Cowboys’ O-line not the best, says Pro Football Focus
A universally accepted truth of the NFL is that the Dallas Cowboy have its best offensive line. But Pro Football Focus, the ratings service that grades every player at every position, posted its line rankings for the season and listed the Tennessee Titans at the top, with Dallas No. 2. While Cowboys’ right guard Zack Martin and center Travis Frederick were “First Team PFF All-Pros,” the team score was brought down by right tackle Doug Free: “surrendering eight sacks on the season and struggling with his run blocking.” Which doesn’t leave much else to say. By contrast, Tennessee’s right tackle, rookie Jack Conklin, was ranked fifth among all tackles – left or right.
Dear PFF: Coaches question your grades because evaluators cannot know each player’s assignment. Perhaps your most dubious evaluation was the ranking of secondaries, with the Cowboys No. 1 despite collecting just nine interceptions. Are they really better than Denver’s No-Fly Zone?
Antonio Brown streams Tomlin’s postgame message
Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown violated NFL rules and “the sanctity of the locker room” by live-streaming on Facebook a few minutes after a victory over Kansas City in the divisional playoffs. Brown showed himself preening and clearly ignoring coach Mike Tomlin addressing the team. Though Tomlin was not in Brown’s video, he was heard criticizing the NFL for scheduling the Patriots’ divisional game on Saturday and the Steelers’ on Sunday. Brown’s video/audio revealed Tomlin saying, “We spotted those a-holes a day and a half. They played yesterday. Our game got moved to tonight” (because of weather issues). For his unauthorized moviemaking, which creates a much unwanted media distraction heading into Sunday night’s AFC Championship Game at Foxborough, Brown will be fined an undisclosed amount. “It was foolish of him to do that,” Tomlin said. “It was selfish of him to do that.” Brown also faces a probable fine from the league office for violating social-media policy. But he has hope for redeeming himself on the field. He has averaged 94.3 receiving yards in his past four games against New England.
Dear Antonio: You undermined Mike Tomlin, who Steelers Hall of Fame QB Terry Bradshaw recently suggested is “a cheerleader” who’s not taken seriously as a coach. Would you be turning your back if Bill Belichick were addressing the team?
Click here for Video Views featuring Antonio Brown’s locker room video
Jamaal Charles was injured by ‘too much extra work’
A torn knee ligament in October ended the football season for Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs. The former Pro Bowl running back was attempting a comeback from a knee injury the year before. “There’s been speculation I tried to come back too quick,” he blogged. “But I honestly don’t think me coming back to play is what caused this to happen. I think, if anything, I was doing too much extra work on top of what I was doing with the team and the trainers.” He pointed out that the MCL tear occurred after organized activities were over for the day. He was lifting weights to add to his training regimen.
Dear Jamaal: You may have noticed that in the USA, half the population is not working hard enough, and the other half is working too hard. Hoping you find the balance.
3 Oregon players hospitalized after practicing for Taggert
The Oregon Ducks’ new head football coach, Willie Taggert, may have gone too far in trying to improve the team’s strength and stamina. Three of his players were hospitalized last week after enduring a series of workouts. Several days after being hospitalized, offensive linemen Doug Brenner and Sam Poutasi and tight end Cam McCormick were reported in “fair condition” at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield, Ore. Brenner was a starting guard during the 2016 season. Poutasi’s mother, Oloka, told The Portland Oregonian that her son complained of very sore arms after the workouts and that doctors are concerned that damaged muscle tissue could result in damaged kidneys. Taggert’s practices have been described by multiple sources as akin to Army basic training.
Grayson Allen not good enough for the NBA?
The controversial tripping and shoving by Duke guard Grayson Allen does not concern NBA general managers as much as his declining play as a junior who was shifted from shooting guard to point guard. ESPN quoted an unnamed GM saying, “It’s all about whether he’s good enough to play in our league, and I’m not so sure of that.” As an All-America last season, Allen averaged 21.6 points per game, shooting 46.6% from the floor. He entered this season as the consensus No. 1 player in college basketball and a likely lottery pick in the next NBA draft. But he’s averaging 15.2 points and shooting 39.8%, and his stock is falling.
Jackson in ‘contentious’ meeting with not very mellow ‘Melo
Tensions are rising between New York Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony and team president Phil Jackson. Charley Rosen, a retired coach and long-time friend of Jackson, wrote last week in FanRag Sports that Anthony “has outlived his usefulness in New York.” That was about a month after Jackson publicly chided Anthony for hogging the ball. Anthony believes Rosen was expressing the sentiments of Jackson. “If they feel like my time in New York is over,” Anthony said, “I guess that’s a conversation we should have.” ESPN reported that Anthony twice requested a meeting with Jackson before being granted an audience on Tuesday. According to ESPN, the meeting “was far more contentious than previous sit-downs between Jackson and Anthony.” There are rumors of Anthony being traded, but he has a no-trade clause in a contract that has two more seasons after this one.
Dear ‘Melo: When you’ve lost 11 of your last 13 games, you really don’t want a conversation. Dr. Phil has noticed that the team performs better when you’re not playing.