Skip to content

Rex: Tyrod Taylor should be able to play

<> of the New England Patriots of the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Getty Images

After Monday night’s loss to the Patriots came to an end, coach Rex Ryan said he wasn’t sure about quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s status after an apparent shoulder injury but that he hoped Taylor will be able to play this week.

Ryan isn’t scheduled to meet with the media on Tuesday, but he did speak to Mike Schopp of WGR 550 about Taylor and other injured members of the team. The update on Taylor doesn’t delve into the nature of his injury, but Ryan said that the quarterback “should be able to play” against the Chiefs this Sunday.

Taylor had a rough time of it against the Patriots, but nothing the team saw from EJ Manuel in two starts earlier this season suggests that he’d be a better choice than Taylor if Taylor’s healthy enough to play.

Ryan also said it is “too early” to know if defensive end Mario Williams will miss the game after leaving on Monday because of a foot injury. Right guard John Miller, who left with an ankle injury, and wide receiver Marcus Easley, who suffered a concussion, were both deemed unlikely to play.

Permalink 13 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

South Carolina wideout Pharoh Cooper leaving school early

Aarion Penton, Pharoh Cooper AP

Not every talented college underclassman with professional dreams tweets out the news of their decision to go pro.

Some of them do it the old fashioned way — by letting their dad tell a newspaper.

According to Josh Kendall of The State, South Carolina wide receiver Pharoh Cooper will play his final game for free Saturday against Clemson.

“He definitely appreciates the opportunity to play for South Carolina, and we as parents appreciate the opportunity they gave him,” Glen Cooper said. “He wants to ride the wave at its high point.”

The Gamecocks are 3-8 and not bowl eligible, which is part of the reason their coach quit in the middle of the season. But Cooper has been a bright spot, with 62 catches for 887 yards and seven touchdowns. He was a first-team All-SEC pick last year.

Cooper’s father said they’ve already been talking to agents (you think?) and have narrowed their choice to three, but that his son plans to return to school at some point to finish his degree.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Seahawks bringing back Bryce Brown

Green Bay Packers v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

The Seahawks dropped running back Bryce Brown from their roster on Saturday so they could add linebacker Eric Pinkins as depth with Bruce Irvin set to miss their game against the 49ers.

At the time the move was made, the Seahawks expected to have Marshawn Lynch in the lineup on Sunday but things didn’t play out that way. Lynch missed the game and traveled to Philadelphia on Monday to meet with sports hernia specialist Dr. William Meyers to learn if he needs surgery to repair his abdominal injury.

The results of that meeting aren’t known, but coach Pete Carroll has said that Lynch is unlikely to play this week under any circumstances. That leaves Seattle in need of some help at running back and they’re looking back in Brown’s direction.

Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports reports that Brown will be re-signed. There’s no word on a corresponding move.

Brown originally signed with the Seahawks about a month ago, but has not been active for any games.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jeff Fisher: If Ravens think we’re dirty, they need to look in mirror

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 22: Head coach Jeff Fisher of the St. Louis Rams looks on against the Baltimore Ravens in the third quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

It seems like it has become a weekly occurrence this season for Rams coach Jeff Fisher to spend some time responding to accusations of dirty play from players, coaches or commentators.

This week is no different. Ravens coach John Harbaugh referenced a Rams punt that ended with the Ravens drawing a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“On that one, I saw the punter hit one of our guys dead in the back that [the officials] missed,” Harbaugh said. “I saw our guy retaliate, which is not what you want to see. Then I saw a free for all out there, which is not unusual against the team we’re playing.”

On his ESPN 101 radio show, Fisher took issue with Harbaugh’s comments. Fisher said the Ravens, who had 10 accepted penalties and two unaccepted personal fouls, were the wrong team to suggest that others are crossing the line.

“I’m kind of intrigued by some of the stuff — and I can’t verify it — but the insinuations or whatever of, that we were a dirty team coming out,” Fisher said. “Then I’ve got plays I’ve got to send the league office where their players are hitting us in the mouth after plays. With fists. It was allowed in the game because it wasn’t called, and I’m not complaining. We played hard. … But we’re a dirty team and they’re hitting us two or three seconds after the play is over, and they hit Tavon [Austin] out of bounds? We had six penalties and they averaged about 5 yards apiece. … They need to take a look in the mirror.”

Reputations stick, so it’s not likely to be the last time that Fisher is in a position to defend his team from accusations of dirty play. Should the team’s losing streak continue, he might have to mix in a defense of the job he’s doing overall from time to time as well.

Permalink 51 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

NFL could sell a chunk of NFLN as part of TNF deal


The Thursday Night Football package, purchased from the league by CBS in 2014 and again in 2015, is available for 2016 and beyond. Despite a belief in some circles that CBS and the NFL will simply extend the arrangement by another year, Claire Atkinson of the New York Post (via SportsBusiness Daily) reports that the league is shopping a 16-game Thursday slate.

