Leading defensive end in sacks isn’t on Pro Bowl ballot

AP

The NFL’s Pro Bowl ballot lists 54 defensive ends, of whom fans can vote for six. But it doesn’t list the player who leads all defensive ends in sacks.

That player, Detroit’s Kerry Hyder, has burst onto the scene this season and recorded five sacks, an NFL high for defensive ends so far this year. But he said he’s OK with not being listed on the Pro Bowl ballot because he doesn’t think fans would vote for him.

“I’m sure people don’t know who I am, anyway,” Hyder said, via the Detroit Free Press.

The defensive ends on the ballot include plenty who are obviously much less deserving than Hyder. That list starts with his injured teammate, Ezekiel Ansah, who has played in just two games and recorded just one tackle this season. Others on the ballot include Texans defensive end Antonio Smith, a backup who also has just one tackle in two games. And there’s Packers rookie Dean Lowry, a backup who has played just 32 snaps so far this season.

To include those players on the ballot but not include Hyder is a foolish oversight by the NFL. Hyder is right that fans probably wouldn’t vote for him anyway, but smart fans who know how good Hyder is should at least have the opportunity.

Wednesday morning one-liners

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Bills coach Rex Ryan sees 49ers QBs Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert as similar players, and he doesn’t think Kaepernick starting will change the Bills’ defensive game plan much.

The Jets’ running game needs to get better.

As they make roster moves in October, the Dolphins are effectively acknowledging that the roster moves they made in March and April weren’t good enough.

The Patriots avoided running up the middle against the Browns.

The Ravens would like to change the rule on fumbles into the end zone.

The Browns have five former Auburn players.

Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther admits his defense’s performance was “unacceptable” on Sunday.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has more important things to worry about than Antonio Brown’s cleats.

Texans DE Antonio Smith says he’s playing himself into shape.

The Colts think it’s always better to have the bye later in the season, which is why they volunteered to play a game immediately after their trip to London.

Jaguars CB Aaron Colvin, back from a four-game PED suspension, says he knows he can add an element to Jacksonville’s defense.

The Titans are the favorites to win the AFC South, according to Football Outsiders.

Said Broncos interim head coach Joe DeCamillis of the responsibilities he faces this week, “It hit a little bit today on the drive in, I can tell you that. I think the day before I was a little too tired, a little too irritated after that last game. It’s starting to sink in. It’s a big responsibility, there’s a lot of people depending on you, you don’t want to let anybody down.”

Chiefs CB Marcus Peters leads the NFL with four interceptions.

Despite the Raiders’ 4-1 record, they’re not near the top in most NFL power rankings.

Chargers QB Philip Rivers says a 1-4 start doesn’t change his long-term optimism about his team.

In addition to leading the NFL in rushing yards, Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott has an NFL-high 31 rushing first downs.

Washington LB Will Compton made three big plays in the win over Baltimore.

The Eagles added some players to the practice squad.

Giants QB Eli Manning’s passer rating of 86.0 represents a decline from 92.1 and 93.6 in his first two seasons playing for Ben McAdoo.

The Bears brought back a practice squad player.

The Lions hope their defense can stop a struggling Rams offense.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers appeared on Ellen to invite a kidney donor to a game.

The Vikings’ defense is allowing just 4.4 yards per play, best in the NFL.

Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen says the injury to CB Delvin Breaux changed the whole defense.

The Falcons flew straight from Denver to Seattle and are practicing there this week in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks.

Panthers G.M. Dave Gettleman is taking criticism for the team’s 1-4 start.

Buccaneers K Roberto Aguayo has missed a league-high four field goals.

The Seahawks think their bye week helped them heal.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says he won’t give up on a receiver over dropped passes.

Said 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, “I think I’ve always been happy, but more than anything, I’m comfortabl. I’m at peace with myself, with my relationships and with everything that’s going on in my life.”

Los Angeles has been pleased with how many Rams fans are taking public transportation to the games.

Full list of 2016 unrestricted and restricted free agents-to-be

AP

Now that the 2015 season is officially in the rear view mirror, it’s time to turn attention ahead to the season to come. The first step will be the annual frenzy of free agency to take place next month with the start of the new league year.

So which players will be available on the market when the new year begins? The giant list that follows contains the answers. In total, 528 players have contracts set to expire with 431 players set to be unrestricted free agents and 97 players to be restricted free agents.

This list does not include players that have been released by teams prior to free agency. It only includes players that have contracts set to expire with the start of the new league year next month.

