Lions’ Bob Quinn, Matt Patricia ‘in lockstep’ on personnel decisions

Detroit – Before a crowd of the nearly 4,000, the Detroit Lions held their annual Season Ticket Member Summit at Ford Field on Monday. The event, hosted by play-by-play announcer Dan Miller, had general manager Bob Quinn, team president Rod Wood and coach Matt Patricia taking questions from the audience.

Here were some of the highlights from that Q&A:

Patricia said he’s been working hard to familiarize himself the current roster, and while several of those evaluations were easy, there were about a dozen or so players he needed to study to see how they would fit into the schemes he wants to run in Detroit. That’s where he was able to lean on Quinn.

“Honestly, with Bob’s help, trusting his opinion and evaluation, knowing we look at players the same way, look at guys in the same light, how they’re used, their roles, Bob is familiar schematically what I do defensively and what I’ve done before. It was really an easy conversation,” Patricia said.

It was just last month that Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Beckham “will not set foot on a field” without a new contract. That came not long after a report by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo in February that OBJ wants $20 million per year in his next contract. Last year, he made it known in an UNINTERRUPTED interview that he wants to be the highest-paid player—not just receiver—in the league.

All of this drama follows a suspicious hotel room video involving Beckham earlier this offseason. Per ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert, Giants co-owner John Mara is on the record this offseason of saying he is “tired of answering questions about Odell’s behavior.”

When he is on the field, there is no denying the type of impact he can make. He had at least 90 catches, 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of his first three seasons before an ankle injury limited to just four games last year.la_kings_014

Report: Broncos not expected to exercise option on Shane Ray’s deal

While Shane Ray expected the Broncos to exercise the fifth-year option on his contract, it doesn’t appear they will after drafting Bradley Chubb.

Mike Klis of Denver’s 9News reports the Broncos are not expected to pick up the $9.23 million option on Ray’s contract for 2019. Ray is scheduled to make $1.68 million this season and would become a free agent in 2019 without an extension.

The 28-year-old journeyman is coming off a breakout 2017 season in which he recorded three interceptions and 13 passes defensed in just 10 games as the Indianapolis Colts’ top-performing cover man. He surrendered an opposing passer rating of just 60.3, which, according to Pro Football Focus, was the 10th-lowest qualified mark in the league. 

The Seahawks may or may not have Thomas on the trade block; they may or may not be “counting” on him; the Cowboys may or may not still have interest in trading for him; and Thomas may or may not holdout in the absence of a new contract. Are you following?

Thomas and the Seahawks appear to know as much about his future as you and I do.

This much is known: Thomas currently is scheduled to make $8.5 million in base salary before becoming a free agent in 2019.

Like Robinson, Graham didn’t come cheap. But it was refreshing to see the Packers spend some money on the open market, especially on a player who should immediately help them score points. The 31-year-old might not be good for 1,000 yards like he was earlier in his career, but Graham still earned a second consecutive Pro Bowl nod while catching a league-high 10 touchdown passes in the red zone last season in Seattle. 

If he hits a wall, only $11 million of Graham’s three-year, $30 million contract is guaranteed. But there’s a better chance the highest-rated passer in NFL history finds a groove with one of the toughest players in football to defend. 
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Giants sign A.J. Francis

Defensive tackle A.J. Francis didn’t have to wait long to find a new team and he didn’t have to leave the NFC East to do it.

The Giants announced that they have signed Francis to their 90-man roster. Francis was released by the Redskins on Monday.

Francis bounced on and off the roster in Washington last season and wound up playing in six games. He had 18 tackles in those appearances and also had two tackles in three games for Seattle and Miami during the 2015 season.

So even if I was hearing it, I didn’t quite believe that GM John Dorsey—a big measureables guy in the draft over the years—would pick a 5’10, 183-pound corner over a 6’4, 269-pound pass rusher.

