Analysis: 2 ties down, many more could be coming in NFL 2018

Two weeks, two ties.

OK, let’s get this out of the way now: Yes, the NFL is fit to be tied.

Fit tighter than most folks might think, too.

In a slopfest of an opener, the Steelers and Browns drew 21-21 . The first game of the season often can be messy and painful to watch, particularly when so many key players don’t take the field much, if at all, in the preseason. This one was all of that, even if a tie was a big step in the right direction for Cleveland, which lost 31 of 32 contests entering this season.

Yet the Browns sounded more angry with the deadlock than did the Steelers.

“There’s no way that we shouldn’t have won this game,” safety Jabrill Peppers said. “We didn’t win. It is all about winning. Nobody cares about draws or ties, whatever you guys call it. We were in a (position) to win this game countless times. We just have to make the plays.”

A week later, in a more artistic affair — minus the ugly kicking by the now-released Daniel Carlson for Minnesota — the Vikings and Packers finished 29-29. Like the other tie, it was a divisional game. Unlike the other one, both of these clubs should be in the playoff hunt.

So assessing a draw left them perplexed.

“I don’t know what to feel after a tie,” Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “It’s a unique place to be and proud of the way that the whole team — when I say the team, the coaching staff, the players, the support staff — the way everybody stayed in it and fought. There were times where we thought we should have won it, there were times the Packers feel like they should have won it. And it was a great game, and unfortunately we didn’t get the win.”

Green Bay’s reactions were similar.

“It’s gross,” kicker Mason Crosby offered. “I don’t like it. Obviously, you hate losing. A tie is just weird. You just don’t get them a lot.”

Ah, but you just might this season. Two in two weeks could be a harbinger.

The NFL reduced the length of overtime from 15 minutes to 10 before last season. Stunningly, there were no ties.

But the odds of more results without a winner are vastly increased. And league executives understood that when they made the change.

“What it came down to was really a player safety discussion,” said Dean Blandino, head of the league’s officiating department when the rule change was made in 2017 and now an NFL analyst for Fox. “The year prior to change, you had several games that went the full overtime periods and ended in a tie, or a game ended on a field goal at the last second. That’s an additional however many plays in that game. We had one instance when a team had to come back on Thursday night and play, so that’s a very short week for rest and then playing again.

“So we asked, ‘Are we pushing our players to play an extra quarter and having to come back, creating a chance for more injuries?’

“Yes the potential for more ties would be there in a shorter overtime, but the members of the (competition) committee and the owners didn’t think a tie was necessarily a bad thing.”

Maybe yes, maybe no. But are the alternatives worthwhile?

The NFL could adopt the college rule (won’t ever happen), which detractors have said is like having a home run derby decide a tied baseball game; too much of the natural game is eliminated. So is the sudden death element, although even that has been diluted by the current NFL overtime rule in which the team receiving the kickoff must score a touchdown for the game to end immediately.

Not that we are advocating for getting rid of that and returning to the coin toss being even more instrumental in deciding a game.

The option of continuing to play until there is a winner doesn’t work in the regular season for a variety of reasons. Player safety — player exhaustion — is the main reason, but there are broadcast considerations on a busy Sunday afternoon, too. And fan comfort, particularly in Lambeau or Soldier Field or Gillette Stadium in December.

The NFL also senses that with the shorter overtime, teams will attack more during the extra period. That seems to have been the case at Lambeau Field last Sunday. In the other tie, play was so chaotic it was difficult to tell if either side had a plan for winning.

“There were a lot of things discussed and on the table,” Blandino said of competition committee meetings about overtime. “This goes back if you look prior to 2012, the coin toss was such a big part of OT. We had less ties under that system; just, look at the stats from 1994-2011, and there were only four ties. Since 2012 and the chance to have both teams getting possession, in the next five years, we had five ties in that period.”

And in 2018, we already have two. Get ready for more.

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Bye comes at good time for hobbled Dolphins

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Frank Gore walked slowly through the Miami Dolphins locker room Monday, a slight hunch in his posture and a slight limp in his gait, which made him look like the 35-year-old running back he is.

And he's among the healthy ones.

The Dolphins (5-5) hobbled into their bye week

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Frank Gore walked slowly through the Miami Dolphins locker room Monday, a slight hunch in his posture and a slight limp in his gait, which made him look like the 35-year-old running back he is.

