Pro Player Insiders NFL Players Exclusive Lifestyle, News and Under the Helmet Access Sat, 30 Aug 2014 06:08:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ravens Make Intital Roster Moves Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 The Baltimore Ravens have made some roster moves and now have 70 players on their roster. They have until 4pm EST Saturday to get down to the 53 man roster requirement. There will be some very tough decisions for the Ravens as they have some players that have shown that they are worthy of playing in the NFL.

Levi BrownThe Ravens notified five players of their release from the team on Friday. Those players are: Levi Brown (defensive tackle), Derrick Hopkins (defensive tackle), D.J. Roberts (linebacker), Reggie Stephens (center) and Nathan Overbay (tight end). These are roster reductions that were expected to happen. It is not official yet, but the Ravens also informed rookie defensive tackle, A.J. Pataiali’i that he’ll be released. They do intend to sign him to the practice squad if he should clear waivers.

The Ravens also have two players that will serve suspensions and not count against the roster yet.  Rice (two-game personal conduct policy suspension) and safety Will Hill (six-game substance-abuse policy suspension) will soon be put on the reserve-suspended list. This will clear up two more roster spots for the time being. The Ravens will need to clear room for Rice after week two and Hill after week six. Two players will need to be released in order for them to do so.

Another roster spot could possibly be opened up if the Ravens decide to place defensive tackle Terrence Cody on the reserve-physically unable to perform list. If this happens, he won’t be eligible to play until six weeks into the season. Additionally, he won’t occupy a roster spot until he is activated.

Be sure to stay tuned for updates on the Ravens hard roster decisions. One of which will be the wide receivers. They will have to pick from a very solid young group of receivers that include Deonte Thompson, Mike Campanaro, Kamar Aiken and Jeremy Butler. It is very likely that Campanaro makes the roster. The Ravens have invested a draft pick in the shifty slot receiver and they traded one of their 2015 draft picks to get into position to draft him.

Thompson has been a threat on special teams and at the receiver position. He has scored touchdowns in three straight preseason games and is the fastest player on the current roster. Aiken is out of practice squad eligibility but was impressive early in training camp. Butler has been a steady player and is likely to be placed on the practice squad if he clears waivers.

Head coach John Harbaugh acknowledged that the process is difficult because of how well the players have performed. “Nobody’s making it easy for us, are they,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “These are a bunch of guys that are going to play in the NFL for a long time. You get a chance to see those guys chase their dream. As a coach, that’s so fulfilling.”

Another good question is whether or not the Ravens will keep three quarterbacks. Keith Wenning showed some improvement in the last preseason game. He flashed the accurate passing ability that was his trademark at Ball State. The Ravens would like to keep Wenning on the practice squad if he is released and clears waivers.

A better picture of how the roster will look will be available after more cuts are made on Saturday. However, that is not the final look of the team. The Ravens have positioned themselves to be able to absorb a veteran player after they renegotiated Lardarius Webb’s contract. That saved them almost $3 million in cap room. They are now slightly above $7 million under the cap. There is a strong possibility that they trade for a veteran corner due to the unclear status of Webb, Jimmy Smith and Asa Jackson.

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Bills Roster Moves: Moorman, Cohen, Palmer Among First 10 Cuts Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Buffalo has to cut its roster to 53 players by 4 p.m. on Saturday. Some noteworthy and surprising moves have already been made in order to get down to 65 today.

The Bills announced the release of LB Xavius Boyd, DT Landon Cohen, TE Dominique Jones, CB Kamall McIlwain, CB Sam Miller, P Brian Moorman, QB Jordan Palmer, FB Evan Rodriguez, WR Naaman Roosevelt. The team also placed CB Marion Butler, CB Bobby Felder, and TE Tony Moeaki on the Reserve/Injured list.

Moorman has been a staple in Buffalo on and off-the field, playing 12 seasons with the Bills. Moorman, 38, was also known for his P.U.N.T. Foundation, which since 2004 has helped to “make a difference in the lieves of children in Western New York who are fighting cancer”.

Moorman released an open letter to Buffalo through his foundation:

With the two-time Pro Bowler’s departure, 24 year old Jordan Guy from Centre University.

Palmer’s release comes after a disappointing performance on Thursday night, going 9 of 22 for 73 yards and throwing three interceptions as the team’s second quarterback. The move is irily similar to last year’s release of Matt Leinart, who also had a tough game against the Detroit Lions in the Bills’ preseason finale after joining the team a few days earlier.

The move would seem to indicate that Buffalo will be in the market for a backup quarterback, as head coach Doug Marrone has expressed dissatisfaction with the position several times this preseason. Options could include Christian Ponder and Ryan Mallett, depending on whether those players are released or viewed as tradeable.


NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport is reporting that the Bills and Kyle Orton have reached agreement on a one-year deal (via’s Gregg Rosenthal):

The Buffalo Billsare signing free-agent quarterback Kyle Orton to a one-year contract, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday, per a source informed of the deal.

The journeyman quarterback was last with the Dallas Cowboys, who released him after he threatened to retire all offseason. There was always a sense Orton just wanted off the team, and this signing proves it.

The Bills started the offseason saying that they were open to any option at quarterback, but they wound up not truly challenging Manuel, their second-year starter. Thad Lewis,Jordan Palmer and Jeff Tuel have taken cracks behind Manuel this offseason. Only Tuel remains on the team.Orton seems much older than 31 years old because he’s started for so many teams: Chicago, Denver, Kansas City and Dallas.

Rosenthal writes that Orton could give competition to Manuel, but ideally Buffalo would want Orton to be a veteran presence at backup who would have the ability to play if Manuel were to be injured. Orton has over 15,000 career passing yards and 83 touchdowns to 59 interceptions, and showed he still had ability last year, throwing for 358 yards in the season finale against the Eagles starting for an injured Tony Romo.

It is a move that the Bills probably anticipated they wouldn’t have to make with the amount of progress they expected out of the backup quarterback position with a competition of both Tuel and Lewis. However, this decision allows them to feel very safe if injury or performance causes Manuel to not be an option at signal-caller at certain points.

The Buffalo News’ Tim Graham says it could be a two-year commitment for Buffalo and Orton.

One move that few saw was the release of Cohen, as he was a preseason standout who consistently was putting pressure and making plays in both practice and games. However, there is the potential that he could return in the near future if roster moves involving the receiving core and offensive line allow for him to return.


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Fourth and Final for Chargers Fri, 29 Aug 2014 16:20:45 +0000 BLACK OUT Q  PHOTO ©DESIREE ASTORGA

Final exhibition game for the Chargers and  all 32 teams in the league, Cuts and more cuts, quake, blackouts, rematches and adds to the practice squad. Fourth and final not Fourth & Loud please don’t confuse with the circus happening in LA actually Anaheim. Let my clarify has nothing to do with players or what the product KISS is delivering, I just find that it would be extremely challenging, if I was a player on the team. Period! Okay enough said. The final preseason game goes down Thursday avoiding no team in the National Football League with cuts or waivers deciphered by Saturday. First cuts took place this Tuesday with 22 players holding on to make the final 53-man roster. Quakes and carts in the bay.

Pre game, referring to the total points allowed and made in SF’s first two games.

Hank Bower warned “Don’t be fooled by 57-3″



Chargers were greeted with a 6.0 magnitude earthquake in Santa Clara in the wee hours prior to kickoff. There have been over 138 earthquakes in the last 7 days in the Napa region, prayers for all affected by the devastation in the wine country. Red glared everywhere at the new Levi’s Stadium as seats and fans clad all in scarlet. The much talked about sod was slated to be replaced after the game. The end result, San Francisco, Norcal takes the 45th preseason match up, the last five between the San Diego, as well. However the score (21-7) SF, not really an indicator nor the turf, Phillip Rivers played the first half flawlessly (9 for 10 for 85 yards and 1 TD), connected with Mr. Antonio Gates, for a 10 yard TD, that has such a great ring to it! Oh, not Oklahoma Oklahoma, but “Diego Diego”  Kaepernick audible, still haven’t figured out where that derived, the cartoon, or San Diego for short, regardless it was to no avail, the real two words, Corey Luiget! He was in beast mode, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, got a hand on one and stuffed the runs for losses, he was all over the field.   In regards to a new stadium and the Chargers dilemma, possessing the oldest stadium, the Q, in the league. She’s 47 years old, they broke ground December 18, 1965 and opened August 20, 1967.

Per Erin Andrews “Chargers players would take even the visitors locker room.”



Three carts on the field 2 for Chargers players, DE, Kwame Geathers and DE, Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe along with Niners Rookie C, Marcus Martin, but is expected to be back in 8 weeks after suffering a knee cap injury. Geathers and Tjong-A-Tjoe were both placed on the Reserved-Injured list, along with CB Marcus Cromartie. PMA wishes to all the guys for a speedy and full recoveries. Now on to depth, this was a little scary, San Diego struggled, lack of depth on the defense and with two players down, makes pre season game number 4 a little more interesting, as twos and threes will play and audition for those last few spots. First cuts to 75 for Tuesdays deadline we’re almost all done on Monday.

