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Buccaneers earn first victory over Dolphins

Miami Dolphins v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are winless no longer.

The Buccaneers defense came up big with two sacks and an interception of Ryan Tannehill on the Miami Dolphins final possession to seal a 22-19 victory over the Dolphins.

The Dolphins faced 1st and 10 at their own 33-yard line coming out of the two-minute warning. Tannehill was sacked by William Gholston and Da’Quan Bowers for an 8-yard loss. Gerald McCoy sacked Tannehill for a loss of 10 on second down and Darrelle Revis picked off a desperation pass on 4th and 28 to seal the win.

The Buccaneers had jumped out to a large lead for the second straight week only to see the cushion disappear. Tampa Bay had held a 21-0 lead over the Seattle Seahawks last week before falling 27-24 in overtime. This time, they managed to close the deal.

The Dolphins rallied from a 15-0 deficit to take the lead in the third quarter. Tannehill connected with Rishard Matthews for their second touchdown of the night to give Miami a 16-15 edge after a failed two-point conversion. A 30-yard field goal extended the lead to 19-15 at the end of the third quarter but the Buccaneers bounced back.

Tampa Bay marched on a nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive with Bobby Rainey, playing for an injured Mike James, scored a 1-yard touchdown to retake the lead for good.

The Dolphins were missing two starting linemen in Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito due to their off-field issues and it showed in the running game. Miami finished with just 2 yards rushing and the sacks allowed on the final drive ended the Dolphins’ chances at a game-winning drive.

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Virgil Green welcomes higher expectations with Broncos

Denver Broncos OTA's at Dove Valley AP

The Broncos re-signed a free agent tight end this offseason, but it wasn’t their biggest name at the position.

Julius Thomas is now in Jacksonville while Virgil Green has remained in Denver for a fifth season. Green’s first four seasons have seen him spend a lot of time as a blocker, which has resulted in just 23 catches. Even with Owen Daniels on board, that number is expected to go up in 2015 with head coach Gary Kubiak’s offense frequently targeting tight ends. Green likes those expectations.

“I believe I can do what’s needed of me,” Green said, via ESPN.com. “They didn’t need me to catch a lot of passes, but I think that’s part of my game where I can still make things happen. I love to block, I take pride in moving somebody against their will in those situations, but I take pride in receiving and I think I can do it. I want those expectations. I’ve always believed in my abilities and what I can do. It’s all about opportunity and I think there will be more opportunity now.”

The Broncos Offense is going to look different this season after all of the changes since we last saw them in their playoff loss to the Colts. If Green is able to meet the expanded expectations for his contributions, the chances that different will mean less productive will be a little slimmer.

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Everyone else is off, but PFT Live isn’t

pftlive

OK, so I had a couple of weeks of vacation last month. And, yeah, I’ve got more vacation coming up.

But today is a holiday for plenty of people, but I’ll be manning the Mr. Microphone at PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. Primarily since it’s really not any different than having a really long telephone conversation about America’s favorite sport.

Today’s really long conversation about America’s favorite sport will include regular contributions from producer Rob “Stats” Guerrera, along with visits from Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego.

Through the really long conversation about America’s favorite sport, we’ll be keeping an eye on the possibility for another bad-news dump.

Which could be good news when it comes to the effort of trying to fill that really long conversation about America’s favorite sport.

The conversation begins at 12:00 p.m. ET, and it ends at 3:00 p.m. ET. You can listen on Sirius 213, XM 202, ProFootballTalk.com, and NBCSportsRadio.com.

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Eagles QB coach Ryan Day: “Sky’s the limit” for Sam Bradford

Sam Bradford AP

Eagles quarterbacks coach Ryan Day and head coach Chip Kelly go back a long way.

Day played quarterback when Kelly was the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire and then joined the coaching staff, which gave him a close view of Kelly’s evolution as an offensive coach. Day says Kelly would “go from Run ‘n Shoot to the Wing-T to the Veer” as he formed his offensive viewpoint.

