Why the NFLPA needs to keep fighting DeflateGate even if Tom Brady won’t

In its statement Friday, the NFLPA indicated it could still continue to pursue DeflateGate all the way to the Supreme Court.

You probably don’t think of two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry making 3-pointers for the Golden State Warriors. But based on the research University of Pennsylvania professor Angela Duckworth has done on the topic, maybe you should.

“I think the word ‘grit’ sounds like when you grit your teeth,” Duckworth says. “I think it’s less about that than the day-in, day-out dedication and resilience.

“If you look at Steph Curry’s career, there were lots of times where you could have counted yourself out. Weak ankles. Who’s going to be the best player in the league on 3-point shots? There’s nobody in the league I can think of that’s grittier than him.”

A former consultant for McKinsey & Company, Duckworth became intrigued by the notion of grit when she was working as a math and science teacher and trying to figure out why talented students didn’t always succeed and seemingly less-talented kids sometimes did.

Duckworth’s answer, eventually arrived at while working toward a graduate degree in psychology, was grit. Her version of the term, summarized in her recent New York Times bestseller “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” isn’t quite the same as the one used traditionally in sports. Instead, Duckworth defines grit as “passion and perseverance for long-term goals.”

The Panthers are headed for a fall this season. John Clayton predicts that the Panthers will win four fewer games this season, which makes sense, and still win the NFC South. However, he threw in a little worry about whether or not the team can improve its pass rush. What? Carolina’s pass rush generated pressure on 7.1 percent of opposing passing attempts, 11th best in the NFL last season. Their 44 sacks last season ranked sixth.

Johnny Manziel vows that he’ll return to football. I genuinely hope the man gets the help he needs and beats his addiction. But at this point, it’s a huge leap to think he’ll make it back to the NFL.

Ron Rivera thinks Blaine Gabbert-Colin Kaepernick will be “heck of a competition.” Yep, it ranks right up there with a midseason Thursday night game. He also revealed that the Panthers almost drafted Gabbert over Cam Newton.

One economist says that Las Vegas cannot support the Raiders. It would be the fifth-smallest TV market in the NFL. Better question: Why would people choose to leave the big screens and cheap drinks of a casino to watch the game in the stadium? I still think this underestimates the wider brand appeal of the Raiders as well as the corporate money that would support the stadium’s premium seating.

Arian Foster thinks he’s still a Pro Bowl caliber player despite turning 30 next month and coming off a torn ACL. He’s a Dolphin now.

49ers OT Anthony Davis reinstated by NFL after 1-year retirement

It came as a big surprise when San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Anthony Davis retired last year at the age of 25. But Davis said after his retirement that he was taking a break and that he would eventually return to the NFL. On Saturday, he made good on that promise when the NFL officially approved his reinstatement.

— Anthony Davis (@BamDavis_) July 25, 2016
Now that he has unretired, what happens next will be interesting. Although his agent said Davis and the 49ers have “patched things up,” he has probably caused more than his fair share of headaches in the front office. But before his brief retirement, he was developing into one of the league’s top offensive tackles.

The 49ers have a big need on the offensive line after Erik Pears, the man who replaced Davis last season, struggled mightily in 2015. To make matters worse, guard Jordan Devey was also subpar and left guard Alex Boone left the team in free agency.

When Smith was drafted, it was assumed that the air raid product would take some time to transition into an NFL quarterback. The Jets had recently signed former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard and still had incumbent starter Mark Sanchez on the roster, even though his 2012 season was a disaster.

“We drafted Geno Smith because he has exceptional talent,” former Jets general manager John Idzik said shortly after making the pick. “Let’s get him into a situation where we can help him develop that and let’s see where he goes.”

But Sanchez suffered a shoulder injury in preseason that landed him on injured reserve and knee problems kept Garrard from taking the field.

The likely scenario is that Fitzpatrick is the Jets’ starter this season, and that Smith sticks around as the backup. Bowles made it clear that Fitzpatrick has earned the job, even if Smith will try to make it a competition.

“You want to be out there,” Smith said on Thursday. “But you have to play the cards that you’re dealt and continue to get better.”

And he also knows that, even if he doesn’t start, he has to show he’s still improving.

“I’m auditioning for this team and 31 other teams in the NFL,” Smith told Darryl Slater of NJ.com.

If Smith can’t outplay Fitzpatrick to the point that he supplants him on the depth chart, the former West Virginia star could very well be in another uniform during the 2016 season.

David Johnson accounts for more than one-third of Cardinals’ offense

TEMPE, Ariz. — Of the Arizona Cardinals’ 90 offensive plays in Sunday’s 6-6 tie with the Seattle Seahawks, running back David Johnson had his hands (and feet) in just about every other one.

