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News and Views

Amari Cooper In Line For 90-Catch Season? Wednesday, May 20, 2015 | Time: 12:22 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: According to's Bill Williamson, we should expect big things from Cooper, who caught an SEC-record 124 passes last year. With a competent Derek Carr throwing his passes, Williamson could see Cooper catching 80-90 passes as a rookie. He will be a top weapon instantly.
Diehards Line: Williamson went on to remind readers the Raiders have been missing a legitimate No. 1 receiver threat for more than a decade. Oakland has had a parade of journeymen play starting receiver in recent years. The last Oakland receiver to gain 1,000 yards? Randy Moss in 2005. And who's standing between Cooper and Williamson's prediction? No one. Cooper already is the Raiders’ best receiver. He will start with veteran free-agent pickup Michael Crabtree.
David Cobb Needs To Drop A Few Pounds Wednesday, May 20, 2015 | Time: 12:20 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: The Titans drafted two running backs they expect to have a big impact on their rush attack this fall. Fourth-round FB Jalston Fowler will help pave the way for other runners but also will get some carries and catches. Fifth-round tailback Cobb could wind up with the most carries of any Titans runner. But after the first practice of rookie minicamp on Friday, coach Ken Whisenhunt said the two needed to get fitter as they get into the flow of things. “A little bit out of shape, which is not uncommon,” Whisenhunt said when asked how the two draft picks looked. “I think that’s part of getting those reps and working on the field.”
Diehards Line: Cobb said he weighed in at 232 pounds and that while the team hadn’t told him a specific number, he wants to be about 225. Fowler said he came in at 255-256 and the team wants him in the 245-250 range. “It’ll be better for us, it’ll help us move more, move quicker and help our breathing,” Fowler said of dropping a few pounds and increasing their fitness. ... Based on what we saw of Bishop Sankey last year, Cobb could be very busy this fall.
Bryce Brown Missing OTAs; RB Falling Behind Wednesday, May 20, 2015 | Time: 12:19 PT |  Reported by the Buffalo News
The Facts: It didn't take Anthony Lynn long Tuesday to expound on what he knows about Brown. Mainly because the team's running backs coach has barely gotten acquainted with him. "I don't know much about him at all," Lynn said of Brown. "I've only met him once."
Diehards Line: At least Lynn knows Brown's name. That's more than HC Rex Ryan pledged to know in March, saying he wouldn't learn it until Brown fixed his issues with fumbling. "Rex has a way of motivating guys and getting his point across," Lynn said. "I think Bryce got the point. I met him once and we talked about it a little bit. I can't wait to get him in here to work on some of those things. He's got to get in the building first." Lynn said Brown is taking care of a personal situation, but that the time he's missing will be difficult to make up. "Bryce is doing what he has to do right now, taking care of his family in the offseason, but yes, it will set him back," the coach said. "I mean, he's five, six weeks behind everyone else. ..." With newcomer LeSean McCoy and veteran Fred Jackson well ahead of him on the depth chart, Brown can't afford to fall too far behind.
Derek Carr Has An Injured Finger; QB Might Need Surgery Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | Time: 5:24 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: Following up on a previous item. ... According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Carr has right ring finger injury that may require surgery.
Diehards Line: Mortensen went on to report that OTAs in question but cites a source as saying the team is optimistic about training camp. HC Jack Del Rio has suggested that Carr has what it takes to be a true franchise QB. "He's shown some of that grit we're looking for, some of that toughness," Del Rio said. "So he's a guy that we feel like we have an opportunity to build around. ..." A consistent running game and game-breaking wide receiver would help immensely. It looks like Latavius Murray can help with the rushing angle; now we'll have to see if rookie Amari Cooper can be the kind of threat that will allow Carr to look further down the field than he did last season, when he finished last among NFL starters with just 5.46 yards per attempt. But making a leap this season will depend greatly on Carr mastering new coordinator Bill Musgrave's offense. The more he's on the field, the better off he'll be in that regard.
NFL Changes Extra Point Rule; PAT Kicks Will Be Longer Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | Time: 5:22 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: One of the NFL’s most staid elements is getting a shake up. Extra points will be snapped from the 15-yard-line beginning in 2015. League owners approved the rules change.
Diehards Line:Two-point conversions will continue to be snapped from the two-yard-line. However, defenses now can return fumbled or intercepted two-point tries for points. Previously, extra points were snapped from the one-yard-line, and the kicks, with very few exceptions, have been drama-lacking events. As PFT suggests, with kickers more accurate than ever, it’s possible moving the conversions to the 15 won’t have much affect on how teams approach post-touchdown scoring attempts.
