Pro Player Insiders NFL Players Exclusive Lifestyle, News and Under the Helmet Access Mon, 05 Oct 2015 23:07:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dolphins Interim Head Coach Dan Campbell: “We have to change the culture.” Mon, 05 Oct 2015 23:07:51 +0000 rsz_dan-campbell-dolphins-jpg

During Joe Philbin’s tenure with the Miami Dolphins, the team’s effort was often called into questioned. If it was in the season finale of the 2014 season when the New York Jets defeated the Dolphins 37-24 or during the Dolphins 41-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 of this season, it appeared the team stopped playing hard for Philbin.

While new Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell didn’t throw Philbin under the bus, he did say that the culture in the Dolphins’ locker room needed to change.

“I feel like there’s a lot more that we can get out of these guys and we need to get out of these guys,” said Campbell. “We need to change the culture such, where it is so competitive on Wednesday, Thursday and maybe even Friday that these guys – it is very intense, it is very heated, it may even teeter on the fact of having to break a few things up, but that is when you really get good, that is when the juices start flowing, that is when you get the most of your players, is when they’re having to compete during the week because you can’t just go through the motions on Wednesday, Thursday, even Friday and then you just turn it on Sunday. It doesn’t work that way.”

On Monday, the Dolphins fired Philbin after 24-28 career record and a 1-3 start this season. The team quickly named Campbell the interim head coach for the rest of the season.

Campbell has served as Miami’s tight ends coach for the past five seasons. He originally joined the Dolphins prior to the 2010 season as a coaching intern on offense.

Prior to joining the Dolphins organization, Campbell was a tight end for 11 years in NFL with the New York Giants (1999-2002), Dallas Cowboys (2003-05), Detroit Lions (2006-08) and won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints (2009). He was a former third-round selection of the Giants in the 1999 NFL draft and Campbell started 75 games and caught 91 passes for 934 yards and 11 touchdowns during his career.

Philbin lacked fire on the sideline and in his press conferences. Campbell didn’t lack any emotion during his press conference on Monday and said that he isn’t planning just on being the interim coach for 12 games.

“I would say I’m not here just to finish the season out,” said Campbell. “That’s not my plan. Now, we’ll see at the end of the year. I’m not standing up here just to say that I’m the interim head coach. We are coming here to win games. That’s why everything has happened to this point. I’ve got the utmost respect for Joe Philbin. I’ve learned a lot from him, but this is where it is now. My plan is for this team to be competitive, find ways to win games, win now.”

Ever since current wild-card system was introduced in 1990, 15 percent of NFL teams that have started 1-3 have made the playoffs during the same season. Despite the long odds, Executive Vice President Mike Tannenbaum said the team believes they can still achieve all of their goals this season.

“We made the decision this morning because this season is only four games old and, when we made the decision to make Dan Campbell our interim head coach, it was with the thinking that, we can still accomplish all of our goals this year, not a three-year rebuild, but in 2015 the Dolphins can achieve all of our goals that we set out for, said Tannenbaum.”

It remains to be seen if Campbell’s influence will change anything for the Dolphins. The team ranks 23rd in total offense and 30th in total defense, so Miami isn’t exactly doing anything well this season. The Dolphins biggest problems is winning the battle at the line of scrimmage.

Miami’s offensive line isn’t protecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill any better than they have in previous seasons. The Dolphins defense has also given up 642 rushing yards in four games, which ranks dead last in the NFL.

If the offensive line and the run defense doesn’t improve, the Dolphins won’t have much success no matter who the head coach is. Campbell won the press conference on Monday, but it will be interesting to see if he can win a lot of games in 2015.

You can follow Antwan on Twitter @antwanstaley

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Washington Redskins: Was Kirk Cousins’ Final Drive A Sign Of Growth Or Deception? Mon, 05 Oct 2015 21:33:05 +0000 Kirk Cousins had the biggest drive of his life Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, marching the Washington Redskins 90-yards down the field for a game-winning touchdown. Cousins was cooler than Prince, Morris Day and The Time on that drive. But I think the question is worth asking — is this a sign of growth or is it false hope?

The Washington Redskins took advantage of what is a pretty bad Eagles team with a depleted secondary. They simply had their way from start to finish. It wasn’t a perfect outing, but that’s how the Redskins will have to win games for now. It will always be a struggle and mistakes will be made. However, when the game is on the line, you have to hope one of your play makers step up and makes a play. On that final game-winning drive, three players rose to the occasion — RB Alfred Morris, WR Pierre Garcon and QB Kirk Cousins.

“Coach Gruden challenged us last night to be resilient and as we know all these games come down it seems to the last couple of minutes and you’re going to have setbacks along the way and we certainly had our fair share,” said Cousins. “But we kept challenging each other to respond and be resilient and I think it’s a combination of things. I know that that final drive I wasn’t capable of doing that when I came into the league as a rookie. It takes time, it takes failures, it takes learning from experiences and a combination of, I guess it would be three-plus seasons worth of work got me to a point where I was able to make the necessary plays on that drive. So, you know, it’s a process and I’m just going to keep working and keep learning from these experiences and keep getting better.”

Alfred Morris broke-out several big runs that put Kirk Cousins in position to win the game. The pressure was heavy for Cousins and Head Coach Jay Gruden, as a failed drive would’ve resulted in some major criticism for the two. But the guy with the cape and the number eight displayed a level of heroics that we haven’t seen from him since entering the league. He didn’t falter under the pressure.

Kirk Cousins was decisive and gutsy on that final drive. He put a few balls in extremely tight windows, that otherwise would’ve been categorized as extremely dangerous. However, the true hero — Pierre Garcon, made several crucial catches including the game-winning touchdown that pretty much saved the day.

That 90-yard drive will go down as Kirk Cousins’ first career fourth quarter comeback as a starter. But was it the beginning of something great or just another high on the Roller-Coaster we know as Kirk Cousins’ game-play?

The answer is, no one knows. This is why you let him start the season and publicly back him as your starting quarterback. This is why you continue to support him after his worst game of the season. This is why you play it by ear week-to-week. We’re finding out what Kirk Cousins has to offer when the pressure is all on him to succeed each week. He showed an ability to rebound after a bad game against the New York Giants, which I believe is a scenario we really haven’t seen from him in the past.

Now it’s important to see if Cousins can show consistency by continuing to find success in week five against the Atlanta Falcons. Cousins is widely known as a hot or cold, streaky — inconsistent player. In order for him to ever have sustained success (because let’s be honest, that’s what it’s going to take for him to retain his position as starting QB), Cousins has to shake those characteristics.

Follow us: @Manny_PPI | @Proplayerinsiders 

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Miami Dolphins announced Joe Philbin Has Been Relieved of his Coaching Duties Mon, 05 Oct 2015 20:23:29 +0000 rsz_usatsi_7756729_164063748_lowres

The 2015 Miami Dolphins began the season with high expectations. The team signed prized free agent Ndamukong Suh to a $60 million signing bonus and also acquired Jordan Cameron, Kenny Stills and drafted DeVante Parker.

After starting the season 1-3, everyone knew changes had to be made. Unfortunately for head coach Joe Philbin, he was part of the necessary change that was needed.

On Monday, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross relieved Philbin of his duties as head coaching duties. Despite Philbin’s 24-28 record with the team, Ross appreciated the past four seasons with Philbin at the helm.

Also on Monday afternoon, the Dolphins announced tight ends coach Dan Campbell will be the team’s interim head coach for the rest of the 2015 season.

“This was a tough decision for me to make knowing how tirelessly Joe (Philbin) worked in his four years here to make this a winning team,” said Ross. “He is a man of the highest character and integrity that I developed a close personal relationship with. I am extremely disappointed with how we have started the season, but I feel confident that we can improve quickly with the talent we have on our roster. We will soon be announcing an interim coach to lead the team going forward.”

Joe Philbin also released a statement through the Dolphins organization.

“I want to thank Steve Ross for allowing me the privilege to serve as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins,” said Philbin. “This is a tremendous organization from top to bottom that has a talented and dedicated staff. I want to especially thank the players, coaches and football staff who have worked so unselfishly and represented the team with dignity and class. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the incredible fan base who has supported me and my family unconditionally since day one. It is my hope that the 2015 Miami Dolphins achieve great success both on and off the field.”

The team just wasn’t responding to Philbin’s coaching anymore. Ever since December 2 of last season, the Dolphins’ effort has been in questioned. Since that point, the team has a record of 2-6 in eight games.

