Texans expect J.J. Watt, Deshaun Watson to be ready for training camp
The Texans may have been the unluckiest team in the league on the injury front last year, but there’s good news on injuries this year.
Houston lost both their breakout star quarterback Deshaun Watson and their three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt to season-ending injuries last season, but both of them are expected to be ready to go for the start of training camp. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Houston does not anticipate putting either player on the physically unable to perform list.
And you’ll see it with Indy and new coach Frank Reich too. All that makes sense, since Kansas City (Nagy) and Philly (Reich, DeFilippo) ran more RPOs, per Pro Football Focus’ numbers, than anyone else in the league, and all these guys, including Eagles coach Doug Pederson, branch off the Andy Reid coaching tree. What’s more interesting? As I’ve heard it, coaches all over the NFL are tapping into their connections in college football to learn more about RPO concepts, both in an effort to learn to implement them (with the main concern being protecting your quarterback) and defend against them.
Gurley knows well that success in one season doesn’t guarantee anything the next year. He ran for 1,106 yards while averaging 4.8 yards per carry in 13 games as a rookie, but dropped to 885 yards and 3.2 yards per carry in 16 2016 games. Anything Gurley does to avoid a similar drop will be much appreciated by the Rams.
The Miami Dolphins are rewarding cornerback Bobby McCain after he set multiple career highs in 2017. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Dolphins made McCain the highest-paid nickel cornerback in football on Friday by giving him a four-year, $27 million extension with $13 million guaranteed.
That seems like a lot of money for the Dolphins to commit to a nickel cornerback. Over the past year, guys like Richard Sherman, Prince Amukamara, and Joe Haden have signed contracts worth roughly $27 million, per Spotrac. But as NFL offenses increasingly operate out of three-receiver sets, the need for nickel cornerbacks has increased dramatically. According to Pro Football Focus, offenses used 11 personnel (one back, one tight end, three receivers) 58 percent of the time during the 2017 season.
Adonis Alexander officially enters NFL Supplement Draft
Adonis Alexander officially entered the NFL Supplemental Draft, agent Andy Ross tweeted.
The Virginia Tech cornerback will hold his Pro Day on June 20 in anticipation of the July 11 supplemental draft.
Fitzpatrick started 10 games as a true freshman for a defense loaded with NFL prospects. He has played corner and safety and has pass rush skills. He does his best work in the biggest moments and shows a rare desire to be prepared and to succeed.
He has played safety (strong and free), cornerback in the nickel, weakside linebacker in specialty packages, and pass-rusher from an outside linebacker spot. His talent, combined with his leadership abilities, will make him a key voice in the locker room.
There is plenty to work with for a coaching staff that can get it out of him. He should be a versatile player with the physical traits to consistently dominate. But his 12.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in 2017 left some looking for more.
Thomas has overcome a lot along the way, as both of his parents died a year apart before he was 10 years old. While injuries impacted him this past season, his two-touchdown game against Ohio State offered a glimpse of his ability.
He missed four games this past season with an ankle injury. Landry is an impact player on the edge who had 30.5 tackles for loss and 21.5 sacks the past two seasons combined. He is a high-effort player with rush skills who could be chosen in the first round.
An interior defender who was credited with a 100-tackle season is a rare find. Phillips had 103 tackles this past season, with 17 for loss and 6.5 sacks. Phillips was 96-11 as a high school wrestler and won the 2013 junior national heavyweight championship.
Doug Baldwin calls President Trump an idiot
Doug Baldwin said Wednesday he was not surprised by the NFL’s new national anthem policy. A day later, the Seahawks receiver expressed even less surprise at President Trump’s suggestion that those who refuse to stand for the national anthem maybe shouldn’t be in the country.
He’s an idiot, plain and simple, Baldwin said, via video from Gregg Bell of The News Tribune. I mean, listen, I respect the man because he’s a human being first and foremost, but he’s just being more divisive, which is not surprising. It is what it is. But for him to say that anybody who doesn’t follow his viewpoints or his constituents’ viewpoints should be kicked out of the country, it’s not very empathetic. It’s not very American-like, actually. It’s not very patriotic. It’s not what this country was founded upon. It’s kind of ironic of me that the President of the United States is contradicting what our country is really built on.
The President’s comments have turned the issue into an even bigger controversy as Baldwin and Brandon Marshall’s responses showed Thursday.
