Belichick says Reid is as good as any coach at adjusting with new ideas

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Andy Reid has a long track record as an NFL offensive coach, from his time as a Packers offensive assistant in the 1990s, to his 14 years as head coach of the Eagles, and now in his sixth year as head coach of the Chiefs. But the offense he runs now doesn’t look a lot like that offense in Green Bay a quarter of a century ago.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick says Reid has changed his offense over time, and Belichick admires Reid’s willingness to implement ideas from the outside.

“He’s done a great job of that, probably as good as any coach that I’ve seen. He does a great job taking new ideas, new concepts, and utilizing them in a productive and efficient way, depending on what he’s working with, how they fit into what he’s doing, his personnel,” Belichick said. “He’s very creative, he takes on new ideas, new concepts and develops them within the framework of his system to create more problems for the defense. He does a great job of that. We see it every year, and even in the course of the year, from when we played them in October, has come up with more things that create more of a problem. He’s always tough to go agains, he does a great job of game planning and does an excellent job of developing an offensive system that is very hard to defend.”

Reid has evolved over the years and now has his best offense yet this year with Patrick Mahomes.

Jerod Mayo warns of turf in Kansas City

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Yes, it’s going to be freezing in Kansas City this weekend. Way below freezing, actually.

There’s also some uncertain footing to deal with, and that’s on former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo’s mind.

Mayo was on the 2014 team that went to Kansas City and took a 41-14 beating, and told Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston that the turf was a factor then.

“It was a huge problem,” Mayo said. “the grass would just come up all the time. I remember missing a tackle on the sideline, and I really just couldn’t stop. It was like having tires with no tread.”

Granted, that game was in September, but the conditions will still be a factor, even if the Patriots need chains more than tread on their tires.

Report: Rich Scangarello expected to be Broncos OC

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The Broncos had to wait a day or two for the 49ers to grant them permission to interview their quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello for their offensive coordinator vacancy, but it appears the wait was worthwhile.

Scangarello was in Denver on Tuesday to interview with head coach Vic Fangio and others from the team and he is back for more talks on Wednesday. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that those talks are expected to result in Scangarello getting the job.

It would be Scangarello’s first coordinator job in the NFL and he has held that title at Wagner and Northern Arizona in the collegiate ranks. He’d have an experienced offensive line coach in Mike Munchak to help him as he navigates the waters for the first time on the professional level.

Whether Scangarello leaves or not, 49ers wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur and run game coordinator Mike McDaniel are expected back as top offensive assistants to Kyle Shanahan in 2019.

Bills sign Lorenzo Alexander for 2019

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Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander made it clear at the end of the 2018 season that he had no interest in leaving the Bills for another team in free agency and he won’t have to think about that possibility any longer.

The Bills announced on Wednesday that Alexander has signed a one-year deal for the 2019 season. No financial terms were announced.

Alexander had been a reserve and special teams player for most of his first 10 seasons in the NFL, but he got a chance at playing a bigger defensive role since getting to Buffalo in 2016. He’s made the most of it with 223 tackles, 22 sacks, eight forced fumbles and three interceptions over the last three years.

While discussing his desire to remain with the Bills, Alexander hinted that the 2019 season will be his final one as a pro and Wednesday’s news confirms that he’ll be spending it in the place where he’s had his finest moments.

When it comes to Nick Foles, Howie Roseman vows to do what’s best for the Eagles

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On Tuesday, the case was made for Nick Foles doing what’s best for Nick Foles, because it’s clear that the Eagles will always do what’s best for the Eagles. On Tuesday, the Eagles made it clear that, indeed, they will do what’s best for them, when it comes to Foles or anyone else.

“It always has to be what’s best for our football team and the Philadelphia Eagles,” Eagles executive V.P. of football operations Howie Roseman told reporters. “We have to make decisions based on that.”

In other words, Foles may think he deserves a shot at the open market, unfettered by any rights the Eagles may be able to exercise. But that doesn’t mean the Eagles will let that happen.

“There is also a respect factor for guys that have done a lot for us and been part of it,” Roseman acknowledged. “We try to factor that in as well, but the bottom line is we have to do what’s best for our football team to help us win games going forward.”

With Foles, the ultimate respect would be to let him walk away as a free agent. But that’s not “best for our football team,” because the Eagles could play out this hand in a way that allows them to finagle something more than whatever compensatory draft pick consideration they’d realize.

And the Eagles will make no apologies for doing that. Indeed, when Roseman says that “I don’t know a team that wouldn’t want to have Nick Foles on their roster,” Roseman is laying the foundation to eventually trade Foles, presumably after application of the franchise tag.

