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#pounditTuesday, August 9, 2022

Football

Was Kliff Kingsbury trying to teach Kyler Murray a lesson?

Kyler Murray in a black uniform

Oct 28, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) against the Green Bay Packers at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury allowed quarterback Kyler Murray to call some plays to the backups in practice this week. But it wasn’t a reward, it was a lesson.

Kingsbury griped that Murray will occasionally shake his head when the coach calls plays, and that didn’t sit particularly well. So Kingsbury sought to show Murray that it isn’t quite as simple as it seems.

“I just wanted him to know that, ‘Hey, this s–t ain’t easy.’ Every now and then, he starts shaking his head when I’m calling it in there,” Kingsbury said, via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN. “I’m like, ‘Alright, go ahead big dog.'”

New to the play-calling game, Murray made the mistake of talking right up until the moment the quarterbacks threw the ball. That obviously wouldn’t be permitted in a live game, but it was in practice.

“I would not want to play for Kyler Murray if I was a quarterback and he was the coach,” Kingsbury quipped.

The comments can be read maliciously, but Kingsbury was smiling throughout the press conference. He may have been legitimately annoyed with Murray’s head shaking, but nothing too serious or too personal. The fact is, Kingsbury and Murray need each other this season as pressure mounts for both.

The Cardinals collapsed down the stretch last season, which reflected poorly on each party. And while Murray was signed a long-term extension this offseason, both he and Kingsbury will need to step it up in 2022 if they want to remain in Arizona.

Pete Carroll gives update on Seahawks’ QB situation

Pete Carroll coaches the Seahawks

Dec 21, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll reacts against the Los Angeles Rams in the second half at SoFi Stadium. The Rams defeated the Seahawks 20-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With Russell Wilson now calling Denver home, there will be a new starting quarterback under center for the Seattle Seahawks in 2022. But who will it be? Geno Smith, Drew Lock or another? Head coach Pete Carroll isn’t certain just yet, but admits that a clear leader continues to emerge.

Before taking a brief leave due to COVID-19, Carroll was very complimentary of all his quarterbacks. He did admit, however, that Smith had the early lead.

Now Carroll is back with the team and that hasn’t changed. With the preseason officially underway, Smith continues to head the pack.

“They keep doing stuff every day, and they’re making plays,” Carroll said of Smith and Lock, via Pro Football Talk. “They both make plays every day. I’m watching to see how it swings; if it goes heavy one way, heavy the other way. The guys are doing a nice job. We’re working hard to match up the reps with the guys that play up in front, and the receivers, we’re working to get that done, and that’ll happen, and you’ll see how it happens again tomorrow, how the reps are handed out, just so that we can make it a really even competition.

“Geno continues to be on top, he’s ahead, he’s been in the lead for all the obvious reasons, and he’s holding onto it and doing a really good job of battling. Both guys are communicating beautifully, they’re learning well, we don’t have any issues with anything we’re trying to do. There are no issues here where we have to ‘Oh, we can’t quite do this or that with this guy or that guy,’ it isn’t like that. They’re very talented arm-wise, and the ability to throw the ball down the field is there. So, let the games begin. Getting out there, now we’re in the middle of it, and we’ll see what happens.”

Smith’s experience and knowledge of the system has aided in his stranglehold on the starting job. His rapport with the players has also helped his bid.

“He’s just doing things right,” Carroll said. “He handles the system, he’s making the checks at the line of scrimmage, he’s able to control the protections and working with [center] Austin [Blythe], those guys are hitting it really well, and he’s just really talented. He’s made great throws every day.”

The potential for a Jimmy Garoppolo acquisition still looms, but Carroll seems more focused on what’s in house. And while the scale could shift throughout the preseason, the momentum very much remains on Smith’s side.

Jimmy Garoppolo could end up with surprising NFC team

Jimmy Garoppolo in pads

Sep 26, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) walks on the field before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is working his way back from an offseason shoulder surgery and expectations are that he’ll soon be traded. But to whom?

Most early rumors have centered around the New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions. However, with each passing day, it seems like potential destinations are being dropped off the list.

But things change rapidly in the NFL. As training camps wear on and preseason games begin, the possibility for injury increases. And as more and more quarterbacks around the league suffer the usual dings and dents, names will ultimately be added back to that list.

Case in point: the Los Angeles Rams.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is dealing with an “abnormal” elbow injury and has been limited for much of camp. There seems to be a growing concern about his potential availability this season, which may thrust Los Angeles into the quarterback market.

That, of course, is where the 49ers and Garoppolo come in to play.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk postulates that the Rams could keep a close eye on Garoppolo despite making strange bed fellow with the 49ers. If an awkward trade couldn’t be worked out, Los Angeles could simply wait to see if Garoppolo is released and then pounce.

