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PFT Preseason Power Rankings No. 21: Kansas City Chiefs

Former Eagles coach Reid poses with Chiefs owner Hunt after a news conference introducing Reid as the Chiefs new coach in Kansas City, Missouri Reuters

The instinct is to treat the Chiefs’ awful 2012 season as an aberration, and that’s probably the right call.

Even just a cursory glance at the club’s depth chart suggests that last season’s 2-14 mark won’t be repeated this year. After all, Kansas City had six Pro Bowlers in 2012, and the roster was strengthened this spring via free agency and the draft.

For new Chiefs coach Andy Reid, Kansas City represents a fresh start after two sour seasons to finish a Philadelphia tenure filled with more good moments than bad. The Chiefs’ new starting quarterback, Alex Smith, also gets to the turn the page after being forced out by Colin Kaepernick’s emergence in San Francisco.

There’s little doubt Reid and Smith will help lead a turnaround of some sort relative to 2012. If nothing else, the Chiefs are likely to move out of the AFC West basement. But are the Chiefs capable of quintupling their win total from a season ago? That’s probably what it will take to contend for a playoff spot.

Strengths.

The Chiefs’ defense does not lack for talent. Outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston combined for 19 sacks in 2012 and joined inside linebacker Derrick Johnson and strong safety Eric Berry as Pro Bowlers. Cornerbacks Sean Smith, Brandon Flowers and Dunta Robinson are skilled and experienced.

The offense has some top-end players, too, with running back Jamaal Charles (1,509 rushing yards in 2012) a premier game-breaking threat and wideout Dwayne Bowe a legit go-to target. At quarterback, Smith should be an upgrade over Matt Cassel, and the addition of No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher at left tackle strengthens the offensive line. The Fisher-Brandon Albert tackle tandem should be a real asset for the Chiefs.

With the additions of Reid and Smith, the NFL’s worst passing offense from a season ago has new life. That, in turn, should help a running game that thrived even without defenses having to worry much about the Chiefs’ passing attack.

Finally, Reid’s presence should be a major asset both on the sidelines and in the organization. The Eagles won 10 playoff games and registered nine winning seasons in his 14-season tenure. In that same span, the Chiefs didn’t register a single playoff win and had nine losing seasons.

Weaknesses.

While the Chiefs have some very skilled performers on defense, opponents nonetheless had success attacking Kansas City with the run and pass in 2012. To wit: the Chiefs finished 30th in yards per pass and 25th in yards per rush surrendered a season ago. The secondary should be better with Smith and Robinson joining the cornerback corps, but the run defense — especially right up the heart of the front seven — needs to be monitored. Per NFL statistics, opponents gained 4.78 yards per rush up the middle vs. the Chiefs in 2012.

On offense, the concern is the next wave of players beyond the starters. Kansas City is a little thin at the skill positions, especially at running back, where there is no clear-cut backup to count upon if Charles were to exit the lineup. Swift rookie Knile Davis has the talent to be a key contributor in the backfield, but he struggled with injuries and fumbles at Arkansas.

The depth at wide receiver is somewhat shaky until proven otherwise, too. Beyond Bowe, the top options are Donnie Avery, Jon Baldwin and Dexter McCluster. Avery is fast but comes durability concerns. Baldwin, the Chiefs’ 2011 first-round pick, hasn’t delivered on his potential. McCluster is quick but undersized.

On defense, the primary depth concerns are at outside linebacker, safety and along the defensive line.

Changes

Reid, renowned his work with quarterbacks and a proponent of the West Coast offense, is charged with reshaping the offense. Smith, who’s still not even 30 years old, could benefit form Reid’s tutelage and not having to worry about job security. There is no real threat to replace him on the roster.

In addition to Fisher, new faces on offense include Avery, tight end Anthony Fasano and quarterback Chase Daniel. Avery and Fasano project as regulars, while Daniel, formerly Drew Brees‘ understudy, will be the top backup to Alex Smith.

Rangy Sean Smith, signed from Miami, will start opposite of Flowers at cornerback, with Robinson expected to be the third corner. Robinson should be effective in this role; his experience and physicality ought to serve him well in the latter stages of his career.

The Chiefs will continue to use the 3-4 as their base defense, but Bob Sutton has taken over at coordinator, and some new wrinkles are to be expected.

