- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner18 hrs ago
The Carolina Panthers have been a different kind of animal since their head coach earned his popular nickname.
"Riverboat" Ron Rivera became such with a new attitude, eschewing his former punt-happy and conservative self with a brand of coaching that embraces going for it on fourth down and leaving no doubt he and the Panthers are going for the win. Since losing at Buffalo earlier this season, the team has gone on an eight-game win streak and has converted 9-of-11 fourth-down chances on the season.
Rivera has been lukewarm to the nickname at best, but he's embracing it — for a good cause. He and his wife, Stephanie, have trademarked the nickname "Riverboat Ron" not to cash in on its popularity but as a way to try to boost his charity work.
They have worked with three charities — the Ronald McDonald House, the Humane Society of Charlotte and the USO of North Carolina — and hope they can make a difference by using the popular moniker, according to the Charlotte Observer.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner18 hrs ago
You can scrap a lot of the mock drafts you've seen up until this point. (Or read them for sheer enjoyment only.)
A lot has happened recently to alter the landscape for the 2014, namely at quarterback, in recent days and weeks.
The biggest news in regard to players who might be available came with the news that Oregon's Marcus Mariota — a popular top-five projection — would be returning to school for the 2014 season. Good for Oregon, and probably for Mariota. Bad news for the teams picking high, perhaps.
That includes the Houston Texans, whose Thursday night loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars puts them squarely in the running for the top overall pick. Other teams who could land it, including St. Louis Rams (who currently own the Washington Redskins' top pick) and the Jaguars, also will be thinking quarterback prominently.
Another top prospect, UCLA's Brett Hundley, could follow suit and return to school as well, now that Jim Mora has given the school a firm assurance that he'll be back with a six-year extension. Baylor's Bryce Petty also announced that he'd be returning to school, a great development for the Bears and college football.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner20 hrs ago
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy officially ruled out Aaron Rodgers playing Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, and it's at the point now where we must ask if Rodgers' season is done, too. Because, what's the point of playing Rodgers in Week 15 or beyond, exposing his broken collarbone to further injury?
The Packers must pass four teams just to get into the crowded NFC playoff picture, which likely would require the team winning out. Although there might not be a fearsome defense left on the team's schedule, you can't risk further injury for Rodgers.
There is such a massive gap between Rodgers and any other quarterback the Packers currently have or could possibly acquire as a backup next season, and the last thing you want is Rodgers — who turned 30 this week — going into an offseason rehabbing and not spending as much time preparing for 2014.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner21 hrs ago
If Tim Tebow doesn't think the NFL will come calling again, or that it's too soon for a broadcasting career, he has another option.
Italy, apparently, would love to lure Tebow to keep his playing days alive a little while longer.
The free-agent quarterback has been offered a four-month contract by the Milano Seamen of the Italian federation for American football.
Federation president Leoluca Orlando sent word to Tebow's representatives of their interest, which was posted on the federation's website on Thursday. A federation spokesman said that he deal is for $200,000, which was sent Wednesday on the recommendation of a sponsor.
"The offer has been made to his agent and now we're waiting for a response," Seamen president Marco Mutti told The Associated Press. "We would be more than happy to have him."
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner22 hrs ago
Losing twice to the Jacksonville Jaguars was the last straw for Gary Kubiak.
The Houston Texans fired Kubiak on Friday morning, team owner Bob McNair announced, mere hours after losing for the second time to the Jaguars — their 11th straight loss this season in a year they entered with Super Bowl aspirations.
“Taking action now instead of waiting allows us the process of finding a new coach,” McNair said at a press conference on Friday. “That process is underway, and those prospects who are not under contract in the NFL are people we can visit with, so we'll start the process.”
Nearly everything has gone wrong for the Texans, who had to claw to win their first two games of the season before dropping their next 11. The Texans benched quarterback Matt Schaub, witnessed the season-ending injury of Arian Foster, made a failed free-agent signing of Ed Reed and saw Kubiak collapse at halftime of a loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner23 hrs ago
There are many theories and much conjecture on just how the Washington Redskins need to rebound from their mess of a season that's compounded by the complex relationship between Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III.
But there's an X-factor that must be considered: Mike's son, Kyle, the Redskins' offensive coordinator.
Could it be that the relationship between Kyle Shanahan and RGIII is the one we most should be concerned about? Griffin has called out the playcalling at times, and though he has suggested the Redskins' breakdown has been a widespread issue, the talk of Kyle and RGIII not seeing eye to eye has been the topic du jour in D.C.
On Thursday, Kyle Shanahan took time to diffuse the talk that he and RGIII are at odds amid the recurring reports that there was mistrust in the Griffin camp over how he was being used last season as he was dealing with a knee injury that eventually became the torn ACL that set him back entering the 2013 season. Per the Washington Post:
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner3 days ago
This week’s Early Edition keys in on a few divisional games that could shape the playoff landscape significantly, but there are a few other intriguing games that could color our view of the teams as we steamroll toward the playoffs — plus a few teams that about are far from the playoffs as you can get, too. Here are the biggest storylines as we take an early look at Week 14’s action.
Showdown in NOLA
It’s a short, bitter week for the New Orleans Saints as they pick up the pieces from the brutal loss to the Seattle Seahawks and get prepared to face the suddenly scorching Carolina Panthers Sunday night in New Orleans.
The short week was made shorter for the Saints when their plane out of Sea-Tac was delayed because of engine failure, similar to what had played out on the field. Now they must face a Panthers defense that actually is statistically better than the one that held them to a mere seven points on Monday.
The Panthers might not be as tenacious and ferocious in the secondary as the Seahawks are, but they clearly come in brimming with confidence and possess one of the most gifted defensive lines — led by Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Star Lotulelei — in the game.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner3 days ago
The beloved movie character known as Ron Burgundy (played by Will Ferrell, if you've been on a 15-year Peace Corps mission) has been on a promotions crusade for his sequel, "Anchorman 2," which is hitting theaters soon.
Ferrell has been living in full character for about a month now, and he even managed to give Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning the full Burgundy treatment on ESPN's Sportscenter in the video above. A teaser of their talking points: facial hair, horse mascots and audibles at the line. It's worth checking out.
And when you're done with that, be sure to check out another Burgundy special: Yahoo's top internet searches of 2013. You won't want to miss this one, either.
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Mike Tomlin apologizes for ‘embarrassing blunder’ but says he didn’t intentionally impede Jacoby JonesEric Edholm at Shutdown Corner3 days ago
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is in danger of being called two-faced, or even deceitful, with his latest explanation of what happened on Thanksgiving.
A sincere-sounding Tomlin took the podium for his regularly scheduled Tuesday press conference and issued a solemn statement about his sideline whereabouts during Jacoby Jones' kick return during Thursday's game against the Baltimore Ravens.
"As a Head Coach in this league we are held to a higher standard of conduct. Based on that, my actions were below the line" Tomlin
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 3, 2013
"My actions are a lot of things, embarrassing, inexcusable, a blunder, I acknowledge that." Tomlin — Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 3, 2013
It sounded somewhat like an apology, minus one key element: There was no admission of guilt or of intention. It's along the lines of a head coach saying, I'll take the blame for this, when you know they think in their head there's nothing they should apologizing about.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner4 days ago
You can be tackled by strange body parts — legally — in the NFL. Vernon Davis might be seeking to have some of these liberal rules changed after Sunday's game.
The San Francisco 49ers tight end caught a pass in the third quarter against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, and to the naked eye, it looked brutal. More so even than getting horse-collared, or yanked down by the dreadlocks, which we have seen several times over the years.
Davis is yanked down by his (insert your favorite nickname here) by Rams safety T.J. McDonald and writhed in obvious pain. Men the football-watching world over were equally affected by a sickening feeling and a sudden urge to unnecessarily protects their valuable assets after it happened.
In a tweet written Monday that since has been deleted, Davis wrote:
"It should be a league rule saying that a defender can not tackle a player by his penis," Davis said. "The most painful thing ever!"
No word yet on whether the NFL's competition committee will consider seek to move for a special session on this, but we're all for it. A modest proposal, it would seem.
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