Jets’ Saleh: ‘We have a tremendous young core’

After defeating the Buffalo Bills in Week 9, the New York Jets were 6-3 and playing their best football of the season heading into the bye week.

Eight weeks later, the Jets(7-9), who lost six of their last seven, including five straight, were officially eliminated from the playoffs after falling on the road to the Seahawks 23-6.

“It’s disappointing,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said after the loss. “Because I know the five-game losing streak, and I know we battled in a bunch of games. This one is — this one, we could have been a lot better, especially these last two games, just I feel like we’re a better football team than this. Obviously starts with me, but yeah.”

Jets quarterback Mike White, who missed the last two games with a rib injury, struggled in his return. White was 23/46 for 240 yards and two interceptions.

Missing the playoffs is tough for White.

“It stings, it’s tough, it’s gut-wrenching, and it’s all of the above; it’s whatever adjective you can use to describe it,” he said. “By no means are there moral victories. In the grand scheme of things, we are playing meaningful football late in the season, but also, I think we are at the point where we don’t care about moral victories.”

Saleh added: “I promise you no one is hurting more than the people in the locker room, especially me. But at the same time, I know it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there’s still a lot of really cool things to look at from this season. But right now, it stings big time right now.”

New York has a lot of questions surrounding the quarterback position. Zach Wilson has not played well this season, but the second overall pick in the 2021 draft, is still only 23 years old and could get better, and while White had some success this season, it doesn’t appear he is the long-term answer for the Jets.

According to Saleh, the Jets have progressed in the two seasons he has been with the team.

“I do; we have a tremendous young core, I do believe that,” he said. “I look at the first half of our season, and we’re fully healthy going into the bye week, we’re 6-3, and everything was looking up. You know, one thing leads to another, and you lose a couple of really tight games, and these last two games, there just hasn’t been anywhere near playoff-caliber football for us. You know you lose to a Minnesota team in the last second, you lose to a Buffalo team in the last second, you lose to the Lions in the last second, and so I know we’re close. I know it stings right now. It stings. But I know we’ve made a lot of headway over the last two years, and we’ll continue to do so.”

The 2022 season was a success for the Jets, and vying for a playoff spot in Week 17 is a win for this team. They still have some questions to answer, but the franchise should be happy about where they stand as they prepare for the offseason.

Giants’ Peppers on victory over Seattle: ‘We walked in here confident’

The quarterback had last started exactly 14 months ago and hadn’t won as a starter since 2014. The backup running back scored two touchdowns for the first time since … 2014, including the first scoring reception of his nine-year, 110-game career.

But while Colt McCoy and Alfred Morris were two of the Giants’ key offensive performers on Sunday, they could not outshine the team’s ferocious defense, which held Seattle’s high-scoring offense to one touchdown and is getting key contributions from numerous youngsters, including one who has accomplished a statistical feat unmatched by a Giants player in 70 years.

Something special is happening with the Giants. The resurrection of their 2020 season took another great leap forward at Seattle’s Lumen Field, where they overcame a scoreless first half to defeat the Seahawks, 17-12. Numerous television analysts quickly labeled it one of the NFL season’s biggest upsets. The Giants won their fourth consecutive game, improved to 5-7, solidified their hold on first place in the NFC East and pushed their 0-5 start further toward irrelevance.

“We walked in here confident, I’m not going to lie,” safety Jabrill Peppers said. “Team had a different swagger about them, team had a different juice about them today because we knew if we played our brand of football, we knew we could shock a lot of people. The ball rolled in our favor. I’m proud of the way guys fought.”

“This has been a fun season,” defensive lineman Leonard Williams said. “I think the beginning of the season is when the team and the guys and the coaches proved to each other what type of team we really have. It’s easier to be happy and see the good things when you are winning, but I feel like we all see the good things in each other and what we have, even when we were losing. That just helped continue to build our confidence in each other and build on what we have working here. Eventually, it turns into a snowball and it keeps building up. I feel like we have a real culture here now and I love the way this team is going.”

McCoy and Morris each appeared in one game during the 2019 season, with Washington and Arizona, respectively. McCoy started against New England on Oct. 6, completed 18 of 27 passes in a 33-7 loss and then was inactive or did not play in the final 11 games.

He saw his first Giants action last week in Cincinnati, where Daniel Jones suffered a hamstring injury that forced him to the inactive list on Sunday. McCoy stepped in and completed 13 of 22 passes for 105 yards, one touchdown and one interception and earned his first victory in a starting role since Oct. 27, 2014, when he led Washington to a win in Dallas.

