NFL reinstates Saints' Sean Payton
The NFL reinstated New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton on Tuesday from his season-long suspension as a result of the league’s investigation into the team’s bounty program.
The league said the decision to reinstate Payton was made after a meeting between the coach and commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday in New Orleans.
Can't help but wonder when this would have happened if the Super Bowl weren't taking place in New Orleans...
Meanwhile, Gregg Williams is free to search out a new job, and the Rog will apparently review his possible reinstatement if and when Williams finds one.
Theater of Pain
I called McGahee recently. He now plays for the Denver Broncos and was recovering from a torn medial collateral ligament. With the playoffs approaching, and with NFL injuries becoming ever more of “an issue” — the global warming of American sports fans, something to be fretted over and put aside — I wanted to talk to someone whose career has been defined by very public injuries and whose very public injuries have defined the state of football over the last ten years. But he didn’t see it that way. “Injury has not been part of my career,” he said. “I’ve only gotten hurt twice. I got hurt once in college and once in the pros.”
Right, but that second injury, against the Steelers…
“No. I mean now. The MCL.”
“So you don’t consider the concussion an injury?”
“That’s what they consider it. But getting a concussion and hurting your knee are two different things. You get back up from a concussion.” Willis McGahee was knocked out cold against the Steelers. He went out on the board. He didn’t consider himself injured, though, because like all NFL players he considers himself an expert in what qualifies as an injury and what doesn’t. The loss of consciousness he suffered in Pittsburgh didn’t qualify because it didn’t require rehabilitation. It didn’t put his career in jeopardy. It didn’t exile him from his teammates.
And most of all, it didn’t hurt.
There might have been a time when this Esquire article would have shocked the American public. After all, players keeping pain journals (before they become human veggies), taking Toradol like it's a daily multi-vitamin, and distrusting team doctors so much they bring in their own are all disturbing revelations.
But apparently they're not disturbing enough. The NFL is as popular as ever, the current generation of players knows the risks, and the ranks of college players continues to swell.
It's sad to say, but it's probably going to take an actual death in front of a live television audience on a big stage to shock anyone at this point.
Carry on, Mr. Goodell.
Life could be worse for Peyton Manning. Yes, his Denver Broncos were upset by the Baltimore Ravens in last week’s divisional playoffs. Still, things are just fine for Manning. His neck works. He hasn’t been Catfish’d. He’s nowhere near the crime blotter.
Instead, he’s traveling the country with old friend, Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, shooting rifles in the woods. We imagine this brings him great peace. “He told me he killed, in one day, a duck in Colorado and a deer in Mississippi,” Archie Manning told The Associated Press on Saturday.
While we're still bitching about the loss last week, Peyton Manning is going Ted Nugent.
No word yet on the rumor that Rahim Moore is fly fishing in Montana.
Drew and Scott hour 2 1/17/13
“The performance of that crew really to me was not up to playoff level. They had some areas of the game that they struggled in that you shouldn’t. If you’re this supposed all-star crew, you shouldn’t have the difficulties that you have with the passing game specifically, you know, where they were pretty inconsistent on what they called and they didn’t call…it just wasn’t their best performance.”
Gase: ‘We’re going to try to play faster’
“You’re not starting over, and in April we’ll be ready right from the get-go,” Gase said Thursday.
Tempo will be paramount, Gase noted, and he admitted that the offense is “going to try to play faster” than it did in 2012.
The notion that Manning was a de facto offensive coordinator was dismissed. “Peyton wants to be coached,” Gase said, adding that he learned how to be on point, because there was no end to how many questions Manning would ask. Gase also said Manning tweaked calls. “If you call something and it’s not good, he fixes it and puts you in a better play,” he said.
Playing faster? With a year of familiarity under the belts of Peyton & Company?
Sounds great. Now, about fourth downs...
There was no Lennay Kekua. Lennay Kekua did not meet Manti Te’o after the Stanford game in 2009. Lennay Kekua did not attend Stanford. Lennay Kekua never visited Manti Te’o in Hawaii. Lennay Kekua was not in a car accident. Lennay Kekua did not talk to Manti Te’o every night on the telephone. She was not diagnosed with cancer, did not spend time in the hospital, did not engage in a lengthy battle with leukemia. She never had a bone marrow transplant. She was not released from the hospital on Sept. 10, nor did Brian Te’o congratulate her for this over the telephone. She did not insist that Manti Te’o play in the Michigan State or Michigan games, and did not request he send white flowers to her funeral. Her favorite color was not white. Her brother, Koa, did not inform Manti Te’o that she was dead. Koa did not exist. Her funeral did not take place in Carson, Calif., and her casket was not closed at 9 a.m. exactly. She was not laid to rest.
Read this article. It's an outstanding piece of journalism. That is all.
Update 7:52pm ET - Te'o and ND have each released statements claiming Manti was a victim of an internet hoax, but the story all along included claims of in-person meetings between Te'o and his alleged girlfriend.
Moore looking for OC job, and one makes too much sense
Moore didn’t mention any specific possibilities, but there just so happens to be a team that just lost an offensive coordinator, which just so happens to employ a quarterback Moore is familiar with. Moore has only the thinnest background working with Denver coach John Fox, as they were with the Steelers together in 1989. But since the Broncos catered the offense to Peyton Manning this year anyway under now-Chargers head coach Mike McCoy, and Moore called that offense with the Colts, it’s simply a logical step to make.
This is a very logical step to make; I agree with Darin Gantt completely. It's maybe just as logical to promote QB coach Adam Gase to OC, but I think he and Moore represent continuity, and that that's the most important thing for the Broncos offense. I'm less of a fan of the ideas of hiring Ken Whisenhunt or Pat Shurmur. Whisenhunt will probably be gone for another HC job within a year or two, and Shurmur is a scheme guy from a West Coast background.
Lewis Follows in Fancy Footsteps, but Few Can Follow in His
The dance comes fraught with risks, however. Some advice? Stretch beforehand. Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith recalled seeing an online video clip of a young man who tore up his knee trying — and failing — to imitate Lewis’s routine.
“Just some random dude,” Smith said glumly, adding that only Lewis can truly execute his trademark moves — those elongated slides, those dramatic chest pops. “I’ve never seen any dances like that. You ever seen any dances like that? Nobody dances like that.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock apparently injured himself today while warming up for his version of Ray Lewis's pre-game dance, which is his end of a bet made with Baltimore's mayor.
Offensive outburst, meeting of legends set up conference finals
On the evidence of a full season of play. Bailey had gone one-on-one with the best receiver of nearly every team Denver had faced. And, until Saturday it had worked every time. Bailey had a superb season. We voted him our 2nd Team All-Pro corner (an honor that was replicated in the AP All-Pro team released on Saturday) because he stood out on tape and this was reflected in the numbers too.
In terms of giving up first downs/touchdowns per coverage snap he was ranked fourth overall among corners, and of those above him, no one was given the same coverage responsibilities he had. On balls that traveled over 20 yards in the air he allowed only three to be completed all year, with none of these going for touchdowns. Covering the likes of Vincent Jackson, Andre Johnson, A.J. Green, Roddy White and Brandon Lloyd, Bailey gave up only 17 completions of more than 10 yards and a single touchdown all year.
Naturally, Saturday marked Bailey's worst grade of the season according to PFF. His best? Week 15 at Baltimore, when he held Torrey Smith to one catch for 14 yards.
Champ had a great season, and the 1,048 snaps he took prior to Saturday showed he is far from over the hill. No, he couldn't have had his worst game as a Bronco at a more inopportune time. But don't let that define him, his season, or his future in Denver.
Does Ravens-Broncos Rank as One of the Best Playoff Games?
This one belongs in the discussion of “greatest playoff games of all time.” It’s hard to give it the nod, though, because the most dramatic play and the most dramatic decision were more about one team’s mistakes than about another team’s greatness. The mistakes came from the Broncos. One was safety Rahim Moore’s failure to recognize his deep-half zone responsibilities on Jacoby Jones’ 70-yard touchdown. Another was John Fox telling Peyton Manning to take a knee with half a minute to go in regulation when the Broncos had acceptable field position (own 20 yard-line) and two timeouts. Why are you paying Manning more than $1 million a game if you’re not going to lean on him in that situation?
Somewhat lost in the aftermath of this instant classic’s drama is the epic performance of Joe Flacco…On Saturday, Flacco kept the Ravens in it early with a pair of first-half touchdown strikes to Torrey Smith. No one who watched the film on Denver’s Week 15 thrashing of Baltimore would have ever imagined the young wideout beating the future Hall of Famer’s press coverage…Flacco is the reason Baltimore pulled off one of the bigger divisional round upsets in N.F.L. history.
Now that I've had time to review some tape from Saturday and Week 15, I absolutely agree with Benoit. In Week 15, Champ was able to keep Smith at the line of scrimmage much longer and with much more force. It's hard to blame Del Rio for employing press man with Champ in the first half of Saturday's game based on what Bailey had done to Smith previously.
I'm not as quick to reward Flacco, though. He made some decent throws, but it's not as if he didn't just throw the ball up and hope for the best on more than one occasion. Of course, I'm also pissed off still, so I might be slightly biased.