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Monday, December 22, 2014

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Richard Sherman: Patrick Peterson would be benched on Seahawks

Richard Sherman Erin Andrews

Richard Sherman continued his trash talking war with Patrick Peterson ahead of the Sunday night game between the Seahawks and Cardinals.

In the latest edition of the trash talk between the two, Sherman said the Arizona star cornerback’s performance this season would likely have him benched in Seattle.

Sherman spoke with NBC’s Bob Costas ahead of the game and was asked whether he would be watching Peterson.

“Not really,” Sherman told Costas via Pro Football Talk. “I really don’t care what happens in his game. I’m concerned about what we’re doing, the win-loss category, and what the scoreboard looks like. I think at the end of the day, the tape will speak for itself. I don’t know if everybody’s compared on an even scale, and I don’t know if he should be mentioned with [the great cornerbacks in the league]. You give up eight touchdowns in a year, it’s hard to put you in that discussion.”

Sherman then said that giving up eight touchdowns in a season would get you benched in Seattle.

“At any point, if I gave up that many touchdowns, I think I would be benched on our team,” Sherman said. “We have a level of accountability and that’s what we strive for. You can’t give up big plays like that and still play.”

Ouch.

The two have been trading words since the offseason. It all started when Peterson, who was vying for a new contract, said he was more valuable than Sherman. Peterson’s argument was that he follows the opponent’s top receiver all game, whereas Sherman just plays one side. That’s why Peterson said Sherman would not last in Arizona’s system. What’s funny is this is Sherman essentially hitting back on the same point, saying Peterson wouldn’t last in Seattle.

Sherman has always responded to Peterson with some telling statistics. Between the eight touchdowns this year and what Sherman argued with his stats last year, it’s hard to say anything other than the numbers don’t lie.

Dominic Raiola stomps Ego Ferguson on dirty play (Video)

Dominic Raiola committed yet another dirty play when he stomped on the ankle of Ego Ferguson, who laid on the ground in an indefensible position during the third quarter of Sunday’s Lions-Bears game.

Raiola avoided a penalty on the dirty play, but he may not be able to avoid a fine if the NFL is paying attention. The league would be plenty justified in punishing Raiola; not only was that play indisputably cheap, but there is video evidence of Raiola making multiple dirty plays this year.

Here are several examples from the Lions-Patriots game in November:

Unsurprisingly, Raiola has also been called out for doing chop blocks in the past.

Dominic Raiola stomp

That horrible display should have resulted in an automatic ejection.

Philip Rivers reportedly playing through bulging disk in back

philip-rivers

Philip Rivers is playing through a pretty significant back injury, according to a report.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Sunday that Rivers has a bulging disk in his back that is on the verge of being herniated, yet the quarterback is still playing for the Chargers. The issue began to bother Rivers three weeks ago but he has not missed any games. Rivers did miss practice Wednesday, which is said to be the first time in years he missed practice.

Rivers has taken epidural injections and may consider offseason surgery.

This is the second time this season that Rivers has been playing through an injury that has been under-reported. The public learned through Antonio Gates last month that Rivers was battling a severe rib injury.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday morning that Rivers “is battling a back injury that is bigger than people realize, per league source.”

There was a strong hint about the injury from NFL reporters who were in amazement following San Diego’s comeback win over San Francisco on Saturday night. Both Peter King and Chris Mortensen praised Rivers, indicating they knew what the quarterback was battling throughout the game. Rivers threw for 356 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in a comeback win Saturday.

Arian Foster throws touchdown pass, drops scoreboard taunt (Video)

We already knew that Arian Foster was a premier rusher and pass-catcher, but who knew that he also could throw the ball?

With new quarterback Case Keenum leading the offense, Bill O’Brien decided to reach into his bag of tricks and run the old halfback pass play in the red zone. The result was a TD pass by Foster just before halftime to give the Texans a 16-0 lead over the Ravens.

Later in the half, the Texans got the ball back and decided to run out the clock. After they were stopped on a run on 3rd-and-5, Baltimore called its third and final timeout. That caused Foster to point at the scoreboard and clock and laugh in the face of the Ravens:

Foster did the point and laugh multiple times:

Arian Foster scoreboard

Robert Griffin III to remain with Redskins in 2015?

Jay Gruden Robert Griffin III

After all that has happened in the nation’s capital this season, is it possible that Robert Griffin III and Jay Gruden could both be back with the Washington Redskins in 2015?

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder does not want to give up on RG3 and start over at the quarterback position. While it seems obvious that Griffin is not Gruden’s guy, the two may have no choice but to coexist for another offseason.

Gruden has been openly critical of RG3 over the former Baylor star’s inability to drop back and read defenses. He has also lashed out at Griffin during press conferences when RG3 really didn’t do much to deserve it. Simply put, Gruden seems to dislike Griffin.

Snyder already chose RG3 over former coach Mike Shanahan. Many have assumed the Redskins owner would choose his coach this time around, but perhaps Snyder just isn’t going to pick one over the other.

Griffin completed 16 of 23 passes for 220 yards, no touchdowns and an interception in a surprising win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. It should be noted that Rapoport’s report came before kickoff.

Report: Titans, Jay Cutler have mutual interest in trade

Jay Cutler Bears

The Tennessee Titans are reportedly interested in making a move for Jay Cutler should the Chicago Bears decide to cut ties with their $100 million man after the season.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that the Titans began doing their homework on Cutler as soon as Bears coach Marc Trestman decided to bench the veteran for Week 16. Rapoport adds that Tennessee is at the top of Cutler’s list of preferred destinations if he ends up leaving the Windy City. Cutler played college ball at Vanderbilt, which is located in Nashville.

