ProFootballTalk: New coach spells end of Gabbert?
Bears receiver Brandon Marshall and Lions center Dominic Raiola will not be exchanging Christmas cards this year.
Marshall said after Raiola was suspended for stomping on the leg of Bears defensive lineman Ego Ferguson that cheap shots are par for the course from Raiola.
“This guy is a dirty player, and he’s a worse human being. He has no respect for himself,” Marshall said, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN.
Marshall said his issues with Raiola go far beyond just one incident. According to Marshall, who has long been open about seeking treatment for mental illness, Raiola has approached Marshall on the field to insult him about his mental health issues. Marshall says that before a game two years ago, Raiola walked up to Marshall and made jokes about Marshall taking medication.
“I’m just warming up, just standing there. He’s like, ‘Go take your medicine. You freaking weirdo, you freaking crazy guy,’” Marshall said of an encounter with Raiola.
Raiola has a laundry list of incidents that have gotten him in hot water over the course of his NFL career, and the NFL noted in announcing his suspension that stepping on Ferguson was far from his first offense. Marshall thinks it’s past time that the NFL does something about Raiola.
Johnny Manziel’s rookie season is officially over.
Browns coach Mike Pettine announced Monday that the quarterback has been ruled out of the team’s season finale against the Ravens because of the hamstring injury he suffered against the Panthers on Sunday. Pettine called it a “pretty significant” injury that would have kept Manziel out for several weeks if the Browns season had several weeks left in it.
“If he does [play], I wouldn’t be surprised he plays well,” Pettine said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Pettine added that the team was considering other quarterback options in the event they need to add another player to the roster before Week 17.
Jim Harbaugh seemed to the heading for the curb, but managed to steer back onto the high road.
The soon-to-be-former 49ers coach seemed to come close to talking about his own status with the team, something he’s avoided so far.
Via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, Harbaugh was asked if it was hard to resist responding to the anonymous reports about him.
“Yeah, that’s a good question,” Harbaugh said, before laughing. “That’s a good question. . . .
When reporters tried to follow up, Harbaugh replied: “I think we’ve covered the ground pretty well.”
Sadly, we have not.
Harbaugh also declined to elaborate on a report from Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, who said Harbaugh’s status would be known within 48 hours of the end of the season.
“Well, as you know, I’ve not participated in any of these speculations and unnamed sources, the rumors, I would ask you to have Jay Glazer go back and ask his sources for more clarification,” Harbaugh said. … “I haven’t participated and I don’t intend to now. And this has been a good 12 months of this kind of thing. No reason to start now.”
You do get the feeling (or maybe it’s hope for a Festivus miracle) that at some point the tightly wound Harbaugh is going to snap, and a stream of truth so torrential will be unleashed, that we’ll all be drenched.
The Cowboys have clinched the NFC East and they still have a shot at grabbing a first-round bye.
They’ll need to get some help from the 49ers and Rams (or a Lions-Packers tie) to make that happen, but even getting those results in the NFC West won’t help if they don’t beat Washington. If they were to win and get all three games to break their way, they’d wind up as the top seed in the conference.
On Monday, coach Jason Garrett said that the Cowboys will do their best to take care of what they control. With all three other games with bearing on their possible slot in the playoffs kicking off later in the day, the Cowboys won’t have the option of altering their lineup based on scoreboard watching and Garrett said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News, that the Cowboys would play their starters their usual amount in Week 17.
We’ll see if that holds come Sunday for running back DeMarco Murray and other players with current injury concerns, but the Cowboys have every reason to play anyone without such worries because of the benefits that would come with getting the bye.
Per a league source, Raiola will indeed be suspended one game for the infraction. Raiola will get the official word later this afternoon.
Raiola was fined $10,000 last month for striking Patriots defensive tackle Zach Moore in the back of the head. In that same game, Raiola escaped punishment for deliberately diving at Moore’s legs during a kneel-down play.
Raiola will have immediate appeal rights, with the hearing held quickly and a ruling coming as soon as Wednesday.
If the suspension is upheld, the Lions won’t have their starting center for Sunday’s NFC North championship game against the Packers. But they will have him for the first game of the postseason.
The Falcons didn’t need much from running back Steven Jackson to knock off the Saints on Sunday and it’s not clear yet whether they’ll have him in the lineup at all when they try to do the same to the Panthers in Week 17.
Jackson left the win over the Saints in the first half with a quad injury and didn’t return, finishing the day with four carries and one reception. Coach Mike Smith said Monday that Jackson was having further tests done to evaluate the injury, which means we’ll be waiting until later in the week for an idea about whether or not he’ll play against Carolina.
Devonta Freeman was the most effective back in New Orleans, running five times for 36 yards and a touchdown and catching three passes for 48 more yards.
Smith said Safety William Moore is also having tests done on his injured shoulder after leaving Sunday’s game. Moore was on injured reserve with the designation to return for an injury to the same shoulder earlier this season.
