Skip to content

PFT’s Week Two picks

Seahawks AP

Yes, MDS finagled a one-game win in Week One, getting 12 of 16 right while I hit on 11 of the games.

After four years of doing this, however, I finally dropped the proverbial hole in one, picking the exact score of the Bears-Bengals game.

And under the new rules of the PFT Picks contest, revised by me this morning, a hole in one counts for three wins.

OK, it doesn’t.  So I’ll have to try to erase the gap by being right on the two games on which MDS and I disagree.  The full list of our picks appears below.

Jets at Patriots

MDS’s take: The Jets looked better than I expected on Sunday, and the Patriots looked worse than I expected Sunday. That has me thinking the Jets will be more competitive in this game than most people expect. Just not competitive enough to win.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 24, Jets 20.

Florio’s take:  Rex Ryan started 3-2 against Bill Belichick.  Since then, Rex is 0-4.  Make that 0-5 as a team that fell into a win in Week One walks into a buzz saw during what likely will be Rex’s last trip to New England.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 30, Jets 17.

Rams at Falcons

MDS’s take: After losing to their toughest division rival in Week One, the Falcons definitely don’t want to fall into an 0-2 hole in Week Two. I don’t think they will, as the Falcons’ defense will make life tough on Sam Bradford.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, Rams 10.

Florio’s take:  An old NFC West rivalry gets rekindled, and Steven Jackson gets an early crack at the only other team for which he’s ever played.  With receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones injured, Atlanta will need a big day from Jackson.  Even then, it may not be enough.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 23, Rams 20.

Browns at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Ravens gave up seven touchdown passes to Peyton Manning in Week One. I feel reasonably confident saying they will not give up seven touchdown passes to Brandon Weeden in Week Two. The Browns’ offense looked pretty bad in the opener and will continue to look pretty bad in the second game of the season.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 21, Browns 7.

Florio’s take:  Brandon Weeden is no Peyton Manning.  He’s also no Eli Manning.  And he may be no Cooper Manning.  Besides, with 10 days to prepare and a superior team on both sides of the ball, the old Browns will get to .500 as the new Browns stake out more familiar territory at 0-2.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 34, Browns 17.

Panthers at Bills

MDS’s take: Both teams played well in losses to good opponents in Week One. In Week Two, I think the Panthers are going to get their offense moving and earn a road win.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 34, Bills 21.

Florio’s take:  Each team blew a chance to secure an eye-opening win in Week One.  The Bills seem to be the better team at more positions, but where the Panthers have the edge, it’s a big one.  Flip a coin.  And then go for two-of-three, three-of-five, four-of-seven, or whatever it takes for the home team to prevail.

Florio’s pick:  Bills 21, Panthers 17.

Vikings at Bears

MDS’s take: A playoff team a year ago, the Vikings are at risk of starting 0-2, with both losses in the division. That’s a deep hole for a team to dig itself in the first two weeks of the season, and that’s the hole the Vikings are going to dig, as the Bears’ defense is going to force Christian Ponder into multiple turnovers.

MDS’s pick: Bears 20, Vikings 10.

Florio’s take:  A Minnesota native who never got a chance to coach the local team gets a chance to beat the local team in his second game as an NFL head coach.  It helps that Marc Trestman has a legitimate passing attack, and that the Vikings don’t.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 31, Vikings 20.

Redskins at Packers

MDS’s take: Speaking of playoff teams from a year ago digging 0-2 holes for themselves, that’s where the loser of this game will be. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will keep Green Bay from that fate with a big game against Washington’s defense.

MDS’s pick: Packers 27, Redskins 17.

Florio’s take:  With the Packers spending their offseason focused on stopping mobile quarterbacks, Robert Griffin III will have to do what Colin Kaepernick did in order to outscore the Packers.  I don’t think he can, not in Green Bay’s building.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 30, Redskins 23.

Titans at Texans

MDS’s take: The Titans’ defense looked great in the opener, but I have a feeling that by the end of the season we’ll say Week One was an indication more that the Steelers’ offense is terrible than that Tennessee’s D is strong. The Texans are rolling after their comeback win on Monday night and will keep rolling when the team formerly known as the Oilers returns to Houston.