The experimentation hasn’t stopped in the NFL and it now extends to personnel moves like the trade for quarterback Sam Bradford this offseason. Day says it is “an exciting opportunity” to work with a “really, really talented” quarterback who hasn’t gotten a chance to show off his full skill set as a pro because he’s been hurt so often.

“I think it really has been [injury],” Day said, via Birds 24/7. “When you’ve had the season-ending injuries he’s had, it’s hard to kinda put the foot on the pedal and roll. So I think sky’s the limit for him that way.”

Bradford’s not the only big gamble that Kelly took after assuming control of personnel this offseason, but he may wind up being the one that has the most to say about how close the Eagles can get to 16-0 during the 2015 season.

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Zach Ertz: Eagles’ goal is 16-0

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz isn’t spouting cliches about taking it one game at a time when asked what he expects from the coming season.

Asked on NFL Network about his goals for 2015, Ertz said that he and his teammates are looking to win every game.

“We want to win each and every game we go out there, and that’s the goal, 16-0 for us right now,” Ertz said.

That goal might be slightly unrealistic, but we wouldn’t exactly expect Ertz to say his goal is to go 4-12. Unfortunately, the track record for players talking about going 16-0 isn’t great: Ndamukong Suh said the Lions could go 16-0 before a season when they went 10-6, and Roddy White said the Falcons could go 16-0 just before they lost their first game of the season in 2012.

And, of course, the only team that has gone 16-0 ended up losing the Super Bowl. If Ertz is going to look ahead and set his sights high, winning the Super Bowl would be a better goal.

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PFT Live: Cowboys talk with Clarence Hill, Chargers talk with Kevin Acee

San Diego Chargers v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

The holiday weekend is getting underway, but we’ll still have three hours of PFT Live on Friday to get you up to date on all you need to know about the NFL before the fireworks go off on Saturday night.

Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram will join Mike Florio on the show to discuss the latest on wide receiver Dez Bryant’s push for a new contract. We’ll see if Hill thinks Bryant is bluffing about missing time in the regular season and whether the Cowboys will be moved to offer him more to avoid finding out.

Hill will also talk about linebacker Rolando McClain’s four-game suspension, which was one of four bans handed down on Thursday. Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was also on that list and Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego will update us on the team’s plans for life without him early in the season.

We also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app.

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Are contract expectations undermining Russell Wilson’s image?

Wilson Getty Images

The apparent desire of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to become the newest highest-paid player in the NFL conflicts with the “Go ‘Hawks!” mentality Wilson regularly projects. As Wilson’s unsettled status beyond 2015 continues to linger, that disconnect could be starting to take a toll on Wilson’s reputation in Seattle.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes that “Wilson’s image is absorbing some serious puncture wounds” amid the increasing focus on his contractual expectations.

“I’ve heard and read more Wilson backlash in the past three weeks than in the previous three years combined,” Stone writes. “When it came to throwing an interception on the decisive play of the Super Bowl, Wilson largely got away blame-free. But when a story leaked last week that he wanted to become the highest-paid player in the NFL, well, the notion of a greedy Wilson began to be put forth on talk shows and comment threads.”

The problem isn’t whether Wilson wants to be the highest-paid player in the NFL, because the bar remains at a mere $22 million per year. The problem is whether Wilson wants to clear the current high-water mark by $3 million or more per year.

That’s where “Go ‘Hawks!” gives way to “pay me.” Most fans believe Wilson can’t be both a pom-pom waving team-first system quarterback and a shrewd, squeeze-out-every-dollar businessman. (And there’s nothing wrong with being a shrewd, squeeze-out-every-dollar businessman; that’s what pretty much every NFL owner is.)

Compounding the problem is that Wilson has been readily available to the media, doing radio interviews and speaking at his various passing camps and sitting down with ESPN and appearing on Jimmy Kimmel’s show. Although Wilson continues to avoid saying he wants to be paid more than anyone else in the game, the fact that he’s not saying he doesn’t is reinforcing the perception that he does.

Especially when he blurted out $25 million as a possible alternative to his $1.5 million salary for 2015.

