Monthly Archives: September 2014

National Football League roundup (Reuters)

(The Sports Xchange) – Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone announced Monday that Kyle Orton will be the team’s starting quarterback for this week’s game against the Detroit Lions. Orton replaces EJ Manual, the Bills’ first-round pick in 2013 who has started 14 NFL games. – – Indianapolis Colts safety LaRon Landry on was suspended without pay for the next four games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances. Landry will be eligible to return to the Colts’ active roster on Oct. 27 following the team’s Oct. 26 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. …

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Lions’ Fauria injured trying to stop Lil’ Rufio from urinating inside house (Shutdown Corner)

The Detroit Lions officially are the kings of the bizarre injuries. Last year, Nate Burleson broke his arm trying to prevent pizzas from sliding off his car seat. In Week 3, Stephen Tulloch suffered a season-ending torn ACL while celebrating a teammate’s play. Heck, Matthew Stafford almost was hit by a falling bridge on Monday. But Lions tight end Joseph Fauria has entered the team’s Injury Hall of Fame for his mishap.  Fauria was trying to stop Lil’ Rufio from urinating in the house when he misstepped & sprained his ankle at home. http://ift.tt/1rxg4H4 — Detroit Lions (@Lions) September 29, 2014 That’s the Lions’ official Twitter account. Not that of The Onion. [ Join FanDuel.com’s $1.5 million Week 5 fantasy league: $25 to enter; $150,000 to first ] Lil’ Rufio, who appears to be a Husky puppy, caused his owner to suffer a sprained ankle and miss game action. Fauria is still in a walking boot from the dog. Fauria said he sprained his ankle at home slipping on his hardwood floor chasing his dog. Said it wasn’t a volleyball injury — Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) September 29, 2014 This is real life. There had been rumors of Fauria getting hurt at a volleyball game, but he shot those down.  Fauria said he was goofing around, warming up with his friends at a rec volleyball game Wednesday but that has nothing to do with injury — Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) September 29, 2014 No, it definitely was a tiny, adorable dog trying to micturate on the hardwood floors. Hard not to believe a guy with that story. – – – – – – – Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm

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Frustrated Jets quarterback Geno Smith swears at fan as he leaves field (Shutdown Corner)

Fair or not, the adversarial fan-player relationship will always be one sided. The fans can unload their frustrations, but the player will never be given a pass for doing the same to a fan. Geno Smith will be finding that out the hard way. Smith, the second-year New York Jets quarterback who struggled again in a loss to the Detroit Lions, was booed and had to hear fans chanting for his backup, Michael Vick. And when Smith left the field on Sunday he made it much worse, yelling “[Expletive] you” to a fan as he left the field. WCBS in New York had video of Smith swearing at the fan, Gary Myers of the New York Daily News said. Smith apologized for the incident before he took a question at his postgame news conference, according to multiple reports from Jets beat writers. He knows that no matter what the situation, he better apologize for it before it gets any worse. Smith will be under even more heat now that he lost his cool after another poor performance. Jets receiver Eric Decker had Smith’s back, however, in quotes to Kimberley Martin of Newsday: Q: “Does everyone still believe in Geno Smith?” Eric Decker: “100%…. Everybody stands behind Geno.” #jets — Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) September 28, 2014 “That stuff, to me, is BS.” — Eric Decker on chants for Michael Vick #jets — Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) September 28, 2014 We’ll see where it goes from here. The Jets crowd can be unrelenting at times. Now that Smith has crossed a line with them, it’s not likely to get much easier for him. Unless he starts playing a lot better, of course. – – – – – – – Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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NFL Winners and Losers: Young QBs proving that old rules don’t apply (Shutdown Corner)