And he’s among the healthy ones.

The Dolphins (5-5) hobbled into their bye week thankful for the timing of the break. Coach Adam Gase gave his players the rest of the week off, and said if his team had a game Sunday, finding 46 healthy players to fill the active roster would be a challenge.

“I don’t even know if we’d have enough,” Gase said.

“The bye week,” gimpy left tackle Laremy Tunsil said, “came at the perfect time.”

For one thing, the bye buys quarterback Ryan Tannehill an extra week to continue his recovery from an injured capsule in his throwing shoulder. After a period of rest he began a throwing program Sunday.

“They said it was a good first step and he felt good, so that’s a positive,” Gase said. “We’ll just progress through and see where we’re at next Wednesday.”

The goal remains for Tannehill to return for Miami’s next game Nov. 25 at Indianapolis.

“If we can get through this week and he feels great every day, then we’ve got a shot,” Gase said.

The odds seem against it. Tannehill was shut down after an earlier throwing program produced little progress, and missed his fifth game in a row Sunday when Miami was beaten at Green Bay.

Brock Osweiler fell to 2-3 replacing Tannehill. And as the Dolphins lost for the fifth time in seven games, their injury list grew longer.

Sidelined were cornerback Bobby McCain (concussion) and receivers DeVante Parker (shoulder) and Jakeem Grant (calf). Both receivers underwent MRIs on Monday, and their injuries are not believed to be season enders.

By the final whistle, Miami was without five former first-round draft picks. That included starting tackles Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James, who both missed the game with knee injuries. There’s a good chance they’ll return against Indy.

Given the way the Dolphins’ season is trending, it’s surprising the Colts game could be pivotal in the AFC wild-card race.

“We’re still in the hunt,” receiver Kenny Stills said. “We need to get healthy.”

Or healthier, at least.

Last week the Dolphins had 18 players on their injury report. But not Gore, the ageless veteran who ran for 90 yards in 13 carries Sunday. He became the first player to rush for 500 yards in 14 consecutive seasons, and hasn’t missed a game since 2011.

In the Dolphins’ locker room, that makes him an outlier.

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Quick change: Packers move on after win, prep for Seattle

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — It can be difficult enough for NFL players to have just three days to prepare for a Thursday night game.

The Green Bay Packers have another unique wrinkle in their schedule: they must fly west this year for their Thursday night matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.

It didn't

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — It can be difficult enough for NFL players to have just three days to prepare for a Thursday night game.

The Green Bay Packers have another unique wrinkle in their schedule: they must fly west this year for their Thursday night matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.

It didn’t leave much time for the Packers to wind down on Monday, a day after the 31-12 win over the Miami Dolphins.

“You’ve got to take care of your body, make sure you’re doing the right things these next couple days to get ready,” defensive lineman Kenny Clark said. “Mentally, you just put your head in the film, get a chance to look at them early.”

The abbreviated practice plans have the Packers (4-4-1) flying to Seattle on Tuesday night following what would be the most extensive practice of the week. Coaches did some preliminary preparation last week for the Seahawks, though the primary focus was on beating the Dolphins.

That goal was accomplished, even as more injuries took a toll on the defense.

Safety Kentrell Brice (left ankle), linebacker Nick Perry (knee) and Bashaud Breeland (groin) left the Dolphins game. They’re all starters, and another starter, cornerback Kevin King, missed the game with a hamstring injury.

The defense bent but did not break, holding Miami to four field goals in spite of being put in some tricky situations. Two turnovers on special teams gave the Dolphins the ball at midfield or better. A failed fourth-and-2 for the offense had Miami starting at the Packers 45.

The Dolphins managed just field goals each time, while the Packers kept scoring touchdowns.

“We really played everybody that was up in our secondary, and everybody was ready when their number was called, and they really made plays for us,” Breeland said after the game. He picked off Brock Osweiler deep in Miami territory and returned the ball to the 12 to set up a touchdown late in the third quarter.

Breeland’s injury appeared to be relatively minor, and he hoped to be ready for Thursday.

A positive for the Packers’ defense is that backups played fairly well to fill voids, including reserve safety Raven Greene. He had a sack and also took a direct snap on a fake punt for a 26-yard run.

