Angry Bender: Thursday Night Football is bad, but TV options are worse

Angry Bender is animated this week, just in time for Thursday Night Football.

That’s right, the NFL programming that has become the target of social media criticism is this week’s topic of discussion. Angry Bender doesn’t love Thursday Night Football either, and he isn’t excited for this week’s game between the 49ers and Rams.

That said, can the networks give us something to watch instead? Find out what Jason Bateman has to do with it in this week’s installment of Angry Bender.

Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys, ankle, (Q): Williams played in Week 2 but clearly wasn’t completely recovered from his left ankle sprain. He was not on Thursday’s injury report but was added back as a nonparticipant Friday. On Saturday, he was at the portion of practice available to the media, an encouraging sign, but he remains questionable in advance of Monday night’s game.

J.J. Nelson, Arizona Cardinals, hamstring, (Q): In John Brown’s absence, Nelson saw increased action (five catches for 120 yards and a touchdown) in Week 2 and could do so again Monday night. He also appeared on the injury report with a hamstring ailment but was able to practice daily on a limited basis. While hamstring injuries are a particular concern with speed athletes, Nelson’s participation in the two heaviest practices of the week (Thursday and Friday) without a setback is a good sign. The Cardinals may well have limited his reps proactively, given the likelihood of Brown’s sitting out again in Week 3. Expect Nelson to play Monday night, barring a setback.

Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders, knee: This is becoming routine: Cooper is held to limited practice Wednesday then upgrades to full both Thursday and Friday and is removed from the final injury report. The Raiders travel to Washington for a Sunday night game, and Cooper is expected to play.
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I believe it’s imperative for young quarterbacks in the modern style of football to play under offensive-minded head coaches.

The learning curve for a quarterback can be steep because of the college systems they play in.

When you have an offensive-minded head coach, the entire operation in the building is geared towards the offense. Practice is set up with a nod towards the offense. The free agent pick ups are geared towards helping and protecting the quarterback.

Look no further than the Rams. Out is Jeff Fisher and in is Sean McVay, the youngest head coach in the NFL. He was brought in to fix Jared Goff. What did the Rams do right away? They signed left tackle Andrew Whitworth and center John Sullivan. Give Goff protection. They drafted Cooper Kupp, signed Robert Woods and traded for Sammy Watkins. Give Goff weapons.

The Texans were on their longest drive of the game when faced with a third-and-16 from Cincinnati’s 35. The pocket collapsed on Watson, who was looking downfield. It was an opportune time for one of those patented rookie mistakes.

Instead of trying to force a throw, he used his feet and was able to pick up 11 yards before running out of bounds, giving Ka’imi Fairbairn a 42-yard field goal as opposed to a 53-yarder.

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And then there’s the team’s handling of Luck’s injury. Fans have never had a complete picture of when they can expect their franchise quarterback on the field fully healthy and ready to play.

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Kirk Cousins’ terrible opening week could screw up two franchises

Cousins hasn’t been able to come to terms with Washington on a long-term deal, and back-to-back franchise tags have forced him to take big money up front while gambling on himself to earn the league’s next massive quarterback contract. On Sunday, the franchise’s inability to come to terms with its young passer looked like a positive.

Cousins put together a solid Brock Osweiler impression against the Eagles, needing 40 passes to gain just 240 yards. Despite getting paid nearly $24 million this season, he was outplayed by passers like Tyrod Taylor and Jared Goff. His team managed just one offensive touchdown.

But that’s not just bad for Washington. The San Francisco 49ers currently start the most-caretakerest of quarterbacks in Brian Hoyer, and a Cousins-to-Santa-Clara move has been rumored ever since his former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan took the head coaching job out west. With the quarterback and his current team nearing a breaking point in contract negotiations, the 49ers were in a prime position to swoop in and hand Cousins a starting job.

Chargers kicker and internet sensation, Younghoe Koo, had a chance for a game-winning field goal against the Dolphins on Sunday and missed, leading to a 19-17 loss for Los Angeles. It was the second week in a row Koo has missed a field goal in the closing seconds of the game.

He walked on to the football team at nearby Cal, earning kickoff duties as a true freshman and working his way into field goal duty as the season wore on. As a senior, he connected on 20 of his 23 attempts — and was somehow more accurate from long range than he was on extra points (36-of-42).
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The Bengals were 0-for-3 in the red zone and were also 4-for-15 on third downs.

As I’ve written before, philosophy is just as important as the rules in officiating a football game. What people call “ticky tack” fouls like this aren’t called, even though the block can be taken into account when assessing a possible foul by King.

Regardless, Fowler and Broncos fans are simply incorrect about claims of defensive pass interference, because the action did not meet the qualifications for DPI.

The Bengals were 0-for-3 in the red zone and were also 4-for-15 on third downs.

