Coughlin Critical Of Ramsey, Smith No-Shows – Tom Coughlin is not happy that cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Telvin Smith are skipping the first part of the Jaguars’ voluntary offseason conditioning program. The Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations called out the two players during his four-minute speech at the team’s annual state of the franchise presentation Thursday. He didn’t mention either by name, but they are the only two players on the roster who are not at the workouts. “We’re very close to 100 percent attendance, and quite frankly, our players should be here building the concept of team, working hard side by side, constructing our bond of togetherness, formulating our collective priorities and goals,” Coughlin said. “Success in the NFL demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish and insensitive to the real values of team. The hard work that many try to avoid is the major building block for the development of an outstanding football team. “It’s not about rights and privileges. It’s about obligations and responsibility, and the question is: Can we count on you?” It’s not a surprise that Ramsey isn’t in attendance because he didn’t participate last year, choosing to remain in Nashville, Tennessee, and work out at his father’s training facility. But Smith’s absence was a surprise because he had attended the voluntary offseason program every year since he was drafted in 2014, and the team had no indication that he wasn’t planning to attend.
2019 NFL Schedule Release – The leaks are over, the 2019 NFL schedule has been released! You can go to https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/ to get the entire schedule. Now that we have the full 256-game regular season schedule, here’s a few highlights:
- The Patriots will kick off off their season by hosting the Steelers on Sunday night in Week 1.
- The Saints and Falcons will be playing in the primetime game on Thanksgiving.
- The Bills will also be playing on Thanksgiving with their game against the Cowboys marking the first time since 1994 that Buffalo has played on Turkey Day.
- Odell Beckham will be returning to New York in Week 2 for a Monday night game against the Jets.
- Also in Week 2, the Saints will have a chance to get revenge on the Rams for the NFC title game.
Patriots’ Season Opens Against Steelers – Tom Brady and the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will open their 2019 regular season with a Sunday-night matchup at home against Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to multiple reports. The Patriots’ schedule also features a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game, as New England will host Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 14, according to reports. Some other highlights on New England’s schedule reportedly include a Week 8 home game against the Cleveland Browns, a Week 9 game on Sunday night in Baltimore against the Ravens, a Week 11 game in Philadelphia against the Eagles and a Week 12 game at home against the Dallas Cowboys. The NFL will announce its entire 2019 schedule Wednesday night. Multiple other team schedules were reported early Wednesday, including that of the New York Jets, who will host Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. and the Browns in Week 2 on Monday Night Football. The Jets will play their first road game of the season in Week 3, when they visit the rival Patriots.
NFL Releases Matchups For International Games – The Chicago Bears and the Oakland Raiders will play the first NFL game at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Oct. 6, the league announced Wednesday. The Bears-Raiders matchup will be the first of four regular-season games played in London this season, including two at the newly constructed home of English Premier League power Tottenham Hotspur. The 62,062-seat stadium in North London also will host an NFC South matchup the following week on Oct. 13, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play the rival Carolina Panthers. The other two London games will be played at Wembley Stadium. The first will be on Oct. 27 between the reigning NFC champion Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals, followed by an AFC South showdown between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans on Nov. 3. The NFL also announced Wednesday that the Kansas City Chiefs will face the Los Angeles Chargers in Mexico City as part of the league’s International Series, which began in 2007. It will be the first game in Mexico City for both teams. The NFL will release the rest of its 2019 schedule on Wednesday night.
Pats Bolster Thin WR Unit With Thomas Signing – The New England Patriots have signed Demaryius Thomas with hopes his addition can bolster an otherwise thin receiving group. The team announced the moved Tuesday, less than a week after it had hosted Thomas on a free-agent visit. Thomas, 31, was acquired by the Texans from the Denver Broncos just before last season’s trade deadline. He suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon in December and was released by Houston in February. He caught 23 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns in seven games after his trade to the Texans. Between the two teams, Thomas finished 2018 with 59 catches for 677 yards and five touchdowns. The Patriots lost out on one of their top free-agent targets, Adam Humphries, who signed with the Tennessee Titans. They return top option Julian Edelman, 32, who earned Most Valuable Player honors in Super Bowl LIII, and re-signed Phillip Dorsett to a one-year deal that could be worth up to $2.6 million. Former Washington Redskins receiver Maurice Harris and slot receiver Bruce Ellington were signed to modest one-year deals to help fill out a depth chart that also includes practice-squad player Damoun Patterson and 2018 sixth-round pick Braxton Berrios, who spent his rookie season on injured reserve. Thomas, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, was due $14 million in 2019, none of which was guaranteed. He said just prior to his Texans release that he wasn’t thinking about retiring.
Bears TE Zach Miller Announces Retirement – Bears tight end Zach Miller announced his retirement on Tuesday, more than a year and a half after suffering a catastrophic injury in Week 8 of the 2017 regular season that nearly cost him his left leg. Miller, 34, was one of Chicago’s most consistent offensive performers from 2015-17, catching 101 passes for 1,161 yards and 11 touchdowns over parts of those three seasons. The team honored Miller as the Bears’ 2018 Ed Block Courage Award winner last week, and the veteran, who has not played since the leg injury occurred close to 19 months ago, hinted that he planned to make a decision soon about his future. Miller was rushed to University Medical Center New Orleans on Oct. 29, 2017 after he dislocated his left knee while making an over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone against the New Orleans Saints. Miller’s leg bent awkwardly on the play, and he stayed down for several minutes until he was taken off the field on a cart. Doctors performed emergency vascular surgery that night to repair a damaged artery in Miller’s left leg that stemmed from the knee dislocation. Miller was hospitalized in New Orleans for eight days before being transported back to Chicago in a medevac jet. Miller underwent a total of nine surgeries, but was a regular visitor to the Bears’ team facility last season, where he underwent rehabilitation on the leg and assisted whenever possible. Miller is now able to walk without a noticeable limp, but admitted last week that he still experiences discomfort after he jogs.
Chargers Extend Travis Benjamin – Wide receiver Travis Benjamin was set to be a free agent after the 2019 season, but he’s struck a deal with the Chargers to stick around through the 2020 season. Field Yates of ESPN reports that Benjamin and the Chargers have agreed to an extension that also alters his deal for the current year. Yates reports that Benjamin will get a $3 million signing bonus while his base salary for 2019 will drop by $4.25 million. That salary is not guaranteed, but the $3 million payout should secure his spot on the roster this year. His cap number for the current year will drop by $2.75 million as a result of the maneuvering. Benjamin had 12 caches for 186 yards and seven carries for 41 yards while serving as the No. 4 wideout in 12 games last season. Tyrell Williams‘ departure as a free agent offers a chance for Benjamin to step up a rung in 2019, although the Chargers could still add other options in the receiving corps.