The negotiations, according to Atkinson, including the possibility of the network that wins the bidding “buying a stake” in NFL Network, the league-owned broadcast operation founded in 2003. Per the report, the league is “concerned about the . . . future” of the operation in an age of cord cutting.

Atkinson also reports that the league had discussions about a complete sale of the network to ESPN, but the deal fell through when the league wanted to retain control over the games that would be televised on NFLN.

Meanwhile, Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter reports that, in lieu of another one-year Band-Aid, the NFL is more likely to extend the Thursday night package through 2022, matching it up with all other broadcast deals. Per Guthrie, the league could make $600 million per year from the Thursday night package, and possibly much more.

The contenders, according to the report, are CBS, FOX, NBC, and Turner. Presumably, the NFL will want to place the games on a broadcast network, allowing the audience to be maximized via the millions of Americans who still don’t have cable or satellite.

Apparently, whoever gets the deal also will get a chunk of NFL Network. Likely with a mandate to make it more profitable — or at a minimum to protect it against implosion.


Permalink 22 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Eagles expecting Mark Sanchez to start Thursday

Philadelphia Eagles OTA's Getty Images

While it’s true that Sam Bradford did some things in practice yesterday, it’s probably not enough that he’ll be able to play Thursday.

At least that’s what his teammates are planning on.

According to Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News, Eagles tackle Lane Johnson said that Mark Sanchez has taken all the first team reps in practice, leading him to the natural conclusion that Sanchez will start.

The Eagles have been trying to buy time before declaring, since Bradford is still in the concussion protocol and dealing with a shoulder injury as well.

So they go into Detroit with Sanchez again, hoping to break a two-game losing skid and stay pertinent in the NFC East (which is easily within their reach).

Permalink 15 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Ryan Mallett opts to take termination pay from Texans

Ryan Mallett AP

For all the quarterback injuries and upheavals, former Texans starter Ryan Mallett hasn’t gotten a sniff of a job.

And he must not think he’s going to anytime soon, or at least at his old rate of pay.

According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Mallett has elected to take of what the Texans would have owed him this season as termination pay.

Players can do that once, so Mallett might have some inkling that he’s either not getting back in the league after getting “stuck in traffic” and “oversleeping” his way out of a job, or at least not at the same rate.

Mallett had a two-year, $7.005 million contract, and will get the remaining $1.47 million in base salary the Texans would have owed him this year by filing for termination pay.

The Texans had already paid him $1.029 million in base salary before firing him in October, plus another $437,500 in per-game roster bonuses.

He’ll still get the money from the Texans if he signs with another team, but it seems unlikely that will be this season.

The fact that guys such as T.J. Yates and Blaine Gabbert and Case Keenum were starting quarterbacks last week should tell you something about the job market, and the fact no one has brought Mallett in for a look should be instructive.

At some point, someone might give him a chance, but if they do, it will probably be at the minimum, so this is likely Mallett’s last best chance to make that kind of money, so it probably makes sense to jump on it.

Permalink 31 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Brady: We need a much better offensive effort against Denver

<> of the New England Patriots of the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on November 23, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Getty Images

The Patriots moved to 10-0 with Monday night’s 20-13 victory over the Bills, but quarterback Tom Brady said Tuesday that the same kind of production from the offense agains the Broncos in Week 11 won’t be good enough.

Brady said that “execution was a problem for us all night” and no one who watched the game would disagree with that assessment. Brady was pressured often, leading to several hits and throwaways while the Patriots were also trying to deal with the loss of wide receivers Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson from an already banged-up unit. Brady said it was “tricky” to deal with players in spots they aren’t accustomed to playing, but that the Patriots have to figure it out in the next few days.

“We haven’t really got in a rhythm and just didn’t execute as well as we’re capable of,” Brady said on “Dennis and Callahan” on WEEI. “There will be a lot to learn from. It’s good to win and still learn from mistakes and we’re playing the No. 1 ranked defense this week so it has to be a much better effort.”

There’s no word on Amendola’s status for this week, but his absence would make things trickier at the very least. Amendola was the target on 12 Brady passes on Monday and the Patriots are running short on options to plug into leading roles.

They’ve proven adept at finding a way thus far in 2015, but the trip to Denver could be the biggest test of the offense’s resourcefulness.

Permalink 68 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

PFT Live: Buccaneers talk with Ira Kaufman, Eagles talk with Geoff Mosher

on November 22, 2015 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images

The Buccaneers thrashed the Eagles in Week 11 and the two teams are moving in very different directions as we move closer to the end of the regular season.

