Sports Illustrated’s legal analyst Michael McCann gives his take on the Aaron Hernandez charges. Cases move fast in Bristol according to McCann.
ProFootballTalk: McCann on Hernandez case
When Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers hit tight end Jared Cook on a seemingly impossible pass to set up the game-winning field goal on Sunday, all Cowboys safety Byron Jones could do was shake his head in disbelief.
Jones, who was the closest Cowboys defender to Cook but couldn’t quite get there to break up the pass, said on KRLD that
“It’s one of those plays where it’s just like, ‘Really, Rodgers?’ I mean, he threw a dime on the move,” Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News. “You don’t see stuff like that. Quarterbacks like that, they find those small holes in the zone and they can just take advantage of it, and Rodgers was able to do that.”
Jones says he defended the play the right way. There was just no stopping Rodgers.
“So we were in a zone coverage, Cover 2,” Jones said. “I’m an underneath dropper, and you know, we all understand what Rodgers is gonna do. We understand he’s gonna leave the pocket, so the play’s gonna be extended. The zone kind of gets all warped up when he holds the ball and he’s running outside the pocket. I kept my eyes on Rodgers like I’m coached to do and tried to defend my seam, and then of course you got Cook sneaking behind me and he catches it on the sideline.”
After that catch the Packers kicked the game-winning field goal, and the Cowboys’ season was over. Jones couldn’t do anything about it, and he doesn’t think there was anything anyone could have done to stop Aaron Rodgers.
And he’s not sure if either one of them will be back with the Vikings next year.
The veteran linebacker told Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune he wasn’t sure about his own status (after playing out a one-year contract he presumed would be his last), but had a suspicion about the way things would go with the former MVP running back.
“That’s a question that everybody has on their mind. My opinion, and I’m guessing, is he wouldn’t be back,” Greenway said. “That’s just basing it off contract numbers. But I’m sure the folks in the organization want Adrian to retire a Viking, I’m sure they want him to finish here. But that’s going to come up to those two sides coming together and making a decision and making an agreement on something that makes sense for the club and makes sense for Adrian.
“I’m not sure if they can get that done, and that’s obviously up to Rick [Spielman] and Coach to figure that out. But obviously I think we all want him to finish as a Viking, I think that would just make sense for him and his career. Whether that makes sense for him or not, that’s yet to be determined.”
Peterson’s due to make nearly $18 million in salary and bonuses next year, obviously far too much for a 31-year-old coming off knee problems and with generally declining production. But Greenway said after having conversations with Peterson, he might be inclined to do what’s needed to hang around.
“I have had conversations with him, and he would love to be a Viking and finish his career here,” Greenway said. “And I think that’s something he’s motivated to do. I think the club is motivated to get something done. Obviously a lot of factors weigh in on that, but we’ll see what happens.”
The biggest factor is financial, because unless he’s willing to take far less than scheduled, the other stuff might not matter.
Being a Rex Ryan assistant is proving to be a helpful line on the resume when it comes to getting an interview for the Redskins’ defensive coordinator job.
Josh Reed of WIVB reported on Thursday morning that Dennis Thurman is expected to interview for the opening and Adam Caplan of ESPN followed that up with word that Thurman’s interview will take place on Thursday. Thurman was Ryan’s defensive coordinator with the Jets and Bills from 2013 until Ryan was fired in Buffalo last year and previously served as a defensive backs coach for the Jets and Ravens.
The Redskins have also interviewed Mike Pettine, who preceded Thurman as the defensive coordinator with the Jets, and Rob Ryan, who joined his brother’s staff for the 2016 season in Buffalo.
Jason Tarver, Greg Manusky and Gus Bradley are others who have spoken to the team about the opening created when they fired Joe Barry after the end of the regular season.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is also staking a claim for being one of the best postseason passers in NFL history.
In his big game on Sunday against the Cowboys, Rodgers passed Dan Marino and is now fifth in NFL history for career postseason touchdown passes, with 33. Brady has 58 postseason touchdown passes and may put the record out of reach, but if Rodgers and the Packers keep playing well, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him pass the other three players ahead of him — Joe Montana with 45, Brett Favre with 44 and Peyton Manning with 40 — in the coming years.
