With the addition of Shonn Greene in Tennessee, Chris Johnson appears to see the writing on the wall. Mike Florio says that it is smart of Johnson to plan ahead for 2014. Also, with USC’s pro day coming up, Matt Barkley is poised to climb on draft boards, possibly over Geno Smith.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Is this the beginning of the end for CJ2K in Tennessee?
The Redskins played last Thursday night and lost to the Giants in a rout that was made all the worse by the departure of left tackle Trent Williams with a knee injury.
Any initial fears of a season-ending injury subsided on Friday, but his presence in Week Five is still anything but certain. Williams didn’t practice on Tuesday and said that his knee still needed to “calm down,” but he remains hopeful that he’ll be able to play on Monday night against the Seahawks.
“I’ll probably let it calm down a little bit,” Williams said, via CSNWashington.com. “Hopefully no setback. I’ll probably get it reevaluated before the game and hopefully — I’ll leave it up to coach — but hopefully I can be out there.”
Williams may have company when it comes to returning from a recent injury. Tight end Jordan Reed participated in individual drills on Tuesday, which marks a notable step forward in his recovery from a hamstring injury suffered in the season opener. Getting Reed back would be a plus for the offense, especially if Niles Paul can’t go because of the concussion he suffered against the Giants.
Well, at least Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has healthy receivers this year.
Offensive linemen, not so much.
The Falcons just announced a flurry of moves, which included putting two more starting offensive linemen on injured reserve.
They also placed safety William Moore (shoulder) on IR/designated for return, which will allow him to come back after eight weeks.
To fill the roster spots, the Falcons promoted guard Harland Gunn and safety Sean Baker from the practice squad, and signed former Jaguars tackle Cameron Bradfield.
That’s going to make a real hash of their offensive line, but no worse than it was Sunday, when they had to use tight end Levine Toilolo as their right tackle to finish the game when injuries collected at one spot.
Two days after Mike Tomlin bristled at being termed a “player’s coach,” during a pregame interview, he said he mostly bristles at the broad characterization it creates.
Tomlin told reporters Tuesday that he doesn’t necessarily take it as an insult, but that he’s insulted by the undertones the phrase carries.
“I refuse to be put in a box. It’s my job to be what my team needs me to be,” Tomlin said, via Scott Brown of ESPN.com. “Sometimes it’s close and cuddly and sometimes it’s not. I don’t have any problem being any of the above.
“Sometimes when they couple ‘player’s coach’ with questions about how I wear my hair or what I choose to wear on the sidelines or what type of music I listen to, then it gets kind of old and falls into that category for me. I’d like to think the manner in which I do my job, whether it’s positive or negative, has very little to do with my haircut or the clothes that I wear or the type of music I listen to, and that’s when I get annoyed with that line of questioning.”
Tomlin’s got a point, and it’s no different than the way players are characterized.
Certain players are tagged as “athletic” and “instinctive” and certain players are “lunch pail guys” or “coaches on the field.”
And too often in the lazy telling of stories, those phrases fall along strict lines that just happen to coincide with the color of the players’ skin.
To that end, we agree with Tomlin. He’s not necessarily a player’s coach, any more than Dick LeBeau is.
He’s just a good one.
Tony Sparano is set to become the Raiders’ interim head coach after the firing of Dennis Allen.
After several conflicting reports emerged over the last 12 hours about who the Raiders would go with as Allen’s replacement, Jim Trotter of ESPN reported on Tuesday that it’s Sparano, who had the title of assistant head coach and offensive line coach on Allen’s staff.
Sparano previously served as the head coach of the Dolphins from 2008 to 2011.
If the reports are correct that Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie wanted Sparano but owner Mark Davis preferred Al Saunders, that would indicate that Davis still has confidence in McKenzie’s decision-making. Which is odd, considering that most of McKenzie’s decisions as Oakland’s G.M. haven’t panned out.
The 0-4 Raiders are on their bye week, which will give Sparano some extra time to make whatever changes he deems necessary. Although Sparano will presumably get the final 12 games of the season to prove himself capable of handling the job on a permanent basis, it seems more likely that the Raiders will hire a new coach after the season ends. That coach will be the Raiders’ 10th head coach in 15 years.
When NFL Network’s Deion Sanders tried to bogart the Apple laptop with the logo blacked out by electrical tape due to the whole Microsoft thing from Ian Rapoport, some thought Sanders’ information regarding discord with the 49ers came directly from receiver Michael Crabtree.
