The Daily Briefing Monday, April 24, 2017
AROUND THE NFL
We take an in-depth look at all the NFC schedules today (all times Eastern) with the AFC coming up tomorrow.
The Bears get back-to-back primetime games in the season’s first month (odd for a 3-13 team the year before), then vanish from the national stage until a Saturday NFLN affair at Detroit…So that’s 13 games in the early time slot – 10 on FOX and 3 on CBS with the San Francisco game on 12/3 coming from the FOX basket…And that means that one of their meetings with each of their three division rivals is on national TV…The schedule has no long road trips or homestands, but 3 of the last 4 are on the road, including a pair of divisionals…The Bears are done with the Packers before their first meeting with the Lions…The Thursday-Monday spread between primetime games in Weeks 4 and 5 is something of a mini-bye…They are done with the 4 games with the NFC South by Week 8.
Sun Sep 10 Atlanta 1:00pm FOX
Sun Sep 17 at Tampa Bay 1:00pm FOX
Sun Sep 24 Pittsburgh 1:00pm CBS
Thr Sep 28 at Green Bay 8:30pm NBC/NFLN
Mon Oct 9 Minnesota 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Oct 15 at Baltimore 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 22 Carolina 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 29 at New Orleans 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 5 BYE
Sun Nov 12 Green Bay 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 19 Detroit 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 26 at Philadelphia 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 3 San Francisco 1:00pm CBS
Sun Dec 10 at Cincinnati 1:00pm FOX
Sat Dec 16 at Detroit 4:30pm NFLN
Sun Dec 24 Cleveland 1:00pm CBS
Sun Dec 31 at Minnesota 1:00pm FOX
A nice schedule, that is pretty much home-road all year with the longest trip to New Orleans…The Lions get some national love early with three primetime games in the first nine weeks, two on Monday…Then the Vikings on Thanksgiving for the second year in a row and a Saturday home game with the Bears…Not one game in the late slot on Sunday afternoon…Only one game on CBS…Pretty vanilla.
Sun Sep 10 Arizona 1:00pm FOX
Mon Sep 18 at NY Giants 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Sep 24 Atlanta 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 1 at Minnesota 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 8 Carolina 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 15 at New Orleans 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 22 BYE
Sun Oct 29 Pittsburgh 8:30pm NBC
Mon Nov 6 at Green Bay 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Nov 12 Cleveland 1:00pm CBS
Sun Nov 19 at Chicago 1:00pm FOX
Thu Nov 23 Minnesota 12:30pm FOX
Sun Dec 3 at Baltimore 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 10 at Tampa Bay 1:00pm FOX
Sat Dec 16 Chicago 4:30pm NFLN
Sun Dec 24 at Cincinnati 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 31 Green Bay 1:00pm FOX
Huge audiences, either late Sunday or nocturnal, will watch each of Green Bay’s first five games – although after that they have a surprising number of early Sunday regional tilts…Still, it is five primetime games for Green Bay, three on Sunday night…It could be cold on December 23 when the sun sets with the Vikings at Lambeau…This slate tilts slightly towards the road at the end with five of the last eight outside of Wisconsin…No games in the Mountain or Pacific time zones.
Sun Sep 10 Seattle 4:25pm FOX
Sun Sep 17 at Atlanta 8:30pm NBC
Sun Sep 24 Cincinnati 4:25pm CBS
Thu Sep 28 Chicago 8:25pm CBS/NFLN
Sun Oct 8 at Dallas 4:25pm FOX
Sun Oct 15 at Minnesota 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 22 New Orleans 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct. 29 BYE
Mon Nov 6 Detroit 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Nov 12 at Chicago 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 19 Baltimore 1:00pm CBS
Sun Nov 26 at Pittsburgh 8:30pm NBC
Sun Dec 3 Tampa Bay 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 10 at Cleveland 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 17 at Carolina 1:00pm FOX
Sat Dec 23 Minnesota 8:30pm NBC
Sun Dec 31 at Detroit 1:00pm FOX
Five of the first seven at home and two of the last three also in Minneapolis, leaves a lot of road games in the late middle…There’s a trip to London on October 29 that start a run of five of six games on the road (lessened slightly by the post-England bye)…Three in a row on the road, starting on Thanksgiving in Detroit…The Monday night opener against the Saints will kickoff at 6:10 pm in Minneapolis…The Vikings don’t have a Thursday night game, but they do play on Thanksgiving.
Mon Sep 11 New Orleans 7:10pm ESPN
Sun Sep 17 at Pittsburgh 1:00pm FOX
Sun Sep 24 Tampa Bay 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 1 Detroit 1:00pm FOX
Mon Oct 9 at Chicago 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Oct 15 Green Bay 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 22 Baltimore 1:00pm CBS
Sun Oct 29 at Cleveland (Lon) 9:30am NFLN
Sun Nov 5 BYE
Sun Nov 12 at Washington 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 19 Los Angeles Rams 1:00pm FOX
Thu Nov 23 at Detroit 12:30pm FOX
Sun Dec 3 at Atlanta 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 10 at Carolina 1:00pm CBS
Sun Dec 17 Cincinnati 1:00pm CBS
Sat Dec 23 at Green Bay 8:30pm NBC
Sun Dec 31 Chicago 1:00pm FOX
The DB is tired of the Giants-Dallas Sunday night opener – this is the third time in a row and the fifth in six seasons – with all but one in Dallas…No need to be an early riser if you are a Cowboys fan – they are only scheduled for two early Sunday starts and the season-ender at Philadelphia (also for the second year in a row) will go late or primetime if it means anything…Nine of 16 on FOX, only three at home…Three NBC Sunday nighters, only one Monday nighter…Three of four on the road to end the season, that after a three-game homestand that includes successive Thursday night games…Both Los Angeles teams (seems funny to say that) are on the home slate.
