"There's a chain of command here in Oakland," Ryan said. "I put the game plan in. I run the defense. Put it on me, that's where it belongs. "Understand, my job's to be the defensive coordinator and Lane's the head coach. He's got a million hats, I've only got one. Eventually the whole thing comes down to me being a better coach and doing a better job." Ryan refuted Kiffin's notion that Ryan meets with Davis to map out plans during the season. Ryan said they do their meetings in the offseason, not between games. "I don't meet with him on game plans or come up with all this," Ryan said. "I'll have 4-hour conversations with him in the offseason about everything in this league. "But during the week, I don't have time to talk to my wife, OK?"
"Carson Palmer was doing a cell-phone interview with ESPN2 on the way out to practice. Walking through the tunnel leading to the Paul Brown Stadium field, Palmer said, 'Yeah, Mike Vrabel called me last night and had the nerve to ask for points.' It was a reference to comments Palmer, a former Southern Cal Heisman Trophy winner, made Wednesday that he could not get a bet for the Ohio State-USC game Saturday night. Vrabel, a New England linebacker, played at Ohio State. 'I am so confident,' Palmer told ESPN2, 'that I gave him the points.'"
"He's not mad at the world. People have thought that and I just think he's misunderstood. He's not mad. He's just guarded sometimes and he also has a great passion for football. That passion can be misunderstood. He just has a different personality."
What to look for on SI.com today ...
• Bills fans were quite fond of Dr. Z's Power Rankings. Others were not so kind. Z sorts it all out in his mailbag.
• Don Banks finds eight teams who need to win in Week 2.
• Michael Lombardi, a former NFL executive, chimes in with his weekly Frankly Football column.
Plus all the news as teams get ready for the second week of action ...
A Nashville resident has organized a prayer for Vince Young.
Earl Jordan, with the group Partners in the Struggle, is organizing a prayer rally for Young Friday night, according to WKRN Nashville. The rally will be held in Metro Center, on the corner of Rosa Parks Boulevard and Mainstream Drive.
The Colts were a mess in their opening loss to the Bears, but they might get some extra help on the offensive line for Sunday's showdown with the 0-1 Vikings. ProFootballTalk.com reports that Jeff Saturday has participated in Colts' practices for two straight days. The center tore a knee ligament in a preseason game on Aug. 24, but opted for rehab instead of surgery.
Saturday remains unsure if he'll be ready to go this week. The three-time pro-bowler's return would certainly help Indy's chances against the Vikings' imposing defensive front.
The game was originally scheduled for 4:15 p.m. EDT Sunday.
Hurricane Ike was headed toward the Texas coast as a category 3 storm on Thursday. It was expected to make landfall between Houston and Corpus Christi sometime early Saturday morning.
"Goodell said the NFL is prepared to allow the game to be potentially be played as late as Monday. A plan is also in place to postpone the game and make scheduling changes to play it later in the season."
• "I honestly can say that Donovan made me a better receiver in Philly," T.O. said, "but I think it would be hard for him to admit that I made him a better quarterback."
• "We obviously could have done some great things together," T.O. said after the TV cameras had left his locker, "but it wasn't me letting my pride get in the way."
• "I think at one point in time I will say that we had a good relationship. I think I got too big for Philly, too big for him. But here, Tony and I have a great relationship."
"The Ravens could know by the end of today whether Sunday's game at the Houston Texans is going to be altered. Hurricane Ike is expected to hit the Houston area on Saturday, which could cause travel problems for the Ravens. Flights at Houston airports are expected to be disrupted Friday and Saturday. If the Ravens were unable to travel there until Sunday, the NFL likely would consider moving the game to Monday night. A Ravens spokesman said today there has been no speculation as to whether the game would be moved to another day or site."
Which coach and quarterback are 'ready to kill each other?' ProFootballTalk.com has the scoop:
"A league source tells us that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are trying to trade quarterback Jeff Garcia. Per the source, the Bucs are willing to take anything they can get for Garcia, who's in the final season of a two-year contract. The problem is the relationship between Garcia and coach Jon Gruden. They're "ready to kill each other," the source said.
What to look for on SI.com today ...
• Who does Peter King like in Week 2? SI.com's expert picks all the games, straight up.
• Do you like your picks with the lines taken into consideration? Then Dr. Z will be your man.
• Don Banks finds out if Matt Cassel is ready to take over in New England.
• Dominic Bonvissuto breaks down the watchability of every Week 2 game.
Plus all the news as teams get ready for the second week of action ...
"They weren't 18-0 last year just because of Tom Brady. ... They'll still make the playoffs and make a run at it," former Broncos legend John Elway said Wednesday in an interview with Bloomberg Radio'sOn the Ball program, airing Sept. 13.
"We're not the team to beat," Favre said at a news conference. "The Patriots have dominated the division and this league for a long time. Does (Brady's injury) give us a better chance? Any time you don't face Tom Brady, it gives you a better chance. I'm just giving the guy the respect he deserves."
The AP is reporting the Patriots had a special visitor at today's practice:
"Tom Brady visited his New England Patriots teammates three days after suffering a season-ending knee injury. Wide receiver Randy Moss said the quarterback was at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday and the visit was an 'uplifting' experience."
Video of his visit can be seen here, courtesy of WHDH-TV.
You knew the details would come out eventually, even if Bill Belichick didn't want them to. The Boston Globe has the specifics on Tom Brady's injury:
"Brady suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and torn medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee. ... Brady will likely undergo surgery in approximately one month and face 6-9 months of recovery and rehabilitation, barring any complications."
You've probably already seen Terrell Owens impersonating Usain Bolt after scoring a touchdown Sunday. NFL officiating czar Mike Pereira explains to Dan Patrick why the act drew a flag.
There's always a fair amount of news on Wednesdays as teams return to the practice field. Here are a few from the AP wire from the past couple hours:
• The 49ers">49ers placed QB Alex Smith on injured reserve, likely ending the 2005 No. 1 pick's tenure with the team. Full story here.
• Cleveland Browns starting safety Sean Jones will have arthroscopic knee surgery and likely be sidelined for at least one month. Full story here.
• The Jacksonville Jaguars continued to revamp their battered offensive line Wednesday, signing free agent Todd Wade and placing Maurice Williams on injured reserve. Full story here.
• The Chicago Bears brought back offensive tackle Fred Miller, signing the veteran to a one-year contract Wednesday after releasing him in the offseason. Full story here.
"Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian announced today that defensive tackle Ed Johnson was arrested for speeding and possession of marijuana early this morning in Hamilton County. 'Those charges have been filed, it is my understanding, and we are in the process right now of determining what course of action to take with respect to discipline,' Polian said. 'There will be discipline, the question is what is it.' Johnson is a starter but coach Tony Dungy said he would not play Sunday when the Colts face Minnesota in Minneapolis.
From the AP:
Of course, the bigger news out of Nashville remains the Young saga. Felicia Young, Vince's mother, had this to say this morning:
"What would you think, if you were tired of being ridiculed and persecuted and talked about and not being treated very well, what would you do? What kind of decision would you make?" she told the Tennessean. "He may not want to deal with it (all), but you have to get to that point before you make that decision first. But we're not talking about football right now. We're talking about what would make him happy, and that is the most important thing."
From the AP:
"The New England Patriots have signed quarterback Matt Gutierrez to their practice squad and could activate him for Sunday's' game at the New York Jets. Gutierrez was released on the team's final roster cutdown for the regular season after spending all last season with the Patriots as the third-string quarterback behind Tom Brady and Matt Cassel. ... Kevin O'Connell is currently the Patriots' No. 2."
Bad news for Saints fans, courtesy of FoxSports.com:
"The Saints have lost their top receiving weapon, Marques Colston, to a torn ligament in his left thumb. Colston, in fact, quietly had surgery on Tuesday to reattach the ligament and will miss the next month to six weeks."
What to look for on SI.com today ...
• What did Week 1 do to Dr. Z's Power Rankings? It's a safe bet they will look a lot different than they did last week.
• First, Ross Tuckerlit into Shawne Merriman's critics. Then, last week, the Bengals felt Tucker's wrath. Who will be on the business end of a Tuck's Take this week?
• Our friends at ColdHardFootballFacts.com will have a statistical breakdown of why one popular NFC Super Bowl pick is headed for a bad season.
Plus all the news as teams return to the practice field after having Tuesday off ...
Chargers linebacker Shawne Merrimanwill miss the rest of year after surgery to repair two torn ligaments in his knee. Merriman grabbed some the Brett Favre headlines a few weeks ago when he announced his intention to play on the damaged knees (after seeking as many as five medical opinions). He could be ready for the 2009 season, the final year of his existing deal with San Diego.
From the AP: Bill Belichick says the Patriots are not in any hurry to sign a quarterback. Currently, Matt Cassel and Kevin O'Connell are the only two QBs on the roster.
Courtesy of the AP, Vince Young's agent, Major Adams, offers this alibi for his client's whereabouts on Monday night:
"Young's agent said Tuesday afternoon there was no need for concern because the quarterback was at a friend's house watching football and eating chicken wings. 'When people were worried about him, I was on the phone talking to him,' Adams said. 'I didn't know there was any confusion about where he was as if he was missing or whatever. He just said, 'Hey, I'm over here watching the game.' ... Then I start getting all these frantic calls.'"
Chad Johnson wasn't allowed to have his new last name, Ocho Cinco, on his jersey in Week 1 due to licensing issues. That much we already knew.
What ProFootballTalk.com is reporting today, courtesy of Bengals.com, is it may cost Johnson upwards of $500,000 to make the switch to Ocho Cinco on his jersey. Read the full story here.
The AP has more details on the bizarre Vince Young story, including that the QB's MRI for his injured knee was rescheduled from Monday to today with no explanation given. You can read the whole story here.
Additionally, the report says the Titans worked out ex-Jags QB Quinn Gray today and are interested in Joey Harrington as well.
There's a strange story developing out of Nashville. The Tennessean is reporting that Vince Young and Jeff Fisher met with police officers around midnight:
"Metro Police issued a bulletin for officers to be on the lookout for Titans quarterback Young on Monday night after Fisher expressed concern about the QB's emotional well being. According to Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron, Fisher had been alerted after a friend of Young's contacted the coach around 7 p.m. Monday night. Young eventually made contact with Fisher, and the two met around midnight with Metro police officials at Baptist Sports Park."
For the Tennessean's complete story, click here.
The latest on Cowboys running back Marion Barber's rib injury, courtesy of the Dallas Morning News:
"Coach Wade Phillips did not express much worry over the rib injury Barber suffered in the third quarter of Sunday's season-opening win against Cleveland. He expects Barber to practice Wednesday and wasn't sure the Pro Bowl running back would even wear extra padding for Monday's game against NFC East rival Philadelphia. 'It depends on how he heals from the bruise,' Phillips said, 'but they expect him by Monday to be OK.'"
What to look for on SI.com today:
* Don Banks looks at how the balance of power has shifted from the AFC to the NFC.
* Michael Turner, MVP? Bucky Brooks breaks down the awards races after the first week of action.
* Readers had some questions after Peter King's MMQB column. Today, he answers 'em.
* After their teams' dismal opening-week performances, Rams fans and Lions fans might be interested in draft guru Tony Pauline's latest column assessing the college prospects who are rising and sliding.
Plus, all the news as the focus shifts to Week 2 ...
Mercifully, the Broncos-Raiders game has come to an end, with Denver bolting Oak-town with a convincing 41-14 win. QB Jay Cutler shined in the victory, completing 16-of-24 passes for 299 yards with two touchdowns and zero picks. You have to wonder how long ESPN will keep showing the Raiders on Monday Night Football. Tradition aside, Oakland has lost its last three ESPN games by a combined score of 84-14. SI.com's Jim Trotter shares Five Things We Learned from Monday's AFC West tangle.
The man who delivered the hit that ended Tom Brady's season insists he was not trying to hurt last year's NFL MVP.
"It was really an accident," said Kansas City's Bernard Pollard told The Associated Press. "I can't change what happened. I can't do anything but pray for him and hope he has a speedy recovery."
Early in the Patriots' 17-10 victory, Pollard came on a safety blitz and was fighting through the block of running back Sammy Morris. Crawling forward, he got hold of Brady's left knee just as Brady was planting to make a long throw to Randy Moss.
"As soon as the play happened, I said, `Oh, man.' When I heard him scream, I knew it was serious," said the third-year safety. "I came back to the sideline and told (coach Herm Edwards) `That dude's hurt. But it was not intentional, coach, man, I'm sorry."'
The league said Monday the hit was clean.
"The Titans do not have the results of tests on quarterback Vince Young's knee, but head coach Jeff Fisher said he did not expect the injury to threaten Young's season. Fisher said Sunday night x-rays on the knee were negative. ... Fisher mentioned in his press conference a third-degree sprain in talking generally about players missing time. He said such an injury would require a player to miss a week or two."
Meanwhile, a Tennessean story about Young apparently taking himself out of the game before the knee injury continues to generate buzz. TitansRadio.com said Fisher spent most of today's post-mortem press conference addressing the incident.
For a more detailed story, click here.
As we wait for Bill Belichick to address the media at 3 p.m. in Foxboro, the Boston Globe has this report on Pollard's hit on Brady:
The Globe report goes on to cite the rulebook to explain why the hit was legal. Click here to read the explanation.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting the Titans expect Vince Young to be out for two-to-four weeks with a sprained left knee suffered in Tennessee's win over Jacksonville. Backup Kerry Collins played the final two series Sunday and would be in line to start Sunday against the Bengals if the Titans don't seek out a free-agent QB this week.
From the AP wire: "Patriots coach Bill Belichick's news conference Monday has been postponed from 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., while the team awaits test results on quarterback Tom Brady's injured left knee."
Most of today's buzz has centered around whether Bernard Pollard's hit on Tom Brady was clean or dirty. Get in on the debate and share your opinions here.
Matt Cassel isn't just Tom Brady's backup on the football field. From the AP:
"Cassel, who stepped in for Brady after the NFL's reigning MVP injured his left knee in the first quarter of Sunday's game against Kansas City, filled in for Brady on his scheduled radio appearance Monday. 'I'm not trying to be Tom Brady. I'm just trying to be Matt Cassel,' he said on WEEI, adding that he hadn't talked to Brady, though the two had exchanged text messages."
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Sunday night that New England will also bring in Tim Rattay for a workout.
What to look for on SI.com today...
• Peter King was up all night, amassing over 6,000 words of analysis on this weekend's action. The result is the latest version of the NFL's Monday morning bible, MMQB.
• Later this morning, Michael Lombardi will weigh in with his Week 1 analysis, doling out letter grades to five NFL entities.
• The latest on Tom Brady's MRI, which is scheduled for today.
Plus all the news as we get set for a Monday Night Football doubleheader...