John Elway continues to patiently wait for one his quarterbacks to win the starting job.
“We’d like the decision made by itself,” the Broncos General Manager said Thursday, via Josh Dubow of the Associated Press. “We want one of them to take the reins and take over. That would be the ideal situation. We’ll get through this game and see what happens.”
Paxton Lynch gets his chance this week, starting Saturday against the 49ers. Lynch, a first-round pick in 2016, got the bulk of the work with the first-team this week in preparation.
Coach Vance Joseph said Lynch made three or four “big-time” throws Thursday.
The Broncos, who ranked 27th in total offense last season and tied for 28th in scoring, got only a field goal from their offense in the first three quarters of their preseason opener last week. Trevor Siemian started and led the Broncos to a field goal on his first drive. He played two more series and finished 6-of-7 for 51 yards and 97.0 passer rating.
Lynch completed 6 of 9 passes for 42 yards and 77.1 passer rating against the Bears, failing to lead the Broncos to any points before leaving in the fourth quarter.
Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch had a session with reporters on Thursday that featured questions about a few topics, including Lynch’s decision to sit during the national anthem before last weekend’s preseason game.
Lynch didn’t divulge the reasons why he sat or talk about the anthem at all in response to those questions, but was a bit more forthcoming when it came to other things. Lynch talked about his work in the community in Oakland and his excitement about playing a home game in his home town on Saturday night as well as how he’s feeling physically after not playing football in 2016.
Lynch said he feels “pretty good considering I was off for that time” and shared what he felt was the hardest thing about returning to action.
“To be honest, I would say just getting my mentality back,” Lynch said. “Waking up early and having to go and do something physical in order to get my body back to playing ability was probably the hardest thing for me because I’m not a morning person. But after that was over, it was straight.”
It may not be particularly surprising to learn that Lynch isn’t much of a morning person, but that was about it for revelations from the running back on Thursday.
Jets receiver Quincy Enunwa will undergo neck surgery next week, coach Todd Bowles said Thursday. A second medical opinion confirmed surgery was the best course of action for Enunwa, according to Bob Glauber of Newsday.
The Jets already had confirmed that Enunwa would miss the entire season after injuring his neck Aug. 5. The post-surgery recovery is expected to be 6-9 months.
Although Bowles has said the injury is not believed to be career-threatening, Enunwa is in the final year of his contract. He will have to convince teams he is healthy next spring when he becomes a free agent.
49ers rookie linebacker Reuben Foster‘s mild AC joint sprain in his surgically repaired right shoulder isn’t expected to keep him from playing Saturday.
“I expect him to,” coach Kyle Shanahan said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “We want to be smart with him, regardless, but I would expect him to.”
The 49ers insist they aren’t concerned about the injury, because it’s unrelated to the torn labrum Foster had in his shoulder at Alabama. Shanahan called Foster’s injury “common” among linebackers, and Navorro Bowman left practice early Thursday with a similar issue and later said he’s “probably had a million of these.”
Foster slipped to 31st in the draft at least partly because of concern about his shoulder, which some believed needed another surgery that would force him to miss the 2017 season.
General Manager John Lynch insisted Wednesday that Foster was “good” after Foster was injured in a joint practice with the Broncos.
The Seahawks and center Justin Britt were said to be closing in on a three-year extension on Thursday and they got the final steps out of the way before the day was out.
The Seahawks announced the extension, which Adam Caplan of ESPN reports is worth $27 million and sets Britt up to make $13.25 million through the 2018 season. Britt was signed for a salary of just over $891,000 this season in the final year of the four-year rookie deal he signed in 2014.
In the release announcing the deal, coach Pete Carroll noted the extension marks a change in course for a team that has relied on young and inexpensive offensive linemen in recent years.
“The fact that we were able to do it in the offensive line, it is important to note that,” Carroll said. “I don’t want to try to dissuade you from thinking that. It’s a statement that we want to make sure to take care of these guys. Justin has done everything we need him to do, been a great teammate. I’m thrilled we’re able to reward him. This is very much in line with all of the things we have done in the past, it just happens to go right to that spot, right to the center of it all, and I’m really fired up about that.”
The Seahawks also named George Fant and Luke Joeckel as their starters at left tackle and left guard on Thursday and they surely hope that the change in approach marked by Britt’s extension will be followed by a positive change in performance come the regular season.
When Colin Kaepernick sat out the national anthem last year, he spoke repeatedly about his reasons for doing so. Marshawn Lynch is taking a different approach.
Lynch, the Raiders running back who sat out the anthem last week before his first game back from a one-year retirement, addressed reporters today but said nothing about his reasons for sitting during the anthem.
