Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees alludes to the media the only way to stop the Patriots will be means other than hard play on the football field. Are his comments all fun and games, or something more serious? Mike Florio also talks about the Cardinals hiring Bruce Arians and if Jerry Jones is secretly looking for a new coach in Dallas.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Jones pushing Garrett out of Dallas?
After eight years on the job, NFL executive V.P. of football operations Ray Anderson has decided to leave the league office.
The NFL announced the decision on Wednesday. In a release, the league said that Anderson will be pursuing other opportunities.
“I have been involved in many different aspects of the NFL — as an agent, club executive, and league executive,” Anderson said. “I have always enjoyed new challenges and the time is right for me to evolve into the next phase of my career. I appreciate the opportunity Commissioner Goodell gave me and the support I have enjoyed from a great staff.”
Anderson was a central figure in last year’s lockout of game officials. It was believed by some in the wake of the lockout that Anderson would be nudged out of his job. He wasn’t.
In January, word surfaced that Raiders owner Mark Davis possibly would hire Anderson into a “senior executive front office job” in Oakland. At the time, Amy Trask was serving as the team’s CEO. She has since resigned.
It’ll be interesting to see how Anderson’s job is filled. Last year, when we were informed that Anderson would not be fired, we also were told that key management positions no longer will go automatically to “football people” who graduated from other jobs in the football business to significant jobs in the league office. The league could start looking for folks from other industries who have demonstrated the ability to handle high-paying, high-profile, high-power jobs that entail operating under a high-powered microscope.
Whoever gets the job, that person’s first order of business could be to finalize the penalty imposed on the Steelers for coach Mike Tomlin’s sideline side-step right. Anderson made the initial determination regarding the imposition of a $100,000 fine on Tomlin. Eventually, a draft-pick forfeiture or modification will be determined.
The 49ers solidified their playoff chances with a victory over the Seahawks last weekend and cornerback Carlos Rogers will join us to talk about it on Wednesday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN.
Rogers will share with Erik Kuselias his thoughts about the team’s confidence level coming out of that win as well as his general observations about whether it has been harder than expected to come back from a trip to the Super Bowl. They’ll also talk about the loss of Dashon Goldson and defensive backs hitting low during the course of the conversation.
It’s also time to start looking ahead to some of the matchups coming our way in Week 15. The PFT crew will start breaking down the storylines you need to keep in mind as we make our way toward Sunday.
It all gets started at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Ben Roethlisberger isn’t the only two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback whose contract has become a ball and chain for his team.
Eli Manning of the Giants also has a contract that eats up too much cap room. And so he says he’s willing to alter his deal to create cap space.
“I haven’t thought about it, but if they come to me, yeah, we’ll discuss it and figure out a plan,” Manning said Wednesday, via Jordan Ranaan of NJ.com.
Signed through 2015 at salaries of $15.15 million and $17 million over the next two seasons (via NFLPA records), the question isn’t whether Eli is willing to move money around for cap purposes while ultimately taking the same amount of money. The question is whether he’ll sign a new contract that extends beyond 2015 and that pays him less than the current market value for franchise quarterback, which is in the range of $20 million per year.
Via Spotrac.com, Eli counts for $20.4 million and $19.75 million over the next two years under the cap. Getting those numbers down while also getting Manning paid in line with other quarterbacks who have fewer Super Bowl rings (including Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan) will be a challenge.
Plenty of players are willing to restructure their deals, since that usually means converting a large chunk of the coming year’s base salary into a signing bonus, resulting in the player getting no less money. With Eli having only two years under contract beyond 2013, a so-called “simple restructuring” isn’t a viable option.
The Giants need to extend Eli’s contract, and there will be nothing simple about determining the right long-term value to a player who has won a pair of Super Bowls but who has missed the playoffs in four of the last five seasons.
The Broncos waited as long as they could before officially ruling wide receiver Wes Welker out for Thursday night’s game against the Chargers, but there was no way to avoid the obvious when they released their final injury report for the game on Wednesday.
Welker has been ruled out after his second concussion in the last two weeks and will miss a regular season game for the first time since 2010. Defensive end Derek Wolfe has also been ruled out for the third straight game after he suffered seizure-like symptoms before the team’s trip to Kansas City to face the Chiefs.