With the Dolphins 23rd in total offense and 30th in total defense, the team had to make a change within the organization. Many expected defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle to get the ax but Philbin remained loyal to him and that might have cost him his job. Miami might not be done making changes to their coaching staff during the bye week.

You can follow Antwan Staley on Twitter @antwanstaley


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A look at Week Four Mon, 05 Oct 2015 16:30:52 +0000 INTERNATIONAL AFFAIR: The 2015 International Series began in Week 4, with the New York Jets defeating the Miami Dolphins 27-14 at London’s Wembley Stadium in the first divisional contest played in the UK. It was the first of three games to be played in London this season. The other two games, which will also be played at Wembley, feature the Buffalo Bills against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 7 (October 25th) and the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Detroit Lions in Week 8 (November 1st).

The 12 regular-season games played at Wembley Stadium:

October 4, 2015 4 New York Jets Miami Dolphins 27-14
November 9, 2014 10 Dallas Cowboys Jacksonville Jaguars 31-17
October 26, 2014 8 Detroit Lions Atlanta Falcons 22-21
September 28, 2014 4 Miami Dolphins Oakland Raiders 38-14
October 27, 2013 8 San Francisco 49ers Jacksonville Jaguars 42-10
September 29, 2013 4 Minnesota Vikings Pittsburgh Steelers 34-27
October 28, 2012 8 New England Patriots St. Louis Rams 45-7
October 23, 2011 7 Chicago Bears Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-18
October 31, 2010 8 San Francisco 49ers Denver Broncos 24-16
October 25, 2009 7 New England Patriots Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35-7
October 26, 2008 8 New Orleans Saints San Diego Chargers 37-32
October 28, 2007 8 New York Giants Miami Dolphins 13-10

– NFL –

FAST STARTERS: Denver quarterback PEYTON MANNING passed for 213 yards and one touchdown in the Broncos’ 23-20 win against Minnesota in Week 4. Manning earned his 100th win at home as a starter, joining BRETT FAVRE (113) as the only quarterbacks to win at least 100 home starts.

This season marks the seventh time Manning has led his team to a 4-0 start to begin a season, the most of any starting quarterback in NFL history. Pro Football Hall of Famer FRAN TARKENTON is the only other starting quarterback to lead his team to at least four 4-0 starts.

The quarterbacks with the most 4-0 starts:

Peyton Manning 7
Fran Tarkenton 4
Many tied 3

– NFL –

BOOMING BECKHAM: New York Giants wide receiver ODELL BECKHAM JR. played in his 16th career game in Week 4, a 24-10 victory at Buffalo. Beckham, who entered the game already having the most catches in a player’s first 16 games despite only playing 15, had five receptions for 38 yards.

Beckham (1,612) surpassed BILL GROMAN (1,593) for the most receiving yards through a player’s first 16 games.

The players with the most receiving yards in their first 16 games to begin a career:

Odell Beckham Jr. New York Giants 2014-15 1,612
Bill Groman Houston Oilers 1960-61 1,593
Billy Howton Green Bay 1952-53 1,500
Charley Hennigan Houston Oilers 1960-61 1,426
Lance Alworth San Diego 1962-63 1,399

– NFL –

WHAT TO LOOK FOR ON MNF: One more note to keep in mind for tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the Lions and Seahawks…

IT’S STILL EARLY: The BALTIMORE RAVENS, CHICAGO BEARS and NEW ORLEANS SAINTS each earned their first victory of the season in Week 4. With those wins, the 2015 season now has the most teams with one or more victories through four games since realignment in 2002.

With a Detroit (0-3) victory over Seattle (1-2), the 2015 season would be the first since realignment in 2002 in which all 32 teams registered at least one victory through the first four weeks.

The most teams to win at least once through four games in a season since 2002:

2015 31*
2014 30
2012 30
2005 30
* Detroit plays Seattle on Monday Night Football

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The Baltimore Ravens unveiled the completion of a library renovation at Charles Carroll Barrister (CCB) Elementary School #34 in Baltimore City on Monday. The renovation was fully-funded by the Ravens Foundation, which continually works to help make Baltimore a better community.


Ravens president Dick Cass and QB Joe Flacco were joined by CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools Dr. Gregory E. Thornton to highlight the improvements made to the school’s library over the past few months. The library features Ravens-themed design elements, including a stadium inspired reading room, as well as new paint, walls, lighting, ceilings and flooring. In addition to the renovation project, the school received new books and furniture, including tables, chairs, storage cabinets, shelving and a desk for its new full-time librarian. Each of the 370 students at CCB Elementary School #34 were also given Ravens backpacks and a book to take home.


In continuing with the Ravens’ commitment to support education, the library renovation strengthens the availability of literacy resources among underserved youth.


“Research has shown that reading proficiency is directly linked to graduation rates, which is why we encourage a love for reading beginning at an early age,” said Heather Darney, executive director of the Ravens Foundation. “Our hope is that all students will have access to the tools and inspiring space needed to develop a true passion for reading.”


In addition to funding the library, several Ravens employees volunteered their free time to lend a hand with the renovation. On Aug. 28, in anticipation of the students’ return to school, staff members teamed up to organize the library, set up the computer lab and assist with various projects around the school.


“We’re so grateful for the commitment and involvement of the Ravens,” said CCB Elementary School #34 principal David Wunder. “Their support of this library shows our students that some of their biggest heroes know the importance of reading and education. It also shows our whole community that one of Baltimore’s biggest and most popular institutions is not only in our backyard, but in our corner.”


CCB Elementary School #34 is located in the Washington Village neighborhood, affectionately known as “Pigtown,” in the Southwest District of Baltimore City. Pigtown is an area in need of assistance, with approximately one-third of its residents living below the poverty line. Additionally, 95 percent of the students at CCB Elementary School #34 receive free and reduced meals. The Ravens have a history of supporting the residents of Pigtown, an area that sits in the shadows of M&T Bank Stadium, through the construction of houses alongside Habitat for Humanity, multiple tree planting service days and financial support of Paul’s Place, a homeless shelter serving the neighborhood.


The library renovation is only the beginning of the Ravens’ effort to promote literacy among local youth. The students at CCB Elementary School #34 will also participate in the Ravens Reading Challenge, where all students are asked to log their reading minutes over the next two months. The class with the most minutes will be joined by a Ravens’ player in December to have a celebratory pizza party, presented by Papa John’s.


About The Ravens Foundation:

The Ravens Foundation is committed to improving, encouraging and enabling the healthy development of youth in the Baltimore area, as well as other parts of the state of Maryland. The foundation focuses on programs that help youth, and in some cases their families, with various needs, including housing, hunger, education, athletics and mentoring.


Please visit for more information.

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NFL Seven from Sunday Mon, 05 Oct 2015 00:02:32 +0000 A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. ET and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 4, the fourth week of the 2015 season.

  • Denver quarterback PEYTON MANNING passed for 213 yards and one touchdown in the Broncos’ 23-20 win against Minnesota. Manning earned his 100th win at home as a starter, joining BRETT FAVRE (113) as the only quarterbacks to win at least 100 home starts.

    This season marks the seventh time Manning has led his team to a 4-0 start to begin a season, the most of any starting quarterback in NFL history. Pro Football Hall of Famer FRAN TARKENTON is the only other starting quarterback to lead his team to at least four 4-0 starts.

  • Atlanta running back DEVONTA FREEMAN rushed for three touchdowns in the Falcons’ 48-21 win over Houston. Freeman, who rushed for three touchdowns last week in his first career start in Atlanta’s win at Dallas, is the only player since at least the 1970 merger to rush for at least three touchdowns in each of his first two career starts.

Freeman, who leads the NFL with seven rushing touchdowns, is the first player to rush for at least seven TDs in his team’s first four games to start a season since LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON (eight) in 2005.

Freeman is the first player in franchise history to have seven rushing touchdowns in the team’s first four games to begin a season.


  • Chicago running back MATT FORTÉ had 91 rushing yards and 64 receiving yards in the Bears’ 22-20 win over Oakland. Playing in his 111th career game, Forté is the second-fastest player in NFL history to reach 8,000 rushing yards (8,071) and 3,500 receiving yards (3,860). Pro Football Hall of Famer MARSHALL FAULK is the only player to reach the milestone in fewer games (107).


