Month: September 2018

Aaron Rodgers Wins MVP

For the second time, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has won the NFL’s MVP award, as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes.

Rodgers, who won the MVP trophy in 2011, completed 341 of 520 passes for 4,381 yards in 2014. The 31-year-old threw for 38 touchdowns on the year while getting picked off just five times. Rodgers’ stellar touchdown-to-interception ratio was the fifth-best in NFL history and good for second among quarterbacks with at least 30 touchdown passes. No. 12 led Green Bay to a 12-4 mark this past season, though the Packers fell short in the postseason when they blew a big lead to the Seahawks in the NFC championship game. Rodgers is just the ninth player in history to win multiple MVP trophies.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com (on Twitter) notes that J.J. Watt – this year’s DPOY – came in second place with 13 votes. Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray each got two votes. Tom Brady received one vote and, surprisingly, Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner also received an MVP vote.

Bruce Arians Wins Coach Of The Year

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was announced as the 2014 Coach of the Year at NFL Honors on Saturday, as Chris Wesseling of NFL.com writes. Arians is now a two-time honoree, having won the award two years ago with the Colts.

Despite being in one of the league’s toughest divisions and a rash of injuries that claimed multiple quarterbacks, key defenders, and starting tailback Andre Ellington, Arians guided the Cardinals to the best record in all of football for the first half of the 2014 season. The Cardinals finished with a 11-5 mark, good for second in the division behind the Seahawks, the eventual NFC champions.

Arians won the award without much competition, though the voting wasn’t unanimous. Bill O’Brien (Texans) and Jason Garrett (Cowboys) each received three votes while Pete Carroll (Seahawks), Jim Caldwell (Lions), and Bill Belichick (Patriots) also registered votes.

Extra Points: Goodell, Quinn, Seahawks

The NFL is tempting fate with its inability to handle scandals properly, opines Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The recent bungling of scandals, like the Ray Rice fiasco, will cause someone with real political power to notice the fundamental flaw in the structure of the league — and to suggest a solution that would entail a greater degree of independence from the league for the Commissioner. Florio suggests that a commissioner who isn’t an employee of the owners would do a better job of keeping things on the right track and doling out substantive punishments when needed. More from around the NFL as we gear up for the Super Bowl tomorrow..

  • The Falcons have waited long enough to officially name their new coach and they’ll etch it in stone as soon as possible. The Falcons will name Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as their new head coach on Monday, the day after the Super Bowl, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter). A press conference is expected to take place the following day, on Tuesday.
  • The Seahawks are going for their second consecutive Super Bowl, but they have a larger goal beyond that. Seattle wants to duplicate the Patriots’ model for long-term success, as Larry Stone of The Seattle Times writes. The Pats not only have multiple championship rings and conference championship trophies, but they are contenders year in and year out. The Patriots have won in double figures for 12 consecutive years and qualified for the playoffs in 12 of Bill Belichick’s 15 years as coach.
  • In today’s presser, Roger Goodell was asked whether there’s any set of circumstances that would result in his resignation. Goodell said he can’t imagine that happening. “No, I can’t. Does that surprise you?” Goodell said, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. Still, he acknowledged that 2014 wasn’t his finest year. “It’s been a tough year on me personally,” Goodell said. “It’s been a year of what I would say is humility and learning. We, obviously as an organization, have gone through adversity. More importantly, it’s been adversity for me. We take that seriously. It’s an opportunity for us to get better. It’s an opportunity for us, for our organization, to get better. We’ve all done a lot of soul searching, starting with yours truly.

Beckham, Donald Win ROY Honors

As expected, Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was named as the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes. Meanwhile, Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald took home the honors on the defensive side of the ball, as NFL.com’s Marc Sessler writes.

Beckham, the No. 12 overall pick in the 2014 draft, started the year on the bench thanks to injuries. After sitting out for the first four weeks of the season, the LSU product was eased into the offense over the next three games. After that, however, it was off to the races for one of the most naturally talented young athletes in the NFL. Beckham finished the year with 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns, becoming a bright spot for a Giants team that struggled on the whole.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher said prior to the season that he expected Donald to win Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Ultimately the No. 13 overall pick made his coach proud as he became the second straight defensive lineman to win the award. Donald had nine sacks on the season and Pro Football Focus (sub. req’d) had him rated as the best defensive tackle in the game.

J.J. Watt Wins DPOY

No surprise here: Texans superstar J.J. Watt has been named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, as Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News tweets. Watt was an absolute slam dunk for the award and he received 100% of the vote. That’s the first time in the history of the award that anyone has won the vote unanimously, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 (on Twitter).

This marks the second time that Watt has won the award after his first DPOY nod came in 2012. Watt joins Reggie White, Bruce Smith, Lawrence Taylor, Mike Singletary and Joe Greene as a multiple honoree, as Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle notes. The 25-year-old racked up 20.5 sacks, 78 tackles, four forced fumbles, and 32 points in 2014, adding 29 TFL, 50 quarterback hits, five fumble recoveries, 10 passes defensed, one interception, a safety, three receiving touchdowns and five total touchdowns. His dominance wasn’t confined to defense, either, as he made some cameos at tight end and fullback.

Watt was richly rewarded for his play in 2014 when the Texans gave him a whopping $100MM contract extension. Of course, for a player of Watt’s caliber, that could prove to be a tremendous value for Houston, if not a bargain.

Pro Football HOF Announces 2015 Class

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced its 2015 class and eight exceptionally worthy men will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio this year. Linebacker Junior Seau was voted in along with running back Jerome Bettis, defensive end Charles Haley, guard Will Shields, and wide receiver Tim Brown, as Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk writes. Seniors nominee Mick Tingelhoff and contributor candidates Bill Polian and Ron Wolf will also be inducted this year.

The honor has been a long time coming for some such as Brown and Haley, who were in their sixth year as a finalists. Bettis, meanwhile, made the final 15 for five years while Shields was in that group for the fourth year. Seau, however, got in on the first try.

This year marked a tough decision for voters everyone in the final 15 had a strong case for the Hall. Coaches Don Coryell and Jimmy Johnson, kicker Morten Andersen, running back Terrell Davis, and safety John Lynch were the first group of five to miss the cut. After that, linebacker Kevin Greene, quarterback Kurt Warner, tackle Orlando Pace, wide receiver Marvin Harrison, and coach Tony Dungy were left on the chopping block. Many of those finalists (especially Pace) figure to get their turn in the not-too-distant future. Warner’s candidacy remains strong, but he could have a tough time getting the necessary votes in 2016 when Brett Favre becomes eligible.

DeMarco Murray Wins OPOY

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray was named the 2014 Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year, as Mike Klis of The Denver Post tweets. Murray received the honor at Saturday night’s NFL Honors award show.

Murray, who has struggled with injuries in years past, put it all together in 2014 for his best campaign yet. The 26-year-old ran for 1,845 yards and 13 scores with 2,261 all-purpose yards. After a season in which he showed that he can stay healthy, produce (4.7 YPC), and work at a nearly unprecedented rate, Murray is set to hit the open market where he could potentially cash in big.

Recently, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report heard from sources that Murray should command between $7-10MM annually on a new deal. At this point, Dallas seems unwilling to go that high. Earlier this month, a report from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com indicated that Dallas’ latest offer came in at about $4MM per season, which probably won’t get it done.

Our latest edition of the 2015 Free Agent Power Rankings have Murray outside of the top 10. In a November poll, PFR readers said that embattled tailback Adrian Peterson would be a better option for the Cowboys in 2015 than Murray.

Jets Notes: Wilkerson, Geno, Harvin

Can the Jets pair one former Broncos star receiver with another this offseason? It’s hard to say how things will play out, but Eric Decker is giving it a try by recruiting former teammate Demaryius Thomas. “I’ve been pushing for the entire year now,” Decker said on Friday. Of course, Thomas might not even reach the open market, but it’s a tantalizing possibility for the Jets who are years removed from having a strong receiving core with multiple stars. Here’s the latest on Gang Green..

