A weekly round-up of news from the NFL.
The Tennessee Titans have announced Jake Locker as their starting quarterback for the season. Locker will start the Week 1 game against the New England Patriots displacing Matt Hasselbeck who led the team to a 9-7 record last year. Locker was the eighth overall pick in the 2011 draft. As the back-up quarterback last season, Locker scored four touchdowns in the course of the season and has now been promoted to the starting role.
The Miami Dolphins and new head coach Joe Philbin are yet to announce their new quarterback. Fans of the NFL who have been watching HBO’s Hard Knocks will know training camp has seen a three-way competition for the starting role between David Garrard, Matt Moore and rookie Ryan Tannehill. Garrard is injured with a knee injury but first-round pick Tannehill could win the role after strong performances in the two pre-season games thus far. A decision could come next week after the Dolphins’ third pre-season game against the Atlanta Falcons.
NFL executives believe the current Referees lockout will last into the regular season. The league had been negotiating a new deal with the NFL Referees Association but the latter opposed various key terms of the deal. The league want to employ a majority of the referees on a full-time, rather than the customary part-time, basis but the referees are unwilling to lose other sources of income. Furthermore the NFL want to employ more referees to allow more rest for the officials between games, which has also been rejected. The pre-season has seen replacement referees but players and coaches have been highly critical of their capacity to officiate a game effectively.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew continues to hold out in hope for a more lucrative contract but coach Mike Mularkey has urged him to return to the team and prepare for the regular season. Under new CBA rules, players who hold out risk fines of $30,000 a day. Even without Jones-Drew, the Jaguars offense has seen the emergence of rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon and the development of second-year Blaine Gabbert who suffered in his rookie season.
A video of a prank played on Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara has gone viral. Pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul carries Amukamara on his back and throws the cornerback into an ice bath. The video was captured by Giants punter Steve Weatherford but the team’s behaviour has concerned head coach Tom Coughlin who will investigate the matter.
The New York Giants faced the New York Jets in Week 2 of pre-season at Met Life Stadium with the Super Bowl Champions 26-3 winners. The Jets offensive line let up seven sacks with Mark Sanchez throwing an interception returned for six.
For reports on all games from Week 2 of pre-season, click here.
image: © Free-ers