As training camp, the preseason, and the regular season approach, Wilson will continue to be asked questions about his contract. At this point, the only way to keep the situation from becoming a major distraction for the 2015 season will be to do the best deal he can with the Seahawks or shut down all negotiations until February.

Given that healthy franchise quarterbacks always work out long-term contracts, it’s odd that the story has gotten so big so long before the 2016 offseason. Some would blame Wilson for that. Others would blame his agent, Mark Rodgers. Others would blame the team for not paying Wilson what he’s worth. Others would blame the media for making Mt. Rainier out of a raisin.

Maybe the blame should  on one or more or all of those parties. Regardless, the current size of the story and the potential that it will become dramatically bigger once the time comes to play games that count necessarily becomes a factor Wilson must consider when assessing the offer the Seahawks put on the table before Week One.

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Letroy Guion now facing civil suit from 2013 altercation in Florida

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion should maybe consider just avoiding his home state from now on.

Not only is the state of Florida still holding the truck and the $190,028.81 in cash he was carrying with him when he was arrested with a big bag of weed, but now there’s an individual trying to get in his pocket as well.

According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, Guion is facing a civil suit over a 2013 altercation, for which no charges were ever filed.

The suit was filed in Bradford County, Florida by Martius Holland, who Guion’s agent Seth Katz said is the boyfriend of Krystal Troutman, the mother of Guion’s child.

The report said Guion allegedly struck Holland in the head during an altercation, causing “physical pain, suffering and mental and emotional anguish.” Guiana was also accused of sending threats of physical violence to Holland.

“We’re aware of the suit and is suspect nature,” Katz said. “We’re aware that Mr. Holland and Ms. Troutman are attempting to enrich themselves. Troy’s attorneys are aggressively defending it. There’s no basis for it.”

No matter what happens with the suit, it’s one more entanglement for Guion, whose arrest probably cost him a multi-year contract this offseason.

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Kenneth Adams IV could be emerging as face of Titans ownership

Adams Getty Images

The latest reminder from the Titans that the team still isn’t for sale came not only from interim CEO/president Steve Underwood but also from Kenneth Adams IV. As noted by David Climer of the Tennessean, some see that as the first step in the emergence of the grandson of team founder Bud Adams as the face of the franchise’s ownership.

The problem, as Climer notes, is that the 31-year-old Adams owns only 11 percent of the team. His brother, Barclay, and mother, Susan Lewis, also own 11 percent — which came from the 33 percent of the team that was earmarked for the late Kenneth Adams III, son of Bud Adams.

Amy Adams Strunk and Susie Adams Smith, the daughters of Bud Adams, also own 33 percent each.

The end result is the absence of one clear voice to run the team. Which creates the perception that the organization isn’t stable. Which invites speculation that, for the right offer, the various members of the Adams family would opt to cash out in lieu of having one of them figure out how to buy the others out.

The truth could be that none of them individually have the resources to emerge as the clear owner. Which means that it makes plenty of sense, if they really aren’t selling, to find someone who would play the role of owner — even if he doesn’t personally own enough of the team to actually be the owner.

Regardless, the situation likely isn’t sustainable over the long haul, especially as the 33-percent shares held by Strunk and Smith pass to their children and become further diluted. Which could be the main reason for the lingering rumors of a sale of the team and the ongoing efforts of the five owners to dispel those rumors.

Even if current ownership is simply trying to prevent someone from thinking that the team could be purchased cheaply, a long-term solution that consolidates equity and power in one person is needed, sooner than later.

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Titans are last to sign their first-round pick for third straight year

Marcus Mariota AP

For most teams, the Collective Bargaining Agreement makes negotiating rookie contracts a breeze. But the Titans are not like most teams.

With Marcus Mariota still unsigned, the Titans are the only team in the NFL without its first-round pick under contract. Just like they were last year, when tackle Taylor Lewan was the last first-round pick to sign his contract. And just like they were two years ago, when guard Chance Warmack was the last first-round pick to sign his contract.