Sun Sep 10 New York Giants 8:30pm NBC
Sun Sep 17 at Denver 4:25pm FOX
Mon Sep 25 at Arizona 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Oct. 1 Los Angeles Rams 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 8 Green Bay 4:25pm FOX
Sun Oct 15 BYE
Sun Oct 22 at San Francisco 4:05pm FOX
Sun Oct 29 at Washington 4:25pm FOX
Sun Nov 5 Kansas City 4:25pm CBS
Sun Nov 12 at Atlanta 4:25pm FOX
Sun Nov 19 Philadelphia 8:30pm NBC
Thu Nov 23 L.A. Chargers 4:30pm CBS
Thu Nov 30 Washington 8:25pm NBC/NFLN
Sun Dec 10 at New York Giants 4:25pm FOX
Sun Dec 17 at Oakland 8:30pm NBC
Sun Dec 24 Seattle 4:25pm FOX
Sun Dec 31 at Philadelphia 1:00pm FOX
NEW YORK GIANTS
Dan Duggan at NJ.com on the plans of the Giants for WR ODELL BECKHAM, Jr.:
The Giants plan to make a no-brainer transaction by exercising wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s fifth-year option. The team will make that move this week, according to the NFL Network’s Kim Jones.
By picking up Beckham’s fifth-year option, the Giants ensure that their star receiver will be under contract through the 2018 season. The deadline to exercise the fifth-year option for 2014 first-round draft picks is May 3.
General manager Jerry Reese was non-committal when asked last Thursday if the Giants planned to pick up Beckham’s fifth-year option.
“We are going to discuss that when the time gets closer,” Reese said. “We will keep all of our options open with respect to that.”
The fifth-year option for Beckham, who was the No. 12 overall pick in 2014, is expected to be worth approximately $8 million for the 2018 season. The fifth-year option salary for a player picked outside of the top-10 is the average of the third- through 25th-highest salaries at a player’s position.
If the Giants hadn’t exercised Beckham’s fifth-year option, he would have become a free agent after this season. Beckham will earn $1.8 million this season in the final year of his rookie contract.
The Giants will have the ability to control Beckham’s rights for the foreseeable future. They can use the franchise tag on Beckham for the 2019 season (and the 2020 and 2021 seasons if they choose). While the fifth-year option ensures that Beckham will remain with the Giants through 2018, the sides could agree to a long-term contract extension.
In their three division series, the Giants are always visitors first…They finish with three of four at home – all the home games against the three division foes…Four primetime games counting Thanksgiving night in Washington…They are in the late window on Sunday six times, including twice at home…Four Western trips if you count Denver…They host both Los Angeles teams at the Meadowlands.
Sun Sep. 10 at Dallas 8:30pm NBC
Mon Sep 18 Detroit 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Sep 24 at Philadelphia 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 1 at Tampa Bay 4:05pm FOX
Sun Oct 8 L.A. Chargers 1:00pm CBS
Sun Oct 15 at Denver 8:30pm NBC
Sun Oct 22 Seattle 4:25pm CBS
Sun Oct 29 BYE
Sun Nov 5 L.A. Rams 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 12 at San Francisco 4:25pm FOX
Sun Nov 19 Kansas City 1:00pm CBS
Thu Nov 23 at Washington 8:30pm NBC
Sun Dec 3 at Oakland 4:25pm FOX
Sun Dec 10 Dallas 4:25pm FOX
Sun Dec 17 Philadelphia 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 24 at Arizona 4:25pm FOX
Sun Dec 31 Washington 1:00pm FOX
Sun Sep 10 at Washington 1:00pm FOX
Sun Sep 17 at Kansas City 1:00pm FOX
Sun Sep 24 New York Giants 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 1 at L.A. Chargers 4:05pm FOX
Sun Oct 8 Arizona 1:00pm FOX
Thu Oct 12 at Carolina 8:25pm CBS/NFLN
Mon Oct 23 Washington 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Oct. 29 San Francisco 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 5 Denver 1:00pm CBS
Sun Nov 12 BYE
Sun Nov 19 at Dallas 8:30pm NBC
Sun Nov 26 Chicago 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 3 at Seattle 8:30pm NBC
Sun Dec 10 at L.A. Rams 4:25pm FOX
Sun Dec 17 at New York Giants 1:00pm FOX
Mon Dec 25 Oakland 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Dec 31 Dallas 1:00pm FOX
KIRK COUSINS, talking to Peter King, isn’t fretting about not having a BROCK OSWEILER-like contract:
• Cousins on whether that is really okay: “The nature of this league is such that is it going to have to be okay. Many players are told, ‘You are going to need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.’ That’s the way this league operates. The margin for error is so small. The difference between the joys of winning and the agony of defeat is one play here, one inch there. That’s the way this league is and that’s what makes it great. But it doesn’t mean it is going to be easy for the players involved. And believe me, there are far greater challenges in this league than the situation I’m in. There are guys getting cut not knowing where they are going to have to move their families, not knowing where their next job is going to be. That is a much tougher situation than where I am, so I feel very fortunate and look forward to the opportunity that I have in Washington. A guy like Brock Osweiler signs a four-year deal last year and everyone is saying that is what I should be looking for. Well, he’s not even with that team one year later. So was his contract really more than a one-year deal? I guess technically because he is still on that contract in Cleveland, but it certainly didn’t play out the way anyone hoped in that situation. For me, the franchise tag ends up being the same thing because it’s a one-year deal and it is understood as one-year deals from the start, but most of these contracts in the NFL are one-year deals anyway.
“This has sort of been the narrative for me. I was a junior in high school and I felt like I threw the football well but nobody was interested. I played my entire senior high school football season with zero scholarship offers. I’m going on recruiting visits without a scholarship offer. Schools are wining and dining other players, and I am trying to convince them to offer me. I’m recruiting them, they’re not recruiting me on my recruiting visits in high school. This is the way it went. Then I go to college and [Michigan State] coach [Mark] Dantonio chose to bring in two other scholarship quarterbacks. At one time it was myself, Keith Nichol and Nick Foles all at Michigan State competing.
“No one ever said, ‘Kirk, you are going to be the guy, we completely believe in you. We’re just going to give you the job. And you better prove us right.’
“It was, ‘Kirk, we’re going to give other guys scholarships, and you need to beat them out and prove to us that you are the guy year after year before we finally commit to you.’
