Kizer: It’d help to have veteran QB in room

Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 9:08 AM

Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer
Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer(7)

The Browns might’ve gone one step too far in their youth movement. Surprisingly, it could be at the quarterback position. 

Cleveland jettisoned veterans over the past couple seasons, and most recently dumped signal callers Josh McCown and Brock Osweiler. Osweiler isn’t exactly a prize, but McCown has been serviceable with the Jets and is a renowned locker room presence.

That’s where ditching him may have been a mistake. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, who’s struggled mightily in four losses, admitted having a wiser player to turn to would help.

“It would be valuable to have a guy who has been through this and understands it all,” Kizer said. “But when you have a quarterbacks coach in coach (Hue) Jackson, essentially I already have that. The conversations that we have are more on a personal level where we can share thoughts and create dialogue. It is not just coach talking down to a player. That relationship in itself is something that I have used as a mentor tool, but also, I will go elsewhere. I have some good relationships with guys who have played in this league outside of this locker room, and I try to use them as much as I possibly can.”

The other Browns quarterbacks, Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler, are fellow youthful signal callers. Perhaps Cleveland misjudged the importance of leadership in the second year of a major retool.

James Harrison off inactive list, gets some playing time against Ravens

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 10:14 PM

Pittsburgh Steelers James Harrison made sure that football fans everywhere knows that he wants no parts of warming the bench.

Harrison has not seen any game action for the Steelers since Week 7—that was Oct 22. On Friday he told NBC Sports’ Michele Tafoya that if he had known how little he would be playing, that he would’ve signed somewhere else during the offseason.

He was active for the Steelers’ Sunday Night Football matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, and has also spent some time on the field. NBC Sports’ commentators Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth made sure to point out that he had gotten some playing time.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin did take some time after Harrison’s comments to explain why the former Defensive Player of the Year is not playing more. Tomlin said that game has changed, and they need more out of their outside linebackers than simply rushing the passer.

If this season is the end of the line for the Steelers and Harrison, it has been a great run. Harrison has gone from an undrafted free agent to one of the most accomplished defensive players in a franchise history littered with outstanding defensive players.

Hopefully he gets to end his career in the way that he would like it to end.

Report: Jeremiah Donati to be named TCU’s athletic director

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 10:13 PM

TCU will reportedly go in-house in finding its new athletic director.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Jeremiah Donati will be named TCU’s next director of intercollegiate athletics on Monday, Dec. 11.

Donati has been on the university’s staff since 2011. He served as the director of the TCU Frog Club, the school’s booster program, before being named associate athletics director for development in 2013 — a role which he has since served in.

Former athletic director Chris Del Conte was hired away from TCU by the University of Texas on Saturday after eight years in Fort Worth.

TCU announced earlier on Sunday that an introductory press conference would be held by TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. on Monday afternoon.

Bears run wild over depleted Bengals defense

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 7:32 PM

Tough day for rookie Evans

The Chicago Bears took advantage of a Cincinnati defense depleted by injury, but the Bengals won’t use their personnel changes as an excuse.

After combining for 287 total yards of offense over their last two games, the Bears rolled to a season-high 482 yards in a 33-7 win over the short-handed Bengals on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.


»5 things to know about the loss

»Archdeacon on Nugent’s return

»A.J. Green shoulders blame for shoddy offense

Cincinnati was missing starting linebackers Vontaze Burfict (concussion) and Nick Vigil (ankle) and starting defensive backs Dre Kirkpatrick (concussion), Shawn Williams (hamstring) and Adam Jones, who went on injured reserved Saturday with a groin injury.

“We didn’t execute the game plan,” defensive end Carlos Dunlap said. “I know there are a lot of young guys in (the game), but that’s an excuse, and we don’t use excuses around here.”

The Bears especially seemed to be exploiting the middle of the defense, where the Bengals had just four linebackers available, including two rookies in Jordan Evans and Carl Lawson. Veteran Vincent Rey was just coming back from a hamstring injury that sidelined him the last two games, and Evans had mainly been limited to special teams before Rey’s injury.

Evans finished with a team-high 10 tackles, Rey added six, Kevin Minter, who has started six games, had two tackles and Lawson didn’t have any tackles, but there were several missed tackles, too.

“We gave them some stuff,” Evans said. “They beat us. I’ve personally got to go back and look at the mistakes and make sure they don’t happen again. They took what we gave them, and they took full advantage of it.”

Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky completed 25 of 32 passes for 271 yards and one touchdown, and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis noted “there were a lot” of receivers open in the middle of the field.

“Some new people, some moving parts and, you know, it was not very good,” Lewis said.

Lewis said he couldn’t explain the missed tackles, but emphasized that players have to get off the blocks better. Jordan Howard finished with a game-high 147 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and Kendall Wright led Chicago’s receivers with 107 yards on 10 catches on 11 targets.

“We were staying glued to them and they were kind of grabbing us — we weren’t separating,” Lewis said. “When we separated, they got called for a couple penalties. We didn’t separate early on, so we just expected it to happen.”

Evans said the lack of time playing together as a group in the linebacking corps shouldn’t have been a factor, and having so many young guys in the back end of the defense also isn’t an excuse.

He felt the defense’s struggles were more of a mental lapse.

“You’ve just got to try to make plays and stop them,” Evans said. “Regardless of the situation someone has to step up and make a play. Especially when momentum switches after maybe a turnover or they’ve been running the ball, you’ve just got to step up and make a play.”

Iowa LB Josey Jewell wins 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 10:10 PM

Josey Jewell has been an incredible linebacker at Iowa.

His 2017 season has been recognized by others more than any other year and his latest award helps prove that. On Sunday night, the senior tackling machine won the 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy, given to the country’s top defensive player.

Jewell has been a monster in everything he’s done this season and being called the country’s best defensive player is just the cherry on top. The four-year Hawkeye has recorded 422 total tackles so far in his career to go along with his 10 sacks.

Jewell has registered 121 tackles (13.5 for loss), 4.5 sacks and 11 passes defended this season.