII’s future in doubt?
The Rooneys own the Steelers, but Tom Brady owns Mike Tomlin.
In the 10 years since Tomlin became head coach of the Steelers, Brady and the Patriots have faced Pittsburgh six times. And in those six games, Brady has absolutely embarrassed Tomlin’s defense.
According to NFL Research, Brady has 19 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in six games against Tomlin’s teams. Brady’s passer rating in those games is 127.5, his highest against any head coach he’s faced at least three times. His completion percentage against Tomlin’s defense is 71.2 percent and he has averaged 314.8 yards a game.
Brady has never failed to throw for at least two touchdown passes against Tomlin’s Steelers. Tomlin may need to find a way to reverse that on Sunday if he wants to get to the Super Bowl.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took a shot at the Falcons’ history of playing fake crowd noise over the Georgia Dome loudspeakers in his final media appearance before Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.
Asked about the noise in Atlanta, Rodgers acknowledged it’s loud, and then noted that the noise might not actually be coming from the fans.
“It’s really loud in there. Whether that’s all natural or not is yet to be seen,” Rodgers said.
The Falcons were stripped of a fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft and fined $350,000 after an investigation revealed that they had been using fake crowd noise while the opposing offense was on the field during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. The Falcons fired their director of event marketing, whom they blamed for overseeing the scheme, and the NFL temporarily pulled Falcons President Rich McKay off the Competition Committee for it.
There have been no allegations that the Falcons resumed their practice since then, but Rodgers found it amusing to take a little shot at the team before Sunday’s game.
Gus Bradley will be the Chargers’ new defensive coordinator, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Friday night.
Bradley spent the last four seasons as head coach of the Jaguars. He had been linked to multiple teams as a defensive coordinator candidate, and landing him is considered a win for new Chargers’ head coach Anthony Lynn.
The Seahawks’ defense took off in Bradley’s four seasons as their defensive coordinator from 2009-12 and ranked in the top 10 in total defense in his final two seasons before he went to Jacksonville. Prior to that, he had been the linebackers coach for the Buccaneers.
The Jaguars fired Bradley in December, knowing they would be headed in a different direction for 2017 after the team went 14-48 with Bradley as head coach. With the Chargers he’ll take over a defense headlined by 2016 rookie defensive end Joey Bosa and Pro Bowl cornerback Casey Hayward.
Harrison was asked today whether Brady can be rattled and he answered, “I believe anybody can be rattled if you get hit enough.”
In Harrison’s view, beating Brady is all about getting pressure on him.
“You can put pressure on any quarterback, to make him uncomfortable — if a quarterback is sitting back there without pressure he’s going to do a good job of spreading the ball around and getting it to his receivers,” Harrison said.
If Harrison fails at rattling Brady, he knows the Patriots’ offense can put a lot of points on the board.
“He gets the ball where it needs to go, his receivers do a good job of catching the ball and getting yards after the catch, his line does a good job of holding up and blocking well and they run the ball pretty decent too,” Harrison said.
And so Harrison will try to hit Brady enough that the Patriots’ offense can’t do all the things it does very well.
The Redskins will hire Kevin O’Connell as their new quarterbacks coach, Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports reported Friday.
The team has not announced the move, nor has it announced a replacement for offensive coordinator Sean McVay after he became head coach of the Rams. The hiring of O’Connell would indicate that head coach Jay Gruden will promote Matt Cavanaugh from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator.
O’Connell, 31, was quarterbacks coach with the Browns in 2015 and worked on the 49ers’ staff last season. The report said he had also been in the mix for coordinator and quarterbacks coach jobs at the college level.
O’Connell spent five seasons in the NFL as a player. He worked training high school and college quarterbacks before accepting a job with the Browns prior to the 2015 season.
After the Chiefs lost to the Steelers on Sunday, Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce ripped referee Carl Cheffers, saying Cheffers “shouldn’t be able to wear a zebra jersey,” even at Foot Locker. The NFL was not amused.
A league source tells PFT that Kelce has been fined for criticizing Cheffers.
Although we have not confirmed the exact amount of Kelce’s fine, it’s believed to be about $12,500. That’s half of what Josh Norman was fined for telling an official he sucked during the regular season.
Players generally get a pass if they criticize the officiating in a general sense. When they start to get personal toward an individual official, that’s when the league cracks down. The NFL felt that Kelce, by specifically identifying Cheffers and criticizing not just one specific holding call but Cheffers’ competence in general, had crossed the line.
The NFL has also said that Cheffers was correct on the call in question, a holding call on Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher. And the NFL has appointed Cheffers to referee the Super Bowl, demonstrating that the league is satisfied that Cheffers is fully capable of wearing the zebra jersey to do more than sell footwear.
The Chargers will hire Alfredo Roberts as their new running backs coach, ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported Friday.
Roberts previously worked with new Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn in Cleveland, where Lynn coached running backs and Roberts coached the tight ends in 2007-08, and in Jacksonville.
Roberts also previously was the tight ends coach for the Buccaneers and Colts. He played on two Super Bowl teams with the Cowboys in the early 1990s.
Jimmy Smith’s prayers have been answered.
When word broke that the Jaguars were interviewing Keenan McCardell to be their wide receiver coach, Smith said he was praying for his former Jacksonville teammate to get the job. Their former coach and current executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin helped announce the news on Friday afternoon.
