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Broncos complete interview with Eric Bieniemy


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 22, 2022 - 3:44 AM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos
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The Broncos have completed their 10th interview for their head coaching vacancy. The team announced General Manager George Paton and other members of the search committee met with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy on Friday.

Bieniemy, who is the University of Colorado’s all-time leading rusher, has 14 years of NFL coaching experience. He has spent the past four seasons as Kansas City’s offensive coordinator.

He is one of several candidates with a background on the offensive side of the ball. Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Packers quarterbacks/passing game coordinator Luke Getsy, Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan and Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell also have had interviewed with the team.

Bieniemy is the final candidate to interview with the Broncos.

Jerry Jones expresses frustration with Amari Cooper


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 22, 2022 - 3:28 AM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
NFL: NOV 14 Falcons at Cowboys
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Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper signed a five-year, $100 contract before the 2020 season. It made him the league’s highest-paid receiver in 2021 with a $20 million base salary and a $22 million cap number.

Yet, Cooper tied for 39th in receptions (68), 34th in receiving yards (865) and tied for 37th in points among non-kickers (eight touchdowns). He wasn’t even the leading receiver on the team with CeeDee Lamb catching 79 passes for 1,102 yards.

Cooper also didn’t enamor himself to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones by deciding not to get vaccinated. Cooper was one of only two unvaccinated players on the active roster.

In November, Cooper tested positive for COVID-19 and missed two games. The Cowboys lost both.

On Friday, Jones didn’t hold back, expressing frustration with Cooper.

“How he fits in and he should take half the field with him when he goes and runs the field,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan, via Mark Lane of WFAA. “Not half, that’s an exaggeration, of course, but a whole bunch of that defense should have to honor Cooper. He ought to be able to catch it when they’re going in the middle with him. Others do. You throw to people that are covered all the time in the NFL.”

That doesn’t seem to bode well for Cooper’s future in Dallas, barring a pay cut.

As a practical matter, Cooper signed a two-year, $40 million deal. It allows the Cowboys to walk away with no guaranteed money and only $6 million in dead money for 2022.

“The reason those contracts are being discussed is because they have two sides to them; one’s got it coming and the other’s got to pay it,” Jones said. ”And the one that’s got it coming is going to go out and perform usually to the level of the contract. That’s usually the way I think about those contracts.”

The Cowboys have until March 20 to decide what to do with Cooper. That’s when his $20 million salary for 2022 becomes fully guaranteed.

Cooper admitted after the loss to the 49ers last week that he doesn’t know what his future holds but said he “hopefully” remains with the Cowboys.

Brian Daboll finishes interview with Giants


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 22, 2022 - 2:40 AM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills
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Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll became the first candidate to interview for the Giants’ head coaching position, the team announced. It came shortly after the Giants hired Joe Schoen from the Bills as their General Manager.

Daboll and Schoen worked together the past four seasons.

Daboll, 46, spoke Friday evening via videoconferencing with team president John Mara, chairman Steve Tisch and Schoen.

Daboll joined the Bills in 2018 after helping lead Alabama to its 17th national championship in 2017 as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was named the NFL’s assistant coach of the year in 2020.

Daboll has 20 years of NFL coaching experience. He spent 11 seasons with the Patriots and served as the offensive coordinator for the Browns (2009-10), Dolphins (2011) and Chiefs (2012). He was the Jets’ quarterbacks coach in 2007-08.

Vikings complete interview with Raheem Morris


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 22, 2022 - 2:11 AM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
Rams training camp in Irvine, CA.
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The Vikings announced they have completed an interview with Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris for their head coaching vacancy.

He is the sixth candidate to interview for the job since the Vikings fired Mike Zimmer on Jan. 10, the third with head coaching experience. The Vikings also have interviewed Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, both of whom have had head coaching stints.

Morris joined the Rams this season. He closed out last season as the interim head coach for the Falcons and went 17-31 over three seasons as the Buccaneers head coach. He was fired after the 2011 season and spent time coaching in Washington before moving on to Atlanta and Los Angeles.

He began his NFL coaching career in 2002 with the Bucs.

The Vikings have narrowed their General Manager search to Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Ryan Poles, both of whom will have second interviews next week.

