Lions tackle Taylor Decker not worried he’s tipping plays

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FOX Sports color analyst and former Detroit Lions linebacker Chris Spielman said on last week’s broadcast of the team’s game against the San Francisco 49ers that he believed tackle Taylor Decker was tipping plays to the Lions opponents.

According to Justin Rogers of the Detroit News, Spielman believed Decker was giving away when the Lions were about to run or pass the ball based on his pre-snap movements. The focus of Spielman’s observations centered on Decker’s head movement.

Being an average athlete like I was, this is what would help me,” Spielman said. “Look at his head, now we’re two for two on this, his head is inside, this should be a rabbit call. Rabbit means run, ball on the ground. Bird means ball in the air, pass. That’s a read. Taylor will get smart, looking inside while pass blocking, but we’re two for two on the read.”

Decker told reporters he wasn’t aware of Spielman’s comments but said he isn’t concerned about whether he’s giving away plays in that fashion.

“I think I look at people that I block, regardless of the play type,” Decker said.

The point of Spielman’s remarks was that Decker’s head would snap in certain directors after the snap depending on the type of play the Lions were running. The movement was so deliberate that defensive players would know by how he moved whether the play was a run or pass.

“I feel like it’s pretty common to do in one way or another,” Decker said. “Yeah, I don’t really know what to say. I feel like plenty of people do it. I don’t know exactly what was said in regards to that. Just concerned moving forward with the Patriots.”

Searching for little details like this are some of the things that can give a player an advantage over his opponent. Richard Sherman said he’d found a tell on 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in offseason practices. Whether anyone had picked up on this like Spielman had is unclear. So is whether it’s consistent enough to truly be a giveaway of what type of play the Lions are running.

But this is why teams self-scout. They try to find tendencies like this that could be hurting them during games. Only their opponents through two weeks – the Jets and 49ers – will be able to say for sure whether something like this gave them an advantage in their two victories over Detroit.

Baker Mayfield leads Browns to first win in 635 days

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Baker Mayfield didn’t start the game, so he won’t get credit for the win. But in Cleveland, the No. 1 overall pick is the hero today.

He brought the Browns back from a 14-0 deficit and led them to a 21-17 victory. It was the team’s first victory since Christmas Eve 2016.

It’s safe to say Tyrod Taylor, who left in the second quarter with a concussion, will not get his job back. The Mayfield Era has begun.

In a little over two quarters, Mayfield went 17-of-23 for 201 yards and a 100.1 passer rating. He also scored on a 2-point conversion, catching a pass from Jarvis Landry.

He became the first quarterback to come off the bench in his debut, throw for more than 200 yards and lead his team to its first win of the season since Fran Tarkenton for the 1961 Vikings, per Stats by stats.

Mayfield injected life into a stagnant Browns offense, with Cleveland gaining 323 yards. Taylor was only 4-of-14 for 19 yards before leaving.

Carlos Hyde ran for 98 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, and Landry caught eight passes for 103 yards.

The Jets didn’t do much after taking a 14-0 lead, turning it over three times. Terrance Mitchell‘s interception of Sam Darnold with 11 seconds left, allowed Mayfield to line up in victory formation to end it.

Darnold, overshadowed by Mayfield, had a rough night. He went only 15-of-31 for 169 yards with two interceptions. The Jets finished with 268 yards.

Report: Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams facing suspension from May arrest

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Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams is facing a suspension from the NFL stemming from his May arrest for public intoxication, according to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News.

Williams had the charges against him dismissed in August after completing a state-mandated Alcohol Awareness Education course.

Williams was the driver of a car that jumped a curb and crashed into a light pole. He also paid for the damages and costs associated with the incident. Nevertheless, he still faces discipline from the NFL over the offense.

When the suspension will be handed down and how long it will be remains unclear. The league likely won’t assess the suspension prior to Dallas’ Sunday game against the Seattle Seahawks since Williams has practiced with the team this week and the league is wary of pulling the plug on a player late in the week. Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks is in the same boat as he could face suspension for his guilty plea to insider trading earlier this month. He is also expected to play against the Cowboys.

Baker Mayfield catches 2-point conversion to knot game 14-14

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Baker Mayfield caught a 2-point conversion on a trick play, allowing the Browns to tie the Jets 14-14 late in the third quarter.

It has the Cleveland crowd dreaming of their first victory since Christmas Eve 2016, which was 635 days ago.

The third quarter belonged to the Browns, who trailed 14-0 before getting on the scoreboard with 23 seconds left in the first half on Mayfield’s first career drive. Cleveland trailed 14-3 at halftime.

Browns rookie Denzel Ward came up with his third turnover in three games to set up a 27-yard field goal by Greg Joseph with 5:21 remaining in the third quarter. The Browns have only 13 points off nine takeaways this season.

Mayfield, who replaced a concussed Tyrod Taylor, directed a seven-play, 69-yard drive late in the quarter. The big play was a 29-yard throw from Mayfield to Jarvis Landry to the Jets 1-yard line. Carlos Hyde ran it in on the next snap.