T Nick Becton FB Zach Boren TE Jake Byrne WR Brelan Chancellor LB Adrian Hamilton WR Micah Hatfield G Darryl Johnson TE Ryan Otten DB Lowell Rose P Chase Tenpenny RB Kerwynn Williams With CB, Brandon Ghee being released and already noted, G, Jeromey Clarey on the reserve-PUP list


#AZvsSD   #SDvsAZ

Who to watch for Thursday;  DT, Ryan Carrethers, RB, Marion Grice, Oliver Branden and WR, Javontee Herndon. Special teams, special teams, that’s the spot to get on, that and if your dealing with depth, you’ve got a shot as well.  Black out in San Diego, a sad thing, #comeonman, yes it’s the last exhibition game of the pre season, and yes not starters will dress, however some may wear the pads regardless, wink wink, (Rivers), but this shouldn’t be blacked out!! Give these kids some love, this may be the last game some will dress and actually be on a NFL field. Cut to 53 Saturday & days till chargers face off with the same Cards in #MNF opener just at a different location at the University of Phoenix Stadium and home to the Super Bowl 49. Wk 4 of the pre will be nothing, but not so fast! Nothing is far from the truth for the players trying to make the 53 man roster or charger practice squad or another’s to try and trying to keep the dream alive, they have a bonus three this year as the NFL upped the practice squad to 11 from 8, granting a trio spots more. To add, neither coach will show anything either as these two face off for the MNF opener ten days later.  Chargers opener will be in Phoenix, double header Monday Night Football and if your a wishful Bolt fan, it will hopefully be the last game of the season, too!


Have a happy Labor Day weekend enjoying college football, I’ll be watching the Trojans vs the Bulldogs, #Fight ON till next week!

Desiree Astorga

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Browns Win Final Dress Rehearsal, 33-13 Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Hoyer vs Bears Preseason

The Browns won their preseason finale in front of their home crowd by the score of 33-13. The offense started fast, and Brian Hoyer appeared to have much greater rhythm in this game. Hoyer made quick decisions and got the football out of his hands without hesitation. Following the game, Hoyer shared his thoughts on the offense,

“It was great to get out there and move right down the field. We said tonight wasn’t about them. It was about us. Regardless of who’s playing for them, they were nameless and faceless opponents. We just wanted to go out and make everything about us. It’s good to go down and have an 85-yard drive and just execute and get in the end zone.”

Johnny Manziel had a night filled with ups and downs. While he did a very good job extending plays with his legs and completing passes on the run, he was Manziel vs Bears Preseasonrelatively inaccurate when asked to set his feet and drive the ball down the field. Manziel had multiple passes flutter and fall short of their intended target.

Manziel should also continue to work on his ball handling by keeping two hands on the football while breaking the pocket. Manziel often keeps just one hand on the ball in the pocket, and as a result, he fumbled on his second possession of the game. Manziel finished the night completing 6/17 of his passes for 83 yards and one touchdown. He also added 55 rushing yards on the night. When asked about his completion percentage, Manzeil said,

“[...] I don’t think I threw the ball particularly well today. I felt it came out of my hand a little funny with those first few throws, and as the drives went on, I felt like I threw it better. I mean you have days like that where the ball feels a little different in your hand. [...]“

Taylor Gabriel vs Bears PreseasonTaylor Gabriel received time with the first team, and finished the night with two receptions for 38 yards. Though Gabriel didn’t get his hands on the football much, his two receptions were instrumental in the Browns’ first scoring drive. Gabriel continued to flash his speed, and get separation against Chicago’s defensive backs throughout the game.

Willie Snead led all receivers with 75 yards on three receptions, and appears to have redeemed himself for poor performances in Willie Snead vs Bears Preseasonweeks past. In this game, Snead performed to his talent level; however there were a couple of passes he should’ve corralled, even in this game. Coming out of Ball State, Snead was known for his route-running ability, and catching radius. He’s maintained his precision as a route runner, but shockingly he’s been prone to some drops as of late. Hopefully the recent dropped passes are a mere aberration, and don’t preclude him from making the Browns’ final roster.

Ben Tate vs Bears PreseasonBen Tate exercised patience, as well as the ability to set up blocks along the perimeter. The first team offensive line consistently got great movement in the run game, allowing Ben Tate to punch the ball in the end zone from the one-yard line on the team’s first drive.  After the game, Tate said of the Browns’ offense,


“It felt good. It’s a preseason game so it really doesn’t count. At the same time, it felt good for the offense to finally get in a rhythm.”

Terrance West displayed outstanding patience on the perimeter as well, but fumbled as a result of keeping his shoulders perpendicular to the line of scrimmage entirely too long. On West’s subsequent carries he showed outstanding leg drive, as he converted multiple 1st downs in short yardage situations.

Barkevious Mingo showed the explosiveness and ability to get to the quarterback that made him a hot commodity upon entering the NFL. The modest MingoPhil Taylor Mingo vs Bears Preseason commented after the game on sacking Bears’ quarterback David Fales,

“It felt good. I can’t take total credit for it. The guys set me up great, and I just came in and made the play that was given to me.”

Phil Taylor looked great as a five-technique, opening the door for the linebackers to generate pressure on the quarterback. Billy Winn did an excellent job chasing down plays from the backside and held up extremely well at the point of attack. Jacobbi McDaniel also did an outstanding job tying up blockers, and allowing linebackers such as  Jamaal Westerman and Tank Carder to make plays.

Westerman Carder vs Bears Preseason


Christian Kirksey and Craig Robertson continued to see playing time at inside linebacker together which will enable the Browns to remain multiple on defense.

Leon McFadden struggled covering the fly route, as he did not turn his head and look for the ball either time he was challenged deep. Out of fear of getting beaten deep, he began to play too far off of receivers, allowing them to run free underneath.

Justin Gilbert also had a difficult time closing down on underneath routes. Gilbert gave Santonio Holmes cushion and failed to tackle him, which enabled Holmes to break free for a 32-yard score. For the moment, a healthy Buster Skrine is the better option to line up on the other side of Joe Haden. Gilbert has athleticism out of this world, but unfortunately he does not trust his eyes, or his God-given ability at this juncture.

Robert Nelson got in on the action with a late interception on Chicago quarterback David Fales. Nelson did a nice job reading the quarterbacks eyes and driving on the football. Unfortunately Nelson’s interception in the final preseason game is not emblematic of his play throughout camp.  It will be difficult for Nelson to land a spot on the Browns’ 53-man roster.

Josh Aurbrey and Jordan Poyer did an outstanding job coming up and making tackles in the open field. Both have been consistent supporting the run, but have also done surprisingly well in coverage. Aubrey and Poyer will likely make the team.



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NFC North; Road to the Start of the Season Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:25:43 +0000 Minnesota Vikings

The road has begun for newly Vikings’ starter Matt Cassel. Cassel had out performed back-up quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Both quarterbacks rose to the challenge of looking exceptional and sharp in the preseason games they had played in, but the Vikings’ organization had felt that Cassel could take the Vikings in the direction that they are trying to go into. At the press conference Cassel had a humble approach about becoming the starter for this organization.cassel vik

”I’ve been through a lot in my career,” Cassel said. ”I’ve been through the ups and downs. I’ve been through the highs and the lows. At this point nothing really surprises me in my career. Because of experiences, it callouses you to different situations that as a younger player I might not have taken it as well.”

Vikings’ head coach Mike Zimmer had this to say as well. ”I told Teddy this morning that I’m so happy Matt is here with us,” Zimmer said. ”I’m glad he’s the guy we picked. I’ve loved everything that he’s done. It wasn’t anything that Teddy did or didn’t do. Teddy will be, still in my estimation, a great player for this franchise for years to come.”

With the preseason almost unwrapped Cassel understands that he is the leader of this team and it starts with him. He wants to take the Vikings as far as he can, but he knows that it will be a progression phase.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers are not slowing down there no huddle because of an injury to a key center. Rookie Correy Linsley has took over the center position because JC Tretter had tweaked his knee in a preseason game. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers have felt comfortable with Linsley snapping the ball in practice, but Rodgers wants to make sure that the communication between ball handler and quarterback is precise.Corey-Linsley-2

He’s going to be expected to play at a fast tempo and he’s got sideboards on both sides who know exactly what they’re doing and what everyone is doing up front,” Rodgers said. “Josh and T.J. are going to be very important to Corey, playing as fast as possible, but we have a lot of trust in Corey. He’s played center his entire career.”

Green Bay’s head coach Mike McCarthy had hinted that Linsley might be on the field against the Kansas City Chiefs, but he do not want to overwork Linsley. “The mental part of it, we’ll be able to sharpen his blade there,” McCarthy said. “But to go out there and totally overdo reps because you’ve got one player that’s going to start, I’m not going to do that, because if I have to do that, he’s not the right guy. Corey will be ready to play.”

“We’re into the last preseason game, we’re less than two weeks from the opener, and things pick up after this final game,Rodgers said. “It’s a call to those guys to start stepping up their play, because it’s going to start mattering here really quick.”

Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions have finally secured a kicker.  Rookie Nate Freese has finally been selected as the starting kicker for the Lions. This is the third time since 1980 that the Lions will start a season with a rookie kicker. There have been times in preseason games where Freese have missed a couple of chip shots, but he seemed to regain his Nate+Freese+Cleveland+Browns+v+Detroit+Lions+K1UQQecfgW6lpoise and kicked more accurately when he got his chance.

