- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner10 hrs ago
The Tennessee Titans, with nothing to lose on a season headed south in a hurry, plan to start rookie Zach Mettenberger at quarterback this Sunday, according to the Tennessean.
Jake Locker has been banged up and Charlie Whitehurst has played like Charlie Whitehurst in his absence, so the Titans will apparently turn to their sixth-round pick this week against the Texans. Mettenberger isn't a typical sixth-round pick, as character concerns and a torn ACL last season with LSU caused a draft drop. He looked just fine in the preseason, leading the NFL with 659 passing yards and looking very comfortable in the pocket.
The Tennessean said Mettenberger was not in the locker room after practice on Wednesday, Locker was off limits to reporters and Whitehurst was told to not talk to the media. The report said indications are Mettenberger was told of the decision on Tuesday night.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
Prior to the season, we made the assumption that the wealth of quality teams in the NFC (and the lack of depth of such in the AFC) would mean that there would be some good teams that find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture looking in
Through seven weeks of the season, that's holding up.
Last season, the Arizona Cardinals finished 10-6 and missed the postseason. It's possible this season that two teams with that record — or better — could be staying home in January. It's just the way the thing is set up.
Consider that the NFC West has the Cardinals on top at 5-1, the 4-3 49ers a half game back and the 3-3 Seahawks two back. What's more interesting is that the Cardinals, unlike the other two teams, have yet to lose a game in the division.
With five games left to play between these three teams, those head-to-head matchups could tilt the division. And knock one of them from the wildcard race in the process. Right now, the 49ers, having lost once to the Cardinals, are at a slight disadvantage here.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray is having a historic season, the kind that we'll be talking about for years to come. He just set an NFL record with his seventh straight 100-yard game to begin a season. But of course, he wouldn't be totaling anywhere near those numbers without a strong offensive line. (Isn't that right, Atlanta?)
Anyway, Murray clearly recognizes the importance of a good O-line, because on Wednesday, he brought them all brand-spanking-new iMacs. Estimated retail value: $1,300 apiece. Not bad.
“Pretty nice,” Zack Martin said. “We just walked in and he gave them to us, so it was pretty cool.”
Here's a photo of the Cowboys locker room with said iMacs already in waiting:
DeMarco Murray surprised his offensive lineman with brand new 21.5 inch iMacs at their locker. valued at $1300 each pic.twitter.com/STTDi3hf8z
- Kristian Dyer at Shutdown Corner13 hrs ago
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Even though his former college teammate and roommate has been cut by two NFL teams in a three-month span, New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson nevertheless believes that Michael Sam has a future in the league.
Richardson called Sam a teammate for one year at Missouri and the two players were also housemates in an off-campus house in 2012. Sam was a seventh-round pick of the St. Louis Rams and was cut in August after a relatively productive preseason. The Dallas Cowboys signed Sam to their practice squad but released him early this week. Sam is trying to be the first openly gay player to appear in an NFL regular-season game.
Richardson, last year's Defensive Rookie of the Year, thinks Sam can play in the NFL.
“I see it, he definitely can play in this league,” Richardson told Yahoo Sports. “He needs to find a team, find his niche.”
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner15 hrs ago
You don't want to show up late on Bill Belichick's time, even if you're one of the NFL's best cornerbacks.
New England Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis showed up late to a meeting at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, so Belichick sent him home, the Boston Globe's Ben Volin reported, citing three league sources. Revis wasn't allowed to participate in practice or any meetings. The players were off Saturday to Monday after beating the Jets last Thursday night.
The Globe's story said Revis has accepted responsibility for his mistake. The Globe wrote that Belichick didn't make a "big announcement" to the team about Revis being sent home, but a source said, “The message was definitely sent. The rules apply to everybody.”
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner16 hrs ago
One of the great things about last season’s Seattle Seahawks, other than the immense talent on the roster, was the apparent togetherness.
“We all we got, we all we need,” right? The players rallied around coach Pete Carroll’s high-energy ways. They won a Super Bowl.
The last time a defending Super Bowl champion won a playoff game was the 2005 season. One of the reasons for that drought is champions dealing with inevitable coverage, real or exaggerated, that the chemistry isn't the same. Maybe over jealousy issues creeping into the locker room. Last week, the Seahawks were a pretty normal 3-2 team – maybe they didn’t run the ball enough, and the defensive line wasn’t quite as deep as last season ... normal football things. That was before the Percy Harvin trade.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner18 hrs ago
If you've traveled around this great country of ours and thought, "Man, there are Cowboys and Patriots fans everywhere ," guess what: you're absolutely right.
One of the more fascinating and borderline sinister aspects of social media is the way it reduces your most heartfelt dreams, desires, and fandoms to nothing more than data for a voracious Internet. But enough of privacy concerns. Let's check out where NFL fans reside!
Twitter has created an amazing heat map that tracks where NFL fans reside. You can see the entire map, you can zero in on a single team, or you can compare two different teams head-to-head. Certain teams (Cowboys, Patriots, Steelers) boast bandwagons that stretch from coast to coast. Others are, well, not so fortunate in the breadth of their fanbases.
Digging deeper in the data, we can find some fascinating insights, like:
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner20 hrs ago
Robert Griffin III practiced on Wednesday for the Washington Redskins, but that doesn't mean he's going to play on Monday night.
Griffin, who dislocated his ankle in Week 2, took some snaps in practice. Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he was hopeful to make a final decision on who will start at quarterback against the Dallas Cowboys after practice on Thursday. It all sounds good for Griffin, but Gruden was cautious.
Griffin will first need to get cleared by the team doctors for full contact. Then Gruden needs to make sure Griffin feels ready.
"He was probably ready to go four weeks ago, in his mind," Gruden said after practice on Wednesday, in a news conference streamed on the team's site.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner21 hrs ago
The NFL games in London are done for a public-relations reason, to lay the groundwork for the league's desire to have a team there. For the teams who travel across the pond, they still have a football game and normal business to conduct.
That stinks for a guy like William Powell, who made the trip all the way to London just to find he'd been fired and needed to take a long, lonely trip home.
Powell, a practice-squad running back with the Detroit Lions, went to London to help the team prepare for its game against the Atlanta Falcons. But the Lions have some injuries at tight end, and are getting healthy at safety, so safety Jerome Couplin was cut for tight end Kellen Davis. The Lions wanted to re-sign Couplin to their practice squad, so someone had to be cut off the practice squad to make room.
So, cheerio, William Powell.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner21 hrs ago
On the first play of the second quarter of Sunday's victory against the San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles pulled off an impressive 16-yard broken-field run for a touchdown. However, the play ended with a vicious hit from cornerback Brandon Flowers. While Flowers left the game with a concussion, Charles stayed in ... even though he might have been at real risk for a concussion.
“It definitely hurt,” Charles told ESPN Radio. “It’s like, I woke up ... I mean, like, a couple plays later I was seeing light bulbs, like, light bulbs around my eyes, and I was trying to catch them. But I was in the game so I was like, ‘Alright, let’s get the ball and run again.'"