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PFT’s Week 16 picks

Titans AP

I entered the week eight games behind MDS.  I exited the week eight games behind MDS.

And now I have only 32 games left to make up an eight-game gap.

But it’s not time to surrender.  A sweep this week gets me halfway to a tie, since we disagree on four games.

We each went 9-7 in Week 15.  For the year, he’s 147-77.  I’m 139-85.

All picks appear below.  As they always do.

Dolphins at Bills

MDS’s take: Going to Buffalo in December won’t be an easy road trip for Miami, as the Bills’ defense is playing well. But it’s hard to pick a team with nothing to play for against a team that just needs to win out to make the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 24, Bills 20.

Florio’s take:  Buffalo already beat the Dolphins in Miami.  With Thad Lewis at quarterback.  Lewis is back at quarterback, and the rematch occurs in Buffalo.  But the weather won’t be all that frightful, and the Dolphins have come a long way since losing to the Bills in October.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 27, Bills 17.

Saints at Panthers

MDS’s take: The Saints looked lousy away from home last week, and I expect them to look lousy away from home again this week. That’s bad news in New Orleans, because losing this game likely means losing the division, which in turn means the Saints will spend the postseason on the road.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 23, Saints 17.

Florio’s take:  New Orleans squandered a chance to nail down the division and secure a bye by losing badly to the Rams.  The Panthers now get them outside in Charlotte for the biggest game at Bank of America Stadium in a long time.  A win puts Carolina in the driver’s seat that the Saints squandered, and the Panthers have the defense to disrupt Drew Brees’ timing.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 27, Saints 20.

Vikings at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Vikings are actually looking like a decent team with Matt Cassel at quarterback, while the Bengals turned in a lousy effort last week against the Steelers. But with the Bengals suddenly in danger of missing the playoffs, Marvin Lewis will have his team ready for a big game.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 34, Vikings 21.

Florio’s take:  Relegated to spoiler, the Vikings have played that role well, tying the Packers, beating the Bears, and upending the Eagles.  But Cincinnati hasn’t lost at home this year, and they are one of the best teams in the league when properly focused.  They’ll be focused on Sunday.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 24, Vikings 13.

Broncos at Texans

MDS’s take: The Broncos are two wins away from clinching home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Texans are two losses away from clinching the first overall pick in the NFL draft. Both teams will get halfway there on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 35, Texans 10.

Florio’s take:  In 2012, Peyton Manning wanted to come to Houston.  But the Texans didn’t want him.  On Sunday, Houstonians will get to see what they’ve been missing.  A lot.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 42, Texans 20.

Titans at Jaguars

MDS’s take: This game is utterly meaningless unless you care who comes in second place in the AFC South. I’ll take the Titans to win a close one.

MDS’s pick: Titans 24, Jaguars 21.

Florio’s take:  The Titans aren’t in the losing business.  In Jacksonville, they’ll be in the not winning business.  If they’re really lucky, they’ll be in the tying business.

Florio’s pick:  Jaguars 30, Titans 27.

Colts at Chiefs

MDS’s take: In this likely preview of a wild card playoff game in two weeks, the surging Chiefs will prove that they’re a whole lot better than the slumping Colts.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 35, Colts 17.

Florio’s take:   They seem to be locked in as the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds, but the Chiefs still have some incentive to play hard.  If they win and the Broncos stumble only once, the No. 1 seed remains within reach for a team that won only two games in 2012.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 28, Colts 20.

Browns at Jets

MDS’s take: Neither of these teams is any good on offense, but the Jets are decidedly better on defense and special teams, and I’ll pick them on the strength of that.

MDS’s pick: Jets 17, Browns 13.

Florio’s take:  The 2014 preseason has begun for both teams.  Flip a coin.  Throw a dart.  Light a match.

Florio’s pick:  Browns 17, Jets 10.

Bears at Eagles

MDS’s take: The NFC North leaders visit the NFC East leaders in a game that figures to showcase the weaknesses of Chicago’s defense. I expect Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy to have a huge game as the Eagles roll to a big win.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 28, Bears 17.

Florio’s take:  Even with linebacker Lance Briggs expected to be back for the Bears, Chicago doesn’t have the defense to slow down LeSean McCoy and the rest of the Philly offense.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 31, Bears 24.

Buccaneers at Rams

MDS’s take: Both of these teams have shown more fight late in the season than I expected, so this game may be interesting to watch even though it doesn’t mean anything to the playoff race. I like the Rams, who are a last place team in the NFC West but would be contenders in the NFC North.

