C.J. Mosley: Playoffs are a “realistic goal” this season

Jacksonville Jaguars v New York Jets
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The Jets have not been to the playoffs since the 2010 season and linebacker C.J. Mosley thinks that drought is one of the stumbling blocks that keeps the team from making it back to the postseason.

Mosley said this week that “guys that have been in the system that are used to hearing that” the Jets are going to fall short of reaching their goals and that’s something the team has to wrestle with as they head into this season. He thinks that tackling the obstacle is within reach this year because continuity on the coaching staff can lead to “everybody having that confidence in what we’re doing and being able to execute the plays” on the field this season.

That confidence has Mosley feeling like the team has a real chance to break through for the first time in more than a decade.

“I’m really expecting playoffs or bust,” Mosley said, via Mark Inabinett of AL.com. “Obviously, that’s my goal every year, but I think it’s something that’s a realistic goal for our entire team and our coaches.”

The fight for AFC playoff spots is expected to be a fierce one after an offseason that saw several of the conference’s teams upgrade their talent. That may leave the Jets short of reaching Mosley’s goal, but steps toward making it a reality can still be taken even if the final destination remains out of reach.

Rashan Gary: Second contract “a dream,” but can’t look too far ahead

NFL: JAN 22 NFC Divisional Round - 49ers at Packers
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Edge rusher Rashan Gary has steadily increased his playing time and production over three seasons in the NFL and that made a decision on exercising his fifth-year option an easy one for the Packers this offseason.

The Packers picked up the option, which guarantees Gary’s $10.892 million salary for the 2023 season. A longer extension could take the place of that deal, but Gary said that such thoughts aren’t at the forefront of his mind as he heads toward the season.

“That would be my dream. That would be my dream. But I’ve got to keep my head down and work and not look too far ahead or all this talk is just talk,” Gary said, via Bill Huber of SI.com.

Gary picked up 9.5 sacks last season and the departure of Za'Darius Smith leaves him set for another major role on Green Bay’s defense. If his production remains high, Gary will be well positioned to pick up that second contract with the Packers at some point next offseason.

Desmond Ridder: Marcus Mariota is like a big brother to me

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When the Falcons traded Matt Ryan to the Colts, they quickly pivoted to signing Marcus Mariota — setting up the 2015 No. 2 overall pick to be the club’s starting quarterback in 2022.

Then the club used the 74th overall pick in this year’s draft to select Desmond Ridder, potentially making him Atlanta’s quarterback of the future.

There’s a chance that Ridder could be the quarterback of the present, too. But to do that, he’ll have to beat out Mariota. And Ridder said during the last stages of the offseason program that becoming QB1 hadn’t been his primary focus.

I take it day by day,” Ridder said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’m not coming out here trying to win the starting job, right here, right now. My job is to come out here and to make myself better to them, make Marcus better to them and make the team better.

“So, that’s just my job. My role right now is to kind of bring everyone else with me. Bring the rookies with me. Bring all the guys around me with me so that we can become better.”

Plus, Ridder said Mariota has been especially helpful in aiding his transition to the NFL.

“He’s like a big brother to me,” Ridder said. “He’s taken me under his wing. He’s taught me some of the nuances of not only becoming an NFL quarterback but just an NFL player in general. So, I’m excited to keep learning from him and keep growing.”

Ridder was the second quarterback taken in this year’s draft following four years as a starter at Cincinnati. He was a two-time AAC offensive player of the year for the program.

By not voluntarily testifying to the House Oversight Committee, Daniel Snyder may have made things worse for himself

House Hearing Examines NFL's Handling Of Washington Commanders' Workplace Misconduct
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At a time when plenty of people despise him, Commanders owner Daniel Snyder arguably continues to be his own worst enemy.

Case in point: By refusing to voluntarily appear and testify before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight & Reform, Snyder has put himself in position to face a far more rigorous interrogation, with potentially more dire consequences.

Liz Clarke and Mark Maske of the Washington Post take a closer look at the ramifications of Snyder’s refusal to testify without a subpoena, which starts with the vow made twice on Wednesday by Committee chairperson Carolyn Maloney that Snyder will be subpoenaed to give a deposition before the Committee.

