The Daily Briefing Tuesday, November 7, 2017
AROUND THE NFL
If The Season Ended Today in the NFC:
Overall Division Conference
Philadelphia Eagles NCE 8-1 3-0 6-0
New Orleans Saints NCS 6-2 2-0 5-1
Minnesota Vikings NCN 6-2 2-1 4-1
Los Angeles Rams NCW 6-2 2-1 4-2
Carolina Panthers WC 6-3 2-1 4-3
Dallas Cowboys WC 5-3 2-0 4-2
Seattle Seahawks 5-3 2-0 3-2
Atlanta Falcons 4-4 0-1 3-1
Detroit Lions 4-4 2-0 4-3
Washington Redskins 4-4 0-3 3-3
Green Bay Packers 4-4 1-2 3-4
Arizona Cardinals 4-4 2-1 3-4
The Seahawks fell all the way out of the playoffs when the Redskins upset them in Seattle on Sunday. Detroit and Arizona joined the Redskins in winning their way to within a game of the cut line.
Arizona, at home against the Seahawks on Thursday, and Atlanta, at Dallas on Sunday can really gum up the works with wins this week. So could the Redskins with a win at home against Minnesota.
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The Commish is continuing his outreach to those who protest our National Anthem, trying to find common ground. Jim Trotter of ESPN.com got the story:
The NFL has invited Colin Kaepernick to attend a one-on-one meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell and is waiting on a response from the embattled quarterback, a league spokesman told ESPN’s Jim Trotter.
Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, texted Kaepernick on Oct. 31 to update him on the ongoing talks about social issues between players and owners, league spokesman Joe Lockhart told Trotter on Tuesday.
Lockhart said earlier Tuesday during a conference call that the NFL would welcome Kaepernick’s participation in its larger meetings involving league executives, players and owners.
A league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter last week that Goodell, Vincent and NFL senior vice president of player engagement Arthur McAfee will be deposed and asked to turn over all cellphone records and emails in relation to Kaepernick’s collusion case against the NFL.
Kaepernick’s attorney said in October that the free-agent quarterback had filed a grievance under the collective bargaining agreement, alleging collusion against signing him to an NFL contract.
The filing, which demands an arbitration hearing on the matter, says the NFL and its owners “have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States.”
After filing the grievance, Kaepernick tweeted that he did so “only after pursuing every possible avenue with all NFL teams and their executives.”
Kaepernick drew national attention last season when he knelt during the national anthem before games to protest social injustice. His kneeling led to a movement that has spread throughout the league while also being vilified by others, including President Donald Trump.
Kaepernick has not been with an NFL team since severing his contract with the 49ers in March. Sources told ESPN at the time that Kaepernick would stand during the anthem in 2017.
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Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com does not sense that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is getting much traction in his push to deny Roger Goodell a new contract.
Until the Commissioner has a new contract, the possibility that he won’t get a new contract will linger. And that will cause some to believe that the efforts of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to derail the Roger Goodell extension are working.
So far, they’re not.
Per a league source with knowledge of the situation, the group of owners currently advocating for change sits at four or five, and maybe six. It’s believed that Washington owner Daniel Snyder is among those who support what Jones has been trying to do.
Some have interpreted reports of a 17-owner conference call from 12 days ago as proof that Jones is well on his way to the 24 owners necessary to scrap the Goodell extension and, in turn, to end the tenure of only the second Commissioner since the completion of the 30-year reign of Pete Rozelle. As the source explained it, however, that conference call was convened to discuss the lingering negotiating points in the Goodell extension (specifically, terms and amounts of incentives), and it unexpectedly became a platform for Jones to continue his broader push against Goodell. Some emerged from the conference call believing they’d been lured to participate under false pretenses.
Even though Jones has had little success in building a 24-owner coalition against Goodell’s extension, Jones could also find more support if the extension talks linger. For some with vested interests in the success of the NFL, a new Commissioner could be viewed as the elusive spark that will spin the clock back to 2015. For the league, however, the dilemma is similar to what a team considering a quarterback change faces: It’s easy to dump the one you have, and it’s not so easy to replace him.
A new Commissioner may result in a short-term round of applause from those who want something/anything positive to happen for the league. But the deeper problems (like the anthem controversy and reduced ratings) will continue, regardless of who the Commissioner is. Until 24 owners believe that there’s some other person who will do a better job of leading the league through these troubled times, the Commissioner won’t be facing any danger, grave or any other kind.
This reality won’t stop Jones from continuing his push, even though some of his partners find the effort to be even more grating than Jones’ attempt to characterize himself as the “ranking owner” in the room.
T BRYAN BULAGA’s return to the Green Bay lineup was short-lived on Monday night. He tore his ACL in the fourth quarter and is done for the year. Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com:
Monday’s game was only the second time this season that all five preferred starters on the Packers’ offensive line had played together. That group had previously been on the field for only 15 plays. This time, it lasted until the fourth quarter before Bulaga, an eighth-year veteran, had to be helped off the field and carted to the locker room.
Justin McCray, who has started two games at right tackle and two at left guard this season, replaced Bulaga, but McCray sustained an ankle injury late in the contest.
