Kadarius Toney has limited practice; Patrick Mahomes a full participant

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Jacksonville Jaguars v Kansas City Chiefs
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Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney was the only player on the 53-man roster not to have a full practice Wednesday.

Toney was limited with his ankle injury.

Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) returned to full participation.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, whose high ankle sprain kept him out only 13 plays during the divisional round win over the Jaguars, was a full participant Wednesday. He said earlier in the day that his ankle feels better than two weeks ago in the AFC Championship Game.

“You got a bird’s eye view of him today,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said in the practice pool report. “He’s an amazing guy. Half of it is how strong he is in the mind. He wills himself to do things and doesn’t give himself any excuses. You saw it [today]. You saw him roll to the right, roll to the left, taking snaps from under center. All the things that are a little tougher. I thought he did well.”

Linebacker Willie Gay (shoulder), running backs Jerick McKinnon (ankles), running back Isiah Pacheco (wrist) and offensive guard Trey Smith (ankle) also were full participants.

Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed has cleared concussion protocol and no longer is listed on the practice report.

“All the guys that were banged up, I thought, moved around well today,” Reid said. “I talked to them and they said they felt well.”

Thursday’s PFT Live is headlined by Justin Jefferson

2023 NFL Pro Bowl Games
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He’s an MVP candidate. He’s the PFT offensive player of the year. And he’s joining PFT Live on Thursday.

Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson will sit down with Chris Simms and me for tomorrow’s show.

Other Thursday guests include Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith, Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett, Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons, Buccaneers tight end Kyle Rudolph, and former NFL quarterback Shaun King.

It all gets rolling at 1:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, live on Peacock, SiriusXM 85, and Sky Sports NFL.

If you’ve missed any of the interviews we’ve done this week, check out the podcast feed for conversations with 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, Commanders coach Ron Rivera, 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel, Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb, Hall of Famer Joe Montana, Jets receiver Garrett Wilson, Ravens tight end Mark Andrews, and many more.

Bucs are expected to interview Dave Canales for offensive coordinator

NFL: OCT 08 Buccaneers at Bears
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The Buccaneers had a second interview with Dan Pitcher on Wednesday, but they are apparently still working through their first round of offensive coordinator interviews as well.

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reports that they are set to interview Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales.

Canales has had two interviews with the Ravens and his profile has gotten a boost this year thanks to Geno Smith‘s excellent play. He has been on the Seattle staff since 2010 and served as their wide receivers coach before taking over his current duties.

Broncos passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak, Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell, Jaguars quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter, University of Georgia offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Todd Monken, Giants quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney, and Saints passing game Coordinator/quarterbacks coach Ronald Curry are the other candidates who have interviewed with Tampa.

Bills to hire Al Holcomb as senior defensive assistant

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots
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The Bills are making an addition to their defensive coaching staff.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that the team will hire Al Holcomb as a senior defensive assistant. Holcomb finished out the 2022 season as the Panthers’ interim defensive coordinator.

Holcomb was the assistant head coach before taking on the coordinator role in the wake of Phil Snow’s firing and he also served as Steve Wilks’ defensive coordinator with the Cardinals in 2018. Before Arizona, Holcomb had a five-year stint as the linebackers coach in Carolina and he worked with Bills head coach Sean McDermott during that stretch.

The Bills have also changed safeties coaches since being knocked out of the playoffs. Jim Salgado was fired and Joe Danna was hired to take his place.

CeeDee Lamb: No one deserves the criticism Dak Prescott gets

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Commanders
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The Cowboys moved on from offensive coordinator Kellen Moore after the season-ending loss to the 49ers. But some fans have spent the past two weeks clamoring for a new coach and a new quarterback.

Mike McCarthy and Dak Prescott have been easy targets for blame following the franchise’s 27th consecutive season without a trip to the NFC Championship Game.

Star receiver CeeDee Lamb has his quarterback’s back.

“I don’t think anyone deserves the criticism he gets. They are crazy, bro,” Lamb said during a Wednesday appearance on PFT Live. “You’ve got to understand. It’s football. A lot of other people get paid to make plays. But the way that he gets talked about is crazy. It’s wild. I don’t think he deserves it.”

Prescott played 12 games and threw 23 touchdowns and a league-leading 15 interceptions. He played one of his best career games in the wild card round, throwing for 305 yards and four touchdowns in the victory over the 49ers. But the Cowboys lost in the divisional round as Prescott threw for 206 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

“Just seeing how the media reacts to Dak is one of the funniest moments quite honestly,” Lamb said. “I don’t say much, but I see a lot. I’ll watch how he plays. Of course, I’m there, but I go look at the media and everybody’s ‘Dak this; Dak that’ after a good game. It be crazy. And the next week I’ll see the same names. It’s a little weird to me.”

Lamb lauded Prescott’s ability to tune out the negative and focus on today.

“You can’t think about last week. Focus on the now. Be where your feet are,” Lamb said. “He’s a big advocate of that, and I’ve learned so much about letting the past be the past and living in the present. I’ve learned so much from him just how he’s performed this year. He’ll throw two picks here and the next game he’ll give you four touchdowns. It’s crazy, bro.”

Playing quarterback for America’s Team brings more off-field opportunities and more attention, but it also brings more scrutiny and more criticism. It’s part of the job. The Cowboys have Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman on the pedestal . . . and everybody else who played quarterback for them.

Danny White and Tony Romo are in the team’s hall of very good, which is where Prescott will stay until or unless he puts a Super Bowl ring on his hand.

Prescott, though, has the backing of the team’s front office, with Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones repeatedly expressing support of him as the long-term, franchise quarterback. And the quarterback’s teammates have his back.

Jamaal Williams: I want to stay in Detroit and make my mark

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers
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Running back Jamaal Williams‘ second season with the Lions was a big success and he’d like to be back for a third year in Detroit.

Williams set a franchise record with 17 rushing touchdowns while carrying the ball 262 times for a personal-best 1,066 yards. That made him the first Lions back to run for more than 1,000 yards since 2013 and Williams said on Wednesday that he wants a shot at doing it again.

“I really just want to stay with Detroit, if I can,” Williams said, via the team’s website. “Really just stay here and make my mark here. I really want to finish here if I could. I understand it’s a business and the team has to do what’s best for them and I have to do what’s best for me, too, but I just really want us to come to a mutual agreement and just get it done and just get back to playing football.”

Williams’ play was one of the reasons why the Lions made the jump from 3-13-1 to 9-8. If he’s back, he’ll try to help the team keep climbing to their first postseason berth since 2016.

Commanders haven’t decided whether or not to pick up Chase Young’s fifth-year option

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Commanders
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Commanders defensive end Chase Young returned from his torn ACL to play the last three games of the 2022 season.

Now Washington has a significant decision to make on Young’s contract this spring.

Head coach Ron Rivera told reporters on Wednesday that the organization has not yet come to a consensus on whether or not to exercise Young’s fifth-year option.

Via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post, Rivera noted that the club needs to discuss Young’s health and review the edge rusher’s growth and development.

Young was the 2020 AP defensive rookie of the year after the Commanders took him with the No. 2 overall pick. He recorded 7.5 sacks with 10 tackles for loss, 12 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries that season.

But he had just 1.5 sacks in nine games before suffering his season-ending knee injury in 2021. He also posted three tackles for loss and four QB hits.

Young had one QB hit over three games in 2022.

If Washington doesn’t pick up Young’s fifth-year option, Rivera said he’s not concerned about the message it would send, in part because of what the club went through with defensive tackle Daron Payne. The 13th overall pick of the 2018 draft, Payne is set to become an unrestricted free agent after he didn’t receive a contract extension before the 2022 season.

It cost us,” Rivera said, via Jhabvala, of the decision to not extend Payne. “But it cost us in a good way, because the young man played, he did things the right way. He didn’t sit out, he didn’t withhold, he could have done that sit-in during training camp, but he didn’t. And because he didn’t, now we’re in that position where we have to find a way to say, ‘thank you, OK, you’ve earned it.’”

Rivera added that if Washington does not pick up Young’s option, it could be a motivator for the defensive end.

