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#pounditTuesday, September 27, 2022

Stories by Grey Papke:

Amon-Ra St. Brown calls out Commanders WR drafted ahead of him

Oct 31, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) warms up before an NFL game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown holds a major vendetta against every team that passed on him in the 2021 NFL Draft. That vendetta extends toward the wide receivers they ultimately selected instead, too.

St. Brown faced off against the Washington Commanders on Sunday, one of the teams that chose a wide receiver with St. Brown still on the board in that draft. The Commanders took Dyami Brown 82nd overall in the third round of that draft, 30 picks before the Lions selected St. Brown at No. 112.

St. Brown was well aware of this. He said Wednesday he spent some time looking for Brown during Sunday’s game, but “didn’t see him in the game much.”

Brown played just one snap for the Commanders on Sunday and has just 12 career receptions, all of them coming last season. In contrast, St. Brown caught nine passes on Sunday alone, two of them for touchdowns, and has firmly established himself as Detroit’s No. 1 receiver.

As we saw this summer, St. Brown can name every wide receiver taken ahead of him from memory. Call it a motivational tactic, but it is clearly working for him.

Former NFL head coach explains big Nathaniel Hackett mistake

Jun 6, 2022; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett speaks to the media following OTA workouts at the UC Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nathaniel Hackett’s tenure as Denver Broncos head coach has gotten off to a very rocky start. One former coach who has been in Hackett’s shoes cited one key issue that probably has not helped matters.

Longtime NFL coach Todd Haley appeared on Wednesday’s edition of “The Pat McAfee Show” and discussed the Broncos’ issues managing the play clock in Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans, which saw fans count down the play clock to try to help the team. Haley, who served as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009 to 2011, suggested that Hackett had made a mistake with the makeup of his coaching staff.

“There is a lot of stuff you’ve got to worry about. The one thing he didn’t do is surround himself with a lot of veteran coaches,” Haley said of Hackett. “I had a bunch of older coaches on the staff that I leaned on a bunch in some of those situational things. I had Mike Vrabel on the team. He’d be standing over my shoulder telling me ‘Hey Todd, look at the clock, look at the clock.'”

Haley is correct that Hackett has surrounded himself with a younger coaching staff. Neither offensive coordinator Justin Outten or defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero have served in those roles before. Outside of Hackett, the only member of the Denver staff with previous NFL offensive or defensive coordinator experience is Dom Capers, who serves as a senior defensive assistant.

Hackett has said he does not plan to reduce his duties going forward despite looking overwhelmed at times through the first two weeks. Ultimately, if lack of experience is the issue, it’s probably too late to really fix that at this stage.

Justin Fields addresses comment about Bears fans

Sep 11, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields tried to clean up some remarks he made about the team’s fans after Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Fields opened himself up to criticism when he suggested that losing to the rival Packers hurts more for players than fans because fans aren’t “putting in any work.” While Fields was not necessarily trying to suggest anything negative about the team’s fans, the way his remarks were phrased made some pushback inevitable.

On Wednesday, Fields addressed his remarks and tried to smooth things over.

“I was frustrated after the game, so number one, I didn’t want to come and talk to you guys. I wasn’t in the mood to come and talk to you guys. I should have done a better job explaining what I meant by that,” Fields said. “I’m talking about work regarding the game on Sunday, winning the game. I don’t know any fans, I don’t know what they’re doing in their personal lives, and I respect every fan that we have. I’m glad that we have fans. I would never disrespect anybody on what they do or what they love to do. It came off like that.”

Fields did suggest that he was frustrated with social media for taking the comments the wrong way so they could get a “big buzz out of it” as well.

What Fields said was dumb, but most probably understand what he was going for here. When he actually does have something critical to say, he will make it clear. This was not an example of that.

Kenny Golladay sounds off on lack of playing time

New York Giants wide receiver Kenny Golladay warms up on the field before the game at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in East Rutherford. Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

New York Giants wide receiver Kenny Golladay is essentially frozen out of coach Brian Daboll’s offense, and he is not hiding his unhappiness about that.

Golladay played just two snaps in Sunday’s win over Carolina, one week after getting only two targets in Week 1. On Wednesday, he admitted he was “confused” over his apparent demotion and asserted that he fully deserves to play.

“I should be playing regardless. That’s a fact,” Golladay said.

Golladay’s Giants career has been a disaster so far. After signing a $72 million free agent contract, he made just 37 catches for 521 yards and no touchdowns in 2021. He was actually playing with the backups by the end of the 2022 preseason, and Daboll did not sound enthusiastic about the receiver when asked about that.

Unfortunately for Golladay, he was signed by the previous regime and does not appear to be impressing the new one. His playing time may not change in the near future.

Giants announce major new role for Buster Posey

Sep 6, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) reacts during the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The Giants defeated the Dodgers 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Buster Posey retired as a member of the San Francisco Giants at the end of the 2021 season, but he did not stay out of baseball for long.

The Giants announced Wednesday that Posey is joining the team’s ownership group and will sit on the organization’s Board of Directors. There was no announcement regarding how big a share of the Giants Posey purchased, but chairman Greg Johnson told Tyler Kepner of the New York Times that the former catcher was putting “real money” into the organization at its current valuation.

Both Posey and Johnson indicated that the former catcher will take an active role as part of his new responsibilities, though he may not necessarily be seen frequently in public. Posey is expected to advise on baseball matters and may also play a role in free agent recruiting.

This will certainly be a popular move from the Giants, as Posey remains wildly popular with the fanbase. That certainly makes sense, as he won three World Series titles as the backbone of the franchise, and is rightly regarded as one of the organization’s best-ever players. Plus, it’s no secret that the Giants wanted to keep Posey around even after he had decided to retire.

While buying a stake of the Giants was no doubt expensive, there are reasons to believe Posey had the money to pull it off.

Longtime president Dayton Moore fired by Royals

Jul 17, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore watching batting practice at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals have made a major change in their front office, parting ways with longtime team president Dayton Moore.

Moore confirmed that he had been let go, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal and Andy McCullough of The Athletic. Moore said he was “thankful” for the chance to run the Royals, but “disappointed” at not being able to see through the team’s current rebuild.

Moore took over the Royals in 2006, making him one of the longest-tenured executives in baseball. It took him nearly a decade to turn the franchise into a successful one, but the patience paid off as the Royals won consecutive AL pennants in 2014 and 2015. Kansas City narrowly fell short in seven games against the San Francisco Giants in the 2014 World Series, but beat the Mets in five games a year later to claim the championship.

Since then, the Royals have failed to reach those heights once more. Kansas City entered play Wednesday at 59-89, and though there is promise at the MLB level, the team has clearly not progressed as quickly as ownership hoped or expected. The organizational culture had seemed to take a hit as well.

Moore is still just 55, so he has a decent chance of landing another executive job elsewhere if that is what he wants.

LeBron James responds to big Robert Sarver news

Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James has issued a response to the news that Robert Sarver will sell the Phoenix Suns in the wake of a workplace misconduct investigation.

Sarver announced Wednesday that he would sell both the Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury after the NBA found that he used racist language and engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct as Suns owner. James offered a swift reaction on Twitter by saying he was “proud to be part of a league committed to progress.”

James was one of the earliest and strongest critics of Sarver’s original punishment, which amounted to a fine and a one-year suspension. Thus, it is no surprise to see him respond favorably to news of a sale.

Sarver has owned both the Suns and Mercury since 2004. The purchase price at the time was a record $401 million, but the franchises will be worth a great deal more than that now.

Stefon Diggs has funny praise for Josh Allen

Sep 27, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) dances while leaving the field following the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills are proving to be as good as predicted in the 2022 season. Part of that is probably down to the rapport between quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

Diggs shed some light on that partnership on Tuesday during an interview with “The Rich Eisen Show.” The wide receiver hilariously said he wanted to “grow old” with Allen, and joked about sending out joint Christmas cards.

“Like family. That’s my guy,” Diggs said. “I’m trying to get some Christmas cards with us on it. I might send you guys some. He’s a hell of a quarterback. Since I met him, it kind of clicked. You don’t click with everybody. That’s somebody I felt like, damn, I could grow old with you. I can see myself with you for a while.”

Star quarterbacks and their wide receivers can sometimes find themselves at odds depending on the number of targets and other factors. That is clearly not the case here, and judging from Allen’s past remarks, that feeling is mutual.

Diggs is in his third season with the Bills, and has already surpassed 3,000 receiving yards with the team since being traded there in 2020. He looks poised for another massive season.

Bills’ Spencer Brown got stuck in traffic on way to Monday’s game

Dec 19, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Spencer Brown (79) following the game against the Carolina Panthers at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Spencer Brown learned the hard way Monday just how seriously the Bills Mafia takes its tailgating.

Brown posted a funny picture on social media Monday as he tried to make his way to Highmark Stadium for his game against the Tennessee Titans. Unfortunately for him, a lot of Bills fans had the same idea, and Brown found himself stuck in traffic.

Bills fans were definitely hyped for the 7:15 p.m. kickoff. Many made their way to the stadium to tailgate several hours in advance, and Brown simply got caught in that traffic.

Brown, a second-year offensive lineman, is more familiar than most in knowing how Bills fans operate. To be honest, he probably should have seen this coming.

Ex-Cowboys star Jaylon Smith signs with NFC East rival

Oct 3, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith (9) against the Carolina Panthers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former Dallas Cowboys standout Jaylon Smith is trying to revive his career with an NFC East rival.

Agent Doug Hendrickson revealed Monday that Smith is returning to the New York Giants, the same team he finished the 2021 season with.

Smith is trying to catch on in the NFL again after seeing his fortunes and playing time decline rapidly with the Cowboys in 2021. Dallas released him midseason for salary reasons, but he did not show much in stops with the Green Bay Packers and Giants. However, New York saw enough to bring him back again.

The Giants cut Blake Martinez at the end of training camp and are hunting for linebacker depth. Smith is still just 27 and made the Pro Bowl in 2019, so they are more or less hoping to find some semblance of that form again, unlikely as it may be.