Patriots hold off Jets after controversial touchback call

First, the qualifiers: Gillislee looked fine in short distance runs throughout the night. One cannot score three goal-line touchdowns without being an adept runner in tight situations. Also, both stops were tremendous collective plays from Kansas City’s remade defensive line. In both circumstances, the push up front was fantastic. Justin Houston bulled his way through a blocker on the second stop to bust up the Gillislee run.

I don’t think it’s time yet to make this an indictment on Brady’s age. On one of the fourth-down attempts, the broadcast crew jokingly mentioned not using the quarterback sneak anymore because Brady is 40. I would find it hard to believe that coach Bill Belichick would curtail one of the more successful parts of his offense because a player can’t do it anymore. Thursday night felt like Belichick was still feeling out the capabilities and limitations of his brand new fleet of running backs. While Gillislee was certainly worth the investment, perhaps nothing can replace Brady dipping below the line on fourth-and-inches.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht must feel like he’s cursed at the kicker position. Nick Folk, the team’s hand-picked replacement for draft bust Roberto Aguayo, missed three field goals in what could be his last game in a Bucs uniform. Folk has missed five kicks in the last two weeks.

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has been too erratic with his accuracy this season to take the next step in his development. The Bucs’ offense got off to a slow start, punting on four of its first five possessions. Winston flat-out missed a number of open throws that short-circuited drives. His final numbers (334 yards on 46 attempts) don’t reflect the struggles he had for much of the night. He and his receivers often weren’t on the same page, including on the final throw to rookie tight end O.J. Howard.

Well, I know from experience that coach Bill Belichick isn’t concerned about the number of targets each player gets. He’s concerned about winning (no surprise here), so whoever is open with the greatest chance to progress the ball downfield will get the look. After stopping at Patriots training camp in early August, I started to think about how this team might spread the ball around — though it’s nearly impossible to predict with Belichick calling the shots.

Last season, the Patriots passed the ball on 54 percent of offensive snaps and ran 46 percent of the time. Keep in mind that Brady, who was serving a four-game suspension, didn’t play until Week 5. With backups Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett under center through Week 4, the offense ran the ball 52 percent of the time, as opposed to 44 percent after Brady returned.

With 8:31 to go in the fourth quarter, a seemingly routine 4-yard Austin Seferian-Jenkins touchdown was reviewed and overturned, cementing a decision from the NFL’s team of replay officials that will be discussed all week long. Seferian-Jenkins, who appeared to momentarily bobble the football en route to the ground, was said to have fumbled the ball out of bounds in the end zone resulting in a touchback.

The masses did not seem to agree. CBS color analyst Dan Fouts called it “one of the strangest decisions on a call like that I’ve ever seen,” while Fox analyst Mike Pereira, the league’s former officiating head, said on Twitter there “does not seem like enough evidence to change the ruling.” Seferian-Jenkins was in disbelief and ran toward the officiating crew after the call was made. A shot of him sitting perplexed on the sidelines was a mainstay throughout the remaining broadcast.

On pace for the worst total defense since the 1970 merger, the Patriots have surrendered 400-plus yards in each game this season and currently rank 31st in points allowed per tilt. Why? It starts with a secondary that has utterly failed to live up to its summertime hype. Free-agent acquisition Stephon Gilmore was torched by the Panthers last week, allowing 71 yards and a touchdown off two Carolina catches. After signing a five-year, $65 million deal, the former Bills cover man has struggled to pick up Belichick’s scheme, acknowledging after Sunday’s loss: “It’s frustrating when it’s communication, it’s not really ability. I have to get better at the communication part. It’s my fault on the communication.”

What’s concerning is that Gilmore — who appeared to be benched for a spell against Carolina — is “communicating” with the likes of Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung and Malcolm Butler, on paper one of the best secondaries league-wide, but in real life a disjointed mess through the first month of play.

Mixon punched a female OU student in 2014 and was charged with acts resulting in gross injury. The case was settled with a plea agreement, and Mixon, who was suspended for the 2014 season, served one year of probation, counseling, and 100 hours of community service.

He was barred from this year’s NFL Scouting Combine under a conduct policy, but has made the rounds since then, meeting with the Broncos, Raiders and Chargers, among other clubs. Lions GM Bob Quinn said at the combine that Mixon was on Detroit’s draft board.

