Broncos defensive end Dre'Mont Jones spent five years playing for Urban Meyer at Ohio State, and on Sunday Jones will see Meyer again when the Broncos play the Jaguars. And Jones has some advice for his old college coach: Change your ways in the NFL.
Jones said there’s always an adjustment period from college football to the NFL, but he said Meyer in particular may struggle because Meyer doesn’t relate to players the way grown men expect their coaches to relate to them.
“Going from college to pros is always difficult no matter what the level is, whether coaching or playing,” Jones said. “Especially because a lot of his philosophies are college-based, and you can’t do that with 30-plus men or even 25-plus men who have been around the league and know what they’re doing now and are well established. You got to shake things up in how you coach.”
Asked if he’s surprised to hear stories that Meyer isn’t clicking with veteran players in Jacksonville, Jones said that’s no surprise based on his own experience with Meyer.
“Am I surprised by it? No,” Jones said. “I just know how he is. I’m not going to go into great detail about it, but no, it doesn’t surprise me.”
Meyer’s Jaguars did not look particularly well-coached in their Week One loss to the Texans. They’ll have their hands full on Sunday against Jones and the Broncos.
Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson said yesterday that Sunday night’s Chiefs-Ravens game is not about him and Patrick Mahomes. But a receiver who has caught passes from both quarterbacks says they both view themselves as rivals.
Sammy Watkins, who was Mahomes’ teammate the last three years in Kansas City before signing with the Ravens this year, said today that both Mahomes and Jackson want to get the best of each other.
“I think those guys definitely view it that way,” Watkins said. “You can say you’re not, but the world is watching two of the best, youngest MVPs in the league and very talented guys. I’m definitely looking at it that way like, man, Lamar needs to win. He’s been doing a great job in this league with how he’s carrying himself as a teammate and as a guy that does the right things off the field. I just think it’s time for him to take that next hump and try to get a win, and I hope this team, we prepare and the coaches prepare to do our best to will a win for the organization and him.”
The Chiefs and Ravens have played three times with Mahomes and Jackson, and the Chiefs have won all three of them. To make it a real rivalry, Jackson and the Ravens are going to have to find a way to beat Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Raiders tight end Darren Waller can earn himself a unique place in NFL history on Sunday.
Waller has at least 100 receiving yards in four consecutive regular-season games. If he reaches 100 yards again on Sunday in Pittsburgh, he’ll be the first tight end ever to have five consecutive 100-yard games.
Four tight ends have previously had a four-game streak of 100 yards, and they’ve done it a total of five times: Tyler Higbee of the Rams in 2019, Travis Kelce of the Chiefs in 2016, Jimmy Graham of the Saints twice (once in 2013 and once in 2011) and Tony Gonzalez of the Chiefs in 2000.
The record for wide receivers is eight consecutive 100-yard games, set by Calvin Johnson in 2012 and matched by Adam Thielen in 2018. Waller is only halfway to that record, but he’s one away from doing something no tight end has done before.
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has a new center snapping to him this season, and after one week he’s very satisfied.
Rodney Hudson, the veteran center who arrived this offseason in a trade with the Raiders, was the one who alerted Murray to a cover zero blitz the Titans were showing on Sunday, leading Murray to change the play at the line of scrimmage. The result was a touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins.
Murray said Hudson’s presence “makes a ton of difference,” according to Paul Calvisi of Arizona Sports 98.7.
The 32-year-old Hudson has been one of the best centers in the NFL for years, and it was surprising when the Raiders decided to get rid of him this offseason. The Cardinals are very glad they did.
The Ravens are getting ready to put running back Devonta Freeman on the field.
Freeman is being promoted from the practice squad to the active roster, agent Drew Rosenhaus said.
That makes it likely that Freeman will play for the Ravens when they host the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football.
In their Week One loss to the Raiders, the Ravens split the running back duties between Latavius Murray (10 carries for 28 yards) and Ty'Son Williams (nine carries for 65 yards).
The Ravens have three running backs on injured reserve: JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. They’re still working at figuring out how to replace them all, but Freeman will be in the mix.
The 29-year-old Freeman was a 2014 fourth-round pick of the Falcons. He was a two-time Pro Bowler in Atlanta and has also spent time with the Giants and Saints.