The list that follows is organized by 2015 team:

Arizona Cardinals

DE/OLB Jason Babin
WR Jaron Brown (restricted)
DE Red Bryant
P Drew Butler (restricted)
FS Chris Clemons
OLB Dwight Freeney
TE Jermaine Gresham
SS Tony Jefferson (restricted)
RB Chris Johnson
FS Rashad Johnson
G Ted Larsen
LS Mike Leach (announced retirement)
OT Bobby Massie
CB Jerraud Powers
C Lyle Sendlein
OT Bradley Sowell
QB Drew Stanton
SS D.J. Swearinger (restricted)
ILB Sean Weatherspoon
CB Corey White
OLB LaMarr Woodley

Atlanta Falcons

CB Philip Adams
DE Kroy Biermann
G Chris Chester
DE Adrian Clayborn
FS Charles Godfrey
C Gino Gradkowski
K Shayne Graham
OT Bryce Harris
OT Jake Long
TE Tony Moeaki
OLB O’Brien Schofield
OT Ryan Schraeder (restricted)
OLB Nathan Stupar (restricted)
OLB Philip Wheeler
ILB Paul Worrilow (restricted)

Buffalo Bills

OLB Nigel Bradham
CB Ron Brooks
DT Corbin Bryant (restricted)
DE Alex Carrington
DT Stefan Charles (restricted)
OT Cordy Glenn
TE MarQueis Gray (restricted)
WR Leonard Hankerson
WR Percy Harvin
WR Chris Hogan (restricted)
G Richie Incognito
QB Josh Johnson
OT Jordan Mills (restricted)
OLB Ty Powell (restricted)
FS Bacarri Rambo (restricted)

Baltimore Ravens

WR Kamar Aiken (restricted)
WR Marlon Brown (restricted)
OLB Chris Carter
QB Jimmy Clausen
LS Morgan Cox
TE Chase Ford (restricted)
WR Chris Givens
OLB Albert McClellan
G Kelechi Osemele
TE Allen Reisner
QB Matt Schaub
SS Brynden Trawick (restricted)
K Justin Tucker
OLB Courtney Upshaw
CB Shareece Wright

Chicago Bears

OLB Sam Acho
CB Alan Ball
OT Nick Becton (restricted)
G Valdimir Ducasse
RB Matt Forte
TE Rob Housler
WR Alshon Jeffery
DE Jarvis Jenkins
WR Marc Mariani
FS Sherrod Martin
ILB Shea McClellin
CB Sherrick McManis
TE Zach Miller
C Will Montgomery
SS Ryan Mundy
G Patrick Omameh (restricted)
CB Tracy Porter
FS Chris Prosinski
OLB LaRoy Reynolds (restricted)
RB Jacquizz Rodgers
WR Deonte Thompson (restricted)
DE Mitch Unrein

Cleveland Browns

FS Johnson Bademosi
WR Travis Benjamin
OLB Tank Carder
FS Tashaun Gipson
SS Don Jones (restricted)
C Alex Mack (voidable contract)
OT Austin Pasztor (restricted)
WR Terrelle Pryor (restricted)
ILB Craig Robertson
OT Mitchell Schwartz
DE Scott Solomon (restricted)

Cincinnati Bengals

DE Wallace Gilberry
CB Leon Hall
SS George Iloka
CB Adam Jones
WR Marvin Jones
OLB Emmanuel Lamur
FS Reggie Nelson
OLB Vincent Rey
WR Mohamed Sanu
DT Pat Sims
OT Andre Smith
WR Brandon Tate
DT Brandon Thompson
OT Eric Winston

Carolina Panthers

WR Jerricho Cotchery
CB Cortland Finnegan
G Tyrone Green
SS Roman Harper
WR Stephen Hill (restricted)
LS J.J. Jansen
DT Kyle Love
CB Josh Norman
P Brad Nortman
OT Mike Remmers (restricted)
OT Chris Scott
G Amini Silatolu
CB Charles Tillman
FB Mike Tolbert
G Fernando Velasco
QB/WR Joe Webb

Denver Broncos

RB C.J. Anderson (restricted)
CB Omar Bolden
FS David Bruton
FS Josh Bush
WR Andre Caldwell
TE Vernon Davis
OT Ryan Harris
RB Ronnie Hillman
DE Malik Jackson
SS Shiloh Keo (restricted)
ILB Brandon Marshall (restricted)
G Evan Mathis
OLB Lerentee McCray (restricted)
OLB Von Miller
WR Jordan Norwood
QB Brock Osweiler
OT Tyler Polumbus
DT Antonio Smith
ILB Danny Trevathan
WR Kyle Williams

Dallas Cowboys

G Mackenzy Bernadeau
OT Charles Brown
QB Matt Cassel
CB Morris Claiborne
FB Tyler Clutts
DE Jack Crawford
RB Lance Dunbar
TE James Hanna
DE Greg Hardy
DT Nick Hayden
SS Jeff Heath (restricted)
OLB Cameron Lawrence (restricted)
G Ronald Leary (restricted)
ILB Rolando McClain
FS Danny McCray
DE Jeremy Mincey
CB Josh Thomas
RB Robert Turbin
OLB Kyle Wilber

