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Browns Fire Hue Jackson

The Cleveland Browns announced the firing of head coach Hue Jackson on Monday.



The seemingly always hapless Cleveland Browns have fired head coach Hue Jackson. He has been with the team for two and a half seasons and leaves with a record of 3-36-1. That includes going 0-20 on the road during his tenure, which gives him the worst road record by a coach of a single team in the Super Bowl era (the first Super Bowl was in 1966). They have yet to announce who will be the interim head coach.

Given everything I just mentioned, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. If anything, it’s more of a surprise that he stuck around this long. The Browns went 1-15 in his first season, and of course, famously went 0-16 last season. But it looked like they might be on their way to turning things around this season, especially after first overall pick Baker Mayfield took over as their starter.

He saw his first action in their week 3 matchup against fellow rookie quarterback Sam Darnold and the New York Jets. Tyrod Taylor started that game but came out in the 2nd quarter after he took a hard hit to the head. That’s when the Mayfield era of the Browns began, and Mayfield didn’t disappoint. He let a comeback to win the game, their first victory in two seasons. And Browns fans thought they might finally have a winning team on their hands.

But, despite a 12-9 victory of the Baltimore Ravens in week 5, the optimism has quickly faded. They’ve lost three straight games and did not look good against the Pittsburgh Steelers this past Sunday. That was enough to convince the front office that the team was not moving in the right direction and that Jackson had to go. And go he went.

And now the team’s future is as uncertain than ever. Which is essentially right where it’s been for years now. And the fact that they face the nearly unstoppable Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday isn’t making anyone feel any better. But I suppose Browns fans are used to this by now. However painful it may be. Let’s just hope whoever permanently replaces Jackson will be the man that finally turns things around for this tragic franchise.

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Le’Veon Bell Officially Out For Rest Of Season

Le’Veon Bell will now miss the entire 2018 season after failing to report by the Tuesday, November 13th deadline. 



Finally, the seemingly endless drama between All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers is over… sort of. The final deadline for Bell to report to the team and begin playing under the franchise tag was Tuesday at 4 p.m. and he failed to do so. Meaning he officially will not play this season and he just gave up his yearly salary of $14.5 million. I’m no expert, but that seems like a weird choice for a guy trying to get paid.

But at the same time… I’m no expert! Bell believes he is looking out for himself and making sure he will have a long, successful career that he will get appropriately paid for. So maybe this whole ordeal, no matter how confusing and frustrating for many, is actually a really smart move by Bell. Maybe he’s paving the way for future players to get the kinds of contracts they deserve. The contracts they’ve earned. Because one thing’s for sure; Bell’s contributions to his team up until now has earned him a contract.

But there’s just been so many ups and downs throughout all of this. Bell, despite holding out in an attempt to make sure he will get a good contract moving forward, had promised he would play in 2018 and give 100%. But franchise tag negotiations and rumors that the Steelers were looking to trade him, caused him some serious pause and changed his plans a bit.

And then there’s the actual contract Pittsburgh offered him! Five years, $70 million. That’s definitely nothing to shrug at. But Bell still turned it down and continued to not play. Because in doing so, he kept all the power. He can continue to not play without being fined (although he is not getting paid his salary for the year, as previously mentioned), and he can now test the market at the end of the season and see if anyone’s willing to beat that five-year, $70 million offer.

And then(!) there’s the emergence of rookie running back James Conner. In Bell’s absence, all he’s done is rush for 771 yards and 10 touchdowns (both good for third in the NFL). Of course, putting the two together would be quite the tandem and is something many Steelers fans, players, and coaches have been fantasizing about. But at the same time, Conner has provided a bit of comfort over the last few weeks as speculation that Bell is gone has grown. And for the most part, the big name Steelers have avoided the topic altogether.

Star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, when asked about Bell after their 52-21 shellacking of the Carolina Panthers, said, “I’m not going to comment on someone who’s not in this locker room right now.” And young receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said of Conner, “you’ve got a young dude who’s just proving what he can do, to Steeler fans and the nation.” So clearly most of the people in the Steelers locker room aren’t even bothering to deal with the drama around Bell.

Now, obviously, the speculation about where Bell might end up can begin. And everyone from all over the football world will surely chime in with their hottest takes. So this story is long from over. But let’s all just cross our fingers and how it is over very soon.

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Dez Bryant Signs With Saints

Dez Bryant has signed a 1-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. 



Former Dallas Cowboys star wide receiver Dez Bryant finally has a new home. Bryant agreed to a 1-year deal with the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday to help a Saints team that has seen multiple wide receivers go down with injuries this season. All other specifics of the deal, like how much money they’re paying him, is still unknown.

The fact that Bryant made it this far into the season with getting a deal came as a surprise to many… but not all. During his career in Dallas, he at times seemed like more of a problem and distraction than an actual helpful member of the team. And some were easily pointing to his occasional destructive behavior as the reason no team wanted to take a risk on signing him. Something Drew Brees, Sean Payton, and Saints fans everywhere are now very thankful for.