Camp battles.

For a 2-14 club with a new head coach, the Chiefs don’t figure to have much camp-competition drama. Most starting spots are ably filled.

The offensive line could be the most unsettled position on the team. At center, third-year pro Rodney Hudson would seem to have the edge at center; he began 2012 as the starter before suffering a broken leg that ended his season. However, second-year left guard Jeff Allen got some work in the middle in the offseason, per the Kansas City Star. Allen started 13 games a season ago but graded out as the second-worst run-blocker among qualifying guards in Pro Football Focus’ rankings. Geoff Schwartz and Donald Stephenson are other potential options at guard.

Inside linebacker is another position that could have some intrigue if rookie Nico Johnson can push ex-Eagle Akeem Jordan.

Finally, Davis will get a look at kickoff returner, a position where the club could use more playmaking ability. However, he needs to hold onto the ball.

Prospects.

If Kansas City is playoff-caliber, it will show early. The Chiefs face one 2012 playoff team (Houston) in their first nine games. Five of their first six AFC games before their Week 10 bye are against the Jaguars, Titans, Raiders, Browns and Bills — teams Kansas City should be able to beat.

The Chiefs are going to need to take care of business in the first two months. Their post-bye schedule includes two games against Denver in three weeks. Kansas City also draws Washington and Indianapolis down the stretch. The season finale at San Diego won’t be easy, either.

Overall, though, it’s a manageable schedule for the Chiefs. And it’s probably safe to assume the bottom doesn’t fall out again this year – though we wouldn’t blame Kansas City fans for knocking on wood, given how last season went.

Really, though, the Chiefs’ 2012 form was so bad it cannot be taken at face value. Clearly, they are capable of more.

How much more is the question.

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Greenbrier taking in flood victims

FALLING ROCK, WV - JUNE 25: People trudge through the mud left over from the flooding of the Elk River along State Route 119, on June 25, 2016 in Falling Rock, West Virginia. The flooding of the Elk River claimed the lives of at least 23 people in West Virginia. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images) Getty Images

The resort where the Saints have held training camp the last few years has closed its doors indefinitely after record flooding devastated the region. Although it’s not open for business, the Greenbrier is making some of its rooms available to those who have lost their homes as a result of 8-10 inches of rain that fell in only 6-8 hours.

The result has been described as “complete chaos,” with at least 24 dead.

“Roads destroyed, bridges out, homes burned down, washed off foundations,” Greenbrier County Sheriff Jan Cahill said, via Weather.com. “Multiple sections of highway just missing. Pavement just peeled off like a banana. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

With so many hills and mountains in West Virginia, the combination of water and gravity floods the valleys with water and mud (a lot of mud), where the houses and the people are.

“We pretty much live in a bowl, and the bowl filled with water, certainly,” Richwood, West Virginia Mayor Robert Johnson told the Associated Press.

People throughout West Virginia need help right now. Donations can be made to the United Way of Greenbrier County, the Red Cross, where an immediate $10 donation came be made by texting REDCROSS to 90999, and through an initiative launched by the Greenbrier to assist flood victims.

PFT has a strong connection to West Virginia. If you enjoy (or enjoy not enjoying) what you see on these pages, make a small donation to the effort to help people turn their lives around after, in barely a third of a day, their lives were turned upside down.

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Texans sign first-round pick Will Fuller

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 21:  Will Fuller #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish makes a catch with pressure from Gabriel McClary #14 of the Boston College Eagles during the second half at Fenway Park on November 21, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Fighting Irish defeat the Eagles 19-16.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

It took some time for WR Will Fuller and the Texans to work out the details of Fuller’s first professional contract, but they’ve finally come to an agreement.

According to multiple reports, Fuller has agreed to his rookie deal with Houston. It’s a four-year contract that Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports has a total value of $10.164 million. The Texans also have the standard team option for a fifth year that all first-round picks have as part of their deals.

Fuller was one of two wide receivers the Texans drafted as they continued their offseason attempts to upgrade their offense. He and fellow rookie Braxton Miller will join DeAndre Hopkins as targets for the newly signed quarterback Brock Osweiler in Houston this season and Fuller’s speed should make him a threat down the field as long as he shows he can hang onto the ball when it comes his way.