Cornerback Champ Bailey played in that game, one of only three he’s been able to play this season, but didn’t play against Tennessee last week because of his injured foot. If he can’t go, the Broncos will have Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Chris Harris and Tony Carter to throw at the Chargers receivers.
Keenan Allen will definitely be an object of their attention as he’s probable after last weekend’s shoulder injury. Eddie Royal is questionable with a toe injury, however, so the Chargers offense may not be at full strength once they make a final call on his availability.
According to Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com, Packers tight end Andrew Quarless let the cat out of the bag, saying Rodgers took snaps with the first offense Wednesday.
Rodgers said he had too much pain while doing individual drills last week, which dampened the enthusiasm.
“Twelve [Rodgers] looked real good today,” Quarless said. “It was good to see him out there, really working with the [No. 1] offense. He was out there before but wasn’t working as much with the offense, but today he took some offensive reps, which is a great thing for the team.”
When asked to clarify they were reps with the starting offense, Quarless replied, “Yes, sir.”
While his politeness is appreciated in a day and age when the media is not held in sufficient regard, Quarless’s coach might not appreciate it. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said that Rodgers was limited, and tried to keep the speculation in check.
“We’ll see how he is tomorrow. We’ll set a plan for him again tomorrow,” McCarthy said. “Aaron still is not medically cleared, and really, I think it’s important to stay in-tune with that because the topic of ‘Is he playing in the game?’ versus ‘Is he medically cleared?’ – those are two totally different issues.
“I clearly understand the importance of Aaron to the team, to the NFL, but we’ve got to make sure we do our due diligence and go through the process of getting him healthy.”
It still seems that they’re planning on Matt Flynn starting again, but even the hope of Rodgers returning is worth hanging onto.
The Saints knew it was a long shot to think Victor Butler might come back this year, six months after tearing his ACL. But they considered it worth a shot, and the physically unable to perform list left the door open for a miracle.
Wednesday, after his three-week practice window ended, they decided to not activate him, according to Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He started practicing on Nov. 19, but apparently wasn’t ready to contribute.
Butler was injured in June during OTAs, and at the time it seemed it was a crushing blow for a team lacking pass-rush options. He was brought in from Dallas, where he backed up DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer and was familiar with coordinator Rob Ryan’s system.
But the Saints have responded well in Butler’s absence, and now will wait to see if he can help next year.
With Walter Thurmond suspended and Brandon Browner injured, the Seahawks signed cornerback Perrish Cox a couple of weeks ago to give them some depth.
They changed their mind a day later, though, and waived Cox to make room for DeShawn Shead from the practice squad. Something about Cox must have stuck in the mind of General Manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll, though, because they’ve reversed course and brought him back to the team.
The Seahawks announced Wednesday that they have signed Cox and placed safety Jerron Johnson on injured reserve. Johnson was mostly used on special teams this season and is being shut down because of a hamstring injury.
Cox played nine games for the 49ers earlier this season. Thurmond is suspended for another two games while Browner has practiced a little while also fighting his own suspension for a substance abuse policy violation, although Cox isn’t likely to jump right into the lineup at corner.
His father Al, who created the mystique of the Raiders and their “commitment to excellence” — along with a reputation for rash moves — might be spinning in his grave right now.
But Raiders owner Mark Davis said he’s trying to remain patient with General Manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen despite a 4-9 record, saying: “If you’re committed to something, you have to be patient with it.”
While Davis offered no promises during an interview with Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News, he didn’t sound like a man inclined toward blowing his team up — again.
Davis called this the second year of a required two-year “deconstruction of the Raiders,” meaning McKenzie and Allen have to start rebuilding this year. The Raiders have slashed and burned and carried dead money on the cap, leaving a team that has some talented areas but is painfully thin in others.
“We had to do it. It wasn’t fun, but it was something we had to do. And it’s basically complete. That is done. And the re-construction is going to begin right after this season is over,” Davis said. “That’s the thing about this season—at times we’ve shown that there’s something there, and at times we’ve shown that maybe there’s not. There’s progress, if you look at it that way, because it makes the disappointment that much harder.
“When you’ve made some progress, patience is a harder thing to have.”
Davis said he was “very happy” with the job McKenzie’s done so far, but declined to get into specifics when asked about a very big miss on Matt Flynn (who is starting for the Packers after getting a golden parachute from the Raiders).
Of course, McKenzie was also given a near-impossible task, to keep a bad roster competitive without a quarterback. Flynn was never more than a stop-gap, and the fact he cratered so badly might make it easier to rebuild (in the form of a higher draft pick) than if he had worked out for a short-term gain.
With the Falcons long since eliminated from playoff contention, thoughts about 2014 and beyond are popular in Atlanta at the moment.
Cornerback Asante Samuel was asked about his on Wednesday, but he didn’t have anything concrete to say on the topic. Samuel was benched last week, with rookie Robert Alford getting the start and Samuel not playing at all. Alford is expected to see more time over the next three weeks, leaving Samuel with an uncertain outlook for the future.
“We’ll see how it goes. I don’t know,” Samuel said, via ESPN.com.
Samuel will have a cap figure north of $5 million next season, which may be too much for a team that drafted two corners early in the 2012 draft and is likely to move away from some of the veterans they expected to produce far better results than they’ve gotten this season. Samuel has started 10 games this year, intercepting one pass and making 30 tackles for a defense allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete over 67 percent of their passes this season.
Most NFL coaches’ press conferences are relatively dull affairs, with coaches keeping things close to the vest, trying to avoid making waves, and wrapping things up as quickly as possible.
And then there’s Mike Shanahan’s press conference in Washington today.
Shanahan went off on a wide variety of topics, focused almost exclusively on the odd relationship triangle among himself, team owner Dan Snyder and quarterback Robert Griffin III. Shanahan attempted to portray himself as a coach who simply cares about the health of Griffin and the health of the franchise, and he insisted that he likes coaching the team and has nothing against Snyder. And Shanahan said the decision to bench Griffin for the rest of the season was done only in consultation with Snyder.
Toward the end of the lengthy press conference, Shanahan said, “I’ve talked more right now than I have in the last six months.” Here’s some of what Shanahan said:
On whether he second-guesses any previous decisions about playing Griffin on a bad knee: “You can always go back and always question yourself,” Shanahan said. “The doctors said he was 100 percent. So you go with the doctors, who felt — and Robert felt — he was 100 percent.”
On his relationship with Griffin: “My job is not always to be somebody’s friend. My job is to coach him. My job is to get the best out of somebody. I’m not looking to Robert to be liked. I hope that the respect level is there, and that he does like me.”
On regretting his decision not to pull Griffin from last season’s playoff loss to the Seahawks: “I should have went with my gut. But I thought he earned the right to play because he convinced me he was OK. But I think, you’re talking about honestly right here, it cost us the game.”
On consulting with Snyder about shutting Griffin down: “I talked to Dan Snyder about a week ago, talked to him about the amount of hits Robert has had. Any time you’ve been hit as many times as he’s been hit, I thought it was in his best interests, and the organization, to talk about whether we should continue playing Robert if he’s been hit as much as he’s been hit.”
On why Griffin needs to be healthy heading into this offseason: “If he missed two offseasons in a row, that would be the hardest thing . . . that would be devastating to him.”
On why the franchise quarterback is the only player he consults with Snyder about: “Dan could care less about the other positions.”
On whether he’ll coach the team next year: “I can’t say that. I don’t know until I sit down with Dan. I’ll give him my opinions and he’ll give me opinions.”
On wanting to return next year: “You always want to finish something you started. Always want to.”
On who will make the decision about whether he coaches in 2014: “That’s Dan’s decision at the end of this year. My job is to do the right thing for the organization.”
On Griffin disagreeing with the decision to shut him down: “I would be disappointed if Robert did not want to be in there with his teammates. I would be the most disappointed guy. I’d be the most disappointed guy in myself if he played the last three weeks and he had an ACL or LCL and it sent him off for his second year in a row without an offseason.”
On Shanahan’s dealings today with the media, compared to the way he normally treats the press: “What I’m trying to do is be as honest as I can, and I don’t normally do that.”
Count Terry Bradshaw among those who aren’t thrilled with a Super Bowl to be played in the open-air elements of New Jersey.
Bradshaw, who works for FOX, has complained about the title game to be televised by FOX from MetLife Stadium.
“Thank you Commissioner, thank you Super Bowl committee for putting us in New York,” Bradshaw said during his weekly appearance with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts of WFAN radio in New York. “And we all know why we’re in New York, it’s because they overpaid for that stupid stadium in New Jersey. . . . By the way, not a gorgeous stadium either.