Titans’ Corey Davis ‘bummed’ about hamstring injury

Mariota missed last week’s loss to the Miami Dolphins with a hamstring injury and was questionable coming into Tennessee’s AFC South tilt.

The third-year mobile quarterback has completed 60 percent of his passes and thrown for 792 yards, three TDs and three picks on the season. He also has 116 yards and three scores on the ground.

Returning from a lingering hamstring injury that had dogged him since training camp, Wright erupted for 133 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions in Week 5. Rather than re-emerging as Marcus Mariota’s No. 1 receiver the rest of the way, he faded out of the rotation, even earning a Week 14 benching for tardiness.

After recording 94 catches for 1,079 yards in a breakout 2013 season, Wright’s role gradually diminished as the Titans cycled through Dowell Loggains, Ken Whisenhunt, Jason Michael and Terry Robiskie as play-callers.

Davis’ injury is disappointing, but we won’t freak out yet. We should remember that Odell Beckham Jr. missed all of his rookie preseason and the first four games of the 2014 regular season with a hamstring injury and still managed to put up one of the best first years in NFL history. While we aren’t comparing Davis and OBJ, the parallel helps put Davis’ injury in perspective.

Davis missing significant time would be a blow, but the Titans have upgraded the receiving corps to the point that they can withstand any elongated absence from the first-round pick.

Robinson saw enough. He showed conviction taking Western Michigan’s Corey Davis with the fifth overall pick in April’s draft, then doubled down by snatching up versatile wideout Taywan Taylor and athletic tight end Jonnu Smith in the third round. With erratic receiver Kendall Wright banished, Mariota finally has a group of pass catchers he can grow up with. Decker, last seen as one of the best red-zone receivers and No. 2 options in football, completes the group. It’s difficult to totally fix an organizational problem in one offseason, but Robinson’s track record with the running game last season should give Titans fans hope.

The reconstruction of the secondary was no less dramatic. Tennessee has two new starting cornerbacks in former Patriots spitfire Logan Ryan and first-round playmaker Adoree’ Jackson from USC, in addition to a new starting safety in free-agent pickup Johnathan Cyprien. The most exciting player of the group is second-year safety Kevin Byard, who flashed star potential in a part-time role as a rookie. After running out of defensive backs last season, the Titans look far more well-stocked this time around. Then again, the Titans aren’t buzzy because of their defense.

Probably the most important thing you will need to know about this franchise — you might need to take a seat for this — is that the Tennessee Titans used to be the Houston Oilers. Forgive me, because some of you knew that. But it’s funny to find people when I’m out on the road who never knew this. In fact, at the Super Bowl in Houston this year, I talked to a fan who didn’t know. I showed the fan the similarity between the old Oilers uniforms and the current Titans duds, and this dude looked like Terry Benedict when he finally realized that the video of the vault heist was actually staged in a sound studio on the other side of the I-15.

So there you go. From Elvin Bethea to Earl Campbell to Marcus Mariota, that’s some lineage with this club. Although I’m not sure how celebrated the old Oilers are in Tennessee. It reminds me of a time I talked to Jack Youngblood (you are pot-committed on my humblebrags and name-dropping now) and he said it was strange to be out on the field in St. Louis being honored with dudes he played against, like Dan Dierdorf. About the only time we really see a throwback to the past is when the Titans wear those rad Oilers jerseys from the way back.

Even as the rookie contracts become more boilerplate, there are still negotiating points. Agents working in their clients’ best interest can spend weeks hammering out details that might seem like worthless minutiae now but have a significant effect on a player’s career down the road. Offset language and bonus distribution are still important enough for some players to miss significant time during training camp, as we saw with Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa a year ago.

The Titans now can look forward to Davis, who has been compared to Dez Bryant and lauded as a potential game-changing weapon for ascending star quarterback Marcus Mariota, being a valuable contributor on the field in training camp.

New York Giants re-sign offensive tackle Will Beatty

Cruz was a wonderful player during his time with the Giants and helped the franchise win a Super Bowl. His story — coming from Paterson, New Jersey, getting lost in the shuffle at UMass, clawing his way onto the roster as an undrafted free agent — was inspiring. His outreach in the area to this day is essential for a young group of kids growing up there. In group and small setting interviews, he’s more than gracious with his time and insight — which is often quite valuable.

