Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2013 Chargers Preview- The Football ERA Podcast

2013 Chargers Preview- The Football ERA Podcast

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2013 Vikings Preview- The Football ERA Podcast

2013 Vikings Preview- The Football ERA Podcast

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(also ProFootballWeekly*)

*Special thanks to and all they have done for the game through their coverage over the last several decades...

Monday, July 29, 2013

2013 Redskins Preview- The Football ERA Podcast

2013 Redskins Preview- The Football ERA Podcast

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John Harbaugh confirms Dennis Pitta is out for season

The reports on Saturday all said Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta would be out for the season after fracturing and dislocating his hip during practice and coach John Harbaugh confirmed it on Sunday.
“Dennis is out for the year,” Harbaugh said, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “It’s the type of thing he’s not going to be able to come back from this year. There’s enough damage in there.”
The team’s move to sign veteran tight end Visanthe Shiancoe earlier in the day made it pretty obvious that Pitta was done, but Harbaugh’s announcement erases any chance that they’d put him on injured reserve with the option to return later in the year. Harbaugh said that he didn’t think the injury would interfere with Pitta’s ability to play in 2014. He didn’t say that it will certainly interfere with his expected contract as a free agent, but that’s a matter for the offseason.
For now, the Ravens will be focused on replacing Pitta’s expected production. Shiancoe will help as a blocker and fullback Vonta Leach may be on his way back to help on that front as well, but Ed Dickson will be expected to carry a heavier pass catching load. Dickson says he’s ready for the job.
“It’s tough, it’s tough,” Dickson said. “You lose a brother like that, we’re a 1-2 punch. He had a great season last year. Him and Joe [Flacco]‘s chemistry, I have to try to get to that level of him and Joe where they are. I will pick him up on my back. Everything I do in practice and anything I do in a game, I got to pick him up.”
The Ravens have a lot of time to adjust to Pitta’s absence, something General Manager Ozzie Newsome stressed in an interview with Don Banks of about Pitta’s loss along with a reminder of other times the Ravens have adapted on the fly successfully during training camp. It doesn’t make Pitta’s loss any less painful, but it’s a reason not to panic in late July.

Author: Josh Alper
AP Photo

Friday, July 26, 2013

Chiefs put Dwayne Bowe on non-football injury list

The Chiefs’ top receiver is not ready to go for the start of training camp.
Dwayne Bowe has been placed on Kansas City’s non-football injury list, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
There’s no word on what the issue is with Bowe. The NFI designation can be for anything from failing a conditioning test to having a nagging injury to suffering from an illness.
Bowe caught 59 passes for 801 yards before missing the final three games of the 2012 season with a rib injury. He signed a five-year contract to remain with the Chiefs in March.

Author: Michael David Smith
AP Photo

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Texans place S Ed Reed, RB Arian Foster on active-PUP list

The Texans have placed running back Arian Foster (calf), safety Ed Reed (hip) and wide receiver DeVier Posey (Achilles) on the active / physically unable to perform list, the club said Thursday night.
Head coach Gary Kubiak said Foster, the club’s skilled, versatile featured back, would be on PUP for “a couple of days,” John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.
Reed, whom the Texans signed in free agency from Baltimore, had hip surgery in April.
Posey, a second-year pro from Ohio State, suffered his injury in the Texans’ divisional-round loss at New England in January.
While Reed, Foster and Posey were added to the active-PUP list, the Texans removed rookie outside linebacker Sam Montgomery from the list after he passed his physical.
Houston also announced a pair of veteran free-agent signings, adding cornerback Elbert Mack and defensive tackle Daniel Muir. Mack, 27, notched 14 tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown in seven games (two starts) for the Saints in 2012. The 29-year-old Muir saw action in three games with the Jets, recording three tackles.
Finally, the Texans placed tight end Garrett Graham on the active / non-football illness list and linebacker Darryl Sharpton on the active / non-football injury list.

Author: Mike Wilkening
Photo: Reuters

Monday, July 22, 2013

2013 Texans Preview-The FootballERA Podcast

2013 Texans Preview-The FootballERA Podcast

AP Photo: Phelan M. Ebenhack

Robert Griffin III: “Doctors cleared me to practice”

Six months after major reconstructive knee surgery, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III says he’s good to go for the start of training camp.
Griffin wrote on Twitter on Monday morning that doctors have cleared him to practice. He added that the Redskins’ coaching staff will ease him in, a point that Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has reiterated several times this offseason, as he has been criticized in many quarters for leaving Griffin in the Redskins’ playoff loss to the Seahawks after it was clear that Griffin’s knee was hurt.

Robert Griffin III         @RGIII
Doctors cleared me to practice. Coach is going to ease me in. Thank you for your support & See you in Richmond

Just how much practice the doctors and the Redskins’ coaches want Griffin to participate in remains to be seen, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if early in training camp and in the preseason, we see more of Kirk Cousins than we see of Griffin.
But after every report about Griffin’s knee all offseason long said that he was doing as well as could possibly be expected for an athlete with a torn ACL, this is the most optimistic report yet. Griffin appears to be good to go.

Author: Michael David Smith
AP Photo: Tom Gannam,

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

2013 Broncos Preview-FootballERA Podcast

2013 Broncos Preview-FootballERA Podcast

Photo: Jack Dempsey/AP

Johnny Manziel won’t say if he was drinking at the Manning camp

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel declined to say whether he was drinking alcohol over the weekend at the Manning Passing Academy, but he says the reason he left the camp early was “absolutely not” because he was hungover.
In an interview on SportsCenter, Manziel was asked directly if he was drinking alcohol during his time at the camp, and he answered, “I’m not going into details about what happened at the Manning camp. We had social events every night.”
Manziel said his early departure from the Manning camp was a “mutual decision” between himself and the Manning Passing Academy organizers, and he said that Peyton Manning and Eli Manning did not tell him to leave early. He did not say whether Archie Manning told him to leave early, but he did acknowledge that he overslept and missed a morning meeting.
“I made a mistake and didn’t wake up in time when I should have, and that’s pretty much the end of that,” Manziel said. “Missing the meeting wasn’t anything due to the night prior. It wasn’t anything involved in that. It was just simply my phone died, I overslept, I woke up the next morning whenever I did, went and talked to them and it was kind of a mutual decision to get home and get some time to relax.”
Manziel has earned a reputation for hard partying during his college career, and that reputation may affect his stock in the 2014 NFL draft, which Manziel is expected to enter. Manziel said he’s not going to apologize for the way he lives his life.
“I’m still 20 years old, I’m still a sophomore in college, I’m still going to do things that everybody in college does and I’m going to continue to enjoy my life. Hopefully people don’t hold me to a higher standard than that,” Manziel said.
Manziel is under the legal drinking age, but most college students drink before they turn 21, and Manziel is entitled to live his life however he wants. At the same time, NFL teams are entitled to decide that if they’re going to spend a high draft pick on a franchise quarterback, they want it to be a straight arrow like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, and not a guy who oversleeps, misses meetings, declines to say if he was drinking the night before, gets in trouble in connection with bar fights, and generally seems like he has a lot of growing up to do.

Author: Michael David Smith
(AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Karen Warren)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Report: Jets “toying” with using Geno Smith to change pace

When the Jets traded for Tim Tebow last year, many speculated that they would use him as a change-of-pace quarterback with his own package of offensive plays that the team would use to expand their options when they had the ball.
Tebow only played sparingly on offense in 2012 and the Jets were roundly ridiculed for the way they deployed him. According to a report from Rich Cimini of, however, the team hasn’t totally given up the idea of having a backup quarterback with his own portfolio even though last year’s offensive coordinator Tony Sparano is now coaching the offensive line in Oakland.
Per Cimini, Jets coaches are “toying” with the idea of using rookie Geno Smith as a change-of-pace quarterback if he doesn’t win the starting job with a package of plays centered on the read-option. The idea is to make use of Smith’s speed while also giving him game experience he wouldn’t get otherwise, although Cimini points out one potential stumbling block in Smith’s limited history of success on designed runs while in college.
While the Jets offense can surely use any wrinkle that makes it more successful, the notion of shuttling quarterbacks in and out of the game only underlines how badly the Jets need to find a quarterback that they aren’t willing to take off the field for chunks of the game. The Jets presumably selected Smith in the second round of the draft because they felt he had the potential to be that kind of player and they’ll likely be best served by keeping him focused on attaining that goal as quickly as possible rather than returning to a well that bore no water last season.

Author: Josh Alper

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

2013 Ravens Preview--The Football ERA Podcast

2013 Ravens Preview--The Football ERA

Affidavit confirms Ortiz flipped on Hernandez, told them the whole story

On Tuesday, limited snippets of an affidavit filed in a Florida court emerged, via the Associated Press.  And while the information published by the AP was accurate, it was hardly complete.
Albert Breer of NFL Network has passed along the entire affidavit, and it paints a much more comprehensive picture of what Ortiz said, and when and where he said it.
Basically, Ortiz said everything he knows.
As of Tuesday, June 25, Ortiz was on probation.  He showed up that day for a previously-scheduled meeting with his probation officer.  When Ortiz got there, he learned that there was another purpose for that day’s meeting.
Investigators provided Ortiz with the so-called Miranda warnings (“you have the right to remain silent . . .”), and Ortiz nevertheless agreed to speak.  Both the video and audio were recorded.
Ortiz said that he and Wallace arrived at Hernandez’s home in North Attleboro just after midnight on June 17, 2013.  Hernandez and Shayanna Jenkins weren’t home; a babysitter let Wallace and Ortiz into the home.
Ortiz saw “a small and large handgun” in the home, and when Hernandez returned with Jenkins, Ortiz saw Hernandez “carrying a handgun.”
The three men — Hernandez, Ortiz, and Wallace — left the home at 1:09 a.m., stopping once for gas and then picking up Odin Lloyd and traveling back to North Attleboro.
Ortiz told police that, on the drive back, “he overheard Mr. Hernandez state directly to Mr. Lloyd that he was ‘chilling’ with people that [Hernandez] had problems with.”  Ortiz said that Hernandez and Lloyd “made up by ‘shaking hands’ and added that ‘it’ was squashed.”
Ortiz then fell asleep.  He woke up when the vehicle stopped, and Ortiz saw the other three men — Hernandez, Wallace, and Lloyd — get out of the car “to urinate.”
Ortiz then heard gunshots.
Hernandez and Wallace got back in to the car “without Mr. Lloyd,” and the vehicle “fled” the scene.
Because he had been asleep and stayed in the car, Ortiz didn’t know who had fired the shots, which makes Monday’s report that Wallace told Ortiz that Hernandez fired the shots now more sensible.
When the vehicle returned to Hernandez’s house, Wallace asked Ortiz to get a small gun located under the rear of the driver’s seat.  Ortiz got the gun, carried it inside, and gave it to Hernandez.
Ortiz said that he then went back to sleep.
The affidavit confirms that it was Ortiz who told police about the things Hernandez said to Lloyd in the car, but Ortiz’s version as explained in the affidavit differs from the representations made in court by prosecutor Bill McCauley during Hernandez’s arraignment.  For example, McCauley mentioned that Hernandez spoke about not being able to trust anyone, and that Hernandez wasn’t upset about Lloyd “chilling” with people Hernandez had issues with but that Lloyd had actually said something to them that called his trustworthiness in to question.  Also, McCauley said nothing about Hernandez and Lloyd making up.
Still, if Ortiz repeats his story in court, it will be very hard to overcome the clear and complete picture it paints.  While Hernandez’s lawyers surely will try to paint Ortiz as a liar, the reality is that Hernandez specifically asked Ortiz and Wallace to come to Massachusetts from Connecticut.  As a practical matter, Hernandez is pretty much stuck with whatever Ortiz says happened, unless Hernandez and Wallace plan to offer an alternative explanation on the witness stand at trial.

Author: Mike Florio

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hernandez, Gronkowski struggles make Graham look even better

