Mike Florio gives the Carolina Panthers their offseason to-do list. Mike believes the Panthers must dump running back, Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams. Florio also says that adding some talent at wide receiver is a high priority as well.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Should Panthers start over at RB?
Twice this season, Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree has been penalized for a throat slash gesture.
But Crabtree says it’s not a throat slash at all, and hopes to convince officials of this soon.
Via Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group, Crabtree said the celebration was intended with no malice, which he hopes to explain to refs before games start.
“Just talk to the ref before the game or something. I ain’t going to make a big deal about it,” Crabtree said. “It’s a misunderstanding. It’s cool. They aren’t perfect, now. I feel like they thought I was going to do it and they were ready, but I never did the throat slash.
“I’m sure they’ll look at that and if I get in the end zone and celebrate, I won’t get that flag.”
In Jacksonville last week, Crabtree’s touchdown celebration included moving his right hand toward his left shoulder, but he never drew it across his neck, the menacing gesture which the league has tried to stamp out (while giving one-game suspensions to domestic abusers).
After the first such incident (after a two-point conversion in New Orleans), Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said it was borrowed from the Kenny Powers character in “Eastbound and Down.”
With a little luck, Crabtree will someday be introduced to the song “Real American,” and make the tribute complete.
The Falcons started 4-1 this season before losing close games to the Seahawks and Chargers the last two week to drop closer to .500 on the season.
The losses also may have left some people wondering if this is the start of a replay from last season. The Falcons were 6-1 to open the 2015 season, but then lost their next six games to play themselves out of playoff contention.
That string started with a pair of losses in close games, but coach Dan Quinn says this year’s team isn’t the same as the one that folded after a strong start.
“We talked a lot about that in the offseason and our team is so different from our 2015 to our 2016 team,” Quinn said, via the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “We are equipped. We know the adversity that comes. We are a resilient group. I can’t emphasize enough how different the club is from last year to this year [with] our mindset and the way that we attack.”
The offense fell apart under a slew of turnovers last season, something that has not been a major issue this season. The Falcons have looked more versatile on offense as well and there’s more pass rush on defense, although a home loss to the Packers this weekend probably won’t do much to eliminate any creeping deja vu in Atlanta.
The easy part for the Giants was cutting Josh Brown (at least once they realized how badly they bungled it the first time). And the easy thing for fans to do is castigate Brown, because the domestic abuse he admitted to was reprehensible.
But one of the guys who had to work with Brown on a daily basis wanted to remind people that there’s a human side of the transaction as well, one which is much harder to deal with.
Via Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News, Giants running back Rashad Jennings said he felt “remorse” for the Brown family, both his former co-worker and his then-wife and children.
“That’s a tough situation,” Jennings said. “You have remorse for his family, him, his wife, his kids, everybody that’s involved, that’s really going to suffer more than the team will, more than the NFL will. You really have remorse for the effects of it. . . .
“I don’t have all the details. Either way, I do know 100 percent, domestic violence is nothing that in no way, shape or form that I support, it’s nothing that the New York Giants support.”
It was apparently something the Giants were able to tolerate for a few months, at least between the time they re-signed Brown as a free agent, through his ridiculous one-game suspension from the league and until the lurid details of the abuse came out last week, when it became impossible to keep him.
And now, those impacted by the move have had their painful pasts aired out for national consumption, and Brown’s ability to support his family as a football player are likely gone forever. And while it’s reasonable to think he should be punished, Jennings just offered a reminder of the unintended consequences, which can impact those involved for years to come.
It’s been quite a while since that trade went down, which has left everyone with plenty of time to get used to their new homes and new teammates. That’s not stopping Saints quarterback Drew Brees from sharing his feeling that it is “gonna be weird” to be in a game with Graham without being on the same side.
“Obviously a lot of good years here with Jimmy. Hated to see him go,” Brees said, via ESPN.com. “We were close, and he’s close with a lot of guys. And we all love Jimmy. So we understand that things like that happen in this league. And I’m sure he’s gonna be pretty amped up to be back. But I know our fan base loves him, they love what he did for New Orleans and did for our team. So there’s a lot of love there.”
