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Stephon Gilmore interception seals Bills comeback win

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11: Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Buffalo Bills looks to pass in the first half of the game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on October 11, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

In the end, Marcus Mariota didn’t have his way with the Bills defense.

The Titans rookie quarterback did a lot of good things on Sunday afternoon and helped the Titans to a 13-7 lead in the fourth quarter, but the ending wasn’t a happy one in Nashville. Mariota and the offense got the ball back with just under two minutes to play after their defense forced a Buffalo punt, but Mariota’s first pass was intercepted by Stephon Gilmore to seal the 14-13 win for the Bills.

Mariota’s pass to Kendall Wright sailed high thanks to pressure from Marcell Dareus, Gilmore jumped to catch it and Wright was injured in the collision to make the ending even worse for the Titans on a day that started out so well. They held onto the ball for more than 20 minutes of the first half and pummeled the Bills offense, but keeping things ultra-conservative by punting three times on the Buffalo side of the field while having offensive success meant that they wound up with just three points to show for their trouble.

A Denarius Moore fumble on a punt set the Titans up for a third quarter touchdown that extended their lead, but things tilted the other way at that point. Tyrod Taylor was the biggest reason why the game changed.

Taylor, who was dismal even when he wasn’t being pressured in the early part of the game, led back-to-back 80-yard touchdown drives to push Buffalo into the lead. Taylor ran for 77 yards on those two drives, including a 22-yard touchdown to open the scoring, and connected with Chris Hogan for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter to put a better face on a rocky passing day.

Things were dire on offense for much of last week as well for the Bills, something that’s probably to be expected when they play without Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy. For the day, they only managed 209 yards and that total should lead to some regret from the Titans about letting a very winnable game slip through their fingers.

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Jamaal Charles exits with apparent knee injury

Jamaal Charles AP

The Chiefs were having a good day in their first game at Arrowhead Stadium since a Thursday nightmare against the Broncos. And then the nightmare potentially returned.

Running back Jammal Charles has exited the contest against the Bears with an apparent right knee injury, which happened as he made a cut after getting a handoff near the Chicago end zone.

After the cut, the lower leg moved awkwardly before Charles was tackled.

In September 2011, Charles tore the ACL in his left knee. The extent of the damage to his right knee isn’t yet known.

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Eagles cap best offensive half of year by taking lead

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 11: Quarterback Sam Bradford #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles passes as Cameron Jordan #94 of the New Orleans Saints defends in the first quarter during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 11, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) Getty Images

Sam Bradford threw two interceptions in the end zone and the Eagles failed to convert two fourth downs in New Orleans territory during the first half of Sunday’s game against the Saints, which may not sound like the formula for the best offensive half of the year for an NFL team.

That opinion could only be registered by someone who hasn’t seen much of the Eagles so far this season. The Eagles gained 300 yards, held onto the ball for more than 17 minutes and grabbed a 10-7 lead just before halftime when Caleb Sturgis hit on a 39-yard field goal.

DeMarco Murray had 44 yards on nine carries and Ryan Mathews picked up 52 yards from scrimmage during a half that saw a balanced and effective Saints attack move the ball pretty much at will.

That lead would be much bigger if not for Bradford’s two end zone miscues, obviously, and the Eagles have their defense to thank for keeping those blunders from causing bigger problems. While the Saints drove 80 yards for a touchdown after Bradford’s first interception, the defense has held New Orleans to just 50 other yards and Fletcher Cox forced a fumble on a sack of Drew Brees to set up the Sturgis field goal.

Cox had two sacks in the half and Bennie Logan added another one to add to a dismal half for Brees. They’ll need to keep up the pressure and the Eagles offense will need to finish a few more drives to ensure that Philly celebrates a win for the second time this season.

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Michael Bennett will be hearing from the league office

at MetLife Stadium on December 15, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images

We know that Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett doesn’t like Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Bennett also apparently doesn’t care for Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. (After all, Dalton is from Texas. And Dallas is in Texas. And Bennett doesn’t like anyone from Dallas.)

After Dalton threw a first-half interception against Seattle, Bennett pounced. First, he put a helmet in Dalton’s back. Then, Bennett threw Dalton to the ground. Bennett finished by diving on Dalton, with a forearm to his head.

Bennett was penalized, wiping out a long interception return. He arguably should have been ejected. He undoubtedly will be fined.

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Titans dominate time of possession, only lead 3-0 at half

Marcus Mariota AP

Bills coach Rex Ryan said this week that he didn’t think Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota would “have his way” with the Buffalo defense.

Mariota did a decent job of proving Ryan wrong during the first half of Sunday’s game. Mariota completed 13-of-18 passes for 120 yards and scrambled for 19 more yards as the Titans held onto the ball for nearly 21 of the opening 30 minutes. The part where Mariota couldn’t make this a 100 percent incorrect Ryan prediction came on the scoreboard.

The Titans managed just one field goal in the first two quarters as they chose a conservative approach against Ryan’s defense. Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt opted to punt three times from inside Buffalo territory, which is something you’d expect with a rookie quarterback except for how effective the Titans have been moving the ball against an overworked Buffalo defense.

The Bills offense looked terrible for the second straight week. The absences of LeSean McCoy, Karlos Williams and Sammy Watkins have sapped the unit of playmakers and they managed just 51 yards on 22 plays against a Titans defense that sacked Tyrod Taylor twice.

Their performance in the first half makes it hard to believe that there are great things to come for the Bills offense in the second half, but they may not need more than one big play to steal this game if the Titans continue to play it safe over the final 30 minutes as well.

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Aaron Rodgers’ no-pick streak at Lambeau has ended

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Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis recently became the franchise’s all-time leader in career tackles. He pulled off something nearly as impressive on Sunday.

Laurinaitis intercepted an Aaron Rodgers pass at Lambeau Field.

It was the first time since a December 2, 2012 game against the Vikings that Rodgers threw an interception at home. And the streak made its way to 587 throws.

Safety Mark Barron gets a huge assist for the pick. Barron blitzed, leaped, and tipped the throw. Laurinaitis then laid out to make the interception.

The turnover did not harm to the Packers. For the first time this year, the Rams generated no points off a turnover, thanks to an interception thrown by quarterback Nick Foles to Packers defensive back Michah Hyde.

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Week Five early inactives

Alshon Jeffery AP

Every week we’ll bring you all the inactives from the early games in one post, constantly updated with the latest information. So check back often to see the full list as it becomes available.

Redskins at Falcons

Redskins: QB Robert Griffin III, WR DeSean Jackson, CB Chris Culliver, CB DeAngelo Hall, TE Jordan Reed, DL Frank Kearse, OL Arie Kouandjio

Falcons: WR Justin Hardy, CB Dez Southward, S Charles Godfrey, LB Justin Durant, C Gino Gradkowski, T Bryce Harris, DE Malliciah Goodman

Browns at Ravens

Browns: QB Austin Davis, RB Shaun Draughn, WR Dwayne Bowe, RB Robert Turbin, S Tashaun Gipson, LB Craig Robertson, TE E.J. Bibbs

Ravens: WR Breshad Perriman, RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, CB Rashaan Melvin, OL Ryan Jensen, TE Crockett Gillmore, WR Stev Smith, DE Chris Canty

Seahawks at Bengals

Seahawks: RB Marshawn Lynch, CB Marcus Burley, CB Tye Smith, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, OL Kristjan Sokoli, G Alvin Bailey, DE Demarcus Dobbs

Bengals: WR Greg Little, WR Mario Alford, CB Chris Lewis-Harris, TE C.J. Uzomah, DT Marcus Hardison, DT Pat Sims, DE Margus Hunt

Rams at Packers

Rams: QB Sean Mannion, S Maurice Alexander, LB Alec Ogletree, LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar, T Darrell Williams, G Cody Wichmann, DL Ethan Westbrooks

Packers: QB Brett Hundley, WR Davante Adams, S Sean Richardson, CB Ladarius Gunter, S Morgan Burnett, LB Jake Ryan, G Lane Taylor

Bears at Chiefs

Bears: T Jermon Bushrod, WR Alshon Jeffery, WR Eddie Royal, S Antrel Rolle, OL Patrick Omameh, DE Will Sutton, QB David Fales.

