August 2017

On Jersey, featuring Drake, Future says in the hook, You do what you want when you poppin’, and Antonio Brown is doing just that.

Brown arrived at Steelers training camp on Thursday in a 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom 1 Phaeton four-door convertible. But Brown didn’t show up driving it himself he had his own driver to go with the exquisite ride:

Based on the tunes blasting from the ride, it sounds like AB got himself an aux cord in there. It’s incredibly fitting that one of the smoothest wide receivers in the NFL made one of the smoothest entrances to training camp.

The standard five-star preview never ever favors quarterbacks well, but Brady gets the important 99 overall, as well as a 99 awareness rating. This is the fourth time Brady has received a 99 at launch, along with 2007, 2008, and 2011.

We don’t know how Rodgers stacks up against Brady in the key quarterback areas, but he’s extremely close to the top spot. His Throw on the Run is a 97 overall, which means he’s going to be awesome outside the pocket.

Ryan has always been a mid-high tier quarterback, but this year he leaves that in the dust. His 96 overall is the highest of Ryan’s career, and paired with Julio Jones will make the Falcons a force when the game is released.

Normally, buying your way into contention doesn’t quite work out it’s a classic last-ditch attempt by an embattled GM to save his job. The thing is, Reese’s spending spree … actually worked? The Giants’ defensive DVOA jumped from 30th all the way to second, while ranking 10th in yards allowed and giving up the second-fewest points in the league (17.8) one year after allowing the third-most (27.6). It was a dramatic turnaround on every level, easily the biggest reason why the Giants went from 6-10 to 11-5.

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With that said, the speed to which Garrett got to QB Cody Kessler was impressive, and even though Thomas lets Garrett have the edge, I don’t think he quite wanted to let him get to the spot that he did as quickly as he did — to the point where you’d even risk your quarterback hitting the turf (which Kessler did after some light contact).

After practice, Garrett talked briefly with reporters about his encounters with Thomas. Per Dan Labbe of Cleveland.com, here’s what he said:

I think I beat him on the last rush. But there was a rush where I tried to ‘bull [rush]’ and he started to slow me down. Then, Bitonio came and basically stopped me in my tracks. I heard Joe whisper to me, ‘nice try.’ That’s going against one of the world’s best. You’re going to get better each day by doing that.
In Jackson’s post-practice press conference, he was asked about Garrett’s promotion to the first-team defense. He acknowledged that they didn’t plan for today to be the day that Thomas and Garrett finally went at it; it just so happened that everything lined up that way.

It was a stunning trade on the Seahawks’ end, especially when they gave up their starting center on an already shaky offensive line. Nonetheless, they finally had a dynamic pass-catching threat at tight end, something that Russell Wilson lacked up to that point.

Despite the concerns about his usage, Graham was a valuable asset in the offense until his season ended on the worst possible note. During a Week 12 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Graham tore his patellar tendon, one of the most severe knee injuries an athlete can suffer. He was immediately ruled out for the year, and with the injury occurring late in the season, there was legitimate doubt that Graham would be ready for the start of 2016.

In short: Graham’s first year with the Seahawks was a disappointment, and it didn’t look like Seattle was going to get much return for the heavy price it paid.

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The Chiefs finished last season 12-4 but fell to the Steelers in an 18-16 heartbreaker in the divisional round. Eleven-year veteran linebacker Tamba Hali hardly saw the field.

Hali tweets often to promote his new album or interact with fans, but he doesn’t typically spend his Saturdays tweeting a flurry of complaints about the Chiefs. Over the weekend, Hali went on an uncharacteristic Twitter rant about his playing time and his former college coach, Joe Paterno. On Tuesday, he took to Facebook Live to try to clear the air.

Guys, I think it got blown out of proportion, Hali said. All I was trying to say is, at the end of the day, I love the game.

He plans to play out the final year of his current contract and leave the negotiations for next offseason, but that means the pressure is on.

To continue to be the quarterback for the Saints, Brees can’t just stick around as his stats dwindle. He’ll likely need to continue to produce big numbers and show little to no signs of slowing.

It’s mind over matter, I think, in a lot of ways, Brees told NOLA.com. Yes, there’s a lot of things that I do to take care of my body, but … my approach to the game is I tell myself I’m young, I act like I’m young, I approach the game like I can do anything I want to do. I’m smart about it, but … that’s how I keep my edge.

Forecasting what things would look like if Brees isn’t able to keep his current pace is tough. Would he be willing to play elsewhere if New Orleans moves on? Would he even continue to try to stay in the league (even if it’s still with the Saints) if his play dropped off?

It’s probably a safe bet that Brees can tally another 6,000 yards, but the odds are probably stacked against him throwing 75 more touchdowns.

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Reddick is an undersized linebacker but has the speed and quick feet to cover tight ends and rush the passer. Baker thrives in pass coverage and making plays on the ball as a safety.

The Cardinals already have a stout defense. But if Reddick and Baker can showcase their skills early and consistently, Arizona’s defense will be scarier this season.

Fans should also be excited about the Hall of Fame ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. ET. Kenny Easley, Kurt Warner, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jerry Jones, Terrell Davis, Jason Taylor, and Morten Andersen are the seven inductees this year. All of them will receive a yellow jacket and their own carved bust.

The NFL is taking a new approach toward diagnosing injuries, particularly concussions, on the playing field, and it’s going to take up some prime real estate on the field level.

The league will install collapsible, movable medical tents on each team’s sideline throughout the 2017 season, allowing doctors and training staff a measure of privacy and calm when examining a player. These tents will be noticeable from the stands they’re big enough to fit a training table, the afflicted player, and all the doctors and staff members needed to perform a comprehensive test.

These examinations were previously conducted on the sideline in full view of fans and television cameras. The league hopes this measure will allow for better evaluations and a more respectful environment to assess an injured athlete.

All of our sideline concussion evaluations will occur inside the tents, which we think will not only obviously provide more privacy and dignity for the player, but certainly will eliminate some of the visual and auditory distractions that we want to try to eliminate to get the best concussion evaluation we can, Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, told the Washington Post.

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Kurt Warner is being enshrined in Canton this weekend with the rest of the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. But bad weather in Chicago nearly kept Warner’s family from making it to Ohio for his induction party.

Interestingly, former commissioner Paul Tagliabue did not make it into the Hall of Fame, with reports suggesting he came up just one vote short of the honor. In an era of the NFL where there are more people questioning Roger Goodell than ever before, Tagliabue’s reign over the NFL has taken on a new meaning.

From 1989 through 2006, Tagliabue led the NFL through a period of major growth, and he mostly stayed away from controversy. It will be interesting to see if he makes it in the future as a contributor.

Jones did make it as a contributor, and his induction was viewed as a formality given what he’s meant to the NFL over the years. He has helped the league in various ways, most notably with the Fox TV deal in 1994, and of course he oversaw the Cowboys’ transformation into one of the greatest franchises in the league.

Easley made it in as the Seniors Committee nominee. The former Seattle Seahawks safety was a hard-hitter and was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1984. He did make it after playing just seven seasons, which was one of the primary arguments against Davis, interestingly enough.

Eli has always been prone to boneheaded turnovers, but at age 36, those mistakes are harder to ignore and it’s fair to wonder how much he has left in the tank. Eventually the Giants have to find a true successor to Manning, and they probably won’t find it in their current crop of backups Josh Johnson, Geno Smith, and third-round rookie Davis Webb.

Things might be easier for Manning if he had any serious help in the running game, which is an area the Giants are still working on.

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President Donald Trump announced in June he would name New York Jets owner Woody Johnson as the ambassador to the United Kingdom, according to CNBC. On Thursday, Johnson was approved by the United States Senate for the job.

Johnson, 70, was the national finance chairman for Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, but endorsed Trump last May. He is currently the chairman and chief executive of the Johnson Company, Inc.

Over the weekend, the team confirmed McDowell had been involved in an accident and had remained under the care of doctors in Michigan. The Seahawks said team physicians have been in constant contact with the doctors caring for McDowell.

At this point it is important for Malik to stay home and rest, the statement read. We consider this a long term relationship and will do whatever is in the best interest of Malik. We look forward to Malik’s return to Seattle and will update you with any changes.

Head coach Pete Carroll told reporters that the accident happened a few weeks ago, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Carroll declined to say what the long-term outlook is for McDowell at this point.

The team originally placed McDowell on its reserve/did not report list. Now that he’s reported, he’s been added to the 90-man roster. The Seahawks drafted McDowell at No. 35 overall, their first pick in this year’s draft.

Perkins, a 2016 fifth-round pick, broke out in the second half of the season. As a rookie, he recorded 456 rushing yards while averaging 4.1 yards per carry. The Giants seem committed to making him the lead back, with his only competition being Vereen, a pass-down specialist. Behind those two are career backups (Orleans Darkwa, Shaun Draughn) and fourth-round rookie Wayne Gallman. It’s still not an inspiring depth chart, even with Perkins’ potential upside.

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It is time. As I said the other day, you can only keep guys down so long. You just start watching every day, and when you see what he is doing, he is doing a good job. I didn’t really just watch the individual battle I will watch it on tape a little bit more but I am sure those guys had a conversation. If anybody can give him some good instruction on what they have seen through the years it is going to be Joe, and then it is good for Joe to go against somebody with that kind of explosion and that kind of speed and quickness. …

He has earned it. I can only keep him down there for so long. You have to start pushing him up. He is doing a good job. He is earning it. That is what we feel. We feel like every day when we watch the tape, you keep watching him get better and better and better and better. He is in better shape, he understands our system better and he knows exactly what to do so he is starting to play a lot better.

As noted earlier, Smith was a guest of Jackson’s during practice, and Jackson said that it was a co-incidence that his arrival matched up with Garrett’s promotion. As for having Smith as his guest, Jackson loved it:

Of course, Jones’ storied Hall of Fame career wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t walked into former Cowboys owner H.R. Bum Bright’s office and offered him $140 million for the team.

Jones had a sense of urgency about it, which he communicated to Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson in typical Jerry fashion.

But I knew if I didn’t buy the Cowboys right then there it was I knew if I didn’t grab that damn caboose that it was going to be gone, Jones said. And I was going to spend the rest of my life thinking about doing it.

But even while discussing his early hardships with the Cowboys, when the team was hemorrhaging money to the tune of about $1 million per month when Jones took over, he found ways to work some Jerryisms into the conversation.

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Hello, sports fans. Charlotte Wilder and Jessica Smetana, here, two SB Nation #content creators who spend way too much time thinking about Guy Fieri. There normally isn’t a ton of overlap between Guy Fieri and sports (other than the fact that Guy himself might actually be sports we have to run the numbers on that), but today he broke the news that his friend Marcel Reece is reporting to Seahawks camp.

And then Jess was like wait, we should blog this, given that both of us are invested in Guy Fieri, food, and sports. In fact, those might be our three favorite things.

Indianapolis will open its season with three games against teams that went a combined 12-35-1, so having Luck for games against the Rams or Browns may not be a dealbreaker. However, the schedule ramps up in Weeks 4 and 6 when games against the Seahawks and Titans loom. Having to turn to backup QB Scott Tolzien would be a major problem.

The injury coincided with a steep downturn in the Colts’ fortunes. After three straight 11-5 seasons to kick off the Luck era, the franchise has gone 16-16 the past two years. Shoulder pain wasn’t the only culprit keeping the quarterback from regaining his Pro Bowl form, however. An abdominal tear and kidney laceration limited him to only seven games in 2015. A concussion kept him from a Week 12 showdown with the Steelers last fall.

