While Rams head coach Sean McVay is considered to be one of the brightest young minds in the business, some league executives believes it will take several seasons before his skills are reflected on the field.
“That’s a big bite at [30 years old],” one executive said (via Yahoo’s Charles Robinson on Twitter). “Recent coaches who have been that young, they clearly weren’t ready for it – situations that seemed to come down to experience issues and maturity issues [with the coaches]. I don’t know [McVay] well enough to say whether that would be a concern. It’s just a lot for anyone, even the most experienced coaches.”
As Robinson notes, McVay has done an admirable job of surrounding himself with an experienced veteran staff. Longtime coaches WadePhillips and JoeBarry should help McVay get acclimated to his new role.
Let’s take a look at some other notes coming out of the NFC…
About two weeks ago, the Buccaneerssigned running back Blake Sims to a reserve/futures contract. Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports (via Twitter) that the league disapproved the player’s original two-year contract. The team ultimately inked the running back to a three-year contract, and Auman notes that the change is purely “semantics.”
Lions quarterbacks coach BrianCallahan is a “future coordinator to watch,” tweets Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. The reporter adds that the organization has blocked Callahan from taking at least one interview with another team. Prior to his tenure in Detroit, Callahan spent six years with the Broncos.
Giants defensive end Owa Odighizuwa is entering a “do-or-die offseason,” writes Dan Duggan of NJ.com. The former third-rounder still hasn’t established himself as a reliable rotation player, compiling only six tackles in 18 career games. The 24-year-old understands that he’ll have to work ever harder if he wants to stick around. “It’s real important for me,” Odighizuwa said. “That’s how I’m approaching it, that it’s kind of do-or-die in terms of my preparation and getting ready. You have to exhaust all of your resources into training properly and getting ready for the year. Really pouring everything you have into preparation.” Odighizuwa has two years remaining on his contract, but the Giants would only be left with $370K in dead cap if they cut the defensive end loose.
Here are today’s reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2017 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters.
September 9th, 2016 at 5:41pm CST by Zachary Links
Quarterback Cam Newton took at least four helmet-to-helmet hits in the Panthers’ season-opening loss to Denver on Thursday, but officials only flagged the Broncos once. That led Panthers head coach Ron Rivera to opine Friday that refs discriminate against the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Newton because of his size (via David Newton of ESPN).
“There’s a little bit of prejudice to that,” stated Rivera. “It’s kind of like what happened to [former NBA star] Shaquille O’Neal. Here’s a big, physical basketball player and he goes to set a pick, a guy falls down and they call a foul on him. He goes to shoot a little layup and gets hacked and hammered and they don’t call it.”
The NFL admitted Friday that a helmet-to-helmet shot Newton took from Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall should have been called, per Judy Battista of NFL.com (on Twitter).
On whether proper concussion protocol was followed with the banged-up Newton, Rivera added, “I’m not going to question the doctors. OK?” There is a protocol. There is a set of rules that these doctors, these trained professionals have to follow. The understanding is when everything first happened, they followed the protocol.”
According to Battista (Twitterlinkshere), medical officials checked on Newton during a stoppage late in the game and determined that he did not have a concussion. Officials have since examined Newton several more times, including Friday, and still haven’t seen concussion symptoms.
Here’s more from the NFC South:
Guard Jahri Evans’ one-year deal with the Saints is worth $1MM and contains no guarantees or signing bonus, Nick Underhill of The Advocate tweets.
Wide receiver Cecil Shorts‘ contract with the Buccaneers is a one-year, $1.05MM pact, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). He’ll also earn a $15K+ roster bonus for each game he’s active.
Former Alabama quarterback Blake Sims worked out for the Falcons as a running back, but it doesn’t sound like they’ll be signing him at this time, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com tweets.
Rodgers, 26, is typically regarded as a strong pass protector (and therefore a solid third down back), and could provide some depth behind Doug Martin and Charles Sims, and act as an upgrade on Mike James. Fellow running back Smith could also help in that regard, but he’s four years older than Rodgers. Both, however, offer familiarity with Tampa head coach Dirk Koetter, as each played in Koetter’s Falcons offense.
Dawson, a third-round pick in the 2015 draft, was surprisingly waived by Cincinnati over the weekend, and recent reports have indicated that Bengals coaches found him to be unreliable on the field. Still, he offers talent, and like the two running backs, Dawson has ties to the Buccaneers’ coaching staff. New Tampa Bay defensive line coach Jay Hayes coached the same position group in Cincinnati, and though he didn’t directly oversee Dawson, Hayes can likely vouch for TCU alum’s ability.
The trio of McKay, Sims, and White, meanwhile, has never taken a snap in the NFL. White originally signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent earlier this year, but was waived over the weekend.
Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan has accrued an impressive 38 sacks during his four seasons in Washington and is a year away from free agency, where he stands to cash in big. Kerrigan might not reach the open market, however, as ongoing extension talks between his agent and Washington “are progressing well,” he told Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com (Twitter link). Kerrigan, who racked up a career-high 13.5 sacks last season, will make just over $7MM in the final year of his contract.
In addition to Kerrigan, Washington is at risk of losing three-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Trent Williams to free agency after next season. General manager Scot McCloughan hopes to keep Williams, whom Pro football Focus (subscription required) ranked 18th out of 84 qualifying tackles last season and who will count over $13.7MM against Washington’s cap in 2015.
“We’re going to take care of our own. That’s very important,” McCloughan said, per El-Bashir (Twitter link).
More news and notes on Washington:
Washington agreed to deals with nine of its 10 draft picks from this year’s class earlier Monday. The only one without a contract, first-rounder Brandon Scherff, won’t be unsigned for much longer. An agreement between the team and its highly touted offensive lineman is “very close,” said McCloughan, according to Tom Schad of the Washington Times (via Twitter). It could get done in time for the club’s rookie minicamp this weekend.
Robert Griffin III’s first year under Jay Gruden didn’t go well, but the head coach is expecting improvement from his quarterback in 2015. Gruden believes RGIII knows the system better and won’t have to think as much, tweeted Mike Jones of the Washington Post. For his part, Griffin says he feels better mentally (Twitter link).
Former Alabama quarterback Blake Sims will try out for Washington as a running back or slot receiver this week, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Sims worked out for teams as a return man prior to the draft.
McCloughan originally wanted to sign 13 undrafted free agents. Two fell through, one on account of retirement, per Schad (Twitter).
After firing their college scouting director and a top scout last week, the Bears have also parted ways with associate director of player personnel Dwayne Joseph, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Joseph was actually offered a promotion (to director of player personnel), per Biggs, but turned it down to explore other opportunities.
Here’s more from around the league…
The Saints’ selection of tackle Andrus Peat in the first round and quarterback Garrett Grayson in the third show that GM Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton aren’t simply in win-now mode, writes Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. The Grayson pick, specifically, conveys that the club’s decision-makers are planning for the long haul (and the eventual exit of Drew Brees) instead of going all-in on 2015.
Zack Moore of Over the Cap singles out some of the biggest cap sins in the NFL in 2014, pointing to Ndamukong Suh (who took up 16.85% of the Lions’ cap) on the individual player side, and to the Falcons, Cowboys, and Saints as clubs who were unrestrained with their caps.
Former Alabama quarterback Blake Sims attended the Packers recent minicamp on a tryout basis, but Green Bay won’t be signing him, according to Rob Demovksky of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Instead, Sims will attend Washington‘s rookie camp, albeit as a running back.