It would be an odd turn of events to see Garoppolo end up with the Rams and even possibly start, but stranger things have happened. And while that potential end is still a ways down the road, it’s worth monitoring as Garoppolo’s market develops and Stafford’s status becomes clearer.

Did Cowboys Pro Bowler delete Twitter after getting roasted in practice?

Trevon Diggs in helmet and uniform

Photo Credit: Tim Heitman-USA Today Sports

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs’ Twitter account is no longer active, and some are speculating that has to do with the recent ridicule he’s received on social media.

Diggs drew some negative attention on social media after videos from Cowboys practice on Thursday were shared on Twitter.

One video showed Diggs being burned by teammate CeeDee Lamb for a touchdown:

Another video showed 2021 5th-round pick Simi Fehoko getting past Diggs:

First Diggs got burned on the field, then he got burned on Twitter by critics. That led a Cowboys reporter to notice Friday that Diggs had deactivated his account.

We don’t know exactly when Diggs deactivated his account, nor the reason why. But that’s a smart move by him.

Twitter can be a cesspool of negativity, especially for pro athletes. Why should Diggs subject himself to that?

Despite what the few videos show, another reporter said that Diggs was having a good camp.

There are a few things to note here.

Diggs led the NFL last season with 11 interceptions, 142 yards in interceptions returned, and two pick-sixes. That all helped him become an All-Pro player. Despite his propensity for making big plays, he was also on the wrong end of many big plays. Diggs allowed the most receiving yards in the league last year (the exact amount of yards allowed is in disupte).

Diggs is a more polarizing player, which is probably why he’s subjected to so much criticism. Not being on Twitter allows him to avoid seeing a lot of that negativity.

H/T Barstool Sports

Could Ravens ex-Pro Bowler retire after 2022 season?

Calais Campbell looking away.

Feb 1, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars Calais Campbell appears on the red carpet prior to the NFL Honors awards presentation at Adrienne Arsht Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Calais Campbell has enjoyed a 14-year NFL career, and the soon-to-be 36-year-old is preparing as if the 2022 season will be his last.

During an appearance on NFL Network’s “Inside Training Camp Live” on Friday, Campbell revealed that he does not know what lies beyond the upcoming season as far as his football career is concerned.

“I’m in a place right now where I’m just taking it this year. I know I’ve got this year in me,” Campbell said via Nick Shook of NFL.com. “I don’t know if there’s anything left after that, but I’m going to leave it all on the field, empty the tank, and when it’s all said and done, after this year, I’ll reconvene in the offseason to see where I’m at.

“But right now, I’m preparing like this is my last year. So, I’m going to give it everything I have.”

This is not the first time that Campbell has flirted with the idea of retirement. During the offseason prior to the 2021 season, he did not rule out hanging it up after the season concluded.

Campbell signed a two-year contract extension with the Ravens earlier this offseason after breaking a streak of four consecutive Pro Bowls last year with one of the worst statistical seasons of his career. He had the second-fewest sacks of his career (1.5) in 15 games, in addition to 49 combined tackles (fourth-fewest of his career) and 12 quarterback hits.

H/T Pro Football Talk

49ers reuniting Kyle Shanahan with former player

Kyle Shanahan with a headset

Sep 23, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan watches play on the sidelines during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan’s tenure with the Cleveland Browns is better off forgotten, but it lives on in the form of the newest San Francisco 49er.

Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reported on Friday that the 49ers are signing veteran wide receiver Willie Snead. The seven-year NFL veteran had worked out for the team earlier in the day.

Shanahan, the 49ers coach, got acquainted with Snead in Cleveland. Snead signed with the Browns in 2014 after going undrafted, and Shanahan was the team’s offensive coordinator at the time. Granted, Snead lasted just a few months in Cleveland before getting cut. Shanahan also left town not long after that, having clashed with the Browns organization.

Now 29, Snead was a non-factor last year with just four catches for 38 yards in nine total games between the Las Vegas Raiders and Carolina Panthers. He joins a crowded room of receivers in San Francisco that already boasts Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Ray-Ray McCloud, Jauan Jennings, plus others. But as the most experienced of those players (and with viable talent as a slot receiver), Snead should have a shot to crack the team’s final roster.

Demaryius Thomas’ cause of death revealed in autopsy report

Demaryius Thomas points his finger

Nov 6, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) points to the crowd before the start of the game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The autopsy report from the death of Demaryius Thomas has been made public.

Thomas died of “complications of a seizure disorder,” according to an autopsy report that was released by the Fulton County Medical examiner on Friday.

Thomas was found dead in the shower in his home on Dec. 9 of last year. Doctors from Boston University announced a month ago that the former Denver Broncos wide receiver was posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. The autopsy report stated that it is not believed that there was a direct link between the seizure disorder and CTE.

