BEREA, Ohio – We just got a little better.
The text hit Baker Mayfield's phone late in the afternoon of March 12 and then the 23-year-old face of the franchise franchise. There is no need for any further explanation from the sender, his coach Freddy Kuchnys, about what that meant. Everything was about to change.
After a few weeks of hearing the quarterback that it would happen, then it was not, then it was again that Oedel Beckham was in Cleveland.
excitement, knowing what kind of person he was, because I knew him personally before, "Mayfield said at a calm moment after Brown's first training session. "Obviously, the talent speaks for himself. Knowing him and talking to him, people say that he is not understood correctly, I would not say it is right. I would say he does not know who he is. He's a real superstar. And that's just the truth.
"Many people recognize it, its talent speaks for itself, and wants to win. This is the biggest thing ̵
His acquisition has ignited the world's most dyed football city in America. There has been optimism since Browns returned to the league 20 years ago. But it does not look like anything Cleveland has ever had since Bill Belicic was the coach in the 1990s, and perhaps goes as far as the rise of Bernie Kosar as a local icon for a decade before. it. I was one of the mass contingents of national media who started traveling here. The neighborhood streets around the team team were full of adults and children in jerseys more than an hour before the practice began.
Browning paper already has horses. But the buzzing of the ground in this sleeping suburb was more than that. Browning is also a leader in interesting . And part of the interesting here is the challenge to us – bringing together all insignificant individuals and great talents together to become a real contender for Super Bowl in Northeast Ohio for the first time in a generation – all of this was put into operation after Cuisine "You're right – big people, everyone is trying to do what you need, but there's a little sacrifice," Mayfield said. "That must be understood and I think it is. Much more is gained and earned if you win. We are here to win. And this is the best part. Not all of us are looking for marketing here and there, we are looking to win. And won the Super Bowls and created our own legacy. To be able to do this together works for it together, I think it's really special that we all understand that. "And if you really listen to what Mayfield says – that Beckham really wants to be in Cleveland, and that there is an understanding of ego-obedience – that may be enough to justify the escape from optimism that has happened to this place in the last six months.
The camp is here! I have four in the books and I plan to personally see the 20 teams at the end of the pre-session session. And you will benefit from this in the MMQB, which includes:
• Stiller's quieter camp – or
• Andy Dalton, AJ Green and Zack Taylor for Relationships
• The Colts Citizen List
Why I love something that Honey Badger did last week.
And much more. But we will start in Cleveland, because it makes sense to start in Cleveland in July.
At the start of Brown's first training session, just 20 minutes, Mayfield dropped a boom in his shoulder. Beckham, which takes a lot of time and confidence. And especially in this situation, because there was a corner in Brown's new star steward. As a result, Mayfield showed the fans who broke out in their applause when Beckham climbed the ball – what he had learned: Even when 13 was not open, he was actually. "It seems he has jumped while he's already he was in, "Mayfield said. "I do not know it was really strange, the shoulder to the left, the cover is there, yes, it's a play," Guy wrapped him in. He took another ball on the side line, he straightened it, then stepped in. What you saw on a movie every day but the jump in the air … is special. "Mayfield shook his head, continuing:" He can do things I've never seen, pure talent is unreal. "When we grow chemistry together, it can be quite special. my job is easy I'm happy to be in the camp with him and get better every day
And that is where Brown remembers that they are right now, among all the noise – in the training camp, with zero wins, and still much to prove, but also a lot of promise, not just Mayfield and Beckham, that's young horror that passes through Miles Gareth This is a young closure corner in Denzel Ward This is a deep queue team This is Beckham's best friend Jarvis Landry This is a promising group of liquidity advocates.
It's all so different about this cross-organization. But there is this catch: How will everything work together? We saw the teams throwing the dice and shuffling before betting on the idea that big names can be assimilated on the move. Eagles 2011 are one example. Cowboys from 2015 are different.
Kitchens, of course, are trying to get out of it, especially by preparing for those moments that he knows come when things go aside and the team of the team is tested. 19659003] "What are you going to do at this point. Will you split up? Will you be like five fingers? Or will you be like a fist? said Cuhennes, opening his first five fingers, then collecting them. – And that's what we're trying to figure out. Teams break up because they break apart. They go in different ways. And everyone is looking at how it will affect me and not how it will affect we .
Obviously: He is confident he will not be here
"I think so," he replied. – But I also told them that these things will dictate what season we will have. I tell them in advance what will happen. And if we deal with these situations, if we stick together, we'll be fine, we'll go out on the other side. If we do not, we'll just be average. "
Of course, there is no plan here for the average. And after talks with coach, quarterback and GM John Dorsey, a couple of questions and answers can get to the heart of how the team is doing what they expect with Beckham on board
Why the risks were within limits. This is not Dorsi's first rodeo – his teams in Kansas City took fliers of people like Mark Peters and Tyrick Hill. And there is a dividing line that all the players you acquire must land on the right side of.
"You can let them show their personalities," Dorsey said. "But at the end of the day are they really passionate about football?" Are they highly competitive? Do they really like their teammates? And then, can they thrive outside the game of football to a great extent? And do not you think they will be better players, but will they be better men? "
So one of the bets here was that the aspirations of the players involved would keep the band together. Another is in the background of the team's work on all its acquisitions. Beckham, in fact, was easier with Landry and the former LSU receiver coach, Adam Henry, at the Cleveland house.
"[They said] he's a good guy he likes to work," said Cuhns. – Adam Henry taught him before. He just wants to keep his butt and play football. Outside the building, this is Odell. It's a mega-star, or whatever you call these guys at this site. But in the building, here with us, on the phone, in the summer, he was great. I have not seen anything to run from. "
Who teaches him. This is an infrastructure bet. Dorsi told me that he felt comfortable taking risks in Kansas City, especially for Radey, and the individual position coaches he trusted with these players. Which is an implicit compliment to Cockles and Henry, in the case of Beckham.
And strengthening GM's credibility in Kitchens is his own experience with last year's Browns when the chaos hit. Asked what he had received, watching the Kitchens, navigating to these stormy waters, Dorsey stretched out his hand and waved in a straight line: "There were no ups and downs, no tides. He was pretty stable. "
" When you moved into the role of coordinator of the offensive, you watched him galvanize the attacking side of the ball, "said Dorsey. – That was pretty good. It was not just the chance to call the game of football, but it was instilling a conviction, the pride of the assault, which made them gather even closer. And I think it's pretty cool. He is good at building relationships. "
It was proved again with his defender. Mayfield rose to his spare QB Drew Stanton. He and Cook were together in Arizona, and Stenton explained to him how things worked that helped narrow the voices of the then rookie's ear.
"Many of this was new to me, and I was trained by me. three different souls, "Mayfield said. – So I'm just trying to figure out how to do it right, or how really it is convenient for me to do it. In talking about this, I related most closely to how Freddie did this. We clicked. And only through this, we are on the same page. " I told Mayfield that I think he had an unusual ability not to give you something you know, what's going on with what he does. He laughed. "No, I do not," Mayfield said. "I think the easiest answer for me [about why] is that I can not do some things that grow. It just became a focus on controlling what I can control. And some of these views from outside, they will not affect me every day. If I leave them, I will focus on the wrong things. I have to get better.
Then the hope of Dorsi and Cuhnie is that when the train slides a little further down, a player who has gone through a lot to make it here has won. You should not be deterred from doing things. The ability to do this is the reason I said that I heard him call himself a culturally changing one, Mayfield said he would agree with that label, "I would," he said. – Every day is the same person who really does not give anything about what is happening outside, defines the expectations and works for it. Indeed, being proud to be a good teammate. … And you talk to me. "
What's the Atmosphere . The kitchens consulted with Bill Parels and Nick Saban this summer. They both told him, as he thought, that they would leave the camp physically and heavily. And while he was lifting him, I told him I found it hard to imagine what kind of guys that lead a team like Kitchen. "
" I learned a lot of valuable things from coach Parcells. But under no circumstances will I try to be a coach, "said Khuous. – I think many times people do that wrong. They do not take the lessons they have learned from them. They are trying to be . And I will not try to be his. I will not try to be coach Saban. But I will take the things I have learned from them and incorporate them and make sure it is in my foundation, in my essence of what I believe. "All other things, as long as they do not affect the team, as long as they do not come to the dressing room, I want them to be themselves. "Or to find this, Kitchen will be alone, and he wants his players to be alone. Which should create a more enjoyable environment for boys who wear large profiles with them.
