ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio and Erik Kuselias discuss the timeline for Josh Gordon’s suspension appeal as a decision could come totally out of the blue. Browns’ head coach Mike Pettine says there is a certain level of frustration with his star receiver and the “holding pattern” his situation has created.
PFT: Josh Gordon’s appeal could come at any time
The Lions brought in veteran tackle Lamar Holmes as a reserve possibility early in the offseason, but saw enough of him by the middle of the May to know that they were comfortable moving in a different direction.
That direction will still require depth up front on offense and may include former Panthers tackle Nate Chandler. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports that Chandler is slated to visit with the team on Wednesday.
Chandler was released in March after missing the entire 2015 season because of a knee injury. He started 11 games at right tackle in 2014 and eight games in 2013 while shuffling between guard and tackle.
The Lions drafted Taylor Decker in the first round this year and have been looking at him on the left side during recent offseason work. Riley Reiff has been on the right in that alignment and the two are expected to form the starting tandem even if they wind up swapping sides for the regular season.
Of the three quarterbacks on the Broncos roster, Trevor Siemian is the only one with prior experience in the team’s offense.
Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch both arrived this offseason while Siemian spent last year as the third man on the depth chart in Denver’s offense, something that may help him in the competition for a starting job that’s playing out in Denver. That competition was described as wide open by the team last week and coach Gary Kubiak said he “wouldn’t sleep” on Siemian winding up with the job.
One of the things that Kubiak cited in his discussion of Siemian’s positive attributes was a high level of confidence in himself, something that Siemian also mentioned while speaking to the media last week.
“I feel great,” Siemian said, via the Denver Post. “I feel really confident at this point. Last year at this time, I had the knee [injury] and was swimming a little bit in the playbook. I’m light years ahead of where I was last year. I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel pretty confident.”
Mark Sanchez didn’t do team drills last week after left thumb surgery, offering Siemian more time working with the first team. That may change this week if Sanchez is cleared to do everything in this week’s workouts while a continued diet of work with starters would seem to hint at Siemian remaining well positioned in the competition as spring work winds down.
Bills defenders expect to be part of a better unit this season.
Memorial Day is a special one for former Dolphins LB Derrick Rodgers.
Jets special teams coach Blaine Boyer likes his units to run at 500 miles per hour.
The Ravens have an unexpected week off from work.
The Chargers’ stadium plan wasn’t accepted with open arms.
An early projection of the Cowboys’ offensive roster.
The Giants may have more continuity on the offensive line than some would like.
What’s on tap for the Eagles this week?
A learning curve awaits the Bears offensive line.
General Manager Rick Spielman has been with the Vikings for 10 years.
Quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi’s return to the Saints has been an easy transition.
Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin is getting a bigger taste of playcalling.
What grade do the 49ers get for their offseason work?
A look at the competition for a fullback job with the Seahawks.
Packers defensive back Damarious Randall had a good rookie season last year, but it did not end well.
The Packers’ season ended with an overtime loss to the Cardinals, and the game-changing play in that loss was a 75-yard reception by Larry Fitzgerald. Randall has now acknowledged that he was responsible for the coverage breakdown that allowed Fitzgerald to get open.
“I put that play on myself,” Randall said, via USA Today. “I take 100 percent blame for it.”
Randall said that four months later, he can’t dwell on it.
“It was just a mistake that was made,” Randall said. “That’s football. . . . I just know that I’m going to make a lot more plays than I give up for the Green Bay Packers.”
Randall’s rookie season showed that he’s a talented young player who surely will make more plays than he gives up in his career. Even if that season will be remembered largely for one play he didn’t make.
Former Duke quarterback Anthony Boone is finally out of the hospital, but Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson isn’t out of the woods yet.
According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, Boone was released from Carolinas Medical Center over the weekend, after needing hip and hand surgeries following the May 22 car wreck with Thompson.
“He’s got a serious road ahead of him,” Boone’s agent Adam Sattler said. “But we’re happy he’s home.”
The Panthers linebacker was cited for driving left of center for his role in the head-on crash which happened early on a Sunday morning. Police said there was alcohol in his system but he was below North Carolina’s legal limit. Thompson said his cell phone fell into the floorboard of his SUV, causing him to lose control.
Now he has to wait to see if that’s the extent of the losses.
Boone, who played for the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL last year, now has to recover from the broken hip and tendon and ligament damage to his hand suffered in the accident.
His agent said he’s considering a lawsuit against Thompson, but wants to wait to see how his rehab progresses before discussing those options.
The Rams are the last team in the league to start their OTAs, so it’s time to see the first pick in the draft.
So while it’s effectively the first day of class, it’s still an important test for quarterback Jared Goff, as he leads the entire team onto the field today.
“Just kind of stay low and gain their respect,” Goff said of his goal this week, via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times.
Of course, keeping a low profile is harder when your team makes such a dramatic move to get you, as the Rams did trading up to the No. 1 overall pick this year.
Goff has been through some degree of positional work and has a rookie minicamp under his belt, but today will be the first real glimpse of him with the team, and there’s a natural curiosity among them, to see if he can be the quarterback they need to become something other than 7-9.
