Quick Links

Aerosmith, Kravitz sing for their NFL teams

Aerosmith, Kravitz sing for their NFL teams

NEW YORK (AP) The latest NFL teams to get songs from major artists are the Patriots and Jets.

And when they face off Sunday in Foxborough, their new anthems will be available for download.

Aerosmith, long associated with Boston, has recorded ``Legendary Child'' for the Patriots. Lenny Kravitz came up with ``Like A Jet'' for the Jets.

No word yet if Tom Brady and Rex Ryan will sing along.

Each of the songs will be heard on 30-second television commercials during the CBS telecast of the game. Fans also can download them at www.PepsiAnthems.com.

Previously Kid Rock composed and created a song for the Lions, while Kelly Clarkson did one for the Cowboys, Ice Cube for the Raiders and Travie McCoy for the Giants. The Steelers have an anthem called ``Black and Yellow'' by Wiz Khalifa.


COMEBACK VS. MUSIC CITY MIRACLE: Titans coach Mike Munchak can do without hearing the song ``Shout!'' on Sunday, when Tennessee travels to play the Buffalo Bills.

Munchak heard the Bills' traditional celebration anthem more than enough times in January 1993. That's when Munchak, an offensive lineman for the Houston Oilers, was on the losing end in what remains the largest collapse in NFL playoff history. The Oilers squandered a 32-point lead in a 41-38 overtime loss in the AFC wild-card game.

``That was a bad one,'' Munchak said this week. ``When you hear that song they like to play, `Shout!' yeah, I heard that quite a bit.''

At least he now has a retort when someone reminds him of that game, which has been dubbed ``The Comeback.''

``You guys have the Music City Miracle, so we're kind of even,'' Munchak said.

He's referring to the 2000 AFC wild-card playoff at Nashville. The Titans' shocked the Bills with a trick play lateral to score on a last-second kickoff return in a 22-16 victory. Munchak was a Titans assistant then.

He also won in his first trip as a head coach to Buffalo last season, when the Titans beat the Bills 23-17 in December.


GOING VEG: All those crazed, costumed Raiders fans who fill the Black Hole on Sundays can enjoy some of the most humane food options at the Oakland Coliseum.

PETA recently ranked the Coliseum third on its list of most vegetarian-friendly NFL stadiums, trailing Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia and Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

``With a veggie dog, black-bean burger, and veggie burrito leading the charge, fans of the Silver and Black can turn their health around by enjoying delicious, protein-packed vegetarian meals,'' said Tracy Reiman, PETA's executive vice president.

Among the other meat-free options in Oakland are burrito bowls and fruit salads. There are even more choices for fans in premium seats, including chipotle black-bean burgers, veggie fajitas, and vegan chocolate fondue.

Rounding out the top five on PETA's list were the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and Ford Field in Detroit.


SO LONG, RAY: Patrick Willis is setting the new standard for NFL linebackers. Still, San Francisco's star defender was saddened to hear about Baltimore's Ray Lewis going down for significant time with a torn right triceps.

Willis considers Lewis the guy who has long set the parameters for his position. Lewis was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with the ``designated to return'' tag, which provides him the chance to play again this season if he does well in his recovery from surgery.

``It was like, `Wow,''' Willis said. ``That, for me, was one of the forefathers considering he was during my time and a little bit before it. It's very unfortunate because I know he has a passion for this game and he loves playing this game. Who knows if this is going to be his last year or not. I wish him the best and hopefully it will be a speedy recovery.''


REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME: Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys are going back to Carolina, where the quarterback made his first start six years ago.

``You can always remember your first start,'' Romo said this week. ``We won the game, so you look fondly upon it. Obviously, it was a long time ago.''

It was October 2006, in coach Bill Parcells final season with the Cowboys. The first start for Romo, the undrafted free agent then in his fourth NFL season, came six days after Romo replaced Drew Bledsoe in the second half of a Monday night game.

Romo has been the starter since, and has a 49-33 record.

In that first start, Romo completed 24 of 36 passes for 270 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a 35-14 victory.

``It was one of those moments where you feel prepared, you do whatever you can,'' Romo said. ``You don't really know what to expect, and then when your team wins the game, it's great.''

Dallas went into that game with a 3-3 record, and that win started a stretch of four in five games that propelled the Cowboys to a 9-7 record, good for an NFC wild-card spot.

Romo has won all three career starts against the Panthers.


DALTON PICKED OFF: One of Andy Dalton's best attributes as a rookie was his ability to avoid the interception. He's struggling the second time around.

Dalton threw only 13 interceptions in the regular season as a rookie last year, when he reached the Pro Bowl. He had nine games without a pick.

In six games this season, Dalton has thrown nine interceptions, tied for second most in the NFL and leaving him on pace for 24, which would be a franchise record. Ken Anderson, Boomer Esiason and Jon Kitna each had a 22-interception season.

