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Odell Beckham Jr. fact or fiction: What’s real about his Giants future – New York Giants Blog

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Odell Beckham Jr. is getting traded. He’s holding out. He’s doing drugs. He’s never going to play again. He wants to be the highest-paid player in the NFL. He’s an alien who’s come to destroy our universe.

It’s getting hard to track fact and fiction these days with the New York Giants wide receiver. Beckham is a lightning rod, even when he doesn’t do or say anything, which was the case over the weekend.

Giants co-owner John Mara took the previously far-fetched notion that Beckham could be traded and turned it into a plausible reality. Asked whether it was possible, prior to the NFL’s annual owners meeting, that Beckham could be on another team’s roster when the season begins, Mara said: “I can’t answer that one way or the other. We’re certainly not shopping him. Again, when you’re coming off a season when you’re 3-13 and played as poorly as we played, I wouldn’t say that anyone is untouchable.”

Let the imaginations run wild off that one. Maybe Beckham is an alien trying to destroy our universe? Or maybe not?

Let’s separate fact from fiction where we stand today:

Will Beckham be a Giant when the season begins?

The answer probably is yes. Nothing is guaranteed, but the odds favor Beckham being with the Giants this year and beyond. Many things would have to fall into place quickly in order for Beckham to be jettisoned from the team that drafted him 12th overall in 2014 by the time Week 1 rolls around in September. Any deal would almost certainly have to be made before next month’s draft because it would have to include some valuable draft picks. Possible but not likely.

Are the Giants looking to trade him?

As Mara said, they are not actively looking to trade Beckham. General manager Dave Gettleman emphatically stated at his introductory news conference when asked about the enigmatic wide receiver that you “don’t quit on talent.” Beckham is overloaded with talent. The Giants know this. They’re aware he’s their best player. They averaged 23 points in the three games in which he handled a normal workload last season. They averaged 13.6 points in the other 13 games when he was either limited or out with an injury. And just look at Eli Manning’s stats with and without him in the lineup. Staggering.

Will the Giants listen to offers for Beckham?

Yes! This was the big news from the weekend. Mara essentially opened the window and yelled for all potential suitors to submit their best offer. Get ready. At least a few will come, maybe even this week when all the owners and general managers are in one place at the meetings in Orlando, Florida.

What does Beckham want?

A long-term deal that pays him a lot of money. And yesterday. Beckham said last year that he wanted to be the highest-paid player in the NFL. He knows that is not realistic at this time, but he does believe he deserves to be the highest-paid wide receiver in football by a wide margin: Think in the $20 million-per-season range with guaranteed money over $60 million. It doesn’t mean Beckham will get that, but it’s what he wants.

How much did the video hurt?

It certainly didn’t help. When asked about the video, Mara said he’s “tired of answering questions about Odell’s behavior and what the latest incident is. I think he knows what we expect of him, and now it’s up to him.” Giants co-owner Steve Tisch says he hopes Beckham is with the Giants in 2018 and calls the recent video “background noise.” He said of a potential long-term contract: “At the moment, conversations between Dave Gettleman and Odell’s representatives are at the earliest, most premature stages.” Let’s just say Beckham lost some leverage after that one. He may even have to show up now in the spring to prove that he’s a good teammate and leader and prove that his ankle is healthy in order for the team to even start negotiating.

Is there a deadline?

Nope. The Giants don’t need to sign Beckham to a new deal, but the situation could lead to a headache with the constant attention a standoff brings. Beckham is under contract this season for $8.5 million and they have the franchise tag in their pocket for the next two seasons. If the Giants want to play hardball, they can. Beckham can either sit out or play under these conditions.

Is it realistic for Beckham to hold out?

Absolutely. He was never going to step onto the field in a live drill or game situation without a new contract. Why would he risk more than $60 million guaranteed for the $8.5 million he’s due this season? And he’s especially not doing it after twice seeing his career flash before his eyes last season. Beckham badly injured his ankle in a preseason game against the Browns and then saw his leg shattered in a Week 5 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. It would be foolish for him to risk that much money again, especially in the spring or summer. He also has that record-setting Nike deal in his back pocket, which would allow him to absorb the short-term financial hit that comes with a holdout.



