marvin lewis

Panthers star LB suspended 2 games for hit

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USA Today Images

Panthers star LB suspended 2 games for hit

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis has been suspended for two games by the NFL following his helmet-to-helmet hit on Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams.

The league announced the decision Monday.

Adams left Sunday's 31-24 loss to Carolina in the third quarter with a concussion after being blindsided by Davis following a Carolina interception. Davis was penalized 15 yards, but not ejected.

Davis, the 2015 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year, was visibly upset on the sideline after the play.

Adams, who has suffered two concussions this season, took to social media on Monday to criticize Davis, saying there is no room in the game for hits like that.

"We supposed to be in this together n look out for one another not mess with a mans livelihood and hand out unnecessary concussions," Adams said on Twitter. "We all got mouths to feed what if I did that to him and his kids can't eat."

Adams also Tweeted: "I'll never understand it. Game is already dangerous enough and we got Pro Bowl players out here head hunting and saying they "didn't mean to harm me"

Davis responded to Adams on Twitter, offering an apology.

"I understand your frustration and I do apologize for the hit! In no way was I trying to hurt you," Davis tweeted. "My first instinct was turn and make a block. In all sincerity I do apologize. I truly respect you as a player and I made a mistake!"

Davis has three days to appeal (see story).

Panthers: Becker promoted, to run day-to-day operations
The Panthers have announced Tina Becker has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer and been given full control of the day-to-day management of the organization.

The move comes after the NFL launched an investigation into alleged sexual and racist misconduct by longtime owner Jerry Richardson. The 81-year-old is stepping away from the daily operation of the team and will focus on the pending sale of the franchise.

"These have been some of the most difficult days of my 19 years with the Panthers, but I am lifted up by the strong resolve and the commitment our employees have shown to this organization," Becker said in a news release Monday. "Our team on the field is performing at a very high level, and I believe is bound for the Super Bowl.

"My immediate focus will be to ensure the corporate side of the organization performs at the same high level, while addressing the real concerns that have been raised in recent days."

Team president Danny Morrison had resigned earlier in the year, and there was no COO before, or after, his resignation (see full story).

Texans: O'Brien emphatically says he'll never resign
HOUSTON -- Coach Bill O'Brien was emphatic on Monday about his desire to remain with the Houston Texans, a day after the team dropped to 4-10 with an embarrassing 45-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"I will never quit as the head football coach of the Houston Texans," he said. "Ever."

O'Brien, who has one more season left on his contract, was asked if he had thought about resigning after the Texans complete what will be the first losing season in his time with the team.

"I'm not a quitter," he said. "I was raised in a family that believed in family, faith, education and never quit. So, I never will."

O'Brien's job security has become a topic of discussion in recent weeks as injuries and inconsistent quarterback play have led to four straight losses, one win in the last eight games. He spent a sizable chunk of his media availability Monday discussing his future, his relationship with general manager Rick Smith, and whether he would like to sign an extension to remain with the Texans (see full story).

Bengals: Lewis noncommittal about next year
CINCINNATI -- Marvin Lewis went to sit in his customary chair for his Monday media availability and discovered that it had been adjusted to a lower setting.

He laughed after discovering that his seat at the front of the room no longer fit.

The Bengals' coach will finish his 15th season in Cincinnati amid a full-blown discussion about whom the chair will fit in a few weeks. Lewis said Monday that he hasn't talked to owner Mike Brown about his contract, which ends after this season.

Although he emphatically denies a report that he's decided to leave, Lewis was noncommittal Monday about what happens next.

Asked if he wants to be back in Cincinnati next year, he replied by saying only, "I want to coach football." Asked again if he wants to coach in Cincinnati next year, he simply said, "Sure" (see full story).

Bengals coach throws shade at Eagles kicker Jake Elliott

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AP Images

Bengals coach throws shade at Eagles kicker Jake Elliott

Eagles rookie Jake Elliott may have kicked a 61-yard field goal -- the longest in franchise history -- to defeat the NFC East rival Giants in Week 3. Whatever. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis still wasn't impressed.

Elliott, of course, was a fifth-round draft pick in Cincinnati, but ultimately failed to win the job in training camp, losing to veteran Randy Bullock. As it turns out, that's not working out so hot for the Bengals, as Bullock missed a 48-yard field goal during the third quarter of an eventual overtime loss to the Packers on Sunday.

Yet when Elliott's heroics were brought to Lewis' attention, the head coach didn't seem to care or think it was a big deal. Instead, he chose to throw shade Elliott's way.

Lewis actually does have a point. Elliott actually missed a 52-yard field goal earlier against the Giants, as well as a 30-yard try in Kansas City the week before. Those were some pretty important kicks, too. Bullock, meanwhile is 4 for 5.

Still, Lewis is sort of missing the point. The Bengals essentially wasted a mid-round draft pick on a perfectly capable kicker who is winning games for another team, when his own kicker who's playing for his fifth NFL team can't be trusted to do the same.

Elliott may be 3 for 5, but Cincinnati's record is 0-3, thanks in part to a missed field goal. In other words, Lewis has no room to talk.

