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Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow on track for Week 1, Dr. Neal ElAttrache says



Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who underwent reconstructive left knee surgery in December, is “all systems go” for the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against the Minnesota Vikings, according to Dr. Neal ElAttrache of Kerlan-Jobe in Los Angeles.

“He’s on track for full go for start of the season,” ElAttrache, who operated on Burrow in December, wrote in a text. “He’s doing all the work. He’s worked his tail off and been an amazingly mature participant in his recovery. He’s focused and great to work with.”

Burrow had told “The Cris Collinsworth Podcast” that he expected to be there for the first snap in 2021. But now ElAttrache is working with the Bengals’ medical staff on Burrow’s rehabilitation, and they believe that goal is well within reach.

Doctors do not want any contact until nine months, which could lead to Burrow sitting out the preseason. But the goal, now well within reach, is to be ready for the start of the regular season.

“We are very happy with his recovery to say the least,” ElAttrache said. “Notwithstanding the nature of his injury and extent of his reconstruction, his knee is performing perfectly.

“We just had him tested out here with a high-tech video and biomechanical evaluation and he was ahead of where we anticipated and well into the return to performance phase of his recovery. With him already performing this way, it’s ‘all systems go’ for the start of the season.”

Burrow suffered the injury during a Nov. 22 loss at Washington. He then underwent surgery Dec. 2.

Before the injury, Burrow had validated his draft selection as the No. 1 overall pick in 2020, starting 10 games and completing 65.3% of his passes for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.

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Brawl aftermath: New York Giants players defend Joe Judge’s take-a-lap ways – New York Giants Blog



EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants safety Logan Ryan walked off the field Wednesday with wide receiver Darius Slayton flanked to his right.

“Defense and offense. We’re friends now,” Ryan said with a smile, a day after he was in the middle of a teamwide offense vs. defense melee.

It has become a punchline now, the brawl at Giants training camp Tuesday and the consequences that followed. Coach Joe Judge ordered a pair of 200-yard sprints (goal line to goal line to goal line) and pushups for the team.

These are the kind of “consequences” that exist in Judge’s program. Not that his players seem to have a problem with it.

“No, not at all,” Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard said. “That’s kind of the standard that we’ve set here in this building and as a team, and I think guys have bought in and know what to expect whenever you step on the field and when you’re playing under a guy like Coach Judge.

“If you don’t like it, then you’re welcome to leave. But that’s the way that we do things around here, and everybody is standing by that, and I’m all for it.”

Those are the words of the Giants’ 2016 second-round draft pick and the longest-tenured Giant. If he has no problem with running laps and sprints as punishment, how can younger, less accomplished players mind it?

If Ryan, who won two Super Bowls and did similar things in New England, is on board with this approach, how can the rest of the defensive backfield he leads not be? If team captains Daniel Jones and Blake Martinez feel the same way, isn’t it only natural it trickles down in the locker room?

“Look, guys, it’s not my first time running laps at practice, not my first time having punishments at practice,” Ryan said right after the incident. “I’ve been coached by some pretty tough coaches in my career, and I don’t think Joe’s reinventing the wheel with running laps for penalties or gassers. It’s just you’ve got to be more disciplined.”

Player after player had Judge’s back. That is what some former players and executives who mock the running and pushups don’t seem to fully comprehend. Yes, it can backfire, but only if there isn’t complete buy-in. Right now, that is what Judge seems to have.

“When you do something that’s going to harm the team, especially like during the game, it’s going to provoke a penalty, there’s going to be consequences behind that,” said Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry, another even-keeled and respected voice in New York’s locker room. “I just saw [it] as that was our consequence.”

Judge has said previously and said again Wednesday that he’s a little old-school. That includes being hard on his team when necessary. But don’t let that act fool you: He’s calculated. Everything is done with a purpose, from the way he wants players to scoop fumbles to the way they dress for practices.

“Listen, the result of having something like that in a game is going to be 15-yard penalties, ejections from the game, and for players and coaches specifically, fines,” Judge said. “So we have to understand for everything you do, there is a consequence. We have to understand our job is to put ourselves in position to win football games.

“There needs to be lessons learned, and we need to move forward as a team and not repeat the mistake.”

Judge called it a teaching moment. Except this time the lesson was for the entire team, not individualized like on most days.

“In terms of fights, my policy has been to get guys and get them out of practice. So that happened. It involved the entire team. I threw the entire team out of practice,” Judge said. “We had more ball to go. We had two more periods of practice. We had things to accomplish. Those were things that robbed us of an opportunity to keep preparing and robbed players [of] reps to go compete.”

Point taken. There was a play at Wednesday’s practice when running back Corey Clement got into the secondary and safety Xavier McKinney avoided taking the free hit in a non-tackling drill. It was exactly what McKinney didn’t do the previous day, when he popped Clement and started the brawl.

Clement brushed it off immediately and said the locker room was back to normal by the time they went inside.

“It’s football,” Clement said of the hit on Tuesday.

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Joey Bosa enjoying learning and exploring Chargers’ new defense – Los Angeles Chargers Blog



COSTA MESA, Calif. — To see Joey Bosa move — like, say, between the field and the (healthy) snack cart after practice — you’d think he was more like a sloth. Slow, deliberate, slower. You’d never guess he was one of the best and fastest edge rushers in the NFL.

