Shutdown Corner

  • Bills' WR Sammy Watkins has foot surgery, will miss offseason

    Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner 19 hrs 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.

  • Aaron Rodgers trolls the Falcons over them pumping crowd noise into Georgia Dome

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 21 hrs 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.

  • NFL against the spread picks: A great Super Bowl matchup awaits, no matter who wins this weekend

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 21 hrs ago

    It’s not too often – especially when a No. 1 and No. 2 seed are upset in the divisional round – that any possible Super Bowl matchup among the final four teams would be a good one.

    Yet, there’s no team in this final four that would ruin the Super Bowl party. Each team is intriguing in its own way. The Atlanta Falcons have the best offense. The Green Bay Packers have the most exciting player. The New England Patriots have the best coach, a legendary quarterback and a lot of history on the line. The Pittsburgh Steelers have the best No. 1 running back/No. 1 receiver combination since … well, it has been a while.

    Any matchup is fine. Packers-Patriots might be the most viewer-friendly, but Falcons-Patriots (with two of the three highest-scoring offenses in football) could be the more aesthetically pleasing game. Steelers-Packers would once again bring together two of the sport’s best fan bases on its biggest stage. Steelers-Falcons would have a ton of star power and a lot of points too. We can’t lose.

    Here are the against-the-spread picks for the championship round, using the Yahoo Pro Football Pick’em lines:

    Related NFL coverage on Yahoo Sports:

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  • Donald Trump says Tom Brady called to congratulate him, Brady doesn't want to talk about it

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 22 hrs ago

    If the New England Patriots win on Sunday, how many questions do you think quarterback Tom Brady will get about President Donald Trump during Super Bowl week?

    It’s pretty clear how many of those questions Brady will actually answer, and it’s a nice fat zero.

    Brady and Trump are friends. That much has been pretty well established. But Brady, time and again, has refused to talk about Trump. It’s probably smart on his part. The Patriots hate distractions. Brady is better off just saying nothing and not mixing politics and football. Besides, Brady’s wife Gisele Bundchen told him not to talk politics in publicanymore.

    Trump says Tom Brady called him today: pic.twitter.com/bd46ygMPrf

    — Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 20, 2017

    So Brady was asked during his Friday press conference about Trump.

    Did you call him?

  • NFL draft: 95 underclassmen granted eligibility, which is four short of a record

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    The NFL released its full list of underclassmen who were granted eligibility for the 2017 NFL draft — 95 total, which is just short of the high-water mark of 98 set in 2014.

    Additionally, eight more players have completed their course work at their respective schools — four of them from Clemson — and are eligible, bringing the total number of early entrants to 103. The four members of the national-champion Tigers who set forth a plan to finish their classwork early: quarterback Deshaun Watson, running back Wayne Gallman and wide receivers Mike Williams and Artavis Scott.

    [Try the $75K Baller for championship weekend, $10K to first]

    The most loaded position of the early entrants is wide receiver, with 27 who declared early, which should make the position even deeper.

    More NFL coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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  • Greg Cosell's NFC championship preview: Aaron Rodgers can still beat good defensive calls

    Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    We looked at some of the strategic elementsto watch for in the AFC championship game between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers. Now let’s break down some things to watch in the NFC championship game:

    PACKERS OFFENSE VS. FALCONS DEFENSE

    The problem with preparing for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, with how well he’s playing, is that a defensive coordinator can make a good play call and Rodgers can beat it anyway.

    We saw it in the wild-card round against the New York Giants, and we saw it last week against the Dallas Cowboys too. It has to be disheartening. You watch film, figure out the right call for the right spot, and Rodgers ruins it with a great play. The Atlanta Falcons will have the same problem this week.

    When people question if arm strength matters for an NFL quarterback, keep that play in mind.

    FALCONS OFFENSE VS. PACKERS DEFENSE

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  • Ten years later, Brady-Manning AFC title game tilt lives on as narrative-changing classic

    Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    Before you go back and watch a single snap of one of the most underrated games in NFL history, which happened 10 years ago this Saturday, we suggest a quick scan of one of the strangest box scores that ever was boxed up.

