Connect with us

NFL

Washington coach Ron Rivera – ‘There will be a competition’ at QB

Published

on

ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Football Team signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to start at quarterback, but coach Ron Rivera said that description only extends to training camp. Once there, Rivera wants to make sure Fitzpatrick earns the job — and that might mean beating out a rookie.

“There will be a competition,” Rivera said Thursday.

Last summer, Rivera said it was a mistake to not hold a true quarterback competition, giving the job to Dwayne Haskins in part because there were no preseason games and the team wanted to get him as prepared as possible to open the season. After four games, Rivera benched Haskins, and the team cut him with one game remaining in the season.

Rivera said he doesn’t want to repeat the lack of a competition, though Fitzpatrick, entering his 17th season, has a much longer track record to help make any decision — and make him tougher to unseat. As of now, the only two legitimate challengers for the starting job are Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke.

“This time, I know who we have as the starter, but he’s going to compete with everybody else,” said Rivera, talking for the first time about Fitzpatrick’s signing. “I want to play the guy that’s going to give us the best opportunity to win, the best opportunity to grow and develop as a football team.”

It’s also still possible that one of Fitzpatrick’s competitors will be a rookie selected later this month. Though Rivera played down the need to draft a quarterback, sources have consistently said since the Fitzpatrick signing that Washington would like to draft a quarterback. It wants to have a young, talented passer to groom — and it’s possible the team won’t take one with the 19th pick but perhaps in the second or third round, according to a source.

“Picking where we’re picking, there are a lot of things that can happen,” Rivera said. “We have targets, we have ideas, we have guys that we like, but that always changes just because of the fact that everybody has a choice. You just never know what’s going to happen at that point.”

However, Rivera said there is no pressure to take one now. Washington could opt to bypass a quarterback, focusing more on building the roster, and try again next offseason.

In 2011, Rivera’s first draft pick in Carolina was quarterback Cam Newton, taken with the top choice. But, Rivera said, it took four years to surround him with the necessary talent. That also happened to be the year Carolina went 15-1 and reached the Super Bowl. Rivera said they might have to take a different approach in Washington.

“I’ve always thought if you can do it the other way, where you put all the other pieces around and then go out and get your quarterback, that might be a pretty good situation too,” he said.

Washington attempted to trade for Matthew Stafford and explored other quarterbacks, but Fitzpatrick was always on its mind; in his 20 starts with Miami, he threw a combined 33 touchdowns to 21 interceptions. Washington likes how his experience will help younger players on offense develop.

“There are a lot of positive things about having this type of guy around,” Rivera said. “When I was in Carolina at one time and we had to compete against him, you always sat there and go, ‘Gosh, this guy — there’s something about this guy.’ It’s going to be intriguing for us to see exactly how it unfolds and how it fits with us.”

Source link

NFL

Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians bristles on perceived criticism over Buccaneers’ vaccine-identifying wristbands

Published

on

TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians took issue Tuesday with the suggestion that his team was somehow violating league COVID-19 protocols by not wearing wristbands to identify which players have received the vaccine.

“If I give you some information, at least know the f–ing rules before you put it in the press. Red and yellow bands — they don’t have to wear them at practice,” Arians said before taking the question. “That’s for indoors. I’ve gotta read s- that we should be fined for red and yellow bands because they ain’t got them on at practice. That’s bulls-. If you’re gonna report s-, make sure it’s f–ing right.”

None of the Bucs’ three days of training camp practices that were open to media and the public have been indoors — only outdoors. In them, some players have worn wristbands while others have not.

Arians did not specify who he thought was criticizing his team, but ProFootballTalk reported Monday that some Bucs players were wearing red wristbands while other players weren’t wearing wristbands at all.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that the NFL and the NFLPA are at odds over the use of wristbands to identity unvaccinated players. The NFL is allowing clubs to to make players wear bright colored wristbands, which the NFLPA believes is unnecessary.

The league does mandate that teams have to have some sort of system for identifying vaccinated and unvaccinated players as the rules for each group vary significantly in terms of physical distancing in the weight room, and the use of showers and cold tubs, as well as entering the facility. The Bucs chose to go with the wristband system but the system is only required inside the facility.

“We’ve known these rules for a while,” Arians said. “Our guys are doing everything they’re supposed to be doing. I just get pissed when somebody reports that we’re not.”

Source link

Continue Reading

NFL

Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes buys stake in MLS club Sporting Kansas City

Published

on

KANSAS CITY — Patrick Mahomes added to the collection of sports franchises that he has a stake in by buying into the ownership group of MLS club Sporting Kansas City.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to join Sporting Kansas City’s ownership team and strengthen my connection to the fans and the city I love,” Mahomes said. “Sporting is a community-oriented club, and I am excited to continue supporting the growth of soccer in Kansas City.”

MLS on ESPN+: Stream LIVE games and replays (U.S. only)

Sporting Kansas City’s principal owner, Cliff Illig, said: “Patrick is a tremendous ambassador for Kansas City and we are delighted to welcome him to the Sporting Club ownership group. In addition to achieving excellence on the field, he is deeply committed to giving back to the community and elevating the sport of soccer. Patrick is also accustomed to cultivating a winning culture, and we look forward to contending for championships at Children’s Mercy Park well into the future.”

A source with knowledge of the situation said that Mahomes and Sporting Kansas City have been engaged in discussions about an ownership stake for around 12 months. The source added that Mahomes has attended at least 12 MLS matches at Children’s Mercy Park, and even led the “I Believe” chant prior to a 2018 playoff game.

Mahomes also attended the recent U.S. men’s national team match against Canada in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup at the venue.

Mahomes last year bought into the ownership group of the Kansas City Royals. His fiancée, Brittany Matthews, is a co-owner of Kansas City’s National Women’s Soccer League franchise.

ESPN soccer writer Jeff Carlisle contributed to this story.

Source link

Continue Reading

NFL

Minnesota Vikings name Phil Rauscher new O-line coach because of COVID-19 protocols; Rick Dennison still with team

Published

on

The Minnesota Vikings announced Tuesday that Phil Rauscher will replace Rick Dennison as the team’s offensive line coach this season.

Dennison, who isn’t vaccinated against COVID-19, will remain with the team as a senior offensive adviser.

In addition, Ben Steele has been added by the team as assistant offensive line coach.

ESPN had reported on Friday that Dennison was out because he wasn’t vaccinated, but the Vikings later said they were in discussions with him on the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols.

Dennison had served as the Vikings’ offensive line coach/run-game coordinator the past two seasons.

The vaccine is required for all Tier 1 staff, including coaches, front-office executives, equipment managers and scouts. Players are not required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine but will face strict protocols during training camp and throughout the season that vaccinated players will be able to forgo.

In a memo released by the league this summer, the NFL said any unvaccinated Tier 1 staff member must provide a valid religious or medical reason for not receiving the vaccine. Losing Tier 1 status prohibits coaches from being on the field and in meeting rooms and having direct interactions with players.

ESPN’s Courtney Cronin contributed to this report.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending