NFL worst-to-first candidates: Which teams could make big leaps in 2018?

NFL worst-to-first candidates: Which teams could make big leaps in 2018? More When former Buccaneers and Falcons center Joe Hawley left the game of football, he decided to give away most of his possessions, buy a van and hit the road with his dog.

Their gamble has not paid off: Gregory has played in just 14 career games, with no starts, one sack and 20 total tackles. He has not played in a game since the 2016 regular-season finale, playing the final two games of that season after back-to-back suspensions, four games, then 10 more, after violations of the drug policy. The NFL has 60 days to render a decision on reinstatement.

“To know where I come from, small city 35 miles south of here, and to hear I’m in the same category or talked about and jumping these greats in the playoffs, it’s pretty cool,” James said. “You hear the scoring, the field goals made, and for a kid that really doesn’t care much about scoring.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers star came into the night averaging a league-leading 32.9 points per game in the 2018 postseason, the second-highest scoring average he has posted in the playoffs (James averaged 35.3 points in 14 games in 2009).

During the 2017 conference finals, also against the Boston Celtics, James passed Michael Jordan for No. 1 on the all-time postseason scoring list.

James also ranks first in all-time playoff minutes, first in all-time playoff steals, third in all-time playoff assists, seventh in all-time playoff rebounds and is tied for 16th in all-time playoff blocks.

Dan Patrick out, Mike Tirico maybe rising in NBC NFL shakeup

Dan Patrick will not be back as the lead host on NBC’s primetime pregame show, Football Night in America.

As always, changes to our NFL on-air team, if any, will be announced sometime closer to the start of the 2018 season NBC Sports said in a statement.

I think just personally, the way that we’ve operated, I would love to be able to continue to do that.

Not every coach was sweating it, of course. The Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll, who is 66 years old and has been a witness to massive change in the game over his career, seemed to have been preparing for it.

We have had experience with using video in practice, he said, so guys are already starting to adapt. Some coaches use it more than others and some players take to it more than others. … It’s just more information, which sounds classic for our time, but I think it will work out fine.

Indeed, it’s easy to imagine a day when no one has the energy to fight a proposal that isn’t going away. Perhaps it won’t arrive until after this generation of coaching traditionalists have moved on. Sideline video is hardly the most pressing issue in the NFL. But every now and then, we get a clear glimpse into how its most powerful people think. This one was revealing.

I haven’t felt this good in a long, long time from a mental standpoint and physical standpoint, Manziel said (via NFL Network). I felt like the ball came out well today.

Manziel, 25, hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2015 season. He was cut by the Cleveland Browns, who drafted him with the 22nd overall pick in 2014, in March 2016 amid off-the-field issues.

Manziel said Tuesday that his next stop was the The Spring League, a developmental league based in Texas that begins next month.

Eric Karabell: My approach to making moves before Tax Day is generally to trust the players on my roster and never even look at the fantasy standings. Sure, players get hurt, and opportunities change, but in general, I would have to see something special about a hitter or starting pitcher to make a move, depending on the context of what my bench looks like. Would I add Jose Martinez if I’m dropping a bench guy with little value

This may be surprising because John Elway deservedly has gotten a lot of praise for the Broncos’ recent success.

My great Uncle Jack Goldstein was a Brooklyn kid who became a World War I Doughboy. His name appears on a plaque in the rotunda of the U.S. Post Office near the Garden on Eighth Avenue — saluting those who served the postal service before and, if alive and able, after the War to End All Wars.

He died long before Mike Francesa could reason that the 9/11 attacks should give the U.S. pause and cause to extract loyalty oaths from American Jews to learn their military allegiances.

But as a son of Brooklyn, Uncle Jack would counsel, “Live and loin.”

But he has been living on free agency. After nailing his first draft in 2011, Elway has a lot of swings and misses and has not landed many impact players.

Romanowski managed to get into altercations with just about everybody. He kicked Larry Centers in the head. He spat in J.J. Stokes’ face. He threw a football at Bryan Cox. He punched teammate Marcus Williams in the face and was later implicated in the BALCO scandal. Despite all that, he played on four Super Bowl-winning teams through a 16-year career.

