Joe Thomas praises Brian Hoyer: He’s a lot like Tom Brady

Brian Hoyer country

The way Joe Thomas talks about Brian Hoyer, you’d swear the Cleveland Browns have the second coming of Y.A. Tittle on their hands.

Thomas, a veteran offensive lineman on the team and 7-time Pro Bowler, spoke with reporters after practice Monday and had nothing but praise for Hoyer, who is currently the team’s starter. Thomas even compared the former Patriots draft pick with New England’s star quarterback.

“He’s a lot like Tom Brady,” Thomas said at training camp Monday via Cleveland.com. “When you look at the way he competes and the way he demands the most out of everybody around him, it’s no coincidence that those guys played together. (Hoyer) has a lot of those same mental attributes and that’s a great thing for a quarterback to have.

“He’s the ultimate competitor, and no matter if we drafted a quarterback No. 1 overall, I knew that in his mind he expects to win the job because that’s the type of competitor he is and the type of quarterback.”

Thomas says Hoyer has been keeping all the players in check and making all the right throws in practice. Though Hoyer only has four career starts to his name, Thomas says that hasn’t stopped the former Michigan State QB from acting like a veteran.

“He commands a level of respect because of the way he goes about doing his business the right way and acting like he is the starting quarterback that has taken us to five playoffs.”

You’d think the comments from Thomas would be a sign that he prefers Hoyer in the Browns’ quarterback race with Johnny Manziel, but that’s not what his praise of his QB was about; he also had positive things to say about Manziel.

“But Johnny is kind of a quiet guy around the facility. I’m sure it’s hard for most people to believe that with the kind of personality that he’s built up. But he’s kind of quiet. He does things the right way. You look at his notebook and he’s got all sorts of good notes. He sits in the front next to the coach and he’s just focused on his job when he’s here.”

I don’t know about you, but this praise of Hoyer seems excessive. I mean if the guy does anything less than make the Pro Bowl, I’m going to be disappointed. Sure, he went 3-0 last year as a starter, but I want to see what he does as the Week 1 starter of an NFL team. It’s a lot different this way. And Thomas raising the expectations may not exactly be the best thing for his teammate.

Photo: Twitter/STO Ashley

John Abraham was passed out in his car at 4PM after leaving strip club

John-AbrahamJohn Abraham has been absent from Arizona Cardinals training camp over the past week while he deals with legal trouble. The five-time Pro Bowler was arrested for driving while under the influence on June 29, and the details of his arrest are pretty embarrassing.

According to a police report obtained by TMZ, officers approached Abraham’s vehicle when they saw it stopped in the middle of the road with the 36-year-old asleep at the wheel. The encounter took place at 4 p.m. Police say they pounded on the window and doors of Abraham’s car for several minutes before he finally came to.

Officers noticed the smell of booze on Abraham’s breath right away and noted that he was “confused and rambled while speaking.” Abraham admitted that he was coming from a strip club called the Pink Pony and claimed he had only had two drinks while there. He also said he didn’t feel safe on the road but was not ill or on any medication. Again, this was all at 4:00 in the afternoon.

You won’t be surprised by what happened next. Abraham reportedly failed several field sobriety tests and refused a breathalyzer. He was charged with DUI and improper stopping on the roadway.

And that, my friends, is why going to the strip club in the middle of the day is never a good idea. Nothing good can come of that.

Abraham was still incredibly effective last season in his 14th NFL season, recording 11.5 sacks as the Cardinals’ top pass rusher. He could be suspended to start the season.

Could Josh Gordon succeed with second-hand smoke defense?

Josh GordonJosh Gordon is set to appeal his failed drug test on Friday. He is reportedly planning to use the second-hand smoke defense, which is one we have heard from players in the past but rarely holds up during the appeals process. But as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk outlined on Tuesday, Gordon might actually have a shot.

After he tested positive for the use of codeine syrup and was suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season, Gordon was placed in the NFL’s Stage III drug program. That means he has to pass 10 drug tests per month, and Florio reports that he has passed around 70 of them. And the one time Gordon did test positive, half of his urine tested negative. Florio breaks it down:

Urine samples routinely are split into two bottles, the “A” bottle and the “B” bottle. If the “A” bottle generates a positive result, the “B” bottle is tested. Amazingly, the “B” bottle doesn’t have to independently show a violation. Instead, the substance abuse policy states that the “‘B’ bottle Test need only show that the substance, revealed in the ‘A’ bottle Test, is evident to the ‘limits of detection’ to confirm the results of the ‘A’ bottle Test.”

In English, close counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and “B” bottles.

For Gordon, the “A” bottle showed a concentration of 16 ng/ml, only one nanogram per milliliter above the limits of 15. The “B” bottle showed a concentration of 13.6 ng/ml — less than the threshold.

In other words, Gordon may have failed his test simply because of the way the sample cups were labeled. Had the arbitrary “A” and “B” labels been swapped, the first urine sample tested would have been negative and he would have passed. Regardless of the way Gordon’s case turns out, that seems like a pretty significant flaw in the NFL’s testing system.

Independent of the A/B dilemma is the fact that one of Gordon’s samples tested just one nanogram per milliliter above the legal limit of 15, whereas the second sample tested 1.4 nanograms per milliliter below. While limits are limits for a reason, does Gordon have a case with the second-hand smoke argument because of how close he was to passing?

For what it’s worth, Gordon recently hired Maurice Suh — the attorney who helped Richard Sherman convince the NFL to nix his four-game suspension after he tested positive in 2012. Gordon is still facing a one-year suspension if he loses his appeal, but I wouldn’t be cutting him from my fantasy keeper league just yet.

Urban Meyer: I still don’t get why Tim Tebow isn’t in the NFL

Urban Meyer Tim TebowUrban Meyer is Tim Tebow’s biggest fan. Tebow and Meyer won two BCS National Championships together and enjoyed as much success as any coach-quarterback combination in NCAA football history. When Meyer thinks of Tebow, he must still think of the dual-threat quarterback who threw 83 touchdowns and just 15 interceptions and rushed for nearly 2,500 yards in his three years as a starter at Florida.

How do we know this? Because Meyer is somehow surprised that Tebow no longer has a job in the NFL.

“I still don’t get that part of it,” Meyer said Tuesday at Big Ten Media Days, via Dan Parr of NFL.com. “He’s the second-most efficient passer ever to play college football.”

Yes, Urban, college football. There have been countless NCAA superstars who have amounted to nothing at the NFL level (Eric Crouch, anybody?) and Tebow is another one of them. NFL coaches don’t have it out for Tebow. If he had what it takes to contribute, he’d still be in the league.

The reason Meyer gave for not understanding Tebow’s lack of employment is that there are plenty of offenses in the NFL now that are similar to spread college offenses.

“He had really good personnel around him (at Florida) and we utilized his skill very well,” Meyer added. “I think in a traditional setting, it is difficult, but there’s a lot of non-traditional offenses now in the NFL.”

At the end of the day, Tebow is a victim of the speed of the NFL. His delivery is too slow and his passing is below average. He doesn’t have enough speed to make up for that on the ground, so designed running plays could only be so effective. Meyer must see that. He’s just trying to be nice to his favorite player.

Andre Reed: F— Bon Jovi and who the f— is Johnny Manziel?

Andre-ReedBuffalo Bills legend Andre Reed is not happy with some of the current story lines in the NFL. The Hall of Fame wide receiver was recently interviewed for this week’s edition of New York Magazine, and he offered some very colorful takes on Jon Bon Jovi and Johnny Manziel. We’ll start with the former.

Bon Jovi is rumored to be interested in buying the Bills. And if the famous rock star can put together the group that makes the winning bid, he might move the Bills to Toronto. Take it away, Andre.