``They're not all on Andy,'' offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said. ``Some are on me, some are on the receiver, some are on the line, some are on him. If you play quarterback long enough, and you throw enough passes, you will throw an interception.''

Dalton's have come at critical times.

Ed Reed's 34-yard touchdown return got the Ravens rolling to a 34-13 win in the season opener. Reshad Jones' interception sealed Miami's 17-13 win two weeks ago. Sheldon Brown ran one back 19 yards in Cleveland's 34-24 win, when Dalton tied his career high with three picks.

``There have been some decisions to throw the ball when I probably shouldn't have, but others have been tipped balls and things like that, too,'' Dalton said. ``So I know when I can take my chances, I know when to take my shots. Hopefully, the interceptions will go down.''


MILE-HIGH MAD: When cornerback Chris Harris stepped in front of Eddie Royal, picked off Philip Rivers' pass and raced down the sideline to seal Denver's historic 35-24 comeback win at San Diego on Monday night, he capped it with an emphatic Mile High Salute as if to say, ``Take that!''

Chargers tight end Antonio Gates had done his own Mile High Salute after scoring a touchdown during San Diego's 24-0 first half, and several Broncos took umbrage.

``Everybody knows the Mile High Salute is our thing,'' Harris said of the touchdown celebration popularized by Terrell Davis. ``I saw him doing it. You can say we definitely took it personally.''

Harris' 46-yard interception return for a TD capped Denver's 35-0 second half onslaught, making the Broncos the first team in NFL history to spot an opponent a 24-0 lead and then win by double digits.

The military-style salute was Davis' signature celebration in the late 1990s when he helped John Elway win back-to-back Super Bowls. It's to the Broncos what the Lambeau Leap is to the Green Bay Packers.

``I saw Gates do it in the beginning of the game, so I wanted to finish off with it,'' Harris said.


AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner and Arnie Stapleton, and Sports Writers Janie McCauley, Joe Kay, John Wawrow, Stephen Hawkins and Josh Dubow contributed to this story.


Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

AP Images

Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."


Quick Links

Ravens D-coordinator Don Martindale puts personal stamp on unit

AP Images

Ravens D-coordinator Don Martindale puts personal stamp on unit

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- There are no dreary work days for Don Martindale, who has overwhelmingly embraced his new role as defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens.

After serving for five seasons as the team's linebackers coach, Martindale was promoted to coordinator in January after Dean Pees left the post.

Enthusiastic doesn't even begin to describe Martindale's attitude about being in charge of the defense.

"Ever since we've made this transition, it's been a joy to just come through those gates every day. I love it," Martindale said after Wednesday's mandatory minicamp practice.

This isn't the first time Martindale has been put in charge of molding a defense. In 2010, he watched over a unit in Denver that was the worst in the NFL in both yards and points allowed per game.

Given a second chance, the 55-year-old Martindale is putting together a defense that will rely heavily on the instinct of several of its most proven players, most notably safety Eric Weddle and linebackers Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley.

"He's just putting his personal fix on our defense and expanding it, giving the guys confidence to play fast," Weddle said. "The idea is to do what's best for the defense, not what's best the individual."

Martindale called Mosley "the quarterback" of a fluid unit that can make a snap-change from drop-back coverage to an all-out blitz. In that regard, Mosley believes this defense is superior to the one that in 2017 yielded 18.9 points per game, sixth-best in the NFL.

"The way we're able to use our core guys, put them in different spots and do some of the same things just from different positions, it's more creative, I would say, than where we were last year," Mosley said.

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh promoted Martindale rather than go outside the organization because he wanted to extend his vision of a defense that has evolved since his arrival in 2008.

"All we're doing is forwarding John's plan," Martindale said. "We're remodeling the package. It's still Ravens football, it's still Ravens defense, but we've streamlined it. It's the elegant simplicity. Guys are playing really fast."

Asked for his take on Martindale's defense, Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg replied, "They're fast and they're furious."

Sure, things might be different once the pads go on at training camp, but at this point, Martindale's boss likes what he sees.

"We're doing a lot of neat things on defense, things that are really good," Harbaugh said. "More than ever, we're putting it on our players to make decisions in real time."

Martindale has a new title, but old habits die hard.

"For the most part, it's been the same," Mosley said. "He always comes in and says, `I have to lead the linebacker room,' and sits down and gets to talking like he's back at linebacker coach."

Told of Mosley's disclosure, Martindale smiled and said, "I've been trying to stay out of there, but you can't help but go in. That's home. I have a good time in the secondary room as well."

And just about everywhere else.

"Where we're going with this thing is really exciting to me," Martindale said, "and I know it's exciting to the players."

In other training camp news, cornerback Jimmy Smith was a surprise participant at practice, going through a light regimen of individual drills just six months after tearing his left Achilles tendon.

"I don't know if Jimmy's like half Wolverine, but he's healed up in half the time of regular human beings," Weddle said, referring to the amazing recuperative powers of the Marvel super hero.