NFLPA wants Chargers doctor replaced

The NFL Players Association wants the San Diego Chargers team physician replaced, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Union president DeMaurice Smith made the comments Thursday, saying that Dr. David Chao has been liable on two different occasions for malpractice.

“There is a team doctor named Dr. Chao who is currently the San Diego team doctor,” Smith said, “who has been found liable of medical malpractice twice — twice. The same doctor was the subject of a DEA investigation. He's still the San Diego Chargers team doctor.

“Now, I'm not a doctor. I don't even play one on TV. But it seems to me that the players of the National Football League deserve to have a doctor who's not been found liable of malpractice, and that's within the last year.”

The union also said it surveyed players, and that 78 percent say they did not trust the team's doctor.

The Chargers indicated they are still gathering data about what was said, according to the report.

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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for

Herm Edwards: Titans should cut Kenny Britt

Former NFL coach Herm Edwards, who became famous for his statement that, “You play to win the game,” didn't mince words when asked about troubled Tennessee Titans receiver Kenny Britt.

Edwards told 102.5 The Game's Darren McFarland via TitanInsider that the Titans need to cut Britt for their sake and his.

“So the Titans, in my opinion are gonna have to make a decision of what's best for the organization and that might even help Kenny Britt. Kenny Britt needs to be cut,” Edwards said. “When you get cut, and you can't play anymore, it's amazing because you go, 'They cut me?' Yeah, they cut you. And sometimes you have to do that not only for the sake of the team, but also for the sake of the player.”

Britt has had nine run-ins with police since the Titans drafted him in 2009, including an incident earlier this month where he took a friend who had been stabbed to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning.

Edwards said distractions and off-field problems have a way of hurting the locker room and the team, because it removes focus from preparation.

The Titans aren't likely to take Edwards up on his advice unless Britt does something really bad between now and the season. His contract is set to expire after the 2013 season, and though he has talent, injuries have kept him from producing consistently the way the Titans hoped he would.

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Donald Driver will retire as a member of the Packers

Donald Driver believes he could still play and help a team this coming season.

But if he can’t help the Green Bay Packers, he’s not going to play any longer.

Driver’s 14-year career as a member of the Packers will be celebrated at a retirement party on Wednesday at the Lambeau Field Atrium, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

It was just time sitting down with the wife and kids,” Driver said. “I’ve always said I never want to wear another uniform. I’ve always said that I owe it to the fans to retire as a Packer.

“I feel like I can still play, but if I can’t play for my organization then I can’t play for anyone else. I’m happy with the decision I made. My wife and kids made it real easy for me. It will be a little tougher on Feb. 6. I’m going to get emotional. I’m trying not to get too emotional today, but Feb. 6 I know will be emotional.”

Driver is the Packers’ all-time leader in receptions and yards. The Packers had informed him he would not be brought back in 2013 and some were mildly surprised there was a spot for him this past season when playing time was limited.

“There probably would have been a lot of teams interested if I would have let this thing pan out,” said Driver, 37. “I feel like it was my time. I knew once the Packers told me they weren’t going to sign me back, it made it easy for me.

“I’ve always said, even back in 2002, the day I announce I’m retired, I’m retired. I’m not coming back unless I can come back with my team.”

Driver’s career ends with 743 receptions, 10,137 yards and seven 1,000-yard seasons. He made just receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns this season.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Umenyiora set to explore free agency

Osi Umenyiora could soon become a free agent for the first time in his NFL career.

And while the 10-year defensive end of the New York Giants has been a fixture with Big Blue, if he gets to the open market, there are some teams he could fit with that are in need of a pass rusher. A report from TitanInsider mentions Tennessee, Carolina and Detroit as possible options for Umenyiora if the Giants allow him to escape to free agency at age 31.

All of those teams run a 4-3 defense, and all of them need help on the defensive side of the ball. Tennessee, in particular, allowed a franchise record 471 points in part because of a spotty pass rush this season.

If the Giants allow Umenyiora to walk away, some team will take a chance on him because pass rushers are such a valued commodity in today's NFL. Umenyiora, even at age 31, had nine sacks in nine games in 2011 in a season where the Giants won the Super Bowl.

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College football's best recruiting head coaches

There's no question that assistant coaches do a lot of the gruntwork for a college football program.

While head coaches get all of the glory and make a lot of the money that is generated from the huge television contracts that are being brokered these days, their assistants are the ones getting in that last word with a recruit while travelling cross-country all year 'round, including less than a week before National Signing Day.

However, players ultimately come to a school for a variety of reasons. And the head coach is one of the biggest aspects of a recruit's decision-making process.

Below, these are the head coaches who are the best at getting the players they want to come to their program.

