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.
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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.
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."
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While rumors were swirling all week long that the Miami Dolphins were interested in trading for Deshaun Watson, head coach Brian Flores has repeatedly said that second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is their starter. While not necessarily denying that they had an interest in Watson, the team whole-heartedly plans to go into Week One with Tagovailoa under center.
With Cam Newton's release earlier this week, many had thought that his skillset plus the presence of Ron Rivera could have him heading to the Washington Football Team. However, Rivera shot that down pretty quickly and declared veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick their starting quarterback, which was probably a given.
With Deshaun Watson out of the picture, it is presumed that Tyrod Taylor will be the starting quarterback for the Houston Texans come Week One. However, he hasn't exactly been told that yet. "I haven't been told that officially, but I've never necessarily looked for that confirmation. My mindset doesn't change and hasn't changed since I've been drafted. Ever since I've started playing football, it's to prepare as a starter, lead like a starter and let the coaches make the decisions that they make."
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The Drop Back: Tuesday 07/13 - breaking: NFL Qb tries to be normal person; is on a basketball court; more at 11
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.
big story: hulu is the new home for nfl redzone
My dad has had Direct TV for YEARS, for one reason and one reason only: The NFL Sunday Ticket package, which includes NFL Redzone. My favorite invention of all time is probably Redzone. And now it has a new home -- Hulu. The NFL and the streaming service reached a multi-year agreement today, which will bring my favorite invention to Hulu + Live TV subscribers.
Also, the platform is also including NFL Network year-round, meaning subscribers will have access to all NFL Network shows, such as Good Morning Football. They'll be available just in time for the NFL season, on August 1.
small story: jordan reed retires
Tight end Jordan Reed officially announced his retirement today, despite a comeback-worthy season last year with the San Francisco 49ers. Reed also didn't do too horribly for himself with the Washington Football Team before suffering from various concussions.
Those concussions were what eventually led to his retirement, he told ESPN.
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:
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