Detroit Lions

SS Isa Abdul-Quddus
CB Crezdon Butler
DT Jermelle Cudjo
SS James Ihedigbo
DE Jason Jones
OLB Travis Lewis
WR Lance Moore
LS Don Muhlbach
DT Haloti Ngata
QB Dan Orlovsky
TE Bear Pascoe
G Manny Ramirez
DE Darryl Tapp
DT Tyrunn Walker
OLB Tahir Whitehead
CB Josh Wilson
DE Corey Wootton
WR Tim Wright (restricted)

Green Bay Packers

OT Don Barclay
K Mason Crosby
LS Brett Goode
DT Troy Guion
CB Casey Heyward
WR James Jones
FB John Kuhn
OLB Andy Mulumba (restricted)
ILB Mike Neal
OLB Nick Perry
TE Andrew Quarless
DT B.J. Raji
SS Sean Richardson
RB James Starks
G Lane Taylor (restricted)
QB Scott Tolzien

Houston Texans

CB A.J. Bouye (restricted)
G Brandon Brooks
OT Chris Clark
DE Jared Crick
SS Quintin Demps
RB Jonathan Grimes (restricted)
C Ben Jones
P Shane Lechler
CB Darryl Morris (restricted)
K Nick Novak
SS Eddie Pleasant (restricted)
RB Chris Polk
DE John Simon (restricted)
ILB Justin Tuggle (restricted)
WR Nate Washington
QB Brandon Weeden
QB T.J. Yates

Indianapolis Colts

TE Dwayne Allen
FS Colt Anderson
RB Ahmad Bradshaw
TE Jack Doyle (restricted)
TE Coby Fleener
ILB Jerrell Freeman
QB Matt Hasselbeck
RB Dan Herron (restricted)
G Lance Louis
FS Dwight Lowery
CB Greg Tolar
K Adam Vinatieri
QB Charlie Whitehurst
DT Billy Winn

Jacksonville Jaguars

P Bryan Anger
DE Andre Branch
DE Ryan Davis (restricted)
TE Clay Harbor
QB Chad Henne
DT Abry Jones (restricted)
TE Marcedes Lewis
RB Bernard Pierce
C Stefen Wisniewski
OT Sam Young

Kansas City Chiefs

FS Husain Abudullah
G Jeff Allen
WR Jason Avant
FS Eric Berry
SS Tyvon Branch
QB Chase Daniel
DE Mike Devito
CB Jamell Fleming
DT Jaye Howard
ILB Derrick Johnson
OLB Dezman Moses
CB Sean Smith
OT Donald Stephenson
OLB Frank Zombo

Los Angeles Rams

C Tim Barnes
SS Mark Barron
FS Daren Bates (restricted)
WR Kenny Britt (voidable contract)
RB Benny Cunningham (restricted)
FS Cody Davis (restricted)
DT Nick Fairley
C Brian Folkerts
TE Cory Harkey
DE William Hayes
CB Janoris Jenkins
CB Trumaine Johnson
QB Case Keenum (restricted)
FS Rodney McLeod
WR Brian Quick
RB Chase Reynolds (restricted)
DE Eugene Sims
WR Wes Welker
K Greg Zuerlein

Miami Dolphins

FS Louis Delmas
ILB James-Michael Johnson
WR Rishard Matthews
G Jacques McClendon (restricted)
RB Lamar Miller
QB Matt Moore
OLB Spencer Paysinger
DE Derrick Shelby
ILB Kelvin Sheppard
G Shelley Smith
DE Olivier Vernon
TE Brandon Williams (restricted)

Minnesota Vikings

RB Matt Asiata
SS Robert Blanton
ILB Audie Cole
DT Kenrick Ellis
TE Rhett Ellison
OLB Chad Greenway
G Mike Harris
FB Zach Line (restricted)
OLB Casey Matthews
CB Terence Newman
CB Josh Robinson
SS Andrew Sendejo
CB Marcus Sherels
DE Justin Trattou
OLB Jason Trusnik

New England Patriots

RB LeGarrette Blount
CB Tarell Brown
FB James Develin (restricted)
FS Nate Ebner
WR Brandon Gibson
DE Akiem Hicks
G Kevin Hughes (restricted)
RB Steven Jackson
DT Sealver Siliga (restricted)
WR Bryan Tyms (restricted)
OT LaAdrian Waddle (restricted)
OLB Dekoda Watson
G Ryan Wendell
FS Tavon Wilson