It’s a confidence-building win especially for a secondary that has had instability over the past few weeks, starting with the trade of starting safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to Washington. Another safety, Jermaine Whitehead, was released last week. Veteran cornerback Tramon Williams has started at safety alongside Brice the past couple of games.

“It took everybody today, man. It was a good, team win,” Williams said Sunday.

Green Bay eventually took advantage of backup Brock Osweiler, who was starting for a fifth straight game in place of the injured Ryan Tannehill. They got to Osweiler for six sacks. The Dolphins were just as banged up at receiver, too, losing Davante Parker and Jakeem Grant during the game.

But Miami gets a bye this week to rest up. The Packers figure to take it easier in practice on Tuesday, which would probably have been the case regardless of all the injuries in their secondary.

That puts a premium, then on the mental part of the game and preparation.

“Full speed ahead. Some guys might try to click through the film last night,” McCarthy said. “A number of coaches just went right upstairs after the game … but as far as the team, we don’t have any time to spend on, we have to get right into Seattle.”

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Dolphins’ Tannehill begins latest throwing program

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has begun his latest throwing program with the goal of returning for the next game Nov. 25 at Indianapolis, although that may be a long shot.

Tannehill was shut down after an earlier throwing program produced little progress. He missed his fifth game in

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has begun his latest throwing program with the goal of returning for the next game Nov. 25 at Indianapolis, although that may be a long shot.

Tannehill was shut down after an earlier throwing program produced little progress. He missed his fifth game in a row Sunday when the Dolphins lost at Green Bay.

Coach Adam Gase says Tannehill resumed throwing Sunday and felt good. Gase says if Tannehill can get through this week with his shoulder feeling good every day, there’s a chance he could play at Indy.

The Dolphins have a bye this week. Brock Osweiler is 2-3 as Tannehill’s replacement.

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Bowles remains Jets coach despite team’s struggles, bad loss

NEW YORK (AP) — Todd Bowles remains coach of the New York Jets despite the team's struggles that included an embarrassing loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Bowles' job status appeared extremely shaky after the Jets' 41-10 loss, their fourth consecutive defeat that dropped the team to 3-7. Fans at MetLife Stadium

NEW YORK (AP) — Todd Bowles remains coach of the New York Jets despite the team’s struggles that included an embarrassing loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Bowles’ job status appeared extremely shaky after the Jets’ 41-10 loss, their fourth consecutive defeat that dropped the team to 3-7. Fans at MetLife Stadium booed the team throughout and chanted for the Jets to fire Bowles.

That sentiment was echoed by many fans on social media and sports radio Monday morning. Several published stories also speculated that the time to make a change would be now with the Jets heading into a bye-week break.

Instead, owner Christopher Johnson opted to not fire Bowles. The two were scheduled to have their usual weekly meeting later Monday, but no change was expected.

Bowles says the Jets are evaluating everything this week, including his staff, the lineup and himself.

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LA Rams WR Cooper Kupp has torn knee ligament, McVay says

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp is out for the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee.

Coach Sean McVay on Monday confirmed the injury for Kupp, who led the Rams in yards receiving last season.

Kupp was hurt on a noncontact play during the Rams'

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp is out for the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee.

Coach Sean McVay on Monday confirmed the injury for Kupp, who led the Rams in yards receiving last season.

Kupp was hurt on a noncontact play during the Rams’ 36-31 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. An MRI exam confirmed a torn ligament for Kupp, who already missed two games last month with a different injury to the same knee.

Kupp has been a key contributor to Los Angeles’ high-octane passing game in both of his NFL seasons. He has 40 catches for 566 yards and six touchdowns this season, providing Jared Goff with a reliable target in the slot.

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Browns’ interim coach Williams focused on wins, not future

CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns interim coach Gregg Williams insists he's not thinking about his future with the team.

Cleveland has split its two games under Williams, the team's defensive coordinator who assumed head coaching duties after Hue Jackson was fired. The Browns (3-6-1) played one of their best all-around games in years on Sunday, beating

CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns interim coach Gregg Williams insists he’s not thinking about his future with the team.