But if he is now surrounding himself with the kind of people who think the feelings he expressed Thursday are cogent — one that other people will take seriously — I feel quite bad for him.

Ever since the Giants made the consecutive acquisitions of Marshall in free agency and hybrid tight end Engram in the first round of the 2017 draft, pundits have salivated at the potential of the most dynamic receiving corps of Eli Manning’s career.

Shepard’s comments echo the expectations many have had about the Giants’ offense: the caliber of weapons on the outside will open up the middle of the field for Shepard, Engram and New York’s running backs. More open opportunities means less time in the pocket for Eli and fewer sacks surrendered by the offensive line, a position group that is arguably the Giants’ biggest hole on the roster.

Defensive tackle Brandon Williams (foot) didn’t make the trip to England and he’s been officially ruled out for the Ravens’ game against the Jaguars. The Ravens also listed corner Jaylen Hill (thigh) and tight end Maxx Williams (ankle) as out. Receiver Michael Campanaro (ankle), running back Terrance West (calf) and linebacker Za’Darius Smith (knee, ankle) are questionable.

Green Bay Packers coach Jordy Nelson (quad) is “progressing,” coach Mike McCarthy announced. The wideout practiced Friday and is listed as questionable. Receiver Randall Cobb (shoulder) and defensive tackle Mike Daniels (hip) are listed as doubtful.

There are still holes, though. And Beatty, who signed a one-year deal, will compete for the right tackle job. Second-year left tackle Ereck Flowers will stay in his position despite some struggles.

The team is currently rolling with a combination of Marshall Newhouse and Bobby Hart at right tackle. Newhouse has been deflecting speculation that the Giants would sign another veteran all offseason. The team was previously associated with Eugene Monroe before the former Ravens tackle decided to retire.

From his in-season tussling with a kicking net on the sideline to the overblown pre-playoff boat trip, Beckham is under the microscope more than any NFL player.

Throughout his career, Bryant has been just as misunderstood, including going through inflated sideline blowups. The Cowboys’ receiver believes any off-field outburst from Beckham stems from the desire to be a champion.

Jenkins injured his back during last week’s win over the Lions and was listed as a “game-time decision” heading into Thursday night.

In his stead, promising rookie Eli Apple will likely get more snaps, but Jenkins’ absence will be felt. “Jackrabbit” is allowing the second-best completion percentage in the NFL (46.3) and quarterbacks have a 58.1 passer rating when targeting him.

Duane Brown absent as Texans depart for camp

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Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins has flourished despite a pronounced lack of stability at the quarterback position in Houston over the years. In 2015, he became the only receiver in NFL history to log 100 yards receiving in a game with four different quarterbacks in a season. The Texans are tied for the most starting quarterbacks (9) since 2013 with the Cleveland Browns.

This offseason at the combine, his head coach stared bug-eyed at a reporter asking why Hopkins had a down year in 2016 with 78 catches and 954 yards — a hint that Bill O’Brien understands Hopkins is doing everything in his power to be productive despite the mess under center.

After nine seasons in Houston, Brown finished last year as the 17th-ranked tackle league-wide, per Pro Football Focus. As the team’s most valuable lineman, the bookend is likely seeking security in the form of more guaranteed cash.

With Tom Savage and rookie Deshaun Watson set to battle it out for the starting quarterback job, Brown’s importance to the Texans this preseason and beyond is unquestioned. The next move belongs to Houston’s front office.

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While the Texans will take the field to the raucous cheers of their fans for a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the franchise will make sure those in attendance and watching on television won’t forget the efforts of the brave in Houston. Area first responders, Houston city officials and related members vital to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts will be honored by the franchise before the game Sunday, the team announced Thursday.

The aforementioend group will be involved in roles including Texas flag holders, Color Guard and coin toss captains. The team will be selling Houston Strong T-shirts, with the proceeds benefitting the Red Cross.jersey

At 29 years old, Gilchrist is immediately the senior member of a young Texans safety group. Before the addition, Andre Hal and cheap jerseys and Corey Moore were slated to begin the season as Houston’s starting safeties. The Texans lost veteran safety Quintin Demps to Chicago in free agency.

If Gilchrist is fully recovered from patellar tendon surgery and back in game shape by September, expect him to make a run at one of the starting safety positions and improve the weakest spot on an otherwise title-caliber defense.

