In the latest edition of PFT Live, Mike Florio breaks down trending topics around the NFL such as when we will see the elite crop of young players hold out, the NFL facing potential legislation eliminating blackouts from stadiums funded by taxpayers and Dan Snyder refusing to change the Redskins’ name.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Several holdouts on the horizon?
The Panthers activated Leonard Johnson from the non-football injury list on Friday, putting him on track to make his 2016 debut after recovering from a torn Achilles.
It’s unclear who will be joining him at cornerback against the Cardinals. The Panthers have listed James Bradberry, Robert McClain and Daryl Worley as questionable to play. Bradberry has missed the last two games with a toe injury, but practiced this week and coach Ron Rivera said he saw more reps on Friday.
That makes four straight games on the sideline for Butler and it will be the same situation for left tackle Michael Oher, who has been ruled out again with a concussion. Mike Remmers will remain on that side while Daryl Williams fills his customary spot at right tackle.
Mangold has not practiced this week due to an ankle injury. Bowles told reporters Thursday “it [didn’t] look good” for Mangold’s chances of playing Sunday.
Mangold has only missed four games in his 11-year career. The Jets list Wesley Johnson as their backup center on their unofficial depth chart.
Skrine has a knee injury. Seferian-Jenkins is battling an ankle injury.
Bowles had already ruled out rookie linebacker Darron Lee, right tackle Brent Qvalue and linebacker Bruce Carter. After missing last week’s game, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson will be listed as questionable, as will offensive tackle Ryan Clady.
The Falcons have enjoyed good play from running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman this season, but they’ll need to come up with a different approach out of the backfield against the Packers this weekend.
Coleman has been ruled out due to the hamstring injury that’s kept him from practicing this week. His absence has left things pointed in that direction for several days and the Falcons have added Stevan Ridley and Terron Ward to the roster to go with Freeman this weekend.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn also said that defensive end Dwight Freeney is going to be a game-time decision due to the quad injury that kept him from practicing on Wednesday and Thursday this week. Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports that Freeney was on the field with his helmet at the end of practice after being absent during the earlier portion of the workout that was open to the media.
The NFL has shown its personal conduct policy has teeth, suspending a convicted assaulter six games.
Of course, the assaulter is a former Rams and Patriots practice-squader who hasn’t been employed in the league since the Rams cut him in June.
According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, the league suspended free agent wide receiver J.J. Worton for six games effective Oct. 10, which would make him eligible to return on Nov. 22.
Of course, to do so, someone would have to be interested in the former Central Florida wideout.
Worton received probation after being convicted of three assault and battery charges. He was accused of touching two women indecently at a bar and then punching a man who confronted him about it.
The Patriots cut him shortly after the arrest, though the Rams brought him back to camp this offseason.
The Bengals won’t have any game-time decisions to make before their game against the Redskins kicks off on Sunday.
The biggest injury concern on the roster this week has been left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who suffered a concussion against the Browns last Sunday and opened the week in the concussion protocol. Whitworth steadily progressed in his practice participation as the days passed, however, and got in a full session on Friday.
Whitworth doesn’t have an injury designation for the game, which means he’s on track to play. Whitworth has plenty of company in that regard.
Every player on the Bengals’ 53-man roster was a full participant on Friday and no one has been listed as questionable, doubtful or out for the game. That’s unusual for this point in the season and the good health is something the Bengals surely hope will help them move to 4-4 heading into their bye week.
Last week, the Bills allowed running back LeSean McCoy to play through a hamstring injury. That turned out to be a bad idea, as McCoy aggravated the injury during the loss to the Dolphins.
This week, the Bills will have McCoy rest his hamstring.
McCoy is officially listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Players who are listed as doubtful almost never end up playing, and it seems extremely unlikely that the Bills would risk yet another setback to one of their most important players.
In McCoy’s absence, the Bills will give Mike Gillislee plenty of carries. Gillislee has looked good in limited action this year, averaging 6.2 yards a carry.
The Eagles are smack dab in the middle of a three-game stretch against opponents with extra time to prepare to face them. And their head coach isn’t griping about it.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Doug Pederson told reporters on Friday regarding the prospect of playing the Vikings, Cowboys, and Giants after their bye weeks. “You know, I don’t make the schedule.”
Those who did make the schedule have added an extra layer of difficulty for the Eagles.
Then again, they beat the Vikings, whose 5-0 momentum may have been disrupted by the emerging from the bye a week ago. The Eagles, who had their break after three straight wins to start the season, may have lost a little of their sparkle, too.
“I would rather have continued to play 3-0 and not have a bye, either, so it kind of works the other way for us,” Pederson said. “But it is what it is at this point, and we just got to handle them one game at a time. For us, it’s about just maintaining the momentum and just keep building off of last week and keep playing and fighting. You know, it’s challenging because, again, three of these teams are coming off their break. But we don’t put a lot of emphasis in that.”
It’s the right approach. There’s nothing the Eagles can do other than get ready for each game, hopeful that the same disruption to their three-game streak and the Vikings’ five-game streak will apply to the Cowboys’ five-game streak and, next weekend, the Giants’ two-game streak.
At a time when the NFL’s trying to figure out why fewer households are watching their product, the White House pointed out one of the problems — the product may not be as good as it has been.
President Barack Obama did an interview on SiriusXM Shade 45’s “Sway in the Morning” show, and when asked for a Super Bowl pick, underscored something others have noticed.
“At this point, you’d have to put your money on [Tom] Brady again,” Obama said of the Patriots quarterback, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “I don’t see any real strong teams. Seattle and Patriots have a rematch [from the 2014 season]. That’s my call.”
Of course, when the Patriots won that Super Bowl, Brady skipped a chance to visit Obama at the White House.
It will be interesting to see if Brady makes the next trip in case Obama’s prediction is correct, particularly if his “good friend” doesn’t win the upcoming election.
Browns Coach Hue Jackson had hinted at it throughout the week, and Friday he made it official that Josh McCown will be the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game vs. the Jets.
McCown started in Week Two vs. the Ravens. He suffered a broken left collarbone in that game.
He’s been practicing the last two weeks but hasn’t been cleared to play until now. Six different players have taken snaps at quarterback for the Browns in their seven games.
Rookie Cody Kessler, who suffered a concussion last week, has not been cleared for this week. Rookie Kevin Hogan, who saw his first game action last week, will be the No. 2 quarterback this week. Rookie Joe Callahan, just claimed via waivers on Monday, will likely be a gameday inactive.
Callahan should get himself ready, though. The Browns don’t have a bye until Week 13.
McCown started eight games last season for the Browns and put up some big numbers. He entered this season as the No. 2 quarterback behind Robert Griffin III, who suffered a shoulder injury in the season opener and remains on the team’s injured-reserve list.
McCown, 37, is in his 14th NFL season. He’s started 58 career games and played in 78.
Little is clear about the 2016 NFL season, including the reason(s) for the dramatic drop in TV viewership.
Asked by Gary Myers on WFAN’s Chalk Talk if the league has reached any conclusions regarding the reduction in ratings, Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “No, and I don’t think anybody can do that.”
Goodell added, after Myers rattled off various possible explanations for the decline (election year, quality of games, fans fed up with off-field misconduct, too many penalties, and the national anthem protests), “We don’t dismiss any theory, if you want to call it that.”
That’s a stake contrast from nine days ago, when Goodell insisted that the anthem protests are not impacting ratings.
The Commissioner then added another potential explanation for the phenomenon: “The media landscape is going through some very fundamental changes.”
Goodell generally attributed the drop to a “confluence of events,” and he reiterated that “we don’t dismiss any of them.”
He also focused on the positive; at a time when prime-time ratings have dropped by 36 percent over the last several years, the NFL’s ratings are up by 27 percent.
“It’s not always a straight line,” Goodell said. “You know there are bumps. . . . What we want to do is figure out how to engage our fans in the platforms they want to engage on and how do we engage them longer.”
Before doing that, it makes sense to come up with a reliable assessment of the factors. From polling to focus groups to surveys to any of the other ways of obtaining feedback as to why viewing habits have dramatically changed, the NFL has the resources and the incentives to get the answers.
The biggest problem for the league is that, if the anthem protests are a factor, there’s nothing the NFL can do about it — and any acknowledgement of the connection would underscore the power the players have. Which possibly would invite them to find more ways to wield their power.
There’s some good news and some bad news on the Redskins’ final injury report for Sunday’s game against the Bengals.
Tight end Jordan Reed and cornerback Josh Norman both said, via John Keim of ESPN.com, that they expect to be in the lineup in London this weekend. Reed and Norman have both been in the concussion protocol this week, but got the green light to travel with the team and will go through a walkthrough practice Saturday to make sure all remains on track for Sunday.
Reed missed the last two games while Norman had to leave last Sunday’s loss to the Lions after getting hurt.
The bad news comes in the backfield as running back Matt Jones has been ruled out due to the knee injury that kept him from practicing all week. The Redskins have already promoted running back Mack Brown from the practice squad to join Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson on the depth chart against Cincinnati.
During the 2015 season, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer connected on just over 50 percent of his passes that traveled more than 15 yards through the air.
That number has dipped to 40.7 percent through his first six games of this season with just one of those passes going for a touchdown, leaving him well off the pace he set while throwing 13 touchdowns in such situations last year.
“I missed a couple,” Palmer said, via ESPN.com. “I had J.J. [Nelson] on a couple the other night. I’ve taken shots that I shouldn’t have in certain situations. I think one thing I need to do is be a little bit more picky: when to take them, when not to take them. That’s something I’ve been trying to work on.”
Being pickier doesn’t seem to be coach Bruce Arians’ approach to the issue. He said that the team should “keep throwing them and we’ll hit them,” something that could pay off for the Cardinals against a Panthers secondary that’s been susceptible to the pass all season.
Raiders safety Nate Allen has sued the city of Fort Myers, Fla., after he was unlawfully detained by police there in 2015.
According to NBC2, Allen is also suing former Fort Myers Police Chief Douglas Baker as well as a detective and a police officer involved in the case.
Allen, who was then playing for the Eagles, was detained by police as the investigated a report of indecent exposure. But he was later cleared by video evidence, phone records and social media postings which made it clear he wasn’t who the cops were looking for.
Allen told NBC2 after he was cleared of the charges that he “wanted to show people with hard evidence that this is literally impossible and it 300 percent did not happen. . . .
“There still needs to be a lot brought to the table. . . . Because of how my civil rights were violated.”
Police officers involved in the case have already been punished and the department has apologized, which seemingly strengthens Allen’s case.
Former NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer, whose career reached nearly 350 games with four different teams, has been battling Alzheimer’s disease for five years, according to Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com.
“He’s in the best of health, [but] sometimes he just doesn’t remember everything,” said Pat Schottenheimer, Marty’s wife of 48 years. “He functions extremely well, plays golf several times a week. He’s got that memory lag where he’ll ask you the same question three or four times. . . . He remembers people and faces, and he pulls out strange things that I’ve never heard, but he’s doing well. It’s going be a long road. We both know that.”
The 73-year-old Schottenheimer, who will be in Cleveland for the 30th anniversary of the 1986 Browns team that came within “The Drive” of getting to the Super Bowl, is upbeat about the situation.
“I’m sitting here looking at a lake and it’s a spectacular setting,” Schottenheimer told Grossi. “Pat and I, the Lord’s blessed us. I mean, there’s no other way I can identify it. We’re doing really good.”
Schottenheimer coached the Browns from 1984 through 1988. He then coached the Chiefs from 1989 through 1998, Washington for the 2001 season, and the Chargers from 2002 through 2006, with his NFL career ending after a 14-2 season and a divisional-round exit from the playoffs.
If you skipped last night’s game and just looked at the box score this morning, you might think Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles played well. You’d be wrong.
Yes, Bortles’ stat line looks good: He completed 33 of 54 passes for 337 yards, with three touchdowns. But Bortles padded those stats with a second-half performance against a Titans defense that was happy to let the Jaguars march down the field with time-consuming drives.
Take a look at the first half stats and you see the truth about Bortles’ game: In the first half, Bortles was 8-for-16 for 64 yards, and the Jaguars trailed 27-0 at halftime. Yes, in the second half, Bortles completed 25 of 38 passes for 273 yards, but so what? With a four-touchdown second-half lead, the Titans’ defense was happy to let Bortles complete lots of short passes, and that’s exactly what Bortles did.
And it wasn’t just last night. It’s been that way for Bortles throughout his career. Check out Bortles’ career stats by quarter:
First quarter: 1,598 yards, 4 touchdowns
Second quarter: 2,356 yards, 15 touchdowns
Third quarter: 1,912 yards, 13 touchdowns
Fourth quarter: 3,364 yards 26 touchdowns
Bortles puts up huge stats in the fourth quarters of games. Now, if Bortles were doing that while leading fourth-quarter comeback wins, it would be one thing. But the Jaguars are 10-26 in Bortles’ 36 career starts, and Bortles has engineered just five game-winning drives in his three NFL seasons.
Put it all together, and it’s clear that Bortles is not as good a quarterback as his statistics suggest. The Jaguars are going to have a big decision to make this offseason when they choose whether to pick up his fifth-year option and give him a vote of confidence as their franchise quarterback, or decline that option and make clear that they don’t think Bortles is the man to lead their team going forward.