The Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts were the two latest NFL teams to close their facilities this week due to positive coronavirus tests, but fortunately both teams have already returned to business as usual.
The Falcons closed their facility on Thursday due to multiple positive COVID-19 tests. The Colts then issued a statement on Friday morning announcing that they were dealing with a similar situation. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, all of those tests for Indy were false positives. It sounds like the same was true for Atlanta.
That is obviously good news, though it is a reminder of how false positive tests can cause complications.
As of now, there have been no additional changes to the NFL’s Week 6 schedule. That can change at any time, especially with the health and safety protocols the league’s chief medical officer spoke about earlier in the week.
Week 5 will unfortunately be remembered for a very serious injury that marred the entire slate of games. There were plenty of other performances to be remembered for the usual reasons, though. There was a shockingly terrible showing from the reigning NFC champions, and some units that have been dominant that suddenly weren’t on Sunday.
Here are five big disappointments from NFL Week 5.
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
It’s not often that Mahomes barely completes 50 percent of his passes, but that’s what happened against the Raiders on Sunday. Mahomes threw for 340 yards, but only two touchdowns, and he was outplayed by Derek Carr. Sunday marked Mahomes’ lowest completion percentage of the season, as well as his first interception. He also took three sacks, easily the most he’s taken all season. It’s likely just a bad week, but it’s one Mahomes won’t want to remember.
San Francisco 49ers
What was that? The Niners rode an elite defense to the NFC championship last year. On Sunday, they gave up 43 points to a Miami Dolphins team that was expected to be one of the league’s worst squads. Miami posted 436 yards as the defense was dismantled by Ryan Fitzpatrick. The offense was worse — Jimmy Garoppolo was benched at halftime, supposedly to be protected. It didn’t matter who the quarterback was, as this was an embarrassing performance in every aspect. It’s hard to fathom how a team that was so good so recently could be that bad.
Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive line
Joe Burrow got quite used to having solid protection at LSU last year. If he hadn’t already received a wakeup call, he has now. The Baltimore Ravens sacked Burrow seven times on Sunday, leaving him largely to fend for himself. Part of the sack total was on Burrow — he held on to the ball too long at times. But he had little help from a porous offensive line. The rookie quarterback is going to end up beaten into the ground by season’s end if things don’t improve fast.
Indianapolis Colts’ defense
The Colts came into Sunday having allowed 11 points or less in each of their last three games. That ended abruptly when they got steamrolled by the Browns. Cleveland posted 385 total yards and 22 first downs, looking nothing like the offenses the Colts had held in check for the past several weeks. This is something of a wake-up call, and it will be intriguing to see if Indy can recover and put this one behind them.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys
Sadly, Prescott’s Week 5 was disappointing for reasons beyond his control. His season-ending broken ankle is gutwrenching, and one of the uglier on-field injuries we’ve seen in sports recently. There are the practical concerns. Prescott will go into free agency on the back of this — but the real sadness comes from what it means for the game. Prescott is one of the league’s brightest young quarterbacks and a lot of fun to watch. His presence will be missed for the rest of the season, as the reaction around the league showed us.
It has been several years since Tom Brady and Peyton Manning held the final installment of their historic rivalry, but the six-time Super Bowl champion is still taking shots at his former foe.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers used recordings of crowd noise during their scrimmage on Friday, and Brady was asked about the experience. He told the media the piped-in noise reminded him of playing at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.
The Colts were accused numerous times of pumping crowd noise through their speakers at the RCA Dome, but the NFL never found evidence of it happening. They denied using artificial noise following a game with a very bizarre audio moment against New England back in 2007.
The Atlanta Falcons, however, were penalized for piping noise into their stadium several years ago, so it happens.
Interestingly enough, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians also called out a rival team over piped-in noise rumors earlier this offseason. That is apparently something that is fresh on everyone’s mind in Tampa.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have teamed up yet again! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.
There are plenty of added challenges for NFL training camps in 2020, but one underrated one comes into play if someone is new to a team.
Philip Rivers is entering his first season with the Indianapolis Colts, and as a quarterback, he’s eager to learn his new teammates’ names, faces, and personalities. One problem: due to COVID-19 safety restrictions and social distancing, he’s finding it a little tough.
“It’s a little bit of a challenge in these mask things we’re wearing,” Rivers said, via Michael Marot of the Associated Press. “I feel like I’ve got the offense pretty well down, but I’m trying to get a feel for the defensive guys and seeing their name plates.”
Quarterbacks especially want to know their teammates, so this is definitely an added wrinkle for Rivers to deal with. At least with the offense, he had a way to get a bit of an advantage, but everything else is still a work in progress.
The bulk of the NFL offseason is essentially over, with almost all the big moves being made and the draft being settled. That means we can really begin to assess who will be good next year and who did well this offseason based on free agency, trades and the draft.
Here are five teams who did the most to get better during an unusual offseason.
5. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts spent the bulk of the offseason retooling their offense, and they certainly look like they’ve succeeded. The biggest move was signing Philip Rivers to a one-year deal. He should immediately upgrade the team’s quarterback play. They also managed to upgrade through the draft despite not having a first-round pick. Adding Michael Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor with the team’s first two picks should help Rivers, and proves that this team means business on the offensive end. They could be a real contender in 2020.
4. Cleveland Browns
The Browns had to fix their offensive line to give quarterback Baker Mayfield a fighting chance in 2020. They did so aggressively, adding Jack Conklin via free agency and Jedrick Wills Jr. tenth overall in the draft. That alone should bolster the offense, as Mayfield struggled to get anything going in part due to the constant pressure he was put under in 2019. Grant Delpit was a great value pick to help the secondary as well. Cleveland’s division got tougher, but the Browns got better, and that’s all they can ask.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When you can replace Jameis Winston with Tom Brady, you’re getting better. End of story. That move headlined Tampa Bay’s offseason, combined with the rather dramatic return of Rob Gronkowski to the fold. The draft has real potential to propel them forward too. Tristan Wirfs is a great pick who will help Brady stay on his feet, while Antoine Winfield Jr. has the potential to be a sturdy NFL starter. This team is suddenly being talked about as a Super Bowl contender, as any Brady team should. That’s a huge leap forward no matter what.
2. Miami Dolphins
Given the lack of talent on Miami’s roster a year ago, they had nowhere to go but up. With money to spend, though, the Dolphins made the most of it. Miami spent heavy on defense, adding Byron Jones, Shaq Lawson, and Kyle Van Noy to what was the league’s worst unit. They brought in Jordan Howard as a legitimate backfield option. Capping it all off is the selection of Tua Tagovailoa in the draft, along with two offensive linemen to help protect him. 2020 may be a year too soon for the Dolphins, but they’re very clearly on the right track thanks to a great offseason.
1. Arizona Cardinals
Arizona’s acquisition of DeAndre Hopkins was regarded as so lopsided by most in the industry that it effectively put Bill O’Brien on the hot seat. That’s of little concern to the Cardinals, who managed to get one of the game’s best receivers while simultaneously offloading David Johnson’s bloated deal. Devon Kennard was a savvy addition at linebacker, and top draft pick Isaiah Simmons should be one of the most entertaining rookies in the league. There is some concern that they didn’t do enough to address the offensive line, but they added a lot of talent elsewhere that should push them toward .500 or better in 2020.
The NFL schedule was released on Thursday, and one takeaway is that the Indianapolis Colts have a favorable road ahead.
The Colts have the easiest schedule in the league, according to Sharp Football Stats. Their rankings are based on projected 2020 win totals from sportsbooks.
The Colts play in the AFC South and will face the Texans, Titans and Jaguars twice each. In the first eight weeks of the season, they face only one team that made the playoffs last year — the Vikings. In their final nine games, the only non-divisional opponents they face that made he playoffs last year are the Ravens and Packers.
Indianapolis will have a new-look offense in 2020. They signed free agent quarterback Philip Rivers and drafted a few offensive weapons like Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman. On defense, they made a big addition by trading for DeForest Buckner.
Even if their schedule currently projects as favorable, as Kyle Shanahan told us, it’s way too early to say who will have an easy path and who won’t.
The Indianapolis Colts made an intriguing pick in the fourth round of the NFL Draft that could have long-term implications for the organization.
The Colts made quarterback Jacob Eason the 122nd overall pick in the 2020 draft, selecting him in the fourth round. The Washington quarterback was a highly-touted recruit, but an injury at Georgia cost him his starting job and led to his transfer to the Huskies.
Eason’s fall to the fourth round is a bit of a surprise, but the Colts benefit. He immediately becomes the only long-term quarterback on the roster. Jacoby Brissett is a free agent after the 2020 season, as is projected starter Philip Rivers. Rivers is also 38 and not a long-term solution.
Perhaps part of the reason for Eason’s availability in the fourth round was some reportedly unimpressive NFL Combine interviews.
The Indianapolis Colts are looking into charges of plagiarism after their new logo was discovered to be suspiciously similar to one designed by a local high school football coach three years ago.
Jere Kubuske, a former assistant coach at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, pointed out that the Colts’ new secondary logo is almost identical to one that he designed for the school in 2016 and briefly used in 2017.
On Wednesday, the Colts issued a statement about the allegations, saying their new logo was professionally designed and while they were unaware of the Cathedral High School logo, they would look into the situation.
“We have great respect for our friends at Cathedral, and we would never purposefully take an idea from them to use as our own,” Colts VP of communications Steve Campbell said in a statement to Paul Lukas of Uni Watch. “That’s just not how the Colts do business. The new Colts Indiana logo was an independent creation that was designed by the NFL, as are most team marks and logos, and was not designed locally. The Colts and the league were unaware of the other logo, and we wouldn’t have moved forward otherwise. But we will look into the matter. Nonetheless, both the Colts and Coach Kubuske had the same goals at heart – promoting athletics and paying tribute to our home state.”
The similarities are very suspicious, and worth looking into. It’s a shame, because it’s a pretty cool logo. It’s certainly better than some others we’ve seen recently that many wish would get changed.
The market for Tom Brady did not seem to be quite as robust as many expected it to be, and the Indianapolis Colts may have played a direct role in that.
The Colts were obviously looking for an upgrade at quarterback this offseason, which is why they signed Philip Rivers to a one-year deal last week. However, they surely would have preferred Brady and his championship pedigree if the four-time Super Bowl MVP wanted to play in Indy, right? Apparently not.
According to Peter King of NBC Sports, Brady’s camp showed interest in the Colts but the interest was not mutual. The Colts are said to have preferred Rivers from the start because they knew they could sign him to a one-year deal.
Brady signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that is fully guaranteed and includes up to $9 million in incentives. Rivers signed a one-year deal with the Colts that is worth around $25 million. Rivers is four years younger than Brady, but it’s hard to believe Indianapolis preferred one year of Rivers over two years of Brady.
It’s possible that Brady’s camp only showed interest in the Colts as a way of strengthening the market for the 42-year-old. Brady seems like he was in a position where he would have wanted to really stick it to the Patriots, and signing with Indy would have been one way to do that. However, he also wanted to play on the east coast for travel purposes. It seems unlikely that Brady would have signed with the Colts even if they wanted him.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have teamed up yet again! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.
The Indianapolis Colts have put an interesting name on the quarterback market.
As first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Colts released veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer after officially signing Philip Rivers.
This means the Colts are likely going to keep Jacoby Brissett as Rivers’ backup. The Colts like Brissett but wanted an upgrade, so he’ll be a quality second option for them should anything happen to Rivers.
This will definitely spark some speculation about the New England Patriots’ plans. Hoyer spent a long time as Tom Brady’s backup in New England, and they’ve shown faith in him previously. Though they may be planning to start Jarrett Stidham, Hoyer could be a veteran option who knows the system and will look like a steady pair of hands to Bill Belichick. It’s probably worth watching to see if the Patriots go after him.