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Sunday, August 20, 2017


Report: DeShone Kizer could still win Browns’ starting QB job

DeShone Kizer

It sounds like Brock Osweiler is leading the Cleveland Browns’ quarterback race, but he could still be usurped by a rookie competitor.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of, DeShone Kizer is still very much in the mix to start on opening weekend in large part because of his exceptional physical tools.

Kizer has been very impressive in practice, making throws that have the coaching staff salivating. He has also shown at least some acumen during games, demonstrated by one play in the team’s preseason opener that saw him clear out a linebacker and turn it into a 22-yard gain.

Kizer will be No. 2 on the Browns’ depth chart on Monday against the New York Giants, so he’ll face better talent than he has in the past. If he performs well for the remainder of the preseason, he could at least make the Browns think about giving him the nod.

At least one player is under the impression that Osweiler will win the job. He still sounds like the favorite, but Kizer is clearly not out of it. The final preseason games will be interesting.

Phillip Dorsett reportedly on trading block

The Indianapolis Colts may be trying to erase another one of former general manager Ryan Grigson’s lasting marks on the franchise.

In an appearance Saturday on “The Rich Eisen Show,” Mike Lombardi of The Ringer reported that Colts wide receiver Phillip Dorsett is available for trade.

The 24-year-old Dorsett was drafted in the first round by Grigson just two years ago, ahead of the likes of Landon Collins, David Johnson, and others. He has largely underwhelmed through his first two seasons however and posted what technically qualified as career-bests in 2016 with 528 yards and two TDs.

The Colts already signed some potential competition for Dorsett this summer, and trading the University of Miami product outright could be the next logical step to help them put the Grigson era in the rearview mirror once and for all.

Image via Indianapolis Colts on YouTube

NFLPA head says Roger Goodell ‘lied’ about drafting new personal conduct policy

Roger Goodell

Relations between the NFL and NFLPA are toxic right now, and NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith’s latest comments are likely to further increase tensions.

In a taped interview for HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel set to air Tuesday, Smith outright accused commissioner Roger Goodell of lying about crafting a new personal conduct policy with union input.

“When Roger Goodell can stand up there as he did and say, ‘We’re drafting a new NFL Personal Conduct Policy. We’re gonna do so in conjunction with the union,’ and then doesn’t consult the union, comes up with a new policy, that says what?” Gumbel asked, via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.

“That says he lied,” Smith replied.

Smith’s further comments about Goodell painted a picture of a rather frosty relationship.

“He has a job, and I have a job,” Smith said. “My relationship with Roger I would argue is irrelevant.”

When asked if Smith trusted Goodell, his response was simply “I don’t have the luxury of trust, now do I?”

The NFL’s terse response was simply to blame the NFLPA.

“We repeatedly tried to engage the union but they had no interest in developing a tough and enhanced personal conduct policy,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told HBO.

After a week in which the NFL and NFLPA publicly sparred over the Ezekiel Elliott suspension, these comments are only going to make things worse. If there’s any good news, it’s that there are still four more years before potential labor strife happens, although the signs there aren’t that good either.

Report: Cam Newton to see increase in workload next week

Cam Newton tie

Cam Newton appears on track to play in Week 1, with the Carolina Panthers reportedly poised to increase his workload in the week to come.

Tiffany Blackmon of NFL Network reported Sunday that, while Newton will sit out the team’s second preseason game, the Panthers aren’t sweating over the fact that he hasn’t gotten any game action and are set to ramp up his workload.

Newton had shoulder surgery in the offseason, and the Panthers are taking care to avoid rushing him, though he is said to feel fine. There really isn’t any reason to, and everyone sounds confident that he’ll be fine once the regular season starts.

Blair Walsh explains why he taunted Vikings players

Blair Walsh

Seattle Seahawks kicker Blair Walsh had an interesting explanation when asked why he taunted his former Minnesota Vikings teammates: they started it.

Walsh, who spent the first five seasons of his career with the Vikings, raised some eyebrows during Friday night’s preseason game when he was spotted gesturing toward the sideline at some of his former Vikings teammates after converting a 52-yard field goal, but according to him, this was all instigated by the other side.

“I simply was just responding to getting taunted,” Walsh said, via Sheil Kapadia of ESPN. “I didn’t say anything. When you’ve got guys who were your teammates for five years yelling at you when you’re trying to kick, it’s just odd. And I hope they were in jest. And I hope they didn’t mean it because I didn’t mean anything with mine, but it was definitely not out of nowhere.

“I felt like it was nothing that was serious or meant to be hurtful, but I wanted to let them know that it just wasn’t going to roll off. I didn’t say anything though. Just looked at them.”

Walsh declined to say the nature of the taunting, implying that the words directed at him are not suitable for publication in a family-friendly outlet.

“Nothing I can repeat here. That’s for sure,” Walsh said when asked what had been said to him.

Walsh, of course, will be remembered in Minnesota for one of the worst missed field goals in recent NFL history, one that his confidence never recovered from and eventually led to his release. It’s easy to wonder if that’s the direction the taunting went in.

Justin Britt supports protesting Michael Bennett during anthem

Justin Britt

Michael Bennett asked for support from white players in seeking recognition of the social issues in America, and he received some.

Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt stood by Bennett’s side during the national anthem prior to the Seahawks’ preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on Friday night.

Cornerback Jeremy Lane also stood in front of Bennett and had his back turned to the field during the anthem.

Though Colin Kaepernick, the first player to protest by kneeling for the national anthem, is not in the league, Bennett and others are trying to continue the dialogue about the issues Kaepernick to which the unemployed QB was trying to bring attention.

Bennett sat during the playing of the national anthem in Seattle’s first preseason game and made some headlines, as did Marshawn Lynch. Bennett then said during the week that the country needs white athletes to stand with black athletes in order for matters to progress. The Eagles’ Chris Long took a stand when he put his arm around teammate Malcolm Jenkins during the anthem earlier in the week, and now Britt is doing the same. The center is doing so after signing a 3-year contract extension with the Seahawks on Thursday.

Chargers OL Russell Okung calls on white players to take public action

Russell Okung

Los Angeles Chargers offensive tackle Russell Okung wants more attention to be made to the issues of racial inequality in the country, and he thinks white athletes need to stand up for black ones in order for the public to start seeing things differently.

Okung’s former Seahawks teammate Michael Bennett said on ESPN’s SC6 Wednesday that things would really change when a white athlete took a stand for black players.

“It would take a white player to really get things changed,” Bennett said Wednesday. “because when somebody from the other side understands and they step up and they speak up about it … it would change the whole conversation. Because when you bring somebody who doesn’t have to be a part of [the] conversation making himself vulnerable in front of it, I think when that happens, things will really take a jump.”

Okung heard Bennett’s comments and sent a tweet on Friday in which he agreed with the Seattle defensive lineman.

Free agent longsapper Clint Gresham, who played in Seattle from 2010-2015, said he would join the movement if he were still on the team.

The closest sign of support came from Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Chris Long, who put his arm around teammate Malcolm Jenkins as the safety raised a fist during the anthem.

If more players embrace the movement, the conversation would certainly change.

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