With Fuller signed, the Texans have now struck deals with their entire draft class.

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Sunday morning one-liners

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 3: Outside linebacker Julius Peppers #56 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after a sack during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 3, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bills S Corey Graham has remained close to his high school coach.

CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu had to remain patient during Dolphins offseason work.

S Jordan Richards is bidding for a bigger role with the Patriots.

Which Jets players are on the roster bubble?

The names have changed, but the scheme is the same for the Ravens defense.

Opinion of Bengals QB Andy Dalton’s around the league has grown.

WR Jordan Payton is eager to get to work with the Browns.

LB Jordan Zumwalt has another chance to make the Steelers.

The Texans have seen progress from TE C.J. Fiedorowicz.

Which Colts could make their Pro Bowl debut after the 2016 season?

Jaguars rookies got advice from many former players about transitioning to the pros.

The Titans feel they have a reliable backup quarterback in Matt Cassel.

A few unexpected names pop up on this Broncos 53-man roster projection.

WR Jeremy Maclin has built a strong relationship with Chiefs coach Andy Reid.

A look at how the Raiders secondary is coming together.

An argument that the Chargers are short on star power defensively.

The Cowboys are putting a new restaurant in their stadium.

Giants WR Roger Lewis wants to be known for more than his past arrest.

Is DE Vinny Curry the key to the Eagles defense?

Colt McCoy tries to help Redskins QB Kirk Cousins thrive while backing him up.

T Nate Chandler is grateful for his chance with the Bears.

S Miles Killebrew could be in the mix for a starting job with the Lions.

Packers LB Julius Peppers has made a case for a spot in the Hall of Fame.

OL Carter Bykowski is trying for a spot with his hometown Vikings.

The Falcons looked to the rugby world for help with their tackling.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen accepts the physical risks that come with playing in the NFL.

CB Damian Swann feels past the concussions that hampered him in his first year with the Saints.

Setting some training camp expectations for the Buccaneers.

Breaking down the state of the Cardinals offense.

Said Rams WR Brian Quick, “I just need to be consistent and that’s it. I have to adjust and adapt.”

The 49ers liked what they saw at practice from rookie G Joshua Garnett.

Seahawks WR Paul Richardson is trying to shed the injury-prone label.

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Jim Irsay buys a Prince guitar for $137,500

princeguitar Getty Images

Colts owner Jim Irsay isn’t saving all his money for Andrew Luck’s next contract.

Irsay spent $137,500 on the “Yellow Cloud” guitar that Prince used in the 1990s, the Associated Press reports. Irsay made the purchase at an auction in Beverly Hills on Saturday night.

Although $137,500 sounds like a lot of money to those of us who didn’t inherit a football team, it’s nowhere near the most money Irsay has ever spent on a musical instrument. In December he spent about $2 million on a Ringo Starr drum set that allowed him to complete a collection that also included guitars previously owned by Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison.

Irsay will be writing a much bigger check when Luck signs a contract extension, which is expected to come in the next month.

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Sanders will “keep playing ball” while agents talk new deal with Broncos

Emmanuel Sanders AP

Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is entering the final season on his current contract, and it makes sense that the Broncos would want to keep Sanders with the team.

In the meantime, Sanders is saying the right things as his representatives talk with the Broncos about a possible extension. Even if the Von Miller situation takes priority for the Broncos, Sanders has been good enough that a new deal would probably be good for both parties.

“I don’t think it weighs on me,” Sanders said of his situation. “I think it weighs on other people and then they talk about [it] and it’s like, ‘All right, you’re trying to put the weight on me.’ If I could just keep my ears closed and not listen to the noise, I wouldn’t even know this is a contract year.

“For me, it’s going to come. If it’s meant for me, it’s meant for me. But I’m going to keep playing ball because I love to do it.”

Even if Sanders isn’t sweating a potential extension, he’s not going to be the bargain he was for the Broncos when they signed him away from the Steelers in 2014 with a three-year deal worth $15 million.

Sanders, 29, has caught 177 passes and 15 touchdowns over his two seasons in Denver. Sanders had 76 catches for 1,135 yards and six touchdowns last season.

Prior reports said the Broncos and Sanders’ representation had “exchanged proposals” and that Sanders was “hopeful” a deal could be reached.