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So it goes for the Texans, who were not much more potent with Savage at the helm. In three appearances (one complete game), Savage hit on 63 percent of his passes for 461 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Oakland Raiders are 24th against the pass in terms of total yards but are ninth in interceptions. Boasting one of the league’s best pass rushers in Khalil Mack, this will be a handful for any quarterback trying to advance in the playoffs. For someone who is simply trying to win back the trust of his head coach, it could be a steep mountain to climb.

The Davey O’Brien Award winner, as college football’s top quarterback, owns the heady leadership coaches love. However, he enters the NFL with question marks about his accuracy, turnovers and ability to dissect a defense.

The Texans have been adamant they plan to bring Watson along slowly and start Tom Savage as their rookie passer develops. Given coach Bill O’Brien’s impatience with quarterbacks in the past, even if Watson doesn’t win the starting gig before Week 1, expect to see the rookie on the field at some point this year.

Free Agency Debrief: No team trades like the Patriots

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Clearly, the investment is safer for Belichick than going after someone like Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye, who was also in contention for the “best corner on the market” moniker.

Pairing Gilmore with budding star Malcolm Butler gives the Patriots undoubtedly the best secondary in the division and one of the best in the AFC. Gilmore also fits New England’s soft spoken, workhorse culture well.

Speculation that Butler could be shipped to the Saints all but died, though, after the draft. It’s a manageable fate for the fourth-year corner. Playing this season on a one-year, $3.91 million pact, Butler is slated to hit free agency next March. Until that happens, he remains locked into a starting role in New England across from talented free-agent pickup Stephon Gilmore.

If Butler felt destined to wind up with the Saints, New Orleans put that concept to bed when they selected rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore out of Ohio State with the No. 11 pick in last week’s draft.

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Leader of the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, Brady was named the game’s Most Valuable Player once again, his fourth such honor. With the win, Brady is the winningest quarterback in Super Bowl history with five championships, breaking his boyhood hero Joe Montana and cheap jerseys and Terry Bradshaw’s record.

Brady bounced back from a poor first half, during which he threw his first postseason pick-six, to lead New England on four second-half scoring drives, including two TD marches in the fourth quarter.jersey

Landing in New England, Floyd — set to become a free agent this offseason — will look to rescue a troubled 2016 campaign that has seen him post personal lows in catches (33) and yards (446) with a career-high in drops.

Still, Floyd gives the Patriots an intriguing target with the requisite speed to get downfield and stretch a secondary — the skill set he used to pull off five 100-yard performances over his final eight games last season.

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Belichick, like Cleveland’s Sashi Brown on Friday, is enjoying the flexibility that massive cap space allows. No team does a better job exploring every avenue to improve the team, something that showed up in the trade for Ealy.

There’s no need to throw a parade for the deal; he’s been inconsistent at best in his career. But the Panthers were clearly done with him and the Patriots picked up a potentially solid role player for moving down less than 10 spots in the draft. (They gave up their late second round pick in exchange for the Panthers’ third-round pick.) Belichick still seems to relish taking the calculated risks of player acquistion as much as he enjoys going for it on fourth down.

The Patriots signed Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee this offseason to join a bloated backfield with Dion Lewis and James White. The moves seemed to signal an end for Blount in New England.

This week’s decision by coach Bill Belichick is a cold-blooded calculation that could weaken Blount’s market. He’ll either remain with New England on the cheap or the Pats will get compensation if he signs with another team before July 22.

Eagles facing uncertainty at running back after injuries

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After an early touchdown drive, Cutler struggled to generate offense in the second and third quarters. His notorious ball security issues surfaced in the second half with his third lost fumble of the season and a careless interception just before he exited with the injury.

Cutler said the interception was caused, in part, by his sore thumb because he was having difficulty gripping the ball.

Cornerback Janoris Jenkins (back) did not suit up against the Philadelphia Eagles. NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones first reported the development. The Giants will attempt to clinch a postseason berth without him on Thursday Night Football, exclusively on NFL Network.

Jenkins injured his back during last week’s win over the Lions and was listed as a “game-time decision” heading into Thursday night.

