Dolphins suspend LB Lawrence Timmons after he went AWOL

The Dolphins have suspended linebacker Lawrence Timmons indefinitely for going AWOL in Los Angeles one day before Sunday’s win over the Chargers.

Miami filed a missing persons report for the 31-year-old after he failed to show up for the matchup with the Chargers. He was reportedly found at the airport waiting to board a plane to Philadelphia early Sunday morning.

Timmons left the Steelers after 10 seasons to sign a two-year, $10 million deal to play for the Dolphins. He had played in 101 consecutive games before missing Sunday’s game.

And yet, I’m not sure it really matters. Pittsburgh’s loss didn’t hurt at all given what happened around the AFC North. The Browns blew their best chance at a road win by losing to the Colts, dropping Cleveland to 0-3. The Bengals couldn’t hold onto a 21-7 lead in Green Bay and lost to the Packers in overtime, leaving them in the cellar alongside the Browns at 0-3. Baltimore, without arguably its best player on offense (guard Marshal Yanda, who’s on IR) or defense (defensive lineman Brandon Williams), were stomped by the Jaguars in London by 37 points.

Pittsburgh came into the week with a 56.9 percent chance of winning its division and, despite the loss, left with a 73.3 percent chance of claiming its division. The Steelers have time to figure things out.

Burns are exciting too, right? Von Miller’s now-infamous “too slow” move seemed like a bizarre act to flag given that he never actually touched Tyrod Taylor after the play, but the call was enough to push a back-and-forth game Buffalo’s way. The Bills were set to punt the ball from the Denver 46-yard line with 7:43 to go in the fourth quarter up seven, but the fresh set of downs revitalized Taylor’s offense. Buffalo picked up two more first downs and forced Denver to burn all of its timeouts before kicking a field goal with 3:18 left to make it a 10-point game and basically end the contest.

Siemian did a great job getting the ball into the hands of his playmakers.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing. Siemian fumbled, but that was probably more on Menelik Watson for his poor blocking. He had a bad interception. That was completely on him. It looked like a busted play that should have been a run. It almost seemed like he thought he called a pass play, but everyone else played it as a run. When he let the ball go, Demaryius Thomas had no idea the ball was coming. The whole play felt off.

Even with a few miscues, and an injury to Bolles, the offense was on fire. Nobody thought the Broncos would have the ball enough to score 35 offensive points. And most people still don’t see the Broncos offense as a real threat. That should change in the coming weeks.

Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both had 6 catches. Thomas went for 71 yards, while Sanders went for 62 and 2 touchdowns. Virgil Green and C.J. Anderson had the other touchdowns.

He left his feet and fully extended his 6-foot-2 frame in an attempt to haul in Taylor’s last-ditch pass, but the ball glanced off his hands and fell harmlessly to the ground.

The Bills were denied a 2-0 start and sole possession of first place in the AFC East. A dejected Jones, who fought back tears following the loss, blamed himself for the lack of execution on the throw.

“It’s very tough, especially because of the guys in this locker room. I play my heart out for them and absolutely love (them). It’s really difficult. I let my team down. I didn’t get the job done,” said Jones. “I play my heart out for them, and absolutely love (them). It is just really difficult right now. … Coach saw a good opportunity to capitalize on the defense. Tyrod made a good throw and I just didn’t come down with the catch. The ball just came my way and I didn’t make the play. I think it was a pretty good thrown ball. I just didn’t make the catch. It just didn’t bounce my way.”

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Let’s dive into some of those completions.

This first play is something that should fire up Rams fans. Goff is under center, turns his back to fake a handoff to Gurley, squares around, and without hesitation, throws a dart for a completion.

This is important because it shows that Goff read the defense correctly, and knew the timing of the route. There was zero doubt when he turned around, he was slinging the rock into that open window. This is much improved from last season.

Straight up, I’ll take the Chiefs to win this one. That was a really impressive performance in last week’s win over the Patriots. And I love watching this bastardized high school offense.

However, the Chiefs lost Eric Berry last week. They already had a weak spot in the secondary on Terrance Mitchell’s side of the field. Take Berry out of the secondary, and it’s a real vulnerability.

