NFL

Hard Knocks Part 4: Armstrong's show
The second-to-last episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons" featured a coach going on a classic, profanity-laced tirade in the meeting room.

Seahawks' penalty is an NFL message
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RENTON, Wash. -- If you were to name a half dozen NFL teams that play it old-school in practice by getting rough and rowdy at risk to players, the Seattle Seahawks would not be one of them.

Rankings show Nelson still ascending
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- How many 29-year-old NFL players are still ascending?Count Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson among the small group that can make that statement.

Saints Camp Report: Day 22
METAIRIE, La. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New Orleans Saints training camp: Saints kickers Shayne Graham and Derek Dimke both stumbled a bit during a windy practice Tuesday.

Green Bay Packers cut-down analysis
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers reached the mandated 75-player roster limit on Tuesday by placing six players on injured reserve. Two days earlier, they waived seven players.

Revis, Harmon share insight on Tim Wright
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Who is tight end Tim Wright?That was one question resonating through the Patriots locker room after the surprising trade that sent offensive lineman Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for Wright and a fourth-round draft choice.

Miami Dolphins cut-down analysis
Most significant move: Miami Dolphins quarterback Brady Quinn was the biggest release in terms of name recognition. The former 2007 first-round pick joined Miami about two weeks ago but was put in a rough spot to learn a new offense months after everyone else.

49ers awaiting Aldon Smith suspension
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- While there is little doubt a multi-game suspension for San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith is coming from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, it’s arrival date has the team in a state of flux.

New England Patriots cut-down analysis
Most significant move: On a day when nothing could trump the trade of veteran offensive lineman Logan Mankins, the one name that stood above the rest in terms of cuts is rookie defensive back Jemea Thomas.

Patriots players learned of trade at practice
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Patriots players were informed of the shocking trade of offensive lineman Logan Mankins while on the field for the start of practice Tuesday, which only added to the surprise move few saw coming.

Phillip Thomas to visit doctor
ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins safety Phillip Thomas will visit Dr. James Anderson in North Carolina to see if he can determine the cause of Thomas' latest soreness.

Jason Witten ribs DeMarcus Ware on call
IRVING, Texas -- DeMarcus Ware and Jason Witten were teammates for nine years and developed a close friendship.The business of the NFL separated them when the Dallas Cowboys decided to part ways with Ware, the franchise’s all-time leader in sacks, but they were able to reconnect on a conference call Tuesday afternoon.

Giants still sorting out wide receiver spots
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Mario Manningham was not one of the 15 players on the cut-down list Tuesday when the New York Giants reduced their roster from 90 to 75 players, but that doesn't mean he's making the team.

Washington Redskins cut-down analysis
Most significant move: The Redskins released veteran backup linebacker Rob Jackson, a move that in truth was only mildly surprising. Jackson was not playing on special teams and did not have the speed the Redskins are trying to find defensively.

Jay Gruden says starters will sit Thursday
ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden threatened to do something that hasn't been done in five years: play some of his starters in the final preseason game.

Philadelphia Eagles cut-down analysis
Most significant move: It wasn’t surprising, but the release of rookie kicker Carey Spear stands out because it wasn’t the result of Alex Henery locking up the kicker position.

Dallas Cowboys cut-down analysis
Most significant move: The Matt Johnson era has not officially ended, but the safety was waived by the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday as part of the roster moves to reach the NFL-mandated 75-player limited.

New York Giants Tuesday injury report
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin said rookie Weston Richburg and veteran John Jerry would start at left guard and right guard, respectively, in Thursday's preseason finale against the Patriots.

Henry Melton: 'I'm feeling good'
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Henry Melton is healthy to play in Thursday’s preseason finale.Whether Melton, who hasn’t played this preseason, will get any game action before the regular season begins is to be determined.

Balancing Cowboys' 'glitz and glamour'
IRVING, Texas -- What is the Dallas Cowboys' identity?Owner and general manager Jerry Jones has an idea.In announcing a partnership between the Cowboys and Hublot, a Swiss watchmaker, on Monday night at AT&T Stadium, Jones came up with a slogan.

Catanzaro out to prove he's NFL caliber
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- There were times throughout his four-month battle with Jay Feely for the Arizona Cardinals' kicking job that rookie Chandler Catanzaro sensed he was the favorite to be the last kicker standing this week.

Seahawks' penalty is an NFL message
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RENTON, Wash. -- If you were to name a half dozen NFL teams that play it old-school in practice by getting rough and rowdy at risk to players, the Seattle Seahawks would not be one of them.

Arians: Dockett's surgery 'went great'
TEMPE, Ariz. -- A day after Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett had surgery to repair his right ACL, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said the three-time Pro Bowler was doing well.

49ers awaiting Aldon Smith suspension
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- While there is little doubt a multi-game suspension for San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith is coming from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, it’s arrival date has the team in a state of flux.

St. Louis Rams cut-down analysis
Most significant move: None of the Rams' moves really registered much of a blip on the radar, though parting with defensive end Sammy Brown and safety Matt Daniels in this round might qualify as something of a surprise.

Seattle Seahawks cut-down analysis
Most significant move Tuesday: Nothing surprising on the seven moves Tuesday to get to the 75-player limit after making eight roster moves Monday. However, moving rookie defensive back Eric Pinkins to the reserve/non-football injury list means the Seahawks could bring Pinkins back after the sixth week of the regular season.

Carroll No. 2 on head coach ranking
RENTON, Wash. – According to 30 NFL insiders, Pete Carroll is the second highest-rated head coach in the league.ESPN.com Insider Mike Sando has an interesting story out Tuesday that ranks all the head coaches in tiers, based on information he received from eight general managers, four former GMs, six coordinators, four position coaches, four executives and four personnel directors.

#NFLRank: No. 37 Chris Long
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The annual #NFLRank project got underway last week as a panel of 85 NFL analysts across ESPN's many platforms went through the process of ranking the top 100 players in the league on each side of the ball.

Michael Bennett makes #NFLRank top 100
RENTON, Wash. -- Defensive end Michael Bennett became the eighth Seattle Seahawks player to make ESPN.com’s #NFLRank top 100 list of offensive and defensive players in the NFL.

Sam wants to keep being a football player
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ST. LOUIS -- As if from an assembly line, the labels have been thrown at Michael Sam.Since Sam announced publicly that he’s gay in an interview with ESPN in February, he’s heard them all.

Rankings show Nelson still ascending
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- How many 29-year-old NFL players are still ascending?Count Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson among the small group that can make that statement.

Green Bay Packers cut-down analysis
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers reached the mandated 75-player roster limit on Tuesday by placing six players on injured reserve. Two days earlier, they waived seven players.

Tate thinks he can excel in Detroit's offense
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ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- When Golden Tate chose to sign with the Detroit Lions during free agency, part of the appeal to the wide receiver was the offense laid out to him.

Chicago Bears cut-down analysis
Most significant move: The Chicago Bears officially made Jimmy Clausen the No. 2 quarterback and jettisoned Jordan Palmer, who quickly signed with the Buffalo Bills.

Practice Report: Reggie Bush returns
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- A few hours after Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell said his running back, Reggie Bush, had missed the past two days of practice due to "rest," Bush eliminated any doubt about his status.

Assessing Packers' rookies: Most will stick
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It often takes an injury or an unusually poor preseason showing for a Green Bay Packers draft pick to get cut at the end of his rookie training camp.

Cassius Vaughn talks his way to success
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Cassius Vaughn learned the art from his father, and as any good father is wont to do, he passed it along to his progeny as well.The art, of course, is talking.

Alshon Jeffery debuts high on #NFLRank
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Apparently, a pair of tennis rackets dangle from Alshon Jeffery's wrists, and the Chicago Bears just hope the receiver continues to serve up the love in the form of receptions to the club's offense.

McCarthy scores well in coach rankings
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It should come as no surprise that Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy ranked as one of the NFL's top coaches in ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando's extensive project that examined all 32 coaches through the eyes of a wide range of league sources.

Chicago Bears release safety Craig Steltz
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears terminated the contract of vested veteran safety Craig Steltz on Monday, the team announced. The Bears' roster now stands at 77 active players in advance of Tuesday's 4 p.

Hard Knocks Part 4: Armstrong's show
The second-to-last episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons" featured a coach going on a classic, profanity-laced tirade in the meeting room.

Falcons practice report: eye on nickel
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- All three of the Atlanta Falcons' candidates for the nickelback role were on the field for special teams at the start of Tuesday's practice.

Saints Camp Report: Day 22
METAIRIE, La. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New Orleans Saints training camp: Saints kickers Shayne Graham and Derek Dimke both stumbled a bit during a windy practice Tuesday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut-down analysis
Most significant move: The team released Eric Page, who handled the return duties last year. This is a pretty clear sign that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will go with undrafted rookie Solomon Patton as their primary return man.

New Orleans Saints cut-down analysis
Most significant move: Releasing linebacker Victor Butler was a small surprise, but a huge shame. I was one of many analysts who thought the pass-rush specialist could have a huge impact when he joined the New Orleans Saints last year, following defensive coordinator Rob Ryan from Dallas.