“We all understand what Keenan means to this organization and we are excited to welcome him home to Jacksonville, as he’ll oversee the growth and consistent improvement of our receiving corps,” Coughlin said in a statement. “I had the pleasure of coaching Keenan for six seasons and understand his passion for the game of football and his burning desire to win.”
McCardell joined the Jaguars in 1996 and caught 499 passes for 6,393 yards and 30 touchdowns over six seasons with the team. McCardell played 16 years in the NFL overall, wrapping up his career with the Redskins in 2007 and catching 883 passes in the process.
McCardell coached the wide receivers in Washington in 2010 and 2011 and spent two years in the same job at the University of Maryland, where he worked with current Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs.
On Thursday night, Donald Trump said that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady called to congratulate the since-inaugurated Commander-in-Chief. On Friday, Brady declined to address the situation, in any way.
Asked by reporters to share some of the details about the call, Brady said this: “I don’t have much to say.”
Asked simply whether he called Trump, Brady said this: “Did I call him? Let’s talk about football.”
In contrast, coach Bill Belchick admitted that he had sent Trump a letter of encouragement before the election, after Trump read from the letter at a rally.
It’s Brady’s prerogative to say whether he did or didn’t make the call; after the election, he said he’s done talking politics. However, the fact that he said nothing underscores the notion that he surely wasn’t happy about the public disclosure of his private communication.
After going through interim quarterbacks, interim running backs and interim tackles last year, the Vikings decided to remove that adjective from their offensive coordinator’s title.
The team announced that Pat Shurmur would remain as their offensive coordinator, after he took over for Norv Turner last November.
The team also announced that Kevin Stefanski will move from coaching running backs to quarterbacks, along with the hirings of running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu and tight ends coach Clancy Barone.
Shurmur’s background with Sam Bradford was helpful for the Vikings this year, as they tried to recover from Teddy Bridgewater’s knee injury. They worked together previously with the Rams and Eagles, and may well into the future, since no one’s quite sure when or if Bridgewater will return.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce ripped the officials in last Sunday’s playoff loss to the Steelers for a holding call on left tackle Eric Fisher on a two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter and said that referee Carl Cheffers wasn’t fit to wear a striped shirt for Foot Locker.
The NFL has a different read on Cheffers’ work as they named him to work the Super Bowl in Houston in a couple of weeks. We don’t know if Kelce’s views of the officiating have drawn a fine from the league, but PFT has confirmed that Kelce was fined for an on-field penalty.
Kelce has been fined $9,115 for an unnecessary roughness penalty. Kelce was flagged in the third quarter for shoving Steelers cornerback Ross Cockrell at the end of a play. The penalty pushed the Chiefs back 15 yards, but they were able to convert a first down on the next play and ended the drive with three points.
That wasn’t enough to put them in front of the Steelers, who advanced to the AFC Championship Game by an 18-16 score after the Chiefs’ second try at the aforementioned two-point conversion came up short.
Although it didn’t get a lot of attention in the media, a skirmish broke out between players on the Chiefs and Steelers after Sunday night’s playoff game.
The league office didn’t pay it any mind, either: PFT has confirmed that none of the players involved were fined.
Chiefs defensive backs Terrance Mitchell and Marcus Peters were involved in some pushing and shoving with several Steelers players, and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin got between them. Steelers coach Joey Porter also got in the middle of it, trying to break things up just days after he was reinstated from the team after being put on leave briefly for allegedly doing some pushing and shoving of his own in a Pittsburgh restaurant.
No punches were thrown and it was a fairly mild scuffle, so it’s no surprise that the NFL decided not to hand out any discipline, even if it wasn’t exactly the ideal way for a playoff game to end.
Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney hit Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a few times in last Saturday’s Patriots win in the divisional round of the playoffs and one of them led to an animated reaction from Brady when a flag wasn’t thrown.
Clowney dragged Brady down on an incomplete pass in the third quarter and Brady was seen shouting at the officials after the play was over. He got the flag he was looking for early in the next quarter when Clowney was penalized for roughing Brady on a 10-yard completion to running back Dion Lewis.
PFT has confirmed with the league that Clowney was also fined $18,231 for roughing Brady.
Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe has also been fined $12,154 after picking up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. There was a scrum at the end of a short completion on third down to Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins early in the game and Rowe was penalized for pulling people off the pile. The penalty gave the Texans a first down that they used to continue a drive that ended with a field goal.
The Patriots didn’t have a player on their 53-man roster miss practice at any point this week, but they aren’t saying that everyone will be healthy enough to play on Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.
They listed seven players as questionable to face the Steelers, including four of quarterback Tom Brady’s targets through the air. Wide receivers Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell all got the questionable designation after three days of limited practices. Amendola returned to action last week after missing a month with an ankle injury while Mitchell didn’t play due to a knee issue and Hogan had to leave the win over the Texans after hurting his thigh.
Tight end Martellus Bennett is the other member of the quartet. He’s listed with a knee injury after briefly leaving last week’s game a couple of times, but said early in the week that he was feeling fine.
The team said Watkins had a second surgery on his injured foot and that his anticipated timetable includes a healthy return in time for training camp.
Watkins had foot surgery last spring, then re-injured his foot and missed half of the 2016 season, though he returned to play in December. He caught 28 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns in eight games.
Lawson, the team’s first-round pick last spring, had arthroscopic knee surgery. He’s expected to be available for the entire offseason program.