Best wishes for Hall of Fame LB RICKEY JACKSON.  Mike Triplett of


Hall of Fame pass rusher Rickey Jackson underwent successful surgery to alleviate pressure on his brain Wednesday morning, according to his daughter Rickeyah.


“He is resting comfortably, very alert and talking like himself with nurses, doctors and all around him,” Rickeyah told Crescent City Sports’ Ken Trahan, who is the director of the New Orleans Saints’ Hall of Fame. “I want to stress that he is doing fine and that any reports otherwise simply are not accurate.”





Having played okay at Detroit, QB CHASE DANIEL will start again this week at the Giants.  If it was a playoff game, QB MITCHELL TRUBISKY would be able to go.  Mike Garafolo of NFL Network:



Despite #Bears QB Mitch Trubisky (shoulder) returning to practice yesterday, the team is planning for him to sit this week in favor of Chase Daniel once again, sources say. No surprise, given Matt Nagy’s comments. Trubisky could play right now but team wants to play it safe.




QB AARON RODGERS looks at what he can do to pull the Packers out of their funk.  Rob Demovsky of


Aaron Rodgers doesn’t think his fundamentals are out of whack. Nor does he think he’s playing any differently than in years past.


However, the two-time NFL MVP quarterback acknowledged that with the Green Bay Packers at 4-6-1 and barely alive for the playoffs, it might be time to play a little different, perhaps even take more chances.


“Yeah, why not?” Rodgers said Wednesday. “If we lose, you guys are just going to write us off, so might as well let it all hang out these last five [games].”


His favorite target, receiver Davante Adams, agreed.


“Yeah, that’s the idea of it,” Adams said. “I feel like we’ve been down this road before. In ’16, when we had to win them and we made that happen. A lot of the same players in here, a lot of the guys who were here when that whole run-the-table thing was brought to the table. I feel like we the same people in here, so we’ve just got to make sure we have a collective effort to get it done.”


They might need better play from Rodgers to do it.


The Packers have scored just three points in the second half of each of their past two games, losses at Minnesota and Seattle. They haven’t won on the road this season, going 0-6, and have only two more tries — at Chicago and at the Jets. But first they have consecutive home games against two struggling teams, the Cardinals and Falcons, to try to fix their problems.


Both Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy spent an inordinate amount of time Wednesday answering questions about the quarterback’s uneven play. Yes, some of Rodgers’ numbers look strong — 20 touchdowns and just one interception — but the offense has sputtered at critical times, especially on third downs late in games.


Rodgers has thrown 286 straight passes without an interception. According to ELIAS, he’s 11 more completions without an interception from cracking the top five of all time. However, Rodgers has had his troubles during the streak. He has been off target on 20.6 percent of those 286 passes, above the NFL average off-target rate of 16 percent this season.


It has led to a deep examination of Rodgers’ fundamentals and whether his Week 1 knee injury has impacted his performance.


“I don’t think I need to respond about fundamentals,” Rodgers said. “I mean, I drill the fundamentals. I throw how I throw. I’m not playing any different this year. It’s just we’re not completing as many passes percentage-wise.”


Rodgers then made two half-joking references to be named to USA Football’s All-Fundamental team twice in his career.


“I listen to my quarterback coach and my offensive coordinator and my head coach,” Rodgers said. “My study of myself, I’m very critical of my own film. I’m not playing any differently, fundamental-wise. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t love it when it’s a certain way and then critique it when it’s the other way. I mean, you guys can because that what you guys get paid to do. Again, that’s the news cycle. They’re going to pick at things when you’re in a situation like this where we’re at. We’re 4-6-1 so it comes with the territory.”


A few throws of late have stood out because they were the type that Rodgers has almost always made. But in these cases he didn’t. There was the third-and-2 throw in the fourth quarter at Seattle that he bounced at the feet of rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling, a ball Rodgers said got stuck in his hand. And then two last week at Minnesota: another in-the-dirt throw to Equanimeous St. Brown on second-and-1 from the Vikings’ 20 in the fourth quarter and an overthrow of Adams in the end zone on the very next play.


“I told you, the first one stuck to my hand, and the second one, I threw without laces and threw it into the ground,” Rodgers said. “So I can’t really explain it any other way. You can go back and check the film on the second one, but that’s what happened. I practiced throwing without the laces. I was trying to get the ball out quick, and I just didn’t throw it well. The first one, I told you it just stuck to my hand. Some balls are tackier than other ones.


“It’s embarrassing, for sure. Yeah, I mean, it happens to the best of us.”


Said McCarthy: “It’s never just one thing. We all need to continue to focus, and particularly when you’re talking about throwing and catching a ball, there’s more than just what your feet look like or an opinion of what they’re supposed to be. That’s why we practice, and I think we’ll definitely have an opportunity to take a step this week.”


This, also from Demovsky:


When Aaron Rodgers said two years ago that he thought the Green Bay Packers could run the table even though they sat at 4-6 with six games to play, his claim was not without merit.


The Packers quarterback had just gotten one of his weapons, tight end Jared Cook, back from an ankle injury. In the game before “run the table” became a thing, Cook caught six passes for 105 yards and a touchdown in his first action since Week 3.


He also had Jordy Nelson in his comeback-player-of-the-year season, Davante Adams in his breakout season, a new weapon in Ty Montgomery’s switch to running back and an effective edge rusher in Nick Perry who was on the way to a career-best 11-sack season.


And the quarterback himself had broken out of a mini slump that spanned the end of 2015 and the start of 2016.


But this isn’t 2016 and a run to the NFC Championship Game, or even to a playoff berth, seems far more unlikely than it did two years ago.


The Packers find themselves in a similar spot — 4-6-1 with five games to play. They know they must win out — and get some help — to even have a chance for a playoff spot.


But this time:


There’s no dynamic tight end. Jimmy Graham has two or fewer catches in four of his last five games and now has a broken left thumb that rendered him mostly ineffective in Sunday night’s loss at Minnesota.


The only reliable weapons Rodgers has on offense are Adams, who went over the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career with five games still to play, and running back Aaron Jones, who leads the NFL in yards per rush (6.0).


The quarterback himself isn’t anywhere near as sharp. Game after game he has missed throws in key moments that used to be routine. There was the overthrown potential touchdown to Adams in Minnesota and another ball in the turf at the feet of a receiver on a dump-off pass for the second straight game.


And there’s rampant speculation about coach Mike McCarthy’s future.


No wonder Rodgers hasn’t made any proclamations or predictions this time around.


The playoffs seem like the ultimate reach.


“Yeah it seemed like that in ’16 as well,” Rodgers said. “Nobody thought we could do it, and then we came together in Philly, got the job done, came home and beat Houston, beat Seattle, went on the road and beat Chicago, came back home and beat Minnesota, went on the road and beat Detroit, you know?


“We’ve done it before. Just have to find a way. The way our defense played tonight, and with the injuries they have, to hold them to 24 points, we have to win this game. So offensively we gotta be a lot better. We all have to play better, myself included. We started off the game nice, you know? We had a couple good drives, we’re rolling there. Then we hit our unfortunate, typical lull, couldn’t get it going again.”


It’s all irrelevant if the Packers can’t find a way to win on the road. The next time they play away from Lambeau, in Week 15 at Chicago, 371 days will have passed since their last road win. They’re 0-6 on the road this season with two road games to play. Since 1990, only 10 of the 336 playoff teams were 2-6 or worse on the road in their playoff season. The 1994 Packers were among those 10.


What’s more, since the NFL expanded to a 16-game schedule in 1978, only eight teams were under .500 through 11 games and then went on to win out and make the playoffs. The 2016 Packers were the last to do so.


As of Monday, the Packers had a 13 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index.





The Cowboys are unlikely to have T TYRON SMITH tonight against the mighty Saints.


It looks like the Dallas Cowboys could again be without left tackle Tyron Smith.


The veteran is listed as questionable, but NFL Network’s Jane Slater was informed by a source that “it’s not looking good” for Smith to suit up tonight versus the New Orleans Saints.


Smith continues to battle a neck stinger and right elbow injury. He was called a game-time decision by coach Jason Garrett earlier this week.


The 27-year-old left tackle was active during the Thanksgiving victory over the Washington Redskins, but didn’t play a single snap.


Cameron Fleming would get the start again if Smith sits versus the Saints.


The Cowboys offensive line did a solid job sans Smith last week against Washington, but Dak Prescott was still sacked four times. Prescott has already been sacked a career-high 38 times this season — tied with Eli Manning for the most in the NFL.


Prescott, a mobile QB, sacked 38 times behind a line of great repute.  What’s happenin?




Jordan Raanan of lobbies for rookie QB KYLE LAULETTA to start:


A team’s thinking can change with five games remaining, a soon-to-be 38-year-old quarterback and a less than 0.1 percent chance to make the playoffs. More so than usual, there has to be a focus on the future rather than the present.


For the New York Giants (3-8), that means potentially replacing Eli Manning as the starting quarterback at some point in the final month of the season, as their quest to avoid “quarterback hell” continues. In fact, Dec. 9 against the struggling Washington Redskins should be a good jumping-off point.


Coach Pat Shurmur might be tired of hearing about playing rookie Kyle Lauletta, but this will be the latest test for the first-year regime.


“You gotta think of some other questions. My goodness,” Shurmur snapped after being asked about balancing mathematical elimination with the need to get younger players, such as Lauletta, some game experience. “You go into every week with giving your team the best opportunity to win the football game each week. That’s how you do this thing. This isn’t player tryout. This is do everything in your power to win the next game. And we just happen to be — today’s Monday, so we’re in the Monday phase of that process.”


Lauletta is waiting patiently — he hasn’t dressed for a game this season — after being selected in the fourth round in April. He has spent most of the season working with the practice squad, but he believes he’s ready should the opportunity arise.


Shurmur made it clear Monday that backup Alex Tanney is also part of the equation.


“Why are you jumping over Tanney?” Shurmur said.


He later added: “If we felt like he was giving us the best chance to win … I would just say this — based on doing what quarterbacks do — all along, [Tanney has] been our No. 2 guy. Aside from the fact that Kyle was drafted in the fourth round, all along, [Tanney has] been our No. 2 guy. He does the things that we think can help us win a game.”


Winning games remains the priority. Shurmur insists it’s about determining who gives the Giants the best chance to win on a weekly basis.


Manning has been declared the starter this week against Chicago and its ferocious defense. That’s probably best for everyone involved. Throwing a rookie into the fire against that defense would seem to be a bad idea, and Tanney’s one game of professional experience wouldn’t be much better.


If this week goes poorly — as recent history with the Giants’ offensive line and Manning facing a dominant defensive front suggests — installing Lauletta as the starter against the Redskins would make sense. Washington’s defense has allowed more than 400 yards in three of its past four games. The Redskins also haven’t been able to stop the run, which could take the pressure off a young and experienced quarterback in his first start.


If not next week for Lauletta, then the following weeks against the Titans and Colts would seem to be reasonable options.


Week 17 at MetLife Stadium against the Cowboys should be reserved for a potential Manning send-off.




The Redskins make the tactical decision that having LB REUBEN FOSTER might be advantageous from a football standpoint sometime in the perhaps distant future.  Then they send out a guy who might not be around to enjoy Foster’s play to defend it.  Mike Florio of


Washington knows it will be taking flak for claiming linebacker Reuben Foster on waivers. And the organization seems to be OK with that.


“At the end of the day we decided to make the move, and we’ll deal with the outcry, so to speak,” coach Jay Gruden told reporters on Wednesday.


Gruden repeatedly vowed to “get to the bottom” of the incident that sparked Foster’s release by the 49ers, the team that made him a first-round pick in 2017. And it became obvious that Washington made the move with limited information about what transpired.


“I’ve read a little bit about what’s happened,” Gruden said, “and it’s not good.”


Gruden also repeatedly pointed out that there’s no guarantee Foster will ever play for the team, and Gruden said it will be a “long process” before Foster would get the green light to dress for the team.


Those comments underscore the reality that Washington claimed Foster not with 2018 in mind, but with the goal of getting him on the field in 2019, after the situation is resolved and after Foster serves whatever unpaid suspension may be coming.


The DB is hearing that his ex-girlfriend Elissa Ennis, the one who has testified that she lied about domestic abuse once, surprised Foster by showing up in Tampa.  And Foster, who was supposed to avoid all contact with Ennis, did not handle it well.  Perhaps some would say, falling into the trap Ennis had laid for him.





Can the Buccaneers give away their game with the Panthers, to the fans that is. Their total of 29 turnovers sez they surely could give it away on the field.  Jenna Laine at on a ticket giveaway.


Coming off one of their worst-attended games of the past decade, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be giving away free tickets to this week’s game against the Carolina Panthers, team officials told ESPN.


Season-ticket holders received notices that they are eligible to receive two free tickets Sunday and have until Thursday to opt in. The team said there is a limited number of seats, so not all season-ticket holders received the offer. It is being done on a first-come, first-served basis.


Paid attendance for the Bucs’ 27-9 win over the San Francisco 49ers last week was 50,436. The actual attendance recorded by the Tampa Sports Authority was 40,682. Raymond James Stadium seats nearly 66,000. Bucs chief operating officer Brian Ford said the gesture was done not in response to the poor turnout but as a gift for the holidays.


“It’s just another example of us trying to provide added value to our season pass members. We’ve done this in the past, and it’s been very well-received,” said Ford, adding that the team is “ranked No. 1 in overall customer satisfaction [through the NFL-commissioned “Voice of the Fan” survey] four of the past six years because we aren’t afraid of trying new ways of improving our fan experience.”


The news was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times.


The Bucs (4-7) are averaging 55,181 fans per home game in 2018 — 30th in the league. The team averaged 59,952 fans in 2017, when the Bucs went 5-11, and 60,624 in 2016, when they went 9-7.


The Bucs have also had issues with a large presence of opposing teams’ fans in their stadium, as seen against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. In recent years, the team began to revoke season-ticket holders’ memberships if those fans continued to sell their tickets.


Prior to the Glazer family’s purchasing the Buccaneers in 1995, hiring both Tony Dungy and later Jon Gruden, free tickets were often left on car windshields outside the old Tampa Stadium — and many of them went untouched.





Matthew Berry of on why you should play QB JARED GOFF in Fantasy this week:


Jared Goff at Lions (Projected: 21.4 points): For all the (deserved) Patrick Mahomes talk, very quietly Goff is the best QB in fantasy since Week 8, averaging 28.0 PPG. With two weeks to prepare, expect him to beat this projection against a Lions team that has given up multiple touchdown passes in three straight games (and in seven of the past eight) and has the second-highest rate of TD passes allowed per attempt in the NFL.





Jeff Eisenberg of has no problem finding a bunch of Raiders fans who are ready to follow the team to Vegas.


The most recognizable Raiders fan is pondering an unimaginable scenario.


What would it take for him to turn his back on the franchise he has supported for almost 50 years? Could he envision himself losing interest in the Raiders as they begin another rebuild ahead of their unpopular move to Las Vegas?


Wayne Mabry is “Violator,” the snarling, painted face of the NFL’s most colorful fanbase. The retired union contractor and cigar aficionado meticulously transforms himself into his alter ego for every Raiders home game, an intimidating look that includes tiger-striped silver and black face paint, spiked shoulder pads, armored forearm bands and a pirate sword.


“He’s a kindred spirit that has been in me since I was a child,” Mabry said. “He stays bottled up most of the time and then on game days, I unleash him.”


Seldom has Mabry missed a home game the past two decades even though the Raiders have given him plenty of reason to skip the six-plus hour drive from his home in Moreno Valley, California. Not only have the Raiders only made the playoffs once since 2002, they’ve also squandered any goodwill from that 12-win 2016 season by dismantling the young core of that team in return for draft picks.


Perpetual mediocrity frustrates Mabry, but it’s the Raiders’ decision to break with their blue-collar Oakland roots that angers him most. Since Las Vegas is a destination city for tourists worldwide, Mabry worries that Raiders home games there will be flush with opposing fans. He also fears the new stadium in Las Vegas will price out the average fan and attract a wine-sipping corporate crowd.


And yet for all his grievances, Mabry still can’t bring himself to put his costume in his closet for good. When the Raiders debut in Las Vegas in two years, Violator will be there like always, cheering for the Silver and Black until his voice goes hoarse.


“Once you have this affliction, it’s a terminal condition,” Mabry said. “Once you get it, you can’t just peel it off. It’s not like a piece of clothing. It’s in your soul. You live it every day. The ups and downs, they test your loyalty and integrity as a fan, but we go through them knowing there will be a brighter day.”


Show up to a Raiders home game this season, and it will quickly become clear that Mabry is far from alone in his loyalty. Many other longtime fans also aren’t ready to swear off the Raiders despite their frustrations over the team’s dismal 2-9 record, puzzling roster moves and impending departure for Las Vegas in 2020.


The sustained passion of Raiders fans was evident before the Oakland Coliseum parking lots even opened prior to the team’s most recent home game against the Chargers earlier this month. Cars lined up before 8 a.m. for a 1 p.m. kickoff, and the party started as soon as the gates opened.


Costume-clad fans pounded beers and ripped shots of Fireball like it was Mardi Gras. The smell of grilled meat and marijuana smoke wafted through the air. The only sound loud enough to drown out the thumping beat of Tupac’s “California Love” were the “RAAAIDERRRS” chants that echoed through the parking lot every few minutes.


Among the pregame revelers was Oakland resident Chuck Hermanson, a retired fire captain who has been coming to Raiders games since the mid-1960s. Hermanson plans to attend occasional Raiders games after the move, but he’s soaking in every opportunity he has left to see his hometown team in the stadium he has frequented since childhood.


