Skip to content

Rams trying out Google Glass technology on practice fields

Tavon Austin AP

NFL teams are constantly trying to find new ways of understanding the game of football to get an edge on Sundays. Whether it’s countless hours spent in the film room studying team’s tendencies or even new-age statistical analytics, if something can provide even a miniscule advantage, teams will look to prosper from it.

The St. Louis Rams are experimenting with a new piece of technology on the field in hopes of finding just such an advantage.

According to ESPN.com, the Rams have been working with Google Glass technology recently in an effort to get a better idea for what players are actually seeing on the field. The technology allows players to don the glasses and record and save video. Quarterback Sam Bradford and receiver Tavon Austin demonstrate the ways the technology can be utilized on the field.

Rams general manager Les Snead even envisioned the possibility of the technology being incorporated into the helmets in able to give fans the ability to see what a player saw on a given play during the games.

It’s not the first time coaches have looked to find a way to gain perspective on the field. Video cameras have also been used to see what a player is looking at. The University of Washington put a camera on the helmet of quarterback Keith Price for their spring football game two years ago. However, the equipment is a bit more bulky than the lightweight glasses by Google.

As far as we’re concerned, anything that gives people more access to the sport is a good thing.

Permalink 35 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Home, Rumor Mill, St. Louis Rams

Lions asked Nick Fairley to lose weight, but 295 is too skinny

nickfairley AP

Not many people who weigh 295 pounds are told that they need to gain weight, but Nick Fairley is not like most people.

Fairley, the Lions defensive tackle who was told by the team that he needed to lose weight this offseason, took his conditioning seriously — and even took the weight-loss thing too far. Fairley slimmed down from more than 320 pounds at the end of last season to 295 pounds during offseason work, and coach Jim Caldwell said the team actually expressed concern to him that he might be getting too small to do the job of an NFL defensive tackle properly. Fairley put on about 10 pounds between the end of Organized Team Activities and the start of training camp, and Caldwell says the Lions now think he’s just the right size.

“We’ve given him a range, his range wasn’t 295, he was far below it at that particular point in time,” he said. “So the concern is a little bit different in that regard.”

Fairley said he thinks 305 is the right weight for a man of his build, although he added that there is more to conditioning than just getting his weight right.

“I think my body is kind of a 305-type of guy,” Fairley said. “I feel great. Of course I have to get into a little more shape but that’s camp. . . . One thing I’m going to harp on this year is being consistent and showing up each and every day.”

The Lions declined to pick up the $5.5 million option on Fairley for the 2015 season, meaning he will be a free agent next year. The Lions thought a contract year would be just that thing to get Fairley motivated, and it appears that they were right. If an in-shape Fairley has a big season, either the Lions or someone else will pay him more than $5.5 million next year.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

NFLPA president gets another NFL gig

Arizona Cardinals v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

It took a while, but veteran tackle Eric Winston finally has a new gig.  In addition to being the president of the NFL Players Association.

Winston, per a league source, has signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks.

The move keeps Winston in the NFC West.  Last year, he started all 16 games with the Cardinals.

Winston actually has started all 16 games in every NFL season since 2007.  After appearing in 12 games with seven starts as a Texans rookie in 2006, Winston hasn’t missed a game or a start in seven seasons, five in Houston, one in Kansas City, and one in Arizona.

Earlier this year, Winston became the new president of the NFLPA, despite concerns that players who occupy the position don’t get much play from NFL teams.  It’s likely an unrealistic complaint, given that the NFL typically doesn’t shy away from members of the Executive Committee or Board of Player Representatives.

Seattle lost starting right tackle Breno Giacomini to the Jets in free agency.  By getting to camp early, Winston has a chance to continue that streak of starts.

Permalink 5 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Buffalo backlash building against Bon Jovi

YoungBonJovi Getty Images

As the deadline arrives on Tuesday for potential buyers of the Bills to formally express interest in acquiring the franchise, one of the biggest names of the bunch faces a building backlash in Buffalo.