New Orleans Saints

OLB James Anderson
FS Rafael Bush
RB Travaris Cadet
QB Matt Flynn
K Kai Forbath
RB Tim Hightower
TE Josh Hill (restricted)
OT Tony Hills
TE Michael Hoomanawanui
RB Kendall Hunter
G Senio Kelemete (restricted)
G Tim Lelito (restricted)
QB Luke McCown
G Mike McGlynn
CB Chris Owens
RB Khiry Robinson (restricted)
SS Jamarca Sanford
TE Benjamin Watson
DT Kevin Williams
CB Kyle Wilson

New York Giants

LS Danny Aiken
CB Prince Amukamara
DE Robert Ayers
ILB Jasper Brinkley
K Josh Brown
DT Barry Cofield
SS Craig Dahl
LS Zak DeOssie
TE Larry Donnell (restricted)
TE Daniel Fells
CB Jayron Hosley
DE Cullen Jenkins
DT Markus Kuhn
CB Trumaine McBride
SS Brandon Meriweather
G Brandon Mosley
WR Hakeem Nicks
DE Jason Pierre-Paul
WR Rueben Randle
G Dallas Reynolds
DE George Selvie

New York Jets

FS Antonio Allen
DE Stephen Bowen
K Randy Bullock
G Willie Colon
ILB Demario Davis
TE Kellen Davis
DT Leger Douzable
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
DT Damon Harrison
ILB Erin Henderson
G Benjamin Ijalana
RB Chris Ivory
FS Jaiquawn Jarrett
ILB Jamari Lattimore
WR Chris Owusu
OLB Calvin Pace
K Ryan Quigley (restricted)
RB Bilal Powell
RB Stevan Ridley
TE Zachary Sudfeld (restricted)
WR Kenbrell Thompkins (restricted)
CB Darrin Walls
DE Muhammad Wilkerson

Oakland Raiders

OLB Lorenzo Alexander
SS Larry Asante
G Khalif Barnes
G Tony Bergstrom
LS Thomas Gafford
WR Andre Holmes
P Marquette King
DE Benson Mayowa (restricted)
SS Taylor Mays
OT Matt McCants (restricted)
QB Matt McGloin (restricted)
OT Donald Penn
WR Jeremy Ross (restricted)
WR Rod Streater
FS Neiko Thorpe (restricted)
DE Justin Tuck (announced retirement)
G J’Marcus Webb
FS Charles Woodson (announced retirement)

Philadelphia Eagles

WR Seyi Ajirotutu
CB E.J. Biggers
QB Sam Bradford (re-signed 3/1)
CB Nolan Carroll
DE Vinny Curry (re-signed 2/2)
ILB Najee Goode (re-signed 2/10)
QB Thaddeus Lewis
C Davis Molk (restricted)
DE Cedric Thornton
SS Walter Thurmond
OT Matt Tobin (restricted)

Pittsburgh Steelers

SS Will Allen
OT Kelvin Beachum
CB Antwon Blake
CB Brandon Boykin
G Ramon Foster
WR Terence Garvin (restricted)
CB William Gay
DE Clifton Geathers
FS Robert Golden
QB Bruce Gradkowski
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey
FB Will Johnson
G Doug Legursky
DT Steve McLendon
WR David Nelson
OLB Sean Spence
OT Byron Stingily
DE Cam Thomas
RB Jordan Todman
QB Michael Vick
LS Greg Warren

San Diego Chargers

SS Jahleel Addae (restricted)
OT Joe Barksdale
QB Kellen Clemens
WR Malcom Floyd (announced retirement)
TE Antonio Gates
TE Ladarius Green
OT Chris Hairston
TE David Johnson
OT Jeff Linkenbach
DE Ricardo Mathews
ILB Joe Mays
TE John Phillips
DE Kendall Reyes
CB Patrick Robinson
CB Brandian Ross (restricted)
DE Damion Square (restricted)
G Johnnie Troutman (restricted)
CB Cassius Vaughn
C J.D. Walton
FS Eric Weddle

San Francisco 49ers

OLB Ray-Ray Armstrong (restricted)
WR Anquan Boldin
G Alex Boone
RB Reggie Bush
TE Garrett Celek
K Phil Dawson
RB Shaun Draughn
DT Tony Jerod-Eddie (restricted)
ILB Michael Wilhoite (restricted)
DT Ian Williams

Seattle Seahawks

OT Alvin Bailey (restricted)
RB Bryce Brown
TE Chase Coffman
FB Derrick Coleman (restricted)
DE Demarcus Dobbs
OLB Bruce Irvin
RB Fred Jackson
QB Tarvaris Jackson
C Lemuel Jeanpierre
WR Jermaine Kearse
CB Jeremy Lane
C Patrick Lewis (restricted)
WR Ricardo Lockette (restricted)
TE Anthony McCoy
DT Brandon Mebane
RB Christine Michael (restricted)
OLB Nick Moody (restricted)
OLB Mike Morgan
OT Russell Okung
DT Ahtyba Rubin
P Jon Ryan
G J.R. Sweezy
FB Will Tukuafu