    In perhaps the most meaningful head-to-head battle in the careers of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, the men scoring touchdowns on that day were two 300-plus-pound offensive linemen (both scoring their only career TDs), a defensive lineman-turned-fullback, a running back playing his final NFL game, a Manning rushing (?) TD, a journeyman receiver (who scored a TD that wouldn’t have counted by today’s NFL rules) and, to cap it, a rookie running back starting his third-ever game.

    The greatest of both Brady and Manning certainly were on display in the AFC championship on that strange, wonderful stage back on Jan. 21, 2007. Each of them also stared into the abyss — Manning down big early to his annual tormentors, and Brady ending up in the unfamiliar position of not delivering when everyone (maybe even Manning) expected him to.

    “That was a first for me, that many big guys scoring,” Koppen said.

    “We just lined up and did our jobs better. That was the adjustment.”

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  • AFC championship: Can the Steelers' Killer B's lead Pittsburgh past the Patriots?

    Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    Pittsburgh Steelers (13-5) at New England Patriots (15-2)

    Sunday, 6:40 p.m. ET on CBS

    STEELERS AT A GLANCE

    Key player: RB Le’Veon Bell. Yes, it’s obvious, but Bell has to be one of the five best players in the NFL right now. The Patriots’ M.O. on defense has long been to do what they can to take away a team’s biggest offensive weapon and make them win with everyone else. That’s not easy with Bell. The 24-year old has totaled 1,431 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns during the Steelers’ current eight-game win streak, and he sat out the regular-season finale against the Browns. That’s a great season for many players; Bell has done it in what amounts to half a season.

    And he’s been even better rushing the ball in the postseason: in the Steelers’ games against the Dolphins and Chiefs, Bell had 337 yards on 59 attempts, which averages out to 5.7 yards per carry. In New England’s Week 7 win over Pittsburgh, he had 81 yards rushing on 21 carries, and 10 catches for 68 yards, but did not score.

    PATRIOTS AT A GLANCE

    Defensively, if New England stumbles and can’t slow Bell, it could open the door to the Steelers being able to dictate play.

    OUTLOOK

    More NFL coverage on Yahoo Sports:

  • Ravens lose leading tackler Zach Orr to surprising retirement after just three seasons

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    Baltimore Ravens linebacker Zach Orr missed the team’s Week 17 game with what the team said was a neck injury. He was put on injured reserve, but it didn’t seem like a big deal. The Ravens were already eliminated from a playoff spot. The Baltimore media didn’t make a big deal out of it.

    A few weeks later, Orr retired after just three NFL seasons. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Orr retired because of a “serious injury.” The Ravens couldn’t talk him out of it, Rapoport said.

    Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun said Orr is retiring due to a congenital neck condition. He didn’t sound concerned about it when the season ended, but further tests showed the condition. Orr was on the verge of getting a restricted free-agent tender this offseason worth more than $2.5 million, Zrebiec said.

    More NFL coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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  • Mark Gastineau says he has dementia, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease

    Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    Mark Gastineau, even with a terrible medical diagnosis that he believes comes from playing football, made it clear that he wouldn’t change anything about playing in the NFL.

    But the former New York Jets legend wants to make the game safer.

    Gastineau, in an interview with 710 WOR Radio in New York as part of USA Football’s “Heads Up Football,” said he has dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. It’s always hard to say if football contributed to that, but it’s an easy connection to make.

    “I don’t want (my health) to overpower or overshadow the “Heads Up” program, I want it to be a warning to mothers and fathers to be able to put their kids in to safe places to be able to carry on a team sport that I think is going to be way far beneficial to them then if they didn’t have that in their lives,” Gastineau said.

    Gastineau said he thinks kids should still play football, but they should play with the proper technique. He said he thinks the proper techniques could have saved his health.

    More Jets news from Yahoo

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