“Most certainly,” Rivera said. “If you look at what Daron did, why wouldn’t you think of it that way? Believe me, that would be my approach, especially looking at what Daron did and the situation he put himself in.”

Payne registered a career-high 11.5 sacks in 2022 — more than doubling his previous career-high in sacks. He also had a career-high 18 tackles for loss and 20 quarterback hits.

The Commanders have plenty of time to decide on Young’s option. But it will be a significant choice either way.

Lions announce Scottie Montgomery, Dre Thompson hires

NFL: OCT 30 Dolphins at Lions
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The Lions announced two new additions to their coaching staff.

A report earlier this week indicated Scottie Montgomery would become assistant head coach and running backs coach, and the Lions confirmed his hiring. He replaces Duce Staley, who left for a job in Carolina.

Montgomery enters his sixth season as an NFL coach. He most recently was in Indianapolis, spending the past two seasons as the Colts’ running backs coach.

Montgomery’s first NFL coaching position came with the Steelers as the wide receivers coach from 2010-12.

The Lions also announced Dre Thompson as the minority coaching assistant/defensive quality control coach. He spent last season with the Broncos, serving as a Billy Thompson Coaching Fellow.

Thompson, like head coach Dan Campbell, played collegiately at Texas A&M. He also coached with the Aggies from 2016-18 after one season a the University of Maryland.

The Lions also announced they have hired Brian Duker as defensive backs coach, Tanner Engstrand as passing game coordinator, Steve Oliver as assistant offensive line coach, J.T. Barrett as assistant quarterbacks coach and Shaun Dion Hamilton as assistant linebackers coach.

Barrett was an offensive assistant with the Lions last season.

Report: Tom Moore signs contract extension with Buccaneers

NFL: JAN 08 Buccaneers at Falcons
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The Buccaneers are still looking for an offensive coordinator, but it appears they aren’t waiting to hire one before securing the return of another offensive assistant.

Peter Schrager of Fox Sports reports that the team has signed Tom Moore to an extension.

Moore has been an offensive consultant for the Bucs since the 2019 season. The 84-year-old has also worked for the Cardinals, Titans, Jets, Colts, Saints, Lions, Vikings, and Steelers over the course of an NFL coaching career that began in 1977.

Moore will work with whoever gets hired as the offensive coordinator to prepare Tom Brady‘s successor at quarterback for the 2023 season. Kyle Trask is currently the only quarterback under contract in Tampa.

 

Eagles’ first official practice in Arizona shows their obsession with situational football

Super Bowl LVII - Philadelphia Eagles Practice
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Eagles coach Nick Sirianni is trying to make the Cardinals’ practice facility feel as much like home as possible this week.

That includes the music played at practice.

Right tackle Lane Johnson sang Creed’s “Arms Wide Open” at the start of a practice last week. So, he texted Sirianni with a play request for more Creed.

“I don’t know if he thinks I’m the DJ or what, but I guess he knows I can get things done,” Sirianni told pool reporter Lindsay Jones of The Ringer.

Creed’s “My Sacrifice” was the first song to play Wednesday morning. The music then shifted to current rap hits.

The Eagles had a typical practice for Wednesday — a 70-minute, up-tempo walkthrough.

All 53 players participated, and punter Arryn Siposs, who injured his lower leg in December, also was on the practice field. Siposs remains on injured reserve but could return to the active roster in time to play Sunday.

The Eagles ended Wednesday’s practice with a ones vs. ones situational period. They are trying to prepare for anything the Chiefs might throw at them.

“We’re kind of obsessed with situations. Not kind of. We are obsessed with situations,” Sirianni said. “So every day players are in the building we’re working on those, and that can be a lot of things — third downs, things that could pop up on first or second down. We’ve got a whole list of them that we want to rep and go over.”

Bucs complete second interview with Dan Pitcher

NFL: JAN 23 NFC Divisional Round - Rams at Buccaneers
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The Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator search continued on Wednesday when the team conducted a second interview with one of the candidates.

The team announced that they completed an interview with Bengals quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher. Pitcher had his first interview with the team on January 27.