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“I’ve been waiting to play in this type of scheme for a while,” Jernigan said. “Being at Florida State for a couple years, we were more of a read (defense) there, then I went to Baltimore and we read a little bit there. Last year in Baltimore we started attacking a little bit more and I had my best year, so it’s going to be exciting.”cheap jerseys

Schwartz has already told Jernigan that he’s going to have “a big year,” the kind of impact the Eagles are hoping since they dropped down 25 picks in the third round to acquire the 24-year-old defensive lineman.

With the top two backs out, Wendell Smallwood took the bulk of the snaps Sunday, carrying the ball 13 times for 48 yards and adding four catches for 31 yards.

The optimism surrounding Sproles suggests he should retain a sizable workload if he can play, but we expect Pederson to grow Smallwood’s role assuming Mathews sits and a 33-year-old Sproles is fighting through pain management.

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“When I try to game plan for an offense, I don’t take into account that he’s a rookie,” Butler said. “I take into account who I’ve got to stop, what they’re doing well and things that might give us problems and look at how we can alleviate them.”

The Steelers flummoxed an off-target Kirk Cousins in Week 1 and stymied Andy Dalton in Week 2. Mike Tomlin seems to have simplified the back end, cutting down many of the blown coverages we’ve seen in previous seasons. The defensive front has been pesky and stout — especially versus the run. With stud linebacker Ryan Shazier flying to the ball, the Steelers D has been fantastic to start the season and better than the sum of its parts would indicate.

“I just felt too at that time, because our defense was playing extremely well, I had made up my mind at that time to go ahead and get us into overtime,” Pederson said. “Hopefully win the coin toss, take the ball and be in a position to score. And/or put our defense out there who had just come off a great drive and they were fired up, to put them back on the field. So it was just my decision to do that.”

After years of watching Andy Reid bungle late-game situations, Pederson is off to a passive start in his first season making the calls.

Odell Beckham’s big night not enough for Giants

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It was then that Michael Strahan led a contingent of players saying the Giants wouldn’t play that weekend, and the NFL didn’t play that weekend. Players went to Jersey City, where they loaded supplies onto trucks. They went into the city, to firehouses, to visit first responders, to shake the hands of police officers on the streets, to boost morale, to say thank you to weary heroes. It was such an emotional time, where every eye blink seemed to capture an image from a movie set. But it was real, a new reality.

As the healing began, it was so obvious that the qualities we love in our sports — resolve, resilience, our competitive spirit and heart — were what we had to rely on in our daily lives. When Mike Piazza hit that home run in the Mets’ first game back in New York, it was as if we all rounded the bases with him.

Tonight, the Vikings go for an improbable 4-0 start against the defensively stout New York Giants and their Packers-East offense. Head coach Mike Zimmer has Minnesota rolling well above expectations with no signs of slowing down. Will this be their toughest test yet?cheap nfl jerseys

Teams with heady safety play tend to fare better against the Giants, and Harrison Smith might be the very best in the NFL. The Vikings are loaded with smart, aggressive cover corners and likely won’t struggle as much against the Giants as they did against, say, the Panthers (even then, not much of a struggle). In watching some of Minnesota’s tape from last week’s win over Carolina, the X-Factor was Greg Olsen, who could win some 1-on-1 matchups against linebackers, helping them move the chains. While New York’s three-headed monster of Beckham, Victor Cruz and rookie Sterling Shepherd is formidable, it is hard to see them being any more of a threat than Kelvin Benjamin, Denvin Funchess and Ted Ginn.

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Yet, the resounding issue for the Giants is their razor-thin margin for error on offense. A unit that was believed to be the strength of the team has disintegrated to the point where the sun rises and sets with Odell Beckham Jr. to a fault. Without an eye-popping moment or two from him, their offense is left out in the cold. Even when he turns in a dominant performance, it’s not enough to consistently save them when another portion of the scoring attack falls apart.

The Giants got a vintage dominant performance from Beckham. The team ran 63 passing plays and naturally the Pro Bowl wideout was the engine of the offense. Beckham owned a whopping 40 percent share of Eli Manning’s intended air yards. The next largest slice of the pie was Victor Cruz with 20.8 percent. Sterling Shepard checked in third with an 18 percent share. New York’s No. 2 and No. 3 receivers, who both turned in solid games, didn’t even combine for the total workload of Beckham.

Vereen has spent the past two seasons with the Giants, operating as a passing-down specialist who caught 59 balls for New York in 2015. Last year’s campaign was cut short when Vereen landed on injured reserve with a triceps injury. The 28-year-old back returned late in the year only to re-tear his triceps in Week 15.

