Bush Hamdan

NFC Notes: Bears, Stafford, Falcons, Ellerbe

The Bears most recent loss to San Francisco this afternoon has Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun Times asking, “What’s left to evaluate?” in terms of what the franchise should do this offseason.

Jahns asserts that change is inevitable and that losing to one of the worst teams in the NFL is just a sign that there needs to be at least somewhat of an overhaul in the organization from top to bottom.

The reporter also cites that the team is not handling themselves like a 3-9 roster, as they frequently post videos of themselves fooling around in the locker room and had a heated exchange in practice between current wide receiver Josh Bellamy and the recently released Tre McBride. Despite the walls seeming to close on him, head coach John Fox expressed that his team had a good week of preparation for their Week 13 contest.

“It was hard to even talk to the team after this loss,” Fox said. “We had a great week of preparation. The guys’ mindsets [are] good; they’re working at it.”

Chicago has its young signal caller in Mitch Trubisky, but big changes may be on the horizon elsewhere on the roster and coaching staff considering the troubles the team has gone through in 2017.

  • Coming into Week 13 with a leg injury, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford also suffered “nerve-type damage” to his throwing hand during this afternoon’s game, according to Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. Meinke reports that while the 29-year-old signal caller didn’t suffer any breaks, but there was a lot of pain. “I couldn’t feel it too well, to tell you the truth,” Stafford said. “Had some, like, burning nerve pain, I didn’t know what it was going to be. But X-rays were negative.” With their loss today, Detroit will have to run the table in order to have a shot at the postseason, and it appears they’ll have to do it with their franchise signal caller not even close to full health.
  • There’s going to be at least some shakeup in the Falcons coaching staff this offseason. Quarterbacks coach Bush Hamdan is leaving his position in Atlanta to become the new offensive coordinator at the University of Washington, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The position became available after the school’s former offensive coordinator, Jonathan Smith, became the head coach at Oregon State. Hamdan will wait till the end of the Falcons season before he departs for his new job.
  • Eagles linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is active for the first time this season for tonight’s game vs. Seattle, reports Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). The Eagles signed the veteran middle linebacker in the middle of November and he could see significant playing time because current Eagles starter Joe Walker is out with a neck injury. Ellerbe last played for New Orleans in Week 16 of the 2016-17 season.

NFC Notes: Hawks, Falcons, Pack, Saints

The Seahawks had been in danger of losing a second-round pick for failing to disclose cornerback Richard Sherman‘s “significant” MCL injury during the season, but the NFL decided Monday to let them off with a warning, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. The league concluded that the Seahawks merely misinterpreted its rules, per Garafolo. The news that Seattle is escaping punishment isn’t particularly surprising, as one of Garafolo’s NFL.com colleagues, Ian Rapoport, reported earlier this month that Seattle wasn’t going to face serious discipline for its violation.

More from Seattle and a few other NFL cities:

  • The Falcons have hired Bush Hamdan as their quarterbacks coach, reports Sporting News’ Alex Marvez (Twitter link). The younger brother of former NFL quarterback Gibran Hamdan, Bush Hamdan spent the previous two seasons as the University of Washington’s wide receivers coach and pass game coordinator. He’s taking over in Atlanta for Matt LaFleur, now the Rams’ offensive coordinator. In doing so, Hamdan will reunite with head coach Dan Quinn, notes Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter), as the two worked together at the University of Florida in 2012.
  • The Packers have a decision to make on pending free agent defensive back Micah Hyde, who could seek $4MM-plus per year on his next contract, writes Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Hyde, who’s coming off an 11-start, three-interception season, has been with the Packers since they selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. If Hyde moves on, Green Bay could turn to Kentrell Brice and Marwin Evans, Demovsky suggests. Elsewhere in the secondary, the team will either extend safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or exercise his fifth-year option for 2018, as Demovsky opines that the Pro Bowler could be general manager Ted Thompson‘s best first-round pick since he chose Aaron Rodgers in 2005. Clinton-Dix made a strong case for that honor as a third-year pro in 2016, when he played every defensive snap for the Packers and picked off five passes.
  • Newly signed Seahawks kicker Blair Walsh‘s single-year contract is worth $1.1MM and includes no guaranteed money, per Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com. Walsh stands to earn an $800K salary and could make another $300K in bonuses. The Seahawks are likely to bring in another kicker to compete against Walsh for the job this summer. Odds are that won’t be soon-to-be free agent Steven Hauschka, observes Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, considering the five-year Seahawk will likely be out of their price range.
  • Continuing a Seahawks-heavy set of notes, defensive end Cliff Avril tweeted that he underwent successful surgery Tuesday. Avril didn’t specify which type of surgery he underwent, though Condotta points out that the physician who performed the procedure – Dr. William C. Meyers – specializes in core and sports hernia operations. Regardless, Avril should be fine for 2017 and will attempt to build on his first Pro Bowl season – an 11.5-sack, five-forced fumble campaign.
  • Fullback John Kuhn‘s one-year pact with the Saints is a minimum salary benefit deal worth $1.08MM, tweets Nick Underhill of The Advocate. Kuhn will earn a $1MM salary and count $695K against New Orleans’ cap in 2017.