Sanders has denied that Crabtree was the source. Crabtree took to Twitter on Tuesday to say this, via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News: “I don’t know what people are talking about with Mr Deion… But we good over here!“
Sanders insisted otherwise, citing anonymous sources to support his belief that the players want coach Jim Harbaugh to leave. The claim has been attacked in part by questioning the overall validity of any reporting based on unnamed sources, a naive strategy that overlooks the reality that the decision of a source to not attach a name to a piece of information doesn’t automatically make that information suspect. The challenge for the reporter, however, is to vet the source and the information for credibility and accuracy.
Deion doesn’t have the education (then again, neither do I), the skill (then again, neither do I), or the experience (one out of three ain’t bad) to properly evaluate information from anonymous sources. That’s the issue here, and that’s why Deion should have simply shared what he was hearing with management, so that the people paid by the league-owned to find stuff out about the league that employs them can do their jobs.
Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a sprained ankle in Sunday’s win over the Falcons, and it left him unsure whether he’ll be ready to go on Thursday night against the Packers.
“Each day I’m making progress,” Bridgewater said today. “I’m just going to keep moving, move forward and try to get ready for Thursday.”
Asked if he could put a percentage on his chances of playing, Bridgewater answered, “I cannot. We still have a long time until Thursday, so right now I’m going to continue to just rehab, do a little exercise today and see where I am the next couple days.”
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer sounded optimistic about Bridgewater’s chances, but he emphasized that it’s ultimately a medical decision about whether Bridgewater is healthy enough to go.
“He’s out here today in a walk-through. He’s fine, really. He’s good,” Zimmer said. “Just depends on when we feel he’s ready. He won’t if we feel he’s not ready.”
If Bridgewater can’t go, the Vikings will turn to Christian Ponder. Which means Vikings fans are hoping beyond hope that Bridgewater can go.
For the moment, Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie’s job seems safe.
But he’s also about to make a decision which could make him less so.
According to Scott Bair and Fallon Smith of CSNBayArea.com, the Raiders’ choice for an interim coach is down to two: Tony Sparano or Al Saunders.
Owner Mark Davis prefers Saunders, according to the report, while McKenzie prefers Sparano. But Davis is going to allow McKenzie to make the final call.
Honestly, it might not matter.
Depending on who Davis sets his sights on when it comes to a permanent coach, that person might or might not want McKenzie around. But going against your boss’s wishes at a time when your own job is own the line is going to make it an interesting call for the G.M.
The NFL opposed the effort to dump the blackout rule in part by suggesting that the removal of the ability to prevent games from being televised for free in markets where the home team had failed to sell out the stadium would lead to the NFL fleeing free TV generally. Now that the FCC has overturned the blackout rule, the NFL has renewed its commitment to audience-maximizing, three-letter network broadcasts.
“NFL teams have made significant efforts in recent years to minimize blackouts,” the league said in a statement issued after the FCC’s unanimous vote to scrap the blackout rule. “The NFL is the only sports league that televises every one of its games on free, over-the-air television. The FCC’s decision will not change that commitment for the foreseeable future.”
The term “foreseeable future” implies that maybe, at some point down the road, the NFL’s attitude toward free TV will change. For now, it won’t — in part because blackouts have become largely irrelevant.
Last year, only two of 256 regular-season games were blacked out in the home team’s market. This year, none of the first 61 games of the season have been blacked out.
The push to dump the blackout rule has come in recent years, at a time when the number of televised games consistently met or exceeded 90 percent. In prior decades, when the percentage of televised games fell as low as 41 in 1975 and hovered in the 50s and 60s in the ’80s and ’90s, there wasn’t a peep about the blackout rule.
Maybe the rise of the Internet has given fans a vehicle for pushing the issue. Maybe the ongoing effort by billionaires to squeeze millions from the public coffers has generated a backlash. Regardless, the blackout rule is dead — and its departure ultimately may not change anything.
Unless a large percentage of fans decides to quit buying tickets and to watch the games at home, knowing that the game will be on even if no one shows up.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Tate was back on the practice field Tuesday after missing the previous two games with a knee injury.
Tate, who suffered a knee injury in the opener, wore a brace on his right knee but was reportedly moving well during the portion of practice open to the media.
“That’s what we brought Tate here for, to be the starter,” running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery said last week. “He’s the No. 1 running back in this offense. Right now, you can say we miss him. We miss his experience. We miss his leadership with the group. Speaking from that standpoint, we’ll be open arms and welcome to have Ben back into the fold, so he can come out and help us win more ballgames.”
Having too many backs is a problem they’d love to have in some places (like Carolina) right now, so working Tate back into the mix shouldn’t be much of a problem.
Robert Mathis will not play at all this season after suffering a torn Achilles during a workout. But he’s still very much in the Colts’ plans.
The team announced today that it has extended Mathis’s contract for another season. He’s now under contract with the Colts through 2016.
