Skip to content

T.J. Ward: Maybe Cam needed to stay healthy for next year

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  T.J. Ward #43 of the Denver Broncos recovers a fumble by Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been roundly criticized for failing to fall on his fumble with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, a fumble that all but sealed the game for the Broncos.

The player who did recover that fumble, Broncos safety T.J. Ward, believes Newton was motivated by a desire to protect himself and stay healthy in the offseason.

“If he would have touched that ball, I was gonna hit him right in his face, and I wasn’t the only one,” Ward told Mike Silver of NFL.com. “We were hungry for that one. We saw that ball and it was like hyenas on an antelope. And I don’t know — maybe he needed to stay healthy for next year.”

It’s hard to understand what Newton was doing. It certainly looked like he didn’t want to dive into the scrum, but Newton has always been a physical runner, and he’s never been afraid to play through injuries. Why would he suddenly lose his toughness in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl? That’s a good question for Newton, who at the moment isn’t answering questions.

Permalink 98 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Panthers center on fumble: “Cam’s not the quitting type”

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos and Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers attempt to recover a loose ball during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. T.J. Ward #43 of the Denver Broncos (not pictured) recovered the fumble by Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers on the 9-yard line.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

Many have wondered if Panthers quarterback Cam Newton made a business decision, when he didn’t dive for a fumble late in their Super Bowl loss to the Broncos.

But Panthers center Ryan Kalil said it was ridiculous to think Newton quit on the play.

Cam’s not the quitting type. So this idea or this notion that he quit on us is garbage. I think it’s absolute garbage. That’s not who he is,” Kalil said. “We just didn’t play good enough. And as an offensive line group, didn’t give him enough confidence to do what he does best, . . .

“And really we just didn’t get in a rhythm. That’s what killed us. Any time we had any kind of momentum, we killed ourselves in penalties and not taking care of the football.”

That’s likely true in a general sense, though Kalil admitted he hadn’t seen the replay of the play in question.

It’s possible that the ball was between Newton’s feet and he see it well and didn’t think he could get to it (like a pop foul that goes straight over a catcher’s head and makes him look temporarily like he’s lost in a foreign land). But he had taken a step toward it before it bounced to that spot, which made it look like he pulled up to avoid diving into a pile.

During his brief post-game appearance, Newton’s only reply when asked about the play was “I don’t know.”

And that might be the only honest answer, since the play came when the Broncos were up 16-10 late in the fourth quarter, so it’s not as if it didn’t matter.

Permalink 48 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Wade Phillips: Too much dab will undo you

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 22:  Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips of the Denver Broncos waits on the field before their game against the Houston Texans  at  NRG Stadium on August 22, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

Unlike many football coaches (and 68-year-olds), Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has shown an affinity for social media.

Phillips has been a pretty active Twitter user in the last few years and his account has been an entertaining one to follow, particularly after the team wins a big game. Phillips had some fun after the Broncos beat the Packers in the regular season and he got in a shot at the Panthers a day after his defense overwhelmed Carolina in the Super Bowl.

“A little Dab with [sic] do you but too much Dab will undo you!” Phillips wrote.

During Super Bowl week, the Broncos got asked a lot about the Panthers’ penchant for celebrating big plays and pretty much went with the approach that it was the defense’s job to make sure that the offense had nothing to celebrate. Unlike the other teams to face the Panthers this season, they were actually able to do it and Phillips makes it pretty clear that they took a lot of satisfaction in doing it.

Phillips followed up the tweet a bit later with one that said his father always told him “you can have fun and win.” It’s a lot easier to have fun after you win, though, and Phillips was doing just that on Monday.

Permalink 65 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Von Miller says contract talks will be “a peaceful thing”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 08:  Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos addresses the media during the trophy presentation at the Moscone Center West on February 8, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller waged war on the Panthers, and won.

But the Super Bowl 50 MVP promised in the aftermath that his future contract talks with the team would be “peaceful.”

Miller’s set to be an unrestricted free agent in March, but he’s not expecting a rough negotiation with Broncos executive vice president John Elway.

“As far as my situation coming up, we have — Mr. Elway, he’s played in the National Football League, he’s one of the best GMs that there is, we’re here today because of him,” Miller said, via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. “And I have people representing my situation as well. It’s going to be a peaceful thing. I’m not really worried about it.”

Of course, there’s a good reason not to worry.

He’s either going to get rich immediately, or the Broncos will use the franchise tag to buy themselves time to do a long-term deal, as they have with other stars in recent years. That’s what happened with both left tackle Ryan Clady and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, so it’s clearly a plan Elway’s familiar with.

They have other free agents pending, and some have suggested the possibility of tagging quarterback Brock Osweiler. But Miller’s clearly the priority, and Elway has said he has a “plan” for Miller, and that he knows “what the numbers would be.”

Six years and $101 million is a good starting point, considering the deal Justin Houston got with the Chiefs last summer. And that will buy a man a lot of peace.

Permalink 14 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Arrest warrants “imminent” in LeSean McCoy incident

Zz00ODEyMjcwYmEzN2Q2OWEzZTgwOTQxMTg1MTFhYTkxZg== AP

Bills running back LeSean McCoy hasn’t been arrested yet in the wake of a reported altercation that sent a pair of off-duty police officers to the hospital. That could change, soon.

Mark Schwarz of ESPN reported near the top of the 5:00 a.m. ET SportsCenter (so much for me getting up at 5:55 a.m. ET for a 6:00 a.m. ET radio show) that arrest warrants are “imminent” in the case. Citing an unnamed official in the Philadelphia police department, Schwarz says McCoy was “definitely involved,” and that arrest warrants could surface in the next 24-48 hours.

The delay results from the high-profile nature of the case, and the involvement of police officers. Both have broken ribs, and one has an orbital fracture. Although they weren’t on duty and didn’t identify themselves as police officers, the system tends to operate a little more zealously when police officers are the victims of criminal conduct.

So McCoy and the Bills could soon be facing a major distraction in a season that reportedly includes a playoffs-or-bust mandate for coach Rex Ryan and G.M. Doug Whaley.

Permalink 61 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Possibility of paid leave looms for LeSean McCoy, Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel AP

A prolonged stretch of good behavior by nearly every NFL player and employee has caused the new realities of the post-Ray Rice NFL to fade a bit from memory. Those new realities could be returning to focus soon.

The revised Personal Conduct Policy, promulgated by the league without the consent of the NFL Players Association in December 2014 (the NFL believed the union’s consent wasn’t needed), allows for the unilateral placement of players on paid leave pending the outcome of league investigations and/or criminal prosecutions regarding allegations of violence.

Crafted in direct response to the problem of domestic violence, the revised conduct policy gives the league wide latitude and discretion to determine who does or doesn’t get placed on paid leave. Based on information emerging on Monday, paid leave becomes at least a possibility for Bills running back LeSean McCoy and Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel.

As to McCoy, he and former NFL running back Curtis Brinkley allegedly sent a couple of off-duty cops to the hospital as the result of a fight over a bottle of champagne. As to Manziel, he allegedly hit his ex-girlfriend so hard in the ear that she couldn’t hear in one ear for several days.

Whatever happens with both guys, the Browns could be sweating this one out for exactly one month, until they acquire the cap space to cut him. If the league puts him on paid leave before March 9, they possibly won’t be able to cut him until the investigation and any eventual prosecution ends, potentially requiring the Browns to pay his $1.169 million salary for 2016.

Presumably, the Browns could act sooner by creating roughly $2 million in cap space immediately, through the cutting of veteran players and/or renegotiation of existing contract during the final weeks of the 2015 league year. The Browns otherwise can’t dump Manziel’s contract because all remaining cap space for 2015 already has been carried to 2016.

Permalink 11 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Aqib Talib deliberately grabbed Corey Brown’s facemask

Zz03NzBjOWE2ODlkYjk4N2Y5NmJkNDk3YjYxNTc3MTBjOA== AP

Several years ago, the NFL got rid of the distinction between major and minor facemask fouls, with all penalties for grabbing and pulling the bars on the front of the helmet becoming 15-yard personal fouls.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s accidental or intentional; the penalty is the same. When it comes to determining discipline, however, evidence that the foul was flagrant and intentional should influence the league office.

Regarding Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib’s decision to grab and pull and twist the facemask of Panthers receiver Corey Brown in the first half of Super Bowl 50, it’s clear that the conduct was flagrant and intentional — because Talib has admitted it.

“It was B.S. flags,” Talib said regarding a pair of personal fouls called on him in the first half, via NESN.com.  “One was on our sidelines [for taunting] — the guy [Brown] was talking on our sideline. One I just did on purpose, and I just had to show him. It’s probably going to be a fine. But, hey, we’re world champs.”

Talib added that he was aware, given Carolina’s field position at the time, that the penalty wouldn’t result in a major loss of field position.

“My teammates knew what it was,” Talib said. “He was on the three-yard line. [With] a personal foul, he was on the one-and-a-half-yard line, so it is what it is.”

