Panthers’ Ryan Kalil says 2018 season will be his last

Ryan Kalil‘s 2018 season will be his last in the NFL.

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The Carolina Panthers center made that clear on Tuesday, per the Charlotte Observer.

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Kalil, who turns 33 in March, has played his entire career with the Panthers. Drafted 59th overall out of USC in 2007, the center has appeared in 132 games (129 starts) throughout his career, picking up five Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro nominations (two-time first teamer) along the way.

Kalil was the center of offensive lines that opened holes for running backs DeAngelo Williams jersey and Jonathan Stewart, who combined to post three 1,000-yard rushing seasons in their career, with each breaking the mark in 2009. He also was a key part of a Panthers team that won the NFC and reached Super Bowl 50 in the 2015 season.

Unlike longtime players who announce their retirement prior to their final season, Kalil doesn’t want the sentimental moments.

“I’m not doing the farewell tour,” he said, per the Observer, “that’s for sure.”

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Kalil battled a neck injury last season and has been cleared to play in 2018, but won’t reveal much else for fear of giving his opponents a target. After Bills center Eric Wood retired due to a neck injury, it’s understandable why Kalil would be guarded about his own health.

Coach Ron Rivera said upon hiring offensive coordinator Norv Turner that he wanted to see Newton get to “another level.” That level, however, won’t necessarily include making Cam a statuesque pocket passer.

Panthers new QB coach Scott Turner — who was a quality control coach in Carolina during Newton’s rookie season — told Max Henson of the team’s official website that Cam’s unique talent won’t go to waste.

“What he has done has really refined his game, really become a pro, but he’s going to play his way,” Turner said. “He’s going to run — that’s what makes him the dynamic player he is — but also making the throws in the pocket, going through his reads. All of those things come from experience, and he’s played seven seasons now.”

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Turner’s job is to help Newton sand down the rough edges. The QB’s biggest trouble during his first seven seasons were fits of inaccuracy, often sailing passes high. For his career, he has a 58.5 completion percentage. The past two seasons he averaged a 56 percent completion rate on 1,002 pass attempts.

Jameis Winston jersey really lost his cool at the end of this one. After being sacked by Kawann Short on a last-gasp drive, Winston lost the ball on fumble to Julius Peppers to that put the game away. Winston was livid with the call, yelling at officials as he was held back by teammates. He continued to yell on the sideline and had to be restrained by coaches and players from running onto the field. After the game, TV cameras showed him apologizing to referee Jerome Boger. It remains to be seen if he’ll face any discipline for his outburst, which resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Up until letting his emotions get the better of him, Winston was the primary reason why the Buccaneers (4-11) nearly pulled off the upset. He completed 21 of 27 passes for 367 yards and a touchdown. It’s too bad he was sacked six times and the Buccaneers lost three fumbles against Carolina — otherwise they might have won.

Damiere Byrd played a significant role in this one. His 103-yard touchdown return in the first half was exactly what the Panthers needed to offset a strong early-game performance by the Buccaneers. It gave the Panthers a temporary lead, and allowed them to stay neck and neck with Tampa going into halftime.

Better chance Bills keep Tyrod Taylor than release him

The Buffalo Bills‘ decision on Tyrod Taylor’s future sits less than three weeks away. The Bills brass will have to choose whether to pick up the $27 million option bonus by March 11 or cut ties with the quarterback.

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NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that it appears there is a better chance the Bills keep the quarterback than release him.

While there are faults in Taylor’s play — i.e. some coaching frustrations with the QB’s inability to consistently target the entire field, particularly over the middle — the lack of other options could keep him in Buffalo. Tony Romo likely wouldn’t want to play for a rebuilding team, Jay Cutler is a coach killer, Nick Foles is painful to watch, the draft is roundly criticized for its lack of first-round talent at the position, and the Bills have no credible in-house candidate to take over this year.

