Titans rookie Derrick Henry shifts spotlight to his on-field production

“I mean, I don’t know how you get information from these guys. They are quiet professionals. That’s OK. I think that’s a good thing. They do their job. I guess when they have to answer the questions, they answer the questions.”

Henry was practically aglow Saturday night after a dominant, 10-carry, 74-yard game with a touchdown in his debut. He showed fantastic lateral movement, which is an area some including me wondered about — perhaps unnecessarily. But that chat was about a successful night, not about growing pains.

The Heisman Trophy winner had previously fielded questions about learning blocking schemes or struggling with an early drill and seemed like he’d prefer to be swimming in the less-than-blue lake that borders the Titans practice fields.

Does Henry like the media spotlight he draws on a team where he was one of the biggest names on the roster as soon as his name was called during the draft?

“I mean I’ll do it, it comes with the game,” he said. “There is not really a big difference from Alabama. The only difference is you have access to the locker room. I talked to people a lot back at Bama.

“It’s just a learning process. I’m a rookie, I’m trying to get acclimated. Just like when I was a freshman and sophomore. It just takes time for you to get experience and get acclimated to everything that is new.”

It’s a relatively minor piece to all he’s got to deal with now. With play like Saturday’s, he’ll like the topics a great deal more.

And there was one small thing that didn’t go great in his first preseason game. Henry didn’t bristle when it came up.

Playing in front of Tre McBride on kickoff returns, he could have offered a bruising option on a short kick. The chances went to McBride, however.

“He needs to get a little bit quicker, too, because he put Tre in a little bit of a bind,” Mularkey said. “Tre was running up on Derrick. We’ve got to do a better job of Derrick moving faster so Tre has a little bit more vision, a little more room to maneuver.

Said Henry: “I’m comfortable. This is just my first time doing it, so it’s something I am trying to get used to. Hopefully it’ll be better next week, we’ll get a better feeling in practice.”

The NFL has threatened discipline, including suspension, for players refusing to cooperate with the league’s investigation into steroid claims made by an Al-Jazeera America report.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers and former Packers linebacker Mike Neal have until Aug. 25 to comply with the league’s requests for interviews, according to an NFL letter sent to the NFLPA and obtained by ESPN.

Vice president of labor policy and league affairs Adolpho Birch wrote the league has a “good faith basis” for investigating potential violations of the NFL’s drug policy, yet the league has made at least seven unsuccessful attempts to interview these players.

“For those players whose interviews do not take place on or before [Aug. 25], or who fail meaningfully to participate in or otherwise obstruct the interview, their actions will constitute conduct detrimental and they will be suspended, separate and apart from any possible future determination that they violated the steroid policy,” Birch wrote. “The suspension for each such player will begin on Friday, August 26 and will continue until he has fully participated in an interview with league investigators, after which the Commissioner will determine whether and when the suspension should be lifted.”

A spokesman for the NFLPA said it doesn’t have a comment at this time.

Outspoken cornerback Josh Norman will be NFL analyst for Fox this season

This offseason has been a whirlwind for Norman, who refused to get into a war of words with rival Odell Beckham of the New York Giants, the receiver with whom Norman sparred on the field late in the 2015 season in an ugly display. Norman won’t have to wait long to see his nemesis on the field — the Redskins and Giants first play in Week 3 in New York, the site of last season’s melee, and then again in Week 17 in what could be a crucial division matchup for NFC East supremacy.

Norman’s role might be a trend of more players seeking active media duty during the season. It’s a potentially slippery slope, with Fox giving a player a forum in their NFL coverage — but what happens if Norman does something this season that opens him up to criticism? Will the network treat him as any other player?

If, say, Beckham keeps up with his taunting of Norman, Fox would be wrong not to ask him about it — and could Norman resist firing back at that point?

Also, there’s the concern about whether Norman struggles to play up to his massive contract (five-year deal worth $75 million, with $50 million guaranteed) or the team gets off to a poor start. Norman would be expected to stick with his media obligations, and it would be a bad look if he asked to back out at any point before the 10th appearance.

It’s a fascinating development, and it could make for some great TV, but one that comes with some concerns.

Despite working hundreds of miles apart from each other, John Elway and Brock Osweiler found a way to communicate without actually seeing each other. Thanks to local reporters in Denver and Houston, the Broncos general manager and the Texans’ new quarterback traded mild barbs this week.

John Elway started it by telling The Denver Post he was “a little surprised” by Osweiler getting “a little bent out of shape” after being benched for Peyton Manning ahead of the Broncos’ Super Bowl run. Osweiler then watched Manning lead (in a figurative sense) the Broncos to a championship before spurning them in free agency.

