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Hall of Fame-quality NFL QB Class of 2004 runs 'fade' route

Is this the end? Are we watching, in real time, the crumbling of the most historic quarterback class of the past 35 years? Ben Roethlisberger, 37, felled by a bum throwing elbow, his career now in question. Eli Manning, 38, simply a bum, benched to make room
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Hall of Fame-quality NFL QB Class of 2004 runs 'fade' route

Is this the end? Are we watching, in real time, the crumbling of the most historic quarterback class of the past 35 years? Ben Roethlisberger, 37, felled by a bum throwing elbow, his career now in question. Eli Manning, 38, simply a bum, benched to make room for a rookie picked No. 6 overall. Philip Rivers, 37, the last man standing -– and the only one of the three without a ring –- starting to show his age in a 1-1 start. We wish they could go out at the top of their game, but for so many of our heroes, the end sneaks up before we know it. Now 15 years after these three surefire Pro Football Hall of Famers were drafted, we might be witnessing the demise of the Class of 2004. When the threesome does call it quits, it’ll be the end of an era. They will be the first draft class to have three quarterbacks enshrined since the historic class of 1983 (Dan Marino, John Elway and Jim Kelly) and only the second ever. (Only 32 quarterbacks are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.) How fitting is it that two of

Scout's Take: Assessing Giants starting quarterback Daniel Jones

Former NFL scout Matt Williamson writes about the league from an X's and O's perspective.  Rookie Daniel Jones was handed the reins of the Giants' offense on Tuesday, effectively ending the Eli Manning era. The timing is right. The Giants are 0-2 and were ou
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Scout's Take: Assessing Giants starting quarterback Daniel Jones

Former NFL scout Matt Williamson writes about the league from an X's and O's perspective.  Rookie Daniel Jones was handed the reins of the Giants' offense on Tuesday, effectively ending the Eli Manning era. The timing is right. The Giants are 0-2 and were outscored by a combined 32 points against Dallas and Buffalo. New York plays at Tampa Bay in Week 3 and hosts Washington in Week 4. Those games might be winnable, but this is a bad team on both sides of the ball. Here's my scouting report on Jones: 1. Tools Let's get this out of the way first: Jones, who didn't quite complete 60 percent of his passes in three seasons as a starter at Duke, certainly would not have been my selection with the sixth overall selection in the 2019 draft. That was way too early. That being said, Jones did surprise me with high-level play in the preseason (29-for-34, 416 yards, 85.3% completion percentage) . He has a lot of skills to work with. Jones stands 6-foot-5 with a good frame for a quarterback and has potential to gradually

Top storylines for college football Week 4

After the glorious chaos that ensued last weekend, fans can only hope a loaded slate in college football Week 4 will provide as much entertainment. There are some huge games on the schedule this Saturday, with No. 11 Michigan taking on No. 13 Wisconsin, No.
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Top storylines for college football Week 4

After the glorious chaos that ensued last weekend, fans can only hope a loaded slate in college football Week 4 will provide as much entertainment. There are some huge games on the schedule this Saturday, with No. 11 Michigan taking on No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 8 Auburn taking on No. 17 Texas A&M and No. 7 Notre Dame going into Athens for a date with the No. 3-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. We’ll dive into those matchups and much more examining the top storylines for college football Week 4. Can Air Force pull off another stunner? Fresh off their overtime stunner against Colorado last Saturday, the Falcons have a chance to make some more noise Friday night in Boise against the No. 20 Boise State Broncos. This is an interesting matchup, because the Broncos haven’t faced an offense that can do what Air Force does. We all know the Falcons run a potent triple-option offense that racks up 356 yards per game on the ground (second in the nation). They also can take flight through the air, however, which makes them extrem

With season likely lost, Tomlin, winless Steelers must take hard look in mirror

Ben Roethlisberger needs elbow surgery, and his season is over. With their franchise quarterback on the shelf, the Steelers’ chances of contending for a playoff berth took a major hit. Mason Rudolph will take over at quarterback, and while the Steelers are
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

With season likely lost, Tomlin, winless Steelers must take hard look in mirror

Ben Roethlisberger needs elbow surgery, and his season is over. With their franchise quarterback on the shelf, the Steelers’ chances of contending for a playoff berth took a major hit. Mason Rudolph will take over at quarterback, and while the Steelers are high on him — they insisted they had a first-round grade on him last year — he represents a major step down from Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger wasn’t great last year, posting Pro Football Focus’ 17th-best passing grade and 16th-best offensive grade among quarterbacks. For several seasons prior, however, he was a regular in the top five, according to PFF’s grading system. His effectiveness helped mask issues that have been creeping up on the franchise for several years, and may threaten to overwhelm them now. With the season likely lost, Pittsburgh must take a hard look in the mirror and evaluate the state of the franchise. What they find might be disheartening for Steelers fans. The past 20 months for the black and gold have been tumultuous and disappoint

Daniel Jones named Giants’ starting QB for Week 3

The Eli Manning era appears to have officially come to an end in New York. The Giants announced on Tuesday that rookie Daniel Jones has been named the starting quarterback for Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The decision comes a day after head coach
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Daniel Jones named Giants’ starting QB for Week 3

The Eli Manning era appears to have officially come to an end in New York. The Giants announced on Tuesday that rookie Daniel Jones has been named the starting quarterback for Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The decision comes a day after head coach Pat Shurmur hinted that the team was considering benching Manning after an 0-2 start to the season. Although Shurmur and the Giants expressed confidence in Manning on numerous occasions throughout the offseason, it was only a matter of time before Jones got his shot. The change may have come sooner than some expected, but the Giants are desperate for a spark if they want to somehow salvage their season. Manning was average at best in New York’s first two games, which was not a surprise for a 38-year-old quarterback whose skills have rapidly diminished in recent years. He completed 62% of his passes with an average of 6.2 yards per completion. He threw two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Giants traded up to draft Jones this year in a move that was h

Five NBA coaches who already may be on hot seat

It’s September, which means we are mere weeks from the first rumor about an NBA coach getting fired. Teams are ruthless when it comes to coaching decisions in the modern NBA. Tyronn Lue was canned after six games in Cleveland last season. In 2017-18, Earl W
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Five NBA coaches who already may be on hot seat

It’s September, which means we are mere weeks from the first rumor about an NBA coach getting fired. Teams are ruthless when it comes to coaching decisions in the modern NBA. Tyronn Lue was canned after six games in Cleveland last season. In 2017-18, Earl Watson only lasted three games with Phoenix, though he was actually let go during training camp -– Phoenix inexplicably gave him two weeks’ notice.  Recent success won’t save a coach either. Lue and David Blatt -- yes, Cleveland again -- were fired after going to the Finals. Lionel Hollins was canned after leading Memphis to the best season in franchise history, and Dwane Casey (Toronto) and George Karl (Denver) lost their jobs after winning Coach of the Year. One early losing streak, particularly for teams with title aspirations, can mean a coach doesn’t make it to Christmas. Based on a combination of contract status, preseason expectations, roster turnover and itchy fingers among management, here are five coaches who will start the season on the hot seat.

Winners, losers from Browns' dominant 'Monday Night Football' win over Jets

The Cleveland Browns had no trouble dispatching the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on “Monday Night Football” in Week 2. The game was a lopsided matchup from the start. The end result was a 23-3 blowout win for the Browns. These were the biggest winner
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Winners, losers from Browns' dominant 'Monday Night Football' win over Jets

