NFL Insider & Sideline Reporter
Many say the NFL world is a small one. In reality, each single one of many 1,500 gamers taking the sector in Saturday or Sunday’s regular-season finales is related to Damar Hamlin.
A teammate performed at Pitt, or a teammate was with the Payments final yr, or a teammate performed highschool ball in Western Pennsylvania, the place Damar Hamlin was not solely among the best gamers within the nation, however the place he was so good that he was supplied 48 Division 1 scholarships earlier than in the end opting to decide on to play near his household and his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, with the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Who Damar Hamlin is past the soccer area?
Emmanuel Acho, Pleasure Taylor, LeSean McCoy and David Helman share who Payments security Damar Hamlin is to them past the soccer area.
So far as the NFL goes, no two groups have been as intently linked to the scenario because the Bengals and Payments, in fact. However the New York Giants are a corporation with actual ties to Hamlin, too.
Giants first-year basic supervisor Joe Schoen was not solely within the entrance workplace with the Payments final yr, however he was one of many key voices within the Payments’ draft room the day Hamlin was drafted in 2021. Schoen and present Payments GM Brandon Beane have been as aligned as any GM and deputy, and the number of Hamlin was one met with long-term plans. He’d be taught from Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, and when the time was proper, he’d get his snaps.
These alternatives did not are available in bushels in 2021, however when Hyde went down just a few months in the past, Hamlin was thrust into the beginning job. He has began 13 video games for the Payments this season and is third on the workforce in tackles. That is not one thing sixth-round choices are anticipated to do, particularly of their second seasons.
Accompanying Schoen in these draft conferences was first-year Giants coach Brian Daboll. When Daboll and Schoen got here to New York, they seemed to mannequin the group with a number of the identical values that they had seen Buffalo construct its workforce with. And with that got here a slew of signings in free company of gamers who suited up for Buffalo — alongside Hamlin — a yr in the past.
These names embody Jon Feliciano, Davis Webb, Antonio Williams, Isaiah Hodgins and Matt Breida. Defensive again Nick McCloud was an undrafted free agent who made the Payments roster a yr in the past and shared a defensive backs room with Hamlin. Jason Pinnock, a younger expertise with New York, performed 4 years at Pittsburgh with Hamlin as properly.
Brian Daboll wasn’t very forthcoming about what he instructed his workforce and what has been mentioned in that constructing this week, however I guarantee you the Giants employees and medical personnel have inspired their whole workforce to be trustworthy, open and weak about how they’re dealing with the occasions of Monday night time. This is not one or two gamers who know Hamlin, it is a big group of men who suited up with him in Buffalo a yr in the past.
After which there are Daboll and Schoen. They are not invincible. They’ve each received a connection to Hamlin, the participant and the person, as properly.
When requested about whether or not he has reached out to people in Buffalo this week, Daboll mentioned, “I’ve talked to a lot of people there. Just offered my support, not that I can do much. Those people, I’d say, mean a lot. I don’t want to speak for Joe, but I know it does. They mean a lot to both of us. I know there’s a lot of people in the building, the players, the staff, the trainers — thank God for them — you build relationships. Being there for four years, I have a ton of respect for the people in that building.”
The Giants have a recreation to play this weekend and are not in the identical division or convention because the Payments, however their constructing has been impacted in a serious method by Monday night time’s tragic incident. It simply exhibits what a small world the NFL actually is.
A silver lining
You’d prefer to assume individuals are in the end good. And if there is a silver lining in all of this, it is the overwhelming quantity of goodwill and love on show over the previous couple of days.
We learn about Hamlin’s toy drive and the overwhelming quantity of assist and funds which were raised within the final week, however I additionally love this nugget from the attire firm Fanatics. Since Monday night time, the No. 1-selling jersey in your entire NFL is Hamlin’s No. 3 Payments jersey. These orders have come from not solely all around the nation, however all around the world.
One fairly cool aspect word right here is that Fanatics — run by former 76ers part-owner and present NFL energy participant Michael Rubin — is donating all of the proceeds of those jerseys to Hamlin’s toy drive. That Gofundme web page, by the best way, has raised greater than $7 million.
Mahomes’ quest for historical past
A number of gamers (and benevolent coaches) are going to be wanting on the stat sheet Saturday and Sunday, attempting to get to sure contract incentives.