Lions’ head coach Jim Caldwell had expressed why Freese was the better choice. “Obviously it was a tough competition. It was a very, very difficult decision and Giorgio Tavecchio did a nice job,” Caldwell said. “I think both guys took this thing on in a professional manner and Nate Freese ended up edging him out. I think they are both very capable guys, but as we look at all the factors Nate Freese was the best one for us at this time.”

“He made some tough kicks,” Caldwell said of Freese. “Particularly the one in Oakland was a very, very difficult one, under tough conditions off the dirt. We made all those factors, took a look at them and ironed them all out. We just felt he was the best choice for us at this time.”

Caldwell said Freese is his guy heading into the season and the team isn’t looking to pursue any veterans on the open market or any kickers who might be cut during the final roster trim down this weekend.

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears have finally decided to go with Jimmy Clausen as the back up quarterback. Clausen had edged out Jordan Palmer because of his youth and his experience in the NFL.

Coach Marc Trestman explains his reasoning on why Clausen was the better fit. “He stood up tall through a lot of tough times in Carolina and gained the respect of his teammates and the team there with the way he handled himself in a very difficult year,” Trestman said. “He went through a lot of adversity. Jimmy started out a rough go. He was put into a starting position. He was knocked all over the place, took a lot of hits, and continued to stand tall and try to help his football team win. That’s only going to help him in the future.”Jimmy Clausen

Clausen on the other end was very optimistic about being in the Bears’ organization. “I studied really hard when I first got here,” Clausen said. “I was playing catch-up and I was playing catch-up when I was back home getting ready for training camp. I grasped the offense pretty well, but I’m still a long ways away from where I want to get to.”

“He’s worked very hard to get in this place,” Trestman said. “He came in here and really worked hard to learn this offense; spent a lot of time learning the system. He’s extremely detailed. I think that really helped him get up to speed quickly to be part of this competition with Jordan.”

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‘When the Game Stands Tall’ and Other Tall Tales Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:34:33 +0000 If you’re looking for another inspirational football movie, Thomas Carter’s “When the Game Stands Tall” — which was released in theaters last Friday — might be what you’re looking for.

Based on “Contra Costa Times’” Neil Hayes’ 408-page book, “When the Game Stands Tall: The Story of the De La Salle Spartans and Football’s Longest Winning Streak,” the film follows inspirational Hall of Fame high school head football coach Bob Ladouceur.

Ladouceur coached the De La Salle Spartans for 34 seasons, winning 399 games in his career before retiring last year. He’s also the only football coach to coach a team through a 151 to 0 winning record — one that exceeds many NCAA Division I college winning streaks including the University of Oklahoma Sooners (47), the University of Washington Huskies (39), the Yale University Bulldogs (37) and the University of Toledo Rockets (35).

Played by Jim Caviezel (“The Passion of the Christ”), Ladouceur is a humble and religious coach and teacher. But he’s no Erin Grunell of “Freedom Writers.” And these kids aren’t the poor, disadvantaged students struggling with gang violence. These kids are part of a legacy that’s won 151 games in a row. These kids are the best of the best — Roman Catholic private school boys. Their ranks included Denver Broncos safety T.J. Ward, Oakland Raiders halfback Maurice Jones-Drew, New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toome and New York Jets guard Dave Loverne. These kids aren’t underdogs.

Doused with an extra dose of Hollywood drama, the film follows the De La Salle Spartans of Concord, Calif., through the end of their 2003 season and throughout their 2004 season. This includes the shooting and death of promising De La Salle High School football alum T.K. Kelly (played by Stephan James) and Ladouceur’s heart attack. Most notable that year though, on September 4, 2004, the Spartans flew too close to the sun and lost their streak; Bellevue High School of Seattle, Wash., beat the Spartans 39-20.

Although these kids aren’t inherent underdogs, Carter’s film, which was written by Scott Marshall Smith and David Zelon, blatantly manipulates our emotions. Chris Ryan (a fictional character played by Alexander Ludwig of “The Hunger Games”) was created for this purpose; his back story: an over-bearing verbally abusive car salesman dad (Clancey Brown) obsessed with De La Salle’s Streak.

This emotional manipulation extends beyond the embellishments in “When the Game Stands Tall’s” screenplay. Filmed by Michael Lohmann and edited by Scott Richter, “When the Game Stands Tall” and its Hollywood makeover transforms the true story into an 115-minute soap opera.

John Paseano’s extravagant over-the-top score also acts like a reality TV soundtrack, giving you little cues on how to feel (because musical cues are required to help you sympathize with the Spartans’ plight).

The film contains some brilliant editing though. Combined, the work of Carter, Lohmann, Richter and Paseano make these 18-year-olds look like giants. Ludwig looks especially heroic as he’s outrunning players and scoring touchdowns. The game between the De La Salle High School Spartans versus the Long Beach Polytechnic High School Jackrabbits is especially heart-pounding. The real game between the Spartans and Jackrabbits was played in 2001 before the Spartans lost the Streak.

“When the Game Stands Tall” may stretch the truth, but it’s an enjoyable film. Stick around for the credits and you’ll see footage of the real Bob Ladouceur and the De La Salle High School Spartans.

“When the Game Stands Tall” was directed by Thomas Carter and written by Scott Marshall Smith and David Zelon.

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Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them @RGIII Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:30:00 +0000

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) August 19, 2014

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Chicago Bears 2014 Preview Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:19:07 +0000

Last year had to be confusing for some Bears fans.  For a franchise that’s known for tough nosed defense, 2013 brought a new look under first year head coach Marc Trestman.  Trestman gave the Bears one of it’s most exciting offenses ever, averaging nearly 30 points a game.  Even when starting quarterback Jay Cutler went down, the team continued to rack up points due to their offensive philosophy and skill position players.  This was all great to see except for one thing – the defense was historically awful.  The Bears gave up all time highs in yards allowed, rushing yards allowed and points scored.  Injuries surely took their toll on the defense, especially when it came to Henry Melton, Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs.  In 2014 the Bears are looking to make the offense even more potent, while piecing together a defense that can not only be better, but also be more representative of the Chicago Bears brand.

Last season Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery entered the off-season looking to reconstruct their offensive line.  They did just that by onlykeeping veteran Robert Garza in place at center and adding veterans Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson.  Bushrod came in as a highly priced left tackle who previously watched the blind side of Drew Brees in New Orleans.  While the left side of ball had the veteran’s touch, the Bears brass decided to put new blood on the right side which included right tackle Jordan Mills (selected in the fifth round) and the Bears first round pick Kyle Long.  When Long was drafted many scratched their heads because not much had been seen of Long on film – Emery and Trestman went with their gut and it paid off as Long turned in a Pro Bowl season in his rookie campaign and helped ignite a bit of “nasty” on the O-Line.  This unit returns again this year and while the left side will be steady, it is the right side of the line that will be intriguing to watch in terms of second year development.


Running back Matt Forte benefited from the Marc Trestman offense, as his skill set fit perfectly with it.  Forte is a finesse runner who doesn’t have breakaway speed but can be at times, elusive.  His hands out of the back field proved to be one of the more valuable assets to this offense and can be placed anywhere on the line of scrimmage.  Forte still struggles in short yardage situations which is where rookie Ka’Deem Carey comes into play.  Carey works well in third and short situations because he keeps his legs moving and doesn’t go down easily after contact – he too isn’t going to “wow” anyone with his speed but he can be a nice spell back for Forte.

The wide receiver grouping is led by the NFL’s best wide receiver duo: Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey.  Jeffrey had a pretty shaky 2012 rookie year, but after an off-season, which included practices with Brandon Marshall – Jeffrey blew up in 2013, recording 1421 yards receiving.  Jeffrey uses his 6’3″ 215 pound frame to out-jump smaller corners – but what separates him from most in the league is his ability to locate a ball when it’s up in the air.  If last year wasn’t a fluke, the Bears have found a wideout for many years to come – but hold up – Brandon Marshall is still in the building and Marshall is without a doubt still the number one option on the team. If Jeffrey’s size is imposing, what do you call Brandon’s 6’4″ 230 pound body? Marshall has had success against top flight corners in the league and has an old school receiver mentality which includes never shying away from the middle of the field and laying out defenders in his run blocking.  The Bears were looking forward to sliding second year man Marquess Wilson into the slot position, but he broke his collarbone in practice leaving a competition for the number three spot.  It could be the speedy Chris Williams or seven year veteran Josh Morgan, but surprisingly enough, it may end up being former Jet and  Super Bowl XLIII MVP, Santonio Holmes who takes the spot.


Of course the centerpiece of this team and its high powered offense – for one reason or another – is the enigma himself, Jay Cutler.  There is no “in-between” with Cutler – folks either love him or hate him and ultimately it appears as if he doesn’t care either way.  Cutler has always had the arm strength and athleticism to excel in the NFL, but sometimes his “gunslinger” mentality gets the best of him.  More so than that is the worry of his tendency lately, to get injured.  Cutler has unintentionally derailed Bears’ seasons in recent history due to his inability to avoid getting hurt.  Cutler enters this season with an even bigger target on his back after signing a contract which guarantees the gunslinger $54 million.  If Cutler stays healthy there is no reason for him not to have his best NFL season to date.  The weapons are in place, all the gunslinger has to do is keep them loaded and fire.