MDS’s pick: Texans 27, Titans 21.

Florio’s take:  While Tennessee’s accomplishments in Pittsburgh shouldn’t be disregarded, the Steelers are a far cry from the Texans, who got a valuable lift from the biggest come-from-behind win in team history.  It’ll be a rude welcome back to Houston for the franchise that used to play there.  Mittens off for Bud Adams, everybody!

Florio’s pick:  Texans 30, Titans 16.

Dolphins at Colts

MDS’s take: Reggie Wayne looked ageless against the Raiders in Week One, catching all eight of the passes Andrew Luck threw his way. I see Wayne having another eight catches or so as the Colts eke out another close win.

MDS’s pick: Colts 17, Dolphins 16.

Florio’s take:  Jim Irsay demands better protection for Andrew Luck.  Irsay would be better off demanding a second serving of pudding.  The Dolphins have the horses up front to harass Luck far worse than the Raiders did.  While the Colts still should win, Luck won’t be operating from a clean pocket.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 24, Dolphins 20.

Cowboys at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Can the Chiefs match their win total from 2012 in the first two weeks of 2013? They can if they avoid turnovers against the Cowboys, and I think that’s what they’ll do, as Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles lead an efficient and effective offense and the Chiefs improve to 2-0.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 21, Cowboys 17.

Florio’s take:  The first time Andy Reid faced the Cowboys as coach of the Eagles, Philly was 0-4 and fading fast.  This time, Reid’s Chiefs are 1-0 and conjuring talk of a playoff run.  For the franchise that used to be in Dallas and the coach who compiled a 17-11 regular-season record against the Cowboys in 14 years, it’s time to move to 2-0 — and 18-11.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 27, Cowboys 21.

Chargers at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Chargers’ depth on defense is going to be seriously tested by the fast-paced Eagles offense, and I don’t see how the Chargers keep up. This one could get ugly.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 37, Chargers 14.

Florio’s take:  Six days after blowing a 21-point lead, the Chargers likely will find themselves on the wrong end of a similar margin.  The only question is whether the Eagles can deliver the knockout punch with pedal on metal.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 34, Chargers 23.

Lions at Cardinals

MDS’s take: This is probably the toughest game of the bunch to call. The Lions are the better team, but they’re also a team that makes so many stupid mistakes that they can lose to anyone on the wrong day. Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald can make plays against the Lions’ secondary, but I expect Reggie Bush to have his second consecutive big game as the Lions win.

MDS’s pick: Lions 31, Cardinals 28.

Florio’s take:  Last year, the Cardinals were ultimately horrible despite starting 4-0.  This year, they look to be much better, but could be destined to start 0-4.  Meanwhile, there’s still time to get on the newest model from Detroit — the Honolulu Blue Bandwagon.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 34, Cardinals 24.

Saints at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Saints made a big statement that they’re the favorites in the NFC South with their Week One win over the Falcons. They’ll make another big statement by moving to 2-0 in the division with an easy win in Tampa Bay.

MDS’s pick: Saints 24, Buccaneers 10.

Florio’s take:  The Bucs are in disarray, and the Saints have picked up an early surge from holding the Falcons to 17 points.  New Orleans continues its effort to put together a record stout enough to force the road to an open-air Super Bowl through the climate-controlled Superdome.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 35, Buccaneers 27.

Broncos at Giants

MDS’s take: In the Manning Bowl, I trust the Broncos’ secondary to keep Eli in check more than I trust the Giants’ secondary to keep Peyton in check.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 34, Giants 24.

Florio’s take:  Peyton and Eli may be brothers, but when it comes to playing against each other, Peyton is still Eli’s daddy.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 41, Giants 27.

Jaguars at Raiders

MDS’s take: Before Week One, I thought these were the two worst teams in the NFL. The Raiders looked better than I expected in a surprisingly close loss to the Colts, while the Jaguars looked even worse than I expected in a surprisingly lopsided loss to the Chiefs. The Raiders get the win and the Jaguars get a step closer to choosing between Teddy Bridgewater and Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick in next year’s draft.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 23, Jaguars 20.