What it usually is will be a fine of $8,681 for a first offense. But Talib’s candor, coupled with a one-game suspension during the season for poking Colts tight end Dwayne Allen in the eye, could result in an enhanced penalty, and possibly a suspension.

At a time when the NFL is more sensitive than ever to player safety, Talib has admitted to a deliberate and calculated violation of a rule directly aimed at avoiding potentially serious neck injuries. Under the circumstances, and in light of Talib’s history, he may end up with something stiffer than the NFL’s equivalent of a parking ticket.

Permalink 133 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

111.9 million Super Bowl viewers

Zz03MWExMGJiNjg3MjQyYTFhNjA2MGYxMDZhYTA0MTgzNw== AP

Last year, a record 114.4 million viewers on average enjoyed Super Bowl XLIX, between the Patriots and Seahawks. This year, the numbers were down because the game was less compelling, but the audience was still gigantic.

According to CBS, an average of 111.9 million watched the game, with a peak of 115.5 million between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. ET.

As big as the Super Bowl audience has become, the question that comes up every year for me is this: What is everyone else in the country doing at that time?

FOX has the game next year in Houston, and after that NBC in Minnesota. The size of the audiences will be driven largely by the size of the markets represented in the game and the perceived (and actual) competitiveness of the game.

While Sunday night’s game wasn’t a shootout, tension permeated most of the game, with a nagging sense that the Panthers eventually were going to find the gas pedal and win the game easily.

Permalink 80 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Tom Coughlin: Not coaching “a very difficult thing”

Tom Coughlin AP

For the first time since 2004, Tom Coughlin isn’t going to be preparing a team for September.

Coughlin was replaced as the Giants’ head coach by Ben McAdoo after a second straight 6-10 season and brief dalliances with the 49ers and Eagles didn’t lead anywhere. During a Monday appearance on FOX News, Coughlin talked about how he’s dealing with the change in circumstances.

“It’s a very difficult thing, I don’t care who you are, or how long you’ve been doing it. I’ve been doing it a long time, so you get yourself into the rhythm,” Coughlin said, via NJ.com. “Your whole life, the calendar of your life is based on football, about the seasons, whether it’s in-season or out of season. You have a schedule that you follow. So there’s some adjusting for me to make.”

One adjustment Coughlin isn’t making is considering the change in schedule a permanent one. He said he doesn’t like the retired and that he’s “way to young” for that label.

When they parted ways, the Giants talked about wanting Coughlin remain with the team he coached to two Super Bowl titles in a different position. Co-owner John Mara repeated that desire during Super Bowl week in San Francisco, but it doesn’t appear that anything immediate is in the works.

Permalink 32 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Disturbing details in Manziel-Crowley affidavit

Johnny Manziel AP

The affidavit filed by Johnny Manziel’s ex-girlfriend as part of the protective order she’s received from him contains some disturbing details.

NBC 5 in Dallas posted the affidavit Monday. In it, Coleen Crowley said she told a parking valet she feared for her life and later had to threaten Manziel with a knife to get him to leave her apartment.

A police helicopter began searching for Manziel early on the morning of Jan. 30 after Crowley banged on a neighbor’s door and screamed to another for help. Crowley said Manziel had been physical with her, grabbing by the hair to throw her in the car and hitting her in the ear with an open hand. Crowley said that’s when she struck Manziel back and also said she still could not hear out of her ear days later.

Crowley said she was also restrained by Manziel against a hotel door and that Manziel threatened to kill them both.

Dallas Police opened a criminal investigation into the matter last week, and an NFL investigation is ongoing. The Browns have not been able to reach Manziel and plan to release him next month.

Permalink 108 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Falcons drop Justin Durant, William Moore

Zz1jMjkxZjg5N2NkYmZkOWE4NmFkMzBmMDZhN2JkYjI0Yw== AP

On Monday, teams can begin cutting players. The Falcons have dumped a pair of them.

Gone are linebacker Justin Durant (pictured) and safety William Moore. The team announced the moves on Monday.

“We want to thank both of these guys for their commitment and work ethic,” coach Dan Quinn said. “They battled through injuries to give everything they had for their teammates this season and I will always be appreciative of that.”

As to Durant, the Falcons avoid his base salary of $1.75 million for 2016. The team will take a cap charge of $833,000. Regarding Moore,the Falcons avoid his base salary of $4.5 million, but they take a cap charge of $3.3 million, the remainder of the $8.25 million signing bonus he received in 2013.

Durant was a second-round pick of the Jaguars in 2007; he signed last year with the Falcons. Atlanta drafted Moore in the second round of the 2009 draft.

Permalink 18 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Von values a Super Bowl ring over the MVP award

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Super Bowl MVP   Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  The Broncos defeated the Panthers 24-10.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Upon receiving the Super Bowl MVP trophy this morning, Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller said it’s only the second-best award he’s receiving.

Miller emphasized his love for the entire Broncos team and said that the Super Bowl ring he’ll get for yesterday’s game is what means the most, because it’s what all of his teammates will share.

“The MVP is special, but the Super Bowl ring is something I’ll carry with me for life,” Miller said.

Asked about the defense carrying Peyton Manning and the offense, Miller insisted that the offense contributed, too.

“We carried each other,” Miller said. “If it wasn’t for Peyton making the decisions he made to throw the ball short so we could punt the ball.”

It says a lot about how far Manning has fallen that he’s now being credited just for putting his team in a position to punt, but Miller said he loves the offense, the defense, the coaches and everyone in Denver. Miller also singled out John Elway and said he’s confident that they’ll come to an agreement on a new contract this offseason. Miller said any reports that there will be difficult negotiations are false.

“It’s going to be a peaceful thing. I’m not really worried about it. That’s another thing that the media tries to play up,” Miller said.

The Broncos would love to have Miller in Denver for many more years, and it sounds like the feeling is mutual.

Permalink 64 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Broncos’ Brandon Marshall: Peyton’s the reason I’m here

during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images

After the Super Bowl, Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall said it was Peyton Manning who got him into the game.

According to Marshall, when he was on the practice squad it was Manning who convinced the Broncos to call him up to the active roster. Marshall said that when Manning addressed the team, it was an emotional time because of the respect the team has for its quarterback.

“I got emotional,” Marshall said. “A lot of people don’t know but Peyton is the reason I’m here. When I got picked up on the practice squad, I was playing my tail off at practice. He was one of the ones that noticed me. He would ask the coaches, ‘Who is this guy? Who is this guy Brandon Marshall? We have to get him up.’ So he noticed me, and a lot of the offensive guys started talking about me, and that allowed me to get my chance. So I love Peyton. I have a different appreciation for him. I feel like he had a hand in me getting off the practice squad and onto that roster. I told Peyton before the game, I said, ‘Man, I want to win this for you.’ I’ve been feeling that way all year.”

Marshall said Manning’s speech to the team was inspiring.

“You know Peyton. He cracked a few jokes in there. He thanked everybody. He thanked the support staff, the coaches, the players. It was speech where he got emotional and he was recapping the year. He even mentioned my name because I told him I wanted to win for him. Peyton is a hell of a guy, and I’m so happy we won for him,” Marshall said.

Manning didn’t do a lot on the field to help the Broncos win, but there’s little doubt that his teammates credit him as being an important part of their championship team.

Permalink 62 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: LeSean McCoy accused of assaulting off-duty officers

LeSean McCoy, Marcus Peters AP

Bills running back LeSean McCoy is accused of assaulting two off-duty police officers early Sunday morning, ABC-6 in Philadelphia reported Monday.

The report says both officers were hospitalized after the incident that occurred around 2:30 a.m. Sunday at the Recess Lounge in Philadelphia’s Old City district.

The report said neither McCoy nor a friend who was also involved were arrested. An investigation is ongoing.

McCoy played for the Eagles from 2009-14 before being traded last year.

Permalink 98 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Cam’s failure to fall on fumble defines his Super Bowl

during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images

Cam Newton had a special season in 2015, winning the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award and emerging as a run-pass threat the likes of which we’ve never seen in the history of football. And yet quarterbacks are remembered for what they do in the Super Bowl, and Newton’s Super Bowl is going to be remembered for one terrible play above all.

When Newton fumbled in the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, he oddly appeared to pull back, rather than fall on the football into the middle of a scrum.

Why didn’t he fight harder for the ball? He didn’t answer that question after the game, hastily rushing out of his post-game press conference without saying much of anything.

Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware joined PFT Live this morning and suggested that Newton might simply not have known where the ball was.

“I tried to dive on it, I seen his feet in front of me but I don’t know why he didn’t dive on it. Maybe he didn’t see it,” Ware said.

The reaction from fans toward Newton’s play has been brutal, with many saying he just isn’t tough enough. But that seems hard to believe: Newton is the most physical runner of any quarterback in the NFL, and he has played through injuries many times. He’s been a tough player throughout his career. Why would he lose that toughness in the Super Bowl?

Newton is a great player who had a rough game against a great defense, and neither his season nor his Super Bowl should be defined by that one play. But in a quarterback’s career, we remember a few big moments above all others. And that was a very bad moment for Newton.

Permalink 379 Comments Feed for comments Back to top