As explained by Eric Adelson of Yahoo! Sports, Jon Bon Jovi currently doesn’t have many fans in the city where the Bills currently reside, due to the perception that Bon Jovi’s Toronto-based ownership group would move the team there.

“It’s a big threat,” 49-year-old truck driver Charles Pellien told Adelson. “He’s aligned with guys from Toronto. They’ve got more money than everybody else. We don’t believe they will keep the Bills in Buffalo. Why would they?”

From a perception standpoint, he’s right.  If Bon Jovi were aligned with a group based in Los Angeles, it would be a given that the group wants to move the team there.  With Bon Jovi, a New Jersey native, becoming the front man for Toronto money, it’s impossible to not think that Bon Jovi’s group would move the team to Ontario at the first legal opportunity.

Pellien has organized a grass-roots group to keep Bon Jovi’s group from winning the team.  Coupled with Bon Jovi’s ongoing silence about his plans or intentions, it makes it hard for anyone to believe the reports that Bon Jovi and company intend to keep the team in Buffalo.

“It’s the Buffalo Bills, and they will do everything they can to make that work there,” consultant to the Toronto group recently told the Buffalo News.

Which doesn’t make it any better.

“They will do everything they can to make that work there” possibly means, “They’ll dog paddle in Buffalo, saying all the right until the lease allows them to load up the Mayflowers and declare, ‘Well, we did everything possible to make it work there.  Bye.'”

Bon Jovi, who seems to be doing all the right things behind the scenes to position himself to have a legitimate shot at the team, should have been doing all the right things in front of the scenes, too.  Free concerts.  Donations to local charities.  Other public appearances.  Radio interviews.

For a guy who has made millions and millions working the crowd, he has blown it on this one.  His silence has invited suspicion, and as the suspicion mounts and the silence continues, the suspicion gets even stronger.

At this point, nothing short of a public group hug involving Bon Jovi, Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, and Bruce Smith will commence the process of getting folks in Buffalo to believe that Bon Jovi is buying the Bills not because they’re in Buffalo but because they can be taken, eventually, to Toronto.

Permalink 49 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Texans sign a running back

Tim Cornett AP

The Texans haven’t expressed any concern that the hamstring injury that kept running back Arian Foster out of practice on Monday is a big deal, but they have made a move to make sure they aren’t left short at the position in the event things develop in a different way.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Texans have signed running back Tim Cornett. Cornett signed with the Cardinals as an undrafted free agent this spring, but didn’t last long on the roster in Arizona. Cornett finished his collegiate career as UNLV’s all-time leading rusher and will compete with Dennis Johnson and Alfred Blue for a roster spot behind Foster and Andre Brown.

The Texans also signed offensive tackle Mike Farrell, who played for Texans head coach Bill O’Brien at Penn State. He spent time with the Broncos and Steelers in 2013.

Houston cleared room on the roster for the new arrivals by releasing linebacker Ricky Sapp and making procedural moves with injured guard Cody White and wide receiver Alan Bonner. White tore his Achilles and Bonner injured his leg during training camp practices.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Suh says his contract won’t be a distraction

Suh AP

With the Lions tabling Ndamukong Suh’s contract talks until after the 2014, his future with the team instantly becomes one of the top stories surrounding the franchise.

Suh would like other employees of the franchise to not be asked about his future with the team.

“I would ask you guys to not bother my teammates about something that they have nothing involved in,” Suh told reporters on Monday.  “So, for sure, I definitely don’t want them to have to answer any questions about it.  It’s really a tough situation, more so for them.  They have no clue, they’re blindsided or whatever it maybe is, as most people are blindsided about things that come out in the media, and that’s the way it is.  So I’d ask you all not to ask them questions about it and let it be a distraction to our team.  As I don’t think it will.  It won’t be a distraction to me.”

Of course, they won’t be “blindsided” by questions about Suh’s contract because everyone knows that the talks are being tabled until after the season, which in turn increases significantly the possibility that Suh won’t be a Lion come 2015.