1. Nick Saban, Alabama: Is there really any debate here? The Crimson Tide have captured three of the last four BCS national championships, and the program's sustained success is a byproduct of the hard work that Saban and his staff put in on the recruiting trail. And when a program is as successful as Alabama, it gets easier and easier to bring in the best players in the country. Saban can point to two aspects of his program that any player can buy: national titles and player development. At Alabama, every game takes on national significance, and every April the NFL Draft is littered with 'Bama players. Throw in Saban's ability to persuade and his program-building mentality and you have the best recruiting head coach in America.

Urban MeyerUS PRESSWIREUrban Meyer went undefeated in his first season at Ohio State.

2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State: The entire landscape of the Big Ten changed when the Buckeyes brought in Meyer less than one year removed from the Jim Tressel regime. Former Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema took notice (and it's ironic that Bielema is now in the SEC at Arkansas), and every other coach in the Legends and Leaders division took notice as well. Meyer quickly won at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. And in 2012, in his first season in Columbus, he went undefeated. That speaks to his coaching. But the fact that he was able to snag SEC-type defensive linemen in last year's recruiting class at OSU speaks to his recruiting prowess. It's no wonder that he went after Oregon commits right after Chip Kelly bolted to the NFL. Meyer with more family/work balance in Columbus? Yeah, right.

3. Dabo Swinney, Clemson: Remember when Swinney was considered overmatched as a major-college head coach? What he has done on the recruiting trail with the Tigers has been fantastic, and it's his enthusiasm for his players and winning that has recruits taking notice. Remember his celebration (insert any big Clemson win here) after his team beat LSU in this past season's Chick-fil-A Bowl? Recruits love those types of moments, as Swinney's enthusiasm is nothing short of contagious. The Tigers head coach has also been able to get top recruits out of rich states such as Florida and Georgia, including electric receiver Sammy Watkins. His tireless work ethic has paid off not only on the recruiting front but as the face of a program.

4. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: While a lot of current recruits may have been worried about Kelly's flirtation with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, Kelly remains committed to the college game. And he'll remain one of the nation's best recruiters as he looks to make Notre Dame an annual title contender. His political background certainly has been a part of his success in all aspects of being a head football coach. Of course, his Irish Catholic background gets played up because he is the face of the Golden Domers. But putting all of that aside, Kelly really began to relate to and connect with the holdovers from the Charlie Weis era while sprinkling in his own players from his first few recruiting classes. And that paid off in a big way in 2012. He has been able to sell top recruits on an ND revival just as he did with current players such as Stephon Tuitt and Gunner Kiel. And all you have to do is look at the current list of pledges for the Class of 2013 to know that Kelly's magic is working in South Bend.

5. Brady Hoke, Michigan: Hoke did a marvelous job of salvaging the Wolverines' recruiting class when he was hired just a few weeks before National Signing Day a few years ago. With Hoke and his staff immediately putting their stamp on the football program and going to the Sugar Bowl in Year One, the former Ball State and San Diego State head coach proved that the administration made the right call by bringing back a “Michigan Man” to Ann Arbor. Although Greg Mattison may arguably be the Big Ten's best recruiter in terms of assistants, Hoke is the face of Michigan football. And players, including recent signee Derrick Green, want to play for him. The Wolverines are primed to bring in their best class since probably 2005 or 1998, when Drew Henson, David Terrell and Justin Fargas came aboard. Much to the chagrin of Michigan State, the Wolverines are getting the state's best talent once again. And Hoke is even able to still get a couple of highly ranked Ohio kids despite Meyer's presence while also sprinkling in nationally ranked recruits. The Michigan-Ohio State rivalry is hot once again.

Others of note: James Franklin, Vanderbilt; Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M; Will Muschamp, Florida; David Shaw, Stanford; Jimbo Fisher, Florida State; Lane Kiffin, USC

All-22: How 49ers use 'waste motion' to create matchups

Click here for the entire Inside the Playbook series.

Previous All-22 breakdowns:

Ravens’ defensive pressure looks
49ers’ Pistol offense (run game)
Anquan Boldin’s red zone impact
49ers’ Inverted Veer scheme

I wanted to take a quick look at one way the 49ers create matchups in the passing game using “waste motion” to target the deep 7 (corner) route. A concept/formation that has shown up all season on the 49ers’ tape with their Regular personnel (2WR-1TE-2RB) in the game. Widen the defense (both zone and man schemes) and get the matchup of TE Vernon Davis vs. a LB or SS in coverage on an outside breaking route.

Personnel: Regular (2WR-1TE-2RB)
Formation: Doubles Slot
Route: Smash-7


What is “waste motion?” Offenses will motion the F/H-Back from a 2-back set to a No.1 alignment. The idea is to widen the CB in Cover 1 or Cover 3 (3-deep, 4-under) and work the ball to No.2 vs. a favorable matchup. Remember, the F/H-Back aligned as the new No.1 isn’t getting the ball. His job is to fill up space, remove the CB and allow the QB to target No.2 on the 7 or seam.


The CB is now removed (Cover 1) and plays over the top of the new No.1 (F). This gives the 49ers the matchup they want: Davis vs. a LB in press-coverage. Win at the line, stem to the outside and push the route vertically up the field.


