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

J.T. Barrett getting a rookie minicamp tryout with the Colts

Former Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett wasn’t drafted. He also hasn’t been signed as an undrafted free agent, yet.

Via multiple reports, Colts G.M. Chris Ballard told reporters on Saturday night that Barrett will get a tryout at the team’s rookie minicamp.

Barrett threw for 3,053 yards with 35 touchdowns passes and nine interceptions last year, adding 798 rushing yards. He was named MVP of the Fiesta Bowl to conclude the 2015 season and the Cotton Bowl to wrap the 2017 season.

Hindsight isn’t on our side yet, but right now this move gets the benefit of the doubt for a team that rarely deserves it.

With Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril gone and Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor both facing uncertain futures, the Seattle Seahawks are going through somewhat of a rebuild on the defensive side of the ball. But with the 141st pick of the 2018 draft, they landed a potential long-term puzzle piece at linebacker.

Emmanuel Moseley will also be part of the cornerback group after starting 30 games over four years at Tennessee.

Sheldon Richardson isn’t the type of player who will consistently put up big individual numbers, but his impact is glaring on tape.

Pro Football Focus does its best to contextualize that impact using advanced stats, with Mark Chichester noting: Richardson was a force in both the run game and in the pass-rush last year and through 17 weeks of the 2017 season, he racked up 36 total quarterback pressures and 22 run stops, which ranked ninth and 17th among defensive tackles this year, respectively.

Together, his 61 total impact plays were good for the seventh-most among interior defenders.broncos_069_3e985f34fdd96965-180x180

Giants rep says Patriots never called about trading up for No. 2 pick

In case anyone missed it, Chris Mara, the Giants Vice President of Player Evaluation, was on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sport Radio channel Friday.

Yanagi was replaced by Erik Kunttu from Syracuse, where he had worked alongside new Lions head coach Matt Patricia, and Richardson by William Brown.

Yanagi was the Lions’ director of video operations since 2004, and Richardson was assistant video director since 1991. They filmed practices and games and processed the footage for the coaching staff’s immediate use following practices and games, as well as for in-game adjustments, through tablets used on the sidelines.

Yanagi joined the Lions from the San Francisco 49ers and was the first Japanese-American video-operations director in the NFL.

Richardson’s promotion in 1991 marked the first time a black man was hired as an assistant video director in the NFL. Richardson began working with the Lions as a janitor in 1989, and was promoted to office manage in 1990, before joining the video department.

The surprising news came after ESPN earlier Tuesday ranked the Saints as the NFL’s fourth-best team in its post-draft power ratings, behind only the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC. The New Orleans Saints’ potent running game will be short on some firepower to start the season. Will Ingram’s suspension throw a wrench into the Saints’ lofty ambitions? It certainly won’t help.

The NFLPA doesn’t name the owner, but its release meshes with what Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported last month. According to PFT, Bengals owner Mike Brown asked Reid questions about his protesting plans. Brown reportedly told Reid, who was visiting the team in free agency, that he plans to restrict players from protesting during the national anthem and then asked Reid for a response. sharks-023