Category: Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans

NFL’s message to teams looking for head starts in offseason: slow down

The NFL earlier this week displayed something that continues to dwindle among its non-Super Bowl teams. Patience.

For the second straight year, that characteristic was evident in the tabling of a rules proposal that would allow a franchise to hire an assistant from another club as its new head coach while the latter is still alive in the postseason.

Nowadays, any franchise waiting that long to start putting moves in motion is being lapped by its competitors.

Here’s an example of how things have changed: In late January, Kansas City and Washington did something once heavily frowned upon by league headquarters. That was reaching terms on the kind of major trade that took attention away from the NFL’s showcase game.

Five days before Philadelphia played New England in Super Bowl 52, the Redskins not only acquired Alex Smith in exchange for a third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller. Washington also had already worked out Smith’s contract extension that helped set the market price for other quarterbacks trying to finalize new deals.

The 2016 seventh-rounder from Western Kentucky has spent the last two years on the practice squad.

The Dolphins have shown plenty of interest in Baker Mayfield, but have also been looking at quarterbacks who could come later than the first round (bringing Luke Falk in for a visit), as they work to improve the position.

They let longtime backup Matt Moore walk as a free agent, and though they’ve signed Brock Osweiler and David Fales, there’s no reason to think they don’t want to upgrade, even if it’s just for a backup.

Indeed, the Cavs went 51-31 last season with Irving in the fold. Last season, James sat eight games and Cleveland went 0-8 when he rested. This season, for the first time in his career, James will play all 82 games when he suits up against the Knicks on Wednesday in the season finale.

“I’m healthy,” James said. “So, I’m playing.”texans_134

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Belichick ripped Gronk in front of teammates for using TB12 Method

Talk that Patriots coach Bill Belichick and tight end Rob Gronkowski don’t see eye to eye may stem from the same source as the reports during the season that Belichick and Tom Brady weren’t seeing eye to eye.

The earlier reports centered around Brady and his trainer Alex Guerrero, and a new report says that Belichick got on Gronkowski’s case during the 2017 season because Gronk began following the teachings of Guerrero and Brady’s patented TB 12 Method.

The trade chatter from two weeks ago flowed from nothing Beckham specifically did but from the fact that Giants co-owner John Mara publicly bristled at questions about Beckham and his contract. On that point, Cowherd said that teams that did their homework about Beckham in advance of a potential trade didn’t like what they found. Though Cowherd didn’t mention any specific behaviors, he clearly implied that there was/is something unsavory that caused teams to shy away from trading for and paying Beckham.

“He played well,” Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said Wednesday at LSU’s Pro Day, via Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune. “Look, familiarity is just a little piece of that factor. It’s more about his ability as a player, and what was demonstrated last season, and what we feel like he can do for us in the upcoming season.”

The Saints wanted Jimmy Graham, but he signed with the Packers. Watson was the Saints’ Plan B.

Watson, 37, spent three seasons with the Saints, catching 74 passes for 825 yards and six touchdowns in 2015.

“One thing about the familiarity, we know Ben is A-plus-plus in the character department and is good for a locker room, good for a team and good for an organization, so we’re excited about that, too,” Loomis said.

Rick Neuheisel: Although he is best known for his 12 seasons as a college head coach, Neuheisel spent three years on Baltimore’s staff as quarterbacks coach (2005-06) and offensive coordinator (2007). He remains close to the sport as a television and SiriusXM analyst.cardinals_010

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Humboldt president tells mourners: ‘We will find strength in each other’

It conceivable that he might draw one pitching assignment with a matchup unfavorable enough — think Week 6 with the two games at Coors Field, or Week 8 with three apiece at Toronto’s Rogers Centre and New York’s Yankee Stadium — that he’d be more useful as a hitter, but it’s still highly unlikely that it’d be so much so to tilt the balance (a pitching assignment at Coors where he’d be slotted at hitter, then perhaps draw 2-3 games against Minnesota Twins right-handed starters during the subsequent weekend series being a possible exception).

With the Alliance of American Football planning to start a year earlier than the XFL — and already dropping teams in non-NFL cities like Orlando — the XFL will need to factor the AAF’s apparent goals and objectives into the crafting of the new XFL game. Will the XFL put teams in the same cities where the AAF will be playing? If the AAF picks non-NFL cities, will the XFL decide to put football teams in towns that already are served by the NFL?

