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Eagles could be looking at more shuffling up front

Jason Peters AP

The last thing the Eagles need right now is more change up front, but that’s likely what they’re looking at for another week.

With left tackle Jason Peters‘ status up in the air because of a quadriceps injury, the Eagles may be forced to again shuffle a line which has been a glaring weakness during a 1-3 start.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly mentioned that right tackle Lane Johnson could swap sides if Peters can’t play, but also indicated that he didn’t want to be caught short like last week, when both Peters and linebacker Mychal Kendricks (hamstring) had to leave the game early after aggravating injuries.

“You can’t re-sub and say, ‘Hey, we need to activate somebody else [during the game].’ You have to live with it, so we’ll have to make some determinations as we get to Sunday,” Kelly said, via Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News.

Kelly praised Peters’ toughness, but said “he’s a guy we’ve really got to take a real good look at this week in terms of what he can give us.”

At least left guard Allen Barbre (groin) practiced fully, while Johnson (knee, ankle) was limited, and vowed to take team reps in practice today, though it’s unclear if he’s had enough work to switch sides so easily.


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Jameis Winston: You’ve got to take the simple play

Jared Allen, Jameis Winston, Star Lotulelei AP

When Jameis Winston was on his way to becoming the first overall pick of the 2015 draft, one of the negatives that analysts picked up from his college days was his habit of throwing interceptions.

Winston threw one every 26 times he put the ball in the air while at Florida State last year and things haven’t improved upon his entry into the NFL. Winston has thrown seven interceptions this season, which works out to one in 19 passes and is obviously too many for any quarterback to succeed over the long term.

Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said it wasn’t a “news flash” to see a rookie quarterback struggle with turnovers and said that you can’t “base the whole rest of Jameis’ career on that.” Both are true, but there are changes that Winston needs to make and he identified one of them while meeting with the media on Wednesday.

“We’ve got some great players around me on this team that can make plays,” Winston said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “I’ve just got to protect the football. It really is that simple. You’ve just got to take the simple play. Give it to your back and let him make a big. You can’t put everything on yourself. Sometimes, they make good plays. … There are only so many ways you can sum up an interception, but at the same time, you’ve got to limit those.”

The Bucs play the Jaguars this weekend and Jags quarterback Blake Bortles said that not putting everything on his own shoulders was an important lesson he learned as a rookie last year. There will be others, but the Bucs may not have the ball often enough for Winston to learn them if he can’t get the interceptions under control over the rest of his first professional campaign.

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PFT’s Week Five picks

Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck AP

Last week’s picks contest wasn’t much fun, because MDS and I agreed on every game. This week, it will be a little more fun, because we disagree on two games.

And it will be even more fun if I retain my one-game lead. For the year, I’m at 41-22 (65.1 percent) and MDS has a record of 40-23 (63.5 percent).

For all picks on this weekend’s slate of 14 games, scroll and read, read and scroll.

Colts at Texans

MDS’s take: Andrew Luck and Ryan Mallett have the two lowest passer ratings of all starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Luck, however, has a much better chance of turning things around. This will be an ugly game, but the Colts will play well enough on the road to strengthen their hold on the AFC South.

MDS’s pick: Colts 17, Texans 14.

Florio’s take: Who’s the quarterback going to be? Who knows? And who cares? Texans have their backs against the wall, and they’re good enough to win this game at home.

Florio’s pick: Texans 24, Colts 16.

Washington at Falcons

MDS’s take: Washington’s defense is better than people realize, but the weakness of that defense is in the secondary, and that’s just the weakness for the Falcons to exploit with Matt Ryan throwing to Julio Jones. Atlanta will put a lot of points on the board and Kirk Cousins will throw a couple interceptions as the Falcons cruise.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 31, Washington 14.

Florio’s take: Week Five often becomes Correction Sunday, or what I’ve now decided to call Pothole Sunday, the day when a team that has been rolling through the early portion of the schedule drives unexpectedly into a large chunk of missing asphalt. With Washington better than most (including me) would admit, the 4-0 Falcons could find themselves 4-1 by the time 4:30 p.m. ET rolls around on Sunday. If this one were being played in Washington, I’d perhaps have the guts to call for the upset.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 30, Washington 24.

Browns at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Ravens have a lot of issues and look to me like a team destined to miss the playoffs for just the second time in John Harbaugh’s tenure as head coach. But they’ll get a reprieve on Sunday with a bad Browns team coming to town.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 23, Browns 16.

