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In the Huddle

NFL Clubs Designate Franchise or Transition Players Today


Feb. 17: First day for NFL clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players

Feb. 19-25: NFL Combine 2014 - Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
Feb. 22-25: NFL Combine - Workouts daily by position

Photo – CB Darqueze Dennard - Michigan St.

February 22 - NFL Regional Combine, Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, California
March 1 - NFL Regional Combine, One Buccaneer Place, Tampa, Florida
March 3 - Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players
March 8-9 - NFL Regional Combine, Atlanta Falcons Training Facility, Flowery Branch, Georgia March 8-11: Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents upon the expiration of their 2013 player contracts at 4 p.m. ET on March 11. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4 p.m. on March 11

March 11: New NFL League year, Veteran Free Agency begins

March 11: Before 4 p.m. ET, clubs must exercise options for 2014 on all players who have option clauses in their 2013 contracts
March 11: Before 4 p.m. ET, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their restricted free agents with expiring contracts
March 11: Before 4 p.m. ET, clubs must submit a minimum salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2013 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued Seasons of FA credit
March 11: All clubs must be under the 2014 salary cap before 4 p.m. ET
March 11 - Trading period for 2014 begins , New York time, after expiration of all 2013 contracts
March 15 - NFL Regional Combine, Halas Hall, Lake Forest, Illinois
March 22 - NFL Regional Combine, Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University, Davie, Florida
March 22-23 - NFL Regional Combine, Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Renton, Washington
March 23-26: NFL Owners Meeting - Orlando, Fla.
March 29 - NFL Regional Combine, Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, Indianapolis, Indiana.
March 29-30 - NFL Regional Combine, Under Armour Performance Center, Owings Mills, Maryland.
April 7 - Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2013 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
April 12-13 - Super Regional Combine, Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan.
April 21: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin off-season workout programs.
May 2: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.
May 7: Deadline for prior club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents.

May 8-10: NFL Draft 2014 - New York, Radio City Music Hall
May 8th - First round / May 9th - Rounds 2&3 / May 10th - Rounds 4 thru 7

RB Lacy and DE Sheldon Richardson Win NFL Rookie of the Year Awards


Eddie Lacy and Sheldon Richardson Win NFL Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year Awards

Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy and NY Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson win the NFL Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year Awards for their outstanding 2013 season

For Yearbook 2013 Scouting Reports on Rookies Lacy and Richardson from Draft Insiders Digest NFL Draft 2013 – Continue to Read Article - Frank Coyle / Publisher

Photo – RB Eddie Lacy - Packers

Eddie Lacy was selected in the 2nd-round in the NFL Draft 2013 out of Alabama. He was the #1 rated running back in Draft Insiders’ Yearbook 2013 in April. Lacy rushed for 1,178 yards on 284 carries with 11 touchdowns. He also had 35 receptions for 257 yards and was a key to helping the Packers weather the storm when star quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with an injury in the middle of the season.

Lacy beat out San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen. Whereas Allen finished 22nd in receiving yards and 13th in receiving touchdowns, Lacy placed eighth in rushing yards and third in rushing scores. After Week 5 through the rest of the season, only LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles among running backs averaged more than Lacy's 86.7 yards per game.

Lacy carried Green Bay's offense for a crucial seven-game stretch when Aaron Rodgers was sidelined, emerging as the Packers' most valuable player. Most impressively, Lacy saved the season while toughing out an ankle injury and facing stacked boxes without Rodgers directing the Packers' offense.

A physical throwback type of runner, Lacy consistently got most of his yardage after contact. He finished near the top of the list in yards after contact and forced missed tackles. This award is a fitting tribute to a player who not only broke John Brockington's long-standing franchise record for rookie rushing yards.

Offensive Rookie of the Year voting
Player / Position / # of votes
Eddie Lacy - Green Bay Packers RB - 35
Keenan Allen - San Diego Chargers WR - 12
Giovani Bernard - Cincinnati Bengals RB - 1
Larry Warford - Detroit Lions OT - 1
Cordarrelle Patterson - Minnesota Vikings WR/KR - 1

New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson earns the 2013 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Richardson was announced as the top defensive rookie at Saturday's "NFL Honors" awards show. It's rare for a defensive lineman to take home the award because the position's biggest contributions rarely show up in the box score or in casual game viewing.

