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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Football

Matt LaFleur has no worries about Aaron Rodgers’ joint practice comments

Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur appears to be handling his relationship with his star quarterback the right way.

Amid speculation that there may be early tension between LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers, Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo Sports reported that the pair are doing well in the early stages. LaFleur is “amused” by the speculation about the relationship, and Rodgers is saying the right things. In addition, LaFleur was unbothered when Rodgers was critical of LaFleur’s joint practices.

In other words, there don’t seem to be any early issues despite a lot of speculation given how Rodgers ended his relationship with ex-coach Mike McCarthy. Rodgers has been very dismissive of a feud and seems tired of the whole story, even if their interactions will remain under a microscope for at least a while yet.

Jets starting LB Avery Williamson out for season with torn ACL

Preseason injuries are an unfortunate part of every new year in the NFL, and linebacker Avery Williamson and the New York Jets are the latest to fall victim to one.

Williamson suffered a torn ACL this week and will miss the entire 2019 season, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports.

Williamson signed a three-year, $22 million deal with the Jets last offseason and was incredibly productive in his first year with the team. He recorded a career-high 121 total tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles while appearing in all 16 games. The former fifth-round pick was expected to be a key part of New York’s defense this year alongside new acquisition CJ Mosley, but that will have to wait until 2020.

Between Williamson’s injury and the news the Los Angeles Chargers got about Pro Bowler Derwin James on Friday, the injuries are starting to pile up with just weeks to go until Week 1.

Ryan Leaf hilariously mocks himself over his disappointing NFL career

Ryan Leaf is known for being one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history, and he is not afraid to own it. The latest way he reminded us of that may have been the funniest yet.

The NFL’s official Instagram account shared a video of a Jalen Ramsey interception on Friday and called him “a BAD man,” noting that the Jaguars star has nine interceptions in his first three NFL seasons. Leaf isn’t impressed. You know why? Because he had 33 interceptions in his first three years in the league.

That is self-deprecating humor at its finest. Leaf, once a highly regarded prospect coming out of college at Washington State, went No. 2 overall to the Chargers in 1998. There was even some debate over whether he should go No. 1 in that draft, but the Indianapolis Colts took some guy named Peyton Manning instead. Leaf played just four seasons in the NFL, and Manning will soon be in the Hall of Fame.

If you remember, Leaf cracked the same type of joke leading up to the NFL Draft last year. You have to appreciate his willingness to make himself the butt of a good joke.

Report: Derwin James to miss ‘significant’ time with foot injury

The Los Angeles Chargers will likely be without one of the most important pieces of their defense at the start of the regular season, as safety Derwin James suffered a foot injury during practice this week.

James sat out practice on Friday and was spotted with a boot on his right ankle. While the exact extent of the injury is unknown, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that it will cost him “significant” time.

That makes it seem like James will not be available when the Chargers face the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1, which is now just three weeks away.

James, the Chargers’ first-round pick last year, had a great rookie season. He recorded 105 total tackles and 3.5 sacks and was named to the Pro Bowl. It goes without saying that LA needs him back as quickly as possible.

Watch: Rex Ryan zings himself with feet joke on live TV

Rex Ryan

Say what you will about Rex Ryan, but one thing the man has never been lacking is a sense of humor. He gave us another great reminder of that on Friday when he cracked a perfectly timed joke at his own expense.

Feet have been a topic of discussion this offseason because of the nasty blister problem Antonio Brown is dealing with, and it came up again during ESPN’s “Get Up” on Friday morning when an ex-NFL player shared how he used to remove his toenails completely before the season so they wouldn’t get banged up. Sam Ponder was disgusted and said “we gotta quit talking about feet.”

Take it away, Rex:

For those of you who don’t get the reference, Ryan was the subject of foot fetish talk a few years back when him and his wife were supposedly featured in some bizarre YouTube videos. Ryan has since been mocked by his own twin brother over his love of feet, and he has done a great job of owning it.

Never change, Rex.

Dwayne Haskins fires back at critics who say he can’t throw deep

Dwayne Haskins

Dwayne Haskins is still fighting for a starting job with the Washington Redskins, and he made a pretty good case for himself with the deep touchdown pass he threw during Thursday night’s preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Rather than let his play do the talking, the former Ohio State star was quick to throw it in face of his critics.

One of the concerns some people have expressed about Haskins is his inconsistency with throwing deep passes. His touchdown pass in the second quarter on Thursday was a perfect strike that traveled 45 yards in the air and came in the face of pressure.

After Washington’s 23-13 loss, Haskins mocked those who claim he can’t throw deep.

Haskins obviously still has plenty to work on, and he is not the frontrunner to earn the Week 1 starting job as of now. However, that touchdown pass was very much an NFL throw, and it’s the type that Haskins will need to make in order to justify being a first-round pick. A few more of those and the QB competition will really start to heat up.

Redskins were victim of awful pass interference call that wasn’t overturned

The NFL made a major change for the 2019 season by allowing coaches to challenge pass interference plays, but that may not matter if horrific calls like the one we saw in Thursday night’s game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins are not overturned.

Washington wide receiver Kelvin Harmon tried to make a play on an underthrown ball in the fourth quarter, and he was somehow called for offensive pass interference despite clearly playing the ball. If anything, a penalty should have been called on the defense. Joe Theismann’s reaction during the TV broadcast said it all.

Bad calls happen, but the disturbing part about this one is that it was challenged by Washington head coach Jay Gruden and upheld. That is not a good sign.

The standard for overturning a pass interference call will be that there has to be clear and obvious evidence that the wrong call was made, and it seems like that was as clear and obvious as it gets. Unlike a previous pass interference challenge we saw this preseason that could have gone either way, the call on Harmon was flat-out wrong. If pass interference calls like that are going to be upheld, they might as well do away with being able to challenge them.