Skip to content

Jeff Fisher: Bradford’s struggles because of the players around him

Getty Images

Rams quarterback Sam Bradford rebounded well from a rocky 2011 in Jeff Fisher’s first year as the head coach and Fisher thinks he knows what the Rams need to do to get an even better performance out of Bradford in 2013.

It’s a pretty simple answer: Get better players to fill out the rest of the offensive roster. During an interview with ESPN 101, Fisher intimated that a better supporting cast would solve some of the remaining issues with Bradford’s game.

“His play was directly affected by the people around him. There’s times when it’s difficult to step up in the pocket and make the good throw. That’s not the quarterback’s fault. That’s whatever’s going on out front,” Fisher said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. “We’re pleased with what Sam did. He’s got an exciting future. I know he’s really excited about coming back in here in April and getting started and not having to learn another offense.”

Fisher’s comments make it pretty clear that the team wants to upgrade the offensive line, although that’s not the only way to help Bradford out. The team’s brief dalliance with Titus Young shows they want to find some help on the receiving end of things. It’s not clear how they plan to go about that.

Don Banks of SI.com reports that the team isn’t expected to bid on Greg Jennings or Dwayne Bowe and they also run the risk of losing free agent Danny Amendola. Reports over the weekend indicated they are far away financially in talks with Amendola and losing him would step up the pressure to find players who can make their direct effect on Bradford a more positive one than Fisher thinks last year’s team provided.

Permalink 21 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Home, Los Angeles Rams, Rumor Mill
yo

Report: Sharrif Floyd knee injury could be career ending

Getty Images

Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd’s career could be over as a result of a knee injury and subsequent surgical complications.

Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports that Floyd suffered nerve damage when he had surgery in September to repair a torn meniscus, and the injury is putting his career in jeopardy.

“Sharrif is rehabbing, has seen some of the best doctors in the country, will continue to rehab and hopefully, this will heal sooner than later,” said Floyd’s agent, Brian Mackler.

Floyd’s $6.757 million base salary this season is guaranteed for injury as the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. But at 25 years old he likely had many years left to play and tens of millions of dollars left to earn beyond 2017. This injury puts that future in question.

Floyd suffered the injury in September but the Vikings initially said they didn’t think it would be serious. It wasn’t until December that they placed him on injured reserve.

Permalink 17 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Cameron Jordan, Byron Maxwell, Delanie Walker take part in NFL-USO tour

Getty Images

A trio of NFL players deserve plenty of credit for what they’ll be doing on their own time.

Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, Dolphins cornerback Byron Maxwell, and Titans tight end Delanie Walker will be going to Southwest Asia to participate in the annual NFL-USO Tour of American military bases.

The dates and specific locations haven’t been announced, for security reasons. They’ll devote a full week to the effort.

Kudos to the NFL for putting this program together, and even more kudos to the men who will be doing something neither easy nor convenient for the good of our troops.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Browns high on Malik Hooker, set to host him

Getty Images

Chances are, if the Browns retain their No. 1 overall pick, it will be used on Myles Garrett.

But the former Texas A&M edge rusher isn’t the only defensive prospect on whom the franchise appears high.

Malik Hooker, the dynamic safety from Ohio State, will visit the Browns’ facility on Friday, he told ESPN 850 WKNR in Cleveland. There reportedly is serious interest in his quick visit becoming a long-lasting one; however, it seems unlikely Hooker would be the choice over Garrett at No. 1 or available when Cleveland is on the clock again at No. 12.

That leaves a first-round trade, back or up, as the best scenario in which Hooker becomes a Brown.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, the Browns are “considering him in the first round of the draft. They’ve spent a lot of time on him and have expressed as much interest as any team in the league,” Cabot reported, citing sources.

While Hooker will visit the Browns, he won’t appear at the NFL Draft.

He has declined the league’s invitation to attend the Philadelphia event, he told PFT Live on Thursday.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

John Harbaugh expects multiple championship with Joe Flacco

Getty Images

Jim Irsay and John Harbaugh may not have much in common. Here’s one thing they do: Both except to win more than one Super Bowl with their current starting quarterbacks.

“When [Joe Flacco] first walked into the building after we drafted him in 2008, [it was like], ‘Hey, dude, we’re going to win multiple Super Bowls,'” Harbaugh said this week, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. “We’re going to win multiple championships here. And we’re going to.”

Of course, the difference between Irsay and Harbaugh (among others) is that Harbaugh already has one with Flacco. Still, both teams arguably are equally far away from the next.

