Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was absent from practice again on Thursday, making it the second straight practice missed. While it was said that he was just dealing with some back soreness, it is somewhat alarming that he's missing yet another day of work. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman gave an update on his status.
The Arizona Cardinals are currently undefeated, and a lot of that is due to quarterback Kyler Murray. While he's currently being talked about within the ever-elusive "MVP Conversation," Murray says he's not really thinking about that right now. "It's a long season, and I was always raised and taught that if you win as a team, the individual accolades will come. That's how I treated it in high school, that's how I treated it when I won the Heisman, same thing for now. I'm not really worried about MVP or anything like that."
Earlier this week, Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera said that he wants quarterback Taylor Heinicke to calm down a little bit and focus on managing the game better. In other words: Stop doing too much. Heinicke says he takes no issue with Rivera's comments. "I have no problem with it. That's what every quarterback should be - game manager. You take what's there, take what's given, and you move the ball down the field."
I know he's supposed to say this stuff, but Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera is really buttering up his opponent for next week. Rivera kind of over-did it when it came to talking about Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. "I mean, this is a savvy guy, this is a guy that's been doing it a long time and has had a lot of success. He's a league MVP. So you know, he's a really good football player. He's got a good arm. He still makes all the throws. He is a little older, but with that comes wisdom and experience. And that's what you see from Matt." Is it, though?
Oh no. Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had some strong words to say about this week's game against the Los Angeles Chargers and I'm just going to leave them here and call it a jinx. "It was always looked at as another home game and that's no disrespect, it's a fact. The way you practice, the way you meet, it felt like a home game. I fully expect Raider Nation to take over the majority of the stadium again. They usually do." Oh no.
- other notes -
Tom Brady's return to New England is being drilled into our heads this week (I'm already sick of it), but I'm going to talk about the other quarterback in this situation: Patriots rookie Mac Jones. It has to be somehow harder on him than us to constantly hear about Brady's return while he's the new guy just trying to get through his first rodeo. Jones, however, is turning his focus on correcting last week's mistakes. "I think just fixing the corrections from the game we just played is obviously really important and then moving on with the game plan for this week. It will definitely be exciting. Tampa Bay is a great team, and it's a new week. We're excited, and the only thing we can do is focus on each day, and then when Sunday comes, we'll just go out there and play as hard as we can." I hope Jones doesn't turn on ESPN this week.
Houston Texans rookie quarterback Davis Mills made his first NFL start last week because of an injury to starter Tyrod Taylor. Because he didn't get a lot of time to prepare for the start, we should assume the team should take off the training wheels a little bit, and we should expect him to do more in his second start in Week Four. Head coach David Culley explains: "Well, he's going to have a lot more put on him than we put on him last week. I feel like he'll be able to handle that. We're just going to run our offense and let him handle it from there."
With Ryan Fitzpatrick still out for the Washington Football Team, it's up to quarterback Taylor Heinicke to take the reins. But head coach Ron Rivera wants him to rein it in just a smidge. "When Taylor manages things and doesn't force things, you can see him move the ball for us. But when he tries to do more than he needs to, bad things seem to happen." The good news? They have the Atlanta Falcons next week, so they have a chance to work out those kinks.
The GOAT himself, Josh Rosen, got a chance to audition for his new team, the Atlanta Falcons, on Sunday (how ironic) and did about as good as one can do with only three days of practice. After the game, Rosen was highly transparent in how his career has been up to this point with bouncing around on different teams and about how he knows he doesn't have many chances left and needs to make the most of it while he still can. "You just get an opportunity, you got to seize the moment, and it was kind of, it was a little bit refreshing, to kind of get out on the field and kind of half know the offense and just kind of let go and play football and have fun with it like you did back in Pop Warner. At times I felt a little bit like a chicken with my head cut off running around, but I thought it was fun. Could have cleaned up a lot of stuff but overall thought it was a productive night."
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is straight-up fucking with everyone again by rotating both starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie Trey Lance in and out of their last preseason game on Sunday. While it seems to most people that doing that during the regular season, Shanahan is still leaving room for other teams to think they'll be doing just that. "We've got two guys who can play, and we've been doing it in practice a little bit, wanted to do it out there in the game, and it's always going to be an option."
Speaking of Lance, it was announced late on Monday evening that he will miss about seven days (or a week, whichever timeframe you're into) after he jammed his finger on someone's helmet during Sunday's game. Lance has a "small chip," but he's not highly concerned about it. "I'll see how it feels [Monday] for sure. I think we'll be able to tell a little bit more. But yeah, not too worried about it at all."
Detroit Lions backup quarterback Tim Boyle may have taken himself out of the backup competition for 2021. Boyle suffered a thumb injury on Friday that will require surgery. David Blough is the other backup option for Detroit. As for when Boyle will be back, they're not sure.
Goff, meanwhile, has high hopes for his new team this season. "I don't know what the stat is, but every year there's new teams in the playoffs. Every year there are teams that were in the playoffs last year that aren't. Why not us?" Well, I can think of a few reasons, but I like the high hopes.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield played well in Sunday's exhibition game, but he's ready to move onto the real stuff. "I know our guys are ready. They're itching to go. We can feel that how close it is. Just all that preparation you put in throughout the offseason, and ever since you lost to the Chiefs in January, we've been working to this point right now, and I think our guys are ready to go."
The starting quarterback position is still up in the air for the New England Patriots, and while it's assumed that Cam Newton will be out there Week One, the team has also rallied around rookie Mac Jones. "Not many rookie quarterbacks have ever gotten the reps and the opportunity that he has, and he has embraced it full-on, head-on," Brian Hoyer said. "He goes out there every day and does the best that he can and has earned the respect of his teammates, which I think is huge, especially being a young guy with a team with a lot of veteran guys who have played here."
- other notes -
Cam Newton was pretty much a lock for the New England Patriots' starting quarterback job, and then this week happened. Long story short, Newton didn't quite follow COVID-19 protocols and was required to stay away from the team for the week, which gave all reps with the starting team to rookie Mac Jones. Jones has been taking the reins in practice and is currently breathing down Newton's neck for the starting role. This will be something to keep an eye on.
The savior of the Atlanta Falcons' quarterback position is here, hallelujah. Josh Rosen has signed with the team, and should be in line as the best QB on the team in no time. Head coach Arthur Smith agrees with me, saying he expects Rosen to play in the final preseason game. "That's only the fair thing to do. We signed him. We have to figure out this backup quarterback spot. So, you'll see him play at some point Sunday night." Challenge accepted.
Tom Brady may be more like us, after all. After winning the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in February, Brady underwent knee surgery to repair a torn MCL. Brady spoke about his recovery from surgery this week, detailing the process. "When you miss time and you don't continue to train the way you're capable of training, it's tough because your body wants to, you know, it feels like, 'OK I get time off.' And then you get your body going again, it's hard."
After being questionable to start the 2021 season, it seems like Carson Wentz is trending in the right direction for the Indianapolis Colts' opener. Wentz returned to practice earlier this week from foot surgery, and so far, so good. The next step? Going through a practice without any restrictions.
The inevitable happened. Trevor Lawrence has been announced as the Jacksonville Jaguars' starting quarterback, which pretty much everyone knew was going to happen. Lawrence was, of course, asked about how he felt about the situation. "I'm really excited for the opportunity; I'm grateful for it. It doesn't really change anything though. We still have the same task in front of us."
Joe Burrow will finally be making his debut since tearing his ACL late last season. While I assumed Burrow wouldn't see any preseason action due to protecting his health behind that horrid offensive line, Burrow should play in the Cincinnati Bengals' final preseason game. And that's okay with him.
