ProFootballTalk: Biggest Super Bowl concerns
Doug Marrone is the newly appointed head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. New head coaches in the NFL are permitted to begin their offseason programs a week earlier than incumbent coaches in order to give new staffs a chance to get a head start.
However, Marrone had already been coaching in Jacksonville for the last two seasons as an assistant on Gus Bradley’s staff. And that distinction has led to a butting of heads between the Jaguars and the NFL Players’ Association.
The Jaguars had received approval from the NFL to begin their offseason program on April 10 along with the other teams with new head coaches. However, the NFLPA challenged the Jaguars’ status of having a new head coach since Marrone served as interim head coach to end last season.
“Our position is that Doug Marrone is a new head coach this season after serving as interim head coach for the last two games of the 2016 season,” Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin said in a statement released by the team.
Following conversations with the league, the Jaguars have revised their offseason program to begin on April 17.
“We are glad to now know our reporting date, although we had planned to begin on April 10, and we had already invited our players to come in on that day,” Coughlin said.
The Chargers are trying.
No one can accuse them of less.
They’ve run the Los Angeles Marathon as a relay team. They’ve eaten a team-themed chili dog at Pink’s Hot Dogs, a Hollywood staple. They’ve made a gaggle of L.A. radio and TV appearances, including “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Tight end Jeff Cumberland, who missed all of 2016 to injury, wore his Chargers jersey during a Kingdom Day Parade appearance. He also attended a Clippers-Lakers game where we was jeered and the club’s logo was booed on the big screen.
And this is all since the Jan. 12 move.
On Tuesday, the franchise made the latest effort to endear itself to its new market, gifting all season-ticket holders a Philip Rivers powder-blue home jersey. The jerseys are available in both male and female classifications.
“Fight for L.A.” is the former San Diego franchise’s marketing slogan.
This is the newest round.
“To show our appreciation for you, we are offering exclusively to all 2017 Season Ticket Members a Philip Rivers powder blue Nike Game Jersey for each Season Ticket Member,” the official notice to customers reads, via Vincent Bonsignore of the L.A. Daily News. “Yes, a Nike Game Jersey for you to wear at all home games at StubHub Center!
“This is our way of saying thank you from your Los Angeles Chargers.”
During their final years in San Diego, the Chargers did make an effort to enhance the perks provided to season-ticket holders, be it through such events as exclusive practice access and conference calls with the general manager or head coach.
Even so, some in San Diego viewed the jersey as an upgrade.
Said one former customer on Twitter: “10 yrs as a season ticket holder the best we got was a shirt that said ‘We’re All In’ during a season they were planning their escape to L.A.”
In any event, it’s a gesture.
The L.A. Chargers haven’t lacked for those.
In meeting with Seattle reporters at the league meetings, Schneider said that they listen to every proposal that comes their way.
“We listen. We listen to everything you would think,” he said. “We’re in a lot of stuff. We try to pride ourselves on that. I think I’ve told you guys before we walk away from 98 percent of the deals that we’re involved with or talking about. But at least we know that we’ve knocked down their door, we’ve gone in there and checked it out. We’re not just going to assume. We always just have to constantly be thinking about the organization and how we’re going to move it forward.”
The idea of trading Sherman came about after former NFL executive Michael Lombardi said in a podcast that he’d heard Seattle would be open to trading the All-Pro cornerback.
“I truly believe, based on what I hear around the National Football League, that the Seahawks would in fact, for the right deal, trade Richard Sherman,” Lombardi said as part of a larger discussion surrounding the New Orleans Saints interest in New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler.
The practicality of a deal for Sherman this year doesn’t seem feasible. Sherman’s contract isn’t particularly advantageous for Seattle to try to move him. Additionally, they need him. With Deshawn Shead expected to be out well into the regular season following a torn ACL sustained in the playoffs, Seattle’s cornerback depth is currently lacking.
However, the fact Schneider didn’t go out of his way to shrug off the idea is notable. Sherman twice blew up at members of Seattle’s coaching staff on the sidelines during games. He publicly criticized offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for calling a pass from the 1-yard line in a December game against the Los Angeles Rams, doubled down on the comments the following week, threatened to ruin the career of a media member and generally remained an issue for the remainder of the season.
The “right deal” probably doesn’t exist right now for Sherman. That doesn’t mean it won’t exist in the future. And Seattle might just be willing to pull the trigger when the time comes.
The Lions lost their first five games in 2015 before winning seven of their final 11.
They started 1-3 in 2016 before winning eight of their next 12.
To say NFL schedule-makers were responsible for these slow starts would be a stretch. But in light of the arrangement of late, Lions President Rod Wood said Tuesday he’s kindly submitted a request to the powers that be before next month’s 2017 schedule release: Please, not again.
Wood told reporters he asked the NFL not to assign the Lions three road games in their first four weeks. Such has been the case the past two regular seasons.
Before that stretch, it hadn’t happened to Detroit since 2011.
The Lions went 10-6 that year, winning their first five games en route to the franchise’s first playoff berth since 1999. The results were less favorable when the schedule began the same in 2010; Detroit lost its first four games in a 6-10 year.
The Browns, Dolphins, Rams and Raiders are the only other clubs who began 2016 with three of four games on the road.
Only the Lions were doing so for a consecutive year.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell seemed shocked by the simple suggestion that such a thing could be possible.
When asked directly at the end of the league’s owners meetings if he thought former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was being blackballed for last year’s political protests, Goodell said he saw no evidence of that.
“I haven’t heard that from our clubs in any way that that’s an issue,” Goodell said. “My experience in 35 years is that our clubs make independent evaluations of players. They work hard to try to improve their teams.
“But if they think a player can help improve their team, they’re going to do that.”
Of course, if there was an active collusion happening, it’s unlikely they’d have held a committee meeting on the topic and read the minutes to Goodell to make sure he was caught up.
But a guy that teams wanted to trade for a year ago (namely the Broncos) suddenly can’t find a home as a free agent. The reports that he’s asking for too much money and a starting job have been refuted, leaving many to wonder if there’s not a bigger issue — even if the commissioner sees no evidence of it.
It has become customary in the NFL for the first game of the regular season to be hosted by the defending Super Bowl champion. It is also customary that Commissioner Roger Goodell personally attends the first game of the season.
It just so happens that game will be in New England this year, which is a place Goodell has seemingly avoided at all costs since Deflategate began during the 2014 postseason.
But just like Goodell was forced to present Patriots owner Robert Kraft with the Lombardi Trophy in February in Houston, Goodell said Tuesday at the league meetings in Phoenix that he will be attending the season opener.
“I plan to be at the kickoff game,” Goodell said.
Goodell has reportedly not attended a game in New England since the AFC Championship in 2014 that sparked the Deflategate controversy. Goodell’s postseason appearances last year came in Atlanta for their Divisional Round game against the Seahawks and NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers.
That New England drought is now set to end on Sept. 7 with the Patriots home opener.
The NFL cleaned up some rules changes already today, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he wanted to get more information before proceeding on modifications to the league’s celebration rules.
Goodell said he asked owners to table the proposal to loosen the league’s collective ties, saying he wanted to talk to more players before any changes are made.
A vote could still be taken at their May meeting, but Goodell said he needed time to gain “clarity” to the rule, and allow players “more ability to express themselves” while maintaining order and decorum.
While the simple act of letting players have a bit more freedom on the field is nice, reaching across the aisle and getting input from players on any topic is an important step. Along with this week’s ban on leaping over the line of scrimmage on kicks (which was suggested by the NFLPA), there’s at least some notion that the league is willing to work with labor. That’s not an insignificant thing.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones suggested today that it could be four months before Tony Romo’s future is clear.
Asked today at the league meeting when he’ll know Romo’s status for the 2017 season, Jones said a decision would be made by training camp.
The option that was once seen as most likely was the Cowboys releasing Romo and letting him decide for himself what to do next. But it now seems that the Cowboys want to hold onto him, potentially to find a trading partner.
Jones also said he and Romo have spoken recently, that they’re doing great, and that Romo has “a lot of options.” That would seem to suggest that one option Romo is considering is retiring and moving on to a television job. That might be the option Jones likes best: Jones has always loved Romo and would probably rather see him retire a Cowboy.
The NFL isn’t trying to get into the helmet business. But they are willing to share their concussion research with manufacturers in an effort to end up with better helmets.
NFL executive vice president of health and safety policy Jeff Miller brought Dr. Jeff Crandall, the chairman of the league’s head neck and spine engineering subcommittee to meet with reporters Tuesday at the owners meeting. And while Crandall said the science is still a few years away, the eventual benefit could be position-specific helmets in hopes of reducing the chances of concussions.
Crandall said that since different position groups already wear unique cleats or shoulder pads for the specific demands of the jobs, customizing helmets is a logical next step.
“We know that players in different positions receive different types of severity and frequency of impacts,” Crandall said. “So we think a position-specific helmet makes sense.”