“I don’t know if the Raiders are going to be here next year, so we’re going to enjoy it as long as they’re here,” Hermanson said. “This may be an old stadium, but it’s home for me.”


It’s home for more than Hermanson judging by the Raiders’ average attendance this season of 54,091, third lowest in the NFL yet respectable for a two-win lame-duck team bound for a new market. The standard for sellouts at the Coliseum has been just over 56,000 since 2013 when the Raiders began covering the upper tier of Mount Davis with a tarp in order to reduce seating capacity and diminish the possibility of local TV blackouts.


An announced crowd of 54,750 fans braved unhealthy air from the nearby wildfires earlier this month to watch the Chargers send the Raiders to their fifth consecutive loss. There were powder-blue Chargers jerseys sprinkled throughout the crowd, but the vast majority of fans at the game were clad in silver and black.


They roared when the Raiders extended a first-quarter drive with a well-timed fake punt. They booed when that drive ended ignominiously with an ill-conceived fourth-and-goal shovel pass. And they grew increasingly frustrated in the second half as the punchless Raiders fell behind, saving their most vicious jeers for quarterback Derek Carr after he threw a late fourth-down pass into the turf rather than giving his receiver a chance to make a play.


Inside the rapidly emptying Coliseum during the final minute of that loss, a raspy voice cut through the silence. A long-haired man in a black No. 20 jersey heckled the Raiders from the railing behind their bench, shouting that punter Johnny Townsend had been the team’s best player that day.


For Oakland resident Trevor Macaya, the Carr throwaway in particular struck a nerve because it served as an ideal metaphor for the Raiders’ season. Just like Carr gave up on that play, the Raiders did the same with their season when they sold off young assets Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper for draft picks, building for their future in Las Vegas just months after promising Oakland season ticket holders their goal was to leave as Super Bowl champs.


“That’s the hardest thing,” Macaya said. “I’m still here, I’m spending my money, I’m yelling until I lose my voice every week and they’re not even trying to put a winning team on the field. It’s a middle finger to everyone around here, and it sucks.”


The one thing Oakland fans cannot complain about is that they didn’t see the Raiders’ departure coming. Owner Mark Davis has been exploring his options since it became clear Oakland would not cheerfully take part in the NFL’s most popular form of extortion, the one in which the city pays for the new stadium yet the team claims all the profits.


Oakland was already bamboozled once into funding the construction of a new multideck superstructure in 1995 as part of the city’s desperate – and successful – attempt to lure Al Davis and his Raiders back to the East Bay. Twenty-three years later, Mount Davis is viewed as an eyesore blocking a once-beautiful view of the Oakland Hills, most of the extra seats collect dust under tarps at A’s and Raiders games, and the city is still paying off the last of its massive $500 million construction debt.


Unwilling to remain in an aging facility with cracked walls, tight concourses and a decaying plumbing system but unable to persuade the city of Oakland to foot the bill for a new stadium, Mark Davis began to explore relocation options. He first flirted with San Antonio, then vigorously pursued a return to Los Angeles. Once the NFL rejected a joint Raiders-Chargers stadium plan in Los Angeles in January 2016, Davis quickly pivoted to Las Vegas, receiving final approval from fellow owners barely a year later.


“My perception is that the goal was to relocate,” said Amy Trask, Raiders CEO from 1997 to 2013. “I think that goal became apparent to the public when, upon being denied the opportunity to move to Los Angeles the organization immediately turned its efforts and resources to pursuing the opportunity in Las Vegas rather than initiating or engaging in discussions with Oakland.


“I do believe that there was a deal to be made in Oakland had the team wished to stay and had it committed the resources and effort necessary to do so.”


While Trask believes the Las Vegas move “can work financially” if the economy stays strong and fans have enough disposable income to travel from out of state, she wonders if the Raiders are sacrificing their home-field advantage moving to such a tourist-friendly city. She also questions the Raiders choosing to remain in Oakland while their new stadium is being built instead of finding a temporary Las Vegas home the way the Rams and Chargers have in Los Angeles.


To Trask, that’s the equivalent of a husband or wife saying to their spouse, “I’ve met someone I love more than I love you, we are building a dream house together, but while it’s under construction I am going to stay here with you.” It’s awkward and sure to intensify bad feelings, especially when the owner sets a goal of bringing a championship to Oakland before leaving and then begins a massive rebuild months later.


“Raiders fans are truly spectacular and I am delighted for those who have embraced this move but my heart is with those who are heartbroken by it,” Trask said. “I believe and articulated regularly to Al that fans are to be treasured and cherished. I reminded him that without fans there is no league as we know it and fans deserve honesty from the teams they love and support.”


The reaction to the move among longtime Raiders supporters is often dictated by geography.


For football fans in Las Vegas, the Raiders’ imminent arrival is welcome news. Not only does it mean an NFL team in a market long starved for pro sports, the Raiders also could have some intriguing young talent by 2020 if they use the five first-round draft picks they’ve stockpiled wisely.


Among Raiders diehards in Southern California, the move has received mixed reviews. Las Vegas is a shorter drive and a more popular destination than Oakland, but there are concerns that the tailgate scene and game-day atmosphere won’t be the same, especially with most of the parking for the new stadium several miles offsite.


The clear loser in this saga are Raiders fans in Northern California, many of whom are old enough to be losing their team for a second time. Some have pledged only to attend Raiders road games in the future in order to avoid putting any more money in Mark Davis’ pockets. Others are angry enough to sever ties with the Raiders altogether.


Most vocal among the latter group is Ray Perez, a public relations specialist from Sacramento better known to his fellow Raiders fans in the Black Hole as “Dr. Death.” The elaborate costume he wore for nearly a decade included silver and black face paint, dreadlocks, shoulder pads and a construction helmet with five knives sticking out.


When the NFL approved the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas last year, Perez canceled his season tickets and tearfully announced on social media that he was done with the team. He said he couldn’t in good conscience support an owner who lacked the resources to consistently field a competitive team and who was willing to turn his back on a community that had long been loyal to him.


“Even if the Raiders had stayed in Oakland, I’d have had trouble going to a game if Mark Davis was still the owner,” Perez said. “We went through 14 straight years of losing. I’m not saying you need to guarantee me a winner, but you need to prove you can be competitive in the NFL. Mark doesn’t have the money to pay for free agents or build his own stadium. Why am I going to continue to give my hard-earned money to him?”


Twenty months removed from his break-up with the Raiders, Perez insists he’s at peace with his decision. He initially went through a depression over the loss of his “Dr. Death” identity and his Raiders community, but he has come to appreciate having more time and money to devote to his family or to exploring other interests.


It baffles Perez that even in Northern California, his decision to disown the Raiders is more the exception than the norm. Most longtime fans seem content to stick with the Raiders no matter where they go and no matter how many games they lose.


Andy Coronado is such a passionate Raiders fan that a little over five years ago he decided he no longer wanted to show up to home games in a typical car. The Stockton, California, resident needed a vehicle he could transform into a rolling man cave, a silver and black shrine to his favorite football team.


The solution struck Coronado when he spotted an old yellow school bus rusting under a layer of dust and cobwebs in a church parking lot. Coronado bought it from the church for $500, repaired it and added an array of Raiders-themed embellishments – a “RDR12MN” personalized license plate, pirate flags, team logo stickers, airbrushing and memorabilia.


For the past five seasons, Coronado’s bus has been a staple of the Raiders tailgate scene, drawing scores of gawkers and photo seekers before every home game. Coronado says he and his bus will be a fixture in Las Vegas, too, even if he’s not thrilled about the Raiders abandoning their Oakland roots.


“We’re rolling to Vegas with them,’ Coronado said. “When my son joined the Marines and my daughter went off to college, as a selfish dad, I wanted them to stay home, but I support them and love them no matter what. With the Raiders, it’s the same thing on another scale. L.A., Oakland and now Vegas, wherever they go, I’m going to support them. That’s my team no matter what.”


It’s funny how a good chunk of Raiders fans will roll to Vegas, but Chargers fans in San Diego could not bring themselves to head up The 5 to LA.




After beating the Jets, QB TOM BRADY settled in to watch the Chargers pop-up on the FOX affiliate in Boston.  What he saw impressed him.  Charean Williams of


Philip Rivers put himself in the NFL record book Sunday.


The Chargers quarterback opened the game with a record 25 consecutive completions and finished with the highest ever completion percentage by going 28-of-29.


Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was as impressed as anyone.


“It’s nearly impossible, which is the reason why it has never been done before,” Brady said Monday night during his weekly interview on Westwood One, via Mike Reiss of ESPN. “Philip made incredible throws. I watched the game. Obviously when someone has a record-breaking performance, I want to go figure out what the heck they’re doing.


“And the reality is there is a high level of difficulty on a lot of those throws. He made great throws where the receivers could get their hands on the ball and make the catch. The receivers made some good catches. Really the incompletion came where he got a little hit as he was getting ready to pass. That probably would have been a completion. That’s just remarkable.”


Rivers, 36, has completed 69.5 percent of his passes for 3,119 yards with 26 touchdowns and six interceptions. The Chargers are 8-3.


“The Chargers are having a great season; Philip is having a helluva year,” Brady said in the interview. “I’m very happy for him. That’s an incredible record to have.”





Another example of a player providing reporters with candid comments that they say they crave – then getting roasted for not providing cookie cutter pablum.  Ray Fittipaldi of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:


One day after publicly criticizing two of his receivers on his weekly radio show, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did not back away from those barbs and believes he has earned the right to speak in public forums when he believes it is necessary.


On his show Tuesday morning on 93.7 The Fan, Roethlisberger critiqued the route that Antonio Brown ran late in the game that resulted in an interception. He said Brown should have “flattened” his route instead of running the deeper route to the goal post.


Roethlisberger also had some stinging criticism of rookie receiver James Washington, who unnecessarily left his feet to dive for a deep pass attempt. Washington dropped the ball as a result.


There is an old locker-room code that criticisms among teammates should stay in-house, but Roethlisberger has always given his opinions and spoken openly about his teammates on his radio show. He made it known Wednesday morning that he’s not going to change, either.


 “Being around for a long time and dealing with a lot of different players you have to know how to motivate different guys in different ways,” Roethlisberger said. “I think that’s part of being a leader, being a captain, just understanding players. Sometimes you just grab them off to the side and sometimes you have to be honest with them. I think I’ve earned the right to be able to do that with as long as I’ve been here. I’ll be just as critical on myself in front of you guys, as well.”


When he was asked how his criticism is received in the locker room, Roethlisberger responded: “Go ask them. I have no idea. You’ll have to ask them. I would hope they would understand as the quarterback and the captain that I have the right to do those things. I don’t feel like I abuse that situation. I don’t think there’s an issue, but you’d have to ask them.”


Roethlisberger having strong criticism for a rookie receiver is one thing, but it was a bit out of character for him to point out Brown’s mistake. Roethlisberger and Brown have been playing together for nine years and they’ve been among the greatest quarterback-receiver duos of this generation.


There is a bit of a different dynamic this season with second-year receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster leading the team in receptions and receiving yards. Smith-Schuster has 77 receptions for 1,055 yards, while Brown has 71 catches for 874 yards. Brown has led the team in receptions and receiving yards every year since 2013.


A reporter asked Roethlisberger Wednesday if it felt like he had two No. 1 receivers.


“No, it feels like we have a bunch of Number 1 receivers,” he said. “I put James Conner there, Vance McDonald, Switz, Ju, A.B. I put a lot of them as Number 1s.”


It was hard not to notice Washington not being included in Roethlisberger’s quote.


One more notable takeaway from Roethlisberger’s session today is his defense of Conner, who has struggled in the past two games against the Jaguars and Broncos. Conner fumbled when the Steelers were driving for a score Sunday and he had two big drops against the Jaguars.


Roethlisberger, however, has zero issues with his running back.


“Nope,” he said. “There is no concern. We have all the confidence in the world in him. We are going to ride with James because he’s our guy.”





RB D’ONTA FOREMAN, not to be confused with RB DEVONTA FREEMAN of the Falcons, is ready to go.  Herbie Teope of


One of the hottest teams in the league could get stronger in the coming week.


The Houston Texans, owners of an eight-game winning streak, have until Dec. 6 to activate running back D’Onta Foreman from the reserve/physically unable to perform list.


And Foreman believes he’s ready to return and contribute.


“I feel good, I feel great,” Foreman said Wednesday, via the Houston Chronicle. “I’m ready to go. I’ve been practicing. I feel very explosive. I’m cutting really good. I feel ready to go.”


Foreman, who suffered an Achilles injury in Week 11 of the 2017 season, returned to practice on Nov. 14, which opened a 21-day window for the Texans to either activate him or keep him on the PUP list.


Head coach Bill O’Brien said earlier in the week that Foreman is progressing, but he didn’t believe Foreman is all the way back from last year’s injury. O’Brien added the Texans would play it smart with the running back’s health and having the team’s best interest in mind before making a final decision.


The Texans’ backfield, currently anchored by running backs Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue, has done well without Foreman, who totaled 410 yards (327 rushing) and two touchdowns in 10 games last year before suffering the Achilles injury.


Miller leads the team in rushing with 773 yards and three touchdowns on 157 carries, Blue ranks second with 392 yards and a touchdown, while dual-threat quarterback Deshaun Watson has 345 yards rushing. The Texans’ ground game enters Week 13 ranked fourth in the league (136.5 yards per game).


Still, Foreman’s potential return would add another weapon to an already potent offensive attack and his proclamation of regaining explosiveness provides a good sign he should be ready sooner than later.






2019 DRAFT

Mel Kiper, Jr. is thinking that Ohio State QB DWAYNE HASKINS might be coming out in the next draft – he’s glad to put him in the top 15 picks on his Big Board:


Welcome to the Big Board, Dwayne Haskins. The Ohio State first-year starter just lit up one of the best defenses in college football, and I had to put him in my ranking of the top 25 prospects in the 2019 NFL draft. Had to, even with just 12 career starts.


Also in my new Big Board? A pass-rusher jumps into the top five, and a wide receiver moves up after a huge performance.


A few notes before I get started, same as always:


These aren’t detailed scouting reports. I still have a lot of work to do on these prospects.


Note: One asterisk denotes the player is a junior, and two asterisks denote the player is a redshirt sophomore in 2018.


1. Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State*

Height: 6-foot-4 | Weight: 263 pounds | Previously: 1

Bosa is done at Ohio State, and it’s the right decision. Think about it this way: Now Bosa’s next injury will come after he’s a multimillionaire, not before. I don’t expect the injury to affect his draft stock. He is an elite pass-rusher who is advanced for his age in his technique — you can probably thank his brother, Joey, and dad, John, both former first-round picks. He’ll finish his Buckeyes career with 17.5 sacks in two-plus seasons, most of which were in a loaded line rotation. Bosa has a chance to run the table as my No. 1 overall prospect from my first Big Board to my last.


2. Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama**

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 289 | Previously: 2

Williams has been one of college football’s best players — not just defenders — this season. He dominated LSU with 2.5 sacks and 10 total tackles earlier this month, and he now has seven sacks and 16 tackles for loss on the season. He flew under the radar before the season because he played limited snaps in the Crimson Tide’s rotation in 2017, racking up 6.5 tackles for loss. When I wrote about Williams after the LSU game, I mentioned his ability to use his hands to disengage from blockers. He is so good at destroying double-teams. And remember, Williams hasn’t played much football — he has room to grow.


3. Devin White, LB, LSU*

Height: 6-1 | Weight: 240 | Previously: 5

White is one of my favorite prospects in this class. He had 17 tackles — 4 for loss — and 1 forced fumble in LSU’s seven-overtime loss to Texas A&M on Saturday. He was fantastic. During a spectacular breakout 2017 season, White had 133 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and an interception. He has dominated this season, too, with 115 tackles, including 12 for loss. I love his read-and-react ability. White is not a true pass-rusher, but he could play outside or inside linebacker at the next level. He has some versatility and is extremely athletic.


4. Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky

Height: 6-5 | Weight: 230 | Previously: 9

I pegged Allen before the season as a potential Day 2 pick, as he broke out in 2017 with seven sacks, 66 tackles and an interception. He has been underrated in this class, and now he has a chance to be a top-10 pick. Allen is disruptive, and he has the length that NFL teams love as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He has 14 sacks this season, including a three-sack game against South Carolina, and has forced five fumbles.


5. Andraez “Greedy” Williams, CB, LSU**

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 184 | Previously: 3

Williams burst onto the scene in 2017, picking off six passes as a redshirt freshman and emerging as one of the best defensive backs in college football. He has two more picks this season. Williams has great ball skills and a long, lean frame, and he sticks to wide receivers. The third-year sophomore is the best lockdown corner in this class, a top-five talent if he leaves school early.


6. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon*

Height: 6-6 | Weight: 233 | Previously: 4

Herbert is The Guy in this class … if he enters the draft. He’s the superstar quarterback whom teams dream about taking early. But he’s a junior, and the rumblings that he could return to school for his senior season are very real. If he doesn’t enter the draft this year, he’ll join a loaded 2020 class. Herbert had an up-and-down regular season, but the traits he flashed and the throws he can make are what make NFL scouts drool. He did miss some throws — I’d like to see more consistency. But this is a flawed quarterback class, and he’s clearly the No. 1 prospect. Herbert injured his shoulder in the win over Oregon State; let’s hope he’s OK for the Ducks’ bowl game.


