Skip to content

Sunday night wrap-up: Hoosier quarterback? Luck

Denver Broncos v Indianapolis Colts Getty Images

The Colts made the right decision.

And that only has a little bit to do with Sunday night’s result.

The next generation of Colts quarterback beat the previous version, with Andrew Luck one-upping Peyton Manning for a 39-33 win.

Luck threw for three touchdowns and also showed a mobility which is often overlooked. He had an 11-yard scramble for a first down in the first half, and ran for a 10-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

But of all the numbers associated with the second-year quarterback, the most important for the future of the Colts is simply $22.1 million, or the cost of his four-year rookie deal.

Having that kind of fiscally responsible quarterback contract, instead of an aging star coming off a serious injury at near that number per year, has enabled the Colts to keep a solid core around him. For all their owner’s poorly played bluster over the past week, that was the larger point which was too often lost in the emotion.

Moves such as hanging onto outside linebacker Robert Mathis were possible, in part, because they had a quarterback locked in at bargain rates. They were able to buy in bulk this offseason, adding parts such as LaRon Landry and Gosder Cherilus and Erik Walden and others with the remainder.

The economics of the deal made it a no-brainer, but Luck’s precocious play has made it easy for the Colts to move on.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:

1. As good as Manning looked the first six weeks of the season, he started looking like a different guy in the second quarter.

There was something missing from his passes after the sack-strip which led to a safety. Former teammate Mathis drilled Manning in the back, and from that point forward, Manning’s passes lacked a certain zip.

Losing left tackle Ryan Clady to a season-ending foot injury is the kind of thing you can hide with Manning’s individual brilliance for a bit. But eventually, players such as Mathis are going to get to him, and Manning’s going to have to bounce back better next time.

Manning can be great without top-end arm strength, but even while leading a comeback, you could tell he was working around a physical limitation.

2. The alarming part of seeing Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne leaving the field with a knee sprain in the fourth quarter, was realizing how durable he’s been.

Sunday was his 189th consecutive game, as he hasn’t missed a game since 2001.

The way he crumpled after a non-contact injury makes you immediately think the worst, along with his emotional reaction.

The Colts have a week off with a bye in front of them, but losing Wayne for any amount of time would dampen much of the enthusiasm in Indianapolis.

3. The Colts most valuable player in the first half wasn’t Luck, but fullback Stanley Havili.

He scored a touchdown, forced a fumble on special teams, and was the guy blocking cornerback Champ Bailey when the veteran corner was forced from the game after aggravating his foot injury.

Havili clearly wasn’t trying to hurt Bailey (it was a fairly standard-looking block, with no malicious intent). But while yanking the ball away from Trindon Holliday early, he showed linebacker-like instincts for the ball.

The Colts acquired him from the Eagles in March, in exchange for defensive end Clifton Geathers, a price which has been justified and then some.

4. Broncos linebacker Von Miller might be back, and might be bigger than ever.

But the Colts were willing to run straight at him, and early on, it didn’t seem like a bad idea.

The Colts came out running early, and that’s no accident. Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, 39, calls an older man’s game.

But putting a hat on a hat and running straight at Miller kept him from being much of a factor early.

5. You know who’s old and still getting it done?

Who else, I mean.

Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri.

His 52-yarder in the fourth quarter was his ninth field goal from 50 yards or longer in the past three years. He hit 10 in his first 15 NFL seasons.

That kind of performance gives them the same kind of confidence Luck does.

Permalink 80 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
yo

Giants move on from Henry Hynoski

New York Giants v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

The Hynoski era has ended in New York.

Per a league source, the Giants have released fullback Henry Hynoski as part of the effort to get to 53. It ended a four-year run in New York, which included 46 regular-season appearances and 21 starts.

As noted by Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, this development seems to indicate that Nikita Whitlock has won a roster spot.

Undrafted in 2011, Hynoski won a Super Bowl ring as a rookie. He’s now a free agent, able to sign with any team.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Panthers begin their cuts with wide receiver Brenton Bersin

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Carolina Panthers v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

After the season-ending injuries to Kelvin Benjamin and Stephen Hill in training camp, the Panthers knew they were in a tough spot at wide receiver.

So it appears they’re going to be looking at the waiver wire the next few days for upgrades.

According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers began their cuts today with wide receivers Brenton Bersin and Mike Brown.

Bersin was a local kid, who actually grew up in owner Jerry Richardson’s neighborhood and attended his alma mater, Wofford. He played in 15 games last year, and caught 13 passes, and was popular among the fan base.

But the Panthers just traded for Seattle castoff Kevin Norwood, and appear set to look at other options around the league as well.

They know they’ll count on second-rounder Devin Funchess and Ted Ginn, and perhaps Corey Brown despite his preseason drops. But beyond them, Bersin was their next level of receiving help, and cutting him is a good sign they’re looking at sweeping changes.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Patrick Omameh, Khaseem Greene among Buccaneers cuts

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

The Buccaneers didn’t announce any of their roster moves on Friday, but the NFL’s daily transaction report confirmed the departure of defensive end Da’Quan Bowers along with nine other cuts that trimmed the team’s roster to 65 players.

Among the ex-Buccaneers is Patrick Omameh, who started all 16 games at right guard for the team in 2014 but lost his spot on the roster with third-round pick Ali Marpet moving into the starting lineup. They also released linebacker Khaseem Greene, who joined the team off of waivers from the Bears during the offseason. Greene started six times for the Bears over the last two seasons and returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown last Thursday, but the Bucs have opted for other options.

The team also confirmed that Kyle Brindza will be their kicker by releasing Connor Barth and waiving Patrick Murray with an injured designation.

Linebacker Larry Dean, quarterback Seth Lobato, cornerback Brandon Dixon, defensive back Chris Hackett and wide receiver Tavarres King. There’s no mention of it on the transaction report, but multiple reports also have fifth-round wide receiver Kenny Bell headed to injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Kessler: The NFL “doesn’t want to comply with the CBA”

Antitrust Hearings Against NFL Owners Begins Getty Images

At a time when many in the media think that the NFL Players Association is trying to “rewrite” the Collective Bargaining Agreement through the courts, the man who keeps beating the NFL in court in CBA cases has a different perspective.

On Friday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, I asked lawyer Jeffrey Kessler whether his 5-0 run in high-profile player suspension is the result of Kessler working legal magic or the NFL providing him with low-hanging fruit.

“I’d like to say it’s all my legal magic, but the situation is we have a league that just doesn’t want to comply with the CBA,” Kessler said. “It doesn’t want to follow the rules of arbitration when they’re arbitrating, and they really create these situations. It’s the reason why, for example, it’s so important that the players picked De Smith to be the head of the union, who’s an experienced lawyer. You could say, ‘Well, why do you need to be an experienced lawyer to be the head of the union?’ Well, that’s the only way that the union’s been able to protect the legal rights of these players. So it’s been critical to this process, but frankly if the NFL behaved like a lot of other leagues and we had a system that was fair and open in which they followed the rules they would need a lot less of my time.”

Kessler, who has been working for the union for a long time, said it hasn’t always been this way.

“This system of the Commissioner being able to arbitrate discipline, I’ll bet you it’s more than 75 years old,” Kessler said. “It long predates the union let alone the last CBA, and yet it has only become an enormous problem since I would say 2012 with Bountygate. It’s like some switch got flipped in the league office where they said, ‘Okay, let’s see how far we can push this and basically impose penalties wherever we want to without any process and let’s see what happens.’ Well, what’s happened is that the union’s had to repeatedly fight and as you mentioned we’ve had great success in protecting the players’ rights. It’s been a hand-to-hand combat that would seem not to be what you would want. From the league standpoint, from the player standpoint, there’s got to be a better way, and that’s what the union would like to see happen here.”

Whether it will happen is a different story. Literally. I’ll eventually write a different story on that.

For now, here’s the full transcript. Or you can listen to what Kessler had to say below.

Permalink 21 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Falcons down to 67 players

Atlanta Falcons v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

Friday brought reports that the Falcons have settled on Sean Renfree as the backup to Matt Ryan by cutting Rex Grossman and T.J. Yates.

The Falcons confirmed those moves on Friday night and they added six other cuts to get the ball rolling toward the 53-man limit they and the other 31 teams in the NFL must reach by Saturday afternoon.

None of the other names are as recognizable as the two quarterbacks. Linebacker Terrell Manning has seen time with the Packers, Chargers, Bears and Giants since entering the league as a fifth-round pick in 2012 and defensive end Cliff Matthews has played in 32 games for the Falcons over the last three seasons. The Falcons also cut 2015 seventh-round tackle Jake Rodgers.

Safety Sean Baker, guard Jared Smith and cornerback Kevin White have also been cut loose.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Independent neurologist resigns after RG3 fiasco

Robert Griffin III, Tyrunn Walker, Ezekiel Ansah AP

The odd story of Robert Griffin III’s concussion has taken another strange turn: The independent neurologist who first cleared Griffin to play, then said the next day that Griffin could not play, has reportedly resigned and will no longer work with the NFL going forward.

The Washington Post reports that Dr. Robert N. Kurtzke resigned from the neurological consultant program operated by the NFL and the NFL Players Association. According to the report, Kurtzke will continue to consult with Griffin until he’s fully cleared to return to the field, but otherwise Kurtzke is done working with the NFL.

It’s unclear why Kurtzke has decided to stop working with the NFL, which has said that its reliance on independent neurologists like Kurtzke is an important part of keeping players safe after suffering concussions. But whatever the reasons, it’s a bad look after the situation with Griffin has been thoroughly botched from the beginning.

When Griffin first went down in an August 20 preseason game, the team couldn’t get its story straight about whether he suffered a concussion or not. Later, coach Jay Gruden said Griffin did have a concussion but would remain the team’s starting quarterback. Reports out of Washington said the team didn’t think Griffin’s concussion was severe, and questions were raised about whether the concussion was just used as a pretext to keep Griffin from talking to the media. Griffin then returned to practice as Gruden continued to insist that Griffin would be the starter. Asked directly if he had a concussion or not, Griffin refused to answer. The team then said Griffin had been cleared to play and would start the third preseason game. A day later, the team announced that Kurtzke hadn’t cleared Griffin to play after all, and said it could be weeks before he’d be ready to go. Then Gruden abruptly changed course and announced that Griffin is now a backup.

Gee, why wouldn’t Dr. Kutzke want to be associated with something like that?

Permalink 30 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Robert Griffin III won’t be cut

images Getty Images

Today is the day that rosters must reduce to 53. Which means that every team will be cutting plenty of players between now at 4:00 p.m. ET.

According to Jeff Darlington of NFL Media, Washington won’t be cutting quarterback Robert Griffin III. Which means he won’t be RG-3-years-and-out.

Instead, the man who roughly a month ago was reconfirmed as the starter will be the primary backup to new starter Kirk Cousins. Which means Griffin won’t be RG-3-rd-string.

The decision likely arises at least in part from the fact that Griffin is RG-3-point-249-million-guaranteed in 2015, money he’ll make whether he’s on the team or not, with no offset for money he makes elsewhere. So if they’re going to pay him either way, why not keep him around?

The problem is that, if/when he plays this year, any injury that would carry into next season would entitle him to $16.1 million from the team, since his fifth-year option salary is guaranteed for injury.

Of course, he’s already injured; he has a concussion. And there’s an obvious temptation to not be cleared from the concussion through next season, in order to get the $16.1 million. That’s why the team needs to flip the incentive, telling him that he’ll be cut if he’s cleared to play, so that he can then play elsewhere in 2015 instead of being relegated to scrub with a franchise for which not long ago he was seen as a savior.

Even if he’s going to be a backup somewhere (and he surely would be at first), wouldn’t Griffin much rather be a backup in a place where he has never been a star? While his performance in 2012 seems like a long time ago for anyone of the outside, Griffin still works out in the same place, practices in the same place, plays in the same place, wears the same uniform.

A change of scenery could be just what he needs. Offering it could be exactly what the team needs to avoid the risk of Griffin receiving 17 game checks worth $947,000 each in 2016.

Permalink 33 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Raiders expected to cut Christian Ponder

Christian Ponder AP

The NFL career of Christian Ponder is about to take another hit.

Ponder is expected to be cut by the Raiders today, Adam Caplan of ESPN reports.