Eagles-Bengals scouting report: Even matchup despite Cincy's record

Eagles-Bengals scouting report: Even matchup despite Cincy's record

Eagles at Bengals
1 p.m. Sunday on FOX
Pick-em; over/under 42

In the easiest of the Eagles' five remaining games, they're on the road to face a desperate Bengals team and a head coach trying to avoid getting fired.

The way the Birds have played and coached lately, no game is a gimme. It's telling that the Eagles aren't favored against a 3-7-1 Bengals team missing its two most explosive playmakers.

No A.J. or Gio
The first player that comes to mind when you mention the Bengals is All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green, who will miss Week 13 with a hamstring injury. Green hasn't yet been officially ruled out, but considering the most movement he's done since the injury is a light walk, he's not playing Sunday.

This is obviously a huge benefit for the Eagles because defending Green requires a double-team on most plays and almost always a safety over the top. 

In the same game the Bengals lost Green, they also lost Giovani Bernard, their version of Darren Sproles. Andy Dalton likely would have relied even more on Bernard in the short passing game with Green out, but the RB tore his ACL in Week 11 without anyone noticing until afterward.

Thus, Cincinnati is a much simpler team to defend this week. With Green and Bernard out, the Bengals skill players to worry most about are tight end Tyler Eifert and speedy second-round WR Tyler Boyd.

Eifert, finally healthy after a series of injuries late last season and in the offseason, has 20 catches for 303 yards and two TDs in his last four games. 

Boyd, in the two games without Green, has 11 catches for 116 yards and a TD. 

Better than their record?
The Bengals haven't won since Week 7 — Oct. 23 against the Browns. Since then, they tied the Redskins in London, lost to the Giants by one point, the Bills by four and the Ravens by five. Cincinnati has been competitive in games, just unable to finish.

At this point, you can't reasonably call the Eagles a better team than the Ravens, Giants or Redskins ... and maybe even the Bills. 

So yes, this is a 3-win team the Eagles are facing, but in reality it's about an even match, especially with Cincy's holding home-field advantage.

Wentz and Dalton
Last season was by far the best of Dalton's six-year career, but he's been just mediocre in 2016. With many more weapons than Carson Wentz has, Dalton has similar stats across the board. 

Dalton's completed 63.5 percent of his passes, averaged 7.5 yards per attempt, thrown 12 TDs and six INTs, and has a QB rating of 89.7.

Wentz has completed 63.5 percent of his passes, averaged 6.6 yards per attempt, thrown 11 TDs and eight INTs, and has a QB rating of 83.4.

But Wentz is a rookie with the worst wide receiver group this side of Chicago. Dalton is an experienced quarterback in a familiar system with running backs and pass-catchers he's shared the field with for several years.

Pressuring Dalton
Affecting Dalton with pressure should be easier than doing the same to Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is a master of getting the ball out quickly, and his offensive line has afforded him time all season. According to Pro Football Focus, Rodgers has been given 2.6 seconds or more in the pocket 49 percent of the time. Dalton has gotten that much protection just 36 percent of the time, one of the lowest figures in the NFL.

And, per PFF, Dalton has been sacked 23 percent of the time he's been pressured — the highest rate in the NFL. (For reference, that's double the rate of Dak Prescott, Derek Carr, Eli Manning and Kirk Cousins.)

The Eagles, who have just six sacks total in their last five games, should be able to get home on Sunday. Brandon Graham, their best edge rusher, has a juicy matchup against 2015 first-round right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, who has allowed eight sacks and 29 QB hurries this season.

Wentz's options
Can Nelson Agholor, after spectating on Monday Night Football, do the unthinkable and have a positive impact on the game?

Going to go out on a limb here and say ... yes. Jordan Matthews (ankle) is banged up, so Wentz might not look his way as often as usual. And pass coverage is the weakness of this Bengals defense. The Bengals' top three corners — Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick and Josh Shaw — are decent, but not spectacular. 

It's also another game where, at least on paper, utilizing Zach Ertz makes sense. The Bengals have been one of the NFL's worst defenses against tight ends, allowing the fourth-most receiving yards (760) and fifth-most touchdowns (six). 

That's owed in large part to the struggles in coverage of linebackers Vontaze Burfict, Karlos Dansby and Rey Maualuga. Burfict and Maualuga are bigger LBs who are better against the run; Dansby has long been one of the better coverage LBs, but he's 35 years old.

Heck, hometown kid Brent Celek might even get involved. Celek hasn't been a part of the Eagles' offense at all, catching just seven passes all season and averaging 4.4 yards per game the last nine weeks.

Prediction
The over/under is just 42 and I'm not expecting a whole lot of points. 

The Eagles are reeling, the Bengals are reeling, but when it comes down to it the Eagles enter this game healthier and should be able to keep Cincy's offense in check. 

Eifert is the Bengals' most dangerous weapon at the moment and the Eagles have been pretty good defending the seam with Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham and the safeties.

Eagles 20, Bengals 16