To become an NFL head coach, you have to be sharp. But it doesn’t mean you can’t make an obvious error. Being involved so deeply in the day-to-day workings of a team gives you a lot of time to overthink situations, even one that seems as simple as “play your best players.” That certainly seems to be what happened when Jacksonville, Minnesota and Tampa Bay picked their Week 1 quarterbacks. Minnesota and Tampa Bay were forced to start their young quarterbacks in Week 4 because of injuries. Chad Henne’s terrible play forced Jacksonville to play its young quarterback. And now it just looks like there was a lot of wasted time for those teams the first three weeks because those teams all look reborn. Tampa Bay’s Mike Glennon threw for 302 yards and led a last-minute drive to give the Buccaneers, who looked terrible in their 0-3 start, a 27-24 win at Pittsburgh. Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater threw for 317 yards in the Vikings’ 41-28 win against the Atlanta Falcons before leaving with an ankle injury (X-rays were negative). Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles didn’t lead a win, but the Jaguars are terrible. They had a bit of a spark though, as Bortles went 29-of-37 for 253 yards and a touchdown. Teams don’t need to sit their talented young quarterbacks just because. The old adage that sitting and learning is the best method for quarterbacks is dead. Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson, among others, have shown that. Bortles and Bridgewater were first-round picks and began this season behind mediocre veterans. Glennon was last year’s all-rookie quarterback but new Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith doesn’t trust young quarterbacks. For all three teams, the younger player was clearly the better one. The coaches made mistakes by being too conservative. At least it didn’t take too long for the teams to be forced into playing the right player. After Bortles was drafted third overall, the Jaguars stubbornly stuck by their plan that he would not play too early. He looked great in the preseason and that didn’t matter. By halftime of their third game, the Jaguars ditched that plan. And, they’re much better off as a result. It’s hard to say the Cleveland Browns aren’t doing the right thing using Brian Hoyer instead of rookie Johnny Manziel, but these other three examples show that it’s going to be incredibly rare in the future to see a talented young quarterback wait and learn anymore. It’s just not necessary.  Here are the rest of the Week 4 winners and losers: WINNERS Indianapolis Colts: You know the college teams from bad leagues that play a great non-conference game early in the season, then you forget about them as they beat up weak competition before realizing they’re 11-1? The NFL has its version of that with the Colts. Did you even realize the Colts played on Sunday? They did, blowing out a second straight hapless AFC South opponent. The Jaguars were the victim last week. The Titans got rolled by the Colts 41-17 on Sunday. Indianapolis has the easiest schedule in the NFL, but it started tough. They lost to the Broncos and Eagles. But now the Colts are 2-2, and with a bunch of games left against the AFC South, you’ll look up in December and wonder how the Colts got a gaudy record. Ryan Tannehill: Good for Tannehill to go out and have a big game in a win over the Raiders. His head coach, Joe Philbin, used him all week to divert the pressure off himself for Miami’s 1-2 start, playing up a quarterback controversy that never existed. It’s a tough spot for a young quarterback to have his head coach undermine him like that. Tannheill showed a lot of maturity to play like he did on Sunday. Tannehill was 23-of-31 for 278 yards and two touchdowns in the 38-14 win. He isn’t a polished product but he has still played well enough at times to the point where he should be given every benefit of the doubt to be the team’s quarterback for many years. He took a ton of heat off Philbin by helping Miami win on Sunday, and if he continues to play well he might even save Philbin’s job. That’s ironic. Jim Caldwell and the Detroit Lions: All of a sudden, it might be time to take the Lions seriously. Yeah, yeah, I know. Been there before, and when has that worked out? But the Lions won a game on Sunday that showed they might be taking the next step. Calvin Johnson had just 12 yards. The Lions were coming off a big win against Green Bay, and they’ve never handled success well. Yet despite all that, with Matthew Stafford playing an efficient, interception-free game in an impressive 24-17 win at the Jets. The Lions were a mess under Jim Schwartz, and for generations before that too. But Caldwell’s calmer demeanor replacing Schwartz’s tough act seems to be paying off. it seems like the Lions are finally off the roller coaster. They’re 3-1 and have a win over Green Bay already. The Packers have flaws on defense and it’s clear Jay Cutler will always limit the Bears with his mistakes. We’ve heard this before, but the Lions have a good shot at winning the division. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers are just a game out of first place in the NFC South after their comeback win at Pittsburgh. They’re a game out of first place at 1-3 because the entire NFC South seems to be absolutely terrible, but hey, the glass is half full somewhere. Aaron Rodgers’ unbelievable play: A bonus winner, because I don’t want this play to die just because of a holding penalty that brought it back. This is one of the most amazing throws you’ll ever see a quarterback make. The degree of difficulty is off the charts. Wow: LOSERS Jim Harbaugh: The 49ers win really saves their season (say what you will, but had they dropped to 1-3 with their schedule, it was all but over), but that doesn’t mean all is right. The 49ers have gone from an impeccably coached team to a sloppy one, and it has happened in a hurry. Usually stories about a coach losing a locker room are flimsy, but the stories of the veteran tuning out Harbaugh seem like they might be true. The 49ers gave up a punt return touchdown, an interception return touchdown and a punt block return touchdown, only the second time in NFL history that has happened according to ESPN . That’s the sign of a sloppy team. So is wasting all your timeouts in a close second-half game. Had the Eagles scored a short touchdown to take a lead late in the game, the 49ers had no timeouts left because they foolishly used them all. One of the timeouts came when the play clock was running down on fourth and 2 and the 49ers were going to punt anyway. They wasted a timeout instead of taking a meaningless delay of game penalty, leading to a great reaction from Harbaugh. The 49ers defense deserves as many game balls as the team can give for their win. They held the Eagles’ explosive offense without a point. They had a great goal-line stand in the final two minutes (Chip Kelly’s odd play calls helped). Safety Antoine Bethea in particular had a dominant game. But that doesn’t mean everything is right with the 49ers. The play-calling has put too much on quarterback Colin Kaepernick, getting away from the run heavy attack that worked so well the last three years. There are untimely penalties, mental errors and inexplicable breakdowns, the signs of a sloppy team. They look like a poorly coached team. Harbaugh has his work cut out for him to build on the momentum from the Eagles’ win. Derek Carr: Don’t get it wrong, just like the quarterbacks listed at the top of this post, the Raiders are doing the right thing starting Carr. He’s by far their best quarterback, and he has done well considering the circumstances. Unfortunately for Carr, the circumstances are really bad. The Raiders are 0-4 and while odds are they’ll stumble upon a win at some point, they probably won’t be favored in any game the rest of the way. Their coach, Dennis Allen, seems like a lock to be fired at some point. And now Carr is hurt. Carr suffered a high ankle sprain and a sprained MCL in a blowout loss to the Dolphins, according to Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area. He’ll miss some time. He should miss as much time as he needs to get healthy. The Raiders are going nowhere and putting Carr out there if his mobility is compromised at all would be a mistake. Carr looks like he could be a good NFL quarterback. It’s just too bad his debut comes with a team this bad.  LeSean McCoy and his fantasy owners: Gather around, McCoy fantasy owners. We know you have grievances to air. The first overall pick in many Yahoo fantasy football leagues is playing like someone on the waiver wire. Inexplicably, McCoy is in the middle of one of the worst stretches of his career. McCoy, who had 22 yards on 19 carries last week, had 17 yards on 10 carries against San Francisco. He hasn’t had a catch in two straight games. He has one touchdown in four games and only one 20-yard run all season. Oof. The biggest problem seems to be the Eagles’ beat up offensive line. Philadelphia has dealt with a ton of injuries and Lane Johnson’s suspension up front, and that has left McCoy with little room to operate. Guard Evan Mathis and center Jason Kelce might be out until sometime about midseason. When they return, McCoy should start to turn things around. It might remain ugly until then. EJ Manuel: You can’t throw in the towel on a quarterback less than halfway into their second season. But it’s getting really tough to see the light with Manuel. The Bills lost a winnable game on Sunday, in large part because Manuel just isn’t accurate enough. He completed 21-of-44 passes for 225 yards and the Bills lost 23-17 at Houston. The Bills’ 2-0 start got their fans excited, thinking they were among the NFL’s better teams. Now they’re just a 2-2 team with a real issue at quarterback. What can the Bills do other than hope Manuel improves? They just invested a first-round pick in him last year. They don’t have a first-round pick next year because they traded it. Other than hoping Manuel fixes his issues (which could happen, because he’s still young), the Bills are stuck in no-man’s land at quarterback. It’s a tough spot. – – – – – – – Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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