NFL News & Notes: Week 1 set to begin, Colts acquire Jacoby Brissett

September 6, 2017

It's that wonderful time of year where blocking and tackling become paramount -- yes, football season has officially arrived.  Week one in the NFL kicks off with the second debut, technically, of the Los Angeles Chargers, as the Bolts will open on the road against division rival Denver . . .

Chargers-Broncos to battle at Mile High

A new era of Chargers football will begin under the lights in Denver on Monday Night Football. The Chargers commence the 2017 regular season against the Broncos on Sept. 11 at 7:20 p.m. PT.

The teams split the two games in 2016 with both teams winning on their home turf. The Chargers won at home, 21-13, while the Broncos posted a 27-19 victory at Mile High. The Chargers will be looking for their first victory in Denver since a 27-20 triumph in 2013.

The Chargers finished the preseason 1-3, earning the lone victory against the crosstown foe Rams, 21-19. Los Angeles enters the season coming off a 5-11 campaign in 2016. The Chargers return 11 players who started five or more games on offense and 13 who started five or more on defense.

The Chargers have 18 new players on their roster in 2017, including all seven who were selected in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Chargers also signed two veteran free agents and claimed three off waivers. The team also traded for Bills quarterback Cardale Jones during camp.

The veteran free agents the team acquired include safety Tre Boston from Carolina and tackle Russell Okung from Denver. The waiver acquisitions were Hayes Pullard from Jacksonville, Michael Schofield from Denver and Jeff Richards from Carolina.

Okung originally was the sixth overall pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 2010. He spent six years with the Seahawks before joining the Denver offensive line in 2016. He held down the right side of an offensive line that reached the Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons (2013-2014), including a win in Super Bowl XLVIII over the Denver Broncos. Okung has started every regular season and post season game in his career (88, 12). His Pro Bowl season came after contributing to a rushing attack that ranked third in the league in rushing (161.2 ypg), while only surrendering two sacks.

The Chargers are back in Los Angeles for the first time since their inaugural season in 1960. The 1960 Chargers, led by head coach Sid Gillman, guided the team to the AFL Western Division title with a 10-4 record. In the first ever AFL Championship Game, the Chargers fell to the Houston Oilers on New Years Day, 24-16. The Chargers finished the season with a 5-2 record in games played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Gillman undoubtedly won't be patrolling the sidelines in 2017, as Anthony Lynn enters his first season as a head coach in the National Football League after serving as Buffalo’s interim in Week 17 of the 2016 season. Lynn comes in with 83 games of playing experience under his belt, as well as two
world championships on his résumé as a running back for the back-to-back Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos (XXXII and XXXIII).

Vance Joseph also will be making his debut as the Denver Broncos head coach.

Bucs-Dolphins Game reset to Week 11

Due to the potential impact of Hurricane Irma on South Florida, the Miami Dolphins home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, originally scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at Hard Rock Stadium, will instead be played there in Week 11 on Sunday, November 19, the NFL announced today.

Week 11 was previously an open date for both clubs.

The NFL announced yesterday that in the interest of public safety in light of the continuing state of emergency, the league, in consultation with state and local officials as well as both clubs, would not play an NFL game in South Florida this week.

Thursday Game Preview: Chiefs at Patriots

The 2017 season kicks off on Thursday, September 7 (8:30 PM ET, NBC) when the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium in a battle of 2016 AFC playoff teams.

The Chiefs and Patriots meet for the 35th time in series history – including a 2015 AFC Divisional contest (New England, 27-20) – with Kansas City holding a 17-14-3 advantage. The Patriots have won their past eight home openers played on Kickoff Weekend and 12 of their past 13 overall in Week 1.

New England QB Tom Brady passed for 28 touchdowns with two interceptions last year and led the NFL with a 14.0 touchdown/interception ratio, the highest single-season ratio in league history.

Kansas City opened the 2016 season by overcoming a 21-point second-half deficit to defeat the Chargers 33-27 in overtime on Kickoff Weekend. Chiefs TE Travis Kelce led all NFL tight ends with 1,125 receiving yards and ranked second with 85 catches in 2016.

Pats trade for DE Cassius Marsh

The New England Patriots announced that they have acquired DE Cassius Marsh from Seattle in exchange for undisclosed draft selections.

Marsh, 25, was originally drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth round (108th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft out of UCLA. The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder has appeared in 37 regular season games with one start and posted 40 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He has also played in four postseason games as a reserve and made one tackle. Last season, he played in all 16 regular season games with one start and posted 17 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Colts acquire QB Jacoby Brissett from Patriots for WR Jacoby Brissett 

In an effort to get some insurance for injured star quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts made a deal for promising young quarterback prospect Jacoby Brissett in exchange for wideout and former first round pick Phillip Dorsett.

"We thought we had a chance to acquire a young quarterback that we have under contract for three years that’s going to be a very good number two quarterback that you can win with when he has to play,” said Indianapolis Colts General Manager Chris Ballard.

Brissett, 23, was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round (91st overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder appeared in three games with two starts as a rookie and completed 34-of-55 pass attempts for 400 yards. He also rushed for 83 yards on 16 attempts, including a 27-yard touchdown run versus Houston.

Collegiately, Brissett played two seasons (2014-15) at North Carolina State after transferring from Florida. He started all 26 games he played in for the Wolfpack and completed 458-of-765 passes for 5,268 yards with 43 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Brissett also rushed 263 times for 899 yards and nine touchdowns.

Dorsett, 23, was originally drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round (29th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder has appeared in 26 games with seven starts and totaled 51 receptions for 753 yards and three touchdowns. Last year, he caught 33 passes for 528 yards and two touchdowns.

Pats trade for Johnson Bademosi

The New England Patriots announced today that they have acquired CB Johnson Bademosi from Detroit in exchange for an undisclosed future draft selection.
Bademosi, 27, originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Cleveland Browns on May 9, 2012. The 6-foot, 206-pounder led the Browns in special teams tackles in each of his four seasons in Cleveland before signing with Detroit as an unrestricted on March 11, 2016. He has appeared in 78 NFL games with three starts and totaled 31 tackles, one interception, eight passes defensed and one fumble recovery on defense and 65 tackles on special teams.

Pats trade CB Justin Coleman to Seattle   

The New England Patriots announced today that they have traded CB Justin Coleman to the Seattle Seahawks for an undisclosed draft selection.

Coleman, 24, is a veteran of two NFL seasons with the Patriots. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Minnesota Vikings out of Tennessee on May 6, 2015. He was released by Minnesota on Aug. 30, 2015, and was signed by New England on Sept. 4, 2015. The Patriots released Coleman on Sept. 5, and he was signed by Seattle to the practice squad on Sept. 8 before being signed to the New England practice squad on Sept. 9. Coleman has played in 20 games with three starts over the last two seasons and has accumulated 29 total tackles, eight passes defensed and one fumble recovery.

Vontaze Burfict Suspended Three Games 

Vontaze Burfict of the Cincinnati Bengals has been suspended without pay for the first three games of the 2017 regular season for repeated violations of safety-related playing rules.

The suspension, originally for five games, was appealed under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  James Thrash, an NFL-NFLPA jointly appointed appeals officer, heard the appeal and reduced the suspension to three games.

Burfict's most recent safety-related rules violation came with 8:01 remaining in the first quarter of the August 19 game against the Kansas City Chiefs, when he made prohibited contact to the head and neck area of a defenseless player as well as forcible contact with his opponent away from the flow of the play.

Burfict's actions violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7 (a) (2) which states that it is a foul if "a player initiates unnecessary contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture. (a) Players in a defenseless posture are: (2) A receiver running a pass route when the defender approaches from the side or behind. If the receiver becomes a blocker or assumes a blocking posture, he is no longer a defenseless player."

His actions also violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 6, (g), which prohibits "unnecessarily running, diving into, cutting, or throwing the body against or on a player who (1) is out of the play or (2) should not have reasonably anticipated such contact by an opponent, before or after the ball is dead;"

Past Burfict incidents involved a hit on a defenseless player during the 2015 Wild Card game, and a hit against a Baltimore tight end away from the play on January 3, 2016.

Burfict will be eligible to return to the Bengals' active roster on Monday, September 25, following the team's September 24 game against the Green Bay Packers.

Colts trade for safety Ronald Martin

The Indianapolis Colts today traded long snapper Thomas Hennessy to the New York Jets in exchange for safety Ronald Martin.

Martin, 6-2, 220 pounds, has played in 11 career games with the New York Jets (2015-16) and recorded two tackles (one solo). He also spent time on the Jets’ practice squad each of the last two seasons. Martin originally signed with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent on May 2, 2015. He spent the 2015 offseason and training camp with the Seahawks before being waived on September 5, 2015. Martin was claimed off waivers by the New York Jets the next day.

Collegiately, Martin played in 37 games (21 starts) at LSU and tallied 149 tackles (65 solo), 1.0 tackle for loss, 20 passes defensed, five interceptions, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Hennessy, 6-2, 246 pounds, signed with Indianapolis as an undrafted free agent on May 4, 2017. He appeared in 52 games at Duke and tallied four tackles.

Pats acquire LB Marquis Flowers

The New England Patriots announced today that they have acquired LB Marquis Flowers in a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals in exchange for an undisclosed draft pick.

To make room on the roster, the Patriots released LB Christian Kuntz.
Flowers, 25, is a veteran of three NFL seasons with the Bengals. The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a sixth round draft pick (212th overall) of the Bengals out of Arizona in the 2014 NFL Draft. He has played in 32 NFL games over the last three seasons, seeing most of his action on special teams. Flowers missed the 2015 season due to a shoulder injury, but he returned to play in all 16 games last season for Cincinnati.

Kuntz, 23, was a part of three Northeast Conference championship teams (2013, 2015 and 2016) at Duquense. The 6-foot-2, 228-pounder, helped the school to a 23-11 overall record and a 14-3 record in his conference during his three years as a starter. He was named a second team Associated Press All-America in 2015 and 2016.

Beathard selected as Hall of Fame finalist

Former longtime general manager and personnel administrator Bobby Beathard was selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Contributors Committee as a finalist for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.

Beathard was a highly-regarded personnel administrator during his career with the Kansas City Chiefs (1966-67), Atlanta Falcons (1968-1971), Miami Dolphins (1972-77), Washington Redskins (1978-1988) and San Diego Chargers (1990-99).

Beathard played an integral role in the success of each of the franchises. Collectively, his teams won 10 division titles, seven league/conference championships and four Super Bowls (Miami in Super Bowls VII and VIII; and Washington in Super Bowls XVII and XXII).

“There’s nothing I love more than football,” Beathard commented by phone shortly after the completion of today’s selection meeting. “I feel like I’ve gone through life without a job and got paid for it.”

To be elected, Beathard must receive the same 80 percent voting support by the entire 48-member Selection Committee on “Selection Saturday.”

Week One Glance

The NFL returns this week and it’s time to get back to football. That means the next five months will be packed with the sizzle and suspense that comes only with the National Football League and will culminate with Super Bowl LII, which will be played on Sunday, February 4, 2018, in Minnesota.

Last year, 146 games (57.0 percent) were decided by one score (eight points or fewer), the most of any season in NFL history. And there were six new playoff teams in 2016: Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, the New York Giants and Oakland. Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

The 2017 season promises more of the same. As the season begins, it comes packed with changes, quests and questions:


It’s tough, having happened only eight times since the first Super Bowl in 1967. The last team to accomplish the feat was New England in 2004 (Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX).


There are six new head coaches hired to lead their teams in 2017 – VANCE JOSEPH in Denver, ANTHONY LYNN with the Los Angeles Chargers, DOUG MARRONE in Jacksonville, SEAN MC DERMOTT in Buffalo, SEAN MC VAY with the Los Angeles Rams and KYLE SHANAHAN in San Francisco.


And there are a lot of well-known players with new teams, including RBs LE GARRETTE BLOUNT (Philadelphia), JAMAAL CHARLES (Denver), EDDIE LACY (Seattle), MARSHAWN LYNCH (Oakland) and ADRIAN PETERSON (New Orleans); WRs BRANDIN COOKS (New England), DE SEAN JACKSON (Tampa Bay), ALSHON JEFFERY (Philadelphia), BRANDON MARSHALL (New York Giants) and SAMMY WATKINS (Los Angeles Rams); TE MARTELLUS BENNETT (Green Bay); and defenders CB A.J. BOUYE (Jacksonville), DE CALAIS CAMPBELL (Jacksonville), CB STEPHON GILMORE (New England), CB JOE HADEN (Pittsburgh), S TONY JEFFERSON (Baltimore), DE JULIUS PEPPERS (Carolina), DL SHELDON RICHARDSON (Seattle) and S T.J. WARD (Tampa Bay).

49ERS Acquire OL Tomlinson

The San Francisco 49ers announced they have acquired OL Laken Tomlinson from the Detroit Lions in exchange for an undisclosed draft choice.

Tomlinson (6-3, 312), was originally drafted by the Lions as the 28th overall selection of the 2015 NFL Draft. Over the past two seasons (2015-16), he appeared in 32 games (24 starts) and made one postseason start along the offensive line. In 2016, he appeared in all 16 regular season games (10 starts) and started in the team’s Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks.

A 25-year-old native of Chicago, IL, Tomlinson made 52 career starts in four seasons (2011-14) at Duke University. As a senior in 2014, he earned First-Team All-America honors and was named First-Team All-ACC for the second-consecutive season.

49ERS Trade TE McDonald 

The San Francisco 49ers announced they have traded TE Vance McDonald to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for an undisclosed draft choice.

“We would like to thank Vance for his contributions to this organization on the field and in the community over the last four seasons,” said 49ers General Manager John Lynch. “Although I have only known Vance for a short time, I quickly learned that he and his wife, Kendi, have been tremendous representatives for the team in the community and their service to others is quite commendable. We wish the McDonald family all the best as they move on to a new opportunity in Pittsburgh."

McDonald (6-4, 267) was originally drafted by the 49ers in the second round (55th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft. In four seasons with San Francisco (2013-16), he appeared in 48 games (30 starts) and registered 64 receptions for 866 yards (13.5 average) and seven touchdowns. He also saw action in three postseason contests (one start).

By Staff of and news services

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