The stipulations to be controlling owner of the Broncos included completion of a business or law degree and five years in management in the NFL or another major business organization.
Bowlen Wallace graduated from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law in 2016. She also worked with the Broncos as the director of special projects before her employment was ended in 2015.
She’s assisted with Colorado-based nonprofits and charitable organizations, including the Alzheimer’s Association. She’s also worked as an executive in the oil and gas industry since 2016.
My father’s number one goal was to win, Bowlen Wallace said. He understood that took financial commitment, hard work, dedication, the right leadership, and drive. He was motivated to win not only for himself and the team but for the pride of Broncos Country, our beloved and loyal fans.
Bowlen Wallace has the support of Amie Bowlen Klemmer, the oldest Bowlen child; Bill Bowlen, Pat Bowlen’s brother; and minority owners of the team, Kerry and John Bowlen (John is Pat Bowlen’s brother).
Addition of veteran tackle raises question about Bryan Bulaga’s timeline
The Packers gave themselves some cover yesterday, when they signed a functional starting-caliber right tackle.
Which makes it reasonable to wonder whether they’re convinced their incumbent right tackle is going to be ready to start the season.
Via Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press Gazette, yesterday’s signing of former Panthers-Titans-Cowboys lineman Byron Bell could be a sign of some concern about Bulaga’s timeline.
Randall is from Florida, but said he became a fan of Curry’s after the shooting star made a name for himself at Davidson College and went pro. Randall said he also likes Cleveland’s superstar LeBron James, but not as much as Curry.
I am not anti-LeBron. I am actually a big LeBron fan as well, but when he’s going against Steph, I would rather Steph over LeBron, he said. But at the end of the day, I mean they are both great, great players, and I definitely respect everything that LeBron has done for this community and for this city and state. He is one of the greatest players to ever touch a basketball if you ask me.
All I have is what Terrance remembers, Lewis said, via George. All of that is news to me. Anytime you hit a curve going about 60 mph and he struck his head, I don’t know, but we’re going to find out. I have to do the work necessary when you have an injury like this, when you hit your head if there is any head trauma as far as a gap in memory.
Frisco, Texas, police arrested Williams for public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor, after he ran into the curb on a motorized bicycle. Police were looking for Williams after finding his wrecked car next to a downed light pole.
Lewis claimed Saturday that Williams did not hit a light pole, but photos released by the police department Thursday show he did.
It’s my understanding that the impact that Terrance felt was from the curve, Lewis said Thursday. He didn’t have any recollection of hitting a light pole.
Both have rings. As a coach, Steve Kerr has two, Tyronn Lue has one. Go with numbers.
Warriors in 6. Will be tougher series than Vegas projects as LeBron stopper Andre Iguodola appears more hurt than team is letting on. The non LeBrons sure get paid enough to step up in The Finals and expect gritty series from Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love, George Hill (combined 2017-18 salary $59M).
Report: Steelers tackle Jerald Hawkins sustained torn quadriceps
When Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Jerald Hawkins went down in practice early on Wednesday, it appeared as though he’d sustained a non-contact knee injury.
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, Hawkins injury is actually a torn quadriceps muscle.
Hawkins collapsed on the field and yelped upon going to the ground. He had to be helped off the field by members of the team’s training staff.
Without a job in football in 2015, Halapio was training in Florida with Mike Alstott, the former Buccaneers’ fullback, when a piece of advice hit home.
He’s like ‘If it’s not working for you at guard you ever thought about snapping the ball?,’ Halapio recalled. I was like, ‘No.’ He was like ‘If you want to play in this league, you got to play more than one position.’ So, I started snapping.
While the Colts remain confident Luck will play this season, the franchise quarterback has not thrown a football since last October. The plan is for Luck to begin throwing a football sometime between June 14 and the start of training camp.
For me, coming off missing the entire year with the neck, I knew I was going to have to play a different kind of way, a different sort of physical state, Manning said. I was looking for things like positive feedback from receivers on whether the ball felt the same coming in and then when you get into the game and you throw a deep out. We played a preseason game and I threw a deep comeback route, and that was a thing to check off the box. You want to do everything for the first time again. You want to get hit; you want to make a tight throw, have a two-minute drive. I wanted to do all those things again.