That would be unconventional and it would be expensive. But Brady cannot play forever, and the exit of Brissett seems to commit the Patriots to Garoppolo as Brady’s eventual successor.

During Carton’s stay, dignified veteran Jim Gearhart was 101.5’s morning host. Last week on his podcast, available on YouTube, Gearhart shared his memories of Carton as a colleague he never even had met, yet who regularly attacked, ridiculed and defamed him on the air for cheap kicks and attention.

Gearhart’s podcast not only is worth hearing, it is worth noting that Carton’s act obviously appealed to WFAN/CBS, and that post-arrest, Carton complained about the “vitriolic” attacks he has suffered.

Despite an offense that continues to sputter its way through the preseason, Bradford remains a beacon of consistency. He completed his first nine passes — though for only 57 yards — which mirrors the success he had last season when he led the league in completion percentage (71.6 percent) but ranked 19th in yards per attempt (7.0).

“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” Bradford explained. “Too many mistakes, you know, a little bit frustrating to come out here tonight and play the way we did. I felt like we had a better week of practice than we showed tonight. So obviously there’s a lot to clean up before the regular season.”nike-youth-cardinals-086

Ryan Shazier injury update: Steelers LB ‘showing improvement that’s encouraging’

bengals_039Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, who continues to recover from a serious spinal injury suffered Dec. 4, and his father told ESPN on Thursday that he is showing “some improvement that is encouraging” and the family continues to rely on its deep faith.

“We’re taking it one day at a time,” Vernon Shazier said in an interview with the network. “We do not know what tomorrow holds. It’s a [daily] journey we don’t know. But I know God is getting the message.”

Shazier underwent “spinal stabilization surgery” Dec. 6 in Pittsburgh, after being transferred by medivac helicopter from Cincinnati, where he was injured in the Steelers’ game against the Bengals.

New additions Ish Smith, Jon Leuer, Boban Marjanovic and rookie Henry Ellenson need to learn quickly how to fit with the Pistons order to improve their bench unit and therefore their chances at a higher playoff seed Yet, without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the team would stand no shot at a playoff berth.He did a lot to dispel concerns his senior year, but he will need to continue to develop and likely won’t be a starting option as a rookie.Pass to J.T.Understanding why Mebane was good and defending that position with publicly available information, taught me not only much about this game I , football, but how to learn, how to think and how to know.

He has a nice, athletic frame at 6 220lbs, but has clearly maxed out his power and projects to be roughly a 15 home run hitter.And I ‘t they.This is where the decision is made folks.There are certain unforgivable crimes, but taking PEDs isn’t one of them.

“I don’t know. I’m going to take some time, figure it out. I’ll let you know, though,” Fitzgerald said (via the team’s website).

It’s not the first time there’s been speculation about Fitzgerald’s possible retirement. Early in the 2016 season, he dismissed a report that claimed he had told those close to him that he would retire after that season.

There’s no question Fitzgerald is still producing at a high level, in his 14th season. He has 92 catches for 982 yards and five TDs, despite an unsettled situation at quarterback following the season-ending injury to Carson Palmer in Week 8.

The 11-time Pro Bowl receiver hinted after the 2015 season his future might be linked to quarterback Carson Palmer’s status. The veteran QB’s future in Arizona is uncertain.

The AFC North grudge match featured not one but two players being stretchered off the field.

ESPN’s Jon Gruden and Sean McDonough drew praise for abhorring the on-field carnage during ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” telecast of Steelers vs. Bengals in Week 13. But FS1’s Jason Whitlock is throwing shade at the ESPN duo for making a “big deal” out of what he thought was a hard-hitting, but mostly clean, NFL game.

During ESPN’s telecast, Gruden said Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster’s illegal crackback block against the Bengals’ Vontaze Burfict was “sickening.” Smith-Schuster, who then crowed over the fallen Burfict, should have been thrown out of the game, Gruden added.

Keenum knows that no matter how well he performs, Bridgewater’s shadow will be there. With all three of Minnesota’s aforementioned quarterbacks set to become unrestricted free agents, speculation will continue about how the Vikings plan to address the position heading into the 2018 offseason. Plus, it’s unknown how long coach Mike Zimmer would be willing to stick with Keenum if the Vikings experience a rough patch offensively.

But with the NFC North now almost locked up and a first-round playoff bye in sight, a scenario in which Zimmer reinstates Bridgewater will never come into play as long as Keenum keeps giving Minnesota the same luxury that New England, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New Orleans enjoy: confidence in who is taking the snaps at the game’s most important position.nike_redskins_2314

Broward County State Attorney won’t file charges vs. Jarvis Landry

“My daughter’s mother and I will continue to co-parent to raise our child in a happy and healthy environment. I would like to thank my family and friends for their continued support throughout this process.”

NFL investigators concluded Tuesday that there is insufficient evidence to support a determination that Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry violated the league’s personal conduct policy, a source told ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

Jarvis Landry won’t face charges for an alleged domestic violence incident earlier this year after the Broward County State Attorney’s Office declined to pursue the case.
The NFL told Landry that its investigation is closed and it will not take action against him for alleged domestic violence reported to police on April 1. Prosecutors declined to pursue charges last month.

On Wednesday, the president once again chastised the NFL on the issue. After the NFL decided not to penalize players who don’t stand for the anthem, President Trump tweeted, “@NFL: Too much talk, not enough action. Stand for the National Anthem.”

Staley is under contract through 2019 at a base-rate of just $4.8 million the next two seasons, which is a bargain rate if he continues his solid play.

With NFL team’s hoarding draft picks like Scrooge McDuck stockpiles gold it’s unlikely someone will ante up the cost it would take to pry Staley from the 49ers, but that shouldn’t stop teams from calling to check.

The convertible, which features Brady’s touches on the company’s Vanquish S Volante model, is limited to just 12 total cars and will cost $359,950 each.

“We started with a blank canvas and finished with a beautiful car,” the New England Patriots quarterback said in a statement. “It’s been great to see it all come to fruition.”chargers_100

That’s two straight big games for Russell Wilson as the Seahawks have gone back to their versatile

A LITTLE WHILE later, eight players from five teams — linebacker Jonathan Casillas of the New York Giants, safety Devin McCourty and special teams star Matthew Slater of the Patriots, defensive end Chris Long of the Philadelphia Eagles, linebacker Christian Kirksey, cornerback Jason McCourty, and tight end Randall Telfer of the Cleveland Browns, and offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum of the Jets — entered the League Boardroom at the NFL offices and took seats at the giant wood table with the league logo as its centerpiece.

The meeting itself was representative of not only the entire week but of the past few years, defined by discord and distrust on the issues separating the league and the union. Smith said last week that Goodell never mentioned the meeting with players during their Monday call, and that he first got word of it after hearing that Troy Vincent, the NFL executive vice president of football operations, had reached out directly to at least a dozen team captains to invite them to attend. A league source, however, says that team owners, not Vincent, invited the players, at the suggestion of Goodell. Both sides agree that Smith and other union executives were not invited until Tuesday morning, when Goodell asked them to attend in an email. But by then, it was too late. Smith was on the road for a series of locker room meetings and couldn’t attend.

Derek Carr’s latest back injury is a stunner, one that could end their playoff hopes early this season after a different Carr injury dashed them late last season. It’s now on their other on-field leader, Khalil Mack, to help the defense win more games.

That’s two straight big games for Russell Wilson as the Seahawks have gone back to their versatile, high-tempo attack to mask more of their line deficiencies. They should hope the Colts game also jump-started their defensive intimidation.


Scott Tolzien’s receiver saved him from the indignity of a third pick-six

If you didn’t know who Scott Tolzien was prior to Sunday, it’s understandable. He was the Colts backup QB, for some reason, who became their starter since the team botched the handling of Andrew Luck’s shoulder injury … in 2015.

