Skip to content

David Caldwell: Jaguars’ hope is to start Chad Henne in 2014

AP

The Jaguars appear ready to give rookie quarterback Blake Bortles a year-long apprenticeship behind veteran Chad Henne.

In an interview with ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” program on Friday, Jaguars G.M. David Caldwell indicated the club was looking toward 2015 as the season in which Bortles, whom Jacksonville selected No. 3 overall in Round One, could mount a serious challenge for the starting role.

When asked when he would like Bortles to assume the starting spot, Caldwell said: “To be honest with you, probably 2015. We’d like to give Chad this whole year and go with Chad this year.”

Caldwell noted that Bortles, the first quarterback taken in the 2014 draft, has “some development to do.” To that end, Caldwell said the club had a plan for preparing Bortles to get ready to play a notoriously challenging position, including extra post-practice work.

The Jaguars’ goal, Caldwell said, is to “really kind of get [Bortles] ready so come 2015, he’s ready to compete for that spot.”

Henne signed a two-year contract with the Jaguars in March. He has started 19 games over the last two seasons for Jacksonville. From the sound of it, he will add to that tally as the Jaguars ready Bortles to eventually assume his role.

Permalink 23 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Home, Jacksonville Jaguars, Rumor Mill
yo

Monday’s PFT Live devotes some space to the Stanley Cup Final

Getty Images

Hockey gets its annual national close-up starting Monday, when Nashville and Pittsburgh meet for the most iconic trophy in all of sports. (Sorry, NFL, but it’s true.)

And since PFT Live operate as usual on Monday (it’s hard for me to take a day off from work when it’s not really work), we’ll devote some real estate to the game played on literally frozen tundra. With blades and sticks and a projectile that rockets around the rink, knocking out teeth and busting jaws and potentially doing serious damage to parental aspirations.

NBC’s Pierre McGuire joins the show at 7:35 a.m. ET for a Stanley Cup Final preview, and we’ll chase later in the show with MDS about football issues, and maybe some hockey.

Yes, it’s still a football show and there will be plenty of football talk. But for Monday at least it’s proper to spend some time on the second best sport in America. (Sorry, basketball and baseball, but it’s true.)

Join us on NBC Sports Radio at 6:00 a.m. ET and then on NBCSN for the simulcast that begins at 7:00 a.m. ET.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Vick says Falcons have not yet expressed interest in one-day deal

Getty Images

Even a one-day contract needs two willing parties.

When former Falcons quarterback Mike Vick, who created one of the biggest messes any player ever has for any team by maintaining over a period of several years a secret (but ultimately not secret enough) dogfighting operation in rural Virginia, expressed interest in signing a one-day contract to retire as a Falcon, he left out one key fact: The Falcons have not yet expressed interest in such a transaction.

“Well, I haven’t talked to anybody about it specifically,” Vick told Vaughn McClure of ESPN on Sunday. “It’s something that I’ve really been thinking about trying to get done. I was asked the question the other day — is that what I want — and I said, ‘Yeah.’

“So, yeah, I think in due time, it’s something that can potentially happen.”

It can potentially happen, but only if the Falcons want it. Frankly, why should they? While the passage of time and Vick’s second act in Philly made many to stop focusing on what he’d done, he still did what he did. And while he was doing what he did, he was an erratic and often-unprepared presence on the field, with wildly inconsistent performances and a failure to ever come close to fulfilling his God-given potential.

Vick’s legal troubles sparked one of the worst seasons any NFL team ever endured, with endless distractions and, ultimately coach Bobby Petrino quitting abruptly during the season. It’s easy to understand why the Falcons may not be rushing to arrange the ceremonial one-day contract signing.

So where does it go from here?

“I don’t know,” Vick said. “It’s just a waiting game now. You know, I’m patient. I’m patient, man. We’ll see what happens.”

While it’s a far cry from retiring his jersey or putting him in a ring of honor or otherwise making an open and permanent display, extending any sort of honor to Vick is something that owner Arthur Blank and the rest of the organization may need more than a decade to get their arms around.

Permalink 18 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Richard Sherman makes good on promise of college scholarship

Getty Images

Here’s how it’s properly done, Michael Scott.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman made a promise to provide a college scholarship to a girl he met last year, if she sufficiently improved her grades. She came through, and so has Sherman.

As explained by Wes McElroy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sherman will make good on his vow to Varina High School graduate Hershai James.