Testifying on Wednesday along with Commissioner Roger Goodell would have been shorter, simpler, cleaner. A behind-closed-door deposition with lawyers present will last longer. It will cover more topics. It will be more contentious. It will include more opportunities for Snyder to deliberate or accidentally tell something other than the truth, opening the door for potential prosecution.

And if he defies the subpoena, he’s looking at near-certain criminal jeopardy.

Putting it simply, Snyder refused to do it the easy way. He will soon experience the hard way.

After Wednesday’s hearing, one of the members of the Oversight Committee directed some hard truths to Snyder.

“We’re living in a time where there are people who feel like they’re above the law,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said, via Clarke and Maske. “Unfortunately, that sense of impunity and arrogance is a bit of a social contagion these days. . . . Perhaps Dan Snyder was taking his cues from those who think they are somehow above the representatives of the people in Congress.”

Yes, Snyder’s best play at this point would be to submit to the authority of the Committee. Unfortunately, guys like Snyder don’t like to submit to the authority of anyone but themselves. Especially when submission includes potentially having to admit to all sorts of things that could create various forms of trouble for him.

Really, that’s his choice at this point. Show up and face the consequences, or don’t show up and face the consequences. Tell the truth and face the consequences, or don’t tell the truth and face the consequences.

In this Summer of Accountability as it relates to other matters in Washington, a much more overdue reckoning my finally be arriving for Daniel Snyder.

Will the Texans still face litigation over Deshaun Watson?

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It was either a hollow threat or a solemn promise. For now, it’s looking as if it were the former.

On June 8, attorney Tony Buzbee said he “will be joining” the Texans as defendants to the pending lawsuits against Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. Not “might be” or “could be” or “should be,” but “will be.”

Earlier this week, Buzbee told Jenny Vrentas of the New York Times that the Texans are not a party to the settlements in 20 of the 24 cases pending against Watson.

This means that they could still be sued by the 20 plaintiffs who have settled, by the four who haven’t, by the two who supposedly were suing Watson but haven’t yet, and whoever else may come forward eventually.

There’s also a chance, theoretically, that the Texans kicked in some cash to settle the cases with the express understanding that their involvement would be kept completely and totally confidential, with that confidentiality including (for example) Buzbee saying that the Texans were not parties to the settlements.

For the 20 plaintiffs who have settled with Watson, suing the Texans becomes tricky. The Texans would defend themselves by blaming Watson for the misbehavior, arguing that all responsibility belongs to him and him alone. With Watson not a party to the cases, it becomes easier for the Texans to dump on the so-called “empty chair” at trial.

That doesn’t stop Buzbee from trying. And in the four cases that haven’t settled yet, all bets are off. The cases continue. The Texans could be joined.

Again, Buzbee said “will be.” It was either bluster aimed at pressuring Watson to settle (if so, mission accomplished) or it was a genuine guarantee that, 16 days later, Buzbee still intends to honor.

Joe Burrow “started updating that resume” during his time at Ohio State

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Joe Burrow came pretty much out of nowhere in 2019 with the kind of season at LSU that made him the first pick in the 2020 draft. It was as unexpected for him as it was for those who witnessed it.

In a recent interview with Chris Simms, Burrow admitted that he had moments of near-resignation during a three-year stretch at Ohio State of not playing.

“I was putting in the same work that I always put in and wasn’t playing,” Burrow said. “Of course there was self-doubt in that moment. I mean, when you don’t pay for three years, and you’re putting in the work and you feel like you’re practicing really well and you feel like you can go out there and make plays and do what you’ve always done but you’re not getting the opportunity to show what you can do, it’s frustrating.  And there were times when I started updating that resume, thinking about being an investment banker, or something like that.”

Obviously, he didn’t have to use his non-football resume. But it’s a reminder of the fine line that often exists, not just between being in the NFL and not being in the NFL, but between being one of the best players in the NFL and not playing football at all.

Players, no matter their skills, need opportunities. Burrow didn’t get one at Ohio State. He got his shot at LSU, and he made the most of it.

Without that opportunity to reach a player’s potential, however, the potential can never be reached. It underscores the power that football coaches have over a player’s career, and it shows that even great college coaches can miss future NFL stars who are lurking right under their noses.

For three years.

Denzel Ward: Foot will be good for training camp

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Browns cornerback Denzel Ward hurt his foot in the team’s final minicamp practice, but reports indicated that tests showed he avoided a serious injury as the team’s offseason program came to an end.

Ward sent the same message on Thursday. He was wearing a walking boot during a visit to a youth football camp in Akron and said the foot was sore while predicting that all will be well once it is time for the Browns to get back on the field.

“Yeah, I’ll be good,” Ward said, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Ward signed a five-year extension worth $100.5 million this offseason that speaks to his importance to the Cleveland defense. That should lead the Browns to move cautiously if there’s any doubt about Ward’s health early in camp, but, for now, it doesn’t sound like there’s much for them to be concerned about.

Edgerrin James predicts his son will play in the NFL with Arch Manning

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The news that Arch Manning, the third generation quarterback of the Manning Family, will play his college football at Texas has Edgerrin James thinking about another Manning-James pairing.

James, who played on the Colts for seven years with Arch’s uncle Peyton Manning, thinks his son Eden James will eventually play with Arch. Eden James will be a freshman running back at Howard this season, and after graduating from high school early so that he could enroll at Howard for the spring semester and begin his college football career, he drew rave reviews for his performance in Howard’s spring game.

“When I saw Arch Manning coming out in 2023, I have my son that’s at Howard, so I said it’s going to be a reconnection in the future,” Edgerrin James told TMZ.com. “You’re going to see my son, you’re going to see a James-Manning connection. They’re both going to be in the NFL together.”

Arch Manning is the son of Cooper Manning, Peyton and Eli’s older brother who did not play football past high school because of a spinal condition. Arch Manning, who will be a senior in high school in the fall, is considered the top quarterback in his recruiting class and has the talent to play in the NFL like his uncles and grandfather.

Micah Parsons eyeing NFL sacks record

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Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons had one of the best rookie seasons in history for a defensive player. He won defensive rookie of the year unanimously, made All-Pro and finished second in defensive player of the year voting after 13 sacks, 20 tackles for loss and 30 quarterback hits in 16 starts.

COVID-19 in Week 18 prevented Parsons from getting a chance to break the rookie sacks record of 14.5 set by Titans edge rusher Jevon Kearse in 1999.

Parsons, who earlier this offseason informed DeMarcus Lawrence the defensive end wasn’t getting the team sacks lead back, is eyeing even more sacks in 2022.

“Yeah, 15’s like the minimum. Fifteen is what I want to hit,” Parsons told Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports. “But definitely 23 is that goal, to break the record.”

Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt tied Michael Strahan’s single-season record last season with 22.5 sacks. Watt won defensive player of the year over Parsons.

Parsons faces even higher expectations in 2022.

“I just take the blessings that God gave me,” he said. “I don’t feel like I need to reach anyone’s expectations but my own. If I can live with it, I can deal with it. I’m going to just go out there and play my game. I don’t want to go out there and chase no one’s story. I’ve just got to do my thing, and that’s what got me here, and that’s what I’m going to keep doing.”

Parsons revealed this offseason that he played 2021 with a knee injury. He downplayed his health all season but finally admitted he hyperextended his knee in a joint training camp practice against the Rams on Aug. 7.

So, this season, he hopes full health and a year of experience will help him accomplish even more in his second season.

Justin Jefferson has the Hall of Fame atop his list of individual goals

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Justin Jefferson had one of the greatest rookie seasons of any receiver in history with 88 catches for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns. The Vikings receiver followed it up with 108 receptions for 1,616 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

Jefferson, 23, is on his way to somewhere special, and the two-time Pro Bowler hopes that his journey ends in Canton.

“I mean I want to accomplish so much,” Jefferson said on NFL Network. “It’s an endless list that I want to accomplish. At the end of the day, I want to be a Hall of Famer. So, in order to reach that, that position is so much more that I have to accomplish, so much more that I have to set for myself to better myself and really to learn. I just can’t wait to really just see how far I can really go. This is just the start of my career, and there’s just so much more I have to learn, so much more I have to do for myself to really get on that platform of being a Hall of Famer.”

The trade of Stefon Diggs turned out to be one of the rare win-win trades in NFL history. Both teams came out ahead.

And Jefferson could put up even bigger numbers this season with the Vikings.