Florio’s take: The Ravens have extra rest and even more motivation to get their first home win of the season and scratch back toward .500. The Browns simply aren’t good enough to do in Baltimore what the other Ohio team did there.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 24, Browns 14.

Seahawks at Bengals

MDS’s take: This is the most intriguing game of the week for me because I’m still not sure what to make of the Seahawks. They seem to be turning things around since the return of Kam Chancellor, but they’re also a bad call away from a likely 1-3 record. At Cincinnati, one of the best teams in the league, I think Seattle will lose its third game of the season.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Seahawks 21.

Florio’s take: Arguably the game of the day, it’s a chance for the Bengals to quiet those who think they can’t win in January. The Seahawks need to get on the right side of .500, but their early-season road schedule continues to work against them. The Bengals currently are the better team on both sides of the ball.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 22, Seahawks 17.

Rams at Packers

MDS’s take: The Rams have a knack for playing their best football against their toughest opponents. But a trip to Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers will be too tough a test even for the Rams’ impressive defense, and the Packers will take this one.

MDS’s pick: Packers 28, Rams 20.

Florio’s take: The up-and-down Rams are good enough to beat most teams. They’re not yet good enough to beat the Packers in Green Bay, even though the Rams can give them a run for their money.

Florio’s pick: Packers 27, Rams 24.

Bears at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Jay Cutler has played better this season than people are giving him credit for, and when he’s healthy the Bears aren’t as bad a team as people think. So I’m tempted to pick the Bears here. But I’m expecting Andy Reid to get his offense back on track on Sunday and the Chiefs to pull out a close one.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 24, Bears 21.

Florio’s take: The Bears don’t have to worry about going winless. Which will make it easier for them to stomach Sunday’s trip to Arrowhead Stadium. Meanwhile, it the Chiefs can’t win this one and land at 1-4, they’re done.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Bears 20.

Saints at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Eagles’ offense has been a mess this season, but the Saints’ defense has been a mess, too. I like the Eagles to move the ball a lot against New Orleans.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 31, Saints 21.

Florio’s take: Two years ago, the Saints ended Philly’s season with the first road playoff win in franchise history. This time, the Saints could end Philly’s season as a practical matter. I can’t imagine that happening; if just a handful of plays had gone the other way in Washington, the Eagles would have won easily.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 27, Saints 20.

Jaguars at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The NFL teams in Florida are all pretty terrible this year, but if there’s one showing some signs of life, it’s Jacksonville. Jameis Winston will be forced into multiple turnovers as the Jags win a close one.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 13, Buccaneers 10.

Florio’s take: The Bucs haven’t won a home game in a long, long time. If they don’t win this one against Jacksonville, they may never win another home game again. Ever.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 20, Jaguars 17.

Bills at Titans

MDS’s take: Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has exceeded expectations in the first three games of his NFL career, but the Bills’ defense is going to make life rough for him. This will be a difficult day for the rookie.

MDS’s pick: Bills 20, Titans 7.

Florio’s take: If the Bills can’t get this one done, they’re done. And even though they looked done against the Giants, I don’t think they’re done. And now I think I’m done.

Florio’s pick: Bills 27, Titans 17.

Cardinals at Lions

MDS’s take: The Lions may be a better team than their 0-4 record suggests, but they’re still not good enough to beat the Cardinals, whose deep passing game is going to be too much for Detroit’s secondary to handle.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 28, Lions 17.

Florio’s take: Can the Lions forget about the screwing they took in Seattle and focus on a Cardinals team that can’t afford to lose two in a row? It’s not likely, especially since the offense can’t do much of anything.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 24, Lions 13.

Patriots at Cowboys

MDS’s take: Brandon Weeden isn’t playing badly at all in relief of Tony Romo, but the Cowboys haven’t been able to win with him at quarterback. And they won’t win Sunday, with the best team in the NFL coming to town. This one could get ugly for Big D.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 38, Cowboys 14.

Florio’s take: It was supposed to be Tony Romo vs. Jimmy Garappolo. Instead, it’s Brandon Weeden vs. Tom Brady. They’re gonna need a bigger scoreboard.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 44, Cowboys 20.

Broncos at Raiders

MDS’s take: The Broncos’ defense is so relentless that Derek Carr is going to struggle all day long at getting the ball out before the rush arrives. Denver will improve to 5-0 and strengthen its grip on the AFC West.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 20, Raiders 10.

