Can the Ravens repeat? Yes. Will they? It doesn’t seem probable. The PFT guys also give a 2013 outlook of the 49ers, and it may not look as good as we once thought.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Ravens repeat in store?
The 49ers made a trade on Saturday when they sent cornerback Kenneth Acker to the Chiefs and they’ve reportedly made another one on Sunday.
According to multiple reports, the Niners have traded guard Brandon Thomas to the Lions for wide receiver Jeremy Kerley pending physicals on both sides. Kerley spent the last five years with the Jets as a slot receiver and punt returner and the 49ers saw wideout Bruce Ellington go down with a hamstring injury on Friday night.
Thomas was a third-round pick in 2014 and likely would have gone higher if not for a torn ACL suffered in a pre-draft workout with the Saints. He missed all of that season and didn’t play any snaps last season.
Thomas isn’t the only offensive lineman departing the 49ers. The team announced that veteran Erik Pears was released after starting all 16 games at right tackle last year. Trent Brown appears to have won the job this year.
Tight end Busta Anderson, a seventh-round pick in 2015, has also been dropped from the roster.
From time to time, fans become sufficiently upset with a player to burn his jersey. Usually, it happens when the player exercises his right to leave his team via free agency.
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick exercised a different right on Friday night, and predictably some fans are reacting by setting his No. 7 jersey aflame.
The Daily Mail has a collection of the reactions from fans who have exercised their right to express disagreement with Kaepernick’s right to express disagreement with policies of the United States that he believes discriminate against African-Americans and people of color. Both sides have that right; the First Amendment allows Kaepernick to sit for the national anthem and to criticize the nation, and it allows others to criticize him for it, or to react however they want as long as their reaction violates no laws.
That’s the fundamental reality of a free society. If Kaepernick, knowing the business risk of taking a stand by sitting during the anthem, chooses to not participate — and chooses to explain that he refuses to show pride in the flag of a nation that oppresses a segment of his people, he’s doing nothing wrong. Others may think he’s wrong, but it’s still his right.
Beyond the right of fans to criticize him, businesses will have the right to no longer associate with him. The 49ers have been careful to say all the right things about Kaepernick, which could allow them to argue that any upcoming decision to cut or bench Kaepernick arises only from football reasons (even if it doesn’t). Still, the 49ers most likely would be violating no employment laws by declining to continue to employ Kaepernick for taking an unpopular position, and other teams would likely have the same ability to shun him.
Here’s the reality: If he’s perceived to be a good enough player, teams will find a way to make it work, regardless of how the fans may react. While Kaepernick is surely good enough to be one of the top two quarterbacks on a given NFL team, he’ll likely need to be better than good to persuade a team to embrace a player in an industry premised on persuading members of the public to part with their money and their time.
Oliver was carted off late in the first half during Sunday’s game in Minnesota with a lower leg injury.
It’s unclear how he was injured or what the injury specifically is. It appeared to be a non-contact injury, prompting non-speculative speculation from the FOX broadcast booth that Oliver may have torn an Achilles tendon.
Oliver had a solid season as a rookie, but injuries limited him to eight appearances in 2015.
Through most of the first half of the Chargers-Vikings game in Minnesota, no serious injuries occurred. The Chargers currently don’t know whether a serious injury has happened to tackle Joe Barksdale.
Barksdale suffered a leg injury when teammate Orlando Franklin fell into Barksdale from behind while pass blocking. He walked off the field, and he was being checked on the sideline.
A third-round pick of the Raiders in 2011, Barksdale joined the Chargers on a one-year deal in 2015. Earlier this year, he signed a new four-year contract after starting all 16 games last season.
The Steelers are among the teams that have started cutting down their roster ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to get to 75 players.
One of the moves the team announced on Sunday was that they have waived quarterback Dustin Vaughan with the injured designation. Vaughan fractured a bone in his thumb in the team’s second preseason game of the year, joining Bruce Gradkowski as an injured backup in Pittsburgh. The Steelers signed Bryn Renner last week to go with Ben Roethlisberger and Landry Jones.
The team also sent fourth-round pick Jerald Hawkins to injured reserve. The rookie tackle suffered a shoulder injury. The Steelers cut 2014 sixth-round pick Jordan Zumwalt, who has never played a regular season game for the team.
Linebacker Mike Reilly, wide receiver Issac Blakeney, wide receiver Levi Norwood, tight end Michael Cooper, defensive end Giorgio Newberry, defensive tackle Khaynin Mosley-Smith and cornerback Julian Whigman were also placed on waivers. The Steelers now have 79 players on their roster.
Bryant suffered a concussion in practice last week and wasn’t on the field when Romo broke a bone in his back during Thursday’s game in Seattle. Bryant probably won’t play in the fourth preseason game either, but chances are good that he’ll be in the lineup against the Giants in Week One after a Sunday return to practice.
Coach Jason Garrett said that neither Bryant nor defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford will do team drills, but that they’ll take part in individual work before “having a test of some sort later today or tomorrow morning” as part of the league’s concussion protocol.
Due to Romo’s injury, Bryant will be returning to a lineup that will likely be headed by rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott and Bryant hooked up for touchdowns in each of Dallas’ first two preseason games this season.
It looks like Bryan Anger is going to be the Buccaneers’ punter in 2016.
The Bucs announced 12 cuts from their roster on Sunday afternoon, including last year’s punter Jacob Schum. Schum had a net average of 38 yards on 56 punts for the Bucs last season, but Anger, who was picked in the third round of the 2012 draft by the Jaguars, got the nod after an offseason competition.
Veteran safety Major Wright was also let go by the Buccaneers on Sunday. Wright joined the team in 2014 and made seven starts in his first season in Tampa before starting twice in nine games for the team last year. He fell behind Chris Conte, Bradley McDougald, Keith Tandy and rookie Ryan Smith this year, leaving him on the outside looking in with the Bucs.
Linebacker Jeremiah George, who played 15 games for the team last year, and defensive tackle Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, who has played for several teams since 2012, were also among the cuts. The others dropped on Sunday are defensive tackle Travis Britz, cornerback Daniel Davie, wide receiver Andre Davis, tackle Taylor Fallin, defensive end Martin Ifedi, running back Storm Johnson, safety Kimario McFadden and tight end Tevin Westbrook.
The Bucs have two more moves to make by Tuesday’s deadline to drop to 75 players.
The Carolina Panthers have commenced the process of cutting their roster from 90 players to 75 by collecting playbooks from 11 players.
The biggest name belongs to receiver Stephen Hill, a supposed can’t-miss size-and-speed receiving prospect who was picked in the second round by the Jets in 2012. He becomes a free agent immediately.
Hill tore an ACL last August and spent all of the year on injured reserve. He had two catches for 18 yards in three preseason appearances in 2016.
Also cut was recently-signed veteran tackle Willie Smith, who also becomes a free agent. The rest of the cuts will pass through waivers. They are: linebacker Jared Barber; receiver Avius Capers; tight end Braxton Deaver; center Dismukes Reese; defensive tackle Ray Drew; tackle David Foucault; defensive end Tom Lally; center Matt Masifilo; and receiver Miles Shuler.
All rosters must be at 75 by 4:00 p.m. ET Tuesday. Four days later, all teams must drop to 53.
Veteran running back Stevan Ridley has his new team.
The Colts announced today that they have signed Ridley, who was cut by the Lions last week.
Ridley once looked like a budding star in the NFL, having gained 1,263 yards for the Patriots in 2012, his second year in the league. But since then his production has significantly declined: He gained 773 yards in 2013, 340 yards in 2014 and 90 yards in 2015. He spent just a few months with the Lions before they cut him.
“The good thing is you’re not targeting the shots to the head and all that,” Bills coach Rex Ryan told reporters on Sunday. “I think we’re getting that out of the game, which is a real positive. This was an unfortunate thing, there’s no question about it. Could’ve been avoided? Maybe, but that’s the tough thing that you’re seeing. The good thing is we are taking the hits to the head [out of the game], and I think that’s a great thing sometimes — this was an unfortunate thing. Was it dirty or whatever? I don’t know. I think you can probably tackle a guy above the waist or something but unfortunately, this game, it’s a physical game.”
Physical it is, and it’s another reason why the NFL should seriously consider reducing or eliminating the preseason. That will only happen, however, if the regular season also grows. Which will still result in 20 games being played (unless one regular-season game is traded for two preseason games), but at least more of them will count.
Last week, PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio returned to NBCSN for a two-hour simulcast of the three-hour program. Every hour of every show is available as a podcast, too.
Last week’s shows included visits from Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, Chiefs coach Andy Reid, Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy, Bengals cornerback Adam Jones, two-time Super Bowl champion Ray Lewis, and a lot more.
Subscribing means you’ll never have to go looking for any specific show, and that you’ll be able to listen to all 15 hours of content each week, whenever and wherever you want.
The next live show is coming Monday at 6:00 a.m. ET, with the final two simulcast on NBCSN. After everything that happened on Saturday, we’re gonna need a bigger show.
As the Vikings prepare to host the Chargers for the first NFL game played at U.S. Bank Stadium, the visiting team won’t have its first-round draft pick. And surely there will be plenty said during the FOX broadcast about holdout defensive end Joey Bosa.
Plenty of things said about Bosa have been aimed at pressuring him to cave. “What’s the big deal?” they say. “They’re not arguing over significant dollars. He should just take the money. Does he not want to play for the Chargers?”
Veteran defensive end Dwight Freeney, who played at one point for the Chargers and now is a member of the Falcons, recently turned that argument around in a visit to XTRA Sports 1360.
“Guys, if you sign a player he should get his bonus, get his money, and let’s go play,” Freeney told The Mark and Rich Show (via the San Diego Union-Tribune). “But if you’re trying to defer the signing bonus to 2017 so the kid doesn’t have the money so the team holds onto the money just so he can get more interest on it, or whatever. . . . Guys, you’re a two billion dollar franchise, OK? Give him his money and let’s just go.”
Indeed. What’s the big deal? They’re not arguing over significant dollars. The team should just pay Bosa the money. Do the Chargers not want him to play for them?
Actually, the two sides should find a way to compromise. There’s surely a middle ground that allows everyone to both proclaim victory and save face. For whatever reason, neither side is willing at this point to try to take the high road. Which means that Bosa eventually could be back on the path to the draft.
Tuesday is the first cutdown day heading into the 2016 season as teams will be dropping their rosters to 75 players.
The Colts got a head start on the process Sunday by announcing 10 departures from the roster. None of the players who were relieved of their roster spots have any regular season experience with the team, although defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin played in seven games for the Cardinals and Raiders before signing with Indianapolis in January.
Eight of the other players placed on waivers — wide receiver Justin Berger, safety Alden Darby, guard Eric Herman, tight end Mike Miller, running back Chase Price, cornerback Winston Rose, defensive end Delvon Simmons, wide receiver Josh Stangby — also signed with the team as free agents this offseason. Linebacker Junior Sylvestre spent last season on injured reserve after joining the team as an undrafted free agent in May 2015.
The Colts have five more moves to make to get to 75 players before Tuesday’s deadline.
The Browns have run through a lot of coaches since returning to the league in 1999 and all of them have had moments where they’ve had to react to poor performances by their teams.
Hue Jackson got his first chance to do so after Friday night’s 30-13 loss to the Buccaneers that saw Cleveland struggle with just about everything outside of deep passes to Josh Gordon. Jackson said that the outing, which saw Robert Griffin III sacked five times while the defense was allowing 259 passing yards in the first half, is part of the growing pains that the team has to go through.
“All of a sudden the sky is falling?” Jackson said, via ESPN.com. “I don’t see that. I don’t think the sky is falling at all. I think what you see is a young football team that you’re going to see some of that [struggle], especially early until they get well grounded. I think, like I said, there were some good things, and obviously there were some things that were concerning. We got to continue to work at it. I never said we’d be a juggernaut today, or yesterday.”
Expecting the Browns to go from zero to 60 overnight would be foolish and their emphasis on collecting draft picks while clearing out unwanted holdovers from the roster makes it clear they aren’t planning on a quick fix. Signs of progress will be needed at some point, however, and there weren’t many on Friday night.
Linebacker Jonathan Freeny joined the Patriots last season and posted 50 tackles and a sack in 13 games that appear to have impressed the team enough to want Freeny around a while longer.
According to multiple reports, Freeny has agreed to a two-year extension with the Patriots that will keep him under contract in New England through the 2018 season. No financial terms have been reported.
Coach Bill Belichick didn’t confirm the extension when he met with the media on Saturday, but he did explain why the Patriots would like to keep Freeny in the fold.
“Jonathan is a very dependable player; he is able to do a lot of different roles for us,” Belichick said in comments distributed by the team. “He can play inside and outside on the line of scrimmage and off the ball defensively. He’s been very valuable for us in the kicking game, obviously with some size. A four-phase special teams player and one of our overall top workers in terms of the offseason program, preparation, training; he always does things right. He works hard, doesn’t say a lot, but is very dependable and consistent. I think all of the other players — everybody in the organization looks up to him.”
Freeny started seven games filling in for injured players last year and should remain in a backup role while playing a lot of special teams with the Patriots in 2016.