It's all projection. We do not know what Mayfield would be in Year 2 (he told me he was "much better" quarterback than he was at the end of last year, and "I hope the end of the camp will be much better") . We do not know what happens when the first metaphoric bomb goes off. We have not even seen Kitchens as a head coach.
But that is clear – as high as the bar was placed outside the building, it lies higher inside it. So everything that appeared on these streets? The brains run to him and not to her. "Freddie said the goal, the expectation, is always Super Bowl. It's mine, too, "Mayfield said. – But I only know from experience, from the long journey of the seasons, we have to take one game at a time. We have to divide the season, focus on certain things, improve every day, every week, and do not look up until we get to the end.
And his personal goals? many games, "Mayfield said. "I will be honest with you, the NFL game is a bit different, you run the clock, the game is not so statistic or touchdown. So my individual goal is to lead this team to many victories. "
More than just a goal, this is an expectation now. Which is probably why Day 1 is such a big deal in a place where football is always a big problem.
Once, Without Drama in the Stillers Camp
LATROBE, PA. "Every camp has a predominant plot, and it's easy to see the one who drives over Steelers. Leo Veon Bell's drama is over – he is stranded by stops at this time of year in 2015 and "16", then jumps to camp at "17" and "18" on a franchise marker. Antonio Brown's grand entrances and theatrical plays in the camp disappeared.
And in their place, the story is a sense of tranquility. Anyway, they all say so I wanted to give Coach Mike Tomlin the opportunity to call BS. "Bullsh …" he said, laughing. "It's just a process, man. Here work 90 people, different people gather. Just Day 1. I understand where you are trying to go with him. I have not seen enough of this to confirm this as a reality. They were asking for a bunch. And indeed, they are all whatever .
What then is reality? The team that took the field here on Friday, one of the few remaining true settings for old NFL camps, is different . Not just to the extent you might think.
Bell played for Stillers 18 months ago, so the team has already dealt with their loss, and replaced it effectively with James Connor, who accumulated 1470 ships in 13 games last season. Born Sniper Benny Snell is also behind Connor
And Brown plays a position that Stillers has developed at an absurd level over the past decade, with the latest example being Zuzhou Smith-Schuster. Veteran Donte Monkrieff had a strong spring, the team loves how the native rookie Donton Johnson appears there, and the second circle James Washington has reduced the weight and numbers in the mix.
Which brings us back to where we started and what has actually changed. And while Tomlin would have preferred the boat to shake shortly before boasting the reunification of the band – "It's never tested until you play games" – these players feel like a lack of drama and storylines
" We have not turned to this, but I think we all feel it, "said Ben Rellesberger, after the first practice of the team. "We are under the radar, no one chooses us to do anything, and we just go out and play football. For us it is for us to come out here and be part of it, to be here for each other, to play and to try to be the best. "So, yes, it's quieter. But that does not mean that everything is settled. Considering this, here are three things that I understood during my visit.
Ben Retlisberger's Longevity . When I asked Steelers owner Art Rooney for the sense of urgency of the team with their defender at the age of 37, he said he did not want to react excessively and that "this may not be the last extension of the Ben contract. As you know, these 40 players play in their 40 days. And from what I see about Ben, at least physically, there is no reason to think that he is not capable of doing so.
Rothlissberger's thoughts about that? For the first time in his career, he hired a trainer for this off-season, and he only signed an extension until 2021, adding $ 68 million over the next two years, and a signing bonus of $ 37.5 million. But …
"Honestly, I did not think of the end of the game," he said. "I've always followed my contracts and done only three years, so now my goal is to do it three years." When that happens, I guess we'll start thinking, but that can happen in three years. for your health and how you feel, my children also occupy me, I do not want to be far from them too long The common sense of urgency Yes, Roethlisberger is 37. Kevin Columbus is 62 years old in a contract year and told the media at Pittsburgh that he plans to leave year after year Tomlin, or not, is 13 years old with Steelers, just two times less than Bill Cowler's time.
And while Rooney reiterates that he does not overdo the circumstances – "Every year is important, you have to take the benefits от вашите възможности всяка година ”- и двамата и Колбърт признават, че сегашната настройка няма да трае вечно, нещо, което беше подчертано с отклоненията от последните шест месеца.
