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#pounditSaturday, October 24, 2020

Football

Mike McCarthy addresses report of anonymous Cowboys players blasting coaches

Mike McCarthy

Mike McCarthy on Tuesday addressed a report from earlier in the day about anonymous Dallas Cowboys players blasting the coaching staff.

The Cowboys got smashed 38-10 at home on “Monday Night Football” to fall to 2-4. A day after the game, NFL Network reporter Jane Slater shared some anonymous criticism of the Cowboys’ coaches that she received from players (read the report here).

McCarthy is in his first year as Cowboys head coach and tried to preach the message to his players about keeping their complaints in-house. That message was violated when a few players shared their criticism with Slater.

McCarthy spoke with the media later in the day Tuesday and gave his response to the report. His message remained the same: he wants the players to handle things within the team.

The anonymous criticism did not specify whether the players were taking issue with McCarthy or other assistant coaches. The team’s defense has been horrendous this season, which has led to some criticism of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

Regardless, it’s not a good thing for players to be publicly criticizing the coaches like that. It makes everyone involved look bad and makes it harder to turn around the season and generate positive momentum.

Mike Tomlin understands why players are intimidated by Derrick Henry

Derrick Henry

Mike Tomlin understands why some defensive players may make a “business decision” when facing Derrick Henry.

Tomlin’s Pittsburgh Steelers are visiting Henry’s Tennessee Titans on Sunday in a matchup of 5-0 teams. Henry had 264 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in Tennessee’s overtime win in Week 6. He had the game-winning touchdown and a 94-yard touchdown run. The week before, he had a ridiculous stiff-arm.

Speaking about Henry on Tuesday, Tomlin said there are reasons to be intimidated by the Titans back.

“There are people that are intimidated by him and there are tangible things to be intimidated by,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin then compared Henry to one of the Steelers’ linebackers.

“This is like Bud Dupree running the football.”

Henry is around 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds. Not only is he physically imposing, but as Tomlin said, Henry also has sprinter speed. The rare and unlikely combination of incredible size and speed makes Henry such a dangerous player, and one defensive players want to avoid.

Troy Aikman addresses hot mic comments about pregame military flyover

Troy Aikman

Troy Aikman on Tuesday addressed his comments about a pregame military flyover that were caught by a hot mic.

Aikman and FOX play-by-play announcer Joe Buck, who form FOX’s No. 1 NFL announcing team, were heard mocking the pregame military flyover ahead of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Green Bay Packers game on Sunday (video here).

Aikman went on Twitter Tuesday to try and clear things up.

“I love a flyover but it was odd to see one over a mostly empty stadium but I am an unwavering patriot that loves this country, has always respected our flag, supported the men and women in the armed forces as well as those in uniform who serve & protect and for anyone to suggest otherwise doesn’t know me, my beliefs or what I have stood for my entire life,” Aikman wrote on Twitter Tuesday.

Pregame military flyovers have been a tradition before many sports events, regardless of what political party occupied the office of the presidency in the United States. That’s why many people seemed to object to Aikman turning things political by saying a pregame flyover wouldn’t happen under the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris regime.

Aikman omitted in his statement the part that bothered many, which was him connecting things to the current presidential race.

Tom Brady narrated great hype video for Dodgers-Rays World Series

Tom Brady Bucs

Tom Brady is a talented voice actor on top of being the best quarterback in NFL history.

Brady voiced a great hype video ahead of the 2020 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays that FOX released on Tuesday.

Brady, who is from Northern California, is a San Francisco Giants fan. The Giants’ rivalry with the Dodgers coupled with him now playing in Tampa made it an easy decision to say he was rooting for the Rays.

It’s a great time for Tampa sports fans. The Lightning won the Stanley Cup in late September. The Rays are in the World Series. And the Buccaneers are leading the NFC South at 4-2. What’s not to enjoy?

Could Falcons shop Matt Ryan, Julio Jones at trade deadline?

Matt Ryan

The Atlanta Falcons played inspired football on Sunday in their first game after former head coach Dan Quinn was fired, but they are still miles from playoff contention. Although trades involving star players are uncommon in the middle of an NFL season, there are some in the know who wonder if the Falcons could consider blowing up their roster.

According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler, there are people around the NFL who wonder if Matt Ryan and/or Julio Jones could be shopped ahead of the trade deadline, which is in two weeks. The belief is that the 1-5 Falcons are leaning toward a complete teardown, so selling off some assets could make sense.

Ryan, 35, has three more years remaining after this season on a contract that pays him $30 million annually. Jones is also signed through 2023 at an average salary of $22 million. Neither player would be easy to trade, but the Falcons may be willing to take less than market value if they can clear the money off their books.

The Falcons have been heading in the wrong direction since their epic collapse in the Super Bowl a few years ago. Team owner Arthur Blank recently made some comments that created doubt over Ryan’s future with the team, so it would not exactly be a shock if Atlanta moves on from him during or after the season.

Cowboys players anonymously blast coaching staff

Mike McCarthy

Mike McCarthy has only been the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys for six games, but apparently he and his staff have made the wrong impression on some members of the team.

In the wake of Monday night’s blowout loss to the Arizona Cardinals, multiple Cowboys players anonymously criticized McCarthy and his coaching staff to NFL Network’s Jane Slater. One player called the staff “totally unprepared,” while another said the coaches simply are not good at their job.