The Giants need help at running back. Paul Perkins had his moments last season, but New York is a strong candidate to tap the draft for help. Vereen is a nice piece on third down when he’s healthy, but his role could suffer if a rookie were to hit the scene and steal the show.

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Camp lasts for like three months. Everybody gets to cover each other, however many times they want. We’ll make each other better. We’ll have arguments. At the end of the day, they know, we know, the organization knows we’re still a team, and that will come with competing and having fun to get to the next level.

It’s continuing, man. It’s just like, you can’t think about the future. You’ve got to think about now and the Giants are just thinking about now. To do that, like I said, don’t break the puzzle apart.

Gould spent his entire career in Chicago before the Bears cut the veteran kicker before the start of the 2016 season, choosing to part ways with the franchise’s all-time leading scorer after he struggled in the preseason. Chicago replaced him with Connor Barth one day later.

They’ve turned to veteran Robbie Gould to fill the void. Gould and the Giants have agreed to terms on a contract, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the situation.

Packers nab RB Knile Davis from Chiefs in trade

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Sunday night’s 17-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings was a reoccurring nightmare for Rodgers. The Packers QB went 20-of-36 passing with a touchdown, an interception and three fumbles (one lost). Green Bay’s best plays of the night were pass interference calls on corner Trae Waynes. Even that didn’t work in the end, as the second-year cornerback jumped a wayward throw to snag what ended up as the clinching pick.

“We’re not going to overreact,” Rodgers said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It’s been two weeks. We haven’t quite found our rhythm yet, but we had some guys working in who hadn’t worked a lot together so we trust the process and believe we can get this thing turned around.

With Sitton and Kyle Long, the Bears now have one of the top guard tandems in the NFL — and are paying a pretty penny for it. Sitton will solidify the interior and help a shaky center position. The Bears ground game should also open holes for running back Jeremy Langford, which will be a big boon for the second-year back who struggles to break tackles.

“The business side is always the first determining factor,” Sitton said. “But I think Coach Fox is building a team that can win here. I like staying in the same climate. I like playing on grass; obviously, I’ve been doing that my whole career. I like that aspect, and I’m familiar with the division.”

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Davis has been available via trade as far back as March. Rapoport reported at the time that Davis made the request to be traded — Davis later denied that request was made. With Spencer Ware and cheap jerseys and Charcandrick West proving more than capable of standing in and Jamaal Charles returning from his ACL tear, Davis was always the odd man out. Then jitterbug rookie Tyreek Hill swiped Davis’ return gig this season. Davis’ roster spot seemed in jeopardy the past few weeks.

Heading into Thursday night’s division tilt versus the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field, Packers fans shouldn’t expect a lot from Davis, who has averaged just 3.3 yards per carry for his career. He’s got open field speed, but isn’t shifty in tight spaces and is mediocre in the passing game. Still, Davis is better than not having a running back at all and can help on special teams.jersey

The Texans lead the division at 6-3 but are a flawed product. Sunday Houston won with $72-million quarterback Brock Osweiler throwing for 99 total yards. The Colts boast the best QB in the division in Andrew Luck but own the worst defense. The Jags are the Jags.

Tennessee doesn’t have the easiest path to catch Houston. Four of their final six games are on the road. The Titans travel to Indy for another pivotal matchup. Trips to Chicago, Kansas City and Jacksonville are sandwiched around a Week 14 home tilt versus the Broncos.

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The Packers released Sitton on Saturday, the team announced. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo first reported that the Packers’ plan was to release the former Pro Bowl guard if they couldn’t trade him, per a source.

This one lands from out of the blue. Sitton, 30, hasn’t missed a start since 2011, a testament to his durability at one of football’s most rugged positions. He’s been a second-team All-Pro three seasons running and finished 2015 as the league’s fifth-rated guard, per Pro Football Focus.

Shaun Hill started Week 1 as the Vikings knocked off the Tennessee Titans 25-16 in Nashville. The 36-year-old threw for 236 yards on 18-of-33 passing for a 77.3 passer rating and didn’t turn the ball over.

While the Vikings’ offense failed to score a touchdown, Hill was not a liability. With the Titans stacking the box to stop Adrian Peterson, Hill averaged 10.4 air yards per attempt in Week 1 (fourth-highest in the NFL). The veteran had 10 pass attempts of 15-plus air yards — for comparison Teddy Bridgewater averaged less than six such throws per game in 2015.