Sure, execution is a problem, but let’s not overlook more obvious issues. The offensive line is terrible. It’s clear just how much it misses left tackle Andrew Whitworth. The offensive scheme made things worse.

J.J. Watt had six pressures on Andy Dalton, and despite the fact that it was, you know, J.J. Watt coming after the quarterback, there were times where the Bengals made the decision not to double him or leave a tight end on him. Some plays, they didn’t even seem all that concerned with blocking him.

At least Andy Dalton didn’t throw any picks! But he was still horrible!

A.J. Green, one of the team’s only good offensive players, commented after the game how Dalton couldn’t get him the ball. His solution to the Bengals’ offensive problems was to “… find a way to get our playmakers the ball.”

Cleveland Indian Jay Bruce, a Beaumont native, and his wife Hannah are matching donations up to $100,000 towards Harvey relief through September 10th to help Southeast Texas communities.

So far, fans have contributed $18,000 to Cleveland Indians Charities which is all going towards hurricane-related aid in Texas through the same date in Texas. A quick look at Bruce’s social media reveals how important these efforts are for him.
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Rookie LB Jarrad Davis, Lions’ first-rounder, in concussion protocol

Detroit Lions starting middle linebacker Jarrad Davis was not available to talk after his team’s 24-10 win over the New York Giants on Monday night because he was in the league’s concussion protocol.

Strong likely will step into the No. 3 spot, which will take some pressure off Cole.

Strong, a 2015 third-round pick, was suspended for the first game of the season because of his February 2016 arrest for illegal possession of marijuana. Strong was riding in a car driven by Green Bay Packers cornerback Damarious Randall, a former teammate at Arizona State, and admitted to having the marijuana without a medical marijuana card.

Strong played in the Texans’ Week 2 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals but did not have a target. He played on just 30 percent of the team’s offensive snaps.

In three seasons with the team, Strong had 28 catches for 292 yards and three touchdowns (all in his rookie season). The Texans considered releasing the wide receiver before the season during the cut down to the 53-man roster.

In a corresponding roster move, the Jags placed defensive tackle Michael Bennett on the reserve/injured list.

The Pro Bowl receiver has spent endless hours at the facility and at home treating and rehabbing the injury. Beckham said Thursday he “felt good” and was itching to get back on the field.
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Salters will work the rest of the games this season.

What they saw looked a lot like their recent past — a field goal in the final seconds to send the game into overtime, a kick that went through but was nullified by a pre-snap timeout, then a kick that was blocked to seal the loss.

Last season the Chargers started 1-4 — to the Chiefs by six in overtime after leading by 17 in the fourth quarter; to the Colts by four on a 63-yard touchdown pass with 1:28 left; to the Saints by one on a touchdown with 1:57 left; and to the Raiders when they bobbled the snap on a game-tying field goal with two minutes left.

Among the losses the rest of the season were a four-interception fourth quarter by Philip Rivers in Miami; another late collapse to the Raiders; and the Browns’ only win, sealed by, of course, a missed Chargers field goal at the final gun.

As long as he doesn’t make himself out to be a martyr, and act like a drama queen, Dipp might even be able to make some lemonade out of last night’s lemon. Hell, if I’m ESPN, I give him another shot to prove himself on “MNF.” You know some sports fans will tune in just to watch that.

The Dipp disaster underlines once again the value of smart, experienced sideline reporters such as ESPN’s Lisa Salters, NBC’s Michele Tafoya, Fox’s Erin Andrews and CBS’ Tracy Wolfson.

As the regular “MNF” sideline reporter, Salters will work the rest of the games this season. Dipp only appeared on Broncos-Chargers with Beth Mowins and Rex Ryan because Salters was working the sidelines for the earlier Vikings-Saints telecast.

Said an ESPN source: “Sergio is a young guy with hopefully a bright future ahead. He just had a tough night. He would not have been on the game if he wasn’t well regarded at our place.”
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Jets face record-long odds entering 2017 season

Place a single dollar on the Jets to win the Super Bowl this season and you’d win $1,000 if they were actually able to pull it off.

You’re better off keeping that dollar. Since the Jets moved to 1000-1 odds, ESPN reported the Westgate Casino in Las Vegas has taken just six bets on the Jets despite the giant odds.

To say the Jets are facing long odds this season would be a massive understatement. Unprecedented is more like it. The Browns and 49ers faced the longest odds last season at just 200-1. The Bills are 200-1 odds this year, but still a far cry from the Jets. The Bills are an eight-point favorite to beat the Jets on Sunday in the season opener.

“[I’ve] never seen any NFL team this high before any games are played,” Ed Salmons, a 30-year veteran Las Vegas oddsmaker and assistant manager at the Westgate, told ESPN. “I think the Jets will probably be the lowest team we’ve ever power-rated.”

Team captains are selected through a team vote and Bortles’ omission may say a lot about what his teammates think of his ability to lead the club. Bortles will be Jacksonville’s Week 1 starter against the Texans, but will likely have a short leash this season.

He nearly lost his starting job to veteran backup Chad Henne during the preseason, but Jaguars coach Doug Marrone stuck with Bortles despite his struggles. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft has 51 interceptions in his first three seasons and the Jags have not won more than five games during that stretch. Bortles has also lost 12 fumbles, six of them coming last season when Bortles threw for 3,905 yards with 23 touchdowns and 16 picks in a 3-13 campaign.

Coach Anthony Lynn said the health of his team has improved since last season

The Bucs won’t be playing this week because of Hurricane Irma, and the first-week bye allows defensive end Jacquies Smith more time to recover from his torn ACL. Smith was just activated to the 53-man roster after spending all of training camp on the active/PUP list. He has just begun practicing this week, though, participating in some drills, so it might be a bit before he’s ready to play.

Coach Anthony Lynn said the health of his team has improved since last season, with all starters except for middle linebacker Denzel Perryman (ankle) scheduled to start the season opener against the Broncos. Two receivers to keep an eye on this week are Tyrell Williams (groin) and Dontrelle Inman (sports hernia). Both were held out of the last preseason game against the Rams. Lynn said Inman is day-to-day as he works his way back from offseason surgery.

“It sucks that in the country that we live in now, sometimes you get profiled for the color of your skin,” Bennett said in a news conference. “It’s a tough situation for me. Do I think every police officer is bad? No, I don’t believe that. Do I believe there’s some people out there that judge people on the color of their skin? I do believe that.”

Yeah, it will toughen you. I feel like the sport is becoming flag football. The game is supposed to be physical. You got the helmet, shoulder pads on to protect yourself. I’m trying to kill you every time.

Let’s talk about your opponents: Of the players you faced last year, who’s the most challenging, competitive guy you saw?images (1)

It is a big honor for me just to get notification from them

“Michigan is very high up in tradition and their quarterbacks succeed in the NFL,” he said as a high schooler. “It is a big honor for me just to get notification from them.”

Even if you aren’t a regular college football fan, you’ll remember that Henne was the quarterback for the No. 5 ranked Wolverines that lost to Appalachian State in that wild 2007 CFB season.

Henne’s star faded from those dizzying days as hyped recruit to a brief stint as the Dolphins’ Tom Brady. Earlier in the offseason, back when Blake Bortles was still considered a starting QB, Henne got some praise as a perfectly mediocre backup. He was 10th on SI’s rankings for the backup QBs.

Joyner: Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons. New offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian calls a run-heavy offense, as his 2013 Washington Huskies team set program records for carries and rushing yards. Coleman will get more than enough work to easily best his mid-tier RB4 draft status.

Schatz: Mark Ingram, RB, Saints. Sorry, I’m not counting on a 32-year-old Adrian Peterson to take away a ton of Ingram’s carries all year long.

Seifert: Mike Gillislee, RB, Patriots. Rest assured, fantasy owners. Even as so many are backing off the hype of what once seemed a no-brainer, I still think he’ll get a big portion of the Patriots’ point opportunities. Hang in there, and we’ll get through this together.

Fan who helped find Tom Brady’s missing Super Bowl jerseys gets front-row seats to Patriots’ season opener

Dylan Wagner, the superfan who helped find Tom Brady’s missing Super Bowl jerseys, is being rewarded with front row seats to the Patriots’ season opener.
A 19-year-old sports memorabilia collector who helped find Tom Brady’s missing Super Bowl jerseys is getting quite the big reward.

Wagner came to Gillette Stadium early Thursday morning for the release of the new Robert Kraft shoe at the Patriots pro shop and was instantly recognized.

“I think it’s great for the sport. I like that it’s not the normal jersey, that its a different jersey entirely. I like that people can show their individualism. I went with Ro. It’s supposed to be a nickname going on the jersey and that’s my actual nickname. Some people came up with some other stuff, but I didn’t know what else to put on there.

I can see some people having an issue with this because the Yankees have never changed uniforms, but everyone is doing it. I believe in tradition, too, but because it’s a different jersey, I’m excited to see what other people do. It’s supposed to be fun and I hope it is. I like the jersey, too. It looks cool. It’s a little different. I know some people are going to have issues, but it’s just for fun.”

Dylan Wagner, 19, lives in Seattle, but he’s an avid jersey collector and that hobby helped investigators track down the missing Brady jerseys earlier this year, as the WBZ I-Team first reported.

Mexican authorities searched the property of tabloid journalist Martin Mauricio Ortega, where they found the jersey, along with a Brady jersey that disappeared after the 2015 Super Bowl. A Denver Broncos helmet also was found.