Los Angeles Rams

Justin Herbert among Ducks, Beavers on new season of Hard Knocks

Justin Herbert among Ducks, Beavers on new season of Hard Knocks

We knew Justin Herbert would be featured, tested and scrutinized in Hollywood in his first NFL season, now it turns out his rookie year as Chargers signal caller will also be caught on camera. 

The NFL announced Thursday that Herbert’s Los Angeles Chargers, as well as the Los Angeles Rams, will be featured on the upcoming season of NFL Films and HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” The five-episode season premiere is set on August 11.

[Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Paul Swangard, the voice of Hayward Field]

Other Pro Ducks that may get some screen time include Troy Hill and Johnny Mundt, as well as former Oregon State Beavers standout punter Johnny Hekker, who all play for the L.A. Rams. 

This season will be unlike any Hard Knocks we’ve seen before. There have been challenges for NFL teams due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including virtual OTAs. The docuseries will likely show some innovative ways coaches Sean McVay and Anthony Lynn handle the unprecedented offseason.

Having been part of Hard Knocks before when I was with the New York Jets, my biggest takeaway from that whole experience was that you get out of it what you put into it. There's a reason that season was probably the most popular Hard Knocks ever. If you're going to do a show, do it right. You can't fake it. We didn't have a problem providing access because we built a relationship with the crew. There was a mutual trust that exists to this day with those people, and many of them will actually be working on this year's show. Broadcasting your internal business all over the world isn't something you regularly want to do, but in a year with as many challenges as this one has had, I'm glad we can be part of bringing football back to the fans this summer. -- Chargers coach Anthony Lynn

Both the Chargers and Rams are preparing to play at the new $5 billion SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. 

It’ll be hard to top Oakland’s Antonio Brown drama on Hard Knocks in 2019, but watching former Duck Herbert and veteran Tyrod Taylor compete for the Chargers starting spot will be quite the showdown. Add polarizing quarterback Colin Kaepernick into the mix and this is must-see TV. 

Listen and subscribe to “Sports Uncovered” for free wherever you listen to podcasts.

Report: Brandin Cooks traded to Houston Texans

Report: Brandin Cooks traded to Houston Texans

Former Oregon State star wide receiver Brandin Cooks is one of the more talented receivers in the NFL. 

Now, Cooks is taking those talents to Texas.

According to Ian Rapoport, the Los Angeles Rams have agreed to trade Cooks to the Houston Texans.

Houston will send the 57th overall pick to Los Angeles in exchange for Cooks and a future fourth-round pick. 

L.A. trading Cooks had long been considered a matter of when, not if, and now was the time. 

The Rams needed to clear some cap space and Cooks was the logical route. Cooks is under contract for the next four seasons, to the tune of $51 million dollars. 

He has also fallen down the usage chart for the Rams. Two seasons ago he and Robert Woods were a two-headed monster for the Ram. 

They each had 80+ receptions and more than 1,200 yards receiving. However, the emergence of Cooper Kupp and a breakout season for tight end Tyler Higbee saw Cooks' production plummet in 2019. 

Last season Cooks had career-lows in receptions (42) and touchdowns (2), and only managed to gain 583 yards receiving, the lowest production since his rookie season (550).

With the weapons the Rams have, they can afford to let Cooks go. 

But as the old saying goes, "One man's trash is another man's treasure."

In Houston, Cooks has a chance to bounce back and become one of the most feared receivers in the game again.

Earlier this offseason the Texans shocked the football world when they traded leading receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals. 

Hopkins had 104 receptions for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns last season. 

No other Texans receiver had more than 700 yards or 50 receptions. 

In need of a WR1, the Texans may have found a treasure in Cooks.

Cooks had been traded a few times now, but success usually follows. 

He was traded to New England in 2017. The Patriot played in the Super Bowl that season. 

He was then traded to the Rams in 2018.  That season the Rams played in the Super Bowl for the first time since 2002, when they were still in St. Louis. 

If you like to make bets, you might want to place some money on the Texans appearing in the franchise's first Super Bowl in 2021.

Need more evidence?

It hasn't just been the NFL that success has followed Cooks. It happened in college, too. 