Despite the designation, Indianapolis expects its franchise passer to be in the starting lineup for the team’s opener. On Monday, Indianapolis Star beat writer Stephen Holder reported Luck had resumed throwing and is now working on adding strength and weight before facing NFL defenses once more. Whether or not he’ll play in any preseason games is still up in the air.

Luck won’t be the only starting quarterback to begin camp on the sideline. Vikings passer Teddy Bridgewater is still recovering from the catastrophic knee injury that stole his third season as a pro in 2016.

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Chargers want Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates to go to practice instead of going to LaDainian Tomlinson’s Hall of Fame induction

Philip Rivers spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Chargers playing with LaDainian Tomlinson. Antonio Gates spent the first six years of his career alongside the running back. So it’s unfortunate that the Chargers won’t let Rivers or Gates miss a training camp practice on Saturday to see their former teammate inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Anthony Lynn, the new head coach of the Chargers, reportedly refused to give Rivers or Gates permission to go to Canton to attend the ceremony, two sources told Alex Marvez of Sporting News.

It’s pretty standard for teams to allow players time off to attend the Hall of Fame ceremony. Larry Fitzgerald will be there on Saturday to support his former quarterback, Kurt Warner, who is a member of the 2017 Hall of Fame class.

Rivers has been doing this since he came into the league in 2003, and Gates has been at it since he was signed by the team as an undrafted free agent in 2004. Training camp has to be pretty routine for these two veterans. Missing a single practice wouldn’t negatively impact either one of them.

Gates plans to skip practice anyway to go to Tomlinson’s induction, even though the team could fine him for it.

I would be hard-pressed to think I would miss a situation like that.

You’d like to think the Chargers would let it slide because it would be the right thing to do, but this is also a team that fined Eric Weddle $10,000 for watching his daughter perform during halftime of a game in 2015.

Forcing Gates and Rivers to be at practice which will be the first one in the StubHub Center isn’t going to make the Chargers any better this season. Any seasoned veteran could miss a training camp practice without skipping a beat. It’s shameful that the Chargers won’t allow Rivers and Gates to go support Tomlinson in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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Once I attended a Knicks game at which the halftime show was people throwing Frisbee for dogs, who would jump really high to catch them. During one such throw, a dog slipped on a Frisbee that had been left on the floor and totally lost its footing. It ended up doing a full, accidental barrel roll in mid air, but STILL caught the Frisbee it had been thrown. It was the greatest sports highlight I ever saw in person, thus making whatever shitty Knicks game that was the greatest sporting event I ever saw in person. I also attended Game 2 of the 2000 World Series.

The 49ers were built more on their defense than offense, but they jumped out to a 17-0 lead. The Saints stormed back to take a 24-23 lead. The 49ers recaptured the lead on a designed QB run that saw Alex Smith go 28 yards for the score. The Saints re-took the lead with 1:37 to go, but Smith drove the 49ers down the field and connected with Vernon Davis for the game-winning touchdown with nine seconds to go. Given all the crap Smith went through dating back to 2005, this game felt like a catharsis for him and the fans.

This one hits Raiders fans right where it hurts. An obscure rule was applied to overturn a Tom Brady fumble, and it kept Oakland from beating the Patriots in the divisional round after the 2001 season. We can’t blame Oakland fans for staying bitter about it.

If you criticize Tom Brady in front of a Patriots fan, you know you’re going to get an earful. It doesn’t matter what this guy does. If you don’t like him, you’re a hater, and jealous, and the worst. It’s exhausting. But also, Brady is one of the all-time greats, so maybe the people who criticize him are haters, and jealous, and the worst.

If you’re over 40, this especially might annoy you just a little bit. Brady’s in impeccable shape, and playing for five more years is a distinct possibility.

And Robert Kraft compared them to priceless works of art. If you didn’t roll your eyes at that whole spectacle, you may have not been paying attention.

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