Still, Foles shouldn’t be bashful about acting in his own interests. He can make it clear that, if he’s tagged, he won’t sign the tender, preventing the Eagles from trading him. Or he’ll sign the tender, happily collect roughly $25 million, and refuse to sign a long-term contract, with the Eagles or anyone else.

If he wants to take it to another level, Foles can (through his agent) make it clear that he believes he has deserved the opportunity to pick his next team unrestricted and unfettered, and that he will no longer be a good solider while he waits for the long-overdue reward flowing from the Super Bowl championship he delivered to the Eagles last year. For example, Foles can make it clear (privately) that he won’t show up for any voluntary offseason activities with any team (whether he signs the tender or not) until he gets a chance to go to the market and get paid whatever the market will bear.

So what will the market bear? If Kirk Cousins got $84 million fully guaranteed on a three-year deal on the open market despite never winning a playoff game and having a propensity for losing high-profile regular-season games (a trend that has continued this year), couldn’t Foles get that much? Couldn’t he get more?

Yes, Foles’ time with the Rams didn’t go well. Neither did Case Keenum‘s time with the Rams, nor Jared Goff‘s. Before and after that lost year in St. Louis, Foles has proven that he can do what few have done in recent years: Win a Super Bowl.

That has value. And Foles has done enough to deserve a chance to turn that value into money that will sustain his family, decades into the future.

Andy Reid can be seventh coach to take two franchises to Super Bowl

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Chiefs coach Andy Reid is one win away from joining some impressive company in NFL coaching history.

If Reid’s Chiefs win the AFC Championship Game, he’ll coach in the Super Bowl with his second team, having previously taken the Eagles to the Super Bowl. Reid would become the seventh coach to take two franchises to the Super Bowl.

The previous coaches to take two franchises to the Super Bowl are Don Shula (Colts and Dolphins), Bill Parcells (Giants and Patriots), Dan Reeves (Broncos and Falcons), Dick Vermeil (Eagles and Rams), Mike Holmgren (Packers and Seahawks) and John Fox (Panthers and Broncos).

So far no coach has ever won a Super Bowl with two different franchises. The only active NFL head coach with a chance to do that on his current team is Jon Gruden, who won the Super Bowl with the Buccaneers and is now with the Raiders, where he currently appears to be far from winning a second Super Bowl.

Report: Jets kicked off coaching search during bye week

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The Jets waited until after the season to fire head coach Todd Bowles.

But in reality, their coaching search started much sooner, and Bowles knew it.

As part of an in-depth look at the Jets coaching search, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY reports that the Jets began their coaching search in earnest shortly after the Jets’ embarrassing Week 10 loss to the Bills, a 41-10 thrashing that dropped them to 3-7 and sealed Bowles’ fate.

That was the week that CEO Christopher Johnson kicked off what he called an “extensive” search that included a brief flirtation with Jim Harbaugh (confirming what had been previously reported here, and denied by the Jets), and plenty of interviews before they hired former Dolphins coach Adam Gase (who wasn’t even available when they kicked off the process).

The idea that Bowles was on the hot seat entering the season wasn’t earth-shattering news, and Bowles seemed to know it as well. Vacchiano reports that Bowles was talking to his old boss Bruce Arians about possible defensive coordinator jobs before the regular season had ended, knowing he’d be needing work soon. Arians ended up landing in Tampa Bay, and hired Bowles to join him.

The report also includes a few other nuggets (such as Peyton Manning calling Johnson to stump for Gase), but paints Gase as the right mix of experience and offensive skill they were looking for to pair with quarterback Sam Darnold and a General Manager in Mike Maccagnan who wasn’t inclined to yield influence to other coaches (such as Mike McCarthy).

Jerry Jones on coaching staff changes: I don’t know and I’m the last say

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Cowboys coach Jason Garrett made a rapid shift earlier this week when he went from suggesting that the team’s coaching staff would remain intact heading into the 2019 season to saying that no decisions had been made a short time later.

Based on what Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had to say on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday, the second answer was the correct one. Jones said that anyone saying that they know the fate of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and other members of the staff is wrong because “I don’t know this morning and I’m the last say.”

“Why would I put some kind of statement out that says this is what we’re going to do when we might have an opportunity here next week? This is the time when these things are thought about,” Jones said, via the team’s website. “This is the time when they are chewed on. This is when you may see an opportunity next week that you didn’t know existed this week in the area of personnel or in the area of coaching. And I’m not trying to be cute here. I’m just saying that one of the advantages that we have is that we can operate with that kind of flexibility.”

Jones did say that he likes “the direction we’re going” and signs are that the Cowboys will be moving forward without any significant changes to the cast of characters, but Jones made sure it was clear that he reserves “the right to change my mind” and he hasn’t pinned himself down to anything at this point.

Panthers looking at adding game-management help

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Panthers owner David Tepper likes coach Ron Rivera and wanted to bring him back.

But he wants to offer him some help as well.

During an interview with a small group of reporters Tuesday, Tepper said there are ways Rivera can improve things on the field, and they might adjust the coaching staff to reflect that.

“I think there’s some sort of evolution that should be happening here,” Tepper said. “I’ve talked about analytics before; we’ve talked internally about a game management person of some sort — a coach; things like that. You want to do everything you can to give you every edge you can on that field.”

For all the things he’s good at, clock management is a thing that gets away from Rivera at times. Tepper alluded to such times in his in-house video earlier this week.

“I’m very much focused on not giving anything, anything we can for free,” he said. “I don’t want to see 10 seconds go away, I don’t want to see 5 seconds go away that we should save.”

If they handle this issue with a specific personnel addition, they won’t be the first team to hire such help, or even the first in their division. Falcons coach Dan Quinn has designated an assistant coach to help with clock management, replay challenges and timeouts.

Like Rivera, Quinn is taking over defensive play-calling this year, and as a head coach adds things to his plate something needs to come off. And recognizing that Rivera needs some help is a good first step. The Panthers were notoriously stingy with assistant coaching salaries under previous ownership, and if Tepper is willing to pay for some extra help, it may offer a significant return on the field.

C.J. Anderson: When the Raiders cut me I thought my season was done

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C.J. Anderson is as surprised as anyone to find himself a key player on a team that’s one win away from the Super Bowl.

Anderson told the #PFTPM podcast that if he’d been told a month ago that he was going to be the Rams’ leading rusher in a playoff win, he never would have believed it. Anderson has already been cut by the Broncos, Panthers and Raiders in the last year, and when the Raiders waived him and no one claimed him, he figured his next chance to sign with an NFL team would be after free agency started in 2019.

“I wouldn’t have believed you a month ago,” Anderson said. “When I got released by Oakland I thought the season was over for me and hopefully my resume would get me an opportunity in free agency in March.”

Instead, a great Rams offensive line is opening big holes for Anderson, and he’s making the most of a great opportunity: He has played three games in a Rams uniform and has 167, 132 and 123 rushing yards in those three games. A player who thought his season was over is now a big-time player in the postseason.

Reports: Washington was interested in Gregg Williams

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Public comments about the coaching staff in Washington have been in short supply this offseason, but there’s sure to be one significant change in 2019 because special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica is now a member of Dan Quinn’s staff in Atlanta.

It seems the team has been exploring another coordinator change as well. According to multiple reports, the team was interested in speaking to Gregg Williams this week and that comes on the heels of word that they also spoke to Steve Wilks and Todd Bowles.

Those conversations, actual or desired, didn’t lead anywhere. Williams is set to be the defensive coordinator with the Jets while Bowles has been hired in Tampa and Wilks will be working for the Browns. All of which leaves Greg Manusky in charge of the defense in Washington unless or until someone the team likes better decides to hop on Jay Gruden’s staff.

That seems like a tough sell. All three of the those experienced coordinators took jobs with teams that just hired head coaches that will presumably get some time in the job. Three straight seasons out of the playoffs, lack of robust support for Gruden and uncertainty at quarterback join recruiting coaches who would presumably replace someone still on the staff as reasons why jumping to Washington appears to be an unappealing option.

Doug Pederson “very comfortable” despite shaky offensive line prospects

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It’s not nearly as sexy as quarterback speculation, but the Eagles may have a real problem protecting that quarterback next season.

As noted by Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News, the Eagles could be looking for replacements for 60 percent of their offensive line heading into next year’s opener.

Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks tore his Achilles, center Jason Kelce is pondering retirement, and left tackle Jason Peters might have reached the age where he’s no longer worth the money.

But Doug Pederson wasn’t ready to start freaking out in the aftermath of their playoff exit.

Moving forward, very comfortable,’’ Pederson said. “Our offensive line was one of the top offensive lines in the National Football League. Brandon’s injury, how it happened and when it happened, was unfortunate.

