Stephen Hill

Extra Points: Bengals, Lewis, Eagles, Foles, Chiefs, AAF

The Bengals are counting on some new coaching roles making a major difference this season. Marvin Lewis survived another year on the hot seat but knew he would need to rearrange his staff after another disappointing season. Teryl Austin will succeed now-Raiders DC Paul Guenther in running Cincinnati’s defense, and Lewis made Bill Lazor the full-time OC. The team jettisoned longtime offensive line coach Paul Alexander as well, with other new staffers coming in to help a team that’s fallen in the AFC hierarchy the past two years.

I made up my mind I wanted to coach,” Lewis said, via Jonathan Jones of SI.com. “So, do I want to go start over somewhere where I don’t know the people or coach these group of guys downstairs that no one else has? That’s an easy decision. You look at what’s open and these are the best players. And that’s what you want.

I knew we were going to have a lot of change on the coaching staff. I knew I had to make changes and those are the things that (owner) Mike (Brown) and I had to discuss. I had to make changes on people that had been with me for a long time and had been friends, and it’s difficult.”

Lewis added that he didn’t want to make wholesale roster changes, pointing out the number of Pro Bowlers still on the team, but the Bengals aren’t receiving much attention as a contender this season. They’re hoping these staff moves can re-route them back to the AFC playoffs.

Here’s the latest from the football landscape:

  • The Eagles received a scare Thursday night when Super Bowl MVP and temporary starting quarterback Nick Foles went down with a shoulder injury. The shoulder sprain Foles suffered is believed to be a minor malady and not one that will require a significant rehab effort, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. It’s looking like it will come down to the wire on whom the defending Super Bowl champions will start at quarterback on opening night, with Carson Wentz unlikely to play in the preseason. The Eagles not having Foles would throw a major wrench in their plans, despite third-stringer Nate Sudfeld having a nice offseason.
  • Steven Nelson will be a full-time outside cornerback this season, Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star notes. This change emerged in the offseason, one that featured breakout slot man Kendall Fuller’s arrival, but the Chiefs are evidently committed to trying Nelson – their most frequent slot corner over the past two seasons – as an outside man. The 2015 third-round pick is entering a contract year. While Kansas City has looked at other corners this month – Bashaud Breeland and Orlando Scandrick – the trio of Fuller, Nelson and David Amerson remains atop the depth chart. Nelson did leave the Chiefs’ game Friday night with a head injury, however.
  • Former Jets second-round pick Stephen Hill and ex-Titans backup quarterback Zach Mettenberger are two of the notable new names signed on to play for the Alliance of American Football. The AAF announced 100 more players will join. Ex-Rams running back Daryl Richardson, former Saints and Jets ball carrier Khiry Robinson, linebacker Deontae Skinner and running back Storm Johnson are among the new contingent. Former Giants and Ravens safety Will Hill and veteran kicker Nick Novak, who was with the Chargers last season, were among the first wave to sign.

Latest On 2018 Spring League

The 2018 Spring League is scheduled to get underway next week, with practices starting next Wednesday and games beginning on April 7. Former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is the most high-profile former NFL player involved in the endeavor, but other NFL notables are also participating, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Running backs Ben Tate and Lorenzo Taliaferro, receiver Stephen Hill, defensive lineman Alameda Ta’amu, and defensive back Al Louis-Jean are among the ex-NFLers who will take part in the Spring League, per Florio. Meanwhile, former NFL defensive backs coach/Rex Ryan disciple Donnie Henderson will lead the league’s East team.

The Spring League is a developmental effort comprised of four teams which involves four games in April. The league began in 2017, and notable ex-NFLers such as Greg HardyKellen Winslow, and Ahmad Bradshaw were among the participants.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Work Out John Greco

The Bills worked out a handful of notable names as they gear up for Week 2. Their audition included guards John Greco and Tim Lelito, cornerback B.W. Webb, and wide receivers James Wright and Stephen Hill, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter links). John Greco (vertical)

Greco’s six-year tenure with the Browns came to an end prior to this year’s 53-man deadline. After entering the league as a third-round pick of the Rams in 2008, he became a regular for Cleveland in 2011. He started in 66 of 85 appearances with the Browns and finished out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 18 ranked guard last year. Unfortunately, he was not on the field for the Browns’ sole win of 2016 – he was shut down in November due to injury.