Bulaga, 28, missed the entire 2013 season with a torn ACL in his left knee.
When asked if the offensive line feels snakebitten, left tackle David Bakhtiari, who has missed four games this season, said: “Yeah, it’s unfortunate. No one plans for injuries. Feel terrible for what happened.”
If Bulaga is indeed out for the rest of the season, it won’t make things any easier for quarterback Brett Hundley, who has yet to win a game since Aaron Rodgers was lost to a broken collarbone in Week 6. Although Hundley’s stats were significantly better against the Lions (26 of 38 passing for 245 yards, without a touchdown or interception) than in his first start against the New Orleans Saints (12-of-25 for 87 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception), the Packers didn’t score a touchdown until the fourth quarter against Detroit.
“Brett Hundley played better tonight, and I have great faith in Brett Hundley,” McCarthy said. “Brett Hundley’s not our issue.
“I believe in Brett, and that’s not just the press conference statement. He’s got what it takes. He has it in his body, has it in his mind, and he definitely has the heart. So I believe in him.”
The Packers also lost safety Morgan Burnett to a groin injury. Burnett had returned Monday after missing the previous two games because of a hamstring injury.
QB TEDDY BRIDGEWATER is active again. Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com:
The Minnesota Vikings not only will activate quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the 53-man roster this week, but the team is discussing the probability that veteran Sam Bradford will be placed on injured reserve, according to team sources. A final decision has not been made yet on Bradford.
Bradford was not in the team building on Tuesday, which is the norm for quarterbacks even on an “off” day, because he decided to allow Dr. James Andrews to further examine his injured left knee. The examination by Dr. Andrews could result in an exploratory arthroscopic procedure to determine if there a problem that has not been revealed on an MRI, as ESPN has previously reported.
Bradford’s knee joint and structure has been previously deemed stable by team orthopedic doctors, as well as Dr. Andrews, who repaired the quarterback’s two prior ACL tears in 2013 and 2014.
Bridgewater has passed all the medical hurdles necessary to return to the active roster, a decision the team is required to make by Wednesday under the rules of his status on the physically unable to perform list because he began practicing three weeks ago, the sources said.
Teddy Bridgewater last played in a game on Jan. 3, 2016. Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire
Bridgewater has looked sharp in running scout-team drills against the first-team defense, according to sources. He is expected to serve as the backup to starter Case Keenum on Sunday, but the team is optimistic that Bridgewater can effectively become the starter again when it is necessary.
With Bridgewater and Bradford out, Kyle Sloter has been the backup quarterback. The Vikings do not want to risk losing him, according to a source.
Bridgewater dislocated his knee on Aug. 28, 2016, while running a noncontact play in practice. That led to the Vikings’ trade for Bradford in which they dealt first and fourth round draft picks to the Philadelphia Eagles. Bradford played a relatively injury-free season in 2016 despite the team’s pass protection problems.
Bradford then opened the 2017 season in spectacular fashion on Monday Night Football, throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Vikings to a 29-19 victory over the New Orleans Saints. However, he woke up the following day experiencing significant pain and swelling in his left knee. He has played in only one game since, against the Bears on Oct. 9 in which he had to be removed because of the pain.
Bradford has sought other opinions and alternative Regenokine treatments in hopes of reducing the pain but without satisfaction.
NEW YORK GIANTS
It’s been a long time since a Giants coach had to re-assert that ELI MANNING was indeed the starting QB. Tom Rock of Newsday:
Ben McAdoo started the Eli Manning Doomsday Clock on Sunday when, after the Giants’ 51-17 loss to the Rams, he suggested that every position on the team — quarterback included — would be evaluated to see if the organization wants to take a look at younger players.
On Monday, he tried to stop it.
“Eli Manning is our quarterback,” he said on a conference call. “I have a lot of confidence in Eli. That hasn’t changed.”
But it’s too late. The ticks and tocks can no longer be ignored. There is no snooze button on this countdown.
On Sunday, Manning bristled at the idea of being yanked (not to mention the actuality when Geno Smith mopped up in the final two series). So when he appeared on his weekly WFAN radio segment, one of the main talking points had to do with the eventuality that looms over his head as each wasted week of this season passes by — the eventual end of his reign as the Giants’ starting quarterback.
“I’m going to prepare and go out there and compete and be the quarterback,” Manning said Monday. “If I’m told differently, then I’ll handle that if something ever happens. Until then, I expect to be out there, I want to be out there with my teammates, I want to be out there for this organization and go get a win.”
Based on McAdoo’s Monday remarks, Manning will get that chance Sunday. Given that he would tie his brother Peyton on Sunday for the second-longest starting streak in NFL history (208), it would be callous to bench him now. McAdoo, though, made sure to point out that it has nothing to do with sentimentality. “I’m not concerned about streaks,” he said. “We’re going to try to do everything we can to get a win.”
Manning, too, dodged the significance of the streak. He said he is proud of it because of what it says about him being there for his teammates each and every week, fighting through nagging (and a few major) injuries over the years.