The Cleveland Browns had no trouble dispatching the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on “Monday Night Football” in Week 2. The game was a lopsided matchup from the start. The end result was a 23-3 blowout win for the Browns. These were the biggest winners and losers from the Browns’ dominant win over the Jets on Monday night. Winner: OBJ lights it up in return to New York It didn’t take Odell Beckham Jr. long to make his presence felt in his first game back at MetLife Stadium since being traded to the Browns this spring. Early in the first quarter, Baker Mayfield threw a perfect pass to Beckham’s outside shoulder deep down the right sideline. That’s when OBJ pulled off one of his signature one-handed receptions for a 33-yard gain that had the stadium rocking. Turns out, that was just the appetizer. Beckham absolutely lit it up late in the third quarter with an 89-yard touchdown. He finished with 161 yards on six receptions in what was a triumphant return to the city he called home for five years. Loser: Jets

Slumping Vinatieri needed earlier re-evaluation by Colts

Chances are if you're a football fan of a certain age, when you think of iconic NFL kickers, someone like George Blanda or Morten Andersen might come to mind.  Otherwise you’ll almost certainly think of Adam Vinatieri.  He was probably already a shoo-in H
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Slumping Vinatieri needed earlier re-evaluation by Colts

Chances are if you're a football fan of a certain age, when you think of iconic NFL kickers, someone like George Blanda or Morten Andersen might come to mind.  Otherwise you’ll almost certainly think of Adam Vinatieri.  He was probably already a shoo-in Hall of Famer when he left the Patriots after the 2005 season, having played a significant role in three Super Bowl championships. The Tuck Rule Game is remembered by some (OK, the 2001 Raiders) as a miscarriage of justice, but it’s also notable for the 45-yard kick Vinatieri made in the snow in the final minute to send the game to overtime. He also nailed a 23-yarder in the extra frame to advance the Patriots to the AFC Championship Game. Vinatieri hit two game-winning field goals from 40-plus yards in the final seconds of the Pats first two Super Bowl wins. Bill Belichick may be slightly biased in the matter, but his student of the game credentials are unquestioned. He’s rarely one for empty sentimentality, yet even he has said Vinatieri is the "greatest ki

Cardinals' Kyler Murray quickly proves he belongs

BALTIMORE -- Kyler Murray sat at his cubby in the cramped visitors' locker room of M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon holding tight his newest prized possession -- a game-worn jersey, fresh from the back of his former Oklahoma teammate and now Ravens rooki
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Cardinals' Kyler Murray quickly proves he belongs

BALTIMORE -- Kyler Murray sat at his cubby in the cramped visitors' locker room of M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon holding tight his newest prized possession -- a game-worn jersey, fresh from the back of his former Oklahoma teammate and now Ravens rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown. Murray clutched it briefly, appearing for a moment to think, «What a long, strange journey it's been.» Minutes after his first loss as a professional quarterback -- and fully aware that if not for his heroics in salvaging a Week 1 tie against Detroit that it would've been his second loss -- the new face of the Arizona Cardinals was dejected but not depressed. There was a sense among the Cardinals that they had let one slip away, that they'd lost to a good Baltimore Ravens team but had not succumbed. This was not the 3-13 team from last season that collapsed so easily. Murray jovially chatted with his locker-room neighbor, practice-squad quarterback Kyle Sloter, and he cleaned himself up a bit before heading to the post-

Scout's take: Assessing Steelers starting QB Mason Rudolph

Former NFL scout Matt Williamson, who is based in the Pittsburgh area, writes about the league from an X's and O's perspective.  Ben Roethlisberger’s season is over. An elbow injury has sent him to injured reserve, leaving second-year quarterback Mason Rud
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Scout's take: Assessing Steelers starting QB Mason Rudolph

Former NFL scout Matt Williamson, who is based in the Pittsburgh area, writes about the league from an X's and O's perspective.  Ben Roethlisberger’s season is over. An elbow injury has sent him to injured reserve, leaving second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph as Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback for the remainder of the 2019 season and maybe beyond. Here are five key points about the 24-year-old QB out of Oklahoma State: 1. Below-average arm strength There is a misconception about Rudolph that he must be a power thrower because he is a big, strong quarterback who operates almost entirely out of the pocket. In fact, his arm strength is a little below average for an NFL starter. Rudolph doesn’t have a bad arm, but it doesn’t come close to Roethlisberger’s. We will see this most when Rudolph’s feet are not set and he is forced to throw off-platform. This could be a problem when the weather inevitably gets rough in Pittsburgh and at AFC North road games. We really don’t know how well Rudolph handles poor weathe

Ben Roethlisberger out for season, will need surgery on elbow

Ben Roethlisberger left Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks with an elbow injury that the Pittsburgh Steelers hoped was minor, but unfortunately that is not the case. The Steelers announced on Monday that Roethlisberger will undergo surgery on his ri
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Ben Roethlisberger out for season, will need surgery on elbow

Ben Roethlisberger left Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks with an elbow injury that the Pittsburgh Steelers hoped was minor, but unfortunately that is not the case. The Steelers announced on Monday that Roethlisberger will undergo surgery on his right elbow and miss the remainder of the 2019 season. Head coach Mike Tomlin issued a statement saying the decision came after doctors reviewed the 37-year-old’s MRI. Roethlisberger has dealt with numerous injuries throughout his career, but he has been able to play through many of them. The elbow injury was apparently something he had sustained prior to Sunday’s game, as one Steelers player said the QB was battling inflammation last week. With Roethlisberger out for the year and the Steelers having lost their first two games, things are not looking good in Pittsburgh. Second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph was fairly sharp in relief of Roethlisberger on Sunday (12-of-19 passing for 112 yards, two touchdowns and an interception) but the Steelers were struggl

Watch: Falcons’ Julio Jones makes ridiculous sideline catch

Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones just got paid big time. The Philadelphia Eagles found out firsthand Sunday night exactly why Atlanta backed up the Brinks Truck for their future Hall of Famer. Check out this absurd catch Jones made on the sideline on a th
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Watch: Falcons’ Julio Jones makes ridiculous sideline catch

Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones just got paid big time. The Philadelphia Eagles found out firsthand Sunday night exactly why Atlanta backed up the Brinks Truck for their future Hall of Famer. Check out this absurd catch Jones made on the sideline on a third-and-six midway through the second quarter. You simply won’t see a better catch around the NFL this season. The concentration to go up and haul it in while keeping both feet in bounds. Jones is an absolute monster on the field. He entered Sunday’s game having recorded a combined 19 catches for 270 yards in his past two games against the Eagles. Their defensive backs are going to continue having nightmares about No. 11.

Saints fans livid after refs blow another crucial call in favor of Rams

In their NFC Championship Game rematch against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, the New Orleans Saints were once again shafted by the refs. Jared Goff had his arm hit as he attempted a pass. It was a clear fumble. Cameron Jordan recovered the fumble, clearly, an
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Saints fans livid after refs blow another crucial call in favor of Rams

In their NFC Championship Game rematch against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, the New Orleans Saints were once again shafted by the refs. Jared Goff had his arm hit as he attempted a pass. It was a clear fumble. Cameron Jordan recovered the fumble, clearly, and ran it back for a touchdown. Here’s a look at the play: But as Jordan ran the fumble back, refs whistled the play dead saying it was an incomplete pass. That’s not reviewable. And so the Saints were utterly shafted, once again, just like they were in the NFC title game last year. Not surprisingly, fans were absolutely furious.

10 biggest disappointments from college football Week 3

For a slate of games that didn’t provide for a single ranked-versus-ranked matchup, college football Week 3 delivered a ton of drama. Huge upsets highlighted the action on Saturday, and rivalry games led to some interesting circumstances. We also saw one o
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

10 biggest disappointments from college football Week 3

For a slate of games that didn’t provide for a single ranked-versus-ranked matchup, college football Week 3 delivered a ton of drama. Huge upsets highlighted the action on Saturday, and rivalry games led to some interesting circumstances. We also saw one of the most incredible highlights of the young season that unfortunately didn’t do anything positive for the player who made it. Every winner has a corresponding loser. These were the most glaring from college football Week 3. The end of the North Carolina vs. Wake Forest game Wake Forest dominated the first half of action against North Carolina Friday night, but for the third consecutive game it appeared Mack Brown’s Tar Heels were angling for a comeback win. They went down 21-0 then scored 18 unanswered points thanks to some heroics by Sam Howell. Then, with 69 seconds remaining on the clock following a Wake Forest field goal, they had a chance to win it. That’s when things went sideways, and fast. Howell and the Tar Heels horribly botched the time-managem

Standout performers from Friday's college football action in Week 3

Three big games took over the airwaves on Friday night as college football Week 3 got kicked off, and fans were treated to some impressive performances. Wake Forest hosted North Carolina to get things started. Around halftime of that game, Kansas and Boston C
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Standout performers from Friday's college football action in Week 3

Three big games took over the airwaves on Friday night as college football Week 3 got kicked off, and fans were treated to some impressive performances. Wake Forest hosted North Carolina to get things started. Around halftime of that game, Kansas and Boston College kicked off in Chestnut Hill. Capping the evening off, No. 20 Washington State took on D’Eriq King and the Cougars in Houston. All three games provided some exceptional entertainment value. These are the players who stood out for their individual performances. Carter Stanley, quarterback, Kansas Based on what Carter Stanley did the first two weeks of this season, there was plenty of noise that he shouldn’t even start in Week 3. At the least, nobody was really expecting him to go supernova on Boston College Friday night. Yet that’s exactly what happened, as this senior quarterback took command of the offense and put on a memorable performance. Stanley was almost perfect throwing the ball in the first half, completing 13-of-15 for 165 yards and three

Under McVay, Rams are relevant. Now comes the hard part.

In the free-agency era, the Los Angeles Rams’ metamorphosis from missing the playoffs for over a decade to NFC force is remarkable. Head coach Sean McVay orchestrated one of the NFL's more impressive makeovers, with Jared Goff and Todd Gurley headlining an
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Under McVay, Rams are relevant. Now comes the hard part.

In the free-agency era, the Los Angeles Rams’ metamorphosis from missing the playoffs for over a decade to NFC force is remarkable. Head coach Sean McVay orchestrated one of the NFL's more impressive makeovers, with Jared Goff and Todd Gurley headlining an instant success story after playing roles in Los Angeles’ four-win 2016 season. Now comes a more challenging phase. Goff’s four-year, $134 million extension locks in Los Angeles’ core long term. The rest of his 2019 schedule will help illuminate whether the Rams possess dynasty potential, because their ability to supplement their homegrown stars with splashy additions will be limited. How the Rams fare in the next stage of their plan will also impact the NFL. The Rams’ bid at constructing a perennial power brings higher stakes than most teams’ efforts. McVay, Goff, Gurley, Aaron Donald and GM Les Snead are signed through at least 2023. This is good news for the league. The Rams’ foundation has helped make the country’s second-largest market relevant for th

USC may have found a QB, but it still faces major hurdles

Let us begin with the newest, greatest USC quarterback of all time (no overreactions here), an 18-year-old three-star recruit with a name drawn straight from a Thomas Pynchon novel. If you believed all USC needed to rediscover its place in college football’
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

USC may have found a QB, but it still faces major hurdles

Let us begin with the newest, greatest USC quarterback of all time (no overreactions here), an 18-year-old three-star recruit with a name drawn straight from a Thomas Pynchon novel. If you believed all USC needed to rediscover its place in college football’s firmament was to suffer a season-ending injury to its starting quarterback, JT Daniels, then score 35 consecutive points against Stanford behind a backup named Kedon Slovis, and then accept the resignation of its A-list celebrity athletic director a couple of days later ... well, you are clearly an oracle.   And yet here we are. Two weeks into a six-game gauntlet that was built to destroy the tattered remains of USC coach Clay Helton’s career, the Trojans are 2-0 and ranked No. 24. Teammates are saying things about Slovis that make him sound like The Chosen One -- ”He’s the guy for sure,” one told the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Plaschke -- and the students’ section at the Los Angeles Coliseum is already chanting his name. USC has long been a program driven