“I’m excited for him,” cornerback Trumaine Johnson said. “He’s going to go out there and make plays — and he’s going to make mistakes. That’s what a rookie quarterback does.
“But we drafted him for a reason, to come in here and win games. And I feel like we can win games with him.”
Of course, the Rams may trot Case Keenum out there first in the quarterback line for show, but the team is obviously in Goff’s hands, and he gets a chance to show what he can do with it today.
But for his part, he’s going back to school with coach Pete Carroll, who wants to make him an even better quarterback.
Carroll said he wants to get deeper into the intricacies of professional defenses with Wilson, such that offseason limits allow them to.
“We’ve visited a number of times,” Carroll said, via Jayson Jenks of the Seattle Times. “We’ve really started now football-wise. We’re just having fun with it and developing. . . .
“We’re just trying to bring him around to understand things that he hasn’t had to pay attention to in the past. Just to broaden his outlook on football.”
Wilson’s play last season suggests that he’s moving in the right direction, but the demands are even greater this year. Not only does he have to go into a season knowing there’s not a safety net such as Lynch beneath him, but they’re overhauling their offensive line (which they needed to), putting more of a burden on Wilson to identify pressure before it happens.
“He’s the best he’s been,” Carroll said. “He’s the most versed he’s been. He can command the calls more so than ever, so he can correct things that might not get seen by a guy or might not get communicated properly. He’ll catch it.”
The Seahawks’ success this year depends on it, and Carroll seems confident in Wilson’s ability to do so.
In his four prior NFL seasons, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins never spent an entire offseason as the starter. This year, as he adjusts to being “the guy” for the first time ever, Cousins has sought advice from other guys who have been or currently are “the guy.”
“I’ve called a few of the starting quarterbacks around the league, a few of the retired guys who had great careers, and just asked them what worked for them in the offseason,” Cousins said, via Tarik El-Bashir of CSNMidAtlantic.com.
Cousins didn’t say who he contacted, but Cousins discussed what he wanted to find out.
“What was their rhythm in January, February, March?” Cousins said. “When they went back in April, May, June, what’s their rhythm? What’s their rhythm in the summer? How do they handle family? How do they balance travel and opportunities?”
It’s a smart approach for Cousins to take. And it underscores just how well he performed in 2015, given that he was thrust into the starting job late in the preseason. This year, with the benefit of being the starter for the entire offseason, Cousins could be even better.
The Cowboys took running back Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick of the draft, so it’s not going out on too much of a limb to say that they want him to be their starter come the regular season.
The only things standing in the way of that happening are Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris and a rough transition to the professional game. Elliott got his attempt to avoid the last of those pitfalls going during OTAs last week and noticed one significant difference from life on the collegiate level.
“Just a lot faster pace,” Elliott said, via the team’s website. “The game moves so much faster.”
Elliott is competing with the two veterans because, per running backs coach Gary Brown, it is “the best thing for our team.” He’s also looking to McFadden as a model for how to prepare for the offseason work that will determine the pecking order in the backfield.
Assuming the acclimation process speeds up to match the speed of the game, Elliott’s upside should win him that competition well before the first Sunday of the regular season.
Tackle Seantrel Henderson hasn’t been around the Bills this offseason, but his agent Alan Herman says that will change on Tuesday.
Herman spoke to Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News in the wake of a report that the Bills didn’t know where Henderson was and haven’t heard from him since the end of last season. Per Herman, Henderson has been recovering from surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota about a month ago that was part of treatment for Crohn’s Disease.
Herman added that the Bills medical staff is aware that Henderson had this surgery and another operation that was required to “remove all infected areas and reattach his intestines” after serious stomach issues last season.
“Crohn’s disease is no minor condition,” Herman said. “It has to be treated properly. … He had the surgery and had to wear a bag for a number of months after that, which is no walk in the park. And he stayed close to Minnesota to make sure he was getting the right kind of treatment. Then, they basically took the bag out about a month ago. Everything is OK now to the point where once he had the second surgery and was in the hospital for three days, he’s been cleared to do whatever he wants.”
Herman said his client has spoken to some teammates, but that no members of the coaching staff have been in touch. They’ll get a chance to catch up this week, it seems, as Henderson returns to compete for the right tackle job with Jordan Mills and Cyrus Kouandjio.
Unemployed quarterback Johnny Manziel recently arrived in New York for reasons entirely unrelated to attempting to become something other than an unemployed quarterback. According to the Page Six of the New York Post, Manziel has now gone missing.
In a short blurb posted at the Page Six microsite, Manziel was supposed to take a helicopter to the Hamptons on Saturday, where he would be hosting a small party for friends and family. He reportedly didn’t show for the flight.
The night before, Manziel reportedly was confronted in Manhattan by the owner of the Mercedes in which Manziel was a passenger when it crashed into a pole and sustain serious damage last month. Manziel supposedly promised to reimburse the owner for the vehicle, but Manziel reneged.