“If the organization ever wants to go a different route and play somebody else, then that’s different,” he said. “It’s not about one person’s starting streak continuing. You have to do what’s best for the team and best for the organization. Hopefully, they think I’m the best for the team, give us the best chance to win. If they don’t believe that, then you have to do what you have to do.”
Manning and McAdoo did not speak Monday about the coach’s remarks Sunday. McAdoo did say he was pleased by Manning’s apparent indignation when the quarterback said he wanted to keep playing.
“I’m glad he said that,” he said. “He’s a pro football player. That’s what he should be saying. Eli is our quarterback. But that doesn’t mean at some point in time we won’t throw another guy in to get a look at. Every position needs to be held accountable. Same thing with the coaches. And obviously, when you lose in the fashion that we lost [Sunday], it’s not good enough. Anywhere. Coaching or playing.”
“Another guy” is likely to be rookie Davis Webb, who has been inactive in each of the first eight games. The Giants used a third-round pick on Webb and, assuming they continue down this season’s path and wind up with a high draft pick for 2018, they’d like to know what they have in Webb before deciding how to use their first-round selection.
The last time Manning was on a team that made that kind of decision, he was the young draft pick taking over for a Super Bowl-winning veteran in Kurt Warner. That change took place right around this time of the 2004 season. “I’ve never really been a part of that scenario,” Manning said. “My mindset is to get ready to play the game. Nothing is going to change that.”
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The Giants have re-instated CB JANORIS JENKINS. Kevin Patra of NFL.com:
Janoris Jenkins is back after a one-game, team-imposed suspension.
The New York Giants announced Tuesday that the cornerback, who was indefinitely suspended last week, has been reinstated.
Jenkins missed the Giants’ Week 9 blowout loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday after violating team rules.
The one-game ban for Jenkins was similar to the suspension fellow Big Blue corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was handed by the team last month.
Jenkins returns to a defense that was torched on Sunday by Jared Goff and the Rams, giving up 311 passing yards in the 51-17 loss. Getting their best cover man back on the field is a big boon for the 1-7 Giants, who face the winless San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Only the Eagles have a longer win streak than the six games currently claimed by the Saints. Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com:
Few could have imagined the Saints in this position after their 0-2 start. But here they are, atop the NFC South with the NFL’s best record since that point. They’ve already won arguably the most difficult division game they’ll face this season, at the Carolina Panthers in Week 3, and their 5-1 conference record puts them in position to compete for a first-round bye. Their stingy defense — 15 points per game since Week 2, second best in the NFL — will be of particular advantage if it continues during the playoff push.
With QB JAMEIS WINSTON shut down and QB RYAN FITZPATRICK preparing to start against his old team, the Jets, the Buccaneers have a new back-up. QB RYAN GRIFFIN has been activated from IR. He suffered a shoulder injury in Tampa Bay’s second preseason game, even as he was pressing Fitzpatrick for the #2 slot behind Winston.
After carrying effectively 37 times on Sunday, can RB ADRIAN PETERSON take on a similar load this Thursday? Kevin Patra of NFL.com:
The Arizona Cardinals rode Adrian Peterson on Sunday, giving the veteran running back a whopping 37 carries for 159 yards in the win over the 49ers.
The 37 totes were a career high for Peterson — his previous high was 35 in December of 2013 — and was an NFL season-high in attempts. Those closest to Peterson’s number of attempts: Jordan Howard (36), Le’Veon Bell (35, twice), Ezekiel Elliott (33).
Peterson is 32 years old. Howard is 23 years old. Bell 25. Elliott 22.
Surely, Sunday’s workload can’t be replicated on a short week, by a man on the wrong side of 30, against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football. No way Bruce Arians would do that, right?
Arians was asked Monday how many carries Peterson could get Thursday:
“I would think the same as last week,” Arians responded, via the Arizona Republic. “He runs in the walkthrough. He’s amazing. I wouldn’t challenge him in any form or fashion by saying, ‘You’re only going to get 20 (carries)’ because I’d probably have to fight him on the sideline.”
Arians has been known to make outlandish claims about his running backs’ workloads in the past — remember when Andre Ellington was supposed to get 25-30 touches a game? — but with Drew Stanton at quarterback, riding the running game is vital for Arizona.
It seems ludicrous to think Peterson could take another 30 totes on three days’ rest. Game script could also get away from the Cards against their division rival, necessitating more passes.
He didn’t get the nickname All Day for nothing. Peterson is a freak. Just take a gander at this anecdote from Stanton on Monday when he and Carson Palmer walked into the training room to see jumping boxes stacked more than five feet high:
“Me and Carson were like, ‘Who’s doing this?’ ” Stanton said. “And everybody was like, ‘Oh, Adrian did that.’ Then he went out there, ran like 16 110s (sprints) and beat everybody. It just speaks volumes about the type of professional he is.
S T.J. WARD has had minimal impact in Tampa Bay, but his loss has left a hole in the Denver D. Charean Williams at ProFootballTalk.com:
Halfway through the season, Broncos cornerback Chris Harris finds it just as hard to play without veteran safety T.J. Ward as he did in the season opener. The Broncos have lost four in a row and five of their past six.
