- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner38 mins ago
Some NFL coaches go into Week 17 with hopes of grabbing an open playoff spot and extending their season. Other coaches wonder if Week 17 might be their last game before getting fired.
For Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith, it’s probably both.
The disappointing Falcons are still alive to win the NFC South, because the entire division has been bad. The 6-9 Falcons play the 6-8-1 Carolina Panthers, and the winner takes the NFC South crown. So Smith could be preparing for a playoff game on Monday, or cleaning out his office. There has been plenty of speculation that he’ll be fired if he doesn’t win, and ESPN reported that the Falcons have already hired the search firm Korn Ferry to identify possible head-coaching candidates. No pressure, Mike. In fact, Smith might need to win a playoff game to save his job.Sun, Dec 281:25 PM PSTCarolina at AtlantaPreview Game
- Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner20 hrs ago
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense is really potent, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is playing a different way. It’s working for him.
Roethlisberger has been almost exclusively a pocket passer over the last month or so. And he has been very efficient. You might not see him on the highlights as often because he doesn’t make those “Roethlisberger plays” where he buys time and makes a throw downfield. But I can’t recall a time where he has played this well from the pocket for this long. He’s just a big oak tree in the pocket going through progressions.
A 19-yard throw to Antonio Brown last week against the Kansas City Chiefs is a good example of his patience and command in the pocket. Even with a muddied pocket around him, he stood in for a long time, never left the pocket and delivered the ball effectively. It’s not a spectacular play, but it’s a very good one.Sun, Dec 285:30 PM PSTCincinnati at PittsburghPreview Game
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner21 hrs ago
Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon said all the right things after he was suspended for 10 games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, so at least he has figure out how to help his image that way.
But following through with his claims that he wants to change his image? Well, maybe not so much.
Gordon was suspended for the team's regular-season finale against the Baltimore Ravens for violating team rules, the Browns announced. It's a really bad way for Gordon to go into the offseason. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot reportedthat Gordon was suspended for missing a walk-through practice on Saturday.Sun, Dec 2810:00 AM PSTCleveland at BaltimorePreview Game
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Black Monday has come early to New York.
According to NJ Advance Media, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan has cleaned out his office at the team's headquarters. The Jets will be playing in Miami on Sunday, and it appears Ryan doesn't anticipate his tenure with the team will last much longer than the final horn.
Jets owner Woody Johnson has reportedly solicited the assistance of Charley Casserly in seeking out new candidates to replace Ryan and general manager John Idzik, and Casserly has apparently begun that search in earnest. When word got back to Ryan, he began packing up, according to NJ.com.Sun, Dec 2810:00 AM PSTNY Jets at MiamiPreview Game
- Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
If you ask around the NFL, you’d find that New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is considered one of the best defensive minds in the league.
I’m not in their building so I can’t speak about him as a head coach (I know from watching “Hard Knocks” like everyone else), but I know from watching film his defenses are really tough to play against. The Jets did a tremendous job getting pressure on the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady last week, even though it came in a loss. Remember, the Jets also did pretty well getting pressure on Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger earlier this season.Sun, Dec 2810:00 AM PSTBuffalo at New EnglandPreview Game
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Sometimes family and business don't mix well. This appears to be one example of that.
The Houston Chronicle reported that Andre Melton, the uncle of Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson who serves as Johnson's advisor, said Johnson would consider a pay cut in the offseeason.
“We understand it’s a business and we’re willing to deal with that,” Melton said. “And Andre doesn’t mind having a pay cut.”
Johnson is slated to make $10.5 million next season and count $16.1 million against the salary cap. Those numbers could prove to be too unwieldy for the Texans to keep him at. Johnson has said he wants to retire a Texan after it appeared he and the team could be parting ways this past offseason.Sun, Dec 2810:00 AM PSTJacksonville at HoustonPreview Game
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has been criticized for being a game manager, but now the Chiefs face life without him in Week 17.
Smith will not play on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers due to a lacerated spleen according to Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder, via B.J. Kissel of KCChiefs.com. Chase Daniel will start on Sunday. The Chiefs need to win to stay alive for a playoff spot. The Chargers clinch a wild-card playoff spot with a win.Sun, Dec 2810:00 AM PSTSan Diego at Kansas CityPreview Game
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner2 days ago
Through Week 16, you can usually count on NFL teams being fairly motivated. That can change in Week 17.
Which teams are resting starters because their playoff spots and seeds are set? Who is fighting for their playoff lives, or at least a division title and home game? And which teams are worried about their flights to the Caribbean to start vacation on Monday?
Just because a team has nothing to play for doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get a great effort. The best example might be 2004, when a Buffalo Bills team alive for the playoffs played a Pittsburgh Steelers team that was 14-1, had the No. 1 seed wrapped up and sat multiple starters. Led by their backups, the Steelers won 29-24 at Buffalo. The Steelers’ young players played like it was a playoff game because they wanted to make an impression. Among the Steelers’ stars that day? Unknown running back Willie Parker and backup linebacker James Harrison. So you never know.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner2 days ago
Things have gone a bit sideways at quarterback the past six weeks for the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals have reportedly switched courses again, opting to start Ryan Lindley again at quarterback in Week 17 against the San Francisco 49ers, after head coach Bruce Arians had initially said it would be rookie Logan Thomas.
There might be a good reason why the Cards made that move.
In addition, the Cardinals are now worried about the status of Drew Stanton for the playoffs. Stanton had replaced starter Carson Palmer for two stretches this season, including after Palmer's ACL injury, but Stanton also went down with a knee injury in the rematch against the St. Louis Rams in Week 15.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Stanton's availability for the postseason is in question.
#AZCardinals QB Drew Stanton’s infection was discovered Wednesday, believed to be caused by an outside medical treatment. Status in doubt.Sun, Dec 281:25 PM PSTArizona at San FranciscoPreview Game
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner2 days ago
The Arizona Cardinals have reportedly decided that Ryan Lindley is still their best option at quarterback, which should say plenty about rookie Logan Thomas.
Thomas was slated to start in Week 17 after Lindley was wholly ineffective against the Seattle Seahawks last week. Lindley has 225 career attempts with no touchdowns and eight interceptions, the most passes without a touchdown in NFL history. The thought was that things couldn't be any worse with Thomas.
Except, after seeing Thomas in practice, the Cardinals decided that things could in fact get worse.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reported that after a poor practice on Wednesday for Thomas, the team has decided to start Lindley. Given how bad Lindley has been every time we've seen him play in the NFL, one can only imagine how awful Thomas' practice must have been for the Cardinals to already pull the plug on that plan.