Buffalo Bills in ‘shock’ after collapse in Oakland

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This offseason has been about Ryan going back to his roots and what he knows best — a familiar move for the head coach when his back is against the wall. After repeatedly saying earlier in his career that he wouldn’t hire his twin brother, Rob, Ryan made him an assistant to the head coach this offseason. Roman was one of the few members of the Bills staff who did not have a long track record with the head coach. Lynn, receivers coach Sanjay Lal, defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, linebackers coach Bobby April III, quarterbacks coach David Lee and others have a more established rapport which is seemingly why there was only one move made on Friday afternoon.

Lynn taking control of the play calling could mesh better with Ryan’s overall vision for the team. Ryan always had a run-first philosophy and cheap jerseys and traded away linebacker Kiko Alonso shortly into his tenure for the chance to acquire All-Pro LeSean McCoy. Ryan advocated for big spending across the offensive line to build a time-gobbling bully that would pair nicely with a tenacious pressure defense.

Harvin has dealt with migraines throughout his career — a career that now appears over after seven years in the NFL with the Vikings, Seahawks, Jets and Bills. The 2009 first-rounder also missed a rash of games in previous campaigns due to a chronic hip injury.

“He was doing whatever he could to try to play, but I don’t know if that was in his best interest,” Bills coach Rex Ryan said Monday, per the team’s official website. “We were trying to make sure he’s well.”

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The Bills waived/injured Enemkpali on Monday to make room for Biermann. The Bills are expected to put Enemkpali on injured reserve if he clears waivers.

No team in the league has been harder hit by bumps, bruises and broken bones than Buffalo, leaving Ryan behind the eight ball long before Week 1. Anything the team gets from Bierman will help.cheap jerseys

“It was crazy. It was one of those situations where everything they did went right and we couldn’t make a play,” Graham said. “I’ve never been in a situation like that. Those guys got on a roll and it was like everything they did turned into gold. It didn’t matter what they called, what they did, they found ways to make plays. That’s why they’re 10-2 and No. 1 in the AFC.”

Carucci noted that Ryan looked “absolutely dumbfounded” during his postgame press conference, still stunned by a defense that gave up 29 unanswered points over the final 19 minutes of play. On the outside looking in, the Bills likely need to win out and hope for other teams to implode for any shot at January.

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Less than two seasons later, he was let go. The Bills announced the decision Tuesday along with their decision to fire Ryan’s twin brother, Rob, who was serving as the team’s assistant head coach/defense. Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn was named the interim head coach for the final game of the year against the Jets.

Ryan’s blustery start should have read like the beginning of a familiar page-turner. Much like his first years with the Jets, Ryan’s arrival produced a boon in season ticket sales and expectations. It led to splashy moves on the open market, like the acquisition of star running back LeSean McCoy, and it pitted Ryan as the wily outsider ready to shake up the well-established AFC East.

Less than two seasons later, he was let go. The Bills announced the decision Tuesday along with their decision to fire Ryan’s twin brother, Rob, who was serving as the team’s assistant head coach/defense. Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn was named the interim head coach for the final game of the year against the Jets.

Ryan’s blustery start should have read like the beginning of a familiar page-turner. Much like his first years with the Jets, Ryan’s arrival produced a boon in season ticket sales and expectations. It led to splashy moves on the open market, like the acquisition of star running back LeSean McCoy, and it pitted Ryan as the wily outsider ready to shake up the well-established AFC East.

Brock Osweiler can make Denver Broncos’ offense more potent

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The pass-happy nature of the NFL has forced defensive coordinators to design schemes to disrupt the timing and rhythm of the passing game. Phillips has spent the bulk of his coaching career crafting tactics that enable pass rushers to enjoy free runs to the quarterback. Under his direction, the likes of Bruce Smith in Buffalo, Reggie White in Philadelphia, Shawne Merriman in San Diego, DeMarcus Ware in Dallas and J.J. Watt and cheap jerseys and Mario Williams in Houston have terrorized opponents off the edges and made life miserable for quarterbacks in the pocket.