“I am just so proud to be part of this team,” McCoy said. “We had zero points at halftime and the defense was playing lights-out and we rallied together and they helped me out, they calmed me down. I felt like I played a little better as the game went on. I was seeing a lot of things early. They pressured a lot and I wasn’t confused on a whole lot of looks, I just was kind of seeing it too quick. I just needed to calm down, take a breath and once we started to run the football, I felt a lot better.”

Morris contributed 39 yards to the Giants’ season-high 190 rushing yards. The bulk of the production came from Wayne Gallman, who had a career-high 135 yards, including a 60-yard run that was the longest of his career.

“Part of our game plan obviously was to run the ball,” coach Joe Judge said. “It starts up front with the guys blocking. I thought they did a good job of playing hard and wearing them down over time. I thought our backs ran tough and finished runs.”

Judge was confident McCoy would play well against a Seattle team that entered the game with an 8-3 record and a one-game lead in the NFC West.

“He’s as competitive as anyone in this league,” Judge said. “You put this guy against our defense, you put him in a two-minute drill, he gives you headache after headache. This guy comes to work every day and this guy is a ballplayer.”

So is Morris, who has rushed for more than 6,000 yards in the NFL. He didn’t join the Giants until he was signed to the practice squad on the last day of September and made his debut on Nov. 2. Morris scored each of the Giants’ touchdowns in the third quarter on a four-yard run and a six-yard catch, the latter a career first.

“I definitely double-caught it,” said Morris, who had snuck unnoticed into the right flat. “I was so wide open, I just assumed somebody was going to be there. I think they were planning for us to run a gap run again, which I think that drew them in and normally I don’t do those types of plays. I think it just made it work that much more and I was able to just creep out into the flat and I was so open, that’s why I kind of double-caught it. That was actually my first receiving touchdown, so that was huge and felt really good to get into the end zone.”

The Giants also got a 48-yard field goal from Graham Gano, his 25th consecutive successful attempt.

Seattle averaged 31 points in its first 11 games and had scored more than 30 points seven times. But they did not reach the end zone until 6:09 remained in the game, when Russell Wilson threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to running back Chris Carson. Wilson completed 27 passes for 263 yards, but he was sacked five times, hit 10 times and was chased on virtually every one of his 43 pass attempts – including a final desperation heave on fourth-and-18 that fell to the ground with 37 seconds remaining.

Williams led the Giants’ onslaught with a career high-tying 2.5 sacks.

“I think schematically we did a good job making (Wilson) feel pressure and making him uncomfortable,” Williams said. “He felt like he had a guy on his side and had to hold the ball. I felt like we were coming at him from a lot of angles and it made him a little bit confused sometimes. Overall, he’s the head of the offense being the quarterback and making him uncomfortable is what we needed to do. I think we did a good job of that.”

Williams increased his season total to a career-best 8.5 sacks.

“That guy is a man,” Judge said. “That dude is a man. There are things about Leo that you may not know by not being in the locker room with him. First off, this guy is a pleasure to be around. This guy smiles all the time. He’s a great teammate, he’s very coachable. You give him something to work on, he’s going to work as hard as he can to master it. He gives us a lot of versatility on the defense because of his skillset. And this dude is just a guy that when you see him in your locker room before the game, he makes you feel a little bit better. Obviously, there’s statistics on the field that you see, what you don’t see is what kind of guy he is to coach, what kind of teammate he is away from it. That’s as important if not more important than all the statistics you see on the sheets. This guy helps everyone else raise their level of preparation and play.”

Several of his teammates played at a high level on Sunday. Peppers, rookie linebacker Tae Crowder and Jaball Sheard accounted for the Giants’ other 2.5 sacks. Rookie Darnay Holmes intercepted a Wilson pass for his first career pick. In what is almost a weekly occurrence, linebacker Blake Martinez led the Giants in tackles (10, including five solo) and forced one a fumble. Niko Lalos, who intercepted a pass in his NFL debut last week, fell on the ball when Wilson couldn’t secure a second-quarter snap. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Lalos is the first Giants player with at least one interception and one opponent fumble recovery in first two NFL games since Otto Schnellbacher in 1950.

“These guys work hard,” Judge said of his defensive players. “(Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham) has a good plan and I think there’s really good position coaches on each side of the ball. They’re very detailed in their approach. Our players have gotten more comfortable in our scheme and they’ve been able to build on the multiples. You have to have multiples to play a lot of these quarterbacks that we’re playing. You’ve got to be able to play guys like Russell Wilson where you can go ahead and stop him in the run game. That’s a lot easier said than done. At the same point, you want to try and confuse them a little bit in the passing game which again is a lot easier said than done.”

The Seahawks led at halftime, 5-0, thanks to Jason Myers’ 31-yard field goal on the game’s opening series and a safety late in the second quarter after Ryan Neal blocked Riley Dixon’s punt. But the Giants scored 17 consecutive points before Seattle’s late touchdown.

The victory assures the Giants will remain in first place, no matter what Washington does Monday evening in Pittsburgh. The Giants have four games remaining, three at home, beginning next week against the Cardinals.

“We know we have to keep stacking them,” Peppers said. “That was a great team we just played but we know we have another great team coming in next week. We’re going to enjoy the win tonight, get this tape corrected, cleaned up and shift our focus to Arizona.”

Via: giants.com

Eagles’ Schwartz on Metcalf: ‘I can’t believe paying a compliment to a player has become such a big thing’

Before the Seahawks defeated the Eagles on Sunday night, their star WR D.K. Metcalf found a little a motivation. According to the second-year player, who had 10 catches for 177 yards against Philadelphia on Monday night, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who coached Calvin Johnson in Detroit, told Metcalf that he’s not “Megatron.”

The comment, according to Metcalf, motivated him against Philadelphia and led to him having a big game on Monday night.

On Wednesday, Schwartz responded to Metcalf’s comments:

“I can’t believe paying a compliment to a player has become such a big thing. Before I even go into that, I want to say everybody needs to know the high esteem that I hold Calvin Johnson in,” Scwartz said. “Calvin was not only the best player I’ve ever coached, he was the best player I ever coached against, and I think he’s one of the great players in the history of the National Football League. I had five years up close and personal of every defensive coordinator’s number one job was to stop Calvin Johnson and ran every tricked up defense known to man and he still made the plays and he was an incredibly hard worker, underreported with him. Great person. And just the honor of my career to coach a guy like Calvin Johnson.

“So, it’s, in my mind, it’s a little bit funny, anytime you even speak somebody’s name in the same sentence as Calvin Johnson I don’t know how you could take offense to that. So I tried to pay the guy a compliment, said I read his story, knew he had overcome injury, heard he was a hard worker, and said he reminds me a little bit of Calvin and congratulated him after the game. At the time he told me, ‘Hey, thanks, Coach, that means a lot to me.

“So if anybody wants to take offense to being compared to who I think is one of the greatest players in the history of the National Football League, then, yeah, if you get your motivation that way, then fine, but we’re not going to worry too much about that. I think that the only person in the whole thing that deserves or that has any sort of whatever in that thing would be a guy like Calvin. But again, you just have to understand how much esteem I hold Calvin in, and like I said, the greatest honor of my coaching career was coaching that guy day-in and day-out. He’s meant a lot to my kids and family and everything else. So, tried to pay a guy a compliment. I chatted with Russell Wilson before the game because I respect him so much and saw DK on the sideline in between plays and wanted to compliment him on his work ethic and overcoming injury and stuff like that. So, there it is.”

Who knows what to believe. Maybe Metcalf is telling the truth; maybe Metcalf is pulling a Michael Jordan and trying to make up stories to find motivation. Who knows, but one thing for sure, Metcalf is a stud, but at this point, he’s not Calvin Johnson just yet.

Eagles’ Pederson talks working out Russell Wilson before 2012 NFL Draft

Coming out of the University of Wisconsin, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was not a highly touted player, which is one of the reasons he fell to the third-round(75th pick) in the 2012 NFL Draft. Fortunately for Seattle, they were able to grab Wilson, and the rest is history.

The eight-year veteran has won one Super Bowl and has been to another and currently is having an MVP caliber season. 

Before selecting Nick Foles, 13 picks after Wilson, former Eagles head coach Andy Reid was said to have had serious interest in Wilson.

Here is a story that Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told about Wilson and Andy Reid back in 2016:

“I know that Andy called us right after the pick, and gave John some trouble about it,”  Pete Carroll said in 2016. “They’re old friends. But we were really sweating it out. We wanted him the whole way, and John had it figured obviously perfectly for us to get it done. There were a couple other teams that called in right after that, too. Andy was the first guy to call, though. He was just giving John a hard time for taking his guy.”

On Friday, as Philadelphia prepares to host Wilson and Seattle on Sunday, current Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, who was the QB coach for Philadelphia back in 2012, talked about the workout he had with Wilson before the draft and the Eagles’ interest in Wilson back then.

“I went to the University of Wisconsin and worked out Russell [when I was the] quarterback coach here, and that was the first time I met him,” Pederson said. “I had a great day with him and spent some time [with him].

“Really, it wasn’t so much the workout and watching him throw and putting him through some of the throws we were doing at the time, but it’s when I got him in the classroom; it’s when I had a chance to go to lunch with him and just talk with him as a person. That’s where you really – for me anyway – where I knew this kid was going to be a special player in this league.

“He’s a great, tremendous leader. He’s not one of these players that, especially back then, where it’s all about him or whatever. He’s not a big ego guy. Just really humble at the time.