Cleveland has split its two games under Williams, the team’s defensive coordinator who assumed head coaching duties after Hue Jackson was fired. The Browns (3-6-1) played one of their best all-around games in years on Sunday, beating Atlanta 28-16 to snap a four-game losing streak.

The Browns’ performance is a good reflection on Williams, who coached Buffalo from 2001-03. He sidestepped questions about whether he wants to be Cleveland’s next full-time coach, saying “I like being employed.”

Williams acknowledged he does enjoy “the head coaching part of it. But the big part of what we’re doing is getting the players to focus. One day at a time and keep on moving in the right direction.”

With rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield throwing three touchdown passes, the Browns easily handled the Falcons (4-5).

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Chiefs’ maligned defense shines in victory over Arizona

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs finally got Justin Houston back onto the field Sunday against Arizona, and the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker made one of the plays of the game when he picked off Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen on a second-half screen pass.

The Chiefs also got safety Daniel

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs finally got Justin Houston back onto the field Sunday against Arizona, and the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker made one of the plays of the game when he picked off Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen on a second-half screen pass.

The Chiefs also got safety Daniel Sorensen back from injured reserve, where he had resided since breaking his leg in training camp, and he five tackles while providing a hard-hitting presence.

Perhaps it’s no surprise the Chiefs defense played the best it has all season.

With two of their anticipated starters back on the field, the Chiefs held the Cardinals to 260 yards in a 26-14 victory. They sacked Rosen five times, intercepted him twice and even managed to keep David Johnson under 100 yards rushing — just barely.

“I feel like the first couple weeks we were putting too much into it, trying too hard,” linebacker Reggie Ragland said. “We’re having fun with it. Whatever happens, happens. It’s football. We’ve been playing this game for too long for us not to have fun with it. It’s a child’s game and we’re grown men playing it, so have fun with it. Don’t worry about all that other stuff.”

The Chiefs (9-1) sure looked as if they were having a ball Sunday.

Dee Ford had his ninth sack of the season, not to mention three tackles for a loss and four hits on Rosen. Allen Bailey had his fifth sack while Chris Jones had two more to give him a career-high seven for the season, including at least one sack in six consecutive games.

All told, Rosen was hit 13 times and fumbled once while throwing for just 208 yards and a score.

“The one thing we’re doing right now is we are minimizing big plays,” defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins said. “That is one thing we all play on is minimizing big plays, then getting them one-dimensional so we can rush the passer. I think we did that this game.”

The only game in which the defense played nearly as well was Cincinnati, when the Chiefs allowed 239 yards in a 45-10 rout. But it’s often easier to play stingy defense when the game has gotten out of hand, and on Sunday the Chiefs needed to show up in a game that Arizona managed to keep relatively close.

“That’s happened a couple of times now, things have stalled out (on offense) then they step up and make plays,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “That’s a great thing. We need that as a football team. We need that. It’s important.”

Especially given who is up next: The Chiefs are headed to Mexico City to face the high-flying Los Angeles Rams on Monday night in a matchup of two of the NFL’s most dynamic offenses.

The Rams are second in yards-per-game and the Chiefs are third, and those rankings are flipped when it comes to scoring with Kansas City second and Los Angeles third.

In other words, it’s a good time for the Chiefs’ maligned defense to start showing up.

They can still get a whole lot better, too. Middle linebacker Anthony Hitchens was out Sunday with bruised ribs, and backup linebacker Frank Zombo missed the game with a hamstring injury, giving undrafted rookie Ben Niemann a chance to start his first NFL game.

“I was still on four phases of special teams,” Niemann said, “so I got a little tired out there. But it was good. You want to play. You want to play as many snaps as possible.”

Someone else who wants to play? Eric Berry, the Chiefs’ star safety, who still hasn’t played since tearing his Achilles’ tendon in the season opener last year. Berry practiced throughout the summer and into training camp, but a heel injury has kept him off the field for months.

It would be another boon for the Chiefs defense if he can return in any effective capacity.

“Sooner or later, it has to be the defense (stepping up),” Jenkins said. “That’s part of being a team. You can’t be one-dimensional. I think the feeling we have now is it’s a good team. It wasn’t pretty (Sunday) but we got it done. That’s what we have to do.”

Notes: Reid said Monday he’s not concerned about the field conditions at Azteca Stadium, where the combination of concerts and soccer matches have wrecked the turf. “I’ve seen it,” Reid said, “but I think the NFL is on top of it. They do a great job with all that stuff.” … Reid said he doesn’t expect Patrick Mahomes to miss practice after his girlfriend’s stepfather died suddenly on Sunday. The Chiefs are off on Tuesday and Wednesday. “He’s here this morning and he’s got things set there, organized and settled down,” Reid said, “so he can do what he’s got to do here.”

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Reports: Jets won’t fire Bowles during bye week

Reports: Jets won't fire Bowles during bye week

New York Jets ownership is unlikely to fire head

Reports: Jets won’t fire Bowles during bye week

New York Jets ownership is unlikely to fire head coach Todd Bowles before season’s end, according to multiple reports.

The focus on Bowles’ future increased Sunday after the Jets (3-7) lost to the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium, 41-10. It was the fourth straight loss for the Jets.

The Jets have a bye week, raising speculation that Bowles could be fired this week.

ESPN reported that ownership expects to consider Bowles’ future at the end of the season instead. The lack of a clearcut interim coach on the staff, combined with the desire to have consistency for the Bowles-led defense, were cited as the reasons.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Saints sign veteran WR Marshall

Report: Saints sign veteran WR Marshall

After 13 seasons with six NFL teams, nearly 1,000 receptions and zero playoff appearances, veteran wide receiver

Report: Saints sign veteran WR Marshall

After 13 seasons with six NFL teams, nearly 1,000 receptions and zero playoff appearances, veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall could end his postseason drought after reportedly signing a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints on Monday.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the transaction.

New Orleans (8-1) signed the 34-year-old free agent after losing the newly signed Dez Bryant last week to a torn Achilles tendon.

Marshall is a six-time Pro Bowl selection and eight-time 1,000-yard receiver with 970 catches for 12,351 yards and 83 touchdowns

He played in six games for the Seattle Seahawks this season before being released last month, finishing with 11 receptions for 136 yards and one score.

Marshall has also played for the Denver Broncos (2006-09), Miami Dolphins (2010-11), Chicago Bears (2012-14), New York Jets (2015-16) and New York Giants (2017).

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Reports confirm torn ACL for Rams WR Kupp

Reports confirm torn ACL for Rams WR Kupp

Reports confirm torn ACL for Rams WR Kupp

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp tore the ACL in his left knee Sunday and will miss the rest of the 2018 season.

An MRI confirmed the preliminary diagnosis Monday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Kupp finishes his second NFL season with 40 catches for 566 yards and six touchdowns. The 2017 third-round draft pick has 102 receptions for 1,435 yards and 11 TDs in 23 career games.

Kupp appeared to suffer a non-contact injury during the fourth quarter of the Rams’ 36-31 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. He made a cut on his left leg and fell to the ground, holding his knee. He had to be helped off the field.

Kupp originally sprained the same knee when he was tackled in mid-October as the Rams beat the Broncos 23-20 in Denver. He missed two games before returning for the Week 9 loss in New Orleans.

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Saints’ Payton says he’ll pay to repair smashed alarm

Saints' Payton says he'll pay to repair smashed alarm

Saints’ Payton says he’ll pay to repair smashed alarm

New Orleans head coach Sean Payton said Monday he will pay for the damages after smashing a fire alarm in the visitors’ locker room at Paul Brown Stadium before Sunday’s 51-14 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Alarms had been sounding throughout the stadium for about 15 minutes before Payton took matters into his own hands to silence the distraction.

“I just needed the noise to stop,” Payton said. “Gladly, we’ll take care of the repair cost and I consider the Brown family and that organization as close allies and people we have a lot of respect for, and the same way with (coach) Marvin (Lewis).”

It’s not clear whether any penalty is forthcoming, but the Bengals said they have alerted the authorities.

“We are aware of this situation and have been in touch with the authorities, but have nothing more on it at this time,” the Bengals said in a statement.

The reason for the fire alarms sounding in the first place remains unclear.

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Report: Saints’ Payton smashes fire alarm in Cincy

Report: Saints' Payton smashes fire alarm in Cincy

New

Report: Saints’ Payton smashes fire alarm in Cincy

New Orleans head coach Sean Payton reportedly smashed a fire alarm in the visitors’ locker room at Paul Brown Stadium before Sunday’s 51-14 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Times-Picayune first reported that the alarm had been sounding throughout the stadium for about 15 minutes before Payton took matters into his own hands to silence the distraction.

