Tyler Boyd back up a solid 2017 season finale with an amazing 2018.
Boyd became the first Bengal not named A.J. Green to lead the team in receptions and receiving yards since Terrell Owens did it in 2010. This was largely due to Green missing seven games with a foot injury, but even when healthy, Boyd led the team in receptions for most of the season, and didn’t trail gar behind in yardage.
Pro Football Focus recently ranked Tyler Boyd the fourth-best slot receiver in the NFL this past season, only graded behind third-place Adam Thielen by half of a point.
According to PFF, the top ranked slot receivers were Tyreek Hill (91.3), Keenan Allen (82.8), Thielen (80.9), Boyd (80.4), and JuJu Smith-Schuster (77.8).
While PFF only graded these receivers based on their routes run from the slot, Boyd actually had a grade of 84.6 on the season if you take into account all of his routes run, weather from the slot or in the boundary. This made him the second-highest graded player on the team behind Green (85.2) and the 12th ranked receiver in the entire league.
Here’s what they had to say about Boyd:
Boyd really opened up the offense for the Bengals, which is why they scored over 30 points a game when everyone was healthy. Boyd took the pressure off of Green, which hadn’t happened at the NFL yet. Not only was Boyd’s production good for his own benefit, but it was also helped Green and Dalton have great seasons.
But injuries stacked up, and the Bengals’ offense took a nosedive. Despite a general downtick in yards and points, Boyd’s production never slumped.
Unlike Hill and Allen, Boyd didn’t have consistent talent around him for the whole season. That makes his performance that much more impressive.
Thankfully for head coach Zac Taylor, he will have a lot of weapons to work with on offense. The question will be if he can put it all together.
MINNEAPOLIS — In past offseasons, the Minnesota Vikings have doled out contract extensions to a handful of players ahead of when their current deals were set to expire. It’s the way the franchise rewarded the likes of Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter and Stefon Diggs during the 2018 offseason.
Another Viking who could be in line for an extension this offseason is Adam Thielen. The wide receiver signed a four-year deal worth $19.246 million in 2017, which will earn him around $8 million next season.
“This team has a lot of really good things in place for it, and I know they want to take care of Adam and I know they want Adam there and I know they want to reward Adam,” Baratz said. “What exactly that looks like and when that happens, I can’t speak to yet, but I’m cautiously optimistic that everyone will come around and do the right thing. There’s not — no one’s being greedy. Everyone understands the situation and it’s really in their court. He has a couple of years left on his deal but he’s earned a significant pay raise. Not to mention what he’s done on the field, he might be one of the best people in the entire National Football League and represents the city and the organization and state and frankly, the entire region unbelievably.”
Added Baratz: “We’re all hopeful that it’ll get done.”
At the start of last training camp, Diggs inked a five-year deal worth $72 million with a $15 million signing bonus. While it isn’t clear whether those figures are what Thielen and his representation are eyeing, a similar deal would put the 28-year-old receiver among the top 10 highest paid at his position.
“In a perfect world, we’d like to get something done,” Baratz said. “We’re going to sit down here and have conversations in these coming weeks and we’ll see where that leads us. I think everyone knows that Adam deserves a new contract. It’s not as simple as just doing a high-level extension in a vacuum. There’s other pieces and the Vikings have done a phenomenal job of managing their salary cap. Rob Brzezinski is one of the best in the game at what he does. It’s not just ‘How do we reward Adam Thielen?’ It’s how do we put our 53-man roster together that also allows for us to have continued success into the future. And I understand that. I have a job to do and Rob and Rick and the Vikings have a job to do, and we respect what each other does. It doesn’t mean we always have to agree, but we respect what each other has to do as our profession.”
The NFL’s 100th season will open with the 199th meeting between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.
The league announced Monday that it would forgo the traditional opening-night matchup in which the Super Bowl winner hosts the first game of the season on the Thursday of Week 1.
Instead, one of the NFL’s classic rivalries will open the season on Thursday, Sept. 5, from Chicago’s Soldier Field in prime time (8:20 p.m. ET on NBC). The league also announced that the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will open their season on Sunday Night Football at home against an opponent to be determined.
“As an organization, we are thrilled to be kicking off the 100th season of football in the NFL,” Bears chairman George H. McCaskey said in a statement. “As a charter franchise, we cannot think of a better way to begin our centennial season than by hosting our longtime rival in prime time at Soldier Field.”
The announcement was made at the NFL annual meetings in Phoenix.
EAGAN, Minn. — Stefon Diggs is recovering this week from an injury he sustained to his ribs against the New Orleans Saints.
The Vikings wide receiver did not participate in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, although he was able to toss the football to his position group during individual drills earlier today.
