The Daily Briefing Monday, August 20, 2018

AROUND THE NFL 

In addition to the controversial/horrible helmet call, Peter King says another big change is that replay is going to be circumspect, not intrusive:

 

The new NFL rules analyst for NBC Sports, Terry McAulay, tells me he thinks there will be a major change in how replay is adjudicated this year, and it’s the one element of 2018 officiating that has gotten “zero press.” McAulay said: “The league doesn’t want those technical reversals that we saw over and over last year. Replay is for clear and obvious errors, and that was not the case last year.”

 

Oh, I know that. The Kelvin Benjamin overturn of a touchdown that certainly was not indisputable wither way was a black mark on a replay system run amok last year. Vice president of officiating Al Riveron went way beyond reasonable in his overturns of several calls, none worse than the Benjamin play.

 

Now, after the Benjamin TD in the corner of the end zone in Week 16 at New England was overturned, look at this call that wasn’t overturned, or even questioned, Saturday in the Rams-Raiders game. Tell me that the referee shouldn’t have examined this one, ruled as a fumble by the crew on the field, in consultation with the officiating command center in New York.

 

“We knew the league was going to be more circumspect on replay this year, but to go this extent—this fumble wasn’t even stopped to be reviewed—is a big change,” McAulay said. “With my new job at NBC, I’m going to be much more cautious about saying a call should be reversed. Why have replay if it’s not going to reverse this play?”

 

As for the helmet rule, everyone wants a safer game, but no one thinks the rule as being called in the preseason is going to fly.  Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan is, like many in the NFL, struggling to get a read on the new helmet rule.

 

Shanahan said after two of his players were penalized on Saturday for lowering their helmets to initiate contact that he is having a hard time understanding it.

 

“We’re all still trying to figure it out,” Shanahan said.

 

Shanahan is hoping the rule can be fixed.

 

“Everyone feels the same. We’re all just hoping we eventually fix this and figure out what we can do about it,” Shanahan said. “It’s something we’re all struggling with right now.”

 

With the regular season less than three weeks away, it’s hard to believe any fix is coming in time. Players, coaches, officials and fans are going to start the season not fully understanding this rule that the NFL’s owners decided to impose on the players. Perhaps players like Richard Sherman and coaches like Shanahan should have had more of a voice in crafting the rule, so that it could be understood by the people who need to understand it.

 

CB RICHARD SHERMAN seems to understand that because of the way the human body is built, it is hard to keep the head from being the first thing to make contact.  Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com has that – and reminds us of the strange birth of the rule:

 

When the NFL secretly slipped the new helmet rule onto the agenda of Competition Committee proposals in March, making it No. 11 to a previously-published list of ten, the league office knew what it was doing. Someone(s) wanted to be able to push the rule past ownership without anyone sounding the alarm about the potential consequences of prohibiting any and all lowering of any and every portion of the helmet to initiate contact with any and all parts of an opponent’s body.

 

As a result, no one even knew about the new rule until it became a new rule, and by the time the debate even had a chance to get started, the debate was over.

 

But to the extent the NFL thought there would never be a debate, the NFL was mistaken. The random warnings from some (but not nearly enough) in the media regarding the breadth of the rule and its potential impact on the game have become a firestorm of criticism, now that games are being played and flags are being thrown.

 

“To all those [people] including those who made the rule,” 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said on Twitter regarding the application of the rule. “I want a video of YOU running full speed and being lead by anything but your head while also attempting to bring down a moving target. You will soon realize it’s impossible.”

 

The league expects players to adjust, either by keeping their faces up, by striking the opponent with the flipper of the shoulder pad, or by contorting their bodies to spin the helmet away from the opponent, striking him with something other than the thing covering the defensive player’s head.

 

“There is no ‘make adjustment‘ to the way you tackle,” Sherman said on Twitter. “Even in a perfect form tackle the body is led by the head. The rule is idiotic and should be dismissed immediately. When you watch rugby players tackle they are still lead by their head. Will be flag football soon.”

