Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Josh Norman: Can the Giants WR be stopped?

Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Josh Norman, Round 2. It’s the matchup everyone wants to see, except maybe if you’re the New York Giants.

They might want to avoid the potential distractions and have Beckham against a lesser cornerback when they play the Washington Redskins on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. After seeing what Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown did to the Redskins other starting cornerback, Bashaud Breeland, that might be the matchup the Giants prefer. Beckham’s already had his fair share of success against Breeland in prior matchups.

Based on the first two weeks, the Giants might be able to keep Beckham away from the Redskins’ top cornerback for significant snaps, for parts of the game at least. Norman has spent most of his first two games as a Redskin at left cornerback. That is where he’s most comfortable.

But could’ve, should’ve, would’ve. It wasn’t.

What happened was that Beckham was flagged for three unnecessary roughness penalties in that game. He was suspended for using his body as a human missile on Norman in the third quarter.

Let’s be clear. Norman and Beckham are not friends. They don’t like each other. They’ve traded barbs on multiple occasions since that December day. But Sunday when they meet again at MetLife Stadium it will the matchup to watch — if it happens.

“Yes, we play the Redskins. Looking forward to it,” Beckham said when asked about the impending matchup after the Giants beat the Saints on Sunday. “2-0 going into the division, playing the Redskins, it’s going to be a fun game.”

“I have the utmost respect for law enforcement and people who have put their lives on the line,” Brooks said. “And that will never change.”

“When you talk about real change, although a protest in itself doesn’t change anything, it forces people to talk about it and it tugs on the social conscience of the citizens. So that’s the biggest thing, how to get this topic in the minds of all those around the country and make them confront their own beliefs and thoughts and reasonings behind what they support and what they don’t. And usually to do that, you have to disrupt something.”

The Eagles didn’t really disrupt anything before their 29-14 victory over the Bears. No team or league rule was violated, the game went on as scheduled, and Carson Wentz did nothing to temper the expectation that he’ll become a big star soon.

As New Orleans coach Sean Payton explained last week, the Saints went into that game last season saying they were going to limit Beckham’s catches and yardage. They would use Breaux and give him help. But even the best-laid plans can be ruined by a player of Beckham’s talent.

“It sure seemed like that was a challenge for us,” Payton said.

Beckham had eight catches for 130 yards and three touchdowns that afternoon last season against the up-and-coming Breaux (who is currently sidelined with a broken leg) in New Orleans. It’s proof that having a top cornerback doesn’t necessarily guarantee success against Beckham.

Norman did ultimately have success against him last season when he was with the Carolina Panthers. He followed Beckham throughout that Week 15 contest (except into the slot) and got the Giants star off his game.

What’s Tom Brady to do without football? Here are some ideas.

While most everything else surrounding Deflategate remains a confusing, convoluted mess, the rules that kicked in at 4 p.m. Saturday for Tom Brady’s involuntary, 30-day NFL sabbatical are simple and straightforward: zero contact.

Sure, the rules forbid Brady from any contact with the NFL. But they don’t say anything about the Canadian Football League, am I right? It just so happens that a professional football team in Montreal, a mere 300-mile commute up I-89, is currently dead last in the CFL’s East division standings and scoring. Look, if the CFL was good enough for Warren Moon and Doug Flutie, it can help Brady, too. If in September you suddenly see a guy named Bom Trady leading the CFL in passing yards, don’t be confused. You heard it here, first. This plan has zero downside. Injuries? Canada has universal health care. Montreal is home to the Molson brewery headquarters. And the cooler weather only gives Tom — I mean Bom — a head start on showing off this season’s new line of Ugg boots.

The positive test was apparently caused by a treatment for Crohn’s disease and the suspension is under appeal, a source told Schefter. While some reports have indicated marijuana was the cause of the positive test, sources tell ESPN marijuana is only part of the equation.

Bills coach Rex Ryan wouldn’t comment on specifics of the suspension, but he said the team would fill the void.

“We’ll be prepared for whatever happens, obviously,” he said. “For us, any time, with any situation, our board is set up to where you got the top free agents available — whatever the situation is, through injury or whatever — our pro personnel department is on top of it.”

Henderson, 24, tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine in 2014, a source told Schefter. He also was suspended while playing at the University of Miami for failed drug tests. Henderson’s history with substance abuse caused some teams to remove him from their draft boards.

“I was weak,” Henderson told the newspaper. “At first I couldn’t stand up on my own. I felt so weak. It was terrible. I didn’t like it at all. I kept walking and walking around the hospital.”

Henderson’s weight dropped to 281 following the surgery, but he regained most of his lost weight by the time he returned to practice Aug. 22. He is now on a strict diet that prevents him from eating gluten or certain vegetables.

Drew Brees ‘wholeheartedly’ disagrees with Colin Kaepernick’s method of protest

METAIRIE, La. — Drew Brees said he felt compelled to speak out against Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem and said Monday that it was “bothering me all day long.”

The New Orleans Saints quarterback, who has long been a passionate supporter of the military, stressed that he has no issue with Kaepernick’s desire to speak out against racial injustice. He just has an issue with the San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s method of protest. Brees said the American flag is “sacred.”

“Like, I could shed a tear every time the national anthem plays if I would allow myself because it’s that powerful.”

Other Saints players spoke of seeing the Kaepernick debate from both sides.

“I respect his decision to stand up for how he feels, but I don’t think you do it in that manner. I think you stand up for the national anthem,” Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro said. “It’s bigger than just what’s going on around our country. You’ve got people fighting for our lives, fighting for our country every day. And I think there’s other ways that you can handle it.

“But that being said, he can do what he wants. And it makes a statement. I mean, everybody’s talking about it, obviously, now. And I think that’s the point.”

Coach Sean Payton took a pass when asked to weigh in and said his focus is on preparing his team for the season.

The Niners released the following statement this weekend regarding Kaepernick’s decision:

“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

The Dolphins will get a conditional seventh-rounder, according to a league source.

The trade was first reported by the NFL Network and later confirmed by McCain on Twitter.

The Dolphins were deep at defensive end, which put McCain on the roster bubble and ultimately made him expendable. They have starters Cameron Wake and Mario Williams, who have combined for eight Pro Bowls, along with veteran backups Jason Jones and Andre Branch.

McCain (6-foot-5, 236 pounds) has pass-rush ability and can play a variety of special teams. His two signature plays in Miami were a blocked punt during his rookie season and a sack of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

The Dolphins signed McCain as an undrafted rookie in 2014. He played in 18 career games and registered seven tackles and two sacks. New Saints tight ends coach/assistant head coach Dan Campbell is familiar with McCain after serving as the Dolphins’ interim head coach last year.

Trevor Siemian to start Broncos’ third preseason game

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Trevor Siemian will start at quarterback in the Denver Broncos’ third preseason game Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams.

aid “I don’t envision that,” which suggests that whoever is named the starter for the season likely would sit that one out.

Kubiak also added Monday that he had planned for the possibility that the competition behind center could go this deep into the preseason.

“I expected it, I expected it,” Kubiak said. “We’ve got three quarterbacks, two of which weren’t on this team this year, and one … who has one regular-season snap. I knew this was going to take some time, and I think to a credit to them and how well they’ve battled and pushed each other.”

Why else would teams seek to trade for a player with his past and who is one more failed drug test away from another lengthy absence?

The Browns are not interested in trading Gordon. ESPN’s Adam Schefter made that clear in his report that several teams have called about acquiring Gordon. But to call about a player with Gordon’s baggage says something about the way Gordon is viewed around the league and how he has looked. Teams are not permitted to watch other teams practice, but word about players does filter out. And it must be positive about Gordon if there have been calls.

Gordon has been on the field for just a short time, but Sunday he snagged a ball that had tipped off a defender as he ran down the sideline. It appeared effortless — and was eyebrow-raising.