7. Devin Bush, LB, Michigan*

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 233 | Previously: 6

Bush, who hurt his hip in the Wolverines’ loss at Ohio State, is a playmaker. He lines up all over the field and is always around the ball. He caught my eye early last season as a sophomore when he had 102 tackles, including 9.5 for loss, and an interception. He has 79 tackles and five sacks in 2018. I scouted his dad, Devin Bush Sr., a first-round pick out of Florida State in 1995 who had a 41-inch vertical. Bush and White are similar sideline-to-sideline, three-down players who will vie to be the first linebacker off the board.


8. Ed Oliver, DT, Houston*

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 292 | Previously: 7

I moved Oliver down five spots in my previous Big Board. He’s still a potential top-five pick, but people I’ve talked to believe he’s closer to 275 pounds than the 290-plus at which he’s listed, and he hasn’t developed consistent pass-rush moves. That’s why I have always said the comparison to Aaron Donald was unfair. Now, Oliver is still a game-wrecker and a great player — just play the East Carolina tape when he had five tackles for loss. And his first step is one of the fastest I’ve seen from a defensive tackle. Oliver missed three games with a knee injury, then played the first half of the loss to Memphis before shutting it down.


9. Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan*

Height: 6-6 | Weight: 283 | Previously: 8

Gary is one of the first underclassmen to declare for the draft, so there’s no mystery around him. Now he needs to have a strong pre-draft process. He dominates when he’s at his best; he just manhandles offensive linemen. Gary has a high ceiling. The problem? Consistency. A defender this big and this talented should create more pressure and disruptions. The former No. 1 overall recruit disappears too often for my liking. Gary could play end in a 3-4 defense or three-technique in a 4-3.


10. Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 185 | Previously: 10

Quarterbacks who go after Baker don’t have much luck. He broke up nine passes and had three interceptions last season, and he has nine PBUs and two picks in 2018. Even after Georgia lost Roquan Smith, there is still a ton of talent on defense, and it starts with Baker, who has developed into an elite corner. He’ll have his hands full with Tua Tagovailoa and Alabama in Saturday’s SEC title game.


11. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State**

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 220 | Previously: NR

When Todd McShay and I wrote about Haskins and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa early in the season, it was about the 2020 draft class. Tagovailoa, of course, is a true sophomore. But Haskins is eligible for this draft because he’s a third-year sophomore, and there’s some buzz that he could leave school after just one season as the starter. There’s a lot to like about him as a prospect: he has a big arm, shows great anticipation on his throws, takes care of the ball and has solid athleticism (though he’s not a great runner). The high ceiling is there, and that’s what NFL teams draft for. With 46 touchdown passes and just eight picks — plus an utter domination of one of college football’s best defenses last week — Haskins has first-round potential.


12. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama*

Height: 6-5 | Weight: 301 | Previously: 12

It’s not easy to start for Nick Saban as a freshman, and that’s exactly what Williams did when he lined up as the right tackle in Week 1 in 2016. Now he has started more than 30 games over the past three seasons, playing on the left side in 2017 and 2018. Williams could move inside to guard at the next level.


13. Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State*

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 300 | Previously: 11

One thing that really impressed me in Mississippi State’s loss to LSU earlier this season was Simmons’ hand usage. He knows how to disengage blockers and find the football. He had two touchdowns last season. In one game. He blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the end zone, then took a fumble 90 yards to the house in a rout of Louisiana Tech. The big man can move. Simmons, a disruptive player on the interior who could play in a 4-3 or 3-4 front, also chipped in five sacks and 12 tackles for loss in 2017. He has 14.5 tackles for loss this season. Simmons will have to answer to NFL teams about his 2016 arrest on a charge of simple assault.


14. Jachai Polite, OLB, Florida*

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 242 | Previously: 16

Polite is an edge rusher who keeps rising, like Kentucky’s Josh Allen, and he has been the Gators’ best player this season. He has 11 sacks and 16 total tackles for loss. Polite plays with a ton of energy. He’s aggressive. This is his first season as a full-time starter because he hurt his shoulder in the middle of the 2017 season. Polite plays with his hand in the dirt as a defensive end, but I think he’s probably a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.


15. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma*

Height: 5-9 | Weight: 168 | Previously: 24

Brown just had his best game of the season in the Sooners’ wild win over West Virginia, catching 11 passes for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns. I wrote in September about why I like Brown so much — he’s a big-play threat on every route. He has game-changing speed and is dynamic after the catch. Brown can play in the slot or outside, creating easy separation with that speed. And he’s not one-dimensional; he runs every route that NFL teams want to see. The question is size — at 5-9, he doesn’t look like a No. 1 wide receiver. But the NFL is changing: Speed is everything. He can be a deep threat at the next level, in the mold of John Ross, who went in the top 10 in the 2017 draft. Brown should be in the discussion for Round 1, especially after he works out at the combine.


16. Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss*

Height: 6-6 | Weight: 325 | Previously: 15

Little is a true left tackle. He won’t have to move to the right side in the NFL. He’s light on his feet and can get to the second level to take on linebackers, and he consistently overpowers SEC edge defenders at the point of attack. The former five-star high school prospect protected the blind side of Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray in high school.


17. Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech

Height: 6-5 | Weight: 269 | Previously: 22

Ferguson is a prototypical 4-3 end with a big frame. He’s still growing into it. You can see some of that raw talent when he pushes around Conference USA offensive tackles. Ferguson has 15 sacks this season, and he’s up to a whopping 42.5 in his college career. The fifth-year senior is going to put his hand in the dirt and get up field. NFL teams always need edge rushers, and Ferguson is going to be in the mix


18. Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson*

Height: 6-5 | Weight: 265 | Previously: 19

I thought Ferrell could have been a first-round pick in the 2018 draft as a third-year sophomore. He’s that good. He had 9.5 sacks last season and has 10.5 this season. He terrorized Texas A&M and Georgia Southern with two sacks apiece and multiple pressures. Clemson has one of the most talented defensive lines I’ve ever seen in college football, and Ferrell is the top prospect.


19. Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Height: 6-5 | Weight: 340 | Previously: 23

As I wrote in my way-too-early Big Board, big-bodied guys who move like Lawrence and can eat gaps don’t last long in the draft. And Lawrence has shown that he is more than a plugger — he had nine sacks in his first two seasons. Turn on the tape, and you’ll see Lawrence take on blockers and throw them aside. He hasn’t made a huge impact this season, however, as he has only 32 total tackles and five tackles for loss.


20. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 310 | Previously: NR

Like Ferrell, Wilkins skipped the 2018 draft and decided to return for another season at Clemson. And like Ferrell, Wilkins could have gone on Day 1 this past April. Last season, I compared Wilkins to former Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, because he’s scheme-versatile and could play end or tackle in the NFL. Wilkins has 12.5 tackles for loss this season. And watch him take the pitch in the video above.


21. Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama**

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 194 | Previously: 14

Nick Saban and Alabama consistently produce NFL-ready defensive backs, and Thompson could be the next in line. After playing in the rotation most of the past two seasons, Thompson stepped in to start two games at the end of 2017. He didn’t look out of place. He has been spectacular as a full-time starter this season, racking up 62 tackles and two interceptions. Thompson has great range and is a natural playmaker. The third-year sophomore has emerged as one of college football’s best all-around defensive backs.


22. Brian Burns, OLB/DE, Florida State*

Height: 6-5 | Weight: 235 | Previously: 17

Burns, who had 10 sacks this season, can bend the edge as well as any other pass-rusher in this class. He has a lean frame, but he’s quick off the ball and can use his speed to get to quarterbacks before offensive tackles have a chance to move. Burns had 13.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks last season, after 9.5 sacks as a freshman in 2016. He needs more time in the weight room, but he could grow into a 4-3 end in time. There’s a chance he rises even higher after the combine.


23. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn*

Height: 6-5 | Weight: 325 | Previously: 13

It’s tough to miss Brown on the 2017 Auburn tape. He bullied offensive linemen during a breakout season in which he had nine tackles for loss and 56 total tackles. He’s still raw and still developing pass-rushing moves, but the size and athleticism are there to be a top-10 pick. He has 9.5 tackles for loss this season, including a dominant performance against Tennessee last month. He also had 2.5 tackles for loss in Auburn’s win over Texas A&M.


24. Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame*

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 193 | Previously: 20

As I wrote in my look at underrated prospects earlier this month, Love could be a No. 1 corner at the next level. He just keeps improving. He has 15 pass breakups and an interception this season and is developing into a shutdown corner. He had three picks in 2017, when he started every game as a sophomore. Love is one of my favorite prospects in this class, and he’ll get a shot at a national title, as Notre Dame is a lock for the College Football Playoff.


25. Daniel Jones, QB, Duke*

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 220 | Previously: 18

I wrote about Jones’ rise a few weeks ago. As I noted, the most impressive trait I’ve seen from Jones this season is his ability to buy time in the pocket and use his feet to get square and make a throw. He has thrown 27 interceptions in his three seasons as the starter, and he forces passes at times, but he has mostly cut down on the poor throws this season, as he has only seven picks. We also have to mention his coach, David Cutcliffe, who groomed Peyton Manning and is seen as a quarterback whisperer. I like what Jones has shown in 2018, and I expect him to be in the mix as a first- or second-round pick in April, competing to be the top signal-caller off the board.


And here is the latest projected draft order from ESPN:


Below is FPI’s projected first-round order for the 2019 draft, based on each team’s average draft position in the simulations. While each team’s current record is listed below, remember that the order is based on the record the model believes the teams will have after 16 games.



1. Arizona Cardinals (2-9)

Average draft position: 2.0

FPI chance to earn top pick: 43 percent

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 99 percent


2. San Francisco 49ers (2-9)

Average draft position: 2.6

FPI chance to earn top pick: 31 percent

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 95 percent


3. Oakland Raiders (2-9)

Average draft position: 2.9

FPI chance to earn top pick: 18 percent

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 94 percent


4. New York Jets (3-8)

Average draft position: 4.2

FPI chance to earn top pick: 7 percent

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 80 percent


5. New York Giants (3-8)

Average draft position: 6.4

FPI chance to earn top pick: 1 percent

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 47 percent


6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)

Average draft position: 8.4

FPI chance to earn top pick: <1 percent

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 19 percent


7. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8)

Average draft position: 8.4

FPI chance to earn top pick: <1 percent

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 21 percent


8. Detroit Lions (4-7)

Average draft position: 8.9

FPI chance to earn top pick: <1 percent

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 17 percent


9. Cleveland Browns (4-6-1)

Average draft position: 9.7

FPI chance to earn top pick: <1 percent

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 10 percent


10. Miami Dolphins (5-6)

Average draft position: 10.8

FPI chance to earn top pick: <1 percent

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 8 percent


Full Projection For Picks 1-32 In 2019 Draft

1                      ARI       2.0

2                      SF        2.6

3                      OAK     2.9

4                      NYJ      4.2

5                      NYG     6.4

6                      TB        8.4

7                      JAX      8.4

8                      DET      8.9

9                      CLE      9.7

10                     MIA      10.8

11                     BUF      11.0

12                     ATL      11.4

13                     CIN       14.2

14                     PHI       15.6

15                     DEN     16.3

16                     WSH    16.8

17                     GB       16.8

18                     TEN      17.3

19                     CAR     18.0

20                     IND       19.2

21                     BAL      20.2

22                     OAK    (from DAL)         21.3

23                     MIN      22.3

24                     SEA     22.6

25                     OAK      (from CHI)                     25.2

26                     HOU     25.3

27                     LAC      25.7

28                     PIT       26.3

29                     NE        28.2

30                     KC        29.4

31                     LAR      30.0

32                     GB        (from NO)         30.3


So 3, 22,25 for Oakland at the moment.