Osweiler ended up responding to Elway on Monday.

“The only thing I would say is what kind of competitor wouldn’t want to play in that situation?” Osweiler said, per The Houston Chronicle.”Outside of that, I think I’ve answered all of those questions. We’re now in August, we just had a great training camp practice and I’m excited to play the 49ers coming up.”

Osweiler is right, of course. Keep in mind, he got benched for a quarterback who nearly led the league in picks (17), despite playing in just 10 regular-season games. Osweiler didn’t exactly thrive under center, but he at least limited his turnovers (six interceptions in eight games) for a team that relied entirely on its defense to win games. There’s no doubt the Broncos were just as capable of winning the Super Bowl with Osweiler as the starter.

Brock Osweiler was forced to sit and watch Peyton Manning win a Super Bowl last year.

Cardinals give Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald 1-year extensions

Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell called the news about Carson “great.”

“You can’t win without a quarterback in this league and Carson’s been working hard. He looks like he found the fountain of youth. The guy never gets old. He just looks better and better each day. Going against him I just see his movement in the pocket. It’s a big-time signing. I think that’s really good for us forward. It gives us a few more years of certainty,” Campbell said.

Campbell also reacted positively to Fitzgerald’s extension, describing the wideout as one of his idols.

“That’s a guy I’ve always looked up to and I have so much respect for. He’s been my role model since Day 1. He let me in on the secret a couple day earlier so I knew about that one for a couple of days. He’s just a great guy. He’s very deserving,” Campbell added.

Both players are coming off some of their best and most productive NFL seasons.

Last season, Palmer threw for a career-best 4,671 yards and a career-best 35 touchdowns. Palmer joined the Cardinals in 2013 after being acquired in a trade from the Oakland Raiders. Since coming to Arizona, Palmer has a 29-9 record as a starter, including a 19-3 mark over the past two seasons. A Heisman Trophy winner at USC, Palmer was the No. 1 overall pick by Cincinnati in the 2003 draft.

Fitzgerald caught a career-high 109 passes for 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns. Entering his 13th season in Arizona, Fitzgerald was originally taken by the Cardinals as the third overall pick of the 2004 NFL draft out of Pittsburgh.

Orlando Pace, offensive tackle
St. Louis Rams, 1997-2008
Chicago Bears, 2009

Greatest moment

Certainly, Pace and the Rams winning Super Bowl XXXIV was the high-water mark for both the player and the franchise. Pace was three years into what would become a dominant career — and the first of his five All-Pro awards and seven Pro Bowl invites — as a cog in the “Greatest Show on Turf” offense that changed the way the NFL viewed the passing game starting in that 1999 season.

Let’s amend that slightly and add one more moment to Pace’s mantel. Two seasons later, he was at the peak of his career when the Rams rebounded from a disappointing 2000 season to put up even more incredible numbers in 2001. They lost two games by a total of 10 points and won 10 games by double digits and made a second Super Bowl in a three-year span.

Pace became a critical factor in the NFC championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles, protecting a banged-up Kurt Warner, who was nursing a rib injury. The game plan was to run the ball more than usual, and Pace led the way for a different style of Rams attack until he was rolled up on by defensive tackle Paul Grasmanis. After missing a little less than a quarter with an MCL sprain, Pace returned to pave the way for two second-half 1-yard TD runs by Marshall Faulk, who rushed for 159 yards on 31 carries — much of it behind Pace.

“People overlook how tough he was,” former Rams offensive coordinator and head coach Mike Martz told Shutdown Corner in July. “But that’s the part that never got overlooked around here.”

The Rams would overpower the Eagles that day, and though they lost the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots, Pace’s dominant performance in that All-Pro season — and his gutsy effort in that NFC title game — should not be overlooked. Martz sincerely worried the following week that Pace coming back into the conference title game might have prevented him from playing in the Super Bowl two weeks later.

Myles Jack getting first-team reps with Jaguars

If the Jaguars hope to turn their long-suffering defense around, they need Jack and first-round pick Jalen Ramsey to emerge in a hurry. If they pay off, this unit has the players in place to make waves in the AFC.

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
Carr is an athlete who is also very football smart, and he can make all the throws you need to win. I watched Carr during my visit to the Raiders this week, and as I told him after practice, I saw him doing a better job looking off defenders and making great sight adjustments. He is reminiscent, in terms of style and the way he moves and the quickness of his release, of Drew Brees. Oakland has assembled a good team around Carr, and there is no doubt in my mind he’ll be a factor in the very near future. That said, I think people might be getting on board with the Raiders a year early, as they tend to do with teams like this. Oakland will be good, and the Raiders might make a decent playoff push, but 2017 will be their year.

Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Unrivaled at his position in terms of competitiveness, Rivers put up good numbers in 2015 (4,792 passing yards and 29 passing touchdowns) despite being stuck on a poor team. He’s racked up 60 touchdown passes over the past two seasons combined, while his 145 passing touchdowns over the past five seasons ranks as the fourth-most in the NFL. Over the last 10 years, he’s passed for 41,299 yards — second only to Drew Brees in that span. He’s 14th overall in passing yards in NFL history and 11th in passing touchdowns. Rivers is extremely underrated, but if you put good players around him, he will win. Of course, the question marks on San Diego’s roster leave him stuck in this portion of the list.

A day after Tyrann Mathieu and the Arizona Cardinals agreed to terms on a five-year, $62.5 million contract extension, LSU coach Les Miles described the versatile defensive back’s 2012 dismissal from the Tigers program as one of his worst decisions.

“That’s one of the worst things I’ve ever done,” Miles said Wednesday.

Mathieu starred in the secondary and as a punt returner for LSU in 2011. He earned SEC Championship Game MVP honors and was even a Heisman Trophy finalist. He was dismissed from the program in August 2012, and his substance-abuse issues were well-documented. That marked the end of his college career after just two seasons at LSU, but the Cardinals still made him a third-round draft choice in 2013 as the No. 69 overall pick.

His new contract makes him the highest-paid safety in the NFL.

“He’s so passionate about playing the game, playing football, it’s allowed the best of Tyrann Mathieu to come forward,” said Miles, whose comments Wednesday were captured via Periscope by TigerBlitz.com. “… This summer, we went up to New Orleans and had a free youth camp. Well he happened to have a youth camp at the exact same time. We went over to his camp and watched him interact with those kids and just how wonderful that was. To my way of thinking, he’s eclipsed whatever history that somebody would hold against him. Who he is, who he’s been, has been really consistent. I’m a Tyrann Mathieu fan.”

Ezekiel Elliott’s over/under for rushing yards in 2016 is absurdly low

There’s plenty of backs who topple the number as rookies too, so it’s not an absurd number to ask for — since 2010 there are nine different rookies who rushed for more than 900 yards in their first season.

Todd Gurley did it in 2015 despite missing multiple games to start the season and not having a quarterback. Two teams — the Rams and Buccaneers — have multiple players on the list. Gurley and Zac Stacey pulled off the feat for the Rams, while Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blount did it for the Bucs.

The lesson there? If you have a team committed to running the ball, you can easily eclipse such a low hurdle.

Trent Richardson even made the list! Oddly enough, the only rookie running back who didn’t top 900 yards when given 220 touches since 2010? Le’Veon Bell.

Much trickier to figure out? The over/under for Derrick Henry at 600 yards. The Alabama product should break that number, except he’s got to battle Murray for touches.

The most surprising news of the 2016 NFL offseason belongs to Patriots tight end (and notorious partier) Rob Gronkowski. On Wednesday, Gronkowski revealed to the world that he doesn’t drink often and he doesn’t like beer because it “tastes weird.”

So, Gronk — who hosted a party on a cruise ship, chugged a beer during the Patriots’ Super Bowl parade, chugged a bottle of Fireball during that same parade, held a contest to party with him on a party bus, celebrated at least one birthday in Las Vegas, and judged a bikini contest named after a beer (to list a few of his extracurricular activities) — wants us to believe he rarely drinks?

OK.

Gronk had previously opened up about his bad feelings for wine, but this beer thing is new. The revelation came during a sit down with Katie Nolan for DraftKings.

This year’s class could provide some level of excitement, but we’ll see what happens with Corey Coleman as the potential No. 1 option in Cleveland, Josh Doctson relative to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon in Washington, and if Teddy Bridgewater can elevate Laquon Treadwell’s game in Minnesota. One of my favorite rookies is Giants receiver Sterling Shepard, who could start right away opposite Beckham.

Here’s why Tom Brady’s cookbook costs an absurd $200

Brady’s company justifies the $200 price tag by pointing out that the “manual is printed and hand assembled in the United States, and is printed on thick 100 pound text paper. The covers are made from natural wood with a laser-etched TB12 logo and title.”

Plus, Brady’s name is on it. It’s easily worth $200. I think. I don’t know much about cookbooks, but I do know that I’d probably feel a lot better about the purchase if it came with an autograph.

Anyway, before you actually purchase one of these cookbooks, keep in mind that the recipes are part of a “TB12-aligned nutrition plan.”

What does that mean?