That means the Raiders have wasted $1.5 million on Ponder, which is the signing bonus they gave him this offseason. At the time, the Raiders thought Ponder would make a good backup to Derek Carr, but Matt McGloin has out-played Ponder in the preseason, and the Raiders appear set to go with Carr as the starter and McGloin as the backup.

A former first-round draft pick of the Vikings, Ponder will now become a free agent. He’ll probably sign on with some other team as a backup, but the market won’t be strong. Ponder failed as a starter in Minnesota, and now he hasn’t even been able to succeed as a backup in Oakland.

Permalink 45 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: RG3 knows nothing about his future in Washington

Robert Griffin III AP

Robert Griffin III is being left to wonder what his future in Washington holds.

According to an NFL Network report, Griffin has been told nothing about his future with the team and doesn’t know if he’ll be on the 53-man roster when the team makes its final cuts today.

The report also says Griffin doesn’t know if he’s been cleared to play or not. Griffin did undergo an examination with an independent neurologist as part of the NFL’s concussion protocol, but Griffin reportedly hasn’t heard if that neurologist will clear him to play. Last week, there was miscommunication on the subject, as the team initially announced that Griffin had been cleared, only to later announce that a neurologist decided not to clear him after all. Griffin himself has declined to say anything about the subject, refusing even to confirm that he had a concussion at all.

We’ll find out today if Griffin makes the 53-man roster. Griffin will apparently find out at the same time as the rest of us.

Permalink 43 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Reports: Seahawks trying to trade Christine Michael; Robert Turbin to be waived/injured

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 14:  Running back Robert Turbin #32 of the Seattle Seahawks warms up prior to the game against the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field on August 14, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The running back group for the Seattle Seahawks  appears to be undergoing a serious overhaul.

Marshawn Lynch is firmly set as the team’s starter, but the players behind him on the depth chart seem to be changing.

Former Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson is expected to sign with the team by the end of the weekend to serve as Lynch’s backup.

Robert Turbin, who had been Lynch’s backup each of the last three seasons, suffered a high-ankle sprain in last week’s preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Turbin will be waived/injured by Seattle as he is expected to miss around five weeks due to the ankle injury.

Teams can claim Turbin off waivers despite the injury. If he goes unclaimed, he would revert to injured reserve with Seattle.

Meanwhile, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports the Seahawks are also attempting to trade third-string running back Christine Michael.

Michael has failed to earn substantial playing time with Seattle despite being a second round pick in 2013.

Undrafted free agents Thomas Rawls and Rod Smith have looked strong in preseason action for the Seahawks as well and could become beneficiaries of Seattle’s shuffling.

Rawls had 87 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in the team’s preseason finale against the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night. He would be the favorite to land a third roster spot behind Lynch and Jackson if Turbin and Michael are gone.

Permalink 21 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Tom Brady: “I am sorry our league had to endure this”

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwviythhzja1zti5nzfkowm4mdq1ntvmy2u0mzk5mgu51 AP

In his first public comments since winning the legal battle to overturn his Deflategate suspension, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady expressed some regret.

Brady released a statement saying he’s sorry that the NFL went through Deflategate, and sorry “to anyone whose feelings I may have hurt.” Brady did not mention NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or anyone else by name.

“The regular season starts tomorrow morning and I can’t wait to fully commit my energy and emotion to focus on the challenges of the 2015 NFL season,” Brady said. “I want to thank my family, my friends, all of the fans, past and current players and my teammates for the support they have given me throughout this challenging experience. I also want to thank Judge Berman and his staff for their efforts to resolve this matter over the past five weeks. I am very grateful. My thanks also to the union’s legal team who has fought so hard right along with me.

“While I am pleased to be eligible to play, I am sorry our league had to endure this. I don’t think it has been good for our sport – to a large degree, we have all lost. I am also sorry to anyone whose feelings I may have hurt as I have tried to work to resolve this situation. I love the NFL. It is a privilege to be a member of the NFL community and I will always try to do my best in representing my team and the league in a way that would make all members of this community proud. I look forward to the competition on the playing field and I hope the attention of NFL fans can return to where it belongs – on the many great players and coaches who work so hard every week, and sacrifice so much, to make this game great. Most importantly, I look forward to representing the New England Patriots on Thursday night in our season opener. I hope to make all of our fans proud this year … and beyond!”