Undrafted rookie quarterback Connor Shaw, a member of the practice squad, may be called up to the active roster and forced to start Sunday’s season finale against the Ravens. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that Manziel’s hamstring injury, which forced him out of Sunday’s game, and an injury to Hoyer’s shoulder suffered after Manziel went out, could leave Shaw as the only option.
A three-year starter at South Carolina, Shaw was signed by the Browns in May and had some good performances in the preseason this year. Perhaps he can have another good performance in the season finale, and add a new element to the Browns’ inevitable quarterback controversy in 2015.
Meet the new Bears starting quarterback, same as the old Bears starting quarterback.
Jimmy Clausen suffered a concussion in Sunday’s loss to the Lions and the Bears ruled him out for Week 17 on Monday, leaving the team in need of someone to lead their offense against the Vikings. Coach Marc Trestman’s options were Jay Cutler, benched a week ago after a string of poor games that have led to plenty of questions about the future of the coach, quarterback and General Manager Phil Emery, and rookie David Fales.
Trestman has opted to go with the devil he knows.
“Jay gives us the best chance this week. So that’s why he’ll be out there,” Trestman said, via ESPNChicago.com. “Jay said ‘I’ll be ready to go.’ He empathizes with what Jimmy had gone through last night. He’s ready to go. He’ll be in this afternoon to get started.”
Going with Fales would have given the Bears a chance to see the sixth-rounder in action while also protecting Cutler from the possibility of an injury that could hamper attempts to trade him this offseason, although no one’s really sure at this point if that’s the route the Bears will go or who will be making the decisions about such moves. They went the other way, though, and the season will end with the same starting quarterback that took the field in Week One.
The Eagles will finish with a winning record, but they won’t make it to the playoffs. The Panthers or Falcons will secure a spot with a losing record. That doesn’t bother Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly.
“Should we move to the [NFC South] so we can get in a different division?” Kelly said to reporters on Monday when asked about the situation. “No, that’s just the rules. People that complain about rules that are already in existence. . . .
We didn’t do enough. We didn’t win enough games against the right opponents to put ourselves in the playoffs. We knew the rules of engagement before the season started. To sit here after it is over and say, ‘Let’s change the rules so this can happen,’ that’s just the way it is. There may be a year where we’re in a situation where we’re not in great shape and we win our division and we get a chance to go. People said it about Seattle a couple years ago, and then Seattle won their wild-card game.
“It’s still about winning each week and doing what you’re supposed to do. We already knew the rules before the season started. That’s the way it expressed itself. We didn’t do enough to win to get ourselves in the playoffs. That’s on us. That’s not on anybody else, or what the structure of setup is.”
It’s the right attitude. The rules are the rules, and the Eagles knew the rules. Everyone knew the rules. Until they change, one team from each of the eight divisions will host a playoff game, whether they “deserve” it or not.
The Eagles may deserve it in relation to Carolina or Atlanta. But that doesn’t matter, because one of those teams will become the best in its division, regardless of the final won-loss record.
The Panthers have one game to extend their season, and they’re adding a pass-rusher who might be able to help them.
The team announced that defensive end Frank Alexander had been added to the 53-man roster. He takes the place of wide receiver De’Andre Presley, who was placed on injured reserve after suffering a concussion last week.
Alexander spent the first 14 weeks suspended for a pair of substance abuse policy violations, which he said were triggered by his poor handling of grief over the illnesses of family members.
The former fourth-round pick had shown some promise as a pass-rusher, and getting after Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will be critical in Sunday’s win-and-in NFC South title game.
The NFL is considering discipline for Lions center Dominic Raiola after he stepped on Bears defensive tackle Ego Ferguson during Sunday’s 20-14 Detroit win and the team reportedly expects the league to hand down a one-game suspension.
Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports reports that the Lions have told Raiola to expect the one-game ban, which would leave him on the sideline as the face the Packers for the NFC North title in Week 17. Raiola could appeal any suspension and that appeal would likely be expedited so it happened before that game.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Monday that the team was prepared for the possibility that Raiola would be suspended while adding that he believes the center’s claim that he inadvertently stepped on Ferguson.
“Obviously I took a good look at [the play],” Caldwell said, via the Detroit Free Press. “Looked at both the coach’s copy and also the television copy as well, and I believe what Dom told me, that it was inadvertent. But I can also see why it obviously is being reviewed by the league and everybody’s taking a real good look at it because you can also see the other side of that as well. There’s a league protocol to it. It’ll be reviewed, taken a look at and we’ll deal with the issues after there’s been some determination there.”
Rookie Travis Swanson would likely start in Raiola’s place if he’s out on Sunday.
On Sunday, Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen absorbed a wicked helmet-to-helmet hit from Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah while sliding. Clausen seemed fine at the time, remained in the game, and apparently developed no concussion-like symptoms.
The Bears have announced that Clausen has been diagnosed with a concussion after delayed symptoms. Which is precisely the headline of the press release.
“Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen was diagnosed with a concussion Sunday evening after experiencing delayed symptoms,” He is currently being evaluated based on the NFL’s concussion protocol and will not play this Sunday.”
It’s odd for a player to be scratched six days before a game due to a concussion, given that plenty of players improve sufficiently to secure clearance to play the following weekend. It could be that the Bears are erring on the side of caution. It could be that the symptoms are sufficiently significant to allow the Bears to know now that he won’t play.
And it could be that the Bears have seen enough from Clausen.
“After the hit which drew an unnecessary roughness penalty in the final Bears offensive drive of the game, Clausen was monitored by the team’s medical staff and the NFL’s ATC spotter,” the team said. “He exhibited no signs of concussion immediately after the hit or during the final four plays of the drive. At the conclusion of the series he was further checked on the sideline and again exhibited no signs or symptoms. After the game he passed all testing by team physicians and reported no concussion symptoms. Prior to leaving the stadium he was told, as per protocol, to contact team athletic trainers if he had any problems later in the day. Clausen experienced delayed symptoms later Sunday evening and contacted trainers. He was taken to a hospital where he was further examined by a team physician and at that time diagnosed with a concussion. Upon diagnosis, he began the concussion protocol.”
The next question becomes whether Jay Cutler or David Fales starts in Week 17. If it’s Fales, it will become even more clear that the Bears hope to keep Cutler healthy in order to trade him. If it’s Cutler, it could mean that the team hopes to avoid a full-scale mutiny for the regular-season finale.
The Cardinals have started three different quarterbacks this season and it looks like they will make it four when they face the 49ers in Week 17.
Coach Bruce Arians said Monday that the team is leaning toward starting rookie Logan Thomas in the regular season finale, although Thomas’s work in practice could send things in another direction. Ryan Lindley started against the Seahawks on Sunday night and played about as well as you’d expect someone with no touchdowns and seven interceptions in his NFL career to perform. Lindley was 18-of-44 for 216 yards and an interception in the 35-6 loss.
Thomas saw some mop-up duty on Sunday and also played in a 41-20 loss to the Broncos earlier this season, when he completed 1-of-8 passes. That one completion was an 81-yard touchdown to running back Andre Ellington on a pass that Thomas squeezed through defenders for Ellington to catch and do the rest of the work.
The fourth-round pick was one of the rawest prospects in the draft this year, but has the kind of big arm that Bruce Arians likes to deploy in his downfield passing game. Given how poorly Lindley played and the uncertainty about Drew Stanton’s ability to return to the playoffs, it makes sense for the Cardinals to get Thomas some game work to give themselves at least the possibility of another option when the postseason gets underway.
Arians added that he expects Stanton to practice some this week and hopes he’ll be available for the playoffs. If he can’t, we’ll get one of the unlikeliest starters in recent postseason history whether Thomas or Lindley gets the call.
Marks thinks he should be heading to the Pro Bowl after the season, but will need some help from the league’s players and coaches in order to make it to Glendale when the selections are announced on Tuesday night. Marks ranked 13th among defensive tackles in the now-concluded fan voting and he thinks his omission would uncover a flaw in the system.
“If it happens that way, then I say that the whole Pro Bowl voting and balloting is all BS,” Marks said, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. “How do you look at it? Do you look at it as a guy that plays good on a good team or a guy that plays good on what you consider a team that doesn’t have the record? I thought it was supposed to be the guy who plays the best at that position that year. That’s what I thought it was. If it comes out that way, it wouldn’t bother me. It wouldn’t stop the way I play. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all.”
Marks has had a very strong season and is definitely worthy of Pro Bowl consideration. The problem is that there are enough good candidates that leaving out any particular one falls well short of a flaw in the system. Marcell Dareus, Aaron Donald, Sheldon Richardson (listed as a tackle for Pro Bowl purposes, as is teammate Muhammad Wilkerson), Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy and Kyle Williams are just a few of the worthy choices for spots, which makes it hard to believe that anyone is going to outraged if they made it with Marks left on the outside.
The good news for Marks is that McCoy is on injured reserve and is just one of several players who could make it and cede their spot to someone who doesn’t make it so Marks could get into the game even if he doesn’t get to enjoy the gift of a trip to Arizona for Christmas.
In what can only be interpreted as an ominous sign, Jets owner Woody Johnson is bringing in an extra set of eyes.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Johnson is preparing to hire former Texans and Redskins General Manager Charley Casserly as a consultant.
This comes with the proviso “in the event the organization decides to make any changes, per league sources.”
The list of people who hired consultants to help them not make changes has to be a short one, but so far, there’s been no word of imminent firings.
I mean, we’ve all assumed coach Rex Ryan is a goner for months, and it seems he has as well. But the status of G.M. John Idzik has been up in the air (literally and figuratively).
Casserly might not have covered himself in glory at his last stop in charge, but his connections from his days as an executive and a television analyst gives Johnson a resource in the event he’s making changes.
Which by hiring a consultant, it seems he’s about to.