It could be that Suh doesn’t want his teammates to be asked about the situation because he doesn’t want them talking about it, on or off the record. By not doing a new contract, Suh accounts for more than 16 percent of the team’s total cap space. That’s money that could have been spent on other guys at other positions of need, like cornerback. In a room full of players having the ability to talk to a reporter under the condition of anonymity, it’s inevitable that someone would say Suh is being greedy.

The high cap number increases the possibility that Suh will leave in 2015 because the Lions could force him to stay only via the franchise tag, which under the rules would entitle him to a 20-percent raise on his 2014 cap number. Which would give him more than $26 million for one more year.

He’s not worth that much, and the Lions won’t pay him that much. But every offer the Lions make necessarily will be compared to the $26 million he’d get under a franchise tag the team will never use. Which means that the only way to determine his actual value will be to let Suh negotiate with other teams. Which increases the probability that someone else will offer more than the Lions, or that Suh will choose to go to a team that offers as much or less.

That’s the bottom-line in this one. With the Lions as a practical matter unable to use the tag on Suh and unwilling to negotiate further until the 2014 season ends, why should Suh do a deal with Detroit until he knows what someone else will pay?

Along the way, Suh hopes that his teammates: (1) don’t realize it’s likely his last year in Detroit; and (2) won’t say negative things about him when asked about his contract or anything else about Suh, such as the report from earlier this year that Suh has been uncontrollable, a contention that his teammates previously denied because that’s what good teammates do.  If/when Suh’s teammates realize he won’t be a teammate beyond 2014, he may no longer get the benefit of that specific provision in the unwritten rules of team sports.

Permalink 22 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Odell Beckham out at least another week

Odell Beckham Jr. AP

Giants coach Tom Coughlin is going to have to deal with being beyond disappointed about first-round wide receiver Odell Beckham’s absence from the practice field a little bit longer.

Jordan Raanan and Conor Orr of NJ.com report that Beckham will miss at least another week as a result of the hamstring injury that troubled him in the spring and then flared up again during one of the opening practices of camp. That news won’t make Coughlin any happier, but there was some good news on Monday as an MRI came back negative for a more serious injury.

With the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday and another preseason game a week from Saturday, it would seem that Beckham will miss at least two preseason games. That won’t do him any favors as he tries to earn playing time ahead of Jerrel Jernigan and other receivers once the regular season gets underway.

Given the plans to utilize Beckham’s speed in the passing game, it doesn’t do the Giants’ offense any favors either.

Permalink 10 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jairus Byrd up and moving for the Saints

JairusByrd Getty Images

The Saints appear close to realizing some of their investment in Jairus Byrd.

The free agent safety, who was sidelined by offseason back surgery, is on the field this morning in pads, according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com.

Byrd also tweeted out he was “thankful for this day,” which seems like a more grateful version of #riseandgrind.

After giving him a six-year, $54 million contract this offseason, the Saints need him healthy. If he is, he should join with Kenny Vaccaro to give them a dynamic pair of safeties, which they’ll need to continue to make strides as a defense.

Permalink 10 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Julius Peppers is having a good time in Green Bay

Julius Peppers, Mike Neal AP

Julius Peppers has always been good at sports in general, rushing the passer in particular.

So if anything stands out about his arrival in Green Bay, it’s how much fun the 34-year-old Peppers is having.

“You look at my last year. Was it one of my better years? Probably not, you know, statistically,” Peppers said. “But if you compare it to a lot of the guys who played last year, it was better than a lot of guys. So, I don’t really think I need to revitalize anything.

I’m actually having a lot of fun. I’m enjoying it. It’s a little different than what I’ve been used to in the past. I actually think it fits my skill set better than just being down every play. I’m having fun doing it. I’m just enjoying it.”

Peppers has always played with his hand down, though he mentioned wanting to play in a 3-4 when he was trying to bluff his way out of Carolina. But now, he’s playing a hybrid role in the Packers’ 3-4 system, opposite Clay Matthews, where he will get plenty of chances to rush the quarterback instinctively.

