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Chris Johnson: Titans playcalling was predictable

Chris-Johnson-JetsAll aboard the Chris Johnson hype train. Johnson will turn 29 next month and has been an average to below-average player for the past several seasons. We have not seen the explosive running back that was nicknamed CJ2K for about four years now, but Johnson’s recent struggles are not his fault. Just ask him.

Johnson, who is feeling revived with the New York Jets, told Rich Cimini of ESPN.com on Wednesday that the playcalling was too predictable when he was in Tennessee.

“When I was in Tennessee, a lot of the plays when the offensive coordinator was calling them, they were predictable,” he said. “Everybody could tell what was coming. With (Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg), the plays aren’t predictable.”

Johnson’s 2006-yard season came under former Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger. The Titans fired Heimerdinger a year later in 2010 and he lost his battle with cancer a few months after that.

While those who have studied tape will tell you Johnson has rarely given 100% effort over the past few seasons, he blames the scheme.

“It’s crazy, because after (Heimerdenger left), I bounced around from all different types of offensive coordinators,” Johnson said. “It just didn’t work out. … I had three or four coordinators who just didn’t put me in the right position. They didn’t put me in the right situations.

“Nothing against those guys [in Tennessee]. Those guys had their offense and things they liked to do. … A lot of times, some of the things we were doing were so predictable. That made it tough on the players, not just myself. It’s something you have to go through. I’m not making excuses or blaming anybody. You just have to deal with the cards that are given to you.”

Johnson added that Mornhinweg puts “playmakers in position to make plays” and that he expects the 2014 season to be much different for him. If you want to believe him and use a fantasy football pick on him, go for it. Just remember that Johnson has literally blamed everyone but himself for his well-documented tumble for the top of the running back world.

Vince Young lands job at Texas

Vince YoungVince Young may finally be giving up on his dream of playing in the NFL again, but that does not mean the 31-year-old is going to sit around at home all day and do nothing. And no, he won’t be going back to TGI Friday’s to drop thousands of dollars. Young has landed a job with his alma mater.

Texas announced on Thursday morning that Young will work in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE), where he will help raise money for first-generation college students and students from low-income situations.

“Vince Young brought a national championship to Texas, returned to the Forty Acres to earn his degree and will now help other students reach their goals and change the world,” the university said in a statement.

Young mentioned the potential of returning to work at Texas months ago, so the offer has been on the table for quite some time. He seemed to accept that his NFL career was over back in June after he worked out with the Browns for two weeks before being released. Young’s NFL career may not have gone as planned, but his 2005 season at Texas was one of the best ever for a collegiate player. Working at Texas should feel like a true homecoming.

Bill Polian: Drafting Andy Dalton would have saved my job

Bill-Polian-ColtsThe Indianapolis Colts chose not to draft a quarterback in the early rounds of the 2011 NFL draft, knowing that Peyton Manning had undergone a series of neck surgeries and was out indefinitely. The Colts didn’t have a viable backup quarterback, and the end result was a league-worst 2-14 season.

After the Colts succeeded* with their “Suck for Andrew Luck” campaign, it was clear Manning’s time in Indianapolis had come to an end. Had the Colts drafted someone like Andy Dalton — who led the Cincinnati Bengals to the playoffs as a rookie — a year prior, former team president Bill Polian believes he would have kept his job. This from NFL Media’s Judy Battista:

The collapse cost executives and coaches their jobs and created a cautionary tale for those who work in a league that is ever more reliant on the quarterback — and ever more at a loss when it comes to managing without one.

Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said teams think back to that situation all the time. Former Colts president Bill Polian, currently serving as an analyst on ESPN despite being widely regarded as one of the best team-builders in the game, ruefully told Lewis that he wouldn’t be working in television now if he had only drafted Andy Dalton in the spring of 2011 to be Manning’s backup.

The thinking is that Dalton would have provided a one year stop-gap and helped the Colts avoid a disaster of a season. They would have held onto Manning after that and still been Super Bowl contenders, as we all saw the recovery Peyton made with the Denver Broncos.

However, we know it is not always that simple. No two situations are alike. Jim Caldwell had grown used to having an offense that was catered to Manning, and there’s no guarantee the team would have known how to use Dalton the way the Bengals did. Polian may be working as an ESPN analyst due to a lack of quarterback depth, but the Colts are probably better off for it in the long run.

H/T Around the League

Terrance West got bagged hitting on someone’s wife on Instagram

Terrance-WestCleveland Browns rookie running back Terrance West should not be bored. The third-round pick out of Towson has a shot to earn a significant amount of carries this season and possibly even a starting role, so he should have his hands full with work. Apparently West’s schedule isn’t busy enough to keep him from hitting on another guy’s wife.