The closest Lynch came to answering an anthem question was to say something about a mouse scaring an elephant, which may be some kind of metaphor or may just be a creative way not to answer. The second time Lynch was asked about the anthem, he responded as if he had been asked about his responsibilities on a certain play in the Raiders’ offense.
Lynch rarely talks to the media and rarely gives direct answers when he does talk to the media, so it’s not surprising that he’s not explaining himself. During his time in Seattle, Lynch sometimes stood and sometimes sat during the anthem, and he’s never given any explanation. It may simply be that he marches to the beat of his own drum, and will continue to do so.
The Colts had their final practice of training camp on Thursday, but not much will be changing for the team other than that they’ll no longer be staying in a hotel.
The team didn’t go away for camp and coach Chuck Pagano said Thursday that they will remain “in camp mode” because they haven’t come together in the way that Pagano would like. Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star reports Pagano’s frustration with his club was “evident” while answering questions from the media and Pagano made it clear that they haven’t progressed as expected.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Pagano said. “We need work, that’s it.”
All the work in the world won’t make up for players missing because of injuries and the Colts have had a long list of them this summer. Quarterback Andrew Luck, center Ryan Kelly, wide receiver Donte Moncrief, safety Malik Hooker and tight end Erik Swoope are among the players who have been out of action and Pagano lamented the lack of continuity caused by the absences.
Without naming names, Pagano also lamented the lack of work some players did to get themselves ready for camp.
“We’ve got nine weeks to try to develop guys,” Pagano said, via Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. “The pros figure it out. The young guys, they don’t have a clue. We have them for nine weeks and then we have to cut them loose for five and can’t do anything with them. Can’t talk football with them. Can’t tell them what to put in their bodies. And we have to trust that they are doing the right thing so when they come back in five weeks, if they haven’t done what they’re supposed to do, there’s a good chance you’re going to pull [a muscle]. A really good chance. So, it’s on all of us.”
That’s also true of finding a way to compete despite anything that’s gone wrong to this point and time’s running out for the Colts to do it before the games start to count in the standings.
The Cowboys held their final full practice in Oxnard, Calif., on Thursday morning. They head home Friday and begin training camp at The Star, their home facility in Frisco, Texas, next week.
Despite having an indoor practice facility that seats 12,000, the Cowboys will return to Oxnard next season to begin training camp. They have a year left on their contract, with an option for a two-year extension.
The Cowboys have trained in Oxnard 12 times since 2001, including the past six seasons.
“As long as we keep having a good experience and the people of Oxnard have been great, I don’t see that changing,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The Cowboys will have six practices open to fans at their home facility at the Ford Center. Jones said the Cowboys expect to have more practices at home in 2018, meaning they likely shorten their stay in Oxnard.
“A lot of fans who don’t get see us play at AT&T Stadium will get the opportunity to come to The Star and be a part of what our team is all one about,” Jones said.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is doing a little more each day, as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.
But Panthers coach Ron Rivera still isn’t prepared to declare the former MVP ready to play in the preseason.
According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, Newton threw about 10 live throws during joint workouts with the Titans Thursday, and then headed off to the side for conditioning. As a result, Rivera punted when asked if he’d play Saturday night in the second preseason game.
“You could tell he was rusty, a couple [he was] late on his decisions that he made,” Rivera said. “When he’s throwing the ball, he’s throwing the ball well. So we’re not concerned about that.
“Now it’s just a matter of him working himself back into shape where he can go out there and take normal reps instead of us having to make sure we’re monitoring him.”
Newton opened camp throwing fully, then took a 12-day break without any live throws during team drills. That’s an obvious reason for concern, but they’re still projecting optimism that he’ll play at some point during the preseason.
The 49ers announced they signed linebacker Shayne Skov to a one-year deal on Thursday.
Skov rejoins the 49ers after spending the previous three years in San Francisco. In his career, Skov has appeared in 24 games with two tackles and 12 tackles on special teams. The 49ers waived him May 2.
Skov, 27, is a San Francisco native who played at Stanford, where he made 355 tackles, 40.5 tackles for loss, 17 sacks, five forced fumbles and 13 pass breakups. He was named a First-Team All-Pac-12 and Second-Team All-American selection in 2013.
On Wednesday, the 49ers placed linebacker Donavin Newsom on injured reserve and waived linebacker Jayson DiManche with an injury designation, leaving them short-handed at the position.
The report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter regarding the pessimism surrounding the Aaron Donald holdout includes a claim from an unnamed source that the Rams defensive tackle may sit out the entire season. Regardless, there’s no way that will happen.