Decision not to test unvaccinated players affects roughly 12 players for now, Aaron Rodgers eventually


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 22, 2022 - 1:58 AM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions
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The league had a major potential problem on its hands, under the prior COVID-19 protocol that required daily testing of unvaccinated players. The league has solved that problem, in one simple memo.

With unvaccinated Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers due to see his 90-day testing holiday expire two days after the NFC Championship, he would have been subject to daily testing from Tuesday, February 1 through Sunday, February 13. With current COVID protocols resulting in a minimum absence of five days for unvaccinated players who test positive, a positive result for Rodgers at any point from Wednesday, February 9 through Sunday, February 13 would have resulted in Rodgers missing the Super Bowl, no exceptions and no questions asked.

Rather than making what would have been an obvious change to the rules after the Packers qualify for the Super Bowl (if they do) or deliberately ignoring a positive test for Rodgers (which the league would have ben tempted to do), the NFL cleaned up any potential mess in advance, by eliminating the requirement for daily testing of unvaccinated players.

Per a league source, this encompasses roughly a dozen players who are unvaccinated and not within the 90-day testing holiday. But it also applies directly to Rodgers, who remains in the final days of his testing holiday and who could have been lost for the Super Bowl if tested daily.

He still could be, if he develops COVID symptoms in the days preceding the Super Bowl. The chances of him confessing to symptoms or the Green Bay doctors blowing the whistle on any such symptoms are less than slim to none. Once the postseason began, most players quit disclosing symptoms, and/or most teams stopped looking.

At this point, the NFL won’t be allowing COVID to derail the playoffs or to undermine the Super Bowl. A protocol that potential would have replaced Aaron Rodgers with Jordan Love definitely would have undermined the Super Bowl.

The change in protocol also addresses the concerns that could have prompted Rodgers to potentially threaten to boycott the Super Bowl, a possibility that he tried a little too hard to characterize as implausible. He won’t be tested on a daily basis when his 90-day holiday ends; that’s what he would have wanted, if he’d threatened to not lay.

By next season, chances are that no players will be tested at all, and that the pandemic will be regarded as endemic to the population. Already, the vast majority of Americans are behaving that way, regardless of whether they should.

Aaron Donald knows the Rams must “affect” Tom Brady


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 22, 2022 - 1:17 AM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
USA TODAY Sports

In the postseason, success against quarterback Tom Brady happens when defenses can hit Tom Brady, cleanly and legally and sufficiently to get him looking at the pass rush instead of his receivers.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald knows this concept applies to all quarterbacks. And that it particularly applies to Brady.

“You do that with any quarterback,” Donald told reporters on Thursday regarding the concept of getting pressure on Brady. “You can affect them and get them a little rattled. When you’re playing against a guy like Tom Brady, that’s a must to have success. I think it’s going to be important for us as a defensive line, as a unit that’s actually up there rushing and going against him as far as trying to affect him any way we can. We got to be great at that.”

Indeed they do. Donald elaborated on that concept in a conversation with NBC’s Mike Tirico, the video of which is attached to this post.

In recent years, Brady has reacted to early and consistent pressure not simply by watching the rush more than he should but by getting rid of the football before he gets hit, sometimes recklessly. That happened on multiple occasions in last year’s NFC Championship, opening the door for a potential comeback win by the Packers, after they fell into a 28-10 hole.

The Buccaneers also need to hope they can run the ball against the Rams. That will take some of the steam out of the L.A. pass rush. However, this could be difficult to accomplish if center Ryan Jensen and/or tackle Tristen Wirfs can’t play due to injury. Both are game-time decisions.

Aaron Donald knows the Buccaneers must “affect” Tom Brady


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 22, 2022 - 1:17 AM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
USA TODAY Sports

In the postseason, success against quarterback Tom Brady happens when defenses can hit Tom Brady, cleanly and legally and sufficiently to get him looking at the pass rush instead of his receivers.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald knows this concept applies to all quarterbacks. And that it particularly applies to Brady.

“You do that with any quarterback,” Donald told reporters on Thursday regarding the concept of getting pressure on Brady. “You can affect them and get them a little rattled. When you’re playing against a guy like Tom Brady, that’s a must to have success. I think it’s going to be important for us as a defensive line, as a unit that’s actually up there rushing and going against him as far as trying to affect him any way we can. We got to be great at that.”

Indeed they do. Donald elaborated on that concept in a conversation with NBC’s Mike Tirico, the video of which is attached to this post.

