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ProFootballTalk: One-on-one with Jerod Mayo
The Chiefs knew earlier this offseason that outside linebacker Justin Houston was unlikely to be ready for the regular season.
Today was just the filing of the paperwork.
Via Field Yates of ESPN, the Chiefs are putting Houston on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. That will keep him off the field at least the first six weeks of the season.
Houston needed surgery in February to repair his ACL, and the timetable was placed at six to 12 months. Only the most optimistic recovery would have had him ready by now.
It took a while for tackle Will Beatty to generate interest on the free agent market after he missed the 2015 season with a torn pectoral and rotator cuff, but August saw him making the workout rounds with the Jaguars and Panthers.
Beatty looked around, but he’s reportedly heading back to the only team that he’s played for in the NFL. According to multiple reports, the Giants are re-signing Beatty after releasing him in February.
Beatty’s return comes after the Giants offense struggled in their preseason outings. The starters didn’t score any points against either the Bills or the Jets in the last two weeks, something that represents an unwelcome change for a team that came out of last season secure in their offensive prowess while trying to shore up their defense.
The Giants currently have 2015 first-round pick Ereck Flowers at Beatty’s old left tackle spot and Marshall Newhouse on the right side of the offensive line. Beatty will likely start out backing them up, but a return to the starting lineup could be in his future if he remains healthy and gets back up to speed quickly.
Beatty’s arrival will force the Giants to make another cut to meet the 75-man limit. They got the ball rolling on Monday by cutting tight end Matt LaCosse, fullback Nikita Whitlock, wide receiver Myles White and long snapper Tyler Ott.
The Ravens have waited a long time to see wide receiver Breshad Perriman in a game and that wait is set to end on Thursday.
Perriman has been practicing with the team for a week since coming off the physically unable to perform list and said Tuesday that he is looking forward to taking the field with the team on gameday for the first time.
“It’s very exciting,” Perriman said, via the Baltimore Sun. “I’ve been waiting for a long time and it’s finally coming. We’ve got a preseason game Thursday and then we have the Buffalo Bills after that. I can’t be more excited. I haven’t suited up for any games since college. It’s been a real long time. Just to think about it, I’ll be able to go out there with my teammates and my friends, it’s just crazy.”
Tuesday’s cut to 75 players means that some other players from Ravens camp won’t be around to join Perriman on the field. The Ravens announced that they have cut kicker Will Lutz while running back Lorenzo Taliaferro is on the reserve PUP list and linebacker Bronson Kaufusi and tackle Stephane Nembot have been placed on injured reserve.
All but one of the teams in the NFL have to get down to 75 players by Tuesday afternoon, but the Chargers will be able to end the day with 76 men on their roster.
That’s because the league has granted them a roster exemption for defensive end Joey Bosa after the first-round pick finally signed his rookie deal with the team on Monday. With the cut to 53 players coming on Saturday, it likely represents a short stay for a player who would have been on his way out on Tuesday but one never knows how things can change between now and then.
The Chargers confirmed the reported release of quarterback Zach Mettenberger and placed placed guard Donavon Clark and running back Branden Oliver on injured reserve. Clark has a knee injury and Oliver injured his Achilles in last Sunday’s game against the Vikings.
The Vikings announced nine cuts from their roster, dropping them to 80 players with a couple of hours to go before the deadline to reach 75 players.
There weren’t any big surprises on the list. The team did move on from offensive lineman Austin Shepherd, who saw action in 14 games with the team after being drafted in the seventh round last year.
The Vikings also released quarterback Brad Sorensen, who was signed earlier this month while Teddy Bridgewater and Shaun Hill were out of practice for a couple of days, and tight end Brian Leonhardt, who played 16 games with the 49ers and Raiders over the last two seasons.
Defensive end Theiren Cockran, guard Sean Hickey, defensive end Claudell Louis, wide receiver Marken Michel, linebacker Terrance Plummer and wide receiver Terrell Sinkfield were also dropped from the roster.
When the Panthers made a handful of moves earlier this afternoon, they reduced the roster to 74, or one under today’s limit.
They are apparently ready to fill that spot, because they were running out of bodies.
The former Bears safety was just cut by the Buccaneers earlier in the week, and the Panthers had an immediate need. Four of the seven safeties on their roster have some degree of injuries, and somebody has to play Thursday night.
The Panthers worked out veterans Donte Whitner and Stevie Brown last week, but they left without contracts which means either they weren’t impressed or weren’t inclined to pay much more than the minimum to bring a guy in.
Reports surfaced Tuesday that the Redskins would be parting ways with linebacker Perry Riley and defensive lineman Stephen Paea as the team moved to 75 players and Riley tweeted a farewell to fans that seemed to confirm the news.
Coach Jay Gruden offered a more official confirmation when he met with reporters after the team’s practice. Gruden said that he thought highly of both players, but that the team liked others at the positions more when it came time to set the roster.
Riley has spent his entire career with the team and was a starter throughout most of the last five seasons, but Mason Foster took over at the top of the depth chart this summer. Riley was set to make $4 million in base salary this year and the team will take on just over $1 million in dead money by releasing him.
Paea signed a four-year deal with the Redskins before last season, but wound up in a backup role before ending the year on injured reserve. He was set to make $3.3 million this season, which was likely more than the team wanted to pay a player who had fallen down the depth chart.
Colin Kaepernick occasionally does things other than not stand for the National Anthem.
And he’s going to do that other thing Thursday night.
According to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, 49ers coach Chip Kelly said that Kaepernick was going to play in Thursday’s preseason finale, and that he’s one of the two best quarterbacks on the roster.
Of course, the other one is ostensibly Blaine Gabbert, and he’s not playing Thursday night, which ought to be the clearest indication yet he’s the starter for the regular season. But Kelly said that Kaepernick’s lack of snaps made that an inaccurate conclusion to draw, since Gabbert has gotten more work than Kaepernick throughout the offseason because of Kaepernick’s surgeries.
Of course, being one of the top two quarterbacks on the 49ers is kind of like being one of the best dunkers in the annual PFT pickup basketball game, because the other two are Jeff Driskel and Christian Ponder. Given previous reports that the 49ers thought Kaepernick’s play on the field was “regressing,” there are plenty of people unsure about his roster status come this time next week.
And while Kaepernick’s political statement has been the focus of the last several days, Kelly said he doesn’t see it taking away from his preparation.
“When he’s here, he’s all about ball,” Kelly said.
How long that remains the case after Thursday’s game remains to be seen.
In six days, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will start a four-week banishment from the team. He surely has a plan for his absence. Whatever it is, he’s not sharing the details.
“How will you stay sharp?” he was asked by reporters on Tuesday.
“We’ll see,” Brady said.
“Do you plan on staying local,” he was asked.
“We’ll see,” Brady said again.
So why isn’t he commenting on his plans?
“In case someone else is in this situation in the future, I don’t want to give away all my tips,” Brady said.
That’s the same approach he took when former Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III wanted to pick Brady’s brain. Brady said he’d be glad to do it — after Brady’s career ends.
Despite his reluctance to discuss his plans, Brady was willing to elaborate on his mindset.
“I’m pretty positive,” he said. “I’m going to use these days the best way that I possibly can. I’m going to try to get ready and do everything that I possibly can so I can be at my best when I have the opportunity to play in October. I’ve tried to just find different ways to be positive, but it is what it is at this point, so we’ll do the best we can do.”
When it was pointed out that the league has determined that Brady will have access to long-time trainer Alex Guerrero, Brady had this to say: “Well, that was nice of them.”
Whatever Brady does during his suspension, it’s obvious he’ll be working. Hard.
“It’s easy to do when you love what you do,” he said. “I’ve always been blessed to love this sport and love the preparation of this sport as much as I have. It really never feels like work because it’s always a learning experience. I’m still learning every day that I go out there. It’s always fresh when you start because there are always new players, always new schemes, always new plays, new situations to go over. That’s why there’s such a great — that’s why people love the sport. That’s why I love the sport, because it’s so challenging. It’s very humbling, too, because it’s incredibly difficult to perform at a high level every day. You’ve got to push yourself and find different ways to motivate yourself over the course of long periods of time. It’s easy if you just changed what you did every year. Everything would feel fresh all the time. But when you’ve been doing it for 17 years professionally, and then nine years, I’ve been doing it for 25 years, so I’ve got to keep finding ways to retool and learn and use things as motivation.”
It won’t be hard for Brady to find motivation this year, with 25 percent of it being taken away from him due to the #DeflateGate situation. As to the league giving Brady that motivation, well, that was nice of them.
The Packers announced a series of roster moves on Tuesday that leaves them with 76 players on the roster.
It appears the final move to get to the 75-man limit has come via a trade. The Bills announced that they have acquired linebacker Lerentee McCray from Green Bay for an undisclosed 2018 draft pick.
McCray signed with the Packers in April after playing 24 games with the Broncos over the last two seasons. The Bills have lost linebackers Reggie Ragland and IK Enemkpali for the season and first-round pick Shaq Lawson is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.
There’s been no word from the Packers about the trade at this point. The Packers did announce that they released wide receiver Harvey Binford and placed tight end Kennard Backman, running back John Crockett, center Jacob Flores, tight end Mitchell Henry and guard Josh Walker on injured reserve.
The Panthers traded for veteran punter Andy Lee on Monday, which made one of the team’s cuts on Tuesday an easy decision.
Veteran punter Mike Scifres has been released after getting hurt last week and setting the wheels in motion for the Lee trade. General Manager Dave Gettleman said Tuesday that the team felt they couldn’t go into the season with rookie Kasey Redfern as their punter and that led him to deal Redfern and a 2018 fourth-round pick for Lee.
“To have a team like this and to go into a season with a rookie punter is really rolling the bones,” Gettleman said. “Through conversations in the office, we decided to take a shot. Andy Lee is a Pro Bowl punter. People talking about checking boxes? Well, that’s a huge box to check. He’s an outstanding holder as well as a great punter, and it was just something we felt we needed to do.”
The Panthers also released defensive end Rakim Cox, safety Trenton Robinson and wide receiver LaRon Byrd on Tuesday and placed cornerback Leonard Johnson on the reserve/non-football injury list. That leaves them with 74 players, which either gives them a roster spot to fill or a head start on the cut to 53 players this weekend.
The Bears have made the final roster moves needed to get the team to the 75-man limit on Tuesday and they are headlined by a pair of expected trips to injured reserve.
The team placed center Hroniss Grasu and quarterback Connor Shaw on I.R. due to injuries they suffered this summer. Grasu tore his ACL early in August, forcing the Bears to turn elsewhere for a starter in the middle of the offensive line after he held down the job down the stretch last season.
Shaw broke his leg against the Chiefs last week on a hit that he called “cheap BS” after the game. Coach John Fox said after the injury that he thinks Shaw has a bright future with the club and he’ll try to fulfill that expectation next year.
Defensive end Dion Jordan has been cleared to make his return to the practice field by the NFL, but his knee hasn’t allowed that to happen this summer and we’ll be well into the regular season before it can happen.
Jordan has been placed reserve non-football injury list by the Dolphins, which means he won’t be allowed to practice or play for the team for at least the first six weeks of the season. Jordan had knee surgery before being conditionally reinstated from his suspension by the league.
He’ll be joined on that list by linebacker Zach Vigil, who was placed on the NFI list on July 29 because of a back injury. Vigil played in all 16 games last season and had 18 tackles and a blocked punt to show for his efforts.
The two moves leave the Dolphins with 75 players on their active roster ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to get to that number.
The Cowboys will be without quarterback Tony Romo for the start of the regular season, a state of affairs they’ve grown more familiar with than they’d like over the years.
Painful though it has been for the Cowboys, Romo’s missed time pales in comparison to that of linebacker Sean Lee. Lee has never played all 16 games in a season, which makes his absence from practice since last Thursday’s game against the Seahawks a worrisome trend for a defense that’s already missing pieces they expected to play a major role.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Tuesday, via multiple reports from Dallas, that Lee has been dealing with a knee injury and that he had an MRI Monday to evaluate the extent of the issue. Lee had arthroscopic surgery on his knee during the offseason and missed all of the 2014 season with a torn ACL.
Garrett said the results were positive for the Cowboys and that the team doesn’t believe it will be a long-term injury that costs Lee time in the regular season. History says the knee or some other body part will provide further cause for concern about Lee’s condition this season, but, for now, it looks like he’ll be on the field when the games count.
One of the most-discussed moments of Week One of the NFL season will be the national anthem before the Monday night 49ers-Rams game, when Colin Kaepernick is expected to continue his protest and remain seated while other players are standing. But that moment won’t be televised.
ESPN told Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated that it normally does not show the national anthem for the late game of the Week One Monday Night Football doubleheader and won’t show it this year either.
That decision is a mistake. Just because the national anthem isn’t ordinarily shown doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be shown when there are extenuating circumstances, and in this case there are certainly extenuating circumstances. Telling the story of that game will include showing Kaepernick, showing the other players, and covering any reaction Kaepernick gets from the fans, positive or negative.
Kaepernick’s stance has thrust the national anthem into the national news. ESPN should allow viewers to see that news being made.
UPDATE 1:58 p.m. ET: Monday Night Football producer Jay Rothman said the following on an ESPN media call: “The timing is such that, first of all, Kaepernick has to make the 53-man team, and that’s two weeks away, so we don’t know that yet. But the timing is such that because it’s a doubleheader game, we do not cover the Anthem. We will not cover the Anthem live in the second game regardless. However, that doesn’t mean we couldn’t record it and report it. And I think our job, especially with the whole Kaepernick deal, it’s our job to document and report the game. And those who are working on the game, if Kaepernick is on the team and chooses to sit again, I’m sure they’ll get perspective from Kaepernick, they’ll get perspective from Chip Kelly, they’ll get perspective from others and report. So that’s how we’ll handle that in San Francisco.”