It’s not clear whether any penalty is forthcoming, but the Bengals said they have alerted the authorities.

“We are aware of this situation and have been in touch with the authorities, but have nothing more on it at this time,” the Bengals said in a statement.

The Saints declined to comment on the situation after the game.

The reason for the alarm sounding in the first place is unknown.

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Reports: Bengals fire defensive coordinator Austin

Reports: Bengals fire defensive coordinator Austin

Cincinnati fired

Reports: Bengals fire defensive coordinator Austin

Cincinnati fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin one day after the Bengals allowed 51 points and 509 yards in a lopsided loss to the New Orleans Saints, multiple outlets reported Monday.

The Bengals (5-4) have lost three of their last four while allowing a league-high 454.6 yards per game, including 500-plus in three straight games. Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (32.3) are giving up more points per game than Cincinnati (32.0).

Austin, 53, was in his first season with the Bengals after serving as defensive coordinator with the Detroit Lions from 2014-17.

ESPN and NFL Network reported Austin’s firing Monday morning, citing unnamed sources.

The Bengals are in second place in the AFC North behind the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1). Cincinnati goes on the road next Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

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Owner Mark Davis on Raiders’ start: ‘It’s on me’

Owner Mark Davis on Raiders' start: 'It's on me'

Owner Mark Davis on Raiders’ start: ‘It’s on me’

Owner Mark Davis took responsibility for the Oakland Raiders hitting eight losses with seven games to play in 2018.

“Where this team is right now is my fault. We haven’t been able to build a 22-man roster,” Davis said in an interview with ESPN, referring to the starting lineups on offense and defense. “We haven’t been able to give this team a chance to win because the reconstruction failed. We failed from 2014 on to have a roster right now.”

Embattled coach Jon Gruden has taken heat for the Raiders winning only one game this season, his first in a 10-year, $100 million contract that lured him back to the Raiders’ sideline from the broadcast booth.

Davis defended the decision to deal linebacker Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears. He said the Raiders presented Mack and agent Joel Segal with a contract offer in June 2017 that would have made him the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player. When Mack turned it down, the Raiders felt a long-term deal was not within their reach.

“My thought was, ‘Listen, he signed a five-year contract, if he’s the type of guy that I think he is, he’s going to honor that contract,'” Davis recalled. “And he’s going to come in and play for the $13 million for this year and then we’ll work for him during the year and get it. Word came back through certain players that know him and talk to him and know me as well, that he wasn’t going to come in. He was going to do the Le’Veon Bell (holdout). At that point, I said, ‘F it. The guy hasn’t talked to anybody. We’ve got to do something.'”

That trade opened the door for additional discord in the locker room.

Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper share an agent, and the former first-round pick was on the way to the same situation that led to the Mack stalemate: the final year of his rookie deal with a desire for a massive extension. The Raiders traded Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys last month for a 2019 first-round pick.

“It might not have been the right decision, but the other point to this whole thing is that Segal is also the agent for Amari Cooper,” Davis said. “And we knew the same situation was coming up the next year. It wasn’t just one layer of chess; it was two layers of chess. But to blame Jon, for Khalil Mack not being here, is absolutely not the truth. It was a decision that was made and it wasn’t made easily … I don’t have any bad feelings toward (Mack). I wish he would have talked to Jon and (GM) Reggie (McKenzie) and wanted to at least honor the fifth year of his contract.”

Davis said he plans to sit down with McKenzie and discuss the best way to move forward.

He also said Gruden has the keys to the castle.

“I know how hard Jon Gruden works. I know how much he wants to win. And how much days like (Sunday) are killing him,” Davis said. “Having Jon Gruden here was the endgame for me. Jon’s going to be the stability here. Jon’s going nowhere. That’s just the way it is.”

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Eagles’ Darby out for season with torn ACL

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season.

Darby was injured in the second half of Philadelphia's 27-20 loss to Dallas on Sunday night.

The Eagles already lost safety Rodney McLeod to a season-ending knee injury. Starting cornerback Jalen Mills and starting

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season.

Darby was injured in the second half of Philadelphia’s 27-20 loss to Dallas on Sunday night.

The Eagles already lost safety Rodney McLeod to a season-ending knee injury. Starting cornerback Jalen Mills and starting nickel cornerback Sidney Jones didn’t play against the Cowboys because of injuries.

Mills isn’t expected to return this week, but Jones is a possibility.

The Eagles (4-5) visit New Orleans (8-1) next.

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Saints add receiver Brandon Marshall after Dez Bryant injury

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton says the Saints have signed veteran receiver Brandon Marshall.

Marshall's addition adds depth to an offense that already leads the NFL in scoring with 36.7 points per game and ranks in the top five in yards per game with 413.9.

Last week, the Saints signed

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton says the Saints have signed veteran receiver Brandon Marshall.

Marshall’s addition adds depth to an offense that already leads the NFL in scoring with 36.7 points per game and ranks in the top five in yards per game with 413.9.

Last week, the Saints signed receiver Dez Bryant, but he tore his Achilles in only his second practice and never played a game for New Orleans.

The Seattle Seahawks released Marshall on Oct. 30 after he’d appeared in Seattle’s first seven games this season, catching 11 passes for 136 yards and one touchdown. But his involvement in the offense dropped after Week 3 and he had just two catches for 16 yards in his last four games.

Seattle was the sixth NFL team for the 34-year-old Marshall, who has eight 1,000-plus-yard seasons in his career. His best season, statistically, came with the New York Jets in 2015, when he caught 109 passes for 1,502 yards and 14 touchdowns. Marshall entered this season trying to come back from an ankle injury and toe surgery that cost him the majority of the 2017 season with the New York Giants.

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Sean Payton says Bengals will be paid for broken fire alarm

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton says he broke a blaring fire alarm in visitor's locker room at Cincinnati's Paul Brown stadium and that he intends to ensure the repairs are paid for.

Payton says it would be "a little sensationalist" to say he "destroyed" the fire alarm and that the

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton says he broke a blaring fire alarm in visitor’s locker room at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown stadium and that he intends to ensure the repairs are paid for.

Payton says it would be “a little sensationalist” to say he “destroyed” the fire alarm and that the act was not intended as a motivational ploy.

Rather, Payton says the alarm had been blaring for what seemed to him like 10 minutes and that he “needed the noise to stop” as he prepared his team to play against the Bengals.

The Saints beat the Bengals 51-14 for their eighth straight victory.

Payton says he considers the Brown family, the Bengals organization and coach Marvin Lewis to be close allies for whom he has a lot of respect.

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Bengals fire defensive coordinator after rout by Saints

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals have fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, a day after their historically bad performance in a 51-14 loss to the Saints.

New Orleans scored on every possession except the last one — when it took a knee in field-goal range — during its rout at Paul Brown Stadium.

The

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals have fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, a day after their historically bad performance in a 51-14 loss to the Saints.

New Orleans scored on every possession except the last one — when it took a knee in field-goal range — during its rout at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Bengals (5-4) have given up 500 yards in three straight games — a first in the Super Bowl era — and are on pace to give up an NFL record for yards in a season.

It’s the second straight year the Bengals have fired a coordinator during the season. Last year, the Bengals fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese after an 0-2 start last year. Coach Marvin Lewis got a two-year contract extension after the 2017 season.

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Ex-Detroit Lion Barney accuses pizza chain of discrimination

DETROIT (AP) — Former Detroit Lions Hall of Famer Lem Barney and his wife are suing a Detroit-area pizza chain for racial discrimination after being refused service.

The lawsuit filed in Detroit's federal court Monday says Lem and Jacqueline Barney went to Happy's Pizza in Commerce Township Nov. 2. The lawsuit says that

DETROIT (AP) — Former Detroit Lions Hall of Famer Lem Barney and his wife are suing a Detroit-area pizza chain for racial discrimination after being refused service.

The lawsuit filed in Detroit’s federal court Monday says Lem and Jacqueline Barney went to Happy’s Pizza in Commerce Township Nov. 2. The lawsuit says that when they tried to order, the manager told them to go to Happy’s Southfield location because “they would be more at home there.”

The Barneys are black. Southfield has a majority black population and Commerce Township is mostly white.

The lawsuit says the Barneys called the police. The restaurant manager told an officer that the Barneys were denied service because workers were preparing for a corporate catering event.

The Associated Press left a message Monday seeking comment from Happy’s Pizza.

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Column: Ugly performances by Jets, Bucs and Raiders

To say the Jets , Raiders and Bucs have quit would be hyperbole.

To say their fans are ready to quit watching them would be more accurate.

There was little to nothing worth mentioning about their performances Sunday in one-sided defeats. In the New York and Tampa Bay areas, much of the chatter

To say the Jets , Raiders and Bucs have quit would be hyperbole.

To say their fans are ready to quit watching them would be more accurate.

There was little to nothing worth mentioning about their performances Sunday in one-sided defeats. In the New York and Tampa Bay areas, much of the chatter will be about removing Todd Bowles and Dirk Koetter as head coaches of their respective outfits. At least Jon Gruden won’t be worrying about job security with a Raiders team he has torn asunder, and he has the job security to rebuild.

Bowles got it right at the New Jersey Meadowlands by saying following a 41-10 embarrassment at the hands of the previously-inept-on-offense Buffalo: “We stunk it up as coaches, we stunk it up as players.”

His team certainly represented what used to be swamp land quite well Sunday.

The Jets (3-7, losers of four in a row) were blitzed from the beginning by a quarterback, Matt Barkley, who was unemployed a few days ago, and has been a journeyman for almost his entire NFL stint; this was his 12th game since 2013. They were overrun by LeSean McCoy, which is fine except when you consider he was in a horrendous slump and hadn’t scored all season.

Worst, they seemed apathetic and disinterested from the start, a strong indictment of the players and the coaches.

“They just came in and just straight, flat out, beat us,” said Jets receiver Jermaine Kearse, who has had to adjust to lots of losing in New York after lots of winning while he was with the Seahawks. “I wish I could give you an explanation. It’s frustrating for all of us, but they just came in here and straight beat us.”

Maybe because the Bills were trying a whole lot harder?

“Nobody’s quit on anybody,” Kearse added. “We win together, we lose together and that’s everybody’s mindset right now. We’re all not perfect, we’re out here trying to figure it out and find ways to improve this situation like anybody else. So, I would think that’s far from the truth.”

The Jets have never fired a coach during the season since the Johnson family bought the franchise in 2000. At least Bowles seems to have that going for him.

Koetter is in his third season in charge in Tampa, and he’s supposedly an offensive mastermind. Until being manhandled by Washington, the Bucs were tearing it up when they had the ball. Maybe somebody tore up all the play sheets that worked previously because they scored a mere three points against a team struggling with injuries.

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken had been calling plays, but Koetter took over against the Redskins. He wouldn’t explain why, but clearly it was a bogus decision.

“We weren’t good enough as a team, and that starts with me,” Koetter said. “To move the ball like that and come up with three points, you’re just not going to win that way.”

Tampa (3-6) has the second-longest playoff drought, 10 seasons, and Koetter’s chances of breaking that string are diminishing rapidly.

No such worries for Gruden, whose return to Oakland has been a fiasco so far. Give him credit for all the high draft picks the Raiders will have in April, and maybe for the high prospects they will carry into Las Vegas when they move in 2020.

For now, though, well — pardon us on this one — they’ve fallen into a Black Hole.

“This will be a year that a lot of us will never forget,” Gruden said of his 1-8 team that has been outscored 75-9 in the past nine quarters in what has quickly become a lost season. “It’s painful. It’s really hard. It’s painful. It’s going to be hard to sleep again, hard to get up in the morning.”

When Gruden gets up, he’ll perhaps look at others to get rid of as he retools the roster already missing Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin and Amari Cooper. He’s got that wildly lucrative 10-year contract, virtual total control of personnel and no qualms about doing pretty much anything.

What must hurt fans of these three teams that got hammered Sunday is that the effort from other losing clubs — Arizona, which tested powerful Kansas City; Cleveland, which stunned Atlanta; and, of course, Buffalo — was so strong, so admirable. Perhaps the worst sign for a struggling team is when it looks lost, lethargic and lacking skill on the field.

In New Jersey and the Tampa and Oakland bay areas, that’s exactly what the fans saw in Week 10.

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