MDS’s pick: Rams 27, Buccaneers 20.

Florio’s take:  The consistently inconsistent Rams stunned the Saints last week.  And so it would be fitting for the Rams to stumble against the Bucs, especially with a trip to Seattle looming.

Florio’s pick:  Buccaneers 24, Rams 21.

Cowboys at Redskins

MDS’s take: Dallas’s D is terrible, but Washington is terrible on offense, defense, and special teams. Advantage: Cowboys.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 34, Redskins 20.

Florio’s take:   The Cowboys are coming apart, and the Redskins have nothing to lose.  Especially since they’ve already lost their first-round draft, which pick belongs to the Rams.  Kirk Cousins riddles the Dallas defense and London Fletcher lifts the Washington defense in his final home game.

Florio’s pick:  Redskins 35, Cowboys 31.

Giants at Lions

MDS’s take: The Lions have choked away their NFC North lead, but they at least have a slight chance to get to the playoffs. The Giants, on the other hand, are playing like a team that just wants this bad season to be over with already.

MDS’s pick: Lions 34, Giants 20.

Florio’s take:  It would be fitting for the Lions to blow another game they need to win.  But they play the Giants.  And the Giants aren’t good.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 30, Giants 20.

Cardinals at Seahawks

MDS’s take: Give Arizona a lot of credit for staying in the NFC playoff race a lot later into the season than most people expected, but the Seahawks will crush the Cardinals’ hopes on Sunday and ensure that the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC goes through Seattle.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 35, Cardinals 14.

Florio’s take:  The best team to not make the playoffs will give the Seahawks a great tuneup for their coming playoffs games.  While the Cardinals have done great things this year, no one will be beating Seattle in its own building.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 24, Cardinals 10.

Steelers at Packers

MDS’s take: With the Packers now having a clear path to the NFC North title, they’ll take care of business against an inconsistent Steelers team.

MDS’s pick: Packers 24, Steelers 20.

Florio’s take:  The last time the Packers rallied for a playoff spot, they beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl.  While the Super Bowl is a long way away, a win over the Steelers could at least propel the Pack toward a fifth straight postseason berth.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 34, Steelers 31.

Raiders at Chargers

MDS’s take: The Chargers still have an outside shot at a wild card, and if they somehow get into the playoffs I think they’d be a dangerous team. It probably won’t happen, but they will take care of business against a Raiders team that has nothing left to play for.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 38, Raiders 20.

Florio’s take:  Even if the Chargers don’t make it to the playoffs (and they likely won’t), they’re laying the foundation for future competitiveness.  The Raiders aren’t.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 30, Raiders 17.

Patriots at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Patriots have been the better team for most of this season, but the Ravens are playing their best football at the right time, while New England is struggling. I like the Ravens to win a tough, physical, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 14, Patriots 13.

Florio’s take:  The Ravens have won four in a row.  The Patriots have suffered one too many injuries to remain highly competitive.  Baltimore moves another big step closer to a sixth straight playoff appearance.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 22, Patriots 17.

Falcons at 49ers

MDS’s take: In the most lopsided game of the week, the 49ers will roll to an easy win, while the Falcons will wish this disaster of a season could end already.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 45, Falcons 7.

Florio’s take:  The last game at Candlestick Park comes against an opponent that is neither nimble nor quick.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 35, Falcons 21.

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Sexton connection surely helped Adam Gase feel better about Laremy Tunsil

DAVIE, FL - JANUARY 09:  The Miami Dolphins announce Adam Gase as their new head coach at Sunlife Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Davie, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

Often, the dynamic of an agent representing a coach and a player provides folder for rants against the potential conflict of interest that arises. Sometimes, however, the connection can be helpful.

In the case of tackle Laremy Tunsil, the fact that Tunsil and Dolphins coach Adam Gase share an agent surely didn’t hurt. At a time when coaches and General Managers surely were nervous about what they may be getting in Tunsil, agent Jimmy Sexton of CAA was able to talk to a coaching client about a playing client in a way that the coaching client can trust, fully and completely.

While the Dolphins may have taken Tunsil regardless of the agent connection, having that link to Sexton surely hoped — especially in those crazy minutes on Thursday night as teams were on the clock and forced to decide what to do.

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Fifth-year options show everyone’s guessing in the NFL draft

Minnesota Vikings v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

In the days following the NFL draft, we’re inundated with draft report cards who are certain they know which team deserves an ‘A’ and which team deserves an ‘F.’

