AROUND THE NFL

NFC NORTH

 

DETROIT

Just when it looked like the Lions were developing some esprit de corps, the team shipped popular S QUANDRE DIGGS to Seattle.

 

While most of the Detroit Lions locker room had publicly taken an even-keeled approach to the team’s decision to trade starting safety Quandre Diggs this week, cornerback Darius Slay, Diggs’ closest friend on the team, had a more visceral reaction, questioning the decision, loyalty in the NFL and his long-term future in Detroit.

 

“(Crap), it basically say it don’t matter who you is,” Slay said. “No matter how much you put in, at the end of the day it’s a business so that’s how I just look at it. Nobody’s safe, in my opinion.

 

“Why wouldn’t it surprise me? Just told you he was an alternate Pro Bowler and our team captain. How would it not be surprising? That would be crazy.”

 

Diggs was traded to the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday, along with a future seventh-round draft choice for the Seahawks fifth-round selection in 2020.

 

Slay, 28, a two-time Pro Bowler and one of the team’s best defensive players, said he didn’t have any conversations with coach Matt Patricia or general manager Bob Quinn before or after Diggs was traded.

 

“I ain’t talking to neither one of them about that,” Slay said. “That’s their problem. I’m working. That’s all I do. I work. It’s not no kind of relationship or nothing like that, just, I’m here. I work here. It’s my job. I got to do my job.”

 

Patricia addressed the trade privately with the team on Wednesday morning and with the media that afternoon, where he was asked how do you handle player frustrations in moments like these.

 

“Those situations, we really just have to focus on making sure that we’re doing everything possible to help ourselves and help the team win from that aspect of it, and doing everything that we can to do our jobs better, first and foremost,” Patricia said. “You hate to see those situations when they come up, but you get it and you understand what people are trying to do what they think is best going forward, and you respect that, and you just go back to work. That’s really kind of the bottom line.”

 

In the locker room Wednesday afternoon, players on both sides of the ball, including Matthew Stafford, Danny Amendola and Tracy Walker walked the company line, expressing personal affection for Diggs, but understanding the business aspect of the deal and readiness to move forward.

 

Slay, on the other hand, decried the lack of loyalty to players, not just in Detroit, but around the league. He referenced Earl Thomas’ lengthy contract dispute in Seattle prior to the six-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion signing with the Baltimore Ravens in free agency this offseason.

 

Asked if a trade like this makes him question his loyalty to the team, Slay said he didn’t know how to answer that question.

– – –

With the NFL trade deadline approaching next week, Slay acknowledged there’s a possibility even he could be traded. When asked if he preferred to stay in Detroit, he was surprisingly non-committal.

 

“I’m saying I’m here to play ball,” Slay said. “Like I said, it don’t matter if I’m here or not. That’s what I want to do, I just want to play ball.”

 

Slay, in a tweet, later asked fans not to get the wrong impression.

 

“I love the state of Michigan,” he tweeted. “I give y’all my all on and off the field for u guys!!!! BigPlay just don’t like the business side of it!!!”

 

 

MINNESOTA

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com on Kirktober:

 

Kirktoberfest has concluded, and it was a month to remember.

 

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, embattled in the aftermath of a September 29 disaster at Chicago, has had a four-week run for the ages in Minnesota.

 

Four games. Four wins. He has thrown the ball 116 times (29 per game on average) in October, completing 91 passes. That’s a 78.4 completion percentage.

 

Cousins has generated 1,262 yards for the month, averaging 10.8 yards per attempt. He has thrown 10 touchdown passes against one interception, a ball that bounced off the hands of receiver Stefon Diggs before being caught by Eagles safety Andrew Sendejo.

 

Cousins’ passer rating for the month is a whopping 137.14.

 

Of course, even that may not be enough to secure NFC offensive player of the month honors for Cousins. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has one more chance to add to an October that consists through three games of 99 attempts, 71 completions, 950 yards (9.5 per attempt), seven touchdown passes, and one interception — a ball that bounced off of receiver Darrius Sheperd’s hands before being intercepted at the goal line versus Detroit.

 

For Rodgers to overcome Cousins, it will require a showing much like Sunday’s career game against the Raiders when Green Bay completes its rematches-in-reverse of the first two Super Bowls, with a visit to the Chiefs. It’s all the more reason to tune in for Sunday Night Football to see what Rodgers does when he makes his once-every-eight-years trip to Arrowhead Stadium.

 

These two superhuman QBs actually went head-to-head in Week 2n Green Bay – and it was very human.

 

Rodgers was fine, but not elite – 22-34, 209 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, 101.2 rating.

 

Cousins was less than fine – 14-32, 230 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 52.9 rating (although he did have a TD taken off the board by an offensive interference penalty imposed from New York).

 

The re-match in Minneapolis comes in the final Monday night game of the year on December 23.

 

NFC EAST

 

PHILADELPHIA

Veteran CB ORLANDO SCANDRICK leaves Philly with his mouth open.  Tim McManus of ESPN.com:

 

Recently released cornerback Orlando Scandrick ripped the Eagles during a television appearance Friday, taking shots at everyone from respected safety Malcolm Jenkins to general manager Howie Roseman.

 

“Let’s just say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” Scandrick said on FS1 when asked about the rumblings of locker room turmoil. “That locker room is different. I’d tell guys when I came there that I felt like they were still living off that Super Bowl high. It’s over. They’re living in the past.”

 

Scandrick, 32, was released by the Eagles on Monday following a blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He said the move “felt kind of scapegoat-ish.”