San Francisco 49ers fans wanted you to believe all along that there was a quarterback competition, but as it turns out (and like I told you all along), there really hasn't been one at all. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said as much, without really naming his starter, which he honestly doesn't even have to do. "I've got a pretty good idea," he said. "I've always had a pretty good idea, but there's a lot of days between now and then, at every position."
greg olsen shares update on son's health
Recently retired tight end Greg Olsen shared an update regarding his son's health earlier this week. He shared that his son TJ may need a heart transplant.
Olsen previously played with the Chicago Bears, the Carolina Panthers, and, most recently, the Seattle Seahawks. Olsen's charity, the HEARTest Yard, focuses on helping children with heart defects get proper health care. You can find out more here.
bucs cut OTas to six sessions
Because Tom Brady said so. Brady urged players to negotiate with their coaches when it came to reporting for offseason work, and it seemed to work in Tampa (shocking). The team is now reducing their organized team activities down to six sessions.
The Bucs will still hold mandatory minicamp in early June, and it's likely a more relaxed schedule will be given for those exercises as well.
Other teams, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers also negociated offseason work. While the details aren't known, players were able to work virtually and in-person, and players, like Cam Heyward, are appreciative.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians told the media on Tuesday that while most veterans stayed away and OTAs were more for the younger players, he also mentioned "for their protection" that players should work out together at team facilities. Aka, "we don't want a Ja'Wuan James situation.
first look at joe burrow's comeback szn
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow tore his ACL in late November of last season and is determined to be ready for training camp. While he's still not at 100 percent currently, Burrow still took to the field on Tuesday and even did some throwing. We love to see it.
I know it's only May, but this is still a good thing to see if you're a Bengals fan. But I'm still gonna be keeping an eye on that offensive line as well.
Arthur smith isn't talking about julio jones right now
There's still major drama surrounding Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and his (potential) trade, but the Falcons' personnel isn't going to give anything away at the moment. After famously (at this point) saying on Undisputed that he was "out of there" earlier this week, head coach Arthur Smith pulled the "conversations are private" card when speaking of Jones.
A reminder that a trade after June 1 will leave the Falcons with under $8 million in dead cap (before June 1, it would be over $20 million). It's May 26. Tick, tock.
aaron jones says he re-signed with packers regardless if rodgers will be there or not
The rumor mill was turning (and continues to turn) when it comes to the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rumors swirled about that Rodgers told teammates and free agents that he likely wouldn't be back in Green Bay, but running back Aaron Jones said that wasn't the case with him, and he likely would have been back regardless.
It's still up in the air whether Rodgers will be there come September, but another Aaron will be back.
all teams (sort of) cleared for full stadiums
30 of the 32 NFL teams are cleared to return to full capacity in stadiums this fall. The two lone teams are the Denver Broncos and the Indianapolis Colts, but their plans should be approved in time for the season to begin.
Masking and vaccination rules will be left up to the teams and local regulations, but things look to heading back to "normal" in the NFL world. NFL teams are still encouraging players, staff and fans to get vaccinated at their earliest convenience.
courtland sutton hopes to be ready for broncos camp
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton tore his ACL in his first game in 2020, ending his season. Sutton hopes to be thoroughly ready for camp in 2021. Sutton says he has been training this offseason and taking the necessary steps to be sure he's prepared to start training camp.
Denver's offense struggled last season, but the bright point was the addition of receiver Jerry Jeudy. Having Sutton back and Jeudy in his sophomore season should be a significant boost.
Matt Ryan speaks on his future and julio jones
While I, personally, still believe the Atlanta Falcons should have drafted a quarterback in this year's draft, they did not. Still at the helm is good ol' Matt Ryan. Ryan just turned 36 this week, and while it's clear he's not going to play much longer, the Falcons believe they can still get something out of him. What that is, I'm not sure. But Ryan explained that he thinks the team made the correct decision.
Um, ok. Onto more important things -- Julio Jones. There have been rumors aplenty about a potential trade of the star wide receiver, which were only strengthened when the team recently left him off their schedule release calendar, photos, etc. (and included the kicker). Of course, Ryan was asked about this too, and what he thought of potentially playing this upcoming season without the guy who has bailed him out many times.
Um, ya think?
darius leonard is due for a new deal soon, and he hopes the colts notice
The Indianapolis Colts got a solid steal in linebacker Darius Leonard in 2018, and now he's in the final year of his rookie contract and ready for that big one.
Leonard was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2018 and was an All-Pro two out of his first three seasons. I'd say that's reason enough for an upgrade, but watching him play, it's apparent the Colts would benefit from keeping him around.
patrick queen switching numbers
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen is the latest player to switch his jersey number. He's switching from No. 48 to No. 6. On a linebacker. In Baltimore. This seems... wrong.
This really doesn't affect me in any way, other than the fact that I know it will be difficult for the opponent to pull positions... but a single-digit does not belong on a linebacker. SORRY BOUT IT.
Jonathan Taylor on board with marlon mack re-signing
The Indianapolis Colts added to their offense last season by drafting running back Jonathan Taylor. Taylor got way more than his originally desired workload in 2020 when Marlon Mack tore his Achilles in Week One. Taylor impressed with almost 1200 yards rushing in his rookie year but is still excited about sharing the field with Mack in 2021.
patrick surtain ii signs rookie deal with broncos
The Broncos agreed to terms with their first-round draft pick in 2021, CB Patrick Surtain II.
I hope he got a bonus for that pink suit on draft night. All I gotta say.
big story: alex smith hangs up the cleats
Veteran quarterback and inspiring success story Alex Smith announced his retirement today. After a devastating leg injury in 2018 threatened not only his football career but his overall health, Smith returned to the field last season with the Washington Football Team. Smith also spent time with the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
This is the correct decision for Smith by a mile. While I can't overlook his inspiration and the aspiration to return to what he loves doing to prove himself right, I also can't be alone in saying that I covered my eyes whenever someone came near him on the field. We all knew he was one injury away from never walking again.
That being said, Smith is an intelligent football player, is relatable, and has the knowledge to go into a new field -- coaching, perhaps? The Jacksonville Jaguars would be a top spot for that to occur, with Urban Meyer running the show over there.
You can see Smith's full announcement, which was posted on Instagram, here.
small story: bengals unveil new uniforms
If you're into this sort of thing (I am not) the Cincinnati Bengals unveiled their new uniforms today. Honestly they don't look that different to me, but if I had to pick one, I'm going with those all-whites. Clean.
tweet of the day:
falcons hire terry fontenot as general manager
The Atlanta Falcons have hired their new general manager, as they announced on Tuesday.
This is the second big hire for the Falcons' front office -- they also hired new head coach Arthur Smith this month. After tons of blown leads and a myriad of disappointment, the team fired general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn earlier this season.
Fontenot spent the past 18 seasons with the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans will receive third-round compensatory picks in the 2021 and 2022 NFL Drafts under the new rules that organizations will reward teams for minority hires.
Fontenot has a lot of work to do this offseason (-cough JulioJonesandMattRyan cough-).
washington is hiring marty hurney for gm role
Another team in need of a severe change: The Washington Football Team is set to hire Marty Hurney as their new general manager as early as Tuesday, as things are currently in the stages of being finalized.
Hurney was the Carolina Panthers GM from 2002 to 2012, and then again from 2017 to 2020. Hurney joins former colleague Ron Rivera, who was head coach of the Panthers during his time there.
Washington had a bombshell pick in the 2020 NFL Draft with Chase Young, and the hope is that sort of stuff will continue. Although, in my opinion, nothing will change about that franchise until Dan Snyder is out.
sarah thomas to be first woman to ref a super bowl
Say it with me: "QUEEN SHIT." Referee Sarah Thomas will be the first woman to work a Super Bowl as part of Carl Cheffers' crew.
Thomas was also the first woman referee in general, but it's a huge barrier broken on such a large stage.
dez bryant grabs his first touchdown since 2017
The Baltimore Ravens blew out the Jacksonville Jaguars in a comfortable 40-14 blowout win. Quarterback Lamar Jackson started the game off with an interception, but that was the only bad thing. Wide receiver Marquise Brown had his best outing all season, finishing with six catches for 98 yards. The highlight of the day was vet receiver Dez Bryant grabbing his first touchdown in three years, and of course, throwing up the X.
ryan tannehill had five touchdowns on the day
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw three touchdowns and ran in for two, giving him a total of five for the day (math) against the Detroit Lions. They remain atop the AFC South and sit on a 10-4 record for this season. But it wouldn't be a Titans win without a good, old-fashioned Derrick Henry stiff-arm.
new england eliminated from playoff contention
The New England Patriots have been officially eliminated from playoff contention. While I have been waiting for this for such a long time, it doesn't seem satisfying now that Tom Brady is elsewhere. Division rivals, the Miami Dolphins ended their playoff hopes on Sunday with a 22-12 win. New England hasn't missed the playoffs since 2008.
texans fumble in the end zone, handing the colts a win
As the Houston Texans were trying to tie it up with the Indianapolis Colts, they fumbled away those chances in the end zone, handing Indy a win on a silver platter.
the falcons blew yet another lead
It's truly remarkable how they keep doing this, but they never let me down. The Atlanta Falcons headed into blowout territory in the first half, up on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-0. The final score ended up being 31-27, Bucs. You just can't write it any better. The biggest highlight was Antonio Brown scoring his first touchdown as a Buccaneer.
the jets won a game
No, really. In Week 15, the New York Jets have officially won their first game of the 2020, defeating the Los Angeles Rams in probably the biggest upset of the season.
The bigger story with this one is that they may have missed out on their next franchise quarterback if they choose to move on from Sam Darnold. The Jags take over as having the number one pick in next year's draft.
derek carr's groin injury is 'significant'
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback lasted only 11 plays in Thursday night's loss to the Los Angeles Chargers before pulling his groin and heading to the locker room. Head coach Jon Gruden said in his post-game press conference that the injury is 'significant' and we should expect Carr to be sidelined for some time. The Raiders have the Miami Dolphins coming up next, and backup QB Marcus Mariota will likely start.
The next game for Las Vegas is December 26, meaning Carr has a little over eight days to get up to speed. I'm going to go out on a limb and say he sits.
drew brees will start against chiefs on sunday
After missing four games with broken ribs and a punctured lung, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will be getting the start this week against the Kansas City Chiefs. The team cleared him to return to practice this week, indicating that he had a chance to play. This big (or, if you're like me, the only good game this week) game just got a little bigger, as each team is playing for home-field advantage during the playoffs. It's also not out of line to dub this one a potential Super Bowl preview.
julio jones is out, again
If you're playing the Julio Jones drinking game, you're probably drunk by now. The Atlanta Falcons wide receiver will miss yet another game this week due to a hamstring injury that has lingered and kept him out of two of the past three games. Jones still has a chance to play in the final two games, although I'm not sure what the point of that would be.
matthew stafford out of practice again, not ruled out (yet)
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has missed three straight practices this week, and the team is still unsure of his status for this weekend's game against the Tennessee Titans. Interim head coach Darrell Bevell said Stafford would travel with the team, as his rib injury has been feeling better than earlier this week. Backup QB Chase Daniel will get the start if Stafford can't go.
49ers to stay in Arizona through week 17
The San Francisco 49ers have played their past two home games in Arizona, and they'll remain there through Week 17. Santa Clara County, where the 49ers' stadium and facility are located, extended their contact sports ban through January 8. The Niners play at the Dallas Cowboys this weekend and host the Seattle Seahawks in Arizona the following week.
Alex Smith is out this week
Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith injured his calf during last week's game and will not play in Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks. Smith hasn't practiced all week. Backup-to-the-backup QB Dwayne Haskins will start in his place. Haskins was benched after the first four games of the season, and it feels like we're stepping into a time portal at this point.
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