But put Bosa on the football field, specifically in this new defense the Los Angeles Chargers are running, and the 6-foot-5, 280-pound Bosa has cat-like reflexes, brutal off the ball and even more brutal when he makes contact, which is often — even without pads.

That’s not to say that Bosa is completely comfortable standing on the edge, rather than down with a hand in the dirt. He does both, depending on whether new coach Brandon Staley has the Chargers in a 3-4 defense or a 4-3. It’s all designed to keep the opposing offense guessing and is completely unpredictable, which is how Staley likes it.

And the thought of Bosa being utilized in many different ways is a scary thought to opposing defenses.

“There’s a lot going on,” Bosa said. “A lot of moving pieces. Usually I’m coming in here and I’m solely focused on how I’m rushing each day, which is another dynamic. I get to judge myself on another level, and it’s fun. But yeah, it’s going to take some time.”

But football smarts are not an issue for Bosa.

“I’m going to make a few mistakes here and there, but by the time camp is over, I’m sure it will be second nature,” he said.

On one sequence, Bosa took on rookie offensive tackle Rashawn Slater, who has been praised by just about everyone in camp. Slater was a first-round draft pick for a reason, a player who got the best of defending rookie defensive player of the year Chase Young (then at Ohio State) during his junior year at Northwestern — setting up a great Week 1 matchup between Slater and Young when the Chargers head to Washington.

But back to Bosa and his gait … the quick, game-time one. He faced Slater, who slowed him initially and held up until the whistle blew to end the rep. But if the whistle had blown just a little bit later, who knows if the rook would have held up.

“I turn into a different guy when I get mad,” Bosa has said many times.

Bosa isn’t the only player who loves the new scheme.

“It’s refreshing,” said defensive lineman Justin Jones. “It allows a team the inability to adjust to what we’re going. It keeps them on their toes, which means offensive linemen are on their toes. They’re not going to know who’s blitzing — who’s coming and who’s not coming.

“It’s going to be hard to figure us out (for the opponents). What we’re doing, what we’re bringing. We’re never a standstill defense and that’s going to make us really hard to beat.”

That suits Bosa just fine, even if it means learning a new scheme and a new stance. But Bosa admits they’re not easy to learn, which he’s fine with.

“A good defense shouldn’t be easy to learn in two days,” Bosa said. “So it’s a fun challenge. Obviously seeing it live is a lot different than sitting at home reviewing on my book.

“It’s not as much the athletic part of it. It’s just seeing the field, understanding the formation, seeing shifts. There’s a lot of moving pieces. I think it’s a dynamic defense.”

It’s a defense who involves fast and relentless hitting, which is how Bosa has played his entire career. Even last season, when he was battling a bunch of injuries, Bosa still recorded 7.5 sacks and 39 tackles.

“Joey Bosa, he’d be good doing anything,” Staley said. “We’re trying to get him into a new comfort zone — there are some things we’re asking him to do that he hasn’t done before. I think that more than anything, what he does best he’ll be able to do at a high level. Some of the other things that are brand new for him will help not only himself but his teammates and we’ve tried to map that out for him. He’s been great.”

“You need premium players to play the type of defense we hope to play.”

Perhaps the safest way to slow Bosa down is to bring a dog around, which perhaps is why Bosa doesn’t have one (“I can barely take care of myself,” he has said).

But he loves them. He slowly crawled up on the field to hug the Chargers’ rescue mascot “Bolty” saying, “Come play with me,” and hugged him tight.

So the best way to stop Bosa? Dog hugs and a sports drink from the snack cart.

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Chicago Bears TE Jimmy Graham questioning NFLPA after feeling ‘forced’ to get COVID-19 vaccine



LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham took to social media to express confusion over the NFLPA’s proposal to increase the frequency of COVID-19 testing for vaccinated players and staff.

“Was basically forced into getting the vaccine. Now I’m just confused @NFLPA,” Graham tweeted Thursday morning.

In a later tweet, Graham added, “I’ve done everything I’ve been asked and now I feel like I’m being punished. If I miss a test that you are proposing every day I’ll be fined a max 150K! How does this make sense. How’s the punishment 100X worse than last year and I’m vaccinated now?”

The NFLPA released a memo this week that recommended testing vaccinated players and staff every day they enter the team facility. The recommendations are based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NFLPA’s medical experts.

Sixty-five players and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since training camps opened, according to the NFLPA memo.

The Bears currently have four players on the reserve/COVID-19 list: nose tackle Eddie Goldman, long-snapper Patrick Scales, linebacker Christian Jones and offensive tackle Elijah Wilkinson.

Coach Matt Nagy said he had not discussed the matter with Graham but noted that the team works hard to educate players and staff about all coronavirus-related safety protocols.

“All these guys have opinions and beliefs, and I’m never going to criticize anybody for what their belief is. We all have it, and we all have the ability to voice it,” Nagy said before Thursday’s practice. “He [Graham] has not come to me about any of that, and Jimmy and I have a close enough relationship that if there is an issue that him and I would have that one-on-one.

“There is stuff going on every day with this, and I think everybody is figuring out the best thing to do to be safe. And not just in the sports world but in life in general, every state is a little different in what they are doing. Masks, no masks, things are certainly changing.”

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