T.J. Yates exits game briefly for concussion evaluation
Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates briefly left Monday’s 34-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers to undergo evaluation for a concussion.
Backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke replaced Yates for one play at the end of the second quarter and the Texans’ first possession of the third quarter. Yates cleared concussion protocol a couple minutes after the second half started.
Yates struggled before leaving the game. He completed just 2 of 7 passes for 8 yards and an interception. He also had a lost fumble. He finished with 7 of 16 passing for 83 yards and a touchdown — an amazing catch by DeAndre Hopkins in the fourth quarter.
Shurmur cannot negotiate or sign with the Giants until the Vikings are eliminated from the playoffs. Minnesota heads to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.
Shurmur, 52, became a hot coaching candidate due to his work with quarterback Case Keenum this season, and Sam Bradford last year after taking over for Norv Turner midway through the campaign.
As the Vikings OC, Shurmur led Keenum and the offense to a top-10 rating in points per game (10th, 23.9), rushing yards per game (seventh, 122.3) and third-down conversion rate (third, 43.5). Minnesota finished 11th in passing yards per game with 234.6.
Shurmur’s work with the quarterbacks in Minnesota makes him an ideal pairing in New York, where Eli Manning nears the end of his run, and Big Blue must find the next franchise signal-caller.
Arizona Cardinals hire Steve Wilks as head coach
The Arizona Cardinals have found their next head coach following Bruce Arians’ offseason retirement.
The Cardinals named Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks their head coach on Monday. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo first reported the development.
Wilks, who agreed to a four-year contract with the Cardinals that includes a fifth-year option, is expected to be formally introduced as the team’s head coach during a news conference Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET.
As for the Panthers, Carolina defensive line coach Eric Washington was promoted to defensive coordinator Monday. Panthers linebackers coach Al Holcomb will follow Wilks to Arizona, according to Garafolo.
Horrible way to start the playoffs, Pereira tweeted. I hate to say it but this was not a good performance by the crew. Teams and fans deserve better.
By Sunday morning, there was confirmation of an NFL Network report by Aditi Kinkhabwala, who had tweeted that Triplette would retire. Kinkhabwala reported Triplette was telling folks around him he’s retiring and the heartfelt hugs he exchanged with his crew … looked like goodbyes.
In Saturday’s nightcap, between the Falcons and Rams, it was left to NBC’s Al Michaels to speak for America as plays underwent excruciatingly long review (do they not have cable?) in the NFL’s Park Avenue headquarters and verbose Ed Hochuli was left to explain. One of the great things about the NHL, Michaels pointed out, is the last two minutes takes about two minutes. Nor was that his only broadside. I can’t figure out how this can take this long, he said. You saw it.
James Harrison impresses in his debut for Patriots
James Harrison just wanted to play. The New England Patriots provided the opportunity in his first game with the club.
The 39-year-old linebacker played 34 snaps in Sunday’s victory over the New York Jets, per Next Gen Stats. The count was just four shy of the 38 snaps Harrison saw all season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Yeah, James worked really hard, Belichick said. He worked really hard to get things down and to handle the roles that he was in today. Very professional, has a lot of experience but not in this system so he had to do a lot of things to try to acclimate himself to what we do, and terminology, and adjustments and so forth. He really worked hard on that. He got better every day. You could see that through the course of the week. Sometimes it piles up and the load just becomes — there’s a diminishing return effect. In his case, I would say that wasn’t the case. Each day that it went it got better. I thought he made a couple of plays out there today. We’ll see how it goes going forward, but yeah, he worked very hard.
If Harrison recaptures the form he displayed last January — when he dominated during the Steelers’ playoff run — the addition could be a game-changer for the Patriots’ defense.
A day after teammates refused to respond to Jalen Ramsey predicting a Super Bowl win for the Jags at a fan event, Tom Brady continued to reiterate The Patriot Way tone.
It’s how you play, not what you say, Brady said Tuesday morning on WEEI’s Kirk and Callahan show.
Brady dismissing bulletin-board material is a useful in-the-moment tactic, considering the Pats are known to use all the motivation they can. Bill Belichick famously read his team the Philadelphia Eagles’ planned parade route before Super Bowl XXXIX. If you provide the trash talk, the Pats will use it. They won’t, however, respond publicly in kind.
Brady went on to heap praise on the Jaguars’ swarming defense.
Case Keenum: We’ll cross free agency road eventually
Keenum doesn’t have a track record of such success beyond 2017, turns 30 next month and will undoubtedly command a somewhat significant amount of money from a quarterback-needy team. Understandably, the Vikings might be wary of meeting such a potential financial commitment.
For perspective, consider this: Bradford entered the season the unquestioned starter. Bridgewater’s future was still very uncertain. Keenum was only brought in as insurance, the usual backup a team hopes can be dependable in case of emergency.
What’s certain is no one is bringing the magic of 2017 back for one more kickoff. We’ll see if any of the quarterbacks return to run it back in 2018.
Vikings fans, unbelievable year. Not the way we wanted to finish. But so many memories I will cherish for the rest of my life. Much love #skol
The inn is full. We are completely sold out. The NFL bought the whole hotel out, Kim Zoulek, sales and marketing director for Minneapolis Hilton, told MPR News last week. The hotel is the largest in Minnesota with 821 rooms and is located about a mile from U.S. Bank Field.
Even the travel packages being offered by PrimeSport — which is owned by a ticket and hospitality company that itself is partially owned by the NFL’s owners — aren’t offering much in the way of close lodging. Of the five hotel/ticket packages available Monday afternoon, only one offers lodging at a hotel within walking distance of the stadium. The package costs around $25,000 for two people and doesn’t include airfare. Cheaper options are available, but you’ll be staying in places such as Bloomington, St. Paul or the far northern reaches of Minneapolis, about a 25-minute drive from the stadium.
The owner giving up control and selling the team is just a blip on the radar screen for players.
To those in New Orleans and Atlanta who think the departure of Jerry Richardson and his impending sale of the Panthers will be a distraction to Carolina players as the teams battle for NFC playoff positioning: Think again.
Ron Rivera and his assistant coaches, who felt comfortable that Richardson had their backs, are certainly wondering about the long-term future. But with a Super Bowl appearance on their resumes and having led Carolina to a 10-4 record so far in 2017, they are not terribly concerned about having coaching jobs in the NFL. Likewise, players always believe they’ll have jobs in the NFL, and they’re more concerned with how coaches feel about them.
Sunday’s win over the Packers was proof that Panthers players and coaches remain focused on the task at hand even as they follow the surprising downfall of the organization’s patriarch. They’re preparing to host the Bucs with an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot before they close the regular season in Atlanta. If the Panthers win twice and the Saints lose once over the next couple weeks, Carolina will be the NFC South champ and a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.
Steve is now an area director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an organization that Case has long been active in as well.
He’s come to the realization like a lot of people in big situations that there are things that are really too big to do by yourself, and in order to stay grounded you’ve got to find somebody or something that you believe strongly in, Steve said. I think his faith has been that for him.
Though Keenum had prior NFL experience, including nine starts for the Los Angeles Rams in 2016, he was signed by the Vikings as a one-year stopgap to be the guy in the ball cap providing sideline support and give Bridgewater ample time to recover from his colossal knee injury. Bradford had just produced an injury-free career-best performance in 2016, after all, so the Vikings were banking on him.
Over the last four months, though, they’ve been cashing in on Keenum, a dividend that has paid out handsomely for both parties.
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