The Raiders had hoped to incorporate backup quarterback Marcus Mariota regularly in their offense this season. That lasted all of one play.
Mariota played one snap on Monday night and ran for 31 yards, but he aggravated a quadriceps injury and now will miss multiple weeks, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
The Raiders failed to provide an in-game injury update on Mariota, as NFL teams are supposed to do. They could be fined by the league for that.
While Mariota is out, Nathan Peterman will be promoted to the No. 2 quarterback, and Derek Carr will be expected to take all the snaps.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has played six games in his career against teams quarterbacked by Tom Brady. And Ryan’s Falcons are 0-6 in those games.
The losses include the Falcons getting swept by the Buccaneers last year, and four Falcons losses to the Patriots. Most famously, Ryan’s Falcons blew a 28-3 lead and ended up losing 34-28 in Super Bowl LI.
But as Ryan prepares to face Brady’s Buccaneers on Sunday, he says it’s not about him and Brady and that the past remains in the past.
“Of course we want to win. It’s not going to make up for that,” Ryan said, via ESPN. “You know, it’s one of those things. It’s part of your past, it’s part of what happened. But it’s got no bearing on this week.”
Ryan said he knows a team with Tom Brady will always be a formidable opponent, but his focus is on the Buccaneers’ defense.
“Regardless of how games shake out, he’s mentally tough and does a great job of staying in the present and operating at a high level,” Ryan said. “So you know you have to be at the same level on your side. But it’s about their defense. The defense they are playing with creates a lot of issues for us and we’ve got to find ways to attack it.”
The Buccaneers are 12.5-point favorites on Sunday, meaning the Falcons are highly likely to drop to 0-7 in Ryan’s starts against Brady’s teams.
Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey had an interception in his hands on Monday night and then just casually dropped the ball, wrongly thinking that the ball had hit the ground before he caught it. Today he acknowledged that was a huge mistake.
“I definitely did not know I had the football,” Humphrey said. “That’d have been nice, to have an interception, probably the easiest interception ever. So I guess celebrate a little slower, I guess, would be the thing for that.”
It was perhaps the strangest play of Week One in the NFL, made all the more strange by how few people realized what had happened. Both Humphrey and the intended receiver on the play, Darren Waller, seemed to think the pass had hit the ground even though it hadn’t, and the officials seemed to think so as well, and the ESPN announcers didn’t say a thing about it.
Raiders receiver Hunter Renfrow, who pounced on the ball as soon as Humphrey dropped it, was the only person on the field who seemed to realize what had happened. Humphrey didn’t realize it until he saw the replay later and learned he had missed the easiest interception ever.
How wide open did Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp get in the Bears’ secondary on his 56-yard touchdown pass on Sunday night? So wide open that the NFL hadn’t seen anything like it in three years.
The NFL’s Next Gen Stats use tracking devices on every player’s shoulder pads to provide data beyond the ordinary statistics, and one piece of data from Sunday night was that Kupp had 11.3 yards of separation from the nearest defender on his 56-yard touchdown catch, the most separation on a completion more than 40 yards downfield in the last three seasons.
Bears safety Tashaun Gipson said it was just a mental screw-up by the Bears’ secondary that allowed Kupp to get that open.
“It was a brain fart on the secondary, myself included,” Gipson said. “I take ownership on that play. We’ve all got to be on the same page, myself, all of us. But I take ownership on that play.”
The Bears struggled to cover Kupp all day. He finished with a game-high seven catches and 108 yards.
Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham will miss his second game of 2021 on Sunday as he continues to recover from the injury that cost him the final nine games of 2020.
Beckham has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Texans, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said today.
That’s surprising, given that last week the Browns listed Beckham as questionable and didn’t rule him out until 90 minutes before kickoff. Stefanski described ruling Beckham out as giving more clarity to the situation this week.
Whatever the reasons, everyone in Cleveland is left to wonder just how long it will be until Beckham’s torn ACL is healed sufficiently that he can play. It may be a while.
Giants tight end Evan Engram is not ready to begin the 2021 season yet.
Engram has been ruled out for Thursday night’s game against Washington.