Sandwiched between tight ends Rob Gronkowski (round two) and Aaron Hernandez (round four) in the 2010 draft was tight end Jimmy Graham.  A third-round pick of the Saints, Graham was the last tight end selected before Hernandez.
The Saints took Graham with pick number 95, and the Patriots took Hernandez 18 spots later.  In between, four receivers were selected — Mardy Gilyard (Rams; no. 99), Mike Williams (Bucs; no. 101); Marcus Easley (Bills; no. 107); Jacoby Ford (Raiders; no. 108).
It’s unknown whether the Saints wrestled with the choice of taking Graham or Hernandez.  The red flags were well known, and Hernandez’s history easily could have been a factor.  But Graham’s limited football career likely was an issue, too.  He played only one year at Miami.  Hernandez was the far more established and experienced player.
Regardless of how the Saints made their decision, they settled on Graham.  Of the three tight ends, he’s the only one still laboring under his rookie deal.
From Gronkowski’s injuries and surgeries and party-boy tendencies to Hernandez’s legal entanglements, Graham is looking like the best of the bunch.  And the Saints need to acknowledge that with a long-term deal.
To his credit, Graham hasn’t groused.  But if the team and the player can’t work out a multi-year contract, a franchise-tag fracas could be coming over whether Graham is a tight end or a receiver, given the number of times he lines up in the slot.
The best way to avoid that outcome would be to get a new agreement negotiated, and the best time to do it would be sooner rather than later.  The cap is a problem for now; according to NFLPA records, the Saints currently have roughly $5 million in total space.  But with all of their draft picks signed, the Saints wouldn’t have to clear much space to do a long-term deal with Graham, since the signing bonus would be spread over multiple seasons.
Graham’s refusal to make a stink, publicly or privately, about his status puts less pressure on the Saints to take care of him.  In turn, however, this attitude proves that Graham is far more worthy of the security than Hernandez, and possibly even more worthy than Gronkowski.

Author: Mike Florio
Chris Graythen, Getty Images

Monday, July 8, 2013

Seahawks have some fun with “Fail Mary” replacement ref

In an event that Seahawks fans will find a lot more amusing than Packers fans, the replacement official who awarded Seattle a game-winning touchdown with no time left in a Week Three game against Green Bay spent some time with the Seahawks today.
Wearing a football referee’s uniform, Easley worked as an umpire at Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s charity softball game. PFT’s Curtis Crabtree was on the scene and passes along word that Easley made some questionable calls that caused Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to run out and argue with him at first base.
That was all in good fun, but it was no laughing matter to the NFL when Easley’s call shined a bright light on the league’s use of replacement officials while the regular officials were locked out. The outcry over the Seahawks’ “Fail Mary” touchdown may have been what ended the officials’ lockout.
Easley took a moment to pose with Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, who scored the Fail Mary touchdown. Tate always seems to do well with Easley around: He was named MVP of the softball game.

Author: Michael David Smith

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Pat White willing to play other positions to stay with Redskins

As Pat White prepared to enter the NFL more than four years ago, he resisted the notion of moving to a position other than quarterback.  Now that he’s back in the league after a three-season absence, White is willing to do what it takes to stick.
“Whatever the coaches ask of me, I will do it with the best of my abilities,” White recently told the team’s official website, via Mark Inabinett of the Alabama Media Group.  “My heart’s set on being a quarterback, but I am willing to play other positions and will do whatever it takes to help the team. . . .
“I feel like the Redskins chose me.  I put myself out there to find the right situation, and I felt like this is the best fit for me.  The way they ran the offense really excited me.  And I was just happy for them to give me an opportunity.”
The Redskins pounced on White, a second-round pick of the Dolphins in 2009, when he was flirting with teams like the 49ers and Giants.  With Robert Griffin III recovering from a torn ACL, it made sense to have another mobile quarterback around.  Once Griffin is healthy, having White at quarterback becomes less important.
“There are some other teams that are using [the read-option], and I can also help the Redskins prepare for other teams that run it.”
The Redskins eventually will have to ask themselves whether it makes sense to devote a roster spot to a scout-team quarterback, and whether White can be taught a new position.  Until it’s clear that Griffin is healthy and will stay that way, it could make sense to keep White around and ready to play quarterback.

Author: Mike Florio
AP Photo

Friday, July 5, 2013

Snoop Dogg supports Hernandez

It’s fitting, we suppose, that a man who will support any given NFL team at any given time will support any given player at any given time.
Or, more specifically, Aaron Hernandez when he stands accused of first-degree murder.
Via NESN, Snoop Dogg has expressed support for Hernandez on Instagram:  ”Keep ya head up!!  We prayn for ya.”
Snoop Dogg can relate.  In the 1990s, he faced a trial on murder charges.  Acquitted of first-degree and second-degree murder, the jury couldn’t reach a verdict on the question of whether Snoop Dogg and his bodyguard committed voluntary manslaughter.
Despite Snoop Dogg’s history and notoriously open use of marijuana, the NFL has periodically legitimized Snoop Dogg, putting him on NFL Network multiple times.  Also, the league-owned website sometimes broadcasts Snoop Dogg’s views and opinions.
It’s an odd marriage, made even more bizarre by Snoop Dogg’s open support for Hernandez at a time when the NFL essentially has ostracized him.