  • The INDIANAPOLIS COLTS defeated Jacksonville 16-13 in overtime. The game marked the Colts’ 15th consecutive division victory, which ties the 1972-73 Miami Dolphins for the longest streak since 1970. Indianapolis’ active win streak against AFC South opponents began on December 30, 2012, when the Colts earned a 28-16 win against Houston.

Colts kicker ADAM VINATIERI converted all three field-goal attempts, including the 27-yard game winner in overtime, and one PAT for a total of 10 points against the Jaguars. Vinatieri, who scored 1,158 points in 10 seasons with New England (1996-2005), has now scored 1,004 points for Indianapolis and is the first player in NFL history to score at least 1,000 points with two different teams. He also surpassed MIKE VANDERJAGT (995 points) as the Colts’ all-time scoring leader.

Vinatieri has now connected on 481 career field goals, surpassing JOHN CARNEY (478) for the fourth-most in NFL history.


  • The CINCINNATI BENGALS improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2005 with a 36-21 win against Kansas City. The contest marked the first time in franchise history in which the Bengals amassed at least 300 net passing yards (321) and four rushing touchdowns in the same game.

    Cincinnati quarterback ANDY DALTON passed for 321 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions for a 127.1 passer rating against the Chiefs. Dalton has a passer rating of 123 this season, which is the highest of any Bengals quarterback through four games of a season. He is the first Bengal with a passer rating of 120 or better in three consecutive games since CARSON PALMER in 2006.


  • Carolina cornerback JOSH NORMAN had two interceptions, including a 46-yard touchdown return, in the Panthers’ 37-23 win at Tampa Bay. Norman, who had a 30-yard interception-return touchdown in Week 1, is the first cornerback with two INT-TDs in his team’s first four games to begin a season since CHARLES WOODSON in 2008.


Norman is the first player in franchise history to have two interception-return touchdowns in the team’s first four games to begin a season.


  • New York Jets running back CHRIS IVORY rushed for 166 yards and one touchdown in the Jets’ 27-14 win against Miami at London’s Wembley Stadium. Ivory’s 166 rushing yards are the highest single-game total in the 12-game history of the NFL International Series in London.


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Giants dominate Bills in 24-10 win Sun, 04 Oct 2015 22:20:08 +0000 Just when you think the Buffalo Bills are finally ready to turn the corner, they come out and have a performance to remind you just how far as a team they still have to go.

The New York Giants (2-2) came into Ralph Wilson Stadium and dominated the Bills (2-2) in every aspect of the game in their 24-10 win this afternoon.

While Buffalo showed signs of life late, the game was already at hand in which the box score was a lot closer than the game on the field.

“Obviously we made way too many penalties to win that game and we also made way too many mistake,” Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan said after the loss.

Buffalo committed 17 penalties for 135 yards, including two of which took touchdowns off the board. They had just 78 total yards gained at halftime.

Going 3-of-16 (18.75%) on third down conversions didn’t help matters either.

“I’m proud of the way this team played,” Ryan added. “Can we play a lot smarter? Absolutely, but I’ll take a team that fights over a team that won’t,”

“…Bring on the next week. That’s how I look at it. Give me a team that has some fight, and we’ll compete until the very end, right wrong or in different.”

Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor could not get comfortable in the first half, completing just six of 13 passes for 36 yards and an interception (good for a 0.0 QB-rating). He finished the day 28 of 42 for 274 yards and added a score to go with one turnover.

“It’s something you have to deal with,” Taylor said after the game on the two touchdowns that got called back.  “Definitely want to eliminate those penalties.  To be the team we want to be we need to eliminate those penalties across the board.  It would have been big to have those touchdowns, but you have to play and keep going.”

“To be the best team that we want to be we definitely have to eliminate those penalties.  It cost us some yards and it’s something that we need to address moving forward,” Taylor added.

While the Giants already blew back-to-back double-digit fourth quarter leads to start off this season (the first team in NFL history to do so), they weren’t going to let such a good effort go to waste again, even with the late Buffalo rally.

“I think Coach challenged us,” Eli Manning (212 yards, three touchdowns) said after the win. “We were challenged after the first two games where we had leads going into the fourth quarter and lost them and we weren’t able to come back,”

“We weren’t playing as well in the fourth quarter, so he challenged us and said ‘Hey, we gotta elevate our level of play in the fourth’ and I think we have done that in these past two weeks. There’s a difference in winning games and losing. We had a good first half, we had a little lull there in the third quarter but we found ways to make it happen and we needed some plays late in the fourth quarter and we were able to get them.”

Giants coach Tom Coughlin would agree.

“It was incredible,” Coughlin said. “The guys played hard. People like Kerry Wynn flew around and played a great game. I’m excited to see the tape, but there was no doubt, a lot of different people contributing. We talk all the time about team; that’s what we got today, [a complete] team.”

The Giants got the scoring started with a Josh Brown 47-yard Josh Brown field goal on their first possession of the game.

Buffalo would counter ten minutes later with a 51-yard Dan Carpenter field goal of their own to knot it up at 3.

The Giants would then take advantage of a beautiful interception by Devon Kennard, as the linebacker took a pass right out of the hands of Bills’ tight end Charles Clay in one-on-one coverage.

Thirty-seven seconds later, Eli Manning would find Dwayne Harris for a 21-yard score to put the Giants up 9-3 after a missed PAT.

After another three and out by the Bills offense, New York would take over and go on a 10-play, 76-yard scoring drive capped off by a Rueben Randle touchdown reception from Manning to put the Giants up 16-3.

The score would remain that way all the way until the fourth quarter, with neither team having much to show.

The Bills’ were starting to find some life at the end of the game, and things looked to improve after Taylor hit Karlos Williams on a wheel route for a 23-yard score with 9:41 left to play in regulation.

Rashad Jennings and Manning had other plans, as the two hooked up for a 51-yard catch and run score just two minutes later to put New York up for good, 24-10.

Even a late Stephon Gilmore interception off of Manning, his first interception thrown on the season, was too little too late for a Buffalo attack that could never get anything going.

“We have to play smarter and be better to take ourselves out of situations that we got into today,” defensive tackle Kyle Williams said. “You know like I said, there were something’s that were provoked today that weren’t provoked in [the loss] in New England,”

“So we will just leave it at that. Obviously we do have to be better, but a lot of people have to be better.”

Defensive end Jerry Hughes expressed similar thoughts after the disappointing loss.

“It’s Week 4, we got a long ways to go so, I mean, we got to learn from this games,” Hughes said. “Games like this you got to learn from and we got to hit the film so we can figure out ways we can get better,”

“Those are the only ways we are going to be a playoff team. So we’ll learn from this and we’ll just keep on moving. We can’t look back [now], the games over with.”

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Sunday is Dolphins’ Head Coach Joe Philbin’s Judgement Day Sat, 03 Oct 2015 14:24:19 +0000  

NFL: Preseason-Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers

Miami Dolphins fans are probably not surprised things have gotten to this point with head coach Joe Philbin, but here we are. In 2013 after the defeating the New England Patriots in Week 15, the Dolphins had an 8-6 record and were in control of their playoff destiny. Miami would lose their final two games to the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets to miss the playoffs entirely.

Last season after a 7-5 start, the Dolphins lost three out of their final four games to finish 8-8 for the second consecutive season.

So far in 2015, the Dolphins have been overmatched in all three games. If it weren’t for a Jarvis Landry punt return against the Washington Redskins, Miami would likely be 0-3.

The peak of Dolphin fans’ frustration might have reached a boiling point last week when the Dolphins lost to the Bills 41-14 in the team’s home opener. After an offseason with high expectations after signing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a $60 million signing bonus, Philbin is likely coaching for his job this Sunday against the New York Jets across the pond in London.

Miami thought they made huge improvements by acquiring a number of players such as Suh, Greg Jennings, Jordan Cameron, Kenny Stills and drafting receiver DeVante Parker, but they offense has been mediocre after the first three weeks.

The Dolphins are currently 19th in overall total offense, 28th in scoring and 30th in rushing. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill appears to have regressed and Philbin doesn’t have any confidence in Lamar Miller as he hardly ever touches the ball.

Miami’s defense has been even worse than their offense as they rank 24th overall in yards allowed, 19th in points allowed and 30th against the run. The Dolphins defensive line has a total of one sack this season and it was recorded by rookie Jordan Phillips, who was inactive last week.