“That was one of the things that attracted me to coming, along with all of the other things they having going for themselves – a chance to stand up, move around, drop, rush, play in different positions,” Peppers said. “I think the scheme is set up to create some confusion and get the perfect mismatches on the edge, so be able to stand up and bluff a little bit is going to help the defense.

“It is a new challenge and I’m looking forward to not only proving to myself that I can do it but proving to the outsiders who don’t think I can do it.”

And he’s apparently enjoying himself quite a bit in the process.

Permalink 36 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Dolphins sign QB Seth Lobato, two others

Seth Lobato AP

The Dolphins announced a series of transactions Tuesday morning, including the signing of one rookie quarterback and the release of another.

The Dolphins added three players, including Seth Lobato, an undrafted free agent quarterback from Northern Colorado. The 23-year-old Lobato completed 56.6 percent of his passes in his collegiate career (637-of-1126), throwing 53 touchdowns. The Colts waived Lobato (6-6, 223) in June.

The Dolphins also signed tight end Brett Brackett (6-5, 246) and defensive end D’Aundre Reed (6-4, 260). Brackett, 26, was with the Cardinals earlier in the offseason, while the 26-year-old Reed was let go by the Jaguars in April. Reed was active for six games with Minnesota in 2012.

To make room for the three additions, the Dolphins waived three undrafted rookies: quarterback Brock Jensen (North Dakota State), linebacker Derrell Johnson (East Carolina) and offensive guard Davonte Wallace (New Mexico State). Wallace was waived-injured.

Permalink 5 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Kelly elaborates on his disdain for draft hype

Kelly AP

Unlike most of his peers, Eagles coach Chip Kelly is willing to pull the curtain back on the draft process and admit that it’s more blind luck than science.

“You don’t know how it’s going to pan out,” Kelly said the morning after round one of the 2014 draft.  “Just going through the analytics of it, 50 percent of first-round picks don’t make it.  That’s through the history of time.”

More recently, Kelly bemoaned the hype around the draft, which is driven in large part by the ever-growing draft-expert machine.  Apart from the fact that the draft experts never acknowledge that half the prospects bust and that we don’t know and won’t know who they are until they’re in the NFL, Kelly believes that, for some guys, the hype makes it harder to not be a bust.

“I think a lot of times the hype turns into really, really hard times for the individual who got picked, because there’s so many expectations of everyone building them up to be Superman because they had three months to write about them and talk about them,” Kelly told Peter King.

Kelly was asked to elaborate on his point during a Monday press conference, specifically as it relates to the hype surrounding second-round receiver Jordan Matthews.  While Kelly said he’s not concerned about the talk regarding Matthews, who already has been compared to Terrell Owens, Kelly explained his position on draft hype generally.

“I think the draft is integral obviously with putting together your team but literally from the day the Super Bowl ends until the draft, at the ending of May, or the beginning of June or maybe push it to July at some point in time; that’s all everybody talks about,” Kelly said.  “I felt the same way in college.  You devote everything to the signing day.  Well, how many of those guys on the signing day are actually going to contribute?  You may have one or two of your rookies that have an impact on your team but the rest of them it’s a part of having them develop. . . .

“The fact that people would watch the Combine; there’s times at the Combine where I fall asleep,” Kelly added.  “So I don’t know why people watch it on television.  They are running 40‑yard dashes.”

Kelly then reiterated his comparison of the draft-hype dynamic to other industries.

“[Y]ou guys are in the newspaper business,” Kelly said.  “If someone is a rookie coming into the newspaper thing, I don’t think you all just start applauding and saying, ‘Oh my God, the savior is here and our paper is safe because we just signed a kid out of Northwestern because the kid has really good prose.’  But in football it seems to be the biggest deal in the world and if a guy is not an All‑Pro in his first year but he was drafted in the first five picks, obviously he’s a bust.”

Kelly is right.  But what he didn’t say is that the NFL ultimately stirs the draft-hype drink via a TV and online media machine that no one will pay attention to if it’s not generating content.

I’m not complaining.  We cover the draft and the hype and everything that goes along with it.   But we’re always honest about the fact that there’s a disconnect between the impression that the draft experts have it all figured out and the reality that no one does.

Still, if the NFL or the rest of the draft-expert industry would use slogans like “Tune in for the crapshoot” in the ads and promos, fans eventually would ask, “Why am I watching?”

“Because it’s on TV” would only work for so long.

Permalink 22 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Joe Thomas says Brian Hoyer is “a lot like Tom Brady”

Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer AP

The Browns are pretty clearly trying to send a message to Johnny Manziel to settle down and get to work.

But sometimes in sending that message, they might be going overboard the other direction.

Browns left tackle Joe Thomas was praising Manziel’s competition for the starting job, saying Brian Hoyer was “a lot like Tom Brady.”

Well, they both play football, they both wear silly hats, and they both have three Super Bowl rings. OK, so they both play football.

We’ll let Thomas explain himself.

“When you look at the way he competes and the way he demands the most out of everybody around him, it’s no coincidence that those guys played together,” Thomas said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “[Hoyer] has a lot of those same mental attributes and that’s a great thing for a quarterback to have.

“He’s the ultimate competitor, and no matter if we drafted a quarterback No. 1 overall, I knew that in his mind he expects to win the job because that’s the type of competitor he is and the type of quarterback.”

OK then, so just like Tom Brady.

Hoyer’s in a tough spot, because it’s practically assumed that Manziel will take over sooner rather than later. But at the moment, he’s going to have to be the guy.

Which, if he plays like Tom Brady, I suppose, is fine.

Permalink 25 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Steelers won’t rule out return from Brett Keisel, James Harrison

Brett+Keisel+Cleveland+Browns+v+Pittsburgh+DVc-TviGvDUl Getty Images

The Steelers have parted ways with several veteran players in the last couple of years as they’ve tried to get younger and more athletic, but they aren’t totally closing the door on the return of a couple of elder statesmen.

Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert was asked Monday about bringing defensive end Brett Keisel and linebacker James Harrison back to Pittsburgh for another season. Both players have expressed interest in another spin on the carousel and Colbert said nothing is imminent or impossible on that front.

“We haven’t eliminated anybody from consideration because we don’t know what’s going to happen before the season. Even into the season there’s been times when we’ve brought back veteran players due to injury,” Colbert said, via ESPN.com. “If we have eliminated a player we always tell [him] don’t keep us in your thought process, if you have an opportunity don’t wait for us, something along those lines.”

While having veteran mentors for young players can be a helpful thing, the best case scenario for the Steelers defense is probably one that doesn’t include the return of Keisel, Harrison or anyone else who can remember a time when the Houston Texans weren’t in the NFL. The Steelers will be better off if young players like Stephon Tuitt and Jarvis Jones can handle roles in the rotation and they should give them a real chance to do so before turning back the clock.

Permalink 18 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Panthers G.M. on losing Gaffney: “It’s business”

Dave Gettleman AP

Four times in recent memory, a team tried to stash a player on IR, only to have another team claim him off waivers before they could.

Three times, the Patriots did the claiming. Twice now, they’ve done it to Dave Gettleman’s employer.

The Panthers General Manager was philosophical about losing sixth-round pick Tyler Gaffney to the Patriots.

“This is a very competitive business, and people are going to try to improve their team within the rules,” Gettleman said, via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “And this is within the rules.”

Asked if he was upset the Patriots claimed Gaffney, Gettleman replied: “It’s business.”

It was also business when the Patriots claimed tight end Jake Ballard off waivers from the Giants in 2012 when Gettleman worked there.

And it was business when the Patriots claimed safety Josh Barrett off Broncos waivers in 2010, and when the Jaguars claimed Don Carey off waivers from the Browns in 2009, when both players were injured.

Ultimately, none of those players proved to be difference-makers, and Gaffney might not either.

The Panthers drafted him with the future in mind, but their present depth is the reason they needed a body.

