Dolphins owner Stephen Ross backs Lions coach Matt Patricia against assault allegations

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered an unexpected defense of Lions coach Matt Patricia’s character on Wednesday.

Ross told reporters (via the Detroit Free Press) at the NFL owners meetings it was his understanding that Patricia never “slept with” the woman Patricia was accused of sexually assaulting in a Texas hotel room 22 years ago.

The 1999 St. Louis Rams were coming off a 4-12 season, their second consecutive last-place finish in the NFC West. Dick Vermeil’s team hadn’t made the playoffs or posted a winning record in any of its nine previous campaigns, which produced a mark of 45-99. Even worse, starting quarterback Trent Green went down with a torn ACL and MCL in his knee during the Rams’ third preseason game, turning things over to a 28-year-old backup with one career NFL game under his belt.

You know what happened, of course. Kurt Warner stepped in and directed one of the best offenses in league history to a 13-3 season and the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory. Imagine if the 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars — who were 47-97 the past nine seasons — lost Blake Bortles during the preseason and won a Super Bowl with third-stringer Ryan Nassib at the helm. Nobody can even pretend they saw the Rams coming.

As the Bears hold three sets of OTAs in May and June followed by a full-squad minicamp on June 5-7, it’s worth monitoring how Trubisky meshes with his new weapons. Chicago added Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton in free agency to better support the 2017 No. 2 overall pick.

On top of that, Trubisky is learning a fresh offense under the watchful eyes of new head coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.

Just having a bunch of brilliant offensive minds around me, I’m just getting a lot of information, Trubisky told reporters in mid-April. “I’m trying to be a sponge, and it’s been a lot of fun working with those guys and learning as much as I can.”

If the North Carolina product shines in the coming weeks, it may be a sign that he’ll continue to build on a strong finish to his rookie campaign.

Newly crowned San Francisco 49ers franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo also knows a thing or two about finishing strong. The 26-year-old wrapped up the 2017 season with victories in each of his first five starts as a member of the 49ers. cowboys_079

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