The biggest philosophical question relates to the style of play. The XFL, according to Vince McMahon, will attempt to be at the forefront of player safety. With the NFL taking safety to the extreme via the new helmet rule, the looming elimination of the kickoff, and the eventual (possibly) removal of the three-point stance, maybe the XFL’s vow to “reimagine” football should include turning back the clock.

With tailbacks Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara still on hand, Line’s return means the Saints have all the key pieces from their backfield back for another year.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys and some big names missing. It could have been easy yesterday or today to come up with a poor effort or a lack of commitment,” Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said. “We were making some mental mistakes and stuff but I think the effort was there from the beginning until the end.”

After falling behind 1-0 on Dzingel’s goal 12:31 into the game, Boston tied it on Pastrnak’s power-play goal 8:08 into the second period. The tie lasted less than a minute before Wingels fired a wrist shot that Taylor got his glove on but couldn’t hold and the puck bounced over the goal line at 8:59 of the second.

Heinen made a steal at the Boston blue line and took it the other way, beating Taylor on a wrist shot with 2:59 left in the second.

Dzingel pulled Ottawa to 3-2 at 7:07 of the third with his second goal of the game, but Acciari added an insurance goal for Boston with 1:51 left and David Backes scored on an empty net with 43 seconds left to play.texans_007

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Odell Beckham has managed to steal the spotlight at an Annual League Meeting which features a long-awaited change to the NFL’s vexing catch rule.

The Giants aren’t shopping their superstar receiver, but they are keeping the phone lines open.

What would it take to land one of the sport’s most dynamic talents when the general manager in question doesn’t believe in quitting on such obvious talent

Kickoffs are the most harrowing play in football: Eleven men running at full speed down field at 10 men running directly toward them, with the sole intention of colliding in order to create space for a single ballcarrier. There have been rule changes to limit damage at various levels of the game — removal of multiple-man wedge blocking, for example — but the danger still exists. It doesn’t take a pile of spreadsheets to tell you the game’s participants are at the most risk when approached from a blind side, especially when not moving at full speed. This play seems to create a higher chance of such a thing happening, simply due to the nature of it.

As the league moves toward legislating a safer game, the extinction of kickoffs could be next. It’s already missing from some of the lower levels of the game (think middle school football). Sure, it might cost a handful of return specialists their jobs in the long run, but could keep far more players healthy. In the end, that’s what is most valuable.

It’s tough to blame Prescott for all of the Cowboys’ woes in 2017, but even he knows he has to up his game. At the annual league meetings this week, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett acknowledge that they need more from their quarterback — and he knows it too.

He’s done a lot of good things, but he knows, we know, everybody knows he’s got to get better, Garrett said, per ESPN. One of the exciting things about him is he has such a determination to get better every day. He has a great spirit. He loves the game. He’s going to work very hard at it. I think he has to work on the physical part. The fundamentals have to continue to be refined. And that’s everybody. That’s footwork, delivery, getting away from center, his mechanics in the gun, getting the ball out quicker, being more accurate. All the things that every quarterback in this league is working on, he has to continue to refine those.broncos_018-500x500

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Ex-Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls joins New York Jets

Thomas Rawls found a new home.

The ex-Seattle Seahawks running back signed with the New York Jets, the team announced Friday.

An undrafted rookie in 2015, Rawls burst onto the scene in Seattle as a between-the-tackles fill-in for an injured Marshawn Lynch. The 5-foot-9 wrecking ball averaged an NFL-high 5.6 yards per carry, going for 830 yards and four scores his opening season.

The rule just needed a re-write, McKay said. We needed to start over, re-write the rule, simplify it, narrow the window of time that was for a catch.

While the simplification is likely to go over well with players and fans, alike, there will likely be more debate around the league’s expansion of a rule that prohibits players from initiating contact with their helmets.

Any player who lowers their helmet to make contact with an opponent will be penalized 15 yards, as well as be subjected to possible ejection. During a Wednesday press conference, Goodell repeatedly expressed the importance of removing the usage of the helmet from the game.

This move comes months after Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal injury lunging headfirst into a tackle attempt. McKay insisted Shazier’s injury wasn’t a reason for the change, but an example of why it’s needed.

Smith probably needed a fresh start far away as much as any recent New York athlete.