Unger has been a good addition for the Saints as he’s provided a foundation piece on the offensive line over the last two seasons. Graham has been a more productive receiver in Seattle since returning from last year’s torn patellar tendon, which leaves this as a trade that has worked out well for both teams as they head toward their Week Eight clash.
The Dolphins have given running back Jay Ajayi 53 carries over the last two games and he would set a new NFL record for carries if he were to average that kind of workload over an entire season.
Miami has been reaping great rewards from that workload. Behind a healthy offensive line, Ajayi has run with the kind of power that made him appealing to the Dolphins in the first place and has put up 418 yards and three touchdowns in a pair of victories that have brightened the outlook for the season in South Florida.
Things would get even brighter if Ajayi can continue slicing through opposing defenses, but coach Adam Gase said the team is cognizant of not pushing Ajayi too far in pursuit of those kinds of results. Gase said Ajayi needs to be honest about how he’s feeling and that the Dolphins are “going to have to be smart about it if we’re going to be giving him that many carries.”
“When you run the style that he’s running right now, where it’s physical – he’s taking on a lot of hits, but he’s breaking a lot of tackles – over time that’s going to take a little bit of a toll, so we just have to make sure we monitor [him] throughout the game,” Gase said, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
With Arian Foster retiring this week, the Dolphins will look to Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake as complements to Ajayi in the backfield. Having one or both find a role would help limit some of the wear and tear on Ajayi, but it is never advisable to go away from what’s working so the Dolphins figure to continue riding Ajayi until the results tell them it’s time to try something else.
Wentz hasn’t been the only impressive rookie quarterback in the NFC East, of course. There’s also Dak Prescott of the Cowboys, who will be on the other side of the field from Wentz in Dallas this weekend. It’s the first meeting between the two quarterbacks and it led to a question for Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews about whether this could be the replacement for the last great quarterback rivalry in the league.
“Peyton [Manning] and [Tom] Brady, that’s an extremely high honor to be mentioned with those guys,” Matthews said, via ESPN.com. “I have spoken highly of Carson and know that he could be named with those guys just with more years of playing. And I have a high respect for Dak, too. … You’re talking about a guy who is a poised quarterback, he knows what it means to be a leader, he knows what it means to be game-planned for. And I feel like Carson is the same way. The thing I love about Carson is he has that same ability but he also has a chip on his shoulder. So you’re talking about two guys that could potentially be like a Brady and Peyton rivalry. The only difference is, you’re going to get this two times a year, and possibly playoffs.”
Going from the first two months of a career to anything approaching Manning-Brady proportions is obviously a pretty big stretch, but it would make for a lot of happy people in both Dallas and Philadelphia because it would mean there’s no reason to look for a quarterback for the next decade or so.
The Dolphins are continuing to help victims of Hurricane Matthew.
Some think the Jets are just like the Cubs, without the lovable part.
The Browns haven’t always made good football, but they have created art.
Texans G.M. Rick Smith says he’s seen “flashes” from their offense.
The Jaguars hope to take advantage of a depleted Titans secondary.
Friends remembered Jason Coy as a family man and a Broncos fan after his death from a stadium fall.
The Raiders remain focused on their football, despite their week away in Florida.
The Chargers are creating some believers.
The Giants think their defense can be scary (and that has nothing to do with dressing up like a creepy clown).
The Bears are still working on that whole RB-by-committee thing.
The Lions got some key parts back to practice.
Not everyone thought the Vikings’ rotating tackles were a good idea.
The Buccaneers are finally getting healthy up front.
The Cardinals are running low on WRs (fortunately the Panthers aren’t deep in CBs).
The Rams hope the offensive line can get better in the run game.
The 49ers have a week to search for answers (can they find a stable, cohesive organization in that time?)
The Bills have gotten off to a decent start this year, even without their most expensive player.
But whether the results change or not, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus vows to his maker to be on the field, finally.
“Oh my god. I’m playing Sunday, man,” Dareus said, via Nick Veronica of the Buffalo News. “I can’t wait. I’m ready to enjoy myself. Just happy to be out there with the guys. Running around, feeling good. We’re ready to go pull it off, man, we’re going to make it happen.”
Dareus missed the first four games because of his suspension, and the last three because of a hamstring injury. But he said he didn’t feel like he began his comeback out of shape.
“I did whatever the team needed me to do,” Dareus said. “Whatever our trainers requested of me, whatever our strength coaches felt was best, stuck to a strict plan and hopefully this time it works because I don’t need any more minor setbacks. I’m ready to play, man. Sitting on the bench isn’t even fun.”
Nor for the Bills, who committed a lot of money for him to not contribute this season.
At a time when Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is complaining about the rule that allows defensive players to leap over the long snapper on field-goal attempts as long as the leaper doesn’t land on the snapper, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has a more pragmatic suggestion for Arians.
Stop making it so easy to know the right time to leap.
“They have a predictable cadence and it’ll happen to them again if they keep doing it the same way,” Sherman told reporters on Wednesday, during a weekly press conference that featured Sherman in Harry Porter garb.
But what about Arians’ view that the rule allowing leaping as long as there’s no landing on the snapper is bad for football?
“It’s bad for his team,” Sherman said. “If he means bad for his team, it’s bad for football, I can see that. . . . So are pick routes and they run pick routes. Pick routes are bad for football. Throwing the ball to a receiver while your linemen are 10 yards down the field is bad for football but they do it. There are a lot of plays that are bad for football that I’m sure he has yet to acknowledge.”
Arians nevertheless has a point. If the prohibition on landing on the snapper flows from safety-related concerns, it would seem that leaping without landing on the snapper also would be barred given the possibility of landing on the snapper and injuring him. Still, plenty of NFL rules don’t make a lot of sense; teams tend to complain publicly only about the rules that they have yet to find a way to use to their advantage — and/or that others are using to their disadvantage.
Since the Rams don’t play anyone this weekend, there’s no one for starting quarterback Case Keenum to get ready for.
So they’re giving No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff some work with the ones this week, to help accelerate his education, and he said he feels more prepared than ever.
“I feel tremendously more comfortable than I’ve ever felt,” Goff said, via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times. “I feel confident that if my number’s called, I’ll be ready to go. Just waiting for that time.”
That time’s not coming just yet, however.
Coach Jeff Fisher said he’s sticking with Keenum, even though they’ve lost three in a row to dip to 3-4, with the last one including four Keenum picks. And while other rookies are playing (and flourishing elsewhere), Goff’s also smooth enough to not start complaining about his timeline now.
“It’s part of the process part of what’s going on,” he said. “I’m not going to sit here and complain or gripe.
“I’m going to support Case and continue to get ready and be ready and continue to be confident in myself and be ready when the time comes.”
Whenever that time may be.
Steelers receiver Eli Rogers has emerged from a little-known undrafted rookie who spent last year on injured reserve to a starter this year. So when Rogers didn’t play at all on Sunday against the Patriots, it raised eyebrows.
The Steelers haven’t explained why Rogers didn’t play, but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Rogers was being disciplined by coach Mike Tomlin.
There’s no word on what Rogers did to draw Tomlin’s ire, but Tomlin has a history of benching players for not working hard enough in practice or getting in trouble off the field. Even important starters like Santonio Holmes and Rashard Mendenhall have been benched by Tomlin. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said in a radio interview that Rogers needs to “stay focused,” suggesting that poor work habits may have been the reason for Tomlin’s decision.
Pittsburgh could have used Rogers on Sunday, as receiver Markus Wheaton missed the game with a shoulder injury, receiver Sammie Coates has been limited by a hand injury and receiver Antonio Brown suffered an injury late in the game. But Tomlin had made his decision, and Rogers was planted firmly on the bench.
Raiders owner Mark Davis seems intent on moving his NFL team to Las Vegas. But despite a deal to secure public financing for a new stadium in Sin City, Davis may be running into a sizable road block that could scuttle chances of bringing the Raiders to town.
According to Ari Rabinovitch of Reuters, casino owner Sheldon Adelson said he’s willing to walk away from the commitment to the Raiders unless he’s able to secure better terms on a deal with the franchise.
“They want so much,” Adelson said. “So I told my people, ‘Tell them I could live with the deal, I could live without the deal. Here’s the way it’s gonna go down. If they don’t want it, bye-bye.”