Here’s the truth: No one knows anything.

For proof of that, look no further than the fifth-year options on the contracts of first-round picks. Those are the options that teams chose this week whether or not to pick up on their 2013 first-round picks, and they basically tell us whether or not the draft pick worked out.

As it turned out, players in the 2013 draft had basically a 50-50 chance of working out: Of the 32 players taken in the first round, 17 had their fifth-year options picked up, 12 had their options declined, one has already been cut, one has already agreed to a new contract and one is currently suspended and has no option to pick up.

The Top 10 of the draft was a little worse than the next 22; five of the top 10 picks didn’t have their options picked up, and Dion Jordan, the third overall pick, is suspended.

NFL teams, which spend several months and millions of dollars evaluating players, just can’t consistently say which college players will pan out and which ones will bust. The rest of us can’t, either. The draft is a lot of fun, but it’s a crap shoot.

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Raiders tight end Clive Walford injures knee in ATV crash

Clive Walford, Jimmy Wilson AP

The injury news seemingly never stops in the NFL, but in the offseason, the injuries become more unusual.

According to Mike Garafolo and Peter Schrager of FOX Sports, Raiders tight end Clive Walford suffered a knee injury in an ATV crash and will miss spring practices.

The hope is that Walford will be back on the field by training camp, with one source saying the injury “may not be as bad as originally thought.”

Walford has already had surgery to repair the damage, but word of his condition has been kept under wraps.

The third-round pick from Miami caught 27 passes last year for 329 yards and three touchdowns, showing signs he could be a downfield threat. How this impacts those plans remains to be seen, and probably means that any interest they had in moving tight end Mychal Rivera is over, at least until they know how Walford is and when he’ll be back.

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NFL opposes union’s request for extra time in Brady appeal

Tom Brady AP

In the legal system, lawyers routinely request other lawyers for more time to file certain documents. And lawyers routinely grant those requests.

To no surprise, the NFL is not willing to grant the NFL Players Association’s request for more time to decide whether to file a petition for a rehearing of the appeal in case arising from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game #Deflategate suspension.

CBS Boston has posted the full document. Only four pages in length, the NFL’s response points out that the parties have previously agreed to expedite the appeal and claims that the 14-day period “is a presumptively sufficient amount of time even in ordinary cases that have not been expedited.”

The league seems to think that the union has asked for more time in the hopes of tapping the brakes, so that the case will be resolved as late as possible. But what’s two more weeks at this point, especially in light of the fact that the original investigation and internal appeal process dragged on for months?

If the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit doesn’t agree to grant a full rehearing before the entire court, that decision surely will be made before Week One of the 2016 regular season. If the Second Circuit chooses to grant a full rehearing, the ensuing process likely will consume all of the upcoming season.

Should the NFLPA need 14 extra days beyond the initial 14-day period? Probably not. Will it matter to the process if the extra time is granted? Definitely not.

But the NFL has made its point. Now that the league has the upper hand for the first time since the NFL filed the federal lawsuit that started the current litigation process, the league wants to apply that hand to Brady’s throat and squeeze.

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Dana Stubblefield’s lawyer declares his innocence

Former-NFL-player-Dana-Stubblefield-jpg Getty Images

The streak of criminal defense lawyers proclaiming the innocence of their clients continues, unblemished.

Kenneth Rosenfield, who represents former NFL defensive lineman Dana Stubblefied, says that the pending rape charge against Stubblefield is “a false and completely untrue allegation.”

“This is nothing but a money grab, and an attempt to get money and take advantage of his celebrity status,” Rosenfield said, via NBC Bay Area.

Rosenfeld also said that Stubblefield has taken — and passed — a lie-detector test that will “clearly show” the interaction was consensual.

Although polygraph tests continue to be inadmissible in court, they can be effective in the court of public opinion.

Stubblefield is accused of raping a “developmentally delayed” female who had interviewed for a nanny job. The alleged assault occurred in April 2015.

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Philip Rivers expects Hunter Henry to be a “key piece” right away

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 21:  Hunter Henry #84 of the Arkansas Razorbacks catches a pass while being defended by Kivon Coman #11 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Razorback Stadium Stadium on November 21, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Bulldogs defeated the Razorbacks 51-50.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Chargers picked tight end Hunter Henry in the second round of the draft in a move that the team hopes can kill two birds with one stone.

