PFT Live 11/6: Howard Eskin, Rapid Reaction

Mike Florio talks to Eagles sideline reporter Howard Eskin about Andy Reid and Michael Vick’s futures in Philadelphia. In the Wendy’s Rapid Reaction segment Mike shares viewer responses to the question of whether or not Tony Romo will be the Cowboys quarterback after 2013.


Roseman received multi-year extension in June


If (when) there’s a house cleaning in Philly after the 2012 season, one of the guys who helped build the underachieving Eagles won’t be getting the broom.

Or, if he does, he’ll be getting paid handsomely to no longer work for the team.

Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that G.M. Howie Roseman’s contract was extended by four or five years when Joe Banner stepped aside earlier this year.

Apart from the large buyout that would result from firing Roseman along with coach Andy Reid, who has one year left on his contract, Lurie made it clear during the 8-8-gets-Reid-fired press conference that the owner believes in Roseman.

“Howie has done an excellent job,” Lurie said in August.  “I think general managers get measured by player acquisitions, the draft, trades, how they communicate with the rest of the organization, how they communicate with the players, [and] their strategy going forward.

“There is a lot to analyze and I think Howie is doing an outstanding job and as I said, it is early to make a determination of this draft class.  Just based on a few months it is extremely promising.”

If (when) Reid goes and Roseman stays, it likely will mean that Lurie believes the team is talented and that Reid has failed to get the most out of the players’ abilities.

And if (when) Reid no longer is the coach, Roseman could have a central role in hiring the next coach of the team.

North Carolina high school QB ejected for Cam Newton celebration

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Thousands of young football players in North Carolina want to be just like Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, but celebrating like Newton got one North Carolina high school quarterback kicked out of a game.

West Mecklenburg High School quarterback Jalan McClendon was ejected from a state playoff game on Friday for doing the “Superman” touchdown celebration that Newton does when he scored. And McClendon would have been suspended for two additional games if the referee had called the celebration a form of taunting. Fortunately, the ref said it was an unsportsmanlike act but not taunting, which means he gets an ejection but not a suspension.

McClendon’s coach, Jeff Caldwell, told the Charlotte Observer that McClendon is a good young man who was just excited that he scored a touchdown in a playoff game.

It’s a good learning experience for him,” Caldwell said of McClendon. “With him being in the position he’s in, he should know better. He’s a young kid. My kids have never been in a situation like this before. I’m just happy for Jalan and that it came out all right. I’m glad he wasn’t severely punished for something where he was just having fun. He’s not the taunting type.”

Promoting sportsmanship is important at the high school level, but if all McClendon did was the Newton Superman pose, an ejection seems rather severe. But just to be safe, if McClendon scores again this week, he’d be wise to ditch the Cam Newton impression and imitate Barry Sanders instead.

Week Nine power rankings

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1. Falcons (six first-place votes):  The headline in Atlanta said, “Halfway to Perfect.”  But halfway to perfect is 9.5 wins, not eight.

2. Texans:  Instead of wagging a finger at the Houston sideline, former Texans defensive end Mario Williams should have flapped his checkbook.

3. Bears:  With that defense, maybe the offense never needs to fully wake up.

4. 49ers:  Does Jim Harbaugh get mad at the officials even during the bye week?

5. Packers:  Aaron Rodgers quietly is inching toward back-to-back MVP trophies.

6. Giants:  The usual strong start to the season has ended, and the usual midseason swoon has begun.

7. Patriots:  With Aqib Talib coming to town, it’s probably wise to lock up the muskets.  Allegedly.

8. Broncos:  Mike Brown doesn’t own the Bengals; with an 8-0 career record against Cincy, Peyton Manning does.

9. Steelers:  As usual, Mike Tomlin finds a way to get the most out of whatever hand he’s dealt.

10. Ravens:  When the coach regards a game against the Browns as a “must” win, it’s obvious things aren’t going well.

11. Colts:  Indianapolis at Denver in the first round of the playoffs would be one of the most memorable postseason games in NFL history.  Which means it likely won’t happen.