 

“The problem in Philadelphia is much, much bigger than me,” Scandrick said.

 

His comments didn’t go over well with Jenkins, who said there was a players-only meeting held this week for the first time in his six seasons with the Eagles.

 

“To know now that that’s kind of what was in your locker room, it feels good to know that it’s not here,” Jenkins said Friday. “Anybody that we have in here, we want to make sure that we have each other’s back. It’s a family. This team is very, very close. If you look around, I think everybody in here can trust one another. We feel like we have what it takes.”

 

When asked about the state of the defense, Scandrick said he felt “they’ve stuck together pretty good” before adding that he believes “there’s some selfish people in that defense, though,” and made it apparent he was referencing Jenkins.

 

“I think Rasul Douglas — he’s a good friend of mine — I think he took some unwanted heat for some blown coverages on some other people’s selfish play. And we don’t even have to say names. They know who they are,” said Scandrick, referencing the big plays the Eagles gave up to Minnesota Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs in a 38-20 loss the week before.

 

“I think when you wear a ‘C’ on your jersey, it’s your job to bring guys along. It’s your job. Sometimes you need to take the hard down, you need to take the hard job and you need to bring the thing together. I don’t know if that’s the case.

 

“You look at everything that happened. You hold out for a contract. You come in. You’re not really making any plays, like splash plays. Then you go down to Minnesota and you’re supposed to be in the half of the field and you end up playing a crosser? That’s not a rookie we’re talking about. It’s a two-time Super Bowl champ.”

 

Jenkins took accountability for the play Scandrick brought up immediately after the Vikings game.

 

“I really give two s–s about people who ain’t here,” Jenkins said Friday. “You ask anybody in the locker room who I am as a player, who I am to this team. I think one of the things he said is I didn’t take accountability for certain plays. Anybody that goes and looks at any of my comments, I immediately take credit for all of the mistakes I make.

 

“For us to move on as a team, we can’t have a m—–f—– like that in the room.”

 

Scandrick appeared in three games for the Eagles. He was cut before the start of the season and was brought back prior to the Week 5 game against the Jets, where he had two sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown.

 

“There are some accountability issues there,” Scandrick said, “and it starts from the top.”

 

Scandrick said Roseman told him when he was cut that the team wanted to go in a younger direction and that they were “a mess” on the defensive side of the ball.

 

“I don’t believe anything Howie says,” Scandrick said. “Howie is one of the people that if you told me it was raining outside, I’d probably get some shorts just in case. [The release was because] he wanted to play some younger players and they’re a mess on defense and they needed to get some defensive linemen, so we’ll see how that works out for them this weekend up in Buffalo.”

 

 

WASHINGTON

After the Vikings concussed QB CASE KEENUM, we got another look at rookie QB DWAYNE HASKINS:

 

The Washington Redskins have preached patience with rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins. They’d like to continue to be patient, but they might not have a choice.

 

In Washington’s 19-9 loss to Minnesota on Thursday night, Haskins relieved starter Case Keenum, who entered the concussion protocol at halftime and could not continue. Interim coach Bill Callahan said Haskins will start if Keenum can’t play in the Week 9 game at Buffalo, but that Keenum will be the starter if healthy.

 

Haskins had his second tough relief outing, completing 3 of 5 passes for 33 yards and an interception. In two games — he relieved Keenum and played 2½ quarters against the New York Giants in Week 4 — Haskins has thrown 22 passes and four interceptions.

 

“I hate losing,” Haskins said. “Feel like I played a part in that, and it’s tough, but it’s only Year 1 for me. Got a lot of years left, and this is all a learning experience.”

 

Haskins appeared dejected as he addressed the media after the game, and his words were difficult to hear from several feet away as he spoke into the microphone. Before he entered the room, running back Adrian Peterson stopped and chatted with him. Peterson told him he was there for him, a phrase other teammates told him as well.

 

“They want me to own it, and I do,” Haskins said.

 

Yes, Haskins played the entire 2nd half in a game the Redskins trailed throughout – and only threw 5 passes.  He did not throw a single pass in the 4th quarter, although there were extenuating circumstances.  The Vikings used about 5 minutes to start the 4th quarter with a drive to a field goal.  Then, the Redskins went three-and-out with Haskins sacked on 3rd-and-five.  Minnesota than ran the ball on 16 consecutive plays, even converting a 3rd-and-19 with a run to consume over 8 minutes prior to one final Washington running play as time expired.

– – –

Vikings fans showed their appreciation to RB ADRIAN PETERSON at the end of Monday night’s game.  John Keim of ESPN.com:

 

With two minutes left and the game well in hand, the Minnesota crowd turned its appreciation to someone it knows well: Adrian Peterson. And the cheers caused Peterson, one of the hardest runners in the NFL, to choke up.

 

The Washington Redskins running back, who moved into sixth place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list earlier in the game, was shown on the scoreboard in both end zones, leading to a prolonged ovation, chants of “AP!” and Peterson twice waving to the crowd. The second time, he kissed his fingers and showed them to the crowd. He smiled, but he later said the applause also caused him to be emotional.

 

“I had to hold tears back, to be honest,” said Peterson, who spent 10 years with the Vikings, rushing for a franchise-record 11,747 yards and 97 touchdowns. “It was special, a special moment.”

 

He also called it a bittersweet one, considering the Redskins lost 19-9. But Peterson showed he still had life left, rushing for 76 yards on 14 carries. Washington had the ball for only 8:01 of the second half, giving Peterson fewer chances to run — but it was a much better return to Minnesota than the one he made in 2017, when he rushed six times for 18 yards for New Orleans in the season opener.