So I figured I’d do a little digging, and I was able to come up three distinguishing factors (you’ll like the last one) between the two players, with one club source saying Clevelandloved both.

With Dorsey in his first season, the first overall pick in the draft in quarterback Baker Mayfield and several other notable acquisitions after an 0-16 season, the Browns have plenty of storylines for producers to craft a show around.

The Chargers are another team that can be forced to do the show and their General Manager Tom Telesco said earlier this year that he can see some benefits to the experience even if he is “not entirely” comfortable with inviting cameras into camp.

A firework blast was our queue to run—we’d take off sprinting through a wall of smoke as the team followed behind us.

I don’t think I’ve ever run faster in my life, fueled by the zero-to-60 adrenaline boost (and by the fear of getting trampled by the giant players behind us).

The reasons Davis, Ware and I love cheerleading are the same reasons you love the sport you played.

The camaraderie of being on a team, the honor and responsibility of representing an organization, the opportunities to travel and meet new people, and the thrill of performing your craft every week.broncos_010_decd4bcaeca0aa61-180x180

Inside the NRA’s annual meeting: Guns, ammunition, family and politics

Joe and Connie Henderson packed up their car in Arizona earlier this past week and drove nearly 1,000 miles across desert and high plains to the National Rifle Association’s 147th annual meeting here. The couple came to their first meeting for two reasons: both to check…

Seahawks cut Cliff Avril with failed physical designation, which could end his career

Seattle’s purge of established stalwarts who played significant roles in their rise to NFC powerhouse continued with the release of defensive end Cliff Avril , though their decision to part ways with him came as a result of a failed physical. On Friday, the Seahawks announced that they cut Avril and lauded him for his contributions both on and off the field in Seattle. On Instagram, Avril thanked the Seahawks organization and the fans.

In five seasons in Seattle, Avril recorded 34.5 sacks in regular-season action and another 6.5 sacks in the playoffs. In all, Avril has 74 regular-season sacks since 2008 the 12th most in that span , according to Pro Football Reference’s database. For the Seahawks, it’s been an offseason of change as they’ve parted ways with Avril, Bennett, Richard Sherman , Malik McDowell , and Paul Richardson .

Meanwhile, trade rumors surrounded Earl Thomas all offseason, though he remains with the Seahawks for now . Chancellor also remains on the Seahawks’ roster as he tries to work his way back onto the field , but like Avril, it’s unclear if he’ll be able to play again.

Haspel, who serves as the CIA’s deputy director and has spent 33 years in the agency, most of it undercover, faces some opposition in Congress because of her connection to the interrogation program, which was set up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In late 2002, Haspel oversaw a secret CIA detention facility in Thailand, where one al-Qaeda suspect was waterboarded. Another detainee also was waterboarded before Haspel’s arrival.

Three years later, Haspel was involved in the CIA’s destruction of nearly 100 videotapes that recorded the men’s interrogations, touching off an investigation by a special prosecutor who ultimately decided not to bring charges against those involved.  tigers_056-115x115

Rutgers’ Trevor Morris updates injury status, talks linebacker depth

The Big Ten’s top returning tackler is on the mend.

The Packers needed secondary help — they always need secondary help — coming into this draft. Green Bay allowed a 102 QB rating last season, and the image of their cornerbacks getting torched in the 2016 NFC championship game against Atlanta isn’t that far removed from memory.

There were staffing changes around coach Mike McCarthy this offseason, but the draft plan didn’t change. SIGN UP to stream the NFL Draft LIVE on DAZN in Canada It was expected the Packers would draft a cornerback in the first round – and they did in Alexander, a playmaker from Louisville who battled injuries in 2017. Gutekunst doubled down and grabbed Iowa’s Josh Jackson, an All-American cornerback who had first-round projections. Jackson Alexander is a solid pick. Jackson is a value pick. Their styles complement each other. The latter had eight interceptions for the Hawkeyes.

Bills General Manager Brandon Beane says he was working hard on trying to get the fourth overall pick, but Browns General Manager John Dorsey was holding out for too high a price.

I probably talked to John Dorsey more than anybody through the process, but we could not come to an agreement on what was fair, Beane told the Buffalo News.

Beane also had a deal in advance with Broncos General Manager John Elway that would have seen the Bills send the 12th overall pick, the 22nd overall pick and a second-round pick to Denver in exchange with the fifth overall pick. But Elway said he would only do that if the player he wanted was off the board at No. 5, and it turned out the player Elway wanted, Bradley Chubb, wasn’t available. Chubb was available, and the Broncos stayed put and drafted him.

Shazier was injured during a Monday Night Football game against the Bengals in Week 13. On Cincinnati’s first possession of the game, Shazier went to the ground clutching his back after tackling Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone. It looked like a normal, everyday kind of tackle until Shazier didn’t get up.
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Redskins Re-Sign G Shawn Lauvao

The Redskins have agreed to re-sign guard Shawn Lauvao, according to his agency (via Twitter). Lauvao has been hampered by injuries in recent years, but he could serve as Washington’s starting left guard once again in 2018.

Lauvao has missed 22 games over the last three seasons, including seven missed games in 2017. Last year, Pro Football Focus ranked him as one of the ten worst guards in the NFL out of 77 qualified players. Those advanced metrics haven’t rated him well since his first year with Washington in 2014, but the Redskins clearly like what he offers.

Quote: Mark Silverman, president of Fox Sports National Networks: “The opportunity for Fox to help shape the stories that are told around such an energetic and optimistic time for NFL fans is definitely a place we want to be.”

What’s new: ESPN’s “College GameDay” has long been one of ESPN’s biggest hits. The network is smartly plotting “College GameDay’s” first on-location visit to the NFL Draft at Jerry World, the same way the traveling show visits Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson.

Before kickoff of Round 1, ESPN will show a two-hour “College GameDay” starring Herbstreit, Rece Davis, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard and David Pollack (5-7 p.m. ET). Then, when the main NFL action gets underway on ESPN, sister network ESPN2 will offer viewers a college football-themed viewing option. Smart move.

On This Date: 13 years ago, @AaronRodgers12 had a painful green room wait as 23 names were announced.

(Ironically, I joined the Titans as team president two months later and was happy to watch Kearse play fantastic — 14.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in a Rookie of the Year season — as he helped lead us to the Super Bowl.)

Todd Haley is the man in charge, but he couldn’t keep everyone happy on a Steelers offense that boasted Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. His having to manage the personalities and expectations in Cleveland could go awry. 

Things went off the rails for the Tennessee Titans a year ago. 

Promising quarterback Marcus Mariota regressed while playing hurt (hamstring, quad) and wound up throwing more interceptions than touchdowns (15-13). Running back Derrick Henry was a fun breakout (4.2 yards per attempt), though the coaching staff insisted on giving DeMarco Murray 184 totes at 3.6 per carry. Tight end Delanie Walker led the team in receiving, which is generally a bad thing unless the tight end’s name is Gronkowski. default_03

Antonio Brown has ‘special affinity’ for kids from Miami, will mentor Browns’ Antonio Callaway

Antonio Callaway was widely considered one of the most talented wide receivers in the 2018 NFL Draft. There was, however, never an expectation that he’d be picked as early as his talent would suggest, because he’s had so many issues off the field.

Callaway was suspended by the University of Florida for allegedly using stolen credit card information to fund bookstore accounts. He was investigated for sexual assault. (A Title IX hearing officer cleared him of the allegations.) He was cited with misdemeanor marijuana possession, and he failed a drug test at the combine with what he says was a diluted sample.

Now that he’s in the league, Callaway has a new mentor in one of his rivals: Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. Brown even attended Callaway’s draft day party.

Hurst needs to work on his blocking, and he only caught three touchdowns in three years at South Carolina.

Morgan’s been a Seahawks scout and exec for several years. He will fill the role vacated by Brian Gaine‘s departure to Houston, per Garafolo. Gaine served as Buffalo’s VP of player personnel last year under Beane before returning to Houston as GM.

A former first-round pick, Morgan played seven seasons with the Panthers, from 2001-07, before breaking into the scouting side of the game.

A little later, Clemson wide receiver Deon Cain and Georgia running back Sony Michel would be the offensive cogs to covet, while two edge rushers, Florida State’s Josh Sweat and Wake Forest’s Duke Ejiofor, stand out for their second second-rounder.

Going into the third round, USC defensive tackle Rasheem Green and Louisville edge rusher Trevon Young are appealing. If New England does not take Jackson or Rudolph early, the best quarterback targets to close Day 2 are Washington State’s Luke Falk and Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta.
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Police raid home of former LB who threatened Cowboys over not drafting him

A former college football player had his house raided this week after he allegedly threatened members of the Dallas Cowboys organization over the team not drafting him.

Key players: Eisen, the ex-ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor, will serve as host. He’ll be joined by Mayock and analysts Daniel Jeremiah, Charles Davis, Deion Sanders, Steve Smith Sr., and Steve Mariucci. Plus, NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, Peter Schrager of “Good Morning Football,” Melissa Stark, Chris Rose, Colleen Wolfe and Kyle Brandt. Fox’s lead college football analyst, Joel Klatt, will appear on pre-draft coverage of Rounds 1-3 and live coverage of Rounds 2-3.

The good quarterbacks ripped it apart. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford dissected it on Monday Night Football at Lambeau Field in October, and Randall knew why. It seemed like Matthew Stafford knew everything we were in, Randall said, according to Ty Dunne of Bleacher Report. It seemed like we were very predictable. It’s hard to beat an offense like that whenever the quarterback knows where to go with the ball before he snaps it. Randall’s gone, but his message lives on.

We kick off our Five For Friday with the annual spring audit of former Mizzou players on NFL rosters. A glut of former Tigers are currently free agents hoping to land with a team for training camp, including former first-round pick Jeremy Maclin, who spent last season in Baltimore. Other unsigned free agents include linebacker Andrew Gachkar, offensive lineman Tim Barnes, defensive end Jacquies Smith, linebackers Sean Weatherspoon and Zaviar Gooden, defensive tackle Josh Augusta and cornerback Aarion Penton.

Gleyber Torres hit his first MLB home run. The team’s top prospect cracked a three-run blast to left-center field in the fourth inning for the game’s first runs.

Two batters later, Aaron Judge rocked a solo shot over over the wall down the left-field line, his eighth blast of the season.

In the fifth, Gary Sanchez hit his eight homer of the year, making it 5-0 Yankees. nike_jets_1640

The Broncos not only saved money by releasing Anderson, they opened up playing time for Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson.

And that’s something echoed often when you ask NFL insiders about Rosen. Watch UCLA play, said one coach, and count how many free hits defenders get on Rosen. A guy who gets dropped in the dirt like that but keeps getting up, plays hurt and has a competitive edge about him? That looks like a guy who loves what he’s doing.

But where some see a mature-beyond-his-years freethinker who will fit in perfectly with the veterans in a locker room, others see a problem child. Some scouts call him entitled and spoiled.

But what about Cutler? Where do those comparisons come from? Turn on a bad game of his and watch his body language after an interception, one coach said. He pouts and points fingers. That won’t fly from a rookie.

It is believed the Broncos will also take a running back with one of the eight picks they have within the first five rounds.

Anderson was an underdog story who did good. He didn’t start in his two seasons for the University of California and he wasn’t drafted in 2013. The Broncos signed him as a college free agent and he made their 53-man roster on the strength of his first preseason game at San Francisco.

