NFL

Pro Football Focus Week 7 grades: Seahawks best and worst players vs. Ravens

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Pro Football Focus Week 7 grades: Seahawks best and worst players vs. Ravens

Pro Football Focus’ grades are about what you’d expect following the Seattle Seahawks 30-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 7. Just two players were given grades of at least 80.0.

Here’s a look at PFF’s best- and worst-graded Seahawks from Sunday’s game.

Best offensive grades

Chris Carson – 71.1

Carson gained just 66 yards on 21 carries, but PFF gave him a 70.2 grade in the passing game where he added three receptions for nine yards. This grade is somewhat curious in general as Pete Carroll said that Carson bounced his runs outside too much rather than taking the two or three yards that were blocked for him.

George Fant – 69.7

Fant improved tremendously in his second start at left tackle, earning a 79.2 pass block grade. He only allowed two pressures compared to the eight he allowed against the Browns in Week 6.

Russell Wilson – 69.0

Wilson completed 20-of-41 passes for 241 yards one touchdown and one costly interception that resulted in a pick-six. The fact that his grade was still above average indicates that PFF likely didn’t think Wilson left much on the field in terms of missing open receivers. That said, on his pick-six, he had DK Metcalf running wide open down the left sideline.

Worst offensive grades

Jamarco Jones – 47.2

Jones 3 pressures and was given just a 34.7 pass block grade. With D.J. Fluker set to return, it will be interesting to see what happens with Jones. He may move to left tackle in order to get Fant back in his normal role. Pete Carroll sounded desperate to have Fant back as the team’s extra offensive lineman/tight end.

Luke Willson – 49.8

Willson didn’t catch his only target and was given a 50.2 pass blocking grade.

David Moore – 53.2

Moore had just one catch for 14 yards on three targets.

Best defensive grades

Jadeveon Clowney – 82.7

Clowney had four hurries, two stops and one tackle for loss. He continues to play better than his one sack would indicate, but he’s had little help on Seattle’s defensive line.

Tre Flowers – 80.4

After getting his first career interception the week prior, Flowers had another impressive showing against the Ravens. His big hit against Mark Andrews highlighted his day. Flowers only allowed two receptions for 14 yards according to PFF. He also had five tackles and two stops.

Al Woods – 76.9

Woods was given a 74.7 grade in run defense.

Worst defensive grades

Rasheem Green – 37.7

Seattle’s 2018 third-round pick has been largely a non-factor in his second season. He’s got 28 total tackles and two sacks as he, like most of the defensive line, struggles with consistency.

Branden Jackson – 46.5

Jackson accounted for Seattle’s first sack in three games, but it was due in large part to Lamar Jackson slipping on the wet turf at CenturyLink Field.

K.J. Wright – 49.2

Wright was given a coverage grade of just 47.5. Per PFF, Wright allowed three receptions on six targets for 59 yards, including 24 yards after the catch.

Nickelodeon to air NFL Wild Card games in 2021

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Nickelodeon to air NFL Wild Card games in 2021

NFL clubs announced Tuesday plans to expand the postseason by two teams beginning with the 2020 season. The expansion had recently been voted on and passed in the new collective bargaining agreement.

Now official, there will be seven playoff teams from each conference, including three Wild Card teams. The No. 2 team will no longer receive a bye and will instead host the No. 7 team. 

But buried in the announcement is the launch of a kid-friendly broadcast on Nickelodeon, which will attract a younger crowd.  

Yes, the NFL will be on Nickelodeon.  

The league announced NBC and CBS would broadcast the additional wild card games. NFL Wild Card Weekend will include three games Saturday, Jan. 9 and another three games Sunday, Jan. 10. In addition to CBS’ extra broadcast on Jan. 9 — which also will be carried via a livestream on CBS All Access — the NFL noted a separately produced telecast of the game will air on Nickelodeon, tailored for a younger audience.

The Nickelodeon broadcast could quite possibly be the most watch-worthy event of them all. Just imagine: SpongeBob on the sidelines doing player interviews, or a superstar slime down during halftime. 

NFL Twitter seems into it, honestly. 

You’ll have to wait until January 10, 2021 to catch the kid-friendly telecast, but it is happening. 

Report: NFL Draft to be held in TV studio, leaving the Las Vegas Strip

Report: NFL Draft to be held in TV studio, leaving the Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas had grand plans for the 2020 NFL Draft. 