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

DE Da’Quan Bowers
FS Chris Conte
OLB Larry English
CB Mike Jenkins
FB Jovorskie Lane (restricted)
OLB Danny Lansanah (restricted)
RB Doug Martin
DT Tony McDaniel
FS Bradley McDougald (restricted)
DT Henry Melton
CB Sterling Moore
RB Bobby Rainey
WR Russell Shepard (restricted)
CB Jordan Tandy

Tennessee Titans

G Byron Bell
ILB Zach Brown
WR Dorin Dickerson
CB Brandon Harris
DT Sammie Lee Hill
OLB Steven Johnson
G Joe Looney
DT Mike Martin
OT Jamon Meredith
CB Coty Sensabaugh
TE Craig Stevens
DT Al Woods

Washington Redskins

CB Will Blackmon
OT Tom Compton (restricted)
QB Kirk Cousins
C Brian De La Puente
ILB Mason Foster
OLB Junior Galette
DE Kedric Golston
SS Duke Ihenacho
DT Frank Kearse
DT Terrance Knighton
G Josh LeRibeus
QB Colt McCoy
RB Alfred Morris
TE Logan Paulson
ILB Keenan Robinson
TE Alex Smith
RB Pierre Thomas
CB Cary Williams
FB Darryl Young

Broncos defensive end Antonio Smith’s father died this morning

AP

The Broncos had to deal with a distraction last night.

Today, they’re dealing with heartbreak.

According to Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post, Broncos defensive lineman Antonio Smith found out this morning that his 55-year-old father died.

“It’s rough. I just found out this morning,” Smith said. “It was my mom who called and told me. The call came in at about 6:30.”

Marty Christopher Williams, 55, has been in prison for more than two decades, and died as a result of complications from heart surgery.

Williams said he planned to stay with the team and plans to play in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Broncos player had a specific goal for T. Brady

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The Broncos hit Patriots quarterback Tom Brady 20 times on Sunday — more times than any quarterback had been hit all year and more times than Brady had ever been hit in any game of his career.

But at least one of them had a different goal. And it’s unclear whether he specifically accomplished it.

“I tried to lay on him a few times,” an anonymous Broncos defender told Robert Klemko of TheMMQB.com. “I tried to rub my nuts on his face.”

And now the media has another angle to pursue next week during umpteen media availabilities from the Broncos: Who specifically wanted to teabag T. Brady?

It’s a not-so-surprising extension of the chatter about Brady from a week ago. Defensive end Antonio Smith called Brady a “crybaby,” and defensive end Malik Jackson said on PFT Live that Brady is a “whiner” who throws “temper tantrums.”

Regardless of who said it and whether it was accomplished, it’s another reason to push back against the periodic argument that the game would be safer if the players didn’t have facemasks.

Tom Brady: If refs want to flag the opposing defense, I love it

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Broncos defensive linemen Antonio Smith and Malik Jackson have shared their opinion that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady whines to the officials when he gets hit in hopes of getting flags that will hand yardage to New England.

Smith added that he’s “never seen any quarterback look to the referee right after he gets sacked more than Brady” and the quarterback faced questions about the Broncos’ opinions during his Wednesday press conference. A dry-eyed Brady appeared amused while responding to the queries without returning any fire in Denver’s direction.

“I’m not sure what other quarterbacks do,” Brady said. “If the refs want to throw flags, I love when they throw flags on the defenders. Absolutely. It advances our team. That’s just part of football.”

Brady was also asked what he says to referees on the field. He said that he doesn’t remember most of them because he’s “taken a lot of hits over the years” and evaded a question about New York tabloid takes on the Broncos’ takes altogether.

The topic also came up when coach Bill Belichick met the media. As anyone familiar with the coach would have predicted, he said the Patriots are focused on the game and not the “hot air” surrounding it.

Malik Jackson: Tom Brady is a “whiner” who throws “temper tantrums”

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The Patriots typically say nothing in advance of a game, no matter how big. As the Broncos prepare to face New England in the AFC title game, defensive end Malik Jackson is saying plenty.

On Tuesday’s PFT Live, Jackson echoed the comments from defensive end Antonio Smith regarding Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his “crybaby” tendencies after being hit.

“I mean when we played him he definitely threw some temper tantrums,” Jackson said. “It’s one of those things that you know. He definitely [says], ‘What’s going on? Why?’ Definitely one of those whiners that whines but it’s a competitive game. I know I wouldn’t be whining like that, but some people do. So he’s definitely a whiner but he’s actually a big time player, competitor, too.”

Jackson said he never says anything to Brady after hitting him, and that Jackson reserves his trash talk to the offensive lineman. But he added that he’s not creative like John Randle was, researching opponents and working wives and girlfriends into the chatter.

Jackson said he’s concerned that, with everything else he has to worry about, he may forget the wives’ names.

The Broncos won’t be forgetting Brady’s name on Sunday, and they’ll be trying to make him cry and whine as much as possible, by hitting him early and often. It’s usually the only way to beat him, and with a Super Bowl on the line the Broncos will surely pull out all the stops.

To hear the entire Malik Jackson interview, check out the podcast of Tuesday’s show, which also has an interview with Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart.

Antonio Smith: Brady cries when he gets hit, but he keeps coming

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During a visit to PFT Live on Monday, Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall said that part of the reason Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is so effective is because he gets away with pushing off on defenders covering him “about 98 percent of the time.”

He wasn’t the only member of the Broncos defense to share an opinion about a Patriots player that’s sure to be unpopular in New England. Broncos defensive end Antonio Smith was asked if the Broncos think Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is a crybaby when it comes to pleading with officials for flags during games.

“That would be an accurate statement. I’ve never seen any quarterback look to the referee right after he gets sacked more than Brady,” Smith said, via the Colorado Springs Gazette. “Every time he gets sacked he looks at the ref like, ‘You see him sack me? Was that supposed to happen? He did it a little hard. Please throw a 15-yard penalty on him. Get him fined.'”

Smith added that Brady complaining about hits wasn’t the same as the quarterback, who Smith called “automatic”, being adversely affected by them. Smith said that while Brady may whine, he’ll remain just as effective after getting hit.

“He’s not going to rattle just because you hit him hard. I’ve tried over the years,” Smith said. “That’s what D-linemen think: ‘The harder you hit the quarterback, the better it will make it on the secondary.’ With Brady, he’s a great competitor. You know it’s coming. He’s going to cry about getting hit, but he’s going to take the hit and keep going.”

The Broncos may be trying to curry favor with the officials by pointing out areas where they feel the Patriots get special treatment. We’ll see if it proves successful on Sunday or if their comments become the latest bit of bulletin board fodder to precede a Patriots win in the postseason.

No charges filed against Broncos defensive end Antonio Smith

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Broncos defensive end Antonio Smith has played all season with a cloud over him, one which parted Monday.

According to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post, the Fort Bend County (Texas) District Attorney’s Office announced that Smith would not be charged after an abuse complaint was filed against him in November 2014.

“The only thing that I can say is that I lean on my trust in the Lord and his grace. I can finally get to being, you know, who I am, and focus on football,” Smith said. “It was so much, . . . it was serious. I wouldn’t even call it a distraction. I would just say, it’s finally in the past. I can focus on the job and the task at hand and the man that I am.”

The initial complaint against Smith last summer described abuse that was “sexual in nature.” The Broncos excused him from OTAs during the investigation, but he returned to the field for training camp and has played all season.

Week 11 injury report roundup

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Over the course of the week, there are a lot of posts about the most prominent injured players but we know that you might not see all of them and that some others may fall through the cracks. As a result, we’ll comb through all the injury reports every Friday afternoon so that there’s one stop for all the news from every team playing on Sunday. So, without further delay, the injury report roundup for Week 11 of the 2015 season.

Colts at Falcons

We’ve known for a while that the Colts would be without quarterback Andrew Luck (abdomen, kidney) and wide receiver Phillip Dorsett (ankle) and safety Mike Adams (ankle) was added to the list on Friday. Linebacker Josh McNary (groin) is questionable and linebacker D’Qwell Jackson (hamstring) is probable. Safety Robenson Therezie (hamstring) won’t play for the Falcons, but the rest of the 53-man roster is healthy heading into the weekend.

Rams at Ravens

Rams defensive ends Chris Long (knee) and Robert Quinn (knee) are both questionable and tackle Rob Havenstein (calf) is doubtful. The Ravens don’t expect to have tight end Nick Boyle (foot, doubtful) and guard Kelechi Osemele (knee) has been listed as questionable.

Redskins at Panthers

Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (migraine headaches) is questionable after missing last week’s Redskins win. Linebacker Keenan Robinson (shoulder) is also questionable and safety Trenton Robinson (hamstring) will not play. It looks like the Panthers will play without wide receiver Corey Brown (shoulder) and cornerback Charles Tillman (knee) after listing them as doubtful. They’ll definitely be without guard Andrew Norwell (hamstring).

