Mike Florio is joined by Michael David Smith to make their picks for the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. They both agree that the Patriots and Broncos look like the clear favorites in the AFC, but the NFC matchups are a little tougher to predict.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: AFC games are no-brainers
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Tuesday the official list of presenters for the eight-man class of 2016 that will be inducted next week.
The group of presenters includes Hall of Fame coaches Marv Levy and John Madden; Colts owner Jim Irsay; longtime coach Dom Capers; Brett Favre’s wife, Deanna; and Lisa DeBartolo, the daughter of former 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr.
Deanna Favre will become just the second wife to serve as her husband’s presenter, while Lisa DeBartolo will become the fifth daughter to present her father.
Former Rams tackle Orlando Pace will be presented by his son, Justin. Tony Dungy will be presented by his former teammate, Donnie Shell.
Capers will present former Panthers, Steelers, Rams and 49ers linebacker Kevin Greene. Irsay will present former Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison. Madden will present former Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler, while Marv Levy will present former Lions guard Dick Stanfel.
The class of 2016 will be inducted Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio.
Word came from the NFL on Monday that Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has been conditionally reinstated from the suspension that kept him off the field last season.
Gordon will still be suspended for the first four games of the regular season, but he’s eligible to practice and play with the team during the preseason. That left the Browns in need of a spot on the 90-man roster for Gordon.
They created it by announcing that they have waived defensive back A.J. Stamps. Stamps signed with the team in early May after going undrafted out of Kentucky and will become a free agent if he passes through waivers unclaimed.
The Browns hold their first training camp practice on Friday. Gordon reported to the team’s facility Tuesday to take a physical ahead of what will be his first on-field action with the team in a long time.
Unlike ESPN, NFL Network hasn’t undergone significant upheaval among its throng of players-turned-analysts. But one fairly big name with a gold jacket could be going elsewhere.
Via Michael McCarthy of Sporting News, Michael Irvin’s contract at NFLN will expire before the start of the 2016 season.
The timing is a bit odd; it’s far better for these deals to expire before other networks have finalized their lineups for the coming campaign. The fact that the news is trickling out now suggests that Irvin hasn’t gotten the kind of financial offer he wants to stay put. If other networks show interest, NFL Network may up the ante.
Per McCarthy, the league-owned network hopes to keep Irvin around.
If Irvin leaves, there aren’t many other options. NBC, CBS, and FOX presumably don’t have open seats. McCarthy calls ESPN a “natural landing spot,” given that Irvin worked there from 2003 to 2007.
Still, Irvin’s first stint in Bristol was rocky at times. In 2005, ESPN suspended Irvin after he failed to disclose that he had been arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. Also, former ESPN ombudsman George Solomon criticized remarks from Irvin suggesting that Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo’s speed can be attributed to possible African-American ancestry.
When the Dolphins drafted cornerback Xavien Howard in the second round of this year’s draft, he immediately became a contender for a starting job in the secondary.
His push for that job or another prominent role early in his first season hit a snag heading into camp, however. Howard needed to have arthroscopic surgery on his knee after getting hurt on the final day of Dolphins minicamp and coach Adam Gase said Tuesday that Howard will open camp on the physically unable to perform list while he recovers.
Gase said, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, that the team expects to have Howard back on the field by the first regular season game at the latest. That timeline may not leave the rookie with enough time to show he’s ready to handle a regular role on defense in the opening weeks.
When the Falcons released Devin Hester on Tuesday, the number of players on their roster dropped to 87.
That leaves them with three spots to fill, something that General Manager Thomas Dimitroff said was not a must before training camp officially opens. If and when the Falcons do make a move, it could be to add a familiar name to the roster.
Dimitroff said on Tuesday that the team is still considering adding defensive end/linebacker Dwight Freeney to the team. Freeney visited with the Falcons as their offseason program was drawing to a close and passed on signing him, but said that it was something they could revisit down the road.
Linebacker O’Brien Schofield is another veteran option. Coach Dan Quinn said they’ve been keeping tabs on Schofield, who had two sacks in 14 appearances with the team last year, and that he’s had a good offseason.