“Straight punk. Straight punk. Straight bitch,” Wayne Schneider told TMZ after blocking a vehicle in which Manziel was riding outside the Trump Soho.
For weeks, Manziel’s situation gradually has developed an ominous vibe. Hopefully, he’ll get things straightened out before that feeling comes to fruition.
UPDATE 6:21 p.m. ET: Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that Manziel has been in touch with sources close to him as recently as this afternoon. So if he was missing, he isn’t now.
As if the Bills didn’t have enough issues with the players who have shown up for offseason workouts, they apparently have one lingering issue with a player who hasn’t.
Henderson, the starting right tackle in 2014 and most of 2015, missed the last five games of the season due to Crohn’s disease. Per Scull, Henderson had surgery “a few months ago” for the condition. One source told Dunne that “nobody knows” whether Henderson will even be on the team in 2016.
Crohn’s disease has a wide range of symptoms, consequences, and complications. Plenty of people have it and rarely suffer through any significant issues. Plenty also struggle with it, constantly. While the article notes that a team source questioned Henderson’s work ethic, with a reference to past marijuana issues, it’s entirely possible that Henderson is simply focused on his health — and that he chooses not to make his situation any more public than it needs to be.
Seahawks safety Earl Thomas spent much of last offseason rehabbing from shoulder surgery, something that he says kept him from getting into the best possible shape for the 2015 season.
Thomas never missed a game last season, but was critical of some performances and told John Clayton on 710 ESPN there were “a lot of mental battles with my shoulder” over the course of the year. During his interview with Clayton, Thomas said he has found it easier this year to “get my lungs prepared to really run and hit” during offseason practices.
He’ll use that lung capacity in his customary role as the leader of the Seahawks defense, although his on-field role will be a bit different than it has been in past years.
“I think they’re giving me more and more freedom just to roam back there and see what I see. Most of the time I know where the ball is going,” Thomas said. “Me and [defensive coordinator Kris Richard] kind of butt heads about me taking too many chances sometimes but I’ve got to stick to my guns. And we’re getting a better relationship with that but most of all, they let me roam, let me be myself, let me play with personality back there. And I’m having fun.”
Thomas said he felt the defense has improved its depth this offseason through the draft and by bringing back old friends Brandon Browner and Chris Clemons. Having those two back has reminded Thomas why the Seahawks defense was “so dominant in the first place” and having Thomas back to being 100 percent healthy on the field won’t hurt their chances of getting back there again.
Like so many of NFL players suspended for at least a year due to violations of the substance-abuse policy, Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan has become both gone and largely forgotten. Jordan could soon be no longer forgotten, and also no longer gone.
The third overall pick in the 2013 draft tells Tom Pelissero of USA Today that a petition for reinstatement will be filed on Wednesday.
Jordan says that he has passed two tests a week since his suspension began in early 2015, and that he hasn’t taken drugs in more than two years. He says that, in November 2014, he provided a diluted sample after admittedly drinking excess water to flush alcohol from his system, without realizing he wasn’t being tested for alcohol.
Jordan also claims that his previous six-game suspension in 2014 resulted from a positive test for MDMA and a positive test for marijuana. Without other violations, however, those two failed tests shouldn’t have put Jordan off the field, at all.
Whatever the outcome of the reinstatement effort, the league’s obsession with checking a player’s urine for drugs that don’t enhance performance continues to keep skilled, able players off the field for reasons unrelated to their skills and abilities. At a time when many think the NFL should be worried about skilled, able players choosing to retire from football prematurely, maybe the league should reconsider its attitude regarding the things willing participants in professional football do when they aren’t at work.
When the NFL’s owners got together in March, Giants co-owner John Mara sent an ominous message regarding a possible move of the Raiders to Las Vegas. In two months’ time, Mara has revised his position. Significantly.
During the annual gathering two months ago, Mara said that “most owners” would view Vegas as a “non-starter.” Last week, Mara offered a more middle-of-the-road assessment of the possibility that the Raiders would secure the 24 votes necessary to approve a Vegas move.
“[U]ntil there is actually a presentation with all the pros and cons, I wouldn’t bet one way or the other at this point,” Mara said last week (pun probably not intended), via Jenny Vrentas of TheMMQB.com.
“I’m open-minded,” Mara added. “I would want to hear a presentation about it and the pros and cons, and obviously there are some concerns, but I am not going to rule it out.”
Several others also were polled. Texans owner Bob McNair sounds supportive, which isn’t a surprise given that one of the other alternatives is to shoehorn the Raiders into San Antonio, which is currently Texans and Cowboys turf. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is more concerned about the size of the market than the stuff that goes on within it, 49ers CEO Jed York supports the Raiders finding a new stadium anywhere (possibly since that would mean never being forced to share space with the 49ers), and Jets owner Woody Johnson likes the fact that the Nevada taxes are either low or non-existent.
None of those owners, or any others, have suggested that gambling would be a “non-starter.” Instead, it currently appears that the presence of gambling in Las Vegas is actually a non-issue for at least 24 owners, possibly more.