Diggs believes he was injured on a 19-yard screen pass that he caught in the second quarter of Minnesota’s 30-20 loss last Sunday. The receiver said he does not think he took a hit to the ribs on the play in question but rather sustained a bruise upon hitting the ground.
“I think so. I’m not 100 percent sure, but that’s probably when it happened,” Diggs said. “I think I just hit the ground a little bit too hard that one time.”
Diggs was seen chatting with Vikings trainers on the sideline after the reception, which occurred on the first play in the second quarter, but went back in the game one play later. The fifth-year receiver caught 10 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown against New Orleans and was able to play 64 of a total 73 offensive snaps. Notably, Diggs was not on the field for the Vikings’ failed conversion on fourth-and-1 from their own 45-yard line in the third quarter.\
Friday’s injury report will provide more clarity as to whether Diggs will have a shot at facing the Lions on Sunday. The likelihood of that increases if he’s able to practice in some capacity tomorrow.
“Yeah,” Diggs said when he asked if he anticipates playing in Week 9. “Always, as I should.”
The Vikings may also see the return of running back Dalvin Cook against Detroit. Cook has been battling through a hamstring injury he sustained in overtime at Green Bay in Week 2, which has limited him to 36 carries for 98 yards in 10 quarters of play.
Sources indicated to ESPN last week the belief that Cook would remain sidelined through the bye week after missing the Saints game, but his return to practice this week in limited capacity may indicate the second-year back is further along with his rehabilitation.
Cook did not practice during the week leading into the game against New Orleans. Eliminating football activity, he says, was beneficial to his recovery process.
“Very, very important,” Cook said. “I think with these things, if you’re kind of stepping on it and keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to keep lingering it on. You kind of need to shut the body down. That’s why I’m so confident in our medical staff because they’ve got the right plan set up for me. We’ve been going by what they (have) for me daily and my body’s been reacting to it good. It was very important.”
Cook said he’s in a “comfortable spot” after practicing all week and is likely to be listed as questionable if he practices again on Friday. The running back said he doesn’t know if there are any lingering effects from his hamstring injury given he hasn’t taken snaps in a game since the Vikings played the Rams in Week 4. He’ll know how he truly feels and what percentage he can assign to his hamstring’s being fully healed when he gets in a game.
“That’s the big key,” Cook said. “You can practice. You can run around. You can run straight. You can do all that. But it’s about going out there and the person chasing you and you turning your body and you twisting your body and having the twitch to do it, that’s when hamstrings occur. That’s how it occurred during the Green Bay game. My body got torqued around, and that’s what happened.”
Latavius Murray has shouldered the load in Cook’s absence and rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown against the Saints’ No. 1 run defense last week. The last time the Vikings played the Lions, Murray ran 20 times for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Gronkowski called Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Sunday to inform him of his decision to retire, a team source said.
“In the nine years that I have known Rob Gronkowski, I have never known him to have a bad day,” Kraft said in a statement later Sunday. “He always has a youthful exuberance about him and is a joy to be around. As a player, he earned the respect of his coaches and teammates for his hard work, preparation, selfless attitude and the sheer dominance of his game. ‘Gronk’ quickly became a fan favorite and the most dominant player at his position for nearly a decade. I look forward to honoring him in the near future as both a Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer. “
Coach Bill Belichick said it was his “pleasure and a privilege to coach” Gronkowski in their nine years together, and credited him as a major reason the Patriots won championships.
“Rob’s impact on our team and organization was felt in many ways,” Belichick said in his statement. “In the ultimate team sport, Rob was a great, great teammate. His production spoke for itself, but his daily attitude, unmistakably positive energy wherever he went and toward whoever he touched will never be forgotten. Rob will leave an indelible mark on the Patriots organization and the game as among the best, most complete players at his position to ever play.”
In the days leading up to the Patriots’ victory against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, Gronkowski discussed the physical toll football had taken on him.
“The season is a grind. It’s up and down. I’m not going to lie and sit here and say every week is the best. Not at all. You go up. You go down. You can take some serious hits,” he said. “Try to imagine getting hit all the time and trying to be where you want to be every day in life. It’s tough. It’s difficult. To take hits to the thigh, to take hits to your head, abusing your body, isn’t what your brain wants. When your body is abused, it can bring down your mood. You have to be able to deal with that, too, throughout the season. You have to be able to deal with that going into games.”
The 6-foot-6, 268-pound Gronkowski has a lengthy injury history but has taken pride in bouncing back from various ailments, which have included surgeries on his back, forearm and knee.
Gronkowski, who turns 30 on May 14, was reflective at times leading into Super Bowl LIII.
