Graham Barfield

Football Daily Dose

print article archives RSS

Dose: Haley and Morton Out

Thursday, January 18, 2018


It’s that time of the year.

There are only four teams left alive in the NFL Playoffs after one of the best Divisional Rounds in recent memory. As always, the NFL news treadmill starts to slow in mid-January -- but we're still here to break down the notes from around the league!

Let's hit it all in Thursday's Dose:


Championship Round News and Notes

At press time, it looks like the Pats are going to get Rex Burkhead back for the Championship Round. Burkhead hasn’t played since Week 15 while he’s dealt with a pesky knee injury, but he has been back in practice on a limited basis for two weeks. If he's active on Sunday, he'll likely be somewhat limited given he's missed over a month of game action and since Dion Lewis is running so well. Over the last three weeks, Dion Lewis has averaged 142.3 yards from scrimmage per game on 28.3 touches per game. Todd Gurley led all RBs in yards from scrimmage per game (139.5) during the regular season.

On the other side of the ball in the AFC title game, Jags’ RB Leonard Fournette (ankle) was limited in practice on Wednesday. He’s fully expected to play, but Fournette’s latest ankle agitation is the fifth known time his foot or ankle has bothered him since he missed time with a lower-ankle issue in his final year at LSU in 2016. There is no doubt Fournette’s effectiveness has been compromised since the start of the year, too. In fact, before going on the injury report in Week 7 (ankle), Leonard Fournette forced at least one missed tackle on 19.2% of his carries (sixth-best, per PFF). Since then, Fournette has forced at least one missed tackle on just 6% of his carries (last). Jacksonville is going to ride Fournette in the Championship Round, but his constant lower-extremity issues are going to continue to be a short- and long-term issue.

The Eagles’ injury report looks gorgeous for the NFC Conference Championship game, but the Vikings are a little banged up. Adam Thielen (lower back) missed practice on Wednesday while FS Andrew Sendejo (concussion) was limited. Thielen's back injury is a bit of a mystery, considering he played a full complement of snaps in the Vikes’ insane Divisional Round win -- but he’s fully expected to play against Philadelphia on Sunday. Third-year safety Anthony Harris will fill in for Sendejo again if he can’t go.

 

Two OCs Out

In a bit of a head-scratching move, the Jets fired OC John Morton on Wednesday. New York was far from an offensive juggernaut in 2017, but that was broadly because of their personnel. Morton did a fantastic job coaxing an efficient year out of journeyman Josh McCown and squeezing 5.0 yards per play out of the offense as a whole, 21st in the league. Meanwhile, McCown was 13th in passing TD rate (4.5%) and YPA (7.4). Plus, McCown's 2017 Passer Rating (94.5) was well above his career norm (80.8). However, it appears there was more going on behind the scenes. According to ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini, Morton “rubbed some players the wrong way” and also had "philosophical differences" with head coach Todd Bowles. Apparently, Morton's play-calling also came into question throughout the year, too. The new Jets’ OC, when hired, will have a lot on his plate and may have a rookie QB to develop. New York is surely a candidate to take a passer at No. 6 overall in the NFL Draft.

After six years in Pittsburgh, OC Todd Haley's contract is up, and the Steelers will not be renewing him in 2018 for a seventh season. The Steelers enjoyed unquestionable success under Haley -- they have finished top-eight in points per drive for four-straight years -- but Haley also unquestionably had his vices. Most notably (and recently), Haley failed to game-plan against his opponents' weaknesses at times and instead ran the Steelers’ offense as if his talented players would just beat the opposition. That plan with the cast of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell worked well, but Pittsburgh hasn’t gotten over the hump with Haley calling plays. Despite having Big Ben, Brown and Bell in their primes, the Steelers have made the AFC title game just once since 2010. QBs coach Randy Fichtner is fully expected to be the Steelers’ next offensive coordinator. Fichtner has been on Mike Tomlin's staff since 2007.



Quick Hits

Tom Brady “jammed” his right hand in practice, but X-rays revealed no structural damage. He’ll be just fine. … The Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud believes there's "no chance" the Bucs keep Doug Martin for 2018. … Jarvis Landry is seeking a "contract in the range" of the one Davante Adams signed with the Packers at the end of the season (four-years, $58M, $18M guaranteed). … ESPN Browns reporter Pat McManamon believes impending free agent Terrelle Pryor is a "fit" for Cleveland. … New Texans GM Brian Gaine said a contract extension for Jadeveon Clowney is "on the horizon." … ESPN Cowboys reporter Todd Archer expects Dallas to use the franchise tag on impending free agent DE DeMarcus Lawrence if they're unable to sign him to a long-term deal. … Patriots WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee, I.R.) will not be activated off injured reserve, ending his season. … Jags’ S Tashaun Gipson (foot) didn't practice on Wednesday.






Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Dose: Cooper traded to DAL

    Dose: Cooper traded to DAL
  •  
    Nicole: Trade Targets

    Nicole: Trade Targets
  •  
    Dose: Mack runs wild

    Dose: Mack runs wild
  •  
    Player News: Week 7

    Player News: Week 7
  •  
    Matchups: Week 7

    Matchups: Week 7
  •  
    Dose: Broncos Destroy Cards

    Dose: Broncos Destroy Cards
  •  
    DFS Analysis: Hopkins, Mixon

    DFS Analysis: Hopkins, Mixon
  •  
    Dose: Hilton expected back

    Dose: Hilton expected back