And Rodgers now has a postseason passer rating of exactly 100.0, which puts him fourth all-time, behind only Bart Starr (104.8), Kurt Warner (102.8) and Drew Brees (100.7).
Rodgers is also eighth all-time in postseason completions, ninth in postseason pass attempts and eighth in postseason passing yards, right behind Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger in all three categories.
If the 33-year-old Rodgers can keep playing well into his late 30s, and if the Packers can put a good team around him, he may be remembered alongside Brady as the most productive postseason passers ever.
Colts owner Jim Irsay was back on Twitter Thursday morning, but he still isn’t discussing anything having to do with coach Chuck Pagano or General Manager Ryan Grigson.
His latest post isn’t lacking for newsworthy information, however. Irsay announced on Twitter that quarterback Andrew Luck had surgery on his right shoulder.
Luck made multiple appearances on the injury report during the 2016 season as a result of his shoulder, although the only injury that caused him to miss time was a concussion. He was limited to seven games during the 2015 season and the Colts attributed his absence in two of those games to a shoulder injury. He also missed time with a lacerated kidney that year.
Those injuries speak to the pounding that Luck has taken over the last couple of years and explains the many calls that have been made for the team to improve their offensive line play. That remained a need this offseason even before Thursday’s reminder of Luck’s injury issues.
Former Bills coach Rex Ryan is selling his home in Buffalo (one can only imagine what Rob did to the guest room).
An offseason to-do list for the Dolphins.
The Jets aren’t carrying over much salary cap room.
The Browns might not get DeShaun Watson, but they will work with a number of talented top prospects at the Senior Bowl.
Other teams were sniffing around Mike Vrabel before the Texans promoted him to defensive coordinator.
The Colts have another banner which has nothing to do with winning.
Broncos coach Vance Joseph wants his offense to lead the team, in which case they might be hustling backward.
The Chiefs staff will coach the Pro Bowl, which means more beachwear for coach Andy Reid.
The Chargers are going to stick with the same uniforms, for now.
Raiders OL coach Mike Tice is staying in Oakland with a new deal.
The Cowboys will get to host the Packers again next year.
The Eagles added some veteran line depth with G Dallas Thomas.
The Bears continue to get recognition for their rookie class.
A look at some possible free agent fits for the Lions.
Former Vikings QB Brad Johnson’s son is getting college offers, despite being in eighth grade.
For all their problems, the Saints don’t have to worry about QB at the moment.
The Buccaneers found a Canadian import before the wall goes up (wait, wrong border).
A look at the Cardinals’ free agent priorities.
Rams coordinator Greg Olson is back, although in a new city and with none of the players from his first stint in that job.
The Falcons aren’t keeping the 49ers coaching news much of a secret.
Finding secondary depth will be an offseason priority for the Seahawks.
Broncos head coach Vance Joseph responded to the publication of details from a 2004 Boulder Police Department report that included sexual assault allegations against him.
Joseph was accused of sexually assaulting two trainers at the University of Colorado, where he was working as an assistant coach, but was neither charged nor interviewed by police. One of the two women in the report did not want to press charges and the other didn’t agree to speak to police, which led to the case being closed.
On Wednesday, Joseph, who left the school shortly after the alleged incidents, told Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post that the claims “are false.”
“That was resolved a long time ago,” Joseph said. “For myself, for my family, for the Denver Broncos, I’m disappointed and embarrassed. I was a young guy and it showed to my immaturity and irresponsibility in my life when I was younger. But I’ve grown so much and that’s why I’m disappointed, because I’ve grown so much as a person, as a coach, as a father, as a husband. Everyone who knows me knows that I try to live my life the right way, and I regret that my name is even associated with this.”
Joseph said that he spoke with General Manager John Elway and team president Joe Ellis about the allegations and the Broncos released a statement last weekend saying they were aware of them while noting that Joseph was not charged.
Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson returned to practice on a limited basis on Wednesday, marking the first time that he’s been on the field since breaking ribs against the Giants in the Wild Card round.
