Cardinals left tackle D.J. Humphries expects to be ready for start of season

Arizona Cardinals left tackle D.J. Humphries was lost for the season when he tore his MCL and dislocated his knee cap in a Thursday night game against the Seattle Seahawks last November.

While he’s still not certain when he’ll be back to full speed, Humphries is confident it will be in time for the start of the regular season.

Based on rumors, Sporting News has “narrowed down” the Barkley draft derby to a dozen teams, all of which currently hold top-20 selections. Here are those 12 teams, ranked in relation to their likelihood of landing the Nittany Lion.

Seattle isn’t bringing back Eddie Lacy or Thomas Rawls, leaving some combination of Mike Davis, Chris Carson, C.J. Prosise and J.D. McKissic as its backs for 2018. Since the trade for Marshawn Lynch more than seven years ago, the Seahawks haven’t gone big in addressing their backfield.

With Seattle’s defense and the passing game taking some personnel hits, this year would make sense as the time to finally re-establish itself as a traditional power running team to both better complement and supplement Russell Wilson. The QB will get his chance to mentor Barkley on ESPN’s “QB2RB,” but finding a way to pair the two for the longer term will be difficult.

According to Albert Breer of SI.com, Griffin has been invited to the 2018 NFL Draft and plans to attend.

The Central Florida linebacker was already one of the best stories in this year’s talent pool, after he overcame a birth defect which cost him a hand to become one of the top players in college football.

But after initially not getting an invite to Indianapolis, he proceeded to take the combine by storm. He registered 20 repetitions of the 225-pound bench press (again, with one hand), and ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash.

His ability to overcome obstacles has made him an inspiration to many, and having him around the draft broadcast will benefit the league, as the NFL works to highlight such stories (for their own ratings, as well as the greater good of society which is of course their first priority).

Allegations of drug use inside sober homes is nothing new, says code enforcement officer Woods.bills_116

Cowboys receivers coach Sanjay Lal on Dez Bryant: Together we can go good places

If three’s a crowd, then the Cowboys are extra crowded in their wide receiver room.

They added wide receivers Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson this offseason. They still have Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Ryan Switzer and Noah Brown, among others, at the position. The Cowboys also might draft a receiver.

“[Thompson] is a speed guy that can run routes and block,” Lal said. “Then Allen, that’s the first time I met him, but the film sessions I had with him were off-the-charts. He’s extremely bright, knows football, hungry, so that’s what we’re trying to build in that receiver room.”

As is the case for all things Colts-related, this is all about Andrew Luck’s health. Indianapolis of course is set if and when Luck returns from the shoulder injury that took his 2017 season — the key words are if and when. Brissett is a solid backup, but he’s just that; a backup. Until Luck proves he can not only return healthy, but also return as the player who led the Colts to the AFC title game four seasons ago, this team will need to keep an eye on QBs in the draft.

Ryan, 34, is entering his 11th NFL season, and 2018 is the last year of his current contract. The Falcons don’t seem worried about getting an extension done, but they failed to do so and in turn reduce Ryan’s cap hit before this year’s free agency. So not only does Atlanta still need to weigh its future with Ryan, but its backup, Matt Schaub, turns 37 this year. A young QB from the draft should be an intriguing consideration.

Saban also was asked whether Fitzpatrick’s drive and obsession with perfection makes him a clone of his college head coach.

“I wouldn’t put that on anyone,” Saban said. “He’s better than me in a lot of ways.”

Apparently so, because Fitzpatrick’s determination doesn’t leave him seeming irritated all the time, like many perfectionists are.

“This league, it’s one year at a time. That’s kind of how it goes,” Manning said. “I need to go out there and play well this year and that’s all I’m looking forward to.”

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield were in the Giants’ facility Monday as their Top 30 pre-draft visits finished up. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is next with USC’s Sam Darnold and Wyoming’s Josh Allen expected to follow later this week.bills_071

Ravens Have a Major Joe Flacco Problem

The Baltimore Ravens have a major Joe Flacco problem, even if they don’t realize it or want to admit it. Since going on his four-game streak to win the Super Bowl after the 2012 season, and getting a big contract, Flacco has been among the worst regular starters in the NFL, and the Ravens have not won another playoff game.

Last year, he averaged 5.7 yards per pass attempt. Let’s put that in some perspective. Ryan Leaf’s career yards per attempt was 5.6, and JaMarcus Russell’s was 6.0.

You want players from the teams that will advance the furthest. This is pretty obvious, as more games played equals more points. Of the 29 players who scored more than 10 points during last season’s playoffs, only four weren’t on teams that made the conference finals.

Swearinger then pointed out that a secondary can only shine if the defense has strength up front and the ability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

In the 12th, a poor decision to throw to third base on a bunt by Brett Gardner loaded the bases with nobody out.

Earlier, a throwing error by Orioles starter Mike Wright Jr. led to three unearned runs when the Yankees used a lot of seeing-eye hits and bloops to build a 5-0 first-inning lead.

The Orioles later gifted the Yankees another run in the fifth when shortstop Manny Machado lollygagged fielding a two-out grounder, Jace Peterson beat it out, the inning went on and Austin Romine followed with an RBI single to make it a 6-4 ballgame.

Here’s more good fortune: Aaron Judge singled in the eighth when his groundball hit first base and caromed away from Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini.

The Yankees didn’t take advantage. bills_054

Report: Browns still deciding between Sam Darnold, Josh Allen for top pick

The Cleveland Browns have been on the clock for the 2018 NFL Draft for more than three months now, but head coach Hue Jackson said recently that the team has no idea who they are taking with the top overall pick. According to one report, it will definitely be a quarterback.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has been told that the Browns are trying to decide between Sam Darnold and Josh Allen. While there has been talk that Cleveland could use the No. 1 pick on a player like NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb and wait until No. 4 to take a QB since the draft is so deep at the position, La Canfora says it is looking like the first three picks will all be passers.

Shurmur said Monday he doesn’t know how long Beckham plans to stay with the Giants during the rest of the offseason program.

“I’m not overthinking this,” Shurmur said. “This is the first day of work, this is the first opportunity for all of us to be here together and I think it’s important that Odell is here. I’m looking forward to him getting one day better by being here. I’m looking forward to him inspiring some of his teammates to get better because he’s here and he’s a terrific player. I think we can all learn from one another.”

The Spring League—”a developmental league that provides opportunities for players who are not on NFL rosters but hope to be,” per Seifert—shared highlights from Manziel’s performance:

After The Spring League’s next set of games April 12, Manziel has about a month until the Canadian Football League’s training camps open for rookies May 16. He’s previously said that if he doesn’t receive interest in the NFL, he would commit to play at least two years in the CFL.

If he goes that route, it would be with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who own his CFL rights. For the time being, however, Manziel was trying to prove he could be reliable and consistent in both his preparation and performance.

“The message that I’m sending is showing up every day and going to meetings,” he said. “Being engaged in everything that is going on during practice and in the game. I can’t control what is going on [with NFL teams’ interests], and I don’t know what’s going on in NFL meetings. If that’s the case, if the NFL is something that pops up, cool. If not, I’m going to work until I get back there. We’ll see how things play out.”bills_029

It wouldn’t be reasonable for me to tell you the Lions have Super Bowl talent.

I think the franchise’s current ceiling is a postseason berth with a playoff win, which would likely need to come on the road.

The NFC North is brutal this year. The Vikings are the class of the division and have loaded up to make another run at the Super Bowl. And Aaron Rodgers is Aaron Rodgers. As long as he’s healthy, regardless of the other shortcomings on the Packers’ roster, they’ll be tough to beat.

Davis dominated as a tackler in the Jets’ 3-4, but what got him paid this much to join a base 4-3 was his breakout coverage skills at age 29. The Saints had only a two-down option in the middle with Manti Te’o, but there’s a good chance Davis will help them shore up the strong side.

Cleveland has made a lot of big moves through trades and free agency, but this can’t be overlooked. While former Packer Damarious Randall will play safety for the Browns, Carrie will fill a void as a strong No. 2 cover man to flank Jamar Taylor with Jason McCourty being traded. The team also signed former Chief Terrance Mitchell for depth.

Obviously, most players likely showed up to the team’s first voluntary workout on Monday, but as NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported, Mack chose to stay away while he attempts to work out a contract extension with the Raiders. Currently, the former No. 5 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft is set to play 2018 under the fifth-year option, which would pay him just over $13.84 million, according to Spotrac.

Mack’s absence from workouts certainly isn’t ideal, as the team has a new head coach in Jon Gruden and defensive coordinator in Paul Guenther. Fortunately, as NFL Network’s Jim Trotter reported, the “expectation internally” is that the two sides will get a deal done before training camp.

Khalil Mack did not attend the start of Raiders voluntary workouts today, but there is no sense of panic within the organization. Mack is in the final year of his rookie contract, and the expectation internally is that an extension will be done before the start of training camp.rams_177

Similarly former Bengals center Russell Bodine will be facing his former team while former Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn and linebacker Preston Brown do the same.

So of the many players that protested during the anthem, only Reid & Kaepernick are being “blackballed”. Even though many that were in the spotlight protesting every week have jobs, have received raises, and/or were hired by other teams…but these two guys are the only ones being blackballed.
Doesn’t add up, must be another reason.