Rapoport previously reported that the Bills and Taylor could re-do his contract to smooth out some of the salary-cap issues without the QB taking a pay cut.

One point of interest in Taylor’s timeline is his recovery from groin surgery last month. If the team were to decide to move on, he’d have to pass a physical.

Taylor’s recovery is going as expected and he’s healthy, a source informed of the situation told Rapoport. In addition, a Bills team source told ESPN that the quarterback has been “medically cleared.” The citation that it’s from a team source, (as opposed to a representative of Taylor) is notable in this case. When Taylor underwent surgery, the team sent out a statement saying the quarterback “elected to have surgery.” Now the team appears to be claiming he’s healthy, which could set up a battle if Buffalo decides to move on.

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“Sean McDermott is an excellent football coach and we feel he is the perfect leader for this team,” general manager Doug Whaley said in a statement. “Sean’s intelligence, leadership qualities and vision for our team impressed us throughout the interview process.”

The 42-year-old, who had a second interview with Bills ownership Wednesday, also interviewed with the Chargers and 49ers this offseason.

The move seems to be both practical and symbolic for an organization looking to move on from the hastily discarded Rex Ryan era. McDermott, a longtime defensive coordinator like Ryan, runs a different system (a base 4-3 instead of Ryan’s 3-4) and has more of a reputation as an elastic play-caller. The players create the system, not the other way around.

With many Bills players mentioning a lack of discipline following Ryan’s ouster, it’s also no surprise that McDermott, known for his tough demeanor in the likeness of mentor Jim Johnson, rose to the top of the candidate pool. The Bills are heavily invested in a slew of defensive talent, most of which has underperformed in recent years. Buffalo finished 16th in points surrendered and 19th in yards surrendered this season. In 2015, they were 15th and 19th, respectively.

As the architect behind Carolina’s highly regarded defense, McDermott’s units finished in the top 10 in takeaways each season since 2013. He twice finished in the top 10 in points allowed (second in 2013 and sixth in 2015) since arriving with the Panthers before the entire team took a tumble in 2016. This past season, the 6-10 Panthers were 26th in points surrendered and 21st in yards. Rapoport also reports that secondary coach Steve Wilks is likely to be promoted to DC in Carolina.

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Nike Bills #64 Richie Incognito Red Men's Stitched NFL Elite Rush JerseyWhen informing the Pegulas of criticism about their organization, the News cited the following pieces from ESPN and The Boston Globe.

Terry was by far the strongest on the matter, essentially saying that fans and media cannot pin the 17 year drought on them.

“I know how I run my life, run our business,” he said. “I know how we treat people, and I know the people we have in our organization. You can’t pin 17 years on the Pegulas. We’ve been around for X-number of years. There’s no foundation, no truth to this dysfunctional talk. I consider it an insult to our organization and the Bills and the good people with the Sabres. They can’t be real happy to hear that.”

The full interview is worth your time. The Pegulas make their case as a strong but silent partner in the NFL operation and offer an honest assessment of general manager Doug Whaley’s debacle of a press conference two weeks ago.

In terms of ownership, Bills fans don’t have much to complain about so far. The Pegulas were intent on keeping the team in Buffalo and, in terms of a head coaching decision, identified quickly that Rex Ryan was not going to cut it and rectified the problem after less than two years. Some owners stick with ineffective coaches for much longer.

As we and they well know, the only way to ease a negative perception is to win. Just look at the Miami Dolphins, who have gone from the picture of dysfunction to a stable, ascending organization in the matter of one season.

Maxwell: Dolphins’ secondary can be Legion of Boom

The last time we saw the Miami Dolphins, their secondary was chasing after Antonio Brown in a debilitating wild-card round loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Miami’s defensive backs watched the Steelers wide receiver run roughshod over them in the first quarter, allowing the most receiving yards in a first quarter (119) since 1969. Pittsburgh’s hot start persisted and sent the Dolphins into the offseason with a number of questions on the back end.

