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#pounditThursday, August 6, 2020

Stories by Grey Papke:

Report: Josh Rosen determined to compete for Dolphins’ QB job

Only two years removed from being a top-ten pick in the NFL Draft, Josh Rosen is the forgotten man in the Miami Dolphins’ quarterback room. It sounds like he’s determined to find a way to make an impact anyway.

According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, neither Rosen nor his representatives have asked the Dolphins for a trade or release after assessing the situation around the league. The Dolphins are pleased with this outcome, and are reportedly privately pleased that Rosen has bought in and are impressed with his conditioning, work ethic, and efforts to learn new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s system.

It speaks well of Rosen that he’s willing to stay and bet on himself rather than seeking an exit route from Miami. For now, the 23-year-old isn’t really in the mix for a job with the Dolphins, as Ryan Fitzpatrick is the stopgap starter while the team awaits Tua Tagovailoa, who is the clear quarterback of the future.

There may be a role for Rosen if Fitzpatrick struggles and Tagovailoa is either not ready either physically or mentally for the starting job. Perhaps that’s what he’s betting on, and is keeping his head down and showing Miami that he’s ready as needed.

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NFL will no longer experiment with expanded replay due to canceled preseason

There is one consequence of the canceled NFL preseason: potential changes to the power of replay officials won’t be coming in 2020.

The league had been preparing to experiment with allowing referees to seek replay opinion on objective calls during the preseason. This was the result of a proposal backed by coaches that would have given limited authority to a “sky judge” to recommend reversals on request. Had the changes been successful in preseason, something similar could have been adopted for the regular season.

According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, that plan is off due to the cancellation of NFL preseason games. Instead, the league will use in-season study to identify possible moments when the on-field crew could theoretically request help. This will be only a study, and will mean that there are no actual changes to officiating protocol for 2020.

What does it mean? Ultimately, with pass interference challenges being scrapped after a year, the league’s officiating protocols are right back to where they were at the end of the 2018 season. Changes may still come in the future, but it won’t be before 2021.

Jonathan Isaac leaves game in wheelchair after non-contact knee injury

Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac left Sunday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with a non-contact injury to his left knee.

Isaac was driving to the basket in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game when his left knee appeared to buckle on him and he fell to the court. He was ultimately taken off the court in a wheelchair.

This is the same knee that Isaac injured in January that was expected to keep him out for the rest of the season. Thanks to the delay, he was cleared to return, though the Magic had said they planned to be very cautious with the young forward.

The 22-year-old is averaging 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, having earned a reputation as a defensive stopper.

Referee Marc Davis explains controversial backcourt call that cost Celtics

The Boston Celtics were victims of a controversial call down the stretch in Sunday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, with a backcourt violation costing them an important possession late in the game.

Leading by three with about 20 seconds left, the Celtics were called for the violation when Jayson Tatum threw the ball to Gordon Hayward while crossing the timeline. Many felt that Hayward caught the pass in the frontcourt, which should not have been a violation.

Crew chief Marc Davis told ESPN pool reporter Andrew Lopez that the call was correct, as the ball broke the plane of the frontcourt while being passed by Tatum and was caught by Hayward with his back foot in the backcourt.

The major point is that it matters where the ball is when Tatum is passing it, not the player. In this instance, though Tatum began the jump pass in the backcourt, the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line, and Hayward caught the pass with his foot behind it.

In the end, it didn’t impact the final outcome, as the Celtics held on to win 128-124.

Mariners have cardboard cutouts of Steve Bartman, Jeffrey Maier in stands

Several MLB teams elected to fill some stadium seats with cardboard cutouts in the absence of fans, and those that have done so have decided to have some fun with the practice.

The Seattle Mariners debuted their cutouts over the weekend at T-Mobile Park. Among those in the seats are Jeffrey Maier and Steve Bartman.

Maier and Bartman are infamous for grabbing balls that may have been in play during huge moments in playoff games. Maier cost the Baltimore Orioles in 1996 against the New York Yankees, while Bartman’s name is so well-known due to his role in the Chicago Cubs’ 2003 NLCS defeat. The Mariners even took care to put them both in seats approximating where their respective incidents took place.

The Mariners aren’t the only team making creative use of cutouts, and frankly, there’s no reason for them not to at this point.

Mookie Betts leaves game with finger injury

Mookie Betts

The Los Angeles Dodgers got a scare Sunday when Mookie Betts left the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks with a finger injury.

The Dodgers officially characterized the injury as a sore middle finger.

Betts appeared to tweak the finger on a swing in the fifth inning. It didn’t seem to have a big impact immediately, as he homered later in the plate appearance.

Betts has been everything the Dodgers hoped for when he signed his massive extension, starting to flash power at the plate while wowing with his defense. Fortunately, at first glance, this injury doesn’t appear too serious.

Jets abruptly cut starting guard Brian Winters

The New York Jets have cut starting guard Brian Winters on the eve of training camp.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Winters is not expected to remain unemployed for long, but that the move does come as a surprise.

The timing is a bit odd, but it makes sense on some ways. Winters suffered a dislocated shoulder last year, ending his season after nine games. The team brought in Greg Van Roten, who can likely take his place on the offensive line. Perhaps most importantly, releasing Winters will free up just over $7 million in cap space.

We don’t know if the Jets plan to use that cap space to make another move before the start of the season. One top free agent is apparently interested, which could be worth watching.

Sean McVay already seems over the ‘Hard Knocks’ life

NFL teams aren’t exactly lining up to appear on “Hard Knocks” annually, and those who are ultimately selected sometimes hint at how strange it is to have the cameras everywhere.

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay is getting the treatment this year, and he already appears to be less than enthusiastic about it.

This appears tongue-in-cheek, but there’s probably a bit of reality around it. Players and coaches like to go about their business during training camp, and the production crews can sometimes get in the way and be distracting. In the past, coaches haven’t even bothered to hide their displeasure with it.

The Rams, along with the Los Angeles Chargers, are being featured this season. Things will look a bit different than normal, which should provide for good viewing — as long as you’re not in the locker room dealing with the cameras.