Lelito graded out as the No. 49 guard in the league last season for his work with the Saints, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF gave him a solid mark for his pass blocking with a less impressive score on running plays. He hooked on with the Titans in March, but he was let go after a disappointing preseason.

Hill, 26, was a bust for the Jets after being selected in the second round of the 2012 draft. He has not seen live action since the 2013 season.

WR Stephen Hill Suspended Two Games

The NFL has suspended free agent receiver Stephen Hill for two games, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).Stephen HIll (Vertical)

Hill’s talent led the Jets to take him in the second round of the 2012 draft, but he was never able to come close to what was expected of him. After two disappointing seasons, the Jets cut Hill prior to the 2014 season. Soon after, the Panthers added him to their taxi squad. In July of last year, Hill was issued a citation for a drug paraphernalia charge during a traffic stop in Concord, North Carolina, which is presumably the reason for the two-game ban.

Hill is still only 25 years old, but he hasn’t garnered any known interest on the free agent market since being cut loose by Carolina prior to the start of the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers’ Roster Now At 79

The Panthers have begun the process of trimming their roster down to 75 players, an undertaking that must be completed by 3pm CT Tuesday. Carolina has cut the following 11 players, the club announced:

Hill, a former second-round pick of the Jets, is the most notable name among those released/waived. The 25-year-old, who spent the 2014 campaign on the Panthers’ practice squad, looked poised to claim a roster spot last season before suffering a season-ending injury. Smith, for his part, also has significant NFL experience, as he’s appeared 29 career games.

Panthers Re-Sign Stephen Hill

The Panthers (Twitter link) announced that they have re-signed wide receiver Stephen Hill to a one-year deal. Hill missed all of the 2015 season after tearing his ACL over the summer.

Prior to Hill’s unfortunate injury, the team was said to be high on the wide receiver. Hill’s talent led the Jets to take him in the second round of the 2012 draft, but he was never able to come close to what was expected of him. After two disappointing seasons, the Jets cut Hill prior to the 2014 season. Soon after, the Panthers added him to their taxi squad. In July of last year, Hill was issued a citation for a drug paraphernalia charge during a traffic stop in Concord, North Carolina. Despite all the bumps in the road, the Panthers are apparently not ready to give up on Hill.

Terms of the deal are not yet known, but it’s doubtful that the Panthers are committing serious dollars to Hill.

NFC Notes: Kaepernick, Cowboys, Giants

Peter King of The MMQB talked to a “few league people” over the weekend about possible landing spots for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The ordered list starts with the Eagles at the top which makes sense given Chip Kelly’s offense and their need for a signal caller. After that, it’s the Jets, Ravens, and Raiders on King’s list.

The Raiders are a surprising one, of course, because of the presence of Derek Carr, but it could be a possibility for Kaepernick if he doesn’t get a starting opportunity elsewhere. King hears that the Raiders likely would have picked Kaepernick in the 2011 draft had the 49ers not leapfrogged them on the draft board. “Al [Davis] was upset,” Hue Jackson, the coach at the time, told King a couple of years ago. “So was I. Scouting him, I fell in love with the kid.” Years later, King hears that there are some within the Raiders organization that believe Kaepernick can be saved.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Cowboys running back Christine Michael and cornerback Corey White were released, in part, because they did not wear suits on their road trip to Tampa Bay, a source tells Brandon George of SportsDay DFW. “Sometimes you just have to drop the hammer,” a Cowboys player said about the decision to part ways with the two veterans. White later confirmed that version of events with TMZ.
  • Giants center Weston Richburg has a high ankle sprain, according to Jordan Raanan of the Star-Ledger (on Twitter). That’s potentially bad news for the center’s availability going forward.
  • Panthers wide receiver Stephen Hill, who is currently on IR, has been suspended for one game for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, as David Newton of ESPN.com writes. Hill was stopped and cited for possession of marijuana over the summer, leading to his one-game ban. Hill can serve his suspension now, despite being medically unfit to play.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/4/15

Tonight’s minor moves..