12. Seahawks:  Once this team figures out how to win on the road, they’ll be on their way to contending for a title.

13. Dolphins:  Colts defenders are still grabbing for air after that Reggie Bush juke.

14. Lions:  If the Madden curse means that a guy will be banged up but play really, really well, plenty of players would sign up for it.

15. Buccaneers:  By making it known he doesn’t like to be called “Muscle Hamster,” Doug Martin has just earned that nickname.  For the rest of his life.

16. Vikings:  Lose to the Lions, and 5-2 could end up 5-11.

17. Chargers:  We’re starting a “which week will Norv be fired” office pool.  I’ve got Week 12.

18. Bengals:  The distinction between beating bad teams and losing to good teams has finally disappeared in Cincy, but not in the way they’d hoped.

19. Saints:  When the Falcons come to town on Sunday, the Superdome will be a-rockin’.  You know the rest.

20. Rams:  With two of the next four games against the 49ers, this year’s record is going to start looking a lot more like last year’s record.

21. Cardinals:  Is it too late to trade for Mike Vick?

22. Panthers:  Cam Newton’s press conferences are a lot more interesting after a loss.

23. Cowboys:  The question isn’t whether the owner should fire the G.M.  The question remains whether the owner ever should have hired the G.M. in the first place.

24. Redskins:  Maybe if the players are being “evaluated,” the head coach won’t be.

25. Eagles:  They now have to go 5-3 to be just good enough to get Andy Reid fired.

26. Jets:  How bad are the Jets?  They didn’t play this week, and no one noticed.

27. Raiders:  Doug Martin already has become more than Darren McFadden ever was.

28. Titans:  Owner Bud Adams will be firing off plenty of middle fingers and pink slips, soon.

29. Bills:  After the loss to the Texans, Mario Williams was overheard saying, “Consequences, shmonsequences, as long as I’m rich.

30. Browns:  Pat Shurmur’s fourth-quarter decision-making will make it easier to make it easier for Joe Banner to make a decision when the fourth-quarter of the season ends.

31. Jaguars:  Is it worse to be “embarrassed” or “shocked and perplexed“?

32. Chiefs:  Romeo Crennel firing himself as the defensive coordinator wasn’t the termination Chiefs fans have been looking for.  But they’ll surely regard it as a good start.

Steelers doing more on the ground by doing less


It wasn’t necessarily the injuries, or the unsettled line. At some point, the Steelers got back to running the ball well by simply being the Steelers.

After averaging 65 yards per game on the ground over their first three, they’ve averaged 155 rushing yards per game over the last three, and that’s with different backs doing the work.

“You see our running backs, man?” Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace said, via Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It doesn’t matter who you plug in, they run for 100.”

“I want to get back there and play running back, see how many yards I can get,” linebacker Larry Foote added.

While Foote probably won’t get a carry, plenty of other people have. While Rashard Mendenhall can’t stay healthy, Isaac Redman got 147 yards against the Giants and Jonathan Dwyer had 122 yards on the Bengals and 107 on the Redskins.

But the secret was streamlining the offense rather than adding things. New offensive coordinator Todd Haley ditched chapters of the playbook and asked less of his offense, and a three-game win streak speaks to the results.

“I think the key is we’re keeping it simple,” left guard Willie Colon said. “Early in the year, we were doing a little too much maybe. We’re keeping it extremely simple and starting to be repetitive and really owning in to what we’ve got to do.”

“You watch it on film from the beginning of the year to now, and it’s like night and day,” Redman added. “I feel like they (the offensive line) are comfortable, and we’re running strictly runs that we’re pretty good at.”

Doing less rather than more runs counter to every coaching instinct, but in this case, it was clearly the right move.

Jerry Jones: There is no way I’ll give up being general manager


Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants to make this absolutely clear: He will remain the team’s general manager. Period.

(Or as Michael Irvin once said, Period. Period. Period.)

After Jones told NBC’s Bob Costas that he would have fired a general manager who had his own record as general manager, some people thought Jones was acknowledging that perhaps he should step back and give up the G.M. authority. But Jones said on 105.3 The Fan today that the Cowboys are his team, and that means he’s picking the players.

“We are not structured that way,” Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News. “We didn’t structure it that way with my ownership. There’s no way that I would be involved here and not be the final decision-maker on something as important as players, and that is a key area. That’s never been anybody’s misunderstanding. It’s been a debated thing, but it’s just not going to happen. We’ve had success doing it this way and we’re going to have success in the future doing it this way. It eliminates some very serious issues when you look around the league, as to creating an additional layer that you’re continually having decisions, making changes, doing those kinds of things.”

Jones said that when Costas asked him if Jones the owner would have fired Jones the general manager, Jones was just answering a hypothetical. He was not in any way indicating that he’s considering giving up the general manager authority. Because he isn’t.

“It’s real clear. I was asked the question, ‘If you were an owner and you had a general manager, would you make a change?’ Under those circumstances I speculated that I would probably have made a change, but that’s not our situation,” Jones said. “To change, I’d have to change myself. People don’t do that. If you’ve got the commitment and you have the investment, and I’m talking about in time, effort, all of those kind of things, you change yourself. You don’t change out and have someone else go in there and do it. And that would be misleading to begin with because no one would believe you if you hired somebody at that spot and really believe that he’s not sitting there and ultimately at what I want to do. Somebody would say, ‘Why don’t you just mentally let them go do it.’ I’m not built that way.”

And because Jones isn’t built that way, the Cowboys will continue to be built this way. With Jones doing the building.

PFT Live: Andy Reid press conference, Eagles talk with Howard Eskin


It was another disappointing night for the Philadelphia Eagles and PFT Live will be covering the fallout.

Mike Florio will be talking with Howard Eskin of 94 WIP Radio in the wake of the 28-13 loss to the Saints on Monday. After the game, Andy Reid said that there was no quarterback change coming and there was a report that a member of the Eagles staff feels like they erred in firing defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. Throw in some in in-game tweets from Marcus Vick and it was just another night in the 2012 season for the Eagles.

Reid’s holding another press conference on Tuesday and we’ll be carrying it as part of the program. That should spur some more discussion about what is looking increasingly like the end of the line for Reid in Philly.

You can watch all of it live at noon ET.

Panthers activate David Gettis from PUP, Pilares to IR


The last time anyone saw David Gettis, he was a reasonably productive receiver on a reasonably awful 2010 Panthers team.

He’s finally back.

According to Steve Reed of the Associated Press, Gettis will be activated from the physically unable to perform list today, and the Panthers will place receiver Kealoha Pilares on injured reserve to make the roster spot.

After catching 37 passes for 508 yards and three touchdowns in 2010, while catching passes from Jimmy Clausen, Matt Moore and Brian St. Pierre, Gettis looked like a promising prospect in 2010, when the Panthers went 2-14. But an ACL tear in 2011 ended his season, and a nagging hamstring kept him on PUP this year.

A former track recruit at Baylor, Gettis has deep speed, and could give the Panthers an option in the passing game. They’ll be looking for a return man now, but Pilares suffered a shoulder injury at Washington and that made it an easy like-for-like swap.

John Fox: It’s an important game because it’s the next game


The Broncos head to Carolina to play the Panthers this weekend, which means Broncos coach John Fox will return to the place he used to coach for the first time since being leaving the team after nine years on the sideline.

As you’d expect, Fox is facing questions about his thoughts on the return to Charlotte and, also as you’d probably expect, Fox is answering those questions by downplaying the idea that he’s finding any extra motivation by the circumstances. He said he had great relationships there and that he’s “indebted” to the team for giving him a head coaching job, but insisted the significance of the game had nothing to do with his personal history.

“It’s the most important game, because it’s the next one. You don’t get but 16 of these opportunities. Right now we’re 5-3, and the only guarantee we have is 5-11,” Fox said, via Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post. “So, you know, it will be just like any week from the standpoint of it’s the Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers at their place. That’s the only real thing I know. How we prepare will determine that outcome.”

Things didn’t end well in Carolina for Fox in 2010, but things very rarely end well for head coaches in the NFL. Things have worked out pretty well for Fox and the departure of Marty Hurney means Fox’s main adversary in the final season is no longer on the scene, so the motivation of a sixth win should be plenty.

