Lions DE Cliff Avril joins PFT to talk about his impending free agency, the uncertainty of his future in Detroit, and he previews the upcoming season for the NFC North.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Avril takes free agency seriously
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has been told to stop making tackles after he broke his throwing hand trying to make a stop after an interception last season. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck thinks he has a better way to protect himself: Not throw interceptions in the first place.
Asked today about Bengals cornerback Adam Jones saying on PFT Live that Dalton should “run his ass back to the sideline” if he throws a pick, Luck said he hasn’t been given the same advice.
“No, they have not told me to stop making tackles, they’ve just told me to stop throwing interceptions,” Luck said on the Dan Patrick Show. “I’ve always thought if I didn’t give effort to try and right a wrong that I’d be severely disappointed in myself. I was taught how to tackle properly at a young age by my coaches.”
Luck is bound to throw at least a few interceptions over the course of a season, however, and given how important his health is to the success of the franchise, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for him to shy away from contact.
Berry has not been part of the Chiefs’ work in either the spring or the summer after getting the franchise tag early in the offseason and failing to reach an agreement on a long-term deal with the team before the July 15 deadline. Berry can still make the full $10.806 million he’s due under the franchise tender by reporting in time for Week One.
According to multiple reports, that’s just what Berry will do. The safety is expected to report to the team in the coming days so he can sign his tender and spend some time on the field with the team before they open the season against the Chargers on September 11.
Berry is one of two key Chiefs defenders who have missed all the team’s work since the end of the 2015 season. Linebacker Justin Houston remains out after having surgery to repair his ACL and looks like a candidate to open the year on the physically unable to perform list, which would leave him ineligible to play for the first six weeks of the year.
While that’s technically true (at the moment), that doesn’t mean there weren’t attempts.
According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Browns had multiple conversations with teams, and their price was “a second-round pick and then some.”
That’s a high price, even for a guy who will be a restricted free agent after the season (meaning anyone who trades for him will control his rights for two seasons rather than one).
But it’s also not inconceivable that someone wouldn’t bite, as desperate teams make bad trades all the time.
Josh Brown, the Giants kicker whose one-game suspension has raised questions about how the NFL handles domestic violence cases, was cited last year for violating a protective order.
Brown was cited for violating the protective order on July 14, 2015, ESPN reports. Brown had been arrested on a domestic violence charge two months earlier.
According to the report, the protective order Brown’s ex-wife obtained required Brown not to come within 500 feet of her house. But she called police and said she saw Brown driving by her house.
It is unclear whether the NFL or the Giants knew about the violation of the protective order. The Giants have acknowledged that they knew about Brown’s domestic violence arrest when it happened but allowed him to play all last year anyway, and that arrest didn’t stop them from signing him to a two-year, $4 million contract this year.
Brown’s ex-wife told police he physically abused her more than 20 times. Despite that, Brown was only arrested once and charges were dropped just days after that arrest.
An MRI said otherwise, however. The Falcons announced that the test determined that Neal suffered damage to the knee that will require arthroscopic surgery. Neal is scheduled to have the surgery on Monday.
He is expected to miss 3-4 weeks, which will keep him from playing in the team’s Week One home game against the Buccaneers at the very least. The Falcons travel to Oakland and New Orleans for their next two games before returning home to host the Panthers.
But with each hit on a 36-year-old body that has endured a pair of back surgeries, a thrice-broken clavicle, and a procedure aimed at keeping the number of fractures from increasing to four, Romo runs the risk of sustaining an injury that knocks him out for weeks, months, the season, or more.
The good news for the Cowboys, so far, is Dak Prescott. The rookie has looked the part during the preseason, which gives the team confidence that it can win some (or at least one) game if Romo can’t play.
And that leads to the real question, as posed by the headline of this blurb. How many games will Romo play this year? I’ve put the over/under at 12.5. Rob “Stats” Guerrera predicted 10 on PFT Live. Cast a vote below, and then elaborate, if you care to, in the comments.
After the Ray Rice debacle, the NFL vowed to handle domestic violence cases differently. No excuses. No tolerance. No deference to the criminal justice system. The league promised moving forward that it would do its own investigations, and that it would impose a minimum suspension of six games on any player who engages in domestic violence.
The six-game minimum comes with a caveat. If there are mitigating circumstances, then the punishment can be reduced. That’s apparently what happened with Giants kicker Josh Brown. It’s impossible to know that for sure because: (1) the NFL has not specified what the mitigating circumstances, if any, were; and (2) the NFL didn’t even mention consideration of mitigating circumstances in its multiple statements on the matter. The only thing the league has said to justify the one-game suspension is that both Brown’s ex-wife and law enforcement officials refused to cooperate with the investigation.
Some are suggesting that the league hasn’t provided the information about mitigating circumstances because it would make Brown’s ex-wife look bad, and that everyone should give the NFL and the Giants the benefit of the doubt on this one. But here’s the problem: The benefit of the doubt evaporated the moment Mary Jo White, hired by the league to supposedly provide an unbiased assessment of the Saints bounty scandal, insisted that sideline video showed former Saints defensive end Anthony Hargrove saying, “Bobby, give me my money” during the 2009 NFC title game when careful consideration of the audio and the video proved no such thing. From that moment forward, the credibility of league-run investigations became compromised, preventing anyone from confidently saying, “OK, we’ll take your word for it.”
Subsequent circumstances have underscored this point. When the NFL tried to suspend Ray Rice after the elevator video emerged (and after he already had been suspended two games for knocking out his then-fiancee in the elevator), the league based the second punishment on the notion that Rice had lied during the disciplinary process. An arbitrator rejected that claim that Rice had merely said his victim had “knocked herself out.” Likewise, the #Deflategate saga entailed bastardizations of both science and Tom Brady’s testimony, all in the name (apparently) of reaching the conclusion the NFL wanted to reach.
Why would they not go after Josh Brown when they went after Tom Brady? The easy answer is that they wanted to go after Brady, and they didn’t want to go after Brown (or, at a minimum, they wanted to go easy on Brown).
So why go easy on Brown? Some would say that the Commissioner deferred to Giants co-owner John Mara, who is regarded as one of the most influential owners in the league. One league insider who is troubled by the outcome of the Brown case pointed to this dynamic involving NFL off-field discipline chief Lisa Friel, as noted by Peter King of TheMMQB.com in October 2014: “She is a big football fan; New York Giants season tickets have been in her family for decades, and she has been to each of the three Giants home games this fall.”
If Mike Kensil’s relationship with the Jets was fair game for scrutiny in the #DeflateGate saga whether the league wanted to harm the Patriots, it’s fair to point out league-office allegiances that could help a team. Moreover, during the officiating lockout of 2012, a replacement official who made it clear that he is a Saints fan was pulled from a Saints game. If fan allegiance is enough to result in an official being removed from a given game, it’s fair to at least ask the question of whether Friel’s affinity for the Giants influenced her decision to opt for lenience with Brown — and her willingness to not press harder to hear from Brown’s ex-wife or from law enforcement.
But for the bounty scandal and the Ray Rice second suspension and #Deflategate, maybe folks would be inclined to give the league the benefit of the doubt and accept the notion that full transparency would undermine privacy interests of the player involved and his family. Given those past incidents and in consideration of the current circumstances, it’s difficult to not wonder whether the facts as collected by the team and the league fairly led to a decision to suspend Brown for only one game, or whether that’s simply the outcome the league and the team wanted, regardless of whether the facts (including a claim by Brown’s ex-wife of 20 prior incidents of violence) suggest that the punishment should have been more severe.
Would I like to be able to accept the NFL at face value on this issue and others like it? Absolutely. It’s not my fault that I can’t, and it’s the responsibility of the NFL and the Giants to properly balance player privacy interests against loudly-stated proclamations from 2014 about no excuses and no tolerance for domestic violence in a way that doesn’t require the benefit of the doubt or any other courtesy to be extended by a public whose confidence in the game is supposedly of paramount importance to the league.
Bengals receiver A.J. Green’s wife is pregnant, with a due date of September 30. If she goes into labor on a game day, Green will be in the hospital, not on the field.
“I can’t play,” Green said, via Cincinnati.com. “First one, definitely. I want to be there.”
Green said he’s hoping his baby doesn’t arrive on a game day, but only time will tell.
“Just not a game day,” he said. “Anything before a game day would be ideal.”
Green missed yesterday’s practice for a doctor’s appointment and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis told him he should. In fact, Green said he didn’t even have to ask, as Lewis just told Green to go as soon as Green told him about the appointment.
Some Bengals fans may not be so eager to see a player as important as Green make that choice on a game day during the season, but Green has already made his choice.
The Panthers have had pretty good success plugging older safeties into the back of a good defense, and they’re clearly looking for another potential upgrade there.
Brown was cut by the Chiefs yesterday, and has bounced around a good bit lately. But he had that one eight-interception season with the Giants in 2012 (when Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman was a senior personnel analyst there), so he’s probably going to continue to get looks.
They’ve had some injuries to some younger players in the secondary, but it clearly looks like they want to upgrade in the experience department.
The Falcons moved Vic Beasley to linebacker this offseason in hopes of putting him in position to better rush the passer in his second season after being drafted eighth overall in 2015.
Beasley missed a little time this summer with a shoulder sprain, but said it wasn’t the reason why he failed to register a sack or quarterback hit in a quiet outing against on Thursday night against a Dolphins offensive line that’s been a subject of concern in Miami.
“Nah, it ain’t working right now,” Beasley said, via ESPN.com. “I have to go to the film room, go to the practice film, and try to critique some thing. It is [frustrating] at times. I just know I have to keep working. … I know what’s expected of me, but it’s not a sense of pressure. It’s just what’s expected of me. I just have to keep attacking each day.”
Beasley isn’t the only reason Atlanta’s pass rush is falling short. Dwight Freeney didn’t play on Thursday because of a back strain and Adrian Clayborn, the only regular with a sack thus far in the preseason, had to leave with a shoulder injury. Everyone will need to be better, but being drafted so early means there’s going to be a particular spotlight on Beasley this season and that sense of pressure will likely come if he doesn’t produce.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones might not like that running back Ezekiel Elliott was photographed at a legal marijuana dispensary in Seattle, but he probably likes that there wasn’t any sign of a mellow Elliott in his first game action of the preseason.