After surprisingly slipping out of the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, he started all 16 games (8-8 record) as a rookie second-round pick in place of the injured Mark Sanchez. He went 3-10 in 13 starts the next season and never got a fair shake in 2015.

Giants’ salary cap analysis: Closer look at contracts

Smith suffered a fractured jaw in a locker room altercation with teammate IK Enemkpali during the preseason, and Ryan Fitzpatrick took over as the starter. He appeared in just three games with one start in the 2015-16 seasons combined.

When Smith hit unrestricted free agency last offseason, he signed with the Giants to back up iron man Eli Manning. The job has provided limited opportunities for quarterbacks in the past.

And then the Giants’ 2017 season took a turn for the strange. patriots_155-223x223

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The Buccaneers said hello to one defensive end and goodbye to another this weekend.

Vinny Curry was the new arrival as he signed a contract in Tampa shortly after being released by the Eagles. With Curry in the fold, the Buccaneers didn’t have much need for Robert Ayers any longer and released him from the roster.

The move cleared $6 million in cap space for the Bucs and came just ahead of Ayers being due for a $1 million bonus.

Thus, it would be an expensive trade, giving up that much in compensation and a large contract. But Thomas is a six-time Pro Bowler and only 28.

Thomas, a Texas native who ed at the University of Texas, has left no doubt where he would like to. He told Cowboys coach Jason Garrett to come get me after their Christmas Eve game.

A spokesman for Rubin declined to comment. His backers included Brooklyn Nets investor and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai.

Remaining bidders include Alan Kestenbaum, chief executive officer of private equity firm Bedrock Industries LP, leading an investor group that the people said is backed by Canada’s third-richest person, billionaire Jim Pattison.

Pattison, reached by phone, said he isn’t currently backing an offer.

Time will tell if Eric Reid’s protests during the national anthem will affect his ability to find a new home. But in terms of on-field fits, Reid will find a hard time beating the one available in Chicago.jets_103

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Lions sign unrestricted free agent G Kenny Wiggins

The Detroit Lions announced today that they have signed unrestricted free agent G Kenny Wiggins. Contract terms were not disclosed.

We see Smoke, but we’re not so sure there’s fire. Brown can step in for Mike Wallace as a downfield threat, but he had just 28 catches last season and can’t be counted on to lift a struggling receiving corps on his own. Baltimore will definitely be in the market for more targets for Joe Flacco.

The move: Former Indianapolis Colts WR Donte Moncrief is expected to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to ESPN.

Analysis: Jacksonville saw Allen Robinson walk, and Moncrief won’t bring the same consistency or highs. But there’s still plenty of upside in this signing, especially if he can get past the injury issues that have limited him the last two years. In a receiving corps looking for a breakout player, he could find opportunities.

The Carolina Panthers have played against him often, and now he’ll be on their side.

Carolina reached an agreement to sign former Falcons defensive tackle Dontari Poe on Thursday afternoon, a source confirmed to the Observer.

A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Martin probably doesn’t constitute much more than a backup after averaging 2.9 yards per carry the last two seasons. Jon Gruden said at the NFL scouting combine he’s still “counting on” Marshawn Lynch to be his starter.?

The Packers are giving Graham, 31, a three-year, $30 million deal with $22 million guaranteed over the first two years of the contract, so it’s safe to say that they think they can either get guaranteed production in the red zone or think the guy who could run past linebackers or jump over safeties up the seam play after play will be back.ravens_008

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The Jacksonville Jaguars announced they have signed former Colts wide receiver Donte Moncrief.

Cut by the Raiders on Thursday, Michael Crabtree is visiting the Baltimore Ravens, per Rapoport. Ryan Grant, who agreed to a deal with the Ravens earlier in the week, did not sign the contract after something was discovered during his physical and he will not be joining the Ravens, Rapoport reported.

The fifth-year veteran was ranked No. 59 on the Top 101 list.

The Jaguars also signed former Rams safety Cody Davis and former Redskins tight end Niles Paul. Rapoport reported Paul’s deal is for two years and a little less than $5 million, per a source.

Give Henry and Lewis a 50-50 split of the snaps on early downs to keep Lewis fresh, give the former Eagles draftee most of the third-down reps, stick Henry in near the goal line, and you’ve got a functional rotation at halfback.

It does seem bizarre, though, that coaches and personnel men leave the Patriots and fail to notice how Bill Belichick rarely commits serious resources to running backs.