The Browns failed on their first 2-point attempt, but offsetting penalties gave them a second chance to tie the game. Landry threw a reverse pass to a wide-open Mayfield in the end zone on the second 2-point try.

Mayfield has completed 11 of 15 passes for 141 yards. He has overshadowed Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick, who is only 10-for-22 for 107 yards.

Browns rule out Tyrod Taylor with a concussion

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The Browns officially have ruled out Tyrod Taylor with a concussion.

That means the second half belongs to rookie Baker Mayfield, who will have a chance to bring the Browns back for their first victory since Christmas Eve in 2016.

The No. 1 overall pick completed 3 of 4 passes for 47 yards on his only drive, which led to a 45-yard field goal by Greg Joseph with 23 seconds remaining in the half. Mayfield also fumbled on a strip-sack by Jordan Jenkins, but Browns offensive lineman Joel Bitonio recovered.

Taylor went only 4-of-14 for 19 yards before leaving. He also had four carries for 22 yards.

The Jets lead 14-3.

Baker Mayfield makes NFL debut, but Jets lead 14-3

AP

The biggest news in Thursday night’s game isn’t that the Jets hold a 14-3 halftime lead. Or that Isaiah Crowell has scored two touchdowns against his former team.

It’s that Baker Mayfield has made his regular-season debut.

The No. 1 overall pick replaced starter Tyrod Taylor with 1:42 remaining in the half. Taylor left for the locker room for a cognitive evaluation after he got up holding his head on Avery Williamson‘s sack.

Taylor went only 4-of-14 for 19 yards before leaving. He also had four carries for 22 yards.

Mayfield completed 3 of 4 passes for 47 yards on his first drive, which led to a 45-yard field goal by Greg Joseph. He also fumbled on a strip-sack by Jordan Jenkins. Browns offensive lineman Joel Bitonio recovered.

As inept as their offense was, the Browns actually ended up with more offense than the Jets. Cleveland had 112 yards and New York 109.

Sam Darnold went 5-of-12 for 45 yards, but the Jets have scoring drives of 28 and 63 yards that ended with Crowell touchdowns. Crowell, the ex-Brown, has 12 carries for 31 yards with touchdown runs of 7 and 2 yards.

The Jets have four sacks, including 1.5 by Williamson. Myles Garrett has the Browns’ only sack of Darnold.

The teams have combined for five penalties and 11 punts.

Jets cornerback Buster Skrine is questionable to return with a knee injury, and Browns safety Jabrill Peppers is questionable to return with a shoulder injury.

Isaiah Crowell scores second TD to give Jets 14-0 lead

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Isaiah Crowell has as many touchdowns tonight in Cleveland for the Jets as he had all of last season for the Browns.

Crowell scored his second touchdown on a 2-yard run with 7:54 remaining until halftime. It gave the Jets a 14-0 lead.

Crowell, though, got a 15-yard celebration penalty for rubbing the football on his rear end before throwing it into the stands.

He scored on a 7-yard run on the first play of the second quarter.

Crowell has 10 carries for 32 yards.

The Browns have only 44 yards of offense, including minus-14 passing. Chants of “Bak-er!” have begun as Taylor has gone 2-for-11 for 2 yards.

He missed a wide open Antonio Callaway, underthrowing the pass, allowing Trumaine Johnson to catch up and bat it away.

Jets take 7-0 lead on Isaiah Crowell run

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This is just a guess, but the ratings for tonight’s game in Cleveland won’t be anything to write home about. Just like the game itself.

Both the Jets and the Browns are struggling offensively, but New York has a 7-0 lead after taking advantage of a blocked punt.

Jets linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis blocked Britton Colquitt‘s punt, which went out of bounds at the Cleveland 28. The Jets needed five plays to cover the distance, with Isaiah Crowell scoring on a 7-yard run against his former team on the first play of the second quarter.

In the first quarter, the teams combined for four first downs, 86 total yards and seven punts while going 2-for-9 on third down.

Tyrod Taylor started 1-for-7 for 2 yards and possibly looking over his shoulder at No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield. The Browns had minus-5 passing yards in the first quarter.

Sam Darnold went 3-for-7 for 22 yards in the first quarter. Myles Garrett had his third sack of the season, dragging down Darnold for a 6-yard loss.

Leon Hall spent a night in Denver hospital

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Raiders cornerback Leon Hall spent Sunday night in a Denver hospital. Extreme physical exertion at high elevation can cause issues for those with the sickle cell trait, which Hall carries.

“The sickle cell trait got to me,” Hall said, via Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “And usually, I can handle it pretty well. I’ve played there a couple times, and I’ve had the same issue, kind of, but not as extreme. That one kind of came out of nowhere for me.

“Breathing is tough. Chest is hurting. You feel real fatigued — ‘heavy’ would be a good word for it, too. It’s not a good feeling, especially when you’re trying to play defense and cover people. It’s not great.”

Hall played in Denver with the Bengals in 2011 and 2015.

On Sunday, the Raiders nickel cornerback played 55 of 66 snaps in the record heat. Hall received intravenous fluids and underwent further medical testing in Denver before returning home Monday night.

