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Justin Herbert hopes Senior Bowl helps him like Carson Wentz

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MOBILE, Ala. — Justin Herbert quickly rattled off the list of names: Carson Wentz, Baker Mayfield, Daniel Jones. Quarterbacks who reversed the trend of skipping the Senior Bowl in recent years — and used the January showcase to help turn them into top-6 overall draft picks.

Of course Herbert would love to follow suit as one of the more polarizing prospects in this year’s NFL draft. Some analysts still consider him a potential top-5 pick because of his big arm, athleticism and 6-foot-6, 227-pound frame. Others could see him dropping because of some inconsistency he showed after deciding to stay for his senior year at Oregon.

But more than anything, Herbert insisted, he came to the Senior Bowl, this week because he grew up watching this game and it was an honor to be invited.

“I think I was just more excited and thrilled for the opportunity,” Herbert said before he took the practice field for the first time on Tuesday. “Not a whole lot of people get this invite. To come here, it’s special. And I’m gonna do my best and have some fun.”

Of course this is a big week for every quarterback here in Mobile. Utah State’s Jordan Love will get the opportunity to prove he is a clear first-round pick while playing alongside a higher level of talent. Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts is trying is trying to prove the same by showing his game can translate to the next level. But Herbert has been the top-ranked guy in this group all year long. And ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay made it clear that the pressure is on him this week to “look the part.”

“The best players always find a way to stand out by the end of the week, and (Herbert) needs to separate himself from the pack,” McShay wrote in his Senior Bowl preview.

When asked a couple of times Tuesday what distinguishes him from other top QB prospects like Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa (who aren’t participating in the Senior Bowl), Herbert said he hasn’t studied them closely enough to “truly give a good comparison.”

“But what I can tell you about myself is I work extremely hard, I prepare very well, and I think arm strength is a big thing I pride myself on as well,” said Herbert, who finished his senior season with 3,471 yards, 32 touchdown passes and six interceptions.

Herbert also flashed his running ability late in the season. Three of his four rushing TDs came on designed runs during the Ducks’ 28-27 Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin. Herbert said he got a better feel for the offense, became a better decision-maker and did a better job of flipping plays at the line of scrimmage.

So all in all, Herbert said it was “a great decision” for him to go back to school instead of entering the draft last year.

“We accomplished everything that we wanted to. We won a Pac-12 championship, we won a Rose Bowl, we did the things that we wanted to,” Herbert said. “We didn’t win every game, and it’s tough, we would have liked to. But we got better, we stuck together and were really excited with the way we (finished).”

Unfortunately Herbert didn’t quite do enough to cement himself as one of the top 1-2 QB prospects in the draft while Burrow soared past him in that race. Herbert battled some inconsistency — especially during a stunning late-season loss to Arizona State. He still needs to prove he can progress further into his reads. And he said he has worked in recent weeks on footwork and mechanics, while acknowledging that “never taking a snap from under center in college is big” when it comes to NFL evaluations.

Herbert, who has already met with several NFL teams here in Mobile, also said that he thinks teams are “worried about leadership and me being a pretty quiet guy” — a narrative he’d like to start proving wrong this week.

“I would say I’m not too quiet, and unfortunately I’ll talk your ear off. And so there are these things I want to be transparent with and give a good representation of myself,” said Herbert, who admitted to being quiet and shy early in his college career before he “forced myself to be uncomfortable.”

“I kind of found myself and where I fit in with the offense,” said Herbert, who considers himself somewhere in between an introvert and extrovert. “There are shades of both in me. That’s something I’ve really worked on and the coaches have done a great job of pulling that out of me.”

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Jaguars hire Ben McAdoo as quarterbacks coach, source says

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars have added another former head coach to their offensive staff by hiring Ben McAdoo as quarterbacks coach, a league source told ESPN’s Jordan Raanan and Dan Graziano.

McAdoo, who was fired as the New York Giants‘ head coach late in the 2017 season, has been out of football the past two seasons. He joins recently hired offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who spent the past five-plus seasons as the Washington Redskins‘ head coach, on Doug Marrone’s staff.

McAdoo, 42, also interviewed with Marrone to be the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator, a position that opened when the team parted ways with John DeFilippo.

McAdoo spent less than two seasons as the Giants’ head coach and was fired after a 2-10 start in 2017. He benched quarterback Eli Manning before the Week 13 game against Oakland — snapping Manning’s consecutive starts streak at 210 games — and was fired the following Monday along with GM Jerry Reese. The Giants went 11-5, finished second in the NFC East, and lost a wild-card playoff game to Green Bay in his first season.

McAdoo was the Giants’ offensive coordinator from 2014-15 before being hired as head coach after the team fired Tom Coughlin. He also spent two seasons (2012-13) as Green Bay’s quarterbacks coach.

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Jaguars hire Ben McAdoo as quarterbacks coach, sources say

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars have added another former head coach to their offensive staff by hiring Ben McAdoo as quarterbacks coach, league sources told ESPN’s Jordan Raanan and Dan Graziano.

McAdoo has been out of football the past two seasons after being fired as the New York Giants‘ head coach late in the 2017 season. He joins recently hired offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who spent the past five-plus seasons as the Washington Redskins‘ head coach, on Jaguars coach Doug Marrone’s staff.

McAdoo also interviewed with Marrone to be the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator, which was open because the team and former offensive coordinator John DeFilippo parted ways.

McAdoo spent less than two seasons as the Giants’ head coach and was fired after a 2-10 start in 2017. He benched quarterback Eli Manning prior to the Week 13 game against Oakland — snapping Manning’s consecutive start streak at 210 games — and was fired the following Monday along with GM Jerry Reese. The Giants went 11-5, finished second in the NFC East, and lost a wild-card playoff game to Green Bay in his first season.

McAdoo was the Giants’ offensive coordinator from 2014-15 before being hired as head coach after the team fired Tom Coughlin. He also spent two seasons (2012-13) as Green Bay’s quarterbacks coach.

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Cam Newton’s future with Panthers dependent on health, David Tepper reiterates

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Quarterback Cam Newton said during Super Bowl week in Miami he “absolutely” will return to the Carolina Panthers in 2020, but owner David Tepper isn’t ready to make that commitment.

“Listen. I’m not a doctor,” Tepper said on Tuesday. “I’ve said it a million times, is he healthy? He’s not a doctor. There’s a lot of different things that can happen. Is he healthy? And then we can talk.”

Newton had Lisfranc surgery on his left foot in early December. The team, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, wants to work the 2015 NFL MVP out in March to see where he is with his rehabilitation.

Newton, 30, was adamant in several radio interviews before the Kansas City Chiefs defeated San Francisco in Super Bowl LIV that he had “no worries” that he would be back at Carolina. He said he was inspired by his conversations with Tepper and new coach Matt Rhule.

However, Tepper has not publicly said Newton would play this season for the Panthers. He stayed on point Tuesday after his foundation, along with the John M. Belk Endowment and Carolina Panthers Charities, donated $120,000 to go toward new school supplies for 17 Title 1 Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools.

“Look, I’ve said again and again about it, it’s a question of how healthy he is,” Tepper said. “That’s still the No. 1 overwhelming thing, to see how healthy he is and to figure out when he’s healthy or not. Everything comes from that.”

Tepper was asked if any teams have shown interest in trading for Newton. Understanding that would be tampering, he cracked a joke about his wife answering phone calls before saying “I haven’t heard about that.”

Newton originally suffered the injury during the third preseason game and then aggravated it in a Week 2 loss to Tampa Bay. He didn’t play the final 14 games, ultimately going on injured reserve before having what was described as “successful” surgery by Dr. Martin O’Malley.

During that time, coach Ron Rivera was fired and eventually replaced by Rhule, the former Baylor coach.

“Through my vantage point, I know I want to be in Charlotte,” Newton said during an ESPN radio interview in Miami. “I know I want to stay in Charlotte. Everything else in pretty much in my own destiny.

“And I’m in the position right now where I told even Coach [Rhule] that you won’t find nobody that’s more dedicated and probably more hungry than myself to not only prove to him and the fans but to prove to myself … that I’m still capable of playing this game of football at a high level.”

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