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This week, Byron Maxwell answered them. When asked at the Dolphins Cancer Challenge on Friday night what the future held for a Miami secondary that was publicly undressed in Pittsburgh, the former Seahawks cornerback was optimistic.

“We can be talked about how they talked about us in Seattle,” Maxwell said, per the Palm Beach Post. “We’ve just got to find a nickname.

“We’ve got to run with it. But we’ve got to put it on the field first. We definitely have the making of something — we can be something great.”

Suggesting the Dolphins could replicate the dominance of the Seahawks’ legendary Legion of Boom is a tall task from Maxwell. After all, outside of the veteran cornerback, who joined the Dolphins in the offseason via trade from Philadelphia, Miami’s secondary is still an unknown entity.

The Dolphins’ defensive backs suffered numerous injuries last season, contributing to the breakdown in the Steel City. Maxwell missed the Dolphins’ final three games with an ankle injury; promising safety Isa Abdul-Quddus missed the final two with a neck injury; and fellow safety Reshad Jones was sidelined for half the season with a shoulder injury.

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Nike Dolphins Men's Ugly SweaterIn place of the injured, Miami saw inspiring play from young cornerbacks in Xavien Howard, Tony Lippett and Bobby McCain, players who will provide necessary depth for the Dolphins in 2017.

“I’m not enamored with any of the quarterbacks in this draft, that’s No. 1,” said Casserly, the former GM of the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins. “No. 2, Garappolo today is better than any quarterback in this draft. Now, he’s had three years of experience. You look at him coming out (of college), the guy had a quick release, he’s smart, he knows where to go with the ball. The guy is accurate, and he can make some plays on the move. You see all (those things) in the NFL. His deep-ball accuracy, you’d like that (to be) a little bit better.”

Garoppolo indeed has been in the NFL for three seasons, but his playing experience doesn’t amount to much. He’s made two career starts, both of them to begin the 2016 season while Tom Brady served a four-game suspension. Garoppolo led the Patriots to a 2-0 start before suffering an injury, completing 42 of 59 passes for 496 yards, four TDs and no interceptions in wins over the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins.

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That’s not much of a body of work after three pro seasons, but then again, it’s more than what a rookie would bring.

“Garoppolo to me is not a special guy who will just raise the level of everybody around him. Like for example, an (Andrew) Luck. That’s a rare guy,” Casserly said. “But yet I do think all the characteristics I talked about, the ability to be accurate, get the ball out on time, I think he’ll do a great job there.”

There is certainly a building consensus that this isn’t the draft to find a franchise quarterback. NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock said last week that he would be “scared to death” to take one in the first 10 picks of the draft, and Kizer — at No. 18 — is the highest-ranked QB on NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s list of the draft’s top 50 prospects.

If NFL clubs see things the same way, the trade market for Garoppolo could be all the stronger for it.

NFL investigation proved three players’ innocence who involved in doping

After an investigation into the reports of the Al-Jazeera in NFL players using illegal drugs, NFL announced that the Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison has not used or received any illegal drugs.

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League issued a statement on this Wednesday: After allegations by the US branch of Al Jazeera documentary produced to conduct a comprehensive inspection, NFL did not find any credible evidence that the Pittsburgh Steelers James Harrison and Green Bay Packers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers obtain or use regulations prohibit drugs to enhance the performance.

Last week, three players participated in a survey interview. The investigation, with the support of expert consultants and other athletes, began in January this year led by the NFL and legal teams. The investigation includes interviewing witnesses, reviewing past records and other materials, electronic searches, laboratory analysis and review.

Al-Jazeera reported that the three players, quarterback Peyton Manning and free agent linebacker Mike Neal were accused of obtaining illegal drugs. League announced in July Manning was innocent, but did not announc details of the investigation for Neal.

The documentary is not well for all athletes, especially for Manning, Harrison, Peppers and Matthews is. The four never tested positive.