Florio’s take:  The worst teams of 2012 continue their early-season round robin, with Terrelle Pryor poised to make something happen against a team that doesn’t look as bad as many thought it would be.  The Jags look even worse.

Florio’s pick:  Raiders 24, Jaguars 9.

49ers at Seahawks

MDS’s take: I’ve gone back and forth on this one, which is my pick for the best game of the week. I believe the 49ers are the slightly better team right now, but the Seahawks’ crowd will be rocking, and the home-field advantage will be the difference.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, 49ers 24.

Florio’s take:  The Seahawks need to hold serve at home; the 49ers need to show they can hang with a team that tattooed the Niners last December in Seattle.  Look for Richard Sherman to blanket Anquan Boldin — and for Boldin to still find a way to catch the ball.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 24, Seahawks 21.

Steelers at Bengals

MDS’s take: Everyone in the AFC North started the season 0-1, but the Bengals had a much better showing in Week One than the Steelers. Given Pittsburgh’s poor performance and season-ending injuries to center Maurkice Pouncey, linebacker Larry Foote and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, it’s tough to see things turning around for the Steelers any time soon.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 20, Steelers 10.

Florio’s take:  The new bullies of the AFC North get a chance to rough up a team that spent plenty of time over the years roughing up the Bengals.  With James Harrison bent on making the Steelers regret letting him go and the Steelers having little punch on offense, this one could get ugly.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 28, Steelers 13.

Permalink 43 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Features, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
yo

Packers may use pistol formation on a regular basis

Mike McCarthy, Aaron Rodgers AP

Last year, a late-season calf injury to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers forced coach Mike McCarthy to rely at times on the pistol formation, given the limitations on Rodgers’ mobility.  McCarthy plans to use it more in 2015.

I like the pistol,” McCarthy said in Arizona this week at the league meetings, via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  “I think there’s a lot of value regardless of the injury to Aaron.  I know he likes it.  There’s a place for it year-round in your offense.”

The Packers wouldn’t use it as a tool for allowing Rodgers to run the read-option, but as a way to introduce more variables into the defensive effort to crack the code of the team’s tendencies.

“I liked it from a self-scout standpoint,” McCarthy said.  “It gives you another self-scout variable when you’re in the gun, but you also have the tailback behind you.  [There are a] lot of benefits to it.”

With a quarterback like Rodgers, it’s hard to imagine the Green Bay offense struggling in any formation.  Still, look for the pistol to be a more prevalent formation for the Packers.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion visits the Seahawks

Green Bay Packers v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

Now that the criminal charges against him are gone, Letroy Guion is looking for a way to replace the change which he hasn’t recovered yet.

And that might mean a change of address.

Via Adam, Caplan of ESPN, Guion visited the Seahawks yesterday. There’s still some interest from the Packers, but it’s interesting that his first contact was from the Northwest.

The Seahawks have been active looking for depth on the defensive line this offseason, and Guion would give them an opportunity to get younger and better in the middle.

Guion was arrested in February in Florida on gun and drug charges, but those went away as a first time offender, after he agreed to pay a $5,000 fine.

Permalink 20 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Chad Greenway takes pay cut to stay with the Vikings

Chad Greenway, Nate Triplett AP

We noted early this month that the Vikings wanted to keep Chad Greenway, but didn’t want to pay him the $7 million he was owed on his contract.

Problem solved.

Greenway has taken a pay cut that will give Minnesota more than $3.2 million in salary cap relief, Field Yates of ESPN reports. Greenway’s new base salary is $3.4 million. He has $1 million guaranteed this year and can get $600,000 in incentives.

The Vikings drafted Greenway in the first round in 2006 and he’s spent his entire career in Minnesota, and both sides want Greenway to finish his career in Minnesota. But it’s also clear that both sides realize that at age 32 and coming off an injury-plagued season, Greenway isn’t the same player he was when he signed his previous contract. Now he’s going to be making a salary more commensurate with where he is, late in his career.

Permalink 42 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Saturday morning one-liners

rodney-harrison Getty Images

Former Patriots S Rodney Harrison thinks the team made the right move in letting CB Darrelle Revis walk away.

Jets owner Woody Johnson sold a Manhattan apartment for $77.5 million.