That being said, Gordon showed signs of being his old self for one game in 2014, then seemed to regress. The test for Gordon’s return comes in games, and over the long run.

The Browns may not be interested in trading Gordon, but they have to listen.

Gordon has potential every season to play the way he did in 2013, when he led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards.

But he’s also been completely undependable since that season.

Gordon was suspended the first 10 games of 2014, then played one good game in his return against Atlanta. After that, half-hearted barely begins to describe how he played. He finished with a team suspension when he didn’t show for the final walk-through.

He spent 2015 on the commissioner’s suspended list. When he initially applied for reinstatement in April, he was denied reinstatement after reports he failed a drug test because of diluted samples that also tested positive for marijuana. The level of marijuana did not meet the NFL’s threshold for suspension, but the diluted samples are considered the same as a positive test. Even when he was reinstated, he was suspended the first four games of the season.

“That’s something I feel comfortable in,” Prescott said. “That’s what I did all my college career, is moving the ball on the run, hurry-up offense. So anytime I get in that situation I get a little excited about it, and I just try to go out there and do my best.”

He finished the first half completing 15 of 19 passes for 106 yards. He played two series in the third quarter with the backups, calling it a night with 116 yards on 17-of-23 passing. He was sacked once and ran twice for 12 yards.

“I’m just amazed at the numbers of snaps and the quality snaps, and against the varied situations that he’s getting it against,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “He got it in two-minute there right before the half. It’s just amazing that he’s going to get to come in here and finish up here next week and get those kinds of snaps. I said the other day, he’s going to end up with more snaps than Romo had his entire play time before he was the starting quarterback. By any rational thinking he should be getting better every situation, and so we’ve got him on what I have thought would’ve been two or three times as many snaps over a two, three-year period of ideal situations for a young quarterback getting in position to be a player.”

Given how Thursday turned out, the Cowboys might need him to be a player a lot sooner than in two or three years if Romo goes down in the regular season.

On the surface, a fifth-round pick for the former sixth pick in the draft doesn’t seem like much of a retrn. But, for a player who did not seem to have a place with the Browns, a fifth-round pick is a good trade.

It’s especially good because it adds to the pile of draft picks the Browns are amassing for the 2017 draft, on top of the 14 they amassed for the 2016 draft.

‘In a sick way’ some quarterbacks happy to get hit in preseason

METAIRIE, La. — New Orleans Saints rookie safety Vonn Bell said he thinks he can be a better blitzer than Arizona Cardinals All-Pro Tyrann Mathieu.

And Mathieu responded by offering to train with him in the offseason.

The subject came up Monday after Saints coach Sean Payton complemented Bell on his skills as a pressure player.

The second-round draft pick out of Ohio State had a sack Saturday among his seven second-half tackles against the Houston Texans. Two of those tackles were run stuffs for one or zero yards. Bell also had a tackle for loss on a pass play in last week’s preseason opener at New England.

Funchess wasn’t happy and tossed the ball at Worley. The two wound up on the ground with Worley on top of Funchess at one point.

Jeffery, the Bears’ franchise-tag player, is passing along subtle tips to White, who has missed just one open training camp practice, which, if nothing else, constitutes some progress for player who developed a stress fracture in his shin overtraining for the NFL combine last year.

“I just told him to play physical because he’s big, he’s strong and he’s fast,” Jeffery said. “Coach Curtis Johnson reminds him of that all the time. So, just told him to go out and have fun, just play physical and just do what he’s been doing.”

So how would Bolt, with that speed, transition to playing wide receiver in the NFL? The speed probably wouldn’t since Bolt doesn’t have that quick burst, Jones said.

“You’ve got to have that burst to get going,” Jones said. “Like (U.S. sprinter) Justin Gatlin. Justin Gatlin gets out quick. There’s like a bunch of Justin Gatlins in football. They get to that speed quick and they can catch it before you open up. So it would be hard for (Bolt) to really pull away from guys in football.”

