Jay Gruden: Stop Calling Me Fat

Washington is such a hilarious disaster, man. We’re not even done with the preseason, but the starting quarterback is shell-shocked and fed up, and the head coach is talking like a man who’s already in the middle of a 3-13 campaign. Here’s what Jay Gruden had to say to the press yesterday (via the Washington Post):

Coach Jay Gruden, left, observes quarterback Robert Griffin III during warm ups in Cleveland Aug. 13. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

That’s all we’re trying to preach as coaches, man. Block out the negativity surrounding this franchise, and it’s our job as a football staff and football team to go out and change the perception of this franchise. That’s what we’re trying to do. But we have to go out there and prove it and do it to get the negativity out of here.

This team is 0-0! This is a time when coaches and players and fans are supposed to be feeling optimistic, not openly talking about the organization’s poisoned by negativity. Gruden went on to say he was taking all of the criticism that’s been lobbed at him in stride, but he’s not cool with people calling him fat:

“I really dislike the guy that called me a fat ass,” Gruden said with a laugh, referring to CBS Sports radio host Scott Ferrall. “That really ticked me off. I don’t mind you critiquing my coaching style, but to make fun of my weight, that’s unfair. I’m only 225 [pounds]. But other than that, man, it’s football.

The quarterback hates his life, everyone hates the team, and the head coach is publicly responding to fat jokes made at his expense. What a franchise.


Do the Washington Redskins need to change their name?

Redskins planning stadium, won’t change nickname for move back to D.C.

Redskins president dismisses name change for new stadium
FILE – In this Dec. 31, 2014 file photo, Washington Redskins President and General Manager Bruce Allen speaks to reporters during an NFL football news conference at the Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va. Allen says the Washington Redskins will not reconsider whether to change the team’s nickname if it becomes a political barrier to building a new stadium. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

The Washington Redskins almost instantly didn’t like their stadium in Landover, Md., which must really stink for the taxpayers who paid $70.5 million for “land, sewer lines, highway interchanges and other infrastructure” for FedEx Field, opened in 1997.

The $180 million stadium itself was privately financed, but isn’t as nice as many of the NFL stadiums that have been built since. So the Redskins want a new stadium and are working on it now, even though their FedEx Field lease runs through 2026. It’s probably smart to get a jump on it now because it seems like there will be many layers of political battles along the way.

Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. are possible locations for the stadium, but those who enjoy nostalgia and accuracy and want the Washington Redskins back in Washington might not get their wish. Team president Bruce Allen reiterated that the team will not change its controversial nickname if that’s a stipulation for them to move back to D.C.

He was asked if the team would consider changing its name to facilitate the move.

“No,” Allen said, according to CSN Washington.

So that’s that.

If the Redskins moved back to Washington D.C. it would almost certainly have to be on the site of old RFK Stadium. That land is owned by the National Park Service, which leased it to the city for the next 22 years, according to ESPN.com. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell is against the team’s nickname. So without a team name change, a move to D.C. might not be possible, because that department would need to approve the move. The nickname doesn’t seem to be such a big deal in neighboring states; ESPN points out that governors in Virginia and Maryland say they won’t pressure the team to change its name to move there. CSN Washington did say that some officials in Maryland have issues with the name, and the political climate in Virginia could change by the time serious stadium negotiations take place.

None of this is going to happen immediately, so the poor Redskins will have to grind it out for some more years in their 18-year-old stadium. The team is just starting talks with various government leaders, but wants to get the process going now because sometimes squeezing taxpayers of money to help out a billion-dollar team the process can take a while.

“Building a stadium is different than building a house,” Allen said, according to the Washington Times. “We wanted to get ahead of it and start doing the preliminary work. It’s not going to be a new stadium in the next 48 months, so we don’t have to worry about that.”

So, are the Washington Redskins racist or a sporting exception?

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him atshutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!


Does Geno Smith get a free pass because of his broken jaw?

Geno Smith and IK Enemkpali Broke the 1st Rule of NFL Fight Club

Geno Smith and IK Enemkpali Broke the 1st Rule of NFL Fight Club

 The story goes like this: One practice, Bill Parcells, while coaching the Giants, got into an argument with the best linebacker of all time, Lawrence Taylor. It was heated. Then more heated. Then, it got physical.

Eventually, and incredibly, the two men ended up on the ground, scuffling and wrestling, until the fight was broken up. This happened in front of the entire team. Players watched incredulously. Taylor was 6’3″ and 240 pounds of steel. Parcells, well, wasn’t. Imagine seeing that. Imagine if that happened now, in the Twitter world.

Both Parcells and Taylor are in the Hall of Fame, and years later, Parcells can chuckle about the fight. What was most important about it was the two men followed the cardinal rule of football fights: Put them behind you, don’t let them fester, don’t let them destroy the relationship. They would repair the damage, even have more fights, but the fights never drained their closeness and desire to be unified.

“I loved him like a son—and still do,” Parcells said in an email to me, confirming the incident. “But we had a couple of scuffles. But no matter how bad it was between us, he always stood next to me on Sunday for the national anthem. That was his way of telling me he was with me. We were still pals.”

Ray Stubbeline/Associated Press

In the NFL, the greats—like Parcells and Taylor—when they fight, they let it go. The smart players, the smart coaches, they let it go.

Fights during NFL games and practices have been around for decades, maybe since football’s beginnings. Some of the stories are as entertaining as the games. There’s been player vs. player. Coach vs. coach. Player vs. coach.

Recently, there was this fight. And this fight. And fights on top of fights on top of fights. There was once even a fight on an airplane.

Some fights are even orchestrated. Before Parcells’ Giants played Buffalo in the Super Bowl, the Giants coach was concerned about a lethargic practice the team was having. So Parcells had an idea. As the Star-Ledger‘s Jerry Izenberg relayed, Parcells called Taylor to the sideline and asked Taylor to start a fight. Taylor punched 300-pound Jumbo Elliott, and Parcells got his fight—and a better practice from that point on.

The difference between those fights and what happened this week with the New York Jets is that most fights happen on the practice field or inside a stadium during a game (fight on the aircraft aside). That’s why what happened between Geno Smith and IK Enemkpali, where Smith had his jaw broken during a locker room clash, is so unusual.

One seven-year veteran told Bleacher Report he’s never seen a locker room fight—or even witnessed teammates upset enough to get into one. Fights on the field? Yes. Locker room fights? Almost never.

That cannot be emphasized enough. Locker room fights are rare. Injuries from locker room fights are rarer. Injuries from locker room fights are equivalent to a Bigfoot sighting. A severe injury, like a broken jaw, from a locker room fight is like seeing Bigfoot on the hood of a UFO. A star, the quarterback, missing a month or more because of a locker room fight is like seeing Bigfoot land a UFO on Atlantis.

Raiders offensive lineman Donald Penn told San Jose Mercury Newscolumnist Tim Kawakami that what happened to Smith wouldn’t happen to his quarterback, Derek Carr. “That would never happen here,” Penn said. He also noted, “If someone did that to Carr, they’d have to see me next. And then probably the rest of the O-line. That would never happen here.”

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio was asked about the Jets incident, and his answer echoed those of other players and coaches interviewed for this story.

“I hope we don’t have anything like that going,” Del Rio said Wednesday. “We are human beings. Human beings sometimes make mistakes but we certainly don’t want to see that.”

Del Rio, who was a player in college and the NFL and is on his second head coaching stint, was asked if he’s ever seen anything like that. Here’s what he said:

Not quite with the quarterback. I mean, I’ve seen guys get in fights before. Things happen. People have disagreements, sometimes they’re not able to settle them peacefully, and aggressive men—sometimes it can go the wrong way.

But our guys have been great. We’re learning how to practice against each other. I think they’re being very competitive, but we’re taking care of each other. We want to challenge each other and compete in everything we do. We want to be respectful of what we’re all really here for, what this is all about. … I just can’t imagine anybody feeling that way toward Derek, so it’s just a shocking thing to see from afar.

What we’ve learned in the several days since the fight is that the Jets violated the cardinal rule of football disagreements: Patch things up, or they will get worse.

That is, in some ways, a life rule. But it is extremely important in a violent team sport like football, where testosterone levels and egos are stratospheric, and where cooperation and closeness are key.

“Fights on the field happen,” veteran Jay Feely told me. “That’s where they need to stay, or they fester.”

Two different Jets team officials confirmed what former player Ryan Clark, who knows Enemkpali, said on ESPN’s Mike and Mike this week: Smith was supposed to attend a camp for Enemkpali, and Enemkpali paid approximately $600 for a plane ticket. Then someone close to Smith died, and Smith couldn’t attend the event.

Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

About $3 million of Smith’s rookie deal is guaranteed. He could afford to pay back a $600 ticket. But, those sources explained, he refused to and then, several months ago, basically told Enemkpali he’d, as one source said, “pay him when he paid him.”

And there’s the festering part. The two didn’t squash the beef, and it lingered. That led to the violent confrontation and Enemkpali’s ouster from the team. They broke the first and only rule of NFL fights. They let the disagreement linger.

I’m told by several different team and league sources that head coaches across the sport are using the Jets as a teachable moment. (Though the Jets teaching anyone anything other than how to provide comic relief is frightening.)

The coaches will likely be sending similar messages: When it comes to arguments and differences and fights, put it all behind you.

If that doesn’t happen, then the punches might keep flying.


Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.

NFL Fantasy Football Overvalued Players

Matt Forte's fantasy value could be overvalued with a new coach in town

If there’s one mistake to avoid, it’s picking players who are valued higher than they should be. Of course there’s no way of knowing for sure what a player will accomplish this upcoming season, but there are underlying factors that should be mentioned to at least quell some of the hype that’s been put out there.

After all, this is football, and crazy things happen before and during a season. Just ask all the Adrian Petersonowners from a year ago. Sure that’s a completely different case, but there are circumstances that should make you think about why these guys are going as high as they are. To help, we’ve asked our featured experts to name players at each position who are overvalued.

Expert Pick Recap

Expert Overvalued QB Overvalued RB Overvalued WR
Kevin Roberts (Breaking Football) Russell Wilson (SEA) Matt Forte (CHI) Antonio Brown (PIT)
Liz Loza (Yahoo) Drew Brees (NO) Carlos Hyde (49ers) Kevin White (CHI)
Eric Moody (FFLockerRoom) Cam Newton (CAR) Todd Gurley (STL) Emmanuel Sanders (DEN)
Wayne Bretsky (BretskyBall) Russell Wilson (SEA) Todd Gurley (STL) Kelvin Benjamin (CAR)

Q1. Name the RB you believe is the most overvalued according to our RB ADP Rankings and tell us why you feel that way.

Matt Forte (CHI)
Consensus RB ADP: #6
“Forte isn’t going to be as good as he was in 2014 or really as good as we’re accustomed to seeing. Marc Trestman’s system ballooned his value at an insane rate. He caught 70+ balls (102 last year) in each of the past two years and had previously topped even 57 just once. Now 29 and never a huge touchdown scorer, I think Forte as the 6th best RB is a reach. In a new system with a somewhat reduced role, I’m looking at Forte as the 11th best back with a possible decline on its way. The hit will be felt more in PPR leagues, but in general I think Forte regresses a bit.”
Kevin Roberts (Breaking Football)

Todd Gurley (STL)
Consensus RB ADP: #20
“He is less than a year removed from ACL surgery. Gurley’s ADP represents a great deal of optimism from the fantasy community. Hope is not a strategy. I would prefer to draft other players with the same amount of upside at his current ADP. Tre Mason will be more valuable than many people think. The Rams are not going to rush Gurley back onto the field.”
Eric Moody (FFLockerRoom)

“Rookie Todd Gurley, currently coming off the board as the 20th running back on average, is a dicey proposition as he hobbles his way into his first NFL season. While it’s difficult to set high expectations for any rookie, it is even more tough to envision one (even an immensely talented one) having success after missing much of the preseason while rehabbing a torn ACL. Gurley is unlikely to have a large role in the early part of the season and the presence of 2014 breakout Tre Mason will give the Rams the ability to work him in slowly as we move into the fall. Pass on Gurley as the RB20 and look further down the list to potential bell cows Joseph Randle, LaGarrette Blount, Doug Martin or Chris Ivory as your second or third back.”
Wayne Bretsky (BretskyBall)

Carlos Hyde (49ers)
Consensus RB ADP: #17
“There are a lot of question marks surrounding the 49ers. One thing we do know is that they’re going to have to pass. A lot. That means a less than optimal game script for Hyde. With rumors of Geep Chryst leaning towards a committee approach, I’m backing off of Hyde.”
Liz Loza (Yahoo)

Q2. Name the WR you believe is the most overvalued according to our WR ADP Rankings and tell us why you feel that way.

Kelvin Benjamin (CAR)
Consensus WR ADP: #14
“Benajmin put together a phenomenal season during his 2014 rookie campaign, showing ability to win downfield and make plays for his quarterback. He also flashed inconsistency at times, proving to be a raw route runner with questionable hands. Down the stretch last season, the Panthers got back to their old ground-and-pound identity, riding Jonathan Stewart and a dominating front seven to smother opponents. Add in the fact the rookie Devin Funchess provides a second solid target for Cam Newton and you have a recipe for Benjamin to be a disappointment when drafting him as a top-15 wide receiver. Take a look lower down on the list at potential target monsters Andre Johnson, Julian Edelman or Keenan Allen rather than chasing Benjamin’s 1000-yard, nine touchdown rookie performance.”
Wayne Bretsky (BretskyBall)

Emmanuel Sanders (DEN)
Consensus WR ADP: #13
“He has publicly stated that it will be difficult to replicate his 2014 production this upcoming season. New Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak’s offensive scheme revolves around three things: a zone blocking rushing attack, leveraging the tight ends in the receiving game, and relentlessly feeding the X wide receiver with targets. Sanders will not have enough opportunities to justify his high ADP.”
Eric Moody (FFLockerRoom)

Kevin White (CHI)
Consensus WR ADP: #32
“We all know the “John Fox hates rookies” narrative, which makes getting on the field early even more important for White. Plus, his quarterback favors familiarity more than most. While White is gifted with incredible athletic attributes, an understanding of Adam Gase’s offense is what will help him to ascend immediately. There’s potential for him to emerge midseason and he’s likely to have a few flashy plays, but I don’t see him catching more than 40 balls by season’s end.”
Liz Loza (Yahoo)

Antonio Brown (PIT)
Consensus WR ADP: #1
“I know I should probably bite my tongue but Antonio Brown as the consensus #1 is scary to me. I know he was amaze balls the past two years and probably is still a top-five guy but career years are rarely topped/repeated. He’s in a great offense but he also has solid talent around him trying to bust out (Sammie Coates, Markus Wheaton and of course Martavis Bryant). My biggest thing with Brown, though, is that he’s not a big WR so his TD upside might be a little more curbed than some might want to think. I see the talent, production and upside, but that top portion of the WR group is stacked. I’m not seeing what 100% makes him the pick over the other elite receivers.”
Kevin Roberts (Breaking Football)

Q3. Name the QB you believe is the most overvalued according to our QB ADP Rankings and tell us why you feel that way.

Russell Wilson (SEA)
Consensus QB ADP: #4
“I think Russell Wilson is slightly overrated. He’s absolutely a QB1 and a top-10 guy, but being drafted as the fourth quarterback or higher (Yahoo, ESPN, NFL.com) is a bit rich for me. Wilson did inherit Jimmy Graham, but this is still a guy who is restricted by a run-heavy system and his elite production in 2014 stemmed from ridiculous rushing totals. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that QB rushing scores/yardage are difficult to compute, let alone trust. I still like him as a borderline top-5 option, but I don’t like the price I’d have to pay to land him.”
Kevin Roberts (Breaking Football)

“While there are few real world QBs that are more desirable to pilot an offense than Russell Wilson, his current draft cost (QB4, 35th overall) is just far to steep to take the plunge. Wilson’s legs give him a solid week-to-week floor and his touchdown potential is certainly improved by the presence of Jimmy Graham, however, the volume is just not there. Of the top-10 fantasy quarterbacks last season, Wilson was the only one to attempt fewer than 520 passes. His fantasy success in 2015 was largely tied to the 800+ yards and six touchdowns that he put together on the ground and after the Seahawks made a huge investment in their franchise QB, it stands to reason that they’ll want to protect their most valuable asset and limit his exposure to injury. Volume is a fantasy owner’s best friend and Russell Wilson is a bit lacking when it comes to putting the ball in the air, leaving him as a risky investment with a top-40 overall pick.”
Wayne Bretsky (BretskyBall)

Drew Brees (NO)
Consensus QB ADP: #5
“Last year his passing yards and touchdown totals were the lowest they’d been since 2010. Heading into 2015, he’s got a second year receiver (who only started seven games his rookie year) and a 32-year-old vet as his primary receiving weapons. In an offense moving towards the run and without Jimmy Graham (who accounted for a quarter of red zone targets), Brees’ productivity will take a hit.”
Liz Loza (Yahoo)

Cam Newton (CAR)
Consensus QB ADP: #9
He finished as a top five fantasy quarterback his first three NFL seasons, but injuries derailed his fourth. Newton’s passing numbers, rushing attempts, and rushing yards continue to trend downward each season. I would rather wait a few rounds and draft Ryan Tannehill or Eli Manning.
Eric Moody (FFLockerRoom)