Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 6 hrs ago
Until we have some actual progress involving an NFL team moving to Los Angeles, maybe it's best to stop the breathless speculation about which teams will move there.
There won't be a team moving to Los Angeles in 2015. ESPN.com's Adam Schefter said commissioner Roger Goodell told the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams – the three hottest candidates to move to L.A. if that ever happened – that there will be no team in Los Angeles next season.
This news shouldn't surprise you, because the NFL has a clear strategy for Los Angeles. The league lets the market stay open (no team has been there since 1994), does nothing to discourage numerous reports which say that this is the year a team is coming to L.A. (there were reports this year that two teams might even come, which the NFL must have enjoyed tremendously) and then the NFL can use that negotiating power to get cities to publicly finance new stadiums.
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Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago
Another quarterback injury has changed the perception of the Arizona Cardinals again, at least in the betting line.
The Cardinals are the biggest underdogs ever for an 11-3 team, going back to when it was first tracked in 1980, according to OddsShark.com. Arizona is an eight-point underdog to the Seattle Seahawks, according to Yahoo Pro Football Pick 'em lines. They're a huge underdog even though they're at home. There haven't been too many teams that have been exactly 11-3, and even fewer that have been underdogs at all, so the sample size isn't tremendous, but the line is telling.
It’s unfortunate for the Cardinals that they have to play such a big game so shorthanded, but the NFL isn’t always fair.
Here are the rest of the Week 16 picks:
Jaguars (-3.5) over Titans (picked Thursday): Moving on.
Panthers (-3) over Browns: After what we saw from Johnny Manziel last week, I can’t pick the Browns.
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At age 31, Jay Cutler is experiencing something new. He had never been benched before.
With the news that the Chicago Bears replaced him as their starting quarterback for Jimmy Clausen, he has the same questions about his future with the team that everyone else has had.
“Yeah, of course. Everyone would wonder that,” Cutler said in a press conference Thursday that was broadcast on NFL Network. “That’s the natural response to wonder that. Going forward, it is what it is. Whatever happens at that point after the season, in March or whenever, we’ll cross that when we get there.”
The Bears’ offseason will be interesting, to say the least. It's safe to say that some major changes will be coming, whatever they are.
Cutler was shocked to hear he was being benched, then he was disappointed, he said. But he understood it. His $126 million contract he signed this past offseason raised the bar for his play, and he didn’t reach it.
“Yes, yes," Cutler said. "I think I could. Umm .. “
At that point Cutler paused for a few seconds.
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The NFL has changed in many ways. For the better, in many ways. For the worse in terms of player nicknames.
Where have all the nicknames gone? Mean Joe and Papa Bear would be so disappointed.
How has it happened that Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers and Tony Romo have gone this long without a recognizable and good nickname? (As an aside, I’m quite disappointed “Breesus” never took off. It should have been a classic.)
There aren’t many nicknames that ring out for the current players. The type of nicknames that are interchangeable with the players’ names are hard to come by lately. And no, shortening a guy’s name isn’t good enough. Sorry, Gronk.
But there are a few. How about running down some of the great NFL nicknames, from the present and then the past? In no particular order …
Fine, I lied. This one is in the correct order. It’s the best nickname in football, maybe the best in sports. With one word, you know who I’m talking about. And it fits.
When Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson were teammates on the Detroit Lions, Williams gave Johnson the name based on the “Transformers” character.
AND THE BEST FROM THE PAST …
If the Chicago Bears were willing to bench Jay Cutler for Jimmy Clausen, it seems like anything is on the table for the franchise and Cutler going forward.
The Bears made a mistake signing Cutler to a massive contract last offseason, and now they might try to get out from that error by trading him. The good news for the Bears is there are always general managers and coaches in the NFL on the hot seat, willing to make a bad move in a self-serving attempt to save their jobs. If Cutler doesn’t work out in 2015, it won’t be their problem in 2016 anyway.
So which team might let the Bears off the hook when it comes to what might be the NFL’s worst contract? Let’s take a look at Cutler's possible teams for 2015:
Cleveland Browns I doubt the Browns are the landing spot, but what have we seen in the last six weeks or so to lead anyone to believe they’ve finally found their long-term answer at quarterback?
The Chicago Bears made a heck of a statement this offseason. They gave quarterback Jay Cutler a $126 million contract.
The team was telling everyone that even though Cutler was a mediocre quarterback for eight years, the ninth would be different. He would be paid like he was on the same level as the game's best quarterbacks. And now, 14 games later, they’re benching Cutler for Jimmy Clausen.
ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reported the news. It’s a stunning move by a team that is falling apart at the seams through constant backbiting, both public and private. The Bears have lost three in a row, there are reports that coach Marc Trestman will be fired, and now the team is starting Clausen (three touchdowns, nine interceptions in his NFL career) over the man they paid like one of the best quarterbacks in football less than a year ago.
Mistakes? Oh, there have been a few.
More NFL video from Yahoo Sports:
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San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald, who was in the news earlier this season for an alleged domestic violence incident for which he ultimately wasn't charged, is being investigated for alleged sexual assault.
And the 49ers have had enough of those headlines. The team released McDonald, general manager Trent Baalke announced.
According to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area, Baalke said the team released him because of a pattern of poor decision-making. McDonald, in his eighth NFL season, had started all 14 games for the 49ers this season.
"This is a team decision, not a league decision," Baalke said, according to the 49ers' Twitter feed.
The San Jose Police Department said it received a call at about 10:43 p.m. on Tuesday from an area hospital regarding a possible sexual assault victim, CSN Bay Area reported. The SJPD said no arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. The alleged victim is not McDonald's fiancee, CSN Bay Area said.
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Nobody should question Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray's toughness again.
Two days after undergoing surgery for a broken bone in his left hand, Murray was back on the field, wearing a pad on his injured hand. He caught passes, too, in the warm-up period open to the media before practice. While there are still a few days to go before the Cowboys play the Indianapolis Colts, it would seem he's got a great chance of playing given that he appeared at Wednesday's practice.
UPDATE: Although Murray was suited out for practice and participated in the warm-up period open to the media, the Cowboys' official listing for him was "did not participate" in Wednesday's practice, according ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon. That technically means he was not a part of any team drills in practice.
It looks like if Murray plays, it'll be with a large pad over his surgically repaired left hand, like he wore in practice.
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Social media was supposed to be great for athletes, a way for them to get their message directly to fans.
Here’s the rub: People then have unlimited access to complain to those athletes. And with the anonymity of the Internet, they could blast away. If you want to criticize the media for being overly cynical and critical, that's fine, but go and check a prominent athlete's mentions on Twitter sometime. It can be brutal. If an athlete screwed up and it cost a fantasy victory, plenty of fans will let him know in 140 characters.
"It just felt like, for me, anything I was saying, whether it was positive or negative, whether it was a positive retweet or anything, was getting twisted and turned against me and against this team," Griffin said, according to ESPN.com. "I feel I can be free up here and talk to you guys, but sometimes things get twisted and turned and it creates a distraction for the team. I didn't want that to happen."
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Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 4 days ago
There was only one reason people were still watching late in the New Orleans Saints-Chicago Bears game on Monday night, and it wasn't the stellar level of play.
It's fantasy football playoffs time, and for two losing teams the Saints and Bears have a lot of guys who were on rosters. And as everyone knows, fantasy football is played by millions of people.
If you had Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery on Monday night and needed him to do something to win your semifinal playoff game, you weren't thrilled most of the night. He had a surprisingly quiet night, considering Brandon Marshall was out and he should have gotten plenty of targets. And in Utah, Lt. Gov. Spencer Coxwas gripping.
15 yrs in same fantasy FB league. I’m an Alshon Jeffery TD away from 1st trip to championship game. My fate is in J. Cutler’s hands. Ugh.
See, I told you everyone plays fantasy football these days.
Notice that I didn't say it was a "meaningless" touchdown.
It's a fantasy football miracle! Thanks Jay Cutler...sorry @lancesalyers
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