Either player would fit on a defense that hopes to improve on its production in 2015, although it seems clear that Atlanta doesn’t feel they have to make a move right away because both veterans have been hanging around the market the entire offseason.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, talks between Bush and the Bills continue. The Bills view Bush as a potential option at punt returner and as a replacement/clone of LeSean McCoy, if he needs a break or is injured.
The Bills need to be ready for the four-game suspension imposed recently on running back Karlos Williams. The real question is whether Bush fits after Williams returns from his looming exile.
With the flirtation between Bush and the Bills now an open book, if anyone else wants the No. 2 pick from the 2006 draft, time may be running out.
But Hester’s Falcons career hit a red light this morning, as the team announced they had released the veteran wide receiver.
The 33-year-old Hester was coming back from toe surgery in January, and only played five games last year. He hadn’t participated in any of the offseason work, and it was unclear what he’d be able to do during training camp.
That injury kept him from showing his old burst, but he’s one of the most dangerous returners in the history of the game, and it’ll be interesting to see if someone wants to give him another chance once he’s well, whenever that might be.
Pederson also said that he can’t say at this point whether rookie Carson Wentz will remain on the inactive list as the No. 3 quarterback for the entire season. Wentz’s arrival caused some issues between Bradford and the team in the spring that have since been worked out and drafting a quarterback second overall means he’ll be the starter at some point.
Bradford said Monday that he’s not spending much time thinking about what that will mean for him.
“Not really,” Bradford said, via Philly.com. “I think at this point, I’m just trying to come out here, get better each day, try to make this team better, try to help this team win games, do my job the best I can, and then whatever happens, happens.”
It’s hard to block out thoughts about what might be coming later this year or in 2017, but Bradford’s future — in Philadelphia or elsewhere — will be in pretty good shape if he can turn in a healthy and productive season because healthy and productive quarterbacks are always in demand around the NFL.
With teams reporting to training camp, the veterans who didn’t get one of the 32 times 90 invitations (that’s 2,880, #math) often start realizing things about their future.
Wootton signed with the Lions last year, but didn’t play a down in the regular season after tearing a pectoral muscle in the preseason finale, putting him on IR.
He was originally drafted by Chicago and also spent time with the Vikings, amassing 12.0 sacks in his five years on the field, with 7.0 of them coming in 2012 with the Bears.
The NFL’s PED policy is sufficiently effective to ensnare players who use supplements that contain banned substances. However, the PED policy has yet to catch many (if any) actual cheaters.
Those observations hinge on the honesty of the stream of PED offenders who claim they used a supplement that, unbeknownst to them, included one of the many chemicals and compounds on the long list of forbidden fruits.
Colts defensive tackle Arthur Jones, suspended four games for a PED violation, is the latest cheater-who-isn’t-a-cheater. Via Bob Kravitz of WTHR.com, Jones said, “I did a piss poor job of double checking my supplements to make sure nothing was banned.”
The pun probably wasn’t intended; the “I am not a crook” message surely was. Either no one is deliberately using PEDs or they aren’t getting caught or, when they get caught, they’re claiming that they merely took a substance that they didn’t know included a banned substance.
Maybe Jones is telling the truth. The fact that his truth matches the terms of what so many times is used as an excuse makes it harder for folks to accept that his violation occurred inadvertently.
Robert Griffin III hasn’t been promised the starting quarterback job in Cleveland, but heading into training camp, it’s his job to lose.
Longtime Browns reporter Tony Grossi said this morning on PFT Live that Griffin will get four out of every five reps with the first-string offense at Browns camp. That strongly suggests that coach Hue Jackson is heading into camp with the idea that Griffin is his starter, and will only change his mind if something surprising happens.
“It’s not an open competition with Josh McCown,” Grossi said.
At the moment, the Browns’ depth chart appears to have Griffin on top, McCown second, rookie third-round draft pick Cody Kessler third and Austin Davis fourth. That can change, but it will probably only change if Griffin either gets hurt or plays so poorly that the Browns’ coaches feel like they have no choice but to demote him. The other quarterbacks simply won’t get many opportunities to win the job.
After the Chargers picked defensive end Joey Bosa with the third overall pick of this year’s draft, they said they had their eye on him throughout the entire pre-draft process and knew that he was they guy they would take once it was known quarterbacks would be the first two picks.
