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Friday, January 18, 2019

Stories by Grey Papke:

Adam Gase has strange explanation for poor stats in Miami

Adam Gase

Adam Gase was introduced to a skeptical New York media on Monday, and he had a rather odd explanation for his lack of success with the Dolphins.

Gase arrived in Miami with a reputation as an excellent offensive coach, but the Dolphins finished in the bottom ten among NFL teams in both points and total yardage during his final two years there. This was brought up to the new Jets coach during the press conference, and his explanation probably won’t convince many.

It rings rather hollow when you consider that Gase went 13-19 during his last two seasons with the Dolphins. The real reason that he doesn’t want to say is, partially, that Ryan Tannehill had severe limitations as quarterback.

Perhaps all that matters is that Gase’s new quarterback likes the hire. The jury will be out for a while.

Bears GM has harsh assessment of Cody Parkey’s future

Cody Parkey miss

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace has essentially confirmed that kicker Cody Parkey’s days with the organization are numbered.

Pace said that the kicker position “is an emphasis for us” Monday, all but affirming that Parkey won’t be back with Chicago in 2019.

It’s harsh, but nobody will dispute it. Parkey made just 23 of his 30 field goal attempts in the regular season, culminating in his 43-yard miss that cost the Bears a playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles. It was admittedly tipped by an Eagles player, but the body of work on the whole simply isn’t good enough. It’s safe to say that the Bears will have a new kicker next season.

Jerry Rice says Antonio Brown wants to join 49ers

Antonio Brown

A San Francisco 49ers legend is adding fuel to the fire of recent Antonio Brown rumors.

Jerry Rice, a 49er icon, said he has communicated with Brown via FaceTime — and told 95.7 The Game that the Pittsburgh Steelers receiver badly wants to move to San Francisco.

We have a long way to go before this becomes reality, but there are actually some reasons to believe it could happen. There is reason to believe the Steelers could actually part ways with Brown, and the 49ers have enough cap space to be able to make a legitimate run at him. Of course, the two sides would have to match up on a trade, but it’s worth watching.

Report: Redskins trying to meet with Gregg Williams for DC position

Redskins logo

It had looked like Gregg Williams was poised to become the new defensive coordinator for the New York Jets, but a late entrant is reportedly trying to scuttle the deal.

According to JP Finlay of NBC Sports, the Washington Redskins are trying to set up an interview with Williams this week in a bid to make him their new defensive coordinator, as his deal with the Jets is not completely done.

The Jets had been the clear frontrunner to hire the veteran defensive coordinator who closed out last season as the interim coach of the Cleveland Browns. Washington is making an aggressive late play, however.

John Elway admits Broncos must find long-term QB solution

John Elway

Denver Broncos general manager John Elway said what everyone knows — Case Keenum is no long-term answer at quarterback.

Elway admitted to ProFootballTalk’s Peter King that Keenum is “probably a short-term fix” and it is incumbent upon him to find a long-term answer to the Broncos’ quarterback issues and give that quarterback a stable environment to grow and thrive in.

“Obviously, we’ve got to — Case [Keenum] is probably a short-term fix — find the long-term guy for us,” Elway admitted. “When we do find that guy, we’ve got to have the continuity on the offensive side to where we can train him and develop him and get him there. This is our fourth offense in probably three or four years. Quarterbacks need to be developed. You don’t find one ready-made. We got to have a solid system in place for when we do go after whatever guy it may be, a young guy or a trade or whatnot.”

Elway doesn’t say anything about pursuing a quarterback this offseason, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that Keenum didn’t provide the boost Denver was hoping for this season. It was likely a factor in costing Vance Joseph his job. Elway seems to realize that this needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Josh Gordon was rooting for Patriots in AFC Divisional round

Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon may not be a part of the New England Patriots’ playoff run, but he’s still rooting for them.

Gordon, suspended and away from the team, left a message on Instagram clearly pulling for his teammates after their 41-28 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.

Gordon is, after all, still a member of the Patriots. Even as he struggles to stay on the field due to substance abuse, he’d likely very much enjoy seeing his teammates pull off a Super Bowl victory.

Gordon definitely played his part for the Patriots when active in 2018. He caught 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns, including a pair of 100-yard games before he was suspended.

Saints players troll Eagles by wearing ski masks after playoff win

The New Orleans Saints appear to be enjoying the fact that they’ve knocked the Philadelphia Eagles out of the playoffs.

Running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara both wore ski masks in the locker room after New Orleans beat Philadelphia 20-14 Sunday, a reference to a trend the Eagles tried to get going late in the season as a rallying cry.

It’s a pretty obvious reference to the Eagles encouraging fans to wear ski masks as a reference to the team “stealing” games to get into the playoffs. The Saints were obviously well aware of this and came prepared to celebrate their victory by rubbing a little salt in the wound.

The Saints advance to face the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship, where there will be other scores to settle. The taunting may not be over.

10 biggest standouts of the NFL divisional round

Sean Payton

The games may not have been as competitive from start-to-finish as viewers may have liked, but the divisional round of the playoffs still offered up a lot of great and memorable moments. It also provided some remarkable performances by players who either defied odds or tore up opposition with remarkable efficiency.

Here’s a look at 10 of the biggest standouts of the NFL’s divisional round.

Sean Payton, head coach, Saints

The Saints fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles and didn’t appear to be getting any closer to making the breakthrough until, at Payton’s direction, they engineered two game-changing moments. Going for it on 4th and 1 from the New Orleans 30 was not an easy decision, and Payton called for a fake punt that caught Philadelphia flat-footed enough to succeed. That kept the second quarter drive moving all the way to the goal line, when the Saints went for it on 4th and goal from the two to score their first touchdown of the game. It’s anyone’s guess how the game proceeds if that drive ends scoreless, but Payton’s bold calls helped permanently shift momentum.