DeMarco Murray: We’re not patting ourselves on the back for being 9-7 last year

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After missing the playoffs for two straight years, the Titans went 9-7 in 2011 and looked like a team that was moving in the right direction.

They went 6-10 the next year, had another losing record in 2013 and then fired head coach Mike Munchak. They won five games over the next two seasons before showing signs of life again in 2016. The Titans went 9-7 and won eight of their final 12 games to again build hopes that the team is on the verge of better days.

One of the messages from players after offseason work started this week is the same you could glean from how things went after the 2011 season. Linebacker Brian Orakpo said the team has “a lot of work to do” and running back DeMarco Murray said last year’s strides didn’t go far enough.

“The message from this morning: Last year is last year, but obviously we are on the right track,” Murray said, via the team’s website. “We have a year under our belt, knowing each other, and knowing what it takes to accomplish what we want to accomplish. But I don’t think anybody is patting ourselves on the back from last year — nine wins and no playoffs. Last year is last year, but this year we obviously want to get better and make something happen.”

The Titans addressed their secondary by signing cornerback Logan Ryan and safety Johnathan Cyprien and have several rising players on both sides of the ball. A pair of first-round picks in this year’s draft should build that group along with expectations that the Titans can continue to progress after a leap forward last year.

2017 Pro Bowl rosters announced

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The NFL on Tuesday announced 88 players who have been selected to play in the Pro Bowl.

The 2017 Pro Bowl will be played Jan. 29 in Orlando. After three years the game returns to the traditional AFC vs. NFC format.

Below is a list, by position, of players selected for the game…

QUARTERBACKS

AFC
Tom Brady, Patriots
Derek Carr, Raiders
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

NFC
Dak Prescott, Cowboys
Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Matt Ryan, Falcons

RUNNING BACKS

AFC
Le’Veon Bell, Steelers
LeSean McCoy, Bills
DeMarco Murray, Titans
Kyle Juszczyk, Ravens

NFC
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys
Devonta Freeman, Falcons
David Johnson, Cardinals
Mike Tolbert, Panthers

WIDE RECEIVERS

AFC
Antonio Brown, Steelers
Amari Cooper, Raiders
A.J. Green, Bengals
T.Y. Hilton, Colts

NFC
Odell Beckham Jr., Giants
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
Julio Jones, Falcons
Mike Evans, Buccaneers

TIGHT ENDS

AFC
Travis Kelce, Chiefs
Delanie Walker, Titans

NFC
Greg Olsen, Panthers
Jordan Reed, Redskins

OFFENSIVE LINE

AFC
Joe Thomas, Browns
Donald Penn Raiders
Taylor Lewan, Titans
Marshal Yanda, Ravens
Kelechi Osemele, Raiders
David DeCastro, Steelers
Rodney Hudson, Raiders
Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers

NFC
Tyron Smith, Cowboys
Trent Williams, Redskins
Jason Peters, Eagles
Zack Martin, Cowboys
Brandon Scherff, Redskins
T.J. Lang, Packers
Travis Frederick, Cowboys
Alex Mack, Falcons

DEFENSIVE LINE

AFC
Khalil Mack, Raiders
Cameron Wake, Dolphins
Jadeveon Clowney, Texans
Geno Atkins, Bengals
Ndamukong Suh, Dolphins
Jurrell Casey, Titans

NFC
Everson Griffen, Vikings
Cliff Avril, Seahawks
Michael Bennett, Seahawks
Aaron Donald, Rams
Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers
Fletcher Cox, Eagles

LINEBACKERS

AFC
Von Miller, Broncos
Lorenzo Alexander, Bills
Brian Orakpo, Titans
Dont’a Hightower, Patriots
C.J. Mosley, Ravens

NFC
Vic Beasley, Falcons
Ryan Kerrigan, Redskins
Thomas Davis, Panthers
Bobby Wagner, Seahawks
Luke Kuechly, Panthers

CORNERBACKS

AFC
Chris Harris, Broncos
Aqib Talib, Broncos
Marcus Peters, Chiefs
Casey Hayward, Chargers

NFC
Janoris Jenkins, Giants
Patrick Peterson, Cardinals
Richard Sherman, Seahawks
Xavier Rhodes, Vikings

SAFETIES

AFC
Devin McCourty, Patriots
Reggie Nelson, Raiders
Eric Berry, Chiefs

NFC
Landon Collins, Giants
Harrison Smith, Vikings
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Packers

SPECIALISTS

AFC
Colts punter Pat McAfee
Ravens kicker Justin Tucker
Chiefs return specialist Tyreek Hill
Patriots kick coverage specialist Matthew Slater

NFC
Rams punter Johnny Hekker
Falcons kicker Matt Bryant
Vikings return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson
Giants kick coverage specialist Dwayne Harris

Wednesday morning one-liners

AP

Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount leads the NFL with 14 rushing touchdowns.

Bills QB Tyrod Taylor has been sacked 39 times this season, most in the NFL.

Jets K Nick Folk has had three field goals blocked, most in the NFL this season.

Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi has been held under 80 yards for five consecutive games.

Although Ravens K Justin Tucker had a field goal blocked on Monday night, he’s still an NFL-best 31-for-32 this season.

Steelers WR Antonio Brown leads the NFL with 93 catches.

The Browns aren’t just an NFL-worst 0-13, they’re also an NFL-worst 2-11 against the spread.

Bengals QB Andy Dalton has fumbled nine times this season, the most in his career.

Colts WR T.Y. Hilton has 24 catches of 20 yards or longer, tied for the most in the NFL.

Texans DE Whitney Mercilus has recovered four fumbles, tied for the most in the NFL.

Titans OLB Brian Orakpo has double-digit sacks for the third time in his career.

Here’s a stat you wouldn’t expect: The Jaguars have gained more first downs than their opponents.

Broncos OLB Von Miller has 13.5 sacks, tied for the league lead.

Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill leads the NFL with 473 punt return yards, better than anyone else in the league by more than 100 yards.

Raiders rookie RB Jalen Richard is averaging an impressive 5.7 yards per carry this season.

Chargers QB Philip Rivers has an NFL-high 17 interceptions.

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott leads the league in rushing by a margin of 257 yards with just three games to go.

Giants WR Odell Beckham has six catches of 40 yards or longer, tied for the most in the NFL.

Eagles RB Darren Sproles is averaging a career-high 13.2 yards per punt return.

Washington RB Chris Thompson is averaging 5.4 yards a carry despite having no long outlier runs; his longest run this season was just 25 yards.

Detroit’s Andre Roberts has 18 kickoff returns of at least 20 yards, the most in the NFL this season.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers leads the NFL with 32 touchdown passes.

Vikings K Kai Forbath is perfect on field goals this season, but he has made just 71 percent of his extra points, a worse mark than Blair Walsh, whom the Vikings cut for missing too many extra points.

Bears QB Jay Cutler was sacked 17 times and threw 137 pass attempts; Brian Hoyer was sacked four times while throwing 200 passes and Matt Barkley has been sacked three times while throwing 119 passes while playing behind the same offensive line.

Saints QB Drew Brees leads the league with 4,170 passing yards.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan has an NFL-high 16 passes of 40 yards or longer.

Panthers QB Cam Newton has a career-low 53.5 percent completion rate this season.

Buccaneers WR Mike Evans has an NFL-high 68 receiving first downs.

Seahawks MLB Bobby Wagner has an NFL-high 139 tackles.

Cardinals RB David Johnson leads the league with 15 touchdowns.

L.A.’s Benny Cunningham has four kickoff returns of 40 yards or longer, most in the NFL.

San Francisco P Bradley Pinion has had 32 of his punts fair caught, most in the NFL.

Friday morning one-liners

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Bills fans get a chance to welcome former head coach Doug Marrone back this weekend.

The Dolphins want to cut out the “stupid stuff” that leads to penalties.

Who is the right fit next to LB Dont’a Hightower in the Patriots defense?

The tight end has been an invisible part of the Jets offense.

Ravens WR Breshad Perriman wasn’t targeted last weekend.

The Bengals don’t feel they face an elimination game this weekend.

WR Terrelle Pryor has been a rare positive for the Browns this year.

WR Antonio Brown ranks fourth all-time in touchdowns for the Steelers.

The Texans won’t be playing at home for a while after this Sunday.

A positive review of Colts QB Scott Tolzien’s work in the loss to the Steelers.

Denard Robinson is ready to step in at running back for the Jaguars if T.J. Yeldon can’t play.

Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo have been a productive pass rushing duo for the Titans.

The Broncos may need to find a new long snapper for Sunday.

The Chiefs didn’t really hold LB Justin Houston back in his 2016 debut.

Raiders T Donald Penn organized a Thanksgiving dinner donation by the entire offensive line.

Said Chargers RB Ronnie Hillman of QB Philip Rivers, “Just watching him and playing against him, he’s a great quarterback and a competitor. I hated him when I was in Denver, but we’re cooler now.”

Football is pretty fun for the Cowboys right now.

Should the Giants be focused on the wild card and not the division?

Some other top draft picks shared their advice for struggling Eagles WR Nelson Agholor.

Redskins QB Kirk Cousins had big numbers in Dallas, but not much red zone success.

CB Deiondre Hall practiced with the Bears for the first time since early October.

Said Lions K Matt Prater after moving to 25-of-25 on tying or go-ahead field goals in the fourth quarter, “I don’t know if I’d say ice-cold veins, just, you know, I have a lot of confidence in what we’re doing as far as a unit with guys up front.”

Are major changes coming for the Packers?

Third downs were a big problem for the Vikings offense on Thursday.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn wants his team to remain on the plus-side in turnover margin.

LB Luke Kuechly remains out, but other injured Panthers showed some progress.

Saints CB Delvin Breaux reached out to a high school player who suffered a back injury similar to one Breaux suffered at that age.

S Chris Conte’s turnaround in play has coincided with better results for the Buccaneers.

Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson is looking forward to matching up with Julio Jones.

WR Kenny Britt has been a bright spot in the Rams offense.

The 49ers leave for an extended road trip this weekend.

C Justin Britt’s ankle injury is a concern for the Seahawks this week.

Gates, Rivers have Chargers off to strong start

AP

The Chargers are moving the ball early and are out to a 9-0 lead on the Titans.

They scored first on a Philip Rivers touchdown pass to Antonio Gates, who’s getting extra work today with rookie tight end Hunter Henry sidelined.

Rivers and Gates hooked up for a touchdown for the 108th time in their careers. Gates is now three shy of tying Tony Gonzalez for the most touchdown catches ever by a tight end.

A D.J. Fluker unsportsmanlike conduct penalty derailed their second drive and forced the Chargers to settle for a Josh Lambo field goal. Lambo missed the extra point after the first touchdown.

Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo left the game on the first drive with a neck injury, but the team announced he’s expected to return. Chargers wide receiver Jeremy Butler was injured on his team’s second series.

Wednesday morning one-liners

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Patriots QB Tom Brady’s 132.6 passer rating is by far the highest in the NFL.

Jets WR Brandon Marshall has dropped six passes, most in the NFL. Marshall also leads the league in passes not caught, with 38 passes thrown his way that he didn’t catch.

Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi is averaging 6.37 yards a carry, a full yard better than any other qualifying running back in the NFL.

Bills QB Tyrod Taylor’s 8.6 yards per carry on artificial surfaces is the best in the NFL.

Bengals QB Andy Dalton has already been sacked 22 times this year, more than he was sacked in either of the last two full seasons.

Browns RB Isaiah Crowell has the longest run in the NFL this season at 85 yards.

Ravens QB Joe Flacco has thrown an NFL-high 308 passes this season.

Steelers WR Sammie Coates has an NFL-high six catches of 40+ yards.

One good thing you can say about Texans QB Brock Osweiler: He has five third-down runs, and he has picked up the first down on all five of them.

Colts QB Andrew Luck has been sacked an NFL-high 25 times.

The Jaguars have picked up an NFL-low 21 third-down conversions this season.

Tennessee’s Brian Orakpo’s seven sacks have been for a combined total of 52 yards lost, best in the NFL.

Raiders CB David Amerson has broken up 11 passes, tied for the best mark in the league.

Broncos RB Devontae Booker hasn’t been stuffed at or behind the line of scrimmage a single time in 51 carries this year.

Chiefs RB Spencer Ware’s 492 rushing yards this year are already more than he had last year, as he’s taken over for Jamaal Charles as Kansas City’s featured back.

After not rushing for any touchdowns last year, Chargers RB Melvin Gordon is tied for the league lead this year.

Even after the Cowboys’ bye week, RB Ezekiel Elliott leads the league with 703 rushing yards and 37 rushing first downs.

Washington RB Matt Jones is a perfect 7-for-7 picking up the first down on third-and-1 this season.

The Eagles are the best team in the NFL, according to the stats at Football Outsiders.

Giants WR Odell Beckham is averaging a career-high 15.8 yards a carry.

Detroit’s Golden Tate has 289 yards after catch, best of any wide receiver in the NFL.

Packers WR Jordy Nelson has an NFL-high five catches inside the 10-yard line.

No one avoided interceptions like Bears QB Brian Hoyer, who threw 200 passes without a single pick before breaking his arm.

Vikings QB Sam Bradford has picked up the first down on an NFL-high 65.4 percent of his passes on third down with 3-7 yards to go.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan leads the NFL with 2,348 passing yards.

Saints QB Drew Brees has an NFL-high 17 touchdown passes.

Panthers QB Cam Newton has first downs on 38.7 percent of his rushing attempts, best in the NFL.

Buccaneers WR Mike Evans has 34 receiving first downs, best in the NFL.

San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick is doing one thing well: He’s averaging a career-high 8.8 yards a carry.

Cardinals WR Michael Floyd has a first down on 89.5 percent of his catches.

After averaging 5.3 yards a carry last year, Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls is averaging 1.3 yards a carry this year.

Rams RB Todd Gurley still doesn’t have a 100-yard game this season.

Titans want to give Marcus Mariota more chances to run

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When Mike Mularkey took over the Titans, he made it clear he wanted to run an “exotic smashmouth” offense.

That extends to his quarterback, as he said he wants to make sure Marcus Mariota has more chances to run the ball, even after the team acquired running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry this offseason.

It’s going to be in the game plan,” Mularkey said, via Jason Wolf of the Tennesseean. “We’re going to obviously take what the defense is going to give us when we’re playing against them. If we see something that’s not going to expose him that we have guys to block players — we’re not going to leave anybody unblocked for the plays we’re going to design.

“So there’s no set number of runs, but if we can — I mean you talk about a threat, a serious threat and a problem for defenses, it’s him running.”

Mariota ran for 2,237 yards at Oregon, but only got 34 rushing attempts as a rookie. Of course, part of that had to do with missing four games with knee injuries, and it’s reasonable to wonder whether giving him more chances to get hit is a good idea. But Mularkey said it was also a result of the injuries keeping him from being able to defend himself fully by moving his feet, so they didn’t use that part of his game as much as they might have.

On the other hand, Mariota also ripped off an 87-yarder against the Jaguars which served as a hint of what he’s capable of.

“He runs the ball and he brings another dimension to the game,” Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “You guys seen what he did [against Jacksonville]. It was ridiculous. You bring that to the game, it really demoralizes a defense. He definitely wants to get the ball downfield with his arm, but when the play breaks and he has to make something happen, a quarterback that can make something happen with his feet, pass rushers and guys getting after the quarterback hate chasing running quarterbacks.

“I’m speaking from experience. I used to hate chasing Michael Vick when he was in his prime. And Marcus has that same capability with his speed. It brings a whole ‘nother dimension, and I fear for the guys, because you get a guy that’s a dual threat guy, it’s really an advantage for us.”

Having the threat along will help serve as a deterrent, but the Titans are also built to run in the traditional manner and it might be safer for them that way.

Brian Orakpo: Last year is fuel for DeMarco Murray’s fire

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Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo has seen a lot of running back DeMarco Murray over the years.

Orakpo played at Texas while Murray was running the ball for Oklahoma and the two men squared off several times in the NFL when Orakpo was with the Redskins and Murray was playing for the Cowboys. Now the two men are teammates in Tennessee and Orakpo says that he’s seeing the tough-running Murray of the past rather than the ineffective one from Philly last season.

“Obviously, people look at last year being a down year, but that’s what makes it more fuel to the fire for him,” Orakpo said, via the Tennessean. “I think he’s going to come back even hungrier, even readier to prove everybody wrong, to prove all his doubters out there, and like I said, I’m just glad he’s on our side, especially the way he’s running the ball now.”