“… So to say, does it bother you? Does it? No, you know what? I have learned to accept it as part of my life and the way things have gone for me for a long time. This isn’t chapter one for me. This is chapter 10 or 11 where I’ve said, ‘Here we go again. Whatever happens, happens.’ And for me, I play better when I feel like I am still ascending the mountain. I think I play better when people say, ‘Keep showing us what you’ve got.’ Whatever is going to get me to play at a high level is what I want to do, so I am okay with it and we are going to keep going year by year.”
– – –
Five primetime games counting the one they are hosting on Thanksgiving night…We like the Redskins, but think that’s a bit much…Glancing at the schedule, it seems to have more road than home games – but yes, it’s eight and eight…Three trips to the West Coast, plus Dallas and Kansas City…They are done with both games with the Eagles a full five weeks before they meet the Giants for the first time…Jon Gruden will get to watch brother Jay coach on the road twice in October.
Sun Sep 10 Philadelphia 1:00pm FOX
Sun Sep 17 at L.A.Rams 4:25pm FOX
Sun Sep 24 Oakland 8:30pm NBC
Mon Oct 2 at Kansas City 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Oct 8 BYE
Sun Oct 15 San Francisco 1:00pm FOX
Mon Oct 23 at Philadelphia 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Oct 29 Dallas 4:25pm FOX
Sun Nov 5 at Seattle 4:05pm FOX
Sun Nov 12 Minnesota 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 19 at New Orleans 1:00pm FOX
Thu Nov 23 New York Giants 8:30pm NBC
Thu Nov 30 at Dallas 8:25pm NBC/NFLN
Sun Dec 10 at L.A. Chargers 4:05pm FOX
Sun Dec 17 Arizona 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 24 Denver 1:00pm CBS
Sun Dec 31 at New York Giants 1:00pm FOX
The NFL has been leery in the past of treating the Falcons like a marquee team, but after their epic Super Bowl loss (if a loss can be epic), they get a solid five primetime games plus one visit to FOX’s big late game in Dallas…Two late primetime division games seem to indicate the NFL does not think they will be running away with the NFC South in December…There is a three-game road trip around Halloween, then a three-game home stand around Thanksgiving…None of the first seven games are against division opponents, which means Atlanta finishes with five of their last six and each of their last four against the NFC South. The first meeting with the Saints isn’t until December 7…Each of the first three games is against the NFC North…The Packers are a worthy opponent for the new stadium opener on NBC.
Sun Sep 10 at Chicago 1:00pm FOX
Sun Sep 17 Green Bay 8:30pm NBC
Sun Sep 24 at Detroit 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 1 Buffalo 1:00pm CBS
Sun Oct 8 BYE
Sun Oct 15 Miami 1:00pm CBS
Sun Oct 22 at New England 8:30pm NBC
Sun Oct 29 at New York Jets 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 5 at Carolina 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 12 Dallas 4:25pm FOX
Mon Nov 20 at Seattle 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Nov 26 Tampa Bay 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 3 Minnesota 1:00pm FOX
Thu Dec 7 New Orleans 8:25pm NBC/NFLN
Mon Dec 18 at Tampa Bay 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Dec 24 at New Orleans 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 31 Carolina 1:00pm FOX
One year after going to the Super Bowl, the Panthers are back to vanilla with a schedule of 13 early Sunday starts…One nearly obligatory Thursday game and a Monday nighter with Miami…The 4:25 opener at SF is secondary to Seattle-Green Bay and not an America’s Game of the Week…The Week 2 game in Buffalo is flexed to CBS…This schedule is kind of bunched in stands…A three-game homestand in Decemter and a pair of back-to-back home encounters, plus three two-game road trips.
Sun Sep. 10 at San Francisco 4:25pm FOX
Sun Sep. 17 Buffalo 1:00pm CBS
Sun Sep 24 New Orleans 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 1 at New England 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 8 at Detroit 1:00pm FOX
Thu Oct 12 Philadelphia 8:25pm CBS/NFLN
Sun Oct 22 at Chicago 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 29 at Tampa Bay 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 5 Atlanta 1:00pm FOX
Mon Nov 13 Miami 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Nov 19 BYE
Sun Nov 26 at New York Jets 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 3 at New Orleans 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 10 Minnesota 1:00pm CBS
Sun Dec 17 Green Bay 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 24 Tampa Bay 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 31 at Atlanta 1:00pm FOX
The Saints are cooling on the idea of trading for CB MALCOLM BUTLER according to Peter King:
The Saints (picking 11, 32, 42, 76, 103 in the first three rounds) are still interested in Butler, but someone familiar with their thinking believes they are leaning toward keeping their first three picks. The Saints believe that their board between 25 and 75 has a slew of players capable of contributing immediately, with grades close to each other, and the thought of dealing one or more picks for Butler, then paying him a huge contract, is less attractive than it once seemed.
– – –
Only one game in New Orleans before Week 6 – and it’s a doozy with the Patriots hitting town in Week Two…Then there is a run of four of six at home…The Falcons are not an opponent until Week 14, then again in Week 16…Only one division opponent in the first seven games…They open up on primetime, then only once at night the rest of the year…But they will have national TV on Sunday a.m. from London…
Mon Sep 11 at Minnesota 7:10pm ESPN
Sun Sep 17 New England 1:00pm CBS
Sun Sep 24 at Carolina 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 1 at Miami (London) 9:30am FOX
Sun Oct 8 BYE
Sun Oct 15 Detroit 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 22 at Green Bay 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 29 Chicago 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 5 Tampa Bay 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 12 at Buffalo 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 19 Washington 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 26 at L.A. Rams 4:05pm FOX
Sun Dec 3 Carolina 1:00pm FOX
Thu Dec 7 at Atlanta 8:25pm NBC/NFLN
Sun Dec 17 New York Jets 1:00pm CBS
Sun Dec 24 Atlanta 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 31 at Tampa Bay 1:00pm FOX
Pretty good home schedule in terms of big visiting markets for the Buccaneers with the Patriots, both New York teams, Chicago and Detroit…Could you hope for a better match-up with the Patriots than at home on a short week?…Two primetime games, with Atlanta at home for the second year in a row…That first game with Atlanta isn’t until November 26…The Buccaneers meet each division rival in the last three weeks…Seven non-division games until they host Carolina on October 29…Thirteen games on FOX.