 

Sherman adds a link to a video of a rugby tackle, claiming that it would be a penalty in today’s NFL. But it’s hard to tell whether the tackler’s head strikes the player he tackles; one of the few clear aspects of the new helmet rule is that, even if the head is lowered, there’s no foul unless the head makes contact with the opponent.

 

Still, Sherman is right regarding one very important point: In real time and at full speed, helmet contact by a tackler against a ball carrier is inevitable (especially when tackling from the side), and whether a penalty is or isn’t called will be a product of chance. The only way to avoid the risk of being flagged will be to ensure the face is up at all times (which is far easier said than done, particularly when diving) or to turn into the opponent at the right moment, striking him with the back of the shoulder pads and keeping the helmet completely out of the fray.

 

The only way to avoid this rule being the dominant story line of the 2018 season will be to tweak it before the regular-season opener in 18 days, either by adding language like “forcible” or making an exception for incidental contact or limiting the foul only to contact initiated by the top/crown of the helmet. Or by, as Sherman suggested, getting rid of the rule right now.

 

However it plays out, no change is possible without 24 owners voting in favor of whatever adjustment is deemed preferable to a season that may entail a threat to the game far more significant and real than the huffing and puffing sparked by the anthem controversy.

 

The one thing the NFL has been very good at lately is prolonging and exacerbating controversies.  So don’t look for a change anytime soon. 

 

NFC EAST

 

PHILADELPHIA

Peter King with a positive review of Doug Pederson’s new book “Fearless”:

 

The new Doug Pederson book, “Fearless: How an Underdog Becomes a Champion,” written with Dan Pompei (Hachette Books), is out Tuesday. I read about half of it and skimmed the rest, and Pederson and Pompei have done a good job of capturing who the Eagles’ coach is—and why he’s a bit iconoclastic and gutsy while at the same time being such an everyman. The stuff about trusting his players, while not new, should be required reading for modern coaches in any sport. In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing about something else Pederson and Pompei cover which is hugely valuable to coaches: trusting your instincts and knowing when to take risks. It’s very good. In fact, I’ll quantify why it’s smart to take educated risks, using Pederson (and his words in this book) as the perfect example of intelligent risk-taking.

 

One bit of the book stuck out to me. Pederson, in my time with him, comes across as a totally normal guy. He remembers precisely where he came from, and doesn’t think his job today is any more important to his players than his job was coaching high school football a decade ago in Louisiana. But he remembers slights—and one in particular. The week before the 2017 season, Mike Lombardi, a long-time NFL front-office man who was working for The Ringer, wrote about Pederson: “Everybody knows Doug Pederson isn’t a head coach. He might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I’ve ever seen.”

 

That got a ton of attention last year when Pederson was on the road to winning the Super Bowl. Pederson, in the book, says Lombardi wrote him a letter during the playoffs last season. “It was written on a typewriter, and was about three paragraphs long,” Pederson writes. “The letter said, ‘The first rule of any informed opinion is to never began with the end in mind. And I violated that rule. For that, I extend my sincere apology.’ I was appreciative, and at least it showed he was man enough to admit he was wrong.”

 

Then this: “After the Super Bowl, the possibility of writing this book came up. One of the interested companies thought Lombardi would be a great co-author and submitted an offer. I said, respectfully, ‘No thanks.’ “

 

And now you know the rest of the story.

 

One other thing I’m enjoying about the book: Pompei did a great job writing it in Pederson’s voice. “Fearless” sounds like Pederson. That’s the challenge in many of these athlete/coach’s books—to make the book sound like the star of the show. Pompei did. The book’s not just for Eagles fans. Coaches, and fans, in all sports will learn from it.

 

NFC SOUTH

 

CAROLINA

It sounds, per Peter King, like the Panthers will be moving their offices out of Bank of America Stadium:

 

I think this was an interesting answer from Carolina owner David Tepper on the Panthers’ preseason telecast Friday night, the kind of answer that struck me as a knock on founder and former owner Jerry Richardson. Asked what he saw as his vision for the organization, Tepper said: “What we’ve got to do is every way we can increase the probability of winning, that’s what we’ve got to do … whether it’s an indoor practice facility at some point where we don’t have to practice in a sleet storm before playoff games. Whatever increases that probability a percentage. It’s a game of inches. So I’d like to get that extra couple of inches.” What this means, I think, is a combo new football/office facility in suburban Charlotte (possibly over the border into South Carolina), which would also mean the move of training camp from Richardson’s pet Wofford College facility in Spartanburg, S.C., closer to Charlotte.

 

NFC WEST

 

LOS ANGELES RAMS

For all the excitement of the Rams newcomers, Peter King reminds us there were some departures. 

 

No good team shook up the roster in the offseason as much as the Rams. How’d they do? We can’t know with finality until the fate of Aaron Donald has been decided. My sense is the great defensive tackle, a camp holdout, will not play on the contract (one year, $6.89 million) remaining. My money is on the Rams and Donald getting a deal done by Labor Day, but that’s just my gut.

 

Without factoring in the Donald deal, let’s examine what the Rams lost and gained this off-season—and whether they’re better off for it.

 

GONE

Robert Quinn, DE: 1 year, $12.93 million (Traded to Dolphins)

Alec Ogletree, LB: 4 years, $32 million (Traded to Giants)

Sammy Watkins, WR: 3 years, $48 million (Signed by Chiefs)

Trumaine Johnson, CB: 5 years, $72.5 million (Signed by Jets)

Tavon Austin, WR/Ret: 1 year, $3 million (Traded to Cowboys)

Total: 5 players, 14 years, $168.43 milion

 

ARRIVED/STAYED

Marcus Peters, CB: 2 years, $11.1 million

Aqib Talib, CB: 2 years, $19 million

Ndamukong Suh, DT: 1 year, $14 million

Brandin Cooks, WR: 6 years, $85 million

Lamarcus Joyner, S: 1 year, $11.28 million

Todd Gurley, RB: 6 years, $69.45 million

Total: 6 players, 18 years, $209.83 million

 

How’d they do? Cooks is better for the Sean McVay offense than Watkins or Austin; he can play all three receiver spots in the Rams offense. Peters and Talib are short-term gains and give defensive coordinator Wade Phillips two potential shutdown corners—though both are incendiary players who may have an incident or two during the season. Suh is 31 but still a major disruptive force inside. The Rams weren’t going to re-sign Quinn after this season, and he’s missed 16 games due to injury in the last three years. Phillips signed off on the loss of Ogletree, wanting the cornerbacks instead; they’re more valuable in his defense. And this summer, the Rams have locked in ace running back Todd Gurley for his age-24-through-29 seasons, presumably his six prime years as a runner, at an average cost of $11.6 million a year.

 

All in all, if GM Les Snead gets the Donald deal done by opening day, the Rams will have managed a top-heavy roster very well this offseason. But signing Donald … it’s a very big, and crucial, if.

 

AFC WEST

 

THE RAIDERS

Jon Gruden, who amazingly is 55 years old, spends time with Peter King:

 

Think of what you must think if you’re Gruden, looking at the NFL landscape. By the time you were 39, you’d made the playoffs three years in a row as a head coach and won a Super Bowl; you were an offensive phenom. Then you coached your last six years in Tampa and fell to earth a bit—zero playoff wins, you get dismissed, and you take a job in the TV booth that was never really all you. You always wanted to come back.

 

You also must think this: In 2004, you hired 24-year-old Kyle Shanahan for his first NFL job as a low-level offensive assistant in Tampa. In 2008, you hired 22-year-old Sean McVay for his first NFL job as a low-level offensive assistant in Tampa. Now they’re the offensive phenoms. At 31, McVay took over the Rams last year and turned them from the league’s 32nd-rated offense to number one in one season, and the Rams won the division. At 37, Shanahan (“a genius,” Tony Romo calls him) looks to be set in San Francisco with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback so the 49ers can be a force for years.

 

You’re Gruden, and you started them on their road to phenomness, and now everyone’s looking at you. Can Gruden still do it? Have the students passed the teacher, and can the teacher be as good as he was a generation ago?

 

We’ll see. Week 1: McVay at Gruden. Week 9: Gruden at Shanahan.