Cooks played three seasons at Oregon State. He totaled 226 receptions for 3,372 yards and 24 touchdowns.

In 2013 he won the Biletnikoff Award and led the Beavers to a victory in the Hawaii Bowl. Following the outstanding season, he left for the NFL. 

The Beavers haven't been back to a bowl game or had a winning season since. 

The Texans just picked up a stud. 

Seahawks struggle in the first half against the Los Angeles Rams


Seahawks struggle in the first half against the Los Angeles Rams


Not the first half the Seahawks faithful wanted to see.

With Seattle (10-2) being able to take possession of the NFC’s first seed with a victory over the Los Angeles Rams (7-5), they struggled.

The Rams are on the outside looking in amidst the NFC playoff race and need to win to stay a game back of the sixth-seeded Minnesota Vikings. With their backs against the wall, the Rams have only failed to convert a single third down while the Seahawks only converted two third downs in the first half. The Seahawks got outgained by the Rams 240-146 led by Goff's 184 yards passing.

To make matters worse, Seattle running back Rashad Penny injured his knee early in the half and was ruled out quickly.


The Seahawks got on the board first with a field goal, but it has been all-Rams since then. Los Angeles took the lead with a one-yard touchdown run from Malcolm Brown.

Later in the contest, quarterback Jared Goff found Robert Woods in the endzone to extend the lead to 14-3. 

When the Seahawks did threaten near the redzone, the Rams stopped them on a fourth-and-one.

Finally, with 51 seconds remaining Goff found Cooper Kupp to take a commanding 21-3 lead right before halftime.


It was one Hekk of a weekend for these Pro Beavs


It was one Hekk of a weekend for these Pro Beavs

While the Oregon State football team was grinding out a tough victory on the road over the Cal Bears on Saturday, there were a number of former Beavers winning on the football field as well. 

Let's take a look at how the Pro Beavs fared in Week 7 of the NFL season: 

Johnny Hekker and Brandin Cooks: Los Angeles Rams

The Rams found their groove again Sunday, ending a three-game losing streak with a 37-10 victory over the lowly Atlanta Falcons in Week 7.

Johnny Hekker put on one Hekk of show when he executed this fake punt and showed off his quarterback skills with absolute perfection. The Rams were facing a fourth-and-three when Hekker, rather than punt, dropped back and found safety Nick Scott for the 23-yard completion.

Wide receiver Brandin Cooks had a quiet game, catching 4-of-7 targets for 59 yards.

Kansas City Chiefs: Matt Moore 

Star-studded quarterback Patrick Mahomes exited Thursday's game against the Denver Broncos with a knee injury, but thankfully the Chiefs had Matt Moore to step in.

The former Oregon State Beavers quarterback went 10-19 on the night for 117 yards and touchdown, helping the Chiefs snap a two-game losing streak with a 30-6 victory.

With Mahomes out for 3-5 weeks, Moore will likely take the reins at Chiefs starter in his absence. 

Jordan Poyer: Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills came from behind, thanks to 15 unanswered points in the second half of Sunday’s game, to beat division foes, the Miami Dolphins 31-21.

Former Beav Jordan Poyer had nine combined tackles (seven solo) and two tackles for loss in the win.

Steven Nelson: Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers also came away victorious in Week 7, defeating the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center. Starter Steven Nelson didn’t make the trip with the team due to a groin injury sustained against the Baltimore Ravens one week earlier.

Hopefully the Steelers can get Nelson back soon. Prior to Sunday’s game, Nelson had played in all but one of Pittsburgh’s defensive snaps this season. He is the sixth best cornerback in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.


Beavers defense has a dominating performance

Beavers react to their win, Luton credits their "fight"

Social media reacts to the Beavers' win over Cal

Pro Ducks: How did they do in NFL Week 6?


Pro Ducks: How did they do in NFL Week 6?

Another NFL Sunday is in the books and with it, another chance for the former Oregon Ducks in the NFL to take center stage.

Here is how our Pro Ducks did:

Royce Freeman, Broncos: 

Royce Freeman had another solid outing to help the Broncos pick up their second win of the season, as he continues to be a two-headed monster in the Denver backfield with Phillip Lindsay. Freeman rushed the ball 11 times for 34 yards and caught five passes for 42 yards. 

Pharaoh Brown/Terrance Mitchell, Cleveland Browns:

The Browns may have lost to the Seahawks, but Terrance Mitchell did everything he could to make things come out the other way. Mitchell had six tackles, five solo. On the other side of the ball, tight end Pharaoh Brown was targeted just once, but hauled it in for a nine-yard gain.

Kenjon Barner, Atlanta Falcons:

Barner continues to be one of the more reliable returners in the NFL. He hasn't been used much on offense this season but on special teams, he's at home. Barner had three punt returns for 17 yards and one kick return for 24 yards. He didn't break one this weekend, but he is always a threat. 

Arik Armstead/DeForest Buckner, San Francisco 49ers:

Armstead and Buckner have been huge for the 49ers. San Francisco has surprised the entire NFL by going 5-0 to start the season, and a big part of that success is thanks to the defense. Armstead and Buckner are the anchors of the d-line, and they showed us why on Sunday. Buckner had four tackles, two solo, and one tackle for loss. While Armstead had six tackles, three solo, a half-sack, and one giant fumble recovery. 

De'Anthony Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs:

The Chiefs were upset by the Texans Sunday, and Thomas never really got it going. He had just one rush for four yards and was targeted in the passing game once but didn't register a catch. However, he did contribute three kick returns for 64 yards

Troy Hill, LA Rams:

The Rams fell victim to the undefeated 49ers, but Hill still had a solid game on defense. He had five tackles, four solo, and one pass deflection. 

Kiko Alonso, New Orleans Saints:

No one gave the Saints a chance after Drew Brees went down with an injury earlier this year. But in the four weeks since all they have done is go 4-0. In that time span, the defense has allowed an average of 16.75 points per game. On Sunday, the defense held Jacksonville to just six points, while Kiko Alonso had three tackles, two solo. 

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans:

Mariota had a rough afternoon Sunday going 7 of 18 passing for 63 yards, and two interceptions. He was also sacked three times. He watched much of the game from the sideline after he was pulled for backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The biggest question for Mariota is whether or not he will be the Titans starting quarterback come next week... 



Social media reacts as Seattle Seahawks stun Los Angeles Rams for first time since 2017

Social media reacts as Seattle Seahawks stun Los Angeles Rams for first time since 2017

There were a lot of odds against the Seattle Seahawks (3-1) heading into Thursday night’s matchup with the Los Angeles Rams (3-1).

The Rams were 7-3 in the last 10 games against the Seahawks, and had won three in a row over Seattle heading into Week 5, but that all changed on Thursday evening.

Escape artist Russell Wilson pulled off another masterful performance, leading his team to a monster victory over their division rivals. 

Here’s a look at how fans and media reacted to the game’s biggest moments. You can also check out Seahawks Insider Joe Fann's instant analysis from the game here

In the first quarter, Wilson showed off his “DangeRuss” skills when he connected with Tyler Lockett for a 13-yard touchdown. That grab. That throw. That touchdown. Twitter was here for it and frankly, so are we. 

The second half was DK Metcalf hour. The Seahawks wideout continues to live up to the hype when he caught a 40-yard bomb from Wilson. 

https://twitter.com/SexyTroopLover/status/1179932117582716930?s=20 https://twitter.com/JReidNFL/status/1179932055070789640?s=20

Trailing 26-21 in the third quarter, David Moore juked Marcus Peters and took it all the way to the house.

Then, in the final quarter, things got real. Wilson scrambled and threw one in the end zone to running back Chris Carson, who caught the ball with the tips of his fingers.

With less than three minutes left on the clock, Tedric Thompson grabbed the game-winning interception. No, really. 

And to top it all off, Greg Zuerlein missed a FG to seal the deal for the Rams. Fans couldn’t believe it.


The Seahawks, now 4-1, have an extra few days to recover from this one. In Week 6, they'll head to Cleveland to face the Browns. 

