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Munchak says he’s not interested in Penn State job

Munchak Getty Images

As a Penn State coach with NFL connections reportedly plans to leave the school, NFL coaches with Penn State connections reportedly are interested in replacing him.  Especially since those two NFL coaches currently are believed to be on the hot seat.

Previously, Bucs coach Greg Schiano has denied interest in the job.  Now, Titans coach Mike Munchak has done the same.

“I did not reach out to anybody, and nobody did on my behalf. And I don’t have an agent,” Munchak said Wednesday, via Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.  “They have a coach there, and I have a job here.  So it’s just not true.”

Munchak needed to speak out against the report, because the last thing he needs at a time when Titans CEO Tommy Smith is agonizing about whether to keep Munchak around.

“I am fighting for this job, to make it work,” Munchak said. “I am not looking for another job, and no one is looking on my behalf. I don’t know where [the media] comes up with that kind of stuff.”

Here’s a possibility — maybe folks connected to the Penn State program are leaking the names in order to create the impression that the job is desirable.  A couple of weeks ago, Texas seemed to be doing the same thing.

Two years ago, Munchak reportedly was “torn” about the school’s interest in hiring him as he completed his first year on the job in Tennessee.  If Munchak ultimately is fired by the Titans and a vacancy arises at Penn State, it would make sense for the man who has worked for only one team since leaving Penn State to consider returning there.

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Byron Maxwell on benching by Dolphins: “It doesn’t matter.”

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Wide receiver Tyler Lockett #16 of the Seattle Seahawks can't hold on to a pass under the defense of Miami Dolphins cornerback Byron Maxwell #41 at CenturyLink Field on September 11, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cornerback Byron Maxwell being benched was one of several lineup changes the Miami Dolphins elected to make prior to Thursday night’s game with the Cincinnati Bengals.

In Maxwell’s place, the Dolphins started second-year cornerback Tony Lippett instead.

According to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, Maxwell said he was told early in the week that he would not be starting against the Bengals. He ultimately didn’t end up playing a snap – on defense or special teams – joining Matt Moore and Dallas Thomas as the only Dolphins not to play.

So what was his reaction to the decision?

It doesn’t matter,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell said it didn’t matter if he was angry about the decision or not either.

Lippett unsurprisingly struggled against one of the premier wide receivers in the league in A.J. Green.

Green caught 10 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins as Lippett was frequently the target of Cincinnati’s attack.

Miami acquired Maxwell via a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason and he started the first three games for the team before being sat against the Bengals.

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Ryan Tannehill on Dolphins offense: “One of the worst performances I’ve seen.”

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 29:  Will Clarke #93 of the Cincinnati Bengals tackles Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins and causes a fumble during the second quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on September 29, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins gained 81 yards and scored a touchdown on their first two offensive plays of the night against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Their offense then went into hibernation the remainder of the night. They gained just 141 yards the rest of the night, averaging just 3.4 yards per play on their final 41 plays of the game. Ryan Tannehill passed for 189 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and had a lost fumble as well as the Dolphins lost 22-7 to the Bengals.

“One of the worst performances I’ve seen from our offense in a long time,” Tannehill said.

Through four games, the Dolphins are averaging just 17.8 points per game offensively and have a minus-5 turnover ratio. They rank 27th in points per game and 23rd in total offense.

“We have to get it fixed soon and by soon, I mean Monday,” Tannehill said. “It’s gone on too long. There’s no more excuses, no more waiting, it’s got to be important to everyone who steps on that field and we have to get it fixed right now.”

Tannehill is in his fifth season with the Dolphins. And yet, the same type of mistakes and errors show up way too frequently. As Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes, Trevor Siemian of the Denver Broncos passed for 312 yards and four touchdowns against the Bengals just four days ago in his third career start. And Tannehill, in his fifth season, is still remarkably inconsistent.

The play of Miami’s offensive line certainly didn’t help Thursday night in Cincinnati either. Regardless, the Dolphins have to be much better offensively and have to figure out some way to improve to remain competitive this year.