The second-year running back touched the ball 41 times — 33 carries and eight receptions. He alone accounted for 45.6 percent of the Cardinals’ plays. Johnson ran for 113 yards — his third straight 100-yard rushing game — and finished with 171 yards from scrimmage, which gives him more than 100 yards from scrimmage in every game this season.

But coach Bruce Arians thought Johnson could’ve done more Sunday night.

“He should have had about 45 (touches) had he run better routes,” Arians said. “He’s still struggling running some routes that he runs extremely well in practice. In games, he runs a little bit too quick or he makes poor decisions.

“But when you have 95 plays, he’s going to touch it on most of them.”

That’s been the case all season.

The Cardinals’ offensive game plan has been easy to decipher this season: Give the ball to Johnson. And when he doesn’t get the ball, give it to him on the next play.

But when Quin gets involved with a company, the benefit is typically more than just his investment dollars. Quin is big on giving his companies exposure. A peek in his locker, where Health Warrior bars are often prominently placed, is an example. The conversations between Quin and the entrepreneurs he works with also provide insight and advice, for Quin and for the companies.

“The conversations are just fun,” Manish Shah, the co-founder of PeerWell, said in an email. “He shares how he thinks about decisions and how he is preparing for the season. I like to hear about how others prepare as it informs my own approach to preparing, whether for a conference I’m speaking at, an investor I’m pitching or a hospital we are working a contract with.

“I think Glover is taking his on-the-field thinking and applying it to what he does off the field. Like anticipating how a market will develop, it’s very similar to how a play develops on the field. It may not happen as fast, but having the skill set to see it happening in real-time is valuable.”

As much as Quin identifies with football — he emphasizes he’s a football player first — he wants to be viewed as more than that. He knows the average person looks at an NFL player and doesn’t immediately think intelligence.

At this point, it’s no secret that Johnson will get the ball early and often during games, but teams still struggle to contain him.

Johnson is second in the NFL in rushing with 681 yards, just 22 behind leader Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys, and second in receiving among running backs with 323 yards — seven behind Atlanta’s Tevin Coleman.

Bills cut ties with RB Karlos Williams after rocky offseason

One year after Karlos Williams put together a promising rookie season with the Buffalo Bills, the team announced it waived the second-year running back on Saturday.

Williams picked up 517 rushing yards, 96 receiving yards and nine total touchdowns in 2015, a promising start to the career of a rookie selected in the fifth round. But when the Bills returned for some offseason work in June, Williams was overweight, and Rex Ryan wasn’t happy about it.

The NFL made a finding that Mr. Brown had violated the Personal Conduct Policy. We did so based on the evidence of this one incident as presented in the police report, Mr. Brown and his wife’s statements to police that evening, and his statements in interviews with the NFL.

The NFL Personal Conduct policy allows for discipline to be imposed even when criminal charges are not presented. It further allows for us to consider both aggravating and mitigating factors regarding discipline for domestic violence.

REVISED INJURY REPORT: Competition Committee approves revisions to the injury report. Teams won’t be able to designate players as “probable” anymore, and the “questionable” and “doubtful” designations have been redefined to make your fantasy lineup decisions even harder.

GREEN SPEAKS: Steelers TE Ladarius Green breaks silence on headaches, ankle and potential retirement. Fans haven’t heard much from Ladarius Green, but he has been a topic of conversation across the black and gold landscape. The free agent acquisition broke his silence Saturday after practice.

BAD THINGS HAPPENING TO THE BILLS: The Buffalo Bills are losing training camp. After declaring the Bills had “won the offseason,” Rex Ryan may have to spend the rest of the year batting down questions about his job security.

LUCKY GUY: Andrew Luck is back! The general made his preseason debut this week.

IF YOU CAN’T SAY SOMETHING NICE: The Giants head coach couldn’t find any positives in a preseason loss to the Bills. Ben McAdoo has had by far his hardest week on the job so far. He didn’t make much of an effort to hide it in speaking to reporters after a preseason loss to Buffalo.

The Bills proved they could connect on long touchdowns, but not much else in 37-31 loss to New York

The New York Jets beat the Buffalo Bills, 37-31, on Thursday Night Football by dominating time of possession and limiting the Bills to a few big plays.

The Jets set the tone with their first possession, which took over eight minutes off the clock. The 15-play, 65-yard drive resulted in just a field goal, but it kept the ball out of Tyrod Taylor’s hands for more than half of the first quarter.

New York controlled the clock throughout the game, in part because the Bills’ entire offensive attack seemed to consist of a few big plays. The Bills scored on two deep touchdown passes, an 82-yard throw to Marquise Goodwin and a 71-yard pass to Greg Salas. If you remove those plays, the Bills had just 154 passing yards on 29 attempts.

