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’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

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.

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

Bengals schedule 2018: Cincinnati must manage four tough road tests

The Bengals’ 2018 schedule marks a pivotal season for veteran coach Marvin Lewis after back-to-back losing seasons in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati faces the usual tests in the AFC North against rivals Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cleveland, but this is a year in which the Bengals will find out whether the franchise is built to contend for the division title. Cincinnati faces the NFC South and AFC South this year, which means half of the road games are against playoff teams from last season.

Bottom line: This is a pivotal year for the franchise given Lewis’ tenuous hold on the head coaching job and back-to-back losing seasons. There’s been a familiar pattern in the division the last two years, too: Cincinnati sweeps Cleveland, splits with Baltimore and loses both games to Pittsburgh. If Cincinnati can find a way to make that record 4-2 or better, then it will be in the AFC wild-card hunt. If it’s less than .500, the Bengals might be looking to change directions once and for all. Record prediction: 8-8

Gronkowski wants a raise from his current contract, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports, adding that it appears to be an open secret the superstar pass-catcher is upset. Gronk signed his current contract way back in 2012; that deal that still has two years remaining on it.

A dream scenario for the Colts: They land the player they would have targeted at No. 3 a few picks later. Chubb is a special talent and the draft’s best non-quarterback. If he is off the board by the time pick No. 6 arrives, Quenton Nelson and Roquan Smith will be considered.

The Broncos’ 2018 schedule was going to be tough enough given the competition in their own division. But a handful of regular-season games from matchups with the AFC North and NFC West provide even more challenges for Denver this season.seahawks_032

How much will Khalil Mack’s new deal cost for Raiders?

The Raiders offseason workout program is underway and the NFL draft is less than two weeks away, meaning the Silver and Black are coming together as a team that will weather the 2018 season.

The Raiders have future cap space available for Mack. They’re up against it this year, but don’t forget Mack’s fifth-year option accounts for $13.86 million of that total. Most, if not all of his new money could come next year, or Mack’s 2018 cap number could decrease with a massive signing bonus – that cap hit would be split over the life of the deal — and a lower base salary. The Raiders have options in that regard.

Also, there’s little stress about Mack missing early offseason workouts. He’ll be in shape when he reports. Make no mistake about that. There’s plenty of time to get a deal done this offseason, though the Raiders hope it’s done before training camp.

Both outlets indicated the door has not closed on Kaepernick potentially landing in Seattle.

Kaepernick was deposed by NFL attorneys this week as part of his grievance against the league and its teams in which he alleges he has been blackballed as a result of his stance on social issues. Several teams, coaches and executives were supposed to be interviewed during the process, including the Seahawks.

Free agent safety Eric Reid, who also took a knee to protest alongside his then-49ers teammate, reportedly was asked about the issue by the Bengals during a visit earlier this week.

Tennessee would love to see Harold Landry slip, and the team might even look to move up to get him. But if not, the next pass-rusher on the Titans’ list in Davenport will have to do. Davenport can basically redshirt during his first season in Tennessee.

Without many pressing needs, the Falcons should take advantage of deep defensive tackle and offensive line classes. Coaches speak glowingly about Payne’s maturity and consistent improvement during his time at Alabama.seahawks_084

NFL Draft 2018: Giants prefer Sam Darnold, ‘don’t like’ Josh Rosen, report says

These selections are reversed in Sporting News’ latest mock draft, with Miller going No. 23 and Rudolph at No. 31. But the stock of the two QBs “behind” USC’s Sam Darnold, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield keeps rising. Garoppolo and Brissett with their athleticism developed well behind Brady, and both Jackson and Rudolph fit the same profile.

Drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the seventh round of the 2013 draft, Williams made Arizona his home for four years, tallying 218 career carries for 971 yards and four touchdowns during his time there. Over four seasons with the Cardinals , Williams was waived and cut on five separate occasions, only to have his best season in 2017 when he racked up 519 yards from scrimmage on 130 total touches.

In Kansas City, Williams will be one of four running backs backing up bell-cow second-year stud Kareem Hunt , including Charcandrick West , former Dolphins back Damien Williams and Spencer Ware , who is recovering from a season-ending PCL injury.

“I’m in my second year,” Prescott reported. “As much as you want to say, ‘I want a say-so’ or this and that, those guys get paid a lot more than me. That’s what those guys get paid to do. That’s not my decision. I didn’t really know if it was happening. I can’t say I thought it would fully happen.”

“I’m done. That’s it. It’s been a long career. Went to the doctor. My liver and kidneys are shutting down. The stress is killing me. It’s just about doing what’s right. I just want to be in the Hall of Fame,” Incognito said.

Incognito, 34, retweeted Carucci after the news broke and dropped his own tweet saying he was leaving football behind.

However, Incognito told Sports Illustrated that he would come back for one more season “at the right price.”

Incognito admitted he was very unhappy when the Bills restructured his contract, but that was separate from his decision to retire.

Word of this got out immediately, leaving the indelible impression that the Bengals have zero intention of offering Reid a contract, and that the reason wasn’t football-related in any way. It also sent the message that any team and owner still hung up about players kneeling had no reason to even go through the motions the Bengals went through.

When will the 2018 NFL schedules come out?

The NFL Draft will soon be upon football fans everywhere, which means the 2018 schedule release is drawing even closer.

The upcoming season’s schedule is typically released within one week of the draft — much to the delight of sports network executives who probably find this portion of the NFL calendar year dreadfully boring.

In 2017, the NFL released the schedule on April 20 — one week before the draft. Following that model, the 2018 schedule should get released sometime around April 19 because the draft starts on April 26.

And amid all that is the obvious rift between the Players Coalition leaders and Reid, Colin Kaepernick and others, going back to the midseason meetings with the owners. McCourty addressed that last month, too, essentially saying the players all wanted the same thing but through different means.

The split among players is not inconsequential. The lockstep of the owners, though, carries far bigger consequences. So does the cognitive dissonance between their community outreach and their continued suppression of certain players.

Paul Schwartz of the New York Post has a new take on the situation. While not necessarily a clear-cut report and instead more of an informed tapestry of rumor, analysis, and speculation, Schwartz predicts that the Giants won’t take a quarterback at No. 2, because they don’t feel strongly enough about the likelihood that any of them will become a perennial All-Pro and potential Hall of Famer.

Instead, the thinking is that the Giants and G.M. Dave Gettleman will lean toward Barkley with the second pick.

“I thought all along this is the guy Dave wants,’’ an unnamed scout with no apparent connection to Gettleman, other than “crossing paths with him on the road over the years,” suggested. “And he might get him, if Cleveland is dumb enough not to take him at No. 1.”

And that’s the risk in rolling the dice on a franchise quarterback. Roll wrong, and a team like the Titans will take Jake Locker and a team like the Jaguars will take Blaine Gabbert with a guy like J.J. Watt still on the board.seahawks_026