With the LB stuck in a trail position (and the FS working from a deep middle of the field alignment), Davis can break to the 7 route. An easy read for QB Colin Kaepernick to target the 49ers’ TE.


End zone angle of the finish from Davis. A basic scheme (Smash-7) that we see every Sunday in the NFL with some added window dressing of pre-snap “waste motion” to set up the ideal matchup for the 49ers.

Jerry Rice says Calvin Johnson is only going to get better

Randy Moss started the discussion this week about the greatest wide receiver of all-time and the man many consider to be the G.O.A.T. said the league’s best wide receiver right now is only going to get better.

Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, who holds more records for wide receivers than anyone, said that Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions might one day be considered among the finest to ever play the position.

Without a doubt, he’s the best receiver in the league right now,” Rice said, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I think this guy’s going to be around a long time. He has a good work ethic, a good head on his shoulders and he’s going to try to bring it every year. So I expect him to be around a long time.”

Johnson eclipsed Rice’s record for yards in a single season this past year with 1,964, a mark Rice had held since 1995 when he had 1,848 playing for the San Francisco 49ers. Rice said it was impressive that Johnson put up huge numbers during a miserable 4-12 season but seemed to detract from it some because the Lions were not winning.

“When you are not having a winning season, teams are going to play you differently,” Rice said. “But talent-wise, one of the best receivers that I have seen in a long time that’s big, fast, that can out-jump you, that’s not afraid to go across the middle. So all the tools are there, it’s just now surrounding this guy with players that’s going to take some pressure off him.”

Rice likes the worth ethic that Johnson brings to his craft.

“A lot of guys are gifted, but they don’t want to sacrifice and put the time in, and he’s willing to do that,” Rice said. “And at the same time, it doesn’t go to his head, so that’s why I’m saying he’s only going to get better with that sort of attitude.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Jones-Drew had a 'mid-foot' fracture

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew revealed to the Florida Times-Union that he had a “mid-foot” fracture that cost him the majority of the 2012 season.

Jones-Drew's injury had previously been speculated as a Lisfranc injury, something the club never revealed one way or the other during the season. Jones-Drew made the rounds in New Orleans, site of the Super Bowl, this week with his left foot still in a cast from surgery last month.

The Jaguars are undergoing changes, with a new general manager in David Caldwell and a new head coach in Gus Bradley, who takes over after Mike Mularkey was fired after just one season.

“I have a good vibe from everybody,” Jones-Drew said. “One of my friends asked me the other day, ‘How do you think you’re going to do this year?’ I told him I feel like we’re going to win it. That’s every year. Obviously, this year wasn’t one of the best years we’ve had and Mr. [Shad] Khan felt we needed a chance and now that we have it, hopefully we can win.”

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Dolphins make several coaching moves

The Miami Dolphins announced a number of moves on their coaching staff Thursday, including the addition of Marwan Maalouf as assistant special teams coach.

Maalouf had been special teams coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 and had been assistant special teams coach for the Baltimore Ravens for four seasons before that.

Other moves include the promotion of defensive assistant coach Charlie Bullen to assistant defensive line coach, the move up of offensive assistant Ben Johnson to assistant quarterbacks coach and the promotion of assistant quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor to quarterbacks coach.

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Give Randy Moss credit, he's sticking to his greatest ever claim

Let’s give Randy Moss some credit here.

The San Francisco 49ers wide receiver has stood behind his remarks from Tuesday’s Media Day at Super Bowl XLVII that he is the greatest wide receiver of all time. Better than, you know, that former Niners wide receiver Jerry Rice.

A man of conviction, Moss is in this Super Bowl spotlight.

Everybody is going to have their opinion,” Moss said, according to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area. “I do not live on numbers. I really do not. If you sit here and just said, 'Who is the greatest running back?' Statistically it is Emmitt Smith. People would say Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers or Jim Brown. (But) their numbers do not match Emmitt Smith, but people would say Emmitt Smith is the best running back.”

Of course, others would also throw the name Walter Payton into that conversation and that is one of the great things about discussions about running backs in NFL history. There are several to pick between when it comes to a conversation about the greatest of all-time and maybe one day a player like Adrian Peterson will be in that conversation.

But when it comes to wide receivers, there isn’t as much room for discussion. Not with Rice dominating for as long as he did.

“You make your own judgment,” Moss said. “You really do. I know what I think. I am not going to sit up here and tell you how to look at it and how to judge it. I think when it comes to going out there, making plays and helping the team do the things that they are able to do to win the game, I think I am the greatest receiver ever.

“Since Randy Moss said it, it is front of the sports page. Like I said, I just try to stay humble and do my job. That is what I am able to do. I am able to come out and try to say these things, but I do believe in my heart and my mind I am the greatest to ever do it.”

One thing 49ers fans can get behind is they sure hope Moss is great come Sunday.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune