Tomlin opposed to expanding replay to PI –

Questionable pass interference calls in Sunday’s Steelers loss to the Saints left Pittsburgh fans wringing their hands and players complaining about the process.

Coach Mike Tomlin disagreed with some of the calls in the loss but does not think expanding replay to make pass interference penalties reviewable is the answer. As a member of the NFL’s competition committee, Tomlin acknowledged that the group will likely again discuss making PI subject to review but doesn’t see it as the solution.

“I have a firm position on that,” Tomlin said Tuesday, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I just worry about the entertainment component of it and what it might do for fans and the viewership and what it looks like. But given some of the things that have happened, I’m sure it will be up for debate as it always is and has been in recent years because technology and the amount of coverage that our game at this level gets — not only on Sundays, but seven days a week, which allows for that type of scrutiny and review.

“It’s just part of our business today. I think we all understand that. We’re all ready to have that debate every year. I don’t think we’re ever moving away from that debate — the utilization of technology and information in different components of the game whether it’s play, strategy, officiating or otherwise.”

The pace of play with the current number of penalty flags and reviews is certainly something the NFL will consider in all its decisions this offseason. If penalties, like pass interference, are reviewable, how much more bogged down will games become? Another issue the NFL considers when discussing making penalties reviewable is whether it wants one subjective judgment to overrule another subjective judgment. The answer up to this point has been no.

For Tomlin’s team, all he can do is get his players ready to beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday and hope the Browns beat the Ravens, which would allow the Steelers to sneak into the playoffs.

“How do you deal with it when your kids don’t listen?” Tomlin responded. “You move on. You have to focus on the things that are within your control because you’re going to miss an opportunity when you don’t. I choose to operate the way I want our team to operate. There will be plays that happen in a game, positively and negatively, for a variety of reasons whether it’s performance-related or officiating-related or anything-related. The bottom line is it’s done. It’s done. You have to move on. Most of the time what truly defines you are the plays that lie ahead. You can miss an opportunity crying over spilled milk. That’s not our style. That’s not my style, and it won’t be.”

The Steelers will move on to the Bengals for one week, and if things don’t break their way on Sunday, they’ll be moving on to 2019 without a playoff spot.

Deshaun Watson closing in on NFL’s first 60-sack season since 2006 – NBC Sports

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Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is closing in on a statistical accomplishment he surely would rather avoid.

Watson has been sacked 56 times this season, putting him within one average game of a 60-sack season. That’s extremely rare in the NFL.

The last quarterback to get sacked 60 times in one season was Jon Kitna of the 2006 Lions, who was sacked 63 times that season. And Kitna took all those sacks while throwing 596 passes that year. Watson has thrown just 470 passes while getting sacked almost as many times.

To find a quarterback getting sacked more than Watson while throwing so few passes, we have to go all the way back to another Texans quarterback, David Carr, who was sacked 76 times while throwing 444 passes in 2002, then was sacked 68 times while throwing 423 passes in 2005. The Texans surely want to see Watson have more success as their franchise quarterback than Carr did, so it would be wise to fix the pass protection problems that seem to plague this franchise.

'Fins owner says team won't pursue Jim Harbaugh –

Knocked out of postseason contention on Sunday afternoon for the second time in three seasons, the Miami Dolphins are one of many teams rumored to be moving on from their coach come Black Monday.

In three years at the helm, current Dolphins coach Adam Gase has compiled a 23-24 record and taken Miami to the postseason once, as a wild-card team in his first season. But those passing grades haven’t stopped rumblings that Dolphins brass could move on from the young coach and his general manager Mike Tannenbaum this offseason.

The latest name to circulate as Gase’s potential replacement is one familiar to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross: University of Michigan head coach and former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.

But Ross told The Miami Herald on Monday that he will not attempt to steal Harbaugh away from Michigan, where the coach has led the Wolverines since 2015.

Ross’ connections to Michigan run deep. The Dolphins owner earned his bachelor’s degree there, is the namesake of the university’s business school and has donated over $350 million to the business school and athletic department over the past 15 years.

This isn’t the first time Ross has been linked to Harbaugh in coaching rumors. In January 2011, the owner flew to California to try to hire Harbaugh, then the coach of Stanford, even though Tony Sparano was still employed as Miami’s skipper. Harbaugh instead joined the Niners and Sparano was fired midseason.

Harbaugh’s name has also been linked in recent days to the New York Jets, whose acting owner and CEO, Christopher Johnson, declared Monday that there was “no truth” to their reported interest in the Michigan skipper.

Harbaugh is entering the fifth season of a seven-year deal signed in 2014 that pays roughly $7.5 million per year.

The Dolphins wrap up their season with a Week 17 bout in Buffalo.

Saints top Steelers, clinch home-field advantage –

New Orleans can fire up the stoves and get the gumbo ready, because they’re going to be enjoying some home cooking this postseason.

The Saints clinched home-field advantage through the playoffs with their 31-28 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. As a result of the outcome, the Houston Texans clinched a playoff berth in the AFC by virtue of the Steelers’ loss.

Trailing 28-24, Drew Brees led the Saints down a fairly short field, completing the comeback drive with a short touchdown pass to Michael Thomas, who won a one-on-one battle with Steelers corner Joe Haden.

New Orleans held on to the lead despite a valiant effort on the part of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and the rest of the Steelers’ offense.

At 13-2, the Saints have lost just once at home all year, posting a 6-1 record.

Swearinger blasts 'Skins DC Manusky after loss –

The Redskins aren’t eliminated, but they really needed a win Saturday and didn’t get one.

That seems to have sent at least one Washington defender into a raging inferno of frustration — and he’s bringing his coaching staff into the fire.

“I felt like we should have been more aggressive,” safety D.J. Swearinger said after the 25-16 loss. “I feel like on the third down and 6, third down and 7, we’re playing a backup quarterback, why would you put us in man-to-man? We are our best on defense when we look at the quarterback. When you go one high on a backup quarterback, that’s easy, man. It’ll go backside every time.

“I feel like if we look at the quarterback with all this time we’ve got on the back end, man, we can dominate every team, every week. I’m not the defensive coordinator though, so…”

The backup quarterback Swearinger mentions is Tennessee’s Blaine Gabbert, a career journeyman understudy who’s seen more time than the average second-stringer this season. Gabbert heard his number called once again Saturday when Marcus Mariota exited with what the team called a stinger.

Gabbert didn’t disappoint, completing 7 of 11 passes for 101 yards and the game-winning touchdown, a 2-yard pass to tight end MyCole Pruitt. He wasn’t great, but he was good enough — and Swearinger says a lot of that has to do with Washington’s failure.

“We’ve got a lot of talent on this team, man,” Swearinger said. “I look at film of other teams. I always see nickels blitzing, I always see safeties blitzing. When we was down, that’s the first time we send a blitz? So it’s just frustrating. I don’t know what to say about it. With the playmakers we’ve got on defense, man, there’s no way we should’ve lost this game.

“In that type of situation, you’ve got a backup quarterback in, I wouldn’t call anything to make it easy for him. He hasn’t practiced all week. … Don’t put us in man-to-man where it’s easy for the quarterback. It’s too easy for the quarterback.”

It was so easy for Gabbert, Swearinger said, that “a kindergarten quarterback could know” how to beat man coverage. But there’s a bit of a catch to what Swearinger was saying: Sure, Gabbert is a backup, but the Redskins were mighty close to losing to a backup quarterback last week (Jacksonville’s Cody Kessler), or at least allowing one to take them to overtime. This isn’t a one-game issue.

The difference, though, is Gabbert achieved at a respectable degree, while the Jaguars stayed in that game in spite of Kessler, who ran for more yards than he threw.

The fingers, then, point to the decision-makers wearing headsets — namely, defensive coordinator Greg Manusky — especially if a player can see these issues through his facemask and they’re so blatant, he’s resorting to going to reporters to air his grievances. That also means the internal channels of communication between player and coach aren’t exactly open for the league’s 17th-ranked defense (15th against the pass).

“I express my frustrations every single time I come off the field,” Swearinger explained when asked if he went to his defensive coordinator with these issues. “I’m a very smart football player. I probably watch more film than the coaches. … I’m trying to give my insight but it doesn’t work.

“I can only put my heart in this s—, dawg, put my heart in this s— and give them what I can give them. Whether they take it or not, that’s another thing. That’s where the frustration comes.”

With Washington’s season now all but over, this is exactly the type of sentiment you don’t want coming out of a locker room filled with players who are most likely spending January at home. For what it’s worth, teammate Jonathan Allen had a different view of how things unfolded in Nashville:

Rest assured this likely isn’t the last time we’ll hear Manusky’s name in the next few weeks.

NFL TV schedule: Week 16 – The Tennessean

Nashville Tennessean

Published 9:32 p.m. CT Dec. 21, 2018


After beating the NY Giants, the Tennessee Titans are looking much better at a potential NFL playoff spot.
Autumn Allison, Nashville Tennessean

Here is the Week 16 NFL television and broadcasting schedule. All times Central.

Note: All locally televised games can be streamed live through the NFL app. Also, all games not shown locally can also be seen through DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package and listened to through the NFL Game Pass package.


3:30 p.m. — Washington Redskins at Tennessee Titans, News 4 locally in Nashville, NFL Network

(Announcers: Curt Menefee, Nate Burleson, Steve Mariucci, Melissa Stark)

7:20 p.m. — Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers, NFL Network

(Announcers: Mike Tirico, Kurt Warner, Peter Schrager)


12 p.m. — New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts, CBS (NewsChannel5)

(Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Steve Tasker)

12 p.m. — Houston Texans at Philadelphia Eagles

(Announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn)

12 p.m. — Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots

(Announcers: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Bruce Arians, Melanie Collins)

12 p.m. — Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns

(Announcers: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta)

12 p.m. — Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins

(Announcers: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton)

12 p.m. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys, Fox (Fox-17)

(Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews)

12 p.m. — Green Bay Packers at New York Jets

(Announcers:  Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Kristina Pink)

12 p.m. — Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers

Announcers: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jennifer Hale)

12 p.m. —  Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions

(Announcers: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin)


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