DeAngelo Hall says ref just as much to blame for incident

DeAngelo Hall could face a possible suspension from the NFL after he was ejected from Sunday’s game following an incident with an official.

But the veteran Washington Redskins cornerback says – guess what – the official “was equally at fault.”

Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that Hall said head linesman Dana McKenzie was verbally abusive during the confrontation that the NFL is now reviewing. Hall could be suspended or he could get off with just a fine. He was ejected from the game and has a history of issues. According to Maske, the NFL is reviewing the situation. Hall is seeking a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to explain his side and the entire incident started after he felt Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders delivered a cheap shot to him. There was no penalty called on Sanders.

“From that particular camera angle you can’t see what that ref’s saying to me,” Hall said on 106.7 The Fan, according to the report. “So it looks like I’m just out there giving him a piece of my mind and he’s smiling and walks away. And that’s not the case at all. He’s dishing it out just as much as I’m dishing it out.

“That’s why we want to sit down with the commissioner. We want to tell our side of the story, just like them. It shouldn’t be a situation where he’s saying I said one thing, I’m telling you I said this and it’s he said, she said. I’m not a criminal. I’ve never been in trouble with the law. I’m a great guy. Like I said, off the field I’m a different person, you know what I mean, than I am on the field.

“We’re just trying to get every point of view, make sure we get as much proof as possible that happened in that situation and bring it to the forefront so we can come up with the right solution handed down to both sides.

“Looking back on it, you’d obviously change everything, you know what I mean? That’s kind of how it works in society. If you could go back and change things, you would. But there’s nothing I can do to take that particular play back or what happened after the fact. All we can do from my point of view and from the referee’s point of view, and the NFL and NFLPA, is try to figure out a solution so that problem doesn’t happen again. They’re the good cops and we’re the criminals. It has to be an even playing field, a level playing field. If they want us to go out there and respect them, they have to do the same thing.”

It’s going to be difficult for Hall to win this argument. If he’s lucky, there is only a fine involved and not a suspension. That would be very damaging to his team. The wheels of justice are spinning slowly because the NFL office has been closed the previous two days because of Hurricane Sandy.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Michael Vick keeps his starting job

Michael Vick remains the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.

The team announced this morning that coach Andy Reid has said he will not make a change, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Eagles will return to practice on Thursday as they prepare for Monday night’s game at New Orleans. Reid, who fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo before the team’s bye week, did not give Vick much of a backing following the team’s 30-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at home on Sunday.

Speculation was Reid would turn to rookie Nick Foles, who was impressive during preseason. But giving Foles his first shot in a road game in a loud dome like the one in New Orleans probably didn’t make a lot of sense. So, Vick keeps his job for now with an urgency to get things turned around.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

How does Jerry Jones feel about 3-4 Cowboys? 'Well, I'm sick'

It’s been 17 years since the Dallas Cowboys have been to the Super Bowl and owner Jerry Jones had publicly shared his hopes this team would end his long drought.

The Cowboys’ comeback effort on Sunday was dashed by the New York Giants and they are now 3-4 and sputtering in the NFC. The good news is the race is wide open at the midpoint of the season. The bad news is injuries have piled up for the Cowboys and they have not shown any consistency.

Well, I'm sick,” Jones said on his radio show on KRLD-FM on Tuesday, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It is just very disappointing. I'm very disappointed, but not discouraged at all. I have a lot of confidence in Jason Garrett and I have a lot of confidence in our coaching staff. I know that we're continuing to make improvement in all these areas.”

When Jones talks repeatedly about having “confidence” in his coaching staff you begin to wonder if one of the things missing is his confidence in the staff. Jones also said it’s no surprise that the club has been booed at Cowboys Stadium, not with the expectations that were attached to this year’s team.

“We all know that for whatever the reason, we put it up on our screen and we also had Jason up there and I'm not sure if Tony (Romo) was up there or not, but that gives a good opportunity to create some kind of reminder that we're not playing well, and those are the people responsible for not playing well.

“I accept that and I understand it. I'm not saying that it doesn't hurt to get booed, but that just goes with it.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Jeff Fisher says Steve Jackson isn't going anywhere

There have been plenty of rumors floated over the last two weeks of some star-name players that could be traded before the deadline, which was pushed back to Thursday this week because of Hurricane Sandy.

What fun would it be if backup players that are not easily recognized were rumored anyway?

But St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher moved to put an end to one, saying that veteran running back Steven Jackson is not going anywhere.

The Steven Jackson rumors are rumors,” Fisher said Tuesday night, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He’s our running back. We’re not calling around, nor are we getting calls for that matter. Put that to rest.”

Jackson wasn’t heavily involved in the 45-7 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday. He got only seven carries but Fisher said that wasn’t because Jackson was being replaced in the offense or rested to make certain he was healthy for a trade.

“We’re going to lean on Jack down the stretch,” Fisher said.

The Rams need something to lean on. Perhaps that is why they are not entertaining offers for Jackson. Plus, he is earning $7 million this season and that would be a lot of money to take on. The Rams re-did Jackson’s contract and he will be a free agent after the season. With Jackson set to be a free agent, that would make it tough for contending teams to feel they were getting value for a mid-round draft pick, as was rumored.

We’ll see where Jackson winds up in the offseason but Fisher says he is staying put for now.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Jags acquiring Tebow unlikely, despite report

A report from Jacksonville that the Jaguars were looking into acquiring hometown hero Tim Tebow at the trade deadline appears to have no foundation.

However, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, who is pretty plugged in to the New York Jets, says the two teams have had no disscussions regarding Tebow.

The Jaguars had a chance to trade for Tebow when Denver made him available in the off-season before he was dealt to New York.

