Sean Payton is well known on the Gulf Coast, so being stopped by someone is not the rarest opportunity for a man who had been a Saints coach for a decade and a half. But there is one thing in April, when we all knew less about COVID-19 than we do now, where the recent history is—had COVID-19 in March– Give him some kind of meeting that he doesn’t normally do.
He stopped at a gas station outside the state in Mobile, Ala., And lined up in the subway inside with his car sitting at the pump. Some soccer fans were there too, and strangely enough, only in 2020 Twisted, they were sure to keep their distance.
“And I can tell the customers in front of me, they see that I am the head coach. But then I also knew there was an elephant in this room, “Payton said, laughing at his memory. “And I like it,” Hey, I’m clean. I’m cleaning, I’m probably the safest person here. But I really appreciate his attention. ’
Payton was fine then, weeks of being removed from the virus, and he’s fine now, because he and his staff are working through what has become a very different spring.
That said, the experience he had experienced, as even the customer at Subway could know, had a material effect on his offseason. From time to time, he experiences disturbances such as in Mobile, where people are rather restless around him. They have disappeared with time. He also did what he could to help those on the front lines.
And along the way, he put his trust in the list that he, Mickey Loomis and Jeff Ireland have built into one of the best NFLs over the past five years – one loaded for bears in 2020 and out of three years knocking on the door of the league championship – by not drifting on top of every veteran player for the past two months.
For many reasons, this promises a great year for the Saints, and that’s where you can tie all of this together with the message Payton gave his players in March: Do what you have to do now, and be prepared when you return here in July.
This is a different Memorial Day weekend for everyone, so here hope everyone out there enjoys good and safe days. And if you have a few minutes for us this Monday morning, this is what we bring for the MMQB holiday …
• See changes in regulations that will be chosen by the owner next Thursday.
• How a player learns about the true meaning of Remembrance Day.
• Gotham Chopra on Tom Brady’s 2021 document: “This is not Tom Brady The last dance. “
And we will discuss all the other things that happened during the past week (actually busier than usual for the end of May), and more. But we started with the most prominent NFL coronavirus patients, and the foundation he was trying to give his team for the 2020 season.
Payton felt very fortunate he came out of his fight with COVID-19 as healthy as he was. He began experiencing symptoms – mostly chills and fatigue, with maybe a day of fever – after spending five days in New York, and three others in Florida. That makes it difficult for the coach to know exactly where or when he got it, but what he can say is that it lasts about three days, and that’s really it.
But that fear was enough to make him want to do anything to help. So he tell his story openly, and thought giving blood would be another way to do its part.
And while Payton donated blood in the past, on this special occasion, a month ago, he decided to donate plasma, which is a longer, different procedure (it takes about 50 minutes), which he went through with the American Red Cross and New Orleans Blood Bank . It seemed, at that moment, the least he could do. He did not know the difference he made, incidentally, was significant.
Payton said that, before him that day, “I cannot answer directly what my blood type is.” He discovered that it was B-positive, and then discovered that, as fate would have it, half a dozen hospitals in and around New Orleans did not have B-positive plasma. Soon after, a doctor texted him and told him that they gave plasma to older COVID-19 patients who were waiting for local donors with B-positive plasma.
He could not learn what the end result was – he said he saw the same story involving ABC News Kaylee Hartung, where Hartung found out who his plasma went to – and told me that he was “happy to find out more about how it finally worked.” But really, again, the idea is just to pitch, and he achieves that. “I just hope it ends up helping,” he said. “Sounds like that.”
Therefore, he gives his players the same opportunity to bring balance to their lives this spring. That idea Payton canceled the Saints offseason program for veterans in March got a lot of attention, but there are more details about what New Orleans is doing than that.
The team, like 31 others, are holding internet sessions with players four days per week – but the session is for beginners, and other young people who need to increase speed in the way the Saints do business. They are all, by rules, voluntary, but the way they are arranged makes it quite clear that people who are already around are more than free to work alone.
“I don’t want them to think, ‘Oh, next month, honey, the facility might come back open and then we will go to the minicamp,'” Payton said. “Because, honestly at the time, and even still today, no one really knew if that could happen. We thought we would have a training camp, but no one knew anything about the offseason, relative to OTA or minicamp. So I want them to focus on two things: Take care of your family and their well-being, and start making yourself in fantastic conditions.
“Don’t worry about X and O now, you will have plenty of time for that. So our players lift at home, and get credit for it. But we will not spend all afternoon at the Webex meeting with Drew Brees and Michael Thomas and Marshon Lattimore. We just won’t do that. … And even if the sky separates and the league says, Hey guess what? In July, we allowed this. Yes, we would not be interested in doing that. We will be ready when the training camp starts. “
That, of course, raises several other questions. And I talked to them with Payton, when he talked from the beach house over the weekend break.
Does Payton’s experience in 2011 help make decisions here? Apparently, indeed so. One of eight Payton head coaches in the league who also became head coach during the lockout that year, and one in only five who remained in the same job as them at that time. (Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, John Harbaugh and Pete Carroll are the others in the same place, while Andy Reid, Mike McCarthy and Ron Rivera are training at the previous stop.)
And the Saints didn’t lose much of the strangeness in 2011 – after dropping their opener, a penalty shootout against the Packers that ended 15-1, New Orleans released 14 wins in the next 16 matches, finished the regular season 13-3 and advanced the round playoffs. One difference between that year and this year? The coaches couldn’t even talk to their players at the time and, even after losing all that teaching time, Payton and his staff had no problem catching up. So he believes they can do the same thing this time.
“We have no choice in it [in 2011], “Payton said. “So, look, you have a guy like Brees [taking charge], and I’m sure we will have people spending time running routes with him and doing all those things. But I think we will have plenty of time, honestly I think concern No. 1 will only become soft tissue muscle injuries early on, when they start forming football. “
The rest, as he sees it, will work.
Will Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston get enough work? This is an interesting question. Winston is on a one-year contract. Hill was signed until 2021. Brees has a contract with NBC, which will begin every time he chooses to stay away from playing. So if it ends in January or February, the representatives obtained by Hill and Winston in August will be important in helping the Saints map their direction on the quarterback.
“They [important reps]. “It’s rhythm, it’s huddled, it’s a personality thing,” Payton said. “However, I think when we look at the training camp, and we see a full preseason this year, the two of them will be ready to go. And after this season, many people try to read,” Hey, what direction is that? “We only invest in that position because that’s important. And Taysom is a different player from Jameis and we want to work with both of them. “
And this is part of the equation that was missed, at least in what I saw say about the situation – by having Hill sign and Winston, the Saints basically recognized how difficult it was to replace Brees and give themselves some chance to find a successor.
“Of course, of course,” Payton said. “You look at the statistics, the analytics, yeah, now you have two candidates.”
What does this mean for young players? And I found the answers I got from Payton about this would reflect what I saw – the opportunity to serve the program for young people would work to increase team depth. But he took it the other way, back to how the team identified young people in the first place.
“I think there will be a premium with first year players where, with scouts or coaches or whoever evaluates players, to think we think he will be a starter in Year 1, he would rather be a smart player,” Payton said. “He will not have the same exposure as the last six or seven or eight years. He will have a unique offseason.”
What says what now seems like there are no errors is what connects the class of Saints concepts. Michigan C Cesar Ruiz, Wisconsin LB Zack Baun and Dayton TE Adam Trautman all entered the league were seen as intoxicating players and, as a personnel director said, “dudes who love football and pour themselves into it.”
How many settings are a sign of Payton’s confidence in his team? To that question, Payton joked, “Do you think I have computer meetings with these people three or four times a week that will help me trust them more? This is not a house arrest arrangement.”
After that, Payton completely agreed – what kind of people he and other high-ranking officials had brought in the last few years certainly did not hinder his decision to leave the offseason in the hands of the players. And the decision has been validated by new veterans such as Winston and Malcolm Jenkins (who returned after six seasons in Philly) appearing in their own meetings, knowing that they personally need to catch up.
“We will make sure that the people, when the training camp starts, are ready,” Payton said. “But most of the teams, 75, 80% of the team, have become part of it. And we will have plenty of time in the training camp to prepare for this season. We did it in 2011, and we were not worried at the time. You never hear anyone worry, like, What we will do? Ownership is not worried about injuries, they are not about the players getting the guidebook, that’s business, and I understand. The fact is, we will have plenty of time. “
Which brings us to this fact – when the time comes, the stakes will be high in New Orleans.
One of the reasons the Saints had a list of names loaded was the result of a 2016 shooting in the draft, and the list hasn’t stopped since then – an impressive young core headed by people like Thomas, Lattimore, Sheldon Ranking, David Onyemata, Ryan Ramczyk, Marcus Williams, Alvin Kamara, Marcus Davenport and Erik McCoy, among others, were all recruited in the four-year block, and have helped lead the team’s revival. And that’s where one part of the urgency lies in 2020.
Of the nine players registered there, only Thomas and Onyemata have been extended, and the Saints have to say goodbye to the other 2016 class members who are part of them, Vonn Bell, in the process. Finally, New Orleans will extend the others. But paying them all under the hat would be unrealistic, which illustrates the window where the Saints are located – with bumper stars that are old enough and remain in the budding agreement.
“They all reached Years 4 and 5, which in our league is measured as a ‘second contract’ year,” Payton said. “But yes, that’s why I’m excited. That’s why I’m optimistic. That’s why I like what we can do. Of course, that is measured in victory, and fortunately we can do that the last three years quite a bit. However, you still want people these people experience the next step, and that’s the goal every year. “
Which brings us to the second obvious reason for urgency.
Brees is 41. The NBC deal gave him a soft landing after the season if he wanted to. Brees told me in the past that he felt he could play in his 40s, and the question was whether he wanted to or not. For now, this is year on year. And his teammates know that.
Payton, for his part, did not want to hold young people accountable for producing the right sunset for the legendary quarterback to ascend to. But he is also realistic about it.
“I don’t think they need to do that,” he said. “To be honest, there was a stretch last year, Drew was injured in the second week of the season in Los Angeles, and suddenly, that was five weeks, and that won’t happen to Teddy [Bridgewater], it will be to other people. So yes, do I think the players want to win and understand the importance of someone like Drew who might play in his final season? Correct.
“But I don’t think they prepare differently, I don’t think they try harder, I just think they understand as humans and as teammates and the things we talk about, pay attention to each other, yes, they understand that. I think they have start to see, any player with any experience can see, it’s fleeting. “
And if anyone in the NFL can appreciate the shot in front of him, Payton himself might be able to – which I’m sure he will share with his friends when the time is right.
For now? For now, he is pretty sure that he did the right thing.
NFL owners will gather (almost, of course) on Thursday to vote on a set of rule proposals, and there is no question that the one who garnered the most attention – even though I think it wasn’t the most impactful – would be a proposal, made by the Eagles, to giving the team the option of two games to choose the fourth game and 15 of their own 25, instead of the onside kick.
The most important aspect of this, and the reason I think it will be chosen, is this: This is actually a measure of health and safety, and the owners are very aware of how it looks when they oppose it. The league has long identified side kicks as one of the most dangerous football games, and this is an attempt to eliminate it from the game.
I did get some opinions from the head coach about this, and the responses varied from “I like it” to “the worst idea ever.” And someone really raised the potential for unintended impact of change.
“There are some interesting scenarios that can arise,” he texted. “Take leadership with 5 seconds left, choose options 4 and 15 and run out of time. … Go up with a score with 10 seconds left, instead of pressing, take 4th-and-15, run as much rest time as possible, take safety then kick with only a few seconds left. “
But they, and the game, will adapt.
Some more special rules adjustments, as it is written: The playing hour will be set to 25 seconds to play; if a violation is punished, then it cannot choose to return to the kickoff thereafter; and no scrimmage kicks (e.g. pooch punts) are permitted. And my favorite part of the proposal, as written in the agenda distributed to the club … Reason: Providing excitement and competition at the end of the match.
Elsewhere on the map to call the owner two hours Thursday:
• Discussion about the application of the booth referee (we will discuss more about this at the end of this week) or, as it is more commonly called, “SkyJudge.” The competition committee recommended that it be implemented for preseason, with the potential to add aspects to the regular season. It is important to note that this referee will report to the head referee as part of the leading crew. As described, the booth referee can provide information to the head referee before the play time reaches 25 seconds, or upon request. The head coach is very supportive of this, I found, and that makes sense – why don’t you want officials to benefit from all the different HD videos and camera angles we have at home? (Shout at Ravens and Chargers to propose this.)
• Along with the booth referee, the owner also has a say on the agenda about adding Senior Technology Advisers to Referees (STAR). STAR will be the person who has experience in the field as an official, and will be able to give advice to the crew who lead the administration of the game, possession, touch the loose ball near the limit, go down through contact, face mask and unnecessary roughness penalty, number of players in the field, and whatever the head referee asks for.
• Voting to expand the rules of powerless players to include kickoffs and punt returners who don’t have time to clearly run.
• Voting on rules that will prevent teams from taking penalties to drain time. There she is Bill Belichick used Adam Gase last year, then Mike Vrabel finally pulled Belichick in the playoffs.
• Voting to increase the number of players you can appoint to return from IR from two to three – which will be a pretty big change when it comes to creating flexibility for the team.
• Voting that allows the team to bring back players who use IR the day before the deduction list. This links the peculiarity that forces the team to bring players to the 53-player list, if they want to bring them back that year. You might remember last year that Browns (Greg Robinson) and Bills (Kurt Coleman) cut down players that were significant enough to make other players qualify, then recruited those people back the next day. The team does not need to do anything like that going forward, if the owner chooses this adjustment.
And on takeaways, we will hit others who draw the anger of many people on Friday.
NEW APPRECIATION ON MEMORIAL DAYS
Last year, ahead of Memorial Day, I spoke with Green Beret and former Texas long Nate Boyer about the reality of a long weekend for veterans—And how difficult it is for those who have served to calculate its meaning. I will be honest, before that, I didn’t really know how different today was from, say, Veterans Day, or about the number of victims.
So this year, I want to find players who learned the same thing that I did last year, and Jay Glazer, who runs the MVP (Merging Veterans and Players) program with Boyer, pointing me to veteran Seahawks TE Luke Willson, who had squatted in Los Angeles through a pandemic – and had found something at the MVP meeting on Wednesday. These meetings bring together military veterans and NFL players for peer-to-peer training and support. Willson began attending just before quarantine, and has since become a weekly ritual.