Nelson said after the workout that he’s breathing easier than he was right after getting hurt and that he’s feeling better in general, but acknowledged that he doesn’t know that he’ll be able to show he’s “fully functional” in time to play against the Falcons on Sunday.
“I’ve improved every day. Hopefully that continues,” Nelson said, via the Wisconsin State Journal. “I’ve got to be able to go out and perform. I just can’t be out there slowly running or just being some random person. I’ve never played receiver with broken ribs. We’ll find out, hopefully. If it happens, we’ll see how it goes. Right now, I’m just focused on getting back to full motion and doing everything and seeing if we can get that opportunity.”
Nelson said he expects to wear additional pads if he does play in Atlanta and his status isn’t the only one to watch at receiver. Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison both sat out practice and Adams isn’t expected to work all week because of an ankle injury, which could leave the Packers with a serious shortage at receiver.
Never mind that Los Angeles doesn’t seem to want the Chargers, or that the Chargers reluctantly went there. And never mind that they’ll play in a 30,000-seat stadium for a couple of years, before becoming the sorry brother-in-law sleeping on Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s fancy new couch in Inglewood. And never mind that neither team is very good, and fewer and fewer people want to watch them.
This is going to be a huge success for everyone, declared NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
“It’s a great market,” Goodell said at a rally yesterday, via Eric Williams of ESPN.com. “It’s the second largest market in the country and the entertainment capital of the world. We have millions of fans here, and we’ve had two teams in the market before, and we’re building an extraordinary stadium.”
Of course, all those extra eyeballs and dollars didn’t translate into numbers last year, as ratings declined when the locals were fed a steady diet of Rams games (and who says they have no taste there?). But Goodell said the long-view of the situation is positive, and that having both teams put down roots there will help it become something greater.
“Everyone wants their home team to win; that’s shown throughout the country,” Goodell said. “These teams will transition into this market. You see the great athletes and great players that they have. They’re going to be great off the field as well in this community, and that’s going to take some time.
“We’ll have a new stadium coming on in 2019, so we truly believe and are confident in this market. And we understand the challenges that we have to meet here. We have to set a high bar here in Los Angeles, and we’re committed to doing that.”
One of the challenges they have to overcome is apathy, as the Rams haven’t had a winning season anywhere since 2003 or in Los Angeles since 1989. And the Chargers have thus far been nothing more than a punchline, with their logo being mocked and movers refusing to move them, setting the stage for a Lakers-Clippers relationship.
Of course, the Lakers actually won occasionally, so it might be a Clippers-Clippers situation.
When the regular season ended, Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall spoke to reporters in the locker room and seemed to suggest that he’d be open to taking a pay cut for the 2017 season.
Marshall said that it’s “not about the money anymore” and that he’d “play for free” because his bills are paid. In an appearance on “Boomer & Carton” on WFAN, however, Marshall revisited the issue and sent a very different message. Marshall said that “any team should be happy to have me” for the $7.5 million salary he’s set to make next season.
“What I said was, to clarify my statement, I said I love the game so much that if my bills were paid, which they are, I’ll play for free. But teams also know my value,” Marshall said, via NJ.com. “I’ve probably been underpaid the last six years, if we’re really about comparing production to receivers across the league and what I’ve been doing … Now, when you only catch 50-something balls for over 700 yards and you’re 30-something years, that’s when teams come to you like, ‘We don’t think you’re good anymore.'”
Moving on from Marshall would result in saving his entire $7.5 million salary under the cap, something that the team might prefer to an aging receiver in what’s expected to be an extensive overhaul of the roster this offseason. They might also like to keep Marshall while saving some money, but Marshall’s latest comments make that seem unlikely.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera stressed the need for his offense to “evolve,” but so far, that hasn’t included any major changes.
But one may be coming.
According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, the Bills interviewed Panthers quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey for their offensive coordinator opening. Former Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott obviously has a connection there, having worked together the last four years.
The 35-year-old Dorsey has enjoyed the good and the bad of the last two seasons, from being there as Cam Newton won an MVP and they went to the Super Bowl, to watching Newton regress badly this year (among other factors) as they fell to 6-10.