Bills G.M. Doug Whaley would like to re-sign LB Brandon Spikes.

A timely text message from former Dolphins G.M. Jeff Ireland to New Orleans coach Sean Payton resulted in Ireland getting a new job.

Pittsburgh is actively trying to add more hotels in the hopes of hosting a Super Bowl.

In advance of a potential full-time move to Cleveland, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has put his Knoxville home on the market.

Bengals owner Mike Brown supports ditching the extra point and making everybody go for two.

Ravens LB Courtney Upshaw could fill the pass-rush void created by the departure of Pernell McPhee.

Texans owner Bob McNair seems to think WR Andre Johnson has lost a step.

A new Jaguars hat was supposed to show the Jacksonville skyline under the bill, but it wasn’t Jacksonville.

Titans assistant head coach/defense Dick LeBeau briefly considered calling it a career after leaving the Steelers.

The Colts will work out Alabama S Nick Perry on Monday.

Chiefs G.M. John Dorsey said S Eric Berry is in good spirits as he continues his cancer fight.

Chargers physician Christopher Wahl has resigned, citing family reasons and the potential relocation of the franchise.

Broncos WR Cody Latimer will join Peyton Manning for workouts next week in the hopes of making a leap in 2015.

DL C.J. Wilson is happy to be staying with the Raiders.

Cowboys DT Amobi Okoye has listed a Katy, Texas mansion for $2.1 million.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie attended Thursday’s public viewing for Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik.

Itsaknockout, a horse owned by Giants V.P. of player personnel Chris Mara, could end up in the Kentucky Derby.

Washington’s home field will host Argentina and El Salvador on Saturday in a soccer match.

The Bears could be looking to load up on pass rushers.

A Wisconsin man faces charges that the stole $46,000 from local businesses by failing to deliver on promises of Packers tickets.

Daktronics will install 18 high-definition LED video displays in the new Vikings stadium.

Lions DE Ziggy Ansah will benefit from the presence of DT Haloti Ngata.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn has opened the door on a possible return from QB Matt Schaub, who was traded from Atlanta eight years ago.

After spending 2014 on the practice squad, Panthers WR Stephen Hill could be ready to make a real contribution this year.

Could the Buccaneers be making a Peyton Manning-Ryan Leaf decision which knowing whether they’ll be taking Manning or Leaf?

Saints RB Mark Ingram is feeling “extremely blessed.”

The 49ers’ new stadium will be hosting Wrestlemania on Sunday night.

Free-agent DT Letroy Guion visited the Seahawks on Friday.

The workout bonus for Cardinals NT Alameda Ta’amu is tied to making weight.

A Rams scout talks about scouting.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Arizona neurologist praises NFL’s new injury timeout rule

Craig Ochoa AP

Any time a doctor who works for or near the NFL praises an NFL initiative, there’s a reasonable cause for skepticism.

But in the case of the league’s recently adopted injury timeout rule, it’s hard to find much room for argument.

Via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com, one of the league’s independent sideline neurologists had nothing but good to say about the policy.

“In my opinion, this is the biggest thing for sports medicine that has come out,” said Dr. Javier Cardenas, who is on the NFL head, neck and spine committee. “Where else do you have a medical provider that actually is calling a timeout in any other sport? None. None. Huge for sports medicine.”

Cardenas works the sidelines at Cardinals games, so he has ringside seats for what’s happening on the field. But under the new rule, it’s a certified athletic trainer (ATC spotter) upstairs) who can make the call to stop the game if a player appears disoriented (such as Julian Edelman late in the Super Bowl).

That’s when doctors such as Cardenas can step in.

Other than a natural curiosity as to whether the spotter will be as quick on the trigger when a star player or a quarterback is hurt, there’s a bright line distinction here. Unlike when one of the league’s own concussion specialists said reports of CTE in football players was “over-exaggerated,” Cardenas’ point was clear.

The only result of this new rule is positive.

Permalink 9 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Winston first, Williams second, and then the draft is wide open

Jameis Winston AP

Everyone thinks the Buccaneers will take Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in the draft. Most people think the Titans will take Leonard Williams with the second pick. And after that? No one knows.