“Do you plan on kneeling for the National Anthem?” is the same question as “Do you plan on being a huge distraction to the team and your teammates?”
If fans continue to listen to the NFL talking heads the NFL will become the NBA and everyone will stop watching. Don’t fall for this none scene.

But it is not collusion if teams have unilaterally decided it is bad for their business. It seems completely plausible that an owner would be worried about the damage to their team’s individual brand from a player kneeling, rather than to the NFL brand as a whole.
I’m surprised labor and employment law is so clear that NFL teams can’t hold protests against players in employment decisions. Why is that? How does that differ, legally, from holding past drug use or domestic abuse against the players in employment decisions? And if it were the case, why is Kaepernick’s lawsuit on collusion and not an open and shut labor suit?

Week 2 of the preseason will see the Bengals hit the road to face the Dallas Cowboys , who just narrowly missed out on the playoffs this past season. A date and game time will be announced later. It will come sometime between August 16-20.

Then in Week 3, the Bengals will be back on the road to face the Buffalo Bills , who Cincinnati ironically helped squeak into the playoffs by beating the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17. Cincinnati and Buffalo will play on Sunday, August 26 at 4 p.m. EST on FOX. The Bengals and Bills have been incredibly linked since the conclusion of the 2017 NFL season. This will also be the first time that McCarron, who signed with Buffalo this offseason, will face the Bengals, so that will make for a big storyline for a preseason game.rams_061

Jets don’t have a consensus as to quarterback, yet

The latest super-sized edition of the Jets Mailbag features the complicated truth about Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen, Bridgewater trade bait, the value of the Wonderlic test and the chances that the Giants do Gang Green a favor.

Check out our expanded football coverage on Facebook with more analysis, opinions and fan engagement this offseason. Like our Facebook page at nydn.us/ManishMehta.
Did they trade three second-rounders to move up three slots to take a pipsqueak QB from a spread offense? They should be sued for gross negligence if that is the case.

Interceptions can be totally random from year to year, and I think there’s plenty of upside in targeting a guy with Mathieu’s football instincts, especially given that he’s still just 25 years old. The Texans are already deep at corner with Colvin, Joseph, Kareem Jackson and Kevin Johnson, so Houston might very well just stick with Mathieu as a full-time safety and use him and Andre Hal as interchangeable players inside and outside the box.

The roster has a long way to go before completion, though. AJ McCarron steps in for Taylor, but quarterback is still a primary concern. Once the team drafts its next franchise signal-caller, far more will be needed to supplement the passing game.

The Bills have yet to reach consistent contender status. Even so, they seem to have found the right man for the job.

At his peak in 2015, Mathieu was a ball-hawking force of nature, capable of shifting between free safety and serving as a slot cornerback from snap to snap. The former LSU star picked off five passes, made 11 tackles for loss and knocked away 17 passes in 14 games before suffering his second torn ACL in three years. Since then, Mathieu has suited up far more frequently like a pure free safety, and the production hasn’t been there. Over 26 games during 2016-17, the Honey Badger recorded just two interceptions, nine tackles for loss and eight pass breakups.

Pittsburgh’s home opening 5-4 win against the Minnesota Twins (2-2) on Monday at PNC Park was not sold out and, after a scheduled day off Tuesday, a forecast for cold, rainy weather Wednesday could shrink the crowd size for the second and final game of the series.

It won’t dampen the Pirates’ spirits.buccaneers_093

Cowboys agree to terms with free-agent DE Kony Ealy, report says

The Cowboys and free-agent defensive end Kony Ealy have agreed to terms on a one-year contract, NFL media reported Monday.

Ealy, 26, recorded one sack in 15 games last season for Jets, his first in New York after three seasons with the Carolina Panthers. Ealy also had an interception in 2017 along with 11 tackles.

Trail Blazers: F Ed Davis returned to action after missing four games with a sprained right ankle, and Stotts said the boost he provided was bigger than his 5.4-point and 7.4-rebound averages. “What he offers on the court is unique, as far as his rebounding, his screen setting, his finishing around the paint, all those things,” Stotts said. “His presence in the locker room, his presence on the bench. Just the intangibles. He’s been a very integral part of what we’ve done this year.”

Nuggets: Malone said he decided to bring Gary Harris off the bench rather than start him because he didn’t want to mess with the chemistry the Nuggets had developed while going 7-4 in his absence. … Barton had averaged 18.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists while starting in Harris’ place the previous 11 games.

TECHNICAL SPARK: Malone drew a technical for arguing a no-foul call when Jamal Murray went down hard with 6:18 left in the third quarter and the Nuggets trailing 62-53.

Servais said Healy is scheduled for an MRI and is not expected to be available in the coming days. If Healy goes on the DL, he would join DH Nelson Cruz (sprained ankle), catcher Mike Zunino (strained oblique) and outfielder Ben Gamel (strained oblique).

Padres: Reliever Kirby Yates exited the game with ankle discomfort after throwing just one pitch in the eighth. … RHP Dinelson Lamet played catch up to 90 feet and will likely do the same again on Sunday as he continues to make progress in his recovery from elbow soreness that started in late March.

Astros: Houston activated RP James Hoyt from the disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Fresno. … 1B Yuli Gurriel, on the disabled list after breaking his hand in February, was given an off day but will play the next three games on his rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Corpus Christi.

Hinch on the bizarre nature of the game’s ending: “If you see enough games, I guess you see everything. I had never really seen that before. That wasn’t very predictable.”buccaneers_077

Greg Holland struggles in Cardinals debut, gets loss vs. Brewers

St. Louis Cardinals reliever Greg Holland came into Monday night’s game with the Milwaukee Brewers in the 10th inning, walked four batters in one-third of an inning and got the loss.

Holland, who had been activated earlier in the day, walked the first two batters he faced, third baseman Travis Shaw and right fielder Domingo Santana. Second baseman Eric Sogard moved them along with a bunt, so Holland intentionally walked catcher Manny Pina to load the bases. Holland’s four-pitch walk to Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia drove in the go-ahead run.

Posey’s home run off starter Rich Hill was the first of the season for the Giants cleanup hitter and first since Aug. 8, 2017.

Dodgers: RHP Josh Fields pitched a scoreless inning after being reinstated from the paternity list before the game. RHP Zach Neal designated for assignment after originally being optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. The change was made after the team claimed RHP Alec Asher off waivers from Baltimore.

Hill beat the Giants on opening day in Los Angeles but wasn’t as fortunate in San Francisco. The left-hander yielded three runs and five hits over five innings with six strikeouts and two walks.

Giants starter Chris Stratton struggled with his control again. He allowed two earned runs but walked four in five-plus innings.

LHP Clayton Kershaw (0-2, 2.25) of the Dodgers faces LHP Ty Blach (1-1, 5.79) on Sunday in a rematch of opening day starters. Kershaw lost the first round despite allowing one run over six innings while Blach owns a career 1.41 ERA against Los Angeles.

“I expect him to throw quite a bit,’’ Irsay said. “I expect him to channel his Brett Favre, if you will, and just say ‘The hell with it . . . let’s go play football, let’s go rock and roll.’

“There’s never been anything unusually ominous or surprising or behind the scenes that’s taken us by surprise. There really hasn’t been. The throwing shoulder, there’s a lot going on there. It’s a complicated mechanism. At this level, with the type of torque that’s put out, you just want to make sure you bring him along the right way.’’

Luck has thrown for over 4,000 yards in three of his five NFL seasons. He also has 132 touchdown passes to just 68 interceptions, but he has never registered a QB rating above 96.5.

Magic: Asked for his memories at the Bradley Center, Vogel recalled a time when then-Celtics coach Rick Pitino got into an argument with guard Dee Brown off the court while Vogel was Boston’s video coordinator. “Not a … fight but just a (verbal) flare-up,” Vogel said.buccaneers_017

Odell Beckham trade scenarios: Six teams that are best fits for Giants WR

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the update Wednesday but noted it’s unclear whether any interested team would be willing to pay that price.

The Giants could have nipped the Beckham trade rumors in the bud several times over the past few days, but the team’s brass has refused to rule out a blockbuster deal.

Ralph Vacchiano of SNY passed along comments co-owner John Mara made Sunday when asked about whether it’s possible the wideout could play elsewhere in 2018.

I can’t answer that one way or another, he said. We’re certainly not shopping him if that’s what you’re asking. But again, when you’re coming off a season where you’re 3-13 and played as poorly as we played, I wouldn’t say that anybody is untouchable.

There were moments that I was extremely sad and depressed. I mean, the game I loved was taken away from me. I couldn’t do what I expected to be able to do.

Watt played only three games in 2016 before undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk. He broke his left leg five games into the 2017 campaign.

More: J.J. Watt on historic Hurricane Harvey fundraising:’No better feeling in the world’

I’ve had two of the toughest years of my life personally in having season-ending injuries two years in a row, said Watt, 29, who will enter his eighth NFL season this year.

Of his rehabilitation, he said, I’ve had a great couple of weeks.

Officials, owners and coaches want to eliminate use of the helmet as a weapon, Commissioner Roger Goodell explained at his press conference Wednesday to conclude this week’s league meeting.

I look at it more broadly than that. I think our efforts in this area we have to look at more broadly because I think it’s not just about the Rooney Rule, our efforts never were just about the Rooney Rule. I think it’s an important element. There’s a fundamental aspect to that. But I think it’s much broader than that in the sense that how do we create the opportunities and how do we do everything to help train and give people the experience to advance their careers.patriots_119-223x223