Monthly Archives: July 2017

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BEREA, Ohio — The Cleveland Browns will go slow with rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer.

Recent experience with second-round quarterbacks shows that the success rate is not high. Those who have it (and who have an open spot at the position) have started immediately. Two have succeeded.

But the bulk of the second-rounders have not.
From 2007-16, 14 quarterbacks were taken in the second round of the draft.
Hue Jackson has said he will not force DeShone Kizer, but if Kizer earns the job, he will play. Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports
Two can be called unqualified successes: Oakland’s Derek Carr and Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton. Carr started immediately and has grown every season. Last season he led the Raiders to a 12-3 record and threw 28 touchdowns and six interceptions before breaking his leg just before the playoffs. Carr’s future was secured with a $125 million contract. Dalton also started immediately and has been to the playoffs four times. He’s criticized for not winning a playoff game, but the Bengals aren’t about to move on from him.

Two have yet to play enough to write their saga: the Jets’ Christian Hackenberg and New England’s Jimmy Garoppolo. Hackenberg did not throw a pass as a rookie, but he will be given the chance to start this season. Garoppolo has waited behind one of the greatest ever, Tom Brady.

Two had mixed results: Brock Osweiler played well as Peyton Manning’s backup, but not so well as Houston’s starter. He’s trying to re-establish his career in Cleveland. Colin Kaepernick went to the Super Bowl in his second season, the NFC Championship Game in his third. His career went south from there and he’s now trying to find a team that will take him.

The other eight simply did not work out.

These tales are probably no different from any other round when quarterbacks are taken. Some make it, some don’t. Robert Griffin III does not have a team after being taken second behind Andrew Luck in 2013. In the same draft, Ryan Tannehill grew into the job in Miami and Brandon Weeden has settled into a role as a backup. Both were first-rounders.

But there’s a reason quarterbacks go in the second round and not the first, especially given the premium given to the position. Notre Dame coach Chip Kelly said Kizer would have benefited from another year in college.

Hue Jackson has rightly said he will not force Kizer, but if Kizer earns the job, he will play. The words of Bill Walsh ring true: Forcing a young quarterback on the field before he’s ready can be a traumatic experience.

A look at those who didn’t make it is revealing.

Geno Smith went 8-8 for the Jets as a rookie in 2013, but 3-10 in ’14. He’s had three starts since and has thrown 36 interceptions to 28 touchdowns. Jimmy Clausen was 1-13 as a starter for three teams in six seasons. Pat White is the outlier. He was drafted to run the Wildcat and lasted one season in Miami and threw five passes. Brian Brohm played two seasons.
Chad Henne played eight for Miami and Jacksonville, but went 18-35 as a starter. Kevin Kolb and John Beck never worked out. The one exception might have been Drew Stanton. Bruce Arians liked him and was ready to have him start for the Cardinals, but then Carson Palmer became available.

The combined numbers for the 14 second-round quarterbacks average out to a passer rating of 79.7.

Dalton and Carr, though, have a combined rating of 88.7. The pair also have thrown for 40 percent of the yards of all 14, and 48 percent of the touchdowns and just 31 percent of the interceptions.

The other 12 have thrown more interceptions (278) than touchdowns (240), and have a combined rating of 73.8.

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TAMPA, Fla. — Former NFL quarterback Vince Young took a shot at Tampa Bay Buccaneers backup Ryan Fitzpatrick when questioning why some quarterbacks have continued to get opportunities in the NFL and he hasn’t.

“I’d see a quarterback and be like, ‘Dude is garbage, and I’m over here in the kitchen cooking turkey necks!?'” Young told Sports Illustrated.

“I hate to name-drop, but [Ryan] Fitzpatrick is still playing!? He leads the league in interceptions, and he’s still f—— getting paid? I mean, what the f— is going on?”

Fitzpatrick’s 17 interceptions last season for the New York Jets were actually third-most in the league, behind Philip Rivers (21) and new Bucs teammate Jameis Winston (18). Fitzpatrick threw an NFL-high 23 interceptions for the Buffalo Bills in 2011.
Vince Young hasn’t played a regular-season NFL game since 2011. Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Young, 34, recently attempted a comeback with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League, but he suffered a torn hamstring in training camp and was waived earlier this month.

Young’s last shot with an NFL team came in May 2014, when he signed a one-year contract with the Cleveland Browns; he was released less than two weeks later, after they drafted Johnny Manziel. Young announced his retirement the next month, having thrown 46 touchdown passes and 51 interceptions during his NFL career.

Young led the Texas Longhorns to a BCS National Championship and was the third overall pick of the Tennessee Titans in the 2006 NFL draft. He was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and reached the Pro Bowl in 2006 and 2009, but he struggled to maintain that level of success. His last regular-season action came in a six-game stint with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011.