During training camp last summer, owner Stephen Ross said he was expecting the team to make the playoffs after he has been patience with Philbin and his coaching staff. If the Dolphins go over to London during a national television game and get embarrassed for the second straight week, the team would almost have to make some sort of change to its coaching staff to appease the fan base.

Rand Getlin of has reported that the team “will consider shaking up their coaching staff” if the Dolphins were to lose on Sunday.

“If the team loses three in a row, don’t be shocked if someone on that coaching staff gets fired,” one well-placed source said.

An unnamed Dolphins player told Getlin that they are fed up with the lack of progress with the team.

“We’ve been going out there, and practicing our (tails) off every day, but as players, we’re tired of being embarrassed,” said one member of the Dolphins. “If we get beat in Europe, (players) are going to throw in the towel. It isn’t the players. We have all the talent in the world.”
If this report is true, the players have already turned on Philbin and his staff. Once the players lose faith in a coaching staff, it is pretty much impossible to change their opinion.

The Dolphins were in a similar situation last season when they traveled to London to play the Oakland Raiders. In the end, they defeated the Raiders 38-14 and Miami won their next three out of four games after their bye week.

After a 24-27 record in his three-plus seasons in Miami, Sunday is Philbin’s judgment day. Ross has been loyal to a fault with Philbin, but even loyalty has to run out at some point.

You can follow Antwan on Twitter @antwanstaley

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Arizona Cardinals’ Week 4 Red Sea Preview, The Silence of the Rams Sat, 03 Oct 2015 12:00:28 +0000 IMG_20150930_173655The Arizona Cardinals will face their second divisional opponent at home in back to back weeks as the St. Louis Rams come to town on Sunday. While the Cardinals have had the Rams number in recent years, the victories have not come with out serious costs. This rivalry is by definition very physical, the Cardinals have been pretty healthy this year, but these games are usually a straight up war.

Arizona fans know all about injuries, and how they can derail any hopes of making a run in the post season. Preparing for St. Louis will be quite the chore as the Rams are a very dangerous team, and are (once again) leading the League in sacks. The popular opinion has their defensive front tagged as the best in the NFL. Pressure, pressure, pressure… dial it up and do it again, in return the Cardinals have responded with the same.

It will definitely be a battle in the trenches but we already know what these defenses do, that’s checkers. The chess game, in my opinion, will be all about the offensive play call and execution by both teams. I think it’s safe to say the advantage has to go to Bruce Arians here.

The quarterbacks, well… Nick Foles has thrown 2 TDs this season, Carson Palmer 9.
Foles has a QBR of 87.5 while Palmer is way up there at 117.8, I’d say there is a clear advantage here.

More importantly though is the runningbacks, which will most likely decide the control of the game. If you can run the ball effectively you can abuse a blitzing defense and limit the number of shots taken by your quarterback. Having many options at runningback can also wear down a defense.

The Cardinals are hoping to have Andre Ellington back in the line up for Sunday’s game. If Ellington can’t go the starting duties will once again fall on Chris Johnson, who had 2 TDs vs the 49ers last week. Arizona also has rookie David Johnson, all of these backs might see an increase in receptions this week to help alleviate an overly aggressive defense. Arizona fans are also looking forward to the (hopeful) debut of left guard Mike Iupati to strengthen the run game.

Bruce Arians has continuously stated that he wants to be able to run the ball even with defenses knowing that the run is coming. This week will be a true test in that regard.

As for St. Louis, the only one’s averaging anything over 3.2 yards a carry is the quarterback and (WR) Tavon Austin who has 8 touches for 57 yards along with a TD. Other than that, you have the starter Benny Cunningham and the rookie Todd Gurley who has yet to have a break out game. With the Rams ranking 29th in rushing, and the Cardinal defense beasting on yards allowed this year, once again the nod goes to Arizona.

After that I have the Arizona secondary over the Rams secondary- and I have to give the Rams defensive front the edge when comparing the two but watch out for the Cardinals this weekend. Calais Campbell and his team mates take it to another level when playing the Rams, and I am pretty sure it is a pride thing.

Both teams have talented receivers , but the offensive line for the Arizona Cardinals will need to be at it’s best. The Cardinals will likely come out with a lot of max-protect and jumbo packages, but the main guys will have to be solid if they want to keep Carson Palmer alive.

Which brings us to the summary. If Arizona can continue to play with the intensity and intelligent football that they have displayed thus far, they should win this football game. But remember, the Rams beat Seattle in week 1, so not only are they dangerous, but this game could seriously effect the divisional standings later on in the year. It’s only week 4, but best believe the Cardinals are already playing for home court in the playoffs.

Images By: Mike Yduarte

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Justin Tucker Boots Ravens To Their First Win of The Season Fri, 02 Oct 2015 18:02:45 +0000 The game pitted two teams who had major issues coming into the game. The Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2 overall, 0-1 AFC North) were without their leader in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who will be out 4 to 6 weeks because of a sprained MCL he suffered last week versus the St. Louis Rams. The Baltimore Ravens (1-3 overall, 1-1 AFC North) were without a win in the first three weeks of the season. Guess who came out on top? The Ravens did, by virtue of the right foot of their kicker Justin Tucker, who connected on a 52 yard field in the first overtime to give the Ravens a 23-20 victory at Heinz Field.

Tucker’s three made field goals tonight were of paramount importance to the Ravens, because their offense suffered through dropped passes by receivers and quite a few promising drives that netted no touchdowns.

As for the Steelers, quarterback Michael Vick did the best he could to will his team to victory in Roethlisberger’s absence. But in the end missed opportunities in and near the red zone doomed them. He finished 19 of 26 for 124 yards and 1 touchdown pass, plus he carried 9 times for 33 yards. He was exciting to watch tonight, but Pittsburgh needed more than his left arm and improvisational skills to beat a stubborn and hungry for a win Baltimore side.

The most frustrating non scoring drive by Pittsburgh took place early in the second quarter. Steelers cornerback Ross Cockrell intercepted quarterback Joe Flacco (20 of 33 for 189 yards, 1 touchdown pass and 1 interception) near the right sideline and then took the pick 37 yards to the BAL 36. But in just three plays, the drive withered away and on came Jordan Berry to punt.

Steelers placekicker Josh Scobee provided the first points of the game after a stalled drive by his team. His successful 45 yard field goal gave the Steelers a 3-0 lead with 7:41 left in the first quarter.

Former Wake Forest all-purpose star Michael Campanaro, scored his first touchdown of the year, when he took a jet sweep to the right and then sped down the right sideline. He then finished off the run when he leaped into the end zone and into the body of Steelers cornerback Antwon Blake. That 9 yard run by Campanaro gave the Ravens their first lead of the game at 7-3 with just 25 seconds left in the first quarter.

Pittsburgh finally was able to put together a touchdown scoring drive, after four drives in the last two quarters netted either no points, a punt, or just a field goal. With less than two minutes left in the first half, running back Le’Veon Bell (22 carries for 129 yards and 1 score) took a Vick handoff to his left, where he couldn’t find much room to run. So, he booked it to his right where he found some space and an empty right sideline, where he was aided by a Vick block and then it was all Bell. That 11 yard touchdown run gave Pittsburgh their second lead of the game at 10-7 with 1:37 left in the second quarter.

Then later in the second quarter, Vick led the Steelers on a 5-play 45 yard drive that culminated with a Scobee 36 yard field goal that barely got inside the lower part of the goal post. Nevertheless, the Steelers had a 13-7 lead at halftime.

Vick completed his first regular season touchdown pass in a Steeler uniform, when early in the third quarter he took the snap, rolled to his left and then let go of a pass that ended up in the hands of wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. The receiver caught the pass while he was falling out of the top-back left corner of the end zone. That 9 yard scoring reception padded Pittsburgh’s lead to 20-7 with 10:41 left.

But the Ravens countered with a touchdown connection of their own just over three minutes later. Flacco took the snap and then quickly found receiver Kamar Aiken (5 catches for 77 yards and 1 score) along the left sideline, who was closely covered by Cockrell. Aiken stretched out his hands and was already in the end zone, just as Flacco’s pass dived into the receiver’s hands. That 15 yard scoring play cut the Steelers’ lead to 20-14 with 7:27 left in the third quarter.

Early in the fourth quarter and just when it seemed that the Ravens were going to take the lead, a fumbled snap by Flacco which made him scramble for the ball, and then get tackled 12 yards behind the line of scrimmage on 2nd and 11. Then on the next play on 3rd and 23, an 11 yard reception by running back Lorenzo Taliaferro forced a 4th and 12 field goal by Tucker. Tucker’s subsequent 40 yard field goal connection cut the Steelers’ lead to 20-17 with 10:14 left in the game.