Kevin White: I believe in myself even if Bears don’t
The Bears declined to exercise their fifth-year option on wide receiver Kevin White’s contract this offseason in a move that couldn’t have taken anyone by surprise.
Injuries have limited White to five games since being drafted seventh overall in the 2015 draft and the option is guaranteed in the case of injury, which makes for too much risk for a player who hasn’t shown he can actually help the team on the field. In a series of short answers to questions from reporters on Wednesday, White shrugged off the decision.
I’m motivated every single day, with or without the option. … Don’t know [if the Bears believe in me], White said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. Really doesn’t bother me at all. I believe in myself.
The way the Giants designed this, Eli Manning is going to have options galore after he takes the snap from center. If the greatest challenge for the 37-year-old quarterback is determining which of his many enticing targets gets the ball on a particular play, figure Manning, the offense and the team are all in fine shape.
It is too early to see this coming together, as Odell Beckham Jr. has yet to take part in any team work this spring, rehabbing from a fractured left ankle. The Giants know what Beckham can do, though, and are eager to pair him with an increasingly polished Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram, oozing potential after an enticing rookie year.
Payton said that while he didn’t agree with Ingram’s decision to stay away, he understood it.
It’s important to separate personal feelings and professional feelings, Payton said. I care too much for a guy like him and think the world of him and I told him when we spoke. I said, ‘Hey, I don’t necessarily agree with it. We talked for a long time a couple times, so it is what it is. . . .
I don’t really get as concerned about something I can’t control like that, and I’m really focused on the guys that are here and making sure the guys that are here are improving and getting better.
The 28-year-old Ingram is coming off a great year, establishing new career highs with 230 carries, 1,124 rushing yards, and 12 rushing touchdowns, along with 58 receptions for 416 receiving yards.
Pencil in LeBron anywhere and get Edge: Cavaliers. LeBron is, well, LeBron, still the best player on the floor. If you haven’t heard of him, here’s another tidbit: people do more than make calls with their phones. The Warriors will throw waves on him: Iguodala (if healthy), Green, Thompson, Durant to exhaust him. If James gets 35 and Durant gets 30, the Warriors win walking away. Iguodala — out for at least Game 1 with a leg injury — is an X-factor, giving Golden State a gritty defender in its small lineup that was so successful before his injury.
Report: Tom Brady has continued usual offseason regimen
New reporting has cast fresh doubt on the future of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, but his actions don’t seem to be adding any fuel to those rumors.
Who changed? How many teammates agree with him? What next? While Curran didn’t cite evidence of the open revolt, he went on Mike Florio’s PFTPM podcast to discuss his column noting that things have changed over time as Brady gone from a learning player to the most important voice in the locker room. But over the course of time, you know, taking less money, seeing players who he valued very much jettisoned or nickel and dimed or went out the door, along with the team’s success, I think started to wear on him, as did Belichick’s very present inclination toward negativity, Curran told Florio.
FOX is taking over the Thursday night slate of games and ESPN is looking for a new analyst after watching Jon Gruden return to the Oakland Raiders.
Both networks took a run at the biggest fish in the sea: two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning.
But the five-time NFL MVP said no to both networks.
I think all kinds of things get said. I mean, I laughed at that. When I say John Dorsey goes dark, he goes dark. Whoever thinks they’re finding John Dorsey, trust me, you’re not finding him. So I think there are a lot of things that get said that I know aren’t true. And if there was a consensus that John would’ve come to at this point, he would’ve told me. So I know that’s not the case. And while his boss hasn’t made a decision, Jackson, too, remains noncommittal on who Cleveland should select. I’m the same way. I’m sifting through my side of it, too, he said.
Dez Bryant has yet to find a home. The Honey Badger would like to fix that in a hurry.
Newly signed Texans defensive back Tyrann Mathieu made his pitch for Houston’s front office to sign Bryant, the veteran wideout suddenly released by the Cowboys last week.
You just want that person to feel like he’s wanted again, Mathieu said Tuesday, per Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle. I messaged him last night trying to get him here.
Oh, and there’s also that part about figuring out where Chubb will play. He isn’t expected to last beyond the fifth pick — which happens to be where Denver is selecting. Miller plus Miller/Mack named Chubb? The intrigue continues to build.