NFLPA Wants Federal Judge To Hold League In Contempt In Adrian Peterson Case Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | Time: 5:02 PT |  Reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune
The Facts: The National Football League Players Association wants a federal judge in Minneapolis to hold the league in civil contempt of court for the handling of the disciplinary matter involving Peterson. The NFLPA filed the 24-page document Tuesday, requesting a hearing in front of U.S. District Court Judge David Doty. The union accused the league of defying Doty’s order from earlier this year “as though it were a meaningless scrap of paper” because of its recent discipline of another player.
Diehards Line: Doty ruled in February that the league’s retroactive application of a new disciplinary policy to Peterson’s case was a violation of the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players. Peterson was disciplined by the league after he pleaded guilty and was convicted of negligently injuring his 4-year-old son by hitting him with a switch in spring 2014. The NFLPA cited the April suspension of Dallas Cowboys player Greg Hardy for domestic violence as reason for the contempt filing. Like Peterson, Hardy was punished under a disciplinary policy that wasn’t in place when his incident occurred. The NFL has appealed Doty’s ruling to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but briefs are still being filed on that matter and a hearing hasn’t been scheduled. ... This probably won't make much difference to fantasy owners, who should continue to expect Peterson to play with the Vikings this fall.
NFLPA Formally Asks Goodell To Step Aside As Tom Brady's Arbitrator Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | Time: 4:58 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: Patriots owner Robert Kraft may have raised the white flag on Tuesday, but there’s still fights to be had over the DeflateGate discipline the NFL handed down last week. Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension is moving forward and the NFLPA is renewing its push to have someone other than NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell determine Brady’s fate. The union issued a statement “formally” requesting that Goodell step aside as the arbitrator in favor of a neutral party.
Diehards Line:In the wake of Kraft’s announcement Tuesday and reports of “back-channel” talks between the league and the team, many people, including PFT's Mike Florio, have wondered if those backroom talks led to an agreement that Brady’s punishment would be lightened or rescinded altogether. Greg Bedard of Sports Illustrated reported that the league denied any such arrangement, which would work out well for Brady but establish the kind of precedent that’s likely to make the union’s dissatisfaction with Goodell’s role as arbitrator even greater. It’s a right the CBA gives him, though, and there’s been no sign thus far that he’s willing to give it up in this case.
David Carr Missing Time With Unspecified Injury Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | Time: 4:55 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: Carr did not participate in Tuesday's OTA practice, the first of its kind in the final phase of the NFL offseason program. It's uncertain exactly how long Carr has been out, though it's believed that he's missed the last week of offseason work at least. He has, however, been at the practice facility with his teammates. HC Jack Del Rio would not discuss Carr's injury, or any other for that matter.
Diehards Line: Unlike the regular season, Del Rio is not obligated to disclose injuries at this time and has sworn to stay quiet in that regard. Carr was on the practice field, but he did not wear a helmet or cleats for the session. Del Rio wouldn't elaborate on a timetable for Carr's absence, but didn't seem overly concerned by it at this stage. "Time missed in May is better than time missed in September," Del Rio said. "You're often more capable of taking whatever time is necessary to make sure you put things behind you." Primary backup Christian Ponder took first-team reps, with Matt McGloin and Cody Fajardo after him. ... We'll follow up as needed.
Saints Release Shayne Graham Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | Time: 2:12 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: The Saints didn’t need three kickers, so they got rid of the older and more expensive one. The team announced they had released Graham.
Diehards Line: The Saints added second-year kicker Zach Hocker after a tryout at last weekend’s rookie minicamp, and also have Dustin Hopkins on the roster. Graham kicked for them last year, and they re-signed him in February. But they apparently weren’t pleased with something that transpired in the three months since. Of course, they’ve brought him back before, cutting him before the 2014 regular season opener, and bringing him back three days later.
Kraft: Patriots Will Not Appeal Sanctions; Tom Brady Still Will Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | Time: 12:18 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: Following up on the ongoing story. ... Owner Robert Kraft told reporters at the NFL Owners meeting in San Francisco that the Patriots will not appeal discipline against his team. He does so "reluctantly."
Diehards Line: The Patriots were fined $1 million and docked a pair of draft picks in the wake of the Deflategate controversy. Kraft, citing his desire to put the league and his 31 partners over his own best interest, explained that he "wants to take the issue off the agenda." That said, Tom Brady's appeal of his 4-game suspension will go on. ... Stay tuned on that.