Bears kicker Robbie Gold, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, Donald Trump
Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould doesn’t see the NFL’s logic in its experimentation with lengthening extra-point attempts.
Concerned that the extra point has become too automatic, league owners voted last week to move the spot of the kick to the 20-yard line through the first two weeks of the preseason. Depending on the results, the change could eventually become permanent, with the distinct possibility of the distance growing.
But in Gould’s view, making extra-point tries more difficult has the great potential for diminishing the kicker’s role because of the desired effect to encourage teams to attempt more two-point conversions. He considers it a case of unfairly punishing kickers for simply being too good.
“Because Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and these guys have become so good at passing the football and going over 5,000 yards per season, are you going to get rid of play action passing?” Gould told ESPN.com “A linebacker or a defense is so good at blitzing, are you going to get rid of that? No, you’re going to embrace it.
“The NFL has made our position become so good because the competition is so thick, if you fail to perform; they’ll cut you right away and get somebody else regardless of your salary because kicker’s salaries usually don’t mean a ton in regards to the salary cap. Instead of embracing how good the position has become like they for other positions, they’re actually trying to diminish what that position has become and completely overhaul it.”
For the record, Gould missed an extra point in 2013.
PATRIOTS MEET MANZIEL, BRIDGEWATER
And with the 29th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select … Johnny Manziel? Or how about Teddy Bridgewater?
Neither scenario seems likely for multiple reasons. One, the Patriots don’t have a need at quarterback (they would appear to be in good shape at the position with a guy named Tom Brady). Two, they’re satisfied with Brady’s backup, Ryan Mallett. Three, there’s reason to wonder, with so many other teams in need of a quarterback, whether Manziel or Bridgewater would fall that far in the first round.
Nevertheless, according to multiple media reports, the Patriots are due to meet with Manziel and Bridgewater today at their headquarters.
Here are the reasons the Pats’ interest in both players makes sense:
>>There’s always a chance Manziel, whose lack of size and tendency to rely too much on his scrambling is bound to be a turnoff for multiple teams, and Bridgewater, whose disappointing pro-day performance left a bad impression on many draft analysts, could fall to 29th.
>>The Patriots eventually will need to replace Brady.
>>Mallett is due to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2014 season.
>>The Pats want to get the best gauge possible on Manziel’s and Bridgewater’s value in the event that he is still available and a team that selected earlier would want to trade back into the first round to get one of them.
>>The Pats want to pick Manziel’s brain about the Aggies’ spread offense.
RG3: DESEAN JACKSON ‘EXCITING PLAYER’
Presumably, DeSean Jackson won’t have to worry about getting enough passes thrown in his direction now that he has agreed to a contract with the Washington Redskins.
Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III made it clear to ESPN that Jackson is everything he could want in a receiver.
“Very exciting player,” Griffin said. “Determined to show he is the best and hungry to win. My kinda guy.”
DIMITRI PATTERSON SIGNS WITH JETS
Former Cleveland Browns cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who has been with the Miami Dolphins since late in the 2012 season, has joined his second AFC East team: the New York Jets.
Last year, Patterson had four interceptions, two coming against former Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden in the 2013 season-opener.
But thanks to a groin injury, he only played in six games. That’s consistent with Patterson’s inability to stay healthy. He played in only nine games in 2012 (seven with the Browns, two with Miami) and missed two games with Cleveland in 2011.
The last (and only) year Patterson played in all 16 regular-season games was 2010, when he was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
WHAT’S THE RIGHT NUMBER FOR A NUMBER?
One truism in the NFL is that just because a jersey number belongs to one player, it doesn’t mean that it’s unavailable to another.
A number can always be had for the right price, as wide receiver Eric Decker discovered not long after joining the New York Jets as a free agent.
Since beginning his NFL career with the Denver Broncos in 2010, Decker has worn No. 87. And, to keep wearing it with the Jets, he had to pay Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland $25,000 … and treat him to a steak dinner, according to the New York Daily News.
After signing a five-year, $36.25-million contract, Decker clearly had the wherewithal to make the purchase from Cumberland, who recently signed a three-year, $3.7-million deal and now will wear No. 85.
THE DONALD LOOKS AT THE BILLS
Last week’s passing of Bills owner Ralph Wilson has raised questions about the franchise’s future in Buffalo.
In accordance with Wilson’s wishes, the team will be sold to the highest bidder, with no stipulations that the buyer must keep the team in Western New York, where it has been since its inception in 1960). Escaping from a stadium lease would cost $400 million until 2020, at which point the price falls to $28 million.
One name that has surfaced as a potential buyer is billionaire Donald Trump, who told a Buffalo radio station that that he has been approached by “a group of people” to purchase the club.
Trump, who owned the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League in the 1980s, said he would “take a look at it.” And if he did, he seemingly would be inclined to keep the Bills right where they are.
“If it were me, I’d keep the team in Buffalo,” Trump said. “I think it’s something that is really vital to the area. …It would be catastrophic, in my opinion, if Buffalo lost the Buffalo Bills.”
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