What about Bolt as a kickoff returner?

“In a sick way, yeah, all quarterbacks are,” said Van Pelt, who is in his third season as the Packers’ quarterbacks coach. “I remember playing in games where you’re nervous and then you get the crap knocked out of you, and all of a sudden you’re not nervous anymore, you’re fired up and ready. So sometimes it helps.”

12-team PPR mock draft: Learning from mistakes in mocks

How could things have gone better? Julius Thomas was available when I selected in the 11th round and instead picked LeGarrette Blount, and Tyler Eifert was on the board the round before. Instead of taking another bench flex player (which is something I feel is valuable but potentially prioritized too much), I could have locked in a TE1 and felt better about my draft.

Alternatively, I could have followed my usual strategy and selected Matt Jones or Latavius Murray in the fifth round, moving back my QB pick until the end, when steady, reliable QB1 options such as Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer and Eli Manning all went in the 10th round, or even later.

So while I understand those of you who like to take your quarterback early, and see the benefit in posting the highest score at the highest-scoring position every week, this mock solidified my belief that waiting at QB is the best approach.

Waiting on tight end, on the other hand, might not be as smart of an approach this season, as I found out the hard way in this mock.

But now I know, and my pride wasn’t on the line in a real league. I encourage you to try new strategies when you participate in a mock draft, and then review the mock afterwards and consider how well your team turned out — where you could have improved your squad using that new strategy or how it may have changed using your normal approach.

Here’s the full recap of our draft, broken down by team rather than round. The participants this week, in drafting order, were: Field Yates, Jim McCormick, Mike Clay, Leo Howell, KC Joyner, Pierre Becquey, Eric Karabell, Matt Bowen, Tom Carpenter, Keith Lipscomb, Tristan H. Cockcroft and Kyle Soppe.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been focused on the team’s training camp, but he made sure to carve out time to watch the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympics — his wife, Gisele Bundchen, was a featured part of the festivities.

“It was amazing to see her out there and do that. It was the best part of the Olympics for me,” Brady said after the team’s Sunday afternoon practice. “She’s an amazing woman, an amazing mother, and she represents the best of Brazil as far as I’m concerned. It was an amazing spectacle and she’s an amazing person.”

Brady returned to the team after Thursday’s preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints; he had an excused absence from the game to attend memorial services for a family member.

Third-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo started in his place, going 11-of-18 for 168 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Brady complimented his understudy.

Depth chart roundup: Sanchez, Siemian co-No. 1 QBs

Charles Johnson is out to save his job, and so far, he’s doing a pretty good job. The veteran receiver was listed as a starter on the Vikings’ depth chart, ahead of first-round pick Laquon Treadwell.

The tackle positions are solidified in Detroit thus far, with Riley Reiff officially making the move on paper to right tackle, and first-round pick Taylor Decker taking over at left tackle. Decker was a bulldozer and reliable blind-side protector at Ohio State, and seems to be handling the transition to the pro game well.

The Panthers’ first depth chart in the post-Josh Norman era lists two rookies starting at both cornerback positions: James Bradberry and Daryl Worley.

Jeremy Hill is the Bengals’ starter at running back, ahead of Giovani Bernard, according to Cincinnati’s first depth chart. More notable, though, is the battle to take the place of the departed Mohamed Sanu at wide receiver No. 2. Currently, Brandon LaFell is ahead of Brandon Tate in that competition.

He’s only been in Atlanta long enough to participate in two practices, so this one is reasonable: Dwight Freeney is listed as third on the Falcons’ depth chart at defensive end.

He was drafted in the fifth round but he’s apparently turning enough heads to be listed ahead of Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and Dorial Green-Beckham. His name is Tajae Sharpe, a product of Massachusetts, and he’s listed first at the second wide receiver position in Tennessee.