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Detroit Lions to roll with veteran Adrian Peterson as lead running back

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Adrian Peterson had more snaps, rushes and yards than the rest of the Detroit Lions running backs combined Sunday. And based on what his offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said Tuesday, it looks like the 35-year-old future Hall of Famer might end up being the lead back for the club for the immediate future as well.

Peterson played 40 snaps in the Lions’ 26-23 victory against Arizona on Sunday, getting 22 carries for 75 yards along with one catch for 10 yards. That followed two weeks of a committee approach between Peterson, Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift.

“It’s not anything that those guys are or aren’t doing,” Bevell said. “We’re just trying to, again, accentuate their positives and put them in positions to be successful. You saw Swift. His plays were a little bit down. We want to keep those up and get him more involved. The one play he catches, he has a nice catch-and-run, looks fast, looks explosive.

“It’s just continuing to manage those guys and putting them in the best situations.”

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Eagles’ Doug Pederson must ‘unclutter’ Carson Wentz’s mind, and his own – Philadelphia Eagles Blog

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Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson thinks he has found a way to get quarterback Carson Wentz out of his funk, one that has the team sitting at 0-2-1.

To “unclutter” his QB’s mind, Pederson signaled he will simplify the game plan so Wentz, who has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL statistically through three games, has less to wade through pre-snap. The Eagles will also run more up-tempo offense as part of a greater effort to get Wentz to play quicker and more freely by leaning on methods that “have been successful in the past.”

But, Pederson needs to apply that same back-to-basics logic when it comes to his own performance, too.

He has strayed off course and away from some of his guiding tenets early in the season. That fact was crystallized late in overtime against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday when he elected to punt on fourth-and-12 from the opponent’s 46-yard line with 19 seconds remaining, settling for a 23-23 tie rather than giving his offense a chance to go for the win.

There was confusion between plays, as the Eagles’ punt team ran on the field, then started running off before a delay of game was called. If that wasn’t proof enough Pederson wasn’t sold on the decision, his postgame comments hinted at immediate regret, which he confirmed Monday morning.

“Looking back, you probably put it in your quarterback’s hands to win the game,” he said.

How did we get here? How does the same coach who dialed up the Philly Special in Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots — a coach who has finished either first or second in fourth-down attempts every season since becoming Philadelphia’s leader — wave a white flag in a regular-season game against the stinkin’ Bengals (0-2-1)?

One could point to the situation or a lack of confidence in Wentz and the Eagles’ offense to get the job done, but however it is framed, the move by Pederson remains out of character. And Pederson, more generally, just hasn’t seemed himself.

It’s likely one of the coach’s greatest strengths — the ability to put ego aside in the name of collaboration — is working against him. There were a lot of cooks added to the kitchen this offseason as Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie looked to spice up an offense that had become too plodding and predictable. The front office influenced Pederson to part with offensive coordinator Mike Groh and receivers coach Carson Walch. A number of newcomers were added, including senior offensive assistant Rich Scangarello, pass game analyst Andrew Breiner and senior offensive consultant Marty Mornhinweg. Quarterbacks coach Press Taylor got a title bump to pass game coordinator and took over many of Groh’s responsibilities.

Pederson was at his best when he had former offensive coordinator Frank Reich as the primary voice in his ear. The coaches who have come on board in Philly all have solid reputations, but when you have that many people speaking, it’s a lot of opinions to sift through and fuse together, with an increased chance of being pulled in multiple directions.

Not to mention the opinions of Wentz, who has had a growing influence over how this offense is shaped. A lot of that is for good reason: Wentz has a bright football mind by all accounts, he has gained experience, and you naturally want your quarterback to be comfortable with the plays he is running.