As they did last year with it’s offensive line, the Bears looked to revamp a defensive line that gave up over 5 yards a carry last season.  The Bears didn’t chase Henry Melton when he was a free agent and they even cut ties with defensive end Julius Peppers.  The Bears went into free agency and made three notable signings.  The first was Lamarr Houston, formally of the Oakland Raiders, who was signed to a five year deal as he enters what should be his prime;  the second was former Lion, Willie Young.  Young is someone who general manager Phil Emery always said he kept an eye on. Willie is listed as a defensive end but the Bears are in love with his versatility so expect to see him on the field a lot; the third was future hall of famer Jared Allen.  Allen still has something left in the tank and said he wanted to play for a team that has a chance to win a championship.  Allen will without a doubt be the vocal leader and help to add an attitude that this defense lacked in 2013.

The linebackers are led by veteran Lance Briggs, who at this point relies more on his instincts than anything else as his best days are behind him.  Second year linebackers Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene still don’t seem ready for starting jobs as their instincts lag miles behind their energy.  DJ Williams re-signed with the Bears after his season was cut short in 2013 when he suffered a ruptured pectoral muscle; and Shea McClellin is hoping to give the Bearssomething.  At this point though, it seems he might just end up being a first round draft bust.


With a rebuilt front line and a very questionable linebacking group it’s up to veteran Charles Tillman and this secondary take care of the back end of this defense.  Tillman, even at 33, is still one of the tougher and smarter corners in the league.  He has mastered the art of the “strip” and can still lock down a number one receiver.  Tim Jennings may be on borrowed time as the number two corner, as it appeared Jennings was duped easily by pump fakes last season and does not make anybody nervous as a tackler – it may be first round pick Kyle Fuller who starts at nickel and eventually becomes the number two.  Fuller is more like a younger Tillman, in that he’s physical, athletic and can make the tackle in the open field.  The safety positions might be filled out with veteran Ryan Mundy and rookie Brock Vereen. Vereen is more of a coverage safety though and he will be tested along the way.

This offense made noise in it’s inaugural season, so there is no reason to think it won’t be the same – or even better in it’s second.

2014 Prediction: 10-6

Pro Bowl Selections: Kyle Long, Charles Tillman, Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio



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Top News of The Week – Pats Trade Three-Time Captain Mankins Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:15:05 +0000 1. Patriots trade three-time captain Mankins to Bucs

The New England Patriots traded guard Logan Mankins, three-time captain and six-time Pro Bowl player for the Patriots, for second-year TE Tim Wright and a 2015 fourth-round draft pick from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mankins originally joined the Patriots as a first-round draft pick (32nd overall) in the 2005 NFL Draft, starting in 130 regular season games since then and all 17 postseason games since joining the Patriots.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick sang praises of Mankins’ football skills and leadership ability, but had this to say: “Unfortunately, this is the time of year when difficult decisions have to be made – and this is one of the most difficult we will ever make – but like every other decision it was made for what we feel is in the best interests of the team.”

2. Meriweather Suspended Two Games

Washington Redskins’ safety Brandon Meriweather has been suspended for two games after he delivered another helmet-to-helmet hit.

Meriweather has a history of getting into trouble with his tackles, and has been fined by the NFL five times for illegal hits over his career. He was suspended for two games initially last season, but won an appeal that reduced the penalty to one.

The most recent suspension came after Meriweather was flagged for a personal foul for his hit on Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith in the second quarter of last Saturday’s 23-17 preseason loss. Meriweather has three days to appeal the decision, if not the ruling stands that he will not be allowed at the team’s facility or have any contact with team personnel from Sept. 1 until Sept. 15.

3. Josh Gordon suspended for season

Josh Gordon’s one-year suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy will be upheld after Gordan failed a test for marijuana.

The Pro Bowler had appealed the ruling, but will be forced to miss the entire 2014 season.  Gordon’s suspension will be effective immediately, and he will not be allowed to practice with the Browns, attend team meetings or other club functions.

Gordon’s “eligibility for reinstatement will be determined following the 2014 season” where he will remain in the NFL treatment program (which includes counseling and rehab) and be subject to random testing.

Despite serving a two-game suspension for a drug violation last season, Gordon still led the league in yards receiving and this lost for the Browns will be a costly one.

4. Ram’s Sam Bradford out for season with torn ACL

Sam Bradford missed the last nine games of last season with a torn ACL.

He recovered and has been training with the team since then, playing in the Rams’ preseason game against the Cleveland Browns.

The team beat the Browns but were the losers for the day as sources confirmed Bradford will miss another full season after tearing the same ACL he tore last season.

The starting quarterback job now falls on the shoulders of Shaun Hill, who hasn’t made a start since 2010 when he stepped in for an injured Matthew Stafford to lead the Detroit Lions to a 3-7 record over his 10 appearances, and has thrown only 16 passes since.

5. Broncos’ Matt Prater will be suspended four games

The Denver Broncos will open their 2014 season without their Pro Bowl kicker. Matt Prater will be suspended for four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The violation was alcohol related.

In his eighth season in the NFL, Prater has been a member of the NFL’s alcohol program since he was charged with DUI in August 2011.

As one of the best kickers in the NFL, Prater made 25 of his 26 attempts last season and set a new NFL record with a 64-yard field goal, en route to topping the league with a 96.2 field-goal percentage. Until he returns in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals, the Broncos will be in a tight spot with undrafted rookie kicker Mitch Ewald (barring veteran help).

6. Wes Welker suffers third concussion in 10 months

Wes Welker suffers his third concussion in 10 months, but all indications are that he plans to keep playing, attempting to return in time for Denver’s opener Sept. 7 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Welker suffered two concussions last season, missing three games after the second one, but when asked at last year’s Super Bowl if he’d play with a concussion, he replied: “What do you think? I mean, you want to be out there. The Super Bowl, this is what you dream about. You’re going to be there, I don’t care what it takes.”

7. Redskins’ offense struggling

After a disastrous 2013-2014 season for the Washington Redskins where the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year – Robert Griffin III – failed to live up to his previous season form, this season was supposed to spell redemption with a new head coach and a new outlook for the team.

Yet Griffin has yet to lead a touchdown drive this preseason. He completed five of eight passes for just 20 yards (2.5 YPA), to add to his three sacks and one interception, as the Redskins loss 23-17 to the Ravens last Saturday night.

8. 49ers put NaVorro Bowman on PUP list

San Francisco 49ers’ All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman will be out until midseason on the physically unable to perform list, while recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL – injuries sustained during the 2014 NFC Championship Game.

With Bowman out of the lineup, Michael Wilhoite and rookie Chris Borland are competing for the starting job next to Willis, in a defense that is already short-handed before the season begins.

Bowman was Around The NFL’s choice for NFL Defensive Player of the Year prior to his injury as one of the league’s surest tacklers and fastest linebackers, and has the potential to have a big impact on the 49ers upon his return late in the season.

9. Chiefs’ Joe Mays to miss at least six weeks

Kansas City Chief’s starting linebacker Joe Mays will likely miss the first four weeks of the regular season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn tendon in his wrist.

The injury is another blow in the Chiefs’ bid to return to the playoffs for a second consecutive season with Nico Johnson starting the third preseason game in place of Mays.

10. Jets suspend CB Dimitri Patterson for preseason

The New York Jets suspended veteran cornerback New York Jets’ veteran cornerback Dimitri Patterson was suspended by the team for all of the preseason after going missing for two days.

Patterson, who was expected to be a starter this season, was reportedly suspended for missing the team’s preseason game against the New York Giants last Friday, an “unexcused” absence according to team officials.


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5 Great Commercials Featuring Athletes Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:10:33 +0000 Often our perception of professional athletes boils down to how we see them while competing. We see them as machines motivated by victory and as power houses that are meant to perform at peak physical conditions some of us can only dream of attaining. Very rarely do we their personality outside of playing sports professionally.

Luckily, there have been a vast amount of commercials featuring athletes that give us glimpse into how these players see themselves. Some are introspective, some are shameful, and others are just plain funny. Here are five commercials starring athletes that are just too good to miss.

5. Ray Lewis Vs. Paul Rudd – Madden 13

The now retired Ray Lewis was one of the most tenacious linebackers in NFL history. Feared for tackling prowess and respected for loyalty. But this ferocious image of Lewis is put on the backburners during a series of commercials he did with Paul Rudd. They feature the two playing a series of Madden with Rudd taunting Lewis, which frustrates the latter and results in hilarity.


4. Tiger Woods and Father – Nike

In the aftermath Tiger Woods’ adultery scandal, many questions were raised by whether that kind of behavior would cause sponsors to drop Woods from their labels. But the brilliant marketing team at Nike took this an opportunity to spin it a different way. The commercial is in a somber black and white and features a morose Woods. We hear the voice of Tiger’s father, Earl, questioning him on his recent behavior while camera zooms into to Woods’ face giving the impression that the commercial is meant to be viewed from the point of view of Earl. He leaves Tiger with the question, “Did you learn anything?”

3. Blake Griffin Travels Time – Kia Optima

Griffin is notorious for his sense of humor just as he is for featuring in a multitude of commercials. From GameFly commercials with jetpacks, to Jordan Superfly shoes with “Dr. Drain” Griffin seems to have no problem putting out any kind of commercial that has some comedic value. For the most part, Griffin sticks to doing commercials for the Kia Optima. Most recently he teamed with Jack McBrayer of “30 Rock” fame as a superheroes with an affinity for the Kia Optima. But Griffin’s most noteworthy Kia commercial came in series of commercials that featured him traveling back in time to give advice to his younger self.

2. LeBron James “What should I do?” and Cleveland’s Response – Nike

After all the television hype that had been put into LeBron James’ “decision” to leave Cleveland and go to Miami, Cleveland fans were sour with James, to say the least. The commercial James and Nike put out during the fallout was more a defensive statement for James as player than it was a commercial promoting anything. In hindsight, this commercial is moot point as James is moving back to Cleveland, and fans couldn’t be quick enough to welcome back the prodigal son with open arms. So I guess LeBron finally did answer his own question of, “What should I do?”

1. Peyton Manning “Sweat it to get it” – Gatorade

Manning has showed time and again, that his knack for television and comedy is unrivaled, at least as athletes go. In Gatorade’s recent commercial campaign, they have Peyton Manning as a manager of a gas station that won’t sell Gatorade to customers that aren’t sweating. The great thing about this commercial is that there are a series of them, each with different reactions to Manning’s demands. Some are in disbelief, others can’t wait to play along, while still there are few who give off the impression that they have no idea who Manning is, and the awkwardness of the scenario prove to be comically rich. You must perspire to acquire, what an awesome commercial.

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How Will the Browns Overcome the Loss of Josh Gordon Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:04:19 +0000 Josh Gordon Body III

A verdict has finally been reached in Josh Gordon’s appeal for reinstatement. Wednesday, Aug.27, the NFL announced that Josh Gordon’s yearlong suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy would be upheld.

Gordon initially met with league arbitrator, Harold Henderson, to appeal his suspension Aug.4, but in between that time, Gordon had an additional run-in with the law Jul.5 as he was arrested on suspicion of DWI. Gordon was pulled over for speeding in Raleigh, NC, and blew a 0.09, which is just over the legal limit of 0.08. Gordon’s initial court date regarding the DWI case was slated for Aug.26 but he and his lawyers filed a continuance for Tuesday, Nov.18.

Gordon released the following statement regarding his suspension:

 “I’d like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans,” Gordon said in the statement. “I am very disappointed that the NFL and its hearing office didn’t exercise better discretion and judgment in my case. I would like to sincerely thank the people who have been incredibly supportive of me during this challenging time, including my family, my agent, my union, my legal team, and the Cleveland Browns staff.”

Throughout his suspension, Gordon will continue seeking counseling and treatment, and will be subject to random drug testing. Gordon has also expressed interest in playing in the CFL while serving his yearlong suspension from the NFL.


How Browns Will Fill the Void:

Despite missing two games at the beginning of the 2013 season due to suspension, Gordon set a single-season franchise record with 1,646 receiving yards. Josh Gordon Body IIGordon also added 9 touchdown receptions on the season. How do the Browns replace that type of production at the wide receiver position? The answer is simple, they can’t.

With Gordon missing, and Jordan Cameron, Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins listed as the only experienced targets for Brian Hoyer, it is easy to surmise that the Browns will not equal their total of 4,372 passing yards from 2013. With Austin manning the position of “X” receiver, and Hawkins presumably in the slot, Travis Benjamin might see some time as a “Z” receiver.

With that said, expect Cameron to devote at least 45 percent of his snaps at the aforesaid position. Browns’ fans should also anticipate Gary Barnidge lining up as a traditional in-line tight end, which will free up Cameron to be utilized as a moveable chess piece to generate mismatches. With the release of Anthony Armstrong, the Browns will also be looking for contributions from their young wide receivers such as the speedy Taylor Gabriel, and Willie Snead, who is a precision route runner.

In an effort to manufacture offense, the Browns will also lean heavily on their running game which is why they acquired Ben Tate in free agency, and Terrance West in the draft.  Look for the Browns to run the ball often toward the left side behind future Hall of Famer, Joe Thomas, and talented rookie left guard Joel Bitonio.

Pettine has stated that while Hoyer has been named the starter, a package involving Johnny Manziel is NOT off the table. If the Browns are unable to develop any semblance of offensive continuity with Hoyer, they will be sure to employ a read-option attack in an effort to set up the play-action pass.

Josh Gordon Body I

Many fans will look toward the Browns’ defense as their ray of light to permeate these clouds of darkness, but they actually had one of the better defenses in the NFL in 2013. Statistically it appears as though the Browns struggled on defense last season, but many of the statistics are skewed as a result of multiple late game collapses.

The Browns’ late game collapses on defense stemmed from their offense’s inability to sustain drives, and give the defense a rest. Moreover, when the defense is consistently on the field, it takes away from the time necessary to view photos and make the requisite adjustments.

Last season the Browns rated 29th in time of possession, and have done next to nothing in the offseason to improve upon their ability to move the chains, and score points. If they are unable to find a way to consistently manufacture offense without Gordon, time of possession on offense might actually be less than the meager 28 minutes per game they achieved last season.

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Game Notes: Washington Redskins Defeat The Tampa Bay Buccaneers In Pre-Season Finale Fri, 29 Aug 2014 03:02:28 +0000 The Washington Redskins defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-10 Thursday night, finishing their pre-season 3-1. Teams now have until 4:00 pm Saturday to cut down their rosters from 75 to 53 players. It’ll be a tough call for some spots.

Below is our instant observation. As always, this is prior to watching back the film. So thoughts are subject to change.

  • Rookie OLB Trent Murphy does an excellent job with his interior rushes. He may not get to the QB, but the penetration benefits the guys around him. I continue to believe he’ll make a better 5-tech than OLB one day.


  • CB Richard Crawford waved off a punt in the first quarter that cost the Washington Redskins over 20 yards of field position. He hasn’t had a good preseason and that definitely didn’t help. He was also abused in the second half and allowed a touchdown.


  • OLB Gabe Miller had a huge sack, fumble towards the end of the first quarter to set the Redskins up for a Ryan Grant TD. He could actually make the football team. He’s been consistent this off-season. Had another good game.


  • WR Ryan Grant continues to show his savvy route running skills and strong hands. His endzone fade touchdown catch was no exception. Grant is just a pro’s pro. As I’ve mentioned in the past, he reminds me of a young Greg Jennings.


  • WR Aldrick Robinson continues to impress. He’s caught the football well and made plays after the catch. His route running has also tremendously improved.


  • D-Linemen Frank Kearse and Clifton Geathers appear to be battling out for a spot. Each player got themselves a nice sack in the first half Thursday night. Geathers later grabbed himself another towards the end of the game.


  • RB Chris Thompson had a nice catch for a gain of 25 towards the end of the second quarter. Thompson had four catches for 41 yards in the first half. He also had a couple nice runs where he showed his cutting ability and speed — making something out of nothing.


  • Rookie OG Spencer Long looked solid from what I could see.


  • Rookie OT Morgan Moses continued to look good at left tackle Thursday night. I can tell he was battling through the leg injury. But he did a good job considering he sustained a scary looking injury last week. Moses also showed his natural ability on the right side. He’s still working on consistently staying low. But he hasn’t looked bad at all this preseason.


  • Rookie RB Lache Seastrunk continues to shine when the ball gets in his hands. He has incredible build-up speed that was showcased on his long 80-yard touchdown. The Redskins have a tough situation at RB in regards to who they have to cut. One thing I know about HC Jay Gruden is that he loves toys. Yes, Seastrunk may be raw. But he’s a toy that Gruden will find ways to use. You just can’t teach the type of speed he has.


  • Rookie RB Silas Redd also continued to make his case as the team gets ready to cut down to 53. He’s a decisive runner with some power and a burst who could sneak onto the roster after a great pre-season.


  • I’ve mentioned Will Compton after every pre-season game for the past two years now. He led the team in tackles Thursday night and is just a guy who doesn’t make many mistakes. He’ll make the team.


  • Rookie CB Bashaud Breeland is just a dog out there. He has a ton of nasty in him. I like his ability in man coverage. He continues to flash.


Follow us: @Manny_PPI | @PlayerInsiders

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NFL Adopts Drastic New Domestic Violence Policy Fri, 29 Aug 2014 02:34:58 +0000 National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to all NFL teams today outlining a drastic new domestic violence policy involving all personnel of the league. In the letter, Goodell admitted he heard the public outcry over the light punishment delivered to Ray Rice, and admitted that the NFL got it wrong.

It was a major admission from a league that rarely admits it got it wrong.

The new policy, which the NFLPA did not have to approve because it falls under the personal conduct policy, will make it a six game suspension for a first time domestic violence offense. A second offense will result in an indefinite suspension and could lead to a lifetime ban.

UPDATE: The NFLPA has issued a statement in response to the updated policy. 


“We were informed today of the NFL’s decision to increase penalties on domestic violence offenders under the Personal Conduct Policy for all NFL employees. As we do in all disciplinary matters, if we believe that players’ due process rights are infringed upon during the course of discipline, we will assert and defend our members’ rights.”

From the letter itself:

Recently, we have addressed issues of respect – respect for co-workers, opponents, fans, game officials, and others. Whether in the context of workplace conduct, advancing policies of diversity and inclusion, or promoting professionalism in all we do, our mission has been to create and sustain model workplaces filled with people of character. Although the NFL is celebrated for what happens on the field, we must be equally vigilant in what we do off the field.

