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Thursday, December 12, 2019

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Ron Rivera a potential head coach target for Falcons?

Ron Rivera

Ron Rivera is a highly-regarded head coaching candidate who likely will be in demand once NFL teams begin their searches.

The former Chicago Bears linebacker was fired as the Carolina Panthers’ head coach last week. He was in the middle of his ninth season leading the team and had three winning seasons in that span. They won three division titles in a row and made four playoff appearances under his watch, including a Super Bowl appearance.

Because of Rivera’s history of success, the former head coach is expected to receive plenty of interest. A general manager told Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman he expects Rivera to receivehe expects Rivera to receive “a billion interviews.” Freeman also says he keeps hearing the Atlanta Falcons as a potential landing spot for Rivera.

The Falcons have Dan Quinn as head coach, but he’s disappointed this season. The team is 4-9 after going 7-9 last season. Many expected more from them considering their talented players and weapons. They nearly won the Super Bowl in the 2016 season — Quinn’s second on the job — but they’ve been in decline the last two years.

Would Rivera turn things around? He’s coached in the NFC South for a decade straight, so he would be a natural fit. However, there’s no guarantee that Quinn will lose his job.

Ravens OC Greg Roman shares his philosophy on protecting Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson has defied conventional NFL wisdom this season by succeeding as a dual-threat quarterback. Historically, such a run-heavy focus for an NFL quarterback has not worked long term due to the injury risk; running backs tend to not last long due to the consistent pounding they take each week, and quarterbacks who similarly run the ball are being exposed to hits as well.

But that’s not how Greg Roman sees it.

NBC’s Andrea Kremer reported on Thursday night that Roman’s philosophy on mobile quarterbacks is that they are actually safer in space rather than standing in the pocket.

That runs contrary to what most would believe.

Roman, 47, in his third year with the Ravens and first as their offensive coordinator. He had success coordinating offenses for Colin Kaepernick and Tyrod Taylor in the past, both of whom succeeded under him as mobile quarterbacks.

If anyone knows about how to coach up mobile quarterbacks, it’s Roman. And he also apparently knows how to keep them healthy, too.

Watch: Jets staff member gets taken out on sidelines

Jets coach sidelines

A New York Jets employee learned the hard way on Thursday night to always keep your eye on the field.

During the fourth quarter of the Baltimore Ravens’ rout of the Jets, Robert Griffin III was in the game and carried the ball to the right side of the field. He was tackled along the sideline and the defender rolled into a Jets staffer whose back was turned away from the field.

The Jets staffer crumbled to the ground and received attention.

Being on the sidelines for a game are no joke. Whether it’s a photographer being nailed or a coach getting injured, you have to be alert, because there’s an injury hazard.

David Stern undergoes emergency surgery for brain hemorrhage

David Stern

Ex-NBA commissioner David Stern underwent emergency surgery on Thursday for a brain hemorrhage, current commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

Stern was eating at a restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, Brasserie, when he collapsed. He was rushed to the hospital for emergency attention.

Stern, 77, was the league commissioner from 1984-2014. He succeeded Larry O’Brien and was followed by Silver.

Jason Garrett had method to try breaking Cowboys’ slump

Jason Garrett

The Dallas Cowboys have been in a tailspin lately but still have a shot to make the playoffs thanks to the poor quality of the NFC East this season.

Dallas has lost three in a row and four of their last five. But they’re still tied for the division lead at 6-7.

Jason Garrett is trying to break the team’s slump and came up with a new way to do it: motivate his players with a highlight reel to show them how good they can be.

Garrett is in a difficult spot due to a lack of support from Jerry Jones. He will have a difficult time reaching players who recognize the coach has little authority since he is unlikely to be back next year. But the one thing he might be able to do is help motivate them, and this is one way to do it.

Jerry Jones better hope it works, since the owner’s comments really threw off the team.

Sam Darnold: ‘Seeing ghosts’ mic’d up comment got ‘blown out of proportion’

Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold thinks his “seeing ghosts” comment that went viral during a “Monday Night Football” game earlier this season against the New England Patriots was blown out of proportion.

Back in October, Darnold was playing his second game since returning from mono. He went 11/32 for 86 yards and four interceptions as his New York Jets lost 33-0. Darnold was wearing a microphone for the game, and ESPN shared a clip of the quarterback admitting on the sidelines he was “seeing ghosts.”

Darnold addressed the comment during an interview with FOX’s Kristina Pink prior to the Thursday night game between his Jets and the Baltimore Ravens.

“At the moment, I wasn’t even thinking ‘I’m mic’d up, if I say this, these are going to be the repercussions for it.’ After the game, one of my buddies sent it to me on Instagram to be funny. I was like, ‘bro, we just got whooped, that’s not funny.’

“It got blown out of proportion, but it was definitely something that I learned from.”

Darnold’s remark became both a catchphrase and controversy. Jets head coach Adam Gase was upset with ESPN for airing the comments, while some with the Patriots were pleased about it, feeling it was an endorsement of their defense. And just like Darnold said he has learned from it, Gase says the young quarterback has grown since then too.

Ed McCaffrey hired as head coach at Northern Colorado

Ed McCaffrey

It’s a big year for the McCaffrey family.