From the stage floating on the water in front of the Bellagio, to players being brought to the stage via boat. It was going to be a spectacle only Sin City could pull off. 

Unfortunately, that spectacular show will have to wait. 

Earlier this week, the Las Vegas Strip shut down to help contain the spread of COVID-19. That decision will impact next month's NFL Draft.

According to reports, the NFL Draft will no longer be held in Las Vegas and the league has plans to hold the draft in a TV studio, while cutting into live looks of the team war rooms. 

According to a memo obtained by the LA Times, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote: “Planning for the Draft is a good example of how we need to think differently, embrace technology and collaborate. We will also use the Draft to help support fans and those people impacted in our communities.”

Following the NFL's announcement, the Las Vegas Raiders and owner Mark Davis issued a statement of their own. "After careful consideration, the Las Vegas Raiders, the NFL, the NFLPA and the LVCVA have decided to cancel the 2020 Las Vegas NFL Draft celebration... Health and safety has always been our top priority, so despite it being a major disappointment, this was the right decision."

The situations we are all dealing with due to the pandemic change by the hour, and we are all forced to adjust.

Las Vegas was supposed to put on the greatest NFL Draft imaginable. Now our imagination is all we have to picture this event. 

The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 23-25.

Will Tom Brady justify that huge deal at age 42? He already has!

Will Tom Brady justify that huge deal at age 42? He already has!

A quick look at the NFL, since it’s the only place in sports where there is actual news.

  • Momma, don’t let your kids grow up to be running backs. Todd Gurley is 25 and may be close to the end of the line. Yes, partly because of knee injuries, but running backs always get those. And unlike players at other positions, the little mobility they may lose because of it could cost them their job. Plus, the colleges keep churning out adequate replacements for them every year. Gurley signed today with Atlanta and we wish him luck -- but he better start showing some of that explosion he showed as a star at Georgia.

  • Does it really make sense for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to sign a 42-year-old, 20-year-veteran quarterback named Tom Brady to a big-money contract? Well, the Bucs raised ticket prices by 15 percent for all but club-level seats this season and those tickets are selling like toilet paper at a Costco. This franchise is suddenly a hot property in its city, But will the team win? Actually, to a lot of NFL owners, that doesn’t matter -- and you must know that by now. The team should be better, much money will be made and that equals a GREAT signing.

  • The single best thing tight end Jimmy Graham has always been able to do is convince teams to give him large sums of money. The Chicago Bears signed him for two years and $16 million, in spite of the fact that he’s never been much of a blocker, isn’t as explosive as he once was and really, Jimmy Graham?

  • And speaking of free-agent signings, I’m not sure how well Philip Rivers will end up being for Indianapolis at $25 million for one season. Man, at this point of his career I’m not sure he’s better than last year’s QB, Jacoby Brissett. Raise your kids to be quarterbacks, momma.

  • Have the latest free-agent signings made the Seahawks better? You’re asking the wrong guy. Wish I could tell you I am an expert on line play in the NFL, but there aren’t many sports writers who really know what they’re talking about when it comes to the guys up front -- which is where Seattle has spent its money so far. They’ll say they’re better, which teams always do, but the hope would be that they could stay healthier.

Todd Gurley draws comparisons to Steven Jackson after signing with Falcons

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Todd Gurley draws comparisons to Steven Jackson after signing with Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons are preparing to sign former Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, according Jordan Schultz.

The Rams released Gurley a day before $10.5M was guaranteed.

The deal, which is reportedly a one year contract, won't be finalized until he passes a physical.

Some discussed whether or not Gurley would work as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. 

We now know that won’t come to fruition. 

The Falcons released starting running back Devonta Freeman earlier in the week and were in need of a running back. Gurley played at the University of Georgia, setting up somewhat of a homecoming.

Prior to Gurley’s release, the Falcons were reportedly making calls about a potential trade. 

Gurley is a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro who was named the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2015 and the AP Offensive Player of the Year in 2017.

So, as the deal became public, people started drawing comparisons to former Falcons running back Steven Jackson. 

But, why?

At quick glance: Both are veteran running backs with a history of knee issues coming out of college and both played for the Rams before signing with the Falcons. 

