Skip to content

Teddy Bridgewater’s goal: Completing 70 percent of his passes

New York Jets v Minnesota Vikings Getty Images

Only five times in NFL history has a quarterback completed 70 percent of his passes. Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater thinks he can be the sixth.

“I think we try to aim to be over 70 percent in the quarterback room,” Bridgewater told the Star-Tribune. “That’s one of our goals. We take pride in completion percentage, we take pride in taking care of the football and commanding the offense. It’s going to be a fun year. I have a ton of weapons at my exposure; and I can’t wait to get everyone going.”

Bridgewater completed 64.4 percent of his passes last year, the third-highest completion percentage for a rookie in NFL history. But increasing to 70 percent in his second year is extremely unlikely. A 70 percent completion rate is really, really hard. Peyton Manning has never done it. Tom Brady has never done it. Aaron Rodgers has never done it. The only active quarterback who has ever completed 70 percent of his passes in a season is Drew Brees, who did it in both 2009 and 2011. And the only other quarterbacks in history who have completed 70 percent of their passes were Ken Anderson in 1982, Joe Montana in 1989 and Steve Young in 1994.

So far this preseason, Bridgewater has completed 78.6 percent of his passes. It’s not realistic to think he’ll complete his passes at close to that rate in the regular season, but Bridgewater has big goals for his second season.

Permalink 141 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bill Belichick admits “Tom’s situation” could change planning

Bill Belichick AP

In regards to the still-in-the-air four-game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady, Patriots coach Bill Belichick hasn’t said much.

In fact, his one main line — “it’s already been addressed” — could have been delivered by a mail clerk.

But during an interview with WEEI, Belichick acknowledged the possibility of not having his star quarterback on the field for the opener and perhaps beyond.

He was asked when his game preparation might change as it pertains to backup Jimmy Garoppolo, if he has to lead the team against the Steelers on Sept. 10.

“Once we start our preparation for the Pittsburgh game, based on whatever information we have — injuries and whatever else — we’ll prepare to play the game the best way we can, the most competitive way we can,” Belichick said, via Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. “We’ll just have to see what information we have, and that can be from a variety of sources, whether it’s Tom’s situation or players that are managing some type of physical condition, we’ll just have to see where we are when we get into that preparation and then maybe play it out during the week. It’s no different than a player who may be able to play in the game, or maybe isn’t due to injury. As we get closer to the game, we’ll see how that unfolds.”

But he also added that they’re not preparing for the Steelers yet, so the idea of “starter reps” in practice isn’t a thing.

“Our goal is really to get everybody ready,” Belichick said. “We can’t just focus on one player. We have to get the entire team ready and that’s everybody, . . . that’s what we’ve been doing and that’s what we’ll continue to do. At some point that will change, but I don’t think we’re there yet.”

Whether those are tea leaves to be read into or not, it’s at least a recognition that something could be coming. And maybe, just maybe, Belichick knows something more than he’s willing to share.

Permalink 106 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Pete Carroll on current rules regarding quarterback hits: “It’s not right”

Russell Wilson, Dee Ford AP

Two years ago, former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was concerned about hits on his mobile quarterback. Now, Harbaugh’s former nemesis has the same concern.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll commented on the topic of contact with running quarterbacks two days after Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs applied a clean, legal (and low) hit to Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford after a handoff.

“[W]e’ll be very much a part of that discussion if things continue like it’s going, because it’s not right,” Carroll said in comments distributed by the team. “We’ve been involved in that discussion with the league since Russell [Wilson] has been here, we’ve had the running quarterback. We’re really tuned into that so I’m anxious to see what comes up, because it certainly is not the way to want it to go. I would think, as we always here in the preseason to over-officiate, I think this is an area in particular that I’m sure we’ll hear something this week.”

It’s not clear what Carroll and the Seahawks are expecting to hear this week, given that NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino already has reiterated the notion that the quarterback is fair game until he’s clearly out of the play.

And that won’t be changing. Quarterbacks only get special protections as passers, not as runners. For teams with running quarterbacks, the rules are no different than if they had a running back lined up under center.

Permalink 125 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Cris Carter: I can’t make an excuse, but my heart was in the right place

Cris Carter AP

ESPN opened tonight’s edition of Monday Night Countdown with an apology from analyst Cris Carter over his comments from the 2014 rookie symposium that came to light over the weekend.

Carter, who said at the symposium that young players should have a “fall guy” to take the blame if they’re ever in trouble with the law, said tonight that he regrets what he said.

“It’s really hard to go through my thought process,” Carter said. “I can’t make an excuse for what my mindset was. My heart was in the right place. I didn’t use words that I was very proud of. It’s not the kind of advice I would offer young people. I would never tell young people to break the law or avoid prosecution. It was bad advice. I really, really regret my words when I heard them come back to me. And more importantly it hurt young people and it hurt them in their approach to the National Football League. So I take it very, very seriously. I do regret that day. I hope moving forward that the NFL still has enough trust in me and has me connected to their young people.”

Carter vowed not to let anything like that happen again.

“I hope I learn from it and I hope it makes me better and I hope my reaction in the next situation is better,” Carter said.

ESPN and the NFL have distanced themselves from Carter’s comments, but ESPN did not suspend Carter. He remains on the air, sounding chastened.

Permalink 152 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bill Belichick on Reggie Wayne: We’ll see how it goes

Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots Getty Images

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has spent a lot of time devising plans to cover wide receiver Reggie Wayne over the years and those experiences left him with plenty of complimentary things to say about the veteran wideout.

Now he’ll get a chance to coach Wayne, who signed a one-year deal with the Patriots on Monday. In past years, it wouldn’t have been a question whether Wayne would find a spot on the team’s roster but Wayne looked like he lost a step or two in 2014. That’s left Belichick to play “wait and see” before figuring out what, if any, role Wayne will play for the Patriots this year.

“We’ll find out. We’ll see how it goes,” Belichick said during an appearance on WEEI. “We’ve never had him in our system before. I mean I’ve coached him in the Pro Bowl and all that. We just have to see how it goes. He’s had a great career and has done a lot of things for the Colts organization, primarily playing on the left and in more recent years being moved around to playing on the right and also some slot in situations. I think he has a lot of versatility, obviously he has a lot of experience so we’ll have to see how it goes.”

We’ve seen receivers like Chad Johnson fail to flourish in New England after having productive careers with other teams, so it’s no sure thing that Wayne will wind up making an impact for the Patriots this fall. With Brandon Gibson hitting injured reserve on Monday and the Aaron Dobson/Josh Boyce duo failing to grab major roles with the team since being drafted in 2013, Wayne probably won’t be lacking chances to show he has something left in the tank.

Permalink 73 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

NFL requested that Carter “fall guy” comment be kept off the record

Pro Bowl Getty Images

NFL executives immediately recognized that Cris Carter had stepped in it when he urged players at the 2014 rookie symposium to have a “fall guy” take the blame for legal trouble. So the league requested that the only reporter present keep Carter’s comments out of his story.

That reporter, Robert Klemko of TheMMQB.com, got what he describes as “near-unfettered access to the rookie orientation event.” But in return for that access, he agreed to allow the league to make some elements of the symposium off the record, retroactively.

That’s unusual in journalism. Usually, when a source and a reporter agree to go off the record, they make that agreement in advance, and a source can’t make a statement off the record after the fact. But Klemko explained today that he felt it was a concession worth making.

“I only agree to these omissions when the subject matter is immaterial to what I gather is the larger point of the story, which, in the case of the symposium, I believed Carter’s comment was,” Klemko wrote today.

Klemko says Kim Fields, who serves in player engagement as the league’s vice president of strategic development and operations, immediately bristled at the Carter “fall guy” comments.

“Fields looked my way and said, ‘that can’t go in the story,'” Klemko wrote. “I was torn. I take pride in reporting every detail, even at the risk of damaging relationships.”

But ultimately, Klemko agreed to the NFL’s request.

“I loved the Carter quote for how outlandish and idiotic it was, but I didn’t see it as emblematic of the symposium,” Klemko wrote. “Maybe it was a mistake not to run it, but I had made an agreement which boiled down to this: Tell 95% of an untold story, or none of it. I chose 95% because I wanted to take readers someplace they’d never been, and I wanted to continue getting access to these sorts of events.”

Today, Klemko decided to tell the rest of the story, whether the NFL likes it or not.

It’s bizarre that the NFL was so adamant that Klemko couldn’t include Carter’s comments in his story, and then NFL.com ended up publishing the video of Carter’s presentation. But it shows that sometimes in the NFL, the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing. As one league employee was trying to keep Carter’s comments from becoming public, another league employee was putting Carter’s comments on NFL.com.