  • The Eagles waived/injured linebacker Travis Long, who tore his ACL yesterday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. If unclaimed, he’ll revert to the team’s IR list.
  • The Patriots waived A.J. Derby, a sixth-round pick out of Arkansas, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The Jets signed receiver Arthur Williams and waived receiver Jarrod West, as Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets.
  • The Dolphins were awarded wide receiver Kevin Cone off waivers from the Browns, James Walker of ESPN.com tweets. They also cut guard Dionte Savage.
  • The Patriots announced that they have signed linebacker L.J. Fort, linebacker Cameron Gordon, fullback Eric Kettani, and defensive lineman A.J. Pataiali’I.
  • Panthers wide receiver Stephen Hill officially cleared waivers and has been placed on the team’s IR, Jonathan Jones of The Observer tweets.
  • The Lions have filled their last roster spot with the signing of cornerback Ethan Davis out of Troy, Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com tweets.
  • The Cardinals cut cornerback Damond Smith while signing cornerback Jonte Green, Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com tweets.
  • The Chargers announced that they signed corner Jordan Mabin and released receiver Demetrius Wilson.
  • The Eagles announced that they released wide receiver Devante Davis while signing fellow wideout Josh Reese.
  • The Lions cut Jerell Harris, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com tweets.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/2/2015

Here are Sunday’s minor transactions from around the NFL:

  • The Patriots have claimed offensive lineman Harland Gunn off waivers from the Falcons, reports Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Gunn, 25, played in 10 games for Atlanta last season, starting one.
  • Cornerback Justin Green has decided to retire from the NFL, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (Twitter link). The Cowboys acquired Green from the Patriots last year, but he never suited up for Dallas. The 24-year-old had been back with New England until they cut him yesterday.
  • The Broncos announced that they’ve signed tackle Charles Sweeton while waiving injured tackle Connor Rains. Rains injured his foot during the first day of Denver’s camp.
  • The Chiefs have made a switch a running back, signing Darrin Reaves and waiving LaVance Taylor, tweets Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star. Reaves appeared in six games for the Panthers last season, starting one.
  • The Jets have filled an open spot on their roster, signing receiver Jarrod West, an undrafted rookie out of Syracuse, per Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link).

Earlier updates:

  • Mark Kaboly of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets that the Steelers have signed RB Jawon Chisholm placed RB Ross Scheuerman on the waived/injured list in a corresponding move. The team also cut TE Michael Egnew to make room for the newly-acquired Brandon Boykin.
  • The Panthers have signed WR Paul Browning to take the roster spot of Stephen Hill, who has been put on the team’s waived/injured list with a torn ACL (via Joe Person of The Charlotte Observer).
  • John McClain of The Houston Chronicle tweets that the Texans, who are in desperate need of defensive line depth, have signed veteran NT Chris Neild.
  • The Giants have added rookie DE Brad Bars and second-year wide receiver Derrick Johnson, per James Kratch of NJ.com.

 

NFC Notes: Bennett, Foles, Panthers

Martellus Bennett sat out the voluntary portion of the Bears’ offseason program to help force a new contract, but he now accepts that a new deal isn’t coming his way anytime soon, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times writes.

It’s just business,” Bennett said. “I have no hard feelings against anybody. Some business deals go the way you want. I have several business deals this offseason that worked and didn’t work out. “For me, [the pursuit of new contract was] just another business deal, and then that’s just the way it is. Some deals get done, some don’t. Still got to come work and do my job.”

Here’s more from the NFC..

  • Rams GM Les Snead says that it is “definitely realistic” that the team and Nick Foles will agree to an extension before the quarterback becomes a free agent after the season, as Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com writes. The two sides have been discussing a new deal for more than a month now and, recently, PFR’s Connor Byrne evaluated Foles as an extension candidate.
  • Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman says Stephen Hill‘s arrest won’t affect his chances to make the team, David Newton of ESPN.com writes. Hill, a second-round pick by the Jets in 2012, spent last season on Carolina’s practice squad after being released by the Jets at the end of training camp.
  • The Panthers GM was surprised to learn that backup left tackle Jonathan Martin is retiring, as Newton writes. However, the team has good depth at the position with Nate Chandler, Amini Silatolu, and rookie Daryl Williams competing to back up Michael Oher.