The Giants have said Engram is making progress in recovery from his calf injury, but he missed Week One and will now miss Week Two as well. Kyle Rudolph is the Giants’ top tight end while Engram is out.
Giants running back Saquon Barkley has been listed as questionable as he continues to recover from last year’s knee injury. Barkley played on Sunday and appears likely to play on Thursday as well.
The Giants have also ruled out Out: linebacker Cam Brown (hamstring) and guard Shane Lemieux (knee).
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones said after Sunday’s loss that the team wasn’t good enough, starting with Jones himself. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels likes the way Jones is holding himself accountable.
McDaniels said the drive to play well and win, day after day, is a big part of what the Patriots like about Jones.
“I think he’s a very competitive guy. He wants to win at everything that he’s doing. He wants to perform his best every single day on every single rep,” McDaniels said, via the Boston Herald. “I think that’s a great trait and a great quality to have, not only as a football player but as a human being. We’re fortunate that he feels that way. “
McDaniels thinks Jones has everything you want in a leader.
“I think relative to pushing himself and demanding the most from himself, I think that’s obviously the No. 1 way to lead – you show everybody else that you’re going to hold yourself to a very high standard, and then you’re going to try to bring others along if you see the opportunity to do so,” McDaniels said.
There may never be another Tom Brady when it comes to leadership and competitiveness, but the Patriots hope Jones can help the Patriots get back to the way they played for so many years with Brady at the helm.
Although there were no major controversies from the NFL’s new instant replay system in Week One, there was a case in which a head coach got conflicting information as the New York replay command center reviewed a play.
That coach was Denver’s Vic Fangio, who says he was first told that the Broncos would be getting the ball back because a replay appeared to show the Giants did not recover a Broncos fumble, but then told that the final decision would be to let the call on the field of a Giants recovery stand.
Broncos tight end Albert Okwuegbunam fumbled and Giants safety Logan Ryan recovered along the sideline. Replay appeared to show that Ryan was already out of bounds, however, before he had possession of the ball, which would have meant the ball stayed with the Broncos.
Fangio says the officials first told him that he could send the Broncos’ offense back on the field because the replay showed the Giants had not recovered the ball inbounds. But the officials then informed him that the final verdict from New York was to let the play stand.
“They first told me — and you guys probably saw that they were talking to me the whole way — they first told me it’s going be our ball,” Fangio said, via the Broncos’ website. “They were just figuring out where to exactly place it and the timing element of it, and then he came back and said, ‘You’re not going to like this.’ The head guy in New York came in and said, ‘Let it stand,’ and the head guy overruled the first guy’s verdict on it.”
The “head guy in New York” Fangio referenced is former NFL referee Walt Anderson. Although others in the officiating office work on replay reviews, especially when multiple games are going on at once, Anderson is the head guy.
Anderson’s decision to let the ruling on the field stand — as well as his decision to let the ruling on the field stand on a crucial Dalvin Cook fumble in the Vikings’ loss to the Bengals — suggests that Anderson is going to defer to the call on the field unless there’s clear and obvious evidence that the call was wrong. That’s what the replay standard is supposed to be, even if Fangio wasn’t a fan of the way it was communicated to him in one particular case.
The Jets are adding some veteran help at linebacker.
B.J. Goodson is signing a one-year deal with the Jets, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
The 28-year-old Goodson started 14 games for the Browns last year and has previously spent time with the Packers and Giants.
Goodson had a visit with the Titans in April but otherwise didn’t appear to draw a lot of interest in free agency. Now he’s found his team, a week into the season.
Josh Gordon, the supremely talented wide receiver whose career has been derailed by substance abuse, may soon get another chance in the NFL.
The NFL Players Association has recommended to the NFL that Gordon be reinstated after he completed a treatment program, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would make the final determination about whether Gordon can be reinstated.
Gordon is reportedly vaccinated and ready to play as soon as the NFL allows him.
If Gordon is reinstated, he’ll be a free agent and could sign with any team willing to give him another chance. He most recently played for the Seahawks and previously played for the Patriots and Browns.
In 2013, at just 22 years of age, Gordon had one of the greatest receiving seasons in NFL history, leading the league with 1,646 passing yards despite missing two games and getting saddled with Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer as his quarterbacks.
But since then he has played in just 33 games, while missing 79 games.