Fri Jun 26 2:45pm ET
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer
This is a Nov. 24, 2019, file photo showing Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores answering questions after an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, in Cleveland. Dolphins coach Brian Flores is mourning the death of Chris Beaty, a good friend and former Indiana University football player who was fatally shot after violence erupted during an Indianapolis protest.(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
In this image made from video, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy speaks on a Zoom call Tuesday, June 23, 2020. The biggest takeaway following the NFL's two-day quarterback coaching summit aimed at improving the league's diversity, is that there's no shortage of qualified minority candidates waiting for opportunities to be head coaches and coordinators.(Rob Maaddi/Zoom via AP)
In this image made from video, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh speaks on a Zoom call Tuesday, June 23, 2020. The biggest takeaway following the NFL's two-day quarterback coaching summit aimed at improving the league's diversity, is that there's no shortage of qualified minority candidates waiting for opportunities to be head coaches and coordinators.(Rob Maaddi/Zoom via AP)
The biggest takeaway following the NFL’s two-day quarterback coaching summit is there’s no shortage of qualified minority candidates waiting for opportunities to be head coaches and coordinators.
The league and the Black College Football Hall of Fame earlier this week held a virtual version of their summit, a third-year project aimed at improving the league’s diversity. Dozens of pro and college football coaches and assistants participated.
“We hear it all the time about how nobody’s in the pipeline,” said Washington Redskins executive Doug Williams, who co-founded the Black College Football Hall of Fame with James “Shack” Harris. “I hope after (the summit) that we get away from pipeline and realize we’ve got a bunch of guys in line. All they’re asking for is an opportunity. The pipeline is full. The most important thing is to open up the valve.”
There are three Black head coaches (Mike Tomlin, Anthony Lynn and Brian Flores), two Black general managers (Chris Grier and Andrew Berry), two Black offensive coordinators (Eric Bieniemy and Byron Leftwich) and two Black quarterback coaches (Pep Hamilton and Marcus Brady) in the NFL.
Lynn, Bieniemy, Leftwich, Hamilton and Brady were among the presenters during several sessions on Monday and Tuesday. San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, a Lebanese-American, also spoke to the attendees.
Bieniemy, who interviewed with the Panthers, Browns and Giants before his dynamic offense led Kansas City to a 31-20 win over the 49ers in the Super Bowl, spoke at the summit about leadership and building a winning culture.
“True direction within an organization is born with a vision,” he said. “It begins when a leader accepts it. It gains acceptance when a leader models it. It becomes reality when the people respond to it.”
After the 2018 season, eight head coaches lost their jobs. Only one opening was filled by a minority candidate, Flores in Miami.
Following last season, five jobs came open and one minority, Ron Rivera, was hired, by Washington. That makes four minority head coaches out of a possible 32 in the league.
The NFL amended the Rooney Rule last month to require more interviews of minority candidates for head coaching and coordinator positions. The league will require teams to interview at least two minority candidates from outside the organization for head coach openings. At least one minority candidate must be interviewed for a coordinator’s spot.
“We knew we had to change. We weren’t getting the results that we had to have so there was a commitment to do that,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said.
The summit is one of several NFL programs intended to build the coaching and personnel development pipelines and strengthen diversity across the league.
“This is incredibly important to the NFL, not just this event but this effort to do the things that are right to create equality and opportunity for our coaches and our executives and for everybody in the NFL to be able to advance their careers, particularly for people of color that we are focusing a lot of these efforts on,” Goodell told the attendees.
Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II, chairman of the NFL’s workplace diversity committee, Buffalo Bills co-owner Kim Pegula and New York Giants co-owner John Mara were among the panelists.
“Leadership is important,” Rooney said during the conference. “Being a head coach in this league you have to be a great leader. You’re really the face of any franchise at that point. The bottom line in terms of being a leader, you have to be yourself. You can’t pretend. People will see through anything that isn’t genuine.”
Of the 32 NFL teams, 22 were represented at the summit.
“Would we love to have all 32? Absolutely. But we went from two clubs to 22,” NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent said. “And in hoping to share, we’ve got to do our part. I would say myself and my colleagues here, we failed. We failed to promote and continue to promote these men that we saw over the last two days. We failed to amplify, to show them in a different light. We have to do a better job of sharing the information to the clubs, making sure that every club, every president, every general manager has all of the information.
"It’s been a work in progress, we’ll continue to fight, but we do have club ownership leadership that is driving change. And we know it’s not going to happen overnight.”
Harris, who played quarterback for more than a decade and later served as a front-office executive, echoed Williams’ thoughts.
“There’s no shortage of people capable of coaching and coaching quarterbacks,” Harris said. “I think what we need is a commitment to hire.”
July 5th: Tightend Preview
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (foot) is "almost certain to start" the season on the PUP list according to Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice. Eagles coach Doug Pederson said that Jeffery still does not have a set timetable for a return, and with time running out before training camp starts, Jeffery is almost a sure thing to be at best working off to the side. It remains to be seen if he will recover quickly enough to be ready at the start of the season, but if he does indeed land on the PUP list, he'll miss at least six games. Jeffery has been hyped up to have a big role this season, but if he misses that many games and the Eagles offense works well with DeSean Jackson and their rookies starting at wide receiver, Jeffery could find himself without much playing time even if healthy.
The Philadelphia Eagles re-signed offensive lineman Jason Peters to bolster their already formidable line. The nine-time Pro Bowler has been the team's left tackle since 2009, but will reportedly play guard under his new one-year contract. The Eagles seemed comfortable letting Peters walk as they have 2019 first-round pick, Andre Dillard, to protect Carson Wentz's blindside. However, right guard Brandon Brooks (Achilles) suffered a season-ending injury so Philadelphia turned to an old friend to fill the void on the right side. Peters will now play between fellow Pro-Bowlers Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce giving the Eagles arguably the best offensive line in the league which is good news for Wentz and second-year running back Miles Sanders.
Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry is unlikely to strike a long-term deal by the franchise tag deadline Wednesday, July 15, according to a source. He's scheduled to make $10.27 million and become a free agent next offseason.
Fantasy Spin: Henry is a stud RB1 in fantasy, but he suffers in PPR formats and may drop closer to a midrange RB1.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas is the top-ranked wideout on Sports Illustrated's Big Board for the upcoming campaign. Thomas finished 2019 miles ahead of the No. 2 receiver in all formats. While contributor Bill Enright doesn't foresee another record-breaking season for the 27-year-old, he expects him to lead the league once again in many statistical categories. Thomas will hopefully be catching passes from Drew Brees for an entire 16-game stretch in 2020, with the future hall of fame signal-caller also having the luxury of playing behind one of the most efficient offensive lines in the league.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley could be the league's leading rusher this season, according to Bleacher Report's Maurice Moton. Barkley is predicted to run for nearly 1,500 yards and could benefit immensely from the arrival of former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. The 23-year-old struggled in 2019 after dealing with a high-ankle sprain that cost him three games. He still managed to exceed 1,000 yards on the ground but took a step back in scoring production. If Barkley can remain healthy in 2020 and the offensive line holds up, the former Nittany Lion could be in store for his best campaign to date. Though Christian McCaffrey is the consensus No. 1 overall back in fantasy rankings, the case could be made for Barkley to be selected ahead of him.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and the team have no scheduled talks ahead of Wednesday's deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign contract extensions. Things can change with a quick phone call, but there has not been urgency to get a deal done. It has been reported the Cowboys offered Prescott a five-year deal, but Prescott's side would prefer a four-year deal with options. Prescott is scheduled to make $31.4 million under the tag this season, but may look elsewhere if he is allowed to test the market next winter. Prescott would be just the third quarterback to play a season under the franchise tag and the previous two- Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins- signed with different teams after their seasons. Prescott's dynasty value would be less certain without a guarantee of playing in Dallas's high-octane offense.
New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams is expected to play the 2020 season under the franchise tag. According to Ian Rapoport, the two sides are on the same page that Williams will play under the tag ahead of Wednesday's deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign extensions. The hope is he excels in a new system and becomes a big part of New York's future after they traded for the former first-rounder in the middle of last season. Williams is an excellent run defender, but doesn't provide much IDP value as he has just 17.5 career sacks since entering the league in 2015.
Free-agent DE Jadeveon Clowney (Seahawks) is not receiving interest from the Dallas Cowboys because of his expensive asking price, according to a source.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill said he wants to post 2,000 receiving yards this upcoming season.
Fantasy Spin: Hill finished the 2019 season with 1,479 receiving yards, so 2,000 yards is an unlikely goal to reach. He will still be part on one of the top offenses in the NFL and should be a No. 1 receiver in all fantasy leagues.
Free-agent TE Jordan Reed (Redskins) has three teams interested in signing him, and Reed intends to play in 2020.
Fantasy Spin: It's tough to envision a team putting all of its eggs in the Jordan Reed basket in 2020, but as Ian Rapoport pointed out, this is a low-risk, high-reward signing situation. The veteran is notoriously injury-prone and would likely be added as a situational player, rather than a full-time starter. Given the connection to the Jacksonville Jaguars with now-offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, it's reasonable to assume a possible pairing with fellow marshmallow Tyler Eifert.
Updating an ongoing story, New York Giants DE Leonard Williams is expected to sign his one-year franchise tag offer before the Wednesday, July 15, deadline, according to sources, and play out the season. New York brass hopes he thrives in the new defensive system and is a long-term member of the team.
Free-agent RB Devonta Freeman (Falcons) was informed that his agent, Kristin Campbell, has terminated their relationship Sunday, July 12.
Fantasy Spin: Freeman still looks to be holding out for more money than his market value is dictating at the moment. He might have to wait for an injury to sign, but he'll be a potential RB3 in fantasy when he does.
Updating previous reports, Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and the team are reportedly 'not close' to agreeing to a contract extension as of Sunday, July 12, according to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News via a source. The two sides have until July 15 to reach a long-term agreement or Prescott will be forced to play the 2020 season under the $31.4 million franchise tag he signed recently.
San Francisco 49ers CB Richard Sherman has allowed a completion rate of 47 percent to receivers in his coverage since 2010 - the best mark in the NFL over that span per Pro Football Focus.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was recently ranked as the 11th best at his position by an anonymous NFL offensive coach. The coach would go on to state that the 24-year-old "doesn't look as strong anymore. Feels like he's about 60 to 70 percent of what he was." Elliott was quick to dismiss these comments, but some fantasy managers may pay attention to these remarks, especially if they are drafting after the selections of Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley. The fifth-year back did have one of the most productive years as a professional in 2019, finishing with 1,357 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns off of 301 attempts. He also added 54 catches for 420 yards and two additional scores. While those numbers don't indicate a downward trend, the former Buckeye will be without the guidance of former head coach Jason Garrett in 2020, who is now the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants.
San Francisco 49ers CB Jamar Taylor has a chance to make the final roster because he has experience at outside cornerback as well as slot cornerback and plays on special teams, in the opinion of NinersWire's Kyle Madson.
Free-agent DEs Jadeveon Clowney (Seahawks), Everson Griffen (Vikings) and DE Markus Golden (Giants) likely will not receive interest from the New York Jets because the team wants to move their unspent salary cap space to next season, in the opinion of the New York Post's Brian Costello.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has plenty of hype entering the 2020 campaign and should continue to be the No. 1 fantasy selection in the majority of fantasy drafts heading into September. However, according to a poll conducted by ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, more than 50 percent of league executives view Saquon Barkley as the top back in the league. As claimed by one anonymous AFC executive, McCaffrey is "not as sturdy as Saquon. Not the same speed-and-power combo." While this declaration may not hinder fantasy managers from taking McCaffrey first overall in drafts, it could give many something to think about.
New England Patriots RB Sony Michel (foot) is no longer wearing a walking boot on his surgically repaired foot.
Fantasy Spin: Michel will be ready for training camp and should receive most of the carries this season but will have to share snaps with several other backs. He should be considered at least a No. 3 running back in fantasy leagues.
Free-agent WR Terrelle Pryor (Jaguars) said he is looking to play in 2020 and has talked with five teams this offseason. He said he would like to play for the New England Patriots or Pittsburgh Steelers.