Sun Sep 10 at Miami 1:00pm FOX
Sun Sep 17 Chicago 1:00pm FOX
Sun Sep 24 at Minnesota 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 1 New York Giants 4:05pm FOX
Thu Oct 5 New England 8:25pm CBS/NFLN
Sun Oct 15 at Arizona 4:05pm FOX
Sun Oct 22 at Buffalo 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 29 Carolina 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 5 at New Orleans 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 12 New York Jets 1:00pm CBS
Sun Nov 19 BYE
Sun Nov 26 at Atlanta 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 3 at Green Bay 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 10 Detroit 1:00pm FOX
Mon Dec 18 Atlanta 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Dec 24 at Carolina 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 31 New Orleans 1:00pm FOX
The NFL doesn’t seem to be expecting much from Arizona – just two primetime games, one the semi-obligatory Thursday night match, the other on Monday featuring Dallas…The division games are scattered throughout the schedule, not bunched at the back…The Cardinals are done with San Francisco before their first game with Seattle…Instead of their shortest road trip to L.A., they play the Rams in London as the start of three straight division games…There is a late three-game homestand of seemingly winnable games (we actually like Tennessee, but most would see the Titans as winnable)…Two trips to the Midwest before the big Monday night home opener with Dallas.
Sun Sep 10 at Detroit 1:00pm FOX
Sun Sep 17 at Indianapolis 1:00pm FOX
Mon Sep 25 Dallas 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Oct 1 San Francisco 4:05pm FOX
Sun Oct 8 at Philadelphia 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 15 Tampa Bay 4:05pm FOX
Sun Oct 22 at L.A. Rams (Lon) 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 29 BYE
Sun Nov 5 at San Francisco 4:05pm FOX
Thu Nov 9 Seattle 8:25pm NBC/NFLN
Sun Nov 19 at Houston 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 26 Jacksonville 4:25pm CBS
Sun Dec 3 L.A. Rams 4:25pm FOX
Sun Dec 10 Tennessee 4:05pm CBS
Sun Dec 17 at Washington 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 24 New York Giants 4:25pm FOX
Sun Dec 31 at Seattle 4:25pm FOX
At a ceremony naming streets on the one-time site of Candlestick Park, they are naming streets after San Francisco sports greats. Joe Montana called an audible, inspired by his wife. Sam Farmer in the L.A. Times:
Joe Montana stays cool under pressure. It’s among the characteristics that made him one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.
But the former 49ers star conceded Sunday that he was nervous about calling an audible after the City of San Francisco named a street after him. While standing onstage inside City Hall and holding a street sign that read “Joe Montana Drive,” he respectfully asked that the name be changed to “Montana-Clark Drive,” to honor his ailing friend and onetime teammate Dwight Clark.
It was Clark who made “The Catch,” the winning, six-yard touchdown reception in the 1981 NFC championship game against Dallas, a leaping grab in the back of the end zone that helped launch the 49ers dynasty.
Jennifer Montana, Joe’s wife, came up with the idea of incorporating the street name to honor both players.
“I just mentioned that the play that ignited this whole beautiful tradition of the 49ers should be shared with [Clark] forever on that street,” she said. “But Joe picked it up from there. He was nervous because he didn’t know if officially he was overstepping bounds, and I said, `You’re doing something from your heart. You just put that aside.’”
Sure enough, Joe Montana got the word after the ceremony that the street name would be adjusted accordingly. The street will run through the massive FivePoint real estate development which will include more than 7,000 homes, along with shops, restaurants, a hotel and more than 100 acres of parks and green space.
The quarterback who went 4-0 in Super Bowls joked that the speed limit should be lower on Montana-Clark Drive “because we know Dwight wasn’t very fast.”
Montana was among several San Francisco sports icons honored at the private street-naming ceremony. On the site where Candlestick Park once stood, there will be Jerry Rice Road, Bill Walsh Street, and Ronnie Lott Lane. The former owner of the team will have an Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. Way, and the former team president will have Carmen Policy Avenue.
A trio of legendary San Francisco Giants — Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda and Barry Bonds — had lanes named after them, and a park will bear the name of Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.
Clark, who attended the ceremony, has stayed out of the public eye since announcing last month he has been diagnosed with ALS.
– – –
Most teams close with lots of games against their own division, but the 49ers are going to be a big part of the AFC South stretch run with three match-ups in that division in December…With a flexed game at Chicago, they will be on CBS three times in December as well…Not much pizazz in this slate, with the semi-obligatory Thursday night match-up with the Rams, the only game that is not a Sunday day clash…Three-game road trip in October that is part of four of six on the road.
Sun Sep 10 Carolina 4:25pm FOX
Sun Sep 17 at Seattle 4:25pm FOX
Thu Sep 21 L.A. Rams 8:25pm NFLN
Sun Oct 1 at Arizona 4:05pm FOX
Sun Oct 8 at Indianapolis 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 15 at Washington 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 22 Dallas 4:05pm FOX
Sun Oct 29 at Philadelphia 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 5 Arizona 4:05pm FOX
Sun Nov 12 New York Giants 4:25pm FOX
Sun Nov 19 BYE
Sun Nov 26 Seattle 4:05pm FOX
Sun Dec 3 at Chicago 1:00pm CBS
Sun Dec 10 at Houston 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 17 Tennessee 4:25pm CBS
Sun Dec 24 Jacksonville 4:05pm CBS
Sun Dec 31 at L.A. Rams 4:25pm FOX
LOS ANGELES RAMS
Even though it might help clear clutter with two teams in L.A., the NFL only moves the Rams off Sunday one time – that for the semi-obligatory Thursday night divisional with San Francisco…The Seattle home game flexes to CBS from FOX…With the Arizona game on October 22 in London (at 1 pm EST, 10 am PST), the Rams won’t play at the Coliseum between October 8 and November 12.
Sun Sep 10 Indianapolis 4:05pm CBS
Sun Sep 17 Washington 4:25pm FOX
Thu Sep 21 at San Francisco 8:25pm NFLN
Sun Oct 1 at Dallas 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct. 8 Seattle 4:05pm CBS
Sun Oct 15 at Jacksonville 4:05pm FOX
Sun Oct 22 Arizona (London) 1:00pm FOX
Sun Oct 29 BYE
Sun Nov 5 at New York Giants 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 12 Houston 4:05pm CBS
Sun Nov 19 at Minnesota 1:00pm FOX
Sun Nov 26 New Orleans 4:05pm FOX
Sun Dec 3 at Arizona 4:25pm FOX
Sun Dec10 Philadelphia 4:25pm FOX
Sun Dec 17 at Seattle 4:05pm FOX
Sun Dec 24 at Tennessee 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 31 San Francisco 4:25pm FOX
Three of Seattle’s primetime games are jammed into a four-week stretch starting November 9 on Thursday night in November…Then the Seahawks get a mini-by of 11 days before hosting an Atlanta team making its way to Seattle for the second straight year…It was a great game on FOX last year, in 2017 it will be an ESPN telecast…Counting Tennessee, but not Dallas, the Seahawks go East three times…Has any NFC team ever had three straight games on CBS? We think not, but that is the Seahawks when visits to the Rams and Giants are flexed from the basic FOX inventory.
Sun Sep 10 at Green Bay 4:25pm FOX
Sun Sep 17 San Francisco 4:25pm FOX
Sun Sep 24 at Tennessee 4:05pm FOX
Sun Oct 1 Indianapolis 8:30pm NBC
Sun Oct 8 at L.A. Rams 4:05pm CBS
Sun Oct 15 BYE
Sun Oct 22 at New York Giants 4:25pm CBS
Sun Oct 29 Houston 4:05pm CBS
Sun Nov 5 Washington 4:05pm FOX
Thu Nov 9 at Arizona 8:25pm NBC/NFLN
Mon Nov 20 Atlanta 8:30pm ESPN
Sun Nov 26 at San Francisco 4:05pm FOX
Sun Dec 3 Philadelphia 8:30pm NBC
Sun Dec 10 at Jacksonville 1:00pm FOX
Sun Dec 17 L.A. Rams 4:05pm FOX
Sun Dec 24 at Dallas 4:25pm FOX
Sun Dec 31 Arizona 4:25pm FOX
I think the Raiders want Marshawn Lynch to make his decision on a reasonable rate of pay before draft weekend, which is understandable. I repeat: This makes too much sense not to happen, and it should happen. Marshawn Lynch should have the first touch of the Raiders’ home season Sept. 17 when the Jets come calling to the Oakland Coliseum.
The individual announcing Baltimore’s first round pick better not be booed. Jamison Hensley at ESPN.com:
A Maryland teenager will get to live out a dream Thursday when he helps the Baltimore Ravens with their draft.
TJ Onwuanibe, 14, an eighth-grader who was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, is scheduled to announce the Ravens’ first-round pick as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the team confirmed Saturday night. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who usually does that honor, will present a jersey to the team’s pick.
The Ravens informed Onwuanibe at a school assembly Friday that he would play an integral role in revealing the No. 16 overall pick in the draft. Standing on the stage at McDonogh School, Onwuanibe received the news from coach John Harbaugh in a video.
“I heard that you asked Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic to send you to the NFL draft, and your wish is to announce the Ravens’ first pick,” Harbaugh said. “Well, great news. Next week, your wish will be granted in Philadelphia at the draft. How about that!”
As students cheered, the Ravens’ cheerleaders came down the aisles of the auditorium along with Poe, the team mascot.
Onwuanibe learned in February 2015 that he had a rare form of brain cancer. His cancer is now in remission.
Earlier this month, Onwuanibe organized a school drive to donate pajamas to terminally ill children, according to WBAL-TV in Baltimore. Now, Ravens fans will be waiting to hear what name he announces Thursday. If the Ravens trade out of the first round, there is a chance he could announce Baltimore’s second-round selection.
“We’re all thrilled for you,” Harbaugh said. “We’re proud to have you call out that first draft name for the Baltimore Ravens. Have a great wish, TJ. Have a great day. We love you.”
Peter King links RB JOE MIXON to the Bengals:
Whither Joe Mixon? I’m hearing the Oklahoma running back, who had the 2014 incident of punching a female student in the face, has garnered the most interest from Cincinnati, Minnesota, Green Bay and Jacksonville. I won’t be surprised to see the Bengals take Mixon with the 41st overall pick. Owner Mike Brown has taken chances in the past on players with off-field issues, leaving it to the coaching staff to keep those players in line.
He apparently won’t be going to the Falcons. Darin Gantt at ProFootballTalk.com:
The Falcons are willing to take chances on certain players, who have certain character questions.
But they won’t be drafting Joe Mixon this week, in what sounds like a directive from far above the scouting level.
According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Oklahoma running back who was captured on video punching a woman in the face is not on the Falcons draft board at all.
And though he may have been responding to an unrelated question when he said the following, Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff made it clear where such decisions come from.
“That doesn’t just come from a head coach and General Manger,” Dimitroff said in general of such decisions about players with red flags. “Believe me, that comes from higher than us for sure. [Owner Arthur] Blank is very direct about it.
“I think that’s important for this organization and this community to know that.”
Dimitroff understands that not every prospect is going to be clean. For instance, last year’s second-round pick (cornerback Jalen Collins) failed multiple drug tests in college.
“You are never going to be 100 percent correct,” Dimitroff said. “Sometimes, things fall through the cracks, but we do all we can to make sure we are [making good] acquisitions. Again, they are not all angelic souls. I get that. . . .
“We really are proud of the type of people we bring in here. We think it’s important. Of course, I’ve said this time and again: We aren’t looking for angels. We are looking for guys who are real. We are looking for guys who ultimately will fit into the brotherhood. . . . We are particular about looking at the character situation and how they fit. It’s a big thing, of course.”
With Mixon, it might have been as simple as watching one video. But one particular person apparently saw it, and he won’t be going to Atlanta.
Peter King offers advice to the Browns as they mull whether or not to pick DE MYLES GARRETT or QB MITCH TRUBISSKY with the first pick:
I met North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky the other day in Chapel Hill. He rolled up in his 1997 Toyota Camry, a hand-me-down from his grandmother, with 170,000 miles on the odometer. Politely, he talked about his workout routine, throwing with his Tar Heels teammates, and said he needed to keep busy to prevent the pre-draft craziness from driving him crazy.
The Browns, his hometown team, had been in the news, with longtime beat writer Mary Kay Cabot reporting an internal split—which I’ve heard is true—between a faction favoring Texas A&M pass-rusher Myles Garrett with the first overall pick, and a faction favoring Trubisky. The pressure of being picked high was intense enough, I mentioned to him. But being picked number one, by a team that has lost forever, in your own hometown, with a history of a black cloud over the franchise, with the fans frothing for a quarterback savior, and with Trubisky starting all of 13 college games in his life … wouldn’t that be just too much weight on his shoulders?
“No,” he said. “I think that is the type of pressure you dream of, and no exterior pressure is greater than the pressure that I put on myself. If I would go back home it would be special, just like anywhere else. They say be careful what you wish for, but this is what I wished for, this is what I worked for and this is what I dreamed of. I just want to play football, so all the craziness that comes with it, that’s just bonus. I’m going to black that out when I go to work. Football is what makes me happy, not the media, all the attention. That’s where the craziness comes in.”
Yes, but this kind of craziness wouldn’t help you play quarterback. It would hurt, actually. A lot. Being the first overall pick? By Cleveland? Ahead of Myles Garrett? Man, that would be one pressurized start to a savior’s career.
* * *
On Sunday, Mike Mayock was in the home stretch of his NFL Network draft prep in this Jersey Shore beach town. The Atlantic Ocean was outside his picture window on an overcast, raw afternoon, but I don’t think he saw the surf or the sand. This is the place Mayock goes, 75 minutes from his Philadelphia home, to cram in the days before the draft, and to take calls from virtually every NFL decision-maker about what they’re thinking on the eve of the draft.
The story, as Thursday’s first round in Philadelphia approaches, obviously is this: WWCD? What Will Cleveland Do? Mayock crystallized my thoughts when he said what should be happening in the Browns’ facility this week in Berea, Ohio, as the franchise’s combo platter of traditional football guys (coach Hue Jackson leading that group) and progressive analytics side (with director of strategy Paul DePodesta and GM Sashi Brown) prepares to figure out what to do about the eternal need for a quarterback in a city so desperate for a franchise passer.
“In the building,” Mayock said, “I think there’s got to be a conversation about the quarterback situation. The only way you don’t run Myles Garrett up there in minute number one [of the draft] is if the entire building is uniform and says there’s a quarterback in this draft that, A, we think is a franchise QB; B, he will be the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns for the next eight to 10 years; and C, we will win a lot of football games with him.
“If you believe all of that, then take him at one. But my feeling is, that QB isn’t in this draft. So it’s got to be Myles Garrett.”
I agree with Mayock—to a point. That quarterback might be in this draft. But “might” is the operative word there. We don’t know. The Browns don’t know. This is one of the foggiest drafts for quarterbacks in years.
The Browns have drafted three first-round quarterbacks in the past 10 years: Brady Quinn (2007), Brandon Weeden (2012) and Johnny Manziel (2014). None has worked out. None has come close to working out. That isn’t to say the Browns shouldn’t take a quarterback at number one. But they should take a quarterback number one only if the entire organization can get behind it enthusiastically—coaches and ownership and front office and the new analytics faction (which, by the way, I heartily respect). And it’s clearly not the case right now that the entire organization, including all the key people, is behind the selection of Trubisky at number one. The draft isn’t a democracy in any organization. But if your head coach, quarterback mentor Hue Jackson, is not behind the quarterback you’re taking first overall (which Cabot reported), that’s called trying to force a square quarterback peg into a round hole. It’s not smart.
I say this as much for Trubisky’s benefit as I do for people inside the team: He should not be the Browns’ first overall pick. It’s fine to say the pressure he puts on himself is greater than any external pressure. But it’s just not so, and he’d find that out early in Cleveland. Anything less than playoff contention in year two and he’d hear it from the Dawg Pound. When you draft a quarterback first overall, and he flounders, it’s much different than picking Cody Kessler 93rd and seeing him flounder. It’s the weight of expectations. By any definition, there’s no Andrew Luck or Troy Aikman in this draft. If Trubisky goes to the Browns, and is forced to play early by the ravenous public when the team’s struggling, he could end up a battered mess, like Tim Couch, or one whose confidence gets shot early, like David Carr. That’s not even considering the local-kid angle, which just adds to the mayhem.
In talking to those around the league over the past few days about the quarterbacks in this draft, two themes come up about Trubisky: They don’t know enough about him (those 13 career starts), and he was shaky frequently enough to make evaluators need to see more. In his last four college games, Trubisky and North Carolina lost to then-3-6 Duke, 5-6 North Carolina State and 9-3 Stanford while beating FBS team The Citadel. Trubisky’s footwork is good, his decision-making (mostly) good, his accuracy (68.0 percent in 2016) is quite good. He’s a tempting prospect. But seeing enough in a quarterback with eight collegiate victories to make him your franchise guy with the first pick? It’s a leap of faith, a very big one.
Mayock said: “I’m pretty old school, but 13 games isn’t enough for me with the first pick in the draft. It’s a major level of concern for me.”
Some also think Trubisky’s personality isn’t take-charge enough to win over a team. I’m not dismissing that, but it’s not nearly as big as the experience factor. Eli Manning and Drew Brees have a lot of Boy Scout in them too, and they win and command respect.
If I’m Cleveland, I’m taking the guy number one on the vast majority of NFL boards, Garrett. And this draft is a buyer’s market, with each team from No. 2 through 7 in the first round interested in trading down. Barring a surprise like San Francisco taking Trubisky at number two, the Browns, with five picks in the top 65 and four in the top two rounds next year, will be able to use some of those picks to move up to take him if they really want him that badly.
This from former NFL scout Greg Gabriel:
If Cleveland doesn’t select Myles Garrett they all should be fired. Head and shoulders above the next best player in draft. A no brainer
On the other hand, maybe the Browns are listening to Warren Sapp. Adam Schefter at ESPN.com:
As the NFL draft approaches this week, Hall of Fame defensive lineman Warren Sapp is struggling to understand why Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett is poised to be the No. 1 pick.
“I don’t see it from this kid,” Sapp said Sunday about Garrett. “I see the splash plays; everybody gets those. Where’s the game he took over? Where? Any defensive lineman who’s the No. 1 pick, you turn up and you say, ‘There it is!’ This kid, no, I don’t. I’m a pretty plain and frank guy, and I watch the tape and he disappears. I watch the tape, and he absolutely disappears.”
Still, Garrett is considered the favorite to go No. 1 to the Cleveland Browns, who used the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 draft on Penn State defensive end Courtney Brown.
“I don’t think this kid is as good as Courtney Brown either,” Sapp said.
Sapp said he believes teams have fallen for Garrett for one reason only.
“It’s all about measurable,” he said. “Once you hit the measurable, it’s tough to get them old scout people off the numbers, and that’s what [Garrett] has. He’s big, and he’s fast. Now some defensive line coach is thinking, ‘I can turn him into something.’ How? I’m trying to figure this out. Really? Are we lowering the bar?”
Sapp said he has studied a handful of games that Garrett has played on tape, but he said it didn’t take him long to realize the type of player that Garrett is.
Now, as Garrett is closing in on becoming the first defensive lineman drafted No. 1 overall since Jadeveon Clowney in 2014, Sapp wonders how important the game is to him.
“I see a lazy kid that makes four plays a game,” Sapp said. “This is the No. 1 guy? No, no, no. This ain’t even close.”
Adam Schefter is adamant that nothing will get JIMMY GARAPPOLO out of Foxboro this week:
ICYMI (in February): Jimmy Garappolo isn’t going anywhere. His name continues to surface in trade rumors and speculation – not happening.
Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald with more on the Patriots and their love of Garappolo:
The Patriots are in a weird spot with Jimmy Garoppolo.
If the Pats maintain their intention of keeping and not trading quarterback Tom Brady’s backup for the 2017 season, they’d ultimately probably prefer be proven wrong when the dust settles. Garoppolo’s trade value right now is almost certainly as high as it’ll ever be, but the team has fair and legitimate reasons to hang onto Garoppolo through the final season of his rookie contract.
The problem is that coach Bill Belichick is only human and can’t predict the future, as the two most pressing points to keep Garoppolo are strictly preventative.
First, if the Patriots trade Garoppolo now and a 40-year-old Brady looks his age next season for the first time in his career, the team would have long-term concerns at the sport’s most vital position, an issue they’ve never encountered during Robert Kraft’s 23-year ownership reign.
Second, the Patriots are as loaded as ever for the upcoming season. If Brady goes down for, say, 4-6 weeks, quarterback Jacoby Brissett might not be able to help win enough games to keep the Patriots in the playoff race. Garoppolo, on the other hand, is capable enough to compete with the Pats’ treacherous string of opponents.
The irony here is the Patriots hope Garoppolo never takes another meaningful snap during his rookie contract. Ideally, Brady plays well enough to earn more MVP consideration, maintains good health and fulfills his desire of playing another half dozen seasons.
But the Pats’ preferred scenario would come at a cost. It’s unclear exactly how much another team would have to pay this week to pry Garoppolo away, but it’s likely as high as a couple first-round picks, or maybe a first-rounder and a trio of second-rounders (the Cleveland Browns have the capital in both scenarios). However, if the Pats place the franchise tag on Garoppolo next February at a projected $22 million salary, his trade stock would plummet. It’s difficult to envision the Pats netting any first-round picks next year.
If that’s their sacrifice for peace of mind, so be it. As one Patriots source explained, they know how hard it is to draft and develop one quarterback, let alone two. They aren’t going to simply hand over Garoppolo to another team if their price isn’t met, and the Pats certainly don’t want to go in the tank if Brady goes down, like the Indianapolis Colts did with Peyton Manning shelved in 2011, as Belichick has happily referenced in the past.
To be sure, the Patriots have prepared for the possibility of getting bowled over by a trade proposal, as they were exploring the free-agent backup quarterback market earlier this offseason. But they haven’t been tempted enough by any offers.
There’s also another issue. The pool of quarterback prospects in this draft is as uninspiring as it’s been in years.
So if the Pats deal Garoppolo and replace him with a draft pick, it’d be viewed as a step back for the coming season, which is the sole purpose of keeping Garoppolo. That’s exactly how director of player personnel Nick Caserio phrased it last week, too.
“Whatever we think is best for our team for 2017, for that season, then that’s what we’ll do,” Caserio said when specifically asked about the possibility of trading Garoppolo. “However that manifests itself (I’m) not exactly sure, but that’s where the focus is, trying to put together the best team possible for the 2017 season.”
Translation: Garoppolo can be had, but only if another teams offers an assortment of draft picks that outweighs his value to the 2017 roster. It’s an unconventional gamble due to the uniqueness of the Patriots’ quarterback situation.
THIS AND THAT
RECENT EXAMPLES OF BAD DRAFTING
From Peter King:
2000: The Niners, in need of a quarterback of the future, pick Gio Carmazzi of Hofstra 65th overall. The Patriot take Tom Brady 199th.
2001: Picks 8-9-10: David Terrell, Koren Robinson, Jamal Reynolds. Combined Pro Bowls: 1. Picks 30-31-32: Reggie Wayne, Todd Heap, Drew Brees. Combined Pro Bowls: 18.
2002: I’ll never forget being in the Cowboys draft room an hour before the draft started. Phone rings. Jerry Jones answers. Detroit GM Matt Millen on the line. Wants an offer, any offer, for the third pick in the draft. Not enthusiastic about Joey Harrington, from the sound of the phone call. Jones doesn’t want the pick, nor the quarterback. Harrington goes third, to Detroit. Bad idea. Oh, and my favorite player not selected in the 261-player draft: James Harrison.
2003: Titans draft cornerback Andre Woolfolk in the first round. Chargers draft cornerback Sammy Davis in the first round. Asante Samuel and Ike Taylor, cornerbacks, go late in the fourth.
2004: The Raiders, with the second overall choice, pick Iowa tackle Robert Gallery, bypassing Larry Fitzgerald, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and Vince Wilfork.
2005: Drafted ahead of Aaron Rodgers—Troy Williamson, Travis Johnson, Erasmus James, Matt Jones, Fabian Washington.