But it feels like Pederson has let things float a little too far away from him. The offense needs to be tailored to the QB and built out to fend off predictability, yes, but it also needs a core identity, and the Eagles’ identity is very hard to detect at the moment.

Pederson is the only coach in the history of this franchise to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl title. And yet there has been no whiff of a power grab. He continues to foster collaboration and allow others to put their fingerprints on things, even when those hands are arguably overreaching. That tactic has generally served this franchise well.

There is also a point where some pushback is needed to preserve what has been built and to get all boats pointed in the same direction. That time has arrived for Pederson. If that means reducing Wentz’s creative control and coaching him tougher, so be it. If that means identifying the voices he trusts and tuning out the ones that don’t sync up, fine.

The time is now to reestablish his reputation as a “freakin’ phenomenal playcaller” and reassert himself as the league’s gutsiest coach — the guy who would scoff at the notion of punting for a tie.

All of that is going to happen only if he reclaims the space he has rightfully earned.

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Hot start for Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins coincides with decline for Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals Blog

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TEMPE, Ariz. — DeAndre Hopkins seems to be settling in quite well with his new team, while teammate and future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald had his lowest receiving output since 2004 on Sunday.

By halftime of the Arizona Cardinals‘ 26-23 loss to the Detroit Lions, Hopkins had set a personal record for the most receiving yards in his first three games of a season.

And then he continued to build on it in the second half.

When the final horn sounded at State Farm Stadium, Hopkins had 137 yards, giving him 358 through three games, trampling his previous best start of 274 set in 2018 — when he reached 1,500 yards for the second time in his career. The first time Hopkins hit 1,500 yards was in 2015, when he had 252 yards through three games, his second highest mark before this season.

And now there’s 2020. Hopkins is averaging 119 yards per game thus far, which puts him on pace for 1,909 yards this season. Only one receiver has surpassed the 1,900 yards mark, and that was former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson in 2012.

“He’s doing a great job,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said of Hopkins. “I thought he played within the offense this week, and the ball came his way. He’s just a guy who finds a way to get open. When he has the ball in his hands, he really makes plays with it. You can see him in the open field making people miss, doing things to get the YAC (yards after catch) and that’s kind of his specialty.”

In his seven seasons since getting drafted in the first round out of Clemson in 2013, Hopkins has five 1,000-yard seasons. Heading into this season, Hopkins had the third-most receiving yards and catches, second-most touchdowns and most targets of any NFL receiver since 2013.

Arguably the league’s best receiver, Hopkins has wasted no time in getting acclimated with quarterback Kyler Murray and his first year with the Cardinals.

Through three games, he has caught a career-high 32 passes, which is tied for the third-most in NFL history through games. His 37 targets in three games are the second most of his career.

“Everybody knows his name, who he is on the field,” Murray said. “He’s one of the best players in the NFL. Obviously having him is a huge deal.

“He’s been playing great and hopefully we can keep that going.”

A byproduct of Hopkins’ emergence has been a reduction of Fitzgerald’s role.

The future first ballot Hall of Famer has 84 yards on 12 catches through three games, the fewest of his 17-year career. Before this season, Fitzgerald never had less than 107 yards in the first three games of a season.

A large part of this season’s decline was due to Sunday, when he had no yards on one catch, the second time in his career he didn’t have a receiving yard in a game. The last time was Oct. 31, 2004 — a stretch of 245 games.

Kingsbury took the blame for Fitzgerald not having any yards, saying he should’ve done a better job of getting him the ball.

“He’s the heart and soul of this team,” Kingsbury said. “And when he’s getting the football, good things happen. So, that’s completely on me.”

However, Kingsbury disputed the idea Fitzgerald’s decreasing stats are a product of his age — 37 — or Murray having other options.

“No, I don’t think it’s anything like that, honestly,” Kingsbury said. “He had one of the best camps of anybody on the team, and he played great in the first two games. He was getting open. I just did a poor job of getting him the ball.”

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