With starter Ryan Fitzpatrick getting injured in the first week of the season, the Washington Football Team is handing the reins over to Taylor Heinicke, who some thought should have gotten a shot at the starting job, to begin with. (Don't yell at me, those people exist.) Heinicke did play quite well during last season's Wild Card loss, but not well enough to stop the team from signing Fitzpatrick. That train of thought doesn't stop Heinicke's thought process going into Week Two, however. "Something I've been dreaming about my entire life, being a starting quarterback in the NFL, and here we are. I really try and take it one day at a time, one meeting at a time, one play at a time. I feel like if I just live in the moment, everything else will take care of itself."
Good news for Pittsburgh Steelers fans: Ben Roethlisberger isn't hurt yet. After a year removed from elbow surgery, Roethlisberger was asked about any general soreness after Week One, and he said he was feeling pretty good. Which is kind of a shocker, not gonna lie.
New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones may have lost his first game, but he's still getting a ton of praise from the team, including offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McDaniels praised Jones' confidence and competitiveness, which is still there despite a loss. "I think he's a very competitive guy. He wants to win at everything that he's doing. He wants to perform his best every single day at every single rep."
The Tennessee Titans didn't exactly start the season off the way they wanted to in Week One. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill credited the loss with the lack of response to the Arizona Cardinals. (Did Derrick Henry even play?) However, Tennessee will have to pick it up soon because they have the Seahawks this week.
The Cleveland Browns were able to keep up with the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday but lost in the end. Quarterback Baker Mayfield said (in a nutshell) that the team needs to pick themselves up and use this loss while preparing for Week Two and beyond. "We're going to be really good if we just do our jobs and continue to be efficient and move the chains and help out our defense by staying on the field. But this one needs to sting. You need to remember that, that all the little things matter, and that's how you need to approach this week of practice."
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes only seemed to target a few receivers in Week One's game, which led people to wonder (for real) if he has something against his other receivers. This is a total Week One reaction if I've seen one. Mahomes says that's not the case. "I have full confidence in everybody who's on that football field. I mean, we have guys that can make plays everywhere. This last week, Trav and Tyreek made the plays. But I'm sure that throughout the entire season — and what we've seen in our past — is that we have guys like Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, and Byron Pringle who can make the big play happen at any moment. I have full confidence in that."
- other notes -
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.
colts sign eric fisher
Eric Fisher has a new home. The Indianapolis Colts are signing the former Kansas City Chiefs left tackle to a one-year deal worth $9.4 million.
Fisher was the Chiefs' No. 1 pick in 2013 and has been on that offensive line ever since. Until he tore his Achilles in January during the worst possible time -- the AFC Championship. You could even go as far as to say that injury, followed by the fact that Kansas City only had a short amount of time to adjust, was the reason they lost the Super Bowl last winter. Anyways, the Chiefs released him (along with fellow offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz in March.
Fisher goes from protecting Patrick Mahomes to protecting Carson Wentz, and it's fair to say there is an equal amount of pressure on him to perform in Indy. Wentz's re-emergence could depend on it. And they may have to wait until October to find out.
tebow time in jacksonville?
I haven't stopped laughing at this since the news first came out, but yes, it seems like it could be Tebow Time once again. How this man managed this one is beyond me. Tim Tebow made the smart decision to switch positions from quarterback to tight end (which he should have done years ago, but that's not my point) and will reunite with Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer.
Again... HOW??? What does Tebow have on Meyer? There could be an instance that he doesn't make the team and is just a 'camp body,' because in all honesty -- a 34-year old tight end who just switched positions and hasn't played football in a very significant amount of time doesn't exactly scream "winning" to me. More importantly, if Tebow takes a roster spot from someone else, there will be many angry people.
big story: Ravens trade orlando Brown Jr. to kansas city
The Baltimore Ravens are sending their Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs in a long-awaited trade that has seemed inevitable for months. Brown aired to the world that he was a LEFT tackle, and the writing was on the wall ever since then.
Here are the trade details:
The Ravens get some picks, and Brown likely wasn't going to sign there next season anyway when he became a free agent, so it's beneficial for them to get something for him now. However, trading a Pro Bowl player (a young one) to one of their biggest rivals and, in turn, making them even better is ... questionable for me. I'll leave it at that.
Going forward, the Ravens have significant holes in their offensive line, which is concerning considering their offense is exceptionally reliant on that position being solid. They'll likely sign former Pittsburgh Steelers OL Alejandro Villanueva in May, draft some younger linemen, and hope everyone stays healthy. On the optimistic side, Baltimore could pick up another Pro Bowler with one of those draft picks used in this trade, but that's to be determined.
small story: Browns exercise baker Mayfield's fifth-year option
This is important because it's an extreme rarity for Cleveland Browns quarterbacks. How rare?
tweet of the day:
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:
One of the top free agents is off the market. Offensive lineman Trent Williams signed a deal with the San Francisco 49ers, early on Wednesday morning (very early), making him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history. The deal sits at six years, $138.06 million with $55.1 million guaranteed AND a $30.1 million signing bonus.
Williams came to the Niners from the Washington Football Team via trade last season, reuniting him with Kyle Shanahan, his former offensive coordinator. He went on to start 14 games. San Francisco plans to keep him as their left tackle for a long time based on this deal. Williams also discussed deals with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chicago Bears before deciding to stay with the 49ers.
Williams sat out the 2019 season amid drama with Washington, and returned to Pro Bowl-form with his new team, prompting the signing. Williams has eight Pro Bowls under his belt, the most for any offensive lineman since 2012.
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chiefs hit first
As expected, the Kansas City Chiefs have struck first against the Cleveland Browns in Sunday's matchup. And yes, quarterback Patrick Mahomes made it look easy as pie with a one-yard touchdown run right into the endzone.
travis kelce can levitate
The Chiefs keep it rolling, which shouldn't be shocking to anyone. Mahomes ran Kansas City's first touchdown in, and threw the second. The recipient was tight end Travis Kelce, who literally went airborne over the goal line for a 20-yarder. The score gave the Chiefs a 10-point lead over Cleveland in the second quarter.
Mahomes has a toe injury
Pretty much everything is going perfectly so far for the Chiefs in the first half, but Mahomes has a toe injury limiting his running ability. The good news is that Kansas City is still up 16-3 after a 50-yard field goal from kicker Harrison Butker. Does he need two feet? We'll find out.
can we talk about this?
First of all, Browns quarterback, Baker Mayfield, is playing his ass off, while the rest of the team, well, isn't. Things looked like they might be turning around as Rashard Higgins caught a pass and looked like he was about to get in the endzone. -record scratch- It turns out he fumbled, it was ruled a touchback, and the refs missed a clear helmet-to-helmet hit. Infuriating? Yes.
patrick mahomes is hurt again
Mahomes was already dealing with a toe injury when he headed into the locker room in the third quarter after a nasty-looking hit. Mahomes got up slowly and was unsteady on his feet, and had to be helped off the field before independently walking to the locker room. The team says he is being evaluated for a concussion. Backup QB Chad Henne is in his spot. I'm not joking.
UPDATE: Mahomes was later ruled out of the game with a concussion.
what's happening here?
Aside from on-the-field action, there appears to be something going on off the field as well. CBS cameras captured wide receiver Tyreek Hill pushing receivers coach Greg Lewis before cutting to a commercial.
Could have been playing around? Who knows.
chiefs lose their qb, still move on
Mahomes remained out of the game with a concussion, but Kansas City is moving on to the AFC Championship Game anyways, thanks to..... Chad Henne. No, seriously.
The Browns deserve some props as well, taking the defending Super Bowl champions down to the wire, and having a stellar season that led them out of the NFL's basement.
The Chiefs have to hope Mahomes is well enough to return next weekend for the AFCCG, where they will face Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills.
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