With Derrick Henry joining the Titans in the second round and other recent draft picks David Cobb and Bishop Sankey on hand, the Titans have options in the event optimism about Murray proves unfounded. If they have their choice, however, they’d surely opt for a resurgent Murray balancing out the offense in Marcus Mariota’s second season.

Titans defense likes the “thunder and thunder” approach on offense

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The Titans have talked about being an “exotic smashmouth” offense in 2016 and they’ve made moves to implement that kind of scheme this offseason.

They traded for running back DeMarco Murray, signed center Ben Jones as a free agent and then used picks in the first two rounds on tackle Jack Conklin and running back Derrick Henry. They also drafted guard Sebastian Tretola and the moves have been met with approval on the other side of the ball.

Titans safety Reshad Johnson called Murray and Henry “a nice thunder and thunder combination” in the backfield while cornerback Jason McCourty thinks the approach will help the defense play at a higher level because of the extra “time to rest” a ball-control offense will provide them. Linebacker Brian Orakpo focused on the impact on the other team’s defense.

“It demoralizes you. It really keeps you honest,” Orakpo said, via the Tennessean. “They can really pound. And that’s what opens the passing game. If you start off a game where your running game is completely shut down and you have to pass throughout the whole game, you’re going to be in some trouble, and we found ourselves in that situation numerous times [last season]. I feel like Murray is actually a guy that’s a threat now, a guy they have to really, really gameplan for, and you throw in the Heisman winner in Henry in the mix and the other complement backs that we have, man, it’s going to be hell.”

Intent and execution don’t always match up, but there’s little doubt that a Titans offense that can put points on the board by controlling the ball and draining the clock would be an improvement over the one they had last season.

Brian Orakpo, Jahleel Addae would have been ejected under new rule

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Only two NFL players would have been kicked out of a game last season under the proposed new rule that would turn two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties into an automatic ejection. And contrary to popular belief, those two players are not Odell Beckham and Josh Norman.

Although the Beckham-Norman back-and-forth got ugly last year and has been widely discussed as the catalyst for the new rule requiring an ejection, the NFL has confirmed to PFT that neither player committed the fouls that would result in an automatic ejection. Under the proposed rule, a player would be ejected if he’s twice penalized for abusive language, baiting, taunting, or throwing a punch, forearm or kick at an opponent (even if he doesn’t make contact). That’s not what Beckham and Norman were flagged for in their Week 16 showdown.

The two players who would have been ejected under the new rule were Chargers safety Jahleel Addae in Week Eight against the Ravens and Titans outside linebacker Brian Orakpo in Week Nine against the Saints.

Orakpo actually got three personal fouls in a row, the first for a hit on Drew Brees and the next two for arguing that call. The hit on Brees would not have contributed toward an ejection, but his continuing abusive language toward the officials would have. Addae’s two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against the Ravens were at two different points in the game.

If the new rule is passed, it won’t result in a lot of ejections. It might not even result in any. But it should serve as a reminder to players that they need to cool it in the heat of the moment.

Giants may have been a year late to the spending spree

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With Giants G.M. Jerry Reese firmly on notice that the time has come to spend money or forever lose the ability to do so (unless he becomes a General Manager with a new team), Reese and the Giants have blasted open the Mara-Tisch coffers and spent like never before.

As Adam Schefter of ESPN noted the morning after the acquisitions of defensive end Olivier Vernon, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and defensive tackle Damon Harrison, the team spent $105.5 million in guaranteed money on the trio. In five prior free-agency cycles combined, the Giants spent $85.1 million in guaranteed money.

But with real questions about whether Vernon (who had 7.5 sacks in a contract year), Jenkins (who has admitted to being lazy late in games — as if the Giants didn’t already have enough problems late in games), and Harrison (who was viewed as the expendable member of a defensive line that includes Mo Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Leonard Williams), it’s hard not to wonder how much more the Giants would have gotten if the team’s ability and willingness to spend had aligned just a little differently with the available talent.

