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#pounditTuesday, November 24, 2020

Football

Doug Pederson raises possibility of using Jalen Hurts more

Jalen Hurts

As the Philadelphia Eagles continue to struggle on offense and questions grow about Carson Wentz’s future, coach Doug Pederson admitted it may be time to add some different looks.

Pederson said Monday that he would like to involve Hurts in the offense more after the rookie played just one snap Sunday.

“I think I can get him in the game a little bit more,” Pederson said, via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.

That could mean anything. Five snaps would be “a little bit more” than one, for instance. It’s at least an admission that the offense isn’t working right now and may require some different looks.

One thing that is clear: the possibility of Hurts replacing Wentz full-time is not on the table. Pederson has consistently resisted benching Wentz, and said so again on Sunday. Hurts may change the pace more, but this is still Wentz’s job right now.

Sean Payton trolls ex-Falcons WR Roddy White after big win

Sean Payton

Sean Payton stuck it to his haters on Sunday and made sure to remind everyone about it.

Payton’s New Orleans Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons 24-9 on Sunday to improve to 8-2. They started Taysom Hill at quarterback over Jameis Winston, which reportedly bothered many players.

The decision worked out, as Hill went 18/23 for 233 yards and rushed for 51 yards and two touchdowns.

After the victory, Payton retweeted a comment from former Falcons star receiver Roddy White, who tweeted on Saturday that the Falcons were going to eat Hill’s lunch.

That obviously did not happen, and nobody was happier to remind everyone of the result than Payton.

Tom Brady proves wife Gisele wrong about infamous quote

Tom Brady Gisele

Tom Brady had a wacky play in the fourth quarter of his Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ game against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night that proved his wife wrong.

Brady had a 3rd-and-10 play at the Bucs’ 34 in the fourth quarter and threw straight into Rams linebacker Terrell Lewis, who batted the ball. The ball went back to Brady, who caught it and then threw it to Mike Evans for an illegal completion.

The Rams declined the penalty to bring up fourth down and take away Brady’s stats on the first completion of the ball to himself. But while he didn’t get the yardage, he did have a different accomplishment.

You may recall that Brady’s wife Gisele had an infamous comment after the New England Patriots lost in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants in the 2011 season.

“My husband cannot (bleeping) throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time,” Gisele said to a heckling Giants fans.

Gisele was upset about all the drops by Patriots receivers during the Super Bowl loss. Pats players felt she broke the code with the remark.

But once again, eight years later, Tom proved that he can throw the ball and catch it at the same time. Too bad it didn’t help the Bucs, who ended up losing 27-24.

Aaron Rodgers defends Marquez Valdes-Scantling after costly fumble

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers isn’t throwing Marquez Valdes-Scantling under the bus after the wide receiver’s costly fumble in Sunday’s loss.

Valdes-Scantling coughed up the ball at his own 30-yard line after making a catch early in overtime against Indianapolis. Colts defensive lineman DeForest Buckner recovered, setting his team up for a straightforward game-winning field goal.

After the game, Rodgers defended his wide receiver, saying it was essentially just bad timing.

“I have a lot of love for Marquez,” Rodgers said, via Matt Schneidman of The Athletic. “S–t, I’ve had my fair share of fumbles. It’s just bad timing.”

There had been rumors in the past that Valdes-Scantling was among the young wide receivers on the Packers that Rodgers simply didn’t think much of. The quarterback is a perfectionist, and at times has seemed displeased that the team has not gotten him more weapons. Still, that’s not the fault of Valdes-Scantling. Rodgers is right: it could happen to anybody.

Report: Multiple Saints players wanted Jameis Winston to start over Taysom Hill

Taysom Hill

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has made the somewhat surprising decision to start Taysom Hill at quarterback against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, and the choice may not have sat well with all of the team’s players.

Multiple players and people within the Saints organization feel that Jameis Winston should be starting in place of the injured Drew Brees, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. Payton, however, wants to evaluate whether or not Hill can become the full-time starting quarterback when Brees retires, which is likely to be after the season.

The Saints signed Hill to a two-year, $21 million extension last offseason. Payton reportedly informed Hill at that point that he would get an opportunity to start if Brees ever got injured.

But even with Hill starting on Sunday, the Saints have not ruled out keeping Winston once Brees retires. Winston is said to have impressed coaches and teammates in New Orleans thus far, and Payton considers him to be a part of the team’s long-term plans.

Brees was placed on injured reserve by the Saints on Friday, meaning he will be out for at least three games. The more we hear about the 41-year-old, the more banged up he sounds. Brees took a big hit in last week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers (video here) that left him with rib fractures and a collapsed lung, and a new report revealed that the injuries are even more extensive than originally believed.

If Hill struggles on Sunday, it would not be a surprise to see Winston get a shot in Week 12. Both quarterbacks could have a chance to show why they are deserving of being the Saints’ starter after Brees is gone.