With Jonathan Stewart out a few weeks with a hamstring strain and veterans DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert getting days off in practice, the Panthers felt they needed to bring in Fozzy Whittaker rather than carry an injured Gaffney on the roster for four weeks until they could safely put him on IR.

It was a bit of a risk, a pick and $96,600 in signing bonus that everyone would play nice.

Everyone did not.

Permalink 11 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Tuesday morning one-liners

Tiquan Underwood AP

Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett says that QB E.J. Manuel has “gotten so much more comfortable.”

Dolphins rookie WR Jarvis Landry is picking things up quickly.

Said Patriots WR Danny Amendola of working with Tom Brady, “The more experience you get with each other, the more you’re on the same page, the more you just feel each other out there. We’re just trying to maximize that and go from there.”

RB Chris Ivory is likely to handle short yardage duties for the Jets.

Starbucks gift cards are helping build chemistry in the Ravens passing game.

The Bengals hope that dealing with aches and pains now lead to better health in the future.

Browns T Joe Thomas compared QB Brian Hoyer to Tom Brady.

Rookie LB Ryan Shazier continues to impress the Steelers.

The Texans like what they’ve seen from WR Keshawn Martin.

Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star doubts that the NFL will issue much discipline to Colts owner Jim Irsay.

TE Clay Harbor is battling a calf injury at Jaguars camp.

Titans QB Jake Locker thought the offense had its best day of camp on Monday.

RB Montee Ball is working on being a tougher runner for the Broncos.

Chiefs LB Nico Johnson has lost weight in hopes of having a better season than he had last year.

Raiders T Menelik Watson is healthy and aiming for a starting job.

Rookie G Chris Watt continues to work with the Chargers first team.

How are things shaping up at receiver for the Cowboys?

The Giants keep trying to find ways to get the light to turn on for TE Adrien Robinson.

Eagles CB Cary Williams has set a goal of making the Pro Bowl.

LB Trent Murphy is angling for a role on the Redskins defense as a rookie.

Bears LB Lance Briggs wants to retire without playing for another team.

Lions LB Kyle Van Noy is recovering from a minor thumb injury.

Rookie TE Richard Rodgers has done well in Packers camp.

Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph says he won’t lose his hunger after signing an extension.

Tempers boiled over at Falcons practice on Monday.

Said Panthers WR Tiquan Underwood of his hair, “After having a helmet on for so long I do have to adjust it a little bit. But it stays up there pretty good.”

Holding Saints camp in West Virginia is making stars out of beat writers.

CB Anthony Gaitor is back with the Buccaneers.

The Cardinals aren’t worried about DT Dan Williams‘ knee.

Rams P Johnny Hekker hopes to build on last year’s success.

The 49ers won’t do as much flying this year as they did last year.

Will this year’s emphasis on defensive holding and illegal contact hurt the Seahawks?

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bruce Allen: RG3 was asked to do the impossible last year

Redskins' Griffin III is tackled by Eagles' Ryans during second half action of their NFL football game in Landover Reuters

Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III was rushed into starting Week One last season after an offseason of rehabbing his surgically repaired knee left him unprepared to run the offense.

That’s the word from team President Bruce Allen, who said on ESPN 950 that Griffin was unprepared last year through no fault of his own.

“What you saw last year was almost a little disrespectful to the game of football,” Allen said, via the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “It’s impossible to ask a player to perform well during the regular season if you haven’t practiced. Last year at this time, he was still rehabbing his knee, and he wasn’t allowed to practice or work in team drills. We put him on the spot by trying to do that. And this year he’s had a full offseason, his knee is 100 percent, knock on wood, and he’s had all [the practices], and that’s how you get ready to play a football season.”

Although Allen didn’t name former head coach Mike Shanahan by name, that sure sounds like Allen is saying Shanahan botched the Griffin situation by starting him in Week One, rather than letting Griffin come along slowly. Just about everyone in Washington seems to agree that Griffin will be better off this year, with Jay Gruden as his coach.

Permalink 77 Comments Feed for comments Back to top