Much later in the game, dropped passes by Ravens receivers and a sack by the Steelers defense on 4th and 10 gave the Steelers the ball at their 29 yard line with 2:04 left in the contest. Three plays and a prolonged huddle drained the clock to 1:06 left in the contest. At this time the Steelers sent in Scobee, who ended up missing the 41 yard attempt to the left of the goal post.

The Ravens on their last offensive drive of the game, received a huge play when Aiken got down field and beat Blake for a near the right sideline 20 yard reception to the PIT 32. That play set up a Tucker 42 yard field goal which he made and tied the game at 20-20.

Later in the overtime period, Tucker ended all the drama when he connected on a 52 yard field goal to win the game.

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Five things to watch this weekend in Bills/Giants Fri, 02 Oct 2015 17:24:13 +0000 The Buffalo Bills are looking to pick up a second straight victory this Sunday, with the visiting New York Giants coming to Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY.

The Bills (2-1) are looking for their first 3-1 start in over four years, while the Giants (1-2) are also looking for their second straight win while trying to shake off some tough early-season loses to get back in the NFC East race.

Here are my five things to watch for in this weekend’s match up.


The injury bug has hit both of these teams hard, and in a big way.

To start with Buffalo, both offensive playmakers LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and Sammy Watkins (calf) are unlikely to play this Sunday.

UPDATE: Both players have officially been ruled out on Friday afternoon.

“We don’t wanna say out. But yeah, I mean you guys can figure it out,” Head Coach Rex Ryan told the media yesterday after practice. “They haven’t practiced the whole week and all that stuff. But there is that chance. “

Safety Aaron Williams is also still working his way back from the scary neck injury he suffered in the Bills’ loss against New England two weeks ago. While he has been a limited participant in practice, it has been mostly with the scout team and he could need more time before making his return.

The Bills need their depth to continue producing.

Rookie running back Karlos Williams (186 rushing yards, three touchdowns) has been a force when running the football, and can shoulder the load if McCoy is indeed out.

At wide receiver, the Bills also appear to be in ok shape.

The three wide receiver sets will now feature Robert Woods, Percy Harvin and Chris Hogan if Watkins is out, three players capable of creating separation (in their own unique ways) and coming down with the football in coverage.

Tight end Charles Clay has shown he is more than capable of receiving a heavier workload too.

The Giants are in a little worse shape; especially with wide receiver Victor Cruz suffering a setback with his injured left calf.

He has been ruled out for this weekend.

“Victor tried it [Wednesday], and it did not feel right to him,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said, per “So he did not practice, just a little bit in the very beginning. Obviously, we’re all disappointed in that.

“But we choose to take the road that we really don’t have a lot of choice in. Which means that, get him back in rehab, get him back to work and see when we can get him back on the field. … It is what it is. He tried it, and he didn’t make it. So he will not be able to play this week.”

Both defensive end Robert Ayers Jr. and left tackle Ereck Flowers have been limited participates as well, and both are still questionable to suit up this weekend.

Ayers would be a huge loss to a pass rush that is struggling this season. The Giants have just three quarterback sacks through their first three games.

Tyrod Taylor

It has been nothing but good news coming from Taylor and the Bills offense.

Subtract a rough stretch from that New England game, and Taylor has shown great poise in leading the 3rd-highest scoring offense in the league.

Taylor is the only quarterback in the NFL to rank in the top five of completion percentage (74.4%), yards per attempt (9.15) and touchdowns (7). More importantly, he has just three interceptions, and has shown great growth in his learning curve already.

The young quarterback has shown he can throw from the pocket, while also having the ability to tuck it and run for big gains.

It helps that the Giants are bringing the last ranked passing defense in the league with them to town. So far they have allowed an average of 335.7 yards per game against through the air.

No matter the match up so far, Taylor has exceeded expectations.

“He’s what we were hoping that we got,” Ryan said on Wednesday. “I mean this is a guy that he’s smart. So he can manage the game. But he’s way more than that. Does he have run ability? He absolutely has that. He’s the fastest quarterback in the National Football League so we knew that was a plus. He also has a feel of when to run. You know he tried to protect himself, hurt his ankle a little bit. But he is trying. He’s aware he needs to protect himself, run out of bounds, slide, do those type of things and he’s a very talented guy. He can make throws and we have a talented core of receivers around him. So that’s what we built. That’s what we had in here.”

The ankle injury will not be a factor as Taylor has been a full participant in practice this week.

“No I mean just one of those things, his foot kinda got caught,” Ryan said. “But he is trying to take care of himself and we have to do those type of things. But no, he’s fine.”

Bills Secondary vs. Eli Manning

The Bills defense is playing up to the high standards that have been set in recent years.

With Buffalo tops against the run, holding teams to just 74 yards on the ground per game, it will put a lot of pressure on Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

Manning, while not putting up huge numbers, has been solid for the most part this season, throwing for 764 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions through three games.

“I think that’s just being more comfortable with the offense, knowing where I want to go with the ball,’’ Manning said yesterday, per the New York Post. “Just a product of guys doing the right thing, offensive line protecting, being in good down and distance, a combination of a lot of things. Getting the ball out quickly and guys getting open.’’

Whatever the case, Manning will get a tough test against a young Buffalo secondary.

New England Patriot Tom Brady humbled Buffalo two weeks ago, but they played very well in their two wins against Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill.

The unit leads the league is passes defended (24) and has held opposing quarterbacks to a rating of 78.1, fifth-best in the league.

The Bills are going to blitz a lot, meaning Manning is going to have a lot of one-on-one match ups. If the pressure gets there though, expect a long day for the Giants.

The Buffalo defense already has eight takeaways this season.

Expect them to add a few to that total.

Karlos Williams vs. Giants rushing defense

We touched on it earlier; LeSean McCoy is likely out, meaning its rookie Karlos Williams’s show.

Williams has shown a combination of power and speed (7.8 yards per carry) that few in the league posses, turning 12 carries last week into 110 yards and a touchdown, his third in three straight games.

The 6’1”, 230 lb. back is going to bring a hard-nosed, physical style this weekend, so what exactly does that mean for the Giants?

One positive from the defensive side of the ball has been their ability to stop the run, averaging just 74.7 yards per game allowed on the ground, a mark only behind Buffalo.

They have no intention of changing what they are doing just because they might be seeing a different back than McCoy on the field.

“Won’t change,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Wednesday, per “You know the different styles of the two runners. They’re a little bit different. We know LeSean very well and he’s an excellent runner, always had significant days against us.

“But Williams is a powerful guy, a bigger guy, a slam it up in there north and south guy. He has some speed to get outside. He’s 4.48 [in the 40-yard dash].”

Giants vs. Buffalo’s defensive line

The Buffalo Bills defensive line is one that gives QB’s and offensive coordinators nightmares.

Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Jerry Hughes, and Marcell Darues are one of the best groups in the league and the Giants revamped offensive line will have their work cut out for them.

“They have a real good front, that’s a good defense. We’re definitely up for the challenge this week, it’s going to be a good game,” said Giants offensive lineman Justin Pugh, per SB Nation. “Big, strong, they work well together, they’ve played together a while. The two guys on the right side have been in the league for 10 years, they know a thing or two. I think two guys on the D-Line are 100 million dollar guys, so they’re expected to play well, and they have played well.”

The group helps lead a Buffalo defensive unit that is best against the run in the entire league.

“They’re good. They’re talented on defense, they’ve got good players, they’ve got a good scheme, they’ve done a good job. I guess the Patriots had a good game plan against them, made some plays, did some good things, but they still got pressure on Tom (Brady),” Giants quarterback Eli Manning added. “But versus Indianapolis and versus Miami, they got after them pretty good. We’ve got to be sharp up front and on all their different looks and their players. We’ve got to do a good job on third down and take care of the football, can’t turn the ball over against them.”

So how are the Giants going to go about neutralize that pass rush?

“We’re going to try to do that. Spread them out a little bit. Try to get the ball out of there quick so they can’t get as much pressure on Eli as they’re going to,” said Giants wide receiver Rueben Randle. “It’s going to be upon us to make some plays, especially outside the catch.”


The good times keep rolling in Buffalo. With another strong effort from their defense confusing Manning for much of the afternoon, to go with another effective day on offense (including a nice day from RB Williams), the Bills get another victory in front of the home-crowd; 24-10 Bills.

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Super Bowl Rematches And Homecomings Featured This Season Fri, 02 Oct 2015 12:40:17 +0000 WEEK 4: GIANTS AT BILLS


The 2015 NFL regular-season schedule features 19 Super Bowl rematches as part of the year-long celebration of Super Bowl 50, which will be played on Sunday, February 7, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

The Giants will travel to take on the Bills Sunday in a rematch of Super Bowl XXV, won by the Giants 20-19. Rematches are part of the NFL’s On The Fifty platform, designed to link the past 49 Super Bowls with this year’s game and honor the teams, players, coaches, fans and communities that have been a part of those games.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will also celebrate Homecomings this week as NFL Legends will return to be honored by their teams and will reconnect with former teammates, club personnel, and fans. The Buccaneers will induct MIKE ALSTOTT into the team’s Ring of Honor in Week 4 against Carolina.

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Detroit Lions: STEVE UGANSKI OF JENISON HIGH SCHOOL NAMED DETROIT LIONS/FARM BUREAU INSURANCE OF MICHIGAN HIGH SCHOOL Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:34:37 +0000 The Detroit Lions have named Steve Uganski of Jenison High School the week five recipient of the 2015 Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan High School Football Coach of the Week Program.

On September 25, Coach Uganski directed his Wildcats to a surprising 28-7 victory over previously unbeaten and 5th ranked East Kentwood. At 3-2, Jenison’s three wins this season surpasses the win total of the program for the previous three seasons combined. Currently in his 2nd season at Jenison, his alma mater, Uganski has coached football for 17 years, having also been a head coach at Wyoming Park for two seasons. This Friday during Homecoming, Jenison hosts the 1-4 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central Rangers in a Ottawa-Kent Conference White Division battle.

In terms of player health and safety, the Jenison Athletic Department abides by the player health and safety standards set by the Michigan High School Athletic Association and continues to educate all those involved in the student-athletes sports experience by addressing these important topics during the respective sports’ “Meet the Team” night.

High School Football Coach of the Week Program

Each week throughout the 2015 nine-week high school football regular season, one coach that best develops his players’ character, discipline, and football skill in addition to emphasizing player health and safety in their program, will be recognized for his commitment to the team, school, and community. The winner is selected by a panel of high school football media members—Mick McCabe (Detroit Free Press), Hugh Bernreuter (Saginaw News), Bret Bakita (WOOD Radio-106.9 FM, ESPN 96.1 FM-Fox 17/Grand Rapids), James Cook (Traverse City Record-Eagle) and Scott Brandenburg (

This season’s program will award $22,000 to aid in the development and promotion of high school football in the state of Michigan, thanks to contributions from the Detroit Lions, the NFL Foundation and presenting partner, Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan.

Each winning coach during the regular season will receive a $2,000 donation to his school’s football program. At the conclusion of the 2015 Michigan High School Football season, the Lions will also select the High School Football Coach of the Year. This season’s Coach of the Year will receive a $4,000 donation to his school’s football program. All winners will receive a certificate signed by Lions’ head coach Jim Caldwell and National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell, a personalized game ball as well as acknowledgement at an upcoming Lions home game.

Currently in its’ 19th year, the Detroit Lions High School Coach of the Week program has awarded $345,000 to high school football programs throughout the state of Michigan. For more information on the Detroit Lions High School Coach of the Week program, contact Chris Fritzsching, Lions’ Director of Youth Football, at 313-262-2248.

About Farm Bureau Insurance: Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan was founded in 1949 by Michigan farmers who wanted an insurance company that worked as hard as they did. Those values still guide the company today and are a big reason why they are known as Michigan’s Insurance Company, dedicated to protecting the farms, families, and businesses of this great state. Farm Bureau Insurance agents across Michigan provide a full range of insurance services—life, home, auto, farm, business, retirement, Lake Estate®, and more—protecting nearly 500,000 Michigan policyholders.

About the NFL Foundation: The National Football League Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. The NFL Foundation represents the 32 NFL clubs and supports the health and safety of athletes, youth football, and the communities which support our game.

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NFC Players Of The Month Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:29:38 +0000 Wide receiver JULIO JONES of the Atlanta Falcons, cornerback JOSH NORMAN of the Carolina Panthers and rookie kick returner-punt returner TYLER LOCKETT of the Seattle Seahawks are the NFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Month for September, the NFL announced today.

• Jones led the NFL with 34 catches and 440 receiving yards and scored four touchdowns as the Falcons posted a 3-0 record in September. He also topped the league in scrimmage yards (440) and first downs (23).
• His 34 receptions are the most in NFL history by a player in his team’s first three games to start a season.
• Jones is the first player in league annals with at least 135 receiving yards in each of his team’s first three games.
• The Falcons are the first club in NFL history to start 3-0 after trailing in the fourth quarter of each game.
• Jones had nine catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns on Kickoff Weekend in a win over Philadelphia. He had 13 catches for 135 yards in Week 2 at the New York Giants. Jones finished the month with 12 catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns at Dallas in Week 3.
• In his fifth season from Alabama, this is Jones’ first career Player of the Month Award.
• He was named the NFC Offensive Player of Week 1.
• Jones is the third wide receiver in franchise history to be named Offensive Player of the Month, joining ANDRE RISON (October 1990) and RODDY WHITE (October 2010).

josh-norman-nfl-tampa-bay-buccaneers-carolina-panthers-850x560DEFENSE: CB JOSH NORMAN, CAROLINA PANTHERS
• Norman tied for the NFL lead with two interceptions and had 15 tackles, five passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery as the Panthers finished the month 3-0.
• He had a 30-yard interception-return touchdown in Week 1 and added a forced fumble and fumble recovery in that game. Norman is the only player in the past 25 seasons to have an interception-return touchdown, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on Kickoff Weekend.
• In Week 3, he sealed a key division win over New Orleans with an interception in the end zone with just over one minute remaining in the game and Carolina leading by five points.
• Norman’s five passes defensed during the month tied for the most in the NFC.
• In his fourth year from Coastal Carolina, this is Norman’s first career Player of the Month Award.
• He is the first defensive back in team history to be named Defensive Player of the Month.
• Norman is the first Panther to win Defensive Player of the Month since THOMAS DAVIS in 2013 (November).

• Lockett had a 105-yard kickoff-return touchdown and a 57-yard punt-return touchdown during the month, the only player in the league to return two kicks for a touchdown.
• He had a 57-yard PR-TD in Week 1 and a 105-yard KR-TD in Week 3 and is only the second rookie in NFL history (TONY GREEN, 1978) to have both a punt-return touchdown and a kickoff-return touchdown in his team’s first three games to start a season.
• Lockett’s 105-yard kickoff-return touchdown is the longest in franchise history.
• His 334 total kick-return yards (240 kickoff, 94 punt) are the most in the NFL.
• In his rookie season from Kansas State, this is Lockett’s first career Player of the Month Award.
• Lockett joins JOEY GALLOWAY (November 1995) as the only rookies in franchise history to be named Special Teams Player of the Month.


Offense Defense Special Teams
September WR Julio Jones, Atlanta CB Josh Norman, Carolina KR-PR Tyler Lockett, Seattle


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AFC Players Of The Month Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:21:20 +0000 Quarterback TOM BRADY of the New England Patriots, linebacker DE MARCUS WARE of the Denver Broncos and kicker STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI of the New England Patriots are the AFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Month for September, the NFL announced today.

• Brady led the NFL with 1,112 passing yards and posted nine touchdowns passes with no interceptions for a 119.6 rating as he led the Patriots to a 3-0 record in September.
• He is one of two players in NFL annals to pass for at least 1,100 yards with nine or more touchdowns and no interceptions through Week 3 (PEYTON MANNING, 2013).
• Brady completed 96 of 133 passes in the month (72.2 percent), and his 96 completions are the most by any player in NFL history through three games.
• Brady posted at least two touchdown passes and a passer rating of 105 or better in each of his three games this month. He passed for 288 yards and four touchdowns with a 143.8 passer rating in the Patriots’ 28-21 Thursday night victory against Pittsburgh on Kickoff Weekend and followed with 466 yards and three touchdowns in a 40-32 win at Buffalo in Week 2. Brady capped of his September with 358 yards and two touchdowns with a 118.1 passer rating in a 51-17 victory against Jacksonville last week.
• In his 16th season from Michigan, this is Brady’s eighth career Offensive Player of the Month Award, which ties PEYTON MANNING for the most AFC Offensive Player of the Month Awards since the accolade was instituted in 1986. Brady most recently won the award in October of 2014.