At times, however, and despite our best efforts, we fall short of our goals. We clearly did so in response to a recent incident of domestic violence. We allowed our standards to fall below where they should be and lost an important opportunity to emphasize our strong stance on a critical issue and the effective programs we have in place. My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment, and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families. I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values. I didn’t get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will.

So far there is not much clarification on what constitutes an offense. Domestic violence often goes unreported and even when reported prosecutions are pretty rare. This definition will matter in determining punishment but it’s a major policy statement regardless.

It will be interesting to see if the league utilizes this new policy to address the Greg Hardy incident.

In the letter, the Commissioner issued a Memo to all NFL personnel outlining it’s new policies. You will find the Memo in it’s entirety below:


Domestic violence and sexual assault are wrong. They are illegal. They are never acceptable and have no place in the NFL under any circumstances.

Our Personal Conduct Policy has long made clear that domestic violence and sexual assault are unacceptable. We clearly must do a better job of addressing these incidents in the NFL. And we will. Earlier today, I sent NFL owners a letter that identified specific actions we will take to improve our response to domestic violence and sexual assault. Those actions include the following:

• All NFL Personnel will participate in new and enhanced educational programs on domestic violence and sexual assault. We will also increase our outreach to college and youth football programs.

• Families will receive detailed information about available services and resources, both through the club and independent of the club. These resources and services will be available to employees and their families on a confidential basis.

• Violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence and sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to enhanced discipline. A first offense will be subject to a suspension of six weeks without pay. Mitigating circumstances will be considered, and more severe discipline will be imposed if there are aggravating circumstances such as the presence or use of a weapon, choking, repeated striking, or when the act is committed against a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child. A second offense will result in banishment from the league; an offender may petition for reinstatement after one year but there is no assurance that the petition will be granted. These disciplinary consequences apply to all NFL personnel.

If you believe that you or someone you know may be at risk of domestic violence or other misconduct, we strongly encourage you to seek assistance through your club’s director of player engagement, human resources department, the NFL LifeLine or an independent local domestic violence resource. Help is available and can prevent potentially tragic incidents.


Well done NFL. While long overdue, we welcome any progress that is made in addressing this issue. This time, you got it right.

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Lions Pounce on Bills’ Errors, Shut Out Buffalo 23-0 Fri, 29 Aug 2014 02:32:22 +0000 For the second straight week, the Buffalo Bills had a nightmarish first half in front of their fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The Detroit Lions outscored the Bills 17-0 in the second quarter to take a seventeen point halftime lead that was insurmountable, eventually winning 23-0. Head coach Doug Marrone gave his first-team offense three possessions against a Lions defense that was playing with mostly second-teamers, but did not get any better results than last week.

Quarterback E.J. Manuel was 3 for 7 for 56 yards, and was sacked twice, with Buffalo’s first team offense finishing the preseason without scoring a touchdown against an opponent’s first-team defense. On their second offensive possession of the game, rookie receiver Sammy Watkins, the No. 4 pick in this year’s draft, was hit hard by Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch and came to the sideline.

The team later announced that Watkins had a rib injury, and he would not return to the game. Manuel led the offense to only 50 yards total and 4 first downs after the three possessions in the first quarter.

The first score of the game didn’t come until early in the second stanza, with starting quarterback Dan Orlovsky getting first-downs on passes to Eric Ebron and Theo Riddkc, setting up Nate Freese for a 53 yard field goal with 14:13 left in the second quarter.

Jordan Palmer, who was brought in for the Bills on Monday, came in for Manuel, and looked like a quarterback who only had two days of practice with a new team. On his second possession, Palmer began from his own 1 yard line.

After a pair of first downs, Palmer threw a quick pass intended for T.J. Graham, but was intercepted by Isa Abdul-Quddus. The Lions inserted Kellen Moore at quarterback, who found Corey Fuller for 17 yards and then Jeremy Ross from 1 yard out to make the game 10-0 with just under 6 minutes left in the half.

On the next Buffalo possession, issues persisted, as Chris Hairston was flagged by a holding penalty, Palmer was sacked. Disaster seemed to strike again when Brown caught an underneath pass on 3rd and 22, and was down on the field.

Brwon was helped off the field slowly by fellow running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, struggling to put weight on the knee. However, Brown would return the game with no issues.

However, the Bills offense would not do anything more in the first half, registering only 97 yards of total offense. Moore took advantage, leading Detroit on a four play, 47 yard drive, culminating in a 25 yard touchdown pass to receiver Corey Fuller with 9 seconds left, putting the Bills behind 17-0 at half, and getting booed by the home crowd on their way to the locker room.

Buffalo’s offense stalled again on its first possession of the first half, and then the Lions kept it for as long as they could. Moore and the Lions went on a 14 play, 45 yard drive that took just over 8 minutes off the clock, setting up Freese for another 53 yard field goal to increase the lead to 20-0 with 3:24 left in the third quarter.

Palmer’s troubles continued in the fourth quarter, as he was intercepted by rookie defensive back Mohammed Seisay, who took it down to the Buffalo 28. Six plays later, Freese hit his third field goal of the game to put the Lions up 23-0 with just under 11 minutes remaining in the game.

As if it couldn’t get any worse, Palmer was intercepted on the third play of the next possession, going deep to Caleb Holley and instead finding defensive back Nate Ness at the Bills’ own 44 yard line. Palmer finished 9 of 22 for 73 yards and three interceptions.

Buffalo begins its regular season on Sunday, September 7, going to Chicago to play the Bears, while Detroit hosts the Giants on Monday Night Football on September 8.


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Baltimore Ravens 53 Player Roster Projection Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:20:40 +0000 The Baltimore Ravens will have to release 22 players in order to meet the 53 player roster requirements by Saturday afternoon. There will be a number of roster spots that can be earned with a strong performance in the final preseason game against the New Orleans Saints.

The final preseason game will feature players who are fighting to keep their football career alive. The game will feature the guys that will fill up the back end of the Ravens 2014 roster. It will also be an opportunity for some players to audition for other teams.

“A lot of players are going to play in this game, guys who have a lot at stake,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We’ll have an opportunity to improve, but also, there’s going to be a few positions at stake, opportunities for guys here and elsewhere to show that they can play in the NFL.”

Here is a position by position look at the Pro Player Insiders 53 player roster projection:

Quarterbacks (2)

Starter: Joe Flacco

Backup: Tyrod Taylor

The Ravens have been hot and cold on Keith Wenning. A good performance against the Saints could win him a roster spot but it’s very likely that he ends up being a practice squad player if he clears waivers. Taylor has held down the backup quarterback for some time now. That will continue this year.

pierce_vs_49ersRunning Backs (4)

Starter: Bernard Pierce

Suspended: Ray Rice

Backup: Lorenzo Taliaferro

Change of Pace: Justin Forsett

This group of running backs is a deep unit. Pierce is going to kick off the season as the starter while Ray Rice serves his two game suspension. Taliaferro will be the bruising short yardage back while Forsett is the multipurpose back that can be a valuable option out of the backfield for the passing game.

Fullback (1)

Kyle Jusczyzk

Juice will be a swiss army knife in this offense. He does need to improve upon his blocking somewhat but he could be a factor in the passing games. A season total of 30 – 40 receptions would not be an unreachable statistic for him.

steve_smith vs RedskinsWide Receivers (6)

Starters: Steve Smith Sr., Torrey Smith

3rd Receiver: Jacoby Jones

Reserves: Marlon Brown, Kamar Aikens, Deonte Thompson

This is one of the tightest competitions for the Ravens. Jeremy Butler ends up on the outside looking in despite showing the coaching staff a lot with his consistent hands and strong work ethic. Aikens and Butler could easily flip flop spots but it will really take a strong push by Butler to make that happen. Deonte Thompson gets the final spot because of his recent success at training camp. He is also coming off of back to back games with a touchdown.

Tight Ends (3)

Starter: Dennis Pitta

12 Personnel: Owen Daniels

Reserve: Crockett Gilmore

Pitta is coming off of an injury and has the athleticism to excel in this offense which includes a series of screen passes to the tight end. He will continue to get help with the offense from veteran tight end, Owen Daniels. Crockett Gilmore will step in as a blocking tight end in goal line and short yardage situations.

30_ZuttahOffense_newsCenters (2)

Starter: Jeremy Zuttah

Backup: Gino Gradkowski

Offensive Tackles (3)

Starters: Eugene Monroe LT, Rick Wagner RT

Backup: Jah Reid

Offensive Guards (4)

Starters: Kelechi Osemele LG, Marshall Yanda RG

Backups: Ryan Jensen, John Urshchel

The Ravens can use a variety of players at multiple positions which is something that makes the offensive line one of the deeper units on the team. Osemele could play tackle if need be. Jensen was originally in the battle for the right tackle spot but he has settled into the guard position. Gradkowski or Zuttah can shuffle over to guard also.

jernigane_preseasonDefensive Tackle (2)

Starter: Haloti Ngata

Backup: Timmy Jernigan

This one two punch is going to cause havoc against opposing defenses because of their size and athleticism. Jernigan also showed that he was a tremendous value pick in the second round.

Nose Tackle (2)

Starter: Brandon Williams

Backup: Terrence Cody

Williams will be the starter at nose tackle. That allows Haloti Ngata moving to the three technique. Cody could end up on the reserved PUP list which means that he will not count against the roster but can not practice during the first six weeks of the season.

20_CantyDisappointed_newsDefensive End (2)

Starter: Chris Canty

Backup: DeAngelo Tyson

Canty will bring continue to bringveteran leadership to the defensive line. Tyson is a very capable backup as well.

Outside Linebacker (2)

Starter: Terrell Suggs

Backup: Pernell McPhee

Suggs is the all time leader in sacks for the Ravens and still has plenty of options. McPhee has been a factor by getting pressure on the quarterback throughout camp.

dumervilSam Linebacker (2)

Starter: Elvis Dumervil

Key Reserve: Courtney Upshaw

The Ravens will utilize Dumervil in passing situations. They’ll use Upshaw in to get another body the line of scrimmage to become more strong against the run.

Inside Linebacker (5)

Starters: C.J. Mosely, Daryl Smith

Reserves: Aurthur Brown, Josh Bynes and Albert McLellan

Mosely and Smith are two very athletic linebackers. They’ll cover a lot of ground. Brown gives them another athlete that will get some reps as well. Bynes and McLellan are two special teams contributors.

27_AsaJackson_newsCornerback (5)

Starters: Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb

Nickel: Asa Jackson

Reserves: Chykie Brown, Derek Cox

The top three corners are all banged up but they would be ready to go in a regular season game. Cox is a late edition after being released by the Minnesota Vikings.

Safeties (4)

Starters: Matt Elam (SS), Darian Stewart (FS)

Reserves: Terrence Brooks, Anthony Levine

Brooks is rapidly improving and could challenge Stewart for the starters spot as free safety. Will Hill will be suspended for a portion of the season but is likely to be on the roster when his suspension is up.

justing_tuckerSpecialist (4)

Kicker: Justin Tucker

Punter: Sam Koch

Long Snapper: Morgan Cox

Kickoff/Punt Return

Starter: Jacoby Jones

Backup: Asa Jackson, Michael Campanaro

The Ravens will continue to rely on Jones to be the primary return guy. Campanaro could make the roster as a special teams player specifically on punt returns. Tucker and Koch are one of the best kicker/punter combos in the NFL.

Follow on Twitter: @TDavenport_PPI


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Washington Redskins vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Pre-Game 53 Man Roster Projection Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:11:10 +0000 Well, it’s about to get real. The Washington Redskins are set to square off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the preseason finale Thursday night at 7:30 pm. Washington’s starters will not play, although there was some deliberation on if the team’s offense should play a series or two after laying an egg in Baltimore last week. However, the right decision was made and now starters can focus on preparing mentally for the Houston Texans.

It will be a crucial game for several players, as the cut down to 53-man rosters are set to commence after the preseason finale. With that in mind, we’ll take a look at who could possibly make the squad by projecting the final roster:



1. Robert Griffin III

2. Kirk Cousins

3. Colt McCoy

  • With all three players expected to make the team, this is a fairly easy projection.


Running Back:

1. Alfred Morris

2. FB Darrel Young

3. Roy Helu Jr.

4. Lache Seastrunk

5. Chris Thompson

  • Thursday Night’s game is huge for Chris Thompson — HC Jay Gruden said it himself earlier this week. But I think this team needs speed at the position — both Thompson and Seastrunk provides that. Silas Redd has looked like a quality back this preseason, however, he doesn’t provide that explosive — Gio Bernard esque ability. I think he’s a guy you stash on practice squad. Seastrunk and Thompson aren’t great blockers — they also are still a bit raw as runners. But, Jay Gruden isn’t Mike Shanahan. He would make the most out of their explosive ability by playing them on second or even first down for a change of pace. You could even see them on the field in a two-back set.


Tight End:

1. Jordan Reed

2. Logan Paulsen

3. Niles Paul

  • Easy decisions here. Washington should be able to stash rookie Ted Bosler on practice squad.


Wide Receiver:

1. DeSean Jackson

2. Pierre Garcon

3. Andre Roberts

4. Santana Moss

5. Ryan Grant

6. Aldrick Robinson

  • Leonard Hankerson will go on PUP. I’d try to trade a receiver like Aldrick Robinson. He’s showed that he can play in this league. However, the Redskins already have a couple deep threats and he isn’t going to help you on special teams.


Offensive Tackles:

1. Trent Williams

2. Tyler Polumbus

3. Morgan Moses

  • The real battle has been between Moses and Tom Compton. Based on in-game play, I think Moses won that battle proving he can fill-in at LT. However, they have to be sure he’s healthy. If not, you could see them also hold on to Compton — who hasn’t looked very good.


Offensive Guards and Center:

1. Shawn Lauvao

2. Chris Chester

3. Spencer Long

4. Josh LeRibeus

5. Kory Lichtensteiger

  • It appears that LeRibeus will make the squad after the team releasing Adam Gettis earlier this week. The Redskins can get away with keeping only one center as Chester and LeRibeus could both fill-in, if needed.


Defensive Line:

1. Jason Hatcher

2. Chris Baker

3. Barry Cofield

4. Jarvis Jenkins

5. Kedric Golston

6. Clifton Geathers

  • With Stephen Bowen likely not being ready for the season, Geathers will probably make the squad. Of course, there’s only one listed Nose Tackle. However, Chris Baker, Golston and Hatcher could all fill in there if needed.


Outside Linebacker:

1. Brian Orakpo

2. Ryan Kerrigan

3. Trent Murhpy

4. Everette Brown


Inside Linebacker:

1. Kennan Robinson

2. Perry Riley

3. Will Compton

4. Adam Hayward

5. Akeem Jordan

  • Not many surprises at the LB positions. I think Will Compton is a savvy player. Adam Hayward will be a stud on special teams. If I’m the Redskins, I’d try shipping Akeem Jordan back to Kansas City for a bag of popcorn. But if that doesn’t happen, I think he’ll make the team.



1. DeAngelo Hall

2. David Amerson

3. Tracy Porter

4. EJ Biggers

5. Bashuad Breeland

  • The Redskins do not have much behind Amerson and Hall at the cornerback position, other than Breeland. I think Breeland can get playtime early, as he’s proved capable of playing nickel. IMO, he’s already a better nickelback than Porter.



1. Ryan Clark

2. Brandon Meriweather

3. Bacarri Rambo

4. Phillip Thomas

5. Trenton Robinson

  • I think the Redskins will end up keeping five safeties with so many question marks at the position. Meriweather is facing a two-game suspension and Phillip Thomas is still having foot issues. So I think a guy like Trenton Robinson makes the squad. He’s a guy they like and he’s really good on special teams.



LS Nick Sundberg

P Robert Malone

K Zach Hocker

  • From the moment Hocker was drafted, I knew he’d beat Kai Forbath out of a job. Many had him as the best kicker in the draft. He has a strong leg and is able to drive kickoffs at will. He has franchise kicker potential.


Offense: 25

Defense: 25

Specialist: 3


Follow us: @Manny_PPI | @PlayerInsiders

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Still Loose Ends to Sew Up In Final Preseason Game for Buccaneers Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:27:41 +0000 Tonight the Buccaneers will finish up a well-discussed and debated preseason at home against Washington. While many look at the fourth preseason game as a throw away game the Bucs will still be looking to make some serious decisions before they reduce the roster down to 53 this Saturday. After the NFL Gospel Choir finishes serenading the fans with their rendition of the National Anthem, many Bucs players, veteran and rookie alike, will take one last shot to impress Coach Lovie Smith, GM Jason Licht and many GM’s and coaches around the league.

The biggest concern this preseason has been on the offensive line. Inconsistent guard play forced the Bucs front office to look into trading for disgruntled San Francisco guard Alex Boone and signing NFL bad boy Richie Incognito. Eventually they traded tight end Tim Wright and a fourth round pick to New England for pro bowl guard Logan Mankins. While Mankins is not as dominant as five years ago, he still serves as a major upgrade over Oniel Cousins, Patrick Omameh, and Jamon Meredith. Those three will battle it out to see who will man the other guard position, unless Smith and Licht decide to make another move.

The third receiver spot will be solidified as well tonight. Veteran Vincent Jackson and first round pick Mike Evans are definitely the starters on the outside which means veteran Louis Murphy, third year guy Chris Owusu, and rookie Robert Herron are in the hunt to join the “dunk”aneers.

Herron05_16_14_1_aAll three possess unique skill sets and could be effective for different reasons. Murphy is a savvy receiver and shows the ability to weave through traffic and find the soft spots in a defense. Owusu has seen his production increase the past two seasons this could be his breakout year. Herron is the wild card. When Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford talks about, “speed in space” Herron is exactly what he is referring to. The Bucs’ sixth round pick was the starter in the third preseason game which is known as an opening day dress rehearsal. That indicates the University of Wyoming product has the inside track on the position.

On defense, the secondary and linebacker corps is pretty much decided. The defensive line still has some questions to be answered. While we know free agent acquisition Michael Johnson will be a day one starter on the right side, the left side has a few possibilities. Adrian Clayborn, William Gholston, and a late addition from the San Diego Chargers, Larry English all have a chance to grab the position. Steven Means is also trying to make an impression.