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C.J. Spiller doesn’t know what his role will be in Seattle, yet

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 20:  C.J. Spiller #28 of the New Orleans Saints is brought down by George Johnson #94 and Lavonte David #54 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 20, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

Running back C.J. Spiller could have taken the balance of his fully-guaranteed $1.7 million salary from the Saints and waited for an inevitable injury to strike at the tailback position for a contending team in, say, late December or early January.

Spilled opted not to delay his return to the NFL, choosing to sign with the Seahawks, who have a short-term need while Thomas Rawls recovers from a leg injury.

Unless the Seahawks are paying Spiller more than $100,000 per week (and if they were, it surely would have been leaked by now), he’s essentially working for free. More importantly, he’s putting himself at risk of injury for no additional compensation.

That’s his right, but it still doesn’t mean it makes much sense. When Rawls heals, Spiller will have a hard time getting on the field — and he won’t be available if someone else with a contending team gets injured. (Unless he gets cut.) Until then, Spiller risks the kind of injury that would make him less attractive to other teams in 2017.

For now, Spiller is getting up to speed in Seattle, where everything is new. It’s so new that he doesn’t know what his role will be.

“I just got here so we haven’t really got into that I’m still swimming I guess you can say,” Spiller told reporters on Thursday. “I’m still trying to get things learned. Places learned, the meeting rooms and all that stuff. So we really haven’t gotten in depth considering I just got here on short notice.”

Seattle may indeed be the right fit for Spiller, and it could work out perfectly for him. At a time, however, when there’s a push to get players to treat football like the business that it is, it wasn’t the best business decision for Spiller to return so quickly, for no more money than he already was going to make from the Saints.

Speaking of the Saints, they’re surely happy about this development. They’ll get a dollar-for-dollar credit for Spiller’s salary in Seattle. From the Saints’ perspective, then, it was a perfect business decision.

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Bengals roll over Dolphins, 22-7

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) carries the ball as Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) chases him during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores) AP

The Dolphins scored on their second offensive play Thursday night.

For the rest of the night, the Dolphins got steamrolled.

With wide receiver A.J. Green and the defensive line leading the way, the Bengals overwhelmed the Dolphins and went on to win, 22-7. Mike Nugent kicked five field goals, and the Bengals defense made it so the offense didn’t have to lament settling for those field goals.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills with 9:04 left in the first quarter, and the Dolphins didn’t score again. The Dolphins’ makeshift offensive line was no match for the Bengals defensive front.

It was not one that will go on the Thursday Night Football highlight reel, nor the Dolphins’ highlight reel. Tannehill was 15-of-25 for 189 yards and was sacked five times, twice by Carlos Dunlap. In the fourth quarter Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins basically threw Dolphins guard Jermon Bushrod back into Tannehill for a sack, and that summed up the night.

Eight of the Dolphins’ first nine possessions were four plays or fewer. The Bengals had the ball for 21:36 in the first half and 38:02 for the game.

The Bengals had 362 total yards. The Dolphins had 222.

Green had 10 catches for 173 yards and the game’s only touchdown. He was over 100 yards in the first half. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was 22-of-31 for 296 yards.

The Bengals are 2-2 and are at the Cowboys on Oct. 9. The Dolphins are 1-3 and next host the Titans.

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Report: Watt’s season likely over after surgery

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 09:  J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans warms up before playing against the Kansas City Chiefs during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at NRG Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

Texans Pro Bowl defensive end J.J. Watt underwent back surgery Thursday that’s expected to keep him out for the rest of the season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

The Texans officially placed Watt on injured reserve Wednesday.

Watt missed all of training camp and the preseason after having surgery to repair a herniated disc in July.

The Texans are 2-1 and host the Titans Sunday.

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Dunlap, Bengals defense keeping Dolphins in neutral

Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake (32) carries the ball as Cincinnati Bengals' Clayton Fejedelem pursues during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers) AP

Everything has been a struggle for the Dolphins except third down defense.

The Bengals keep kicking field goals and keep feeding A.J. Green, and they lead 19-7 in the third quarter. Mike Nugent has four field goals.