The Ravens made it to the playoffs five straight years with Flacco and Harbaugh. In 2013, one year after the lone Super Bowl victory, the run ended. The next year, the Ravens had a pair of 14-point leads in New England before falling to the eventual champions in the divisional round. Then came back-to-back seasons of no playoff appearances, with a division title narrowly lost in a Christmas Day classic against the Steelers.

Despite a franchise-quarterback contract, Flacco arguably isn’t a franchise quarterback — or the more popular five-letter shorthand reference to one. Winning a second Super Bowl would help. As he enters the 10th year of his season, it remains to be seen when Super Bowl No. 2 will come his way.

Permalink 12 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Andy Reid vows to get Tyreek Hill more involved in the Chiefs’ offense

Getty Images

Tyreek Hill burst onto the scene as a rookie in Kansas City last season, scoring six touchdowns on 61 catches, three touchdowns on 24 carries, two touchdowns on 39 punt returns and one touchdown on 14 kickoff returns.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid looks at those numbers and thinks 138 touches isn’t enough for a player with Hill’s ability to get to the end zone.

So Reid will turn Hill into an offensive playmaker in 2017, giving him more snaps at running back and wide receiver after he was on the field for less than half of the offensive plays in 2016.

Growing Tyreek in the offense will be important,” Reid said.

Reid says Hill arrived in the NFL without a lot of experience running the kind of routes that an NFL offense demands of its receivers, but Hill can get better at that with experience.

“He was a running back that they kind of moved around a little bit,” Reid said. “His routes when he first came were kind of raw. They weren’t as disciplined as they need to be in this offense. So much of this offense is timing and being in a certain spot and knowing defenses, knowing secondaries and all that, how you’re going to make adjustments. That was all new. He is a smart kid. He picked it up so fast, and he was able to play at our level.”

If Hill can become an NFL-quality route runner, he should make an even bigger impact in 2017. Which is a scary thought for the Chiefs’ opponents.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

What’s the NFL’s end game with gambling?

Getty Images

As the NFL tries to balance a love of Las Vegas with a loathing of the primary activity that goes on there, what if the league also secretly lusts after gambling?

Sure, Commissioner Roger Goodell is saying all the rights about gambling being the wrong thing for the NFL. Just like he previously was saying all the right things about Vegas being the wrong place. In addition for being paid to be the pin cushion for owners who prefer rich and famous to rich and notorious, Goodell’s compensation package includes taking positions that he knows he eventually may have to abandon as gracefully as possible. Or not gracefully at all.

Really, what has been the cost of Goodell’s about-face on Las Vegas? Has anyone said anything critical about Goodell for saying one thing and doing another? Hell, inconsistency or word and deed practically become the way of the world.

So Goodell can continue to say gambling is bad until the owners decide that gambling is good. And then Goodell can start saying gambling is good, without ever acknowledging that he regarded gambling as bad.

When the owners (and in turn Goodell) decide that gambling is good, what happens next? Behind the scenes, efforts will be made to eliminate the federal law that prohibits the expansion of sports betting beyond the states where it currently happens. (The NFL has used that law to block the expansion of sports betting in states like Delaware and New Jersey.) When that push becomes public, we’ll hear a lot about states’ rights and other situationally convenient philosophies that will justify America telling the United States that they can set up sports books if they want.

Then, the various states will begin to adopt betting on sporting events, one at a time until as many that will ever do it have done it. Then, as many NFL teams as possible will begin to find a way to make money from sports betting.

The process could culminate at some point (maybe years from now, maybe decades) in the ability of a fan/bettor to access a team or league website or app and quickly and cleanly (and legally) place a bet.

For a successful business that constantly wants to find ways to make more and more (and more) money, there’s a revenue stream that has been flowing to people other than NFL owners since the day the sport was born. Every year, billions are changing hands via wagering on NFL games, without the NFL getting a cut.

The move to Las Vegas represents a clear statement that, eventually, it will.

Permalink 20 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Anthony Lynn: Joe Mixon is still on the Chargers’ draft board

Getty Images

Former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is reportedly off the draft boards of at least two NFL teams, the Dolphins and Patriots, over concerns about the incident in which he punched a woman, seriously injuring her. But Mixon only needs one team to take a chance on him.

Perhaps that one team will be the Los Angeles Chargers, who brought in Mixon for a visit and say he’s still a player they’re considering.