 

“The one thing I would say that’s so different for Jon is, I don’t really look at it as he’s been out of football for nine years,” McVay told me last week. “I look at it as he’s had a different lens into the game. He’s always been preparing himself to use that platform as an advantage so when he did come back, like getting to know all the quarterbacks from his QB Camp, he’d be ready. His up-close look at the different ways people practice from traveling around doing the Monday night games is valuable exposure. We’re all a product of our experiences and the environments you’re placed in. He’s been exposed to all of them. I’ve met with him throughout the course of the last decade, talking ball. I’m still always learning from this guy. He’s sent us notes, using extra footage from his Monday night telecasts, to help us have better teaching tapes because of the angles that you’re getting from all of the cameras. He’s going to do a great job.”

 

“I just want to compete again,” Gruden said, back in his Marriott lair. “I’m proud of Shanahan, proud of my brother [Washington coach Jay Gruden], proud of McVay.”

 

“You used to be them,” I said. “The brilliant offensive guy.”

 

“Yeah,” Gruden said. ”They’re good. They’re really good. Unfortunately, I’ve got to get in the ring with them now. I know they want to get after me. I guess I could say the feeling’s mutual. I want to beat them too.”

 

Staccato, quick-hit Gruden:

 

• On his coaching style at 55: “I’m trying to match the work ethic that I put forth 15 years ago, whatever it was, when I was here. That’s number one. You have to get everybody on board. I haven’t seen my wife in like three weeks; she’s got to be on board. It’s hard saying goodbye to my mom and dad in Florida. I miss them. Being honest with you. I kind of felt sad about that because I like looking out for them. But I’ve got to do this. Time’s flying.”

 

• On the changes in football since he last coached in 2008: “I don’t like what we’ve done to the profession, personally. I don’t like the CBA. I don’t like regulating hard work. By god, if a guy wants to come here in April and learn his plays? Wants to go out there and watch tape with me? I think he ought to be able to do that. He wants to come in and use our billion dollar facility? He ought to be able to use that. Really disappoints me to no end. For players, this is their time in life to make a team, make a profession, make some money, have some fun. I don’t like it. Are the rules better, or are they just more rules?”

 

• On what he wants this team to be: “You gotta have guys that would jump over the water coolers to cover a kick when the game’s on the line. You gotta have guys that behind the scenes are always thinking about the game, that love it. We needed some passion. We needed more passion I think in this locker room. I think we needed more versatility. I hope we’ve got that. We’ve had one winning team here in [15 seasons]. It’s not good enough.”

 

• On his reported 10-year, $100-million contract, and a football coach making $100 million: “I’m not making $100 million, just so you know. Well, I never thought Tom Cruise, never thought his movies were any good but he’s making plenty of money. There’s a lot of things that I don’t understand. No disrespect to Tom Cruise. I’m sure he’s a great actor. But you know what? You just go about your life as hard as you can. You try to find something you love and you do the best you can at it. I never got into coaching for the money. I got into coaching because I wanted to be a quarterback coach. What the salary cap has become, what free agency has become—it’s amazing.”

 

• On what he took from Al Davis, who traded him in 2002 to Tampa Bay: “I got a lot of respect for him, obviously. A lot of people think we clashed. We didn’t clash, really. Yeah, he traded me. But he fast-tracked me. He beat me up at times, and I probably needed beating up. I was probably in over my head when I first signed up for this job.”

 

• On Derek Carr: “There’s no question that he’s got more talent than anybody I’ve ever coached. He’s athletic. He can make any throw you can imagine. He loves it. If you’re a Raider fan, get a ticket, because he is really fun to watch. He has really done a great job at this camp. There’s really not anything he can’t do.”

 

 

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

QB PHILIP RIVERS still lives in San Diego.  Peter King:

 

Ran into Philip Rivers. Asked: Are you doing the same deal as last year, commuting from your home north of San Diego to Orange County every day during the season?

 

“Yup,” he said. “Worked great last year.”

 

Rivers had a driver, and had a $200,000 luxury SUV fitted with two captains chairs, a 40-inch TV and video apparatus so he could watch video both ways.