Not only has Christian McCaffrey played like an MVP candidate for the Carolina Panthers this season, and Dylan McCaffrey saw action as a quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines, but now Ed McCaffrey is making headlines.

Ed was hired by Northern Colorado as their head football coach and announced the news on his Instagram page Thursday:

McCaffrey, 51, played 13 seasons in the NFL as a wide receiver, winning three Super Bowls and making one Pro Bowl. He coached Valor Christian in Colorado the past two seasons. They went 14-0 last year and finished as the No. 1 high school in Colorado. They went 10-2 this year.

This will be McCaffrey’s first time coaching at the college level.

Report: Bill Belichick furious over Patriots’ videotaping incident

Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick emphatically denied having anything to do with a New England Patriots videographer illegally filming the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline during Sunday’s game in Cleveland, but that does not mean the coach is blowing the incident off. Apparently, Belichick is livid.

Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston wrote on Thursday that Belichick is “beside himself” about what took place in Cleveland. The future Hall of Famer hates distractions, and there’s no question this has become one. Not only that, but it stems from something that was done by Kraft Sports Entertainment, which has to do with the Patriots brand and not the football side of things.

As Curran puts it, Belichick “tolerates the intrusion of Kraft Sports Entertainment” and understands the importance of an NFL team promoting its brand. He also appreciates football history and recently took part in NFL Network’s multi-part special for its NFL 100 All-Time Team, so he has been known to partake in documentaries like “Do Your Job,” which was the reason the Patriots had a production crew in Cleveland. However, the mistake — which the Patriots insist was an honest one — has now led to other scandals making their way back into the news and is already being viewed by some as another stain on Belichick’s legacy.

Assuming he truly did have nothing to do with the alleged footage a videographer captured of Cincinnati’s sideline, it’s easy to see why Belichick is angry. There’s essentially nothing he can say to convince a portion of the population that he’s telling the truth, even though early indications are the Patriots would have gained virtually nothing from what was recorded.

Like Spygate and Deflategate before it, the incident in Cleveland will surely blow over. Belichick knows that, but he also knows his team is coming off a tough loss and seems to be getting weaker as the season goes along. The last thing the Patriots needed was another controversy, let alone one that was created by someone Belichick may not even know.

Jarvis Landry insists Odell Beckham ‘doesn’t want to leave’ Browns

Odell Beckham Jr Browns

Odell Beckham Jr has had a disappointing first season with the Cleveland Browns, and there has been a lot of talk that it could also be his last. The star wide receiver has not really addressed that directly, but one of his teammates and close friends has no problem speaking on OBJ’s behalf.

Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry told reporters on Thursday that he is confident Beckham does not want to leave Cleveland.

“I think he wants to be here. I know he wants to be here,” Landry said. “It’s not even about trying to go somewhere else. I think for him he’s been the leader. He’s a guy that comes to work every day and that’s playing through injuries and all the things you want out of a player. And inside this organization, he has a voice. He has responsibility to himself, to all of us to go out there and compete each and every Sunday. And he does that.”

While Landry could just be trying to take some heat off of his teammate, his opinion is noteworthy. He and Beckham played together at LSU before turning pro and have maintained a close relationship.

Baker Mayfield had a similar take on Beckham’s status with the Browns earlier this week, but Beckham has largely avoided the subject. His future in Cleveland first became a big story when he said he is unsure if he will be with — or want to be with — the team next season, and one report claims he has been telling opponents he wants out. The Browns would likely prefer to keep OBJ after they gave up a first-round pick and then some for him, but it remains to be seen if he will try to force the team’s hand.

Red Sox have reportedly discussed David Price trade with at least five teams

David Price

There has been speculation for months that the Boston Red Sox could try to trade Mookie Betts this winter in order to help them get under the luxury tax threshold, but it may actually be David Price who ends up in another uniform to start the 2020 season.

The Red Sox have had discussions about a Price trade with at least five teams, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports. Those clubs include the Los Angeles Angels, San Diego Padres, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds. Price has three years and $96 million remaining on his contract, but trading the left-hander may have become easier over the past week.

As one MLB executive told Feinsand, the contracts that Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg signed may have strengthened Boston’s stance. Cole got a record $324 million over nine years from the New York Yankees, and the Washington Nationals re-signed Strasburg with a seven-year, $245 million deal. While Price has not pitched at the level those two aces have performed at in recent seasons, his $32 million salary “doesn’t look so crazy” anymore, according to the exec Feinsand spoke with.

Some believe the Red Sox will have to attach a starting-caliber player like Andrew Benintendi to get a team to agree to take on Price’s contract, but a source told Feinsand that is not going to happen. It seems more likely that Boston would eat some of Price’s deal before trading Benintendi, who had a down year in 2019 but looked like a budding star before that.

Although he finally exorcised his demons and pitched well in the postseason two years ago, Price has never really seemed like a fit in Boston. He has clashed with the local media and had a highly-publicized feud with Hall of Famer and Red Sox broadcaster Dennis Eckersley. While Price chose not to opt out of his contract before last season, that was almost certainly only about money.

Price went 7-5 with a 4.28 ERA in his fourth season with the Red Sox last year. He has also battled same elbow issues, but the amount of interest in him indicates teams are not concerned about that.