Besides the Browns, he has had offseason looks from Buffalo and the Green Bay Packers.

He filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2014.

Young also told Sports Illustrated that his former Titans head coach Jeff Fisher took all the fun out of football.

“I’m going to expose his ass,” Young said.

Young described an incident in which he was left behind on a road trip to Philadelphia after he left his ID at home and went to retrieve it.

“I feel like Fisher did that s— on purpose,” Young said, adding that Fisher had held the plane for other players in the past. “I’m pulling in, seeing them pull the door down. I can hear the team yelling.”

Young later told Fisher, “Where I’m from, that’s like saying F you.”

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The Florham Park-to-Foxborough shuttle doesn’t fly as frequently as it once did, but it still makes news on occasion.

On Wednesday, David Harris became the latest passenger, signing with the New England Patriots for a shot to win a championship before retiring.

Many former New York Jets have done it during the years, looking to score Super Bowl bling as part of Bill Belichick’s team, but it’s not a gimme. Harris, released on June 6, would be the seventh player to win a Super Bowl after going directly from the Jets to the Patriots — but the first since 2003.

The old shuttle has hit a dry spell.

You’re probably thinking about Darrelle Revis, a member of the Patriots’ 2014 title team, but remember: He took a one-year detour to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before arriving in New England.

Several ex-Jets found championship glory in the Patriots’ early-dynasty days. From 2001 to 2003, Bobby Hamilton, Otis Smith, Jermaine Wiggins, Roman Phifer, Bryan Cox and Rick Lyle won titles immediately after playing for the Jets.

That fraternity shrinks to one if you count only homegrown Jets — i.e. players that began their career with the team. Wiggins, a little-known tight end, made the Jets as an undrafted free agent before moving on to the Patriots and winning a title in 2001.

Only two players drafted by the Jets have won titles with New England — Revis and Fred Baxter (2003), who played with the Chicago Bears for a year before landing with the Evil Empire. Harris would be the third.

He became the 19th player in the Belichick era (since 2000) to make the direct jump, according to Elias. That list includes Danny Woodhead, James Ihedigbo, Shaun Ellis and Chris Baker. Years before them, there was Victor Green, Chris Hayes and Vinny Testaverde.

Sorry, we’re not counting Tim Tebow. He never played in a regular-season game for the Patriots.

Before Harris, Ellis was the most noteworthy Jets-to-Patriots jump. Like Harris, he was a longtime Jet (11 years), so his defection in 2011 was a stunner, although the circumstances were different. Ellis was a free agent in training camp and received only a low-ball offer from the Jets, who had just drafted Muhammad Wilkerson and were planning to start him.

“It seems like the Patriots love Jets players,” guard Matt Slauson said at the time. “I think it’s because Belichick up there wants some insights.”
No one hated the Patriots more than Ellis, but he took the “If-you-can’t-beat-em, join-em” approach. He came agonizingly close to winning a Super Bowl in his only season with Belichick, a crushing loss to the New York Giants. He probably still has Manning-to-Manningham nightmares.

“No loyalty,” Ellis said during the run-up to the Super Bowl, referring to the Jets. “They preached that the whole time — loyalty, loyalty, blah, blah, blah.”

No fewer than 28 players have migrated from the Jets to the Patriots since 2000, including nine that had at least one stop in between. Of the nine, Anthony Pleasant, Baxter and Revis won Super Bowl rings.

Really, any conversation about Jets-to-Patriots flights should start with the original defector — Belichick, who resigned as head coach of the New York Jets and became arguably the greatest coach in history.

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — For the second time in 16 months, New York Jets wide receiver Devin Smith is recovering from major surgery on his right knee.

Smith, a second-round pick in 2015, was diagnosed with a torn ACL on April 17, the first day of the team’s offseason program. He will be lost for the entire season, the Jets announced Saturday at the conclusion of the draft.

“It’s bad luck and bad timing because the kid worked so hard to get back,” coach Todd Bowles said.
Devin Smith, left, was diagnosed with a torn ACL on April 17, the first day of the team’s offseason program. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
Smith has been plagued by injuries from almost the first moment he stepped on the field. As a rookie, he fractured his ribs on the second day of training camp. He returned and worked his way into the receiver rotation, only to suffer torn knee ligaments late in the 2015 season. As a result, he was unavailable until midway through 2016.

In two seasons, Smith, a former standout at Ohio State, has played in 14 games. He has 10 receptions for 135 yards and one touchdown.

The Jets believe he reinjured the knee before the first official workout.

“He had been around, working and training, but at the first [session] he experienced a situation with his knee,” general manager Mike Maccagnan said. “We actually examined him before he went out.”

Smith was taken for an MRI, which confirmed the tear.

The Jets drafted two receivers, Alabama’s ArDarius Stewart in the third round and Cal’s Chad Hansen in the fourth. They have 13 on the roster.