Anyway, Tolzien flirted with a dubious historical distinction this week against the Rams, the record for pick-sixes in one game.

Rich Gannon threw three of them in Super Bowl 37. And the last time anyone did it was 2007 when Eli Manning threw three against the Vikings.

He started his holdout at the beginning of camp, with reports suggesting that Donald was ready to miss regular-season games. That was always a long shot, given that it’s an extreme negotiating tactic, but his late arrival to the Rams means it’s unlikely he plays Sunday.

Donald has been an instant star from the moment the Rams selected him with the 13th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Through three seasons, he has 28 sacks and four forced fumbles, emerging as one of the league’s best interior pass rushers.

It might be a bit of a transition for Donald, who missed a month of practice and is moving to defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ preferred 3-4 scheme. Still, he has the talent to seamlessly ease into the system and continue being one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in football.

Rams expect Sammy Watkins to play against Raiders

Sammy Watkins is making himself at home in Los Angeles.

Rams coach Sean McVay on Monday said the team has started to integrate the newly acquired wide receiver into its offense and is hoping he will be comfortable with the plays in time for the regular-season opener Sept. 10 against the Colts.

“The level of urgency is just a little bit higher. And you’ve just got to be mindful of the progression with him, where he might have to take a little bit extra time,” McVay said, via the team’s website. “And just like you teach all of these guys, there’s a foundation that you have to start with, and then our concepts and our offense kind of builds off one another where we try to make sure that there’s a rhyme and a reason.

“So he’s going to start from behind. It’ll take him a while. But our goal — if we’re intentional about it, and that’s the plan — is for him to be up to speed and kind of have a good feel for the entire offense by the time the regular season rolls around.”

Reid said he spoke with Kaepernick on Sunday, the day after the horror of Charlottesville.

“It’s becoming more apparent for people to see the issues that we’re talking about, especially in the way that it happened in Charlottesville,” Reid said. “We’re just hoping that if we keep talking about it … because a lot of people just want things to blow over. ‘Oh, that’s an isolated incident.’ It happens every day. And if we can keep talking about it, hopefully we can make this change. And it needs to stop being hopefully. It needs to happen. It needs to happen now.”

Every Browning version reads like this: The No. 34 overall pick in 1991 gave Gang Green fans much to boo about in ’92. Going 3-10 as a starter, he completed only 49.8 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns, 17 interceptions and a 55.7 rating that quickly showed he was not an answer. Coming from Johnny Unitas’ former school and going to Joe Namath’s former team didn’t help Nagle one bit.dolphins_081

Harbaugh would have decisions to make

Whitehead, 25, spent two seasons with the Cowboys after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2015. While listed as a wide receiver, Whitehead caught just nine passes and actually contributed more on offense with 20 rushing attempts for 189 yards. But his real value as a player comes from his ability as a return specialist.

He was the starting kick returner for the Cowboys for each of the past two seasons and took over punt returns duties from Cole Beasley midway through the 2015 season before handling punt returns full-time in 2016.

Whitehead’s release from the Cowboys appeared to have nothing to do with his play on the field. Dallas released him Monday, two days after veterans reported for training camp, after a roller coaster week that included the kidnapping of Whitehead’s dog and the issue of a warrant for the return specialist’s arrest.

In October, he finished a 24-16 loss to the Jets with no touchdowns, two interceptions, and 56.8 percent of his passes completed. Now imagine Flacco having a game like that in 2017 with Kaepernick standing on the sideline.

Harbaugh would have decisions to make, and he’d have to explain those decisions to the media.

There’s safety in the NFL when there’s no alternative. The Ravens committed huge amounts of money to Flacco in 2016 and want him to be their starter. As long as he’s healthy and ready to play, he’s the player the team wants under center.

Kaepernick’s chance at another go in the NFL may still be on the way, and it may even be with the Ravens. But as long as they have Flacco and Mallett ready for action, the team would evidently be more comfortable with camp arms like Olson.