What They’re Saying: Thursday Night Football is 'the dumbest thing ever'

What They’re Saying: Thursday Night Football is 'the dumbest thing ever'

If it feels like the Seattle Seahawks win over the Arizona Cardinals just happened yesterday, well... it kind of did. Just four days after the Seahawks (3-1) came away with an assertive win over the Cardinals in the desert, they have another divisional foe at hand.

The Los Angeles Rams (3-1) will strut into CenturyLink Field for Thursday Night Football in a primetime matchup with high stakes. While it's a quick turnaround for both teams, Seahawks All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner isn't rattled. 

“I think we don’t let the prime time get to our heads,” Wagner said. “We treat it like a regular game. It’s easy for guys to come in, young guys, having watched Monday Night, Sunday Night, Thursday Night Football and thinking it’s a bigger deal than what it is. From the first day we got here, they always preached it’s just a normal game.

“It doesn’t feel like a big game. It doesn’t feel different than any other game. You don’t feel like you have to do more, do whatever, to show or prove something.”

The big storyline heading into this one is the Rams’ recent success against the Seahawks. Los Angeles swept both games against Seattle last season and has won three of the last four meetings since Sean McVay took helm as Rams’ head coach.

Here’s a few predictions heading into the Week 5 meeting:

CBS Sports:

"The Rams just haven't looked the same on offense this season. But I think this is the game they get it going. They will feed Todd Gurley early to get the running game on track and get the play-action going. The Rams defense was terrible last week, but it will bounce back here against Russell Wilson."

Sporting News says expect the Rams to rebound vs. Seahawks:

“Seattle has been better than LA in both rushing and stopping the run. Jared Goff has been struggling. The Seahawks are at home in a prime-time game. All of these factors should lead to a Seattle win, but the NFL is weird, and Goff proved in the playoffs last year he is capable of random, big-time performances. Make it four straight wins for LA in this rivalry.”

Joe Giglio of NJ.com, however, thinks Seattle will come away with a home victory:

“The Rams will be OK in the long run, but it’s too hard to pick against the home team with the better quarterback on a short week. Plus, it’s hard to imagine Seattle losing two home games in the season’s first five weeks.”

FiveThirtyEight says Rams at Seahawks has big playoff implications, especially for Seattle:

“The Rams currently have better playoff odds than Seattle (68 percent to 49 percent), but that number would change by +/-14.5 percentage points depending on the result of this game. The stakes are even higher for the Seahawks, whose playoff chances would rise to 63 percent with a win or fall to 32 percent with a loss.”

There’s been a lot of talk about Russell Wilson’s phenomenal start. Wilson leads the league with a 72.9 percent completion percentage—the best of his career, along with a 118.7 passer rating (2nd in the NFL).

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noted Wilson’s career highs in his eighth NFL season. 

“Wilson has been the starter in Seattle since his rookie year of 2012, and he has never missed a single game. With each week Wilson has played, he has built up more and more of those experiences that will help him better understand what he’s seen on every given play in any given game.”

Like Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, who vocalized his displeasure with Thursday Night Football Games, Rams RB Todd Gurley told Lindsey Thirty of ESPN that he wasn’t a fan of playing games soon a short week.

"You know how I feel about Thursday night games," Gurley said. "I feel like they are the dumbest thing ever."

NFL Week 2: A look at the Beavs around the league

USA Today

NFL Week 2: A look at the Beavs around the league

It was another fun Sunday of football in Week 2 of the NFL, and just like last week the Beavers represented well. Let's take a look around the league and see how the Pro Beavs did. 

Jordan Poyer - Bills: Poyer had two tackles and a pass deflection. It was another solid game from the Bills star defender. He put the defense on his back and down the stretch and laid out to grab the game-sealing interception.

Brandin Cooks and Johnny Hekker - Rams: Johnny Hekker did what Johnny Hekker does - He punts the ball, and he punts it well. Hekker punted four times with a long punt of 66 yards, and a 49.8 yard average on the day. His teammate Brandin Cooks played well, too. He was targeted just four times but turned that into three catches for 74 yards and a score. 

Steven Nelson - Steelers: - Nelson was one of the best players on the defensive side of the ball for the Steelers in their 28-26 loss to the Seahawks. Nelson had six tackles, five solos, and a pass deflection. 

