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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Football

Josh McCown may be considering retirement after broken hand

Josh McCown

Veteran New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown may be calling it quits after 15 seasons in the NFL.

In an appearance Tuesday on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football,” Matt Forte, one of McCown’s teammates on the Jets, revealed that McCown hinted at retirement after suffering a season-ending broken hand in Week 14.

“In the locker room, I had talked to Josh when I first came in the locker room,” said Forte, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. “I was like, ‘How bad is it?’ and he told me obviously his hand was broken.

“He didn’t even know that when he threw the ball, he threw it to me and I caught it,” Forte continued. “He told me like, ‘That might be my last pass.’ I was like, ‘Of the season or …?’ Because you never know. I mean, this is Josh’s 15th year in the league.”

McCown was surprisingly effective in 13 games for the Jets this season, throwing for 2,926 yards and 18 touchdowns. But he will turn 39 in July and has battled other significant injuries these last couple of years, so retirement has to be weighing pretty heavily on his mind right about now.

Did Malcolm Butler take shot at Patriots over defensive gameplan?

Malcolm Butler

Did Malcolm Butler take a shot at the New England Patriots over their defensive gameplan against the Miami Dolphins on Monday night? Some seem to think so.

Butler’s Twitter account retweeted a stat graphic from Pro Football Focus after Monday night’s game, according to CSN Boston. The infographic talked about how Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler picked apart the Patriots when blitzed:

PFF had the Patriots blitzing Cutler 20 times. The QB had arguably his best game of the season, going 25 of 38 for 263 yards and three touchdowns. Butler was left in single coverage a lot and did not stand up well against Jakeem Grant, who caught a touchdown pass over him in the end zone.

Maybe there’s something to Butler’s Twitter activity, maybe there’s not. He undid his retweet, so you won’t come across that graphic on his timeline, but it seems telling that he chose to highlight that stat. Maybe if he wasn’t taking a shot at his team, he was trying to suggest blitzing Cutler so much is a bad move. Or maybe it was just Miami’s night on Monday. Whatever the case, Butler may have some words for his coaches this week. Meanwhile, the Dolphins think they have a blueprint on beating the Pats.

Miami player thinks Dolphins found ‘blueprint’ for how to stop Patriots

Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots played their worst game of the season on Monday night, and the Miami Dolphins deserve credit for forcing the defending Super Bowl champions into it. But has the code finally been cracked on how to get the best of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady?

One Dolphins player seems to think so.

Miami tight end MarQueis Gray, who caught one pass for 10 yards and had one carry for two yards, told reporters after the game that he believes the Dolphins showed the rest of the NFL the blueprint for how to take down the 2017 Patriots.

“All three phases playing together,” Gray said, via Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post. “Especially offense. We weren’t shooting ourselves in the foot like we’ve been doing all year. And defense doing a great job of attacking Brady, staying on him, frustrating him and it showed. Only one phase wasn’t going to win the game tonight. We put out a blueprint of what to do to stop them this year.”

The Dolphins certainly looked like the more prepared and more motivated team. They got consistent pressure on Brady and forced him into bad decisions all night. Brady didn’t look comfortable from the opening snap, and that had a lot to do with the coverages Miami drew up. The Dolphins were also outstanding in man-to-man coverage.

On offense, Miami did an excellent job of protecting Jay Cutler and spreading the ball around. It was Cutler’s best game of the season, and Dolphins coach Adam Gase designed plays for him to roll out of the pocket and buy extra time to get the ball downfield. All around, it was a well-executed game for a team that has grown accustomed to getting dominated by New England more often than not.

But let’s not forget that the Patriots were without Rob Gronkowski. While Gronk is one of the best receiving tight ends in football, he is also an excellent blocker. His role in the running game is perennially understated, and New England certainly could have used him in the trenches on a night where they managed just 25 yards on 10 carries. There’s no question Gronkowski would have made a difference.

The blueprint for beating the Patriots is more about execution than anything. Everyone knows Brady struggles when you get consistent pressure on him, but doing that is a lot easier said than done. The same can be said for being physical with New England’s receivers, erasing the screen game and winning the special teams battle. The Dolphins did all of that, but they weren’t exactly uncovering some long-kept secret.

Kenny Britt reportedly finalizing deal with Patriots

Kenny Britt Instagram

The New England Patriots are adding some depth at the wide receiver position for the stretch run.

ESPN’s Field Yates reported on Tuesday that the Patriots are finalizing a year deal with wide receiver Kenny Britt:

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the deal is for two years.