Patrick Mahomes has a special motive to control the stat sheet. Very quietly, Mahomes has put collectively a powerful 5,000-yard, 20-TD passing season this yr. Mahomes turns into simply the second participant in NFL historical past to have a number of 5,000-yard, 20-TD campaigns, becoming a member of Drew Brees, who did so in simply 16 video games.
On Saturday, the Chiefs will look to win their remaining recreation of the common season and do the whole lot they will to safe the No. 1 seed within the AFC. That is the first objective towards Las Vegas. However gosh, Mahomes is 430 passing yards from breaking Peyton Manning’s single-season passing yardage report, which was set in 2013.
Does it matter? Andy Reid may downplay it, nevertheless it’s a hallowed NFL report, and if this goes just like the Las Vegas-San Francisco recreation per week in the past, Mahomes may must get in a shootout with Jarret Stidham for Kansas Metropolis to come back out on prime.
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Going by way of the checklist of 5,000-yard passers in NFL historical past, just a few names come out. First, Dan Marino, who broke the 5,000-yard barrier in 1984 and held the single-season passing report till 2011, when Brees topped him. Subsequent is Jameis Winston, who threw for five,000 yards in 2019, in a season during which he additionally threw 30 interceptions. He was changed by Tom Brady the next season.
The final title that stands proud is Justin Herbert, who did it final season. Is that the quietest 5,000-yard season within the historical past of the game? Did anybody know that Justin Herbert threw for five,000 yards a season in the past?
Mahomes already has 5,000 yards. With 430 on Saturday, he’ll be the all-time single-season report holder. Albeit with another recreation to play in than most different quarterbacks did.
Jared Goff wants the Rams
When the NFL schedule-makers launched the Week 18 schedule, the occasions have been staggered in such a method that the Rams-Seahawks recreation in Seattle is within the late afternoon window, whereas the Packers-Lions recreation kicks off three hours later. Why is that important?
The Lions want the Rams to beat the Seahawks for his or her recreation to matter in any possible way for them Sunday night time. If the Rams — enjoying for nothing (they do not even personal their prime draft decide) — can in some way upset the Seahawks, the Lions are in a win-and-in scenario at Lambeau Subject on Sunday night time.
Naturally, as a result of the NFL is a loopy cyclical world, Lions QB Jared Goff — unceremoniously packaged by the Rams with a bushel of draft picks to Detroit two years in the past — now wants his former workforce to play the position of underdogs and defeat the Seahawks.
Although Sean McVay brazenly courted and was the aggressor in buying and selling for Matthew Stafford in March 2021, there’s actually nothing however love from McVay for Goff now. And although Goff would have each motive to resent or dislike the Rams as a corporation, he at all times has taken the excessive highway in these public feedback, even when Stafford was hoisting a Lombardi and Goff was quarterbacking the second-worst workforce within the NFL a yr in the past.
Maybe Baker Mayfield saves his greatest for final. Maybe Bobby Wagner will get the last word revenge towards the workforce that lower him in spite of everything these years of service. Maybe Sean McVay simply coaches his butt off. However there is a state of affairs the place the Rams do Jared Goff the last word favor: give him the chance to compete for a playoff spot Sunday night time. After which hand his workforce a premium draft decide.
Teaching rumors and information
Regulate my feed (@Pschrags) beginning Sunday morning and proper by way of subsequent week. I am going to have all the most recent on the teaching firing and hirings over the subsequent few weeks. A number of names I feel you will be listening to lots about within the coming days:
1. Ben Johnson, Lions OC: A particular expertise. The 36-year-old wunderkind has turned Detroit from a dormant offense a yr in the past into one of the dynamic within the league.
2. Brian Johnson, Eagles QB Coach: I am undecided if Johnson goes to get any head-coaching interviews, however I do know he has quite a lot of followers across the league in positions that matter. The previous Utah QB has identified Jalen Hurts for years and has gotten the very most out of him.
3. Lou Anarumo, Bengals DC: Coach Lou would not lead an offense and is not a 30-something. He is only a chief of males who’s confirmed himself as the very best in-game adjustment DC within the league.
4. Demeco Ryans, 49ers DC: He leads the No. 1 protection within the league and has a sterling repute.
5. Dan Quinn, Cowboys DC: The Cowboys protection could be limping to the end line, right here, however Quinn nonetheless is likely one of the most revered leaders within the recreation. He’ll get a number of interviews.
High tales from FOX Sports activities:
Peter Schrager is an NFL author for FOX Sports activities and a number of “Good Morning Football” on NFL Community. You may observe him on Twitter at @PSchrags.
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