Harris was asked Tuesday if the release of Ward had affected the Broncos, who still rank second in total defense but are tied for 25th in points allowed.
“I think it has [affected us],” Harris said, via Denver’s 104.3 The Fan. “You can see it in our play.”
The Broncos moved on from Ward and his $4.5 million salary after the preseason, and Ward’s former teammates made it known they weren’t happy about the move. Ward, who signed with the Buccaneers, wasn’t either.
Miko Grimes is up to her team destroying ways again, but this time she’s not working on the club that employs her husband. Cory Gunkel of RealClearLife.com:
Miko Grimes is known for making outlandish, jaw-dropping claims. The wife of Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes is no stranger to controversy, she once claimed her colorful, often crude social media presence led to the Miami Dolphins cutting her husband in 2015.
Grimes added another line to her controversial resumé on Tuesday morning, saying on the New York City radio show “The Breakfast Club” that the Oakland Raiders’ offensive line purposefully allowed quarterback Derek Carr to get injured in Sunday night’s game against the Dolphins because of his views on player protests.
“Derek Carr is a Bible-thumper to the fullest, and so he was basically trying to force the players to read the Bible before the game, and do all this stuff and they were like, ‘No, that’s you,’” Grimes told the show. “And so he was so upset about it, when the whole offensive line said they were going to kneel, he was like, ‘No, you’re not kneeling. This is America, you’re going to stand for the flag.’ And they got in a fight in the locker room, so when they came out to play, they basically had a plan.’”
To believe this incredibly damning claim, however, one would almost have to suspend reality. For starters, Carr was injured on a play that broke down, and where the offensive line by all acccounts did its job. You’d also have to accept the fact that the entire unit acted as co-conspirators to injure their own teammate and sabotage their own season. (The Raiders are currently second in the AFC West and very much in the wild card playoff hunt). Let’s also not forget that the Raiders have had a spotty offensive line at best, so it’s not like it takes much believe Carr’s injury could have happened normally, without any premeditation.
It’s easy to believe that there could have been some locker room friction due to opposing political beliefs. But to extrapolate that to intentionally sabotaging a teammate is outrageous, even for Miko Grimes.
OT DONALD PENN says it’s not true, that he and his four OL mates just played horrifically that night. Mike Chiari of Bleacher Report:
Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Donald Penn responded to Miko Grimes’ claim Tuesday that the Raiders offensive line allowed quarterback Derek Carr to get injured in Week 4.
It’s crazy how people will make up lies and tell a story so false and untrue 2 get them some attention I hope it was worth it all lies😭😂😭😂😭
Carr suffered a back injury during a Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos and missed one game before returning in Week 6.
Dianna Russini of ESPN.com later reported a longer explanation as for the discussions among the Raiders about the anthem, saying a Raiders source told her that Grimes’ claim “couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Raiders went to Washington D.C. and discussed as a team including the owner, head coach, and team leaders how they would handle the anthem
As a team they decided to stay inside the locker room during the National Anthem…however SNF broadcast protocol goes coin toss then anthem
The Raiders had to come out on the field during the coin toss and couldn’t go back in the locker room for the anthem. This caused confusion
Raiders didn’t know what to do. I’m told “Derek Carr never told his team to stand, sit, or kneel. He told them I respect your choice”
A Raiders offensive player also sent a text message to Russini, saying: “Please don’t ask me for a response to dumb stories. Derek is our guy.”
Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Mike Brown, trying to be a nice guy to A.J. McCARRON:
2. Mike Brown was the driving force behind the trade in Cincy
Brown, the Bengals’ owner, President and GM, was willing to send McCarron to his AFC North foe for two reasons: one, because of his relationship with Hue Jackson, and two, because he likes McCarron and wanted to give him a chance to play.
Others in the Bengals’ organization, including Tobin, were less enthusiastic about making the deal because they view McCarron as a valuable asset.
“But no one in the Bengals’ organization was standing in the way of getting it done,” one league source said.
It would have been the first-ever trade between the two clubs, but Brown was willing to do it as long as the compensation was right.
After the 2015 season, Brown tried to persuade Jackson to stay in Cincinnati, where he would’ve been the heir apparent to longtime friend Marvin Lewis. Instead, he took the Browns’ job and is now 1-23 in his second season.
But Brown and Jackson have a good working relationship, and had already executed another trade, for Carson Palmer when Jackson was with the Raiders in 2011. The connection was a major reason this week’s deal nearly happened.
Browns GM Sashi Brown pleads to incompetence, rather than intentionally botching the trade for QB A.J. McCARRON. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown disputed reports that he sabotaged the AJ McCarron trade with the Bengals because he really didn’t want to do the deal.
“That’s wholly untrue,” Brown said Monday during a 26-minute midseason press conference. “We were all in there together – Hue (Jackson), myself and a couple other staff members that work on these things at the time we were trying to get the trade done so I’m not worried about that internally. Externally, I can just put it to bed that is just not the case. To sabotage a trade just wouldn’t make any sense.”
Brown stressed that it wasn’t a matter of the Bengals getting their paperwork in on time or the Browns missing the deadline. One source told cleveland.com that the documents weren’t identical, and that the trade wouldn’t have gone through even if the Browns had sent in their paperwork separately.