“Our offensive style, it’s not a run-first offense anymore,” Jefferson said. “Just us being able to put different people in different positions and distribute the ball really. I’m so excited in this offense.

“We’re all excited. We’re all happy to have (Kevin O’Connell). It’s definitely a different vibe, a different connection in the building with him there. We’re just excited to start it up, really. We want to see how this season is going to turn out for us.”

Alvin Kamara braces for suspension of at least six weeks, eventually

NFL: FEB 06 2022 Pro Bowl
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With so much focus on the status of Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, another high-profile NFL player also is poised to be suspended under the Personal Conduct Policy.

Per a league source, Saints running back Alvin Kamara is bracing for a suspension of at least six weeks. The only question is when the suspension will be imposed.

The league typically prefers to wait until the criminal legal process has ended before taking action. Kamara faces felony battery charges, with the next hearing set for August.

The incident happened in Las Vegas, on Pro Bowl weekend. Kamara was questioned and arrested at Allegiant Stadium, after the Pro Bowl ended.

The Personal Conduct Policy provides for a baseline six-game suspension in the event of felony battery. Aggravating factors include repeated striking. Kamara reportedly told police that he threw a “couple punches.”

Kamara possibly could be placed on paid leave pending resolution of the criminal case, given that he faces a felony charge. He would still be subject to a potential unpaid suspension after the case is resolved.

Report: Amani Hooker has had “preliminary conversations” with Titans about extension

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Tennessee Titans
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Jeffery Simmons is seeking a long-term contract extension from the Titans, as everyone is aware, but so are a couple of other players on the team. Safety Amani Hooker and inside linebacker David Long Jr. both are entering the final year of their rookie deals.

The Titans have had “some preliminary conversations about an extension for Hooker” in recent weeks, Terry McCormick of titaninsider.com reports. McCormick adds that if a deal materializes it likely will happen between the start of training camp and the opening of the regular season.

Hooker is scheduled to make $2.54 million in base salary in 2022 with a $2.724 million cap hit.

Hooker, who just turned 24 earlier this month, has gone from a core special teams player and sub-package defender to a full-time starter at strong safety. He started 12 games last season, missing five with a groin injury, and made 62 tackles, one interception, four pass breakups and a forced fumble.

His play last season has the Titans optimistic that he and All-Pro Kevin Byard will be one of the top safety tandems in the league in 2022.

Justin Herbert on possible contract extension after 2022: I’ll just keep playing and hope for the best

NFL: DEC 12 Giants at Chargers
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Bills quarterback Josh Allen received an extension after his third season, the offseason he became eligible for one. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray wants the same to happen for him before he enters his fourth season this fall. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is heading into his fifth season without an extension.

After the contract Deshaun Watson received from the Browns after the trade from the Texans, the price for a franchise quarterback is going to continue to rise.

One player who becomes eligible for an extension after this season is Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, who should be one of those players to benefit from the rise in quarterback salaries. He was the AFC starter for the Pro Bowl in his second season and has passed for 9,350 yards and 69 touchdowns in two seasons.

“We haven’t discussed anything, but I’ve been so fortunate to play for the Chargers,” Herbert told CBS Sports. “Whatever happens, happens. I’m just so excited to be here and play football. This has been a great opportunity, and I don’t wish it went any other way.

“I love that I was drafted here and that I have been able to play here. I think we’re doing all the right things. I believe in the staff, all the teammates, the front office. So all I can do is hope for the best. It’s out of my control, but I’ll keep playing football.”

He is scheduled to make $7.248 million in salary this season and $8.457 million in 2023. The Chargers also have the fifth-year option available for 2024.

Chargers announce eight practices open to the public

Los Angeles Chargers open training camp complete with fans for the 2021 season
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The Chargers announced eight practice dates open to the public during training camp. Two others will be open exclusively to season ticket members.

The practices will take place at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, California, and are free of charge. Fans, though, are required to pre-register.

The Chargers report for camp the week of July 25 and will welcome fans on Wednesday, July 27 for the team’s first practice of training camp. Practices during the ramp-up period on Thursday, July 28 and Friday, July 29 also are open to the public.

On the first weekend of training camp, the Chargers will celebrate NFL Training Camp: Back Together Saturday on July 30.