Scout's takes: Why I love Cowboys' offense

Former NFL scout Matt Williamson writes about the league from an X's and O's perspective. Here are his weekly five observations: Why I love the Cowboys' offense Dak Prescott was spectacular in Week 1 (405 yards, 78.1% completion percentage) against the Giants
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Scout's takes: Why I love Cowboys' offense

Former NFL scout Matt Williamson writes about the league from an X's and O's perspective. Here are his weekly five observations: Why I love the Cowboys' offense Dak Prescott was spectacular in Week 1 (405 yards, 78.1% completion percentage) against the Giants, and seems primed for a career season. We know about his running ability and overall toughness, but he rarely gets the credit he deserves as a pure passer.  But there's so much to like on the offense besides the quarterback. Running back Ezekiel Elliott, who recently signed a massive extension, is the foundation. He wants more work in Week 2, after carrying only 13 times following a long holdout. The line, with Travis Frederick back at center, is again among the best in the league. Wide receiver Michael Gallup (7 catches for 158 yards in Week 1) is improving rapidly, and Amari Cooper (6 catches for 106 yards) is far more comfortable in the offense.   The addition of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and his much-needed renovations to the Dallas offense

DeSean Jackson quickly puts Eagles back into Super Bowl contention

Week 1 was a tale of new faces in new places making big impacts, be it Kyler Murray rallying Arizona to a tie, Zac Taylor transforming Andy Dalton in Cincinnati, or Odell Beckham Jr. suiting up for Cleveland, complete with six-figure watch on his left wrist.
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

DeSean Jackson quickly puts Eagles back into Super Bowl contention

Week 1 was a tale of new faces in new places making big impacts, be it Kyler Murray rallying Arizona to a tie, Zac Taylor transforming Andy Dalton in Cincinnati, or Odell Beckham Jr. suiting up for Cleveland, complete with six-figure watch on his left wrist. Those debuts were exciting, but the most significant development of Week 1 may have involved a veteran's homecoming in his 12th year in the league. DeSean Jackson came back to the Eagles, the team that drafted him, and looked just as fast and dangerous at 32 as he did at 22. That is bad news for the rest of the NFC. He caught touchdown passes of 51 and 53 yards as the Eagles rallied from a 20-7 deficit to beat Washington, 32-27. Philadelphia made it to the divisional round last season in defense of its Super Bowl LII title, but the Eagles did so while lacking anything resembling a downfield threat. Mike Wallace was supposed to play that role, but he only played in two games because of a fractured fibula suffered in Week 2. Consequently, there was no one

Winners and losers from ugly Bucs win over Panthers

The Carolina Panthers hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFC South battle on «Thursday Night Football.» Both teams entered this game having dropped their season opener less than a week ago. It was an important early-season affair for the two te
Yardbarker: Rumors and Gossip

Winners and losers from ugly Bucs win over Panthers

The Carolina Panthers hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFC South battle on «Thursday Night Football.» Both teams entered this game having dropped their season opener less than a week ago. It was an important early-season affair for the two teams. It was equally important for struggling quarterbacks Cam Newton and Jameis Winston. In the end, Tampa Bay came out on top by the score of 20-14 in an ugly overall affair. Winston did not make the same mistakes we saw last week. That was big for the Bucs in a close game. Meanwhile, Newton continued to struggle. Here, we take a look at the winners and losers from the second «Thursday Night Football» game of the NFL season. Winner: Chris Godwin Most expected this third-year receiver to break out even more after he put up north of 800 yards as a sophomore last season. Much like the rest of Tampa’s offense, Godwin was stuck in neutral during the team’s Week 1 loss to San Francisco. That was in no way the case Thursday evening. Godwin put up 79 yards and this beautif

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