“It’s too technical to try to simplify that way,” he said. “There’s no paperwork that either side got in that would allow a deal to happen, and it’s truly that simple. They had our paperwork, we had theirs and then it was incumbent upon us to send it in.”
He said despite what it seems, it was really just a timing issue. The Browns waited too long, an estimated 10-15 minutes before the 4 p.m. deadline, to accept the Bengals’ asking price of 2018 second and third round picks for McCarron.
“Both Cincinnati and us tried our damnedest to try to get the paperwork in at the last minutes, and we’re talking about minutes and seconds before the trade deadline ended,” he said. “We were on the phone with the NFL at the time to try to make it happen. It didn’t happen. I do think Cincinnati in earnest tried. I know we did everything humanly possible to get it done. It just didn’t happen. It is truly that simple.”
As for the botched trade widening the rift between the coaching staff and front office, Brown said that’s not the case.
“Hue in particular is really my partner in a lot of these discussions,” he said. “He understands right where that is and all of the efforts that went into it. We were all disappointed that it didn’t happen.”
He acknowledged that waiting so long to make up their minds helped doom the deal. One NFL executive told cleveland.com he had a rule: if it’s not agreed to by 3 p.m., an hour before the deadline, no deal.
“That’s the one place that we were talking this morning a little bit about what we would do differently next time,” he said. “That’s a fair critique. Deadlines do make deals, but they don’t have to so we can get better there.”
As for what McCarron could have added, he said, “A.J. is a guy who’s experienced in our system. Obviously, has played in NFL games. Hue has a lot of familiarity with him so for all those reasons. He’s a young quarterback and promise on the field and has familiarity with our system. That’s a very rare combination.”
For his part, Jackson declined to address it.
“I’m not going to take any questions about anything that happened here last week,” he said. “You may try; I’m not going to answer, I am going to be very honest with you. What I want to talk about is our football team.”
More from Cabot, in a separate article, on the bad paperwork that doomed the deal:
But even if the Browns had copied the NFL on the document sent to the Bengals, the trade wouldn’t have been approved — because the documents didn’t match. If the league had received differing documents at 3:55 p.m., there probably wouldn’t have been enough time to resolve the matter by 3:59:59.
Even if the terms of the trade were identical — a second- and third-round pick in 2018 for McCarron, the other language, such as the conditions, was not.
A condition can be something such as “pending McCarron passing his physical…”
The rules are spelled out on Page 54 – Paragraph 8 of the NFL’s 2017 Player Personnel Handbook, which states:
“Upon agreeing to a trade, clubs shall exchange written messages of the terms and conditions, after which both clubs are required to notify the Commissioner in writing of such terms and conditions. For any trade to be accepted prior to the deadline of 4:00 p.m., New York time, on each business day, written submissions, including all conditions, must be received by the League office from the involved clubs via the NFL Waivers account, or by FAX, prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.
“Note: During the Draft, trades will be accepted by telephone communication to the Player Personnel department, provided that written confirmation is transmitted promptly thereafter.”
When the Browns received a copy of the Bengals’ document at 3:59 p.m., they realized it was different and called the league to appeal. But it was too late. They had run out of time.
And this from Cabot:
At about 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, the trade was dead. The Browns thought draft picks in both the second and third rounds for McCarron, who will either be a restricted or unrestricted free agent after the season depending on arbitration, was too much. They argued that the 49ers gave the Patriots only a second-rounder for Jimmy Garoppolo, who’s viewed as the better quarterback.
But Brown, knowing that the Bengals would take heat for the trade because it was with Cleveland, held firm to his asking price.
Besides, the Garoppolo deal for all intents and purposes was for a second-round pick and backup 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer, who was eventually released and signed by the Patriots for bookkeeping purposes instead of including him in the trade.
The Texans re-think their decision to sign MATT McGLOIN and opt for a mobile, angular African-American quarterback who played his best football for Jim Harbaugh. Nick Shook at NFL.com:
The Houston backup quarterback carousel keeps spinning.
The Texans have released Matt McGloin and signed veteran journeyman Josh Johnson, the team announced. Houston also released defensive end Kendall Langford on Tuesday.
Texans head coach Bill O’Brien has tossed aside his Penn State connection with McGloin in favor of the more mobile Johnson, who spent the preseason with the New York Giants but hasn’t thrown a regular-season pass since 2011, when he started one game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since then, the 31-year-old Johnson has spent time with the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills and Giants. He’s also been a practice squad member of the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets.
Johnson came out on the short end of a preseason battle with Geno Smith to back up Eli Manning in New York. In that four-game tryout, he completed 22 of 34 passes for 239 yards and one touchdown, but was noticeably worse than Smith, resulting in his release on final cut-down day.
Harbaugh was Johnson’s coach at the University of San Diego in 2005-06. And we guess you could argue his 2007 season at USD for Ron Caragher, after Harbaugh left for Stanford, was really his best football. Johnson threw 43 TD passes in ’07 for the Torreros with only 1 INT.