It’s been five months since Brock Osweiler spurned the Broncos and signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the Texans. Until he put pen to paper, the expectation was that Osweiler would re-up with Denver and become the starting quarterback in a post-Peyton Manning world.

But Osweiler, who started seven games last season while Manning recovered from a foot injury, apparently took exception to being benched in the second half of the regular-season finale against the Chargers. Manning returned to the lineup, and went on to lead the Broncos to the Super Bowl. A month later, Osweiler inked a long-term contract with the Texans.

Talking to the Denver Post about the expectations for the defending Super Bowl champions, Broncos general manager John Elway admitted that he was taken aback with how Osweiler handled the demotion.

“I can understand that he didn’t want to sit down and have Peyton come back in that San Diego game, but it wasn’t the fact that Brock was playing bad,” Elway said. “We needed a change of something. So I was a little surprised just how he seemed to be a little bent out of shape about that. But he had an opportunity to make a tremendous amount of money in Houston, and for us, it just didn’t fit.”

A report emerged shortly after Osweiler bolted for Houston that he wasn’t interested in playing in Manning’s shadow and wanted a fresh start elsewhere. Fair enough; that succession plan didn’t exactly work out well for Brian Griese when he replaced Elway after the 1998 season. Additionally, Osweiler reportedly took issue with the Broncos putting his contract on the back burner while Manning contemplated retirement.

The most amazing stat about each member of the 2016 Hall of Fame class

Kevin Greene

10-sack seasons: Greene, a linebacker/defensive end from Auburn, played 15 seasons in the NFL. In 10 of them, he had at least 10 sacks, the third-most seasons with that many sacks in NFL history (sacks were first recognized as a stat in 1982).

Marvin Harrison

1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdown receptions: Harrison had eight consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns, the longest such streak in NFL history. To put this achievement in context, consider some of the other receivers who are closest to Harrison’s mark: Jerry Rice (seven straight seasons), Cris Carter (five) and Randy Moss (four).

Orlando Pace

Pass protector: In 1997, Pace was selected with the No. 1 draft pick, the first time since 1968 that an offensive lineman went No. 1 overall (in ’68, it was Ron Yary). Pace was a key component of the St. Louis Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf offense even though he wasn’t a skill-position player. With Pace anchoring the blocking, the Rams passed for an NFL-high 50,770 yards from 1997 to 2008.

Ken Stabler

Consecutive appearances in conference championship game: Stabler led the Raiders to the AFC Championship Game each season from 1973 to 1977. He was the first quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to take a team to five consecutive conference championship games, and it wasn’t until 2015 that the achievement was matched (by Tom Brady of the Patriots).

Dick Stanfel

All-NFL team selections: A guard for the Lions and the Redskins, Stanfel was selected to the All-NFL Team five times in his seven NFL seasons.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke to the media for the first time in months, and following his decision not to further pursue his legal options related to deflate-gate Brady explained his line of thinking.

“Well, it was a personal decision,” he said following Friday practice. “I try to come out here and just focus on what I need to do to get better and help our team. Like I said, I’ll be excited to be back when I’m back and I’ll be cheering our team on, hoping we win every game.”

Brady was suspended four games by the NFL for his role in the deflation of footballs and the ensuing league investigation into the matter, which stretched more than a year. After the ban was upheld by the U.S. Second Court of Appeals, Brady chose not to take the matter further — such as to the Supreme Court — and accept his suspension for the first month of the season.

Brady spoke for just over five minutes on Friday after a session in which he completed all 25 of his pass attempts with three TDs in a head-to-head setting, outplaying Jimmy Garoppolo, the man who will replace him those first four games. Brady has been tearing up defenders in most training camp practices, while splitting reps with Garoppolo and rookie Jacoby Brissett, who will serve as the backup while Brady is out.

Pac-12 coach: Josh Rosen ‘best in country’, will be ‘big-time pro’

Mora suggested that Rosen would have been the No. 1 pick of the 2016 NFL Draft had been old enough to be eligible for the draft. That kind of praise from a player’s own head coach is very rare, particularly in description of a freshman. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein ranks Rosen as CFB’s No. 4 quarterback to watch, noting he’ll return in 2016 with the benefit of some added size and a new offense that is more in line with the pro game.

As a true sophomore, Rosen can’t enter the NFL draft any sooner than 2018.

Based on the reviews of his play, his eventual NFL arrival — whenever it comes — will be highly anticipated.

Conventional wisdom holds that all 32 teams are still in it during training camp. But the reality is, four quarterbacks have combined to win 10 of the last 15 Super Bowls.

Yes, Tom Brady (Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX and XLIX), Ben Roethlisberger (Super Bowls XL and XLIII), Peyton Manning (Super Bowls XLI and 50) and Eli Manning (Super Bowls XLII and XLVI) have accounted for an astounding number of the rings won in recent memory. Consider also that four of the last five Super Bowls have featured quarterbacks who have appeared in the game before.

All of this is to say that the faces under center on Super Sunday have, for the most part, been awfully familiar lately. But that doesn’t mean a first-timer can’t find his way to glory come February.

Below you’ll find 12 quarterbacks who have never won it all ranked according to their chances of capturing their first ring in Super Bowl LI, listed in reverse order. The list includes a mix of quarterbacks who can elevate a team to the top on their own and QBs who need a strong team around them to succeed — though, of course, winning in the NFL always requires both individual and collective contributions.

Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
The third-year pro has athletic ability and can execute the script to a T. Minnesota depends more on its top-notch running game and defense than it does on elite quarterback play, but both are strong enough to give Bridgewater, who does a good job moving the chains, a healthy chance of capturing a ring in February. At worst, Bridgewater won’t get in the way of the Vikings’ twin engines — at best, he can develop a rapport with first-round pick Laquon Treadwell and provide Minnesota with a significant boost.

Geno Smith: I’m auditioning for 32 NFL teams right now

So here we are, a year after the team hired a coordinator who would work well with Smith’s skill set but Smith couldn’t play because he was cold-cocked by a sixth-round pick named IK Enemkpali for a $600 debt. Smith worked all offseason as the presumptive starter while coach Todd Bowles essentially reserved a spot for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Smith rolls into training camp second on a four-man depth chart that includes Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg — a pair of young draft prospects.

To say Smith is pissed is probably the understatement of the century, but he’s handling it well. He deserves a chance to see what life is like somewhere else and no one should be surprised that he feels this way.

Now, we wait to see just how long of an audition this really is. Clearly, the Jets hope to have a long-term solution at quarterback next year. Smith presumably will drift into free agency. Until then, are the Jets really willing to carry four quarterbacks? Or will Smith’s crisis management skills earn him a ticket out of town before the season starts?

“I’m not disappointed. I’m kind of pissed off, but it’s not a detrimental thing,” he said. “It’s not something where I’m pissed off at anyone, because we all want to be in there. … This just adds fuel to the fire, but not in a negative way.”

Darren Sproles isn’t going anywhere.

The Philadelphia Eagles announced Friday they agreed to a one-year contract extension that will keep the running back in town through 2017.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the added year is worth $4.5 million, per a source. The sides have been working on an extension since Sproles reported to minicamp in June. The back was set to make $3.5 million this season, but Philly moved some money into 2017 with the extension, per Rapoport.

“When you talk about leadership, work ethic, character, and then production — he’s made the last two Pro Bowls — he just exemplifies everything that we want to be and as we look at it,” said Howie Roseman, Eagles executive vice president of football operations, to reporters Friday. “He’s so important to this team on and off the field, it’s a no brainer from our perspective.”

The move to add a year for the shifty back and explosive return man comes on the heels of the Eagles fielding trade calls for the running back during the NFL draft, Rapoport reported in May. At the time, Sproles wasn’t frustrated or peeved by the trade news. His willingness to sign an extension shows he understands the business.