 

This one meant a lot to both Peterson and the crowd. That Saints game was known for the scowl Peterson gave to coach Sean Payton. There was no scowl to be seen Thursday.

 

“Just coming back and seeing the love they still have for me and they showed, man, it felt good,” Peterson said. “Even in defeat I’m able to embrace it and take it for what it was, and it meant a lot. I spent a decade here, so just to see that ovation and the love they showed, it was meaningful.”

 

Peterson even caught himself doing something he once did often during his decade here.

 

“There was a couple times during the game I caught myself singing the Skol song,” he said of the Vikings’ fight song. “It’s a natural instinct. Some things are just triggered.”

 

It was also another night in which Peterson moved up the all-time rushing list. He passed both Jerome Bettis and LaDainian Tomlinson and now resides in sixth place with 13,701 yards. He trails Curtis Martin by 400 yards for fifth place. Peterson has rushed for 383 yards this season, but 275 have come in the three games since Jay Gruden was fired.

 

“It means a lot,” Peterson said of passing Bettis and Tomlinson. “Came to the game expecting to climb the ladder and these guys I’m passing are the ones that paved the way for me. I loved LT growing up and Bettis, big boy running that ball extremely hard. That’s kind of how I got some of my motivation to be really aggressive, watching him banging in there. To look up on the screen and see that I passed those guys, it’s humbling. But this is what I set forth to accomplish.”

 

NFC SOUTH

 

ATLANTA

QB MATT RYAN is questionable for Sunday against the Seahawks with his ankle per Friday’s final injury report.

 

 

CAROLINA

Frank Schwab of YahooSports.com is not ready to hop on the KYLE ALLEN bandwagon.

 

Kyle Allen has been a great story. He has done his job very well. And it has revived a consistently bad sports argument.

 

The Carolina Panthers are not winning solely due to Allen. No team wins or loses based on any one player, which is why quarterback wins is a dumb stat. The Panthers are 4-0 in Allen’s four starts as they go into a big game at the San Francisco 49ers. It’s because they’re playing very well as a team.

 

Carolina’s defense has been tough, with all of its investments in the defensive line paying off. Christian McCaffrey might be the best player in the NFL this season. Allen has done his part, specifically not turning the ball over. He has 122 passes without an interception.

 

And he’s not better than Cam Newton. For some reason, people like to argue that teams on a winning streak shouldn’t make lineup moves, even if it improves them.

 

You’ll start to hear that the Panthers can’t make a quarterback change because they’re winning. Worse than that, you’ll hear that Allen is undefeated. The Panthers have played well, and should also make any move they can to improve. When Newton is ready to return from a foot injury, he’s a better quarterback than Allen. The Panthers have a higher ceiling with a healthy Newton. There are questions about whether Newton is the same player, because if he doesn’t run then that takes away a big part of what has made him a special player. But the Panthers have to take that gamble. Newton gives them their best chance at a special season.

 

What the Panthers have done around Allen is why I like them to give the undefeated San Francisco 49ers a tough challenge this week. The 49ers are legit. Their defense is fantastic and they run the ball very well. They’re well coached. But the Panthers are good too, having rebounded in a big way after a rough 0-2 start. This is one of the few good matchups on the Week 8 slate, and I think the Panthers cover the 5.5-point spread, with a chance at an upset win. And if they do win, you’ll hear even more incorrect arguments for why Allen should keep the job when Newton is finally healthy.

 

 

NEW ORLEANS

If Sean Payton knows who is starting at QB Sunday against the surging Cardinals, he ain’t saying.  Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

Saints head coach Sean Payton said earlier this week that he may take all the way until Sunday to decide whether Drew Brees or Teddy Bridgewater starts at quarterback against the Cardinals.

 

The decision will wait until at least Saturday. Payton declined to name a starter when he met with reporters after Friday’s practice.

 

Brees returned to practice this week for the first time since injuring his thumb in Week Two. He was limited in all three practices and Payton said that both quarterbacks had good reps with the first team over the course of the week.

 

Running back Alvin Kamara was also limited in Friday’s practice. He didn’t play last Sunday because of an ankle injury, but returned to practice on Thursday.

 

 

TAMPA BAY

By now, you probably have pulled TE O.J. HOWARD from your Fantasy lineup for under-production.  But don’t play him this week against the Titans.  It is said a hamstring injury has worsened and he is “out” of Sunday’s game.  The fact that this is the final game before the trade deadline is probably a coincidence.

 

NFC WEST

 

ARIZONA

Kliff Kingsbury isn’t as pass-happy as envisioned.  A stat from Andrew Siciliano:

 

@AndrewSiciliano

Cardinals are averaging 174.7 yards rushing during their 3-game winning streak. But, I’m told, the offense can’t work in the @NFL

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO

Jim Trotter of NFL.com says the 49ers offense vs. the Panthers defense could be a recipe for turnovers:

 

The potential fatal flaw against Carolina. Much of the focus this week has been on how Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen will fare against the 49ers’ stingy defense, which has allowed a total of just 10 points over the last three games. But an equally important question is: How will San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo hold up against a Carolina defense that is tied for second in takeaways with 15.

 

The Panthers have forced at least two turnovers every time out during their four-game win streak and have a total of 14 during that time. Only the Patriots have more during this span with 16.

 

Speed off the edge has been a key factor to the Panthers’ success on defense. Already blessed with Mario Addison, they added end Bruce Irvin in free agency and linebacker Brian Burns in the first round of the draft. Those three have combined for 12.5 sacks and 20 QB hits.

 

“When you have team speed on defense, it makes the field smaller because guys can cover more ground,” middle linebacker Luke Kuechly said. “And you couple that with guys who are smart and understand stuff, and it makes things a lot easier.”

 

If there’s a blemish on the 49ers’ perfect start, it’s been their lack of ball security. They have had a giveaway in every game but one, and their 11 turnovers overall are tied for 12th-most in the league. And unlike the Panthers’ Allen, who has yet to throw an interception in four starts, Garoppolo has tossed at least one in every game but a Week 4 drubbing of the Browns.

 

AFC WEST

 

KANSAS CITY

The Mahomes Medical Miracle will not happen.  Coach Andy Reid has ruled him out for Sunday against the Packers.

 

When Mahomes suffered a knee injury eight days ago against the Broncos, it appeared that he would miss multiple games, and there were even fears that he could miss the season. But after he practiced on a limited basis this week, some wondered if he could possibly play Sunday night.

 

Chiefs coach Andy Reid confirmed today that there’s no chance: Mahomes has officially been ruled out.

 

Matt Moore will get the start for the Chiefs. He completed 10 of 19 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, with no turnovers, after Mahomes went down against the Broncos, and the Chiefs will hope he can play that well against the Packers. There’s obviously no chance of Moore playing as well as Mahomes, but he might be able to hold down the fort well enough to give the Chiefs a chance.

 

Kyle Shurmur will serve as Moore’s backup.

 

Shurmur, the son of Giants coach Pat Shurmur, is a rookie from Vanderbilt who was promoted from the practice squad this week.  This reaction from papa captured by Tom Rock of Newsday:

 

Shurmur said he is excited that his son, Kyle, was elevated to the Chiefs’ active roster this week. “Maybe he won’t be charging us for Uber drivers now,” Shurmur said. “He can buy his own Ubers now.” Kyle is backing up Matt Moore while Patrick Mahomes recovers from a knee injury. “I’m happy for him,” Shurmur said. “If he gets in the game, I’m sure he’ll do a good job.”

 

AFC EAST

 

BUFFALO

Mike Garofolo of NFL.com on those who doubt the Bills:

 

Are the 5-1 Bills for real? That’s the question being asked nationally, as many are picking through Buffalo’s schedule and noting it hasn’t been very challenging to this point (they have the third-lowest strength of schedule entering Week 8, behind the Patriots and 49ers).

 

“But they’re not doing that with the Patriots or San Francisco, though. It’s more about us, Buffalo, and it just is what it is,” linebacker Lorenzo Alexander told me earlier this week. “If you’ve never been to Buffalo, played in Buffalo, been around this culture or this community, it’s like, ‘Buffalo?’ I had it before I got here. You don’t know. You’re ignorant to what goes on up here.”

 

Alexander, a 13th-year veteran who joined the Bills in 2016, realizes this past Sunday’s victory over the winless Dolphins didn’t do much to change people’s minds, especially since the Bills had to come from behind for the win. But he noted previous years’ Bills teams wouldn’t have been able to settle down and make the adjustments to win a game like that. So to him, it’s a testament to coach Sean McDermott moving things in the right direction.

 

“The change with Sean, people haven’t been exposed to it just yet. They’re used to the 17-year (playoff) drought and that’s what everybody expects,” Alexander said. “Until we create some consistency, people just aren’t won over easily. I don’t take offense to it and I don’t worry about what they think, but I know in order to change that perception you have to put years together to change it.”

 

Interesting that the Patriots, 49ers and Bills – a combined 18-1 – have the three easiest schedules so far.  With five division games still to play, that is going to change for San Francisco at least, starting with Carolina on Sunday.

 

 

NEW ENGLAND

Now a player whose contributions pale in comparison to his outlandish presence, DT MICHAEL BENNETT again finds himself unwanted – at least by his current team.  He’s on to Dallas.

 

The Dallas Cowboys have acquired veteran defensive end Michael Bennett from the New England Patriots, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday.

 

The Patriots will receive a 2021 seventh-round pick that could eventually improve to a sixth-round pick if conditions are met, sources told ESPN.

 

Bennett, who turns 34 on Nov. 13, was suspended by the Patriots for last week’s game for conduct detrimental to the team following a disagreement with defensive line coach Bret Bielema, which sources said occurred in front of other players.

 

Bennett, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who has 65.5 career sacks and 13 forced fumbles in 147 career games, was upset that his playing time with New England had declined sharply since he started the season opener. In Week 6, he played just 11 of 50 defensive snaps in a win over the New York Giants.

 

“It’s America. You can voice your opinion about how you feel about certain situations. That’s what I did,” Bennett said after returning from his suspension. “… I got suspended. Lost money. What am I supposed to take away from that? There’s no love lost. It’s just how it is.”

 

Bennett had 5 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 1 pass defended in six games with the Patriots. In that six-game span, he had been on the field for 133 of 374 defensive snaps (35.6%).

 

The Patriots clear about $2.5 million of salary-cap space by trading Bennett, although some of that will be used by the player the team signs to fill his roster spot. The figure is significant because the Patriots have been extremely tight to the cap, as they restructured the contract of starting right guard Shaq Mason to create space to acquire wide receiver Mohamed Sanu in a trade Tuesday. Without the restructure, the club wouldn’t have been able to bring Sanu aboard.

 

That is the greatest benefit to the club, as the draft-pick compensation is modest. Bennett had become a niche player in the team’s system, and had expressed his desire to play more, so he wasn’t a great fit in New England despite high expectations after he had been acquired from the Eagles on March 14.

 

The Patriots had acquired Bennett and a seventh-round pick in exchange for a fifth-round pick, and then sweetened Bennett’s contract through the 2020 season.

 

In a response to a tweet Thursday evening, Bennett posted, “I’m a @Patriots fan all day so it was cool while it lasted but never felt like it was going to work out.”

 

It’s the second straight year the Cowboys have made a bye-week trade. They acquired Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders and went on to win seven of their last nine games to win the NFC East last season.

 

Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com – who obviously has never tried to coach or otherwise manage Bennett – still gives Dallas an A+ for landing him:

 

The Patriots are now the third team to trade him away for what would appear to be pennies on the dollar since the 2018 offseason. There’s certainly a huge disconnect between his on-field production and his trade value, and three of the league’s most well-regarded organizations — the Seahawks, Eagles and Patriots — have now moved on from him across the past 19 months.

 

For the Cowboys, though, this is absolutely a risk worth taking. They’re only on the hook for about $1.8 million in base salary over the remainder of 2019, with $8.25 million in unguaranteed compensation left on his deal in 2020. Dallas ranks 22nd in pressure rate through seven weeks, so adding Bennett offers the defense a much-needed boost behind DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn.

 

With Tyrone Crawford now on injured reserve, I suspect you’ll see coordinator Rod Marinelli use Bennett on the interior on passing downs to get Dallas’ three best pass-rushers on the field at the same time. The Cowboys might also grow tired of Bennett, but the possible reward here greatly outweighs the modest risk.

 

 

NEW YORK JETS

The Jets have let it be known that WR ROBBY ANDERSON or DT LEONARD WILLIAMS can be had.  Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News:

 

The Jets are looking to add 2020 draft capital with an eye on quickly improving their roster. To that end, Gang Green has made it clear to teams that wide receiver Robby Anderson can be had before the Oct. 29 trade deadline for the right price, according to sources.

 

The Jets entertained trading Anderson before last year’s deadline. The Eagles had interest in the speedy wideout a year ago, but the Jets sat tight.

 

Anderson, who is making $3.1 million on his restricted free agent tender, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the season. He has 17 catches for 266 yards and one touchdown in the first six games. Anderson’s 92-yard touchdown capped a five-catch, 125-yard performance in the Jets’ lone win of the season in Week 6.

 

He’s led the team in receptions for each of the past two seasons. Anderson had a breakout 2017 campaign (63 receptions, 941 yards and seven touchdowns) before taking a statistical step back last year (752 yards, 6 TDs).

 

The 1-5 Jets are hoping to be sellers. The team has also made it clear to teams that they’re willing to part with defensive lineman Leonard Williams for the right price, according to sources.

 

“I don’t know if I really have a specific philosophy when it comes to what our record is and things like that,” Adam Gase said about his position of losing teams being sellers at the trade deadline. “I always look at it as it is. We have a long ways to go in the season, a lot of things can happen, lot of things can change, we are always looking to compete and put the best team we can out on the field that is healthy.”

 

“As far as possibility of us being active there, I think Joe (Douglas) is always going to be looking to do what is best the organization and best for the team,” Gase continued. “I can’t say one way or the other. I think it will be one of those things where if something comes up, I’m sure those guys will look hard at it. It is hard for me to speak on because I am really grinding on trying to just figure out how to win a game and those guys are doing their part as far as trying to make sure that we are the best team they can possibly assemble.”

 

They also have fined G KELECHI OSEMELE for the crime of having surgery.  Rich Cimini of ESPN.com:

 

New York Jets guard Kelechi Osemele, engaged in an injury dispute with the organization, didn’t show up Friday to the team facility — and it was deemed an unexcused absence by the Jets, a source said.

 

Osemele was in Boston to have surgery Friday to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, according to his agent, Andrew Kessler. The procedure wasn’t authorized by the Jets.

 

The surgery didn’t come as a surprise, as Osemele indicated Wednesday that he was planning to have the surgery whether he received authorization or not.

 

The Jets continue to fine him for conduct detrimental to the team. Osemele said he’s being fined the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement. In his case, that’s $579,000 per week, the amount of his game checks.

 

Coach Adam Gase refused to comment Friday. No one from the organization has commented on the controversy, which exploded last Friday when Osemele revealed to reporters that he needed surgery.

 

The two sides agree that Osemele has a torn labrum, but they disagree on when he should have the surgery. The Jets believe he can play through the injury, a source said. Osemele said he’s in too much pain and needs immediate surgery.

 

On Wednesday, Osemele posted on social media a note from his third-opinion doctor, stating he needs surgery to repair a posterior/inferior labral tear and remove a large cyst. The doctor, Glen Ross, is performing the arthroscopy.

 

On Thursday, the NFLPA tweeted a statement, expressing its support for Osemele and saying it will explore its options.

 

 

THIS AND THAT

 

 

THE HOT COACHES

Tom Pelissaro with a list of guys who might be head coaches in the 20s:

 

Who is this year’s Sean McVay — the young, up-and-coming coach who may get an NFL head job sooner than later?

 

This is the third year I’ve asked the question, and six names from the previous lists have been hired, including Matt LaFleur, Brian Flores and Zac Taylor in the most recent cycle. As I note every year, McVay — a 30-year-old with three years of experience as a coordinator when the Rams hired him in January 2017 — is a rare guy, and pretty much nobody has comparable experience at such a young age. Winless starts amidst intentional (Dolphins) and not-so-intentional (Bengals) rebuilds have some plugged-in people predicting a shift away from the wunderkind hiring trend. But McVay is coming off a Super Bowl appearance, and LaFleur’s age certainly isn’t stopping him from early success in Green Bay, so you can bet some NFL teams will once again look past the length of resume (or lack thereof) if they feel they have a shot to land the next superstar head coach.

 

The criteria here remains the same as past years: the age cutoff is in the early 40s, and the person can’t have been a full-time NFL head coach before. Here’s a short list of names to remember, based on dozens of recent conversations with NFL executives, coaches, players and others close to the search process:

 

New faces for this year’s list

49ers DC Robert Saleh: His jacked-up sideline reactions have gone viral during the 49ers’ 6-0 start. But there’s a lot more to Saleh, 40, who has re-envisioned the Cover 3 scheme he learned under Pete Carroll in Seattle and later Gus Bradley in Jacksonville, implementing Wide 9 principles, split-safety defenses and creative third-down looks and blitzes. Saleh is charismatic. Players love and believe in him. He’ll need to hire the right offensive coordinator, but all the tools are there.

 

Colts OC Nick Sirianni: A trusted assistant to Frank Reich going back to their days in San Diego, where he forged a close relationship with Philip Rivers, Sirianni has an excellent reputation across the league. The 38-year-old has a lot of energy, knows offense and holds players accountable. He turned down a chance to talk to the Browns about their opening in January, feeling he needed to focus solely on the Colts’ Divisional Round game. But Sirianni is ready to interview this time and should be in demand.

 

Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski: He was impressive enough to get a second interview for the Browns job in January after just a three-game interim stint as Minnesota’s play-caller. Promoted in January, Stefanski suggested the hiring of Gary Kubiak to help install the Shanahan brand of West Coast offense that has been clicking of late. Still just 37, Stefanski gained popularity among players while coaching several positions over 14 years with the Vikings, starting as an assistant to then-coach Brad Childress, who told me last year: “The best thing about [Stefanski] is he can keep a cool head when everybody else is losing theirs.”

 

Baylor coach Matt Rhule and Iowa State coach Matt Campbell: Some NFL executives predicted a year ago that a college coach would get hired, and after Kliff Kingsbury made the leap, there’s thought in league circles that another will follow — if somebody pays the price to lure him. Rhule, 44, interviewed two years ago with the Colts and last January with the Jets, who might’ve hired him if he’d adjusted plans for his staff. Rhule’s NFL experience, albeit limited (one season as the Giants’ assistant OL coach in 2012), is a plus. His name only figures to be hotter with Baylor off to a 7-0 start. The Jets also wanted to interview Campbell, 39, who’s known as a culture builder with a good mind for offense and innate ability to relate to anyone.

 

Bills OC Brian Daboll: If the Bills stay hot, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see interest in Daboll, 44, who has a big fan in young QB Josh Allen. He’s a likeable guy with offensive chops and an impressive pedigree that includes five Super Bowl wins over two stints as a Patriots assistant and a national title on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama.

 

Patriots ST/WR coach Joe Judge and ILB coach Jerod Mayo: In the past two years, three Bill Belichick proteges from this list (Mike Vrabel, Matt Patricia and Flores) got their first head-coaching jobs. Who’s next? One possibility is Judge, 37, whom Belichick — a big believer in the importance of special teams — has been grooming, adding the receivers to Judge’s title this year. Mayo, 33, only became an NFL coach about seven months ago. But he spent eight seasons playing for Belichick, calling the defensive signals for most of that time, and has strong leadership traits. Sure, it might be a stretch to think Mayo has a shot to run his own program already — just don’t be shocked if somebody requests an interview.

 

Returning from last year’s list

 

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley: There may not be a more coveted candidate anywhere than Riley, 36, an offensive guru who has coached two straight Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks (both taken No. 1 overall) and now has Jalen Hurts on pace to break some NCAA records for the unbeaten Sooners. But it’d have to be a really good NFL job with a blue-blood franchise to lure him away. The phone will keep ringing until someone does.

 

Saints assistant head coach/TEs Dan Campbell: With the Saints off to a 6-1 start despite a slew of injuries, is this the year Sean Payton’s tree grows a branch? Campbell, 43, is heavily involved in the Saints’ running game and addresses the team weekly on opponent looks, keys to victory, etc. A 10-year NFL veteran as a player, Campbell played for Bill Parcells, who vouches for him as a leader. He’d need to hire strong coordinators and focus on setting the program. He has interviewed for four jobs over the past two years.

 

Jaguars OC John DeFilippo: One year after a bad fit in Minnesota ended in his December dismissal, the 41-year-old DeFilippo is re-establishing himself in Jacksonville — and showing he does know how to run a balanced offense. Leonard Fournette’s game is improved across the board, with the Jags boasting the NFL’s No. 5 rushing attack, and rookie sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew has exceeded all expectations. DeFilippo’s passion and work ethic are never in doubt. He has interviewed for three head jobs in the past.

 

Cowboys passing game coordinator/DBs coach Kris Richard: Some compare Richard, 39, to Mike Zimmer around the same age. He’s savvy, understands the young generation of players and knows the game inside and out. Richard is perhaps the most vetted candidate on the list, having interviewed for five head-coaching jobs over the past three years. It’d have to be the right place, with the right GM.

 

Rams pass game coordinator/QB coach Shane Waldron: He interviewed in January for the Bengals job that went to Zac Taylor, then took over Taylor’s daily responsibility of coaching the Rams’ QBs. His role overseeing the pass game also continues to evolve, giving Waldron, 40, more time in front of the room to work on his presence. He previously had two stints under Belichick in a variety of roles in New England.