For instance, linemen tend to receive lower severity hits to the head at a higher frequency than skill position players, the result of banging into each other on every snap as opposed to taking high-speed hits in the open field. So focusing the protection at the front of the helmet would be a more effective way to protect linemen.
Crandall, the director of the Center for Applied Biomechanics at the University of Virginia, said the first step is coming up with a reliable sensor to detect impacts, and the hope is that one can be found by 2018 or 2019. If that can be found, they’re willing to share the research with manufacturers, in hopes of such helmets being available by 2020.
Miller also reiterated that concussion rates were down 8.7 percent during the 2016 regular season, and down around 10 percent when you include the preseason. They also noted that there has been a 40 percent reduction in concussions suffered from helmet-to-helmet hits, which they see as evidence that rules changes are helping make the game safer. Of course, that means more concussions are coming from helmet-to-body contact, but the league hopes their research efforts can help lead to better equipment.
The Cowboys are still holding onto Tony Romo, weeks after they were reportedly set to release him, and that doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said today that “nothing has really changed since the end of the season.”
Romo is keeping a low profile, but reports are starting to surface that he’s unhappy with the Cowboys, who have made Dak Prescott the starting quarterback. There have also been reports that Romo might quit playing entirely and take a television job.
With Romo’s $14 million salary this season, it seems unlikely the Cowboys would keep him around as Prescott’s backup. And Romo might just decide not to play at all if he’s not going to be a starter. But it could be months before we get any clarity about Romo’s situation. For now, Garrett says, the situation is the same as it was before: Romo is on the Cowboys, as Prescott’s backup.
You get an extension.
You get an extension.
And you get an extension.
The Cowboys saw to it that all three coordinators’ contracts were extended before players convene in April for voluntary workouts. ESPN’s Todd Archer reported Tuesday that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia signed off on their agreements.
Linehan and Marinelli were entering the final year of their respective deals, per Archer.
It is unclear by how many years each coach’s contract was extended.
Cornerback Patrick Robinson must prove he can stay healthy before seeing another large contract.
The Eagles are providing him that chance.
Robinson agreed to a one-year deal Tuesday, the team announced. He joins Philadelphia following an injury-marred year in Indianapolis, hence his contract being of the “prove it” variety worth the veteran minimum, a source confirmed to Pro Football Talk.
The Colts signed Robinson in 2016 to a three-year, $13.5 million contract following a 16-game campaign in San Diego.
But he played only seven games, suffering a concussion in the season opener and later a groin injury that landed him on injured reserve. He has been diagnosed with multiple concussions during the past two years.
Robinson, 29, arguably was the Chargers’ most valuable off-season acquisition in 2015. He similarly arrived there on a one-year deal and showcased the versatility to contribute outside and in the nickel. He finished with 59 tackles and an interception.
In 2010, the Saints drafted Robinson in the first round out of Florida State.
The Vikings hope that a player who once ran the wrong way with the football will end up running right into Canton.
Vikings owner/president Mark Wilf told PFT Live on Tuesday that the team has embarked on an effort to get defensive end Jim Marshall, a key member of the Purple People Eaters, into the Hall of Fame. Marshall would be eligible for consideration by the Senior Committee.
A fourth-round pick of the Browns in 1960, Marshall spent 1961 through 1979 with the Vikings, appearing in 282 straight games with 270 consecutive starts. He still holds the career record for the recovery of opponents’ fumbles with 29.
Marshall, 79, also appeared in four Super Bowls with the Vikings. Fellow Vikings defensive linemen Alan Page and Carl Eller previously made it to Canton.
And it appears there’s at least some interest on their part.
Giants coach Ben McAdoo was asked specifically Tuesday whether they’d have interest in adding the 32-year-old running back, and he replied directly: “Never say never.”
He also said that despite his age and the fact he’s had one healthy season in the last three years, he thinks Peterson has the ability to help a team.
“He’s a guy who’s a very talented player, and he has a chip on his shoulder,” McAdoo said. “And if he can stay healthy he has a lot to offer.”
Whether that guy is Peterson remains to be seen, but McAdoo’s response did nothing to stop the speculation linking them.
He didn’t have to wait long to receive some interest.
The former Bengals linebacker is scheduled to visit the Chiefs on Thursday, according to the Kansas City Star’s Terez Paylor. Cincinnati released the 30-year-old on Saturday, one week after it agreed to terms with ex-Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter.
Maualuga made a career-low six starts in 2016.
He played in 14 games but saw 326 defensive snaps, finishing with 27 tackles and an interception. The former USC standout has spent all eight seasons of his NFL career with the Bengals.
It was time to move on.
Kansas City is an option.