The Jets realized early on that Richardson would make an immediate impact, teaming with Muhammad Wilkerson and Damon Harrison on the Sons of Anarchy defensive line that was arguably the league's best in 2013.

"He's had a tremendous year and I think he has a great future here," coach Rex Ryan said in December. "The production is a huge part of it and the way he plays. He's got that relentless motor. For a defensive tackle and being as productive as he is ... the tape doesn't lie."

Richardson won the award over the Buffalo Bills' Kiko Alonso, the Carolina Panthers' Star Lotulelei, the New Orleans Saints' Kenny Vaccaro and the Arizona Cardinals' Tyrann Mathieu.

The Jets defensive end totaled 77 tackles to go along with 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Those stats really don’t show his true impact as a defender. Among 3-4 defensive ends, only J.J. Watt produced more stops than Richardson's 41. The former Mizzou star gets off the ball quickly, pushes the pocket and blows up opposing run games.

Defensive Rookie of the Year voting
Player / Position / # of votes
Sheldon Richardson - New York Jets DE - 23
Kiko Alonso - Buffalo Bills LB - 19
Kenny Vaccaro - New Orleans Saints S - 4
Tyrann Mathieu - Arizona Cardinals S - 2
Star Lotulelei - Carolina Panthers DT – 2

For Yearbook 2013 Scouting Reports on Rookies Lacy and Richardson from Draft Insiders Digest NFL Draft 2013 – Continue to Next Page - Frank Coyle / Publisher

East-West Shrine Week Begins Key Final All-Star Games


East-West Shrine Week Begins Key All-Star Weeks
Major All-Star Games – Week Practices and Weigh-In

Draft Insiders Digest Subscribers will get East-West Updates This Week – January Newsletter – available this week - Frank Coyle / Publisher

Photo - QB Jimmy Garoppolo - Eastern Illinois

The top All-star games begin this week with weigh-ins and practices. This will be followed by Senior Bowl week beginning Jan 20th with daily practices and interviews.

Both the East-West Shrine game in St. Petersburg and the NFLPA star game in Carson, California opened Jan. 13th with weigh-ins and interviews with interesting rosters of pro prospects for the NFL Draft 2014.

The line-up for the Shrine game is headlined by QBs Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, Jeff Mathews of Cornell and Northern Illinois All-American Jordan Lynch along with Tennessee running back Rajion Neal and RB Tim Flanders of Sam Houston St.

Other top prospects at the Shrine game will be wideouts Erik Lora of Eastern Illinois and Jeremy Gallon of Michigan along with Baylor TE Jordan Najvar and Colorado State TE Gilmore Crockett who will be showcased in the passing game. Oklahoma C Gabe Ikard, Stanford DE Josh Mauro and North Carolina safety Tre Boston all more highly regarded prospects to watch, though they have little name value.

Three additional small college prospects that have impressed pro scouts are Bloomsburg St’s DE Larry Webster and CBs Peirre Desir of Lindenwood and North Dakota State’s Marcus Williams. They may be the defensive sleepers in this deep draft class.

East-West Shrine Game - Jan. 18, 2014 - 4 pm est

NFLPA All-Star Game - Jan. 18, 2014 – 6 pm est

Senior Bowl - accepted Invitations
Weigh-in / Practices / Game - Jan. 20-25 - 4 pm est


Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

NFL Power Rankings - Seahawks Gaining Momentum Into Postseason


NFL Power Rankings - Seahawks Gaining Momentum Into Postseason

Photo - OT Branden Albert - Chiefs

Team of Week 15 - Miami Dolphins

Matchup of Week 16 – Saints at Panthers –

Rank / Team / Record

1. Seattle Seahawks (12-2)
The Seahawks are clicking on all units and peaking at the right time.

2. Denver Broncos (11-3)
Broncos have 10 days to lick their wounds from their late loss to Chargers.

3. New Orleans Saints (10-4)
Saints go to Carolina with South title in the balance.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)
The Chiefs get Colts at home in a contest with major AFC playoff ramifications in play.