Permalink 109 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Glover Quin: Don’t blame the preseason, God meant for Jordy Nelson to get hurt

Jordy Nelson, Glover Quin AP

When Packers receiver Jordy Nelson suffered a serious knee injury in Sunday’s preseason game, it intensified the already prevalent questions around the league about whether it’s time to cut back on the preseason. But one NFL player believes that there’s no point in doing that.

Lions safety Glover Quin said today that God will decide every player’s fate, and changing the NFL’s preseason schedule can’t change that.

“I hated Jordy got hurt, but in my beliefs, and the way I believe, it was — God meant for Jordy to get hurt,” Quin said. “So if he wouldn’t have got hurt today, if he wouldn’t have played in that game, if he wouldn’t have practiced anymore, and the next time he walked on the field would have been opening day, I feel like he would have got hurt opening day. So in that sense, now they’ve got three weeks to make adjustments and prepare before opening day, as opposed to it happening opening day and now you’re in the season and now Jordy gets hurt. It happening in the preseason, you hate that it happened, but that gives them time to make adjustments and try to find something.”

Quin is entitled to believe that God decides everything that will happen on a football field, but if we follow his logic, where do we stop? Should the NFL not bother with any player safety rules because God will decide which players get hurt? Should NFL teams not bother having doctors on the sidelines because God will decide which players to heal?

Although Quin made clear that he respects Nelson and feels badly for any fellow player who gets hurt, his comments don’t make a lot of sense. The NFL has an obligation to take steps to keep players safe, and it would be wrong for the league to simply shrug off injuries as God’s will.

Permalink 172 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Patriots sign Reggie Wayne

Cincinnati Bengals v Indianapolis Colts Getty Images

When the Colts host the Patriots in Week Six, they may be welcoming more than a team that routed them twice during the 2014 season.

They could also be welcoming back one of the greatest players in franchise history. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Patriots have signed wide receiver Reggie Wayne to a one-year contract.

Wayne, who had triceps and knee surgery this offseason, took a physical with the Patriots over the weekend. It would appear he proved healthy enough for the Patriots to see if there’s still enough left in the tank for Wayne to help their offense during the 2015 season. If not, the Colts will avoid seeing a franchise icon in another uniform although they’ll still have to figure out a way to beat New England.

Wayne’s arrival will also give the Patriots some more options at receiver while waiting for better health elsewhere in the group. Brandon LaFell and Julian Edelman have missed almost all of camp and Brian Tyms, Aaron Dobson and Brandon Gibson have also been dealing with recent injuries. The move will also leave the Packers to look elsewhere if they want to bring in outside help in the wake of Jordy Nelson’s knee injury as they were reportedly interested in talking to Wayne if things didn’t work out in New England.

Permalink 139 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Chip Kelly confused about what “roughing the passer” means

Baltimore Ravens v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

Eagles coach Chip Kelly still thinks the hit Terrell Suggs delivered to Sam Bradford was roughing the passer, even after the NFL explained that Suggs should not have been penalized.

Kelly said at his press conference today that he thinks referee Jerome Boger made the right call when he flagged Suggs for roughing the passer.

“I thought the interpretation on the field was correct,” Kelly said. “I thought it was a penalty and I thought Jerome Boger called it right.”

Kelly is entitled to his own opinions, but he’s not entitled to his own facts. And Kelly is simply wrong on the facts here. The NFL rulebook specifically states that roughing the passer protects only “a player who is in a passing posture.” Bradford, who handed off to Darren Sproles on the play, was never in a passing posture. Boger was wrong to call roughing the passer.

Where Kelly can make an argument is that Suggs should have been called for unnecessary roughness for hitting Bradford after Bradford handed the ball off. NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said that a quarterback can be hit after handing off “if the quarterback has an option,” but Kelly says that Blandino is wrongly suggesting that the Eagles were running the zone-read on the play in question.

“Not every shotgun run is a zone-read play. We didn’t run any zone reads,” Kelly said. “We don’t run as much zone read as everybody thinks we do. . . . [Blandino] said it was a read-option play. It wasn’t a read-option play. I know our quarterbacks can be hit on a read-option play, but not every run we have is a read-option run.”

Kelly said he believes the NFL should protect quarterbacks who hand off in a shotgun formation.

“I think it would be troubling for the league if every quarterback in the shotgun can get hit,” Kelly said.

Kelly may be right about that, but he should be arguing for the NFL to expand its protections of quarterbacks. He shouldn’t be arguing that Suggs committed roughing the passer on the play in question, because he didn’t.

Permalink 121 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Dean Blandino confirms Suggs hit on Bradford is not a foul

Terrell Suggs AP

The Eagles were unhappy with Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs on Saturday for his hit to the knees of Sam Bradford. But the NFL says Suggs did nothing wrong.

NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino appeared on NFL Network this morning and said of Suggs’s hit, “It’s not a foul.”

The referee called roughing the passer on the play, but Blandino said the ref was mistaken and that he plans to communicate with all of the league’s officials this week to make sure they understand that quarterbacks are to be treated as runners unless they are clearly in a passing posture or clearly don’t have the ball.

“If the quarterback has an option, he’s considered a runner until he either clearly doesn’t have the football or he re-establishes himself as a passer,” Blandino said. “So it’s not a foul by rule. It’s something that we’ll make sure that we cover with our game officials because the defensive end coming off the edge, he doesn’t know if the quarterback is going to keep it, he doesn’t know if he’s going to take off and run or drop back and so we treat the quarterback in that instance as a runner until he clearly re-establishes as a passer or until he clearly doesn’t have the football.”

Blandino’s comments are vindication for Suggs, who said after the game that he had done nothing wrong. The Eagles may think Suggs is a dirty player, but the hit was a legal play.

Permalink 125 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jed York seems to endorse Jonathan Kraft’s message on player discipline

Jed York AP

It was easy for many to dismiss the recent explanation from Patriots president Jonathan Kraft regarding the possibility that the time has come to reconsider the NFL’s extreme power over certain types of player discipline. After all, Kraft’s team currently faces losing one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history for 25 percent of the season due to the latest exercise of that power.

But, as Peter King of TheMMQB.com notes in his latest column, 49ers CEO Jed York has apparently endorsed the message, retweeting a Twitter post from ESPN’s Adam Schefter regarding the Kraft comments.

While a retweet doesn’t always amount to agreement with the message being repeated, York is smart enough to know he’d be creating that impression.

And it’s a strong impression to create, given that the 49ers have no current stake in any pending NFL disciplinary issues.

Then again, last year at this time the 49ers were on the wrong side of the league’s disciplinary powers, losing former 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith for nine games under the Personal Conduct Policy and substance-abuse policy. While Smith’s punishment was negotiated, the NFL had all the leverage — and not having Smith around for nine games made it harder for the 49ers to get back to the postseason.

Ultimately, that’s why other teams should be heeding what Kraft said. The NFL has a recent habit of exercising its extreme powers in an arguably arbitrary manner, and any team could in theory find itself in the cross hairs of the league’s next fire-ready-aim approach to a situation that is far more nuanced, complicated, and/or cultural than the NFL would admit.

From the cap penalties imposed against Dallas and Washington for treating the uncapped year as uncapped to the Saints bounty scandal to the no-way-he’s-playing-in-2014 approach to Vikings running back Adrian Peteron to the no-way-he’s-playing-in-2014 to former Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy to #DeflateGate, the league has a habit of making up its mind about a given situation and then spending as much time and money as necessary to justify its predetermined position. The power the league possesses is conducive to that kind of an approach, and York apparently realizes that it can hurt any given team at any given time — and the entire league every time.

Permalink 82 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Dwayne Bowe: We’ll show doubters how a high-powered offense moves

2015 Cleveland Browns Mini Camp Practice Getty Images

You can call Browns wide receiver Dwayne Bowe many things, but you can’t call him a pessimist.

Bowe spent the offseason talking about getting his career back on an upward trajectory after a couple of middling seasons with the Chiefs before moving on to give rave reviews to quarterback Josh McCown, who he said can be a top-five quarterback in the league this season. Bowe’s been out with a hamstring injury and McCown threw a pair of interceptions in two quarter of work against the Bills last week, which may have doused some expectations for Cleveland’s offense but did nothing to dissaude Bowe.

“I’m very, very confident,” Bowe said, via Cleveland.com. “We have a talented core, our group. All it takes is time. We’ll let the doubters doubt. When we get on this field and work, we know what we’ve got as a team, the chemistry. When Week 1 comes around, we’re going to show a lot of doubters how a high-powered offense really moves.”

It’s not hard to find areas to dispute Bowe’s assertion that the Browns have an offense that’s ready to make detractors eat crow, not the least of which is the fact that their best chance of success would seem to come by grinding out yards on the ground with a three-headed backfield running behind the team’s strong offensive line. If that’s effective, the Browns can win games but it probably wouldn’t come with the kind of production we’d normally associate with a high-powered outfit.

Permalink 64 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

ESPN: We completely disagree with Cris Carter’s comments

Bears v Vikings X Getty Images

As the Cris Carter controversy continues, ESPN has issued a statement disavowing Carter’s comments — which were initially published by ESPN, though without Carter’s name attached to them.

After Carter’s comments urging NFL players to get a “fall guy” to take the blame if they face legal trouble emerged today, ESPN said that those comments aren’t indicative of ESPN’s values.

“We completely disagree with Cris’s remarks and we have made that extremely clear to him. Those views were entirely his own and do not reflect our company’s point of view in any way,” ESPN’s statement said.

Carter works as an NFL analyst for ESPN, but his name was not mentioned in the ESPN article that started the controversy. In that article, a feature on former 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, it was stated only that a presentation by “two prominent retired players” rubbed Borland the wrong way because one of the retired players had told the NFL’s rookies that they should find a “fall guy” to take any legal heat off them. Borland declined to tell the authors of the article the name of the prominent retired player who said that.

But it was easy to find out that it was Carter because footage of the rookie symposium was available at NFL.com. The league’s own website had the video up for more than a year before removing it today. Now ESPN has joined the NFL in distancing itself from Carter’s comments.

Permalink 172 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Randy Moss kicks open door for a potential return

Randy-Moss-Adam-Bettcher-Getty-Images1 Getty Images

Five days ago, former NFL receiver Randy Moss didn’t completely slam the door on a potential comeback. On Sunday night, he kicked it wide open.

“I actually have not lost the itch,” Moss told Curt Menefee of FOX. “I’ve been working out with a few guys over the offseason. I have been retired for the last two years, but you never know, Curt. But it’s the love of the game that I still have inside of me.”

Replied Menefee: “That’s not a commitment that you’re gonna be here beside us the rest of the year. It doesn’t sound like it. Are you thinking [about a return to football]?”

Said Moss with a big smile, “Hey, I don’t know. The sky’s the limit for me, Curt. So we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Moss seemed downright giddy as he discussed the possibility, which suggests that he either has decided to come back and/or that he knows the interest may be there. The Panthers have a clear need after the loss of receiver Kelvin Benjamin for the season with a torn ACL, but they seem to be intent on sticking with in-house options. The Packers now have a need with the loss of Jordy Nelson for the season with a torn ACL, but Green Bay consistently has resisted the temptation to add Moss over the past several years.

If he returns, it most likely would be with a team having a short-list franchise quarterback. The Patriots apparently would like to upgrade the position, given the decision to give Reggie Wayne a physical. But New England has never looked back after dumping him on the Vikings for a third-round pick in 2010.

If the ACL-tear trend continues to hit big-name wideouts, it could just be a matter of time before a team with big-name quarterback decides to to consider filling the spot with one of the greatest receivers in NFL history.

Permalink 93 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

NFL calls Cris Carter comments “unfortunate and inappropriate”

Hall of Fame Football AP

The NFL is distancing itself from comments made by Hall of Famer Cris Carter at the 2014 Rookie Symposium.

Carter said when addressing NFC rookies at the 2014 Symposium that they should have a “fall guy” ready to take the blame if they get into legal trouble. Although the NFL didn’t seem to have a problem with those comments at the time, a league spokesman told PFT in a statement today that the league does not think the comments were acceptable.

“This was an unfortunate and inappropriate comment made by Cris Carter during the 2014 NFC rookie symposium,” the NFL’s statement said. “The comment was not representative of the message of the symposium or any other league program. The league’s player engagement staff immediately expressed concern about the comment to Cris. The comment was not repeated in the 2014 AFC session or this year’s symposium.”

Left unanswered is why the NFL posted the comments online. If the league’s player engagement staff told Carter that the comments weren’t appropriate, why did someone at NFL.com think it was acceptable to post video of Carter’s comments?

We may never know the answer to that question, but NFL.com would be wise to be more careful in the future.

Permalink 161 Comments Feed for comments Back to top