September 2015

With LeSean McCoy's playing status uncertain because of a hamstring injury, Bills coach Rex Ryan is no longer second-guessing his decision to have Karlos Williams stick to playing running back. Announcing there's a ''real possibility'' that McCoy won't play against the New York Giants on Sunday, Ryan revealed he briefly toyed with the idea of having Williams switch back to his more natural position of safety. ''It was tempting,'' Ryan said Wednesday, recalling how impressed he was watching tape of Williams play defense during his first two seasons at Florida State.
Two days after Victor Cruz said he expected to play this weekend, his return seemingly is on hold. Giants coach Tom Coughlin said that Cruz was unable to practice Wednesday after feeling some discomfort in his calf. ''Hopefully it's just minor,'' quarterback Eli Manning said.
Last year it was the Oakland Raiders. That was the team Jon Gruden was going to leave ESPN to come coach. It's my favorite tradition of the offseason, really. After every season since Gruden has been out of coaching, there are one (or two, or three, or four) teams with openings that are connected to Gruden. And we get to hear numerous reports that he's coming out of the booth to coach. Really though, we've said the past seven years that Gruden will return to coach the (fill in the blank team) and he just re-signs with ESPN — but seriously this time he's really going to do it! Hilarious. Let's just say that Gruden has a good and smart agent who knows how to get him raises on his "Monday Night Football" job. As it turns out, Gruden has a really, really good agent. According to James Andrew Miller , an author of a book on ESPN, Gruden is the highest paid employee at ESPN at .... ready? $6.5 million! Can we please keep this in mind the next time some Gruden rumors are floated about? Grandstanding: A Yahoo Sports podcast Subscribe via iTunes or via RSS feed According to , only six current NFL coaches make more than $6.5 million ( h/t to USA Today's For the Win ): Seattle's Pete Carroll ($8 million-plus), New Orleans' Sean Payton ($8 million), New England's Bill Belichick ($7.5 million), Kansas City's Andy Reid ($7.5 million), Baltimore's John Harbaugh ($7 million) and the New York Giants' Tom Coughlin ($7 million). NFL coaches routinely work hours that are fairly inhumane. Gruden was famous for waking up at 3:17 a.m. to start his work day. Then he, and every other coach, would put in 80, 90, 100 hours and be at the mercy of players executing a plan. The 20-hour days figuring out a tendency in the defense to waste when the tight end is wide open and drops a sure touchdown in his hands. There's far less stress and a ton more sleep involved in being a color commentator one night a week. And Gruden does well at his job. Some don't love his unbelievably positive outlook on every player in the game he's calling (count me in this group) but he provides some really insightful commentary at times. Obviously he knows the game in and out. Gruden has little to prove as a coach, either. Perhaps he could come back and have a decade or more of success to start a Hall of Fame conversation (he's just 52; Carroll is 64 and Belichick is 63 and they coached in last year's Super Bowl), but why? He has a Super Bowl ring. He has a job that reportedly pays him as much as or more than 25 NFL head coaches whose moods fluctuate and lives change based on the outcome of a football game every Sunday. And don't get me started on how absurd it is to connect him to open college jobs. Will that stop the rumors next offseason? Probably not. But hey, I'm sure then it will really be The One NFL Job That Will Pull Jon Gruden Away From $6.5 Million At ESPN! So funny. More football coverage on Yahoo Sports - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab
The Giants, Giants fans, and fantasy owners who have Victor Cruz stashed on their bench {sheepishly raises hand} may have to wait a little longer for the receiver to make his 2015 debut: TC on Cruz: "Victor came out and tried to do individuals. He felt the calf again and that's all he did." — New York Giants (@Giants) September 30, 2015 Earlier this week, Cruz ended a video he did for Bleacher Report by saying, "The return is here," and on Monday, told reporters in the locker room that he was "convinced" he'd play this Sunday when the Giants play the Bills. His availability for this week is now in doubt. Cruz, who suffered a ruptured patellar tendon last Oct. 12 against the Eagles, initially injured his calf during training camp.
Fans argue vociferously about the best rivalry in the NFL.