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Herschel Walker, king of the hollow offseason boast

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library Getty Images

Maybe Herschel Walker doesn’t want to be known as the subject of the worst trade in NFL history. Alternatively, Walker could be angling to become known as the king of the hollow offseason boast.

He’s done it again this year. Not once, but twice. Making the media rounds on Thursday, he said he’ll participate in another MMA fight, at age 54. On Friday, Walker continued his media tour by claiming he could still play in the NFL, at age 54.

“I don’t think I can, I know I can,” Walker said, via TheScore.com. “In a third-down situation, I could help a team out today. I could do a few things and do it well.”

If either of those things sound familiar, they should. Last year, Walker said he could still play football, but that he won’t because he’s still MMA fighting. He’s done neither since.

I can return kickoffs,” Walker said last June. “I still run very well, like I’ve always [run]. So I know I can be a positive thing. . . . Once I get out of the MMA stuff, then I may go back and play. I want to be the George Foreman of football.”

At this rate, Walker could end up being the George Burns of football.

In 2014, Walker said he could still play football, but never actually mounted a comeback. In 2013, Walker said he plans to engage in another MMA fight, but never did.

He still hasn’t done either, last playing football in 1997 and last fighting in 2011. But he keeps talking about both.

Herschel can keep talking about it if he wants, but unless and until he actually does it, we’re done listening.

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PGA Tour event at site of Saints training camp canceled due to flooding

Greenbrier Getty Images

The heavy flooding that closed The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia has canceled the PGA Tour stop there set for the second weekend in July.

The Saints hold their training camp at The Greenbrier, located in White Sulphur Springs. With the Saints set to report to training camp July 27, it could take some major work to get the fields and facilities ready in time for camp, so the team will at least have to explore contingency plans.

The PGA Tour’s statement on the cancellation of The Greenbrier Classic said the golf course “suffered excessive damage” and “is beyond reasonable repair” for an event set to begin July 7.

In hopes of beating the Louisiana heat, the Saints have held camp at The Greenbrier since 2014. The Cardinals also spent a week at The Greenbrier last October, practicing there between games in Detroit and Pittsburgh instead of flying back to Arizona.

Donations for those affected by the West Virginia flooding can be made through the Red Cross, by visiting redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. An immediate $10 donation can be made by texting REDCROSS to 90999.

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Falcons have sold $172.3 million in PSLs

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Most people would like to receive money for nothing. Some sports fans still pay plenty of money for literally nothing.

It’s called the Personal Seat License: a private tax on the ability to buy season tickets with a catchy name that literally means you are paying for the privilege to sit in the chair that corresponds with the ticket you have purchased that corresponds with that chair.

Sports teams continue to sell PSLs because sports fans continue to pay for them. At the new Falcons stadium, fans have purchased 29,835 personal seat licenses for a total revenue stream of $172.3 million, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Of course, imposing a private tax on those who will be attending games at the stadium makes more sense than imposing public taxes on people who won’t be attending games at the stadium. Most sports teams prefer doing both.

Because they can. And for as long as they can, they will.

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Elway on Von Miller photo crop: “You know, that’s too bad”

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 06:  Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway (L) and Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak (R) listen as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks welcoming the Super Bowl champions to the White House Rose Garden on June 6, 2016 in Washington, DC. The Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) Getty Images

The contract impasse between the Broncos and linebacker Von Miller recently spread to social media, with Miller cropping Broncos G.M. John Elway out of a photo taken at the team’s visit to the White House. Elway has responded to the gesture, at the urging of someone carrying a camera on behalf of TMZ as Elway emerged from Craig’s in Los Angeles.

Congratulated initially by the cameraman on Elway’s “refreshingly candid and open media policy award,” Elway pointed and said, “Good for you, bud.”

Then asked while getting to a vehicle about Miller’s social-media diss, Elway said, “You know, that’s too bad.”

Mike Klis of 9news.com, in perhaps a roundabout way of suggesting that Elway was afflicted by a case of Affleckenza, said via Twitter that there’s “Nothing wrong with NFLGMs blowing off steam in summer but come on John u know cameras roll in LA.”

Far more important than any camera rolling is the clock that’s ticking toward 4:00 p.m. ET on July 15, the deadline for the Broncos and Miller to do a long-term deal.