5. New England Patriots (10-4)
Patriots go to Baltimore that could decide two AFC divisions.

6. Carolina Panthers (11-3)
The hot Panthers get Saints at home with South title for the winner.

7. Indianapolis Colts (9-5)
Colts face acid test this week with trip to Kansas City.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (9-5)
The Bengals have slipped over last month and need a strong win over Vikings at home to solidify first place in AFC North.

9. San Francisco 49ers (10-4)
The 49ers are dangerous despite being behind the Seahawks in NFC West.

10. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
The Ravens continue to hang in playoff hunt and get huge home game vs Patriots this week.

11. Arizona Cardinals (9-5)
Cards might be the best team that sits out the playoffs this season.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (8-6)
Eagles are trying to shoot themselves with the NFC East title there for the taking.

13. Chicago Bears (8-6)
The Bears go to Philly with a slim half game lead over the Packers.

14. Green Bay Packers (7-6-1)
Packers are hoping their finale at Chicago is for the NFC North title.

15. Miami Dolphins (8-6)
The Dolphins won huge game vs Patriots, but need to run table vs Bills and Jets for playoff chance.

16. San Diego Chargers (7-7)
Chargers are hot over last month, but need help to claim final playoff spot.

17. Detroit Lions (7-7)
Lions gave away first place in the North and need big win with Giants coming to town.

18. Dallas Cowboys (7-7)
Cowboys are only alive because East is a mess. Their defense is among the worst in the league.

NFL Power Rankings - Seahawks Claim Top Spot With Win Over Saints


NFL Power Rankings - Seahawks Gaining Momentum Into Final Month

Photo - QB Russell Wilson - Seahawks

Players of the Week
Offensive Player - WR Josh Gordon - Browns
Defensive Player - DE Justin Tuck - Giants

Team of Week 13 - Seattle Seahawks -

Matchup of Week 14 – Colts at Bengals –

Rank / Team / Record

1. Seattle Seahawks (11-1)
The Seahawks are running on all cylinders.

2. Denver Broncos (10-2)
Broncos made great comeback behind Peyton Manning vs Chiefs.

3. New Orleans Saints (9-3)
Saints are a different club on the road.

4. Indianapolis Colts (8-4)
Colts face acid test this week with trip to Cincinnati.

NFL Power Rankings - Chiefs Perfect Entering Showdown With Broncos


NFL Power Rankings - Chiefs Perfect Entering Showdown With Broncos

Photo - QB Peyton Manning - Broncos

Players of the Week
Offensive Player - QB Peyton Manning - Broncos
Defensive Player - LB Demeco Ryans - Eagles

Rookies of the Week –
Offensive Player - WR Tavon Austin - Rams
Defensive Player - DE Datone Jones - Packers

Team of Week 10 - Panthers -
Matchup of Week 11 – 49ers at Saints –

Rank / Team / Record

1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-0)
The Chiefs go into Denver to face Broncos in huge AFC West matchup.

2. Denver Broncos (8-1)
Broncos hoping Peyton Manning can holdup down the stretch.

3. Seattle Seahawks (9-1)
The Seahawks drilled the Falcons last week.

4. New Orleans Saints (7-2)
Saints crushed the Cowboys in the Big Easy to claim top spot in NFC South.

5. Indianapolis Colts (6-3)
Colts got ambushed by Rams in last one.

6. New England Patriots (7-2)
Patriots go into Carolina to face the hot Panthers this week.

7. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4)
The Bengals have lost two in a row in overtime.

8. San Francisco 49ers (6-3)
The 49ers got bashed at home by the Panthers last week.

9. Detroit Lions (6-3)
Lions claimed first place in the NFC North with win over Chicago.

10. Carolina Panthers (6-3)
Panthers get on national scene on Monday night with Patriots coming to town.

11. Green Bay Packers (5-4)
Packers lose another key game with no Aaron Rodgers and traveling to NYC for matchup with GMen.

12. Dallas Cowboys (5-5)
Cowboys were blown out by the Saints in the dome last week.

13. Chicago Bears (5-4)
The Bears will go without Jay Cutler this week with Ravens coming to town.

14. Baltimore Ravens (4-5)
The Ravens won a huge game in OT vs Bengals and are still alive in the AFC North.

15. Arizona Cardinals (5-4)
Cards won a huge game vs Texans and must continue with road contest with Jaguars.

16. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)
Eagles host the Redskins that could determine NFC East direction.