Hall, 33, has practiced this week and is expected to play Sunday against the Dolphins.

Richard Sherman misses practice with heel injury

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49ers cornerback Richard Sherman did not practice Thursday because of a heel injury. He did not appear on the injury report Wednesday.

Sherman has had surgeries on both Achilles tendons the past 10 months.

He tore his right Achilles in November. He had another procedure in the offseason to remove bone spurs from his left Achilles.

Sherman, 30, met with the media before practice Thursday and did not mention an injury, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. Sherman was not walking with a limp either, per Branch.

Sherman, who signed with the 49ers in the offseason, has played all 148 defensive snaps. He has allowed only one reception.

Report: Carlos Hyde awaiting birth of child

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Browns running back Carlos Hyde is cutting it close. Or his child is.

As game time approaches, Hyde is at the hospital awaiting the delivery of his child, Omar Ruiz of NFL Media reports. Labor was induced Wednesday night.

Hyde is expected to make it to the stadium in time for kickoff.

Today, by the way, is Hyde’s 28th birthday, so he will share a birthday with his child.

Christian Kirksey inactive, but Jarvis Landry, Damarious Randall will play

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The Browns won’t have linebacker Christian Kirksey tonight as Cleveland listed him among its inactives. He was listed as doubtful on the Browns’ status report with ankle and shoulder injuries.

But receiver Jarvis Landry (knee) and free safety Damarious Randall (heel) will play. Both entered as questionable.

The Browns’ other inactives are quarterback Drew Stanton, receiver Rod Streater, tight end Seth DeValve (hamstring), defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle), defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo and defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence.

The Jets already had ruled out tight end Neal Sterling (concussion) and outside linebacker Josh Martin (concussion). Safety Marcus Maye, who was doubtful with a foot injury, also was among the Jets’ inactives.

Cornerback Derrick Jones, cornerback Juston Burris, offensive guard Dakota Dozier and defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi were the team’s other inactives.

Steelers offensive coordinator: I want Antonio Brown to be passionate

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Steelers receiver Antonio Brown was emotional on the sideline during Sunday’s game against Kansas City. Brown explained earlier Thursday it was because he was “pissed off” at not winning.

The Steelers are 0-1-1 after a tie with the Browns and a loss to the Chiefs.

Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, who has known Brown since high school, confirmed the All-Pro was not yelling at him.

He’s a competitor,” Fichtner said, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I mean, it’s probably more about just wanting to help the team win and his contributions. I don’t think it’s anything more.

“I’ve known A.B. for a long time. I want him to be passionate, and I want his communication.”

Brown has yet to have a 100-yard game, with 18 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown.

“Some coverage schemes are going to be designed to actually take him out of play on certain plays,” Fichtner said. “That can happen. We have to be smart enough at times to allow that to happen and make sure the ball goes other places. That’s where I’m proud of Ben [Roethlisberger] and the protection and the other guys making plays.”

Vance Joseph: Case Keenum needs to take care of the football better

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Like last year, Broncos quarterback Case Keenum has shown a knack for beating franchise quarterbacks; he’s 2-0 against Russell Wilson and Derek Carr. Unlike last year, Keenum has generated plenty of turnovers.

Coach Vance Joseph told reporters on Thursday that he’d like to see those errors be reduced.

“I think Case would say this: just taking care of the football better,” Joseph said, when asked what Keenum should do better. “We’re in the high red zone last week and we give one away. We gave three away against Seattle after defensive turnovers, so he would tell you guys probably taking care of the football. Again, I’ve been really impressed with Case and how he’s come back from those plays and continued to play at a high level for our offense.”

Keenum had seven interceptions during the 2017 regular season. This year, he already has four interceptions through two games. And his passer rating has dropped from 98.3 in 2017 to 73.6 in 2018.

Still, the Broncos are winning. Which they didn’t do nearly enough last year. This weekend, it won’t be easy when Keenum returns to Baltimore, for the first time since a controversial game in which he suffered a concussion but wasn’t removed from play.

Joe Montana: Effort by Hall of Famers should include all players

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Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson wants $300,000 per year for every Hall of Famer, plus health insurance for all former players. Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana supports the effort, with a caveat.

“They are on the right path,” Montana told Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Daily. “It should be inclusive of all players. I mean, when you look at our pension plan in general — not just for the Hall of Famers, but in general for the NFL — it is terrible compared to all the other sports. We are not even close and yet we are the most at risk.”

The problem for former players is that the pension rights are determined by current players, and current players don’t often think of themselves as future former players.

Dickerson and others hope to leverage payment for Hall of Famers by threatening not to show up for the annual Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony. Montana, as explained by Kaplan, doesn’t usually attend anyway.

“I understand where they are going, but it should be more,” Montana said. “I just think it should be more than the HOF. I understand what they are doing, they think if they can get the HOF guys moving than that will help everyone in the long run.”

There’s still nothing that can be done, other than hope that threats to not attend the enshrinement ceremony will spark action — or that P.R. will mount in favor of the former players.