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Julio vs. Nnamdi

Click here for the entire Inside the Playbook series.

On Sunday, Julio Jones ran past Nnamdi Asomugha on the straight 9 (fade) route for a 63-yard TD in the Falcons’ 30-17 win over the Eagles. But why did the Philly CB get beat? And where was the FS help over the top?

Using some screen shots from the TV copy and the All-22 cut-ups, let’s take a look at the play—and it all starts with the release at the line of scrimmage.

Press Alignment


The majoirty of DB coaches want to see their players in a parallel stance at the line of scrimmage when they show a press-look. Here, Asomugha is aligned in a staggered stance (I have seen that coached before). However, look at this hands. As a DB in press, you don’t want your hands low and at the hips. All that does is waste time while you bring them back up and get in a position to re-direct the release. Keep your hands high at the snap, get in an athletic stance and be ready to jam the WR.

False Step


Look at the left foot of Asomugha. This is called a “false step.” You don’t want to step to the line of scrimmage as it forces you to “squat” and widen your base—making it tough to transition. Stay square on the release.

“Opening The Gate”


Instead of using a “mirror” technique, sliding his feet and punching with the inside hand (vs. the outside release), Asomugha opens the hips (called “opening the gate”). And vs. a WR with 4.3 top end speed, you don’t want this to turn into a foot race. That’s too easy. Get something on the reciever and don't allow a free release outside of the numbers.

“Arm Bar”


Asomugha is in a “trail” position because of his technique at the line of scrimmage and can’t get over the top of Jones to “stack” on the 9 route. What’s the next move? Use the “arm-bar” and try to pin the WR into the boundary to limit his ability to get down the field. However, we have to talk about strength with Jones along with his vertical speed. Asomugha does get some contact down the field, but you want to get that arm lower (on the inside hip). Jones is too strong and will run right through this.

“Separation Speed”


Separation speed. We talk about all the time throughout the draft process and on Sundays. When the ball is in the air, who can go get it? This is the exact point where Jones pulls away from Asomugha and separates down the field. And Matt Ryan puts this ball out there for his WR to go make a play.

Safety Help?


FS Nate Allen is playing the deep middle of the field. He is coached to read the QB and break at an angle that allows him to play the deep ball on (or outside) of the numbers. The problem here is the initial break, depth and angle from the middle of the field alignment. Allen takes a flat angle on his break and isn’t playing deep enough to get over the top of the 9 route. Basic rule for the FS position: add depth vs. speed. If you normally align at 15 yards, get to 18-20 yards at the snap and give yourself some room to play with. You can always break downhill and make a tackle…but you can’t recover vs. the deep ball if you sit short.


Allen is now taking an upfield angle to the ball. Tough spot to be in for the FS (after Asomugha gave up the free release), but Allen should be in a position to at least make a tackle here after the catch. Get the WR on the ground and live to see another play.


The finish. Something you don’t want to see from a defensive perspective at any level of football: two guys trailing the 9 route in Cover 1.

Is this more than a lack of technique with Asomugha?

I don’t think it is. Remember, even in the NFL the top players have to rely on their technique. There is no question Jones is a tough matchup because of his ability to get down the field. I get that. However, technique will beat speed and ability. And when we go back to the release, it’s easy to see why Asomugha couldn’t hang vs. the deep ball. If you want to play Jones in the vertical route tree, it has to start at the line of scrimmage with solid technique. That gives you a chance.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattBowen41

McKinnie calls strip club lawsuit 'bogus'

Baltimore Ravens tackle Bryant McKinnie called a lawsuit that he owes $375,000 in a strip club tab in South Florida “bogus,” according to the Baltimore Sun.

“I got no papers, I was never served,” McKinnie told the newspaper. “I just called my lawyer about this because this is a bogus story. I just read the article. [Young] was working at those places and he’s tried to borrow money from me.

“People can put anything out there. What strip club gives you a $375,000 tab? It just sounds stupid to me. I've never heard of this in my life. This is bogus to me. For it to be even reported is stupid to me.”

McKinnie's wages are already being garnished this season because he defaulted on a $4.5 million lockout loan.

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Chalk talk video: Gronkowski vs. Rams' Cover 2

Click here for the entire Inside the Playbook series.

On Monday, we looked at the Patriots’ offense and Rob Gronkowski vs. the Rams’ Cover 3 (three-deep, four-under zone) in the red zone. Two inside seam routes that put stress on the FS in the middle of the field.

Today, let’s get up on the chalkboard and breakdown Tom Brady’s TD pass to the TE vs. St. Louis’ Cover 2 defense inside of the 10-yard line.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattBowen41

Jaguars deal receiver Thomas to Lions

The Jacksonville Jaguars are clearly in rebuilding mode with just one win this season.

On Tuesday, the Jaguars began doing some dealing, trading receiver Mike Thomas to the Detroit Lions, per The Lions were looking for help at the position, having lost Nate Burleson for the season.

There is no word yet on what the Jaguars will receive as compensation, but the chances are good that it is a future draft pick.

Thomas might not be familiar with the Lions' offense, but he should be plenty familiar with his first opponent wearing Honolulu Blue. The Lions face the Jaguars on Sunday.

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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for

Bucs place Carl Nicks on injured reserve

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got a long week after defeating the Minnesota Vikings last Thursday and it’s been long in more ways than one.

First, it was reported over the weekend that cornerback Eric Wright is expected to be lost to a four-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Then, the club announced this afternoon that Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks, a major free-agent addition, has been placed on season-ending injured reserve with a toe injury.

He is the second guard to go down this season as Tampa already lost Davin Joseph. It’s going to make things much more challenging for the young team.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune