Bill Belichick: Pete Carroll made me a better coach

By Nick Shook |
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Bill Belichick has long been known as a man of few words.

That alone made Tuesday’s Media Day performance a rarity. The coach who commonly mumbles and grumbles his way through weekly news conferences donned a hint of a smile while approaching his podium inside US Airways Center in Phoenix, serving as a hint that he would be a bit more expansive on a wide array of subjects, including his favorite type of stuffed animal.

But when asked about Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, the Super Bowl-winning czar of the Patriots was effusive in his comments on his relationship with his counterpart in Super Bowl XLIX. Continue reading

Jets’ Richardson on Rex Ryan hiring: ‘That’s hilarious’

By Nick Shook |
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Rex Ryan‘s final run in New York wasn’t one to write home about.

The Jets were among the worst in the league, finishing 4-12 as inconsistency at the quarterback position handcuffed a unit that ranked 22nd in total offense.

Despite the ugly finish, many players voiced their support for Ryan, a defensive coach who was undeniably loved by his players. Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson was among the most emotional, nearly coming to tears while defending the coach following a 38-3 loss to Buffalo in Week 12.

His tone was a bit different on Sunday. Continue reading

Browns’ Josh Gordon faces one-year banishment

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Josh Gordon‘s career could be in jeopardy.

The Cleveland Browns‘ often-troubled wide receiver has tested positive for alcohol and faces a one-year banishment, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Media’s Albert Breer reported.

Due to Gordon’s past DUI, alcohol is one of the substances for which he is tested. Gordon is in Stage Three of the program, and under Stage Three he is tested for alcohol for a minimum of two years. The failed test came after the conclusion of the 2014 regular season, Breer reported.

The receiver may appeal, but it’s unlikely to work, Rapoport added. Continue reading

Doug Baldwin: Seahawks’ defense going to make plays

By Nick Shook |
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Since he cemented his place in Seahawks‘ lore with an iconic, acrobatic tipped pass for an interception, Richard Sherman has been the talk of Seattle — and the NFL as a whole.

But even after watching his teammate turn in another All-Pro season, Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport that while it would be wise for Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers to avoid Sherman on Sunday, he isn’t the only defender the Packers should fear. Continue reading

Doug Marrone interviews for Bears’ head coaching job

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Doug Marrone took a gamble leaving his job as head coach of the Buffalo Bills a few weeks ago. On Tuesday, he continued along the path of determining his next destination.

The former head coach of the Buffalo Bills interviewed with the Chicago Bears for their vacant head coaching position on Tuesday, the team announced. Marrone was one of two interviews for the job on the day, with the other going to Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. Continue reading

Joe Flacco helps Ravens top Steelers in Wild Card

By Nick Shook |
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NFL teams spend all season battling for the right to go to the postseason. Once a berth is locked up, the prime objective through Week 17 is to secure the best possible seed. Why?

Because the highest seed gets home-field advantage in the playoffs, and there’s no better place to play postseason football than at home. Crowds are raucous, stakes are high and historical records are in the favor of those wearing the home uniforms.

Postseason football on the road is often the most difficult, a fact proven by Wild Card weekend. Visiting teams went 1-3, and only one game was a one-possession contest inside two minutes.

That matchup — Cowboys vs. Lions — and its controversial end will likely be debated for days, before the collective attention of fans and media alike turns to Packers/Cowboys. The clock is ticking on that one.

But despite the loss, Detroit still featured at least a couple commendable performances. We’ll get to those later.

In the meantime, since we’ve reached the postseason and Baltimore is in said postseason, that one E word is going creep into consciousness.

But I have one pressing question: Is this column elite?

Here are Wild Card weekend’s greatest on the road:

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Referee Pete Morelli explains picked-up flag in Wild Card game

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In the confusing aftermath of the final minutes of the Dallas Cowboys‘ 24-20 Wild Card win over the Detroit Lions, the officiating crew assigned to the game made an attempt to clarify just what happened.

Referee Pete Morelli spoke with reporter Todd Archer following the game and described how the officials decided to pick up a flag that had initially been declared as pass interference on the CowboysAnthony Hitchens. Continue reading