A Deadspin reader named Hunter recently shared a story about West trying to lap up his swag with a steel bucket. Hunter’s wife’s Instagram profile states that she is married and has children, but West decided to follow her and like a bunch of her photos anyway. He also left her his phone number.

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Once Hunter was informed of what the Browns rookie was doing, he decided to give West’s phone number to several of his male friends. Hunter’s buddies then supposedly starting texting West pictures of their naked bodies and, well, you know.

To make the story even more sad, West appears to have had a girlfriend of his own. He and his lady even have tattoos of each other’s name on themselves, as evidenced by these screenshots that Deadspin passed along.

[Read more...]

Maine Governor Paul LePage writes letter to Roger Goodell blasting punishment of Ray Rice

Ray Rice apologyWhen the video of Ray Rice dragging his now-wife Janay Palmer out of a New Jersey casino elevator surfaced, everyone wondered what kind of punishment the Ravens running back would receive from commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL.

After meeting with the couple, Goodell levied a two-game suspension for Rice’s violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy following his arrest for domestic violence.

Many were expecting a minimum of four games and the general consensus is the NFL went light on Rice for what was obviously a serious incident.

The reaction on social media was largely one of outrage. An interview of Adolpho Birch, the NFL’s senior V.P. of labor policy and government affairs, on ESPN’s Mike & Mike was almost unanimously not received well as Birch attempted to justify the length of the suspension.

Among those critical of Rice’s punishment is Maine Governor Paul LePage, who wrote a scathing letter to Roger Goodell.

LePage wrote, via the Associated Press, the NFL is sending the message that it’s ok “for professional athletes to beat women, just for the sake of ratings” by the punishment handed out.

The Governor also indicated he would boycott the NFL (although to what degree is not known) and that Rice should have been suspended for three years.

“As a matter of fact, the team should have taken him out in the back shed and taken care of him,” LePage said, again via the AP.

While Rice was given a warm reception at a Ravens open practice at M&T Bank Stadium, the sentiment outside of Baltimore is quite the opposite. He isn’t alone in feeling the heat, however. Roger Goodell’s handling of Rice’s incident from a disciplinary standpoint has more than a few people echoing the thoughts of Paul LePage.

NFL considering harsher penalties for domestic violence

Roger Goodell

The NFL has been roundly criticized for letting Ray Rice off with just a 2-game suspension despite the domestic violence he allegedly committed against his wife, and they appear to be ready to respond.

The Washington Post’s Mark Maske says the league is considering harsher penalties for those who have committed domestic violence. The penalty would be a 4-6 game suspension for a first-time offender and possibly a one-year ban for a second offense.

These are penalties that are currently being considered and have not been put into effect. The NFLPA has not been included in these discussions yet, Maske reports.

Though Rice pleaded not guilty to the alleged domestic violence, video showing him dragging his unconscious fiancee out of an elevator in Atlantic City sparked public outrage. Even if we don’t have the complete picture of what happened between Rice and his wife, the appearance was that the NFL did not take domestic violence as serious as it should. When guys are being suspended four games for taking Molly while on vacation, domestic violence suspensions should not be for half the amount of games.

Nick Fairley now getting fat?

Nick-Fairley-LionsNick Fairley has had a difficult offseason with the Detroit Lions. After the team declined his 2015 option in hopes that the former Auburn star would lose weight and be motivated to earn a new contract, Fairley shed too many pounds. Now, he has started to go in the opposite direction again.

According to MLive.com’s Kyle Meinke, Fairley has packed weight back on at a furious pace and was demoted to the second-team defense in practice this week. Fairley has been replaced — at least for the time being — by veteran defensive tackle CJ Mosley. Meinke notes that there have been times where Mosley looks like he has discovered the “fountain of youth.”

Fairley, a former 13th overall pick, is just 26. He has the physical tools needed to dominate the opposition, but it has become clear that he does not put in enough effort and dedication during the offseason and in practice. Mosley alluded to that when speaking to reporters earlier this week.

“He’s a bright guy. He’s cool. He kinda just adventures off sometimes,” Mosley said of Fairley. “But I do that as well. He’s a great teammate, a great guy. I just don’t know what’s going on with the situation. But I encourage him as much as I can.”

The situation is that the Lions are obviously unhappy with Fairley. He has a few weeks to get back into shape and prove he is deserving of a starting role, but Mosley isn’t making it easy for him. This could very well be Fairley’s last season in Detroit.

H/T Pro Football Talk