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Megatron: I’m content with what I did, not coming back

160106 calvin johnson Getty Images

Former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson says anyone who thinks he might come out of retirement can think again.

I’m not coming back. You don’t have to worry about that,” Johnson told the Detroit Free Press.

Johnson said the wear and tear on his body from nine NFL seasons contributed to his decision, but the most important reason he decided to retire is simply that he thinks he has accomplished enough in the game of football and is willing to move on to other things in his life.

“There’s just a time when you’re content with what you did. I’m content with what I did,” Johnson said.

Although Johnson was a fairly private and quiet guy off the field, in retirement he said he may start advocating for “common sense” gun laws. He’s ready to make contributions to society that don’t involve catching a football.

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Peterson thinks Mathieu deal will get done “pretty soon”

090815-NFL-Arizona-Patrick-Peterson-Tyrann-Mathieu-MM-PI.vadapt.980.high.43 Getty Images

Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson received his second contract after three years in the NFL. Teammate and close friend Tyrann Mathieu is currently negotiating his own second deal after three seasons. Peterson recently told PFT Live that he believes Mathieu will get his new contract soon.

“I was in kind of a similar situation when it was time for me to sign a new deal and obviously wanting a new deal,” Peterson said. “Like I tell Tyrann all the time, let his agent handle that and also it’s gonna be a long, drawn out process, you just have to be patient. I know it will happen, just don’t know when it will happen but the Cardinals organization understands what Tyrann means to the football team, to the community, and when you have a top notch player like that, that just doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and we have great ownership upstairs and the General Manager and the president and owner of the team. I mean those guys know at the end of the day what Tyrann means and like I said, I’m quite sure that the deal will get done here pretty soon.”

I then asked Peterson, tongue partially in cheek, whether he supports Mathieu getting a new deal as long as Mathieu doesn’t get more than Peterson.

“Not at all,” Peterson said, laughing. “I want him to get every penny that he deserves and if the team obviously wants to pay him more than me, I don’t have a problem with that all because Tyrann’s very, very gifted. He’s very talented, he means so much to this defense as you can tell. I believe we missed a beat last year when he got knocked out for the rest of the season with the ACL injury. But I don’t have a problem with that at all. If they feel he’s worth more than me, it is what it is.”

Mathieu previously predicted on PFT Live that his negotiations will be “kind of a wrestling match but at the end of the day as long as we understand it’s a business and as long as we take care of our relationships I think it’ll be all right.”

The core of the wrestling match could hinge on whether Mathieu should be paid as a safety or a cornerback, since he plays more corner than safety. Mathieu’s pair of ACL tears also could be an issue at the bargaining table.

Regardless, everyone continues to be optimistic that the deal will get done. Now it just needs to get done.

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Luck’s admission of poor play doesn’t affect his leverage

andrewluck-getty-ftr-110215jpg_vopuoyz0vxfr1eexu6jmf20jg Getty Images

When hearing that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck admitted he didn’t play well last year even when he was healthy, it would have been reasonable to say something like, “Don’t say things like that when you’re trying to land the biggest contract in league history.”

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of whether he played well or not (not) or whether he admits it or not (did), Luck still has the leverage to get at least $25 million per year from Colts owner Jim Irsay.

He already has $16.155 million fully guaranteed coming to him in 2016, the option year of his rookie deal. If a new contract isn’t signed by February, the Colts will have to use the exclusive franchise tag to keep another team from gladly giving up a pair of first-round picks for the privilege of making Luck the highest-paid player in league history. The exclusive quarterback franchise tender could be in the neighborhood of $25 million next year.

Under the labor deal, that $25 million becomes, with a 20-percent raise, $30 million in 2017 and, with a 44-percent raise for a third tag, $43.2 million in 2018. That’s $98.2 million over three years of the tag. Factoring in the $16.155 million Luck is due to earn this year, that’s $114.35 million over four years.

That’s an average of $28.58 million per year.

Yes, to get that much money Luck would carry the year-to-year risk of injury and ineffectiveness. How often, however, does a quarterback suffer a truly career-ending injury? Likewise, how often does a successful starting quarterback suddenly lose his fastball?