They still have hopes for him to become a sideline-to-sideline playmaker, but Anzalone missed all but four games last season with an injury. That’s the kind of draft that could keep the post-Drew Brees Saints strong contenders … assuming they find a quarterback to be a solid heir to Brees. It’s far and away the best draft any team had in 2017, and it’s a reminder how important off-field homework is on draft weekend. Whereas Foster had a shaky past, Ramczyk had zero zits on his résumé and was steady from the first practice.dolphins_080

Cowboys release Dez Bryant after Jerry Jones meeting

Dez Bryant’s time in Dallas has come to an end.

The Cowboys released the Pro Bowl receiver Friday following a meeting with owner Jerry Jones, the team announced.

“This was not an easy decision,” Jones said in a statement. “It was made based upon doing what we believe is in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys.”

The pair were meeting Friday morning at the team’s training facility to discuss Bryant’s future. He has spent all eight seasons of his NFL career in Dallas after the Cowboys made him the 24th overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft.

“We work with leaders all over the Southeast,” Wuerffel told Sporting News. “We had training the other day for 50 leaders. We’ve had about 10 neighborhoods where we had a deep five-year commitment dive. It’s going really well all the way from Dallas to Orlando.”

Coincidentally, the Orlando area is roughly two hours away from where Wuerffel and his recently named Gators United squad will be participating Sunday in an American Flag Football League tournament qualifier in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. The winner clinches a spot in the 32-team finals bracket, with the U.S. Open of Football finals held July 19 in Houston and televised on NFL Network.

At one event where cheerleaders modeled bikinis, Ware says she was given angel wings to wear, and she claims Grogan grabbed her and harassed her as she left the runway.

Ware is seeking arbitration from the Florida commission, and she also wants a hearing with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told the New York Times the league is committed to “fair employment.”

“The NFL and all NFL member clubs support fair employment practices,” McCarthy said. “Everyone who works in the NFL, including cheerleaders, has the right to work in a positive and respectful environment that is free from any and all forms of harassment and discrimination and fully complies with state and federal laws.

“Our office will work with our clubs in sharing best practices and employment-related processes that will support club cheerleading squads within an appropriate and supportive workplace.”dolphins_095

Seahawks back out of Colin Kaepernick meeting over anthem kneeling, report says

Colin Kaepernick was supposed to meet with the Seahawks this week, but the team decided to hold off on the visit after the quarterback would not promise to stop kneeling during the national anthem, ESPN reported, citing unidentified sources.

A subsequent NFL Media report said the kneeling issue was not why the meeting was postponed, adding that Seahawks management wants Kaepernick to “consider how he wants to proceed on everything,” not just the anthem, before moving forward.

Of all 32 teams, the Saints are most likely to draft Jackson, and they’ve had interest in doing so since the middle of last season. With Drew Brees on his way out and the offense changing, New Orleans adding Jackson now would give him a full redshirt season.

The Steelers rarely have selected cornerbacks early in drafts throughout the last two decades, but Alexander fits their defensive scheme. They need to find help for Artie Burns (their other recent first-round cornerback) if they hope to reach the Super Bowl again soon.

There are holes left to fill with amateur selections. Salary cap space must get cleared to pay these new draft picks. Khalil Mack’s contract extension must get worked out.

Questions abound remain heading into this spring. Let’s answer a few in a pre-draft mailbag.

Q: What do you think a Khalil Mack extension will cost the Raiders? How will it work with the cap? (Brad Schmidt, on Facebook)

A: The Raiders remain confident they’ll reach an long-term pact with edge rusher Khalil Mack this offseason. They know it won’t be cheap. Von Miller’s $114 million deal should be viewed as a baseline for Mack’s deal, which should set a market for defensive players. He’s worth that amount, and the Raiders understand his value.

A new deal could be in the ballpark of $120 million over six years. NFL Network’s Steve Wyche reported a deal could include $65 million in guaranteed money, a fair total that may get exceed. Time will tell on that front.dolphins_019