Author: Mike Florio

Thursday, July 4, 2013

With Aaron Hernandez jerseys on eBay, it’s seller beware

In the days since Aaron Hernandez went from a Patriots tight end to a murder defendant, his jerseys have become hot sellers on eBay, as memorabilia collectors and Hernandez’s remaining fans have looked for opportunities to buy Hernandez jerseys used now that the NFL and the Patriots are no longer selling Hernandez jerseys new.
But there’s one big problem for those who would like to pick up some fast cash by selling their Hernandez jerseys: Some people who think such sales are in poor taste are going on eBay, placing the winning bids in the auctions, and then refusing to pay after the auctions are over.
One seller told Yahoo! Sports that the $305 winning bid he got for a Hernandez jersey and a signed mini-helmet was followed up not with payment, but with a hostile message from the supposed buyer.
“I don’t think that I will be getting paid,” the seller told Yahoo! Sports. “The person emailed me stating I should ‘burn the jersey and stop seeking money for that morons actions’. Looks like the person has some kind of social agenda.”
That same buyer has done the same thing in at least 15 other eBay auctions, which means that many of the people trying to sell Hernandez jerseys have simply wasted their time by “selling” to someone who is never actually going to pay.
Winning an auction and then refusing to pay is a violation of eBay’s rules and possibly a violation of the law, but it’s not clear whether anyone will be able to track down the bidders who have been doing it here. So if you’re trying to turn a profit on your Hernandez jersey, seller beware.

Author: Michael David Smith
Photo: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hernandez apartment search yields new evidence

The news that Carlos Ortiz met with police the day before Aaron Hernandez was arrested came via a story regarding things found at an apartment Hernandez kept roughly 20 minutes from his $1.3 million home in North Attleboro.  For completeness, we probably should mention what was found when the apartment was searched.
According to the Boston Globe, authorities found “numerous boxes” of ammunition and a white hoodie that Hernandez possibly wore the night of Odin Lloyd’s death.
“This sweatshirt is consistent in color and type with the sweatshirt that Hernandez is observed to be wearing on surveillance cameras the night of the homicide,” authorities wrote in an affidavit.
Ortiz also had told police he forgot his phone at Hernandez’s apartment.  The phone was retrieved during the search.
Per the Boston Herald, police also found a cranberry-colored baseball hat Hernandez was believed to be wearing two nights before the killing of Lloyd.
No drugs were found in the search, despite a Herald headline seizing language in the search warrant mentioning the possibility that cocaine could be concealed on any of the persons present at Hernandez’s apartment.  Also present were paychecks from the Patriots and Puma, an endorser that has since dropped Hernandez.  (It may be a good idea to get those checks cashed ASAP.)
The clothing will help prosecutors establish some of the various pieces of evidence necessary to build a thorough, methodical case against Hernandez.  With video images of Hernandez wearing the hoodie (on the night of the murder) and the hat (two nights earlier, outside a club with Lloyd), prosecutors need to be able to seal off any potential “it wasn’t me” defense.

Author: Mike Florio
Photo: Dominick Reuter/REUTERS

Monday, July 1, 2013

Aaron Hernandez’s name sparks brawl in diner

Patriots games will have an extra level of intrigue this year, especially if fans show up wearing Aaron Hernandez jerseys.  Or if any of them actually resemble Aaron Hernandez.
According to the Hartford Courant, a brawl erupted at a diner this morning after a patron shouted out, “Hey, Aaron Hernandez!“
A pair of men arrested in the aftermath of the ensuing brouhaha told police they were sitting with Aaron Hernandez’s brother, D.J.
The fight started after the person who yelled “Hey, Aaron Hernandez!” was told to shut up, possibly Brian Cashman-style.
Police don’t actually know whether D.J. Hernandez was in the diner.  The Connecticut native is a graduate assistant at the University of Iowa.

Author: Mike Florio
Photo from