The Bengals think they should have more touchdowns than the one they have, but their defense has made it so they’re comfortably in charge. Andy Dalton keeps feeding Green, who had eight catches for 123 yards in the first half and had another big catch on the Bengals’ first field goal drive of the second half.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was just 3-of-9 for 83 yards in the first half despite getting 74 on his second throw, a touchdown to Kenny Stills. The Dolphins have moved the ball in the third quarter but the Bengals defense tightened and sacked Tannehill out of field goal range to end the Dolphins’ first drive.

Midway through the third quarter, Carlos Dunlap has two of the Bengals’ three sacks.

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Green dominating, Bengals lead 16-7 at halftime

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) runs the ball against Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers) AP

The Dolphins have no answer for Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green.

Thanks to some stalled Bengals drives and timely defense, the Dolphins are still in the game. They trail at halftime, 16-7.

Mike Nugent has three field goals for the Bengals, who are angry they didn’t score a touchdown off a Carlos Dunlap strip sack late in the first half.

Green has eight catches for 123 yards. He had five for 80 yards and a touchdown on his first five targets. The Dolphins can’t stop Green but have slowed the Bengals’ run game and forced Andy Dalton to go away from Green on some third downs.

Besides a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills on their second play and third-down defense, not much has gone right. The Bengals had the ball for nearly 22 minutes in the first half and own a huge edge (239-122) in total yardage as well.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was just 3-of-9 for 83 yards despite getting 74 on his second throw.

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A.J. Green is (still) really, really good

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 12:  A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the football upfield during the game against Minnesota Vikings at Paul Brown Stadium on August 12, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

There are times that Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green just makes it look easy.

On the second drive Thursday night, for example.

Tightly covered along the sideline by Dolphins rookie Xavien Howard, Green just outjumped him and came down inbounds on a 51-yard gain. Two plays later Green caught a 19-yard pass from Andy Dalton, then two plays after that he caught a short pass, gave Tony Lippett a stiffarm and turned it into a 7-yard touchdown.

That score gave the Bengals a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter. Through 12 minutes, Green has five catches on five targets for 80 yards.

The Dolphins took a 7-3 lead on a 74-yard bomb from Ryan Tannehill to Kenny Stills on their second play from scrimmage.

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Stills goes deep to give Dolphins early lead

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (10) catches a pass for a touchdown in front of New England Patriots defensive back Justin Coleman (22) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) AP

A 74-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Kenny Stills has given the Dolphins an early 7-3 lead on the Bengals.

The Bengals were blitzing, and it appeared Stills broke off his designed route to go deep.

The touchdown came on the Dolphins’ second play from scrimmage and marked the first time in their last eight road games that the Dolphins have scored a first quarter touchdown.

The Bengals got the ball first and put together a methodical drive that stalled out in Miami territory. Mike Nugent kicked a 42-yard field goal to open the scoring.

The Bengals announced that running back and special teams player Rex Burkhead suffered a hamstring injury on the opening kickoff. His return is doubtful.

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NFL officially announces Lady Gaga as Super Bowl halftime headliner

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Lady Gaga sings the National Anthem at Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Matt Cowan/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL made it official Thursday, announcing that six-time Grammy winner Lady Gaga will headline this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

The news had been previously reported by Sports Business Daily. Super Bowl LI is in Houston on Feb. 5.

A formal announcement that includes an interview with Lady Gaga will air this Sunday, Oct. 2, on FOX’s NFL Sunday pregame show.

Lady Gaga sang the national anthem before last year’s Super Bowl.

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Gordon tweets “see you soon;” Jackson says Browns support him

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 8:  Josh Gordon #12 of the Cleveland Browns catches a pass before a game with the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 8, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

Not long after announcing via a team press release that he’d be entering a treatment facility, Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon tweeted that he’s been “under some pressure and stress recently [and] had to take a time out for myself. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you.”

Gordon also thanked the NFL and the Browns. In a separate tweet Gordon wrote, “see you soon.”

