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Thursday, April 19, 2018

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Jon Gruden has hilarious line about cutting Phil Dawson (Video)

Jon-Gruden-Does-Not-Love-Too-Many-PlayersJon Gruden was an excellent football coach, but handling personnel was not his forte. He even made a hilarious admission during Monday night’s game between the 49ers and St. Louis Rams about one of his personnel mistakes back when he was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

After watching Niners kicker Phil Dawson boot a 54-yard field goal — Dawson’s third of 50-or-more yards this season — Gruden offered a great self-effacing line.

“Can you believe I cut him, Mike? I cut Phil Dawson. I need to have my head examined!”

Dawson is in his 17th NFL season and has posted a career 84.5 percent mark on field goals. Gruden’s Raiders signed Dawson as an undrafted free agent in 1998, but they cut him. Dawson was eventually signed by the Cleveland Browns and had 14 successful seasons with the team. Obviously Gruden whiffed on that one. It’s nice to hear him criticize himself in such a funny way. His commentary all night was excellent.

Greg Olsen wants Vontaze Burfict suspended for dirty plays (Video)

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen believes Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict needs to be punished for dirty plays committed against a few Panthers players during the 37-37 tie between the teams on Sunday.

Burfict could be seen twisting the ankles of Olsen and quarterback Cam Newton after each player scored touchdowns during the game. The ankle-twisting is notable because Newton is coming off offseason ankle surgery, while Olsen hurt his ankle in Week 5 and missed a few practices prior to the game because of it.

Olsen believes Burfict did the moves on purpose.

“Instances like that that are so clearly premeditated, that he had in his mind that if he had those opportunities that he was going to try to attack guys’ legs, but guys who are coming off ankle problems specifically, there’s no room for it,” Olsen said Monday, as you can see in the video.

“And I think the punishment needs to go beyond a fine. Guys like that don’t learn from that stuff. He’s been fined 100 times for head-hunting and he did it to (receiver) Kelvin (Benjamin) again. You watch the film, it’s just what he is.”

Below you can see Burfict wrenching Olsen’s ankle following a touchdown:

Vontaze Burfict Greg Olsen ankle

Here is Burfict doing it to Cam, who kicked back:

Panthers kicker Graham Gano also sounded off about the issue after Sunday’s game:

Luckily for Olsen, Burfict grabbed the wrong, non-injured leg. But this is nothing new for Burfict who, as Olsen said, is known for making dirty plays and knocking himself out. Vontaze has missed two games this season because of concussions and is frequently penalized for personal fouls and fined for hits. A suspension is definitely warranted in this case.

Jerry Jones instructed not to talk about Johnny Manziel anymore

Jerry JonesJerry Jones’ Dallas Cowboys are 5-1 while Johnny Manziel is hardly seeing any action as the backup quarterback for the 3-2 Cleveland Browns. Though there were tons of headlines the past several months about Jones wanting to draft Manziel and regretting not doing so, those headlines are a thing of the past.

After his Cowboys won in Seattle to give him an early birthday present (Jones turned 72 on Monday), Jerry said he’s been instructed not to talk about Manziel anymore. The line of questioning came up because the Cowboys’ first-round pick, Zack Martin, whom they took instead of Manziel, has helped the Cowboys become a productive offense. Jerry was asked in that context whether he still regrets passing up Johnny Football.

“Well, I don’t know how that’s relevant,” Jones said via ESPN Dallas’ Todd Archer. “I’m really not so sure I’m ready to admit a mis-thought. It is not relevant, and I really have had some very stern, succinct instructions not to mention Johnny anymore from people who count, let me put it like that.”

[Previously: Jerry Jones says not drafting Manziel was a mistake]

Jerry is probably wise to avoid talking about Johnny Football. Every time he did, it became a huge deal. The thought of Manziel on the Cowboys was too much for everyone; it would be marrying two of the most popular NFL brands.

Maybe one day Manziel will end up on Jones’ beloved Cowboys. For now, Jerruh is trying to avoid that talk, which is probably smart. After all, remember how close he said they were to drafting Johnny?

Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden fantasy value is up after Stevan Ridley injury

Shane VereenA serious knee injury to Stevan Ridley means the New England Patriots will rely on Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden in the running game, giving each running back’s fantasy football value a boost for the rest of the season.

Ridley suffered a torn ACL and MCL on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Ridley is a good back but has had multiple fumbling issues in New England, which frequently left him in Bill Belichick’s doghouse.

Vereen is the more accomplished back of the two. The 25-year-old back from Cal has been in the Patriots’ offense for four years and knows the system. He is a versatile, change-of-pace type of back who thrives in their passing game. Vereen has not carried the ball more than 9 times in any game this season, though between rushing attempts and receptions, he has topped out at 13 touches in a game. We expect his amount of touches to go up by a few in light of the Ridley injury, though we will never expect to see him carry the load.

Bolden is in his third season out of Ole Miss and hardly touched the ball prior to Sunday. After Ridley’s injury, Bolden ended up seeing six carries and rushing for 10 yards. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry each of his first two seasons in the league, so we expect him to do much better than he has this season. We also expect him to start seeing a lot more action splitting Ridley’s carries with Vereen.

Possible Jameis Winston autograph signing being investigated by FSU

Jameis Winston

Florida State is reportedly looking into the possibility that quarterback Jameis Winston may have been paid to sign autographs. While Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said Saturday that he does not believe Winston signed any memorabilia for money, ESPN reports that FSU’s athletic compliance department is investigating how so many Winston autographs were authenticated by a single company.

The possible link between Winston and James Spence Authentication — the same company that authenticated items Georgia running back Todd Gurley allegedly signed — arose on Friday. Fisher reportedly asked Winston after Saturday’s win over Syracuse if the junior quarterback signed autographs for money, and Winston assured his coach that he had not.

If Winston didn’t sign, it sounds like we’re dealing with one heck of a coincidence. A search on JSA’s website uncovered more than 340 certified Winston autographs. JSA authenticates items in the order that they are received, and ESPN notes that the firm authenticated 76 of the same Florida State logo footballs, 70 mini helmets, 53 jerseys, 38 photos, 18 footballs and 11 baseballs that were signed by Winston. The footballs were authenticated in order with serial numbers J65886 through J65962. The same is true of all of the other items, which had consecutive serial numbers.

Martin Buckley, co-owner of Palm Beach Autographs in Florida, told ESPN that the items that were signed by Winston and Gurley and authenticated by JSA look like they came from an autograph signing.

“The items that I’ve seen signed by Todd Gurley and Jameis Winston, which have been authenticated by JSA, look like they came from an autograph signing,” Buckley explained. “This is based on the items, themselves, being similar, the quantities of those items, the consistency of signature as well as similar spots in which they signed.”

After Saturday’s game, Fisher said that kids “sign things all the time” and are exploited. What Buckley was saying — and what common sense will tell you — is that it looks like the items that were authenticated by JSA were signed in bulk at a sitting. Would Winston have signed that many items at once for free?

If FSU finds reason to believe Winston was paid to sign memorabilia, you can add that to the growing list of reasons the Heisman Trophy winner appears to be falling off NFL draft boards.

Kelvin Benjamin didn’t know game could end in tie

Kelvin-Benjamin

Kelvin Benjamin is the latest NFL player to admit he did not know a game could end in a tie. After the Carolina Panthers played to a 37-37 tie against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, the rookie said he was surprised to see players start flooding the field when the overtime period ended.

“I didn’t know you could tie in the NFL,” Benjamin said, according to Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer.

Believe it or not, we hear at least one player admit the same thing every time there is a tie (which isn’t all that often). Two players said they were surprised to learn a game could end in a tie two years ago when the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams played to one. Donovan McNabb was equally clueless back in 2008, and it may have cost the Philadelphia Eagles.

While Greg Olsen called the postgame handshakes with the Bengals “awkward,” Benjamin was the only player who admitted he was unaware of the NFL’s overtime rules. The former Florida State star can add that to his rookie handbook.

H/T Around the League

Floyd Mayweather won over $600,000 on Geno Smith pick-six

Floyd-Mayweather-Broncos-bet

The New York Jets looked like a lock to cover the spread against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, and then Geno Smith happened. The Broncos were favored by more than a touchdown everywhere and up to 9.5 points at some sportsbooks. With Denver leading by seven and just 15 seconds to go, Smith threw a pick-six to Aqib Talib that gave the Broncos a 31-17 win.

Las Vegas lost huge money on Smith’s latest mistake. The CG Technology sportsbook at the M Resort lost just over $625,000 to Floyd Mayweather Jr., who bet $815,000 on the Broncos giving 7.5 points at -130 odds. Of course, if Smith didn’t throw the pick-six we would have never heard from Floyd.