  • Jets owner Woody Johnson said that the staff will be at the team’s headquarters in Florham Park, New Jersey on Tuesday, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post (on Twitter). At that point, he says, the scouts and front office executives will start laying out the plan for the offseason then.
  • At that point, Johnson says the Jets will discuss Muhammad Wilkerson‘s contract situation (link). Gang Green will also consider all of their options at quarterback and every other position on the field. Wilkerson has been pushing for a long-term deal for some time now, but he claims that he’s staying patient through the ongoing process. Recently, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com wrote that it would be surprising to see the Temple product play out his fifth-year option.
  • Jets quarterback Geno Smith is looking forward to getting back to work and he hopes that wide receiver Percy Harvin will be there to join him, as Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com writes. “I would love for Percy to come back,” Smith told reporters. “Obviously, I can’t make that decision, but in my short time with him, he’s been a great teammate. He’s obviously a dynamic player and I’d love to see what he can do in this new offense.” Harvin is under contract through 2018, but his (non-guaranteed) salary of $10.5MM could prove to be too much for the Jets. If the Jets keep him, they’ll also have to forfeit a fourth-round pick rather than a sixth-round choice.
  • Coach Todd Bowles still isn’t tipping his hand on the quarterback situation, as Cimini writes. “We haven’t even gotten that far,” he said. “It’s early in the stages. I’m pretty sure a lot of decisions will be made, coming in the near future.”

49ers Coaching Notes: Lewis, Pendergast

As the Patriots and Seahawks are readying themselves for the big game tomorrow, a former Super Bowl hopeful is prepare to build on a season that crashed down in flames. The 49ers had a disappointing 2014 season, involving injuries to key players, regression from others, and a huge coaching shakeup that leaves them filling out a new staff after missing the playoffs.

Here are some notes surrounding the 49ers’ coaching staff:

  • After Jim Harbaugh and his staff were among the highest paid in the NFL, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com looked at whether or not the organization was being cheap in hiring the new staff. New head coach Jim Tomsula will make $1.5MM less than Harbaugh would have had he kept his position, and his assistants were among the highest paid in the league. Maiocco writes that whether they were being cheap or not, the 49ers were unlikely to pay any assistant approaching the $2MM Vic Fangio made last year.
  • According to sources, Harbaugh was told by the organization that he would not be welcomed back as head coach of the 49ers following a December 14th loss to the Seahawks, writes Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News (via Twitter).
  • Clancy Pendergast will likely be hired as the 49ers inside linebackers coach, reports Alex Marvez of Fox Sports 1 (via Twitter). Pendergrast was formerly defensive coordinator in Arizona and Kansas City before taking jobs at Cal and USC. He had been interviewing for defensive coordinator positions with LSU, Utah, and under Jay Gruden in Washington D.C. (via Twitter).
  • Marvez also reports that former Falcons defensive backs coach Tim Lewis will be taking the same position in San Francisco (via Twitter). He will be replacing Ed Donatell, and has spent time as a defensive coordinator with both the Steelers and Giants (via Twitter).
  • The hiring of both Lewis and Pendergast means that 49ers coach Tomsula has four former defensive coordinators working as assistants on his staff, according to Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. Eric Mangini will serve as the team’s defensive coordinator and Jason Tarver has been named the outside linebackers coach.
  • While the coaching staff has not been officially announced, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee has put together a list of who has been named and expected to be on the staff.

Cardinals Eye Larry Foote For Coaching Staff

Cardinals linebacker Larry Foote is a free agent this offseason, and his future is uncertain.

Foote was signed by the Cardinals this past offseason, after being cut by the Steelers to provide Pittsburgh with additional cap space. After being released by the Steelers last March, Foote was adamant that he was not considering retirement.

As a free agent, the 35-year old linebacker will face a similar decision. There is a chance the Cardinals will want him back on another short term deal, or he could explore other options across the league.

If he does decide to retire, the Cardinals could elect to keep him in Arizona on the coaching staff, reports Kent Somers of AZCentral.com (via Twitter).

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has long familiarity with Foote going back to their time together in Pittsburgh. Arians had coached offense for his entire career in Pittsburgh, joining the Steelers’ staff following the 2003 season. Foote was already becoming established in Pittsburgh after being selected as a fourth-round pick in 2002.

Foote was released by the Steelers after the 2008 season, spending a year with the Lions before returning to Pittsburgh before the 2010 season. Arians coordinated the Steelers’ offense until accepting the same position with the Colts before the 2012 season.