ESPN gives Raiders linebackers runner-up as worst LB core in NFL

ESPN gives Raiders linebackers runner-up as worst LB core in NFL More In case any average fan wasn’t aware of how dire the situation is for the Raiders at linebacker, ESPN came out and ranked Oakland’s core as the second-worst in the NFL, tied with the Rams and just behind the Colts as the most atrocious unit in football. After beginning the season with a poor defensive coordinator in regards to scheming, general manager Reggie McKenzie asked former DC Ken Norton Jr. to win games with a high-hipped, run-stopping LB in Marquel Lee as the team’s starter in the middle.

Phillips has a similar profile to former first-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson (7.80), making him a solid second-round choice for Detroit if he’s still available. Another high-end athlete, Alabama’s Da’Shawn Hand (8.81), could rejoin his former teammate A’Shawn Robinson (3.45) to add some speed to Detroit’s interior rush.

Last month, the Lions signed nose tackle Sylvester Williams (4.86 RAS) to anchor their line, but could easily consider another a longer-term solution at that spot on the third day of the draft.

Another source hedged optimism with uncertainty as well, saying, I believe he’s going to be there. However, having said that, we’re dealing with a human being. Things can change. But I do believe he will be playing.

Michael Giardi of NBC Sports Boston later reported he spoke to two of Brady’s teammates, who noted they’ve had talks with the quarterback during the offseason and that Brady never indicated he wasn’t playing/retiring.

Schefter’s report regarding Brady means there is a lack of clarity surrounding two of New England’s best players, as tight end Rob Gronkowski has yet to commit to playing in 2018 as well.

Per Schefter, part of Brady’s decision to skip team activities is so he can spend more time working with personal trainer Alex Guerrero.

Although Brady is approaching 41 years of age, he is coming off a highly productive season that saw him net his third career NFL MVP award.

He completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 4,577 yards, 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Brady also threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns in a Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Jarvis Landry: Odell Beckham staying with Giants for another year (VIDEO)

Giants star Odell Beckham and his close friend Jarvis Landry have taken turns trying to woo each other to join the same NFL team.

But that time has come and gone… for now.

The Giants were taking calls on Beckham’s availability via trade last month, but it no longer looks as if the three-time Pro Bowler is going to be dealt.

The asking price of two first-round picks seemed to scare off suitors possibly concerned about his decision-making, rehabbed ankle and the negotiations on an extension. The Rams were reported as a favorite, but the Browns made sense, too, given salary cap space.

Though Landry smiled and laughed at the question on Beckham and quickly pivoting back to his focus on the Browns, it is interesting to note he said Beckham would be with the Giants for another year instead of years.

The Giants could franchise tag Beckham each of the next two offseasons — like the Steelers have with Le’Veon Bell — if extension talks stall.

Beckham reported for the start of the Giants’ voluntary offseason program last week, but it is unknown if he will be in East Rutherford next week for the start of a three-day mini-camp. He is unlikely to practice due to his ankle and a NFL Network report suggested he will holdout until he has a new contract.

The first name mentioned would arguably fill the Lions’ biggest needs, with one of the draft’s largest players.

One I would keep an eye on, I would say Will Hernandez would be an interesting one, Jeremiah said. I think he kind of fits the physical nature they want to have there with their team.

The 348-pound guard out of UTEP earned first-team All-American honors last season before putting a rubber stamp on his resume with a strong showing at the combine. He put up 37 reps on the bench press, while surprisingly managing to post top-10 times in the 40-yard dash and 3-cone drills among linemen.

A mauling guard, Hernandez would be a plug-and-play option on the left side of Detroit’s line, providing an immediate boost to the team’s run blocking.

Another player who could improve the ground game at No. 20, according to Jeremiah, would be LSU running back Derrius Guice.

I think he’s better than the backs they have on campus right now, Jeremiah said.

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Rodgers wants more inclusion when decisions are made

Since Gutekunst took over as general manager in January, the Packers moved on from quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt and made a change to the wide receiving corps by releasing Jordy Nelson, one of Rodgers’ favorite targets. Rodgers was reportedly not consulted for either decision.

Then in April, he was asked about the loss of Nelson. Via ESPN:

I think it’s pretty clear that players play and coaches coach and personnel people make their decisions, Rodgers said in an interview with a Milwaukee radio station late last week. That’s the way they want it.

According to Robinson, other established veteran quarterbacks get consulted for decisions along those lines.

The solution would seem pretty simple: keep the star quarterback in the loop. The question is how much damage and rapport was lost by not doing so sooner.

OddsShark gives the Bengals a 90 to 1 longshot to win the 2019 Super Bowl, while the Jets are at 100 to 1. The bottom five shows the Browns at 66 to 1, the Dolphins at 70 to 1 and the Bears at 80 to 1, followed by Cincinnati and the Jets.

The recently-released 2018 schedule reflected that lack of respect, but it may end up working in the Bengals’ favor. Cincinnati shows up in primetime only one time in 2018, and that is for a Thursday Night Football meeting in Week 2 at home against the Baltimore Ravens. That’s it.

Of the remaining 15 games, 14 have a 1 p.m. start time, with the only exception being the December 9 game at the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13, which is set for 4:05 p.m. EST. Cincinnati’s bye week comes exactly halfway through its schedule in Week 9, three weeks after hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers in Paul Brown Stadium.

Rather than a slap in the face, though, the scheduling gods may have actually done the Bengals a favor. Cincinnati has appeared in 12 Sunday night football games since Marvin Lewis took over in 2003, and has only one win to show for it.