Elliott ran for 48 yards on seven carries against the Seahawks and showed no qualms about initiating contact with Seattle defenders in an effort to grind out a few more yards at the end of runs. Some of those collisions came with Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor, who said after the game that he was surprised by Elliott’s willingness to take on contact.
“I was, because there was no film on him,” Chancellor said, via the Seattle Times. “I didn’t know if he was going to juke me or not, so I was a little surprised. But not the second time. Second time you know I’m bringing that wood. I was a little surprised the first time, but he has a lot of courage for that. I’ll give it to him. But if it was a full game, it would have been a bloodbath.”
Chancellor picked up a personal foul for hitting Elliott late on an incomplete pass, something he said wasn’t meant as a “Welcome to the NFL” moment for a rookie who wasn’t showing any fear of getting hit. Chancellor might not have been sending a message with that hit, but Elliott was — “I had to let them know I belong here” — and it’s unlikely that any defenders will face him in the future without knowing that there’s going to be a lot of hitting.
Throughout the long spell this offseason when the Jets and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick were unable to agree on a new contract, wide receiver Brandon Marshall consistently expressed his hope that Fitzpatrick would be back at the helm of the offense in 2016.
Marshall wasn’t always so positive about Fitzpatrick, however. At the start of training camp in 2015, Marshall said he thought “we’re in trouble” if Geno Smith were to get hurt. Smith would get hurt, of course, and Fitzpatrick would set a Jets record with 31 touchdown passes.
Marshall says Fitzpatrick “proved us wrong” last year and he thinks that life with Fitzpatrick will improve in 2016.
“I actually think he’s better this year,” Marshall said, via the New York Post. “He’s throwing the ball much better, more velocity, he’s throwing it deeper. He seems comfortable back there. He’s looking really good. He’s impressive.”
Marshall thinks it took the offense a long time to jell last season, something that seems less likely to be an issue with everyone back in the same system as last season. With a schedule that features five 2015 playoff teams and a Thursday night game in Buffalo in the first six weeks, it would certainly behoove the Jets to find their groove right off the bat.
Via Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun, veteran wide receiver Steve Smith has already been ruled out by coach John Harbaugh, while wide receiver Breshad Perriman and outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are unlikely to play either.
“He’s not playing in this game – at least that I know of,” Harbaugh said of Smith. “We’ll see. Maybe he’ll be on the side.”
Smith’s coming back from a torn Achilles, and Perriman was just activated from the physically unable to perform list Monday.
As far as the outside linebackers, Harbaugh said Suggs was “fine,” but they’re expected to keep him and Dumervil (activated from the PUP Monday) out anyway, while they look at young pass-rushers Albert McClellan, Matthew Judon and Kamalei Correa.
Berry, the All-Pro safety who has still not signed his franchise tag, remains out of Chiefs camp. And yet with only 16 days before they kick off the season, Chiefs coach Andy Reid still thinks Berry will be there for Week One.
Reid said today on PFT Live that he trusts Berry to be taking good care of himself and ready to play when the Chiefs opened the season, even if he hasn’t practiced.
“Eric’s one of our good players and he’s in the business side of it right now,” Reid said. “This is all part of the profession, so I get it. But I also know when he comes in he’s going to be in great shape, he’ll be able to get himself back before the first game and be ready to go because that’s the way he trains in the offseason and the kind of shape he keeps himself in.”
Berry is so dedicated to fitness that he kept working out while he was undergoing chemotherapy. So Reid is surely correct to think that Berry isn’t just sitting on his couch and eating Twinkies while his teammates are sweating through August practices.
The only question, then, is whether the business side of it will get taken care of. If Berry doesn’t sign his $10.806 million franchise tender in time to play in Week One, he’ll lose $635,647 a week during the regular season. It seems unlikely Berry would leave that kind of money on the table, so it seems like a fair bet that Berry will be back in the fold within the next couple weeks. And Reid thinks he’ll be ready to play.
Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron didn’t have a great first season with the Dolphins in 2015, leading to a pay cut to remain with the team for this season.
Things haven’t gotten off to a great start in Year Two. Cameron dropped a pass in the end zone against the Cowboys last week and had two more catchable passes fall to the turf against the Falcons, including another one that could have been a touchdown. Reports from Dolphins practices have pointed out drops by Cameron as well, but the tight end insists he’s not worried about it.
“I’ve just got to catch the ball,” Cameron said, via the Miami Herald. “It’s football. It’s not my first one, it won’t be my last one. Maybe it’s a funk, but i don’t think about it as much as I think everyone else does. It’s not a concern for me. We’ll get things rolling in the season when it matter.”
Coach Adam Gase pointed out a good Cameron block on running back Arian Foster’s touchdown and shared Cameron’s feeling that he’ll start holding onto the ball soon, but there have been calls for more out of the tight end position from offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen and quarterback Ryan Tannehill this summer. If Cameron’s funk continues much longer, it will likely be time to see if someone else can provide it.