Skip to main content
Larry Brown Sports Tagline. Brown Bag it, Baby.
#pounditThursday, January 27, 2022

Stories by Grey Papke:

Nick Sirianni makes firm statement about Jalen Hurts’ future

Jalen Hurts

The Philadelphia Eagles have not always seemed committed to Jalen Hurts as their long-term quarterback, but it certainly sounds as though he has won over his head coach.

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni gave Hurts a significant vote of confidence Sunday even after Philadelphia’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sirianni said he feels “really good” about the future of the quarterback position with Hurts running the show.

The decision on the Eagles’ quarterback situation is not solely down to Sirianni, but this can’t be bad news for Hurts. After all, they were being linked to other prominent quarterbacks at times during the season, suggesting Hurts still had some convincing to do.

Sirianni’s comments come following a game in which Hurts didn’t actually perform all that well. Still, the Eagles look fully committed to him as their quarterback of the future.

Video: Troy Aikman wants to call Cowboys’ playoff game so badly

Troy Aikman in a suit

Troy Aikman didn’t seem too happy with his assignment Sunday during the NFC Wild Card game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

With the Buccaneers up big in the second half, FOX announcers Aikman and Joe Buck began to discuss the afternoon’s upcoming game between the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys. That game was on CBS, much to Aikman’s obvious chagrin.

“That’s going to be a great game, a really good game. There’s a lot of people that would like to be calling that game,” Aikman said.

Aikman is a former Cowboy, and FOX does get the rights to the overwhelming majority of the team’s regular season games. The Niners-Cowboys matchup is an intriguing one as well for a lot of reasons. It’s pretty clear that Aikman wishes his network had gotten a different assignment, and it probably wasn’t helped by the fact that the game he was calling turned into a blowout.

The Eagles and Bucs might not be too happy with Aikman’s ambivalence about their game. That wouldn’t be the first time he’s annoyed the people he’s calling.

Photo: Nov 21, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys former quarterback Troy Aikman attends the NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Video: Bruce Arians smacks Buccaneers player in helmet

Bruce Arians smacking a helmet

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians had a curious reaction to what one of his players did during the second half of Sunday’s NFC Wild Card game.

Arians stormed onto the field and struck safety Andrew Adams on the helmet at the end of a play in the second half. Arians appeared to be trying to prevent Adams from picking up a needless penalty, as the safety appeared to be grabbing the leg of a Philadelphia Eagles player.

Some people are bothered when they see a head coach hit one of his own players in the helmet, even during the heat of a game. The timing is also interesting considering Arians’ recent back-and-forth with Antonio Brown’s camp.

Adams didn’t end up getting flagged, so for Arians, the ends justify the means. Ultimately, nobody involved is likely to dwell on this for very long.

Referees commit huge blunder during Wild Card game to help Bengals

Jerome Boger and his crew

The Cincinnati Bengals benefitted from an enormous error by the crew officiating Saturday’s AFC Wild Card game.

With just under two minutes remaining in the first half, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow found receiver Tyler Boyd in the end zone for a Cincinnati touchdown. There was some question whether Burrow ran out of bounds before releasing the pass, though replays indicated that he did not.

That was not the problem with the play, however. A referee whistle was clearly heard before Boyd made the catch. According to NFL rules, the play should have been dead at that moment and the touchdown should not have counted.

The whistle was clear on the TV broadcast of the game. NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay, a former NFL referee, said the down should have been replayed due to the erroneous whistle. The play was reviewed, but only to make a determination on whether Burrow remained in bounds. The timing of the whistle is not reviewable.

Notably, the NFL’s only comment was to defer to McAulay’s on-air explanation.

The Raiders will be fuming about this, as will many fans. It’s also not the first time Jerome Boger’s crew has taken over a game in the wrong way.

Texans interview surprising ex-NFL player for head coach position

Hines Ward

The Houston Texans appear to be thinking outside the box with at least one of their head coaching interviews.

The Texans confirmed Saturday that they had interviewed longtime Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward for their head coaching vacancy. Ward currently serves as a special teams assistant at Florida Atlantic after a brief stint as a New York Jets offensive assistant.

Ward was absolutely not on anyone’s radar as a potential NFL head coach. The 45-year-old has no head coaching experience and hasn’t even served as a primary position coach at any level. No one disputes that he had a stellar playing career, but that alone doesn’t put him in contention for an NFL head coaching job.

The Texans have gotten into a habit of bringing in some very strange candidates for interviews. This is the latest example of that, though it’s arguably even stranger.

Photo: Oct 25, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; NBC Studio analyst Hines Ward stands on the sidelines prior to the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Timmy Chang reportedly a candidate for Hawaii head coach job

Timmy Chang in uniform

A legendary Hawaii quarterback could be in line for the school’s head coach position after Todd Graham’s resignation.

Graham resigned on Friday amid numerous allegations of poor treatment of players and staff. That set in motion a head coach search rather late in the offseason for a school with limited resources.

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic ran down a list of potential candidates for the job, and one name in particular stood out. Former Hawaii quarterback Timmy Chang, currently the wide receivers coach at Colorado State, could be looked at for the role. Chang’s name still carries significant weight at Hawaii, and is fairly well-regarded in coaching circles after working his way up in the business over the last decade.

Chang famously posted gaudy numbers for Hawaii from 2000 to 2004, playing under coach June Jones. As a senior in 2004, Chang threw for 4,258 yards and 38 touchdown passes in 13 games. At the time of his graduation, he held the NCAA record for career passing yards, a record his successor Colt Brennan went on to break.

Photo: Aug 02, 2006; Bethlehem, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Timmy Chang (9) during training camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports Copyright © 2006 Howard Smith

Lincoln Riley adds another ex-Oklahoma star at USC

Lincoln Riley does Fight On sign

Lincoln Riley continues to work the transfer portal to bring talent he knows well to USC.

Wide receiver Mario Williams, who played for Riley in 2021 at Oklahoma, announced Saturday that he will transfer to USC. The announcement was accompanied by a social media video of Williams posing in front of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Williams made an impact as a true freshman in 2021, catching 35 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns. A highly-touted recruit out of high school, his move to the Trojans will add further depth and talent to a rapidly improving roster.

There’s no reason to believe Riley is done working the transfer portal to bring in talent. In fact, there is some reason to believe the biggest name may be yet to come.

Photo: Nov 29, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lincoln Riley poses with Fight on sign during a press conference to introduce Riley as Southern California Trojans head coach. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Deshaun Watson and Brian Flores looking to team up

Deshaun Watson in the rain

A new report claims that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores have not given up on working together.

Watson and Flores have been in “constant communication” and are hopeful of going to the same team, according to ESPN’s Jordan Schultz. Watson is eager to play for Flores, while Flores believes he can build a winning roster around the quarterback.

A very easy way to bring this scenario about would be for Flores to simply take over Watson’s current team. That looks to be a legitimate possibility, but Watson has fallen out with the Texans quite spectacularly. Flores taking the Houston job would be intriguing, but it’s not clear what might happen from there.

Flores has also interviewed with the Chicago Bears, but they have their quarterback of the future in Justin Fields. It’s very clear that Flores thinks highly of Watson, but it might be pretty tough to maneuver both of them into the ideal situation.

Photo: Jan 27, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; AFC quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) in the NFL Pro Bowl football game at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports