Does John Harbaugh’s long history of special teams give him the advantage over his brother? Will Jim’s raw competitiveness give him the clear-cut advantage on Super Bowl Sunday?This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Which Harbaugh has the advantage?
Former NFL linebacker Antonio Armstrong and his wife were shot and killed by their teenage son in their home in Houston on Friday, police say.
Police were called to the Armstrongs’ home around 1:30 a.m. in response to shots fired, the Houston Chronicle reports. Daun Armstrong died at the scene and Antonio Armstrong died in the hospital a few hours later. KTRK reports that the couple’s 16-year-old son has been charged with murder. The couple’s two other children were at home at the time but were not harmed.
Relatives described the Armstrongs as a loving family and say they can’t imagine what could have led to such a situation.
“They kept them busy and they supported them in everything that they did. There was not any mark that they missed with their children,” a cousin of Daun Armstrong told the Houston Chronicle. “There was nothing that even could possibly have justified this situation. This doesn’t even make sense.”
Antonio Armstrong was an All-American linebacker at Texas A&M and a sixth-round draft pick of the 49ers in 1995. He played briefly for the Dolphins and Rams and then spent four seasons in the Canadian Football League. In retirement he has worked as a personal trainer and was well known in his community as a volunteer youth coach.
Photo via Facebook.
Jim Turner, the Dolphins offensive line coach who was fired for his role in a bullying scandal that embroiled the team, spent two years out of football after losing his job in Miami. This offseason he was hired at Texas A&M, where it didn’t take him long to get in trouble again.
Texas A&M has suspended Turner and tight ends coach Jeff Banks for two weeks without pay, and ordered them to complete 20 hours of community service, for inappropriate comments they made at an event for female fans.
Among the issues that surfaced at the event were changes to the school’s fight song, which presented lyrics including “We are Aggie women / We are filled with estrogen” and “We are putting down our dish towels / And taking off our gloves.”
The coaches also gave the women tips on playing football that were filled with sexual double entendres like “No penetration,” “Never bend over,” and “Don’t end up on your back.”
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin quickly moved to suspend Turner and Banks after reports of the sexist comments surfaced.
“There is absolutely no place in our program or in our University community for inappropriate conduct or degrading comments towards women, or anyone, regardless of intent,” Sumlin said in a statement.
Turner was fired after an NFL-commissioned investigation found that he fostered an atmosphere in which Dolphins offensive linemen Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey regularly bullied teammate Jonathan Martin. Among the inappropriate actions Turner is alleged to have taken during his tenure as Dolphins offensive line coach was buying inflatable sex dolls for players as Christmas presents. Turner filed a defamation lawsuit against Ted Wells, the lawyer who led the NFL’s investigation.
Turner and Banks issued a joint statement in which they said, “We clearly understand now that our comments and slides were not appropriate or consistent with the values of our football program.”
As a pass rusher, Browns rookie Emmanual Ogbah naturally would play defensive end in a 4-3 defense and linebacker in a 3-4. In Cleveland, where the 3-4 remains the base defense, Ogbah spent the offseason as a linebacker. Now that camp has arrived, the Browns have given him a try at defensive end.
“We’re going to try a little bit of everything,” coach Hue Jackson told reporters on Friday. “We’re going to put our best players out there on defense. Obviously, we are going to try him there. We’re going to put him back at outside linebacker. We’re just trying to find a lot of different combinations now that Des [Bryant] is going to be down to see if we can put our best guys out there. If he gives us something there, then it’s going to help our football team. We’re going to try anything and everything that we can to give guys opportunities that showcase their abilities and talents.”
Jackson confirmed that Ogbah played linebacker exclusively during OTAs, with the switch happening only in training camp.
“We’re going to play him at defensive end some and take a good look at him,” Jackson said of Ogbah. “As you guys know, this time of the year is evaluation time for all of our football team. Now, you can do some of that. Move guys around and see what’s the best fit for our football team to help us win.”
Jackson disputed the notion that Ogbah moved to defensive end because of perceived difficulties with dropping into coverage as a linebacker during the offseason program. Instead, Jackson pointed out that having Ogbah play multiple positions gives the defense a greater degree of flexibility on defense.
The 49ers announced Friday that they’ve added defensive lineman D.J McBryde to their training camp roster.
McBryde, 24, signed a two-year deal with the team. McBryde broke into the NFL last season with the Eagles and spent six weeks on their active roster before catching on with the Packers practice squad last November. He signed a futures contract with the Packers in January but was waived last week.
He was a three-year contributor and one-year starter at UConn.
The 49ers traded back into the first round to pick guard Joshua Garnett. Finally, the Stanford product is under contract.