Eric Ebron shares thoughts on ‘pressure’ of Steelers being undefeated

Eric Ebron

The Pittsburgh Steelers continued their best start to a season in franchise history on Sunday by improving their record to 10-0 with a blowout win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Talk of an undefeated season is slowly starting to creep in, but veteran tight end Eric Ebron insists the team is not concerned about it.

Ebron told reporters on Monday that the Steelers are “not tripping” over whether or not they will lose a game. He said they have already made franchise history and would rather lose now than in the postseason.

“That’s why we don’t talk about it, we don’t care that we’re 10-0,” Ebron said, via Christopher Carter of DK Pittsburgh Sports. “We have one purpose, and that’s to win a Super Bowl. We don’t care what people say.”

You could easily make the argument that an undefeated regular season is not worth the storyline that comes along with it. Obviously, the 2007 New England Patriots are the best example of that. They steamrolled through the regular season and playoffs, only to lose to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl in one of the biggest upsets in sports history. Had they not gone undefeated to that point, it’s entirely possible the Patriots would have felt less pressure and played better.

The Steelers’ remaining schedule is not exactly a gauntlet. They face the Baltimore Ravens at home on Thursday night before finishing the year against Washington, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Cleveland. They should be favored in all of those games barring a key injury or unexpected collapse.

Of course, undefeated seasons are rare in part because teams rest their starters when they have nothing to play for late in the year. It remains to be seen how Mike Tomlin will handle that situation if it arises, but the coach seemed to make it clear he doesn’t care about a perfect season with a funny remark he made following Sunday’s win.

John Harbaugh, Mike Vrabel do not shake hands after game

Mike Vrabel

Tensions were high before kickoff of Sunday’s game between the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens, and the mood seemed very much the same following the overtime thriller.

After the Titans beat the Ravens, Mike Vrabel approached John Harbaugh on the field and looked like he was going to shake his hand. Harbaugh appeared to wave Vrabel off, at which point Vrabel quickly turned and walked away.

It would make sense for Harbaugh to snub Vrabel given what happened before the game. Titans players gathered on the Ravens’ midfield logo at M&T Bank Stadium, and Harbaugh appeared to confront them over it. That led to a shouting match between him and Tennessee cornerback Malcolm Butler. You can see a video of the exchange here.

Titans players also gathered on Baltimore’s midfield logo before the two teams met in the playoffs back in January. Harbaugh was likely bothered by that, so what happened on Sunday may have pushed him over the edge.

Photo: Chipermc/Wikimedia via cc by-sa 4.0

Tom Brady snubs Jared Goff on postgame handshake

Jared Goff handshake

Tom Brady continues to be a poor sport after losses.

Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 27-24 to the Los Angeles Rams on “Monday Night Football.” After the game, cameras showed Rams quarterback Jared Goff walking to the middle of the field for a customary postgame handshake with the opposing quarterback. The only problem is Brady was nowhere to be found.

This has become an undeniable trend for Brady. He also snubbed Nick Foles after a Bucs loss to the Chicago Bears in early October.

Brady was asked why he snubbed Foles and had no good explanation. The only thing that seems to explain Brady’s behavior is that the handshakes don’t matter too much to him when he’s on the losing end of a game.

Or maybe Brady just is in a real hurry to get to bed.

Tampa Bay is 7-4 following the loss, while the Rams are 7-3.

Video: Chris Jones made a business decision and just avoided tackling Tony Pollard

Chris Jones business decision

Chris Jones embarrassed himself on Sunday by pulling a classic “business decision” against the Dallas Cowboys.

Jones’ Minnesota Vikings were leading the Cowboys 21-16 in the fourth quarter. Dallas had a 2nd-and-4 at the Minnesota 42 and handed the ball off to Tony Pollard, who broke a long touchdown run.

Pollard got a lot of help thanks to many players on Minnesota’s defense not trying to tackle him. Look at what Jones did.

Not that we condone business decisions, but if you’re going to make one, you better be locking down a top receiver for 60 minutes like Deion Sanders to get away with it. Jones is a far cry from Deion, so he can’t be making such embarrassing plays.

We haven’t seen a business decision like that since Odell Beckham Jr.’s two years ago.

Raheem Morris the favorite to become Falcons’ full-time head coach?

Raheem Morris

The Atlanta Falcons will be looking for a head coach this offseason after they fired Dan Quinn five games into the season, but they may not have to search very far.

The Falcons have played well since former defensive coordinator Raheem Morris was promoted to interim head coach. The results have impressed ownership and the front office, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Morris is a viable candidate to be named Atlanta’s full-time head coach.

Morris has led the Falcons to a 3-1 record since Quinn was fired. The only loss was when Atlanta fell 23-22 to the Detroit Lions after Todd Gurley committed one of the most costly blunders of the season. Atlanta could easily be undefeated under Morris, so his name should be at or near the top of the team’s list for head coaching candidates.

As La Canfora notes, the Falcons also like that Morris has experience on both sides of the ball. The 44-year-old was a wide receivers coach at one point in Atlanta, so he is more than just a defensive mind.

Morris has certainly made some mistakes, but he walked into an ugly situation and has steadied the ship. He may be the best man for the job going forward.