Britt, a former first-round pick of the Tennessee Titans back in 2009, has never lived up to his potential in the NFL. He had his first 1,000-yard season a year ago with the Los Angeles Rams and was able to parlay that into a four-year, $32.5 million deal with the Browns, but he appeared in just nine games with Cleveland before being waived. In addition to being a disappointment on the field for the Browns, Britt also reportedly had some off-field issues.

There’s no guarantee Britt will make his way onto New England’s active roster, but he could see some playing time if he’s in shape and can learn the playbook quickly. Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan has dealt with a shoulder injury for the past month, though he returned in Monday night’s game against the Miami Dolphins. If nothing else, Britt should give the Pats some short-term depth.

NFL determined Michael Bennett dove for ball, not Jags player’s knees

Michael Bennett Seahawks

The NFL made the surprising decision this week to not suspend any players who were involved in an ugly ending to the Seahawks-Jaguars game, and the league’s explanation for letting Michael Bennett off the hook may be the most mind-boggling.

Bennett was basically responsible for igniting a scrum between the two teams, as he chose to roll into a Jaguars offensive lineman’s knees with Jacksonville leading 30-24 and in the victory formation. When Brandon Linder climbed over Bennett and gave him a little shove following the cheap shot, Bennett then dove at the back of Linder’s knees.

Here’s a video:

In an appearance on “NFL Live” Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that NFL officials believed Bennett was going for the ball and did not intentionally try to take out Linder’s knees. That seems awfully lenient.

A cheap shot is a cheap shot, and diving toward the ball or an opponent’s knees while a team is in the victory formation is dangerous. Even if the NFL couldn’t justify suspending Bennett for that, they could have used his ensuing dive at the back of Linder’s knees to solidify their case.

You can almost understand why Seahawks defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson won’t be facing a suspension, as no player deserves to have objects thrown at him by fans. Bennett seems to be the most fortunate in this situation.

Jerry Jones still believes he can delay Roger Goodell contract extension

Jerry Jones

Roger Goodell signed his contract extension with the NFL last week, which many believed would officially signal the end of Jerry Jones trying to create a barrier between his fellow team owners and the commissioner. Not surprisingly, Jones isn’t willing to give up the fight just yet.

ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reported on Monday that Jones proposed a resolution prior to Goodell signing the new deal that would have tabled the contract negotiations for six months. Jones’ proposal was submitted on Dec. 1 as part of the 32-page agenda for the league meeting that is taking place in Texas on Wednesday. The goal of the Dallas Cowboys owner was to convince his peers to put into place a six-month “moratorium on any and all actions taken pursuant” to Goodell’s new deal and prevent the contract from being finalized during that time.

Goodell reached an agreement with the NFL’s six-owner compensation committee and signed the deal anyway. Despite that, Jones said Tuesday on his weekly appearance with 105.3 The Fan that his proposal to delay Goodell’s extension is “still in place.”

“I’m not going to get into that because that’s why we have the meetings so that we can discuss issues of the time,” Jones said, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “I’m really looking forward to it. It will be a great opportunity to, as we all hope this time of year, I’ll assure you all of the owners around the NFL aren’t bailing out because they need a trip into town. They’re here because it’s important business and we’ll be able to get some very meaningful things done. In the long haul, we’ll really get some meaningful things done as and because of what we’ve been doing over the last few months.”

An NFL spokesman told Wickersham that “there is time on the agenda for all the owners to hear from the compensation committee” on Wednesday, but Jones is not a member of that committee.

Jones hasn’t said specifically what his issue with Goodell is, though he will probably still try to push for change with the way the league hands out disciplinary action. He could also threaten legal action once again, though he would likely meet the same type of opposition he did last time.

He can spin it any way he wants, but Jones has basically lost the fight. It’s an outcome that was inevitable.

Jared Goff has funny birthday shoutout for OT Andrew Whitworth

Jared goff

When Jared Goff was still in diapers, the man who has been tasked with protecting his blind side this season was playing high school football. While Andrew Whitworth has a lot more experience than Goff in the game of football and in life itself, it seems like the star quarterback has a comfortable relationship with his left tackle.

On Tuesday, Whitworth celebrated his 36th birthday. Goff was kind enough to give the big fella a birthday shoutout on Twitter, but he couldn’t resist taking a shot at the three-time Pro Bowler about his age.

Goff has been sacked just 22 times all season, which is the 8th-lowest total in football. Whitworth is a big reason for that, and you can bet Goff appreciates it. With Christmas right around the corner, the second-year pro may want to consider taking some advice from Aaron Rodgers on how to spread holiday cheer.

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