Well, if Brady’s diet is the inspiration for this cookbook, then it means you can’t eat any of that stuff I mentioned above (sugar, white flour, olive oil, iodized salt, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, eggplants, all caffeine and dairy).

Brady’s personal chef revealed in January that the Patriots quarterback eats “80 percent” vegetables. The quarterback also eats whole grains like, “brown rice, quinoa, millet, beans.”

Brady is also allowed to eat lean meats like grass-fed organic steak, duck, chicken and wild salmon.

I’m guessing there’s at least one recipe for wild salmon and quinoa in the cookbook.

Unfortunately, Brady’s cookbook is sold out online, so we can’t tell you the exact recipes in it. However, we can tell you there’s a recipe for “Sweet potato gnocchi with escarole.”
Sounds delicious.

There’s also a recipe for avocado ice cream.

If you’re hoping to score a Brady cookbook, they won’t be back in stock until early June.

If you can’t wait that long, here’s a recipe for avocado ice cream that doesn’t cost $200.

Finally, it’s probably worth mentioning that Brady’s $200 cookbook isn’t even the most expensive book that’s been sold by someone in his family. Gisele sold a $700 coffee table book back in November.

Gisele’s limited-edition book sold out everywhere.

If you log on to Twitter later this month and notice that Aaron Rodgers is live-tweeting episodes of The Bachelorette, there’s actually a real good reason for that: His brother will be one of the contestants this season.

As the person who annually organizes The Bachelorette pool here at CBSSports.com, it’s my job to notice when the brother of a star NFL quarterback is appearing on the show, and that’s what’s happening here.

Aaron’s brother Jordan will be one of 26 contestants hoping to woo bachelorette JoJo Fletcher on this season’s version of the show, which premieres on May 23 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

If you don’t know who JoJo is — and I don’t blame you — here’s a quick refresher.

Poor JoJo was a finalist on a recent season of The Bachelor, but she didn’t get an engagement ring because she ended up getting dumped after making it to the final two.

But, Fisher added, “we want them to be football players, not actors.”

On its surface, there would appears to be little upside in taking part in Hard Knocks. But Fisher talked with several coaches from teams previously on the show to make sure it wouldn’t put the Rams at a competitive disadvantage.

As Farmer writes, “The last six Hard Knocks teams have matched or improved their win-loss record from the previous season, and the Cincinnati Bengals (2009, 2013), New York Jets (2010) and Houston Texans (2015) all made the playoffs in the season they were featured.”

Who knows, maybe this turns out to be one of the best decisions in Fisher’s coaching career, though defensive lineman Aaron Donald seems unconcerned about it all.

Jaguars reportedly don’t plan to sign Greg Hardy after workout

Hardy was convicted in a bench trial; however, Hardy appealed the conviction, and the charges were later dropped in February 2015. The case was dismissed after Holder refused to cooperate with the district attorney.

Hardy came under even more fire after photos showing a badly-bruised Holder were released in November 2015.

Jerry Jones and the Cowboys didn’t want to deal with Hardy after just one season — not after that season included a heated sideline argument and inappropriate comments directed at Tom Brady’s wife. So far, the Jaguars don’t appear to want the potential headache either.

Had the Jaguars signed Hardy, they would’ve added another star to an already revamped defense. Earlier this offseason, the team signed Malik Jackson, Prince Amukamara, and Tashaun Gipson. Then, they went ahead and drafted two top-five talents in Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack. And don’t forget they’ll be re-gaining 2015 first-round pick Dante Fowler, who missed all of last year.

The Jaguars appear to be on the rise in the AFC South. But Hardy apparently won’t be joining them for that climb.、

Elliott’s father, Stacy, also denied the charges via Dallascowboys.com’s Nick Eatman.

Statement from Ezekiel Elliott’s father Stacy: “The reported allegations and Internet postings regarding our son are completely false.”
— Nick Eatman (@nickeatman) July 22, 2016

Moreover, WFAA’s Mike Leslie and Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill each reported on Twitter that the Cowboys believe Elliott might have been the victim of a setup.

High-ranking #Cowboys source says that Ezekiel Elliott has messages saved on his phone proving his ex-girlfriend is trying to set him up.
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) July 22, 2016

Per a source, Elliott broke off the relationship and alleged victim said she would ruin him if he did. Thus the accusations
— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) July 22, 2016

Adding yet another bizarre twist to the story, the woman accusing Elliott of domestic violence later filed a second police report, per TMZ, with claims that Elliott has hit her several times over the previous week. Elliott reportedly denied ever hitting her in any serious way to police for this report, too. TMZ reported separately that it heard a 911 call from the alleged victim in which she calmly explains to police that she considered waiting a day to file an additional report.