In recent years, Brady has reacted to early and consistent pressure not simply by watching the rush more than he should but by getting rid of the football before he gets hit, sometimes recklessly. That happened on multiple occasions in last year’s NFC Championship, opening the door for a potential comeback win by the Packers, after they fell into a 28-10 hole.

The Buccaneers also need to hope they can run the ball against the Rams. That will take some of the steam out of the L.A. pass rush. However, this could be difficult to accomplish if center Ryan Jensen and/or tackle Tristen Wirfs can’t play due to injury. Both are game-time decisions.

Saints are “disturbed” by failure of penalties called against their opponents


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 22, 2022 - 12:48 AM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers
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For every team that is impacted negatively by a penalty called against it, another team benefits. And when teams complain about excessive penalties called against them, the teams that benefit from fouls called against opponents never say a word.

The Saints have something to say, at least privately for now, about the extent to which NFL officials have called fouls against the teams are playing. Via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com, the Saints have finished 30th, 31st, 32nd, and tied for 31st in penalties called (both accepted and declined) against their opponents in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 20201. Four straight seasons.

The most significant non-call of the past four seasons came three years ago yesterday, when officials inexplicably failed to call defensive pass interference against the Rams, after cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman wiped out Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis before the ball arrived in the closing minutes of the NFC Championship.

Per Triplett, no other team has finished that low in three straight years since 2001. The Packers, from 1970 through 1973, finished in the bottom three of opponents’ accepted penalties.

Triplett writes that the Saints declined to comment on this trend, but he reports that the team is “aware and disturbed” by what transpired.

Michael Silver (who likely wouldn’t have commented on the issue while employed and paid by the league office) notes that there’s a “0.007725 percent chance of this happening.” He opines that the Saints should be “furious.”

As best we can tell, the Saints are closer to furious than disturbed. It suggests that, for whatever reason, game officials have a bias against the Saints when it comes to calling penalties on the teams they are playing.

If it’s a coincidence, it’s one hell of a coincidence. If it’s not a coincidence, well, perhaps Congress should be addressing more than the Washington Football Team workplace misconduct investigation.

NFL eliminates daily testing for unvaccinated players


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 22, 2022 - 12:17 AM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
New Yorkers Continue To Vaccination Efforts, As Gov. Cuomo Lifts Restrictions In Some Orange And Yellow Zones
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The NFL is eliminating the distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated players for the remainder of the postseason, Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports.

In a memo to the eight remaining playoff teams, the league announced it is doing away with required daily COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated players. Only about a dozen unvaccinated players on the playoff teams have not tested positive for the virus, according to Pelissero, so those are the only players affected by the change to testing cadence.

Those unvaccinated players now join vaccinated players in testing for COVID-19 only if experiencing symptoms or are included in random testing.

Previously, unvaccinated players who tested positive for the virus were given a 90-day test “holiday” before resuming daily testing. Under the previous rules, Aaron Rodgers, an unvaccinated player who tested positive for COVID-19 in November, would have had to resume daily testing two days after the NFC Championship Game if the Packers qualified for the Super Bowl. Now, he won’t.

Players on a 90-day test “holiday” will have to test for COVID-19 if experiencing symptoms, Pelissero adds.

The NFL had only three players test positive for the virus this week, according to Howard Balzer of allcardinals.com. Bills defensive tackle Eli Ankou, who is on the practice squad, Titans cornerback Greg Mabin and Bengals linebacker Joe Bachie, who is on injured reserve, were the only players to test positive this week.

Todd Bowles completes interview with Vikings


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 21, 2022 - 11:50 PM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
NFL: AUG 10 Buccaneers Training Camp
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The Vikings announced they completed an interview with Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles on Friday. He is the fifth candidate to interview for the job since the Vikings fired Mike Zimmer on Jan. 10.

Bowles, 58, is his third season as the Bucs’ defensive coordinator.

He and Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn are the two candidates for the job who have head coaching experience. Bowles was the Dolphins’ interim coach in 2011 and served as the Jets’ coach from 2015-18. Bowles went 2-1 with the Dolphins and 24-40 with the Jets.

Bowles began his NFL coaching career in 2000 as the secondary coach of the Jets.

The Bears are scheduled to interview Bowles on Saturday. He already has spoken to the Jaguars.


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