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Lions could be on guard for OL upgrade early in draft

Allen Park — Over the next several days, leading up to the NFL draft, we’ll take a position-by-position look at the Detroit Lions’ roster situation and evaluate how the team might address these positions during the event. Today: Offensive line

Two years ago, Quinn drafted three linemen with his first five picks, securing Taylor Decker, a franchise blindside blocker, and a reliable interior starter in Graham Glasgow with the first two of those selections. Quinn later added versatile backup Joe Dahl in the fifth round.

That’s a decent amount of experienced depth, but based on past performance, there’s no clear-cut favorite, making an early-round draft pick a possibility.

Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson is the cream of the interior linemen crop in this class, and likely will be long gone before the Lions are on the clock. But UTEP’s Will Hernandez and Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn are both possibilities for Detroit at No. 20 in the first round.

All you can do is say it and actions speak louder than words, I guess, Gase said. That’s who’s gonna be on the field for us. I don’t see that changing. Ryan’s been a guy that we’ve built a lot of this around. My confidence level in him is very high. What I saw at the end of 2016 gives me great confidence in him. I’m excited to get him back. I know last year was tough on not only him but a lot of us because there’s a lot of time invested in that. I know our players are excited to get him back and get going again. We’ll see what we can do.

Some would say that actions like visits with Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen suggest that the team truly is considering its options with Tannehill. Still, Gase says Tannehill’s the guy — and that he’ll be better after missing all of 2017 with a knee injury.

This might sound strange but he learned a lot last year, Gase said. He got a chance to take a step back and really kind of see you have a different perspective. You almost had to take a coach’s role and just kind of listen and trying to help other guys. I thought he did a good job of figuring out and understanding the why behind everything. He had a chance to really do that instead of just listening, running out on the field, trying to execute it, trying to get better at certain things. I think he was able to really think through a lot of things. We had a long conversation at the end of the season. Just a lot of things that he learned. Some of the things that he was saying was very interesting to me. Kind of the perspective that he took.

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NFL schedules: See matchups for all 32 teams

The NFL schedule for the 2018 season was set Thursday night, so you can start circling dates on your calendar. Potential playoff and Super Bowl previews, scintillating quarterback matchups, and reunion games are among the highlights. Here are the 10 games we’re most excited to see (in order of date; all time Eastern):

The NFL schedule for the 2018 season was set Thursday night, so you can start circling dates on your calendar. Potential playoff and Super Bowl previews, scintillating quarterback showdowns and reunion games are among the highlights. 

Here are the 10 matchups we’re most excited to see (in order of date):

When you strike out on three of your first four selections, your draft class is typically going to end up being a dud. Given a change in the front office, the Lions probably showed less patience with Tomlinson and Carter than the previous regime might have, but it’s difficult to factor in those hypotheticals, especially when those players haven’t thrived elsewhere.

Ikard announced his decision last week on his Twitter account with the Saints moving him to the reserve/retired list on Thursday.

Ikard signed with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Oklahoma in 2014. Ikard appeared in six career games with the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions. He also spent time with the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos and Saints in his five seasons in the NFL.

How will conflict over cancellation of Kaepernick workout be resolved?

The dueling reports regarding the reasons for the cancellation of the Colin Kaepernick workout in Seattle set the stage for a good, old-fashioned pissing match. From Kaepernick’s perspective (as reported by ESPN, Yahoo Sports, and PFT), the Seahawks canceled the workout because Kaepernick declined to commit that he wouldn’t kneel during the anthem. From the team’s perspective (as reported by the media outlet owned and operated by the Seahawks and the other 31 NFL teams), the Seahawks opted to delay the workout because they wanted to know more about Kaepernick’s broader plan regarding the situation.

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Bradley Beal still has support of John Wall, Wizards after sluggish start

After Bradley Beal missed his fourth 3-pointer, the Washington Wizards All-Star shooting guard passed on attempting another 3 and took it strong to the rim, only to watch Serge Ibaka swoop in and emphatically reject his shot.

This pretty much summed up Beal’s frustrating night, during which he spent most of it in foul trouble before being limited to nine points and 3-for-11 shooting in a 130-119 Game 2 loss to the Raptors.

After averaging a career-high 36.3 minutes this season and playing 82 games for the first time in his six-year career, the 39.3 percent career 3-point shooter could be feeling the effects of trying to keep Washington afloat while Wall was out for two months due to knee surgery. Beal averaged 22.6 points and career highs of 4.5 assists and 4.4 rebounds this season.

Peat ended last year on injured reserve after suffering a broken ankle in the wild card round of the playoffs.

Starting in the first round, the Lions should have the choice of multiple defensive tackles at pick No. 20. Vita Vea, a Ngata clone, is the most likely to be off the board at that point, but Detroit could be looking at a choice of Maurice Hurst, Da’Ron Payne and Tavon Bryan.

Hurst, the former Michigan standout, is an undersized 3-technique, but fits any scheme with his ability to get after the passer. Bryan offers more size with elite athleticism. He might have the highest ceiling of the three if you trust your coaching staff to maximize potential. Payne, meanwhile, would provide a long-term replacement for Williams. The Alabama prospect is a brick house who should be a quality run stopper out of the box, with more pass-rush potential.

On Day 2, former wrestler Harrison Phillips, who racked up a staggering 103 tackles as a senior last season, or deceptively athletic 315-pound B.J. Hill, both make sense. Nathan Shepherd, out of little known Fort Hays State, also carries intrigue starting in Round 3.

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