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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Stories by Steve DelVecchio:

Video shows confrontation between Patriots videographer, Bengals security

Bill Belichick

A videographer working for the New England Patriots was confronted for filming the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline during last weekend’s game, and a video that was released on Sunday showed what was being filmed and a portion of the disagreement.

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports obtained a video that showed a Patriots staffer nervously volunteering to delete footage he illegally obtained of the Bengals sideline. The incident took place while the Patriots were supposed to be filming one of their own advanced scouts for part of their “Do Your Job” documentary.

As you can see, the videographer was filming a specific portion of Cincinnati’s sideline. He offered no explanation other than “I didn’t know.”

It’s unclear what intel the Patriots would have been able to gain from the film, if any. Jimmy Johnson said during the “FOX NFL Sunday” broadcast that footage like the clip that was shown is available on the coaches tape from games, which is consistent with a report we heard during the week.

Bill Belichick has said he had nothing to do with what the film crew recorded, and the coach is reportedly furious over the incident. However, many will interpret the footage Glazer showed as evidence the Patriots were trying to cheat because of their history.

Urban Meyer sparks Redskins coaching rumors by attending game with Dan Snyder

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer has heard his name mentioned in connection with a number of high-profile coaching jobs at both the collegiate and NFL levels, and we can now add the Washington Redskins to that list.

Meyer was at FedEx Field on Sunday as a guest of owner Daniel Snyder, and JP Finlay of NBC Sports reports that the Redskins would love to hire the three-time national champion as their next head coach.

Meyer coached Redskins rookie Dwayne Haskins in college, so that is likely one of the reasons he attended Sunday’s game.

Meyer has been heavily linked to the Dallas Cowboys head coaching job, and it would seem like a no-brainer for him to choose them over Washington if he is offered a position by both teams. The Redskins are considered one of the most poorly run franchises in sports and are expected to have trouble landing a top head coaching candidate.

It would seem more reasonable for the Redskins to target another college coach they are said to be interested in, as it would be a major surprise if Meyer would want his first NFL head coaching gig to be with a team that has had so many problems over the years.

Corey Kluber close to being traded to Rangers

Corey Kluber

The Cleveland Indians have been talking about a Corey Kluber trade with a number of teams this winter, and it appears there is now a deal in place for the right-hander.

The Indians and Rangers are finalizing a trade that will send Kluber to Texas, according to multiple reports.

The Los Angeles Angels were reportedly optimistic about their chances of landing Kluber, but the Rangers must have offered a better deal. The Angels are still looking to improve their starting rotation after they were outbid by the New York Yankees for Gerrit Cole.

Kluber will turn 34 shortly after the 2020 season begins, and he didn’t pitch after May 1 last season after suffering a fractured right forearm. However, he has been phenomenal when healthy and posted a 2.85 ERA and 1.02 WHIP from 2014 through 2018. He won two Cy Young awards during that span.

Several key Chiefs players late to stadium week after equipment fiasco

Andy Reid

The Kansas City Chiefs dealt with an unusual situation with their equipment before their game against the New England Patriots last week, and on Sunday it was the players who were late to the stadium.

A week after the Chiefs needed a police escort to get their equipment to Gillette Stadium on time, several key players — including LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins — were reportedly late to arrive at Arrowhead Stadium. It was snowing pretty heavily prior to game time, so that was likely a factor.

Kansas City gets over an average of a foot of snow per year, so Chiefs players should be prepared to deal with it. Patrick Mahomes was on the field chatting with Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Drew Luck well before kickoff.

Last week, Kansas City’s equipment was somehow sent to New Jersey instead of Foxboro. A police escort was needed to help the Chiefs avoid having to forfeit, and they went on to beat the Patriots. They’ll be hoping tardy players yield the same results as tardy equipment on Sunday.

Report: Odell Beckham not planning to request trade from Browns

Odell Beckham Jr Browns

Odell Beckham undoubtedly was hoping his first season with the Cleveland Browns would go a lot better than it has, but the star wide receiver is apparently not planning to force his way out of town when the year concludes.

Beckham has no plans to ask the Browns to trade him this offseason, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. While Beckham has privately expressed displeasure with Cleveland’s offense and is waiting to see if any changes will be made to the coaching staff or scheme, rumors of him demanding to be traded seem premature.

Beckham has been fighting through a sports hernia injury this season, but La Canfora was told that it has not limited him much physically. While surgery is an option, it is not a certainty.

A report earlier this month claimed Beckham has been telling opposing players and coaches that he wants out of Cleveland, but some of his teammates are not buying it. The Browns traded a first-round pick and then some to acquire Beckham from the New York Giants last offseason, so they probably aren’t going to be anxious to deal him.

Beckham is on pace to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark despite having a down year by his standards. However, he has just two touchdown catches and has not been on the same page with Mayfield consistently. Assuming he does remain with Cleveland, working on ways to fix that will be a priority for the team heading into 2020.

Sean Payton reportedly ‘not an option’ for Cowboys head coaching job

Sean Payton

Sean Payton may be at the top of any list of potential head coaching candidates Jerry Jones puts together this offseason, but the Dallas Cowboys are not going to have a chance to hire him away from the New Orleans Saints.

While a team can technically trade for a coach that is under contract with another franchise, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Payton will not be an option for the Cowboys in 2020. Part of the reason for that may be that their interest in him last year helped him negotiate an extension with the Saints.

A previous report claimed that the Cowboys will do anything possible to pry Payton away from New Orleans, but there’s no reason to think the Saints will let him go. Payton is arguably the second best coach in the NFL behind Bill Belichick, and it’s hard to put a price on an asset like that.

There are plenty of high-profile candidates for the Cowboys to consider this offseason other than Payton. Ron Rivera is expected to be pursued by a number of teams, and there has also been talk about Urban Meyer or Lincoln Riley making the leap to the NFL if Dallas is interested. Although, some comments Jones made this week indicate he may prefer not to hire an inexperienced coach.

Report: Patriots likely to lose at least one draft pick for videotaping Bengals

Roger Goodell

The NFL may believe the New England Patriots that their filming of the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline last week was merely a case of a videographer not understanding league rules, but that does not mean the defending champions will avoid significant disciplinary action.

It seems like almost a certainty that the Patriots are going to be fined, at the very least. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, they are also likely to lose at least one draft pick. It’s also possible that a member of the team’s front office and/or ownership group could be suspended.

Although they claim it was an honest mistake, the Patriots acknowledged in a statement that they illegally filmed the Bengals and accepted full responsibility. They could be viewed as repeat offenders because of all the fallout from Spygate more than 10 years ago and Deflategate more recently, but Mark Maske of The Washington Post reported on Saturday that the NFL is not targeting Bill Belichick or any other member of the football staff for potential punishment. Belichick has repeatedly insisted that he had no knowledge of the filming and that it was not done at the direction of anyone involved with football operations. The coach is said to be furious about the incident.

The most likely scenario is that the Patriots will face disciplinary action similar to the punishment that was handed down when the Atlanta Falcons were caught piping in crowd noise in 2016 and the Cleveland Browns used a cell phone to send text messages during a game between the general manager and head coach. The Falcons were fined $350,000, lost a fifth-round draft pick, and president Rich McKay was suspended from the league’s competition committee for three months. The Browns were fined $250,000 and former general manager Ray Farmer was suspended for four games.

There’s been some question over whether the footage the Patriots employee took even showed anything that couldn’t be seen on TV, but a violation was committed. The NFL now has the difficult task of trying not to overreact while also avoiding outrage from fans who think they let the Patriots off easy.

Report: Browns want Freddie Kitchens to remain coach ‘for a long time’

Freddie Kitchens Browns

If the Cleveland Browns decide to make significant changes following a disappointing season, firing their head coach will not be one of them.

The Browns are committed to Freddie Kitchens and have no intention of firing him, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. The team continues to support Kitchens and wants him to remain the head coach in Cleveland long term, so Rapoport does not envision the Browns moving on from him “barring a horrific collapse.”

Cleveland has won four of its last five games, which has certainly helped Kitchens state his case to keep the job. Many speculated that he could be one-and-done after the Browns entered the season with enormous expectations and got off to a brutal start, but the franchise is desperate for stability.

Kitchens landed the head coaching job because of the work he did with Baker Mayfield last season as offensive coordinator, but Mayfield has taken a step back this year despite the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. There have also been rumblings that Kitchens is not on the same page with so members of his coaching staff, so perhaps there will be changes underneath him in the coming weeks.

Assuming Kitchens does keep his job, he’ll be under even more pressure in 2020. The Browns’ roster is constructed to win now, and fans will be expecting them to make the playoffs next season even if they trade a seemingly disgruntled star. It’s not a huge shock that Cleveland is sticking with Kitchens heading into next season, but he’ll almost certainly be on the hot seat from the start.