On Tuesday’s PFT Live, we’ll check in with each of the teams to see if those trends will continue. Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune will join Mike Florio to discuss Tampa’s first winning streak since 2013 and the progress that first overall pick Jameis Winston has made at quarterback this season.

Eagles insider Geoff Mosher will join the show as well and give us the latest on Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford’s status for the Thanksgiving game against the Lions. They’ll also talk about what went wrong for the Eagles on defense against the Bucs and whether there’s a way to fix those problems on the fly.

Former NFL official Jim Daopoulos will stop by to break down the officiating issues from Monday night’s game and other officiating issues from Week 11.

As always, we also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

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

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Pat Shurmur: We’ll know more about quarterbacks Wednesday

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 20: Head coach Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles talks with quarterbacks Mark Sanchez #3 and Sam Bradford #7 during a timeout against the Dallas Cowboys during the fourth quarter of a football game at Lincoln Financial Field on September 20, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys defatted the Eagles 20-10. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) Getty Images

Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford is out of the league’s concussion protocol, but it remains to be seen if he’ll be back in the starting lineup on Thanksgiving.

Bradford is also dealing with a left shoulder injury and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said Tuesday that the team isn’t likely to have a decision about whether Bradford or Mark Sanchez will start against the Lions until Wednesday. Bradford returned to practice on Monday, but Shurmur explained that session and Tuesday’s practice will be too light to make a determination about his readiness to play.

“We’ve got to see. Right now, for me to speculate, I don’t want to lead anybody down the wrong path here,” Shurmur said, via the Philadelphia Daily News. “I don’t know, I really don’t know. We’re going to go out and walk today. Tomorrow we’re going to run. We’ll know more then. I’m trying to be honest and transparent. But I can’t tell you what’s going to happen right now because I don’t know who’s going to be healthy.”

Sanchez didn’t play all that well last Sunday, but Bradford has hardly set the world on fire this season and the Eagles may need to decide if playing him at less than 100 percent gives them a better chance to win in Detroit. It’s not a great position to be in, but there really isn’t any comfortable spot when you’re 4-6 and trying to avoid a three-game losing streak.

Permalink 7 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Sammy Watkins: It’s about winning, not targets

Sammy Watkins, D.J. Hayden AP

Earlier this season, Bills receiver Sammy Watkins made a stir by making a private demand for more passes to be thrown his way — and then by going public to point out that the private demand had been made.

“I need the ball at least 10 times — I need 10 targets — and I’ll be fine with however many yards I get,” Watkins said.

After last night’s loss to the Patriots, during which Watkins was largely forgotten, he sang a different tune.

“It’s not about getting targets, it’s about winning,” Watkins told reporters.

He got neither on Monday night, but he didn’t seem to be upset about that. Presumably, Patriots coach Bill Belichick designed the game plan to take Watkins away, forcing quarterback Tyrod Taylor elsewhere in the passing game.

Watkins had only three catches for 39 yards. He actually was targeted seven times; on one play, Watkins drew a 31-yard interference penalty.

Still, for most of the night, it felt like he was a forgotten man. Indeed, he was targeted only twice before the fourth quarter, with no receptions.

Permalink 26 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Domata Peko says he’s never seen call, though he benefited from it

Peko Getty Images

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis had plenty of words about Sunday’s flag on defensive tackle Domata Peko for simulating a snap count, including calling it a “phantom call” and “kind of ridiculous.”

Considering it led to a game-winning Cardinals field goal instead of a false start and a clock run-off which would have given the Bengals a shot at overtime, that’s a reasonable position for Lewis to take.

But Peko’s own choice of words was interesting, considering his past.

I don’t think I have ever seen that call, ever since I have been in the NFL,” Peko said, via Coley Harvey of “We had way too many penalties. That was the name of the game. We were fighting the refs and the Cardinals.”

But if Peko doesn’t remember seeing it, it might only be because he was on the other side of the ball, watching someone else do the simulating.

Peko was blocking for the Bengals field goal team on Dec. 13, 2012, when the Eagles were called for doing the exact same thing.

In that game, referee Carl Cheffers described it as “disconcerting signals” against the Eagles, and the video from the league’s own network broadcast Bengals coach Darrin Simmons yelling “that’s on them.”

But all that came after Peko was the one to jump out of his stance, and immediately starting pointing to the middle of the Eagles line.

So the Bengals can be upset, and Peko can claim it was just the bass in his voice that caused the Cardinals to flinch, but he can’t claim that he’s unaware that such a thing has ever been called.

Permalink 22 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Broncos go bonkos over notion that Peyton intends to play in 2016

Peyton Manning AP

As PFT reported on Sunday, Peyton Manning currently intends to play in 2016. As PFT reported on Monday, Manning has told teammates he currently intends to play in 2016.

And the mere release of that information has caused the Broncos to lose their collective minds.