Brady has avoided answering questions from the media during the Deflategate investigation. By NFL rules, he will have to answer questions after the season-opening game on Thursday.

Permalink 198 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Raiders trade LB Sio Moore to Colts

San Francisco 49ers v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

The Colts are trading a late-round draft pick to the Raiders for linebacker Sio Moore, both teams announced Friday night.

Moore, a third-round pick in 2013, started 22 games in two seasons with the Raiders and should get an immediate chance to contribute with the Colts, who need help at linebacker and on defense in general.

Moore has never played in a 3-4 defense but he had 3 sacks last season and 4.5 as a rookie. It’s unclear which position he’ll play with the Colts or where he’ll fit in a linebacker corps that’s probably not settled.

The Colts added veteran Trent Cole in the offseason and hope to have Robert Mathis back soon but might not have seen enough from backup outside linebackers Bjoern Werner and Jonathan Newsome in the preseason. Werner, a first-round pick in 2013, had 4 sacks last year; Newsome had a strong rookie year getting after the quarterback and had 6.5 sacks.

Moore, who’s recovering from hip surgery, had fallen out of the rotation this summer with the Raiders.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the compensation the Raiders will receive for Moore is a sixth-round pick.

Permalink 45 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Seahawks, Fred Jackson agree to one-year deal

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Getty Images

Fred Jackson’s career will march on to Seattle.

Jackson, the aging veteran running back who was cut by the Bills this week, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Seahawks, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The 34-year-old Jackson appears to have lost a step and is coming off a season in which he averaged a career-low 3.7 yards a carry. But he can still provide valuable depth behind Marshawn Lynch in the Seahawks’ backfield, and he’s also excellent at picking up the blitz, which will help keep Russell Wilson upright behind an unproven Seattle offensive line.

Lynch and Jackson were previously teammates in Buffalo, and they remain close friends. Now they’ll be the 1-2 punch in Seattle.

Permalink 65 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

McDaniels says Brady suspension never affected preparation

Tom Brady AP

Shortly after Tom Brady was suspended, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels vowed that any looming suspension wouldn’t affect how the offense prepared. Now that Brady has had his suspension rescinded, McDaniels says the Patriots never allowed it to become an issue.

“Quite honestly, it hadn’t changed a whole lot of what we had done up to this point, and our preparation for the Steeler game should be normal. That’s kind of how it had gone the last so-many months anyway, trying to get everybody prepared for the season,” McDaniels said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.

The Patriots’ mantra is “do your job,” and McDaniels says that’s exactly what Brady has done.

“Tom’s a veteran player with a lot of experience, and he’s had to deal with different types of adversities and distractions in the past, whether it be injuries or personnel or something else,” McDaniels said. “I thought he went out and practiced and improved, tried to do his job, worked at his craft and put in a lot of hard work in different areas of playing the position of quarterback. He was prepared, studied hard for practice and games, the OTAs, and all those things we’ve done. That’s the best way to try to go about — control the things you can control — and I thought he did a good job of that.”

Brady did not play well in the preseason, completing just 10 of 22 passes for 107 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. But if McDaniels is to be believed, that’s not a cause for concern in New England. Brady is as ready for this season as he has been for any other.

Permalink 57 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Patriots work out DE Lawrence Okoye

Denver Broncos v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

The Patriots worked out nine players Friday, per a league source, including defensive end Lawrence Okoye.

Cut by the 49ers earlier this week, Okoye is a former Olympic discus thrower and rugby player from England. He spent the previous two seasons on the 49ers practice squad while trying to transition to American football.

At 6’6, 304, he’s the kind of project Patriots coach Bill Belichick has taken on before.

The Patriots also worked out running backs Joe Don Duncan and Joey Iosefa, wide receivers Nathan Palmer and Marquez Clark, defensive linemen Derrick Lott and Jimmy Staten, quarterback Jeff Tuel and defensive back Justin Coleman.

Coleman signed with the Patriots after his workout. He’s an undrafted rookie who was cut by the Vikings earlier in the week.

Tuel started two games for the Bills in 2013. The Patriots released quarterback Ryan Lindley Friday, a day after a federal judge overturned Tom Brady’s four-game suspension in time for Brady to start next Thursday’s season opener.

Permalink 13 Comments Feed for comments Back to top