It’s not impossible, but it’s a risk that Luck should be willing to assume if the Colts won’t give him the total dollars and, more importantly, the structure he wants. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco recently parlayed an exorbitant cap number into a new deal that paid out a $40 million signing bonus. Last year, Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh got $60 million fully guaranteed at signing in 2015. Those amounts should be the starting point for Luck, with a potential aspiration of $50 million to sign and $75 million fully-guaranteed at signing — or at the latest $75 million in fully-guaranteed money vested by March 2017.

As previously explained, Luck also should tie the later years of the contract to the growth in the cap, ensuring that the contract won’t become obsolete as the spending ceiling continues to climb.

If Luck wants those terms and if the Colts don’t want to give Luck those terms, he can go year-to-year under the tag unless and until the Colts decide to let someone else give Luck what he wants.

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Browns drilling RG3 in throwing mechanics, avoiding hits

BEREA, OH - APRIL 21, 2016: Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Cleveland Browns drops back to pass during a voluntary mini camp on April 21, 2016 at the Cleveland Browns training facility in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption *** Robert Griffin III Getty Images

As Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III enters his fifth NFL season, he still needs to be reminded of some of the basics.

Specifically, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, the Browns have three major lessons they’re drilling into Griffin in his first few months with his new team:

1. Plant your back foot, then throw.
2. Get down, then slide.
3. Throw the ball away, don’t take needless hits from the defense.

Usually, a player who has been in the NFL as long as Griffin would be expected to have the fundamentals down. But Griffin was so successful, so early in his career, while relying so much on his natural gifts, that he still has a lot to learn about playing the position.

Griffin’s downfall in Washington was his inability to avoid taking hits, and when Griffin couldn’t avoid the pass rush in the preseason last year, Jay Gruden ultimately decided that Griffin wasn’t up to the task of quarterbacking his team. Hue Jackson will have to be convinced that Griffin has learned enough to lead the Browns.

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Tarvaris Jackson free on $2,500 bond after threatening to kill wife

St Louis Rams v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

Former Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has been released from jail on a $2,500 bond, after allegedly pointing a gun at and threatening to kill his wife.

According to Chris Hush of WESH, the 33-year-old Jackson was released from jail Friday.

Jackson was arrested after an incident with his wife in which he was intoxicated, and threatened to shoot her. She grabbed an iron and a knife at one point to protect herself, before another adult at the residence separated them. She also taunted the free agent quarterback, saying “You better be accurate because you ain’t accurate on the field.”

Jackson has a 59.6 percent career completion percentage.

According to the police report, several children were in the home at the time of the incident, and police found marijuana along with his 9mm handgun. He is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

“She felt fearful and she thought he could kill her,” said Twis Lizasuain with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

The report also stated there may have been prior disputes between Jackson and his wife, which will certainly complicate the case and his bid for future employment. The Seahawks had previously said they’d welcome the veteran backup back, but that seems less likely now.

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Wisconsin kid Tony Romo still looks up to Brett Favre

Tony Romo

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo grew up in Burlington, Wisconsin, and when he was 12 years old his favorite team traded for Brett Favre. A quarter century later, Romo still considers Favre his hero.

I still look up to him,” Romo told ESPN. “Anybody who grew up in Wisconsin, everyone knows who Brett Favre is and what he’s meant to Green Bay and Wisconsin life. They come around once in a generation. Green Bay’s been lucky enough to go from Brett to Aaron [Rodgers] and that’s just unrealistic in real life to have that happen in professional sports. But Brett getting inducted is one of the most no-brainer things that’s ever taken shape. I’m just glad to see the reunion of that two that has happened.”

As a young boy, Romo lived through some dark years as a Packers fan: Before Favre arrived, Green Bay missed the playoffs 10 years in a row and struggled to fill Lambeau Field. All that changed with Favre.

“Without Brett Favre, the Green Bay Packers really aren’t the Green Bay Packers, even though they have a great history and [Vince] Lombardi and everything else that goes into it,” Romo said. “I was watching football before they had Brett Favre and Green Bay was not someone that you had to worry about on your schedule if you were playing in the NFL. I think he brought them back to prominence and made that organization’s standard of excellence and from there all the pieces started to fall into place. What you see today, that is a byproduct of him, his talent, his ability, his knowledge of the game, his passion, his work ethic and really his willingness to compete.”

Fave is a hero to a lot of guys who grew up in Wisconsin, including one who became an NFL quarterback himself.

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