Broncos at Bears

Quarterback Peyton Manning (foot, rib cage) and linebacker DeMarcus Ware (back) were ruled out by the Broncos early in the week. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ankle, finger), defensive end Antonio Smith (hip) and defensive end Vance Walker (shoulder) are all listed as questionable. The Bears have two questionable players on offense — wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (groin) and running back Matt Forte (knee) — and two on defense — linebackers Pernell McPhee (knee) and Shea McClellin (knee) — this week. Wide receiver Eddie Royal (knee) won’t play.

Raiders at Lions

Raiders center Rodney Hudson (ankle) is questionable after missing last week’s game. Linebacker Neiron Ball (knee) is out and tight end Lee Smith (wrist) is doubtful. Lions defensive tackle Gabe Wright (ankle) won’t play while safety Don Carey (back) and cornerback Nevin Lawson (concussion) are listed as questionable.

Jets at Texans

The Jets will wait and see if defensive end Sheldon Richardson (hamstring) can play after listing him as questionable. Cornerback Buster Skrine (shoulder, hand) is also questionable, safety Dion Bailey (ankle) has been ruled out and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (left thumb) is probable after having surgery last Friday. Quarterback Brian Hoyer (concussion) and cornerback Kareem Jackson (ankle) won’t be in the lineup for Houston, but linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (back) and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (knee) are probable. Linebacker Akeem Dent (hamstring) and running back Chris Polk (hamstring) are questionable.

Cowboys at Dolphins 

The biggest injury news for the Cowboys doesn’t appear on the injury report since quarterback Tony Romo (collarbone) hasn’t been officially activated yet, but he’ll start for the first time since Week Two. Running back Darren McFadden (groin) is questionable and wide receiver Dez Bryant (knee, foot) is probable. Wide receiver Brice Butler (hamstring), cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring, ankle) and defensive end Ryan Russell (abdomen) have been ruled out. Dolphins linebackers Jelani Jenkins (ankle) and Spencer Paysinger (neck) are doubtful while Koa Misi (abdomen) is questionable. Right tackle Ja’Wuan James (toe) remains out of the lineup.

Buccaneers at Eagles

Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (knee) is questionable after missing the last three games. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) got the same designation, but coach Lovie Smith indicated he won’t play. The Bucs may be short on defensive ends with George Johnson (calf) out, Josh Shirley (calf) doubtful and Jacquies Smith (ankle) questionable. Guard Ali Marpet (ankle) and center Evan Smith (knee) are also questionable. The Eagles will start Mark Sanchez at quarterback after ruling out Sam Bradford (concussion, left shoulder). Running back Ryan Mathews (concussion, groin) will also miss the game and left tackle Jason Peters (back) is questionable after missing the last two games.

Chiefs at Chargers

Defensive end Allen Bailey (calf) and guard Ben Grubbs (neck) have been ruled out for Kansas City. The Chiefs have left the door open for questionable safety Tyvon Branch (foot, thigh) and linebacker Ramik Wilson (ankle). Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd (shoulder) is out this week. Guard D.J. Fluker (concussion), tight end Ladarius Green (ankle) and defensive tackle Corey Liuget (foot) are listed as questionable.

Packers at Vikings

The Packers ruled out wide receiver Jared Abbrederis (rib, chest) and Ty Montgomery (ankle) is questionable. Safety Micah Hyde (hip) and guar T.J. Lang (shoulder) are also questionable while quarterback Aaron Rodgers (right shoulder) is probable. So is Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (left shoulder), but safety Robert Blanton (back) and tackle Matt Kalil (toe) are questionable for Sunday.

49ers at Seahawks

49ers running back Carlos Hyde (foot) remain out of the lineup and wide receiver Anquan Boldin (hamstring) is questionable to return to action. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman (shoulder) is probable to play his first game in Seattle since suffering a serious knee injury in the NFC Championship game in 2014. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) is questionable, but coach Pete Carroll said he expects Lynch to play. Linebacker Bruce Irvin (knee) and wide receiver Paul Richardson (hamstring) have been ruled out.

Bengals at Cardinals

Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson (back), cornerback Adam Jones (foot) and defensive tackle Pat Sims (knee) are all doubtful to play on Sunday night. Right tackle Andre Smith (concussion) is probable to return to the lineup. The Cardinals ruled out defensive tackle Cory Redding (ankle) and guard Jonathan Cooper (knee) is doubtful to play. Guard Mike Iupati (neck, concussion) is listed as questionable, but coach Bruce Arians said he will start. Wide receivers John Brown (hamstring) and Michael Floyd (hamstring) are also questionable.

Emmanuel Sanders practices Friday, questionable for Sunday

AP

Brock Osweiler will be making his first start at quarterback for the Broncos on Sunday, but we’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out if he’ll be able to throw the ball to Emmanuel Sanders.

