Resale prices for Packers tickets decline 50 percent after Aaron Rodgers injury

Getty Images

The injury to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has dramatically affected how much Green Bay fans are willing to spend to see this week’s game.

Ticket King in Green Bay told WBAY that ticket prices for Sunday’s home game against the Saints have declined by at least 50%.

“A lot of people they’re just saying they can’t make it to the game now, I am sure there’s some people that don’t want to go to the game because of what happened,” said Travis Loftus, Manager at Ticket King in Green Bay.

The Packers would be favored if Rodgers were playing, but they’re five-point underdogs with Brett Hundley starting. Some Packers fans figure their team is going to lose, and they don’t want to pay to see it.

Road teams are a game over .500 through six weeks

Getty Images

Through six weeks of the NFL season, road teams are winning more often than home teams.

Teams playing on the road have compiled a 46-45 record through the first 91 games of the season.

According to Barry Wilner of the Associated Press, road teams haven’t been able to be more successful than home teams over the course of an entire season since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

Road teams were particularly dominant in Week 5 with 10 of 14 road teams able to grab victories away from home. Only the Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins managed to survive being beaten in their own stadiums that weekend. Additionally road teams have won at least seven games in five of the six weeks this season. The only exception was in Week 3 when home teams went 11-5 for the week.

Home teams were 149-107 last season, 138-118 in 2015, 146-110 in 2014 and 154-102 in 2013. That’s an average of 37.5 games over .500 for home teams over the previous four seasons. If recent history is an indication, a law of averages would seem to indicate home teams should start to pile up more victories as the season progresses to get closer to the recent precedent.

Or maybe that won’t happen and 2017 will continue to be an unpredictable season in the NFL. Kansas City will have a chance to add to the road team victory tally Thursday night in Oakland against the Raiders to kick off Week 7.

Report: Ezekiel Elliott’s camp, NFL have discussed settlement to case

Getty Images

With Ezekiel Elliott suspended, un-suspended, suspended and un-suspended yet again, there may finally be an ability to find common ground for representatives of Elliott and the NFL to reach a settlement in the ongoing legal saga over his playing status.

According to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, Elliott’s camp and the NFL have discussed potential settlements of the case. The recent motion granting a temporary restraining order puts the case in a state of limbo.

Elliott is again eligible to play this week for Dallas against the San Francisco 49ers after the TRO was issued by a New York district court on Tuesday.

As the suspension has been applied and halted at various points, each side could claim the higher ground in the case and, therefore, have little incentive to reach a settlement. With the TRO in place until Oct. 30, or until Judge Katherine Polk Failla returns to the bench to hear new arguments (she was on vacation and the TRO hearing was handled by another judge), there is a lull in activity that could spur more substantial discussions surrounding a settlement that could reduce the number of games of Elliott’s suspension and allow the NFL to keep a stranglehold on Roger Goodell’s ability to impose discipline as he sees fit.

For now, Elliott remains in uniform for the Cowboys.

Arik Armstead says he’d play with his broken hand if possible

Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead was placed on injured reserve this week after sustaining a broken hand Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

The injury requires surgery and Armstead will miss at least eight weeks while on injured reserve.

Armstead isn’t taking kindly to the notion that he could have just played through the injury while putting his injured hand in a cast. Armstead said on his Twitter account that he would have played if he could and cited a past experience playing with a clubbed hand while at the University of Oregon.

Armstead has started all six games for the 49ers this season, recording 16 tackles with 1.5 sacks. He would be eligible to return for San Francisco’s game against the Tennessee Titans on Dec. 17 should the 49ers elect to use one of their two “designated to return” on him.

Michael Bennett expects to play against Giants despite plantar fascia injury

Getty Images

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett sustained a plantar fascia injury in the second quarter of Seattle’s 16-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. With a week to rest the injury through Seattle’s bye week, Bennett fully anticipates he’ll play this Sunday against the New York Giants.

“The foot hurts, I mean, obviously,” Bennett said on Wednesday. “As many years as I’ve played in the NFL, you deal with pain as you go through, and I think for me it’s just being able to focus on the game and not too much worry about it because once you make that decision to play, then you have to play through it. For me, that’s just dealing with the pain during the game.

“It hurts every time you walk and it’s something you have to deal with. Just fighting through it is just like any other day.”

Bennett’s presence is that much more important to Seattle’s defense with Cliff Avril expected to be placed on injured reserve due to a neck injury. Avril will miss at least eight weeks, if not more, once the Seahawks officially place him on injured reserve.

Bennett has played through foot injuries before. He’s had a bothersome toe that has been an issue throughout the last several seasons. He also missed five games last year due to a knee injury that required surgery.

Bennett has four sacks in five games for the Seahawks so far this season. He did not practice on Wednesday.

Khan: President Trump is “jealous” of NFL

Getty Images

So much for not responding to the sniping from the White House.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who recently dubbed President Trump “the great divider,” provided more specific and detailed criticism of the Commander-in-Chief on Wednesday, via Jarrett Bell of USA Today.

“Let’s get real,” Khan told Bell. “The attacks on Muslims, the attacks on minorities, the attacks on Jews. I think the NFL doesn’t even come close to that on the level of being offensive. Here, it’s about money, or messing with — trying to soil a league or a brand that he’s jealous of.”

The jealousy comes from the fact that President Trump never was able to buy an NFL team.

“He’s been elected President, where maybe a great goal he had in life to own an NFL team is not very likely,” Khan said. “So to make it tougher, or to hurt the league, it’s very calculated.”

As to the latest controversy involving President Trump, on the question of whether he said to the widow of a fallen soldier that “he knew what he was signing up for,” Khan offered even more pointed language.

“It’s so bad,” Khan said. “It’s below the lowest of the lowest expectations. It doesn’t sound rational. It’s bizarre.”

And so Khan is showing no qualms about calling out the President, with the apparent goal of demonstrating that the President’s policies dramatically overshadow the claim that, currently, a handful of NFL players are disrespecting the flag by choosing to kneel or sit during the anthem. Khan specifically pointed to the President’s effort to restrict travel to the United States from multiple Muslim-majority countries.

“That’s one aspect that you can imagine — someone is getting a visa that will change their life is from a Muslim-majority country — and, now, boom, that dream to change lives, they get locked out,” Khan said. “That’s a hell of a lot more significant than fighting some sponsors or people who want their money back because they’ve been riled up.”

It’s unclear at this point whether Khan will be the only owner to direct such strong language at the President, or whether others will join in. Regardless, at least one owner is willing to stand up to man who insists that all NFL players be required to stand up for the anthem.

Based on Tuesday’s meetings and the absence of any change to the policy regarding player conduct during the anthem, it could be that the league has decided to weather whatever storms the President can conjure during whatever time he has left in office.

Michael Bennett: First step to resolving anthem issue is getting Kaepernick on a team

Getty Images

As the NFL tries to persuade all players to choose to stand for the national anthem, one of the players on the front lines of the movement has identified one key step that needs to happen before the situation can be resolved: Colin Kaepernick needs to be on a team.

“I got to talk to the players in the owners meeting,” Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett told reporters on Wednesday. “I think the first step to even being able to even have a conversation is to make sure that Colin Kaepernick gets an opportunity to play in the NFL. I think before we even negotiate anything about whether we sit or whether we stand, should be a negotiation about opening up the doors for Colin Kaepernick and give him an opportunity again, because I feel like through everything that’s been lost, I think all of us are having opportunities to be able to speak to our employers, but to think about the guy who started everything not to be able to have a voice at this moment, it just doesn’t seem very right to me.”