Last week, we had the Miami Dolphins' Joe Philbin, New York Giants' Tom Coughlin and Indianapolis Colts' Chuck Pagano firmly on the hot seat . But two of those three men led their teams to wins in Week 3, with Coughlin and Pagano getting their clubs in the win column for the first time this season. Pagano, who saw the Colts claw back from a forgettable third quarter against the Tennessee Titans to post a 35-33 win,  was so emotional in the postgame locker room that he wiped away a tear as he praised his players for their grit, and said he would remember the game for the rest of his life. Does one win mean Pagano is off the hot seat? Probably not, especially since one win didn’t wipe away any tension between him and general manager Ryan Grigson. Likewise for Coughlin, whose team would appear to have a golden opportunity in the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys ailing and Philadelphia Eagles struggling. ON THE HOT SEAT Joe Philbin, Miami Philbin’s seat is on fire at the moment. Replacing the head coach with less than a month gone in the regular season is unorthodox, but the majority of Dolphins fans would be on board after that sorry performance Miami had at home against Buffalo. It seems at least some players have tuned out Philbin judging from a clip on this week’s “Inside the NFL” in which Philbin is trying to hurry some players off the field during the Bills game and the players are looking right at him, taking their time. Jay Gruden, Washington Washington’s first eight possessions against the Giants: safety, interception, punt, field goal, field goal, halftime, interception, fumble. And after the game, Gruden asserted – again – that Kirk Cousins is the team’s starting quarterback. How did Cousins ever complete 85 percent of his passes against the St. Louis Rams in Week 2? SEAT’S STILL WARM Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis The good news for Pagano: the AFC South is so soft the Colts’ one win put them into a tie for the division lead. Tom Coughlin, New York Giants Dallas’ second-half collapse against Atlanta in its first game this season without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant and with a banged-up defensive line showed how tough it will be for the Cowboys until they start getting their stars back. Coughlin’s franchise quarterback (Eli Manning) and star receiver (Odell Beckham Jr.) are healthy, and the Giants’ schedule over the next six weeks is favorable (at Buffalo, vs. San Francisco, at Philadelphia, vs. Dallas, at New Orleans, at Tampa Bay). Chip Kelly, Philadelphia The Eagles got their first win of the season, 24-17 against the New York Jets, but Kelly’s offense continues to struggle. One of the team’s three touchdowns was on special teams, and the Eagles were shut out after halftime, netting just 65 yards of offense, and that’s with the defense handing the unit three turnovers on interceptions. [ Yahoo Daily Fantasy Football: Enter our $1 Million Week 4 contest ] SEAT’S GETTING WARMER Jeff Fisher, St. Louis The Rams scored 34 points against the Seahawks in the season opener and have totaled just 16 points in the two games since, against Washington and Pittsburgh, losing both. The defense has been solid, but the offense is anemic. In four-plus seasons in St. Louis, Fisher is 21-29-1. Grandstanding: A Yahoo Sports podcast Subscribe via iTunes or via RSS feed
Jeff Brubach rolls through the NFL schedule and breaks down fantasy D/ST and kicker options for Week 4.
You know how players who played the game insist they know it better than those who didn't? Yeah, that's not always the case. Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, appearing on the Opie & Jimmy Radio Show on Monday, believes that we're seeing more concussions now because of the equipment now in play. "These guys [that are making hits] are so big and so fast," Burress said in response to a question about the prevalence of concussions. "It really wasn't happening that much when i was playing. i think it has something to do with these new helmets they're using. You can't convince me that a lighter helmet is better." Helmet manufacturers have been experimenting with different styles and materials to reduce or disperse force, but no helmet can make the wearer more protected against concussions, which are a function of velocity rather than protection. "Helmets do protect the head. But they do not necessarily protect the brain from concussion, which is caused by acceleration," David A. Hovda, director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center, told ABC News last year. "Helmets can absorb energy, so it is transmitted around the head differently. But I have not seen any data that would suggest a redesigned helmet would stop/prevent concussion." Burress's analysis is similar to that of many old-school players and coaches, who mistake their own awareness of an existing problem for the appearance of a new one. Certainly, "concussions" weren't as diagnosed in earlier days of the NFL as they are today, but there were an awful lot of "bells rung," "seeing stars," and players "slow to get up." Worth noting: 87 of 91 deceased players tested positive for some form of brain disease . [ Yahoo Daily Fantasy Football: Enter our $1 Million Week 4 contest ] PBS's Concussion Watch website shows that the number of reported concussions has actually declined from 171 in 2012 to 153 in 2013 to 124 in 2014. So far, 29 concussions have been reported this year. However, the reporting remains imperfect, on a team-by-team self-reported basis, and does not necessarily account for players who, for instance, suffer a concussion before a bye week or at the end of the year. However, the NFL has increased safety protections for concussions, from mandating specific testing protocols to altering rules. Concussions continue to be a problem that the NFL, its players, and its fans have to come to terms with. Plenty of people and institutions are at fault, but helmets are pretty far down the list. Listen to Yahoo Sports' Grandstanding podcast for more: Grandstanding: A Yahoo Sports podcast Subscribe via iTunes or via RSS feed ____ Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. Follow @jaybusbee And keep up with Jay over on Facebook , too.

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