Jackson, who played at Oregon State from 2001-03, was drafted in the first round by the St. Louis Rams. He spent nine seasons in St. Louis, where set a franchise record for most career rushing yards (10,138). 

His time in Atlanta did not go as many had hoped, after he failed to rush for 1,000 yards in 2013, the first time since his rookie season. He finished the year with 543 rushing yards on 157 attempts.

The key difference here is Gurley is five years younger. 

The risk for Atlanta is also lower because it is just a one-year deal. Should things not work out, then both parties can move on. 

Time will tell if Gurley can remain healthy and get back to the dual-threat numbers fantasy owners know and love.

Jon Gruden on Marcus Mariota: 'He is like Russell Wilson only he is 6-4'

Jon Gruden on Marcus Mariota: 'He is like Russell Wilson only he is 6-4'

The Oakland Raiders are apparently close to signing free-agent quarterback Marcus Mariota. And given Oakland Coach Jon Gruden's feelings about Mariota, going back to the 2015 draft, when there was controversy over whether Mariota or Jameis Winston would be the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Here is what Gruden, then not coaching in the NFL and working as a commentator, said about Mariota:

I don't understand why he isn't the No. 1 player in this draft on Mel Kiper's Big Board. I don't know anybody in this draft that can do for a football team what Mariota can do. He can read the field. That whole thing about Oregon being a no-huddle, dive-option team, that is just a narrative resulting from a lack of information. The Ducks run a lot of pro-style concepts. Mariota does a lot with the protections. I've seen him throw the ball with touch and timing in tight windows.

Mariota is the same size as Jameis Winston. He runs 4.52 40, he is incredibly elusive, and man, is he a playmaker and a great competitor. I see him functioning in the pocket, out of the pocket, and if you want to run a zone-read, he'll rip the defense apart. He is like Russell Wilson, only he is 6-4.

Gruden has a reputation as a head coach who is tough on quarterbacks. Very demanding. But it appears Mariota would be heading toward a fresh start for a head man who has liked him for a long time.

NFL players react to new CBA agreement: "Trash, freaking trash"

NFL players react to new CBA agreement: "Trash, freaking trash"

The NFLPA has ratified the new collective bargaining agreement, locking in a deal through 2030.

"We are pleased that the players have voted to ratify the proposed new CBA, which will provide substantial benefits to all current and retired players, increase jobs, ensure continued progress on player safety, and give our fans more and better football," commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement on Sunday. "We appreciate the tireless efforts of the members of the Management Council Executive Committee and the NFLPA leadership, both of whom devoted nearly a year to detailed, good faith negotiations to reach this comprehensive, transformative agreement."

According to Ian Rapoport, the final vote was 1,019 players in favor and 959 against, a very thin margin. 

Players were given the opportunity to vote on the new CBA, but a good number of them chose not to, approximately 21%, despite what was at stake. 

After the narrow agreement in favor of ratifying the CBA was announced (53.5% of the players voted "yes”), players who voted “no” took to social media to voice their displeasure. 

Fans weighed in, as well. 

At the end of the day, though, it was still a vote, and while he doesn’t agree with the terms completely, Eagles Safety Malcolm Jenkins respects the democratic process.

We’ll update this article as more players weigh in. 

NFL Combine profile: Portland State TE Charlie Taumoepeau

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NFL Combine profile: Portland State TE Charlie Taumoepeau

Charlie Taumoepeau

Position: Tight end
Year: Senior
Hometown: Federal Way, Washington

Measurables: 

Height: 6’2 2/8" 

Weight: 240 pounds

Hand: 9 4/8"

Arm: 32 2/8

Bench press: 18 reps

40-yard dash: 4.75

Broad jump: 121

Vertical jump: 36.5

Three-cone drill: 7

20-yard shuttle: 4.27

Overview

Taumoepeau is one of the most successful tight ends to ever come out of Portland State. For a second-straight season, he was given All-American honors from STATS. This comes just one year after Taumoepeau was named consensus All-American Second-Team.

Taumoepeau caught 36 passes for 474 yards and two touchdowns in 2019 despite missing two games. He capped off his collegiate career with the Vikings with 117 catches, 1,876 yards and 11 touchdowns and was Portland State’s top receiver during his tenure.

The 6-3, 245-pounder earned first team All-Big Sky Conference honors in November for the second season in a row.

Taumoepeau appeared in the Reese's Senior Bowl All-Star Game in January. Scouts were reportedly worried about his athleticism coming into the week’s practices, which continue to be a legitimate concern heading into the draft.

Draft projections

He is currently projected to go undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft, despite mock drafts listing him in the 4th and 5th rounds last fall.

Taumoepeau received an overall prospect grade of 5.54 from NFL.com, which means he could likely be an end of roster or practice squad player in the NFL. 

NFL comparison:

Evan Engram

Strengths

- Versatile player
- Prowess in the passing game
- Consistent

Weaknesses
- Needs to improve overall strength
- Blocking
- Limited speed and quickness
- Technique in the run game

Social media workouts

Taumoepeau has been preparing for April’s draft at Ford Sports Performance. Here’s a video he retweeted on his Twitter working out alongside former NFL wide receiver Brandon Gibson.

NFL's new CBA proposal is an obvious money grab for both sides

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NFL's new CBA proposal is an obvious money grab for both sides

NFL owners and the NFL Players’ Association will continue to negotiate on Thursday and Friday, but it appears that the two sides are getting closer to striking a deal on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). In fact, the owners have agreed on the new proposal and will now wait for the NFLPA's response.

As ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday, there are two notable changes potentially coming to the format of the NFL season. The first is a 17-game regular season while reducing the preseason to three games, an idea that has been discussed for years now. According to Schefter, that part hasn’t been agreed to yet, and it wouldn’t go into effect until 2021 at the earliest. 

That’s likely due to the ambiguity for where that 17th game would be played. In order to avoid giving half of the league an extra home game, the sensible solution would be to have each team play one neutral site game – whether it be abroad or in the U.S. Such option would take time to orchestrate and plan, making it an impossibility to implement prior to the start of the 2020 season. If this eventually gets adopted, players would receive a 48.5% revenue share (up from their current 47% share). That 1.5% would be worth roughly $5 billion, according to Schefter. 

What has been agreed upon, Schefter says, is a new postseason format that will add an extra playoff team in each conference. This is expected to go into effect immediately as long as the new CBA is ratified before the start of the season. Assuming this is the case and the deal gets done, only the No. 1 seed would get a bye in each conference. That would add two extra games in the Wild Card Round (six instead of four). 

Applying this format to last year’s playoff picture, the Rams and Steelers would have made the postseason as seven seeds and the Packers and Chiefs would have been stripped of their bye weeks. 

In my opinion, both options are an obvious money grab for both sides, but the 17-game schedule is easier to stomach. The current four-game preseason is unnecessary, and I love the idea of each team playing one neutral site game.  

The addition of a playoff team seems like fixing a system that isn’t broken. I’d actually say that the NFL currently has my favorite postseason format of any professional sports league. There are 16 playoff teams in the NBA and NHL, 53% and 52% of the league, respectively. That’s silly. Teams with sub-.500 records shouldn’t be in playoff contention. The NFL is currently at 37.5% of the league making the playoffs, and that number will jump to 44% under the new format. 

The selling point is that more NFL markets will have postseason hopes alive throughout the entire season. That, in addition to the money, is surely why the NHL and NBA haven’t adjusted their formats.  

But is there a point where enough is enough? The NFL is already generating north of $15 billion and seems hellbent on capitalizing on America’s unending appetite for football. Even those who bemoan the new playoff format, like me, will still watch every down. And I suppose that’s the point. 

There’s not much else to do but shrug your shoulders and embrace the looming changes of the new CBA. 

Troy Polamalu on joining the Hall of Fame Class of 2020: 'I just felt unworthy'

Troy Polamalu on joining the Hall of Fame Class of 2020: 'I just felt unworthy'

In his 12-year NFL career, Troy Polamalu has seemingly accomplished it all.

He’s the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year, a six-time All-Pro, eight time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, Polamalu has added Hall of Famer to his lengthy list of accolades. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020, his first year eligibility.

But before Polamalu was living his dream as a professional football player, he was a teammate, classmate and close friend of The Bridge host Justin Myers. 

On this week’s episode, Polamalu and Myers discuss a variety of subjects, including his relationship with then Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and now Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, what it was like to go to three Super Bowls with the Steelers and win two, and why he felt unworthy when selected to the HoF.