After Smith threw the interception, MGM Mirage sportsbook vice president Jay Rood said he kicked a hole in the wall of his office.

“The place went absolutely berserk,” Rood told ESPN’s David Purdum. “I kicked a hole in the wall. I’ll leave it as a reminder of my feelings toward Geno Smith.”

The overwhelming majority of the betting public took the Broncos to cover, with one sportsbook telling ESPN that 95% of the action in the Denver-New York game was on the Broncos. Later that afternoon, Kirk Cousins threw a pick-six at the end of the Washington Redskins’ game against the Arizona Cardinals that allowed the Cards to cover.

As for Mayweather, it was his second huge win in the past week. Who knows how much he has lost.

Photo: Instagram/Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Mike Zimmer blasts Vikings, Cordarrelle Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson draft clothes

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is not happy with his team in the wake of its latest loss. After the Vikings fell to 2-4 at the hands of the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Zimmer went off on his players for their lack of focus and preparation.

“I’m extremely disappointed about this loss,” he told reporters, via Ben Rohrback of Shutdown Corner. “I can handle getting beat, but I can’t handle getting our butts whipped like that. I’m not going to let them slide. I’m going to keep pounding my head. Like I told them, the fines are going to start going to the max now. I’m tired of it.”

Zimmer expressed disappointment in pretty much everyone on his team, including Teddy Bridgewater. The rookie threw three interceptions, two of which came on tipped passes and another on a horrible throw that was intended for wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

As for Patterson, Zimmer does not seem happy with the way the former Tennessee star has played this year. Patterson recently told reporters that he wants the ball more. Here was Zimmer’s response to that.

“He’s got to do a better job of getting open. I’m tired of hearing about all of this stuff. He’s the second-most targeted guy on the team, so if he wants the ball, tell him to get open.”

Patterson, who revealed after the game that he is playing at less than 100% health with a hip injury, was targeted eight times against the Lions. He caught just two passes for 15 yards.

The Vikings have lost four of their last five games since starting off the season with a 34-6 win over the St. Louis Rams. They have scored 10 or fewer points in each of their losses. Bridgewater is a rookie who is getting very little help at the moment. Zimmer can blame the players, but there is obviously some bad coaching going on too.

Ronnie Price loses shoe, throws it to stop fast break (Video)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Ronnie Price picked up one of the strangest technical fouls you will ever see during his team’s preseason game against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday. It all started when his shoe popped off.

Price was dribbling the ball toward the corner when Andre Iguodala accidentally stepped on his right foot. Price’s sneaker came off, causing him to lose focus and turn the ball over. Since he couldn’t really hustle to get back on defense without his shoe, he just tossed it in front of Iguodala. Price was assessed a technical.

Ronnie-Price-shoe-throw

Lakers coach Byron Scott joked about the play after the game.

This would normally be the point where we’d say Price can’t be doing stuff like that in the regular season, but what are the odds of the opportunity presenting itself again? We’ll leave that to Dwyane Wade.

Video via @cjzero

NY Daily News unfairly rips Eagles employees for celebrating Victor Cruz injury

NY-Daily-News-Eagles-Victor-Cruz

Victor Cruz went down with what looked like a season-ending injury on Sunday night, and there were plenty of Philadelphia Eagles fans and fantasy football obsessors that celebrated his misfortune. The two Eagles employees who were featured on the front page of Monday’s New York Daily News were not two of them.

The play where Cruz injured his knee came on 4th down with the Eagles leading 20-0 early in the third quarter. Had the Giants scored a touchdown, Philly’s lead would have been cut to 20-7 with a lot of time left. The Eagles employees that were shown on the cover of the Daily News were excited that Cruz was unable to haul in the pass — not that he blew out his knee.

As For the Win noted, fans and employees stopped celebrating as soon as it became obvious that Cruz was hurt. The Daily News also featured a tweet from Philly radio host Mike Missanelli, who has spent the past 12 hours apologizing and explaining that he did not realize Cruz had gotten injured.

We don’t know if Missanelli celebrated Cruz’s injury and then realized he made a mistake, but we’re confident the Eagles employees were pumping their fists because the Giants turned the ball over on downs at a crucial moment in the game. The way they were framed on the Daily News cover was completely unfair.

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