The only running back to ever get a contract this big (after adjusting for cap inflation) with the Patriots was Corey Dillon, and his five-year deal ended up turning into a mess and lasted two seasons.

I wouldn’t doubt Lewis’ talent, but it’s telling that Belichick is confident that he can always find another useful running back, and his personnel tree doesn’t feel the same way.

The move: The New York Jets are adding QB Teddy Bridgewater on a one-year deal after bringing back QB Josh McCown.

As the QB dominoes fell on Tuesday, Gang Green found itself resorting to a backup plan. Bridgewater could pay huge dividends if he is healthy and returns to his pre-injury form, but New York remains very much up in the air at quarterback. The Jets should be squarely in the market to draft a passer, but they might have to move up from No. 6 to leapfrog the Broncos and avoid being jumped by the Bills and/or Cardinals.

The move: The Green Bay Packers are bringing on former New York Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson.canucks_007

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Peterson put up a season-high 159 yards in his next game, but never reached triple digits again.

He went on injured reserve in December due to a neck injury.

Johnson will be healthy for 2018, and the team will likely restock its running back rotation behind him. Peterson was a helpful ally last fall, but if he wants to return to Arizona, it’ll have to be as a backup.

Peterson’s days as a starting running back are probably over. It’s also possible he may have played his final down in the NFL, although Peterson told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that his neck is fully healed and he does want to play next season.

The record-setting tailback averaged just 3.5 yards per carry in 2017 and turns 33 years old in March — that’s ancient for an NFL running back. His last two seasons have ended early due to injury, and while he had a pair of 100-plus yard performances last year, he also had six games in which he gained fewer than 30 yards.

He’s also not much of a receiver, a skill NFL teams covet in their running backs now.

Sanders turns 31 in March and is coming off an ineffective season hurt by a midseason ankle injury. Denver keeping Thomas means not keeping Sanders.

Martin’s hot-and-cold relationship with Dirk Koetter will end with the RB’s release at age 29. The Bucs were disappointed with his play post-suspension, and they’ll move on with Peyton Barber and/or others in the backfield.

It seems clear Cobb won’t be returning to Green Bay as the team tries to keep Nelson after signing Davante Adams to a massive extension. Cobb, 27, was a fading blip in the offense with or without Rodgers.

Turning only 29 in August, Taylor has a few good years left as a versatile veteran stopgap. It just won’t be for Buffalo, which will move on to find a true franchise guy it totally trusts. Arizona and Denver are Taylor’s best fits elsewhere.packers_114

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NFL free agency: Sam Bradford, Mike Glennon signings prove Cardinals are lost

Team-wise, that year also marked the most successful season Bradford has ever enjoyed as a starter.

Signing Bradford and Glennon does not preclude Arizona from making QB a high priority in April’s draft. And maybe things will turn around for Bradford in Arizona.

Maybe the Cardinals can manage to salvage another QB off the NFL scrap heap like with Palmer and Kurt Warner earlier this century. Maybe the 30-year-old Bradford can stay healthy long enough to experience success that he still could be capable of achieving. Maybe running back David Johnson can provide enough support to carry the offense.

Mike Zimmer has painted a discouraging picture recently by saying that Bradford’s knee condition is “degenerative.” 16.

Bashaud Breeland, CB* Headed to: Carolina Panthers | Age: 26 News: Panthers plan to sign Breeland as potential starting CB Newton: Breeland first option to replace Daryl Worley The Redskins might not be able, or willing, to squeeze in the market-level contract Breeland has earned as a four-year starter.

They’re already paying fellow cornerback Josh Norman an average of $15 million per year, and they have several young players who could step in.

That could make Breeland one of the more desirable defensive players available.

Along with Jimenez, the White Sox got pitcher Dylan Cease in return for Quintana, and though Cease’s arrival to the majors will probably come later, he has felt swept up in the excitement of a promising rebuild.

“It’s hard not be excited when there’s so much opportunity and so much talent,” Cease told SN.

Cease was a sixth-round pick in the Cubs’ 2014 draft, and he saw firsthand the culmination of an organizational rebuild when the Cubs won the World Series. With the White Sox, he sees something similar in their future.

“It’s really cool to be able to say, ‘Hey, I was a part of that’,” Cease said, both reflecting on his brief tenure in the Cubs organization and looking ahead to what the White Sox hope is to come. “There’s a ton of talent here. I could see it happening.”packers_138

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