The promise was made last year, and honored this year, at an event organized by NFL Network’s Michael Robinson, a former teammate of Sherman’s in Seattle. Robinson combines a Celebrity Waiter Dinner and a Football Camp to benefit the Excel to Excellence Foundation.

“It goes back to knowledge is power and if you have knowledge you’re going to be as powerful as you ever want to be,” Sherman said. “Nobody stops anybody from reading and educating themselves. Mike [Robinson] is only trying to empower these kids to be everything that they can be and if we can help with that with our presence, with our [autographed] jerseys [to be auctioned], with our words, we’ll do everything we can.”

For Sherman, it also ended up being money out of his pocket. Though no one is disclosing how much he’ll pay, it was enough of a carrot to inspire Hershai James.

“When my senior year began, I definitely had the scholarship in my head as motivation,” James said. “Having something to look forward to helped. It’s like saying my hard work and dedication had paid off.”

Given that Memorial Day weekend typically generates a negative headline regarding an NFL player who finds trouble (or vice-versa), it’s good to have something like this to tip the balance the other way.

Permalink 20 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Cyrus Jones still struggling as a punt returner

Getty Images

Patriots cornerback Cyrus Jones, a second-round pick in 2016, struggled during his rookie season as a punt returner. So far, those struggles are lingering into 2017.

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald notes that Jones “misplayed several balls” in practice on Thursday at an OTA practice. He either lost the punts in the wind or flat-out dropped them.

For that reason, Howe floats the idea of removing the punt return from Jones’ repertoire, allowing him to focus solely on playing cornerback. (He also was beaten for a 30-yard touchdown on Thursday, and Malcolm Butler is likely only one season away from leaving New England.)

Jones thrived as a punt returner at Alabama. But first he has to secure the football. Last December, coach Bill Belichick seemed to have Jones’ back after Jones awkwardly strayed his feet toward a live punt that the Ravens had not yet touched.

“[W]e have confidence in all of our players,” Belichick told reporters at the time. “We’ve seen [Matthew] Slater fumble before. We’ve seen [Tom] Brady throw an interception before, too. We’ll always do what we feel is best for the football team based on the situation and the particular game and what we’re dealing with.”

The problem with Jones is that the struggles have gotten into his head, and perhaps the only way to get the most out of him in his primary role will be to shut down a secondary role that is causing way too many problems for him and for the team.

Permalink 19 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Despite impending move, Raiders sell out season tickets

Getty Images

Oakland fans may not be happy that the Raiders are leaving, but the team remains popular enough that the fans will support the team while it’s still there.

That became clear with the news from the San Francisco Chronicle that the Raiders have sold out their season tickets.

That hasn’t always been the case in Oakland, but this year the Raiders are coming off a playoff season, they have plenty of young talent and they’ve added a popular hometown hero in Marshawn Lynch. It would be surprising if they’re not able to fill the Oakland Coliseum this year and next year.

The big remaining question is whether the Raiders will be gone after next year, or whether they’ll stay for 2019 as well. The Raiders’ lease in Oakland runs through 2018, and their new stadium in Las Vegas won’t be ready until 2020. That leaves them in limbo for 2019, but if they keep selling tickets, the most sensible decision would seem to be a one-year extension of the lease, and one last year in Oakland for the Silver and Black.

Permalink 61 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

When will DeShone Kizer make his debut as Browns’ starter?

Getty Images

After the Browns made quarterback DeShone Kizer a second-round pick last month, the ESPN draft crew unanimously agreed that Kizer wouldn’t play as a rookie. They apparently had forgotten that it was the Browns who had drafted him.

Kizer joins a franchise that has been struggling to find a competent quarterback for most of the 18 years since it returned to the NFL as an expansion operation. And as Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes in a Sunday mailbag column, Kizer  “demonstrated superior physical skills to the other quarterbacks [on the roster] in regard to arm strength and mobility” from the moment he showed up for rookie minicamp.

The question is whether Kizer can learn enough fast enough to become the best option. Given that Kizer and coach Hue Jackson have essentially become joined at the hip, it’s obvious that the Browns are trying to make that happen quickly.

“I think he’ll either start immediately, or early on in the season,” Cabot writes.

The key for Kizer could be an offensive line that looks to be much better in 2017. If he has time to run the offense and make his progressions and build confidence and have the game slow down, Kizer could both start and thrive for a team that has had well over 20 non-thriving starters since 1999.