“I went in without knowing what to expect, and I got there and it felt, ‘Holy smoking, there are lots of people here,'” Willson said, Friday afternoon. “I think it will be 15, 20 people, and there are more than 100 people that day, and that is a very, very raw, real conversation. I did the exercises too, and I was the type of new person there, feeling my way. Since then, there have been a few more pairs, and as soon as COVID pressed, I started making Zoom calls.
“It’s amazing what they achieved.”
This helps Willson personally face what life will look like after football. But just as important, it gave him a perspective on the lives of the soldiers he worked with during this session.
“I’ve taken a lot so far,” Willson said. “I really don’t think there is a direct comparison there, they risk their lives to do what they do. But at the level of ‘characteristics’, there are some characteristics you need to succeed in both. And friendship, the alliance many warriors have in their assignments and how they seem to struggle to lose it when they are done, that is the biggest thing we have together.
“Luckily for me, I’m still playing. But I know people who are retired, and people miss games, competitions, but the biggest thing they miss is the locker room, and friends. It becomes part of something bigger than you, which happens to the team. It ended and there was a feeling of loss. That is a big part of what we do in this group. “
And therein lies how Memorial Day can be a problem for some people. As the army saw, it was a day to remember all those who served and paid the highest price. In essence, dealing with the fact that you made it through the experiences that many others have cannot be difficult.
This year, this is even more difficult. I talked to Glazer about that Friday, and he mentioned how, in the past, he and his crew had begged the veterans in the group not to isolate on Remembrance Day. But now because of coronavirus, many men and women have no choice.
That, of course, has added layers to the work MVP has always done so far this year. Statistics show that 22 veterans per day commit suicide, and Glazer is proud to tell me on Friday that, four and a half years, they do not have a single MVP member (you become a member after four sessions) taking his own life. Glazer’s message to them all year is always, “This is O.K. to be happy, and to celebrate your brothers and sisters.” But he admitted there was a difference this time, knowing that many would be alone.
And Willson was there with him, thinking about the people he shared with the 30-minute exercise, and the 90-minute therapy session, on Wednesday night.
“I really do not know-do not know“And listening to the stories, it evokes a lot of emotions,” said Willson. “I really hope there are more outlets that are running efficiently for veterinarians who are turning to normal lives, because they are not on duty. I can’t imagine going to a foreign land, touring, experiencing such violence and then returning, and saying, “Hey, everything’s back to normal.”
“Hearing the story, the events these people went through … I know many people appreciate our veterinarian, but more than that we need to support them when they return as best they can. I know from this moment on, every Anniversary, I will appreciate what it means more than I have ever had before. “
So this is the hope that all men and women who struggle today, who have done so much for all of us, understand that even if they are alone, they are not alone.
HOW DOC BRADY WILL BE MADE
Now, most of you have probably seen that trailer Tom Brady tweeted out Thursday for The Man in the Arena, nine document sections focusing on No. 12, will be released in 2021 about ESPN. And as I learned, the key lines in the 83-second video are the last of the Buccaneers QB: But a series of steps were put together, I went, wow, that was quite a journey.
We will explain it here. But we will start from the top.
The idea for the show, it turns out, was born in an Atlanta hotel room, on the eve of the Super Bowl LIII (where the Patriots defeated the Rams). The previous year, producer Gotham Chopra planned to complete it Tom Vs. Time (2018 appearance in Brady’s life) by going behind the scenes with Brady in the Super Bowl LII (who lost the Patriot to the Eagles) – but was told at the last minute that Brady didn’t want to shoot in Minneapolis. So Chopra said, “I only froze there for a week,” and hardly thought, a year later, Brady would reverse direction, and he found himself where he did a few hours before kickoff.
In fact, when Brady asked Chopra to come to Atlanta, Chopra reminded Brady how he turned around in Minneapolis. Brady replied: No, no, you have to come.
“He is just a very different person,” Chopra said. “He has a perspective on the game, he recalls the previous season and everything he learned throughout that season, crossing the Super Bowl, in losing that game. He is like, Believe me, tomorrow, I’ll be ready. He succeeded in actually almost encoding himself with the failure of the previous year, and that gave him some perspective on this game. And again, that’s very different.
“What he told me about losing the Eagles, it deals with that as a father, handling it as a husband. He is a very different person than the Giants loss, he has a different perspective that I think is ready for him. I thought, ‘Wow, it’s really interesting how a man who is still studying like that.’ Because he likes it [Michael] Jordan, he is incomparable. Nobody else has that story, has that perspective. “
So that’s the story that Chopra and Brady finally decided to explain – explaining how Brady’s experience had changed to who he is now, the 43-year-old Buccaneer player, and even how it could happen from one year to the next.
Each of the nine episodes will focus on one of the Super Bowl Patriots seasons. Here are some things I can gather from Chopra about what we can expect.
Will not The last dance. Chopra, of course, knows why the comparison was made immediately and last week. The trailer went up only four days after Episode 9 and 10 of the Jordan dock aired and, like The last dance, the Brady series will be broken down into a large number of parts. But, he said, the premise is very different – and acknowledges that it’s impossible to have the same perspective as it was 20 years ago.
“This is not Tom Brady The last dance, “Chopra said. “Not that. That may or may not be 20 years from now, I don’t know. There is some kind of closeness to this. … premise[from[of[dari[ofThe last dance]was telling me about the season, meanwhile [Brady’s], it feels a little more real time. Tom continues to be an active player. So the idea is, ‘O.K., let’s talk about these nine seasons, this incredible body of work for 20 years, and how it still affects him.’
“And I got to the part of the movie that was really geeky here, but Jordan sat on the couch, looked back, actually looked at things on the iPad, reminisced about things. Tom’s type, right when you talk to him, it’s still very fresh, because he still processes a lot of things that might happen throughout the season. “
This will discuss the topic of the third rail, to some extent. I asked about Brady’s personal life which was intertwined in this matter, and Chopra said it would only be how those things affected who he was as a player. And after Chopra said that, I was most interested in asking how Spygate and Deflategate would be handled, because Spygate occurred in one of the nine seasons (2007), and Deflategate really touched two of them (2014, 2016).
“Yes, we will [address that], “Chopra said. “I just found out from knowing Tom for years now, Tom always, like many elite athletes, looks for ways to motivate himself and do it again. Does he really need to be at the point of his career? Not. But he still likes it, he still finds ways to motivate himself and those things will definitely have a big impact. I never found Tom where he said, “Man, I’m not talking about that.” He is very honest and willing to talk about things. “
The interview process is ongoing. Dan saya pikir penting untuk mengetahui apakah Chopra dan krunya akan mengejar orang-orang seperti Bill Belichick, Roger Goodell atau mantan pelatih Michigan Lloyd Carr, untuk mendapatkan sisi lain dari konflik dalam kehidupan Brady. Mengenai Belichick, Chopra berkata, “Seperti yang dapat Anda bayangkan, dia ada di daftar” suara-suara yang ingin didapatkan oleh kru untuk serial ini. Pandemi, bagaimanapun, telah melemparkan kunci ke bagian proses, sehingga mereka memiliki cara untuk pergi dalam hal berbaris dan melaksanakan wawancara.
“Ini ada di benak Tom,” kata Chopra. “Jadi kita akan bertanya pada Tom, aku akan menggunakan yang paling jelas, 2001, Bagaimana rasanya bekerja dengan Drew [Bledsoe] musim itu? Mengerti, sekarang kita berbicara dengan Drew, dan mendapatkan perspektifnya tentang itu. Jadi ya, ada suara-suara lain, pemain lain, pelatih, dll., Dan orang-orang di luar lapangan yang memiliki banyak pengaruh di musim-musim tertentu yang kami coba dapatkan. Sekarang, kita memiliki lapisan kerumitan tambahan untuk menjangkau orang-orang itu, seperti semua orang di dunia, kita berurusan dengan itu. “
Untuk apa nilainya, Bledsoe adalah salah satu yang telah mereka mendarat.
Mereka tidak akan mengikuti Buccaneers pada 2020 sehari-hari. Yang merupakan tanda paling pasti dari semua ini bahwa ini bukan The last dance—Yang menggunakan satu musim sebagai jangkar. Dan untuk apakah Bucs 2020 akan dimasukkan sama sekali, Chopra mengatakan itu TBD untuk alasan yang jelas.
“Maksudku, premis dari hal ini adalah Super Bowl, jadi kurasa aku berharap begitu demi dia dan untuk kita,” kata Chopra. “Tidak, kami tidak berencana mengikutinya. Itu akan menjadi gaya yang sangat berbeda. Ini tentang melihat ke belakang. Sekarang, jika musim ini, apa yang menjanjikan menjadi musim gila di sepakbola secara umum, memuncak dalam Super Bowl, akankah hal itu terjadi? Mungkin. Tapi tidak ada yang memprediksi atau merencanakan itu sekarang. “
Saya juga bertanya apakah kepergian Brady dari New England akan ditanggung, Chopra mengatakan bahwa dengan cara apa pun itu dapat masuk ke dalam cerita yang lebih besar dari sembilan tahun itu, dan Chopra sebenarnya memiliki latar belakang di sana bahwa ia mengikuti Brady hingga 2017 untuk Tom Vs. Time.
“Masuk ke dalam kepalanya, pada saat itu, dengan Tom berpikir, Berapa tahun yang tersisa di New England? Or in football in general? Yeah, we talked about that and how that may have motivated him,” Chopra said. “I don’t get the impression he was planning an exit two years ago. I think one of Tom’s great attributes, he’s very in the moment, he has the ability to focus, and that was a big part of his success in that season.”
NFL Films is involved, too. And that’s really good news, because of the video library they’ve got. Chopra was sure to mention that two of the best from over there—Ken Rodgers and Ross Ketover—are working with him on the project. Films, it should be noted, produced The Brady 6, which also aired on ESPN in 2011 and looked at the six quarterbacks chosen ahead of him in the 2000 draft.
As Chopra and I wrapped, I asked for one nugget from the work to this point that he could share that might excite people about the doc. So I’ll leave you with this one.
“I’d now worked with Tom for, gosh, five years and did a lot of interviews, some of which were just sort of done to bank it, not for a specific project, just to have it,” Chopra said. “And there was something we recently did on that 2004 Super Bowl, where he talked about the culture of that team. All this stuff you hear about Patriot Way, and Do Your Job, stuff that Bill has created over the years, the philosophies, this is the year that really happened.
“He’s like, ‘First year, kind of a miracle. The next Super Bowl, O.K., now we’re getting our feel. And that first Eagles Super Bowl, this is where the Patriot Way was born.’ And hearing him talk about that, and the culture of that team, a bunch of guys, all about the same age, same life experience at the time, the Vrabels, the Ted Johnson, Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison.… I told him afterwards, ‘Tom, that’s the best thing you’ve ever done with us.’”
The Jamal Adams situation isn’t going away. This one’s plenty complicated but can be summed in a very simple manner: The Jets and their All-Pro safety are not anywhere close to a deal, and so that All-Pro safety isn’t happy. And this really goes back to the trade deadline last year, when, after getting word out that they’d listen to offers on their veterans (Leonard Williams, you’ll remember, was dealt), the Jets got calls on Adams, it became public, and Adams was pretty honest publicly on how he felt about it. By then, a couple people had put the idea on my radar that Adams could be one player who might take a page out of Jalen Ramsey’s playbook in eventually forcing the issue. Whether it’ll get that far remains to be seen. But what I know is that the Jets will have to make Adams the NFL’s highest paid safety (Chicago’s Eddie Jackson, at $14.6 million per year, is the current standard-bearer), and probably by a healthy margin if they want to lock him up. And if they don’t, this could get interesting. One key guy in this whole thing, by the way, could be Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who has a strong relationship with and the trust of Adams. Also, for what it’s worth, I don’t think the Cowboys are going to trade for Adams—which is way more about their cap situation and financial planning than it is on what they think of the player himself—but wouldn’t totally rule it out. Dallas and New York did talk last year, and one price point the Cowboys got was a 1 and a 3 and, over time, that proved to be a moving target. With Dak Prescott to take care of now, it wouldn’t be easy for Dallas to make it work.
While we’re on the Cowboys, I’ll repeat what I’ve heard on Prescott, again. And that’s that I believe the compromise in the quarterback’s negotiation will be on the length of the deal. Dallas has, almost as a rule, tied its core players to long deals. Tyron Smith signed an eight-year extension with two years left on his rookie deal in 2014. Zack Martin signed a six-year extension with a year left on his rookie deal in 2018. And last year, Ezekiel Elliott and Jaylon Smith signed six- and five-year extensions with two years left on their rookie deals, and DeMarcus Lawrence did a five-year extension to extend off the franchise tag. In all five of those cases, the team finagled at least six years of control. Amari Cooper, meanwhile, did a five-year, $100 million deal, but had to get to unrestricted free agency, without a tag, to land that one. Suffice it to say, they’ve wanted to get Prescott, who turns 27 in July, signed well into his 30s. But the QB’s best interest here is to sign something shorter, so he can return to the table sooner, particularly with the looming influx of TV and gambling money into the cap equation. And I personally think it’d be in Dallas’s best interest to give a little on length to get something reasonable done, and avoid having to negotiate off whatever Patrick Mahomes gets this summer. But would that be tough to explain to other guys, who were compelled to sign away the prime of their careers? Or could Dallas just explain that because Prescott a quarterback, he’s different? Stay tuned.
It’s always interesting seeing the Seahawks’ investment in tailbacks. They’ve got a good starter, in Chris Carson. They spent a first-round pick on one, Rashaad Penny, two years ago. And with the health of both those guys in question, Seattle spent a fair amount of capital on veteran Carlos Hyde, after making an offer to Devonta Freeman. So why the continued emphasis on the position as much of the rest of the NFL has minimized its importance? Well, Wilson’s one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks off play-action and in the read-action game, and those can be mechanisms for protecting him, too. So the more the opponent has to respect the other guy who could be handling the ball, the better off Wilson is, and the better off the Seahawks are. Pretty simple idea, actually.
To truly assess Cam Newton’s situation, you’d have to have a complete picture of what he’s asked for and what he’s been offered. And quite honestly, there could be more to this story than I know. But as I’ve mentioned the last couple weeks, I think there are a few things at work here, regardless. One, I have gotten the sense that teams think he’s slipped a little bit, based on his tape. “Not saying he can’t bounce back,” said one GM, “but the decline is evident.” And that brings us to the second piece, which is how much of that relates to his injuries, and how his injuries will linger (which, again, is hard for teams to get a handle on without having their own doctors get hands on his left foot and right shoulder). Three, starting quarterback and backup quarterback are two different jobs, with different job descriptions. That’s actually helped guys like Case Keenum and Chase Daniel get good deals earlier in the offseason. They know what they are, and teams know how they fit in as backups, and that allowed them to move quickly in March, while guys like Jameis Winston, Joe Flacco and Newton waited for better opportunities. In the end, Winston and Flacco took less than Keenum and Daniel got, and it looks like Newton will have to, too. The question is where—I still think a place like Pittsburgh makes sense, for some of the same reasons New Orleans made sense for Winston—and when. And we’ve been waiting a while for answers there. But do I know that Newton didn’t turn down a job because it lacked a clear path to playing time, or because the money wasn’t right, somewhere over the last couple months? I don’t know that, which makes this one difficult to really judge.
Good detail from the Miami Herald this week on the Dolphins offensive coordinator change, but it was no secret after the season what Brian Flores was looking for. In Patriot-izing the team, Flores brought Chad O’Shea with him, and O’Shea brought an offense that’s well-known for its complexity. Flores knew how much younger Miami’s roster was going to get, based on all the draft capital the Dolphins amassed for 2020 and ’21, and worried that the kind of scheme that O’Shea was running—one that worked for Ryan Fitzpatrick (who played for Bill O’Brien in Houston)—would be incompatible with guys coming out of much simpler collegiate schemes. So he got the ax, and Flores brought in Chan Gailey, who’s well-equipped to help younger guys bridge the gap between college and the pros, given his experience at both levels. Really, as much as anything, it’s about player development, and on paper Tua Tagovailoa should benefit from it.
I’ll make a prediction here, and tell you that K.J. Hill will be a productive player for the Chargers. And yes, I know about him because he’s a Buckeye. But I’d tell you that the coaches who’ve worked with him, and there are a lot of NFL guys coaching in Columbus, were perplexed with his fall to the seventh round. And amid a position group with plenty of pro talent in it, he became the school’s all-time leading receiver. Also, he’ll have plenty of opportunity with the Chargers—that slot position is wide open—and he’ll arrive motivated. “I felt [the fall] watching the draft,” Hill said, via Daniel Popper of The Athletic. “Every receiver that got picked before me, watching it, seeing it happen. I’m just taking that as fuel and putting that in the back of my head and remembering it every time I’m on the field and remembering where I got picked and the guys that got picked before me.”
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio raised a really good point on Saturday, asking if teams should keep a spare quarterback in quarantine. And I can tell you that some teams have already discussed this internally, which makes sense given the importance of the position. If the NFL implements strict rules over quarantining players who test positive, or are around it (definitely possible), that could force the issue for teams. Would you meet separately with your starting quarterback and backup quarterback? Would you devote a practice squad spot to a quarterback who may be working remotely, to a degree? These are fair questions to ask, given the importance of the position and the fact that it’d be much harder to get someone off the street ready to play quarterback than it would be to, say, get a tackle or linebacker ready in a pinch.
In the lede, we mentioned how the Saints emphasized finding smart players, because this is a year when a rookie will need to be a quick study to play. The Bills would be another team that I can say employed this approach, in putting a class that brought Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa, Utah RB Zack Moss, UCF WR Gabriel Davis and Georgia QB Jake Fromm, among others, to Western New York. It’s also interesting that the first two picks—Epenesa and Moss—happen to play positions where the translation to the NFL usually happens fairly fast. There’s a lot to like about where the Bills are going. This would be one more thing.
You should be ready to hear more, over the next few weeks, about informal player-led camps, like the one Tom Brady’s running that we detailed in Thursday’s GamePlan. Normally, it falls on the quarterback to organize these and I’d say most, if not all, teams will have them rolling at some point over the next six weeks or so. There’s a little peer pressure among the quarterbacks to do it, of course, and some are even getting direction on how to put them together. Two guys who fall into that category: Jets QB Sam Darnold and Bills QB Josh Allen. Both worked out this offseason with Jordan Palmer, as they have since their draft year of 2018. And Palmer told both the story of how he used the 2011 offseason to best position himself on the Bengals roster during the lockout, building relationships with teammates and doing the legwork on getting workouts set up at the University of Cincinnati. Ultimately, the team drafted Andy Dalton, and very quickly installed him as a starter. But that offseason was a pretty positive experience overall for Palmer, and gave him a blueprint to pass along to Darnold and Allen.
I didn’t know the mere mention of Madden made people upset. And I used to love football video games, playing them right up until my first kid was born (which also happened to coincide with the NCAA Football series being discontinued). So imagine how surprised I was when I tweeted out the news on Friday, that the league would vote this week to approve a four-plus-one-year extension (a fifth year is added if attainable revenue goals are met), and got a vicious response from people incensed that 2K wouldn’t get its shot at developing a better game. Has Madden slipped that much? I’d actually like to figure it out, so you guys can feel free to tweet at me with details. It’d probably be good to know, too, with my oldest closing in on the age where he’ll care about this stuff.
