Bruce Arians 800Bruce Arians is sticking with Kameron Canaday as his long-snapper, even though his low delivery of the ball helped lead to a missed field-goal attempt that cost the Arizona Cardinals a chance to beat the New England Patriots in their season-opener.

“The kid’s been doing great,” Arians told Alex Marvez and Bill Polian and Late Hits. “He didn’t bounce back there. It was just about two inches too low. He still should make that kick. It’s not like he hit it on the ground.

‘Kid’s been really good’

“No, the kid’s been really good, we’re going to stick with him and we’re going to stick with him in the future.”

 

Panthers’ Kalil: More protection for Newton, full-time officials

Ryan Kalil

Ryan Kalil is tired of seeing Cam Newton take so much punishment without his punishers being punished as well.

The Carolina Panthers’ center has watched the team’s quarterback get hit repeatedly in games, but the season-opening loss against the Denver Broncos was at the highest end of the scale. And Kalil saw the officials allow it to happen, largely, he thinks, because Newton is so large and partly because they are part-timers.

‘We ask our quarterback to run a lot’

“I think part of it is because of what Cam is sort of known for,” Kalil told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “I mean, he’s one of the few very rare quarterbacks of his size, of his sort of his physique and abilities to do what he does in our offense. A lot of our schemes are sort of power, zone, but then also we have these read-option things where you’ve got to respect Cam and where he is. So we ask our quarterback to run a lot because he’s a big guy and he’s a physical guy.

“So when he does carry the ball and he is running downfield and he’s trying to run over linebackers and D-linemen, you’re watching the guy throughout the game and you go, ‘Oh, there’s a tough, big guy who’s taking hits.’ And I think what’s happening with some of these refs is when he’s dropping back in the pocket, they’re sort of forgetting that, ‘Here’s a guy who is also a quarterback and our job is to protect the quarterback in these certain situations.’ And he’s just taking a lick.”

‘He’s just taking a lick’

Meanwhile, the flags are remaining in the pockets of the officials.

“So I think the thing we’ve got to do a better job of is throwing flags,” Kalil. “The NFL is talking about player safety. It’s not going to come from fining guys. Guys don’t care about getting fined, especially when they’re trying to win a football game. And, if they do win a football game, they definitely don’t care. And then, too, they also don’t know what’s going to happen to them during a game. It’s all about in the moment. So unless or until you penalize the team for those actions, they’re not going to stop taking licks on him. Why would they?”

‘Got to do a better job of throwing flags’

Kalil couldn’t stand what he was seeing against Denver. Too many times, Broncos players took shots at Newton and officials did nothing, including near the end of the game when he received a blatant helmet-to-helmet hit.

“It’s frustrating,” Kalil said. “That game was one of the worst I’ve been in. I’ve been in other games like that where I’ve seen guys take shots on him. But that was one of the worst and they definitely missed a couple of them. So that’s something they’ve got to do a better job of, but I think the other part of it, too, is something that’s just beyond puzzling to me is the fact that, as much money as there is in the NFL, as big of a sport as it is, why our referees aren’t full time. I just don’t understand that for the life of me.

‘We ask to much of refs’

“I just think we ask too much of them. These guys are part-time guys and we’re constantly changing the game and evolving the rules. And the competition committee is constantly bringing new things to the table and they have to be more alert to these certain things. There’s an emphasis on this and that, and I think it’s too much. It’s hard for us players, and we’re around it 24/7 all year long to keep up with a lot of this stuff, and you’re asking these guys to watch a bunch of things at once. So I guess the point for me is, it’s amazing how much we lose just from the end of the Super Bowl to when we get back into spring ball. And you retain it as quickly as you can, but it sort of takes that whole process.

“It’s not so much a jab at the refs as much as it is that we’ve just got to give them better resources. We’re asking too much of them and we’ve got to help these guys out. And I think the best way to do that is to make them full-time and to give them the ability to be around the game a lot more.”

 

Buccaneers’ McCoy: ‘Winston has makings to be MVP this season’

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy can’t help but be impressed with all that his quarterback, Jameis Winston, has going for him.

The talent is a given, as evidenced by his 281-yard, four-touchdown passing performance in the Buccaneers’ 31-12 season-opening victory against the Atlanta Falcons that earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. It’s the reason the Buccaneers made Winston the top overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft.