The Browns are 1-10-1 against the spread when they play their AFC North peers. But now the Browns are approaching true peer status with the rest of the division. Hell, they’re better than the Bengals. The Ravens are not an impressive team. Covering an 8-point spread against an improving Browns team is too much of a lift.

Hmmm. I was pretty hyped about the Titans this year. I was pretty hyped about the Jaguars last year, and look how that turned out. You can find spreads as high as three points, but in a straight pick ‘em, I’ll take the Jags’ defense.

A little closer spread and I’d probably take the Vikings. I don’t expect Le’Veon Bell to be as much of a non-factor this week as he was last week, and the Steelers are just a safer bet at home than they are on the road. Plus, Sam Bradford’s now dealing with a knee injury.
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NFL picks 2017, Week 2: Experts expect Cowboys and Raiders to keep rolling

Our panel found a consensus last week: The Jets and the Colts are not well regarded. OK, so you probably didn’t need eight football experts and a computer to tell you that.

The pro game isn’t the only place you’ll see these tents. The University of Alabama was a pioneer in creating private examination spaces, using its own tent throughout the 2015 season and even bringing it to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Other schools, including Clemson, Ohio State, and Florida State, soon followed.

The tents made their NFL debut in the 2017 Hall of Fame Game between the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys.

The NFL officially adopted the practice back in May at the league’s spring meetings.

“It’s an opportunity for us to have a better examination because it will ensure privacy for a short period of time, so doctors can go ahead and make the appropriate diagnosis,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in May.

While these tents won’t solve the league’s concussion crisis, they will aid doctors and staffers while providing players with the dignity of an evaluation away from prying eyes. Early diagnosis is a major factor in preventing the future injuries that can derail careers and lives. An environment that provides fewer distractions and more latitude for on-the-spot evaluations is a step in the right direction — albeit a small one.
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It wasn’t a fluke: Giants’ offense wasn’t ready for 2017

As he marched onto the MetLife Stadium field Monday night, Tom Coughlin did not come across like a man one day removed from losing a football game by three touchdowns. The overlord of the Jacksonville Jaguars had two good reasons to project the radiant, puffed-chest vibe of someone who had just won the Super Bowl:

1. He would hold the Lombardi Trophy in his hands during a halftime ceremony honoring the 10-year anniversary of his New York Giants’ epic victory over the 18-0 New England Patriots.

2. He would watch live as the former assistant who replaced him, Ben McAdoo, coached like a hopeless rookie at the start of his sophomore year.

“I feel that a lot of stuff goes into play when it comes to who gets fired and hired,” Moss told The Fan. “It’s all about numbers. But regardless of what went on when it came down to those decisions of why those guys was gone, it was almost like that was on him, that he took that to say, ‘Well, hey. That’s what happens when you mess with me.’ And that’s how we felt. We saw it live, in person, up in front.”

Moss said his anger about this topic stems in part from his respect for Shanahan, who moved him to slot receiver to help extend his career.

“For me to share that with you,” Moss said on the show, “it was bothering me, because I never forgot it. Because these are the one guys that believed in what I was doing and how I was doing things and said, ‘Hey, this is what I’m going to do to take this off of you and allow you to be able to be here more, and longer, so you can be the player that I want you to be.’ And then these guys are gone for doing nothing.”

“I was always bitter about it because I saw it live,” Moss added, “that these guys was gone because of one guy.”
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Elliott will remain eligible to play at least until the lawsuit is settled.

Carr is still the one who drives the Oakland offense, but Lynch’s job is to pull victories into the garage. Along the way, he’s there to create options both downfield and in the red zone for Carr. With that line and the unrelenting Lynch, it’s hard to commit an extra defender to stopping the power run, with the threat of Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and new difference-making tight end Jared Cook occupying secondary attention.

Without seeing stacked boxes, Lynch is the perfect complement. During his best days in Seattle, the offense fed off him getting carry after carry to break the will of the defense. As a 31-year-old, the thought of him as a complementary cog is terrifying. The Raiders got it right with his touches in the 15-to-20 range. That’s plenty for him to be effective and consistently give Carr a favorable matchup in the passing game.

The Cleveland police department, meanwhile, made it clear in a statement to the Huffington Post that the union is acting on its own by deciding not to participate.

“The union does not speak for the Division,” public information officer Jennifer Ciaccia said. “The Division of Police is in no way boycotting the Browns, nor denying participation in events with our officers.”

Two years ago, a district court vacated Tom Brady’s Deflategate suspension, but a higher court reinstated it on appeal. Still, the time it took meant that Brady was able to be on the field for the entire 2015 season.

Unless the appeals court overturns the lower court’s ruling, Elliott will remain eligible to play at least until the lawsuit is settled. If the injunction is overturned, Elliott’s six-game suspension will begin immediately.

The Broncos survived the Chargers’ late surge 24-21 — thanks to a block of a field-goal attempt to avoid overtime. It was a great reboot of the teams’ rivalry, and a reminder that the AFC West is the NFL’s toughest division in 2017.
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Johnny Hekker’s amazing trick punt was the best special teams play of Week 1

You don’t think about punters very much. That’s OK. We’re here to think about punters for you and spread the gospel of the NFL’s most awesome ones. This week we’re discussing Rams punter Johnny Hekker, who was pulling off some punting trickery this week against the hapless Colts.

Hekker punted five times in the Rams’ 46-9 win over the Colts. All five of his punts were downed inside the 20, one of them at the 10-yard line and two more inside of that.

Hekker’s been a secret weapon of sorts for the Rams since joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2012. And the way those teams, under head coach Jeff Fisher, played, he got a lot of work punting.

Rees Odhiambo, a third-round pick by Seattle in 2016, won the left tackle job after George Fant went down with a torn ACL in preseason play. Justin Britt is at center, Mark Glowinski is at right guard, and Germain Ifedi has shifted from guard to right tackle this season. But this unit doesn’t look much better than last year’s.

It allowed three sacks on Sunday, and Wilson was under so much pressure that he couldn’t get into a rhythm. He finished with just 158 yards and a fumble, and this play sums up why:

Wilson’s protectors are literally chasing behind the Packers defenders they were totally incapable of blocking.

“If I did, I probably left my sister to do it very quickly and moved on,” Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday of his babysiting services. “His dad was my hero growing up. I was close with Ed and his wife Lisa. That’s really why I wore 87 in college. Ed was the man. I knew all his sons. They were a lot younger when I knew them, but they’ve all turned out to be pretty good athletes and real good people.”

T.J. Watt started his NFL career with stats his brother J.J. has never had in a game

It can be tough to be a little brother and even tougher when your older brother sets the bar ridiculously high. T.J. Watt’s play spoke for itself at Wisconsin and helped get the linebacker drafted in the first round this year. But his big debut with the Pittsburgh Steelers spoke even louder.

In his first NFL game, Watt posted two sacks and an interception in Pittsburgh’s 21-18 win over the Cleveland Browns. He also led the team with five solo tackles.

He has a long way to go before he steps out of the shadow of his brother, J.J. Watt, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and one of the most popular players in the NFL. But never in J.J.’s career has he had two sacks and an interception in a game.

“This young man gives us hope,” Jackson said, via “He gives you an opportunity to make plays. When I looked up, the game was 21-10, and here we are in the fourth quarter with a chance to win the game late in the game, and that’s because of some plays he made. So that’s what you expect out of your quarterback, and we’re talking about a young rookie quarterback who’s one of the youngest players in the league at that position.

“So that’s exciting for me. I think it’s exciting for our organization. Now that was one game. He’s got to continue to grow and get better and continue to show improvement and progress week in and week out. But we played against a good football team [Sunday]. That wasn’t somebody who just walked in and played against us. That was the Pittsburgh Steelers. I thought he represented himself well.”

Browns fans will be pleased with the fact that second-year wide receiver Corey Coleman hauled in Kizer’s touchdown. Coleman was known as a touchdown demon at Baylor, but injuries and inconsistent quarterback pay led to a disappointing rookie campaign.

The continued development of Kizer should help Coleman reach his full potential, while also opening up running lanes for Isaiah Crowell.