ProFootballTalk: Is Bowe a must-keep for KC?
The Lions had Jason Hanson handle their kicking for two decades, but they’re having a harder time finding a permanent replacement now that he’s retired.
David Akers handled the gig in 2013, but the Lions opted not to re-sign him this year after he went 19-of-24 on field goals. Nate Freese won the kicking job after a camp competition with Giorgio Tavecchio, but he’s missed three field goals in the first two games of the regular season to put his job in some jeopardy.
The Lions turned up the heat on Freese Tuesday by working out a handful of veteran kickers. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that the team had Garrett Hartley, Rob Bironas and Alex Henery in for a look.
Hartley was dropped by the Saints last December after making 22-of-30 field goal tries through that point in the season. Bironas was released in March as a cost-saving move by the Titans while Henery was cut by the Eagles last month in favor of Cody Parkey.
The Colts signed running back Dion Lewis last week to bolster a running back corps left thinner than they’d like by Vick Ballard’s season-ending injury, but it looks like another injury may be forcing the team to reallocate their resources.
Indianapolis announced Tuesday that they have waived Lewis and signed defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles off of the Patriots’ practice squad. Lewis did not play on Monday night.
The Colts saw defensive tackle Arthur Jones exit Monday night’s loss to the Eagles with a high ankle sprain and the addition of Quarles suggests that he’ll miss a bit of time while recovering from the injury. Quarles spent training camp with the Giants and was claimed off of waivers by the Patriots, who then signed him to their practice squad after dropping him from the 53-man roster a short time later.
When Dolphins center Mike Pouncey had hip surgery, there were reports that he could miss as much as half the season while recovering.
Pouncey always said he’d be back sooner than that and avoided the regular season PUP list that would have kept him from practicing or playing for at least six weeks. Earlier this month, the center set a goal of playing by the end of September and took a step toward meeting it on Tuesday.
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that Pouncey was a participant in practice for the first time since having the operation.
Pouncey took part in drills during the portion of practice open to the media, but it’s not known the extent of his participation in the rest of the practice. Whatever his level of work, Salguero reports that the team still plans to start Samson Satele in Week Three with Week Four’s trip to London to face the Raiders looking like a better bet for Pouncey’s first game action of the regular season.
The Falcons don’t have much time for aches and pains to heal up before facing the Buccaneers on Thursday and that might leave them without wide receiver Roddy White.
Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports White missed practice for the second straight day on Tuesday because of a hamstring injury. That casts serious doubt on his availability for the game against Tampa, especially when recent history is taken into account.
White missed a big chunk of time last summer with an ankle injury, but he suited up for the first five weeks of the regular season with poor returns before sitting out for three weeks after the Falcons were off in Week Six. His production increased from that point, which may help guide the Falcons’ ultimate decision for playing Thursday against taking the extended recovery before their Week Four game against the Vikings.
The Falcons did have Julio Jones at practice for the second straight day, so it doesn’t appear there’s much risk of the Falcons being without both of their starting wideouts. That should make for less of a “whole” in the lineup come Thursday night.
Last Monday, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti sent coach John Harbaugh to face the media after Ray Rice was cut in the wake of the notorious elevator video. This Monday, Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf gave G.M. Rick Spielman the short straw of facing tough, hostile questions from reporters who couldn’t reconcile the facts of the Adrian Peterson case with the convenient insistence on honoring the “due process” rights were designed to protect citizens from being incarcerated unfairly.
Bisciotti eventually spoke, in a less public context. The Wilfs likely will, too, at some point. But it’s one thing to face the music when it’s the loudest. It’s quite another to carefully engineer the condition of a one-on-one interview once the dust begins to settle.
That’s the way it’s been for the past nine days. Commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t conduct a press conference; the league office hand-picked a pair of reporters for interviews, one on camera and one by phone. Bisciotti likewise didn’t sit at a table or stand at a podium and answer whatever questions the assembled press had.
Look for Zygi Wilf, Mark Wilf, or both to eventually do the same, selecting the right person in the right situation to allow them to get the message out without having to confront the open-season fray into which they thrust Spielman on Monday.
And it’ll keep happening that way, as long as we fail to demand that owners be accountable for their decisions and actions not by sending letters to fans or having a conversation with a sympathetic or grateful ear but by walking to the microphone and inviting anyone and everyone to ask whatever question they have.
The decision of Goodell, Bisciotti, and the Wilfs to hide from the media confirms that the NFL currently is under siege. Maybe if they decide to stop acting that way and to provide candid answers to all questions, the league will begin to emerge from its current hole.
Until then, the league just keeps digging.
The Jaguars need all the help they can get on offense, and now they’re short at tight end.
That will keep Lewis out for at least eight weeks, though he can begin practicing after six.
That fits the time frame coach Gus Bradley announced earlier this week for Lewis, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s loss to Washington.
The Jaguars better hope wideout Cecil Shorts gets back soon from his hamstring injury, or an already bad offense is just going to get worse.
Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne has been sacked 13 times this season, by far the most of any quarterback in the NFL. And Jacksonville has rushed for just 89 yards this season, by far the fewest of any team in the league.
Those stats indicate that the offensive line isn’t getting the job done. One member of the Jaguars’ offensive line has paid for that with his job.
Bradfield was expected to be a backup this season, but he was forced into the starting lineup when Austin Pasztor suffered a broken hand. It’s not clear whether Pasztor will be able to play in Week Three, but if he can’t the Jags will go with Sam Young, who replaced Bradfield after he was benched in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
If Bradfield was the problem, the Jaguars’ offensive line should improve in Week Three. It could hardly get any worse.
Vernon Davis left Sunday night’s game on crutches, but he could be back on his feet soon.
According to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, Davis avoided a serious ankle injury and could be back as soon as Sunday’s game against the Cardinals.
An MRI yesterday revealed a deep bruise, but no structural damage.
Davis wasn’t able to return to the game after being rolled by Bears linebacker Jon Bostic. That left them thin, with backup tight end Vance McDonald suffering a knee injury and Derek Carrier is the only healthy tight end on the roster.
Some portions of the new drug policy will be retroactive. Some won’t.
Browns receiver Josh Gordon has pleaded guilty to driving while impaired. Under the new drug policy, a first offense will trigger a two-game suspension. Under the old drug policy, a first offense ordinaily results in no suspension and a maximum fine of $50,000.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Gordon pleaded guilty now to ensure that he will not receive an automatic, mandatory two-game suspension for the DUI charges. (Under the old drug policy, a suspension is possible for first-offense DUI, if a player has had other issues under the substance-abuse policy.)
The guilty plea was submitted by Gordon’s lawyer; he was not required to appear personally in court. In exchange for the plea, Gordon received a 60-day suspended sentence. He also must pay a $100 fine. His driver’s license has been suspended.
Gordon is expected to be suspended a total of 10 games under the new substance-abuse policy. Previously, he had been suspended for the entire 2014 season.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has taken a lot of hits in his career.
But he said Tuesday he’s “still very sore” after a shot to the chest from Ravens linebacker Courtney Upshaw last Thursday.
Upshaw was flagged for roughing the passer on the play, after drilling Roethlisberger on a clean run.
“I’m hurting today as much as I was at any point I can think of in the last year,” Roethlisberger said on 93.7 The Fan, via Scott Brown of ESPN.com.
Roethlisberger said it was the hardest he’s been hit since Bart Scott leveled him in 2006.
“This is easily right there with a close second,” Roethlisberger said. “I lost my breath instantly and remember hitting the ground thinking, ‘Boy, that hurt a lot.’ I kind of pride myself on not taking those big hits, but I sure as heck didn’t see it coming.”
He clearly didn’t see his own play falling off this way either. He was 22-of-37 for 217 yards and an interception, and the Steelers have scored just three field goals in their last six quarters.
It won’t get any easier for him Sunday night, against a Panthers defense which is top-five in both yards and points allowed.
The governor of Minnesota is calling on the Vikings to change course and suspend Adrian Peterson for abusing his son.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says Peterson — who admits that he whipped his son and caused cuts and bruises — should not be playing until he has gone through the legal process.
“It is an awful situation,” Dayton said in a statement. “Yes, Mr. Peterson is entitled to due process and should be ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ However, he is a public figure; and his actions, as described, are a public embarrassment to the Vikings organization and the State of Minnesota. Whipping a child to the extent of visible wounds, as has been alleged, should not be tolerated in our state. Therefore, I believe the team should suspend Mr. Peterson, until the accusations of child abuse have been resolved by the criminal justice system.”
Dayton said he remains a Vikings fan, even as he feels disappointment toward the team.
“I will not turn my back on the Vikings and their fans, as some have suggested. The Vikings belong to Minnesota – and in Minnesota. This has been the team’s only home; and our citizens, including myself, have been its most dedicated fans,” Dayton said.
Given the way NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handled the Ray Rice case, it’s almost impossible to trust Goodell to handle the Peterson case appropriately. Which is one reason that many are calling on the Vikings to take it upon themselves to bench Peterson. Something they’re refusing to do amid severe public pressure.
This is the part of the story where I’d make a pop culture reference about Rihanna using one of her song titles.
But I did that already once today, so I’m pretty much out of Rihanna material.
After the pop singer told the NFL “F— you,” on Twitter this morning, the league has returned the favor.
A CBS spokesman said any plans to re-introduce her song “Run This Town” to their Thursday Night Football open had changed, and she won’t be involved in any further broadcasts.
“Beginning this Thursday, we will be moving in a different direction with some elements of our Thursday Night Football open,” CBS senior vice president of communications Jen Sabatelle said, via USA Today. “We will be using our newly created Thursday Night Football theme music to open our game broadcast.”
The league pulled the song of the famous domestic violence victim as part of an effort to adopt a more serious tone to the Ravens-Steelers pre-game in light of the Ray Rice news of the week.
She apparently woke up this morning and realized she didn’t like it, so we await her next reaction.
1. Seattle Seahawks (No. 1 last week; 1-1): They lost in San Diego. I guess that means they now suck. And they’ll suck just enough to win the Super Bowl again.
2. Denver Broncos (No. 2; 2-0): With the No. 1 team on the docket for Week Three, the opportunity is there to not lose by 35 points.
3. New England Patriots (No. 4; 1-1): Cries of “the Pats are done” became “the Pats done kicked Minnesota’s ass” on Sunday.
4. Green Bay Packers (No. 3; 1-1): They lose a spot for flirting for too long with a lesser team, but the Packers are still a top-five franchise.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (No. 6; 2-0): Maybe when James Harrison said “ain’t no fun when the rabbit got the gun,” he was referring to the Bengals turning tables in the AFC North.
6. Carolina Panthers (No. 9; 2-0): In a year when everyone thought they’d fade, the Panthers apparently are tightening their grip on the NFC South.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (No. 11; 2-0): Undefeated despite playing at an average level at best, if this team ever finds the gas pedal, they could be the biggest threat to a Seattle repeat.
8. Arizona Cardinals (No. 12; 2-0): It’s hard to remember this team is 2-0, probably because they should have lost both of their games.
9. San Francisco 49ers (No. 5; 1-1): Who’s got it better than us? Anyone who opened a brand new stadium by winning the first game there.
10. Baltimore Ravens (No. 14; 1-1): The Ravens took refuge last week in football. The Steelers wish they hadn’t.
11. New Orleans Saints (No. 7; 0-2): Does anyone really think this team won’t have a seat at the postseason table?
12. San Diego Chargers (No. 17; 1-1): For those who say the Chargers created the recipe for beating the Seahawks, it helps to have access to ingredients like Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, and Keenan Allen.
13. Chicago Bears (No. 19; 1-1): The Bears provide Exhibit A for the idea that no one really knows what’s going to happen in any given game, in any given week.
14. Atlanta Falcons (No. 10; 1-1): Who scored more points this week, Roddy White’s fantasy team or his reality team?
15. Indianapolis Colts (No. 8; 0-2): The AFC South is the Colts’ division to lose. And they are.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 13; 1-1): Mike Tomlin needed to trip a bunch of guys other than Jacoby Jones for the Steelers to have a chance in Baltimore last Thursday.
17. Detroit Lions (No. 15; 1-1): Apparently, Donkey Kong Suh couldn’t get his flaming barrels through airport security.
18. Buffalo Bills (No. 26; 2-0): The organization’s best week since January 1994 could become the best two weeks since January 1994.
19. Houston Texans (No. 24; 2-0): Beating a mediocre franchise quarterback one week and a worse-than-mediocre franchise the next hardly means the Texans have fixed all their problems.
20. New York Jets (No. 16; 1-1): An ill-timed timeout has helped obscure the fact that the Jets blew a huge lead.
21. Cleveland Browns (No. 31; 1-1): If this team is still in the hunt after Josh Gordon comes back, things could get very interesting in December.
22. Washington (No. 25; 1-1): With a defense capable of generating 10 sacks, maybe Joe Theismann could play quarterback for this team and win.
23. Dallas Cowboys (No. 27; 1-1): After years of saying they’ll run the ball more, they finally did. Maybe they should keep doing that.
24. Miami Dolphins (No. 20; 1-1): Another win over the Patriots chased by another 19-point loss to the Bills.
25. St. Louis Rams (No. 28; 1-1): Just think of how good this team could be if it had a quarterback.
27. Minnesota Vikings (No. 18; 1-1): For a franchise that has provided its fans with 50-plus years of disappointment, embarrassment, humiliation, and heartbreak, Monday was the lowest point yet.
28. Kansas City Chiefs (No. 22; 0-2): “At least we’re not the Raiders” may be the best they can say this year.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 29; 0-2): “At least Greg Schiano’s not the coach” may be the best they can say this year.
30. New York Giants (No. 23; 0-2): Seven years ago, the Giants reversed an 0-2 start with a Super Bowl win. Seven years ago, the Giants had a lot more talent.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 30; 0-2): Maybe Blake Bortles isn’t playing because they’re concerned the bubble wrap would screw up his throwing motion.
32. Oakland Raiders (No. 32; 0-2): The Raiders aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be. Somehow, they’re worse.
It’s another week where the off-field conduct of NFL players is causing discussion about the league well outside of the sports pages and the Vikings’ decision to play running back Adrian Peterson this week is one of the big reasons for that crossover.
Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press will join Mike Florio on Tuesday’s edition of PFT Live to discuss the choice that the Vikings made on Monday and the reasons why they have shifted away from deactivating Peterson like they did last Sunday against the Patriots. We’ll also get Tomasson’s take on how the Vikings’ handling of the situation is being accepted locally.
We also want to know what PFT Planet thinks about Peterson and everything else going on in the league right now. Florio will be responding to your tweets — @ProFootballTalk — and calls to 888-237-5269 during the show.
It all gets started at noon ET and you can watch it all live by clicking right here.
Daniel Snyder says he will never change the name of his football team. A group of Native Americans is asking the other 31 owners to take that decision out of Snyder’s hands.
The coalition of Native American organizations, called Change the Mascot, has sent a letter to the other 31 owners asking them to use a provision in the NFL bylaws that can punish an owner who is guilty of misconduct that damages the league.
“Clearly, Washington team owner Dan Snyder’s continued promotion of this racial slur represents such conduct,” reads the letter, via the Washington Post. “Put simply, Mr. Snyder is jeopardizing the welfare of the league by promoting an epithet against people of color.”
Although there was a time this year when the Washington name controversy felt like the biggest off-field issue facing the NFL, it has been put on the back burner by the cases involving Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald and Adrian Peterson. Snyder may be the one person in the NFL who has seen a silver lining to the mess of the last couple weeks, as he’s no longer the focal point for the outrage at the NFL.