The wide receiver’s chances of being on the field look better than they did early in the week, however. Sanders missed practice on Wednesday due to ankle and finger injuries, but coach Gary Kubiak said Thursday that he expected Sanders to play and said, via Andrew Mason of the team’s website, that Sanders “did a little bit [Friday].”

The outlook is less clear for a couple of the team’s defensive linemen. Antonio Smith and Vance Walker were out of practice for a third straight day, leading to questionable tags for them as well on Friday’s final injury report of the week. Linebacker DeMarcus Ware was previously ruled out because of a back injury, so the Broncos will be down at least one player from their defense in Chicago.

Kubiak said that neither Ware nor Peyton Manning would make the trip with their teammates. They’ll stay in Denver and have their status for Week 12 against the Patriots updated next week.

Gary Kubiak says he’s better for being a Ravens assistant for a year

AP

Maybe Gary Kubiak has gone from being Obi-Wan Kenobi to Yoda.

The new Broncos head coach admits that stepping back from top responsibilities for a year has helped him grow, and admits that the lessons he learned as an assistant in Baltimore will help him become a better head coach than he was with the Texans.

Koob has evolved as a coach, evolved a lot,” current Broncos and former Texans defensive lineman Antonio Smith said, via Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. “We used to call him the master of the Jedi mind trick. But now he gives players more free reign. He trusts his players to take care of business, to run the locker room and to take care of stuff on the field, . . . He lets his players be men.”

Kubiak freely admits pilfering part of his new philosophy from the Ravens, and the Broncos would do well to copy that platform.

But as much as taking notes, Kubiak said watching Ravens coach John Harbaugh handle things also gave him a fresh perspective on what a boss should be.

“After being a head coach for so long in this league, I got to sit in the back of that room instead of being the guy up front in the meetings, and it gave me a chance to watch John Harbaugh handle situations,” Kubiak said. “You sit there and say to yourself, ‘You know I like that idea, and if I’m a head coach again, I’d probably do this the same way.’ I learned watching him each and every day.”

While Kubiak did a lot of good with the Texans during his time there, things unraveled late in his tenure. Perhaps by learning which things to let go, he’ll have a better chance to hanging onto this job.

Antonio Smith will participate in training camp for Broncos

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As Texas authorities continue to investigate Broncos defensive lineman Antonio Smith, the Broncos won’t continue to keep Smith on the shelf.

Smith will report to training camp, pending whatever prosecutors or the NFL decide to do about his situation.

“We’ve been in communication with Antonio and the league for the last couple of months,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “Based on those discussions, it’s appropriate for Antonio to be here and compete with the rest of the team as we begin training camp.”

While it’s unclear whether Smith will face child abuse charges in a case reportedly sexual in nature, it appears that he’s not destined for paid leave in the imminent future. Which means that any preliminary investigation conducted by the NFL has yet to result in a conclusion that it’s more likely that not that Smith engaged in any type of misconduct.

Texas authorities still investigating Antonio Smith as camp nears

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The Broncos report to camp Thursday, which means they need to make some decisions on where certain players stand.

That’s harder, since a set of local authorities in Texas are moving with Goodell-like speed on an investigation that began in February.

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Fort Bend (Texas) County district attorney has not determined whether he’ll charge Broncos defensive end Antonio Smith for anything.

The complaint is still under investigation and no determination has been made to formally charge Mr. Smith at this time,” the Fort Bend, Texas District Attorney said Monday.

The Broncos excused the veteran lineman from OTAs after he was accused of criminal child sexual abuse, clearly not wanting to associate their brand with someone under investigation. But if they don’t hear something soon, it creates an interesting decision for them as players are about to show up for work.

They’ve stayed in contact with Smith throughout the offseason, so it’s unclear if they’re ready to part ways. From a purely football standpoint, they could use him, especially after Derek Wolfe was suspended four games for a PED violation.

But this case is obviously more sensitive, which is why some guidance from the legal system is something they’d probably prefer.

Broncos excuse Antonio Smith from OTAs during investigation

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Teams usually want every player available to show up for OTAs.

But obviously for the Broncos, Antonio Smith is a special case.

According to Mike Klis of KUSA, Smith will not participate in OTAs because of “personal reasons.”

That’s another way of saying “the Broncos don’t want him on their field wearing their or their sponsors’ logos while he’s part of an investigation in a child sexual abuse case in Texas.”

This is hardly an unexpected move, especially on the heels of the Bears’ release of Ray McDonald this week upon his latest arrest.

According to the report, Broncos General Manager John Elway met with coach Gary Kubiak and team president Joe Ellis about the matter, and had “several discussions” with Smith.

Smith hasn’t been charged, but the complaint is still being looked at by the Fort Bend County (Texas) District Attorney’s Office.

The Broncos signed the veteran defensive end to a one-year deal in April, saying they were unaware of the investigation at the time.