Permalink 31 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Brandon Jacobs vows to get Jim Harbaugh fired

Getty Images

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs recently reopened his five-year-old feud with Jim Harbaugh, telling CBS Sports Radio that the former 49ers coach “didn’t know what he was doing.” Harbaugh took the high road in response, advising Jacobs via Twitter to “[l]et all bitterness & wrath & anger & clamor & slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”

Jacobs apparently sought a second opinion.

“I will expose him, Michigan will fire him when I am done,” Jacobs declared Saturday on Twitter regarding Harbaugh.

Before Jacobs convinces himself that he’ll do to Harbaugh what Eric Dickerson did to Jeff Fisher, it’s important to understand more about the history between the two men. Jacobs joined the 49ers in 2012, and a knee injury delayed his regular-season contributions into October. Once October came, however, Jacobs still didn’t do much of anything.

He vented about his lack of game reps, before saying, “I’ve learned over the years when you open your mouth and say certain things, it hurts you, so I’m just going to shut up and keep working.” The next day, Jacobs backtracked, saying he had “ironed it out” with Harbaugh.

Jacobs nevertheless wasn’t activated for the next game, which happened to be against his former team, the Giants. Jacobs finally dressed in Week Seven, against the Seahawks. He nevertheless didn’t play — and wouldn’t play until Week 12 against the Saints.

In November, Jacobs tweeted this general advice: “Never work in a place where you hate your boss so much, you should always be happy at work.” He insisted (perhaps even with a straight face) it had nothing to do with his employment with the 49ers.

Next, he vented again, on Instagram: “I am on this team rotting away so why would I wanna put any pics up of anything that say niners this is by far the worst year I ever had, I’ll tell you like I told plenty others.”

Two days later, Harbaugh declined multiple times to comment on Jacobs during a press conference. Later that same day, the 49ers suspended Jacobs for the final three games of the regular season. He reportedly planned to file a grievance, but there never were any reports of the grievance actually being filed or resolved.

Two days later, Jacobs’ locker had been reassigned and there was no evidence Jacobs had even been employed by the team.

“From the coaching standpoint, they don’t want any distractions on the team. He was being a distraction, they felt he was being a distraction, so they felt they needed to do something about it,” defensive lineman Ray McDonald, who’d go on to create some distractions of his own, said at the time. “I guess, if he’s not about the team. And the coaches feel that he’s not trying to help the team. They made the right decision.”

Jacobs would later say that he was told the team didn’t release him for fear that he’d resurface with an opponent (like maybe the Giants in the 2012 NFC title game).

So that’s the background, which helps explain Jacobs’ animosity toward Harbaugh. And this isn’t even the first time Jacobs had expressed hostility toward Harbaugh; in early 2014 Jacobs offered up a simple explanation for Harbaugh’s failure to win a championship.

He is a bitch, and that’s why he’s never won anything,” Jacobs said. “It is what it is. I’ve got two rings. Harbaugh, though, he’s a bitch. So it doesn’t matter.”

It apparently matters now, with Jacobs pointing to the fence and calling his shot: He will expose Harbaugh and get him fired.

That’s fine, Brandon. Now let’s see if you can swing the bat.

Permalink 85 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Dante Fowler on taking big jump this season: I think it will happen

Getty Images

Defensive end Dante Fowler’s rookie season ended at Jaguars rookie minicamp when he tore his ACL and the 2016 season saw him record four sacks while finding his way in the NFL.

That’s not quite what the Jaguars were hoping for when they made Fowler a first-round pick in 2015, but it may have set the stage for bigger things this time around. Fowler said he has noticed “how strong I’m getting and the explosiveness coming from my knee” and is predicting similarly positive results when he gets on the field this fall.

“I think it will happen,” Fowler said, via GridironNow.com. “It was a big learning experience for me last year on and off the field. That was my first year on the field. I was like a freshman in college all over again, getting used to the guys at this level. It gave me an idea of how big and strong some of these guys are.”

Fowler said he has improved his conditioning and learned “what to do and what not to do” by reviewing film from last season. It all sounds like the right path to follow for better results on the field, but the path hasn’t been a direct one for the Jaguars for quite some time now.

Permalink 8 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Sunday morning one-liners

Getty Images

Said Bills coach Sean McDermott, “You look at all the different aspects of building a roster, it’s not just the guys that are on the team. You have to look at draft picks, and you know, what draft picks we have for next year. Do we have all of them? Are we one short?”

LB Lawrence Timmons is confident he can fit wherever the Dolphins need him.

The Hollister brothers are trying to make the Patriots as undrafted free agents.

Jets CB Morris Claiborne has remained confident despite numerous injuries.

Outside opinions don’t seem to be shaping the Ravens’ view of themselves.

How many receivers will the Bengals keep on the roster?

Assessing Browns QB DeShone Kizer’s chances of winning the starting job.

A look back at the last week for the Steelers.

Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel is off to a good start in his new job.

The Colts have high hopes for DT Johnathan Hankins.

Jaguars S James Sample hopes to remain healthy this year.

Six notes from the first week of Titans OTAs.

A look at the path WR Carlos Henderson took to the Broncos.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid did some sportswriting in college.

Raiders T Donald Penn has learned to listen to his body over the course of his career.

Chargers G.M. Tom Telesco is embracing the team’s move to Los Angeles.

LB Jaylon Smith and DE Charles Tapper forged a bond while rehabbing injuries as Cowboys rookies.

The tabloid takes on Giants WR Odell Beckham continue to roll in.

Breaking down the Eagles’ salary cap situation.

CB Kendall Fuller could have a bigger impact for the Redskins this season.

The Bears think DE Roy Robertson-Harris could break through this year.

What does Matt Asiata’s addition mean for the Lions running backs?

Packers TE Martellus Bennett likes the NFL’s new position on touchdown celebrations.

Said Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon on winning the starting job, “Don’t count me out. That’s always my goal. I’m competitive. I think it will be a good way to evaluate myself and see where I stack up against them.”

Looking ahead to the Falcons’ date with the Dolphins.

S Mike Adams offers the Panthers an experienced hand in the secondary.

Saints DE Trey Hendrickson wasn’t highly recruited coming out of high school.

Buccaneers K Nick Folk is trying to focus on his own performance while competing with Roberto Aguayo.

S Tyrann Mathieu is among the Cardinals with the most to prove this season.

What can the Rams expect from rookie TE Gerald Everett?

Tracing the roots of the 49ers’ interest in LB Reuben Foster.

Will this season be Pete Carroll’s most challenging as the coach of the Seahawks?

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Marvin Jones hopes to start, and finish, at a high level in 2017

Getty Images

Receiver Marvin Jones arrived in Detroit with a flourish, with 482 receiving yards in four games. Over the next 12 combined, he had 448.

And so a guy who was on pace for 1,928 yards (which would have been No. 2 all-time) finished with fewer than 1,000. Jones addressed the situation earlier this week at an OTA session.

I flushed it really after the playoff game,” Jones said, via Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “After the playoff game I said, ‘It’s over.’

“Obviously I was pretty disappointed in everything that happened. But what can I say? All I can do is prepare and I know what I can do. Everybody sees what I can do and you’ll see it for a long time.”

Jones didn’t offer any concrete plans for both starting and finishing strong in 2017. However, it’s clear that he’s done talking about 2016.

“[O]bviously the start I had was a great start,” Jones said. “I was hoping to continue that. But it’s football and it didn’t [happen] and you guys know how I felt about that. So I don’t really have to talk about that anymore.”

He nevertheless believes he can play on a consistent basis like he did in the first 25 percent of his first year with the Lions.

“Any receiver you ask, they’re supposed to say that,” Jones said. “I want to be that guy that does that. We have a lot of talent on our team that can do that. So when you have a lot of people on your team and you look across, I look across at [Golden] Tate and [Eric] Ebron and stuff like that, we are all those guys. But me personally, I want to be the guy that you’ve seen the first five weeks. I want to be like that for 16, 17, 18 weeks. So yeah, that’s the goal.”

If he can reach that goal, perhaps the Lions can reach their goal of winning a playoff game for the first time since 1991.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Tom Brady delivers video message to family of Navy SEAL killed in action

Memorial Day weekend has various forms of relevance and significance to American society, but it fundamentally remains a moment to remember and to honor those who have died, often under horrific circumstances, in the service of our country.

And so it’s appropriate to share the story of one of the most recent American soldiers killed in action.

On May 5, 38-year-old Kyle Milliken became the first American service member killed in Somalia since the early 1990s, dying in a firefight during a raid. The Maine native and former track athlete at UConn had a connection to the Patriots; in 2011, Milliken and other Navy SEALs took part in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium.

Milliken spent 15 years in the Navy, earning a spot on SEAL Team Six and securing four Bronze Stars for his efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bill Speros of the Boston Herald explains that, at Milliken’s funeral this week, quarterback Tom Brady delivered a video message to the family, thanking his wife and their two children for their sacrifice.

“It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement earlier this week, via Speros. “It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”

We extend our condolences to Kyle Milliken’s family and to all for whom Memorial Day serves as a tangible and painful reminder of the sacrifice made by a family member, loved one, colleague, or friend.

Permalink 59 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

The full Rich McKay PFT Live interview

Getty Images

The Falcons went on an extended media tour this week in connection with the opening of their new stadium, and they gave PFT Live extended access to two of their key employees, via video interviews from 30 Rock in New York City.

In addition to having 70 minutes with G.M. Thomas Dimitroff, PFT Live had 25 minutes with President/CEO Rich McKay. McKay’s role as chairman of the Competition Committee made the conversation even more pertinent, given Tuesday’s changes to the celebration rules and the five-minute reduction to overtime in the preseason and regular season.

And so at the midpoint of a three-day weekend, here’s your chance to check out the interviews. The full Dimitroff interview can be seen here. The McKay interview appears below.

If you like what you hear and want more of it, subscribe now to the PFT Live podcast, which gives you every hour of every show along with special-edition podcasts (like the full Dimitroff and McKay interviews). The show is available at Apple Podcasts, audioBoom, and elsewhere.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Zack Martin sees Tyron Smith as the perfect left tackle

Getty Images

The Cowboys’ offensive line is probably the best in the NFL, but to hear guard Zack Martin tell it, one player stands above the rest.

Martin describes left tackle Tyron Smith as “an absolute monster” and thinks you couldn’t create a better left tackle if you tried.

“We always joke, if God had to make a left tackle he would make him like Tyron Smith,” Martin said on the HawkCast. “Just massive, long. He’s 320, he’s got a six-pack. It’s just not fair. He’s super durable and he just erases that defensive end from other teams every game. When he gets his hands on you, it’s pretty much over. The best thing about Tyron is he works harder than anyone.”

Smith was only 20 years old and still a little raw when Jerry Jones took him with the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, but Jones saw the same things that Martin sees every day: Smith is a unique talent.

Permalink 24 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Coby Fleener expecting better things in second Saints season

Getty Images

The Saints signed tight end Coby Fleener to a five-year contract last offseason and spent the summer trying to find his place in the team’s offense.

That process didn’t play out exactly as hoped for Fleener, who finished his first year in New Orleans with 50 catches for 631 yards and three touchdowns. That’s hardly terrible production, but it was a drop from what they got from Benjamin Watson in 2015 and Fleener said last week that it “absolutely could have been better.”

He expects it will be better now that he’s immersed in the system.

“I think anytime you’re trying to learn a new offense, trying to learn a language, trying to learn something of that nature, going through it under pressure, going through it for a year really helps,” Fleener said, via the New Orleans Advocate.

Brandin Cooks was targeted 117 times last season, which means that there should be plenty of passes heading in different directions during the 2017 season. Some will go to new arrival Ted Ginn, but a more comfortable Fleener should be in position to see more balls than he did last year and do more with them.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Doug Pederson: Competition has sharpened Nelson Agholor

Getty Images

The Eagles signed a pair of wide receivers this offseason in Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery and drafted two more, something they probably wouldn’t have felt the need to do if Nelson Agholor had thrived after they made him the 20th pick of the 2015 draft.

Agholor has caught 59 passes for 648 yards and three touchdowns over two seasons and went through a crisis of confidence last season that led to time on the bench along with the offseason moves to shore up the receiving corps. Those moves lessen the need to rely on Agholor, but coach Doug Pederson said this week that he thinks they’ve also pushed the wideout to be better.

“As I’ve said all along, competition, man, sharpens you,” Pederson said, via ESPN.com. “And that’s what I’ve seen from Nelson. He’s done a great job already this spring.”

Agholor switched jersey numbers since the end of last season, which makes for a nice bit of symbolism for a player who could use a fresh start in his third year. He said that he’s learned the need for “a process and continuous progression” rather than making a giant leap all at once, although a modest-sized jump would help ensure he continues the process in Philly.

Permalink 11 Comments Feed for comments Back to top