 

Others to watch in coming years: Cowboys LB coach Ben Bloom, 37; Giants DC James Bettcher, 41; Eagles special assistant Matt Burke, 43; Titans TE coach Todd Downing, 39; 49ers STC Richard Hightower, 39; Chiefs QB coach Mike Kafka, 32; Texans OC Tim Kelly, 33; Bucs OC Byron Leftwich, 39; 49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniel, 36; Cowboys OC Kellen Moore, 31; Redskins OC Kevin O’Connell, 34; Cardinals WR coach David Raih, 39; Eagles QB coach Press Taylor, 31; Panthers QB coach Scott Turner, 37.

 

 

RANKING THE QUARTERBACKS

Four folks at NFL.com say this is how the current starting QBs lineup 1 to 32 (or Wilson to Trubisky) with edited comments:

 

With Week 7 of the NFL’s 100th season in the books, NFL.com editors Ali Bhanpuri, Tom Blair, Gennaro Filice and Dan Parr join forces to update the QB Index — the hierarchy among starting quarterbacks — heading into Week 8.

 

How do we arrive at these rankings? Well, each of the four QB watchers submits a ballot, and through the power of mathematics, we average out the results to arrive at our list. The individual rankings of each writer are listed in every QB blurb. With the season well underway, the rankings now rely more heavily on 2019 production, as opposed to previous performance. That said, old opinions die hard.

 

1 Russell Wilson

Blair: Well, it happened. Wilson made mistakes against the Ravens on Sunday…He failed to conjure up enough heroic highlights to pull out a win. He threw a pick. That’s all noteworthy insofar as the first bit of ironclad evidence that Wilson is still, you know, a fallible human being in 2019 came deep into October.

 

2 Aaron Rodgers

Blair: The most tantalizing aspect of Rodgers’ god-like deconstruction of the Raiders on Sunday was that, beyond marking his first true supernova effort of the season, it was also one of the best games of his entire career

 

T-3 Lamar Jackson

Blair: Let’s take a moment to appreciate all the possible fates Lamar Jackson dodged — like so many desperate would-be tacklers on an 8-yard scoring run on fourth-and-2 — in becoming the most successful quarterback of the 2018 class so far. He wasn’t drafted by a ramshackle team prone to talent-stifling organizational chaos, toxic infighting and disruptive turnover. He wasn’t forced on a coach who didn’t like him or understand how to use him. He wasn’t burdened with sky-high expectations before he’d ever taken an NFL snap. He wasn’t thrown on the field before he was ready. Instead, he landed on a competitive roster directed by a coaching staff and front office with the smarts to develop a plan for him and the temerity to stick to it.

 

T-3  Deshaun Watson

Blair: Watson didn’t really have it against the Colts on Sunday, failing — in part because of one frustrating “in the grasp” call that wiped out an apparent touchdown pass — to reach the paint in three consecutive trips inside the red zone…Watson has played too well this season to take much of a drop for a less-than-stellar outing against a Colts defense that also humbled Patrick Mahomes.

 

5  Matthew Stafford

Blair: For the first chunk of his career, Stafford was seen as a quarterback who had not yet refined his game or been able to unleash his full potential. If he could ever put it all together, the Lions could really go places. This season, however, the perennial Detroit narrative seems to be flipping around: Now, Stafford has put all (or most) of it together, and the rest of his team is what’s holding him back

 

6  Tom Brady

Blair: Why isn’t the only 7-0 starter in the league ranked higher? Well, despite facing a relatively easy schedule, Brady hasn’t exactly gone off in recent weeks, posting good-but-not-great numbers (310 yards per game, 4:3 TD-to-INT ratio, 91.6 passer rating) against Washington, the Giants and the Jets over the past three weeks… The schedule is going to get tougher, but would you like to predict when Tom Brady will hit the wall?

 

7 Carson Wentz

 

8 Dak Prescott

Blair: What a difference an evening of good football can make. Prescott quieted concerns that had crept up during Dallas’ three-game losing streak by putting together the kind of vintage performance against the Eagles that could carry you right back to September.

 

9 Kirk Cousins

Filice: The 84 Million Dollar Man has been worth every penny over the past three weeks.

 

10 Matt Ryan

Filice: Fresh off his worst outing of the season, Ryan’s questionable for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks with a sprained ankle. Any decreased mobility for Ryan would be problematic, as he has been pressured this season on more snaps (99, according to Next Gen Stats) than any other quarterback.

 

11  Philip Rivers

Filice: At 2-5, the Chargers are the most disappointing team in the AFC, if not the entire NFL. (Atlanta makes a pretty strong case for the ignominious distinction.)

 

12  Derek Carr

Filice: As the losing quarterback opposite Aaron Rodgers’ piece de resistance, Carr’s performance in Week 7 won’t exactly stick in the minds of football watchers.

 

13  Jacoby Brissett

Filice: Steadily rising up this list, Brissett’s traditional QB metrics (65 percent completions, 14:3 TD-to-INT, 101.0 passer rating) actually suggest he should be ranked far higher than 13th, but he’s held back by a lack of wow plays and that pesky “game manager” label.

 

14 Jimmy Garoppolo

Filice: Honestly, Jimmy G might be the most difficult player to rank on this list. It’s still very hard to know what the sixth-year starter with 16 career starts — and 14 wins — really is.

