Corey Chavous of Draftnasty.com joins PFT to discuss the website’s latest NFL mock draft. They’re projecting the Chiefs to take LT Luke Joeckel from Texas A&M with the first overall selection, but does Joeckel’s stats and pre-draft workout results prove worthy of that spot?This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Is Joeckel a clear-cut No. 1 choice?
The Dolphins have a quick turnaround from Sunday’s win over the Browns to Thursday’s game in Cincinnati and that may force them to use Kraig Urbik as their starting center against the Bengals.
Anthony Steen started the first three games of the year, but suffered a high ankle sprain against the Browns and Gase said Monday that Steen will not be healthy enough to play this week. Steen was starting because Mike Pouncey has been out with a hip injury and Gase said, via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, “we’ll see” if he’s able to make his 2016 debut this week.
Gase also said that Pouncey will probably need to practice before he can re-enter the lineup, something that would seem to make this week a long shot because the Dolphins won’t have a full week to prepare for Cincinnati.
Gase is looking for more from the offensive line as he called pass protection a big frustration and said that right tackle Ja’Wuan James isn’t a sure bet to start this week, although further shuffling may be difficult if they’re going with a new center this week.
The Dolphins will also be without tight end Jordan Cameron, who suffered a concussion Sunday, and Gase said it was unlikely running back Arian Foster would return after missing the victory due to a groin injury.
During a press conference last week, 49ers coach Chip Kelly said that he has no problem with the way quarterback Colin Kaepernick has focused on calling attention to his feelings about instances of police misconduct and racial inequality this season.
Kelly said that Kaepernick is “shedding light on a situation that is heinous” and “shouldn’t happen in this country” while shooting down repeated suggestions that Kaepernick is a distraction in the locker room. After Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks, Kaepernick said that it meant a lot to hear that from his coach.
“I think he’s a strong man,” Kaepernick said, via the San Jose Mercury News. “I don’t know if he realizes how much that means to me and if he realizes how much that means to these people, to these communities. The fact that he was willing to take a strong stand and say these things aren’t right, and that’s huge coming from a head coach.”
Kaepernick was also asked about his visit to Castlemont High School last Friday. The players on the Castlemont team laid on their backs with their hands up during the national anthem while Kaepernick took a knee.
“I wanted to reach out and show my support for them. It takes a lot of courage to do what they did,” Kaepernick said. “Castlemont’s also in a very impoverished area where a lot of these issues are taking place. And to be with those kids — to be with those young men — and just listen to them and hear them speak about what’s going on … what they’re fighting through … what they’re dealing with on a day-to-day basis … It’s sickening to me that we allow that and we accept that as OK. It’s something that needs to change.”
There weren’t a lot of football questions for Kaepernick, although he did say he felt ready to play if Kelly decides to call his number. Kelly said after the loss that he hasn’t considered doing that, although Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett suggested it would help a team that’s lost two straight games.
For a guy who entered the NFL as a bit of a sideshow, Manti Te’o had become a very solid player for the Chargers.
But at least for this season, that’s over.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, MRIs confirmed the Chargers linebacker suffered a torn Achilles and will be out for the season.
Te’o, their 2013 second-round pick, is in the final year of his rookie contract, and will now enter the market while rehabbing a serious injury. But it also leaves yet another hole for the Chargers, who are losing not just a player but someone who had become a leader.
On Friday, the Browns lost kicker Patrick Murray to a knee injury suffered in practice. On Sunday, the Browns lost in overtime after replacement kicker Cody Parkey missed three field goals, one of which would have won the game as time expired in the fourth quarter.
That raised questions about why the Browns chose Parkey over Robbie Gould, a free agent who has a good track record of kicking well for the Bears. And according to the Miami Herald, Gould is the kicker that Browns special teams coach Chris Tabor wanted to sign — except that the front office nixed the plan, saying Gould would cost more than Parkey. Gould has played 11 NFL seasons and Parkey is in his third, which means the minimum salary to sign Gould would be about half a million dollars more than the Browns are paying Parkey.
Cap space isn’t really an issue for the Browns right now, as they lead the league with $48 million available. Still, the Browns have made no secret that their front office will take a Moneyball approach, and they may see kickers as largely interchangeable and not worth a lot of money. (The Browns also made a move at punter that saved money a few weeks ago, trading away Andy Lee and signing the less expensive Britton Colquitt.)
However, the Browns are pushing back against that report, with a team source insisting to the Akron Beacon Journal that money isn’t the reason they signed Parkey over Gould.
“Money played no role in the decision,” the Browns source said. “It’s ridiculous to think that it would.”
Whatever the reasons that Parkey is the Browns’ kicker, the fact is that he missed field goals of 42, 46 and 41 yards on Sunday. Gould’s track record suggests he probably would have made at least one of those field goals, and if any one of them had been good, the Browns would have won in regulation instead of losing in overtime.
Two more Raiders were willing to join the ranks of those willing to make their feelings known during the national anthem, with linebackers Malcolm Smith and Bruce Irvin raising their fists in a quiet salute.
But don’t look for wide receiver Michael Crabtree to be joining them, or apparently any cause.
According to Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle, Crabtree wasn’t interested in discussing it after the Raiders beat the Titans on the road.
“I just play football,” Crabtree said. “I ain’t no Martin Luther King.”
Likewise, Crabtree didn’t want to share any thoughts on his former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose sitting during the national anthem to protest police brutality and unfair treatment of minorities led to taking a knee,
“I’ve let it be known I don’t have anything to do with him,” Crabtree said. “I’m a Raider.”
That’s entirely his right, as it is the right of those who have something to say saying it. Smith said it wasn’t anything he planned but a reaction to something he saw in the crowd.
“I’ve talked about it, I’ve thought about it, but I wasn’t going to do it until I saw a little girl in the stands try to put her fist up and her mom slapped her hand down,” Smith said. “I just felt like you’ve got a voice, you should be able to use it no matter the circumstances. You’ve got a point of view, you should be able to use it.
“It’s no disrespect to the military or the police force. There’s a lot of stuff going on in this country that has been hard for people to understand. I’m all for everyone standing together as a country, first and foremost. . . . Hopefully, it’s getting a conversation started. I hope people don’t feel disrespect.”
Crabtree apparently doesn’t, and sees no need to add his voice to a growing chorus.
More than 14 months after he arrived as the NFL’s first COO since Roger Goodell was promoted from that role into a slightly bigger job, Tod Leiweke is ready to make a major impact.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Leiweke will unveil a new strategic plan for the league office during a Tuesday meeting of various NFL committees, in advance of next month’s full ownership meeting.
The goal will be to encourage more cooperation among the various NFL departments. Currently, they often operate as silos, without much coordination among them. Leiweke will propose an approach more conduct to getting and keeping everyone on the same page.
The existing approach hasn’t kept the NFL from becoming a $13 billion per year behemoth. Better business practices, however, could make the NFL even bigger and better. If Leiweke’s plan works, he’ll deserve plenty of credit for finding a way to make that happen.
The Jaguars went down 10 points to the Ravens in the first half of Sunday’s game, but found their footing in time to take a 17-16 lead with 7:27 to play in the game.
That lead didn’t stand up, however. Quarterback Blake Bortles threw two of his three interceptions in the final 4:16 and the Ravens blocked a field goal before Justin Tucker hit one of his own to provide the margin of victory in a 19-17 win. Bortles pointed the finger at himself for the team’s failure to secure their first win of the year.
“We had unbelievable field position and continued to tremendously underachieve as an offense,” Bortles said, via the team’s website. “That’s nobody’s fault outside of mine, I believe. …Guys are tired of being bad. Guys are tired of losing. I thought the defense and special teams played plenty well enough to win, but we didn’t offensively and I didn’t as a quarterback.”
Bortles had a poor game in Week Two against the Chargers as well and his play is down across the board from where it was during the 2015 season. That wasn’t the expectation heading into the season and the team’s failure to take a step forward in the first weeks of this season will turn up the heat on coach Gus Bradley and several others if they drop to 0-4 in London against the Colts next weekend.
The Steelers got steamrolled by the Eagles on Sunday in a 34-3 loss and there weren’t any shortage of places to look for reasons why things went so wrong.
The defense gave up 426 yards and generated no sacks or turnovers. The run game produced 29 yards on 10 carries and Ben Roethlisberger turned the ball over twice while being sacked four times by an impressive Eagles defense. There were dropped passes, a slew of injuries and enough other things for Roethlisberger to come up with an easy answer to why the Steelers suffered their worst loss since 1989.
“We stunk,” Roethlisberger said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We all stunk.”
The fact that the failures were so widespread on Sunday should give the Steelers plenty to work on this week as they prepare to host the Chiefs next Sunday night. They’ll get running back Le’Veon Bell back from suspension for that game, which they hope will show Sunday’s performance was an outlier and not a sign of how things will play out over the rest of the season.
Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen should get sick during a game more often.
On Sunday, Griffen temporarily exited the eventual win over the Panthers, was listed as questionable to return with an illness, and notched three total sacks.
“I was sick, but I fight for my team,” Griffin said, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I love this game. I love the way we work. . . . We’re 3-0 and we got to keep it going, man. Winning is a lot of fun.”
Tight end Kyle Rudolph told PFT Live on Monday that Griffen fell victim to a combination of “bad food” and heat.
“I don’t know . . . what medicine they gave him, but they need to give me some because he came back and he was a monster,” cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said.
Rudolph said that Griffen was upset that he didn’t get a fourth sack on Carolina’s final offensive snap of the game, which resulted in Panthers quarterback Cam Newton throwing the ball up for grabs.
Even without the fourth sack of the game, Griffen has 4.0 sacks for the year, which puts him on pace for 21.33 — more than nine more than his career high of 12.0.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton appears to have dodged any problem with his ankle.
A league source tells PFT that Newton’s ankle feels good this morning after concern following yesterday’s loss to the Vikings that he might have suffered an injury that could cause him to miss time.
The Vikings sacked Newton eight times on Sunday, the second-most he’s ever been sacked in his career, and he was hit hard on other plays as well. He suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter that caused him to leave the game for one play, but he said afterward that the injury wasn’t the reason he had a rough outing against the Vikings.
Newton should be fine for Sunday at Atlanta.
Last week in the NFL, no one faced more criticism than Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Bills coach Rex Ryan. But this is the NFL, where every time you think you know something you find out you’re wrong, and so Rodgers and Ryan had two of the most impressive performances in the league on Sunday.
Rodgers was scrutinized heavily not just for his performance in last week’s loss to the Vikings — anyone can have a bad game — but because he had been struggling for a full year. Rodgers went a full 16 games looking nothing at all like Aaron Rodgers, and there were legitimate concerns that he had become nothing more than an ordinary quarterback.
Here’s a tweet of my own from last week, which reflected a common sentiment about how Rodgers was struggling:
Last 16 games: Aaron Rodgers: 3,709 yards, 57.3%, 6.2 yards per pass Josh McCown: 3,854 yards, 59.2%, 7.1 yards per pass—
Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) September 21, 2016
So what did Rodgers do on Sunday? Just completed 15 of 24 passes for 205 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions, in a win over the Lions. Rodgers’ passer rating on the day was 129.3, his highest in a game since Week Three of last year.
Ryan, meanwhile, was getting even more withering criticism than Rodgers. After the Bills’ ugly loss to the Jets dropped them to 0-2 on the season, Ryan fired his offensive coordinator Greg Roman in a move widely seen as an attempt to find a scapegoat for Ryan’s own struggles. If the Bills kept losing, everyone said, Ryan would be gone before the season was over.
