Sources say Michael Vick will not be released by the Eagles before Thursday’s deadline. Mike Florio breaks down how Philly is saving themselves a lot of money by holding onto their QB for the time being.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Why won’t Philly cut Vick?
When it comes to his negotiations with the University of Texas, Alabama coach Nick Saban has plenty of leverage. Texas now may have some, too.
According to Chip Brown of Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com (via CBS Sports), Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh are potential candidates for the Longhorns vacancy.
It sounds ridiculous on the surface. Why would coaches of two of the most prominent NFL franchises consider any college job?
For starters, the money may be a lot better than what Tomlin and Jim Harbaugh currently are making or eventually will be making in their NFL jobs in Pennsylvania and California, respectively, especially when considering that the head coach of the Texas Longhorns pays no state income tax.
Then there’s the thing that drew Saban back to college after a two-year stint with the Dolphins: Control.
True control. No salary cap, no draft, no aggressive media. No General Manager or others in the front office who’ll plant stories or whisper in the ear of the owner about how the coach should be blamed for struggles.
And no owner. While there’s an Athletics Director and a school president and a board, the coach becomes the highest paid, highest profile, and in turn highest powered figure in a college town with a major college football program.
There’s currently no reason to think Tomlin or Jim Harbaugh would be interested in leaving for Texas or any other team. But they both could be interested in extending and/or improving their current deals. (Tomlin is signed through 2016, and Jim Harbaugh is under contract through 2015.)
Besides, NFL head-coaching contracts don’t seem to be as meaningless as college contracts. Saban got out easily from his deal in Miami because he specifically negotiated the ability to leave for a college job.
Saban got that term because he had leverage. Saban currently has it again. Turning the gaze to other candidates gives Texas a little of it back. And it in turn gives Tomlin and Jim Harbaugh a little leverage of their own.
Especially if/when either or both declare, “I’m not going to be the Texas coach.”
Rob Ryan’s done some impressive work this season as defensive coordinator in New Orleans, but if he can stop the Panthers three times this year, it will be quite the trick.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said Wednesday he made sure to call his brother before facing the Panthers Sunday, since Rob’s team held them in check so well last week. The Saints held the Panthers to 13 points, with a late cosmetic touchdown covering the fact the Panthers managed a pair of short-range field goals the rest of the day.
“Oh yeah without question I’ve already talked to him,” Rex said on a conference call, via Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer. “Our defenses are two different defenses, he has his own style, so do we. But again, without question I’ve already talked to him about the things he picked up. Just anything you would do against any opponent, but in particular he just played them this past week so I definitely already talked to him.”
The Panthers also struggled with Rob’s Cowboys defense last year in a 19-14 Dallas win.
Of course, Panthers coach Ron Rivera could return the favor, and he wouldn’t exactly need the friends and family plan to figure out how to slow the Jets’ offense.
In 1982, Chargers receiver Wes Chandler played in just eight games of a nine-game, strike-shortened season, and yet he still managed to catch 49 passes for 1,032 yards. That average of 129.0 receiving yards per game remains an NFL record, and few receivers have ever even come close.
But Browns receiver Josh Gordon might break it this year.
Gordon, who was suspended for the first two games of the season, is currently leading the league with 1,400 receiving yards. That average of 127.3 yards a game puts him in second place on the all-time yards per game list, dangerously close to breaking Chandler’s record.
For Gordon to break the record, he would need to gain 407 receiving yards over the last three games of the season, and finish this season with 1,807 yards. Considering that Gordon has 774 yards in his last four games, it’s certainly not a stretch to think he can gain 407 yards in his next three games.
If Gordon does break Chandler’s record, his 2013 season will deserve to be remembered among the greatest seasons that any wide receiver has ever had.
Jay Cutler was the Bears’ starting quarterback for Brian Urlacher’s last four seasons in Chicago. Now Urlacher thinks Cutler should lose his starting job.
Urlacher said on FOX Football Daily that Josh McCown has proven that he’s the best quarterback on the Bears, and McCown should remain the starter regardless of Cutler’s health. Urlacher also said that if he were still on the Bears, he wouldn’t want to see the coaches go back to Cutler when McCown is playing well.
“It’s going to be awfully hard to take Josh out of there right now the way he’s playing,” Urlacher said. “In my opinion, he should be the guy, he should be the starting quarterback of the Bears, even if Jay Cutler is healthy. You can’t take a guy who’s this hot out of the football game. If I was on that team, I would have a hard time with them taking him out.”
Urlacher also suggested that the Bears may be overstating the seriousness of Cutler’s injury to avoid having to make a tough call about their starting quarterback.
“I think Jay might be healthy right now,” Urlacher said.
Whether he’s healthy now or not, Cutler is expected to be healthy enough to play before the end of the season. When that time comes, the Bears have a difficult decision. But Urlacher doesn’t sound like he thinks the decision should be particularly difficult: The Bears’ best quarterback is McCown.
The Packers are rolling toward a Sunday date with the Cowboys and they’re holding out fading hope that Aaron Rodgers will be able to join them.
Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel will join Mike Florio on PFT Live on Wednesday to discuss that possibility. Rodgers hasn’t been medically cleared as of Wednesday morning and he said that he experienced pain when he practiced last week, two things that seem to work against a green light coming in time for the game against Dallas. We’ll find out from Dunne if the Packers can win without their best player or if last week’s win was more about playing a bad team at home than anything the Packers did.
We’ll also take our weekly look at the coaching hot seat and we’ll try to include some coaches who aren’t following Mike Shanahan’s lead by heating up their own seat and then daring their team owner to kick it out from under them.
You can watch it all live at noon ET by clicking right here.
NFL teams scored more touchdowns on Sunday than on any other day in NFL history, so it should come as no surprise that there were a lot more candidates for this week’s offensive honors than there were for those on the defensive side of the ball.
Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali has emerged from that slender pack as the league’s choice for the weekly award. Hali had two sacks and five tackles as the Chiefs steamrolled the hapless Redskins 45-10 in Washington.
Hali now has 11 sacks on the season, but the pair against Washington were his first since Week Seven. The entire Chiefs pass rush had struggled for a few weeks, something that losing linebacker Justin Houston to a dislocated elbow didn’t help, so the six sacks against Washington and Hali’s return to form were quite welcome in Kansas City.
If Hali and company can keep it going this week and lead the team to another victory, the Chiefs will clinch a playoff berth.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was named the AFC offensive player of the month for October, but the honor was given just before he faced the Dolphins on a Thursday night game on October 31.
Dalton performed poorly in that game and the Bengals lost to Miami. The Bengals will spend the next few days hoping that Dalton performs better after receiving another honor from the league.
Dalton has been named the AFC offensive player of the week for his performance against the Colts in Week 14. Dalton threw for three touchdowns and ran for another one to lead the Bengals to a 42-28 victory that put them one step closer to their first AFC North title since 2009.
If they can put the finishing touches on that, the next big hurdle to clear will be the first playoff victory since 1990. If they can’t do that, it will make three trips to the playoffs and three losses for Dalton.
The 49ers were worried they were a kicker away from a championship team last year, and made a move to upgrade by signing Phil Dawson this offseason.
The move has paid off, as he’s been nearly perfect.
Dawson was named NFC special teams player of the week for his four-field goal performance in a win over the Seahawks. The last one was the decider, a 22-yarder with 26 seconds left.
But he’s hit 20 straight field goals, setting a 49ers franchise record. With that kind of accuracy, they’re probably not going to need to bring kickers in for insurance in the postseason, like last year when David Akers was shaky.
We’re still waiting on official word from the Redskins that Kirk Cousins will be their starting quarterback in Week 15, but more information about how the Redskins will handle their quarterback spot continues to leak out of Washington.
Jeff Darlington of NFL Network reports that Redskins players have been told that Rex Grossman will serve as Cousins’ backup against the Falcons. Robert Griffin III will be inactive, which, of course, makes him RG3rd String. The decision fits with coach Mike Shanahan’s statement that Griffin would be shut down for the season as a precaution against injury.
Why that desire to protect Griffin from injury cropped up before a game in a dome against a bad defense rather than on a crummy day on a crummy field against a strong defense is just one of many questions we imagine people will be asking when the Redskins face the media on Wednesday.
We’ll wait for answers to that and the other questions raised by the strange saga playing out in Washington between Griffin, Shanahan and owner Dan Snyder at the end of both a disappointing season and, almost certainly, Shanahan’s time as the team’s head coach.
Not only is John Abraham not washed up, he’s playing as well as ever.
The 35-year-old Cardinals pass-rusher was named NFC defensive player of the week, after a 3.0 sack performance against the Rams.
Abraham has 11.0 on the season, and moved ahead of Lawrence Taylor for ninth place on the all-time sack list (133.0). He’s the active leader by about a season’s worth over Jared Allen (124.0).
Getting that kind of production from Abraham — who struggled to find a job for a bit this offseason — has been one of the keys for the Cardinals this year, giving teeth to a defense that had good parts already.
The Dolphins are four days away from having to decide whether to bring back guard Richie Incognito or cut him. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that Incognito definitely won’t return to the team — after Sunday’s game or ever.
Salguero also believes that a decision has been made or will be made to extend Incognito’s currently paid suspension through the end of the regular season, keeping him out of action for the Dolphins or anyone for the rest of the year.
In March, Incognito becomes a free agent.
That cuts against the sense of optimism previously emanating from Camp Incognito regarding the possibility that he’ll be playing in the postseason. Salguero believes Incognito will go along with an effort to shut him down with pay, given that he did some things he shouldn’t have done, even if NFL investigator Ted Wells concludes that those things don’t amount to bullying or harassment of tackle Jonathan Martin.
Speaking of Wells, Salguero expects the public release of the independent report to be delayed, possibly until after the Super Bowl. Salguero also reports that Martin will not be back with the Dolphins, at any time. Salguero writes that Martin will be traded to the highest bidder in the offseason.
Of course, there will be no bidder unless it’s clear that Martin truly wants to play football. If no one is willing to take that leap of faith, the Dolphins may have to waive him.
Bears quarterback Josh McCown was responsible for five touchdowns on Monday night, which was good enough for both a victory over the Cowboys and the NFC’s offensive player of the week honor.
The NFL announced McCown’s prize on Wednesday, two days after his sparkling play led the Bears to a 45-28 win that was crucial for their hopes of making it to the playoffs this season. Other than their final possession when they took a knee to run out the clock, the Bears scored every time they had the ball on Monday.
McCown completed 27-of-36 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown and is the first Bears quarterback ever to have a hand in five touchdowns in a single game without throwing an interception.
McCown has played very well since Jay Cutler was knocked out of the lineup with a sprained ankle, completing 70 percent of his passes while throwing nine touchdowns and one interception. It’s been a remarkable run for a 34-year-old journeyman quarterback who has never stopped referring to himself as Cutler’s backup while lighting up opposing defenses and the player of the week mention is a well deserved one.
Coach Marc Trestman said this week that Cutler will play once he’s cleared to return, but that hasn’t happened yet and McCown is continuing to ensure that there’s no need to rush unless Cutler’s return is going to somehow help a defense that cannot stop the run.
Some weeks, it’s hard to find a special teams player of the week, and they end up giving it to a punter for something thrilling like dropping three inside the 20.
This week, it was the choice between an all-time record and a performance that was close.
Broncos kicker Matt Prater earned AFC special teams player of the week honors, after hitting a league-record 64-yard field goal just before halftime against the Titans.
That broke the old record of 63 held by four guys, and helped propel the Broncos to a dominant second half.
But there were other performances that could have easily won the award. Chiefs return man Dexter McCluster had 177 yards worth of punt returns, including a 74-yard touchdown. Most weeks, that would have earned a little extra notice on Wednesday.
As Redskins coach Mike Shanahan continues to agitate his way out of D.C. while inviting further scrutiny of a track record that includes only one playoff victory in 15 years since winning a pair of Elway-and-cap-violations-fueled Super Bowls, reports that Kirk Cousins will get the start at quarterback on Sunday is merely the first step in what could be a day full of D.C. dysfunction.
Shanahan, for example, could still change his mind about shutting Griffin down. Jay Glazer of FOX has reported that Robert Griffin III will have a chance to state his case to continue playing, an interaction that would have made much more sense before Sunday’s game plan was finalized on Tuesday.
Then comes practice followed by (based on the Tuesday media schedule released by the team) an open locker room session and press conferences from Shanahan and Griffin.
So, yeah, it’s a mess. And it will only get messier — especially if Griffin at his press conference or other players in the locker room decide to say what everyone outside the organization is thinking regarding Shanahan’s desire to provoke his firing by benching the owner’s alleged BFF.
Bears linebacker Lance Briggs went to see the doctor on Tuesday for an examination of his fractured shoulder, but the visit did not result in clearance to return to the field.
That makes it unlikely that Briggs will return to the lineup for the Week 15 game against the Browns, although the linebacker said he’ll be evaluated again in a couple of days so he’s not ruling himself out for Sunday. In order to play, though, Briggs says he needs to feel like he can defend himself on the field and that’s not where he is at this point in his recovery.
“The thing about it is, I understand why I haven’t been cleared,” Briggs said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “Being a linebacker on the field, it’s violent. You have to tackle. You have to take on a lot of people. If at any point you deal with the shoulder, which you use all the time, you risk setting yourself back.”
In six games without Briggs, the Bears have allowed 1,220 rushing yards. That pace would make them the worst run defense in history over the course of a 16-game season, which makes the benefit of Briggs’ return obvious even if it wouldn’t solve all the defensive problems in Chicago.