Dorsey worked in pro scouting for the Panthers prior to joining the coaching staff.
Coupled with receivers coach Ricky Proehl stepping away, it would give Rivera a chance to freshen up his staff.
The man who shrugged at an assault from Dabo Swinney by claiming it’s better to be interesting than right has opted for neither this week when launching an assault on the greatest quarterback to ever play. Colin Cowherd believes that, with a lackluster postseason performance against the Steelers, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be in jeopardy of being jettisoned for Jimmy Garoppolo.
While it’s entirely possible that, at some point, Brady’s desire to keep playing will outlive the team’s desire to employ him, that’s not happening if Brady loses at home to the Steelers on Sunday.
Cowherd’s primary argument is that Brady has had two straight postseason “clunkers.” And while, statistically, that’s true in comparison to, you know, his league-record 28 touchdown passes against only two picks in 12 regular-season games (good for a passer rating in excess of 112), the Patriots beat the Texans by 18 and were a two-point conversion away from forcing overtime in Denver notwithstanding Brady’s”clunkers.”
The entire premise of Cowherd’s argument is that coach Bill Belichick always gets rid of a guy one year too early in lieu of doing so one year too late. But that’s not universal. Exceptions have been made for players like Troy Brown, and an exception definitely would be made for Brady, who consistently has left money on the table when doing new deals in order to ensure that he’ll never put Belichick in a position where he has to decide whether to dump Brady for cap reasons.
Last week, Scott Zolak of the Patriots Radio Network blurted out that Brady will have the job “until he dies.” I’ll give Zolak a chance to put Cowherd’s theory to rest on Thursday’s PFT Live when Zolak makes a return visit at 8:35 a.m. ET.
Tune in at Sirius 213, XM 202, NBCSportsRadio.com, the NBC Sports Radio app, and/or NBCSN.
Brown said Butler is a physical cornerback who gets his hands on opposing receivers as much as anyone in the NFL, and that’s what Brown will have to be ready for on Sunday.
“Butler finishes to the ball. He puts hands on you like no other. We are up for the challenge,” Brown said.
Butler has shadowed Brown in each of the last two Steelers-Patriots games, and for the most part Brown has won their individual matchups: Brown caught seven passes for 106 yards when the Steelers and Patriots played this season, and Brown caught nine passes for 133 yards when the Steelers and Patriots played last season.
If Butler can’t get his hands on Brown on Sunday, it’s going to be tough for the Patriots to stop the Steelers’ offense.
Seattle’s season came to an end on Saturday before running back C.J. Prosise could return from a fractured scapula that wiped out the second half of his rookie season with the Seahawks.
The broken shoulder-blade was the fourth injury that caused Prosise to miss time since being drafted in May. A hip flexor issue kept Prosise sidelined in OTAs. A hamstring strain took away time in training camp and a broken wrist bone in Seattle’s regular season opener against Miami forced Prosise to miss four games.
“I can’t tell you that I’m not concerned about C.J,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “He had trouble through the offseason, was unavailable to us throughout, and there was a groin and a hammy and a wrist and then the scapula thing he had. He has to show it.”
Prosise had 369 total yards over the four games preceding his injury against the Philadelphia Eagles in mid-Novemeber. He rushed for 174 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries and caught 16 passes for 195 yards. However, he also missed 12 of 18 games regular and postseason games for Seattle.
“He certainly is on it when he’s right,” Carroll said. “We would have had a shot this week to try and get him out there again, we would have busted it to get it and he would have had a really good chance to make it, so he was that close to returning. But there is a concern.”
The Seahawks had 11 different running backs carry the ball at least once for them this season due to injuries to Prosise and Thomas Rawls.
With two games to be played this weekend, the questions of the day for Thursday’s and Friday’s PFT Live are as simple as they can be. Who wins?
For Thursday, it’s the NFC. Packers at Falcons.
Vote, comment, vote again, comment again. Tune in at 6:00 a.m. ET to NBC Sports Radio and then to NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. for the simulcast. Guests include Scott Zolak of the Patriots Radio Network and MDS of PFT.