Adelson has played a significant role in getting legislation passed to raise $750 million in public money for the construction of a new stadium in Las Vegas. Additionally, he’s pledged $650 million of his own funds to the project.
Davis has spoken glowingly about Las Vegas. He’s referred to the city as the “new home for the entire Raider Nation” and lamented Oakland’s inability to provide a successor venue to the Oakland Coliseum. However, the path to southern Nevada may not be as free and clear as he once hoped.
For the first time in five seasons as quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson did not fully participate in a regular season practice.
Wilson was listed as a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice due to knee and right pectoral injuries.
The knee injury isn’t anything new. It’s the same injury Wilson sustained in a Week 3 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Neither the knee issue or a high-ankle sprain suffered in the regular season opener against Miami forced Wilson to miss any practice time.
However, the pectoral injury is a new issue for Wilson. Wilson may have suffered the injury while being sacked by Chandler Jones of the Arizona Cardinals in Sunday night’s 6-6 tie. Chandler slammed down on Wilson’s right arm as Wilson attempted to throw a pass early in the fourth quarter. Jones forced a fumble on the play and Wilson was shown moving his throwing arm around after the play.
Seattle signed former Vikings quarterback Joel Stave to their practice squad on Wednesday to allow Wilson’s workload to be reduced.
Wilson never missed a play against the Cardinals and likely isn’t in any danger of being unable to play Sunday in New Orleans.
I personally like Thursday Night Football, because I prefer watching one and only one football game at a time. Plenty of people don’t, especially since the every-week nature of it now involves forgettable matchups like this week’s Jaguars-Titans barnburner.
So that’s the inspiration for Thursday’s question of the day on PFT Live: How often do you want the NFL to stage Thursday games?
For a long time, the only Thursday football came on Thanksgiving with maybe one other special occasion elsewhere in the season. (At one point, the NFL avoided playing a Sunday night game against the World Series, moving that week’s game moving to Thursday night.) Now, nearly every week has a Thursday night game, with every team in the NFL at one point every season playing on a Sunday and then only four days later on a Thursday.
Is that what you, the fan, wants? The NFL assumes you do, under the theory that if one aspirin is good, the whole bottle is better.
But is it? Cast your ballots, drop a comment, and enjoy Thursday’s battle for the basement of the AFC South.
Before that, tune in for PFT Live, which features visits from former Eagles great Brian Westbrook and PFT’s Darin Gantt.
I’ve been working my way through Jeff Pearlman’s excellent Brett Favre bio, hoping to experience it one page at a time without picking up any of the entertaining nuggets lurking in the latter pages. But I couldn’t avoid learning about one specific anecdote regarding the first time Favre met Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay’s first-round pick in 2005.
According to the book, Rodgers said this to Favre the first time they ever met: “Good morning, Grandpa.”
On Wednesday, Rodgers denied the claim.
“I’ll just say this: The first time I met Brett was on the practice field, and I could barely get a sentence out of, ‘Hello, my name is Aaron,'” Rodgers said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “Did I call him ‘Grandpa’ at any time during the three years together? Probably. But it’s in the same joking way that my man Brett Hundley called me ‘Grandpa’ three weeks ago on the field when we were doing a competitive drill.
“The story that was out there that I saw is completely 100 percent false, and I would dare anybody to test my memory on that. You guys know how my memory works. The end.”
It’s hardly the end, given some of the other stories told in Pearlman’s book. For example, Pearlman writes that, as a rookie, Rodgers bragged that he got a 35 on the Wonderlic test.
“Brett, what did you get?” Rodgers eventually asked Favre during a quarterbacks meeting.
“I have no idea,” Favre said.
“I do,” Rodgers replied. “I looked it up. You got a 22.”
After Rodgers left the room, Favre said to position coach Darrell Bevell and quarterback Craig Nall, “F–king Wonderlic score. Do you believe that sh-t? I run circles around his ass.”
At one point, receiver Donald Driver pulled Rodgers aside and said, “Aaron, we get it. You’re smart. Now shut the f–k up.”
We’ll see whether he does in response to the other contentions contained in the book.