Despite the big numbers that have been thrown around this week, NFL free agency in 2016 featured a relatively lackluster collection of guys who actually made it to the market. In 2016, the big names belonged to Vernon, Jenkins, Brock Osweiler, Malik Jackson, Doug Martin, Marvin Jones, Travis Benjamin, Bruce Irvin, Sean Smith, Lamar Miller, Alex Mack, Mitchell Schwartz, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Lamar Miller, Tashaun Gipson, and Danny Trevathan. Last year, the guys who got to the market included Ndamukong Suh, Darrelle Revis, Julius Thomas, DeMarco Murray, Greg Hardy, Jeremy Maclin, Pernell McPhee, Byron Maxwell, Brandon Flowers, Mike Iupati, Brian Orakpo, Torrey Smith, C.J. Spiller, Michael Crabtree, and Ryan Mathews.

Last year, the Giants could have landed Suh and Revis instead of Vernon and Jenkins. This year, the Giants were constrained by the possibility that the best available players may not be as good as they need to be in order to prevent January’s decision to move on from coach Tom Coughlin from becoming more widespread in 2017 or 2018.

However it plays out, the big dollars mean significant pressure for the new arrivals. Jenkins will be compared to Revis, who plays his home games in the same stadium. Vernon will be compared to guys like Lawrence Taylor and Michael Strahan, who were among the best pass rushers to ever play the game.

Saturday one-liners

AP

WR Brandon LaFell is ready to “step up” for the Patriots (which is always better than stepping off).

With Dolphins DE Cam Wake out for the year, Olivier Vernon has stepped up.

With CB Darrelle Revis out for the Jets, one-time undrafted free agent Marcus Williams probably will start at right corner.

Bills CB Nickell Robey periodically lobbies for a chance to play offense.

Ravens LB Ray Lewis is the latest ESPN employee to make The List of all New England fans (which overlooks the fact that he already was on it).

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis says CB Darqueze Dennard (shoulder) will be ready to go next season.

The Browns will don their orange pants in prime time.

Steelers WR Markus Wheaton is content to wait his turn.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien has a simple nickname for New Orleans WR Brandin Cooks:  “V.G. maybe,” O’Brien said, “Very good.”

Get to know Colts QB Matthew Hasselbeck in a way he’s never really been known.

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles has come a long way since his first career start last season, against the same team he’ll face on Sunday.

Titans LB Brian Orakpo knows that, when his sack-happy defense faces Oakland’s sack-stingy offensive line, “Something has to give.”

Broncos CB Omar Bolden has launched what he calls the Positive Living Award.

Chiefs Hall of Famer Will Shields will receive his Ring of Excellence on Sunday.

Raiders WR Rod Streater, fifth on the depth chart and inactive most of the year, won’t be playing absent injuries at the position.

Chargers coach Mike McCoy’s inability to handle the local media could hasten his exit from the franchise.

Cowboys LB Sean Lee has a simple message for his teammates: “If you’re not motivated to find a way to win, you need to get off the team.”

WR Hakeem Nicks could be active for his first game back with the Giants.

The Eagles are bad because the players aren’t good.

Washington CB Chris Culliver’s bad week included being fined for unsportmanslike conduct due to a throat-slash gesture.

“The sky’s the limit for us, based on where we’ve come from Day One,” Bears LB Willie Young say. “[Beating the Packers] just reassures us that we can win big games. We can beat a playoff contender and a winning team.”

The Packers’ defense did a good job on Thursday night, which only makes the performance of the offense more glaring.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is thankful for RB Adrian Peterson; “I told him today how much I appreciated him,” Zimmer said. “Just everything he does for us. His leadership, the way he comes out to practice the way he prepares. Really, everything.”

The last time the Falcons played Minnesota, TE Levine Toilolo finished the game at right tackle.

Panthers G Trai Turner will spend his team’s mini-bye in the enemy territory of New Orleans; “I enjoy the support. I encourage the hate, also,” Turner said.

TE Cameron Brate, a Harvard graduate, is making the Buccaneers look even smarter than him for having him around.

Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson and his wife had their first child on Thursday.

Rams WR Kenny Britt and WR Tavon Austin wore Stedman Bailey’s No. 12 at practice on Friday.

40-year-old 49ers K Phil Dawson says he has at least one year left in his leg.

Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger says he love Seattle; he may not feel that way after facing the Seahawks there for the first time in his career on Sunday.

Wednesday morning one-liners

AP

The Bills think they’ve learned from their mistakes in their Week Two loss to the Patriots and will be better suited to face them this week.

