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Ike Taylor open to switching positions, changing teams

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When the Steelers season came to an end, cornerback Ike Taylor said he was “cool” if 2014 was his final season as a player and that he wanted to remain with the team whether he was in an on-field or off-field role.

It’s been a few weeks since the Ravens bounced them out of the playoffs and Taylor’s opinion has changed. During an interview with Mike Florio on PFT Live from the Super Bowl on Wednesday, Taylor said that he was training as if he’ll be playing again in 2015 and that he’d like to play two or three more years.

Taylor also said that he’d be open to playing elsewhere in 2015. One thing that would appeal to him would be following former Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, who Taylor praised during the interview, to another team.

“If Coach LeBeau’s there, yes. If the time and money is right, yes,” Taylor said.

Taylor’s play at corner when healthy in 2014 left something to be desired, which helps explain why Taylor’s also open to a move to safety if it allows him to continue his playing career. He’ll be a free agent when the new league year opens in March if he doesn’t re-sign with the Steelers before that point.

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Vince Wilfork: Bill Belichick has turned into a big softy

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Apparently, it’s not just adorable children and monkey puppets which can bring out the softer side of Bill Belichick.

Veteran defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said he’s seen the generally gruff Belichick change over the years.

“Yeah, I’ve seen the difference in Bill in the 11 years that I have been here, and I tell him he is getting soft,” Wilfork said, via Jeff Legwold of “But this is a different era of football now — with how the team has shaped up and how a lot of guys are younger guys.

“You don’t really have that veteran team that he used to have. When I first came in the league, he had a veteran team that didn’t take much to get those guys going. But if I have to say anything, I think over the years he got a soft heart. He’s more understanding now.”

That change in approach has been out of necessity, as this is a far younger team than he’s brought to the Super Bowl in the past. Wilfork and Tom Brady are the only players left from their last Super Bowl win, which means Belichick had to adjust.

“I think Bill had to do a good job of that ever since I’ve been in the league because we’ve changed so much,” Wilfork said. “We were a veteran team. [Then] it was a younger team — at one point we were the youngest team in the league. So I think he had to try to find the identity in what works for that team. And I think he’s done a great job over the years of doing that.

“But at the end of the day, he is still Bill. He coaches the same way. He demands everything the same way. But I think he’s got a little soft heart now. Over time, he got a little softer, though.”

That doesn’t always come through, however.

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Bortles and Jaguars’ receivers plan on an offseason of hard work

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There have been questions raised recently about the work ethic of the second quarterback chosen in last year’s NFL draft, Cleveland’s Johnny Manziel. But the first quarterback chosen in last year’s draft says he has an offseason of hard work ahead of him.

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles knows he and his teammates need to be a whole lot better in 2015 than they were in 2014, and Bortles said today on PFT Live that he and the Jaguars’ offensive skill position players have already agreed that they’ll be getting together in California next month, at a time when players aren’t allowed to work out at team facilities, for their own player-run minicamp.

“We’ve got to have a lot of improvements. We’ve got to get out and get better this offseason. We’re going to get together and work together. I’m excited for it, I’m excited for the opportunity for the guys we have in the locker room to come together and get after it. Offensively, it comes down to execution — that’s something we’ve lacked and I was obviously a big part of it.”

Bortles said he has arranged for training this offseason that will include “A lot of working out, stretching, trying to get the body right and better, and then obviously a ton of both mental and physical quarterbacking.”

The Browns can only hope that Manziel will be doing that kind of work this offseason.

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Steve Logan to be 49ers quarterbacks coach

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Colin Kaepernick has a new quarterbacks coach to work with in 2015.

On Tuesday, there was a report that former East Carolina head coach and Boston College offensive coordinator Steve Logan would be taking a job on the 49ers offensive staff. The exact title that Logan would have was unknown, but he told WRAL in North Carolina Wednesday that he’ll be working with Kaepernick and the team’s other signal callers.

Logan last worked on a coaching staff with the Buccaneers from 2009-2011 as the running backs coach and has been working in television since then. He worked with 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula in NFL Europe and said Wednesday that their relationship pushed him back onto the sideline.

“Jim Tomsula is one guy who I would open this can of worms back up for,” Logan said. “The San Francisco 49ers’ roster is a roster that is Super Bowl competitive. [Kaepernick] is my kind of guy — mobile, accurate and smart.”

The 49ers are still looking for an offensive coordinator with Rob Chudzinski signing up for another year on the Colts staff. Geep Chryst, who was the team’s quarterbacks coach under Jim Harbaugh, is thought to be a candidate for that position.

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Will Hill has active warrant in New Jersey for failure to pay child support

Will Hill, Arian Foster, Rashaan Melvin AP

Ravens safety Will Hill has been no stranger to off-field issues during his NFL career and he has another one to work out in New Jersey.

Hudson County law enforcement officials say that there has been a warrant for Hill’s arrest issued due to his alleged failure to pay $16,588.18 in back child support. TMZ has the initial report on the warrant and adds that he is not actively being sought by police at this time, but that the he would be arrested if he’s otherwise stopped by police.

Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that Hill is aware of the child support issues, but was not aware of the warrant. The Ravens are also aware of the situation.

Hill joined the Ravens before the 2014 season and promptly served a six-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. That suspension led to his release from the Giants, who had stuck with Hill through two other suspensions that totaled eight games and a 2013 arrest for non-payment of child support.

Hill started eight regular season games and both playoff contests for Baltimore. He’s set to be a restricted free agent this offseason.

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Raiders offer defensive coordinator job to Todd Grantham

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The Raiders may be closer to filling a staff position, dipping into the college ranks for a defensive coordinator.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Raiders have offered a two-year contract to Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. That suggests it hasn’t necessarily been accepted yet, which leaves some room for haggling.

They met with him recently, and it apparently went well.

Grantham has been in college the last five years, working at Georgia and Louisville. He had previous stints with the Browns, Cowboys, Colts and Texans.

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Mike McCarthy: Clay Matthews is an outside linebacker, but we like flexibility

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During the regular season, the Packers moved Clay Matthews from outside to inside linebacker at points to help bolster their run defense and change their look in ways that opposing offenses might not have anticipated.

It wasn’t a permanent arrangement, but it was a successful one that coach Mike McCarthy said could remain part of the team’s playbook in the future when he spoke to reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.

“It’s really coming off last year and moving him around,” McCarthy said, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “We were able to be more flexible in how we utilize Clay and Julius [Peppers] and the elephant position. I felt those changes were positive for our defense. Clay is an outside linebacker. I think we all recognize that. He was very productive when he went inside. I think there will be more answers and options.”

Having more possibilities to work with on defense heading into next season should only be a positive for the Packers as they look for pieces to fill in around Matthews and Peppers in the front seven. Based on what McCarthy said Wednesday, the team will be exploring those possibilities.

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Josh McDaniels defends ineligible receiver plays

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While not everyone thinks it is within the sporting bounds, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Wednesday opponents have had plenty of time to adjust.

When asked about running an uptempo offense and using deception, McDaniels cut off a question to make a point.

One thing about that that I’d like to clear up is we didn’t do any of those things [with ineligible receivers] without huddling,” McDaniels said, via Mike Reiss of “When we did those things the last couple of games, we huddled every time we did it with the ineligible player. We substituted, we huddled, we declared him ineligible, the official declared him ineligible, and then we lined up.”

The Ravens might not agree, after they got caught with their collective pants down in the divisional round.

But McDaniels insisted everything was within the rules.

“I think we’ve only done it five times all year; we’ve huddled every time,” he said. “We’ve reported every time ineligible and once we did that we broke the huddle, we lined up and we ran the play. We didn’t try to hurry. We didn’t try to do anything that was deceptive in that manner. I think it was unique for a few plays. We ran it a couple times last week against Indianapolis and got nothing out of it [incomplete pass and sack]. Everybody talks about those couple Baltimore plays, but Indianapolis defended it very well. It’s just something we tried the one week and it gave us a little spark.”

If nothing else, it has given the Seahawks one more thing to think about and prepare for, which might be as effective as any yards they gain on the plays.

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Browns hiring Joker Phillips as wide receivers coach

Joker Phillips AP

The Browns are still looking for a quarterbacks coach to join Mike Pettine’s staff for the 2015 season, but they’ve found someone to work with their wide receivers.

Adam Caplan of ESPN reports that the team will hire Joker Phillips to fill that role. Phillips was most recently the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Florida in the 2012 and 2013 seasons, a job he took after spending three years as the head coach at the University of Kentucky. He led the Wildcats to a 13-24 record during those seasons and the Browns job will be his first in the NFL.

Phillips will be tasked with shaping up a group that likely won’t include Josh Gordon. Gordon is expected to serve a suspension for the 2015 season after a positive test for alcohol triggered a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. With Miles Austin set to become a free agent, the top receivers currently under contract and expected to be available are Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel.

Phillips replaces Mike McDaniel, who left the team along with former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan at the end of the season.

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Ravens finalize coaching staff

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The Ravens filled the most prominent opening on John Harbaugh’s coaching staff by hiring Marc Trestman as their new offensive coordinator last week and they’ve taken care of the other open spots.

The team announced one new arrival and several promotions on Wednesday. The newcomer is Andy Bischoff, who was on Trestman’s staff in Chicago as the tight ends coach and will be the offensive quality control coach in Baltimore.