когато се притесняваш да се подготвиш за Нова Англия – каза ми Колбър. – Разбираш, "Хей, имаме защитник на Залата на славата." И знаем, че няма да играе завинаги. Разбира се, това увеличава спешността ви. Това не е като третата годишна суперзвезда на Бен. Не, той е суперзвезда, издигаща се в Залата на славата. Колко време ще го имаме? Не знаем. Но целта е да се спечели Супер Боул всяка година. ”
Историята на Антонио Браун . Определено забелязах, в разговора с Томлин, Колбърт и Рууни, усилие сред месинговите стопани на Стийлърс да премине миналото през зимата. Когато попитах какво могат да вземат от него, и Колбърт, и Рууни разговаряха за това да научат повече за съвременния спортист и как социалните медии играят в това разбиране (ще планираме история по този въпрос). Междувременно Роетисбъргър обвиняваше.
"Хубавото в това, в миналото", каза той. – Можем да продължим. Бях ли съвършен? Никой от нас не е. Аз съм човек, правя грешки. Иска ми се все още да говорим и да си приятели? Absolutely. Но отношенията, те са 50/50. ”
И едно нещо, което мислех, че е интересно, тъй като нашият разговор се движеше от една тема към следващата, е как Roethlisberger каза, че се опитва да стане по-добър лидер, като стане по-добър слушател. Това не беше специфично за ситуацията в Браун. Но можете да видите къде се прилага.
"Аз станах по-добър комуникатор", каза Рьотлисбергер. „Слушането е огромно, за да станеш по-добър комуникатор. И когато общувате, толкова много неща могат да бъдат изпълнени, а други неща могат да бъдат избегнати. Казах на момчетата, когато разговарях с тях, през последните четири или пет години съм бил по-добър комуникатор у дома с жена ми, това ме направи по-добър съпруг, по-добър баща, защото слушаш. Когато слушате, това ви помага да общувате. Когато общуваш и нещата не са там, можеш да разрешиш проблемите. ”
Очакванията остават високи. По някои от причините, които очертахме, и защото, както обича да казва Томлин, стандартът е стандарт в Питсбърг. Звезда от почти пропуснати отличи 13-3 отбор от 2017 в 9-6-1 екип миналата година. – Да не правим плейофите беше ужасно за двама ни – каза Колбърт, което означаваше и той, и Томлин. Част от определянето на това, каза ми Томлин, ще създаде напрегнати моменти в лагера, за да се опита да пресъздаде ситуацията на късната игра, която „Стилърс“ пропусна през миналата година.
Останалото, както го вижда треньорът, е на място. ] “Имаме много таланти”, каза той.
A Rams Vibe в Cincy
Преди A.J. Грийн се спусна с изкълчен глезен в събота (повече за това в заведенията), аз имах няколко минути с него, куотърбек Анди Далтън и треньор Зак Тейлър заедно по партньорството между трите от тях.
MMQB : Какво беше първото нещо, което си направил, за да ги научиш, Зак?
Тейлър : Ами, аз гледах тези момчета завинаги. Докато бях в Маями в продължение на четири години, ние ги свирихме два пъти, през цялото време бяха на кръстосана лента. Щях да гледам Анди, откакто той беше в колежа, защото бях с него местен. Така че тези двама момчета, като че ли знаех, както и всички играчи, които не бях тренирал, че има в лигата. След това се обадете и научете малко повече за това, което са техните личности. И разбира се, те са и най-добрите лидери, тотални професионалисти, страхотни семейства.
MMQB : Започнахте ли да разгледате престъплението на Рамс?
Далтън отправна точка за това, което ще правим.
Зелен : Разбира се, гледах много от техните приемници, Робърт [Woods]Брандин Кук, опитайте се да научите колкото е възможно повече, защото Не правех много в ОТА.
MMQB: Какво изскочи от това?
Green : За мен обичаше Робърт Уудс. Винаги съм си мислел, че е добър и че е добър в Бъфало. Но просто го наблюдавах в това престъпление на Рамс, той беше най-добрият за мен.
MMQB : А за теб, с Джаред Гоф, достатъчно ли си достатъчно умение, където се превежда?
Далтън : Радвам се да гледам Джаред. Той прави много наистина добри неща, с всички действия на играта, и гола, и различни неща, които са правили. Очевидно имаше страхотна година. Радвам се да го гледам, виждам какво е направил, след като е бил в това престъпление.
MMQB : И така, каква е целта за вас, Зак, в изграждането на престъплението за тях?
Тейлър : Мисля, че ще ти кажат, че всички маршрути са подобни на тези, които са направили. Той е формиран малко по-различно, формулиран малко по-различно. Направили са всичко по-рано. В същото време ми хареса това, което направихме с овните, но продължаваме да се развиваме и да растеме, и затова наемате всички тези треньори от различни среди, така че можете да добавите към него и да растете и това е, което ние се стремим към това.
Дали е това, което си мислите, че ще бъде?
Далтън : Ние не сме Овни в Синсинати. Опитът с Брайън и Алекс Ван Пелт, има много момчета, които носят парчета от това, което сме направили. И някои от нещата, които сме направили от миналото, неща, с които сме постигнали успех, също харесват.
MMQB : Мисля, че когато някой получи нов шеф, първият въпрос е "какво е моето бъдеще?"
Зелено : Не наистина. Благословен съм дори да помисля за удължаване. Ще оставя работата си да говори сама за себе си. Аз не съм човек, който гледа напред. Винаги съм в момента. Това правя точно сега. Просто съм щастлив, че съм тук с моите съотборници. Пропуснах всички ОТА, така че съм развълнуван да се върна тук.
Далтън : Мисля, че първото нещо е, че искате да опознаете Зак. Когато той е бил [for the job]чувате всички слухове, така че се опитвате да направите вашите изследвания. И за да знам, че той е защитник, за да започне, той има офанзива, а след това можете да говорите, това беше лесно нещо. Цялата ситуация на договора – очакваме да играем добре, очакваме да правим добри неща, а останалите ще се погрижат за себе си.
MMQB : Като треньор, искаш ли да покажеш
Тейлър: Искаш да се докажеш и на тях. Искаш да дойдеш подготвен и ветеранците, които са се доказали на терена, искаш да им покажеш, че можеш да им помогнеш да продължиш да играеш толкова добре, колкото могат да играят в кариерата си. Това е мисията на треньорския състав. Влезте подготвени и оставете тези момчета да имат същото вярване в системата, която имаме.
MMQB: Дали промяната е породила някаква искра в сградата?
Dalton : Естествено, когато променяш нещо, това е ще се чувствам различен, ще се почувства нов, ще има определена енергия с него. И тогава всичко, което Зак прави, просто го увеличава. Така че мисля, че много от момчетата го чувстват. Всеки иска да говори за това… Тук има нова енергия . Добре е, така трябва да бъде.
Зелено : Зак е по-млад, треньор Луис е бил малко по-стар, не че е лошо. Но Зак иска музика в съблекалнята на игри, подобни на това – младите момчета обичат това. Ние обичаме това.
Тейлър : Докато е кънтри музика.
MMQB: Колко важна е връзката ти с тези две? 19659002] Тейлър : Това е критично. Те са двама от лидерите в екипа, дълго време са тук. Те означават много за бенгалците, те означават много за града.
MMQB: Какво ви вълнува най-много днес тук?
Dalton : Просто способността да се включат толкова много различни момчета. Това не е просто AJ, не е просто Joe Mixon, не е просто Tyler Boyd. Ще бъде всеки. И така, това ме вълнува.
Зелено : Същото. Привличане на много хора, така че те не могат просто да наберат един човек. Виждате ли приемниците от овните, виждате тяхната статистика. Вълнувам се за другите момчета, TB [Tyler Boyd]Джон [Ross]за всички да се включат. 19659003] УЕСТФИЛД, Инд. – Наистина няма нужда от предупреждения по този въпрос. Екипът на къмпинг тук изглежда натрупан. И това е резултат от работата, която GM Крис Балард е направил през последните три години при намирането на таланти, а треньорът Франк Райх е направил последните 18 месеца, за да го събере.
Имаше и момент, когато мисля, че можеш действително да видиш какво се случва тук идват заедно. По време на вътрешното производство на Колтс, което ви отведе във военната зала на отбора, имаше изстрел, когато изстреляха Райх, когато се спукаха по линията на скаутите и треньорите там, крещяха и викаха всички в очите (започва от 12-та минута тук). Така че аз трябваше да го попитам за това.
"Е, само за контекста на това, на този празник, Крис и аз специално казахме:" Ако можем да намерим тези момчета, това би било невероятно ", каза ми Райх след тренировка. в неделя. – И буквално имаме всеки един от тях. Така че аз забравям къде са показали, че в това парче, може би съм изглеждал като един след друг, но този изблик е в края на деня, когато казахме: "Хей, имахме четирима мъже, които искахме в първите три. кръгове, и ние завършихме с всички тях. "… Тя падна точно така, както искахме да падне."
Тези четири: CB Rock Ya-Sin, DE Ben Banogu, WR Parris Campbell и LB Bobby Okereke.
И на Райх, този вид стачка означава повече от късмет, дори и ако имаше малко късмет. Още повече, че това е пример за това как сградата на Инди бублира точно сега – „настроението и връзката, уважението и доверието между тях не могат да бъдат по-добри“ – всеки, който се качва на една и съща страница и излиза с подробен план за
"Това е подготовка", каза Райх. – Крис върши феноменална работа с него и неговия персонал, просто неуморим. Трябва да поставите реалистични очаквания за това, кого смятате, че ще получите. И аз мислех, че Крис и неговият екип свършиха страхотна работа, така че всички можехме да се откажем от играчите в тези групи, които бяха нашите играчи, които ни подхождат, които се вписват в нашата схема, които се вписват в съблекалнята. Скаутите и треньорите наистина работят заедно по този въпрос. ”
Резултатът е на терена сега, в оптимизма, че класът 2019 има шанс да се доближи до това, което групата от миналата година беше поставена от първия екип All-Pros Дариус Леонард и Куентън Нелсън. Разбира се, това е квалифицирано като висока поръчка. Но знаците досега са добри.
Всичко, което трябва да направите, е да попитате Райх за пример как са се случили нещата между неговия екип и Балард. – За Рок силно се мислеше, че не сме го взели по-рано [than people thought he’d go]. Но ние искаме ъгли с дължината и твърдостта му. Той е труден, труден, труден и това е само премия за нас, дори и на ъгъла. Бобби има интелигентност и дължина. Погледнете Дарий, той е по същия начин. И ние подготвихме E.J. Скоро по-късно – Е. Дж. Е дълга и бърза. Те се вписват в системата ни. That was the one receiver, the one guy, I was like, ‘We gotta get this guy.’ We just saw it—A, his speed, but everyone saw that. What we saw was this guy’s more than what people say he is. Yeah, he can play in the slot. But we think he can play outside, we think he’s a legit NFL receiver. His footwork, his hands, the way he runs routes, how smart he is, the kind of person he is, he fit into our mold.”
So what we all saw on that video in April? There might be a few more of those types of celebrations to come in Indy.
1. I took note of Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette’s comments to Jacksonville reporters on Saturday. The third-year bell cow said “I think last season kind of woke a lot of guys up”, and “last year kind of humbled a lot of us in some ways.” Fournette was suspended for a game last year after a fight at Buffalo, and the team voided the guarantees in his rookie contract in the aftermath, something that I don’t believe it would have done if there weren’t other issues with the former fourth overall pick. The knock on Fournette coming out of LSU was that he was more concerned with becoming a star than a great football player, and that’s played out, to a degree, in his two years in the NFL. So if he means what he’s saying, that’d qualify as a good sign.
2. The surprise holdout of Saints WR Michael Thomas didn’t come as much of a surprise to those who know him well at all—he can be stubborn and is strong-minded on these sorts of things. And surely, he’s well-aware that something needs to give at his position, with A.J. Green and Dallas’s Amari Cooper in contract years, Julio Jones basically promised a deal in Atlanta, and a receiver market that hasn’t moved much in recent years (Green’s 2015 deal is just $3 million per off the high now). You also have the Saints history in how they’ve structured their cap, and the fact that they’ve never given an offensive skill player, outside of Drew Brees, more than $10 million per on a long-term deal. All of that said, I don’t think Thomas’ holdout will engender any sort of ill will after it’s over. His relationship with the team, the coaching staff and his quarterback especially are too strong for that.
3. Here’s Chiefs owner Clark Hunt on Tyreek Hill: “So I had a good visit with him earlier in this week. I’m not going to get into the details of that conversation, but it was a very frank conversation, talking to him about responsibility as he comes back to be a Kansas City Chief.” The team wasn’t allowed to communicate with Hill during the investigation, so that was really the first chance Hunt got to talk to the receiver since the disturbing “you need to be terrified, b—-” audio surfaced in April. Hunt also said that the team didn’t consider levying its own discipline (it’d have been tough to do by rule, anyway, since Hill was cleared by the league). But my opinion hasn’t changed on this. Adding Hill’s history with his fiancée to the audio and to the reality that something happened with his son was plenty for the league to take action, at the very least to cover itself and the team against the possibility that more information comes to light.