Taking a look at a total of 10 mock drafts at Rotoworld, NFL.com and CBS, the general consensus is that there is no consensus beyond the Top 2 picks. Here are a few observations:

1. Everyone thinks Jameis Winston is going first. It’s not exactly breaking news at this point that the Buccaneers are expected to take Winston with the first overall pick in the draft. All 10 mock drafts had Winston going first.

2. Almost everyone thinks Leonard Williams is going second. One mock draft has Marcus Mariota going to Tennessee with the second overall pick. Eight of the other nine mock drafts had Williams, the USC defensive lineman, going No. 2. And the other mock draft that didn’t have Williams going second had Nebraska’s Randy Gregory going second — and that comes with an asterisk, because that mock draft came out before the news broke that Gregory had failed a marijuana test at the Combine, which may hurt his draft stock.

3. If Mariota doesn’t go second, no one knows where he’s going. Various mock drafts have him going third, sixth, seventh, 10th, 12th and 13th. Predicting where Mariota will land this year may prove as hard as predicting where Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater would land last year.

4. Dante Fowler looks like a very high pick. Most mock drafts have Fowler, the Florida outside linebacker, going third overall to Jacksonville. Everyone has Fowler going in the Top 8.

5. The Raiders will draft Kevin White or Amari Cooper. The biggest debate in this year’s draft may be about whether the best wide receiver is West Virginia’s White or Alabama’s Cooper. There seems to be little doubt that Oakland will draft one of them. Seven mock drafts have White going fourth overall to the Raiders, and the other three have Cooper going fourth overall to the Raiders.

6. Vic Beasley is all over the map. Beasley, the Clemson pass rusher, could go No. 3 to Jacksonville, No. 22 to Pittsburgh, or anywhere in between, depending on whom you believe.

7. Iowa’s Brandon Scherff is probably the top offensive lineman. Six of the mock drafts have Scherff as the first lineman off the board, but there’s widespread disagreement about how high he’ll go: Perhaps as high as No. 5, but there may also not be any offensive linemen in the Top 10.

8. At least one running back is going in the first round. The first-round running back once looked like an endangered species, but this year everyone agrees that either Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon or Georgia’s Todd Gurley, or both, will be a first-round pick.

9. No one really knows anything. A month away is still far too early to predict the draft with any degree of accuracy. All it takes is one team early in the draft to surprise us, and the domino effect will completely reshape the rest of the first round. And if that surprise early on is the Buccaneers taking someone other than Winston, you can tear up every mock draft right then and there.

Permalink 24 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Cowboys won’t spend a lot to bring back Rolando McClain

Wild Card Playoffs - Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

Free agent linebacker Rolando McClain remains unsigned, and from all indications, if he’s going to return to Dallas it will be for a low-cost, low-risk contract.

The Dallas Morning News reports that the Cowboys and McClain have “a drastically different” number in mind when it comes to how much McClain should be paid. In other words, the Cowboys are willing to McClain back only if he’s willing to play for something close to the $700,000 they paid him last year.

McClain, however, surely thinks he’s worth a lot more than that. He started 12 games last year and was a big part of the reason the Cowboys’ defense significantly improved.

There have long been questions about McClain’s off-field activities. He’s been arrested multiple times, walked away from football for a year in 2013, and will be playing for free for the first four games of this season because of league discipline for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. So it’s easy to see why the Cowboys don’t want to devote a lot of money to him.

It’s also easy to see why no other team would want to devote a lot of money to him. Unless McClain is willing to reduce his contract demands, he may be out of work a while.

Permalink 22 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jones thinks a team or two is headed to L.A.

George Straight 2014 The Cowboy Rides Away Tour Press Conference Getty Images

Collectively, the NFL’s owners have yet to decide whether a franchise will relocate to Los Angeles.  Individually, more and more of them have expressed a belief that it’s going to happen.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently has joined the growing chorus of owners that see the NFL back in L.A.

“It does,” Jones said on PFT Live regarding the notion that it looks like a team or two will be returning to Los Angeles in 2016.  “[Chargers owner] Dean Spanos is outstanding, [Raiders owner] Mark Davis has got a legacy associated with Los Angeles, the Raiders, and of course [Rams owner] Stan Kroenke is one of the top owners we have in the room.  They’re doers, their teams are in a position that can do it.