Interestingly enough, McCarthy said after the Cowboys’ 38-10 loss that he felt the team was more prepared to face the Cardinals than any other opponent this season. Some players do not agree.

Slater did not say whether the players she spoke with mentioned McCarthy by name. It’s possible the issues are more with assistant coaches, but that would still reflect poorly on the head coach.

Dallas has been atrocious defensively this season. Ezekiel Elliott’s fumbles on back-to-back possessions in Monday’s game certainly didn’t help, but the Cowboys have not been able to stop opponents. Despite that, they remain in first in the abysmal NFC East and could conceivably win the division with only six or seven wins.

Some have called for the Cowboys to make major changes after their rough start, but Jerry Jones was not ready to do that as of two weeks ago. If McCarthy and his staff are starting to lose the locker room, Jones could start to feel differently.

Tua Tagovailoa to be named Dolphins starting QB

Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins gave Tua Tagovailoa his first NFL action when they had their game against the New York Jets well in-hand on Sunday, and the rookie quarterback is keeping the job.

Tagovailoa will start for the Dolphins over veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick when the team comes out of its bye in Week 8, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Fitzpatrick has led Miami to a 3-3 record and has them squarely in contention in the AFC East. He did throw two interceptions in Sunday’s 24-0 win over the Jets and has seven on the season, but he has carried his steady play from 2019 into this year. That is why many are surprised the Jets are going with Tagovailoa.

The timing is likely not a coincidence. This may have been the Dolphins’ plan all along, as Tagovailoa will now have the bye week to get up to speed before taking over. Many expected Tagovailoa to take a redshirt year as a rookie to recover from the hip injury he suffered at Alabama, but he has had nothing but positive news about his health since.

Tagovailoa attempted two passes and completed both for nine yards on Sunday. He showed how much the moment meant to him with his actions after the game. Dolphins head coach Brian Flores must be confident with what he has seen from the former Alabama star in practice.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

John Ross reportedly wants trade from Bengals

John Ross

AJ Green insists any talk of him wanting a trade out of Cincinnati is off-base, but the same cannot be said of another Bengals wide receiver.

John Ross, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, has barely been a part of the Bengals’ plans this season. The speedster has been inactive for multiple games and played just one snap against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. The agent representing Ross confirmed to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo this week that Ross has approached the Bengals about a trade.

Ross showed some flashes of his big-play ability last year with back-to-back games of 100-plus yards early in the season. He finished the year with just 28 catches, however, and the Bengals have given no indication that they expect him to be a reliable weapon for rookie quarterback Joe Burrow.

There were reports a while back that Cincinnati was shopping Ross in trade talks, though it’s unclear how far those discussions ever went. The former Washington star blew teams away with his speed at the NFL Combine several years ago, but that has not translated well to the NFL. Even if the Bengals do want to trade Ross, the return likely would not be that significant.

Mike McCarthy offers concerning quote after blowout loss

Mike McCarthy

An already disappointing season got even worse for the Dallas Cowboys when they were blown out at home by the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night. Perhaps even more troubling than the performance itself was what Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy had to say about it.

The Cowboys played arguably their worst game of the year, which came as a surprise to McCarthy. He told reporters after the 38-10 loss that he felt the team was extremely prepared.

If that showing came after the best week of preparation for Dallas, they may not stand a chance this season. Then again, Ezekiel Elliott put the Cowboys in a tough position by losing two fumbles. No amount of preparation can account for that.

Elliott was briefly benched after fumbling on consecutive possessions. McCarthy stood by the star running back but stressed the importance of ball security.

Even after yet another tough loss, the Cowboys somehow remain in first in the NFC East. They could conceivably win the division with six or seven wins, so they need to do their best to remain focused.

Jerry Jones made it clear last week that he has very high hopes for Andy Dalton. Dalton’s first start wasn’t great, as he completed 34-of-55 passes for 266 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Dallas has a much easier opponent next week in Washington, though a solid week of preparation apparently will not guarantee they avoid a blowout loss.

Patrick Mahomes bests Dan Marino with latest touchdown mark

Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes continues to set impressive marks during his career.

The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback threw for two touchdown passes in his team’s 26-17 win over the Buffalo Bills on “Monday Night Football.”

The two scores, which went to Travis Kelce, gave Mahomes 91 career touchdown passes. The first one allowed Mahomes to reach 90 career TDs in just 37 career games, which is the fastest any quarterback in modern league history has achieved the mark. Dan Marino previously was the fastest to reach the mark with 90 in 40 career games.

Marino was the No. 27 overall pick by the Dolphins in 1983 and instantly shined. He threw for 20 touchdowns as a rookie, and then proceeded to lead the league in touchdown passes three years in a row with 48, 30, and 44. Marino won league MVP in his second season. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.

Mahomes was the No. 10 overall pick by the Chiefs in 2017. He sat behind Alex Smith as a rookie and then in his second year (first as a starter), he led the league with 50 touchdown passes and won league MVP, just like Marino. The big difference between the men, though, is that Mahomes already has won a Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the big championship ring eluded Marino throughout his career.

In case it wasn’t clear already, Mahomes is on a Hall of Fame track.