Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner 23 mins ago
The New England Patriots raised some eyebrows in December when they claimed receiver Michael Floyd off waivers after Floyd was released by the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals parted ways with the former first-round pick after Floyd was arrested in the early-morning hours of Dec. 12, when Scottsdale, Ariz. police found him passed out behind the wheel of his running car; the arrest came not long after the Cardinals returned to the area after a Week 14 game in Miami.
But the Patriots took Floyd in, adding him to the mix late in the season. If it worked out, they had some depth for their receiving corps; if it didn’t, Floyd’s rookie contract expires after this season and they can walk away, no big deal.
Floyd played in the final two regular-season games for New England, with four catches for 42 yards and a touchdown.
But he did not play well last week in the team’s divisional-round win over the Houston Texans.
Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 1 hr ago
So this is what Julio Jones looks like when he’s dealing with a foot injury?
Although the Atlanta Falcons’ star receiver has toe and foot injuries he’s playing through, you wouldn’t have known it on an unbelievably explosive play early in the third quarter, which put the Falcons up 31-0 in the NFC championship game.
On a simple crossing pattern, Jones was too strong for Green Bay Packers cornerback LaDarius Gunter off the line, then separated from him and made a catch over the middle. Then he accelerated, shaking off a Gunter tackle attempt from behind. Then Jones stiff-armed corner Damarious Randall to the ground, stayed in bounds and scored a 73-yard touchdown.
JULIO JONES IS A BEAST.
— NFL (@NFL) January 22, 2017
And with that incredible individual effort, Atlanta had its enduring highlight from this NFC championship game.
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Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 2 hrs ago
The Green Bay Packers were trailing 10-0 but had some momentum early in the second quarter when the Atlanta Falcons made an enormous play.
But it looked like it could have been two points for the Packers.
Falcons defensive back Jalen Collins made a tremendous play to strip running back Aaron Ripkowski at the end of a run. Then Collins hustled to recover the ball. It appeared that he recovered at the 1, though he rolled into the end zone. If he was outside of the end zone with control of the ball and voluntarily rolled into the end zone, that’s a safety.
— NFL (@NFL) January 22, 2017
All turnovers are reviewed in the NFL, and everything within a play is reviewable, so officials presumably looked at that part of the play. Either way, the Falcons were given a touchback and the ball at their 20.
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Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 2 hrs ago
Jordy Nelson is playing Sunday despite being in pain and wearing some military-grade armor against the Atlanta Falcons. Which is remarkable in its own right. We’re talking Kevlar padding that’s protecting his fractured ribs.
So Nelson is not only dealing with pain, potential breathing issues and some cumbersome gear … but he’s also performing early.
Jordy … for you pic.twitter.com/zpHvcs8YQ0
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) January 22, 2017
On the Green Bay Packers’ first drive, Aaron Rodgers targeted Nelson on his first two throws of the game, connecting on completions of 27 and 15 yards. Nelson also took a shot from hard-hitting rookie safety Keanu Neal, who drilled Nelson out of bounds.
The Packers failed to score on the drive, missing a field-goal try, but had to feel terrific about their chances of having Nelson play and play well on Sunday. Of course, the Packers rolled up 76 points in about 100 minutes of game time without Nelson on the field against the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
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Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 3 hrs ago
Paxton Lynch climbed his way from third on the Denver Broncos’ depth chart to starting two games as a replacement for starter Trevor Siemian. And as the Broncos have changed head coaches going into his second season, Lynch, entering his second season, says he’ll have every chance to win the starting job outright.
“From what I’ve head, that’s how it’s going to be,” Lynch told Shutdown Corner this weekend by phone. “Hearing Coach Vance [Joseph] talk, when he first came in, that’s what it’s going to be like. I think it was that way last year, too, but … I wasn’t really sure [what his chances were].”
Of course, plenty of rumors have floated about the Broncos’ potential interest in Tony Romo, or other veteran QBs who could be on the market. But Lynch has not invested in those now and is going off what he has heard from the new staff to this point: that he’ll get his chance.