A staunch proponent of the 3-4, Phillips builds his defense around the talents of his edge players (outside linebackers) or the “five-technique” (3-4 DE) in his scheme. He believes in an aggressive “one-gap” system that encourages players to urgently run through their gaps on the way to the quarterback instead of patiently “reading and reacting” as two-gap players. This allows athletic players to fully utilize their speed, quickness and burst to blow through gaps at the point of attack.

From a critical standpoint, I questioned his game-management skills and diagnostic ability, somewhat due to his limited high-level reps. He wasn’t tasked with a lot of responsibilities at the line, and he looked like the kind of prospect who would need some time to master the nuances of the position as a potential NFL starter. Additionally, Osweiler underperformed in big games at ASU, leading to questions about his immediate potential as a franchise quarterback. Thus, I placed a second-round grade (a developmental prospect who needs a year before earning starter’s reps) on him and compared him to a young Matt Schaub (a two-time Pro Bowler with the Houston Texans).jersey

Over the past few years, I’ve watched Osweiler, who turns 25 on Sunday, show steady progress as a passer and playmaker. He has improved his passer rating during each preseason: 57.5 in 2012, 68.8 in 2013, 84.0 in 2014 and 94.2 in 2015. Most importantly, Osweiler has shown the ability to direct an offense as a precise passer from the pocket, particularly in Gary Kubiak’s system. Studying the All-22 Coaches Film from the young QB’s preseason work, I came away impressed with his accuracy, poise and decisiveness while executing the Broncos’ passing game. He consistently delivered the ball on time to receivers at every level. Additionally, he showed improved footwork on traditional dropbacks (taken under center) and capably executed the movement-based passes from the Pistol formation. I thought Osweiler had the potential to thrive as a starter in the Broncos’ system with a solid supporting cast around him.

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For the Broncos, the overall formula was there from the preseason: play great defense, run the ball well (as Gary Kubiak-coached teams almost always do) and then let No. 18 pull a win out of the fire when the first two things aren’t working. It was a conscious choice to have Manning be a cog in the machine, rather than building an entire offense around him the way the Indianapolis Colts used to do. And there’s precedent for this in Denver: When current GM John Elway won his Super Bowl titles as an aging veteran player in the 1997 and ’98 seasons, the Broncos followed a very similar script.

The original plan for Manning, at this late stage in his career, was to build up a running game and let him work off its success; to have the QB take a lot more snaps under center and run a lot more play-action. Essentially, Denver wanted to avoid the pass-happy seasons that have characterized Manning’s career.

I can’t sit here and tell you that I know Brock Osweiler is going to light up the scoreboard for Denver. He can’t fix Denver’s offensive line. But he did give the Broncos somewhat of a spark on Sunday, after Manning failed to start the fire. Still, this is barely about Osweiler. It’s about Manning’s body of work this year, on the heels of last season’s lackluster play down the stretch. Peyton Manning is hurting the team.

Because this story is wrapped in irony, the Broncos’ next opponent is Chicago, led by old friend John Fox. And the talent-poor Bears are playing a feisty and fiery brand of overachieving football. In this season’s most under-reported storyline, Fox and Adam Gase (Manning’s old coordinator) have saved the career of former Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler.

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Given the Broncos’ formation flexibility out of their “12” personnel package (one running back, two tight ends and two wide receivers), in particular, the use of tempo can exploit the Steelers’ decision to use base or nickel personnel. If the Steelers elect to stay in base against the Broncos’ two-tight end sets, Manning can instruct Owen Daniels or Vernon Davis to align in a slot or flanked position to create a spread formation. This will pit one of their crafty playmakers against a linebacker in space, a matchup that typically results in a positive play for the offense.

If the Steelers use their nickel defense against the “12” personnel grouping, Manning can condense the formation into a one-back power formation or a hybrid two-back formation to attack with a traditional running game directed at the nickel corner. With the Broncos using a fast pace between snaps, Manning can prevent Pittsburgh from substituting defenders and continue to exploit the vulnerability throughout the game.

But this is not merely a story about Kubiak’s ability to inspire a team, to bring everyone together as a family and to empower their thoughts. It is about a team’s quest to overcome a label that says it is unable to grit its way to wins in tough situations.

The first four games of 2015 have drastically changed the narrative about the Broncos and their legendary quarterback. Some might be prone to tag Denver as the team with the least-impressive 4-0 start of the six remaining undefeated teams. Buried beneath that belief, however, is a squad that is doing something so critical.