Former NFL offensive lineman Willie Colon reiterated on Wednesday’s PFT Live that, when Kaepernick’s came up at the meeting between owners and players, a bathroom break quickly ensued.

“I think it was brought up,” Bennett said regarding Kaepernick’s status, “but I think they didn’t really get deep into it, but I think it’s something like I said that there needs to be a deep conversation, and we need to find a solution about that. Whether they say, ‘This is what’s happening, he’s not going to play again,’ or whether they open their doors up, but I think there needs to be some kind of resolution to what’s going on.”

Bennett later reiterated that the anthem issue can’t be solved until Kaepernick has a job.

“I don’t think we can work alongside of them until we address that issue,” Bennett said, adding that he believes all players agree on that. “I think the issue of Kaepernick is the start to a conversation if they want us to be open to what they want, the dialogue, then that’s something that needs to be on the table right there.”

Complicating the situation is the collusion grievance Kaepernick recently filed against the NFL. Some owners will feel inclined to double down in their resistance to Kaepernick, so as not to strengthen his case by suddenly showing interest after snubbing him for so long.

Then there’s the possibility that Kaepernick could be given a job subject to dropping his grievance. But the mere offer of such terms would be evidence of collusion, since the league office should not be working directly with any team to ensure the employment of any player.

Put simply, there’s no easy way to get Kaepernick employed without essentially admitting to collusion or committing fresh collusion. Absent a season-ending injury to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (which likely would prompt the Seahawks to quickly sign Kaepernick), it would be a surprise if anything changes, at least until the offseason — or until Kaepernick wins his collusion case.

Hue Jackson says Kevin Hogan’s badly bruised ribs are reason he won’t suit up

Getty Images

Kevin Hogan won’t play Sunday. He won’t even suit up. Badly bruised ribs have relegated the quarterback to third string this week.

“My thinking with Cody was because obviously, Kevin has some ribs,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “They’re pretty bruised in my opinion. It’s not because of performance. I’ll be the first to tell you that. I’m not going to put a guy out there or let him go through the week.”

Hogan made his first career start against Houston. It did not go well.

He threw one touchdown and three interceptions and took four sacks and six total hits.

But Jackson indicated that Hogan would have backed up DeShone Kizer this week, rather than Cody Kessler, if not for his sore ribs.

“It was tough,” Jackson said. “He was running a ball today, if you guys saw him, and I knew what was going to happen. Sure enough, he was trying to be tough and prove that he’s ready to play. He gets hit right on the spot and drops the ball and everything. That tells me that coach is right. I’m sure (now) he’s saying, ‘Coach is right; player is wrong’ because you have to be protecting of these guys in that situation.

“They want to be out there. I think I have a pretty good idea of what a guy can do and what a guy can’t do, and I don’t think he is ready to be out there right now.”

Dolphins dropping too many passes to suit Adam Gase

Getty Images

The Dolphins rank only 16th in the NFL with seven drops, according to STATS, but it feels like more to Dolphins coach Adam Gase. A lot more.

“It’s just they haven’t caught them,” Gase said Wednesday, via Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post. “They haven’t caught the passes. It’s an area that we’re really stressing, and we need to obviously improve because we’re dead last in the league with catching catchable passes. And we have to improve on that very quickly.”

Jarvis Landry, Jay Ajayi, Julius Thomas, Leonte Carroo, Jakeem Grant, Kenny Stills and MarQuies Gray all feel as if they’ve dropped catchable passes.

Thus, the Dolphins have gone back to work on the basics, catching extra passes in practice this week.

“That’s the only way I know how to do that,” Gase said. “Just catch as many balls as possible. Keep your focus. Understand that once the last play is over, you’ve got to move onto the next one. You can’t let it carry over. I think last week was a good example of first half we had a couple of balls we didn’t come up with, and we figured out a way in the second half.”

Brett Hundley confident he can keep Packers rolling

Getty Images

Everyone outside the building has given up on the Packers, but Brett Hundley and his teammates haven’t. Their goals have stayed the same despite losing Aaron Rodgers.

“I’ve been doing this my whole life,” Hundley said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN. “Aaron’s a Hall of Famer, and I want to be a Hall of Famer one day. I will lead this team. We’re all going to have fun. We’re all going to go out there and play football. It’s still football at the end of the day, and our goals are still in front of us.”

Hundley spent his day off Tuesday working out and game-planning with coach Mike McCarthy. The former UCLA standout has the same skill set as Rodgers but far less experience and thus isn’t going to be asked to make adjustments at the line.

“He clearly won’t carry the responsibility into the game that Aaron Rodgers carries into it; I think that’s obvious,” McCarthy said. “I’d be an idiot if I asked him to do that. But also, I think that’s really for [all] the other young guys who are playing. We don’t ask all our younger players to do all the things that our veteran players do because they don’t have the experience.”

Hundley threw three interceptions and one touchdown Sunday after Rodgers broke his collarbone. But the Packers will tailor the offense to Hundley this week, giving him a better chance to succeed.

“We’re going to keep what we do best, and that’s playing this offense,” Hundley said. “Obviously being the starting quarterback now, just like Aaron when he was, he had a lot of choices — what he wanted to do, how he wanted to do it — and same with me. The coaches are doing a really good job with the game plan.”

Reuben Foster calls fleeing attempted robbers “a scary moment”

Getty Images

49ers linebackers Reuben Foster and Ray-Ray Armstrong likely never have run faster than they did early Monday morning while fleeing armed robbers.

“It was a scary moment for my family and for the organization,” Foster said, via Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. “I’m truly sorry to the organization and the fans that I concerned them. But you can live, and you learn.”

The players escaped without being injured or losing any possessions.

Coach Kyle Shanahan defended the players being out at 2 a.m. as it came following a Sunday game.

“I’m not going to get mad at a guy for putting in the work all week, those guys grinding, and then deciding to go out and do what most people do at their age at that time,” Shanahan said. “. . . You want guys to stay out of trouble and not put themselves in that situation.

“I’d feel a lot differently if that was a Thursday night, if it was a different night in the week.”

Eric Reid to continue kneeling for national anthem

Getty Images

49ers safety Eric Reid called Tuesday’s meeting with NFL owners productive, but it hasn’t changed his stance on the national anthem.

“It doesn’t change our plans [to kneel] just yet,” Reid said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s a great starting point. Nothing is set in stone yet. So nothing is going to change on my part moving forward. Until we get a more concrete plan to where I feel like I don’t need to protest anymore because the NFL is providing a better platform.”

The initial meeting was short on specifics, but the sides will hold a second meeting within the next two weeks.

“The NFL has agreed to commit to a long-term plan and use their platform to continue to raise awareness around the issues that affect our country,” Reid said, “and to help us feel like we don’t need to protest, so we feel like we’re [going in] the right direction.”

Reid met with Colin Kaepernick in New York on Monday night. Although Kaepernick, who has filed a grievance against NFL owners, wasn’t invited to the meeting, Reid said the former quarterback’s ideas were discussed.

“Colin is instrumental because he started the protest,” Reid said. “I think he has a special place in this. And so, hopefully, he does have a chance to go to the meetings in the future.”

President Donald Trump continued to tweet about the NFL and the national anthem issue Wednesday. His latest tweet reads: “Too much talk, not enough action. Stand for the National Anthem.”

“It’s starting to get to the point where I think the President might just be deflecting from his own issues,” Reid said. “Taking eyeballs off his own presidency. . . . I think that’s the most interesting thing that’s happened so far. I did not expect the President to talk this much about what we were doing.”

Jay Cutler shrugs (shocker) at prospect of negative fan reaction at home

Getty Images

The last time the Dolphins played at home, quarterback Jay Cutler heard it from the fans. He recognizes that he may hear it again on Sunday against the Jets. To little surprise, he doesn’t care.