An added twist is that the result of Sunday’s game will help determine the future of Fox’s replacement with the Panthers. Ron Rivera has been put on notice that his tenure with the team could be a lot shorter than Fox’s stay in Carolina.

Jay Cutler would like to talk contract after the season


There aren’t any talks about a contract extension going on at the moment between the Bears and quarterback Jay Cutler, a state of affairs that’s just fine with Cutler.

Cutler said Monday that he would prefer to wait until after this year to talk about extending his relationship with the Bears. He has one year left on the five-year extension he signed with the team after Chicago acquired him in a trade with the Broncos and Cutler said his experience negotiating that deal fuels his desire to put off business discussions until after the season comes to an end.

“I don’t want to do (an extension) during the year,” Cutler said, via “I did it during the year when I first got here, and it didn’t work out that well, and I said I’d never do it again. After the year if they want to talk we can talk. If not, we’ll play out the next year and see how it goes.”

Unless things go seriously off the rails in the next eight weeks, you’d imagine the Bears would be interested in talking extension. Cutler took the Bears to the NFC Championship Game two years ago, had them in good position for another playoff push before getting hurt last year and the team is 7-1 at the midway point of this season. His play hasn’t always been stellar, but it’s a results business and those results have been very good for a quarterback looking for a new contract.

Andrew Luck gives himself a C for rookie season

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It’s a good thing Andrew Luck is a quarterback and not one of my kids’ teachers.

The Colts quarterback, asked to assess his rookie season at the halfway point, said he’d give himself a middling grade.

”A ‘C’ is average, so I think I’d give myself a ‘C,’ ” Luck said, via the Associated Press.

Does anybody get an A in this class?

He is as humble as he’s been exceptional on the field, as his play has the Colts in the playoff hunt, well ahead of any projection. He’s also setting records on a regular basis, and is playing an adult game in his first season as a pro.

In Sunday’s win over the Dolphins, he broke Cam Newton’s single-game record for passing yards (433), and he’s tied Peyton Manning’s mark for 300-yard games in a rookie season (four), and has identical passing yards and wins as the guy Indy’s last No. 1 overall quarterback.

More importantly than gross passing stats (many rookie passers can build them easily in games they’re trailing big, because teams that draft and start rookie QBs are generally bad), Luck has shown an ability to draw a team together. The Colts have three fourth-quarter wins already, and not many were sure they’d get that many wins this season.

”The victories are what I judge things on. I think I’ve got to cut down on the turnovers and putting touchdowns on the board,” Luck said. ”I think perfect would be to win every game, and not have any incompletions or interceptions.”

Of course, Colts interim coach Bruce Arians said he had a much higher grade in mind.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” Arians said of Luck’s self-imposed C. ”He’s comparing him to himself. I’m comparing him to all the other guys I’ve ever had.”

Luck’s grading out favorably to Manning at this point, and Colts fans are quickly forgetting about the pain of last year, for what it brought them.

Doug Martin: I can’t shake Muscle Hamster, “worst nickname ever”

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Buccaneers running back Doug Martin is having a great rookie season. Now he wishes he could get a great nickname.

Instead, Martin is saddled with “Muscle Hamster,” the ridiculous nickname that some of his offensive linemen at Boise State gave him. Martin said on NFL AM that the nickname was given to him affectionately by teammates who were impressed by how much he could lift, considering his small stature. But he said he wishes they had come up with something better.

“It has to be the worst nickname ever,” Martin said. “I can’t shake it. It started in college, started back in Boise, with our linemen. I have a lot of bigger friends, and they’d call me the Muscle Hamster because of how much I could lift in the weight room.”

The 5-foot-9, 215-pound Martin bench pressed 225 pounds 28 times at this year’s Scouting Combine, tied for the best mark among all the running backs. So Muscle Hamster may be fitting.

And while Muscle Hamster doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as some of the great running back nicknames of the past, like the Galloping Ghost Red Grange, or the Nigerian Nightmare Christian Okoye, Muscle Hamster is catchy enough that Martin is probably right that he can’t shake it. The Muscle Hamster nickname is here to stay, and while it might sound ridiculous at first, if Martin keeps playing like he has so far in his rookie season, it won’t be long before kids across America are imitating Martin when they play backyard football, and insisting on being called Muscle Hamster.