“It’s going to mean a huge risk and a huge commitment of dollars to whoever does it,” Jones added.  “That will assure us that they’ll kill themselves making this a success.  Los Angeles is big to the NFL, it’s bigger than your normal consideration.  Los Angeles just has a ‘wow’ factor that we’ve got to do it right.  And that’s my biggest concern.  All of these guys are capable, they’ve got teams that the fans of Los Angeles are familiar with in all cases; two that have been in Los Angeles and one that’s been right down the road. So this is a good situation I think.”

What about the looming possibility that a team like the Raiders will end up right down the road from the Cowboys, in San Antonio?

“Well if they go there, we have a plain suburb called Plano, Texas right outside of Dallas. There’s a higher percentage of Cowboy fans in San Antonio than there is in Plano; 97 percent.  So it’s a great hotbed for us down there, we do a lot of things down there, we train down there.  So if they go down there they’ll be surrounded with a lot of Cowboy fans and that’s good, that’s good.  The main things I’m interested in is the fans in San Antonio getting all the football they deserve to get.”

Regardless, fans in L.A. will be getting plenty of football.  Whether they deserve it depends on how many of them show up to experience it.

Permalink 30 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Pagano plans to coach Colts for “many years to come”

Pagano Getty Images

Colts coach Chuck Pagano reportedly won’t be getting a new contract before the final season of his initial four-year deal.  But that doesn’t have Pagano thinking about working for any other team.

Be where your feet are,” Pagano said in a statement issued Friday night, via Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star.  “What do I mean?  Cancer taught me to be thankful for today.  All I’m concentrating on is today.  Then tomorrow.  My focus right now is on the draft, bringing in players that can help us continue to grow, get better, and continue to ‘Build the Monster.’  I look forward to coaching the Colts this season and for many years to come.”

To summarize, Pagano isn’t thinking about the future but he plans to remain with the Colts well into the future.  Whether owner Jim Irsay feels that way after the next football season ends remains to be seen.

It also remains to be seen whether Irsay issues a statement of his own.  Or says something about the situation on Twitter.  Using what may or may not be song lyrics.

Permalink 42 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

NFL found 25 failures to remove players from 2012 through 2014

Edelman Getty Images

Earlier this week, the NFL gave the ATC spotter the power to stop the game action and insist on the removal of a player in distress.  It gives the spotter unprecedented authority, but it definitely was needed.

According to the league office, film study revealed 25 occasions in the last three seasons during which players in distress were not immediately removed from play.  (In a recent appearance on PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent inadvertently said that the 25 plays came entirely from 2014.)

Vincent specifically confirmed that Patriots receiver Julian Edelman should have been removed from play for further evaluation after taking a blow to the head in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIX.  It nevertheless remains to be seen whether the ATC spotter will stop the action and remove a key player during crunch time of a postseason game.

NBC Sports Medicine Analyst Mike Ryan, a long-time NFL athletic trainer, explained during Friday’s PFT Live that it shouldn’t be an issue, because the spotter should at all times have player health and safety as the paramount concern.  Still, if the spotter removes, for example, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at a critical moment of the Super Bowl and Brady ends up being fine, the spotter will need to be ready to withstand the criticism that necessarily will come from the decision to send Brady to the sideline for at least one snap.

Permalink 59 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

49ers waive CB Cameron Fuller

San Diego Chargers v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

The 49ers will have a different look at cornerback entering 2015.

This extends even to the reserve ranks.

San Francisco announced Friday it had waived second-year corner Cameron Fuller. The 24-yar-old Fuller joined the 49ers’s practice squad in mid-December and was on the active roster for the regular season finale vs. Arizona.

Two of the 49ers’s key cornerbacks of a season ago — Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver — have departed in free agency. While the club did add Chargers cornerback Shareece Wright in free agency, the position’s depth looms a concern as the 2015 NFL Draft nears.

Permalink 18 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bears owner at first said no to Ray McDonald, then changed his mind

San Francisco 49ers v Houston Texans Getty Images

Bears owner George McCaskey says that when General Manager Ryan Pace first approached him about signing Ray McDonald, McCaskey said no. Then McDonald changed McCaskey’s mind.