• Ware tied for first in the AFC and second in the NFL with 3.5 sacks while posting 10 tackles as the Broncos finished with a 3-0 record in September.
• He is the only NFL player to post at least one sack in each of the first three games this season.
• Denver leads the NFL in total defense (259.0 yards per game), passing defense (176.3 yards per game) and turnover differential (+6).
• In Week 1, Ware posted two tackles and one sack in the Broncos’ 19-13 win against Baltimore. He followed with one sack and four tackles in Denver’s 31-24 divisional road victory at Kansas City on Thursday Night Football in Week 2 and wrapped up the month with another four tackles and 1.5 sacks against Detroit last week.
• In his 11th year from Troy, this is Ware’s first career Player of the Month Award.
• He joins KARL MECKLENBURG (November 1989), SIMON FLETCHER (December 1991) and VON MILLER (November 2012, October 2014) as the only Broncos linebackers to be named Defensive Player of the Month.

• Gostkowski led the NFL with 35 total points and converted all seven field-goal attempts and 14 PATs as the Patriots posted a 3-0 record.
• His seven made field goals tied for the most in the AFC, and his 14 PATs led the conference.
• Gostkowski booted an NFL-best 18 touchbacks out of 24 kickoffs (75 percent) in September.
• He converted all six extra points against Jacksonville in Week 3 and has made 425 consecutive PATs, surpassing MATT STOVER (422) for the longest streak in NFL history.
• In his 10th season from Memphis, this is Gostkowski’s third career Special Teams Player of the Month Award.
• He joins ADAM VINATIERI as the only Patriots to be named Special Teams Player of the Month three times.

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Ravens’ Highschool Football ShowDown Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:08:07 +0000 During each week of the regular season, the Baltimore Ravens will recognize one local high school football game as its Ravens RISE High School Football Showdown.Ravens high School Football ShowDown


This week’s Showdown features the C. Milton Wright Mustangs (3-1) at the Fallston Cougars (2-2). Kickoff on Friday night (10/2) is 7 p.m. The Cougars look to extend their winning streak over their Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference rivals after defeating the Mustangs in each of the past two seasons.


In conjunction with The Baltimore Sun, a voting poll is established each week to help select which Showdown will receive a visit to the game from Ravens Cheerleaders and mascot Poe, as well as a monetary donation for both school’s respective athletic programs. Following the matchup, each game will be showcased through a detailed game recap and photo gallery.


Voting is now open for next week’s Ravens RISE High School Football Showdown and will close Tuesday (10/6). The games available for Week 6 are:


· John Carroll @ Boys’ Latin (10/9 @ 4 PM)

· Havre de Grace @ North Harford (10/9 @ 7 PM)

· Wilde Lake @ Hammond (10/10 @ 12 PM)
To vote, please visit



Coach of the week (Ravens)


Larry Mitchell, varsity head football coach of the Patterson (Baltimore, Md.) Clippers, has been named the Ravens High School Coach of the Week. Now in its 19th year of existence, Mitchell is the fourth recipient of the award in 2015.


Last Friday, Patterson (4-0) earned a come-from-behind victory at the Dunbar (Baltimore, Md.) Poets, 16-14. Trailing by six, 14-8, in the fourth quarter, Patterson QB Kennard Pugh tossed a 34-yard touchdown to Damion Gaither. The ensuing two-point conversion by Dominic Watson gave the Clippers a lead they would not relinquish over their Baltimore City foes, and the win has Patterson off to its best start since 2005.


“In 2013, we won our region, but last year, we underachieved,” explained Coach Mitchell, a Patterson alum. “A lot of the players we have on our team this year were freshmen and sophomores on the 2013 team, so they understand what they need to do to get the job done. Plus, this senior class is very special to me. We came into the school together in 2012, so these are my guys. We have had time to grow and mature together, and now they know what I’m going to say before I even say it.”


The Clippers battle the Carver Vocational Technical (Baltimore, Md.) Bears at home this Friday (10/2) for the first time since 2012 when Patterson earned a 32-2 victory.


Each week during the season, the Ravens honor a high school coach who has made a significant impact on his student-athletes. Each winner will be in attendance at the Ravens-Chiefs home game on Dec. 20 for an opportunity to be named the Ravens High School Coach of the Year. In addition, each coach receives a donation to the school’s football program and an award from Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.


These initiatives are just a piece of Ravens RISE, the team’s football outreach initiative presented by Wendy’s. The program impacts a range of area football players from youth to high school, providing them with a year-round opportunity to “Play Like A Raven” through clinics, tournaments, grants, ticket donations and exclusive opportunities to play at M&T Bank Stadium and interact with Ravens players and coaches.


To learn more about Ravens RISE, go to




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NFLPA’S ONE TEAM FOR THE CURE SHIRTS BACK FOR 2015 Thu, 01 Oct 2015 17:41:50 +0000 Aspot_2Newly designed charitable shirts featuring 25+ players dedicated to fighting cancer are available online
WASHINGTON – One Team For The Cure shirts benefiting the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C. are now on sale online through One Team Shop (, the NFLPA’s e-commerce store featuring officially licensed player merchandise of more than 1,800 NFL players.

As of today’s launch, the following players who are passionate about raising awareness for the disease have committed to participating in the 2015 One Team For The Cure campaign: Doug Baldwin, Sam Barrington, Joique Bell, Le’Veon Bell, Ka’Deem Carey, Jared Cook, Thomas Davis, Harry Douglas, Andre Ellington, Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, Devin Hester, Justin Houston, Malcolm Jenkins, Rashad Jennings, Jarvis Landry, E.J. Manuel, Vance McDonald, Branden Oliver, Marcel Reece, Coty Sensabaugh, Torrey Smith, Devon Still, Shane Vereen, DeMarcus Ware and Tramon Williams.

“While millions of people are affected by cancer every year, living with the illness can be an isolating experience. It is inspiring to see players and fans unite for this cause and prove that no one is fighting the battle alone,” said Louis M. Weiner, MD, director of Georgetown Lombardi. “The proceeds from the One Team for the Cure shirts will enable us to make important advances in cancer care and research, and for that we are very grateful.”

The connection between the NFLPA and Georgetown Lombardi has grown, in part out of a shared connection to the legacy of legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi, who was treated for cancer at Georgetown University Hospital before succumbing to the disease in 1970. Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center is named in his memory.

The design of the shirts feature the One Team For The Cure logo on the front and the player’s name and jersey number positioned on the back, with the Georgetown Lombardi logo located below the One Team For The Cure logo. Georgetown Lombardi will use its portion of the shirt proceeds for cancer research and treatment.

“It’s inspiring to see our players and their fans support the One Team For The Cure initiative and the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center,” said NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, who is serving as honorary chair of the annual Georgetown Lombardi Gala for the fifth year. “Finding a cure for cancer is a cause that is close to the hearts of our members and is personally very important to my family. Together, we can continue to help make strides in the fight against cancer.”

“I’m helping to raise awareness and support for cancer research because working towards and ultimately finding a cure is the best way to pay tribute to those who battled the disease,” said Pierre Garçon, wide receiver for the Washington Redskins.

The shirts are on sale from October 1 to November 30 online at and are available in men’s, women’s and youth sizes. Join the conversation around the One Team For The Cure campaign and check out photos of players wearing their tees with the hashtag #OneTeamForTheCure and by following @NFLPA and @LombardiCancer on Twitter.

“Finding a cure for cancer is important to me because I have family members who are survivors and my nephew was recently diagnosed with leukemia,” said Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, “I love my family so I want to raise awareness to protect them in any way I can.”

About Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Georgetown Lombardi is one of only 45 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute (grant #P30 CA051008), and the only one in the Washington, DC area. For more information, go to

About the NFL Players Association
The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players, and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through 2020. For more information, go to


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BILLS CB RONALD DARBY NAMED NFL DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE MONTH Thu, 01 Oct 2015 17:16:07 +0000 The NFL announced today that Buffalo Bills cornerback Ronald Darby has been named the NFL defensive rookie of the month for September.

Darby earning the honors marks the third consecutive year a Bills rookie has been named rookie of the month. WR Sammy Watkins won the offensive rookie of the month award in October 2014 and LB Kiko Alonso was the defensive rookie of the month in September 2013.