2006: Drafted between picks 118 and 135: Stephen Gostkowski, Brandon Marshall (the receiver), Domata Peko, Elvis Dumervil, Kyle Williams (the defensive tackle), Rob Ninkovich.
2007: Fixated on JaMarcus Russell for months because of his big arm, Al Davis drafts him with the first overall pick. Russell plays three awful seasons with the Raiders and never is signed by another team despite once offering to play a season for free. That, my friends, is the biggest draft bust in NFL history.
2008: Undrafted: Danny Amendola, Wesley Woodyard, Jerell Freeman, Mike Tolbert, Danny Woodhead, Marcel Reese.
2009: The Rams make tackle Jason Smith the second pick in the draft. He lasts 26 starts. He is out of the league in five years.
2010: Wait! A competent drafting year! First seven picks: Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Trent Williams, Eric Berry, Russell Okung, Joe Haden … Wait! An incompetence factoid! Antonio Brown is the 22nd wide receiver selected.
2011: Cautionary Tale Alert: Jake Locker 8, Blaine Gabbert 10, Christian Ponder 12.
2012: Be Careful What You Wish For Alert: Robert Griffin III 2, Kirk Cousins 102.
2013: Hard to imagine a less impactful top 12 in history than Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel, Dion Jordan, Lane Johnson, Ziggy Ansah, Barkevious Mingo, Jonathan Cooper, Tavon Austin, Dee Milliner, Chance Warmack, D.J. Fluker, and D.J. Hayden. By “less impactful,” I mean, “really stinks.”
2014: The Rams make tackle Greg Robinson the second pick in the draft. By Week 11 of the 2016 season, he is a healthy inactive for the Rams. This is year four. Robinson will compete for a starting job in camp. He may be on the Jason Smith track.
2015: Great example of the fairly new draft credo of you-can-get-impactful-picks-ways-down-the-line: David Johnson 86th overall, Jay Ajayi 149th.
2016: Great example of keeping your draft-day emotions in check: Cowboys are desperate for Paxton Lynch in round one, late, and try to trade for him; fail. Cowboys are desperate for Connor Cook atop the fourth round; fail. Cowboys put on a happy face when picking Dak Prescott 135th.
An update from the New York Post on the messy demise of Aaron Hernandez:
Aaron Hernandez’s behind-bars lover is a convicted robber who received a $50,000 watch from the late football star before his suicide, according to a bombshell report Monday.
Kyle Kennedy, 22, was the last person to see the disgraced New England Patriots star alive last week, the Daily Mail reported.
Kennedy is now on suicide watch at the maximum-security Souza-Baranowski Corrections Center, sources told the UK paper.
Before tying bedsheets together to hang himself, Hernandez wrote three notes — to Kennedy; his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, and to their 4-year-old daughter, Avielle, prison sources said.
Matthew Kennedy, the jailbird’s 42-year-old dad, declined comment.
“Get the f–k away and don’t f–king come back,” he told The Mail, outside his Uxbridge, Massachusetts home.
Kyle Kennedy was busted two years ago for knocking off a gas station while wearing a ski mask and brandishing a butcher’s knife. He got away with $189.
After leading cops on a high-speed chase and running out of gas, he was arrested and taken to the Northbridge Police Department.
As an officer was looking down to dial a phone number for Kennedy, the robber bolted again and cops had to run him down again, in a foot chase through three nearby backyards.
Kennedy could get out of prison as soon as March 1 next year, according to his profile on the pen pal website WriteAPrisoner.com
Kennedy family lawyer Lawrence Army said he was going to visiting the inmate on Monday “to see what’s going on,” The Mail reported.
Add Michigan’s JABRILL PEPPERS to those flagged for dilution in their drug test sample. Darrin Gantt at ProFootballTalk.com:
NFL teams now have more questions about Jabrill Peppers than what position he’ll play.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Michigan hybrid safety tested positive for a dilute sample at the Scouting Combine.
And just like Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, Peppers got out in front of the news by claiming he was overly hydrated in a statement sent out by his agency CAA.
“Peppers went to the combine, the statement read. “He was sick after flying there from San Diego. He has a history of cramping. Peppers was being pumped with fluids, drinking 8-10 bottles of water before he went to bed, because he was the first guy to work out two days for the LBs and DBs. He had to go through that first day, come back on second day, and that was the fear. So Peppers was pounding water and under the weather. He never failed a drug test in his life, nor tested positive before for any substance.”
While that’s very possibly true, it’s also irrelevant in the context of the NFL’s testing program, which treats dilute samples as failed tests.
To what degree it impacts his draft stock remains to be seen.
– – –
Peter King, still working on the rest of the first round, offers his first eight:
DE/OLB Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
Time to stop projecting and hoping, Browns. Take the surest thing.
2. San Francisco
DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford
Not a position of great need, but a building block who will be solid inside and outside.
S Jamal Adams, LSU
Cleanest player in the draft. That’s what smart people keep saying. Thomas also a factor.
RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
Jags’ needs do not match this draft. Need a tackle. Watch for Deshaun Watson here too.
CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
But Titans want to deal down to recoup second-round pick lost in Conklin deal last year.
6. Cleveland (from N.Y. Jets)
QB Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
Browns trade 12th, 33rd and 181st picks for No. 6 overall.
Still not sure it makes sense to trade up for Trubisky, but Browns have the picks to do it.
7. Los Angeles Chargers
S Malik Hooker, Ohio State
New defensive coordinator Gus Bradley gets his Earl Thomas, but Hooker must improve tackling.
RB/Slot/Returner Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
Counter to GM Dave Gettleman’s meat/potatoes style, but multiple weapon for Cam.
Toughest call here is McCaffrey. But the Panthers and Cam Newton are coming off an abysmal year and a stunning 52.9 percent passing season. Think what the Panthers want: easy completions. Imagine Newton dumping off five throws a game to McCaffrey, one of the best combinations of runner and receiver we’ve seen coming out in years. It would be like a detached running game, an extended handoff in space. So we’ll see.
If the Titans, with no QB need, want to deal down, the DB wonders why that’s not the team that King projects making the Cleveland trade. Don’t the Jets need a QB who could be Trubisky?