17. New York Jets (5-4)
The Jets travel to Buffalo where they have struggled in critical games.

18. San Diego Chargers (4-5)
Chargers come up short in big game situations.

19. New York Giants (3-6)
The GMen are only a game and half out of first place in NFC East.

20. Tennessee Titans (4-5)
The Titans face a must win situation Thursday nite with Colts coming to town.

21. Cleveland Browns (4-5)
The Browns travel to Cincy in a must win situation for any playoff hopes.

22. Miami Dolphins (4-5)
The Dolphins suffered a terrible loss vs Bucs and face a must win situation vs Chargers at home.

23. Washington Redskins (4-5)
The Skins go to Philly and need a divisional win for any mathematical chances for playoffs.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6)
Steelers facing must win situations weekly for any playoff hopes.

25. St. Louis Rams (4-6)
The Rams get bye week after huge win over the Colts last week.

26. Buffalo Bills (3-7)
The Bills will go without EJ Manuel this week vs Jets.

27. Oakland Raiders (3-6)
The Raiders go to Houston in a contest that will affect NFL Draft order at the top.

28. Atlanta Falcons (2-7)
Falcons are a major disappointment and go to Tampa with NFC South cellar in balance.

29. Houston Texans (2-7)
Texans looks to young QB Case Keenum for stability on offense.

30. Minnesota Vikings (2-7)
Vikings travel to Seattle this Sunday for their weekly beating.

31. Tampa Bay Bucs (1-8)
Bucs get their first win over the Dolphins and are at home vs Falcons this week.

32 .Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8)
Jags hope to grab 2nd win with Cardinals coming to town this Sunday.

NFL Calender - Fall Meetings End Today


October 7-9 - Fall League Meeting, Washington, D.C.

October 15 - Beginning the day after the conclusion of the sixth regular season weekend and continuing through the day after the conclusion of the 11th regular season weekend, clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform and Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness for a period not to exceed 21 days. Players may be activated during the 21-day practice period or prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period.

October 27 - NFL International Series, San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, London, England.

October 29 – NFL trading ends for 2013 at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

October 30 - Players with at least four previous pension-credited seasons are subject to the waiver system for the remainder of the regular season and postseason.

November 12 - At 4:00 p.m., New York time, signing period ends for Franchise Players who are eligible to receive Offer Sheets.

November 12 - Prior to 4:00 p.m. New York time
Deadline for clubs to sign their unsigned Franchise and Transition Players, including Franchise Players who were eligible to receive Offer Sheets until this date. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2013.
Deadline for clubs to sign their Unrestricted Free Agents to whom the “June 1 Tender” was made. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2013.
Deadline for Clubs to sign their Restricted Free Agents, including those to whom the “June 1 Tender” was made. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2013.

November 29 - Deadline at 4:00 p.m. New York time, for reinstatement of players in Reserve List categories of Retired, Did Not Report, and Exclusive Rights, and of players who were placed on Reserve/Left Squad in a previous season.

December 29 – Week 17 ends Regular season games.

December 30 - Clubs may begin signing free agent players for the 2014 season.

December 30 - Earliest permissible date for clubs to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Any permissible renegotiated or extended player contract will not be considered a rookie contract, and will not be subject to the rules that limit rookie contracts.

December 30 - Option exercise period begins for Fifth-Year Option for First-Round Selections from the 2011 College Draft. To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after December 30, 2013 but prior to May 3, 2014.

January 4-5 - Wild Card Playoff Games.

January 5 - Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that have byes in the Wild Card weekend may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of the Wild Card games.

January 11-12 - Divisional Playoff Games.

January 12 - Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that won their Wild Card games may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of Divisional Playoff games.

January 19 - AFC and NFC Championship Games.

January 26 - AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii.

January 26 - An assistant coach, whose team is participating in the Super Bowl, who has previously interviewed for another club’s head coaching job may have a second interview with such club no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl.

February 2 - Super Bowl XLVIII, MetLife Stadium, New Jersey.

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