Of course, any team that trades for Cutler would be making a major financial commitment. He is owed $15.5 million in guaranteed money next season.

If the season ended today, the Titans would have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Acquiring Cutler would mean they are not in the market for a quarterback, which could open up trade possibilities with teams who are interested in drafting Marcus Mariota. Perhaps the team we mentioned earlier on Sunday would be a potential partner?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, it will be interesting to see how Jimmy Clausen performs against the Detroit Lions. The Bears are less likely to trade or release Cutler if they don’t have other options.

Browns are reportedly interested in Marcus Mariota

Marcus Mariota Heisman Trophy

The Cleveland Browns are anything but convinced that Johnny Manziel is their franchise quarterback of the future.

In the wake of Manziel’s horrendous NFL starting debut against the Cincinnati Bengals last week, head coach Mike Pettine has openly admitted that the team will still have doubts about Manziel even if he plays well over the final two games of the regular season. Do the doubts run so deep that the Browns already have their sights set on another Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback?

According to Mark Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns have kept a close eye on Marcus Mariota. And if they become even more discouraged by Manziel over the next week or so, Cabot notes that the Browns will “consider every possibility for an upgrade,” which could include trading up in an attempt to draft the Oregon star.

Cabot speculates that the Browns would have to trade their two first-round picks and a first-rounder from 2016 to move up — similar to the price the Washington Redskins paid to move from No. 6 to No. 2 to draft Robert Griffin III.

If Manziel doesn’t show enough flashes of the Johnny Football he was at Texas A&M over these next two games, the Browns might even consider trading him and cutting their losses. With Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitting on several occasions earlier this season that he regrets passing on Manziel at No. 16, perhaps he’d still be willing to part with a pick for him. The Browns haven’t made a huge financial investment in Manziel, and wouldn’t be out much from a financial standpoint if he doesn’t work out.

While Browns general manager Ray Farmer has always said he explores every possible opportunity at every position, it sure seems like the team has a bit of buyer’s remorse with Johnny Football. Teams don’t typically consider drafting quarterbacks in the first round in consecutive years unless they’re extremely unhappy with their initial investment.

It’s far too early to label Manziel a bust, but he has obviously discouraged the Browns. Given what the former Texas A&M star recently admitted about his season-long practice habits, that is not really a surprise. Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers is a critical one for Manziel.

Ruben Amaro tells Ryan Howard Phillies are better without him

Ryan-Howard

Ryan Howard can never argue that Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has not been honest with him.

After trading shortstop Jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Amaro told 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli that the Phillies are trying to move Howard next. In fact, Amaro says he told Howard that the team is better off without him.

“We’ve talked to Ryan,” Amaro said, as transcribed by Matt Lombardo of NJ.com. “And I told him that in our situation it would probably bode better for the organization not with him but without him. With that said if he’s with us, then we’ll work around him. We’ll hope he puts up the kind of numbers that we hope he can and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Apparently there is no need for sugarcoating anymore.

Howard, 35, has one of the worst contracts in baseball. He is still owed $60 million —- including a $10 million buyout in 2017 — over the next two seasons after signing a five-year, $125 million extension in 2012. The slugging first baseman has hit just .236 since signing the new deal.

After appearing in just 151 games between 2012 and 2013, Howard played in 153 last season. While his power numbers were good (23 home runs and 95 RBI), he still hit just .223. No one wants to take on $60 million for a 35-year-old who rarely gets on base, but Amaro says releasing Howard is not an option.

“No ones going to release Ryan Howard,” he said. “That’s not going to happen. Ryan Howard is too productive and too important a player to just release. You just don’t do that with a player like that. But, we don’t have any designs on doing that.”

Howard is so “important” that Amaro has openly told him the Phillies would be better if he wasn’t on their roster. When fans start tossing this insult your way, you know you have gone downhill in a hurry.

Steve Alford on Kentucky: They’re best team I’ve ever coached against

Steve Alford

What’s the only way Steve Alford could put his team’s embarrassing and pathetic performance Saturday into a reasonable context? By giving Kentucky all the praise he possibly could.

Alford’s UCLA Bruins, yes, the same program that has won a record 11 national championships, were held to just seven points in the first half of their 83-44 loss on Saturday.

Yes, Kentucky led 41-7 at the half. 41-7. 7. 7. That is not a typo. UCLA scored only 7 points in the half. That was half the amount of points UCLA scored in its previously low mark of 14.

The Bruins missed their first 17 shots and trailed 24-0 to start the game. Pathetic. And how does Alford justify it? By praising Kentucky’s outstanding defense.

“In my 24 years of coaching, this is the best team I’ve coached against,” Alford said after the game.

Alford also said the Wildcats “have everything” and can run through the season with a perfect record.

Kentucky is 12-0 and doesn’t look like it will be losing any time too soon.

As for Alford, he has no excuse for losing that badly. That’s just an example of not having enough talent and not having his team properly prepared for the game.

South Alabama coach Joey Jones bloodied after kick to face (Video)

South Alabama football coach Joey Jones was bloodied during the entertaining Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., on Saturday after being inadvertently kicked on the sidelines by one of his players.

Here is a close-up of Jones trying to help his player before taking a cleat to the grill:

You would hope that Jones would at least have a victory to show for his battle scars, but that wasn’t the case. His Jaguars lost 33-28 to Bowling Green.

Joey Jones bloody

Video via @cjzero

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