Florio’s take: Last week, the Raiders stepped into a trap in Chicago. This week, they step into a buzzsaw in their own backyard.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 34, Raiders 21.

49ers at Giants

MDS’s take: The 49ers’ offense has been an absolute mess, and it’s hard to see an end in sight. The Giants will jump out to an early lead and shut down the 49ers.

MDS’s pick: Giants 16, 49ers 7.

Florio’s take: 49ers coach Jim Tomsula wants a “confident man” at quarterback. He’ll have to settle for Colin Kaepernick.

Florio’s pick: Giants 26, 49ers 14.

Steelers at Chargers

MDS’s take: If Ben Roethlisberger were playing, I’d pick the Steelers. With Michael Vick at the helm, I’m expecting Pittsburgh’s offense to struggle to move the ball. The Chargers haven’t been great this year in any phase of the game, but they’ll get enough out of their offense to beat the Steelers in a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 14, Steelers 10.

Florio’s take: Flip a coin. Throw a dart. Light a match. The Steelers have extra rest and Martavis Bryant back. The Chargers are at home and have Antonio Gates back. The Chargers also have Philip Rivers and Steelers don’t have Ben Roethlisberger.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 28, Steelers 24.

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Browns cornerback Tramon Williams says NFL admitted error on game-winning field goal

Tramon Williams, Steve Johnson AP

The NFL recently instructed coaches not to disclose information about private communications with the league office regarding officiating errors. And on Wednesday a Browns player disclosed information about private communications with the league office regarding officiating errors.

Via Mary Kay Cabot of, Browns cornerback Tramon Williams said Wednesday that the NFL admitted officials incorrectly flagged him for being offside on a 39-yard field goal try by Chargers kicker Josh Lambo. The attempt went wide right, the Chargers got another chance from five yards closer, and Lambo made the kick.

“The coaches sent in the tape questioning it, because it was close and I thought I got a good jump,” Williams said. “It was time to do or die at the end of the game. I had gathered all the information throughout the game, and I was like, ‘This is my time.’ And sure enough, I got a good jump on it.”

He definitely did. One of the two All-22 film angles from the NFL’s Game Rewind feature shows Williams getting a perfect jump on the snap — a jump so perfect that from the other angle he appeared to be offside.

Even though the blunder gave the Chargers another chance to win the game, Williams doesn’t seem to be all that upset.

“I just move so much faster than everybody else,” Williams said. “I can see where the referees would miss that. . . . Guys make mistakes. At the end of the day you just hope that we can get judgment at the end of the game, maybe review or whatever it may be.”

The real question (apart from whether rulings of this nature will be added to the replay review rules) is whether the league will be upset with the Browns. Although the memo sent last month to teams regarding the disclosure of private communications with the league office was directed at coaches, executives, and owners, the league office likely won’t react well to coaches giving that information to players and players then sharing it publicly.

Regardless, the Browns claim that the same kind of mistake that caused the Lions to lose to the Seahawks caused the Browns to lose to the Chargers. And the Browns seem to be accurate. And it would have been a much bigger deal if the game had been played in prime time.

UPDATE 10:34 a.m. ET: The NFL has denied making that concession to the Browns. The NFL contends that the video evidence is inconclusive.

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Thursday morning one-liners

Josh Norman AP

New Bills K Billy Cundiff says he’s there to kick off.

Dolphins CB Brent Grimes was held out of practice with a knee sprain.

Patriots LT Nate Solder knows he’ll have his hands full this week.

Finding a long-term solution for Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson is a priority.

New Ravens WR Chris Givens hopes to get on the same page with QB Joe Flacco sooner rather than later.

Bengals QB Andy Dalton’s throwing a good deep ball lately.

Browns CB K’Waun Williams cleared after concussion.

Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell is fine with the play-calling.

Texans K Nick Novak is focused on the next one.

The Colts won’t lack for storylines tonight.

The Jaguars are  their young kicker for now.

Titans WR Dorial Green-Beckham says arrests was a misunderstanding.

Broncos TE Owen Daniels is establishing himself as a red zone threat.

There’s more pressure on Chiefs veterans to step up as leaders now.

Raiders DB T.J. Carrie downplayed his injury as “just bruised up.”

The Chargers could be changing up their return duties.

Cowboys LB Rolando McClain is ready to get back in the mix.

Giants players were briefed on the danger of MRSA.

Eagles RT Lane Johnson did his best Micheal Ray Richardson impression.

