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Police video shows Jim Irsay unsteady on his feet

Voyles, Irsay

The city of Carmel, Ind. released the police dashcam video from Jim Irsay’s March arrest for driving while intoxicated.

And it shows pretty much what you’d expect from a 55-year-old man being arrested for driving while intoxicated.

The video, obtained by the Indianapolis Star, shows Irsay clearly struggling to maintain balance at one point, with two officers supporting him as they took him back to their car. He was also hunched over as he stood, and had to sit on the hood of the police car at one point.

Carmel officers who searched his car wrote in their report that they “recovered numerous prescription medication bottles containing pills,” along with more than $29,000 in cash.

But Irsay pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of operating while intoxicated, after admitting to having hydrocodone, oxycodone and Xanax in his system.

That plea triggered his six-week suspension from the NFL, which he returned from last week.

Irsay told reporters yesterday that he had grown from the incident, but wouldn’t comment on the particulars of the arrest or his suspension.

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Jaguars without Toby Gerhart again this week

Indianapolis Colts v Jacksonville Jaguars Getty Images

When the Jaguars signed running back Toby Gerhart as a free agent this offseason, the assumption was that he would be the lead back for them in the 2014 season.

Things haven’t worked out that way. Gerhart had 18 carries the first week of the season, but has just 30 since then and will not add any to the total this week.

Jacksonville has ruled Gerhart out for the second straight week because of a foot injury that has kept him out of the last five practices. His absence will leave the door open for Storm Johnson and Denard Robinson to continue earning more playing time even after Gerhart is healthy, a development that was in the works when Gerhart was in the lineup and won’t reverse itself unless Gerhart’s production starts to match the expectation coming into the season.

The Browns are giving up 149.6 rushing yards per game this season, so Johnson and Robinson should be able to find some running room to make that case for increased playing time come Sunday.

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Blandino calls field-goal repositioning “preventative officiating”

Blandino Getty Images

Earlier today, Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless of ESPN’s First Take have finally agreed on something.  They both believe the official who apparently helped Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower avoid lining up directly over the snapper will be called on the proverbial carpet by his supervisors today.

He won’t be.  If it wasn’t clear before First Take went on the air at 10:00 a.m. ET (it should have been), it’s now entirely obvious.

NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino told Dan Patrick on Friday that it’s a “common mechanic” for officials to intervene in situations like this, because the rule promotes safety for the snapper on field goal and extra point attempts.

Blandino dubbed the practice “preventative officiating,” and he explained that the umpire is positioned on such plays to ensure that no one is lined up over the center.

Even if the umpire hadn’t moved Hightower, chances are he would have bounced out of the position over the snapper once both sides of the defensive line shifted toward the snapper’s outside shoulders.

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NFL calls official moving Hightower “standard procedure”

Official Getty Images

To some Jets fans, it looked like an effort to help Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower avoid a penalty.  To the league office, it looked like something that happens all the time.

The NFL explains that an official’s redirection of Hightower, who was creeping toward an illegal spot in front of the snapper on a would-be game-winning 58-yard field goal try, is something that happens often.

“It is a standard officiating procedure that occurs regularly,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said by email.  “In fact, it is on [NFL V.P. of officiating] Dean Blandino’s video that went to the teams yesterday and will be on the version of it that goes to the media today.”

McCarthy explained that officials intervene not to keep teams from giving up field position, but to keep players from getting hurt.

“That rule was adopted for player safety purposes, another good reason to help avoid violations in advance,” McCarthy said.

Even if the official hadn’t redirected Hightower, chances are he would have jumped back out when the linemen shifted to a position just outside each shoulder of the snapper.  Still, there’s a way the dominoes could have fallen that would have resulted in the Jets getting five more yards, putting the attempt at 53 yards instead of 58.

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Geno Smith takes the blame for failed two-point conversion

amaro AP

The Jets’ 27-25 loss to the Patriots on Thursday night easily could have been an overtime game, but a Geno Smith pass on a two-point conversion attempt was thrown beyond the reach of Jace Amaro. Afterward, Smith said that was his fault.

“Jace did a great job of getting open,” he said. “I’ve got to give him a better ball. That’s completely on me. He ran a great route and I didn’t give him a good enough ball.”

The bad pass is on Smith, but the failed two-point conversion is also on offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and head coach Rex Ryan. They’re the ones who decided to go with an empty backfield and a pass into the end zone, which is not what the Jets do best. When the Jets need two yards, they should be giving the ball to Chris Ivory (who had a great game), and not trusting Smith (who’s still far too inaccurate a passer) to throw a touch pass.

Some day, maybe Smith will develop into a good enough passer that he can be counted on to make that throw. Until that day comes, the Jets would be wise to rely on running the ball when the game is on the line.

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Jets-Pats finish includes another field-goal controversy

Officials Getty Images

Last year, the Patriots lost to the Jets on a field goal, thanks to the throwing of a flag on a failed effort that gave the Manhattanites a Mulligan.

This year, the Jets didn’t get a second chance to get their first win since Week One.

It happened on the last play of the game, a 58-yard field goal try that would have delivered, if good, a 28-27 victory for the Jets.  As explained (and demonstrated with an Instagram video that probably won’t be up for very long unless the dude who posted it acquired the express, written consent of the NFL) by Dom Cosentino of NJ.com, an official seems to keep Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower from lining up directly over the center at the snap of the ball.

Rule 9, Section 1, Article 3 provides that any player within one yard of the line of scrimmage on a field goal try “must have his entire body outside the snapper’s shoulder pads at the snap.”  So if Hightower had planned to walk up to the center — and to remain right in front of him until the snap — a flag would have (or at least should have) been thrown, and the Jets would have (or at least should have) gotten a chance to kick the ball from five yards closer.

So is it appropriate for an official to help a guy avoid a penalty by getting him lined up the right way?  Some would argue persuasively that officials should let nature takes its own course, allowing the improper alignment and then enforcing the rule against it.  Others would point out that officials routinely help players get properly lined up so that the game isn’t bogged down with flags; for example, receivers often check with the line judge or the head linesman to ensure that they are on or off the line of scrimmage before the snap.

We’ve asked the league for comment on whether it’s appropriate for the officials to intervene in this specific situation.

Ultimately, it may not matter.  Right after Hightower is steered away from the snapper, the Patriots’ entire defensive line shifts on both sides, sliding into position just outside the snapper’s shoulder pads on either side.  If Hightower was planning to walk all the way up to the snapper, he probably didn’t plan on staying there.  It looks like the goal was to distract the snapper, with the intent of stepping back out as the other players shifted.

Of course, the snapper could have opted under those specific circumstances (if they had happened) to initiate the play prematurely, hopeful that the flag would be thrown and the 58-yard try would become a 53-yard attempt.

We don’t know what would have happened because the official kept Hightower from completing his walk up to the line of scrimmage directly over the snapper.

UPDATE 9:32 a.m. ET:  The NFL tells PFT that this is “standard operating procedure,” aimed at promoting player safety.

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Cardinals working on a new contract for Carson Palmer

Washington Redskins v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

The Cardinals have won consistently with three different quarterbacks taking the field this year.

But they want to keep their starter around for longer.

According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, the Cards have opened contract negotiations with quarterback Carson Palmer’s agent, and hope to have a deal done before the end of the regular season.

“I won’t get into specific points of the negotiations but we’ve had some dialogue with Dave Dunn,” General Manager Steve Keim said. “He (Palmer) has done a great job for us.”

Palmer signed a three-year deal with the Cards last spring, but the final year voids if he’s on the roster five days after the Super Bowl (which happens to be in Arizona, which the Cardinals might be playing in).

It’s an interesting position for the team, for several reasons. Palmer’s unquestionably a good fit with coach Bruce Arians, as they’re 14-7 together.

But Palmer’s also 35 and coming off a bout of nerve damage in his right arm, which caused him to miss three games. Backup Drew Stanton played capably in his absence.

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After signing huge contract, Patrick Peterson coming up short

deseanjackson AP

Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson signed a five-year, $70 million contract this offseason. So far, he isn’t playing up to the lofty expectations that come with that kind of money.

“I do believe I’m not playing to the best of my ability right now,” Peterson told the Associated Press, “but that’s definitely going to change.”

Washington receiver DeSean Jackson beat Peterson for a 64-yard touchdown on Sunday, leading Cardinals coach Bruce Arians to say the game “was not good for him.”

“Got beat on an inside route when he was supposed to have inside technique — can’t happen,” Arians said. “When you’re playing inside man-to-man, you have to force your guy outside. It was not his best game.”

Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim added that Peterson has a “tendency not to focus and lack of intensity for 60 minutes.”

Those weren’t the things Arians and Keim were saying when Peterson signed that huge contract, but when Peterson signed that huge contract he was coming off a good season. This year, Peterson is coming up short.

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Rex Ryan: Too many darn mistakes

Rex Ryan AP

A cursory look at the statistics from Thursday night’s Jets-Patriots game might lead you to believe that the Jets came out on top.

After all, they outgained the Patriots by 100 yards, held onto the ball for 40 minutes, ran for 218 yards and didn’t turn the ball over while scoring on their first five drives of the night. A deeper look, though, would show the dropped passes and penalties that led to field goals on four of those five scoring drives, an awful punt in the fourth quarter that forced the Patriots to go just 46 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown and a pair of first-half touchdown drives that saw the Pats go 160 yards in just 4:59 combined.

After the 27-25 loss ended with a blocked Nick Folk field goal attempt, Rex Ryan met the media for the sixth straight week as the losing coach. The Jets were as good as they’ve been all season, but still lost and Ryan admitted that he was as agitated as he’s ever been as the team’s coach as a result of watching this one get away.

“I’m not shell-shocked at all,” Ryan said, via NJ.com. “I’m a little upset. Our record is what it is. I’m not shell-shocked by any stretch. We did what we wanted to do on them. We were able to control the football, ran the football, did those things that it takes to win the game, then we just made too many darn mistakes. That’s what it is. But shell-shocked? I’m not shell-shocked, by any stretch.”

The Jets could have won the game, but they didn’t and a loss like that looks just the same in a 1-6 record as the 31-0 humiliation against the Chargers. And that makes it increasingly likely that someone else will be in Ryan’s spot the next time the Jets pay a visit to Gillette Stadium.

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Patriots block last second Nick Folk field goal, hold on for 27-25 win over Jets

New York Jets v New England Patriots Getty Images

New England Patriots defensive tackle Chris Jones blocked an attempted game-winning 58-yard field goal attempt from Nick Folk as time expired as the Patriots held on for a 27-25 victory over the New York Jets on Thursday night.

In easily the most competitive Thursday night contest of the season so far, the lead changed hands five times with neither team holding a lead of more than eight points all night.

Chris Ivory scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:58 left in the third quarter to give the Jets a 19-17 lead over New England.

Stephen Gostkowski hit a 36-yard field goal to put New England back on top, 20-19, four minutes later and Tom Brady connected with Danny Amendola for a 19-yard touchdown pass with 7:49 left to play to give the Patriots a 27-19 lead.

The Jets responded with a 12-play, 86-yard scoring drive capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Geno Smith to Jeff Cumberland with 2:31 left to play. However, a two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful as Smith was unable to connect with tight end Jace Amaro.

New York forced a three-and-out and a New England punt that gave them the ball back with 1:06 left to play.

Smith completed a pair of checkdowns to Chris Johnson, then found David Nelson and Jeremy Kerley for 11 and 13 yards, respectively, as the Jets crossed midfield and into possible field goal range. One more 5-yard pass to Ivory set up the game-winning try with five seconds lefts to play, but Jones managed to knock the kick down to preserve the victory for New England.

Ultimately, the Jets squandered too many touchdown opportunities after moving the ball into Patriots territory.

New York settled for two field goals from inside the New England 10-yard line and two more from inside the 30. The Jets possessed the ball for nearly 41 minutes and managed to keep Brady and the Patriots offense off the field for the majority of the night.

Ivory rushed for 107 yards on 21 carries and Chris Johnson added 61 yards on 13 attempts as the Jets found success in the running game. Smith was also efficient with 226 yards and a touchdown on the night. But the inability to convert those lengthy drives into touchdowns proved to be the downfall.

Brady completed 20 of 37 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns on the night for the Patriots.

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Jets cut Patriots’ lead to 27-25 but can’t convert two-pointer

Geno Smith AP

Needing a touchdown and a two-point conversion to tie Thursday’s game at New England, the Jets got three-fourths of what they sought.

The Jets drew to 27-25 with 2:31 left in regulation on a 10-yard TD pass from quarterback Geno Smith to tight end Jeff Cumberland. The touchdown capped an impressive 12-play, 86-yard drive — a march that belied the Jets’ 1-5 record entering Thursday night.

But on the two-point try, Smith’s pass to tight end Jace Amaro was a little long. The Patriots recovered the ensuing on-sides kick but could not run out the clock, and the Jets have the ball back at around their 10 with 1:06 left.

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Geno Smith exits for one play after being hit on left leg, returns

Geno Smith AP

Jets starting quarterback Geno Smith briefly exited the fourth quarter of Thursday’s game at New England after being hit in the lower body, but he was back on the field after just one play on the sideline.

On a first-down play from his own 10-yard-line, Smith was hit in the left knee by Patriots defensive lineman Chris Jones as he released a pass. The injury to the second-year quarterback looked ominous, as Smith lay on the turf after being hit. However, after backup Michael Vick rushed off left end for six yards on second down, Smith was back on the field for third down.

The Jets’ drive would end in a punt, but it ended with Smith — who’s shown flashes of promise against New England — back in control of the offense.

The Patriots would add a Danny Amendola TD on their next drive, extending their lead to 27-19. But Smith and the Jets are driving with less than four minutes left.

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Patriots hold one-point lead on pesky Jets

Chris Ivory AP

The Jets may be 1-5, but they are not going quietly into night against rival New England.

The visiting Jets began the third quarter with an 80-yard march ending in a one-yard Chris Ivory TD run to take a 19-17 lead in Foxborough. The Patriots would counter with a scoring drive of their own, with Stephen Gostkowski’s 36-yard field goal just staying inside the left upright to give New England a 20-19 edge with a little more than four minutes left in the third.

The Jets’ scoring drive was keyed in part by two third-down catches by wideout Eric Decker, whose 14- and 18-yard receptions helped keep the march going. And Ivory, the powerful ex-Saint, is having a productive night, racking up 101 yards on his first 18 carries.

The Patriots have moved the ball well when they’ve had it. But they haven’t had it often, as the Jets held a more than 2:1 time of possession edge late in the third quarter.

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Vereen’s two TDs give Patriots narrow halftime lead

New York Jets v New England Patriots Getty Images

A pair of receiving touchdowns by tailback Shane Vereen have allowed the Patriots take a 17-12 halftime lead over the Jets at Gillette Stadium on Thursday night in Foxborough.

Vereen’s three-yard TD catch with 4:22 left in the half allowed the Pats to retake the lead from the 1-5 Jets, whose points have come on four Nick Folk field goals.

Vereen began the scoring with a 49-yard TD reception 1:31 into the game. On the play, Vereen ran free up the sideline, and no one picked him up. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12-of-22, 174 yards) threw deep, and Vereen made a diving catch for the score.

The Patriots added a 39-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski at the end of the half. A 32-yard pass interference penalty of the Jets’ Antonio Allen pushed New England into scoring range.

The Jets have dominated time of possession, holding the ball for more than 22 minutes. A strong ground game led by Chris Ivory (14 carries, 69 yards) has helped New York control the clock.

However, the Jets’ inability to score touchdowns has been the difference in the game. New York’s two marches into the red zone ended in just field goals, which have been enough to keep the underdog Jets close.

But at some point, the Jets could use a touchdown or two against the powerful Pats.

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With three field goals, Jets take lead

Jets Getty Images

That quick-strike touchdown from the Patriots will be enough to win the game.  Unless it won’t.

The Jets methodically have put together three scoring drives to start the game, picking up field goals from Nick Folk of 22, 47, and 46 yards.

Each drive consisted of double-digit plays.  As MDS noted on Twitter, the three scoring drives in three attempts matches the total scoring efforts from 26 prior total drives.

The Jets surprisingly lead, 9-7.  Even more surprisingly, we have a Thursday night game that isn’t a rout in the first half.

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