“So, I came back, and obviously, that was the report. Felt like if we had an opportunity that he was going to be the guy that we could possibly draft at that time. Obviously, Seattle moved up and grabbed him.

“But, yeah, we liked him. I think we ended up getting Nick Foles, which worked out for us, as well.”

Welp, I guess it did work out for both Seattle and Philadelphia because, after all, both Foles and Wilson were able to win a Super Bowl.

However, it could just go to show how much Reid knows about the quarterback position. This is the same man who drafted Donovan McNabb and Patrick Mahomes. Reid knows quarterbacks, and if Seattle did not get Wilson when they did, Wilson could have very well been a member of the Philadelphia Eagles today.

Packers-49ers flexed to Sunday Night Football

The NFL announced today scheduling changes for Week 12 on Sunday, November 24, and Week 16 on Saturday and Sunday, December 21-22.

WEEK 12 (November 24):

  • Green Bay at San Francisco moves from 4:25 PM ET on FOX to 8:20 PM ET on NBC.

  • Seattle at Philadelphia moves from 8:20 PM ET on NBC to 1:00 PM ET on FOX.

  • Carolina at New Orleans moves from 1:00 PM ET on FOX to 1:00 PM ET on CBS.

  • Miami at Cleveland moves from 1:00 PM ET on CBS to 1:00 PM ET on FOX.

WEEK 16 (December 21-22):

  • Houston at Tampa Bay has been scheduled for Saturday, December 21, at 1:00 PM ET on NFL Network.

  • Buffalo at New England has been scheduled for Saturday, December 21, at 4:30 PM ET on NFL Network.

  • Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco has been scheduled for Saturday, December 21, at 8:15 PM ET on NFL Network.

  • Detroit at Denver has been scheduled for Sunday, December 22, at 4:05 PM ET on CBS.

  • Oakland at the Los Angeles Chargers has been scheduled for Sunday, December 22, at 4:05 PM ET on CBS.

The following is the updated Week 12 schedule (all times ET):

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

8:20 PM

FOX/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

1:00 PM

FOX

Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills

1:00 PM

CBS

New York Giants at Chicago Bears

1:00 PM

FOX

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

1:00 PM

CBS

Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns

1:00 PM

FOX

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints

1:00 PM

CBS

Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles

1:00 PM

FOX

Oakland Raiders at New York Jets

1:00 PM

CBS

Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins

1:00 PM

FOX

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans

4:05 PM

CBS

Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots

4:25 PM

FOX

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

8:20 PM

NBC

Monday, November 25, 2019

Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Rams (Mon)

8:15 PM

ESPN

The following is the updated Week 16 schedule (all times ET):

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Houston Texans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1:00 PM

NFLN

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots

4:30 PM

NFLN

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

8:15 PM

NFLN

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons

1:00 PM

FOX

Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns

1:00 PM

CBS

Carolina Panthers at Indianapolis Colts

1:00 PM

FOX

Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins

1:00 PM

CBS

Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets

1:00 PM

CBS

New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans

1:00 PM

FOX

New York Giants at Washington Redskins

1:00 PM

FOX

Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos

4:05 PM

CBS

Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers

4:05 PM

CBS

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

4:25 PM

FOX

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

4:25 PM

FOX

Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears

8:20 PM

NBC

Monday, December 23, 2019

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (Mon)

8:15 PM

ESPN

Seahawks DE Michael Bennett: ‘I think that Kaepernick getting the opportunity to be on our team would be really cool’

Colin Kaepernick is not getting much love from around the league. Currently, he is a free agent, and there does not seem to be much interest from the NFL. Yesterday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that Kaepernick could be an option for the team.

Seahawks DE Michael Bennett feels Kaepernick would be a good fit in Seattle. He expressed that opinion to John Clayton and Gee Scott on 710 ESPN Seattle:

“I think a person that’s dedicating their life to creating change, why wouldn’t you want that type of leadership in your locker room? Why wouldn’t you want a young person that’s dealt with people wanting to kill him because of his choices in life? So I don’t know why people feel like that is a problem.”

“I think that Kaepernick getting the opportunity to be on our team would be really cool, would really be a good place for him because you have a coach like coach Carroll who is up for challenges like that. You have an owner who spends and gives back to the homeless. You’ve got players on your team that give back in the community. You’ve got Russell Wilson who shows that our team is built around community. So this is a perfect place for him.”

Seattle needs a veteran backup, and if Kaepernick is willing to take that role, the Seahawks should sign him. Their current backup Trevone Boykin is unproven, and is having a hard time staying out of trouble. Kaepernick may not be a star, but he could help an organization. He can be a solid a backup for some team in the NFL.

 I still believe he gets a shot somewhere in 2017.