Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 14 hrs ago
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – When someone informed New York Jets coach Todd Bowles on Saturday that his oft-maligned quarterbacks had yet to throw an interception in training camp, he playfully stepped on it.
"Shhhhh," Bowles said in a near whisper. "Don't say anything."
Don't jinx Bowles. He doesn't need it. Not now. It's been only a few days in camp, and he's already well ahead of the preseason quota on headaches. From Sheldon Richardson's July arrest, to rookie Devin Smith's injuries, to Muhammad Wilkerson's contract and tweaked hamstring, to a right guard situation that's up in the air, Bowles has been engaged in a troubleshooting marathon.
Oh, and lest he forget, there's the whole quarterback situation, which needs to get a whole lot better – quickly.
Oh, and the news breaks the day of your first training camp practice.
And quarterbacks Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick? No interceptions in camp?
With that in mind, here are some other observations from camp …
Rookie playing a role
Veteran fighting for a job
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago
PHILADELPHIA – Chip Kelly isn't Andy Reid. And that is part of this problem with Philadelphia Eagles players.
Maybe he's aloof. Or single-minded. Or hard to talk to. Maybe he's more concerned with what a player can do for his team rather than whether he's clicking with someone emotionally. Racist? I don't know Kelly well enough to make any judgment like that. But I know enough about Reid to say that Kelly is following a guy who connected with most of his players. A guy who was, in a way, the big teddy bear who ran player-friendly practices and managed a familial atmosphere with his roster.
Maybe Kelly hasn't done that. But Reid did , and from what I gathered from a handful of Eagles sources, that's at least part of what we're seeing now.
Let's unpack exactly what happened with Brandon Boykin, who was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday. Shortly after he was traded, Boykin told CSNphilly.com:
It felt impersonal. It didn't feel like family.
Some other observations from training camp …
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Russell Wilson is down. Next up, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers.
The NFL's preseason grist mill churned out another star contract Friday, with the Seattle Seahawks' Wilson inking an extension that will shift the financial spotlight to other quarterbacks who are circling deals. More specifically, to the ticking clocks of San Diego's Philip Rivers and the New York Giants' Manning, who are each entering the final year of their contracts. Progress for Rivers and Manning has been slow, and that while contract numbers have been exchanged for both players, neither is close to a new deal as the calendar turns to August.
Manning seemed unconcerned as the Giants prepared to take the field for their first training camp practice on Friday, saying he didn't know where his process stood and that Wilson's deal wouldn't change his mindset.
"You'd have to ask the Giants or ask my agent," Manning said. "That's not my concern."
Rookie playing a role
4 days ago
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For a few hours, the New England Patriots escaped the maelstrom. Even with media locking the GPS onto owner Robert Kraft's every move and griping for an interview with Tom Brady. And despite a single-prop plane circling overhead for the better part of 40 minutes, towing a banner allegedly from a contingent of New York Jets fans, that screamed "CHEATERS LOOK UP".
The only way it would have gotten more interesting is if that plane had crash landed into Gillette Stadium. At which point both the NFL and the Patriots would have blamed each other for that, too.
But it didn't, and the Patriots found a way to move on. All of which started with coach Bill Belichick arriving to his news conference with a mild smile and a verbal banner of his own: PATRIOTS LOOK FORWARD. That was pretty much the theme of the day – look at what is in front of you, put one foot in front of the other and treat this like any other training camp.
And it seemed to work.
"What plane?" asked Malcolm Butler. "No, I didn't see that."
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago
The NFL is on a crusade to destroy its best player and ambassador. That is what one of the league's most powerful owners has asserted.
This is powerful stuff from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. He has built a reputation for being shrewd but fair, an old-school negotiator who looks you in the eye, squeezes your handshake and wants to know your word means something. When he airs a grievance, his fellow owners listen. That's the guy who calmly and surgically struck at the NFL's league office on Wednesday.
Not since Al Davis have we seen an owner so boldly announce his wavering belief in the league's integrity. And buried within that message, he exposed an ugly belief about a smear campaign.
"It intentionally implied nefarious behavior and minimized the acknowledgement that Tom provided the history of every number he texted during the relevant time frame."
As Kraft said Wednesday, "I was wrong to put my faith in the league."
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago
The New England Patriots are in an awkward spot. And Tom Brady put them there.
So now what?
On the eve of training camp starting, all of this puts the Patriots in an uncomfortable place. Franchise leaders have been defending Brady, saying there isn't any evidence. Now they have to defend him while knowing he allegedly destroyed his phone … which in most quarters looks an awful lot like someone trying to make sure there wasn't any evidence.
Of course, Brady's most ardent defenders will insist this proves nothing. The Patriots on Tuesday issued a strong statement condemning Roger Goodell's decision to uphold the suspension, saying, "We continue to unequivocally believe in and support Tom Brady. ... [It] is incomprehensible as to why the league is attempting to destroy the reputation of one of its greatest players and representatives."
Big Ben expects Steelers to average 30 points a game; QB in full command of offense – 'It's what Ben wants'Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago
LATROBE, Pa. – At one point Monday, Ben Roethlisberger barked at a wide receiver and gave him the "come HERE" eyes – a pair of wide, angry dish saucers. A route was cut off, or rounded, or wasn't exactly where the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback wanted it. He made some hand gestures and gave a half-tilted look that read something like "don't make me tell you again."
After three Super Bowls, two championship rings, multiple Pro Bowls and 251 touchdown passes, this has become a very comfortable space for Roethlisberger. He is 33 years old, commandeering what should be one of the best offenses in football in 2015, and entering the home stretch of a Hall of Fame career. All of this generates a certain vapor of seriousness, an attitude really, associated with guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers.
"I want the guys to know exactly what I want them to do," Roethlisberger said Monday. "The running backs, the tight ends, the wide receivers, it doesn't matter what the coach wants them to do. The coaches will tell them the same thing, 'It's what Ben wants.' That's what matters when we're out there."
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago
When the Dallas Cowboys' first rookie minicamp practice broke in May, cornerback Byron Jones found himself oddly unaccompanied. The franchise's first-round pick stood with only a small smattering of reporters at his locker, many of whom were still pivoting their heads to an opposite wall, where a massive group of microphones and cameras encircled one man.
Inside it? Randy Gregory, one of the most anticipated defensive rookies in the NFL this season.
Of all the rookies I'm itching to see in camp and a live game, Gregory is easily near the top. Dubbed the purest pass rusher in this draft, it will be intriguing to see how Gregory responds to a spotlight that has bumped all other Dallas rookies – including potential 2015 starters Jones and offensive lineman La'el Collins – into second class.
The hype machine started immediately when Dallas scooped up Gregory in the second round. It was billed as a worthwhile gamble on a player who could have been a top-10 pick. With defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli having a history of getting results from guys like Gregory, we should see flashes (and maybe more) quickly.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins
This is how Vikes, Adrian Peterson struck new deal after overcoming hard feelings and alleged 'fight'Charles Robinson at Shutdown Corner 13 days ago
When Adrian Peterson showed up for offseason workouts with the Minnesota Vikings on June 2, the next two years of his career with the franchise were essentially cemented. [Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today!] Up until that date, Peterson didn't know exactly what he wanted. He thought at length about a trade. He thought about retirement. He even thought – maybe dreamed – about returning to his sprinting roots and aiming for the 2016 Olympics. But at the end of every day, Peterson still felt he had unfinished business. He still wanted to be with his Vikings teammates. And he still wanted to play for head coach Mike Zimmer. So after an icy offseason – which saw the Vikings and Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, digging into opposing trenches – the running back decided to take what he thought was a necessary step. He would show up for offseason workouts, step out of his entrenched position and try to move the relationship forward.
Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago
When this whole deflation mess started in January, New England Patriots star Tom Brady called it "ridiculous." Five months later, he has another chance to prove that.
That's essentially what Tuesday is all about, when Brady will arrive in New York and settle into a room with a herd of lawyers and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Suspended four games and standing to lose $1.88 million, Brady will have his opportunity to mount a vigorous appeal. On what exactly does Brady's future hang? It's chiefly going to be a high-stakes edition of show-and-tell for the quarterback, according to multiple sources familiar with the case.
Show the NFL the communication records that it previously requested. Tell the NFL about his relationship with Patriots equipment assistant John Jastremski, and why it suddenly became so intense after the AFC championship game. There will be many points that Brady and the NFL will argue, but the consensus among sources is that these two will be at the top of the agenda.
With that in mind, sources say the crux of the appeal will be argued on a handful of key points. Among the most important …
Brady's failure to comply with records requests