 

15  Kyler Murray

Filice: In a matchup of the top two quarterbacks selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, Murray came away with the win over Daniel Jones, but that’s about all you can put in the positive column for the No. 1 overall pick. While Murray avoided the kind of cringe-inducing turnovers produced by his quarterbacking counterpart, this was the most conservative outing we’ve seen from the Cardinals rookie.

 

16  Teddy Bridgewater

Filice: With Drew Brees returning to practice Wednesday — albeit in a limited capacity — and publicly champing at the bit to play on Sunday, Teddy’s time in the QB Index is running out. So it’s high time to step back and just appreciate what he’s accomplished here.

 

17  Gardner Minshew

Parr: Minshew Mania has given way to a little bit of a Minshew Malaise in recent weeks.

 

18  Jared Goff

Parr: Ah, if only Goff and the Rams’ offensive line could always line up across from a Falcons defense that has gone a month (318 snaps) without recording a sack.

 

19  Baker Mayfield

Parr: Hopefully Mayfield and the Browns made good use of the bye week

 

T-20 Kyle Allen

Parr: It’s hard to know exactly what to make of a guy who bounced from school to school during his college career, went undrafted after declaring as an underclassman and is now on the brink of joining some truly elite company.. If he wins that game and doesn’t toss a pick, he’ll become the ninth QB in the Super Bowl era to win six or more games in a row and not throw an INT in any of those starts (at any point in their career). The other members of that club: Aaron Rodgers (twice), Matt Ryan, Alex Smith, Tom Brady, Troy Aikman, Phil Simms, Ken Anderson and Roger Staubach. Allen is already the first QB since 1950 to start his career with a 5-0 record and not throw an interception in any of those 5 starts. He’s making a profound case to remain Carolina’s starter.

 

T-20  Josh Allen

Parr: As with most Josh Allen outings, there was good and bad to be found in his performance vs. the Dolphins.

 

22  Ryan Tannehill

Parr: No one can dispute that Tannehill gave the Titans’ offense a spark in his first start of 2019.

 

23  Sam Darnold

Parr: The last two weeks have been extreme examples of the two sides of Darnold. He was so impressive in his return from mono against the Cowboys, but his Monday nightmare vs. the Patriots was just about the worst performance you’ll see from a QB. Thus far, former No. 3 overall pick is a pendulum that swings wildly from good to bad each week. He’s now 16 games into his NFL career, one that’s been marred by an injury and an infection. The numbers are more likely to scare than excite Jets fans: 58 percent completion rate, 20 TDs, 20 INTs, 75.0 passer rating, seven fumbles (three lost). He has a better completion percentage, TD-INT ratio and passer rating than Peyton Manning had 16 games into his NFL career, so, yeah, we’re not saying he’s the next Peyton. Just that it’s still too early to say what this 22-year-old is going to be. That said, turnovers have been a problem for him going back to his USC days. It’s going to be hard for his career to truly take flight if he doesn’t learn to consistently take care of the ball.

 

24  Jameis Winston

Parr: I’m sure Bruce Arians is doing his best to strip Winston of his fatal flaw. It hasn’t worked yet, obviously, but the coach isn’t ready to throw in the towel. Just when it looked like the contract-year QB might have turned a corner, he fell hard for his old ways, turning the ball over a career-high six times in a loss to the Panthers his last time out.

 

25 Daniel Jones

Bhanpuri: Ball security and reckless decisions remain the rookie’s biggest issues through six games.

 

T-26  Joe Flacco

Bhanpuri: During the Broncos’ 0-4 start to the campaign, I was telling anyone who’d listen that Flacco was hardly the primary culprit for Denver’s slow start. The Broncos then wrung out two straight wins, and despite the veteran’s obvious struggles, I convinced myself he might actually have enough left in the tank to keep this team afloat. And then last Thursday happened.

 

T-26 Andy Dalton

Bhanpuri: What would the Bengals’ offense look like with Cordy Glenn, Jonah Williams, A.J. Green and John Ross all on the field at the same time? Would Andy Dalton still have as many interceptions as touchdowns?

 

28 Mason Rudolph

Bhanpuri: Can’t ask for a better “welcome back” game than a home matchup versus the Dolphins after the bye.

 

29  Ryan Fitzpatrick

Bhanpuri: Fitzpatrick played winning football for the first 39 minutes and 53 seconds of Sunday’s AFC East battle, going 12 of 15 for 153 yards and a touchdown during that span to help push Miami in front 14-9. But with the Dolphins threatening to make it a two-score game (I’m told you could practically smell the Fitzmagic in the air at New Era Field) against the one-loss Bills, Buffalo cornerback Tre’Davious White broke on an out route near the goal line and picked off The Bearded One

 

30 Matt Moore

Bhanpuri: With Patrick Mahomes sidelined for at least three weeks due to a dislocated kneecap, Moore will have some MVP-sized shoes to fill.

 

31 Case Keenum

Bhanpuri: Sunday’s Mud Bowl extravaganza didn’t leave much in the way for pithy passing game critiques.

 

32  Mitchell Trubisky

Bhanpuri: Four weeks ago I explained in ( too much) detail why one solid first half from Trubisky was hardly proof that he’d suddenly figured it out. Today, I stand comfortably behind my harsh, but honest take. The third-year signal-caller remains wildly inconsistent, showing an extreme aversion to throwing beyond the sticks and unrivaled inaccuracy when he does.

 

This list really is a hodge-podge of thought.  Recent play puts MATTHEW STAFFORD ahead of TOM BRADY – but JACOBY BRISSETT is still behind DEREK CARR and PHILIP RIVERS?