Charles Godfrey's versatility a bonus
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charles Godfrey's value went up when Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton fractured his ribs.Even though Newton is expected to start in the Sept.

Bucs make right move on Logan Mankins
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Ever since they were hired, coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht have been saying they want to win right away. They also have been saying they want to do things the right way.

Rivera 'confident' Newton will start opener
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera is confident quarterback Cam Newton will start in the Sept. 7 opener at Tampa Bay.Newton suffered a hairline fracture in his rib during Friday night's 30-7 preseason loss at New England.

QB emergency, baby watch almost over
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Baby watch is almost over.Barring an unexpected delay, the Carolina Panthers will have two quarterbacks available for Thursday night's preseason finale at Pittsburgh.

Carolina Panthers cut-down analysis
Most significant move: Carolina thought so much of wide receiver Tiquan Underwood in free agency that it gave him a two-year deal that included a $300,000 signing bonus.

QB coach 'shocked' by team-first Vick
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- There was a report last week that suggested some of the New York Jets' coaches were disappointed that Michael Vick didn't push harder for the starting job.

Jets may not stomach another year of Hill
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Greg Salas and Saalim Hakim received glowing endorsements Tuesday from Rex Ryan. Stephen Hill, not so much.The New York Jets coach hinted that Hill's roster spot is in jeopardy, saying special-teams performance will play a key role in determining the final jobs at wide receiver.

Miami Dolphins cut-down analysis
Most significant move: Miami Dolphins quarterback Brady Quinn was the biggest release in terms of name recognition. The former 2007 first-round pick joined Miami about two weeks ago but was put in a rough spot to learn a new offense months after everyone else.

New England Patriots cut-down analysis
Most significant move: On a day when nothing could trump the trade of veteran offensive lineman Logan Mankins, the one name that stood above the rest in terms of cuts is rookie defensive back Jemea Thomas.

Patriots players learned of trade at practice
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Patriots players were informed of the shocking trade of offensive lineman Logan Mankins while on the field for the start of practice Tuesday, which only added to the surprise move few saw coming.

Bill Belichick on Mankins trade
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick made the following statement on trading Logan Mankins:“Logan Mankins is everything we would ever want in a football player.

Injury settlement clouds Colt Lyerla's future
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers reached an injury settlement with rookie tight end Colt Lyerla on Tuesday and waived him off injured reserve.The settlement will pay Lyerla through Week 8 of the regular season, his agent Vinnie Porter said, and also allows him the opportunity to return to the NFL this season.

After Mankins, who steps in on Pats' OL?
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As the initial shock of the Logan Mankins' trade to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers subsides, let's focus on some of the offensive linemen on the New England Patriots' roster most affected by the move:Josh Kline (6-3, 295).

Several missing from Patriots' practice
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cornerback Jemea Thomas, undrafted rookie linebacker Cameron Gordon, defensive tackles Ben Bass and Chris Jones, and offensive lineman Chris Martin were not spotted at the start of the New England Patriots practice on Tuesday.

Dolphins report: Caleb Sturgis returns
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins finished their final practice in preparation for Thursday’s preseason final against the St. Louis Rams at Sun Life Stadium.

Raiders figuring out No. 3 CB job
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- With DJ Hayden out for the first portion of the year and Chimdi Chewka also injured, the Oakland Raiders will likely have to give a young unknown player a chance to be the No.

Carr to get extensive test drive Thursday
ALAMEDA, Calif. --Oakland Raiders potential franchise quarterback Derek Carr can make up for some lost time Thursday in the preseason finale against visiting Seattle.

Ryan Carrethers prepares for starting role
SAN DIEGO – As a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft by the San Diego Chargers, Ryan Carrethers expected to compete for a starting job at defensive tackle.

San Diego Chargers cut-down analysis
The San Diego Chargers cut 12 players, placed three on the injured reserve list and another on the reserve/physically unable to perform (PUP) list to get down to the NFL-mandated 75 players by Tuesday’s 4 p.

Oakland Raiders cut-down analysis
Most significant move: The Raiders put 2013 first-round pick D.J. Hayden on the physically unable to perform list to start the season. He will be out at least the first six weeks of the season.

Dontari Poe checks in at No. 35
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs have selected several defensive linemen early in recent drafts, and they finally have one who appears worthy of the honor.

Where do insiders rank Dennis Allen?
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- It has not been a great couple of days for the Oakland Raiders on the list front.Monday, in a poll of NFL players, the Raiders were voted the least desirable team to play for.

NFL makes Prater suspension official
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater admitted to his four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy on Monday and the NFL made it official on Tuesday.

Clady, Thomas appear in #NFLRank
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- ESPN used 85 voters from the network’s many NFL platforms as well as Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus to rank the league’s top 100 players on offense and top 100 players on defense.

Kansas City Chiefs cut-down analysis
Most significant move: When the Kansas City Chiefs released Jerron McMillian, they parted ways with their only reserve safety who has started an NFL game.

Nate Burleson has chance to (finally) play
BEREA, Ohio -- Quick hitters following practice: Nate Burleson has been around long enough to hear the adage "you can't make the club from the tub.

Pittsburgh Steelers cut-down analysis
Most significant move: The Steelers cut a pair of players who appeared in games for them last season. In the process, their plans along the defensive line came more into focus.

Manziel: Browns knew he'd have to learn
BEREA, Ohio -- Johnny Manziel reads interviews.Because the Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback clearly knew what general manager Ray Farmer told ESPN.

Ravens still expect starting CBs to be ready
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- With only 12 days until the regular season kicks off, the Baltimore Ravens were once again without their starting cornerbacks in practice.

Hoyer: Browns offense not down on itself
BEREA, Ohio -- Brian Hoyer insists there is not great cause for concern with the Cleveland Browns' offense.He knows things have looked bad and there have been struggles, but he also said after watching the film that there were some good things in the 33-14 loss to St.

Burfict issues no comment on contract
CINCINNATI -- Vontaze Burfict finally spoke to reporters on Tuesday, but it was what he didn't say that warranted a headline.For the first time since before he reportedly agreed with the Cincinnati Bengals last week on a contract extension that was said to pay him more than $20 million, Burfict fielded questions about the suddenly troubling extension and the apparent stalemate that has happened since.

Cincinnati Bengals cut-down analysis
Most significant move: Few of the Cincinnati Bengals' cuts were very surprising, but quarterback Matt Scott's release might have been the most significant because he had been viewed as the No.

Ponder prepares for cameo appearance
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- At this time last year, Christian Ponder's preseason was over. He was firmly entrenched as the Vikings' starting quarterback headed into the beginning of the regular season, and as such, he was preparing to sit out the team's final exhibition game against the Tennessee Titans.

Cleveland Browns cut-down analysis
The Cleveland Browns trimmed their roster to 76 players on Tuesday. Teams have to get down to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.• Most significant move: The release of wide receiver Anthony Armstrong isn't exactly a shock, but it does show where the Browns are when it comes to the wide receiver position as they await word on the suspension of Josh Gordon.

Look for Steelers to keep six wide receivers
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin praised Darrius Heyward-Bey on Tuesday and said he particularly likes what the veteran wide receiver has done on special teams.

Houston Texans cut-down analysis
Most significant move: There weren't really any very significant football moves in the Houston Texans' first round of cuts. Those gone as the team reduces its roster from 90 (the Texans had 89 for a few weeks) to 75 were long shots to make the team.

Indianapolis Colts cut-down analysis
The Indianapolis Colts made four roster moves Tuesday afternoon to get down to 75 players.Most significant move: Running back Vick Ballard was expected to be a part of the Colts’ backfield that also features Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw.

It's goodbye Blake after Thursday night
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have not yet determined how much rookie quarterback Blake Bortles will play in the final preseason game against Atlanta Thursday night.

Tennessee Titans cut-down analysis
Most significant move: There really isn’t one. Linebacker Jonathan “Tig” Willard pulled people out of a burning car on his way to camp a year ago.

Gus Bradley earns respect around the NFL
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Gus Bradley is only in his second season as the Jaguars’ head coach, but he already has earned a lot of respect among NFL insiders and executives.

Survey says Whiz is third-tier head coach
ESPN.com Insider Mike Sando asked a broad range of NFL people -- eight current general managers, four former GMs, four personnel directors, four executives, six coordinators and four position coaches -- to provide a 1-5 rating for every head coach in the league.

A snapshot of Jake Locker's understanding
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- From early on in his first offseason working with Tennessee Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt and his staff, Jake Locker said he felt empowered.

'Madden NFL 15' ratings for the Colts
INDIANAPOLIS -- There were a number of players on the Indianapolis Colts excited at the facility Monday because they received their copy of Madden 15, the ever-so popular NFL video game.

Running through Titans' receiver depth
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Derek Hagan has seven credited NFL seasons and Brian Robiskie has five.The two veteran receivers have fared better than I expected when the Titans brought them in over the summer, but indications are that the Titans could wind up looking for outside help to supply receiver depth after they cut to 53 by Saturday.

Jacksonville Jaguars cut-down analysis
Most significant move: The only one that really qualifies as significant is the team’s decision to cut cornerback Mike Harris, but it’s not like that move was a surprise.


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