So what did Ryan do on Sunday? Just prepare a game plan that saw his defense absolutely dominate the Cardinals: The Bills intercepted Carson Palmer four times, sacked him five times and forced him to fumble twice. Buffalo won 33-18 in a game that was never close.
“We know what everybody thought of our football team and we knew we were a better football team than that. We showed up today,” Ryan said after the game. “I don’t know if anybody needed a win worse than we did.”
There are still big questions facing the Bills, and with a trip to New England next week they could easily be 1-3. But Ryan earned himself some breathing room by having his players ready to play against the Cardinals, in a big way.
Rodgers and Ryan stood out, but here were some more statements from Sunday:
The Vikings’ defense made a statement that it’s going to make Minnesota a contender, no matter what happens on offense. The Vikings have already lost starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, starting running back Adrian Peterson and starting left tackle Matt Kalil, but Minnesota’s defense is dominant. The Vikings sacked Cam Newton eight times (including three by Everson Griffen), intercepted him three times and completely took over the game, beating the Panthers 22-10 despite getting just 171 passing yards from Sam Bradford and 58 rushing yards from Peterson’s replacements.
The Broncos’ entire team. Could this year’s Denver team actually be better than last year’s Super Bowl winner? It’s too soon to say that, but the Broncos are 3-0 after an outstanding effort against the Bengals on Sunday. The Broncos’ defense played well, but we knew the Broncos’ defense was good. The key is that quarterback Trevor Siemian was excellent, with four touchdown passes and no interceptions, and receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas both went over 100 yards. The Broncos’ offense may just be better this year than it was with the ancient Peyton Manning running the show last year.
Terrelle Pryor. Yes, the Browns lost. Yes, the Browns are terrible. But how can you not love what Pryor did? The former Ohio State quarterback turned NFL disappointment turned receiver reclamation project caught eight passes for 141 yards, ran four times for 21 yards and a touchdown, and even took snaps at quarterback and completed three of five passes for 35 yards. Pryor is the first player to have at least 120 receiving yards, 30 passing yards and 20 rushing yards in a game since Frank Gifford did it in 1959. No player in NFL history had ever completed three passes and gained 100 receiving yards in a game until Pryor did it yesterday. He’s a special talent.
Jimmy Graham. When Graham tore his patellar tendon last season, there were people who doubted he’d ever be the same kind of player he once was: A patellar tendon injury is a notoriously difficult injury to recover from. But Graham is back and playing great football, with six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s blowout win over the 49ers.
Sebastian Janikowski. With his 52-yard field goal in the Raiders’ win over the Titans, the 38-year-old Janikowski has 53 field goals of 50 yards or longer in his career, passing Jason Hanson for the most 50-yard field goals in NFL history.
DeSean Jackson. With his 44-yard touchdown in Sunday’s comeback win over the Giants, Jackson now has 29 career touchdowns of 40 or more yards, the most among active players and the 10th most in NFL history. Jackson is an incredible playmaker.
Carson Wentz. Can you believe the Eagles’ rookie quarterback was playing at North Dakota State last year? He looks like a 10-year veteran. He absolutely carved up the Steelers in yesterday’s 34-3 beatdown, and he’s the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to throw 100 passes without an interception. Wentz is the rookie of the year favorite, but he’s more than that. Through three games, he’s an MVP candidate.
Bills coach Rex Ryan said last week that the Cardinals might be exactly the team that the Bills needed to face after two losses to open the season and it certainly looked that way during a 33-18 victory on Sunday afternoon.
That moves the Bills to 1-2 ahead of their Week Four trip to New England to face a 3-0 Patriots team that will be playing its final game without Tom Brady. Who will be playing quarterback is an uncertain matter thanks to injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, but Ryan said that the plan will be the same regardless of who gets the nod.