 

“It averaged about an hour and six minutes in the morning. Maybe 90 minutes at night, you know, when there was more traffic. But that’s okay. Just popped in third-down or red-zone [tape to analyze], and I’m good to go.”

 

AFC NORTH

 

CLEVELAND

WR JOSH GORDON’s mental and emotional state has improved to the point that he is returning to camp.  Chris Wesseling at NFL.com:

 

Josh Gordon isn’t out of the water just yet.

 

The Browns announced Saturday that the veteran wide receiver is returning to the team after missing training camp to handle personal issues. Placed on the active/non-football illness list, Gordon can now attend meetings and practices but cannot participate until he passes the next phase of the process per the NFL’s substance abuse program, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported.

 

While NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy has said there is no timetable for Gordon to return to on-field action, coach Hue Jackson is already eyeing the Sept. 9 season opener versus the Steelers.

 

“There’s a chance,” Jackson said Saturday, via the Plain Dealer. “Obviously, we’re just going to take it one step at a time. His focus is going to be on meetings and conditioning, and then we’ll just kind of go from there. Hopefully, we can get him up and running by the first game.”

 

Gordon recently finished a treatment program at the University of Florida. Suspended for 56 of a possible 96 games since entering the league as a second-round supplemental draft pick in 2012, he must “earn the right to be back out there,” Jackson emphasized.

 

“We’re going to take it day by day,” Jackson added. “We’ve not been around him in quite a while. He needs to be back with his teammates and we have to see how that all unfolds, back around the coaches and just getting him back integrated into our system and into how we go about doing things here every day and getting him back to playing football.”

 

In his absence over the past month, rookie Antonio Callaway has been running as the first-team “X” receiver alongside offseason acquisition Jarvis Landry.

 

Gordon flashed playmaking potential down the stretch last season, hauling in 18 catches for 335 yards and a touchdown in five December games. Once he gets up to speed and earns the green light to return to on-field action, it shouldn’t take long to prove that he’s the most talented receiver on the roster.

 

Once Gordon does join Landry and Callaway for game action, the Browns will boast a wide-receiver trio that offers more potential than any they’ve had in the woebegone Jackson era.

– – –

Peter King approves of this year’s “Hard Knocks”

 

I am not a “Hard Knocks” savant, and I admit I have not seen every episode of the previous 13 series. But too often, I believe the show has been a faux reality show. I won’t tell you the team, but I recall in one recent “Hard Knocks” season sitting in a head coach’s office during training camp, and the coach saying, “Hang on” before we spoke, and then opening a closet door to block the camera in his office, and covering the ambient-sound microphone in the room with a couple of towels, and then talking to me. Nothing wrong with that, of course. But it said to me, We’ll give HBO great visuals and sound, but we’re not going to be altogether real.

 

Not so this year. In the first two episodes of the five-episode “Hard Knocks with the Cleveland Browns,” I’ve laughed, I’ve almost cried, I’ve said to the TV, “You go, Jarvis Landry!” It’s the best “Hard Knocks” I’ve seen, by far. NFL Films is doing its usual excellent job shooting the show. The difference is, the 35 NFL Films crew members have found a team and organization of desperadoes who know their jobs and futures are on the line, unlike many of the past teams featured in the series. You can hear it in the voices of the coaches and players and front-office men. Listen to offensive coordinator Todd Haley, as he pleads with the lackadaisical but supremely talented rookie receiver Antonio Calloway:

 

“Come on. We need you. We need you.This is important.”

 

And during the Browns’ preseason opener, Haley approached receiver Jarvis Landry, doggedly determined to win, on the sidelines and gave him what sounded like an order. “You need to take kid on,” Haley told Landry. “I don’t care if he’s f—ing living at your house. Can you do that? Larry Fitzgerald would.”

 

Landry: “Yes sir.”