Bradshaw’s jab at Jimmy Johnson creates a stir

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I’m always reluctant to mention Terry Bradshaw in this space, because whenever his name appears here we get at least 50 comments along the lines of, “Wait, he’s still alive?”

But it’s important to note what Terry did — and didn’t — say on Sunday during one of the highlights segments on FOX.

While describing the ankle-breaking touchdown run by Dolphins running back Reggie Bush (which prompted us to point out on Twitter that even Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie lunged at air when Reggie cut left to right), Bradshaw said, “Look at this Jimmy, it was like you was chasing that bucket of chicken that the wind was blowing the other day.”  (Apparently, there’s a question as to whether Bradshaw said “you was chasing” or “he was chasing.”  My first thought was that Bradshaw said “you,” to Johnson.)

Appearing on Tuesday’s edition of The Dan Patrick Show, FOX’s Howie Long explained that it was an inside jab by Bradshaw at Jimmy Johnson.

“I was shocked that it was even an issue,” Long said, explaining that Johnson’s wife, Rhonda, doesn’t let Jimmy eat fried chicken at home.

“It wasn’t even poorly phrased,” Long added.  “It was specifically directed at Jimmy Johnson.  It could have been any player running the football or whatever on that particular play.”

Though Long dubbed the controversy “ridiculous,” Bradshaw has apologized for the remark.  And by apologizing almost as clumsily as he does the highlights on FOX, Bradshaw made the controversy necessarily something other than ridiculous.  Indeed, the apology gave credence to the belief that there was a possible racial component to the remark.

If not, why apologize?

I can’t defend myself,” Bradshaw told Michael Hiestand of USA Today.  “I’ve never been in a situation like this.  I don’t know how to react, except to apologize for something I didn’t know I said.  I’ve been upset today.  It’s not me.  I’m shocked.”

Bradshaw also said that he initially denied saying it, and that upon hearing the tape, he said, “I can’t believe I said it.”

The explanation provided by Long and by FOX and by Curt Menefee makes sense.  Bradshaw’s apology made the situation more confusing.  Though he may have simply been apologizing for saying something that gave rise accidentally to a controversy, Bradshaw may have been better off not apologizing at all.

DeMarco Murray still has tests to pass before returning


After the Cowboys lost to the Falcons on Sunday night, owner Jerry Jones said that he expects running back DeMarco Murray to make his return from a sprained foot against the Eagles last weekend.

Murray’s got some work to do if he is going to meet Jones’ expectations. Coach Jason Garrett said Monday that Murray still has to pass several tests before he’ll be able to practice or play in a game for the Cowboys.

“The process you go through with an injury like that is you have different thresholds. He has to be able to do different things,” Garrett said, via the Dallas Morning News. “He has to be able to 10 times go up and down on his toes. Then, he has to be able to hop on his foot by itself without any pain. Then, he has to be able to jog. All that kind of stuff. So there’s a number of different thresholds that he has to get past before he can even practice. We obviously want him to practice before he plays in the game.”

Garrett said Murray has passed some of the tests and that he will have plenty of chances to pass them this week. Garrett also joked that he asked Murray to take the failed tests again in hopes of getting a better result.

Thus far, that approach has worked about as well as it did when Garrett was taking clock management classes at Princeton, but the hope in Dallas remains that they’ll have Murray back in the lineup for Week 10.

Russell Wilson stays even keeled


Football is an inherently emotional game.  That’s why it’s important for the leader of an offense to stay calm and consistent.

When a rookie quarterback can pull that off from the start of his career, it’s remarkable.

That’s what Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has accomplished in Seattle.  He joined PFT Live on Monday to discuss among other things his temperament, which has him not making faces or mouthing profanities when things go wrong.  He stays even keeled and he keeps going and it’s an attitude that eventually will rub off on his teammates.

Heck, maybe it’ll rub off on you, if you watch the interview.

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