The NFL filed its final salvo in the Deflategate saga, countering the NFLPA’s 73-page appeal earlier this month with a 38-page response that centers on how the Patriots‘ alleged manipulation of footballs does not compare with uniform or equipment violations as the Players’ Association previously stated.
The case that resulted in Tom Brady being suspended for four games, then being permitted to play during that period by Judge Richard Berman, will reach the appeal stage March 3, 2016.
Let’s look at some more news coming out of the Eastern division as Week 15 wraps up.
- Rex Ryan said today he’s “pretty sure” Tyrod Taylor will be the Bills‘ starting quarterback next season, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com reports. After winning a three-man quarterback race as a newly signed free agent this offseason, Taylor will be able to further develop with an entire offseason shaped around him being atop the depth chart, Ryan said. After beating out the since-traded Matt Cassel and ex-first-rounder EJ Manuel, Taylor has completed 63.2% of his passes — although the ex-Ravens backup’s failed to surpass the 60% plateau in each of his past five games — and thrown 20 touchdown passes compared to just five interceptions.
- Mario Williams continued his recent path out of Buffalo on Sunday in criticizing Ryan’s defensive scheme, and Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News said the 30-year-old defensive end’s team-high $19.9MM cap number next year makes that an easier decision. Dunne also sees Kyle Williams ($7MM 2016 cap figure) having a potential uphill battle to remaining on the roster.
- Odell Beckham took issue with Panthers practice squad players allegedly lobbing homophobic slurs at him before Sunday’s eventful Giants-Panthers game, sources inform Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer. Jones also notes Beckham was, per sources, intimidated by Panthers defensive backs swinging a baseball bat during pregame warmups, a ritual that’s spawned this season for the unbeaten Panthers. Carolina sources obviously don’t believe the bat routine could have necessitated Beckham’s rampage.
- In its letter communicating Beckham’s suspension, the NFL found six violations committed by the Giants second-year wideout, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Two of the three transgressions for which Beckham wasn’t penalized involved punches being thrown. “Your actions adversely reflected on the NFL and have no place in the game because incidents like this erode public confidence in the orderly conduct of our game as well as the good character of our participants,” NFL V.P. of operations Merton Hanks told Beckham in the suspension letter.
- Kellen Moore‘s late-season audition for the Cowboys will be for the No. 2 job and won’t influence what the team does this coming offseason in pursuing Tony Romo‘s potential heir apparent, Jerry Jones told 105.3 The Fan, per Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). The 26-year-old Moore, a UDFA who the Lions cut this year, completed 15-of-25 passes and threw three interceptions against the Jets.
- Eagles high-priced corner Byron Maxwell sprained his SC joint in Sunday night’s loss to the Cardinals and may miss Saturday’s pivotal tilt with Washington, Les Bowen of Philly.com reports.