 

It’s TV gold. Ken Rodgers is in charge of the project for NFL Films as senior coordinating producer, and he credits the Browns going 0-16 last year for paving the way to a good TV product. ”This is the most urgent situation you could have in the NFL,” Rodgers told me. “The scenes we’re capturing are tinged with that urgency. The stakes are so high. This is the most urgent training camp ‘Hard Knocks’ has ever filmed, the most urgent team we’ve covered, the most urgent situation we’ve covered. The players and the coaches reflect that. It’s just a very tense time around the team and the organization.”

 

In show two, quarterback Tyrod Taylor went to coach Hue Jackson on the practice field and told him if he showed parts of the lax practice that day in a team meeting, it’d be a spur to the players. “All you gotta do is show it one time in meetings,” Taylor said. That night, Jackson ranted seriously in the meeting room thusly: “You can’t practice like this and be good! I want more! Unmotivated talent don’t do s—!”

 

The way the series works is that teams can kill stuff in the show—team officials watch it Monday night or Tuesday morning; the show airs at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday nights through Sept. 4 on HBO—only if it has bearing on competitive football situations. If the Browns, for instance, think Taylor’s cadence would give away some football clues, they could ask it to be scrubbed from the show. Or if personal or medically sensitive information is passed on somehow, that could be killed. But the personality stuff, or the anger between coaches (there’s been some tension between Haley and other coaches), or the F-bombs that fly between players … it’s fair game. I hear the Browns haven’t had a heavy edit hand at all in the show, feeling that if they’re going to sign in for the show, they’ve got to expect reality.

 

That’s exactly what “Hard Knocks” has delivered. It’s good TV, and after a few seasons where it wasn’t must-see, it finally is again.

– – –

Presumably this week’s “Hard Knocks” will cover the kerfuffle on how QB TYROD TAYLOR pronounces his first name.  Peter King sets it up:

 

I think I wonder if anyone else had the same thought the other day when learning that it’s not pronounced TIE-Rod Taylor; it’s Tuh-ROD Taylor. I thought: Taylor’s 29. This is his eighth year in the NFL. Are you telling me he never corrected a soul on one of his PR staffs or front offices on the pronunciation of his name since he entered the league in 2011? Weird. Very weird.

 

Harry Lyles, Jr. tries to get to the bottom of this:

 

The NFL’s biggest controversy isn’t over whether or not Dez Caught It, or the new helmet rule, or a Deflategate — it’s about how on earth you pronounce Tyrod Taylor’s name.

 

There are two sides to the NFL’s own “GIF” argument: TUH-rod, and TIE-rod.

 

I present both sides, and you can make your choice. Though it’s totally TIE-rod. I think?

 

THE ARGUMENT FOR TIE-ROD

 

Tyrod Taylor himself says TIE-rod here:

 

 

The great Mina Kimes dug in, and said that Taylor’s agent and dad call him TIE-rod:

 

@minakimes

 Tyrod’s agent told me it was TY-Rod. His pops told me it was TY-Rod. I DONT KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE

 

It’s also how he identified himself for NBC’s Sunday Night Football introductions:

 

Peter John-Baptiste

@BrownsPJB

Stop the madness! Ty is fine if you call him either. I asked him yesterday how he introduced himself on NBC Sunday Night Football and he said Ty-rod.  So there you have it.

 

THE ARGUMENT FOR TUH-ROD

The Browns are trying to police the situation, and have announced that they want people to say TUH-rod now:

 

Browns teammate Joel Bitonio told NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala that his name is TUH-rod, and the reason that hasn’t stuck is because Taylor is too nice (shy too, probably?) to correct anybody on it.

 

Aditi Kinkhabwala

@AKinkhabwala

 This is how good of a teammate LT Joel Bitonio is. He told me Tyrod Taylor’s name is actually pronounced TUH-rod, not TY-rod. And that while Taylor may be too nice to correct people, HE feels it’s important to get it right. From here on out, I will. #Browns

 

The strongest argument that either side has: his mom calls him “Tuh-rod.” But according to Taylor, she refers to him by his middle name, which is “Di’allo.”

 

WHY DON’T WE JUST ASK -ROD HIMSELF?

“[TIE-rod] is definitely what I’ve heard most of my life, but I mean, my mom calls me [Tuh-ROD], but she also doesn’t call me by my first name.”

 

That doesn’t help, -rod.

 

No matter where you stand on said topic, we’re going to appropriately refer to this as #rodgate, because as my esteemed colleague Jessica Smetana has pointed out, if we call it #tyrodgate, then we’re also arguing the name of the gate.

 

To see the various videos that accompany Lyles story, go here.

 

The DB is of the mind that Tyrod (as Ty-rod) Taylor is one of the great names in the current NFL.   It is alliterative, unique without being challenging to figure out and flows well.  Tuh-rod does not rise to the same level.

 

 

AFC SOUTH

 

INDIANAPOLIS

At this point the Colts are holding on to QB JACOBY BRISSETT, rather than trade him to Seattle for a second round pick.  Chris Wesseling at NFL.com:

 

Having already fielded draft-day trade offers for Jacoby Brissett, the Colts had to know the interest in their prized backup quarterback would only increase once face-of-the-franchise Andrew Luck proved he was healthy again in training camp.

 

It comes as no surprise that Seattle would be one of the teams trying to pry Brissett away from Indianapolis after hiring former Colts quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer as offensive coordinator. In need of a trusty backup to Russell Wilson, the Seahawks recently offered a second-round draft pick for Brissett, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reported.

 

The Colts rejected the overture, in keeping with owner Jim Irsay’s early August declaration that his organization would not part with “the best backup quarterback in football,” even if the offer was as steep as a first-round pick.

 

With two years remaining on his cut-rate rookie contract, Brissett offers premium insurance against the risk of a re-injury to Luck’s throwing shoulder.

 

It speaks highly of Brissett’s potential that Schottenheimer’s squad would test the waters to the tune of a second-round proposal. A high-caliber backup quarterback is a luxury rather than a necessity for a franchise in transition after being forced to rebuild on the fly this past offseason.

 

Now that Brissett is essentially off the table, it’s natural to wonder if the Seahawks will inquire about the price tag for alternatives.

 

How much for that Teddy in the window?

 

AFC EAST

 

BUFFALO

QB A.J. McCARRON has a collarbone problem, but determing the exact nature of said problem has defied the efforts of the Bills medical staff.

 

The diagnosis for AJ McCarron after being examined Saturday? He needs further testing.

 

The Buffalo Bills quarterback suffered a hairline fracture in his collarbone Friday night against the Cleveland Browns. Coach Sean McDermott told reporters Sunday that McCarron will be evaluated again.

 

McCarron is still projected to miss several weeks, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Saturday. Either rookie Josh Allen or Nathan Peterman is expected to start for the Bills in their season opener at Baltimore.

 

McCarron had long awaited an opportunity to earn a starting job after serving as a backup the past four years in Cincinnati. He started this past Friday and played four series, failing to lead Buffalo to a single first down.

 

McDermott said defensive tackle Kyle Williams is “week-to-week” with a knee injury. The 35-year-old veteran also went down against the Browns on Friday. An MRI revealed he did not injure his ACL.

 

 

THIS AND THAT

 

 

PRESEASON WOES

Peter King on the preseason, citing the Raiders non-return to L.A.:

 

I think this is a partial list of the players who did not play in the second preseason game of the year in Los Angeles on Saturday, between the Raiders and the Rams:

 

Rams: Jared Goff, Robert Woods, Lamarcus Joyner, Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, Mark Barron, Todd Gurley, Andrew Whitworth, Michael Brockers and Ndamukong Suh

Raiders: Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch, Bruce Irvin, Kelechi Osemele, Donald Penn, Jordy Nelson, Jared Cook, Amari Cooper and Martavis Bryant

 

I know a big reason why—because they meet in the first game of the season 23 days after this preseason game. Still, it’s another example of the disgrace of the NFL preseason. Every fan in that stadium (and there were 69,037 there to see the first Raider game in Los Angeles since 1994) should get a refund. Period. Because on the game ticket, the following words were not printed: Warning—the most famous player in this game is E.J. Manuel. When is the NFL going to get serious about addressing the abomination that is paying big prices for preseason football?