There seems to be some doubt at the highest levels of the Colts organization as to exactly how badly QB ANDREW LUCK is hurting. Will Brinson of CBSSports.com:
If you haven’t been paying attention, the Indianapolis Colts have a major mess on their hands at the quarterback position. Andrew Luck is battling a major shoulder injury and is shut down for the year, with his long-term health very much up in the air. Making matters much worse, Colts owner Jim Irsay is apparently questioning Luck in private conversations.
Former Colts coach Tony Dungy appeared on the “Dan Patrick Show” on Monday and, as first caught by Bob Kravitz of WTHR.com and confirmed by Patrick on Tuesday, said Irsay claims Luck’s injury is “in his head.”
“I don’t know what’s going on there. Jim Irsay made a comment to me about six weeks ago, ‘It’s inside his head now,'” Dungy said.
Worth noting: This was during one of the commercial cut-ins of the show and, as Patrick noted Tuesday, it is very possible/likely that Dungy did not know his mic was on. Paul Pabst of the show reached out to Dungy to confirm the quotes Tuesday, and relayed that Dungy heard the comments from Irsay during a “group conversation in September.”
“Wait, it’s inside Luck’s head?” Patrick asked.
“Yeah, [Irsay] said that when I was out [in Indianapolis] for Peyton’s ceremony,” Dungy replied.
“Wow. I really wonder if Luck’s future is in Indianapolis. I really do,” Patrick said.
“They obviously believed [Luck would be back Week 1] because they did nothing to prepare for him not being there,” Dungy said after a lengthy pause.
Irsay tweeted in January, when Luck had surgery on his shoulder, that his quarterback would be ready for the season. He very explicitly created raised expectations for Luck, even though the surgery Luck was dealing with clearly was more invasive than your average shoulder surgery. You could easily argue the comments from Irsay and the comments from the Colts since then have served to mislead their fans.
Dungy was asked, during the obviously on-camera portion of the program, about Luck’s future in Indy and believes he’ll play there.
“I think it is, but I’m concerned about [his] physical health. Where is he? Because he’s going to throw, he’s not going to throw, he’s not going to throw 100 percent. We thought he was going to be ready, he’s not going to be ready. Where is he physically?” Dungy said. “The reason why I say it’s going to be in Indianapolis — think back five years and Peyton Manning and supposedly he’s done and he’s got this neck surgery and he’ll never throw again and he goes and wins another Super Bowl for another team. I don’t see Jim Irsay wanting to have that happen. Hey, where’s Andrew Luck, he’s not playing — and he wins for somebody else. I think he’ll be in Indianapolis.”
Yeah, there’s no way that Irsay wants to run Luck out of Indianapolis. But here’s the catch, and the general message passed along by Kravitz in his column from Tuesday: Irsay might be inadvertently running Luck out of town with his comments and actions.
This is not the first time that we’ve heard about discontent circulating around Luck and the Colts. Last year during the early portion of the season, there was a report about Luck being unhappy with the Colts that his agent denied. Kravitz referenced “a report out of Denver” about Irsay being frustrated with Luck; he doesn’t link it and we can’t find it and he calls it “unconfirmed” on a local (Indy) level.
But Irsay has said on record previously that the game is played between the ears and that Luck needs emotional and mental support from the team.
“It’s been said before by one of the greatest athletes and competitors who’ve played any sport — the quote was this, ‘These games, all games, are played on a four-inch field between your ears.’ That’s where it’s at. You have to be able to deal with this, not only physically but mentally,” Irsay said. “I have no doubt that Andrew Luck, the person that [he] is, he’s going to come out of this thing not just how he was but a better QB. When is the question. That timetable is more on the football Gods and Andrew’s gut feeling on how he’s feeling.”
That’s largely a compliment (I think) but Irsay is also intimating that Luck’s issues aren’t just physical. Which seems like an odd thing to say, and which backs up what Dungy says he heard Irsay say. Luck is battling a shoulder surgery. He is probably questioning his football mortality too, given how long of a process he’s been battling. This is not normal for a guy his age.
And despite having received significant financial support from ownership in the form of a massive new contract, Luck is probably questioning his stint in Indianapolis at this point because of the lack of public support he’s gotten from his owner as it relates to his injury status. Luck battled through a significant shoulder injury for two years before the Colts actually shut him down and proceeded with surgery. He put his career at risk because the Colts felt the need to “win now” back in 2015 and 2016. The result is a lost 2017 and questionable 2018.
The odds are good that Luck will be back with the Colts next year, but stranger things have happened. And the current situation is not trending well for the long-term health of the relationship between Luck and Irsay. By the way, this probably shouldn’t be breaking news: after Irsay drafted Luck and Luck won 11 games in his first year, Irsay promptly managed to lob insults in the direction of Peyton Manning, who had recently left and joined the Broncos.
Irsay sometimes does not have a way with words and it has frequently left his franchise quarterbacks in odd and uncomfortable situations.
Tom Coughlin didn’t have any problem with the shot CB JALEN RAMSEY gave to Bengals WR A.J. GREEN that set off a brawl.
Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey was ejected from Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals following a brouhaha with receiver A.J. Green. On Tuesday, Ramsey received support from Jags’ executive vice president Tom Coughlin.