· Darby, a second-round selection (No. 50) out of Florida State, tied for the NFL lead with two interceptions and led all players with eight passes defensed. He also posted 15 tackles.

· Buffalo posted a 2-0 record in the games in which Darby intercepted a pass, including a 27-14 win against Indianapolis on Kickoff Weekend and a 41-14 win at Miami in Week 3.

· His first interception came in the first quarter of his NFL debut against the Colts and preceded the Bills’ first score of the year – a 51-yard TD pass from quarterback Tyrod Taylor to wide receiver Percy Harvin.

· Darby’s second pick against the Dolphins also helped set up a 51-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter in the second quarter.

· Darby, who started all three games this month, is the first Bills rookie with at least two interceptions in a season since Jairus Byrd (nine) and Cary Harris (two) accomplished the feat in 2009.

· The Bills’ defense forced eight turnovers this month, and Buffalo is tied for second in the NFL with a +5 turnover differential.

· Darby is the second Bills cornerback to be named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month (Leodis McKelvin, November 2008).

· This marks the third consecutive year a Bills player was recognized as an NFL Rookie of the Month Award winner. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins was last season’s NFL Rookie of the Month for October and Kiko Alonso was the NFL Rookie of the Month in September 2013.


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The Cowboys Get Clawed by the Atlanta Falcons Thu, 01 Oct 2015 16:55:28 +0000
Dallas Cowboys 940It was the third week of the regular season and the Dallas Cowboys were carrying a 2-0 record into the Sunday afternoon game against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons who also had a record of 2-0.

One thing for certain, someone were to have a blemish on their record by late afternoon. This contest would be the first one for the Cowboys to play without both quterback Tony Romo (broken left clavicle) and wide receiver Dez Byrant (broken metatarsal in right foot).

The sold-out crowd packed the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas primed to witness the battle of the undefeated. The Cowboys were seeking to advance their regular season winning streak to six games against the Falcons. The Cowboys opened the game like “cattle rustlers” and “bronco busters” in the way that they rushed down the playing field.

On the Cowboys first play from scrimmage, Demarco Murray’s replacement, Joseph Randle burst down field with a 28 yards run. On his second carry he took-off for a 37 yards run for the Cowboys’ first touchdown of the game. Which gave the Cowboys a 7-0 lead. On their next possession the Cowboys marched 77 yards down the field, with 56 of the yards coming on pass plays from back-up quarterback Brandon Weeden. The drive was capped off with a 1 yard run by Randle for his second touchdown of the game, giving the Cowboys a 14-0 lead advantage over the Falcons, with only half of the first quarter over.

It was not much longer before the Cowboys hit pay-dirt again. The off season acquisition Darren McFadden, cashed in on a short touchdown run to give the Cowboys a 21-7 lead in the second quarter. After a score by the Falcons, the Cowboys zoomed down the field covering 80 yards in only 98 seconds as Randle rushed into the end zone for his third first half touchdown, which helped Dallas go into halftime holding a 28-17 lead.

The Dallas Cowboys controlled the first half of the game. They dominated the line of scrimmage on offense by giving Weeden adequate time to throw passes and opened up running lanes for the running backs to rush successfully. From the start of the second half until the sound of the final horn, it appeared as if the Cowboys had switched sides or changed uniforms. Basically, the second half of the game belonged to the Falcons, especially two of their players, wide receiver Julio Jones and running back Devonta Freeman.

The High Flying Falcon Julio Jones had 164 yards, 12 catches, and 2 touchdowns. While the Unstoppable Freeman had 141 yards and 3 touchdowns. The normally stout Dallas run defense had no answer to stopping the running attack of the Falcons. Also, with Dallas’ linebacker Sean Lee missing a portion of the second half due to a mouth injury, did not help to control the Falcons offensive attack. While Lee was out, the Falcons took advantage of his absence, with Julio Jones breaking free on Atlanta’s in the second half for a 45 yard touchdown strike. Followed with a two point conversion to tight end Levin Toilolo to pull within 28-25.

The Atlanta Falcons poured it on to the amount of 22 unanswered points for the last half of the game, while the Cowboys could not even put a field goal on the board. Although Dallas fought hard, they just did not have enough energy to pull off a victory.

The final tally was Dallas 28, Atlanta 39. Statically speaking, Dallas tight end Jason Witten who played with two sprained ankles and a sprain knee had 6 catches for 65 yards. Running back Lance Dunbar caught 10 passes for 100 yards. And Terrance Williams only had 2 passes thrown to him and both was incomplete. It was obvious that he was frustrated, but he still maintains there were no excuses for his dropped passes. Next up the Cowboys will be traveling to New Orleans to take on the 0-3 New Orleans Saints, who are also faces a few challenges of their own. We will just have to wait and see how this match up plays out in primetime.

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Carson’s Cardinals Continue to Impress- Arizona 47, San Francisco 7 Thu, 01 Oct 2015 16:45:49 +0000 The Arizona Cardinals are now 3-0 after drilling the San Francisco 49ers 47-7 in front of a live studio audience. The Arizona crowd was treated to one of the most lopsided victories in franchise history and to sweeten the pot it was against one of their biggest rivals.

Carson PalmerLast week on PPI we discussed the Arizona Cardinal’s keys to the game, specifically the need to shut down the 49er ground attack and to have success on the ground themselves. The Arizona defense limited Carlos Hyde to just 51 yards on 15 carries while the Cardinals ran for 140 yards on offense. This put the game into the hands of Colin Kaepernick, and eventually into the hands (literally) of the Cardinal secondary.

Kaepernick had a tough time facing a stingy and very well prepared defense. Things started off badly right away when he was intercepted twice very early in the first quarter, and having both picks returned for touch downs. Arizona’s new Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher deserves a lot of credit in this game. All in all the Cardinal defense hauled in 4 interceptions on the day and held the 49ers to a dismal 67 yards passing.

On offense the Arizona Cardinals were in complete control. Free agent pick up Chris Johnson ran like his younger self, going for 100+ and Carson Palmer… well if you haven’t heard about Carson Palmer you better ask somebody.

Palmer is in his third year with the Bruce Arians offense, an offense that is ruthless in it’s pursuit to the enzone. Carson has 9 TDs (tied with Brady for most) to go with 2 interceptions in the first 3 games this season. The Arizona quarterback hasn’t lost a game since 2013 and is 9-0 in his last 9 starts. Palmer has won 16 of his last 18 starts, and has a 12-2 record at home. He is putting up record numbers and probably has the best receiving core in the League.

Speaking of receivers I got three words for you, Fitz-is-back.

333 yards in 3 games, 5 TDs (leads all NFL receivers), and 8 of his 23 receptions have gone for over 20 yards. The chemistry between Palmer and Fitz really started gelling last year but the 2014 injuries claimed “what could have been.” The new Larry is having his way with defenses and his stats are great, but we can probably expect the other receivers like John Brown and Michael Floyd to have stellar games as well once the Fitzgerald film gets digested.

The Arizona run game (which was ranked 31st last year) appears to be functioning at a high level. After 3 games the Cardinals are ranked 11th, and are averaging about 125 yards per game. This is crucial for the team in protecting Palmer and in controlling the clock. The Cardinals also hope to have (LG) Mike Iupati in the starting line up this week, Iupati was brought in to improve the rushing efforts.

And then there is the Arizona defense, which is currently ranked 3rd in points allowed. The Cardinals lead the league with 7 interceptions in 2015, but honestly Kaepernick really helped out with those stats.

The truth is, the Cardinals have not only won all 3 of their games, they have never trailed at any point. The offense has been lights out but much of the success is because of the pressure being put on opposing quarterbacks and the defense’s ability to stuff the run. So far Arizona hasn’t really seen any type of drop off after losing Todd Bowles to the Jets, and they are as aggressive as ever.

Just to add to all that good jazz, the Cardinals have also had 3 NFC “Players of the Week” in just 3 games- David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Tyrann Mathieu. Arizona is loaded with play makers on both sides of the ball and are now using Patrick Peterson on punt returns. Bruce Arians loves to stay aggressive and he has quite the arsenal of which he credits to GM Steve Keim.

Times are good in Arizona and the team is deeper than they ever have been. There are still some disbelievers, some who will mention the quality of the opponents angle but the Cardinals are beating the teams they are supposed to beat and they are doing it in dominant fashion.

And that’s all you really can do.

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