Richard Angulo has been promoted from offensive assistant to tight ends coach, where he will replace Brian Pariani. Pariani went to Denver with former offensive coordinator and new Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak.

The team has also promoted assistant secondary coach Chris Hewitt to the head position coach job vacated by Steve Spagnuolo, who returned for a second stint as Tom Coughlin’s defensive coordinator with the Giants. Matt Weiss has made the move from defensive quality control and linebackers coach to assist Hewitt as the cornerbacks coach.

Finally, Drew Wilkins and Mike Macdonald have both been named defensive assistants after serving in other capacities with the team during the 2014 season.

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Report: Eagles assistant doesn’t want 49ers coordinator job

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The 49ers chose tranquility and control over Jim Harbaugh and his coaching staff.

And now, it looks like they’re having a hard time finding people willing to join new coach Jim Tomsula’s staff.

Via Geoff Mosher of, Tomsula and Eagles receivers coach Bob Bicknell talked about the vacant 49ers offensive coordinator job, but Bicknell wants to stay with the Eagles.

The 49ers were also denied a chance to talk to Colts assistant Rob Chudzinski, and .they could be scrambling to fill a staff.

Moving quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst into that job might be the most sensible option they have with other reported additions to the staff.

But very little about the 49ers can be described as sensible the last several months, so that may not matter.

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Pete Carroll backs Marshawn Lynch’s silent act

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As Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch braces himself for two more days of scheduled availability, his coach is doing his best to defend his player.

Pete Carroll just finished a well-explained explanation for Lynch’s reticence to play along with the media, saying he’s a team leader and simply not comfortable in the role.

“You’re seeing a guy being himself, and not being what everyone else wants him to be,” Carroll said.

Which is fine, such that it fits within a system with rules and consequences.

While we’ve long passed the point of gleaning any insights from Lynch at a podium, the only thing happening now is turning him into a martyr — which he clearly relishes.

Teammates rally around him, fans love the anti-hero quality, and the media’s an easy pinata. Everyone gets that.

But as he’s made commercials for insurance and candy recently, Lynch is showing that he’s not camera-shy. He just wants to engage in communication on his own terms.

And as long as he’s willing to pay the cover charge, he can party in that club all he wants.

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Report: Browns interview Kevin O’Connell for QBs coach role

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A former Patriots backup quarterback is reportedly being considered for the Browns’ quarterbacks coach position.

Kevin O’Connell, a third-round pick of New England in 2008, is meeting with Cleveland on Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

The 29-year-old O’Connell appeared in just two regular season games with New England, both as a reserve as a rookie. The Patriots parted ways with him before the 2009 regular season. He later had stints with the Jets, Lions, Dolphins and Chargers.

More recently, O’Connell has been a quarterbacking tutor, and he worked with Cleveland’s Johnny Manziel before the 2014 draft. Manziel comes off a disappointing rookie season, one that saw his play and preparation come under criticism. And as the 2015 offseason begins, Manziel’s development figures a top priority for Cleveland.

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Marshawn Lynch faces a possible fine, but not for not talking


Seahawks running might Marshawn Lynch might have avoided a fine yesterday by saying he was just there to avoid a fine, but his plan might have had a hitch.

Via Adam Schefter of ESPN, Lynch’s wearing a non-licensed hat could subject him to another financial penalty.

The league’s going to review it after the Super Bowl, but there’s plenty of precedent for guys taking big financial hits for promoting brands that the league’s not promoting. Brian Urlacher was docked $100,000 for wearing a hat promoting a beverage that was not the beverage which paid the league a lot more money than that for promotional exclusivity.

Lynch’s hat was to promote his personal brand, which makes the case a bit different. The league didn’t comment, and we’re guessing Lynch won’t either.

But it’s clear he doesn’t feel subject to the same rules as everyone else, and is all too happy to build a counter-culture stick-it-to-the-man image for his own financial benefit.

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PFT Live comes to you from Super Bowl Radio Row at noon ET

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We’ve drawn a day closer to the Super Bowl and gotten through Media Day, but there’s still plenty to talk about regarding the Patriots and Seahawks before Sunday.

We’ll be doing it with several great guests on Wednesday’s installment of PFT Live. Former NFL rushing leader LaDainian Tomlinson and former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward will give us the view from former NFL stars while current Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor and Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will share their thoughts on the Super Bowl while also talking about their own futures in the game. Greg Cosell of NFL Films is also scheduled to be on the show.

We also want to hear from PFT Planet. You can call the show by dialing 855-323-4NBC, email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. And, again, you can also watch a simulcast of all three hours of the show by clicking right here.

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