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#pounditWednesday, September 30, 2020

Football

Kyle Shanahan rules out Nick Mullens winning 49ers QB job

Jimmy Garoppolo

Nick Mullens was very impressive filling in for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo, but it does not sound like there’s anything the backup can do to get the job permanently.

Coach Kyle Shanahan was asked Wednesday if there was any way Mullens could permanently earn the starting job in Garoppolo’s absence, and the answer was pretty clear.

Mullens went an impressive 25/36 for the Niners in their Week 3 win, throwing for 343 yards and a touchdown. However, he was playing a bad team in the New York Giants, and does not have a tremendous track record as a starter.

Garoppolo has not given the 49ers any reason to move away from him. In the game and a half before his ankle injury, he had completed 67.3 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and no turnovers. There may be some questions lingering about whether he’s elite, but he did lead the Niners to the NFC title last season.

There was a time when Mullens was rumored to be pushing him for the starting job, but that’s no longer on the table.

John Harbaugh suggests mask expectations are unrealistic

John Harbaugh

John Harbaugh thinks some of the expectations regarding coaches wearing masks need to be taken into context.

The Baltimore Ravens coach was seen with his mask not covering his mouth at times on Monday night, including during an argument with an official over a penalty. Harbaugh acknowledged that, but said it was unrealistic to suggest that there would be no moments where a mask might fall down briefly.

The NFL has taken strict measures to try to ensure coaches wear masks all the time. The league has threatened even stricter ones if compliance continues to be an issue.

Harbaugh certainly suggests that the NFL should take context into account when making these calls. A lot depends on what the TV cameras catch. There’s a big difference between a mask falling down and being intentionally removed, though. Harbaugh has to make sure he’s not doing the latter.

Patrick Mahomes has very high praise for Cam Newton

Cam Newton

Patrick Mahomes just outplayed one of the best quarterbacks in the AFC in Monday night’s win over the Baltimore Ravens, and he is hoping to do the same against the New England Patriots on Sunday. While Cam Newton may not be Lamar Jackson, Mahomes has plenty of respect for his upcoming opponent.

Mahomes was asked about Newton’s game on Wednesday, and he had very high praise for his fellow former NFL MVP.

“I wish I could do some of the things that he does as far as being physical and making things happen,” Mahomes said, via NFL Network’s James Palmer.

Newton is nowhere near as good of a player as Mahomes at this point in their respective careers, but he’s a different type of player. Mahomes keeps plays alive with his feet, but he’s arguably the best passer in the NFL. Newton still makes numerous plays with his legs and is far more physical than Mahomes. He’s also proven this season that he can still throw accurately downfield, though no one compares to Mahomes in that category.

We’d say the Chiefs have their work cut out for them against Newton and the Patriots, but we all saw what Mahomes just did to the Ravens. Jackson made a tough admission about his AFC foe after that game, and it will be interesting to see how Newton feels following his showdown with Mahomes and company.

Cam Newton is now a member of the Patriots! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Cam Newton Patriots shirt. You can buy it here.

NFL threatens suspensions, loss of draft picks for coaches not wearing masks

Jon Gruden

The NFL has fined multiple head coaches through the first three weeks of the season for not wearing face coverings at all times on the sideline during games, and the league says the penalties could become much more harsh going forward.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL sent another strongly-worded memo to teams this week urging them to comply with all coronavirus-related protocols on game day. Failure to do so may result in suspensions or the loss of draft picks.

Five NFL head coaches and their respective teams have already been fined a combined total of nearly $2 million. The fines could continue to increase if the same coaches violate the protocols, but teams will almost certainly take the policy more seriously if suspensions are possible and draft picks are at stake.

Jon Gruden is one coach who has repeatedly violated the mask rules by taking his mask off during games. After he was fined last week, he responded by wearing this thing on his face.

Steelers-Titans game postponed due to positive coronavirus tests

Roger Goodell

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans will not play on Sunday after multiple players and personnel members with the Titans tested positive for the coronavirus this week.

ESPN’s Dianna Russini first reported that the Steelers-Titans game has been postponed. The NFL later issued a statement saying the game will be played either Monday or Tuesday.

As of Wednesday, a total of four players and five staffers with the Titans had tested positive. No one with the Minnesota Vikings, who hosted Tennessee last weekend, tested positive.

Obviously, the situation is fluid. The NFL expected positive COVID-19 tests during the season, and protocols are in place to deal with that. Should more positive tests turn up during the week, the plan could change again.

One more Titans player tests positive for coronavirus; no Vikings players

Tennessee Titans logo

The NFL conducted its latest round of coronavirus tests on Tuesday following news that three players and five staffers with the Tennessee Titans tested positive, and the results were fairly promising.

One more Titans player has tested positive for COVID-19. No players with the Minnesota Vikings, who hosted Tennessee on Sunday, tested positive.

The NFL has planned for the possibility of positive coronavirus tests during the season, and as of now there are no plans to cancel the Titans’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Nashville on Sunday. The Vikings will travel to Houston to take on the Texans this weekend, and that game is still scheduled to take place as well.

If all of Sunday’s games are held as scheduled, the biggest impact could be that the Titans and Vikings had to dramatically shift their weekly preparations this week due to the positive tests. That is something teams have planned for and could have to deal with again as the season progresses.

Ryan Fitzpatrick shares his favorite NFL city

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick has been well-traveled throughout his career. The veteran quarterback has played for eight different NFL teams in 16 seasons.

So which NFL city does he like the most? He was asked that during a podcast visit with ESPN’s Adam Schefter and gave his answer, though he was reluctant to share it.

“I’m going to get in trouble if I answer that one,” Fitzpatrick said.

“My favorite NFL city is Buffalo,” Fitzpatrick said.

Schefter asked him why.

“Why? Because it’s Buffalo. It’s Buffalo.”

Fitzpatrick’s longest stretch as a starter during his career came in Buffalo, so it’s no surprise he enjoyed it. But beyond that, Bills fans have long had a reputation for being among the most passionate and rowdiest group in sports. Sometimes their actions can get out of hand, but there is little doubt that they love their team and its players. That’s probably why Fitzpatrick finds it to be so great.

Owner Mark Davis not happy after Raiders players attend charity gala with fans

Mark Davis

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis is not happy about the actions of some of his team’s players on Monday night.

Some Raiders players attended a charity gala at DragonRidge Country Club south of Las Vegas. The event was in support of tight end Darren Waller’s charity to help young adults with drug and alcohol addiction.

Players such as quarterbacks Derek Carr and Nathan Peterman, and tight ends Jason Witten and Foster Moreau were among the players seen in attendance.

Players and attendees did not appear to be following social distancing guidelines or wearing masks.

“You don’t like seeing this. I don’t know that it’s actually been built into our memories that you have to wear a mask,” Davis said, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore.

The NFL and NFLPA agreed to restrict players from attending any event that violates state or local restrictions. The agreement also included players avoiding indoor concerts, music or entertainment events. They have further agreed to restrict players from visiting bars or night clubs with 10-or-more people and without wearing a mask. Players are also not supposed to attend house gatherings with more than 15 people and without wearing a mask.

The players attending the event appeared to violate many of these rules.

The NFL is taking restrictions seriously as they play the season amid the coronavirus pandemic. They have fined coaches for not wearing masks during games, including Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who came up with an alternative. The Titans had to suspend in-person activities after players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The league wants to get through the season and needs the cooperation of everyone involved in order to make it happen.

Patrick Mahomes’ fiancee Brittany Matthews is pregnant

Patrick Mahomes Brittany Matthews

Patrick Mahomes and his fiancee Brittany Matthews announced on Tuesday that she is pregnant and expecting the couple’s first baby.

Matthews shared a photo on Twitter and Instagram of her and Mahomes holding a photo of a sonogram.

The photo appears to be an early-pregnancy sonogram.

“Just taking a small detour to the wedding,” Matthews wrote on Twitter.

“Mom & Dad, taking a small detour to the wedding,” she wrote on Instagram.

The announcement from Mahomes and Matthews comes less than a month after the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback proposed to his longtime girlfriend. The two got engaged on Sept. 1, which was the same night the Chiefs got their Super Bowl rings.

Mahomes and Matthews have been together since 10th grade and even have shared old pictures from their high school prom together in 2013. Now the two are expecting their first child.

Report: Earl Thomas will not sign with Texans

Earl Thomas

Earl Thomas was expected to work out with the Houston Texans this week and likely sign with the team, but things have changed.

The Tennessee Titans had three players test positive for COVID-19. That led the NFL to suggest teams make revisions to their processes regarding bringing in players for visits.

The Texans made a change and decided not to have Thomas come in for a visit on Tuesday. Josina Anderson reported Tuesday that Thomas’ visit was on hold for now.

But it seems the Texans may have had a total change in heart.

Longtime Houston Chronicle reporter John McClain says the Texans will not be signing Thomas.

Houston has a need at safety due to an injury and was looking to Thomas as a replacement. He is a free agent after being cut by the Baltimore Ravens for having issues with teammates. Thomas is expected to file a grievance against Baltimore.