“Man, f— Bon Jovi!” Reed told New York Magazine’s Reeves Wiedeman. “You might as well just take this city, throw it in the river, and let it go down Niagara Falls.”

Reed’s opinion is one that is shared by all diehard Bills fans and many NFL purists. However, he did later admit that Toronto is a fun city and concede that he would remain connected to a Bills team in Toronto “if they paid me.”

“Now, I ain’t gonna lie to you,” Reed said. “One year I went up to Toronto, and man, I had a good-ass time up there.”

Wiedeman’s conversation with Reed got even more animated from there. It just so happened that the interview took place on the day LeBron James announced he was returning to Cleveland. When ESPN showed Manziel’s tweet congratulating LeBron and referring to him as “my guy,” Reed went off on the former Heisman Trophy winner.

“Who the f— is Johnny Manziel?” he asked. “LeBron ain’t your guy! You’re not ‘Johnny Football.’ You’re ‘Johnny Rookie B–ch.’”

Would Bills fans have been excited if their team drafted Manziel? Not a chance, says Reed.

“They’d boo that motherf—er outta here,” he said. “The fans would put him in his place.”

We all know that isn’t true, as all fans tend to get excited when their team drafts a Heisman-winning quarterback. That said, it’s obvious Reed cares a great deal about the team he spent 15 seasons with. I wouldn’t dare question his loyalty.

H/T Extra Mustard

Ravens brag about Ray Rice getting standing ovation


Ray Rice was given a hero’s welcome in his return to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. Rice, who has been busy in court and disciplinary hearings this offseason after a domestic assault incident involving his wife Janay Palmer, got a standing ovation from Ravens fans as he took the field at an open training camp practice. We know this because the Ravens proudly pointed it out.

One of the top stories on the Ravens’ official website describes the warm welcome Rice received. He was described as “emotional” in his return and the story was written in the type of tone that would be taken if a player returned after losing a family member. The Ravens also shared a video of Rice’s reception through multiple social media avenues.

You probably don’t need us to explain how this is an issue, but we will anyway. Fans have the right to react to Rice any way they please. That said, this is a guy who was seen on video dragging his unconscious fiancee out of an elevator. Police also reportedly had video of Rice knocking Palmer out.

Had it not been for Palmer begging the NFL to be lenient with Rice’s punishment, he probably would have been suspended for more than two games. He’s lucky he’s not in jail. Rice’s “return” shouldn’t be celebrated, and the Ravens certainly don’t need to bring any added attention to him at a time like this — especially positive attention.

H/T SB Nation

Mark Sanchez did not mean that Eagles fans are nicer than Jets fans

Mark-Sanchez-A-Justin-Bieber-FanMark Sanchez has zero chance of starting for the Philadelphia Eagles this season if Nick Foles stays healthy, but that doesn’t mean the former USC star is flying under the radar. On Monday, Sanchez made headlines for a comment he made about the fans in Philly.

Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post tweeted that Sanchez said the fans in Philly are “a lot nicer.” The way Hubbuch presented it made it seem like Sanchez was taking a shot at Jets fans.

However, Sanchez later explained that Hubbuch presented his quote in the wrong context. Marky Mark was not happy about it.

“My comments today about Philly fans being ‘nicer’ was a reference to their reaction to me now vs. the last time I played here as a Jet in 2011,” Sanchez wrote on Twitter. “It had absolutely nothing to do with NY fans. I have nothing but good things to say about my time in NY and I’ve always said the fans are tremendous.

“It’s unfortunate that 1 reporter out of the 10 I spoke with today chose to take these comments out of context. Everyone else knew what I was talking about.”

Assuming Sanchez is telling the truth, that was pretty irresponsible of Hubbuch. The fact that he put “BOOM” in his tweet proves he was trying to create a stir. Then again, Jets fans did boo Sanchez during training camp and some of them cheered when he got injured. No one would blame him for liking Philly fans better — at least so far.