“I can sit back and say I don’t care who plays quarterback, because [Tom] Brady ain’t,” Ryan said, via CSNNE.com. “I don’t care who plays quarterback. Steve Grogan can play quarterback. If [Bill] Belichick’s playing quarterback, we’re coming after him, I promise you that.”
Belichick didn’t offer any hints about who would be at quarterback during a Sunday conference call, although it’s probably a good bet that neither he nor Grogan will be wearing Grogan’s old neck roll when the Bills roll into town.
Whether that quarterback leads the Pats to a win or not, they’ll be in first place in the AFC East when Brady comes back to work. The Bills’ ability to pressure that quarterback will go a long way toward determining how far behind they are heading into Week Five.
The Bengals held a 17-16 lead over the Broncos early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s home game, but things would not go their way for the rest of the afternoon.
Trevor Siemian threw two touchdown passes sandwiched around a Bengals three and out and Andy Dalton was intercepted one play after the second touchdown to seal the Bengals’ fate as losers for the second straight week. That’s certainly not the way that the Bengals want things to play out, but it’s not enough to have cornerback Adam Jones questioning the team’s chances.
“Why would we hit the panic button? Vontaze [Burfict] is coming back. Our team is a good team,” Jones said, via ESPN.com. “We let two of them slip away. [Tyler] Eifert is on the way back. … First quarter of the season. Let’s get out of the first quarter .500. That’s the goal.”
Burfict will be back this week after serving a three-game suspension and Eifert was back at practice last week as he continues on the road back from ankle surgery. Both should help, but the Bengals need more than Burfict to juice a quiet pass rush and Eifert alone may not be enough to put an end to the offense’s inconsistency.
Neither of those things is a reason to panic for a team that’s made the playoffs five years in a row and the question of worries may disappear completely with a win over the Dolphins on Thursday.
A positive report card for the Patriots.
How much did play calling contribute to the Jets’ red zone failures?
The Ravens haven’t been perfect, but they are 3-0 all the same.
Third down penalties took a toll on the Bengals.
A look at how the many rookies of the Browns fared against the Dolphins.
The Steelers running game ground to a halt on Sunday.
The Texans get back to work on Monday.
If coffee is for closers, the Chargers will be drinking tea this week.
The Eagles defense turned in another excellent performance.
A bye week will be welcomed by a banged-up Packers defense.
Can the Falcons pass rush get going on Monday night?
The Saints are looking for their first win of the season on Monday night.
The Cardinals may be in the market for a new long snapper.
49ers coach Chip Kelly said that Sunday’s loss wasn’t a defining moment for the team.
The Seahawks offensive line wasn’t hearing the same criticisms after Sunday’s win.
The Buccaneers had plenty of time to think about how they were going to handle their two-minute drill.
But they apparently wasted the 69-minute lightning delay, as well as precious seconds of yesterday’s loss to the Rams.
When the Bucs took over after the delay, they had the ball at their own 44, but quickly drove to the Rams’ 27 with 49 seconds left. But then a short pass to running back Charles Sims gained 12 yards, but he didn’t get out of bounds and coach Dirk Koetter didn’t call the first of the two timeouts he had left.
“Yeah, there was an opportunity [to call timeout],” Koetter said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “I got a lot of confidence in our two-minute [drill], and I sometimes push the envelope on that, on getting to the next play. I thought we were slow getting lined up on that next one. I thought we still had time to check it down again and use it. But as it worked out, we were a little slow, so I probably should’ve used [the timeout] there.”
Instead, another 23 seconds rolled off the clock, which could have been at least two more plays. The game ended with an awkward Jameis Winston scramble and pump-fake, even though he was past the line of scrimmage and couldn’t throw.
“I was just trying to bait them and get closer to the end zone,” Winston said. “In that moment, I’ve just got to give somebody a chance in the end zone. That was just dumb on my part.”
Of course, his coach still has one of those timeouts in his pocket, in case they want to pause today to decide how best to give themselves a chance next time.