“I’m not going to get into a lot of specifics with [the status of] each guy. But we’d obviously like to have them all back. The more guys up front you can keep together, it’s great for your quarterback. It’s great for your running back. It’s good for your offense in general.’’

Peters has been one of the best at his position, but he’s turning 37 next week and has a $10.7 million cap number. He also missed the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Saints with a back injury, and was replaced by Halapoulivaati Vaitai.

Kelce has hinted at retirement in the past, but he’s 31 and is still playing at a high level.

The Eagles have some young players they like (including rugby conversion Jordan Mailata), but having a high degree of uncertainty up front is only comfortable if you’re worried about bigger things.

Bills would prefer LeSean McCoy not share personnel thoughts on social media

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Since the end of the 2018 season, Bills running back LeSean McCoy has made a few social media posts that have reflected his desire to see the team upgrade its offensive line.

In a since-deleted tweet, he wrote that he’d like to see the team add players from Alabama and deleted a comment on an NFL post that said he wanted a player like Colts rookie guard Quenton Nelson. While those posts have been pulled, word of them made its way to team brass.

In an interview with the Buffalo News, General Manager Brandon Beane made it clear that the team would prefer that McCoy cease putting his personnel thoughts on public display.

“I think LeSean understands that’s not how we do business,” Beane said. “He’s a passionate guy, but we don’t do it on social media. He doesn’t mean anything by it, but at the same time, we don’t condone that. … We want all our players to be mindful of what’s on social media. That’s the scary part about social media. You talk to your kids about it. You talk to everybody about it. Everybody’s reading it, and once it’s on there, it’s on there. You’re conversating with everybody. You’re not just having a one-on-one conversation with somebody. So, I think he understands that.”

The Bills may not like the avenue that McCoy has chosen to express himself, but it’s hard to argue too strenuously about the content. The team needs to be better on the offensive line, which is why they made a change at offensive line coach and why it will be surprising if the offseason doesn’t bring several new faces to the group.

Anthony Lynn says Chargers won’t be complacent after “butt kicking”

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As much as it stung, Chargers coach Anthony Lynn is already drawing on the lessons of Sunday’s thrashing by the Patriots for lessons for next season.

A 12-4 season came crashing down around their ears, and the late scores that closed the gap to 41-28 don’t hide the fact the Chargers were dominated.

“We won’t be complacent, I can tell you that,” Lynn said, via Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times. “We had a good year, . . . but after that butt kicking [Sunday], no one will be complacent. Everyone will be looking for ways to get better.”

The Chargers have an old quarterback and an old tight end, but the core of the team is young, which should put them in position to contend as long as Rivers is healthy. They’ll have to restock in the defensive front seven, but there’s no apparent reason they can’t be at this level for a few years.

Elder tight end Antonio Gates has also echoed his coach’s sentiment, saying he doesn’t want to go out on a loss like that.

“You don’t like to end your career in this fashion,” Gates said. “That’s just natural. I want to end it on a high note. When you think about what we’ve built here, do we have an opportunity? I really believe we do, in my heart. So, of course, I’d love to come back and play.”

Motivation comes in strange forms sometimes, though being embarrassed might not be the thing you want to remember the most through an offseason.

Local politicians in Atlanta and New Orleans have beef

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The Saints are a week away from taking over Atlanta, or at least the Falcons’ practice facility and locker room.

And the prospect isn’t sitting too well with local officials there.

Via Beau Evans of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said while answering questions from a reporter she wanted to see “anybody other than the Saints” in the Super Bowl which is coming to her city.

After saying she didn’t have a preference who came to Atlanta for the game, she added: “As long as it’s not the Saints, I’m happy.”

“I know there’s going to be a bounty on my head for saying that,” she added.

She played it off as a joke, but if Bottoms was actually making a Gregg Williams-era reference that the Saints were injuring opponents in exchange for money and not just using the words in a generic sense, you almost have to respect her football memory enough to justify the shot.

Of course, local politicians in New Orleans had to fire back, because you can’t just have one side pandering.

New Orleans City Councilman Jay Banks, preparing a re-election bid apparently, was ready.

“I’m disappointed that she felt that way,” Banks said, “but we are still coming. And it’s not our fault that her team sucks.”

“I mean, if they could win, then they wouldn’t have this problem. At the end of the day, don’t get mad with me. Don’t hate the player, don’t hate the game, learn how to play the game better.”

This is actually refreshing, because it hasn’t devolved into a corny bet between mayors of locally famous food products, and if local politicians are going to insult each other, it also makes you wonder what we’re missing with the Bears and Eagles crashing out of the playoffs so soon.