Ducks and Beavs in the NFL

USA Today

Ducks and Beavs in the NFL

The Ducks and Beavers both took to the gridiron on Saturday. On Sunday, a handful of former Ducks and Beavers showed off their talents at the NFL level. 

Here is how some of them did:


Jordan Poyer: Buffalo Bills

Poyer put on a show in the Bills' 17-16 season-opening victory over the New York Jets. He led both teams with nine total tackles, six solo, and a sack. 

Brandin Cooks and Johnny Hekker: Los Angeles Rams

The Rams came out victorious on Sunday in Carolina. Johnny Hekker only had to punt three times, but when he was called upon he averaged 46 yards per punt. As for Brandin Cooks, he had just two catches on the night for 36 total yards, but his 24-yard reception was the longest passing play of the game.

Steven Nelson: Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh had a rough go in Week 1, losing to the Patriots 33-3. Steven Nelson ended the game with three tackles, one solo.


Marcus Mariota: Tennessee Titans

Mariota was on point in the Titans' 43-13 victory over the Browns. Mariota was 14 of 24 for 248 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed three times for 24 yards. 

Kenjon Barner: Atlanta Falcons

Barner didn't see any touches on offense, but he was a standout on special teams. He had four punt returns for 46 yards, and two kick returns for 44 yards. 

Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner: San Francisco 49ers

Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner helped anchor a defensive line the held the Buccaneers to 295 yards of offense in the 49ers' 21-17 victory. Armstead had five tackles, two solo, and a sack. Buckner had two solo tackles, one of them for a loss. 


Troy Dye, projected first round 2020 NFL draft pick, will smash Oregon record

Troy Dye, projected first round 2020 NFL draft pick, will smash Oregon record

In 2019, I predict Oregon inside linebacker Troy Dye’s reign of terror on Pac-12 offenses will continue and the senior will take down the Oregon record for career tackles, set in 1971.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Dye will undoubtedly be the leader of Oregon’s 2019 defense and he’s already etched his name in UO history books: leading the team in tackles for three straight seasons, only the third Duck to do so since 1970.

The “freak athlete” as NFL scouting reports often refer to Dye, finished the 2018 season with 115 total tackles totaling 313 in his collegiate career. He needs 121 tackles, six more than he had last season, to set the record.

[READ: Justin Herbert gearing up for final Duck season, invited to Manning Passing Academy]

The career record for tackles by a Duck was set by Tom Graham with 433 from 1969 to 1971, with an insane 206 tackles in 1969.

Dye, whose 313 tackles rank third among current FBS players, elected to return for his senior season after being projected as a mid-round 2019 NFL draft selection.

The linebacker has jumped up in 2020 NFL Draft projections to the first round. Rotoworld’s 2020 Mock Draft has the Los Angeles Rams selecting Dye at No. 32 overall. The Rams, who failed to address their linebacking need until the seventh round of the 2019 draft, have their eye on the speedy and versatile Dye.

Dye is in a position to become the first Duck to tally three straight 100 tackle seasons. Yes, he has more defensive talent around him this season (cough, Kayvon Thibodeaux, cough) but Dye’s elite agility and lateral quickness gives him the ability to power through linemen and can get skinny to shoot multiple gaps.

His slighter frame was Dye’s biggest weakness, but he intends to add muscle this offseason with the goal of playing next season around 235-240 pounds.

“Troy impacts our program in so many ways with his passion, leadership and love for the game,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. “He leads by example and is someone his teammates look up to. Troy is a difference-maker every snap that he is on the field, and his desire to be great helps elevate our culture to the next level.”

A stronger Dye could very well lead the Pac-12 Conference in tackles next season. In which case, he’d likely earn his first All-Pac-12 first team defensive honors.

On a personal level, Dye’s decision to stay for his senior season opened up the opportunity to make Oregon history, add to his resume and his growing NFL stock.

As far as the team goes, the Ducks are probable favorites in the north division and the conference for 2019. Entering year two under Cristobal with a veteran offensive line, running back weapons CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, an influx of young talent at receivereight returning starters on defense and a few extraordinary freshman who could make instant impacts… 2019 is shaping up to be an exciting season for Oregon football.