“We just wanted to pick his brain and see where he was at football-wise because he wasn’t at the combine. He did a good job with that,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said, adding, “He’s still on the draft board. It didn’t change much. . . . We know he can play football. He’s one of the best backs in the draft. We just wanted to do our homework, that’s all.”

Mixon is a talented enough player that he’d likely be a first-round pick if not for the ugly off-field incident. The Chargers or some other team will look at the talent, and overlook the assault.

Permalink 30 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Myles Garrett will have a visit with the 49ers

Getty Images

The Browns insist they’re not trading the top pick for a quarterback. The world assumes that Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett will be the top pick, even though he’s not a quarterback.

But in case he’s not off the board, the 49ers are going to be ready.

Via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Garrett said he will visit with the 49ers, the owners of the No. 2 overall pick.

General manager John Lynch was on hand  for Garrett’s pro day workout in College Station, Texas, and seemed dutifully impressed that Garrett participated.

I thought it was impressive,” Lynch said. “Here’s this kid who really doesn’t need to show everyone much more, but yet he shows up and runs a 40. I think it just speaks to the kind of kid he is. It was impressive. It’s well-documented – I’m not saying anything ground-breaking – he’s a special athlete.

“He checks all the boxes. That’s why people are talking about him in the way they are.”

It would be a major surprise if Garrett was available when the 49ers were on the clock, but it would also be a mistake if they weren’t prepared, just in case.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

When will a coach bet on himself?

Getty Images

Jim Caldwell’s it-is-what-it-is approach to his current employment situation in Detroit serves as a reminder of a periodic hot take that often bubbles up for me whenever a good coach closes in on the completion of his contract: When will a coach treat the looming expiration of his deal as a shot at free agency?

Rarely if ever does an NFL head coach: (1) finish every game of his contract; and (2) inform the NFL, “I’m available to the highest bidder.”

When Jason Garrett’s contract expired in Dallas after a Final Eight season in 2014, he could have made the Vince-McMahon-strutting-GIF move to another city, but he truly didn’t want to leave the Cowboys. Last summer, with both coach Pete Carroll and G.M. John Schneider entering contract years, they could have individually or collectively said, “Hey, Rams! Interested?” after the 2016 season ended.

They opted instead to re-up.

For whatever reason, coaches (and General Managers) never bet on themselves in that way, choosing the sure thing over the shot in the dark. Maybe they’re conservative by nature when it comes to the knowledge that large amounts of money will continue to flow to the bank account beyond the current year. Maybe they have a hard time assessing their own potential value objectively. Maybe they fear that the jobs that become available are available not because the current coach stinks, but because the organization does.

Regardless, there’s never been a head coach who says, “I don’t want a new contract for now. I want to hit the open market next year.” Maybe Caldwell, if he takes the Lions to the playoffs again without an extension before the season ends, will hit the open market without making the declaration in advance.

And maybe the boss of the Lions will become the first NFL head coach to walk into free agency like the boss of the WWE.

Permalink 30 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Vikings signing Arena League tight end Nick Truesdell

Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings are bringing in a former Arena League player that made a significant impression during pro combine testing last weekend.

According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, the Vikings are signing tight end Nick Truesdell after an impressive showing that saw him post a 4.6-second 40-yard dash time while measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds.

Truesdell has played for six different teams in the Arena Football League and Indoor Football League with just one previous opportunity on an NFL roster. He spent a brief three-day stint with the Indianapolis Colts in 2016 before being released early in training camp. He’s also been invited in as a tryout player for rookie mini-camps with the Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers in past years.

Permalink 18 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Panthers declare themselves “pleased” with Cam Newton’s surgery

AP

At least they picked some new words.

Instead of relying on the traditional “successful surgery,” the Panthers threw a new twist on their description of the procedure on quarterback Cam Newton’s throwing shoulder this morning.

“Head team physician Dr. Pat Connor performed surgery this morning at Carolinas Medical Center to repair Cam Newton’s partially torn rotator cuff,” head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion said, via the team’s website. “Dr. Connor was pleased with the results of the surgery and Cam is at home resting. He will begin his rehab program Monday.”

So it’s still #asexpected, but with a twist.

Panthers officials and coach Rion Rivera have said throughout the hope is to have Newton back by the start of training camp, and that he’ll be involved in the “mental reps” portion of OTAs and minicamp as they try to “evolve” their offense after Newton’s worst season as a pro.

Permalink 7 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Chip Kelly on Colin Kaepernick: I don’t know why he’s not signed

Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick’s last coach isn’t sure why he hasn’t yet found his next coach.