After that interview, there was word that Pitcher signed a contract extension with the Bengals but that hasn’t stopped him from looking to take the next step up the coaching ladder in Tampa.

Pitcher has worked for the Bengals since 2016. This was his third season as the team’s quarterback coach.

The Bucs have also interviewed Broncos passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak, Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell, Jaguars quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter, University of Georgia offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Todd Monken, Giants quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney, and Saints passing game Coordinator/quarterbacks coach Ronald Curry.

Joe Montana: If Brock Purdy is healthy I think it’s his job, Trey Lance isn’t ready

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles
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The quarterback who won four Super Bowls with the 49ers has had no hesitation about speaking his mind on the 49ers’ current quarterback situation, and he doesn’t think Trey Lance is ready to lead a team to a Super Bowl.

Joe Montana appeared today on PFT Live and said that his previous comments about the 49ers bringing back Jimmy Garoppolo were only about what the team should do if Brock Purdy‘s elbow injury hasn’t healed. If Purdy can go, Montana believes Purdy is the starter for 2023.

“If Purdy’s healthy I think it’s his job,” Montana said.

But what about Lance, whom the 49ers spent three first-round picks on? Montana doesn’t believe he’ll be ready to lead a team to a Super Bowl, given how little he has shown through two NFL seasons.

“I don’t think he’s ready yet. I don’t think he’s ready to take that caliber team. Talented kid, and he might be, part way through the year if he gets more starts I don’t know, but do you want to turn over a team that you want to get off to a great start with a guy you still have a question about?” Montana said.

Montana, who’s still frustrated that the 49ers chose to trade him to the Chiefs and elevate Steve Young to the starting job, thinks the 49ers have to get the quarterback decision right this year, and he thinks the right choice is a healthy Purdy.

Texans to interview Matt Burke for defensive coordinator

NFL: OCT 20 Texans at Colts
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The Texans have hired DeMeco Ryans as their head coach and now they need to work on filling out his first staff in Houston.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that process will include an interview with Matt Burke this week.

Burke spent the 2022 season as the Cardinals defensive line coach and he was the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator in 2017 and 2018. He’s also worked for the Eagles and Jets since leaving Miami and he worked with the Bengals, Lions, and Titans earlier in his career.

Ryans was the defensive coordinator for the 49ers the last two years and said at his introductory press conference that he has not decided whether he will call plays on defense in Houston.

Every Eagles player participated in Wednesday’s walkthrough

Super Bowl LVII - Philadelphia Eagles Practice
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The Eagles held a walkthrough practice Wednesday, and every player participated.

The team estimated right tackle Lane Johnson (groin, resting player), center Cam Jurgens (hip, resting player) and cornerback Avonte Maddox (toe, resting player) as limited.

Last week, Maddox stood on the sideline with a protective boot on his left foot. He missed three games with a toe injury before returning to play in the NFC Championship Game.

So, his return to Wednesday’s walkthrough is a good sign for his availability for Sunday.

Left guard Landon Dickerson (elbow) and defensive end Robert Quinn (foot) were full participants.

The Eagles gave no players a game status last week, so all 53 players are expected to be healthy enough to play. That will force the Eagles to make some decisions for their inactive list, with all of their inactives healthy scratches.

Damar Hamlin wins the NFLPA’s Alan Page Community Award

Tennessee Titans v Buffalo Bills
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The NFL announced on Wednesday that Bills safety Damar Hamlin has been named this year’s winner of the Alan Page Community Award.

After Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during the team’s Week 17 game in Cincinnati, many people showed their support for his recovery by donating to a GoFundMe page Hamlin established for a toy drive while he was still in college in 2020. Hamlin hoped to raise $2,500, but more than $8 million poured into the effort in the wake of his collapse and Hamlin formally established the Chasing M’s Foundation to manage the money.

Hamlin was on hand at a press conference in Phoenix to accept the award and shared one of his favorite quotes while giving a brief acceptance speech.

“It’s a blessing to be a blessing,” Hamlin said.

The NFLPA will donate $100,000 to Hamlin’s foundation or the charity of his choice in honor of the award.