The announcement that his return, which could have happened next week, is on hold came late Thursday afternoon. On his Thursday evening radio show, Browns coach Hue Jackson said the Browns “support Gordon 100 percent.”

Jackson said “it’s unfortunate” that the Browns won’t be getting Gordon back in their lineup but said “Josh needs to do what’s best for Josh.”

As part of his conditional reinstatement, Gordon had been at the Browns facility and had been allowed to participate in team meetings while sitting out the first four games of the 2016 season.

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Tunsil moves out to tackle with Albert inactive

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 29:   Branden Albert #76 of the Miami Dolphins in action against the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 29, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

Left tackle Branden Albert is one of four Dolphins offensive starters inactive for Thursday night’s game at Cincinnati.

Albert had been listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Also out are tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion), center Mike Pouncey (hip) and running back Arian Foster (hamstring). Pouncey has yet to play this season, and Foster also missed last week’s game.

The Dolphins also announced Damien Williams as the starter at running back. Rookie Laremy Tunsil will move out from guard to start in place of Albert, and Billy Turner will start at Tunsil’s usual spot of left guard.

Two starting linebackers, Koa Misi (neck) and Jelani Jenkins (groin), are also out due to injuries.

Dolphins Coach Adam Gase had hinted at changes to the lineup even before injuries forced at least a few of them. As previously reported, Tony Lippett is replacing Byron Maxwell in the starting lineup at cornerback.

As expected, Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard will start in place of the injured Dre Kirkpatrick. The Bengals also have decided to keep tight end Tyler Eifert out at least another week. They had listed Eifert and Kirkpatrick as doubtful.

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Week Four is here; which game is the biggest?

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Jacoby Brissett #7 of the New England Patriots warms up before the game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

Friday’s PFT Live features a question of the day that focuses on the weekend to come. Specifically, which game is the biggest game of the fourth week of the season?

Pick from one of the five selections below, defend your selection in the comments, attack the selections of others, or complain about the decision to omit a contest like Lions-Bears.

You can also correct preemptively everyone who will improperly refer to this weekend as the “quarter pole” of the season.

Guests include Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com, Hall of Famer Kevin Greene, and perhaps someone from the team that wins on Thursday night, when the Dolphins face the Bengals.

The Dolphins, by the way, are 15-3 against Cincinnati since the merger, a fact that is not relevant to Thursday’s game but nevertheless extremely interesting — especially since PFT Live producer Rob “Stats” Guerrera strongly believes it isn’t.

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Man arrested for entering Broncos facility, threatening John Elway

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 08:  General Manager John Elway holds the Lombardi Trophy to celebrate the Denver Broncos in win Super Bowl 50 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High before taking on the Carolina Panthers on September 8, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

A great Sunday in Cincinnati for the Broncos was followed by a bizarre Monday morning.

Via KUSA in Denver, a man was arrested on Monday for entering the team’s facility, making strange accusations, and issuing a vague threat to a security officer and G.M. John Elway.

36-year-old Cordell Robinson entered through an unlocked door in the team’s media room at 7:10 a.m. local time, walked to the lobby, and began taking photographs of the trophies. Asked to leave, Robinson allegedly claimed that the Broncos owe him money, and that he owns 20 percent of the franchise.

Asked to leave again, Robinson said to the security officer that Robinson would “get him and Elway.”

Robinson faces charges of second-degree criminal trespass.

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Report: Dolphins bench Byron Maxwell

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, center, is stopped after short gain by Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Jelani Jenkins (53) and defensive back Byron Maxwell (41) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) AP

The Dolphins will bench cornerback Byron Maxwell and start Tony Lippett in his place Thursday night against the Bengals, NFL Network reported.

Maxwell, acquired in a trade with the Eagles last March, has started the first three games. He’s broken up four passes and forced a fumble, but the Dolphins have struggled and the defense has given up too many big plays in the passing game.

The Eagles traded Maxwell a year after signing him to a six-year, $63 million contract.

Lippett is a second-year player who played in nine games as a rookie and has played in all three this season as a backup.

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