“It’s freakin’ outside in New York, are you kidding me? Not even New York — New Jersey. It’s not like Minnesota, it’s a dome. It’s not like it’s Detroit, it’s a dome. It’s not like it’s Indy, it’s a dome. . . . I don’t want it to be bad, ’cause I’m there. I don’t want it to bad, I want it to be nice, but I don’t think you should be putting Super Bowls in northern cities in the winter time.”
Bradshaw, who has played in a few bad-weather games, doesn’t believe the Super Bowl should come down to the elements.
“You should be in Florida or California or Arizona, where there [are] no excuses,” Bradshaw said. “What if the Saints make it there? What if Seattle [qualifies]. . . . Teams that run the football will have a bigger advantage than teams that throw the football. What if we get two passing teams? What if they get Denver there? What if it’s pouring down snow? You get a bad game.”
He’s right. The goal of a neutral site is to let the best team win. If/when elements are an issue, the best team won’t win. The team best suited to play in those specific elements will.
To those who disagree, Bradshaw had this message: “Get off the pipe, because something’s wrong with you.”
Bears quarterback Josh McCown was named the NFC offensive player of the week on Wednesday, an honor that may serve as the final act of his run as the team’s starting quarterback.
Coach Marc Trestman said, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, that quarterback Jay Cutler has been cleared to practice at full speed and that he will get in a “thorough” workout Wednesday. Trestman will decide about the starter for Week 15 after that workout and announce his decision about the starter on Thursday. Trestman said that he was “optimistic” that Cutler’s injured ankle would come through well enough for him to be that choice.
That’s what Trestman has said he’d do all along. McCown’s play has led some to wonder if that was how things would actually play out, but McCown always referred to himself as a temporary replacement and Trestman said Wednesday that McCown will move back into the backup role without a problem.
“He is all about team. He has very little concern for his personal success. I am sure he’s proud of what he has done,” Trestman said.
Assuming the workout goes well, it looks like Cutler will be retaking the reins for the final three regular season games. The results could wind up with some bearing on whether or not they are the final three games of his Bears career as well.
According to Lindsay Jones of USA Today, Welker did not practice Wednesday, and won’t play tomorrow night against the Chargers.
Welker suffered a concussion last week against the Titans, the second he’s suffered in a month.
That seemed to make it a natural assumption that he wouldn’t play during a short week, but the Broncos weren’t going to say any more than they had to, any sooner than they had to.
Granted, the Broncos don’t lack for receiving targets, but missing a receiver of his caliber is going to complicate things for any offense.
Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III met the media on Wednesday afternoon for the first time since getting benched by coach Mike Shanahan this week.
Griffin said that his job for the rest of the season is to help Kirk Cousins win games for the Redskins, but made it clear that he would prefer that his job responsibilities still included starting at quarterback.
“I’m sure everybody knows by now that coach decided to shut me down for the rest of the season. We talked, I talked to coach, he talked to me about it. I expressed my desire to play,” Griffin said. ” He explained to me his reasoning. At the end of the day, coach’s decision is what we go with.”
Griffin dodged a question about whether he would want to play for Shanahan again next year in the increasingly unlikely event that Shanahan’s apparent staredown with owner Dan Snyder doesn’t end with a new coach. He did say he “can’t bother” worrying about whether Shanahan’s stated reason for making the move at quarterback, protecting Griffin, was the actual reason, although his demeanor and body language suggested he was bothered.
Snyder declined to comment on his way into the owners meetings on Wednesday and Shanahan is due to address the media shortly.
That was the word from coach Leslie Frazier when he addressed the media on Wednesday. Cassel has completed 37-of-71 passes for 508 yards, three touchdowns and an interception since taking over for Ponder during the Week 13 victory over the Bears. Sunday’s game against the Eagles will be his fourth start of the season.
No announcement was made about a starting running back, however, and none will be coming until Friday at the earliest. Frazier said, via Ben Goessling of ESPN.com, that both Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart will try to practice on Friday. Frazier feels more optimistic about Gerhart, who hurt his hamstring, playing than he does about Peterson.
Frazier added that Peterson has ditched his walking boot and will be in the pool working on Wednesday. He won’t play without practicing on Friday, same as Gerhart, and the Vikings may be rolling with Matt Asiata and Jerome Felton in the backfield if things don’t break their way.