In the long term, the Chargers would love it if Henry could step into the role that Antonio Gates has played on the offense since joining the team during the 2003 season. In the immediate future, Henry can fill the hole opened when No. 2 tight end Ladarius Green signed with the Steelers.

Henry worked out with quarterback Philip Rivers‘ brother leading into the draft and Rivers said he expects Henry to handle that responsibility right off the bat.

“He’s going to be a guy that we’re going to need to come in and contribute right away and be out on the field on a lot of the stuff we do two tight-end wise,” Rivers said on The Mighty 1090 in San Diego. “I’m assuming he’s a sharp guy and I’ve seen him catch the ball. I don’t think he had a drop last year. I think he runs well enough, but he uses his body, finds ways to get open and catches the football. I think he’s going to be a key piece. He’ll be right in the mix once he gets out here.”

With Henry and free agent Travis Benjamin in the fold, the passing offense should have a different look next season. If all goes right, that duo plus Keenan Allen should be the core of a group that the Chargers hope will close out Rivers’ career on a high note.

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Browns say every QB on the roster is competing to start

Josh McCown AP

No one in Cleveland is promised the starting quarterback position, and no one is ruled out.

That’s the word from Browns head of football operations Sashi Brown, who said this morning on PFT Live that third-round draft pick Cody Kessler will compete with Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Austin Davis and Connor Shaw.

“We’ve got four guys here who are going to have an opportunity to try to lead this team from the quarterback position: Josh, Robert, Austin and Connor, and Cody obviously comes now into the mix and we feel like we want to play the guy who gives us the best chance to win,” Brown said.

Most people assume Griffin will emerge as the winner of the competition, but that’s only the case if Griffin proves he’s the best of the bunch.

“There’s no question with the investment in Robert, we absolutely feel like he has the opportunity to become the starting quarterback,” Brown said. “There’s still a competition there, and we haven’t named a starter yet, and Cody will get into that mix.”

The decision will be coach Hue Jackson’s. Jackson said after the draft not to sleep on Kessler, suggesting that the head coach will give the rookie every opportunity to prove he can play.

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Myles Jack: “Humiliating” draft slide is “all motivation” for future

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Myles Jack #30 of the UCLA Bruins reacts after a UCLA interception on a fake punt against the USC Trojans at Rose Bowl on November 28, 2014 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Getty Images

Among the reasons that people have high hopes for the Jaguars in the coming season is the fact that they came away with cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Myles Jack in the first two rounds of the draft.

The Jaguars were thrilled to get Jack in the second round and Jack calls it a “dream come true” to play on the same team with Ramsey, but the way he wound up in Jacksonville was less than ideal. Jack was projected to be one of the first players picked in this year’s draft, but negative reports about the long-term health of his knee helped keep him on the board much longer than expected.

During an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, Jack called it “kinda sour” that the medical information went public before the draft and it sounds like sour would be an understatement to describe how Jack felt during a slide no one prepared him for last Thursday night.

“It was, honestly, humiliating,” Jack said. “It was embarrassing having to sit there, and afterwards walking out, having my girl to my left, my mom to my right, my grandmother to the right of her and having to look at them, it was a tough feeling. It wasn’t a good night, truthfully.”

Jack, who said his knee is 100 percent right now, pointed to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski as a player who wound up in the second round because of health questions before putting the doubts to rest on the field and said the decision by teams to pass on him is “all motivation” for 2016 and beyond. If that motivation fuels the kind of pro success most people predicted for Jack during his college career, he’ll join Gronkowski as a reason for teams to think a little harder about the risk/reward ratio involved with drafting talented players with injury concerns.

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Titans start front office shakeup, two scouts let go

Recently hired Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson, right, and head coach Mike Mularkey, left, answer questions at a news conference, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. Mularkey was previously the team's interim head coach and Robinson was the director of player personnel for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) AP

New Titans General Manager Jon Robinson is trying to remake his roster on the field, and that means some changes off the field as well.

The traditional new-guy-gets-rid-of-old-guys dance has begun in Tennessee, as the team has started making changes in the front office.

According to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com, the Titans have let scouts Mike Yowarsky and Marv Sunderland go after the draft. Yowarsky has been with the Titans the last three years. Sunderland has been in the league for 39 years, the last nine with the Titans.

“It is the ugly part of the game, but new leadership has the prerogative to make changes,” Sunderland said. “The Titans will be much better next fall and are headed in the right direction. Would I prefer to be there to watch Marcus [Mariota] and the team flourish? Absolutely. But Jon has control of the football part of it and I’m sure he wants his own people.

