Kevin O'Dea

Extra Points: Mexico, Saints, Packers, Broncos

Could Donald Trump’s campaign promises affect the NFL’s games staged in Mexico? The league says that won’t be the case.

I’m a firm believer that any international focus requires you to manage within the political climate that exists,” NFL executive vice president/International Mark Waller told Alex Marvez of The Sporting News. “You can’t control what government is or is not in place. Our job irrespective of that is doing everything we can do to expand the popularity of our sport.”

The NFL estimates that it has 28.3 million fans in Mexico with 9.9 million categorized as “hardcore” supporters. The league does big business south of the border and hopes to grow the fanbase going forward.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Saints added Kevin O’Dea as an assistant coach to help with their struggling special teams, as Christopher Dabe of The Times-Picayune writes. “I think when you have some struggles in an area immediately I think the reaction is people want heads to fly,” Payton said. “I think for us, it’s about bringing in someone that can help. I think [special teams coordinator] Greg [McMahon] and [special teams assistant] Stan [Kwan] and those guys, this is a low-ego business. We want to win, and that’s the most important thing. So a guy like Kevin I think can help us. He was fired up. He got in here (Monday) afternoon.”
  • Packers inside linebacker Blake Martinez is expected to miss multiple games with an MCL sprain, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The fourth-round pick has started nine games for Green Bay this year.
  • The Broncos placed a claim on running back Ronnie Hillman, tweets Mike Klis of 9News in Denver (via Twitter). The 25-year-old was waived by the Vikings yesterday and landed on the Chargers today.

Ben Levine contributed to this report.

NFC Notes: Mathieu, Lions, Panthers

A January report indicated that getting an extension done with Tyrann Mathieu will be a top priority for the Cardinals this offseason, and GM Steve Keim confirmed as much during an appearance on Arizona Sports 98.7FM on Thursday (link via Adam Green of ArizonaSports.com).

It’s hard to say that that we’ll be able to get something done for sure, but we certainly have that goal in mind and there’s no doubt that this organization wants Tyrann Mathieu to be a fixture here for years, Keim said.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • The Lions are set to hire Broncos offensive assistant Brian Callahan as their new quarterbacks coach, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (via Twitter). With Jim Bob Cooter having been promoted from QBs coach to offensive coordinator in the fall, Detroit needed someone to fill his old role.
  • The Panthers are making some changes to their special teams staff, with Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer tweeting that the club has parted ways with assistant ST coach Russ Purnell, and Marvez tweeting that Curtis Fuller will return to a defensive role rather than helping out with special teams in 2016. According to Person and Marvez (Twitter links), Buccaneers ST coach Kevin O’Dea, 49ers ST coach Thomas McGaughey, and former Panthers linebacker Chase Blackburn are getting interviews for spots on Carolina’s special teams staff.
  • Marvez also reports (via Twitter) that the Giants are hiring Jeff Zgonina as their assistant defensive line coach, which should complete Ben McAdoo‘s staff.
  • The Panthers were one game away from a championship this past season, but GM Dave Gettleman vows he’ll remain patient this winter when it comes to making roster decisions, and won’t force any moves in an effort to get the team over the top. Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review has the details and the quotes from Gettleman.
  • Despite one report suggesting he hopes to land a $5MM annual salary, it would be an upset if tight end Zach Miller leaves the Bears this offseason, says Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com. Dickerson doesn’t predict a potential price tag for Miller, but suggests he’d be next in line for a larger role if the team trades or cuts Martellus Bennett.