“I want to voice my support for Jalen Ramsey following the incident in our game on Sunday,” Coughlin said in a statement released by the team’s PR office. “Our players are instructed to not retaliate or get involved or do anything that would result in eviction because that would hurt the team. Team comes first, and Jalen was trying not to hurt his team. While he did push his opponent — something that happened with other players during the game — he did not retaliate, he threw no punches, and he did not fight back. Jalen was doing what Coach [Doug] Marrone has instructed him to do — which is to play tough, be physical and to make every play difficult for his opponent. There was banter going back and forth during the game, but Jalen was playing football within the rules.”
Coughlin’s statement seems to take issue with referee Brad Allen, who said after the game that Ramsey was ejected for being the “instigator” of the tussle.
Neither Ramsey nor Green will be suspended for the on-field fight after being banished just before halftime. The NFL is reviewing the incident for possible fines, however. Coughlin’s statement suggests he believes Ramsey did nothing to warrant such a financial penalty.
The DB saw Green give Ramsey a gratuitous, but light push. Then Ramsey gave Green a forearm shiver that knocked Green to the ground. Then Green got up and strangled Ramsey. So an over-reaction by Ramsey to an initial provocation from Green who then over-reacted to the over-reaction.
Pete Blackburn of CBSSports.com tries to separate fact from fiction on reports that the relationship between QB TOM BRADY and Coach Bill Belichick is frayed:
If you think Bill Belichick could be on the outs with Tom Brady and the quarterback’s camp, the Patriots coach has news for you. That’s “fake news.”
Belichick made his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Dale & Holley with Keefe” on Monday and, while on the show, he addressed some tidbits from ESPN The Magazine’s recent profile on Brady. Specifically, there were multiple aspects of the piece that suggested Belichick’s relationship with Brady could be strained.
According to the profile, an unidentified friend of Belichick claimed that “a collision is coming” between the Patriots coach and Alex Guerrero, Brady’s trusted trainer. Another unattributed quote says that Belichick was “confident he could win a Super Bowl” with now-former Pats backup Jimmy Garoppolo, who was traded to the 49ers last week.
“I mean, as usual, I think a lot of comments in the article you’re referring to were unattributed to anybody, if I am not mistaken,” Belichick said on the radio program. “I don’t think anybody said anything. This is just a general random opinion about I am not sure exactly what. If we would like to talk about somebody who has an informed opinion about something that is one thing, I mean otherwise we’re just talking about a lot of fake news here about just putting out a lot of things that are unattributable. As usual. I’d say we get a lot of that.”
Belichick also took time to clarify Guerrero’s role, which is completely independent of the organization.
“Alex works with Tom and Tom’s facility. And that’s really about the end of it,” the coach said. “If a player goes up there for a second opinion or a treatment or whatever, then that’s fine. No different than one who went to his own chiropractor or massage therapist, or whatever it happens to be.”
“He’s not on our staff,” he explained. “Our staff, our training staff, our nutrition staff, our equipment staff, you know, those are all contained within the Patriots. Alex and his staff at TB12 and Tom’s role in TB12, that’s kind of a separate business.”
And if you’re the kind of person who enjoys getting your football news from the Golf Channel, you may have seen a report from the network’s Ryan Burr last week suggesting that Belichick’s relationship with Brady “isn’t great.” After the Garoppolo deal, Burr reported that Belichick isn’t particularly loyal to the quarterback that has won five Super Bowls in New England, and the trade was a gesture of loyalty from Patriots owner Robert Kraft to Brady.
Brady camp 3 days ago felt privately TB could be traded by Bill after 17. This was a Kraft decision to make it clear Brady finishes as a Pat
Told TB relationship with BB not great and all his loyalty is too Mr Kraft.
When Belichick was directly asked about his current relationship with Brady, his response seems to refute those reports as well.
“Good. Consistent,” he said. “I’ve met with Tom at least twice a week for the last 16 years.”
It seems that if you want to come at Belichick with reports of tension within his organization, you should find a way to get your sources on the record. Otherwise, the coach clearly has no problem shooting it down with a declaration of “fake news.”
The DB would think that if Garoppolo is any good, that Belichick would think he could win a Super Bowl with him and that since injuries happen and Brady is 40 and could choose to retire at any time, his planning for the time when he didn’t have TB makes sense.
But that wouldn’t make him “disloyal.”
THIS AND THAT
THRU WEEK 9
As we pass the midway point of the season, the 8-1 Eagles have opened up a lead of 5.2 points in the Aikman Combined Ratings compiled by STATS. With their dominant performance over the Broncos last Sunday, Philadelphia jumped from a Combined Rating of 168.7 to 172.8 and saw its lead over second-place Jacksonville jump from 0.4.
The Jaguars and Vikings continue in 2nd and 3rd, but the Rams and Cowboys are newcomers to the top 5. Los Angeles jumped all the way from 10th to 4th with their beating of the Giants while the Cowboys continued their steady climb in recent weeks moving from 7th to 5th. Dallas was as low as 17th after Week 5.
We note that six of the top seven teams in the current Aikman Combined come from the NFC. The Chiefs, who were in 1st as recently as Week 5 have tumbled to 12th, in large part due to a defense that now ranks 32nd in Aikman Defense.
The Eagles big win moved them ahead of idle New England into 1st in Aikman Offense while the Jaguars lead Aikman Defense for the third consecutive week.
Aikman Combined Ratings Through Week 9, 2017
——— Aikman ——– ——- NFL ——–
Rank Record Team Combined Off Def Off Def Combined
1 8-1 Eagles 172.8 94.4 78.4 5 11 16
2 5-3 Jaguars 167.6 85.4 82.2 9 3 12
3 6-2 Vikings 162.9 83.3 79.5 11 4 15
4 6-2 Rams 161.0 88.7 72.3 3 16 19
5 5-3 Cowboys 160.7 91.9 68.7 8 14 22
6 6-2 Saints 160.1 87.9 72.1 2 15 17
7 5-3 Seahawks 157.6 80.7 76.9 4 13 17
8 6-2 Steelers 156.9 77.9 79.0 10 5 15
9 6-2 Patriots 156.3 91.6 64.7 1 32 33
10 5-3 Bills 155.7 81.8 73.9 26 22 48
11 3-5 Texans 154.2 83.2 71.0 12 20 32
12 6-3 Chiefs 152.2 90.1 62.1 7 29 36
13 4-5 Ravens 152.2 73.4 78.8 30 7 37
14 3-5 Chargers 152.1 78.9 73.2 17 19 36
15 4-4 Falcons 151.5 82.6 68.9 6 12 18
16 4-4 Packers 150.7 87.4 63.3 23 25 48
17 4-4 Lions 150.0 76.8 73.2 16 21 37
18 5-3 Titans 149.7 79.7 70.0 20 17 37
19 6-3 Panthers 149.1 75.8 73.4 21 1 22
20 4-5 Jets 148.1 79.4 68.6 22 24 46
21 4-5 Raiders 147.6 83.1 64.6 19 26 45
22 4-4 Redskins 146.1 78.3 67.8 14 18 32
23 3-5 Bears 145.1 71.1 74.0 29 8 37
24 3-5 Broncos 144.7 70.4 74.3 18 2 20
25 4-4 Dolphins 140.4 73.8 66.6 31 10 41
26 3-6 Colts 140.3 73.3 67.1 25 31 56
27 2-6 Buccaneers 140.0 77.0 63.0 13 28 41
28 3-5 Bengals 139.9 66.2 73.7 32 6 38
29 1-7 Giants 138.0 74.9 63.1 28 30 58
30 4-4 Cardinals 135.9 70.4 65.4 15 23 38
31 0-9 49ers 135.1 71.7 63.3 24 27 51
32 0-8 Browns 127.7 62.6 65.1 27 9 36
Aikman Offense Ratings Through Week 9, 2017
Aik NFL Team AER
1 5 Eagles 94.4
2 8 Cowboys 91.9
3 1 Patriots 91.6
4 7 Chiefs 90.1
5 3 Rams 88.7
6 2 Saints 87.9
7 23 Packers 87.4
8 9 Jaguars 85.4
9 11 Vikings 83.3
10 12 Texans 83.2
11 19 Raiders 83.1
12 6 Falcons 82.6
13 26 Bills 81.8
14 4 Seahawks 80.7
15 20 Titans 79.7
16 22 Jets 79.4
17 17 Chargers 78.9
18 14 Redskins 78.3
19 10 Steelers 77.9
20 13 Buccaneers 77.0
21 16 Lions 76.8
22 21 Panthers 75.8
23 28 Giants 74.9
24 31 Dolphins 73.8
25 30 Ravens 73.4
26 25 Colts 73.3
27 24 49ers 71.7
28 29 Bears 71.1
29 15 Cardinals 70.4
30 18 Broncos 70.4
31 32 Bengals 66.2
32 27 Browns 62.6
NFL Average 79.4
Aikman Defense Ratings Through Week 9, 2017
Aik NFL Team AER
1 3 Jaguars 82.2
2 4 Vikings 79.5
3 5 Steelers 79.0
4 7 Ravens 78.8
5 11 Eagles 78.4
6 13 Seahawks 76.9
7 2 Broncos 74.3
8 8 Bears 74.0
9 22 Bills 73.9
10 6 Bengals 73.7
11 1 Panthers 73.4
12 19 Chargers 73.2
13 21 Lions 73.2
14 16 Rams 72.3
15 15 Saints 72.1
16 20 Texans 71.0
17 17 Titans 70.0
18 12 Falcons 68.9
19 14 Cowboys 68.7
20 24 Jets 68.6
21 18 Redskins 67.8
22 31 Colts 67.1
23 10 Dolphins 66.6
24 23 Cardinals 65.4
25 9 Browns 65.1
26 32 Patriots 64.7
27 26 Raiders 64.6
28 27 49ers 63.3
29 25 Packers 63.3
30 30 Giants 63.1
31 28 Buccaneers 63.0
32 29 Chiefs 62.1
NFL Average 70.6
Ratings Courtesy of STATS