Some post-play activities are to be expected in any playoff series, when hits and physical play are ramped up, and playing the same team day after day for up to seven games can build some bad blood.
To a certain extent it does, but at the same time, some of that extracurricular stuff at the end of games is kind of washed away and you reset, forward Kyle Palmieri said. You’re ready to go out there and play between the whistles and some 5-on-5 hockey to start the next game. I think both teams are focused on staying disciplined, staying out of the box. It’s huge this time of year. To give other teams momentum on power plays, it’s not something you want to do at home or on the road.
The two players were being held back after a long fight in the left corner of the Lightning offensive zone. Boyle and Sergachev continued to shout at each other with officials in between them.
Boyle downplayed the near brawl, and chalked it up to an emotional moment where the Devils stood up for each other.
I expect us to be the best duo in the NFL, Hopkins told reporters Tuesday. That’s my goal. I’m pretty sure that’s his goal. And if we have all these goals for ourselves, that’s going to help the team get what we get to.
Watson burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2017. After backing up Tom Savage in Houston’s first game, Watson started the Texans’ next six contests and went on a torrid touchdown pace. The rookie out of Clemson threw for 1,699 yards and 19 scores in seven games until he suffered a season-ending knee injury. Extrapolated over a full 16-game slate, Watson was on pace to throw for 3,883 yards and 43 touchdowns, the latter of which would have shattered the rookie QB record (26: Peyton Manning, 1998; Russell Wilson , 2012).
The gaming industry is also opposed to the fees. William Hill sports book CEO Joe Asher says it could eat up 20 percent of sports book revenues because sports books generally net about only 5 percent of winnings.
So far, four other states have passed sports betting laws in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling: Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. And 14 other states are considering such legislation.
Illinois and Indiana have included the 1 percent fee in their bills. There are measures in Connecticut, Kansas, Missouri, and New York with a 0.25 percent fee.
The Giants wouldn’t abandon the passing game if they added Barkley, of course, not with playmakers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Evan Engram. Plus, Barkley himself is an elite receiver out of the backfield, catching 102 passes for 1,195 yards and eight touchdowns in his three college seasons.
And the thought of adding Barkley to an offense with a number of playmakers is intriguing. The Giants are only one season removed from a playoff berth, and a number of running backs selected in the top 10 in recent years—Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley and Leonard Fournette all come to mind—have transformed their respective offenses and led to recent playoff appearances.
Building an offense around Barkley makes sense for a team like the Giants. It would take pressure off veteran quarterback Eli Manning and force defenses to respect the run game, opening up opportunities for players like Beckham in the pass game.
It was a great game. It was entertaining, Rockies manager Bud Black said. You wouldn’t expect a game like that to end up the way it did, because of the 10 walks and some of the wild pitches and stuff, but it’s baseball, man. It was great.
Eagles to host Falcons in NFL regular-season opener as Super Bowl title defense begins
The starting point of the Philadelphia Eagles’ title defense is set.
The reigning Super Bowl champions, seeking to become the first team to repeat since the New England Patriots in 2003-04, will kick off the NFL regular season on Sept. 6 at home against the Atlanta Falcons. The league’s full slate of games for 2018 was revealed Thursday evening.
That game will be a matchup of last season’s NFC divisional showdown, which Philadelphia won 15-10.
The NFL’s International Series will also continue in 2018 with three clashes in London (Raiders-Seahawks on Oct. 14, Tennessee Titans-Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 21 and Eagles-Jaguars on Oct. 28) as well as the Los Angeles Rams squaring off against the Kansas City Chiefs in Mexico City on a Nov. 19 Monday Night Football matchup.
In three seasons at ECU after transferring from Marshall, he made 96 catches for 1,040 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Just having a bunch of brilliant offensive minds around me, I’m just getting a lot of information, Trubisky said.
It all caused Trubisky to remark: I feel like these last three days, I’ve been coached more than I ever have.
The Bears finished 30th on offense and have been ranked in the bottom half of NFL offenses three of the past four seasons. Coach John Fox was fired after going 5-11 in his third season, with Trubisky starting the final 12 games of his rookie year.
Defensive end Dwight Freeney will retire as a member of the Colts on Monday, team officials said.
Freeney was a seven-time Pro Bowler, a three-time first-team All-Pro selection and played in three Super Bowls. He won his only title with the Colts following the 2006 season.