Washington could be in the mix for international games next year.

The Bears made a handful of roster moves which could suggest more than on the surface.

Lions LB DeAndre Levy was back on the practice field.

Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers is trying to simplify things.

The new Vikings stadium is 75 percent complete.

Falcons fans are hard to find.

Panthers CB Josh Norman is thriving in his newfound on- and off-field spotlight.

Getting Saints G Jahri Evans back on the field was a boost.

Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston is focused on cutting down turnovers.

The Cardinals have choices to make at RB now.

Rams WR Stedman Bailey is appealing his fine.

49ers return man Jarryd Hayne is still getting the hang of what to do and when to do it.

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson isn’t playing as cleanly as he needs to.

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Mathieu: Lions look like they don’t understand offensive system

DeMarcus Ware, Matthew Stafford AP

After the Cardinals routed the 49ers in Week Three, Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu shared some of the things that the team picked up on tape that helped them intercept Colin Kaepernick four times.

Mathieu and the Cardinals have moved on to watching film of the Lions ahead of this weekend’s trip to Detroit. The safety isn’t sharing anything specific that he’s picked up in those sessions, but he has picked up on a general problem that does a lot to explain why the Lions haven’t managed to win a game yet this season.

“For me, they just look like they don’t quite understand the system yet, so to say, because you think about it, those guys, they could easily put up 30 points a game,” Mathieu said, via the Detroit News. “I’m very, very, very surprised. You look at those guys’ personnel on offense along with Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. I think those two guys alone have you raising your eyebrows as to wondering why they haven’t been putting up a lot of points this season. It’s one of those teams, man, that they look out of sync right now, but they’ll find their rhythm at some point during the season.”

Understanding the system might not make much of a difference when the offensive line can’t protect Matthew Stafford or help the running game get on track, but Mathieu’s making the same observation that plenty of others have made after watching the Lions through four weeks this season. The talent doesn’t match up with the results, which tends to be a bad sign for a team’s coaching staff when it comes time to make decisions about who gets to return for another season.

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Seahawks know they’re taking sacks at an “alarming” rate

Russell Wilson AP

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been sacked 18 times in four games, a 72-sack pace for the season. The Seahawks know that has to change.

“[W]e’re taking sacks at an alarming rate right now,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell told reporters on Wednesday. “We can improve it, it’s really in a lot of areas. You can’t really pin it on one group, one person. I know there’s a lot of concern with the offensive line, a lot of talk about that, but we can all do better. The quarterbacks in terms of getting the ball out on time, receivers shaking open on time, offensive line protecting them, myself in any way that I can to give us better chances to do all three of those things. We’ll just continue to work at it.”

Bevell otherwise tried to stay positive about the team’s ability to continue to win with so much pressure on Wilson.

“We’re just going to keep playing,” Bevell said. “The great thing about these guys is that every one of these guys came to work today, and were ready to look at the tape, they wanted to get better. They come out here and work extremely hard and they know there’s things that they’ve done well, they know there’s things that they can do better, all of us know that. We just love to be here. We’re excited to get back to work, we get another opportunity. We’re going to get better each and every time we go out and we feel like we’re doing that.”

Well, almost everyone loves to be there.

“We had some issues, and it wasn’t any one guy,” Carroll told reporters regarding the offensive line play. “It was just stuff happened, and we needed to help them better. This is the reality of it, there’s a lot of things that enter into it, and sometimes it’s getting the ball out when we have the chance to before the rush gets there.”

Carroll said the current configuration of blockers won’t change, and that the unit hasn’t regressed.

“I think this is all just putting money in the bank and trying to figure it out, and getting where we can use the experiences that we’ve had effectively,” Carroll said. “It takes a while. There’s some things that they saw again for the first time that an experienced group might be able to identify a little.”

It’s a prime example of the impact of reduced offseason and preseason practice time, with defenses ahead of offensive lines early in the season and offensive lines struggling on the fly to improve. There’s a good chance the Seattle offensive line will indeed improve.

Actually, it has to improve. It can’t get much worse.

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Bryan Bulaga returns to practice

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 13:   Pernell McPhee #92 of the Chicago Bears rushes against  Bryan Bulaga #75 of the Green Bay Packers in the first half at Soldier Field on September 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

When Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, the timeline for his return to the lineup was given at six weeks.

That happened about three weeks ago, so it seems safe to say that Bulaga’s recovery is progressing ahead of schedule. Bulaga took part in Wednesday’s practice as a limited participant and said things felt well enough that he expects to step things up during Thursday’s session.

“It wasn’t a heavy workload day like it is tomorrow,” Bulaga said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “But I was able to participate in everything that we did. Tomorrow, it’s going to be a bigger test, putting pads on, going against bull-rushes and different moves and seeing how it reacts. Again, we’ll see how it feels tomorrow morning, see Doc [Patrick McKenzie], see the trainers and re-evaluate and go from there.”

Bulaga didn’t make any guesses about his status for this weekend’s game against the Rams, but another smooth practice session on Thursday would certainly seem to make his presence in the lineup a possibility for a Packers team that hardly missed a beat without him.

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Antonio Gates: Shannon Sharpe wants to tarnish what I’ve done

Antonio Gates AP

When Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was suspended for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy, his harshest critic was Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe. Gates thinks Sharpe’s criticism was an attempt by Sharpe to protect his own status among the league’s all-time great tight ends.

Sharpe said Gates’s PED use “calls into question everything that he’s ever accomplished.” Gates thinks Sharpe is trying to downgrade him because Gates is only 28 catches and 47 yards away from passing Sharpe for third place among all tight ends in NFL history. Gates said he and Sharpe have been friendly rivals in the past, but now Sharpe is trying to personally attack him as Gates closes in on surpassing his career accomplishments.

“We played against each other, so it wasn’t like he was a teammate of mine or we were the best of friends,” Gates said. “But we do know each other, and it was always competitive in terms of who was the better tight end, I do know that. And we joked about it. We laughed about it. So I guess if he can find a way to tarnish something I think he probably would.”

Gates, who returns from his four-game suspension this week, may be right that Sharpe wants to tarnish Gates’s legacy to maintain Sharpe’s own place on the all-time tight end hierarchy. But Sharpe is perfectly entitled to that opinion. When a player violates the PED policy, he has to understand that his reputation is going to take a hit.

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Drew Brees off injury report

Drew Brees AP

Saints quarterback Drew Brees returned to the lineup last Sunday and threw the game-winning touchdown pass to C.J. Spiller to beat the Cowboys in overtime.

Those were pretty good indications that the right shoulder injury that kept him from playing in Week Three wasn’t a major problem any longer. Wednesday’s injury report said it isn’t a minor problem either.

Brees was entirely absent from the report and told reporters that it was at his request because he doesn’t “like being on there.” Brees said he felt just “normal soreness” on Monday and that any uncertainty that may have existed before his return to the field had gone away.

“Yes, well again it wasn’t necessarily the hit or a hit that I was waiting to occur,” Brees said. “It’s just what happens in a normal game, in regards to, reacting to certain throws. Maybe having to throw off balance. Do certain things that you can’t simulate in practice, but all that stuff came through.”

The defense got several veterans back for the Dallas game and Brees said that he thought “that experience helps” for a team that started the year with three straight wins. They’ll need to keep helping against the Eagles this week for the Saints to climb out of the hole they dug themselves, something that seems a lot more possible with Brees feeling healthy once more.

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Jason Garrett on Greg Hardy: “We’re all a work in progress”

Jason Garrett AP

Given the amount of time Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has used the phrase “right kind of guy,” over the years, there’s a decent chance he privately thinks defensive end Greg Hardy is as much of a clod as the rest of the world after hearing Hardy’s first press conference following his domestic violence suspension.

But then again, Garrett has a ball team to coach.

Garrett sort-of defended his new defensive end, who had 15.0 sacks the last time he played a full season, by saying that within the narrow scope of football Hardy has been no problems for him.

“Probably like everybody, we’re all a work in progress, so we’re trying to be the right kind of guy each and every day of our lives,” Garrett said, via Todd Archer of

Hardy needs some more work, after his talk with reporters filled with no apology or accountability for his arrest or suspension and jokes that weren’t funny, including that he hoped Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s wife Gisele Bundchen was there Sunday with her sister and all her friends. He also made a regrettable “guns blazin’” comment, which is regrettable since his domestic violence arrest in Charlotte in 2014 including charges of throwing his then-girlfriend into a futon full of guns while he was threatening to kill her (a case which never made it to a jury trial following a civil settlement).

Basically, the guy lacks self-awareness, and that’s something that’s hard to teach a chronological adult if they haven’t found it by this point in their lives.

But he is good at ball, and within that small world, Garrett said Hardy’s been fine.

“He jumped right into the offseason program and demonstrated that he’s willing to work each and every day to try to get better, to try to help our team,” Garrett said. “I thought he had a very good training camp, worked very hard every day, got better over the course of training camp. He’s been away from us for four weeks, but now he’s back and we’re excited to have him back on the practice field today.”

Sometimes being a work in progress means surrounding yourself with people you’d prefer not to, since professional realities occasionally interfere with a career-long quest for character.

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Rex Ryan goes back to the push-ups-for-penalties well

mascot, cub

Boy, is Dan Campbell going to be mad he didn’t think of this first.

As a way to combat his over-the-top amount of penalties this season, Bills coach Rex Ryan has gone back to his own over-the-top means of teaching his team discipline.

According to Mike Rodak of, Ryan said he was going to start punishing penalties in practice with push-ups.

“If a guy gets a penalty during the practices, then we’re gonna make sure that all of us are gonna do 10 pushups or whatever,” Ryan said. “The rest of the team will [do pushups] and that person [being penalized] will stand up, just to see how many people he is affecting.

“Penalties are still gonna happen, but we gotta eliminate them to the best of our abilities, especially the self-inflicted ones.”

The Bills lead the league with 46 accepted penalties, which is on pace to set the league record for a season. Of the 58 total flags thrown at them, 13 were for unnecessary roughness, unsportsmanlike conduct or taunting, and no other team has more than six.

But the push-up gimmick is on par with the new Dolphins interim coach running Oklahoma drills in practice as a means of instilling toughness and competitiveness into grown men — as it’s the kind of thing high school and college coaches do with players who have yet to reach “grown man” status.

Ryan has pushed this button before, with Jets teams that had the same way of making yellow flags fly.

It’s interesting, however, that Jets coach Todd Bowles and Patriots coach Bill Belichick haven’t had to go the Friday Night Lights route to modify their players’ behavior. It’s almost as if maturity and discipline already resided within their players, for some strange reason.

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Richard Sherman says he has “a ton of respect” for A.J. Green

SEATTLE - OCTOBER 30:  Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks makes an interception against A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field on October 30, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Bengals defeated the Seahawks 34-12.(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The last time the Cincinnati Bengals played the Seattle Seahawks, Richard Sherman was making the first start of his NFL career.

After the game, Sherman didn’t waste any time in showing his willingness to call out opposing players and express his opinions that would become a trademark over the next few seasons.

Sherman intercepted Andy Dalton once on a pass intended for star receiver A.J. Green and tipped another pass intended for Green into the waiting arms of safety Kam Chancellor in the team’s 34-12 loss to the Bengals.

In the locker room after the game, I asked Sherman his thoughts on Green and the Bengals offense.

“He’s probably one of the most overrated receivers out there,” Sherman said of Green. “He wasn’t anything special. Dalton is a good quarterback, he makes good decisions, but A.J. Green is just a lot of noise talking and bad routes.”

Sherman chuckled when reminded of the comments on Wednesday.

“I remember that. I remember that,” Sherman said. “That was my first game, wasn’t it?”

It was indeed. Sherman was getting the chance to start for the first time as Marcus Trufant was out with a back injury and Walter Thurmond had broken his leg the week before.

Now four years later, both Sherman and Green are perennial Pro Bowl selections and among the best at their positions in the league. Sherman’s thoughts on Green have changed a little since then as well.

“I have a ton of respect for him,” Sherman said. “Obviously, I was hyped up that day, I’m always hyped up after the game. We’ve had conversations, and his resume speaks for itself. He’s had a fantastic four or five years since we’ve played him, so you have to give him all the respect.”

Green had four catches for 63 yards against Seattle that day with the longest coming on a 43-yard touchdown over safety Earl Thomas. The two teams meet again this week for the first time since that meeting in 2011.

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Goodell says NFL will continue to improve replay review

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The NFL’s replay review system has evolved like this: (1) the league identified a finite list of reviewable plays; and (2) the league has added specific reviewable plays to the list in the aftermath of embarrassing outcomes where bad calls that could have been fixed easily through replay review weren’t subject to replay review.

The latest embarrassing outcome that inevitably will result in a tweaking of the replay system happened Monday night, when an illegal bat that may have decided the outcome of the Lions-Seahawks game wasn’t subject to replay review. By next year, illegal bats surely will be included in the list of reviewable plays.

“I’m not sure I can remember since 1990 when we haven’t discussed instant replay extensively with the Competition Committee and also with the membership,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday, at a press conference to conclude the quarterly ownership meetings in New York. “It clearly is going to be reviewed again. I think there are a lot of obstacles to having every play reviewed, but there are other alternatives that can deal with these kind of issues. We’re going to have to address that. We’ve shown that we can improve the instant replay system over the years and we will continue to do that.”

Improvements to the replay system typically come as reactions to situations that weren’t previously anticipated. The time has come to anticipate all situations before another bad call that could have been easily fixed by replay review occurs.

On Tuesday, PFT suggested that the league review the rule book line by line, searching for any additional situations that should be subject to replay review. A high-level official with one of the league’s teams had suggested a simpler (and better) way to do it: Assume everything is subject to replay review, and read every provision of the rule book only in search of those things that should not be reviewable.

In other words, the true judgment calls would be spotted and added to the list of potentially erroneous decisions that are exempt from review. By approaching it as a system for fixing any clear errors that don’t involve interpretation or discretion, never again will there be a situation that cries out for a quick fix via replay review but that can’t be fixed because that specific play isn’t on the list of things that can be reviewed.

And since that idea makes perfect sense, it never will be adopted.

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Alvin Bailey apparently wants out of Seattle

Bailey Getty Images

Even though the Seahawks managed to beat the Lions on Monday night, the Seattle offensive line is taking a verbal beating for the physical beating to which it exposed quarterback Russell Wilson. The criticism apparently has prompted guard Alvin Bailey to crack.

“Thinkin about 31 other cities I’d rather be in then Seattle right now,” Bailey said on Twitter.

As a fan said in response, “Thinking about 31 other offensive linemen I’d rather have too.”

Bailey, as noted by Curtis Crabtree of KJR and PFT, entered camp as the presumed starter at left guard. But several other players got first-team reps at the position before Justin Britt was moved to left guard from right tackle.

Bailey has appeared in every game this season, but with no starts. The next question is whether he gets his wish and/or whether the fan gets his wish, too.

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Jerry Jones reacts to Greg Hardy’s bizarre comments about “guns blazin'” and Tom Brady

Jerry Jones, Mark Walller AP

Fresh from suspension, Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy raised plenty of eyebrows with his remarks to the media on Tuesday. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones raised those eyebrows even farther with his response to some of Hardy’s comments.

Via Melissa Jacobs of, the first words to come from Jones after hearing that Hardy said he plans to come out “guns blazin'” on Sunday against the Patriots were, “Oh my goodness.” Jones then opted to point out that Hardy didn’t mean it literally.

“Well, you’re not allowed to have guns on the football field,” Jones said. “We all know that’s just a way of expressing yourself. I hope his guns are a-blazin’.”

Jones then was informed about Hardy’s comments regarding the wife of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

“Have you seen his wife? I hope she comes to the game,” Hardy said. “I hope her sister comes to the game, all her friends come to the game.”

“When I saw him marry [Gisele Bundchen], Tom went up in my eyes 100 percent,” Jones said. “She’s very very attractive and it shows what an outstanding individual Tom is.”

The broader point is that Hardy’s comments suggest he’s not a very outstanding individual. But Jones offered no commentary on that; Jones already has made it clear that he didn’t sign Hardy for his humanitarian endeavors but because he’s good at tackling quarterbacks while they still have the ball.

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Fisher uses air horn to keep Rams defensive lineman from jumping offside

87670253 Getty Images

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has demonstrated an uncanny ability to: (1) draw a defense offside with a hard count; and (2) throw the ball down the field for big chunks of yardage during the ensuing free play. The Rams, who play at Lambeau Field on Sunday, hope to avoid those penalties. And coach Jeff Fisher has employed one specific device to keep them in check.

An air horn.

“That’s just a message to the D-line on the hard count,” Fisher told reporters on Wednesday. “No one uses the hard count better than Aaron. And everybody week after week, you’ll read clips and things and all the defensives work against it. ‘We were ready for it.’ He pulls them offsides two or three times a game. So, I woke them up in their meeting room this morning with the horn, just to send a message.”

What did the defensive linemen think of hearing the air horn in the meeting room?

“[S]some were pissed,” Fisher said. “It scared them.”

Rodgers should scare them even more.

“You watch him on tape, he extends plays,” Fisher said. “He extends to his right, to his left, steps up, runs for first downs and just he knows what to do with the football. He’s pretty impressive.”

How does he compare to a mobile quarterback the Rams already have beaten this year, Russell Wilson?

“Well, he’s different from Russell from a standpoint that he’s just a little bit taller,” Fisher said of Rodgers. “He can see. So, if you keep him in the pocket, he’s going to hurt you in the pocket. At times, Russell will lose track of what’s going on down the field and take off. [Rodgers] will beat you with his legs and his arm. But you just have to change things up as best you can and challenge their receivers.”

It won’t be easy, but the Rams have the talent to have as much success as anyone. Especially if that air horn keeps them from jumping offside.

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Lions look at a trio of running backs, and plenty of other players

Bryce Brown AP

With the Lions playing on Monday night, they bumped until Wednesday their semi-usual Tryout Tuesday. And on Wednesday they tried out a lot of players.

Per a league source, three running backs got their tires kicked in Detroit: Bryce Brown (pictured), Travaris Cadet, and Daniel Thomas.

Also getting workouts were tight end Cameron Clear, nose tackle Kenrick Ellis, nose tackle Ishaa’ily Kitchen, defensive tackle Joe Vellano, and defensive end Jerel Worthy.

Defensive tackle Andre Fluellen also got a tryout — and a job. He took defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker’s roster spot; Walker landed on IR after breaking a leg against the Seahawks.

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Weeden tells Twitter trolls he’s not reading

Brandon Weeden AP

Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden still has a Twitter account, but he wants those with opinions about his play or talent level to know he’s not reading his Twitter mentions.

He knows what they say.

“I remember everybody [on Twitter] that always talked crap, they never had a picture of themselves,” Weeden said, per the Dallas Morning News. “It was some cartoon or something, and it was always probably a 12 year old kid that damn sure never played quarterback, and damn sure never played quarterback in the NFL. I don’t need that kid telling me, ‘What the hell you thinking throwing to this guy?’ I don’t need that.

“I’m 32 years old. I don’t need a 12 year old telling me how to play quarterback.”

That insinuates that Weeden used to read his Twitter mentions. He said he now has someone who runs his account, @BWeeden3, and now that he’s starting again, he has a pretty good feel for what people are tweeting at him.

The Cowboys are 0-2 since Weeden took over for the injured Tony Romo, and he doesn’t need to hop on Twitter to know how Cowboys fans are feeling.

“I just don’t listen to it,” Weeden said. “It’s as simple as that. I made some mistakes the other night. Probably not the same mistakes that people thought I’d made. So my deal is there pressure that comes with this position? Shoot yeah. There’s probably not a more pressure packed position in all of sports [than Cowboys quarterback], maybe other than playing shortstop, backing up Derek Jeter when he was in New York.”

People are rude on Twitter. And mean, especially to public figures. And they’re not all 12, but Weeden speaks with perspective.

He said used to interact with people via Twitter when he was at Oklahoma State. Now, he’s lost 10 straight starts in the NFL and is not about to go there.

“You play quarterback in 32 towns [and] there is pressure that comes with it,” he said. “We knew that when we signed up for it. We are big boys.”

Truth be told, Weeden hit his Twitter peak on July 4, 2013, when he was still with the Browns. And even if he snaps his personal losing streak, he still probably won’t find much productive conversation in his Twitter mentions.

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Goodell: Disciplinary changes not tied to CBA extension

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 13:  Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL, stands on the field prior to the game between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on September 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

Last month, there were reports about talks between the NFL and NFLPA regarding changes to the league’s disciplinary procedures that would be tied to an extension of the current collective bargaining agreement.

At a Wednesday press conference following league meetings in New York, Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked why those two things were tied. Goodell responded by saying they weren’t, citing last year’s changes to the league’s drug policy of an example of how those changes could be made without larger negotiations regarding the CBA.

Goodell also reiterated last month’s comments about being open to changes to the policy as long as they don’t include the neutral arbitration that the union has long sought on disciplinary matters.

“We’ve had discussions over the last several years about this,” Goodell said. “We recognize that there are different ways of administering the discipline. We’re open to that, we always have been. We’ve just never been able to reach an agreement on what that process is. We are not in favor of third-party arbitration with people that have no involvement or understanding of our polices or, frankly, a stake in the future of the NFL. We’ve been very clear about that, but there are other alternatives.”

Goodell didn’t delve into those other alternatives, but it’s hard to imagine the union being too keen on any that leave Goodell with the final say that they’ve attacked at just about every turn.

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