“We won the game [at home against the Titans],” Cutler told reporters on Wednesday. “We won this past week. We’ll be fine. If they want to chant, they can chant. We’ve got to give them a better product on offense to root for.”

But before you assume this is more proof that Cutler never care, he cared on Sunday in Atlanta. He was asked about showing emotion during the unlikely win over the Falcons.

“It has been on tape before,” Cutler said regarding the showing of emotion. “It’s not the first time. I try to stay as calm as possible for these guys, but there are going to become points throughout the season where you go the opposite way.”

Coach Adam Gase wasn’t surprised by the attitude, and he welcomes more of it moving forward.

“I’ve seen it since I was with him in 2015 [with the Bears],” Gase said. “He just — he’s trying to stay focused in the game, whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent. I kind of saw during the week where I could tell it was going to be that kind of game, because he was really dialed in during the week.

“It’s good for guys to see him get emotional, especially at the end of that game, when we convert a big first down — or a big third down to get a first down. Jarvis [Landry] had a great run on that. Just being ready because they pressured us, and Jay got it out quick and Jarvis was ready for it. Just to see him get fired up like that, that’s nothing but good stuff for us.”

So get ready, Dolphins fans. You may be seeing a very different Jay Cutler on Sunday. And you may like what you see.

Lions release Datone Jones, sign Bryce Harris among roster moves

Getty Images

The Lions were busy this week making roster moves.

Their signing of defensive end Jacquies Smith and claim of quarterback Brad Kaaya off waivers already were reported.

Detroit also signed offensive tackle Bryce Harris, released defensive end Datone Jones and defensive end George Johnson and waived defensive tackle Caraun Reid.

Harris appeared in two games with the Saints. He played in 34 games for them from 2012-14 and spent time with the Falcons in 2015.

He has appeared in 37 career games with four starts.

Reid and Jones were signed last week, but Detroit can get Khyri Thornton back from a suspension after its bye week.

Hue Jackson thinks a week off will help DeShone Kizer

Getty Images

Some (me, at least) think that the Browns benched quarterback DeShone Kizer for a week because the Browns didn’t want to showcase the DeShone they drafted against the Deshaun they didn’t. On Wednesday, coach Hue Jackson provided another explanation for the move.

Jackson thinks the week off will make Kizer a better quarterback.

“I think sometimes that is what it takes,” Jackson told reporters on Wednesday. “Sometimes people think it takes three weeks, four weeks. I am not in that school of thought. I think if a guy can learn the lessons and if he can regurgitate it back to me in conversation and in work and me seeing those things change, then hopefully the lesson is learned. Everybody is different. Some people it takes longer, and some people it doesn’t. DeShone, as I have said to you guys before, I didn’t know how long it was going to take. I just know he was going to play again. I told all of you that. He is playing this week, and I am looking forward to watching him play. Hopefully, the lessons are learned and we will grow from there.”

Now that Kizer is back, Jackson didn’t commit to him being the starter for the rest of the year.

“I am not going to say the rest of the season, but I know he is the guy right now,” Jackson said. “I hope he is. I hope there are no more times that we have to take him out and let him reset himself. I am going to say it again, we are talking about a young quarterback who is 21 years old, who is in the National Football League and he is wearing a lot of different hats. I thought it was the right thing to do. As a matter of fact, I know it was the right thing to do a week ago. I think we will be better for it. I think he will be better for it. Hopefully, we will see the growth from him taking a week off last week.”

Some would say that benching and un-benching a rookie quarterback isn’t the best way to get the best out of him, especially since he’ll now have to worry about another possible benching, instead of worrying about becoming the best quarterback he can be.

But that’s the problem with learning on the fly as the quarterback of a team that can’t buy a win, and that is staring at a possible regime change if 0-6 becomes another 2-14, 1-15, or (possibly) an 0-16.