4. Probably worth reiterating something we wrote a while ago—I’ve heard Redskins LT Trent Williams has considered his legal options on his medical care, and it goes beyond the cancer scare of earlier this year. It’s certainly possible that an adjustment to his contract would fix this. His four-year-old deal now ranks seventh among tackles, by APY, more than $3 million per behind Tennessee’s Taylor Lewan. But I don’t think that was the motivator for his absence.
5. Speaking of contracts, Tom Brady’s was in the news this week, and for good reason. This is just the second time he’s reported for training camp in a contract year (the first was in 2010, ahead of the 2011 lockout). The vibe coming from the team all along is that there’s nothing to worry about. The player’s side may have something to say about that, after the Patriots gave Brady a bump coming off his 2017 MVP campaign, but tied everything to incentives. He had $1 million triggers tied finishing top-five in passer rating (he was 12th), completion percentage (18th), yards per attempt (13th), yards (7th) and touchdown passes (10th), and he hit none of those, largely because the Patriots offense struggled the whole season to find an identity with Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman in and out of the lineup. Granted, $5 million isn’t the same to you or me as it is to Brady, but it’s still $5 million. And even winning the Super Bowl couldn’t get him that cash. So now would he be a little less willing to play ball the way he always has? I doubt he’ll hold the team hostage, but I could see him wanting some of that money back, on principle. And he has leverage here in that, because of his $27 million cap number for this year, his tag number for 2020 will be at least $32.4 million, which would put him in the top five in pay among quarterbacks.
6. My understanding is that Rams owner Stan Kroenke was a driving force behind the deals for coach Sean McVay and GM Les Snead—with two primary motivations. First, Kroenke didn’t want McVay to enter his third year with the Rams as one of the NFL’s lowest-paid coaches, after he spent his first two years in that category. So rather than adjust his old deal, it made sense to do a new one. Second, it was important for the club to tie coach and GM together. Snead was entering this year with fewer than the three years that McVay had left on his existing contract, and now the two are synced up through 2023 together. Smart business by the Rams, with another big one, Jared Goff, to take care of, probably early next year.
7. On the collective bargaining front—the NFL and NFLPA will meet again on Tuesday. And it’s important to remember where they guys. Though the July 17 meeting was the fourth (they had meetings in April, May and June, as well), it was the first in which the two sides traded proposals. As we mentioned last week, that scheduled three-day meeting was cut to a single day, because the sides were too far apart on the economics after diving into the revenue split for the first time. The idea was to give both sides a chance to return to their corners with knowledge of the other’s position, and try to find flexibility in their own proposals. The tone and tenor of the meetings to this point has been amicable. Where it is after Tuesday is important, of course. The league and union do have another meeting set for mid-August as well.
8. The NFL distributed data to teams recently that showed a spike injuries over the first seven to 10 days of training camp. So if you see your favorite team is ramping up players with bumps and bruises more slowly than in the past, or giving veterans some rest days the start of camp, that could be one reason why.
9. Along those lines, we do have one more detail on the Green injury—the Bengals star will seek separate opinions today, is hoping to avoid injury, and is expected to be out for six to eight weeks. You already know about the condition of the field in Dayton, because you read our Saturday story on that (right?). So in addition to how that Saturday session was scheduled and handled as part of the NFL’s 100th anniversary celebration, the Bengals also asked for two extra days ahead of the practice so they would be in Dayton on Day 3. Unfortunately for the team, they were scheduled against the Chiefs, and the Chiefs couldn’t move their first game preseason off the Saturday of the weekend. Which meant that, since NFL rules dictate a team can start practice two weeks before its first preseason game, the Bengals couldn’t start camp earlier than the date set for the Dayton trip.