Mathis was suspended for the first four games of this season for a violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. He would have been eligible to re-join the team at practice and in this week’s game, but he tore his Achilles tendon while working out on his own during his suspension and has been placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Although he is out for the year, Mathis is expected to spend time at the facility in team meetings and doing rehab work, and Colts coach Chuck Pagano said this week that he thinks having Mathis around will be helpful for the team. Now Mathis will help the team for two more seasons.
The Teddy Bridgewater era got off to a smashing start on Sunday and we’ll talk to one of the biggest beneficiaries of the quarterback change in Minnesota on Tuesday’s edition of PFT Live.
Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright will join Mike Florio to discuss the play of the team’s first-round pick in his first NFL start. Wright was responsible for 132 of Bridgewater’s 317 passing yards against the Falcons and we’d imagine that will lead to nothing but rave reviews for the new quarterback.
Wright had just 37 yards in the first three weeks of the season and the game was his best individual effort since joining the team as a fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft. We’ll hear what went right for Wright last Sunday and where he thinks his partnership with Bridgewater can go over the rest of the season when he visits the program.
It all gets started at noon ET and you can watch it all live by clicking right here.
The Bengals are back from their bye week and readying their preparations for Sunday’s attempt to extend their winning streak to four games against the Patriots on Sunday night.
Part of that process will involve doctors taking a look at linebacker Vontaze Burfict to see if he’s recovered enough from his most recent concussion to rejoin the team on the field. Burfict suffered concussions in each of the first two weeks of the season and missed Week Three, so he’s had some extra time to recover and coach Marvin Lewis believes the linebacker will be ready to go this week.
“I would imagine he will. Yes,” Lewis said, via FOX19 in Cincinnati.
The Bengals had no trouble polishing off the Titans without Burfict in the lineup, but the Bengals are obviously better off when he’s healthy and making plays on defense. If Burfict is cleared for practice on Wednesday, that outcome will be more likely.
The NFL wants to “Protect Football on Free TV.” The FCC did just that on Tuesday, voting unanimously to abandon the blackout rule.
“This is a historic day for sports fans,” Sports Fans Coalition chairman David Goodriend said in a release. “Since 1975, the federal government has propped up the NFL’s obnoxious practice of blacking out a game from local TV if the stadium did not sell out. Today’s FCC action makes clear: if leagues want to mistreat fans, they will have to do so without Uncle Sam’s help.”
It doesn’t mean the blackout rule has died; the NFL and broadcast networks can agree to abide by its terms. Today’s decision means only that the NFL can’t insist on network blackouts via an FCC policy that previously gave the NFL the ability to pull the plug.
Since 1975, the NFL has blocked local broadcasts of games in which the home team failed to sell all non-premium tickets at least 72 hours before kickoff.
The next step could be to pursue federal legislation that would eliminate the broadcast antitrust exemption if the NFL doesn’t abandon the blackout practice altogether. If the bill introduced last year becomes law, blackouts immediately will go the way of the dodo bird, the dropkick, and Tom Brady’s talent.
Bears defensive end Jared Allen was knocked out of the Bears lineup last week with a case of pneumonia that reportedly left him 18 pounds lighter and unable to get on the field.
Allen’s outlook for Week Five after such a serious illness isn’t clear yet, but he has resumed working out at the team’s facility. Coach Marc Trestman said it was good to see him on Monday.
“We’ll see where he is on Wednesday,” Trestman said, via CSNChicago.com. “It was good to see him in the building, good to see him in all the meetings, he got some work in the weight room. That’s encouraging.”
Trestman wouldn’t confirm the magnitude of Allen’s weight loss, but getting enough strength back to play on Sunday is far from a sure thing. The chances that he’ll recover enough to play his usual workload probably aren’t great, either, so Willie Young should see plenty of time whether or not Allen winds up getting the green light against the Panthers.
After Dr. Jerry Jones misdiagnosed Morris Claiborne’s torn patellar tendon as an ACL, we’re probably going to want to get a second opinion.
But Jones said this morning on is weekly radio show on KRLD-FM that linebacker Bruce Carter would likely miss this week’s game.
“This is one of those week-to-week [injuries],” Jones said, via Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We couldn’t get a firm yes from our trainers. It is one of those the proverbial, ‘Let’s see how he’s doing.’ These injuries, quad strains, are not long-term injuries. But you say, ‘Well, missing a game is getting pretty long term when you don’t have but 16 of them,’ but still we’ll have to see with him. If he’s moving pretty good.
“I think Carter is a good healer, and some people heal faster than others. So we’ll want to keep a close eye on him.”
Defensive end DeMarcus Ware missed three games with a quad strain last year, though it’s not clear if the extent of Carter’s injury is similar.
Carter went down like a sniper got him while chasing a Khiry Robinson run in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win over the Saints.