Skip to content

Michael Vick: Percy Harvin “won’t be a monster” with Jets

Percy Harvin AP

Negative stories have accompanied wide receiver Percy Harvin out of both Minnesota and Seattle, leading some to wonder if the Jets are going to get a player who helps them on the field more than he becomes a divisive figure off of it.

The top two quarterbacks on the depth chart would surely prefer that Harvin’s impact come on the field and both of them say that they are confident that Harvin’s troublemaking won’t be an issue on his new team. Geno Smith said that he guarantees Harvin “cleans his act up while he’s here” and Michael Vick said the one-time participant in Vick’s football camps sent a similar message.

“He won’t be a monster here,” Vick said, via the New York Post. “He won’t be a monster here. I can assure all the fans of that…That won’t take place here.”

Vick didn’t offer many specifics as to why Harvin won’t be a monster, but his own experience with facing a moment when his future football career hinged on being a good teammate and doing the right thing could account for the optimistic view. Vick was able to do that and the Jets figure to give Harvin every chance to show he can make the same commitment because their offense could use someone who creates trouble for defenses without causing any for the Jets.

Permalink 61 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Hoyer: I don’t even think about getting benched for Manziel

hoyermanziel AP

Rookie quarterback Derek Carr is the starter in Oakland. Rookie quarterback Blake Bortles is the starter in Jacksonville. Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is the starter in Minnesota. And now rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger is the starter in Tennessee. But rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel is firmly planted on the bench in Cleveland.

The man keeping Manziel on the bench, Brian Hoyer, says he’s not worried about that changing. Hoyer said he’s confident in what he’s doing for the Browns, even after Sunday’s ugly loss to the Jaguars, and he believes the coaches are committed to him.

“I don’t even think about it to be honest with you,” Hoyer said, via ESPNCleveland.com. “I know what goes into my preparation. I know that talking to my coaches, that’s the farthest thing on my mind. Yeah, I don’t doubt that [coach Mike Pettine] has my back. I also know that if you have one bad game, I think that people are just going to be calling for your job already. That’s just the way it goes. But I know within this building I feel more than comfortable.”

Hoyer did have one bad game, and people are calling for his job, and Hoyer isn’t happy about that.

“Three weeks ago everyone was saying Tom Brady was done with,” Hoyer said. “He’s the greatest quarterback of all time. He had one bad game, and people are throwing him under the bus. I think when you see that even the great ones have bad games you know you’re going to have a few. Yeah, it sucks. You don’t want to go out there and not perform well. Obviously, we prepare our butts off all week to go out there and execute and play the best of our ability, but sometimes you have a situation where you don’t play great, and the other team plays well. It’s a bad combination. For me, really of all the games I’ve ever played, that was the worst I’ve ever felt after one.”

Hoyer will feel even worse if he has another game as bad as Sunday’s. If he plays like that again this week and the Browns lose to the Raiders, Hoyer will surely lose his job to Manziel.

Permalink 59 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bengals trying to teach Vontaze Burfict to play safer (so he can play)

Vontaze Burfict AP

The Bengals are obviously better on defense when Vontaze Burfict is on the field.

But they might want him to play differently in the future, in hopes of actually staying there more often.

Burfict’s reckless, head-first style has resulted in him finishing one game this year, between a concussion, last week’s “cervical strain” and other vaguely diagnoses “head injuries.”

He does us no good sitting on the sideline after five snaps every week,”  Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said, via Coley Harvey of ESPN.com. “It does us no good. It does us more harm than good. So he’s got to learn how to do [tackle better] for him and the team and everybody involved.”

Of course, trying to teach an adult NFL player to do things differently at this stage in his career might be difficult.

“I tell him to keep his face up,” Guenther said. “I tell him that he’s my quarterback. Like you need to tell a quarterback to slide and to not get hit, I tell him to keep his head up so he can stay in the game. When he starts the game and he comes out, it affects everything. It affects me, it affects the unit, it affects the linebacking crew. . . .

“I’ve said this a million times: He’s my quarterback on the field,” Guenther said of Burfict. “I communicate with him, ‘Hey, tell the corner this.’ And he knows exactly what I’m thinking. Being his [former] position coach, I’ve trained the guy. It’s easier when you have a guy that you’ve trained who can understand that these are the ins and outs of what I’m thinking about. He settles the group down when he’s playing. He brings energy.”

They have other injuries at linebacker which complicate things as well, but when he leaves the game, it puts the formation-setting responsibilities on backup Vincent Rey.

Guenther’s point is a valid one, and they do need to re-train Burfict to keep him on the field. But much like Marvin Lewis’s tone-deaf remarks about concussions, it almost sounds like the Bengals are as worried about having a valuable employee available to play as much as they are about Burfict’s health and welfare.

Permalink 25 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

No limits on Goodell testimony

Goodell Getty Images

The bad news for the NFL is that Commissioner Roger Goodell has been required to testify in hearing regarding the appeal of Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension.  The worse news is that, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, no limits have been applied to the topics on which he’ll be interrogated.

The case involves two separate issues — whether Rice lied to the NFL in connection with the investigation that resulted in a two-game suspension and whether the NFL knew, should have known, or needed to know the specific contents of the elevator video before issuing Rice’s initial two-game suspension.  Although the NFL’s lawyers will be able to object to any and all questions posed to Goodell, former U.S. Judge Barbara Jones applied no restrictions in her decision to compel the Commissioner’s testimony.

This doesn’t mean the NFL won’t try.  Plan A likely was shielding Goodell from testimony completely.  Plan B may be to limit the topics to which he’ll be exposed.  And with the question of what the NFL and when the NFL knew it about the Rice video far more likely to create lingering problems for the NFL than whether Rice told the truth, look for the NFL to continue to try to protect Goodell from having to answer questions regarding what the league knew or should have known under oath.

But the P.R. cost could be significant.  The effort to keep Goodell from testifying already paints the league in a not-so-favorable light.  Ongoing attempts to shape and mold and craft and limit the contours of what he can and can’t be asked will invite even more scrutiny.

Beyond the court of public opinion, there’s also a jury of 32 who may be very interested in how this plays out.

Plan C (or Plan B) could be a settlement of Rice’s appeal.  But Rice likely wouldn’t be interested in something like immediate reinstatement.  At this point, a significant amount of money would have to change hands to get Rice to release the tail of the tiger — so much that it would be obvious that the league opted not to purchase peace with Rice, but to buy Goodell’s right to remain silent.

Permalink 32 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Titans tabbing Zach Mettenberger as their starter

Zach Mettenberger AP

The Titans appear to be making a change at quarterback.

According to Jim Wyatt of the Nashville Tennessean, the Titans “plan” to go with rookie Zach Mettenberger as their starter for Sunday’s game against Houston.

Fourth-year pro Jake Locker, who has missed the last two games with a right thumb injury, went through a limited practice on Wednesday. Charlie Whitehurst, not Mettenberger, has filled in for Tennessee in Locker’s absence.

A sixth-round pick from LSU, the 6-foot-5, 244-pound Mettenberger has appeared in one regular season game for Tennessee, completing 2-of-5 passes for 17 yards with a pick in a lopsided loss at Indianapolis. In the preseason, Mettenberger completed 47-of-68 passes for 659 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. He also lost three fumbles.

The 23-year-old Mettenberger is nearly 11 months removed from an ACL tear that ended his collegiate season. Should he make his first NFL start on Sunday, it will come against a Texans defense featuring an MVP candidate in defensive lineman J.J. Watt.

When asked about Locker’s status as the top quarterback on Monday, Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt seemed to indicate Locker remained the starter.

“Nothing’s changed from the quarterback perspective,” Whisenhunt said, according to the club.

Also on Monday, Whisenhunt suggested giving Mettenberger more reps was more of a media issue than a serious in-house consideration.

“That seems to be a question you guys are saying more than I am. I’m focused on trying to prepare our team each week and play better,” Whisenhunt said.

The Titans did not make Locker available to the media Wednesday. Also, Whitehurst told reporters he was not permitted to talk on Wednesday, according to the Tennessean.

Mettenberger saw an uptick in reps with the starting offense on Wednesday, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

If Locker is healthy enough to play but is being replaced by Mettenberger, it throws Locker’s long-term future in Tennessee into further doubt. He is not signed beyond this season, and Whisenhunt was not the Titans’ head coach when the franchise took Locker No. 8 overall in 2011.

On Wednesday, Whisenhunt indicated Locker was making strides in his recovery, saying the quarterback “did pretty much everything” in the team’s first workout of the week.

The Titans (2-5) are three games behind the Colts in the AFC South.

Permalink 38 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Brian Cushing will miss at least a week with knee issue

Cushing Getty Images

When discussing highlights of Pittsburgh’s Monday night win over the Texans on Tuesday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN, Ross Tucker noticed that Houston linebacker Brian Cushing was having trouble moving.

He was, because of his knee.

Per a league source, Cushing will miss at least one game to rest his knee, which has been bothering him for the last two weeks.  The source says Cushing hasn’t been close to 100 percent, and that the knee has been drained a few times recently.

It’s the same knee in which Cusing tore the ACL last year.

The goal is to give Cushing some rest in the hopes that the knee will improve.  With two games left before the bye (against the Titans and Eagles), don’t be surprised if he’s out until Week Eleven at Cleveland.

Permalink 15 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Roger Goodell will testify in Ray Rice appeal hearing

Goodell Getty Images

Ray Rice 1, NFL 0.

The first skirmish in the Ray Rice appeal hearing has resulted in a big victory for Rice and the NFL Players Association — and a potentially costly loss for the league office and Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Per a league source (and as multiple others are reporting as the news is leaked to multiple reporters), former U.S. Judge Barbara S. Jones has decided that Goodell should testify at the hearing.

It’s so obvious that Goodell should testify in a case that hinges on whether Ray Rice lied to Goodell that it’s surprising the league resisted.  It makes Goodell and the league look like they have something to hide, at a time when the NFL is trying to create the impression of transparency.

Then again, lawyers representing a large company typically try to shield the chief executive from testifying.  While it often happens because the chief executive actually has something to hide or lacks the ability to engage in effective verbal fencing with a skilled trial lawyer, folks who are used to having a lot of power typically don’t like submitting to someone else’s authority.

Goodell now will be submitting to the authority of Judge Jones — and answering potentially hostile questions from Rice’s lawyer.

The transcript of Goodell’s testimony, along with the rest of the evidence generated in the Rice appeal process, also will (or at least should) become part of the official investigation conducted by former FBI director Robert Mueller.  Anything Goodell says while testifying in the Rice appeal hearing should be compared to anything he said to Mueller for evidence of any inconsistencies.

With multiple owners reportedly taking a wait-and-see approach to Goodell’s employment status based on the outcome of the Mueller investigation, Goodell’s performance while testifying in the Rice appeal could, in theory, influence whether he’ll remain on the job.  He’ll need to be more direct and responsive before Judge Jones than he was during his September 19 press conference — and during his testimony in the Super Bowl ticket case.

Permalink 39 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: LaMarr Woodley has torn biceps

LaMarr Woodley AP

One of the Raiders’ notable free agent additions could be lost for the season.

Defensive end LaMarr Woodley suffered a torn biceps in Sunday’s loss to Arizona, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported Wednesday night. The injury is thought to be season-ending, according to Rapoport.

Earlier, Raiders coach Tony Sparano indicated Woodley had suffered a potentially “serious” biceps injury, per Fallon Smith of CSN Bay Area.

The 29-year-old Woodley has played in each of Oakland’s first six games, logging 295 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus data. However, Woodley has been credited with just five tackles, and he has yet to notch a sack.

Woodley joined the Raiders in the offseason after spending six seasons with Pittsburgh. He is in the first year of a two-year contract.

Benson Mayowa is listed as the top backup to Woodley at defensive end.

Permalink 48 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Judge will continue to preside over Peterson case

JudgeCase AP

The prosecution may still win the war, but its lost the battle over who’ll preside over the war.  Or something.

According to the Associated Press, Judge Kelly Case will continue to handle the Adrian Peterson child abuse prosecution.  A retired judge has decided that Case should not be recused based upon an alleged bias against the prosecution.  The allegations included Judge Case’s admitted reference to the lawyers for both parties as “media whores.”

Retired Judge Jeff Walker determined that prosecutors failed to meet the high standard necessary for forcing a judge out of a case.   And it appears that there will be no appeal of the decision.

“We’re going to hope Judge Case does the right thing, gives us a fair trial and at the end of that trial, we’re confident that Mr. Peterson is going to be found guilty,” First Assistant District Attorney Phil Grant said.

While the swing and a miss could alienate Judge Case, the allegations of bias could force him to go out of his way to create the appearance of fairness and even-handedness in any rulings made before and during the trial, which is still tentatively scheduled to begin on December 1.

Peterson hopes to stand trial as soon as possible, given that he is essentially suspended with pay while the legal process is pending.

Permalink 34 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Rex doesn’t want unrealistic expectations for Harvin’s instant impact

harvin AP

Jets coach Rex Ryan says no one should expect Percy Harvin to become the team’s best offensive playmaker instantly.

Ryan says Harvin will have a role in the offense on Sunday against the Bills, but no one should expect him to know the whole playbook after a week with the team.

“I’m just saying that it’s hard to expect a guy to come in and learn an entire offense,” Ryan said. “We’re going to use him. It’s not to expect him to play 50 plays or something like that. That’s probably unrealistic.”

Ryan said the Jets may use Harvin on both kickoff returns and punt returns, even though Harvin has never returned a punt in the NFL or in college. For Ryan, the goal is just to find the best ways to use Harvin.

“I think when you look at how we are going to use Percy, it might be different than how he was used in Minnesota [and] how he was used in Seattle. I guess time will tell, but I truly believe with his kind of talent it’s going to be a big help, obviously for our offense and with that, our whole team,” Ryan said.

If the Jets can go on a run in the second half of the season, big plays from Harvin may contribute to saving Ryan’s job.

Permalink 35 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Chiefs say Charles was checked for concussion

jamaalcharles AP

Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles says he tried to avoid having to go through the league’s concussion protocol after a collision on the field Sunday. But the Chiefs say Charles was, in fact, checked out on the sideline before being allowed to go back in the game.

Chiefs head trainer Rick Burkholder said Charles was checked during Sunday’s game and has been checked this week and did not get a concussion in the collision, which did cause a concussion for Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers.

“When he got hit, I obviously checked with him,” Burkholder said. “I know coach talked to him a bit there. I came back and consulted with the team physician; he was absolutely asymptomatic, wasn’t complaining about anything. . . . Obviously, we check on those guys as they come off the field almost every series. I know coach spent time with him on the plane after the game.”

Burkholder’s statement that Charles was “absolutely asymptomatic” contradicts Charles’s statement that he “was seeing light bulbs, like, light bulbs around my eyes.” Seeing flashing lights is one of the symptoms of a concussion.

Charles may not have told Burkholder that he was seeing flashing lights, and Charles may not have exhibited any other symptoms of a concussion when he was examined. But Charles has said since that he had a symptom associated with concussions. And whether he actually had a concussion or not, it’s alarming that he indicated he wanted to avoid being diagnosed.

Permalink 15 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Bill Belichick sent Darrelle Revis home for being late

New York Jets Vs. New England Patriots At Gillette Stadium Getty Images

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has sent players home for being late during blizzards.

So it’s no surprise that the same rules apply to the Island.

According Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, the absence of cornerback Darrelle Revis from Tuesday’s practice was because Belichick sent him home for being late.

The report said Revis arrived late to the team facility, and Belichick sent him away rather than allow him to participate in meetings or practice.

Players had the weekend plus Monday off after last Thursday’s win over the Jets, with instructions to return Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. There was no word how late he was.

A source close to Revis said he accepted responsibility for his tardiness, and he was back at work Wednesday.

Given the hot-and-cold nature of Revis’s relationships with employers, this one is worth filing away.

It’s also an important play for Belichick in establishing control, proving to his roster that no star is beyond the rules (though we wonder what would happen if Tom Brady had a flat tire).

Permalink 91 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

No practice for A.J. Green, no decision for Sunday

A.J. Green, Jason McCourty AP

The Bengals are 0-2-1 in their last three games and getting wide receiver A.J. Green back in the lineup would be a good way to increase the chances that their winless streak ends at three games.

Green said Tuesday that his injured toe feels better, but it wasn’t feeling well enough for him to practice with the team on Wednesday. Geoff Hobson of the team’s website reports that Green worked on a rehab field while his teammates went through their first practice ahead of Sunday’s crucial matchup with the Ravens in Cincinnati.

Coach Marvin Lewis said before practice that Green wouldn’t play until he is “significantly healed,” but left the door open for Green to play even if he couldn’t go the distance.

“It’s hard for me to put a guy out there Sunday that I don’t think can last a full game,” Lewis said. “If we have A.J. for part of the game doing certain things, that would be great. I think we could operate offensively … I guess we’ll cross that bridge when the time comes.”

Given the importance of this game to the Bengals, 20 plays with Green sounds a lot better than zero plays with Green but it will likely still be a few days before we know if that’s a possibility.

Permalink 21 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Forte, Bradshaw flirting with running back receiving records

forte AP

DeMarco Murray isn’t the only NFL running back on a record pace this season.

Murray, the Cowboys running back who is threatening the NFL’s single-season records for carries and yards, is having the best season of any back in football. But Bears running back Matt Forte and Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw are both threatening to break NFL records for running backs as well.

Forte is leading the league in receiving, with 52 catches, which puts him on pace for 119 catches this season. That would blow away the previous record for catches by a running back, set in 1995 when Cardinals fullback Larry Centers caught 101 passes. Forte is also threatening to become just the third player in NFL history to have 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. Forte currently has 448 rushing yards and 436 receiving yards, putting him on pace to finish the year with 1,024 and 997, respectively. Only Roger Craig in 1985 and Marshall Faulk in 1999 have managed 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving in the same year.

Bradshaw has six receiving touchdowns through seven games this season, putting him on pace for 14 by the time the year is over. No running back in NFL history has ever had double-digit receiving touchdowns. Faulk had nine receiving touchdowns in 2001, and running backs Leroy Hoard, Chuck Foreman, Bill Brown and Billy Cannon all had nine-touchdown seasons as well. Bradshaw has a good chance of becoming the first running back ever to get to 10.

At a time when running backs are being devalued in the NFL, Murray is showing how big an impact a workhorse back can have for his team. But Forte and Bradshaw may be showing the future of running backs in the NFL: In a passing league, the best backs may be the ones who have the biggest impact on the passing game.

Permalink 28 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Robert Griffin III gets more practice work as return gets closer

Robert Griffin III AP

Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III is getting closer to returning to the field. But maybe not close enough to play on Monday night.

Griffin got a heavier workload in practice today while wearing a brace on his injured ankle, according to Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com. Griffin did individual drills, took snaps both in the shotgun and under center, dropped back and passed.

What Griffin didn’t do (at least in the portion of practice open to the media) was run at full speed. And until Griffin can do that, he’s not going to be cleared to return.

So Colt McCoy is likely to start on Monday night against the Cowboys, Kirk Cousins is likely to be the backup, and Griffin is likely to be inactive. But Griffin is at least making enough progress that he’s getting closer. Griffin should be back in November. Just in time to play some meaningless games for a team that’s out of the playoff race.

Permalink 51 Comments Feed for comments Back to top