Chip Kelly said that he can’t explain whether Kaepernick’s unemployment is related to his struggles on the field, his national anthem protest or anything else.

“There are 32 individual groups that make decisions on what is best. If you’re not part of those 32 teams, it’s very difficult to know what is going on,” Kelly told SI.com.

But Kelly did say it would be crazy if all 32 teams decline to at least give Kaepernick a backup job.

“Do I think he is one of the top 64 quarterbacks in the world? There is no question. Does he have the ability to play quarterback on a winning team in the NFL? There is no question,” Kelly said.

The question now is whether some team listens to Kelly’s advice, and signs Kaepernick.

Permalink 91 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Coaches want to talk about future changes to offseason program

Getty Images

Ever since the last collective bargaining agreement cut deeply into the amount of time coaches have with players in the offseason, coaches have been grumbling.

But now, a few of them are doing something they hope will be more productive that just yelling about kids these days and how it used to be better back in their day.

According to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com, a group of four coaches (Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, Saints coach Sean Payton and Panthers coach Ron Rivera) met with a group of league officials to discuss possible future adjustment to the work rules.

In the last CBA, offseason programs went from 14 weeks to nine, and only five of those weeks can include on-field work. Two-a-days during training camp went away, and contact during OTAs was limited. Coaches see a direct correlation to the lack of chances to develop players and declining play (while the league keeps telling us games have never been closer or better). And players are now forced to hire outside trainers to get themselves ready for seasons.

“We’ve had guys ask, How come we can’t work out with you guys?” Rivera said. “Those are the rules. We have guys that have to hire people to work them out. We can’t. So they’re spending their money on people working with them, as opposed to working with us. That’s just the way it is.”

Of course, it’s one thing for coaches and the league to talk about ways to add back to offseason programs. Getting players to go along with it will have to be collectively bargained in 2020, and that’s going to require more than just them thinking it’s a good idea.

It’s going to take trust, and after the last round of negotiations between the league and the NFLPA, that’s hardly a given.

“I understand all the politics behind it. There’s more than meets the eye, but it’s not American, it’s not common sense, it’s not right,” Harbaugh said. “The league has been great so far, the PA has been great, and I think in the next CBA it’ll get adjusted, I hope in a good way. If we can get past the bickering and the taking of sides—it’s not a poker game here, we’re not hoarding chips.

“Why don’t we just sit down and say, what’s good for everyone involved here? It’d probably take about an hour to figure the whole thing out, if everybody put agendas aside.”

It sounds so simple when he says it like that. But it’s rarely that simple, and that’s why they’re starting years in advance.

Permalink 11 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Malik Hooker declined invitation to attend the draft

Getty Images

One of the most intriguing prospects in the upcoming draft is Ohio State safety Malik Hooker. But you won’t be seeing him at the upcoming draft.

Appearing on Thursday’s PFT Live, Hooker said he’s been invited to attend the draft in Philadelphia, but that he has decided to instead watch the draft with family and friends.

A slightly more important decision for Hooker came several years ago, when he opted for football over basketball, which he could have played at a Division I level. For more from Hooker, who has been unable to work out for scouts due to a pair of offseason surgeries but who nevertheless remains a possible top-10 prospect, check out the video.

Permalink 15 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Donnie Henderson, Terry Shea among Spring League coaches

Getty Images

The Spring League, a six-game (not six weeks, six games) experiment will be launched next week in West Virginia, with a cradle-to-grave campaign that will be done in a matter of weeks, with the last game happening the day before the draft begins. The fledgling league previously has released a list of players; some of the coaches are now known.

According to the Spring League, the coaching staffs will include Donnie Henderson, Terry Shea, Steve Fairchild, and Denny Creehan. It’s unclear whether they will be the four head coaches for the teams that will be playing in the league, or whether they will simply be members of the coaching staffs that are being compiled.

Henderson, former Jets and Lions defensive coordinator who once was on the short list of potential head coaches, spent 2013 through 2016 with the Bills, as the defensive backs coach.

Shea, a former offensive coordinator of the Bears (in 2004) and quarterbacks coach with the Chiefs, Dolphins, and Rams, has not coached at the NFL or major-college level since 2008.

Fairchild, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the Rams for 2003 through 2005 and offensive coordinator of the Bills in 2006-07, was out of football in 2016 after three years at Virginia.

Training camp opens next week at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs. The games start on April 15.

Permalink 10 Comments Feed for comments Back to top