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

Sam Darnold highlights from Day 4 of Jets OTAs

jets_036The Jets on Tuesday are back on the practice field, for their fourth organized team activities practice — and the second such session that is open to reporters.

Want to take a look at rookie quarterback Sam Darnold in action? Check out the video above.

The Jets began OTAs last Tuesday.

It is called a rookie minicamp, but it is not exclusively for rookies, which is why the newest Giants player is a 29-year-old with fairly extensive NFL experience.

The Giants, following the three-day camp, decided to sign cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris, who played in the NFL from 2012 through 2016 with the Bengals and Ravens, appearing in 33 games (no starts). Lewis-Harris’ work in the rookie camp impressed the coaching staff — he was allowed to participate because he was an unsigned free agent. Harris, undrafted out of Tennessee-Chattanooga, has one career interception. He was most recently cut by the Broncos prior to the 2017 season.

To make room on the 90-man roster, the Giants waived cornerback C.J. Goodwin, 28, who previously played a total of 28 games split between the Cardinals and Falcons. Goodwin did not last two weeks with the Giants; he was awarded off waivers May 2.

This continues the offseason strategy of adding veterans to compete for jobs in the defensive backfield. The previous signings were William Gay, Teddy Williams, B.W. Webb and Curtis Riley.

In his first year as head coach, the 32-year-old McVay helped author one of the league’s more stunning worst-to-first narratives, morphing an offense that birthed an unwatchable, NFL-low 14.0 points per game under Jeff Fisher in 2016 into a powerhouse that pumped out a league-leading 29.9 points per tilt.

It’s going to make us a whole lot better because the up-tempo and his play-calling style is crazy unique, Peters said. It’s going to cause for us to be on our toes a lot.

It’s especially high praise coming from Talib, the 32-year-old veteran who spent years in Denver practicing against Peyton Manning and seasons in New England seeing Tom Brady ‘s magic-spinning up close and personal.

The ill news for Rams opponents is that adding Talib and Peters only improves the offense by forcing McVay’s roster of weapons to face top talent on a daily basis.

It’s good competing against them at practice, wideout Robert Woods said. Very challenging guys, different guys. You see Talib with his experience, you see Peters just jumping the ball.

Have we mentioned Los Angeles also added All-Pro defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh to the mix? For all the talk of what the Rams can do on offense, this defense has the position-by-position talent to create equal excitement.

Ravens passing game ‘deep’ in transition from last year

Drop back. Throw long. Repeat.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was flinging the ball far downfield Thursday during a voluntary offseason training practice, targeting an array of receivers that includes newcomers Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead.

Someone kind of joked that we completed more deep balls in practice today when we did the whole offseason last year, coach John Harbaugh said.

Joe’s known for throwing the deep ball, and I think we’ll hit a lot of those, Brown said.

Last year, when I was out there, I proved myself and going forward I plan to prove myself again, Bostic said. I got a lot of unfinished business.

So do the Steelers, who were gashed for 164 yards rushing and 45 points in a stunning playoff loss to Jacksonville. Though Pittsburgh led the league and set a franchise record with 57 sacks, the defense struggled at times following Shazier’s injury against Cincinnati on Dec. 4.

Throw out a Christmas Day game against Houston — which played without quarterback DeShaun Watson — and the Steelers allowed 33.5 points and 381 yards after Shazier’s exit. They’ll have a full offseason to get ready for life without him. The plan includes potentially flipping from a 3-4 to a 4-3 look in certain situations and getting creative with substitutions.

That’s where Edmunds comes into play. Though technically a safety, he served as a de facto linebacker late in his time at Virginia Tech when the Hokies played with five or more defensive backs. There’s also Matakevich, a special teams ace who will finished 2017 on injured reserve due with a shoulder issue.

Giants shuffle roster after rookie minicamp

The Giants swapped out six players on their roster for six that tried out for the team during their three-day rookie minicamp.

As a civil fraud lawsuit against Giants quarterback Eli Manning was pending, the NFL consistently declined comment on whether the Personal Conduct Policy applied to the allegations or any of the evidence that had come to light.

Now that the civil case has been resolved, the NFL has commented on the situation. “We monitored the situation and are satisfied that it is a civil matter that was resolved,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT via email. “Not a [Personal Conduct Policy] issue.” The Personal Conduct Policy expressly encompasses “[c]rimes of dishonesty such as blackmail, extortion, fraud, money laundering, or racketeering.”

He’ll start out behind Joe Schobert with the Browns and coach Hue Jackson said the team expects Avery to have a big role on special teams during his rookie season.

Since returning from thumb surgery late in the first round, guard Marcus Smart has been unflappable and Boston’s unquestioned deacon of toughness.

From sacrificing his body diving for loose balls or keeping plays alive with a rebound, to causing deflections on defense, to popping up out of the crowd for a timely rebound or tip-in, Smart is the proud everyman for a once underdog Celtics team that has outworked the Cavaliers through the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals.

That’s me. That’s how I was raised, said Smart, who was Boston’s top performer off the bench in the Celtics’ 107-94 Game 2 win with 11 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals. “I’m the youngest of four boys. My whole life I had to fight. bucks_517

Sen. Orrin Hatch says he’ll introduce new bill to ban sporting gambling

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Monday he plans to introduce a new bill that would make sports gambling illegal, the same day the Supreme Court struck down a federal law that banned betting on sports.

Kraft joins a list of NFL figures, in addition to Elway, who have already been deposed in the case. Those include Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, league executive VP Troy Vincent, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Texans owner Bob McNair, Ravens coach John Harbaugh and GM Ozzie Newsome.

The offensive line is loaded, just like every other position group on this team. Did I mention they have Drew Brees? No, I did not. They do! And he’s still very good, even if the Saints don’t need him to do as much as they have in years past thanks to leaning on the running game. The only thing keeping them from having a higher win total is the division, and the NFC South caused their 2018 NFL win total to be set at 9.5 games.

“Rutgers is in my top couple schools,” said Sillah, the 6-4, 210-pounder. “It’s a great school with great academics and great football. And they have good coaches and it’s like a family environment. So it’s definitely one of my top schools.”

And he’s been recruited most heavily by the Scarlet Knights, as well as a handful of other schools.

“I want to be an athlete,” Barkley said (via ESPN). “I’m not just a running back. I play the running back position. I want to be an all-around back and all-around player.”

Barkley tallied 1,195 receiving yards and eight touchdowns over his three-year career at Penn State. He also added two scores on kickoff returns and a passing touchdown.

“I’m a guy that is willing to do whatever it is for the team,” Barkley said. “Whether it is a kick returner, whether it be a punt returner, whether it be running down on kickoffs, whether it’s line up in the slot, whether it’s run a dummy play, fake play.” (more…)

Report: Patriots restructure Phillip Dorsett’s contract

Patriots receiver Phillip Dorsett agreed to a reduction in the roster bonus due the fifth day of training camp, Field Yates of ESPN reports.

Dorsett’s roster bonus dropped from $450,000 to $150,000, but he now can earn $100,000 in per-game roster bonuses and $150,000 in reception incentives.

The Patriots declined Dorsett’s fifth-year option, making this a contract year for the former first-round pick.

Looking back on the most recent ownership changes with the Rams, Jaguars and Bills, key adjustments were necessary for the teams’ long-awaited playoff breakthroughs last season. The Browns finally look like they might be on track to join them soon. The difference between those teams and the Panthers is the fact that Carolina is more like a blue chip at the time of the acquisition.

Tepper is saying all the right things and bringing all the good vibes as all new owners do. Now comes the real challenge of improving on an impressive bottom line.

Bryant reportedly turned down a multi-year deal with the Ravens ahead of last month’s draft with the hope of instead securing a one-year “prove-it” deal. The Ravens are the only team known to have extended an offer to the All-Pro veteran.

Bryant, 29, spent his first eight seasons with the Cowboys but hasn’t been signed after Dallas released him in April. He remains the franchise’s all-time leader in touchdown catches.

“As has been said, I think we have spent a lot of time really, not just at this meeting, but really over the last year discussing the subject of the anthem and working with our players to try to make sure we could get to a place where all the different viewpoints could be respected. I think we’ve come out at a place that we as a group and the league are comfortable with. Obviously, we want to continue to work with our players and make sure that they feel that their point of view has been respected. I think the fact that those who are not comfortable standing for the anthem have the right to stay off the field. So, we’re not forcing anybody to stand who doesn’t feel that’s within the way they feel about particular subjects. But those who are on the field are going to be asked to stand.ravens_157

Kurt Warner apparently comes in second for MNF (and possibly isn’t happy about it)

Before ESPN leaked to ESPN last week that Cowboys tight end Jason Witten plans to retire and join the Monday Night Football booth, Kurt Warner had been viewed as the clubhouse favorite to get the gig. The cat was so far out of the bag that Warner made a joke about looking first at the MNF schedule at the outset of NFL Network’s schedule release show last month.

Sanders, who pleaded guilty to assault and weapons charges in the case last month, fired the weapon into a crowd outside of the Allstar Night Club in Elizabeth on Dec. 2016. No one was injured.

Sanders was arrested weeks later and, during an interview with Elizabeth police, claimed Greene handed him the gun. During that same interview, Sanders conceded he had lied about Green’s involvement, according to audio of the exchange provided by Greene’s attorney, Joshua McMahon.

A 6-1, 185-pound three-star safety out of Baltimore, Biggers is a coup due to his length, athleticism and ability to cover down-field. Hence, the Knights could continue to recruit him into December if they see fit.

Biggers’ decision came down to UNC and Rutgers with North Carolina winning out following a recent visit to Chapel Hill — his second in less than a month.

However, his recruitment has come to an end, as he’ll don powder blue and white at the next level. Biggers is ranked the No. 12 recruit in Maryland and No. 43 safety in the country.

Eric Dickerson: Saquon Barkley won’t break rookie rushing record because Giants have ‘no offensive line’

Here is some bulletin board material for the Giants offensive line.

Given New England’s first-round selection of running back Sony Michel, don’t be shocked if Hill signs with another team sometime around Labor Day.) After drafting corners in the early rounds, the Bengals often look for talented pass rushers in the middle rounds.

Will Clarke has had the type of career that makes a team have to keep looking.
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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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