Apart from the fact that hardly any who huff and puff about skipping a full season ever do, Donald gains nothing by not playing this year. He gets no compensation (duh) and, more importantly, he doesn’t get a year of credit toward finishing his contract.
The Rams hold Donald’s rights for two more years. If he skips the full season, they’ll still hold his rights for two more years.
The key will be to show up on time to get the benefit of the Joey Galloway ruling from nearly a generation ago. League insiders believe eight games are the most that can be missed by a player under contract in order to comfortabley take advantage of the Galloway ruling.
Donald already has forfeited a year of service toward free agency, but that doesn’t matter since he’s under contract for two more years. If he misses more than eight games, he risks being in the same position next year that he’s in this year.
The Seahawks will get a longer look at running back Eddie Lacy during Friday’s game against the Vikings.
Coach Pete Carroll said, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, on Thursday that running back Thomas Rawls will not play in the team’s second preseason outing because of an ankle injury. Lacy, who signed as a free agent this offseason, will make the start in Rawls’ place.
Rawls worked ahead of Lacy in the team’s preseason opener last week and ran the ball twice for five yards before coming out of the game. Lacy ran four times for 10 yards during his first game action as a member of the team.
Rawls missed seven games last year with a fractured fibula and picked up 349 yards on 109 carries when he was in the lineup. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry during his first season in Seattle and a rebound in productivity spurred by a return to health could keep him in a sizable role throughout the year despite Lacy’s presence on the roster.
New England Patriots
Former Patriots nose tackle Lester Williams died at his home in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday. He was 58.
Williams played in 40 games for the Patriots from 1982-1985, including as a starter in Super Bowl XX. During his four-year career in New England, Williams made 39 solo tackles, 60 assists, five sacks, three fumble recoveries and five pass breakups.
The second of the Patriots’ two first-round draft picks (27th overall) in the 1982 NFL Draft, Williams quickly established himself as a mainstay on the defensive front. He started all nine games during his NFL strike-shortened rookie year.
The University of Miami product was a part of a Patriots draft class that included the No. 1 overall pick, defensive end Kenneth Sims, running back Robert Weathers (second round), Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett (second round), guard Darryl Haley (second round), receiver Cedric Jones (third round), linebacker Clayton Weishuhn (third round) and free safety Fred Marion (fifth round), a fellow All-American with Williams at Miami.
“I am very proud to be part of the 1982 draft class, and having Lester Williams as a part of that class made playing defense a lot more fun,” Tippett said, via quotes distributed by the team. “As a nose tackle, Lester was a key to our success in the 3-4 defense. I remember how frustrated opposing centers became playing against him. He anchored the line for us and was a great teammate to play alongside. On behalf of the entire organization, our thoughts and prayers are with Lester’s family, friends and former teammates who are mourning his loss today.”
Williams was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 1999, and his 210 career tackles remain the most in school history for a defensive tackle. He also was a member of the USA Junior Olympic team as a heavyweight wrestler and was the state heavyweight champion while at Carol City (Fla.) High School.
Former Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy helped raise money to have a Confederate monument removed from the front of the courthouse in Downtown Tampa, and the Buccaneers rose to the occasion after Dungy challenged them to help.
After Hillsborough County commissioners decided to remove the statue only if private donors came up with $140,000 for the costs of the project, Dungy wrote on Twitter that he and his wife would put up $5,000. He then challenged the Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning to help.
Today, those three teams announced that they’ve done just that, issuing a joint statement that they’ve contributed to the effort, and that the $140,000 total has now been reached.
“Recognizing that this monument does not reflect the values of our community, in collaboration with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, our organizations have dedicated funds to assist in moving the statue from the public space in front of the courthouse. Now more than ever before, we must stand united and committed to diversity and inclusion as we all attempt to heal from the tragedy in Charlottesville,” the statement said.
The monument is now expected to be removed from public grounds and moved to a private cemetery.
Falcons pass rusher Takk McKinley dropped an “F” bomb on live TV after the team made him a first-round pick. To little surprised, it wasn’t his only utterance of the eff-dash-dash-dash word for the evening.
Appearing on Thursday’s PFT Live, UCLA coach Jim Mora shared some details about his evening with McKinley, who played for Mora. Excited hearing from new teammates like Julio Jones and Matt Ryan, McKinley blurted out, “Coach, I’m a f–king first-round draft pick!”
McKinley, as Mora noted, is one of 37 former UCLA players currently with NFL teams. Mora believes as many as 33 will make it to the final 53-man rosters.
For more from Mora, who shared nearly 20 minutes of his time roughly two weeks away from the regular-season debut against Texas A&M, checked out the video.