“He ran a good draft and the new draft picks should represent themselves very well.”

Some degree of change is almost inevitable when a new G.M. takes over, and shuffling of scouting staffs is a rite of the post-draft spring.

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Giants still looking for corners, checking out Leon Hall

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 29:  Leon Hall #29 of the Cincinnati Bengals heads up the field during the game against the St. Louis Rams at Paul Brown Stadium on November 29, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants signed an expensive free agent, and used their top draft pick on a cornerback.

But they still need help there, so they’re still looking.

Via Mike Garafolo of FOXSports.com, the Giants are hosting veteran corner Leon Hall today.

The Giants threw a pile of money at Janoris Jenkins as part of their defensive splurge, and then turned the 10th pick in the draft into Eli Apple.

But other than Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the Giants don’t have much else of substance there.

Hall has visited the Cardinals and Cowboys this offseason, but hasn’t found work yet. The 31-year-old is recovering from back surgery this offseason, which has likely delayed his employment, since he’s played well for the Bengals in the slot when he’s well.

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Arthur Blank expects Falcons to be a playoff team this year

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 03:  Team owner Arthur Blank walks on the field prior to the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Georgia Dome on January 3, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Falcons squandered a 6-1 start last season, and not even being the only team to beat the Panthers in the regular season was enough to keep an 8-8 season from being disappointing.

But owner Arthur Blank definitely sees improvement, and expects it from his team this year.

“Yes, I do — because of the added talent and knowing the existing roster’s players, and them knowing the schemes better,” Blank said when asked if he thought they were a playoff team, via Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I think that will be evidenced on both sides of the ball. So my view is, yes – we will have a better team next year and we definitely should have a competitive team in the playoffs.”

Blank stopped short of suggesting that the season would be a mandate on the futures of General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn, however.

“I wouldn’t use that word,” he said. “I’m optimistic and hopeful that would be the case, but I wouldn’t say there’s a mandate. The flip side of that answer has connotations to it that I’m not comfortable with.

“We expect to see progression in every way. We expect progression from our coaches and our players, and as a result of progression we expect to see a better result. I feel like the roster is better. I feel like the players on both sides of the ball understand more specifically what coach Quinn wants and they’ll have a better understanding of the concepts and the execution.”

Of course, the Falcons have gone three straight years without a playoff appearance, so there’s pressure there whether the owner acknowledges it or not. But after another aggressive offseason, the Falcons have given themselves a chance to compete, if not catch the Panthers for more than one game.

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Broncos add 21 undrafted free agents

MEMPHIS, TN - OCTOBER 17:  Mose Frazier #5 of the Memphis Tigers celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Ole Miss Rebels at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Memphis, Tennessee.  The Tigers defeated the Rebels 37-24.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Broncos released a pair of players on Monday, but their roster spots weren’t vacant for long.

The Broncos announced the signing of 21 undrafted rookie free agents who will begin vying for spots on the team’s 53-man roster or 10-man practice squad at the team’s rookie minicamp.

Memphis wide receiver Mose Frazier is part of the group and he should be able to get a few looks from quarterback Paxton Lynch during those workouts after catching passes from Lynch in their college days.

Louisiana Tech defensive end Vontarrius Dora, Georgia Southern safety Antonio Glover, Sacramento State tackle Lars Hanson, Miami defensive tackle Calvin Heurtelou, Shepherd defensive end Shaneil Jenkins, Iowa tight end Henry Krieger Coble, Utah State defensive lineman David Moala, Oklahoma wide receiver Durron Neal, Eastern Washington guard Aaron Neary, Duke linebacker Dwayne Norman, Southern Utah tight end Anthony Norris, Oregon State nose tackle Kyle Peko, Holy Cross wide receiver Kalif Raymond, Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon, Portland State linebacker Sadat Sulleyan, Georgia long snapper Nathan Theus, Sioux Falls cornerback John Tidwell, Wyoming defensive end Eddie Yarbrough, Oregon wide receiver Bralon Addison and Cincinnati tackle Justin Murray are the other new faces on the Broncos.

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Trent Dilfer has “no intention” to join 49ers

77584347-trent-dilfer-meets-with-frank-cignetti-of-the-gettyimages Getty Images

Trent Dilfer is likely to leave ESPN. If/when he does, he won’t be heading to the 49ers.

More accurately, he has no current plan to join the 49ers.

I have no intention of joining the 49ers,” Dilfer told Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. “I have never been talking with the 49ers about this and I’m focused on continuing my broadcasting opportunities.”

The phrase “no intention” often provides cover for a change of intentions later. And with Dilfer counting 49ers G.M. Trent Baalke as one of Dilfer’s closest friends, whenever Dilfer changes his intentions, the door could swing open.

For now, Dilfer remains employed by ESPN. By saying that he is “focused on continuing my broadcasting opportunities,” Dilfer has essentially confirmed that his eight-year run in Bristol will indeed be ending.

And if those other “broadcasting opportunities” don’t materialize, Dilfer’s intentions could quickly change.

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Tuesday morning one-liners

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 31:  William Jackson III #3 of the Houston Cougars returns an interception for a 55 yard touchdown against the Vanderbilt Commodores at TDECU Stadium on October 31, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

Shaquille O’Neal has followed the career of Bills rookie DE Shaq Lawson and other athletes who share his first name.

LB Kiko Alonso has gotten off to a good start with the Dolphins.

Charlie Weis is a big fan of Patriots QB Jacoby Brissett.

CB Dee Milliner’s injury history is why the Jets declined his 2017 option.

The fourth round of the draft had Ravens coach John Harbaugh thinking about Star Trek.

Bengals CB William Jackson’s new teammates took him out for dinner after he was drafted in the first round.

The Browns appear to be going with the status quo at running back.

The Steelers have moved into the second phase of their offseason workouts.

Texans rookie WR Will Fuller first met coach Bill O’Brien at a football camp in Pennsylvania several years ago.

Running through the draft additions on offense for the Colts.

The draft has raised the expectations for the Jaguars.

A look at the impact the Titans draft will have on five positions.

They’re getting ready for a quarterback competition with the Broncos.

Sifting through the backup quarterback options for the Chiefs.

Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie said second-round DL Jihad Ward is raw, but the team expects him to play as a rookie.

Corey Liuget is looking forward to sharing the Chargers defensive line with Joey Bosa.

QB Dak Prescott is excited to be a member of the Cowboys.

A negative take on the possibility of S Antrel Rolle returning to the Giants.

The Eagles parted ways with S Jerome Couplin and WR Freddie Martino.

The Redskins aren’t sure when CB Kendall Fuller will be ready to get back on the field.

What roster battles will highlight the Bears offseason?

The Lions are getting bigger under General Manager Bob Quinn.

Pac-12 players were on the Packers’ draft radar this year.

Said Vikings WR Moritz Boehringer, “My ultimate goal is to be the Dirk Nowitzki of the NFL, but it’s a process. I’ve got to make the team.”

Rookie Deion Jones is headed to middle linebacker for the Falcons.

The Panthers signed an intriguing undrafted rookie in LB Jeremy Cash.

Rookie DT Sheldon Rankins will wear No. 99 with the Saints.

Drafting DE Noah Spence opens up different possibilities for the Buccaneers defensive line.

One Cardinals fan found out the team’s first round pick before it went public.

An assault arrest wasn’t enough to sour the Rams on TE Tyler Higbee.

The Seahawks plan to start Germain Ifedi out as a guard.

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Telvin Smith wants Jaguars to refuse to be losers

at EverBank Field on November 29, 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida. Getty Images

The Jaguars emerged from the draft with positive reviews about the work they did to continue strengthening their defense after focusing on the unit during free agency as well.

Those moves have generated some hope that this might be the year that the Jaguars find their way back to a winning record for the first time since 2007. Linebacker Telvin Smith thinks that kind of change of fortune requires more than just a few new players on defense.

Smith called a meeting with his teammates after one of their recent offseason workouts to discuss refusing “to settle for what’s been happening” in Jacksonville in recent years.

“I’ve always said I’m not a loser and I refuse to be a loser,” Smith said, via ESPN.com. “So you cannot do this on your own and you have to make sure everybody’s on the same mindset. And that’s the biggest thing, making sure everybody’s on the same mindset. … Let everybody voice their opinion and know that I want the same thing that you want so that when I say something it’s out of love. But words are only something. Actions are the biggest thing and that’s what we want to get from that meeting. Keep building from the meeting: actions.”

Actions, it’s said, speak louder than words and the Jaguars could say a lot by getting wins to open the season. They are 1-10 in September and 2-10 in October over the last three years, digging holes that reinforce the idea that the team can’t win just as the season is getting underway. Avoiding that would be a sign that the same old Jaguars won’t be on the field in 2016.

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