Not to mention Bryant. You have to assume he’s been chomping at the bit to get on a team and start proving just how big of a mistake the Cowboys made in letting him go. And on top of that, he’s going to a 7-1 Saints team that many are already predicting will make it all the way to the Super Bowl, and future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees is once again putting up historic numbers. But, as we said, his weapons are slowly falling by the wayside.

Pro Bowler and third-year receiver Michael Thomas is having an amazing season once again, and currently has 70 catches for 880 yards and 5 touchdowns. But no other receiver on the roster has more than 12 receptions. That’s a major problem. And one someone like Dez Bryant could fix in his first game. At least… Dez  Bryant in his prime.

That’s another major question that left many NFL owners and GMs deciding not to sign Bryant. His production dipped fairly aggressively over his last few seasons in Dallas. From 2012 to 2014 he recorded at least 1,200 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns each season. But last season, over 16 games, he posted only 69 catches for 838 yards and 6 touchdowns. This led many in the league to think his best years were behind him.

And then there’s the disruptive behavior I was talking about earlier. Cowboys executive Vice President called him a “distraction.” And owner Jerry Jones said that Bryant was adding unfair pressure on young quarterback Dak Prescott by always being “in his ear.” But Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott had a different opinion.

Elliot has said he never thought of Bryant as a disruptive presence. “Not at all,” Elliot said recently. “Ever since I got here, Dez was nothing but a help for me. Right when I got here, he took me under his wing. You’re getting a very passionate football player. You’re getting a very passionate individual. I think sometimes that’s looked at the wrong way. From the people who love this game, who’ve played, they can understand that about it being somewhat harder for other people to figure that out. I think he’s going to be a good veteran for that team.”

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was also quick to essentially defend Bryant. “Dez is a great player. Dez was a great player in this organization for a long time. Really happy for him and that opportunity. I know it’s important to him. He wants to finish his career strong. He’s done such a great job for this organization and been an impact player in this league over the course of his eight years playing Seems like a real good opportunity for him. I know he’ll help their team.” 

That’s sweet. What a nice thing for his former coach to say. But I’ve got a feeling the energy’s going to be a lot different the next time these two teams face off. Which is in on November 29th. If you were wondering.

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Aikman Calls For Complete Overhaul Of Cowboys

Hall of Famer and Cowboys great Troy Aikman didn’t hold back Tuesday morning when discussing what the Cowboys need to do to turn things around. 



The Dallas Cowboys suffered another disappointing loss Monday night, falling to the Tennessee Titans 28-14. They are now 3-5 on the season. And while various football pundits have been talking about the Cowboys’ troubles and calling for changes for weeks now, things just got a little more serious Tuesday morning. That’s because Hall of Famer and all-time Cowboy great Troy Aikman has joined to calls for change.

“Go through the list and this team, over a long period of time, has been what it’s been,” Aikman said during an interview on 1310 The Ticket Tuesday morning. “It hasn’t always mattered who the head coach has been. So to me, if you’re asking me, I’d say there has to be a complete overhaul of the entire organization.” Pretty powerful words from an influential figure in the Cowboys family.

But exactly how much weight can you put on such a statement? Sure, Aikman is considered by many to be the greatest quarterback in the history of the franchise and brought owner Jerry Jones 3 Super Bowl victories. But, at the same time, he’s not currently involved with the franchise in any way. He’s a commentator. So, in a way, it’s kind of his job to make controversial (or not-so-controversial) statements like this. And he made plenty more.

“I’ve heard Jerry say, ‘OK, look, we’re going to do it differently. I’m going to do it differently.’ … But it’s the same. Nothing changes,” Aikman continued in the interview. “And that to me is the bigger issue. … Yes, coaching is important, personnel, all those things are important, but how are you going about evaluating how you’re going about running the organization?

“Whatever that looks like — and everyone has an opinion on what it does look like, but I’m not in the building. I have no idea. I talk to people. I talk to people who have been inside the building and have a pretty good understanding of how things are run, and in a lot of ways there’s a lot of dysfunction, and that has to change if this team is going to be able to compete on a consistent basis like the teams that you look to around the league that seemingly are in the hunt each and every year.”

So, as you can see, Aikman is clearly putting a lot of pressure on owner and general manager Jerry Jones to take a serious look at how he runs his organization. Whether or not he’ll ever actually be able to take such a look is a big question. But Aikman did manage to sneak out a little praise for Jones before he was done.

When discussing the idea that Jones could potentially make a head coaching change mid-season, Aikman said he didn’t think it was likely. Adding, “One thing Jerry has done over the years, whether it’s been accurate or not, is he’s done things to at least give the fan base hope going into the next year.”

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