The team has announced the Garnett has agreed to terms. As usual, it’s a four-year deal with a team-held option for the fifth year.
Garnett won the Outland Trophy in 2015, which goes to college football’s top lineman.
The acquisition leaves one one unsigned first-round pick: Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa.
Not long ago, the Jets were trying to sell the idea that Geno Smith would be the team’s starting quarterback. Now, they’re trying to sell the idea that Smith, the only quarterback inherited by the current regime, won’t be dumped in favor of 2015 draft pick Bryce Petty and 2016 draft pick Christian Hackenberg.
Keeping Smith could mean keeping four quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. Coach Todd Bowles was asked on Friday how conceivable keeping four quarterbacks would be.
“It’s conceivable,” Bowles told reporters. “It all depends on the strengths and weaknesses of other positions, because you have to steal from a position to keep a position and we have pretty good competition right now at about five positions, at least. It’s going to come down to seeing who we’re able to keep and who’s able to perform and who’s able to do things where we can steal one from another and who can play a dual role and have some versatility. It’s early, but we’ll see how it works out.”
Bowles pointed out that he once played on a Washington team that carried four quarterbacks, but that it happened in the days before the salary cap.
Bowles also made it clear that counting reps won’t be the best way to spot the man in danger of being cut.
“It’s not just if you get the least reps, you’re not going to be on the team,” Bowles said. “Sometimes you only need a little bit to show a lot and that’s at every position and that’s how we evaluate. We’re not going to evaluate somebody because they start out third team — and I’m not just talking about the quarterback spot — so you can make plays in a small amount of time to make an impact depending on what our need is for making this team.”
The Jets have no reason to admit that Smith or any other quarterback is in danger of being cut. They surely hope that someone will offer to trade for one of them. That’s why anything the team says about wanting to keep Smith should be taken with a grain of salt. They have to act like they want him in order to ever have any hope of training him.
With Mario Williams gone, the Bills are counting on Manny Lawson stepping in and stepping up. For now, however, the Bills don’t have Lawson, because he injured himself working out on his own shortly before training camp.
While most stints on the non-football injury list will be temporary, the Bills are still waiting to learn more about Lawson’s absence. On Friday, G.M. Doug Whaley was asked whether Manny Lawson’s absence could be a long one.
“We’ll have to assess and get information from the medical staff here pretty soon and hopefully not,” Whaley told reporters. “We don’t anticipate it, but again, you never know with these things.”
Whaley said Manny Lawson suffered an upper body injury. If he’s not available, IK Enemkpali will have even more opportunities with the Bills.
“I’m excited about IK and I’ve mentioned that before,” coach Rex Ryan told reporters on Friday. “It may give him an opportunity to get the majority of the reps at the one.”
If Manny Lawson’s absence is extended, the team may look to add players at the position — especially since first-rounder Shaq Lawson could be missing much of his rookie year.
Still, Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan told reporters Friday that Smith remains in the team’s plans.
Asked if he expected Smith to be on the opening day roster, Maccagnan said he “assumes” that answer is yes and said the team likes Smith.
The team will almost certainly end up either moving on from Smith or second-year quarterback Bryce Petty after drafting Christian Hackenberg last spring. That’s a decision Maccagnan doesn’t have to make now, but Smith knows he might also be auditioning for other teams.
Jets Coach Todd Bowles praised Smith in the offseason. Whether that was about trade value or whether the team still thinks Smith could end up being in its long-term plans might is unclear, and a lot could depend on what happens over the next four or five weeks with all of the team’s quarterbacks.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger paid tribute Friday to retired tight end Heath Miller by wearing Miller’s No. 83 jersey for the start of training camp.
Friday marked the start of the Steelers’ first camp without Miller since 2004. He was a first-round pick in 2005 who caught 45 career touchdown passes and went to two Pro Bowls.
Miller announced his retirement in February.
The Steelers tweeted a video of Roethlisberger taking the field in the No. 83 jersey on their official Twitter account.
Ladarius Green figures as the team’s new No. 1 tight end after signing with the Steelers in March, but he’s starting camp on the PUP list. His absence means extra reps for tight ends Jesse James and David Johnson.
They aren’t going to wait to see how those moves or any of the others they made this offseason work out before deciding on General Manager Rick Smith’s future with the team. The Texans have extended Smith’s contract, which was due to expire after this season, through the 2020 campaign.
“Rick’s doing a good job for us, and I think stability in the organization is important,” owner Bob McNair said, via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “He works hard. He’s very diligent. He communicates well. He knows what our objectives are. Rick has put together a good scouting staff, and he works well with the coaching staff. I thought this was a good time to get this done.”
Smith is the second G.M. in the history of the franchise. He succeeded Charley Casserley in 2006 and built the first Texans teams to advance to the postseason. They took a step back in 2013 and 2014 and had a rough draft in 2013 outside of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, but returned to the postseason as AFC South champs last year and McNair clearly believes Smith will continue to be successful in the years to come.
In the early days of training camp, the most dreaded sight is the flatbed cart.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said moments later that Butler was suffering from cramps, alleviating some of the concern.
Butler is a key piece for the Panthers for several reasons, even beyond his presence on the field. Having another interior presence should help them keep waves of linemen coming, and add to a pass-rush that isn’t as well-stocked at defensive end.
But he’s also a useful deterrent/insurance policy in the ongoing Kawann Short contract talks, allowing General Manager Dave Gettleman some cover for the future if they can’t work out a deal with Short.
The Raiders put running back Roy Helu on the physically unable to perform list at the start of camp because he had surgery on both hips this offseason, but it’s going to be a brief stay.
The change isn’t because Helu is moving back to the active roster. Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said Friday that the team has removed Helu from the 90-man roster entirely and replacing him with defensive tackle Derrick Lott.
Helu signed with the Raiders in March 2015, but he was hurt during training camp and wound up getting just 17 carries and nine receptions in nine appearances with the team. His hip problems suggested more of the same could be on tap this season and the Raiders will look elsewhere for backs to complement Latavius Murray.
And so, quarterback Eli Manning told Sal Paolantonio of ESPN, the veterans on the Giants have talked to Beckham about keeping his emotions in check.
“Odell knows what he needs to do,” Manning said. “He’s got to be careful with his emotions and make sure that doesn’t affect his play. You want to get in that right temperament, be at your best, play your best football and he’s got to make sure he controls that, where we’re getting his best and his actions don’t affect the team in a negative way.”
Receiver Victor Cruz added that Beckham, as a young star in the NFL, needs to consider what kind of reputation he wants to have.
“I think he understands that this past year, since last season, has been a little bit of a whirlwind, in that regard, and he understands that — he wants people to know him for him and how he’s a great player, great person, and how he wants to be perceived and I think he’s really taken charge of that,” Cruz said.
Beckham already has the “great player” part down. He may have some work to do rehabbing his personal image, after the ugly ending to last season.
After the retirement of Peyton Manning and the departure via free agency of Brock Osweiler, the Broncos official website referred to the quality of the team’s quarterback play in 2015 as “sub-optimal” and “near-replacement-level.”
On Friday, coach Gary Kubiak didn’t use such specificity in connection with the quarterback position. But he used a broad brush to paint a not-so-flattering picture regarding the team’s offensive performance in 2015.
“We’re talking about a group,” Kubiak told reporters. “We’re not talking about a position. You go back to last year and you look at us, we finished in the middle of the pack. I think we finished 16th. Out of 12 playoff teams, I think we we’re like sixth offensively, but we feel like we did not play well at all. That tells you the standard that we have, the standard that I have and [offensive coordinator Rick Dennison] has, and what we want to do. We’ve got to improve as a team. We can’t turn the ball over as much as we did last year and we’ve got to play better up front. If we do those things with the players we’ve got, we’re going to be a better offense. That’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about a group, not a player.”
Fine, but it’s hard not to throw stones at an entire offense without hitting the former leader of it in the red splotch on his forehead. Quarterbacks get the credit when offenses thrive and the blame when they sputter. The Broncos sputtered on offense last year, and the play of Peyton Manning was a big factor in that.
This year, if the Broncos can get more out of the quarterback position, they can be better on offense and, if they perform as well as they did defensively in 2015, hoist another Lombardi Trophy.
On Friday, Mark Sanchez had the first crack at leading the first-team offense. After he threw an interception to cornerback Chris Harris Jr., however, Trevor Siemian entered and, according to Mike Klis of 9news.com, remained the No. 1 quarterback for the rest of the day.
With multiple options and no clear-cut leader at the position, that’s likely how it’s going to go. With Kubiak wanting to protect the ball, the one that does will play. Until he doesn’t, at which point someone else will play.
The Jets have excused defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson from their training camp practices due to personal reasons, Jets coach Todd Bowles told reporters Friday.
Bowles said he expects Richardson to be absent for a couple days.
The Jets started camp on Thursday.
Richardson, 25, had five sacks last season after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He has 16.5 sacks in three seasons and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014.
Richardson is suspended for the Jets’ season opener vs. the Bengals for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. He’s still allowed to participate in camp and the preseason.