Warmack’s negotiations lasted so long that he missed the first four practices of training camp. The year before that, Titans first-round receiver Kendall Wright missed the first three practices of training camp during contract negotiations. The Titans (who are still negotiating offset language on Mariota’s contract) are willing to wait for their first-round picks to sign a team-friendly contract, even if that takes a while.

But while it’s one thing for offensive linemen and wide receivers to miss the first few days of training camp, it’s quite another for the starting quarterback not to be there. If Mariota isn’t there at the beginning of camp, it will slow down his own development, and it will delay the process of getting his timing down with the rest of the Titans’ offense.

So it would be good for both Mariota and the Titans to get this deal done before camp opens. Unfortunately, it’s possible that neither side is willing to budge.

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Sapp’s latest incident reopens his prior case

Sapp Getty Images

As Independence Day approaches, Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp should savor his American freedoms. Because they’re in jeopardy. At least for a little while.

The domestic violence charges filed against Sapp arising from an April incident with his long-time girlfriend in Las Vegas have resulted in the reopening of Sapp’s other 2015 legal entanglement — the claim that he assaulted a pair of prostitutes in Arizona.

According to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, Sapp has been required to return to court in Arizona on July 31 for allegedly violating the terms of the probation agreement entered in the Arizona case.

Absent another plea deal, Sapp will face up to 30 days in jail and two years of probation on the charge of assaulting two prostitutes. (The solicitation charge against Sapp was dismissed and won’t be reopened.)

Sapp separately faced up to 18 months behind bars on the April assault charges. He’s due in court in Nevada on July 23 for that case.

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Report: Dolphins players concerned about guard situation

Miami Dolphins OTA's Getty Images

As long as left tackle Branden Albert is healthy, the Dolphins are set at three spots on their offensive line.

Albert, right tackle Ju’Wuan James and center Mike Pouncey will be starting for the Dolphins in September, but things are a lot less clear at guard. The team has several options to sift through, but it doesn’t look like any of them have left the rest of the team feeling too comfortable as they head toward training camp.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that there’s “definitely concern” among Dolphins players about the fact that no one seized the opportunity to nail down a guard job during offseason work. Jackson adds that fourth-round pick Jamil Douglas has had some good moments, but it appears he, Billy Turner, Dallas Thomas and others will be battling it out well into camp.

Unless, of course, the Dolphins look outside the organization for more help. Evan Mathis would be a possibility if they decide to go that way, although there’s been a lot more chatter about interest in the former Eagle since his release than there’s been actual confirmation of it from any teams.

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Study pegs Eagles as healthiest team last two years, Giants unhealthiest

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 17: Chip Kelly talks to the media after being introduced as the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles during a news conference at the team's NovaCare Complex on January 17, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The former Oregon coach surprised many after he initially turned down NFL clubs saying he would remain at Oregon. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) Getty Images

Maybe the smoothies work. And maybe Tom Coughlin should try one.

The folks at Bleeding Green Nation have passed along a chart that suggests the Eagles are the healthiest team in the NFL over the last two seasons, while the Giants have been the most unhealthy over that span.

The chart is based on adjusted games lost, a formula created by FootballOutsiders.com that uses injury reports and players placed on injured reserve to quantify how available players are to their teams.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly has put plenty of emphasis on sports science, and using nutritional supplements for players to keep them at their best. And old school coach Coughlin has been criticized for not adopting new methods, which this study would seem to back up.

While there’s something to be said for doing everything possible to keep players well, football remains a collision sport and an amount of dumb luck can still make a big difference, particularly if that luck keeps a good quarterback on the field.

While it stands to reason that the best teams might be the healthiest, the next six teams on the list behind the Eagles are the Jets, Ravens, Bills, Browns, Vikings and Rams. And if you look at the Giants’ neighbors at the bottom of the chart, the Colts are 30th, and have managed to perform at a high level.

Obviously you’d rather be well than injured, but it’s unclear if all the shakes and Navy SEAL training the Eagles go through correlates to success on the field.

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Friday morning one-liners

Indianapolis Colts v Cleveland Browns Getty Images

A look at how the Bills landed Rex Ryan as their head coach.

Damien Williams is looking forward to the running back competition at Dolphins camp.

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski hosted a football camp at Andrews Air Force Base this week.

Assessing the impact of DE Sheldon Richardson’s suspension on the Jets.

Ravens WR Michael Campanaro is on track for a training camp return from a quad injury.

Former Bengals players debate the seriousness of Deflategate.

Undrafted TE E.J. Bibbs has made a positive impression on the Browns.

Troy Polamalu makes an appearance on the list of best safeties in Steelers history.

Texans DE J.J. Watt has a fan in Snoop Dogg.

If you’re looking for tips on grilling salmon, Colts T Anthony Castonzo is your man.

How much have the Jaguars improved under General Manager David Caldwell?

A positive take on Kenneth Adams IV’s increased role with the operation of the Titans.

A golf tournament is among Broncos S T.J. Ward’s charitable efforts.

The Chiefs were looking for a franchise quarterback before the 1979 draft.

Previewing the competition in the Raiders secondary.

Chargers TE Ladarius Green is in line for a bump in playing time during Antonio Gates’s suspension.

Is Cowboys owner Jerry Jones right to be confident in the team’s cornerbacks?

Former Giants S Tom Longo died at the age of 73.

Ten players the Eagles can’t afford to lose to injury.

Can play action help Redskins QB Robert Griffin III in 2015?

The Bears won’t miss facing off with Ndamukong Suh twice a season.

Remembering the on- and off-field life of late Lions great Charlie Sanders.

In search of the right theme for a painted fence to commemorate Brett Favre’s entry into the Packers Hall of Fame.

Vikings LB Chad Greenway thinks RB Adrian Peterson can still win an MVP award.

The Falcons are working to build a better defense.

The Panthers sent strong messages this offseason through contract extensions.

Saints QB Drew Brees is selling a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS.

Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston enjoyed his visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

S Deone Bucannon has found a home in the Cardinals secondary.

St. Louis has earmarked more land to be used for a new Rams stadium.

Former 49ers LB Keena Turner discusses the close relationship between Aldon Smith and Charles Haley.

Seahawks S Earl Thomas is headed to the altar.

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Richardson suspension gives leverage back to Muhammad Wilkerson

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

The Jets knew defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson wanted more money when they used their first-round pick on Leonard Williams, seemingly giving them a bit of leverage in the negotiations.

Well, Wilkerson has it back now.

With defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson suspended four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, they have a potential problem up front if they can’t make Wilkerson happy.

He said when he reported to mandatory minicamp that he wanted to be rewarded for his work, and doesn’t seem to think his $7 million fifth-year option is a sufficient reward.

Wilkerson skipped all the non-mandatory offseason work, but that didn’t cost him anything. Holding out of training camp would cost him $30,000 a day, and it’s unclear if he’d go that route to prove his point. But the prospect of going into the season without a pair of starters on the line is something they have to consider as a possibility, or at least something Wilkerson wants them to consider.

Of course, drafting Williams could end up working against Richardson more now, as the suspension would probably make the Jets much less likely to think about ever extending his deal.

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Packers could be thin up front in the opener with suspensions

Atlanta Falcons v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

Packers defensive end Datone Jones only got a one game suspension for his violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, but the Packers are likely going to be short more than one lineman for that game.

As noted by Wes Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the Packers are still awaiting word on an expected punishment for defensive lineman Letroy Guion, which could leave them down two key players for the opener.

Like Jones, Guión could be facing a shorter suspension, assuming he hasn’t failed any tests. He was arrested in February for possession of marijuana and a firearm, charges which were thrown out after he paid a fine. Of course, Florida officials are still holding his truck and $190,028.81, pending a civil forfeiture case, so it’s not like he got off easy.

Players who don’t test positive for drugs but are arrested on drug-related charges have gotten one-game suspensions previously, including running back Ahmad Bradshaw.

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