Despite wanting to be traded or released before the season, Dolphins WR Rishard Matthews is having a breakout year.

Patriots WR Danny Amendola won’t be able to replace Julian Edelman by himself.

The Jets aren’t getting their money’s worth out of their secondary.

The NFL admitting the officials screwed up on Sunday is little consolation to the Ravens.

Here’s a look at how the Bengals match up with the Cardinals.

Has Browns QB Johnny Manziel done enough to prove he’s an NFL starter?

The Steelers’ pass rush rotation is getting the job done.

Nickel corner Charles James is making an impact on the Texans’ defense.

The Colts know they’ve got a tough fight in the AFC South.

Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey is trying to take back some comments he made about his time in Jacksonville.

Brian Orakpo is giving the Titans a return on their investment.

The Broncos may have put Peyton Manning in a position where failure was the only option.

The Chiefs are denying the Broncos’ claims that they played dirty.

The Raiders signed RB George Atkinson III and OL Adam Gettis to the practice squad and cut RB Rajion Neal.

Chargers TE Antonio Gates is still not 100 percent.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doesn’t want to single out Greg Hardy as a problem in Dallas.

The NFL is standing by the decision to overturn an apparent Odell Beckham touchdown on Sunday.

There’s still no word on when Eagles QB Sam Bradford will be ready to play.

Could Jay Gruden be looking around at college jobs?

The Bears have a decision to make on injured first-round rookie WR Kevin White.

Lions CB Darius Slay has been playing the best football of his career.

Packers WR Randall Cobb says they just need to play ball.

Here are Fran Tarkenton’s thoughts on this week’s Packers-Vikings game.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan is ready to run the no-huddle offense.

Panthers QB Cam Newton and TE Greg Olsen are showing good chemistry.

Is Rob Ryan just the fall guy for Saints coach Sean Payton and G.M. Mickey Loomis?

If the Buccaneers win this week, they’re legitimate playoff contenders.

Cardinals QB Drew Stanton has been overwhelmed by the response to the viral video of his celebration dance.

Did the Rams and Eagles both lose the Sam Bradford-Nick Foles trade?

The 49ers aren’t getting much from their rookie class.

Seattle may be 4-5, but by one metric the Seahawks are the fifth-best team in the NFL.

Report: David Bass fined $17,363 for hit on Brees

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Saints quarterback Drew Brees needed stitches after getting hit in the head by Titans linebacker David Bass during last Sunday’s game.

Brees says that he’s fine now, but Bass is a little lighter in the wallet as a result of the shot. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Bass has been fined $17,363 by the league as a result of the hit.

Bass’s helmet made contact with Brees’s helmet on the hit, leading to both the fine and the penalty. His teammate Brian Orakpo took serious issue with the call and was penalized twice for unsportsmanlike conduct as he protested the ruling to officials.

If not for the penalty, the play would have been Bass’s first sack of the season. He’ll resume the effort to get one that counts against Cam Newton and the Panthers this Sunday.

John DeFilippo on Manziel’s final TD pass: Coaching is overrated

AP

When Johnny Manziel was at Texas A&M, he regularly made the highlight reel as a result of plays that couldn’t be drawn up by any coach who was trying to convince his players that he knew what he was doing.

Manziel made another play like that in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s victory over the Titans. With the Browns up 21-14, Manziel avoided a rush from Brian Orakpo, spun, rolled to his left and then fired the ball back to his right where Travis Benjamin was open for his third touchdown of the day.

Coach Mike Pettine called it “vintage Manziel,” although we haven’t seen much of that from him at the professional level. Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo had a more self-referential take on the play.

“Certainly wasn’t the way the play was designed,” Pettine said, via Cleveland.com. “I think Flip had the best line of the day on the headset after he rolled out of it, ended up throwing backwards across the field, scored the touchdown. He just says real calmly while everybody was cheering, he said ‘coaching is overrated.’ They did a nice job, brought pressure. We didn’t pick it up. Johnny did a nice job getting out of it and finding Travis and making a play.”

Pettine said Sunday that he wasn’t getting into the question of who would start once Josh McCown gets cleared to return after a concussion, but Manziel’s outing, which featured a more traditional strike to Benjamin for another touchdown, will make the call more difficult for the Browns.