10. As part of the story I did with Gary Patterson last week, on NFL defensive coaches looking for answers to college concepts with college coaches, I asked the TCU coach how much he believes the NFL has changed as a result of these trends that started with the Wildcat a decade ago. His answer: “I think there’s been a lot. Now, there’s still some old NFL, where they’re in two-back, play-action, get after you. Jacksonville’s like that. But just look at the quarterbacks that are getting taken. People wouldn’t have taken Kyler Murray or Baker Mayfield 15 years ago, 20 years ago. Drew Brees was not that guy. Think about Doug Flutie. You had guys who weren’t agile, who would sit in the pocket. What everybody’s finding out is you have to play your coverages a lot different if you know that quarterback can take off and run on you. Playing a ball game where the quarterback can run versus a a sit-in-the-pocket guy, it’s two different animals in how you play defense.”
… Of the Week
“I felt disrespected. This team has not been good for the last six years. Период. It’s just all bad. I felt like I was a main reason at keeping that brand alive. They were getting prime-time games, still, as a 5-11 team. Why? Because people want to see the show,” Beckham continued. “You want to see me play … I felt disrespected they weren’t even man enough to even sit me down to my face and tell me what’s going on.” —Odell Beckham, on the Giants trading him, in GQ.
We’re in the business of getting athletes to be honest, so I’d never tell one not to speak his mind. I appreciate that about this quote from Beckham. That said, the issue I’d have here is that he doesn’t take responsibility for anything that went wrong in New York. If he prefaced what he said here with, “I’m not perfect, and I definitely handled certain things the wrong way,” I think the comments come off a lot differently.
There’s a reason why the top left tackles have cracked into a pay range that only quarterbacks, receivers and pass rushers have reached.
Love this. Good job, Broncos.
Not gonna muddy this with my take. Just watch it.
Good job by First Coast News’ Ben Murphy getting this gem out quick—and I actually think it would’ve worked if Jalen Ramsey just showed up in the Brinks truck. The hype man yelling at roughly seven reporters/cameramen was what put it on the wrong side of the street. “A” for effort, though.
You knew the pioneer of the absurd camp entrance was going to nail it again. And he did.
Patrick Mahomes doing this in a game is now atop my wish list for the 2019 season.
I’m with Will on this. It’s still hilarious.’
Six from the Sidelines
1. I’m a sucker for a good arena/stadium/ballpark rendering. And the ones the Clippers unleashed last week are doozys. Looks like the Rams are going to have a palace across the street from their … palace.
2. Just to reiterate what I said a while back, make sure you go check out Chernobyl. Just an amazing display of how different the world was in the ’80s. And while we’re there, Euphoria is pretty crazy too, if you have the stomach for it.
3. One college coach you consistently hear good things about, to the point where NFL teams might try and poach him soon: Nebraska’s Scott Frost. In fact, I know he was on one team’s list during the last hiring cycle. It’d be awfully hard to pry him from his alma mater. But if he takes that program where people think he will, I’d bet the pros will come calling.
4. Amid all the noise over his comments, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh actually had a good idea—giving players a one-time chance to transfer without having to sit out. Given how arbitrary the waiver process has gotten, that makes all the sense in the world to me.
5. The soccer transfer business is crazy. Read this story right here. In it, they have the Real Madrid manager saying he wants a star player off the team. And it’s presented like a footnote.
6. Awesome to see Seattle’s NHL team come to life, and hopefully it leads to the NBA landing back there next. No reason why that city shouldn’t have teams in all four of the major sports. Or why it hasn’t for so long.
S/O to …
Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu. He and close friend/former teammate Patrick Peterson gave $1 million apiece to their alma mater, LSU, to help upgrade the program’s facilities. And what an amazing story it is—Mathieu was thrown off the Tigers by then-coach Les Miles back in the summer of 2012. Lots of people would hold a grudge over that. The Honey Badger—a Heisman finalist for the Tigers in 2011—grew from it. And clearly he recognized the value in what he went through in Baton Rouge.
It’s great to see something like that come full circle, especially with the knowledge of what kind of guy Mathieu has become.
What You Need to Know…
When you read this, we’ll be three days away from an NFL game being on television, with the Falcons and Broncos set to face off in Canton. And while 2008 draft classmates Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco will be there, and maybe even get the chance to catch up, I wouldn’t expect see much, if anything, from either on the field.
So what will there be to watch? Drew Lock, who’s had fits and starts early on in Denver, would give you one reason to tune in. And Cris Collinsworth does a bang-up job as an analyst. And … it’s football.
(Yeah, I’m probably tuning in too. See you there.)
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