Early in the preseason, Gholston was clearly outplaying the incumbent Clayborn. He was poised to earn the starting nod but injury set him back. In his absence Clayborn has been solid but has not made big plays like he did last year at right end. The surprise has been English. The former first round pick fizzled with the Chargers mostly due to injuries and his inability to adjust as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Since arriving in Tampa he has looked comfortable back at his natural position and he made big plays against Buffalo.

At defensive tackle there is no fight for the starting spot but Da’Quan Bowers flashed signs of being a disruptive force in the interior and could serve as a swing DT/DE. There are others who believe that his most recent injuries may keep him off the roster completely. In order for that to happen others will have to show that they are capable of being disruptive inside. There is no denying his natural gifts and if he can stay healthy in this new system, Bowers could finally produce like a player worthy of a second round pick.

Definitive starters may not play but interest will still be high for tonight game as many Bucs fight for their professional careers. Tonight is their final opportunity to impress.


Written by Gene Clemons

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Ravens vs Saints: Three Things To Watch Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:57:10 +0000 The Baltimore Ravens will conclude their 2014 preseason when they travel to New Orleans to face the Saints. This game will be do or die for a number of fringe players that remain on the roster. The Ravens will get a chance to take one last long look at some players that will make up the depth of their roster. Here are three things to watch in the Ravens vs Saints match up:

keith_wenningKeith Wenning In Extended Playing Time

Tyrod Taylor is sure to see a good amount of time but the Ravens need to see what they have in rookie quarterback Keith Wenning. He has been able to connect with a number of receivers during training camp. Wenning is a very accurate passer that will thrive in the rhythmic passing game. He is especially accurate when throwing the deeper passes especially the nine routes.

 Wenning will get the chance to see some extended game time this week. He made his NFL debut against the Dallas Cowboys but that was derailed due to poor pass protection. Wenning will be able to show off his accuracy if he is able to get time in the pocket. His performance will be greatly impacted by the next group to focus on.

The Tight Competition At Wide Receiver

 There are only so many spots that the Ravens can reserve for the wide receiver position. Usually teams carry five or six receivers on their roster. It is safe to say that Steve Smith Sr., Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown are all locks to make the roster. They won’t play against the Saints. Kamar Aiken is very likely to be the fifth receiver and is probably the starter on Thursday. Aiken can be a productive player, especially in the red zone where it is so important to get open right off of his release at the line of scrimmage.

 Deonte Thompson is probably the starter opposite of Brown. He is a vertical threat that Wenning has connected with often during training camp. Thompson has a good shot to make the roster because of his game breaking speed as a receiver and return man. Michael Campanaro is another speedy receiver that can double as a threat in the return game. Campanaro is a shifty player that saw his first action at receiver against the Cowboys. He’s a tough receiver that the Ravens can use to run jerk routes that allow him to get open on fast developing routes. Coach Harbaug has been impressed with his ability to consistently get open. Wenning and Campanarocould be a productive combo on Thursday.

 Jeremy Butler is a big body receiver that will get to do a lot of work from the slot position. He has very sure hands and is able to get open on deep comeback, curls and other mid-range routes. Butler has also made a few tackles on special teams. Jace Davis is another big bodied receiver option but he seems to be a bit behind Butler, Thompson and Campanaro as far as were he stands on the roster.

The Two Rookie Corneracks

tramain jacobsTramain Jacobs and Sammy Seamster are two young corners that have made it past the first round of roster cuts. They will get to see plenty of action against the Saints. Jacobs has drawn praise from defensive coordinator Dean Pees during camp. The coaching staff likes his upside and feel that his ability to excel in press coverage which is something that like to do a lot of.

 Sammy Seamster is a small school corner that is working to adjust to the elite skill set of the NFL. He has long arms which is always a plus for press coverage and defending the deep passes. Seamster has acknowledged that he has to prove what he can do and back up the buzz that was generated when he was signed as a rookie free agent. John Harbaugh has pointed out how Seamster has good ball skills. Seamster will need to utilize those skills and make some plays if he wants to remain on the roster. He can also help out on the special teams coverage units. That would be the key to his earning a roster spot.

 The questionable injury status of Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith and Asa Jackson could warrant the Ravens keeping Seamster or Jacobs around. The veteran defensive backs are said to be able to play if this were a regular season game. The fourth preseasongame is typically an audition for players on the backend of the roster so Webb, Smith and Jackson won’t play. The focus will be on these two young corners to get some reps on film and showcase their talent to the Ravens along with the rest of the NFL.

Follow on Twitter: @TDavenport_PPI


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Focus on where you want to go not on what you fear @MikeBuke99 Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:30:11 +0000

Focus on where you want to go not on what you fear

— Michael Buchanan (@MikeBuke99) August 19, 2014

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Buffalo Bills-Detroit Lions Preview Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:15:23 +0000 After both teams pareddown their rosters to 75 players this week, the Lions and Bills meet on Thursday night at Ralph Wilson Stadium to end their respective preseasons.

For Buffalo, a first-team offense that has yet to get into the endzone against an opponent’s first team defense. There may be little opportunity to do that, as while head coach Doug Marrone said Tuesday he still plans on playing the starters, he’s “not looking at playing them very long into the game.”

“We’ll get in there and the guys that have some nicks we will keep out and the guys that have to work through some things we may put in there,” said Marrone. “It’s not going to be something where I’m looking to keep them in there for a very long period of time.”

The extra work for the offense, including quarterback E.J. Manuel, was not expected since the Bills have already played the customary four preseason games, with their participation in the Hall of Fame game helping the team equal the amount of preseason games 30 other NFL teams will have played. However, with former Chicago Bear Jordan Palmer replacing the recently cut Thaddeus Lewis at quarterback, getting him to play as “much” as possible, improving overall execution, and with still some roster spots to decide, Marrone feels their are things to be “accomplished” in this fifth and final game.

“I’m comfortable with my team,” said Marrone. “Where I want to see us is getting better at understanding some things, schematically, and some of the things we’ve been working on this week getting ourselves ready to go. I think for each person it’s different. There are still some jobs that are out there that are on the line. There’s competition out there. Obviously, we’re playing a game so our goal is to win.”

On the Detroit side, Tim Twentyman, the senior writer at detroitlion’, revealed what Buffalo’s opponent is looking to take out of their final preseason game:

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell has said throughout training camp that when it comes to the competitions at certain positions for playing time and roster spots, it’s more of a marathon evaluation than it is a sprint.

Caldwell and Co. are going to look at a player’s whole body of work, not just the preseason games, but he did admit to reporters on Tuesday that this week’s preseason finale in Buffalo will be an especially important measuring stick for some of those players.

“Well this game is really important to a lot of our guys, (especially) to those that are in tight battles,” Caldwell said. “This is kind of the point of the roster where these games count heavily for the individuals that are playing in the games.”

The starters aren’t expected to play a whole lot Thursday night, which means players fighting for a spot at the bottom of the roster, along with those entrenched in close position battles, will have an opportunity to get extended playing time in Buffalo to make their final case to coaches.

“A lot of them will get more playing time and some may not have gotten any playing time up to this point and it’s a very, very important one for them, so they try to take advantage of it – give them the best opportunity to do well,” Caldwell said.

“But it is one of those things indeed where we look at their body of work since they’ve been here and make the decision accordingly.”

For a player like tight end turned offensive tackle Michael Williams, this game will be his best opportunity to make a case for that fourth tackle spot. He’s been competing with undrafted rookie Cornelius Lucas there all camp.

“It’s huge for guys like myself and Lucas,” Williams said. “We’ll get a lot of playing time and then let the chips fall where they may.”

One interesting nugget in this game is Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz coaching against his former team that let him go at the end of the 2013 regular season. However, the Paula Pasche of the Daily Tribune writes that both Schwartz and the Lions have moved on:

Traditionally an opposing defensive coordinator doesn’t shake hands with the head coach.

Would be interesting if it happened Thursday night when coach Jim Caldwell and the Detroit Lions play the Buffalo Bills whose defensive coordinator is Jim Schwartz.

It may be a conversation worth hearing.

That’s not how the players see it though.

When the Lions play the Bills in the final preseason game for each team, Schwartz will not be a factor.

“I think everybody has moved on from that,’’ center Dominic Raiola said. “I’ve been here long enough you see enough coaches come and go you just greet them when you see them and you move on. Everybody’s moved on.’’

Linebacker Tahir Whitehead said having Schwartz on the other sideline doesn’t make the game more important or less so than the previous three preseason games.

Whitehead, starting his third season, has nothing bad to say about Schwartz.

“We had a good relationship. He was an easy-going guy, a little fiery at times as well,’’ Whitehead said. “It’s going to be fun, he’s a competitive guy. We’re going to go out there and try to get after them. It’s football, it’s the name of the game.’’

Schwartz definitely exuded both energy and sometimes a laid-back attitude at Bills training camp at St. John Fisher College. However, with it being preseason, it would be odd for Schwartz to open up the playbook against his former team, instead keep things close to the vest in order to save it for the regular season.

Both squads will have their final opportunity to evaluate who are the best 53 players on their roster, and who are the 22 that they will have to let go in order to pare down their roster further. With both teams coming off non-playoff seasons, the decisions could potentially be the best difference between playing or golfing in January.

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