SIX FROM THE SIDELINE
1) The Tom Brady/Charles Barkley moment from The Match II on Sunday was pretty classic—as was Brady’s frustration with own play before he sunk that approach, and his trash talk down the stretch. Good on No. 12 for putting a little bit of himself, the unfiltered version, out there for everyone to see. And it was interesting to see Peyton Manning talk, after he and Tiger Woods beat Brady and Phil Mickelson, about how he never really felt completely comfortable playing golf on the golfers’ turf, which is weird to hear from a guy who played in four Super Bowls.
2) And man, was that fun down the stretch? It showed me how starved I am for any sort of competition, even one that really counted only for the money it raised (which, of course, is no small thing.)
3) The idea of Disney World as the hub for the rest of the NBA season, whatever they do with it, is a lot of fun. Sign me up for that.
4) My final thought on The last dance is that what you thought of it was probably based on what your expectations were. And I’m not talking about whether you thought it was good or not—I think it’s tough to argue against it being very well-produced. More so, to me, this was about whether or not you’re grading it as a piece of journalism. O.J.: Made in America, it was not. But if you approach it like you would an old summer blockbuster, and you were there to be entertained? Then, it was a total home run, with an awesome amount of ’90s nostalgia.
5) The NFL should thank college football for getting players back to campus starting, in most major-conference programs, on June 8. Now, in addition to getting to see MLB, the NHL and NBA have successes and make mistakes, they’ll also get to see where the blind spots might be for a football program opening back up. All of which makes it seem more likely that by the time we get to Aug. 1, NFL teams will have a pretty decent amount of information work off of.
6) Is it O.K. to believe that we have to re-open the economy and get people back to work, and also that it’s not a big deal to wear a mask or be careful around everyone else? Or do we have to either act like nothing’s wrong or think that we have to shut down until 2022? And if you think there’s a middle ground here, is there somewhere reliable to get your information? And is it weird that I really don’t care who has the right answer—or what that’ll mean in November—so long as we get to that right answer? Alright, fine, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
BEST OF THE NFL INTERNET
Because, deep down, when it comes to what I think is funny, I’m still about 12 years old.
Love these videos that keep reminding us that, yeah, the rest of us aren’t like these guys.
Honestly, with the fourth-and-15/onside kick thing, the first place my mind went was to how it could affect video games—I haven’t played since I’ve had kids, but I’d imagine you could seriously piss your friends off by dialing up money plays in those situations. And maybe … Ol’ Pat is the embodiment of the money play in this case?
Mayor of St. Pete off the top rope! (Brady did recover, if you didn’t see it, from a rough front nine).
And this was a good welcome from Brady to Eli, with Eli making the mistake of signing up for Twitter this week (you’ll see what I mean soon enough, Eli).
I actually saw what Jameis Winston is doing here when I went to check out Tom House’s operation in Orange County in 2016. So weird as this might look, it’s actually not that uncommon. (https://youtu.be/nNhfFYYFgMk)
Great idea by the Browns …
… And great idea by Robert Kraft. Cool to see so many doing all these creative things to help.
Full disclosure: A few coaches and scouts did this—bumping elbows instead of shaking hands—with me in Indy in late February because of the virus, and I thought it was silly at the time. Yeah. They were smarter than me, and ahead of me on this.
Credit to Peyton for getting Brady to turn around.
… And this is a pretty awesome image.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
We covered the unintended consequences of the new rules on blocking assistants from moving up the ranks in Thursday’s GamePlan—laying out both the positives and negatives in allowing guys some more upward mobility. And as you know by now, the incentive program for minority hires was tabled last week.
So where does that leave the NFL’s effort to improve its hiring practices?
If it were up to me, the focus now would shift to bolstering the pipeline, and my feeling is it should start with some sort program to identify players who might be good for coaching and scouting when their on-field careers end. And if you need an example of how this could work, I don’t need to look far for examples.
Jerod Mayo would be one. Belichick put the green dot on his helmet and named him a captain as a 23-year-old, second-year linebacker. Anyone who’s been around Mayo—and I did TV with him for two years—for five minutes could tell he could be dynamite as a coach. Yet, when he retired, he went into finance and media, before finally being coaxed to the sideline four years after he hung ’em up. It took less than a year as Patriots linebackers coach for it to become apparent that Mayo has head-coach potential.
Similarly, it wouldn’t take you much time around ex-Browns/Bengals receiver Andrew Hawkins to figure out how smart he is. If you really need evidence, I’d point to the master’s in sports management he got from Columbia. Yet, three full seasons separated from his last NFL game, and he’s working in TV. This, by the way, is a guy who told me he wanted to be an NFL general manager.
To me, in both these cases, you have guys that should be identified early, and put in offseason programs that would help educate them on coaching and scouting. For the players, it would help inform them on whether they wanted to pursue it post-playing or not. For the league and teams, it would deepen the coaching and scouting ranks, even with the acknowledgment that some might decide the profession isn’t for them.
To me, and maybe I’m crazy, that sounds like everyone wins—and you’re accomplishing all that while addressing an issue the league itself has called a major one.
I’ll see you guys this afternoon for the MAQB.
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