After a day off, Monday, Aug. 1 will mark the team’s first practice of training camp in full pads. Scheduled full-pad practices resume on Friday, Aug. 5 and Saturday, Aug. 6 as a lead-up to the team’s intrasquad scrimmage on Sunday, Aug. 7 at 5 p.m.

The Chargers’ final two open practices of training camp are scheduled to be in full pads on Wednesday, Aug. 10 and Thursday, Aug. 11 before hosting the Rams in the preseason opener on Saturday, Aug. 13 at SoFi Stadium.

The Chargers’ joint practices against the Cowboys, scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 17 and Thursday, Aug. 18 are exclusively for the team’s season ticket members.

Tyreek Hill says he received death threats over his comparison of Tua Tagovailoa to Patrick Mahomes

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The first episode of Tyreek Hill‘s podcast stirred things up on multiple topics. In the second episode of Tyreek Hill’s podcast, Hill and his co-host tried to clean things up.

Right out of the gates in Season One, Episode Two of It Needed To Be Said, Hill and Julius Collins complained about the “snippets” of episode one that made the exact stir they wanted to create.

Free advice to anyone with a podcast. You either want people to watch and react to the things you say, or you don’t. But you don’t get to choose how people react. And the things that were said on the first episode of Hill’s podcast invited and encouraged reaction.

That said, some fans apparently went too far.

“I got death threats from every social media — every social media account I own, I got death threats on,” Hill said. “Which is ridiculous. Which I love it, you know?”

Hill never said why he loves it. Our guess, based on what he said and how he said it, is that he loves that his comments stirred things up, and that he doesn’t take the death threats seriously.

Collins specifically complained that some in the media directed a “shut up and play” attitude toward Hill. We didn’t notice that anywhere; “shut up and play” is the reaction by those who want athletes to not talk about other issues, primarily politics.

That said, it’s fair game for media to criticize Hill for what he says. To do that isn’t to tell him to “shut up and play.”

He has the right to offer up his opinion. And those who listen to his opinion have the right to react to his opinion. Isn’t that what Hill and Collins want? Reaction, engagement, interest, etc.?

It could be that Hill, like plenty of other athletes and celebrities, wants to be able to give his opinion and to have no one criticize his opinion, even if his opinion deserves to be criticized.

That’s not what it means to express an opinion. Expressing an opinion — especially a strong opinion that seems ludicrous to the average person (such as “Tua is more accurate than Patrick Mahomes“) — cries out for the very reaction he experienced.

“I took a lot of heat, man,” Hill said of the reaction to the first episode of his podcast. “From fans, from analysts, from family members. It was crazy. Like, last week was probably the craziest week of my life while playing for the Miami Dolphins.”

But what did he expect? He said things that most people would find to be grossly incorrect, comparing an all-time great to a quarterback who is still fighting to achieve his potential, and saying that the unproven quarterback throws passes more accurately than the proven quarterback.

Again, Hill has every right to express his opinion. Anyone who listens to his podcast has the right to react to his opinion with their own opinion. If Hill and Collins don’t like that or don’t understand it, they shouldn’t be doing a podcast.

Yes, Hill’s comments (which he said were aimed at giving Tua more confidence) will serve only to put more pressure on Tua to live up to Hill’s praise. Yes, Hill’s comments about his role in the Kansas City offense last season put more pressure on the Dolphins to get him the ball more than the Chiefs did in 2021, because he made it clear in Episode One that he wasn’t happy with the number of targets and touches he got in 2021.

Collins was introduced in the first episode as Hill’s long-time lawyer. If Collins still represents Hill, Collins should ask himself whether the directions in which Collins nudges Hill will lead him to say things that are in Hill’s best interests. Indeed, several of the more controversial comments Hill made in the first episode were prompted by questions from Collins, who knew or should have known what Hill was going to say and how others were potentially going to react.

The first episode lasted nearly an hour. The second episode lasted 25 minutes. It consisted exclusively of reacting to the reaction to the first episode. If the third episode will consist of the reaction to the reaction to the second episode, there may not be a fourth.

And, frankly, if Hill and Collins want to be able to say inflammatory things without dealing with the natural and obvious consequences of saying inflammatory things, Collins the lawyer should advise Collins the podcast co-host that it’s time to call it a day.