After Thomas died, his cousin said the family believes a seizure was the cause. The seizures began sometime after Thomas was involved in a car accident in 2019.

Thomas, who was 33, was a first-round pick by the Denver Broncos in 2010 out of Georgia Tech. He grew into one of the league’s top receivers by his third season in the NFL. He made three straight Pro Bowls from 2012-2014 and four overall during his career.

Josh McDaniels explains bizarre decision from Hall of Fame Game

Josh McDaniels at the NFL Combine

Mar 2, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Josh McDaniels coached his first televised exhibition game with the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night, and there was already one decision from him that left some people scratching their heads.

The Raiders took on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the annual Hall of Fame Game, which is an event that rarely ever features a skill player who is projected to be a starter. That was largely the case in Las Vegas’ 27-11 victory, but one well-known player did see the field quite a bit — Josh Jacobs. McDaniels was asked after the game why Jacobs played while essentially every other projected starter sat.

“I always think it’s good for backs to carry the ball in the preseason,” McDaniels said, via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra. “There’s a lot of things that happen when you’re getting tackled and hit that you can’t simulate in practice. I think all our guys had the ball tonight. I think all our guys either caught it or were handed the ball and had to get tackled. We can’t really simulate that or rep that in practice.”

Jacobs started the game and rushed five times for 30 yards. He also had two catches for 14 yards and played multiple series. Rookie fourth-round pick Zamir White led Las Vegas with 11 carries.

Jacobs rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons. His workload was cut back a bit last year when he rushed for 872 yards on 217 carries. Though, he did have a career-high 54 receptions.

Teams typically do not want to risk having a key starter suffer an injury this early in the preseason. That has led to questions about whether McDaniels views Jacobs as a key starter. The coach supposedly included the veteran as part of his pitch to land the Raiders job, but perhaps McDaniels is planning to employ the same type of running-back-by-committee approach he used in New England.

Aaron Rodgers discusses relationship with ex-girlfriend Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick before a race

May 27, 2018; Indianapolis, IN, USA; IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick during the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers and Danica Patrick dated for about two years before they split in 2020. The Green Bay Packers star has said very little publicly about the relationship since, but it sounds like he has fond memories of the time the two spent together.

During his wide-ranging interview with the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that was released this week, Rodgers brought up his relationship with Patrick. He said the former NASCAR driver was “great” for him and that the two connected on a spiritual level.

“I was dating Danica, and that relationship was great for me because she is on her own journey and spirituality is important to her,” Rodgers said, per Francesca Bacardi of Page Six. “We both were finding our way, learning about different things [and] practicing meditation techniques.”

Many have speculated that there is bad blood between Rodgers and Patrick. Part of that stems from the fact that Rodgers seemed to quickly move on after splitting with Patrick when he got engaged to actress Shailene Woodley just months later. Though, Rodgers and Woodley have since also called it quits.

Patrick has spoken openly about having high dating standards in the wake of her split with Rodgers. She and entrepreneur Carter Comstock also called it quits earlier this year. Rodgers seems to think highly of Danica, but we would not count on any rekindling of that flame.

Ex-Patriot got into car crash to avoid wrath of Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick on the sideline

Oct 10, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reacts during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick is known for running a tight ship in New England. One thing the longtime coach does not tolerate is players being late to practice, and a former Patriots lineman told a shocking story this week that helps illustrate just how intimidating Belichick can be.

Rich Ohrnberger, an ex-Patriots offensive lineman, said on his “The Hartman And Rich O Show” this week on XTRA 1360 that he once intentionally got into a car accident so he had an excuse for being late to practice. The 2009 fourth-round pick said his phone died overnight and he overslept. When he was already five minutes late with a 15-minute drive ahead of him, Ohrnberger decided to take drastic measures.

“I’m gonna be 10 minutes late for this day. I have this sinking feeling in my stomach like, ‘I’m gonna be cut. (Belichick’s) not gonna have me on this football team come tomorrow. What do I do?’” Ohrnberger recalled, as transcribed by Jared Greenspan of the New York Post. “I see a church van in front of me that’s all dinged up and it’s got the black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe and I’m like, ‘I’m gonna hit this car.’ It’s better to pay the insurance than embarrass myself by being late for a Patriots team meeting.”

Ohrnberger says he drove his Chevy Tahoe into the back of the van just hard enough to dent his bumper so he had proof of the accident. He said his heart was “pounding with regret and guilt” when an elderly man stepped out of the van, but fortunately no one was hurt.

The Patriots bought the story, according to Ohrnberger. He kept his job despite his offensive line coach saying “that stuff doesn’t work here.”

Belichick has a history of benching players seemingly without explanation, so you can understand why Ohrnberger panicked. Does that mean rear-ending a car on purpose was a good decision? That one is debatable.