“When it comes time to put in the work, I am going to give myself every opportunity to play because I believe I’ll have that opportunity,” he said. “And Trevor will have the chance to beat me, too. It should be a great competition with the two of us … until something changes, which I have no idea it will.”
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Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 7 hrs ago
It appears one New England Patriots fan was willing to help his team on Sunday, even if it got him arrested.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were staying at a Hilton hotel near Logan Airport, resting for Sunday’s AFC championship game when the fire alarm went off. State Police and Massport Fire responded to the alarm at 3:40 a.m., MassLive.com said.
It was a false alarm, of course. MassLive.com said police arrested 25-year-old Dennis Harrison of East Boston and identified him as the one who pulled the alarm. Police found him walking around the property, even though he wasn’t a guest, arrested him and charged him with disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and setting off a false fire alarm, according to MassLive.com.
But it did wake up the Patriots’ opponent between 3 and 4 a.m. It woke up everyone else in the hotel too.
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Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago
It’s another odd decision by owner Jim Irsay, who waited until a disappointing regular season for the Colts had been over for three weeks before making the move, and just days before league personnel executives, scouts and coaches will descend on Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl.
Irsay may have bungled things for the second straight year. After the 2015 season, amid multiple reports of turmoil between Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano, who were both hired in 2012, not only did Irsay decide to keep the pair, he tied them to one another for even longer, awarding both with four-year extensions.
But now, Grigson is out.
At least one Colts player is not sad to see Grigson go. Behold, tweets from punter Pat McAfee:
More NFL coverage on Yahoo Sports:
Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago
Jared Goff has had time to rest up from a trying first season, let his body heal, spend a little time in Mexico with his friends … but now he’s ready to go back to work. He has a new head coach, a new offensive system and new perspective heading into his first full offseason of work in the NFL.
The Los Angeles Rams quarterback spent much of last season waiting his turn (for much of it as the team’s third quarterback) before starting the final seven games of the season and still seeking his first victory in the league. He’ll be doing it under his third head coach following the firing of Jeff Fisher, and with interim coach John Fassel being replaced by 30-year-old, first-time head coach Sean McVay.
Goff is now back in Los Angeles (more on that below), and he’s excited to get working with McVay on a new direction offensively.
“He’s ready, ready to get this thing turned around, as am I,” Goff told Shutdown Corner Friday night. “We’ve talked now a few times since he’s been hired, and it’s a great start.”
“I thought after that first meeting, if he gets the job I am completely on board,” Goff said. “I was very, very pleased. Now the hard work begins.”
Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner 2 days ago
For the second year in a row, Buffalo Bills receiver Sammy Watkins will be unavailable for offseason team practices due to surgery.
The team announced on Friday evening that the third-year receiver underwent “team scheduled” surgery, which we suppose was to distinguish from Tyrod Taylor’s earlier surgery that the Bills did not appear to approve of him having.
Watkins’ surgery was done by Dr. Robert Anderson, and the Bills statement said Watkins won’t be ready to return to the practice field until training camp.
Buffalo moved up in the 2014 draft to take Watkins 4th overall. He played and started all 16 games as a rookie, but played just 13 games in 2015 and eight this past season. Watkins had hip surgery and an ankle injury in 2015; he broke a bone in his foot last May, and the injury bothered him into the season.
Watkins had 28 catches for 430 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 2 days ago
For years, the Green Bay Packers would gladly share their suspicions that the Minnesota Vikings were pumping noise into the Metrodome.
Same story in 2017, different dome.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a dry sense of humor at times, and he got off a pretty good joke on Friday. He called back to the Falcons having a 2016 draft pick taken away for pumping crowd noise into the Georgia Dome.
“It’s really loud in there,” Rodgers said, according to Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “Whether that’s all natural or not is yet to be seen.”
That’s pretty good.
Falcons fans will also want to throw off Rodgers, who comes in on an amazing hot streak. The Georgia Dome hasn’t always been known for how loud it can get (without help), but last week’s crowd for the divisional playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks was fantastic.
The Falcons fans would probably argue that they don’t need the artificial noise for Sunday. They’re sure to let Rodgers hear it loud and clear.