That was easy, but getting Bosa under contract hasn’t been quite so smooth a process. Bosa is one of three players from the draft without a deal as his agents and the Chargers squabble over offset language and the timing of when bonus money will be paid to Bosa. Those issues have been obstacles for some time without an agreement, which may explain why General Manager Tom Telesco basically shrugged his shoulders when asked if Bosa would report to camp.
“I don’t know,” Telesco said on The Mighty 1090 in San Diego, via ESPN.com. “I guess we’ll see. I really don’t know if he’ll [show up]. We’re still working on it. Hopefully we’ll get something done, but I don’t know.”
Telesco said that he understood some people were puzzled about the standoff since it is “not really over money,” but said that the Chargers believe in “certain things of consistency and doing things the same way for everyone on the team” when it comes to contracts. In this case, that consistency could keep the third overall pick they were so sure they wanted from practicing when training camp opens in part because the the team’s worried about how much he’ll get paid if he’s a total flop.
Chargers running back Danny Woodhead doesn’t go down easily, and doesn’t usually stay down long.
But when a teammate rolled into his ankle in June, the 31-year-old was worried it was similar to the season-ending injury he suffered in Buffalo in 2014, so he might have been entitled to milk it for a little extra attention.
“Not everyone knows this, but when I was in Buffalo, it hurt and I couldn’t get up on it, but it wasn’t until 30 seconds to a minute after when I was like, ‘Oh. This is bad,’” Woodhead said, via Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “So [this time] I kind of gave it the 30 seconds to a minute. It wasn’t out of trying to be a jerk or anything, but I was just like, ‘I don’t know if I’m good yet. Let’s see. Let’s wait this out.’ . . .
“It took a couple weeks, but now I’m as healthy as I’ve been in a long time. I feel great going into the season.”
Having Woodhead ready to contribute will be a good sign for the Chargers, after a productive 2015 season. He led the team in catches (81), receiving yards (755) and receiving touchdowns (six), remarkable numbers for a back on the wrong side of 30.
“In my rookie year and second year, I really didn’t play that much,” Woodhead said. “And then with the year I took off because of the ankle, that’s really three years that didn’t give me wear and tear. I really feel like I’m young. I feel like my body is young. . . . I feel like I’m 26. This might have been the best offseason I’ve had.
“If you were to ask me that five years ago, I would’ve said, ‘Yeah, right.’ But I still feel like I can do the same things as I did or better. As long as I can do the same things I was doing in year four, if I’m doing that or better, I don’t think it’s time for me to go for a while.”
At least he’s ready to go from the start of the season, which is a huge relief after his June scare.
Will the Bills defense be better this season?
Assessing potential improvements in the Dolphins secondary.
The Jets will have a players leadership council this season.
Previewing the players heading into their second years with the Bengals.
An optimistic prediction for the Steelers offense despite players missing with suspensions.
A few under-the-radar Colts training camp storylines.
The Jaguars added K Sam Ficken to the roster.
Rookie defensive backs will have to catch on quickly to get playing time with the Broncos.
Which Chiefs can boost their offensive production?
The Raiders are set with outside cornerbacks and holding a competition for slot duties.
Ben McAdoo’s style is geared toward younger members of the Giants roster.
Will the Redskins look outside the organization for pass rush help?
The development of recent first-round picks will be important for the Bears this season.
Previewing the biggest position battles for the Lions.
The Packers need some inside linebackers to step up this year.
Have the Falcons improved their pass rush?
In search of buzz about the Buccaneers.
DT Darnell Dockett returned to the Cardinals to say goodbye to the NFL.
Will coach Pete Carroll get an extension from the Seahawks soon?
Since then, police reportedly have been called to his house on five different occasions. According to TMZ, the most recent incident happened on Saturday.
Per the report, Mason’s family is concerned about his mental health. During one of the police visits, he agreed to check into a facility. He apparently didn’t.
Mason has not yet been accused of assaulting family members. On one occasion, a family member told police that Mason hadn’t slept in days, and that the family member was concerned if Mason left the house “he will get hurt.”
Mason didn’t participate in OTAs this year, excused from the voluntary sessions for “personal reasons.” The next question for the Rams is whether Mason, a third-round pick in 2014, will be welcomed to training camp — and whether he’ll even show up for it.