The bigger issue for Buffalo was how little time those two plays took off the clock. The drive that resulted in Goodwin’s touchdown took just 1:25, and Salas’ score took less than a minute. New York had the ball for 39:12 in this game, which didn’t give the Bills much time to work with.

The officials acted swiftly with Taylor, and their reaction may have been influenced by Week 1’s controversial Thursday Night Football matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos.

The NFL was widely criticized last Thursday night after Panthers quarterback Cam Newton took several shots to the head in the season opener. Officials in that game only flagged one hit on Newton, and the NFL issued fines to Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall and safety Darian Stewart.

Sammy Watkins is questionable for Thursday night’s game against the Jets. Also, Cordy Glenn will miss his first start in almost four years.

Ryan Fitzpatrick looking to reverse his struggles against the Bills. This time it’s personal.

BRUUUUUUCE: The Bills are retiring Bruce Smith’s number on Thursday, and he talked to SB Nation about just how special that is.

Mike Zimmer won’t name his starting quarterback ahead of a Week 2 tilt with the Packers. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy expects the Vikings to start Sam Bradford over Shaun Hill. But it was Sam Bradford taking all the first team reps in practice.

Rob Gronkowski will return for the Patriots against the Texans

A powerful Patriots offense will only get stronger in Week 3 when All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski returns to the field. New England’s owner, Robert Kraft, said to Lisa Hughes of WBZ-TV that “you’d be wise” if you think the big playmaker will dress for Thursday’s game against the Houston Texans after missing the beginning of the season due to a hamstring injury. ESPN’s Adam Schefter also confirmed that Gronkowski is ready to go.

“Gronk” has been the heart and soul of the New England offense since being drafted by Bill Belichick back in 2010. In six seasons with the team, he’s been named a first-team All-Pro selection four times. He led the league in receiving touchdowns with 17 in 2011 and caught 72 passes for 1,176 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.

Several players around the NFL have since followed Kaepernick’s lead to protest during the national anthem, and talk about the quarterback’s demonstration has reached everywhere from Time to South Park.

In the cover story written by Time’s Sean Gregory, the magazine spoke with several athletes, including Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, New England Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty, and Cleveland Browns legend Jim Brown, as well as athletes in other sports.

“We’re not doing this made-up thing to get attention,” Jenkins said of his decision to join Kaepernick’s protest by raising his fist during the national anthem. “Real lives are being lost. Real communities are being affected. The negativity comes from people’s unwillingness to digest the hard truth.”

Accompanying the cover article in the Oct. 3 issue are three commentary pieces, including one written by Miami Dolphins cornerback Jelani Jenkins.

Cohn’s been a long-time critic of Kaepernick, not just his play on the field, but the way he dresses and what issues he chooses to speak out about and how he does that. He’s a good example of how some in the media have an irreconcilable idea about what a professional athlete should be. They want players to open up, unless it’s something that the columnist doesn’t want to talk about.

RAMS MYSTERY: Why can’t the Rams play other teams like they do the Seahawks? The Rams have won three in a row and four of their last five against the Seahawks, but it’s Seattle that winds up in the playoffs every year.

Davante Adams appears on injury report with concussion

Davante Adams has a concussion after all.

A day after the Green Bay Packers receiver said he had cleared the protocol after a hit that knocked him out of the loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Adams showed up on the injury report with a concussion.

With a two-game losing streak, Kubiak joked after Monday’s practice that he had been “hollering a lot this morning,” but the Broncos were back on a familiar meeting schedule, and Kubiak said he had no restrictions on the job.

He said his message to the players was a fairly simple one.

“I talked about three things today to the players,” Kubiak said. “Preparation, detail, and then it’s time to go put forth the effort and play. We’ve got to focus on those things, starting with me, and starting with us as coaches, filter it down through our guys and get a lot better with what we’re doing.”

“It was good to have him back, just to have our leader back,” said cornerback Chris Harris Jr. “…He was just straight with us about what we need to do to get back on track.”

Kubiak coached through the end of the Falcons game even though he felt ill before and during the game. Kubiak did his customary news conference after the loss and walked back into the locker room.

Kubiak continued to feel ill, however, and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. It is the second time in the last four seasons Kubiak has left a stadium in an ambulance.

In 2013, Kubiak suffered what was described as a mini-stroke at halftime of a game against the Colts. He spent two nights in the hospital after that incident.

Kubiak said Monday he thought the two incidents were different, but his doctors in Denver and the doctors who treated him in Houston in 2013 have talked in the past week.

“I feel good, I feel really good getting out here,” Kubiak said. “…I’m through with it, I’m ready to move forward.”