GridironGrit.com http://gridirongrit.com NFL, College Football, NFL Draft and Fantasy Football News Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:45:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Bills Giving E.J. Manuel ‘A Very Clean Slate’ http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/bills-giving-e-j-manuel-a-very-clean-slate/ http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/bills-giving-e-j-manuel-a-very-clean-slate/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:45:10 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=26794

New Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman says the team is giving E.J. Manuel “a very clean slate” this offseason.

“I definitely think he’s done some very good things and displayed some good traits. I’d say we just have to get his level of consistency a little big greater,” Roman said at his introductory press conference, via NFL.com.

“Really he and everybody else, once we get through this evaluation process, we’re going to have a very clean slate,” Roman continued. “What [he] might’ve been asked to do or done in the past is really not relevant to what we may or may not ask him to do.”

Photo Credit: BuffaloBills.com

Photo Credit: BuffaloBills.com

Roman’s remarks come just a week after new Browns OC John DeFilippo said Johnny Manziel is getting a “clean slate.” Maybe Roman saw DeFillippo’s comments. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence.

Like Cleveland, Buffalo has also faced plenty of questions over the last several months (and years) about its quarterback situation. New Bills head coach Rex Ryan has previously said the team will explore all avenues to resolve their QB quandary. That’s unlikely to include landing a top quarterback in the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft (barring an unbelievable slide by Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston) since the Bills lost their 2015 first round pick when they moved up to get Sammy Watkins last year.

Manuel, 24, was benched after completing 76 of 131 passes (58.0 percent) for 838 yards with five touchdowns and three interception through just the first four weeks of the season.

Kyle Orton, 32, came in and helped lead the Bills to their first winning season in a decade, going 287-of-447 (64.2 percent) for 3,018 yards with an impressive 18:10 TD ratio through 12 games (all starts).

Orton informed the team that’s retiring just a day after the team’s season finale, leaving Manuel and Jeff Tuel as the only two quarterbacks on the Bills’ roster heading into the offseason.

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Watch: Marshawn Lynch Blows Kiss, Says ‘You’re Sexy, Too’ http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/watch-marshawn-lynch-blows-kiss-says-youre-sexy-too/ http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/watch-marshawn-lynch-blows-kiss-says-youre-sexy-too/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 20:15:19 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=26787

Seattle Seahawks star running back Marshawn Lynch inevitably didn’t say much at the podium for Super Bowl Media Day, responding to every question with the same remarks: “I’m here so I won’t get fined.”

Marshawn Lynch blows kiss at Super Bowl media day - 2015

But just about a minute after getting settled at the podium, a woman tossed Lynch what looked like a banana (could have been something else). Beastmode responded with a thumbs up, blew her a kiss and said “you’re sexy, too.”

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Alabama Hires Mel Tucker As New DBs Coach http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/alabama-hires-mel-tucker-as-new-dbs-coach/ http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/alabama-hires-mel-tucker-as-new-dbs-coach/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 23:53:04 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=26781

Mel Tucker has reportedly been hired as the new defensive backs coach at the University of Alabama.

Tucker was fired by the Chicago Bears last week following an ugly two-year stint as their defensive coordinator.

Nevertheless, a day after receiving his walking papers, the 43-year-old Wisconsin alum reportedly drew interest from the Oakland Raiders for their defensive coordinator vacancy.

Mel Tucker, Jaguars

Photo Credit: Jaguars.com

If you’re wondering why he would take his talents down to Tuscaloosa, consider this: Tucker began his coaching career as a 25-year-old graduate assistant at Michigan State in 1997 under then-head coach Nick Saban.

Tucker held the position for two seasons before becoming the DBs coach at Miami (OH) in 1999. The following season, Tucker headed down to Baton Rouge, reuniting with Saban (LSU’s new HC at the time) to serve as the Tigers’ DBs coach in 2000.

Tucker then moved on to Ohio State, serving the same position Saban had at the school 20 years earlier (1980-81). Tucker remained the Buckeyes’ secondary coach for three seasons (2001-03), before becoming the program’s co-defensive coordinator in 2004.

In 2005, Tucker took his talents to the next level as the Cleveland Browns’ secondary coach, a position he held for three years before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2008.

He then went down to Jacksonville in 2009 and served as the DC under then-head coach Jack Del Rio. In 2011, Tucker was put in charge of the defensive play-calling, and the unit excelled under his guidance.

Del Rio was fired in late November 2011, and Tucker took over as the  interim head coach for the 3-8 Jaguars, guiding the club to a 2-3 record through the final five games of the season. He received consideration for the HC vacancy, but the job ultimately went to former Falcons OC Mike Mularkey, who was fired from the team after an atrocious 2-14 season in 2012.

Tucker was the team’s assistant HC during the 2012 season before he took his talents to the Windy City.

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Report: Rams Interested in Trading For Nick Foles http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/report-rams-interested-in-trading-for-nick-foles/ http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/report-rams-interested-in-trading-for-nick-foles/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:52:07 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=26777

The St. Louis Rams are reportedly interested in trading for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, per NJ.com.

Foles still has one year left on his rookie contract, but there’s been plenty of buzz indicating that Eagles head coach Chip Kelly wants to go in a different direction. Just last week, reports surfaced that the Eagles are going to try to move up in the 2015 NFL Draft to select Oregon star quarterback Marcus Mariota, who says it would be “a lot of fun” to reunite with Kelly in Philly.

Photo Credit: PhiladelphiaEagles.com

Photo Credit: PhiladelphiaEagles.com

A former 2012 third round pick (No. 88 overall) out of Arizona, Foles inevitably regressed following an extremely impressive 2013 campaign where he posted a remarkable 27:2 TD-to-INT ratio, a 64.0 completion rate (seventh-best among starting quarterbacks) and an NFL-best 119.2 QB rating through 13 games (10 starts).

Foles connected on 186 of 311 passes (59.8 percent) for 2,163 yards (29th in the league) with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions through eight games (all starts) before suffering a season-ending fractured collarbone in 2014.

Mark Sanchez replaced Foles for the rest of the season and posted slightly better numbers, going 198-of-309 (64.1 percent) for 2,418 yards (27th in the NFL) with a 14:11 TD-to-INT ratio. Both quarterbacks failed to separate themselves, as Foles and Sanchez actually tied each other as the 20th-best quarterback in NFL.com’s year-end QB rankings.

Nevertheless, Foles has still put together some solid numbers and game tape through 28 games (24 starts) over his three NFL seasons, completing 550 of 893 passes (61.6 percent) for 6,753 yards with 46 TDs and 17 INTs.

“Love him,” one NFL coach said of Foles, via NJ.com. “Right now I would put him in the second or third tier of quarterbacks, but I think he is right on the cusp of being in the top tier at the position.”

Part of Foles’ regression this past season had to do with the string of injuries that swept across the Eagles’ offensive line. The 6-foot-6, 243-pound signal-caller is a solid passer, but he’s a statue in the pocket.

It remains to be seen whether the Eagles will actually part ways with Foles in the offseason, but his “possible availability was a topic among coaches and scouts” this past weekend at the Senior Bowl, per NJ.com.

The Rams have already said that Sam Bradford will face competition in training camp, but St. Louis isn’t the only team interested in a potential trade for Foles. Per the NJ.com report, the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans “would [also] have interest if Foles hit the market.”

St. Louis holds the No. 10 overall pick in the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft (April 30 – May 2), so that’s something to keep in mind as Philadelphia looks to move up from the No. 20 spot to try to select Mariota if the Oregon star quarterback slides down on draft day. Houston holds the No. 16 overall selection and Tennessee picks second behind Tampa Bay.

Kelly recruited Mariota to Oregon and has referred to him as the most talented college player he’s ever coached.

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Watch: Richard Sherman Cheers On Golden Tate During Interview http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/watch-richard-sherman-cheers-on-golden-tate-during-interview/ http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/watch-richard-sherman-cheers-on-golden-tate-during-interview/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 02:27:43 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=26773

Seattle Seahawks star cornerback Richard Sherman is on the sidelines at the 2015 Pro Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, which is also where Super Bowl XLIX will be played next Sunday.

Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas - Seahawks - interview at 2015 Pro Bowl

Sherman and fellow Seahawks Legion of Boom star Earl Thomas were being interviewed on the sidelines by ESPN’s Lisa Salters during the first quarter of the Pro Bowl when, in the middle of Salters’ question, Sherman started loudly cheering on his ex-teammate Golden Tate, while the Lions receiver moved down the field for a 60-yard reception.

 

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford delivered the strike to Tate, and fired an even more impressive 10-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders on the very next play to give Team Irvin a 9-7 lead.

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Report: Josh Gordon Suspended For Year For Consuming Alcohol http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/report-josh-gordon-flunks-drug-test-subject-to-year-long-ban/ http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/report-josh-gordon-flunks-drug-test-subject-to-year-long-ban/#comments Sun, 25 Jan 2015 20:56:23 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=26768

Cleveland Browns star receiver Josh Gordon has reportedly flunked another drug test and is subject to a one-year NFL ban, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Per ProFootballTalk, Gordon tested positive for alcohol.

Photo Credit: ClevelandBrowns.com

Photo Credit: ClevelandBrowns.com

You may be wondering why in the world Gordon would be suspended a year for consuming alcohol. It turns out he was explicitly banned from consuming alcohol as part of his DUI treatment plan following his DUI arrest last July.

Gordon is immensely talented, but he can’t seem to get out of his own way. The former 2012 second round supplemental draft pick is the only player in NFL history with back-to-back 200-yard receiving regular season games and also holds the all-time league record for the most receiving yards (774) in a four-game span.

Despite opening the 2013 season with a two-game suspension and playing with three different starting quarterbacks—two of which are lucky to be backupsGordon was awarded as an All-Pro and Pro Bowler after hauling in 87 catches for an NFL-best and franchise-record 1,646 yards and nine TDs in just his second season.

Gordon missed the first 10 games of the 2014 season following multiple failed drug tests. After racking up just 24 receptions for 303 yards through five games (all starts), the 23-year-old wide out was suspended againthis time by the Browns for the season finale after violating team rules.

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Watch: J.J. Watt Does Everything At Pro Bowl Practice http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/watch-j-j-watt-does-everything-at-pro-bowl-practice/ http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/watch-j-j-watt-does-everything-at-pro-bowl-practice/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:26:29 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=26765

Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt isn’t limited to wreaking havoc on defense.

One of the top candidates for the NFL’s MVP award (which will likely go to Aaron Rodgers), Watt also found the end zone four times in 2014, with three touchdown receptions near the goal-line and an 80-yard pick-six.

Watt has been showing off his incredible and versatile skills in Phoenix, AZ ahead of his third consecutive Pro Bowl, which kicks off Sunday evening (Jan. 25) at 8:00 p.m. ET.

That included making impressive catches from Bills defensive lineman Kyle Williams and making field goals.

“He said he’s still trying to work on the coach …” Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell said on Saturday, via NFL.com. “I mean you don’t have to prepare it, just throw him in there. I didn’t realize what kind of hands this guy has.”

Coach John Harbaugh said there could be some interesting packages with Watt in Sunday’s Pro Bowl.

“That might be something we could have up our sleeves, absolutely,” Harbaugh said. “We got a couple ideas. You got a lot of guys with skills out there.”

In addition to making his third consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl, Watt was also named a First-Team All-Pro and PFF’s Defensive Player of the Year for the third year in a row following the 2014 regular season. He’s also fully expected to receive the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second time on January 30.

NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks actually wrote an interesting and in-depth piece last month proclaiming Watt as the best overall player in the entire league.

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Seahawks CB Jeremy Lane: Rob Gronkowski Isn’t ‘That Good’ http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/seahawks-cb-jeremy-lane-rob-gronkowski-isnt-that-good/ http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/seahawks-cb-jeremy-lane-rob-gronkowski-isnt-that-good/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 20:45:08 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=26762

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane has really put his foot in his mouth. With just over a week ahead of Super Bowl XLIX, Lane said that New England Patriots star tight end isn’t “that good.”

“He’s OK,” Lane conceded, via the Seattle Times. “But he does have a big body, and from what I’ve seen on tape, he don’t like your hands being put on him. So if we put our hands on him and shake him up a little bit, he won’t catch that many balls as he should.”

Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

Gronkowski has already caught wind of Lane’s remarks and told Jeff Howe of the Boston Herlad that “everyone is entitled to their own opinion” before saying Lane’s comments “may” tick him off.

Few teams search for bulletin board material as ravenously as the Patriots, and we’re just nine days away from the Super Bowl. Moreover, the Seahawks were gashed over the middle of the field in last week’s incredible NFC Championship win over the Packers and have struggled at times to defend against very talented tight ends.

If any Seahawks defensive back had room to talk trash ahead of the Super Bowl, we would have thought it was going to be Richard Sherman. Star safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor also have room to talk trash due to their immense talent as arguably the two best safeties in the NFL today, but they tend to let their play do the talking.

But Lane, a third-year, 6-foot, 190-pound cornerback, has just four career starts under his belt (one in 2014). He has just 53 career tackles through 35 games, and has yet to haul in an interception.

Gronkowski led the Patriots with 1,124 receiving yards in 2014 (15th in the NFL and first among tight ends) and tied for he fourth-most receiving TDs with 12 on 82 catches through 15 games (10 starts). And none of those numbers were career-highs for the three-time first-team All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler.

In his second season in 2012, Gronk caught 90 passes for 1,327 yards (sixth-most in the league) with a whopping NFL-high 17 touchdowns as Tom Brady’s favorite target.

He hauled in six passes for 61 yards the last time the Patriots battled the Seahawks on October 14, 2012, which resulted in a thrilling 24-23 victory for Seattle in front of the home crowd.

It’s worth noting that Lane didn’t even see the field during that game. We fully expect another close, hard-fought matchup between these two teams on Super Sunday. Five of their last six meetings have been decided by four points or less.

Despite multiple back surgeries, a broken forearm and a torn ACL, Gronk has 49 TDs in his last 55 games (including the playoffs). If he’s somehow held in check in Super Bowl XLIX, it’ll be because of some sort of combination of Sherman, Thomas, Chancellor and the Seahawks linebackers — not Seattle’s nickelback (Jeremy Lane).

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Terrence Cody Under Investigation For Animal Cruelty http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/terrence-cody-under-investigation-for-animal-cruelty/ http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/terrence-cody-under-investigation-for-animal-cruelty/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 18:03:21 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=26757

The Baltimore Ravens parted ways with defensive tackle Terrence Cody Friday morning. It was initially viewed as a strange move, as the colossal defensive tackle was already an impending free agent.

But the Baltimore Sun reports that Cody is being investigated by police for animal cruelty.

Photo Credit: BaltimoreRavens.com

Photo Credit: BaltimoreRavens.com

The former 2010 second round pick out of Alabama hasn’t been charged with a crime, but the attorney’s office is reviewing the case which allegedly involves a dog.

In five seasons with the Ravens, Cody has racked up a total of just 87 tackles without any sacks, forced fumbles or fumble recoveries through 57 games (21 starts). He also played just nine snaps in 2014 and is very unlikely to receive much interest on the open market.

The outcome of this investigation could force Cody out of the NFL. Stay tuned for updates.

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Report: 49ers Hiring Eric Mangini As Defensive Coordinator http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/report-49ers-hiring-eric-mangini-as-defensive-coordinator/ http://gridirongrit.com/2015/01/report-49ers-hiring-eric-mangini-as-defensive-coordinator/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 23:03:18 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=26752

The San Francisco 49ers have reportedly hired Eric Mangini as their new defensive coordinator.

Photo Credit: 49ers.com

Photo Credit: 49ers.com

Mangini only has one season of experience as a DC on his NFL résumé—back in 2005 with the New England Patriots after serving as the team’s DBs coach the previous five years (2000-04).

But after his success in New England, Mangini was rewarded with head coaching opportunities. He spent the following five years as the head coach of the New York Jets (2006-08) and Cleveland Browns (2009-10), posting a combined record of 33-47 (.413), with two winning seasons and one playoff appearance.

After spending two years at ESPN, Mangini returned to the NFL as the 49ers’ “senior offensive consultant” (2013) and tight ends coach (2014). But Mangini is a defensive-minded coach who also interviewed for the DC vacancies in Oakland and Washington before deciding to take the job in San Francisco. Don’t be shocked if he tries to leverage a likely successful stint as the 49ers’ DC (San Francisco is loaded on defense) into another head coaching gig down the road.

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