Chiefs: LB Josh Mauga, QB Aaron Murray, WR Albert Wilson, CB Marcus Cooper, OL Jah Reid, TE Brian Parker, DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches

Saints at Eagles

Saints: T Terron Armstead, P Thomas Morstead, QB Garrett Grayson, DE Obum Gacham, DE Bobby Richardson, FB Austin Johnson, G Jahri Evans

Eagles: LB Mychal Kendricks, LB Kiko Alonso, DL Brandon Bair, QB Thad Lewis, RB Kenjon Barner, CB Denzel Rice, OL Julian Vandervelde

Jaguars at Buccaneers

Jaguars: WR Marqise Lee, RB Denard Robinson, S James Sample, DT Sen’Derrick Marks, LB Paul Posluszny, DE Chris Smith, OL Tyler Shatley

Buccaneers: QB Ryan Griffin, CB Johnthan Banks, C Evan Smith, G Logan Mankins, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE Luke Stocker, WR Russell Shepard

Bills at Titans

Bills: RB LeSean McCoy, RB Karlos Williams, WR Sammy Watkins, S Bacarri Rambo, LB Tony Steward, OL Gabe Ikard, DL Alex Carrington

Titans: QB Charlie Whitehurst, RB Terrance West, CB Cody Riggs, G Chance Warmack, TE Chase Coffman, DL Mike Martin, NT Sammie Hill

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Rob Johnson: Gregg Williams told me he had a training camp spy

Gregg Williams AP

In addition to being the man who took the bulk of the blame for Bountygate, longtime NFL coach Gregg Williams has been accused of stealing opposing teams’ playbooks. Williams says that’s not true, but now another one of his former players is saying that Williams was open about having a spy in an opposing team’s training camp.

Rob Johnson was the Bills’ quarterback in 2001, when Williams was the Bills’ head coach, and Johnson also played for the Bills when they faced the Titans while Williams was the Titans’ defensive coordinator. Johnson now says that when Williams was with the Titans, he sent a spy to the Bills’ training camp — something that Williams confessed when he and Johnson were together in Buffalo. Johnson says that Williams’s Titans defense hurt him with relentless blitzes that were aided by knowing the Bills’ offensive plays.

“Sometimes in training camp, you’ll have a high school coach or someone help out,” Johnson told the Buffalo News. “And Gregg Williams told me he had a coach in our training camp who knew all of our plays and all of our blocking schemes. We beat ‘em — karma — but he had someone in our training camp get all of our plays. It’s crazy. I’ve never heard of anything like that. I was sore for like three weeks after that game. I hope it doesn’t get him in trouble. He can just deny it and say I made it up. I was pissed. I said, ‘Gregg, that sucks.’ They knocked me out.”

Blaine Bishop, who played for Williams on the Titans, says he doesn’t know if that’s true but wouldn’t put it past Williams.

“If he got some information on what Buffalo would be running, I don’t know if he told the players. He might’ve told the coaches. But I wouldn’t be shocked if he had someone do that with all the Bountygate and that craziness,” Bishop said.

Johnson’s accusations are serious, and could be the type of thing that would incur an NFL investigation and league discipline if the spying charges are proved true. But after the fiasco that Deflategate became, the NFL is likely to hope this story will go away quietly.

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League could flip the approach to replay review

instant-replay-story Getty Images

When the NFL re-embraced replay review, the system was founded on a presumption that the league would create a finite list of reviewable plays, with nothing else subject to replay.

Recently, a high-level official with one of the NFL’s teams suggested to PFT that the presumption should be changed: Everything is reviewable, with a finite list of true judgment calls and other plays not subject to replay review.

The goal would be to ensure that any clear errors that can easily be fixed via replay review would be eligible, without worrying about whether that specific situation has been added to the slowly-growing list of reviewable plays. If, instead, the play in question hasn’t been flagged as non-reviewable, replay can be used.

“And since that idea makes perfect sense, it never will be adopted,” I wrote when presenting that concept.

After further review, the league sees the potential merit in the proposal. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media explained on NFL Network’s GameDay Morning that this approach will be considered.

It’s the only prudent way to pull the plug on bad calls that can’t be reviewed because the NFL hasn’t added the specific play to the replay list. And it represents a much-needed change from the reactive to the proactive when constructing replay review.

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NFL upset with Greg Hardy’s remarks

Greg Hardy AP

After Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy commemorated the lifting of his suspension with awkward remarks about Tom Brady’s wife and the unfortunate use of the phrase “guns blazin’,” different people had different reactions.

Cowboys fans and some of the media covering the team proclaimed that it was no big deal. Owner Jerry Jones downplayed the remarks in classic Jerry Jones style, reminding the world that Hardy won’t actually be taking guns onto the field, equating Brady’s value as a human with the attractiveness of his wife, and making an always-timely Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton reference.

Others weren’t happy with the comments. Once coach Jason Garrett made it clear that he’s in the group that finds the statements unfortunate, the issue seemed to be settled.

Through it all, the NFL said nothing. As of Sunday morning, the NFL has broken its silence, via comments from a league executive to the league-owned website.

“I couldn’t disagree more with Greg Hardy’s comments, and they do not reflect the values of the league,” NFL V.P. of social responsibility Anna Isaacson said. “We are working hard to bring attention to the positive role models many other players represent and also to continue our education with all members of the NFL family. . . .

“We spend a lot of time at the NFL educating our players on domestic violence and sexual assault. That’s what we control here, we control education. We control training, we control all the league does from a public perspective and public service, working with non-profit organizations. We can control that. So that everyone in the NFL family has the services and resources that they need if they need help.”

When it comes to properly expressing himself, Hardy clearly needed help on Tuesday. He got none from his team or from the league. While Hardy is ultimately responsible for his words and deeds, the team has a strong incentive to protect him from embarrassing himself or the organization.

Then again, maybe the team did help him — and maybe what he said Tuesday would have been even worse without the assistance.

Regardless, Hardy’s comments don’t constitute grounds for discipline. But it’s safe to say the do-what-it-wants league office will indeed pounce on Hardy if given another legitimate chance to do so.

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Plan for Julio Jones could change during pregame warmups

Julio Jones AP

Earlier on Sunday, multiple reports emerged that Falcons receiver Julio Jones, listed as questionable with toe and hamstring injuries, will play against Washington.

As Jay Glazer of FOX explains it, the decision could end up going the other way.

Per Glazer, Jones felt the hamstring tighten late in this week. On Saturday, Jones ran without problems but he didn’t “open it up fully.”

Jones plans to run before kickoff, going full speed to ensure he’ll be OK during the game.

The challenge for the Falcons is that the travel to New Orleans for a Thursday night game. If Jones aggravates the injury on Sunday, he may not be ready to go in four days.

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Report: Dolphins, others expected to inquire about Sean Payton after season

Sean Payton AP

Sean Payton signed an extension with the Saints early in 2013 that runs through the 2017 season and pays him $8 million a year, but that’s apparently not going to stop other teams from looking into his availability once the 2015 season comes to an end.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Dolphins, whose decision not to sign Drew Brees helped Payton to a Super Bowl win, are expected to inquire about bringing Payton to Miami as their next permanent head coach. Schefter reports that they would have company from multiple teams in any Payton pursuit, with the Colts mentioned as a possibility since Chuck Pagano has no contract beyond this season.

Because Payton is under contract, the Saints would be entitled to compensation in exchange for letting Payton go to work for another NFL team. Payton would also be making a decision about where to go, of course, and it’s hard to imagine that he’d go somewhere without a quarterback in place that he thought could lead the team the way Brees has led the Saints over the years.

Throw in the fact that the Dolphins are the only team with a definite coaching search on the horizon and those are a lot of moving parts to figure out before making a guess about where Payton will be come the 2016 season. If there’s enough interest all around, though, the first big move of the offseason could be a trade of a coach.

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Daniel Fells could lose his foot to MRSA

Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells AP

Giants tight end Daniel Fells’s MRSA infection is so serious that he could have to have his foot amputated.

Fells had his fifth surgery last week, but that still hasn’t been enough to clear the infection. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that Fells was placed in intensive care and will need more surgeries, and doctors are fighting to save his foot.

According to Rapoport, the infection stems from a cortisone shot Fells was given to treat an ankle injury and a toe injury. The Giants have already declared Fells out for the season. The infection could turn out to be career-ending.

The Giants have scrubbed their facilities and are working with specialists to attempt to prevent the spread of MRSA within their team.

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Sammy Watkins not expected to play today

Minnesota Vikings v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

Bills receiver Sammy Watkins is expected to miss another game.

Watkins, who is listed as questionable with a calf injury, is expected to sit today at Tennessee, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Watkins also missed last week’s game against the Giants.

So far it’s been a disappointing season for Watkins, the player who was both the Bills’ 2014 first-round pick and their 2015 first-round pick, as they packaged both picks to move up and draft him last year. Watkins has just seven catches for 99 yards and one touchdown.

With Watkins out, the Bills’ top receivers are Percy Harvin, Robert Woods and Chris Hogan.

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Shareece Wright gets his wish

hi-res-2b667916f89ba0b14a1321bae856843b_crop_north Getty Images

Cornerback Shareece Wright wanted to be cut by the 49ers. And now he has been.

The 49ers announced Saturday that Wright, who signed a one-year deal as a free agent from the Chargers, has been released. The move was made to create a roster spot for guard Andrew Tiller, who was promoted from the practice squad.

Wright received $1.5 million as a signing bonus, and he was earning a base salary of $850,000. He had $25,000 in per-game roster bonuses; by being placed on the inactive list for the first four games of the season, Wright lost $100,000.

A vested veteran, Wright now becomes a free agent. He can collect the balance of his base salary as termination pay, sign with another team, and retain that paycheck, too.

The 49ers face the Giants on Sunday night on NBC.

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Georgia star Nick Chubb suffers gruesome knee injury

Nick Chubb AP

Georgia running back Nick Chubb, a talented sophomore with an NFL future ahead of him, suffered a gruesome injury on the first play of today’s game at Tennessee.

Chubb took the ball and cut to the outside, where he was hit and knocked toward the sideline. As he landed on his feet out of bounds, his knee buckled underneath him and bent backward.

Medical staff immediately tended to Chubb on the sideline, and coaches and teammates attempted to comfort him as he wiped away tears. There was no immediate word on the nature of his injury, but given the way his knee bent and the way he reacted, it appears very, very serious.

The injury is sure to re-ignite the debate about the NFL’s rule forcing players to wait until three years after high school before they can enter the draft. That debate has focused mostly on Chubb’s fellow sophomore running back Leonard Fournette, but Chubb is also good enough to be playing in the NFL now.

Chubb was so good as a true freshman last year that when he took over for Georgia running back Todd Gurley (who missed some games with a suspension and then more with a serious knee injury of his own), Georgia’s offense didn’t miss a beat. Gurley was the 10th overall pick in this year’s draft, and although Chubb likely wouldn’t have gone that high, he surely would have been drafted if he had been in this year’s draft.

But the NFL wouldn’t allow Chubb to enter this year’s draft. His only choices were to play for free, or not to play at all. And now he’s suffered a gruesome injury before reaching his first NFL payday.

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Ryan Shazier will miss another game with shoulder injury

Ryan Shazier AP

Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, a first-round pick in 2014 who had a breakout performance in Week Two, will miss his third straight game since then.

The Steelers have listed Shazier as out for Monday night’s game at San Diego, due to a lingering shoulder injury. He fully participated in practice on Thursday and Friday, but Shazier didn’t practice on Saturday.

Also out for the Steelers, as expected, is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is 13 days removed from a knee injury. Questionable is cornerback Cortez Allen, who also has a knee injury.

All other injured Steelers are listed as probable. Not on the report, although reportedly injured, is receiver Martavis Bryant. The Steelers obtained a roster exempt for Bryant that lasts until October 13. Since he’s not on the active roster, he isn’t required to be listed on the injury report.

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Chip Kelly won’t consider going for two more often

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

One of the reasons Chip Kelly was such an interesting coach at Oregon was that he’d go for two at times when most coaches would kick the extra point without even thinking about it. Kelly loved to line up his extra point team in a “swinging gate” formation, and if the opposing defense didn’t adjust to it, he’d run a trick play to try to pick up two points.

Kelly tried that once early in his first year as the Eagles’ head coach, but it didn’t work, and Kelly never tried it again.

This year, there was some talk that Kelly might buck the trends and try going for two more often: The league’s new extra point rule makes kicks harder, the Eagles have a shaky kicker, and Kelly always seems confident in his offense. And yet the Eagles haven’t gone for two at all this year, and Kelly said he has given no thought to going for two unless the score of the game dictates it.

“Not right now, no,” Kelly said. “The [placement of the two-point conversion] hasn’t moved. My whole opinion was that they were asking you to go for two, but they never enticed you. They didn’t move it to make going for two [easier]. Going for two is difficult.”

Eventually, some NFL coach may decide to make going for two the “default” option for his team, and only kick the extra point when the score of the game makes that the obvious choice. But that coach will not be Chip Kelly, who’s a lot more cautious in the NFL than he was in college.

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Lane Johnson says the line is to blame for the Eagles’ problems

Jeremy Mincey, Lane Johnson, Mark Sanchez AP

Everyone agrees that the Eagles’ offense has been a major disappointment this season, but there’s disagreement about who deserves most of the blame: Coach Chip Kelly? Quarterback Sam Bradford? Running back DeMarco Murray?

According to Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson, the correct answer is none of the above.

Johnson says that the offensive line deserves the bulk of the blame, and that the problems in both the running game and the passing game stem from the problems up front.

“The line has dug a very deep hole and pretty much put everybody else in it,” Johnson said, via ESPN. “So we’ve got to find a way to get everybody else out and find a way out of this mess. A quarter of the way through this season, we’re not where we want to be, but there’s still a lot of games left to be played.”

It’s classy of Johnson to admit that Kelly, Bradford and Murray would all look a lot better if he and his fellow linemen would play better. But the line shouldn’t take all of the blame, either. In Philadelphia, there’s enough blame to go around.

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A Greg Hardy rap video emerges

free-agent-defensive-end-greg-hardy Getty Images

One day after the first Sunday of the 2014 season, TMZ published a Ray Rice video that shook the NFL to its foundation. One day before Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy plays his first game of the 2015 season, TMZ has published another video that won’t have nearly the same impact.

It’s a rap video from Hardy, made during the 2014 season while he was being paid to not play football pending the resolution of his domestic violence charges.

According to TMZ, the song includes these Dr. Seuss-style words of wisdom from Hardy: “What you see is what you get. I’m just me, I’m just real, and that’s what I do.”

The video also reportedly includes the sound of gunfire, because of course it would. It likewise objectifies women, because of course it would.

The video, standing alone, violates no league policies. But it won’t make many in the league office thrilled about the situation, and it will make some primed to pounce with another suspension if/when Hardy gets into real trouble again.

And while the video was created months before Hardy became a Cowboy, it won’t make coach Jason Garrett, who recently told Hardy to watch what he says about guns and women, any happier with Hardy.

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