McCaskey said that he initially thought McDonald, who was accused of both domestic violence and sexual assault last year, should not be brought to Chicago. But McDonald, who was not charged in connection with either accusation, reached out to McCaskey personally and convinced him that the Bears should take a chance on him.

“Ryan had asked me for permission to pursue him, and we had a file on him with the information that we had gathered,” McCaskey said. “I looked at the file and came back and said no. So Ryan said, ‘Fine, we’ll move onto the next guy.’ And then Ray . . . asked if I would be willing to meet with him and I said yes. The fact that he proposed that idea, I gave him a lot of credit for. He was very candid, very forthright. It was a difficult conversation. It was long. It took a lot out of me and I think it took a lot out of him. After that conversation, I told Ryan that he had our permission.”

So what did McDonald say to McCaskey to change his mind?

“He talked about these incidents which have become public knowledge and walked me through each one,” McCaskey said. “I don’t want to get too much into the particulars. I just want to give you a sense of the conversation. I was impressed with how sincere he was and how he motivated he is. He understands I think that he could have well been facing the end of his football career, and he loves football and he wants that career to continue. So I was impressed with his motivation.”

Now the question is whether McDonald can stay out of trouble in Chicago, or whether the Bears will have egg on their faces for giving McDonald another chance.

Permalink 23 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jets sending six to work out Mariota

Playoff Championship Ohio St Oregon Football AP

Back from Arizona after the league meetings, the Jets will now be heading west for a workout with quarterback Marcus Mariota.  And they may need a bigger plane to get there.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that six key decision makers will be heading to Oregon to work out Mariota, including G.M. Mike Maccagnan, coach Todd Bowles, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, quarterbacks coach Kevin Patullo, director of college scouting Rex Hogan, and director of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger.

The Jets currently sit at No. 6 in round one, and there’s a chance Mariota will slide to them.  There’s also a chance the Jets will become sufficiently enthralled with Mariota to trade up with the team bearing the nickname the Jets once had:  The Titans.

Three years ago, Washington gave up the No. 6 pick, two additional first-round picks, and a second round pick to jump to No. 2, where they selected quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Permalink 60 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Titans bring back CB Brandon Harris

Brandon Harris, T.Y. Hilton AP

The Titans have re-signed a secondary reserve, reaching a one-year deal with cornerback Brandon Harris, the club said Friday.

Harris (5-10, 189) made 11 tackles in 11 games with Tennessee in 2014. A Miami (Fla.) product, Harris had played the previous three seasons with Houston, which took him in Round Two in 2011. Overall, Harris has recorded 48 tackles and 10 passes defensed in regular season play.

Harris will again vie for a backup role with the Titans, who are likely to start Perrish Cox and Jason McCourty at the cornerback spots next season. One factor working in Harris’s favor in the near future? He is just 25 years old, and his combination of experience and relative youth would enhance his value were he to have a breakout season at some point.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Caldwell says things “didn’t work out” with Reggie Bush

Buffalo Bills v Detroit Lions Getty Images

Reggie Bush led the Lions in rushing in 2013, but they cut Bush before free agency.  At the league meetings in Arizona, coach Jim Caldwell didn’t have much to say about why Bush is no longer in Detroit.

“I think oftentimes you’ll find that there are going to be some adjustments here and there that you make that when you look at your team and make a determination on your personnel, what you think is best,” Caldwell said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.  “Sometimes you got to let some guys go, and sometimes you try to make certain you keep certain guys if you can.  But it’s not always the case, and in that particular case it didn’t work out.  So we look to do other things.”

Those “other things” don’t mean finding another running back.  Instead, Bush’s absence will mean more opportunities for Joique Bell and Theo Riddick.

“I think [Riddick is] going to be one of those guys that’s going to force us to get him that ball a little bit more because I think you’re really going to see him come,” Caldwell said.

While the Lions decided to move on from Bush, the 49ers stepped in with a bottom-of-the-market contract but major expectations that he’ll be an every down back, as they search for a Frank Gore replacement.

Permalink 23 Comments Feed for comments Back to top