The official response from the team came during coach Gary Kubiak’s Monday press conference, wherein he painted a picture that Manning’s obsessive desire to get healthy enough to play again in 2015 and his current intent to play in 2016 are somehow mutually exclusive. They aren’t.

The unofficial sense is that the report has put the franchise in an irrational tizzy. This reaction apparently flows from the assumption that the information was deliberately leaked as part of the broader, awkward, and largely unspoken dance between Manning and the franchise, which included in the offseason an initial effort to cut his pay by $10 million for 2015, a specific request by Manning that the restructured deal include a no-trade clause (and he didn’t make that request for no reason), the team making a point of the fact that the no-trade clause applies only to 2015, and the team now potentially planning to persuade Manning he’s not healthy enough to play until Brock Osweiler starts playing as poorly as Peyton was playing before he was benched.

But not everything that gets reported is the result of a conscious effort to leak information. Without saying whether in this case the leak was or wasn’t intentional (it would be ludicrous for me to comment directly or indirectly on how the two reports came to be), the point is that it quite possibly wasn’t something Manning wanted anyone to know.

Based on a report from Mike Klis of in Denver, it would be fair for a neutral observer to conclude that Manning didn’t leak the information, because he reportedly isn’t happy that the information has come to light.

“Talked to source close to Peyton Manning,” Klis said on Twitter. “Manning incensed by report he’s making plans for 2016 with or without Broncos.”

First, the report isn’t that Manning is “making plans for 2016 with or without Broncos.” It’s that Manning currently intends to play next year, even if that means not playing for the Broncos. Having a mindset and actually putting that mindset in motion are two very different things. For now, Manning is focused on getting healthy enough to play in 2015. Again, it’s not mutually exclusive that he currently plans to play in 2016.

Second, neither Klis nor his source said that the report of Manning’s current intentions isn’t true. Instead, Klis merely reports that Manning is miffed that the report emerged. Which makes sense, given the team’s apparent suspicion that he leaked the information as part of the (for now) passive-aggressive push-and-pull between franchise quarterback and franchise that may be getting to the point where it no longer wants him.

Third, to the extent that anyone would scoff at the report regarding Manning’s current intentions because the source wasn’t named, why isn’t Manning or someone close to him going on the record to say that he definitely won’t play in 2016?

“I’m definitely not playing in 2016, in Denver or anywhere.” That’s all he needs to say.

And neither he nor anyone close to him have said that, on or off the record, in the two days since the report of his current intentions emerged.

At some point, Manning could offer up a glib comment, suggesting that if I have the ability to read his mind he’d like me to tell him what he wants for Christmas, or whether he actually thinks chicken parm tastes good. Regardless, anything other than “I’m definitely not playing in 2016, in Denver or anywhere” will keep the door open for what he has told teammates he currently intends to do next year: Play football for another season, with the Broncos or someone else.

Permalink 91 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Kevin White expected to practice Tuesday

Kevin White AP

The Bears have played the entire season without first-round pick Kevin White, but they aren’t ready to close the door on their first-round pick getting on the field this season.

Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune reports that White is expected to participate in practice on Tuesday. White was placed on the physically unable to perform list after having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left leg in the offseason and taking part in practice would open a three-week window for him to work with the team before they’d have to make a decision about adding him to the 53-man roster.

Under league rules, Tuesday is the last day that White is eligible to begin practicing.

At the end of October, White said he still had “a ways to go” in his rehab but that he wasn’t giving up hope of playing this year. Campbell reports that the Bears don’t expect him to make it into a game, although returning to practice would allow White to start laying groundwork for next season even if he isn’t ready to go right now.

Permalink 9 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jim Caldwell on job security: Why even talk about it?

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 15:  Head coach Jim Caldwell of the Detroit Lions watches from the sidelines in the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on November 15, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

When the Lions fired General Manager Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand earlier this month, it seemed like a prelude to coach Jim Caldwell’s departure once the team put a new hierarchy in place for the 2016 season.

The Lions have won two straight games, though, and winning would seem to put Caldwell in better position to hold onto his job beyond this season. Just don’t ask Caldwell about whether that’s the case.

“You must be fixated on that or something, aren’t you?” Caldwell said, via the Detroit Free Press. “That must be of high importance to you. I don’t think about it as much as you do. Seriously. Why even talk about it? What sense does it make? You write what you want to write in that regard.”

Caldwell went the Hyman Roth route in further discussion of his job security, saying that he doesn’t spend time worrying about it because “this is kind of the business that we’ve chosen.” New team president Rod Wood said that the team’s next General Manager will make the ultimate call on Caldwell’s future with the Lions.

That often means a coaching change, although there’s little doubt that Caldwell’s best chance of bucking that trend will be to do as much winning as possible over the final six weeks of the regular season.

Permalink 22 Comments Feed for comments Back to top