After that, however, is the passion, the drive, the intangibles that set Winston apart from all of his teammates and, McCoy thinks, most other players in the NFL.

‘Loves, loves, loves, loves, loves the game’

“That’s what’s made him so successful,” McCoy told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “He loves, loves, loves, loves, loves the game of football. He’s our biggest competitor on the team. It doesn’t matter what happens in practice or in the game. He never wavers. He always stays the course. And he keeps pushing and he keeps pushing, and eventually it’s going to show. He’s just a natural-born leader.

‘He’s our biggest competitor on the team’

“I truly believe — and I said this last year — he has the makings to be the MVP this season. Not down the line, but right now. And I believe that. Will he be the MVP? That’s yet to be seen. Do I think he has everything it takes to be the MVP? Yes, he does.”

 

Green praises Dalton’s poise in the face of pressure

A.J. Green

A.J. Green has seen Andy Dalton’s resilience before, so what he witnessed Sunday against the New York Jets was nothing new.

It still was impressive, though, as Green pointed out to Bob Papa and Solomon Wilcots on the Opening Drive.

“He got smacked around a little bit, but we made plays when we needed to,” Cincinnati’s standout wide receiver said of Dalton being sacked seven times and taking a total of 10 hits in the Bengals’ 23-22 win against the Jets. “For me, I’ve seen it time and time again. That guy is one of the best in the way he’s poised in the pocket. He doesn’t let anything rattle him. And that’s the biggest thing.

‘That’s why we’re so successful’

“That’s why we’re so successful. It has a lot to do with him and how he put us in so many successful plays and the way he checks and the way he reads defenses and the little things like that that really don’t show up on Sundays, like the behind-the-scenes things — the way he studies and the little things like that.”

There are also the big things, like Dalton’s sheer toughness and determination.

‘When we needed it, he delivered’

“You saw Sunday, how he just kept getting up, delivering the ball when we needed (him) to,” Green said. “We didn’t have the best start, but when we needed it, he delivered for us.”

 

Steelers’ Williams: ‘Why do I always have to be tagged with my age?’

DeAngelo Williams 800

For DeAngelo Williams, it was more of a slap to the face than a compliment.

Don’t congratulate him for being the first 33-year-old player since Emmitt Smith in 2002 to rush for 140-plus yards, something Williams achieved with his 143-yard output to help the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Washington Redskins, 33-16, Monday night.

‘A category that shouldn’t be a category’

Williams, the NFL’s oldest running back, sees it as a form of age discrimination routinely practiced by the media.

“That’s a category that shouldn’t be a category,” Williams told Bob Papa and Solomon Wilcots on the Opening Drive. “Just think about this — and a lot of people don’t think about this — all the running backs that haven’t hit the age of 30 don’t ever get tagged with, ‘Hey, this guy is doing this at 30 or 31 or 32 or 33.’ But once you hit that 30 mark, your age is attached to you every time you do something. ‘Hey, the 33-year-old running back went for … ‘ I can’t just be a running back? I can’t be a running back that went for over 140 yards? Why do I always have to get tagged with my age as if it’s a bad thing to be 33 years old?

‘Either you’re young or your age is attached to you’

“Think about it. Todd Gurley, for instance. Nobody ever questions how he’s a young back. Like, ‘Ah, this young back did this.’ You’re a young back at that point. It’s either you’re young or your age is attached to you. Can I just be a back that’s reaping the benefits of a great offensive line?”

Speaking of which, Williams thinks the Steelers’ O-line merits far more credit than it gets for the job it does opening holes for him and keeping quarterback Ben Roethlisberger upright.

O-line doesn’t get enough credit for ‘moving mountains’

“Our offensive line doesn’t get enough credit,” Williams said. “I said it throughout the offseason, everybody was goo-goo-eyed over the Cowboys’ offensive line and what they had going on Dallas, and I was just like, ‘Man, somebody better wake up and pay attention to this offensive line here in Pittsburgh, because they’re moving mountains literally with the big guys that they have to block.’

“They’re keeping those big guys off me. Taking those hits by the DBs and the corners doesn’t take a toll on you like getting hit by those big guys and the linebackers. It’s a running back’s dream and the defense’s nightmare when you’ve got guys up front that do that and they take great pride in their craft at blocking guys. We talk and communicate all the time, whether it be run or whether it be pass.”

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