“I’m really satisfied with how my whole career has been. Super satisfied. There’s ups and downs, but the thing is always coming back,” he said. “There’s so many examples of great players here before me, when I was young, to look up to and see how they bounce back when something adverse comes their way.”
Gronkowski’s upbeat personality was infectious among his teammates, something that in some ways began the day the Patriots selected him with the 42nd overall pick out of Arizona.
At the same time, Brady highlighted a different side of Gronkowski, as he has long been one of the most philanthropic players on the team. In 2016, Gronkowski was the team’s recipient of the Ron Burton Community Service Award.
“For as big and physical as he is, he is a gentle, kind man,” Brady said.
PHOENIX, Ariz. — New York Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch consider the trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns among the toughest moves they have ever made. Mara even insisted that he gave a “reluctant approval” after thinking about it on a long ride home from work.
The Giants traded Beckham, who they have said on multiple occasions is a transcendent talent, for a first-round pick, third-round pick and safety Jabrill Peppers. The move came seven months after Beckham received a five-year deal worth up to $98.5 million. It resulted in the team paying $21.5 million for 12 games in 2018 and a $16 million dead-money cap hit this year.
Mara and Tisch conceded that those numbers made it even more difficult to pull the trigger.
“I will tell you it was a reluctant approval on my part because I happen to like Odell [Beckham Jr.] very much, and I recognize the unique talent that he has,” Mara said. “It’s not easy to trade that player to another team.”
Giants ownership talked about the sometimes unnecessary drama that came with the star wide receiver. But they considered the extra issues that came with Beckham “manageable,” and both thought they had a good relationship with him. It was all factored into the equation when making the blockbuster move.
Still, Mara insisted that it was “not an easy decision” on a trade that was driven by general manager Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur.
Tisch added: “Not an easy decision at all.”
Mara mentioned that the toughest call he had to make was to two of his grandsons, as he had to explain that he was trading their favorite player. They sobbed uncontrollably, and Mara half-joked that only one of them is speaking to him several weeks later.
They now will have to watch Beckham, who has four 1,000-yard receiving seasons in five years, star for another franchise.
“It’s not going to be easy. I won’t lie to you: It’s not going to be easy,” Mara said. “I mean, he is a great player, and I hope he has a great career with the Browns. It makes it a little easier that he’s not in our conference.”
This week, Fuzz editors Matt Reiner, JE ’20, and Harrison Smith, ES ’20, discuss how myth, place, and identity have informed their current work.
Matt Reiner: Maybe we could start by talking about the Matthew Barney show at the Yale University Art Gallery. At the opening you were telling me about a quote in the catalog that you’d thought was pretty close to your thesis topic. The quote was something along the lines of: “the way the landscape holds mythology is more useful than a story.” In what sense does landscape hold myth? What kind of a story is a myth?
Harrison Smith: I’m interested in myth because there is this implicit relationship between myth and place. The environment of a place, abiotic or biotic, always seems really important to myth. It’s probably because the landscape was particularly relevant to the cultures that created them. But I also think myths are really interesting because they’re so defining of culture, which is now very distinct from place. So today myth becomes the link between place and culture.Stitched Harrison Smith JerseyHarrison Smith: I’m interested in myth because there is this implicit relationship between myth and place. The environment of a place, abiotic or biotic, always seems really important to myth. It’s probably because the landscape was particularly relevant to the cultures that created them. But I also think myths are really interesting because they’re so defining of culture, which is now very distinct from place. So today myth becomes the link between place and culture.
MR: There’s something interesting about the need for the myth. It’s always filling in some gap in the culture that needs to be expressed in a metaphorical address. It seems like it has to contradict itself too. I’m thinking specifically about human origin myths. Obviously we know that humans come from humans, so the idea of a myth that solves the problem of humans coming into being without another human is always a contradiction, some kind of an unresolvable paradox. And I think there is always some kind of an attempt at resolving an irresolvable contradiction in myth making. That’s maybe where some of the contradictions in the acquiring of knowledge come into play too — know-how versus knowing. Somehow myths fill in this gap between using things in the material world and knowing, solving through arbitration. That’s very abstract. Or maybe it only doesn’t make much sense because it does not pertain to where we are right now, it’s nostalgic.
HS: Maybe romantic at this point.
MR: But the search for one’s own origin story is indicative of this need — since there’s no way to ‘know’ it, there’s the need for the myth. Implicit for this kind of telling is a contradiction, something irresolvable.
HS: Yeah, it’s like the truth doesn’t apply because it doesn’t have much bearing on the conversation at hand.
MR: Myths are trying to fill in ways of understanding, which are arbitrary necessarily. Trying to bridge the gap between ‘that out there’ or the material world and how that appears to me as a mountain, as a world, something which I can return to in abstract form. It has some constitutive function for making-sense of things. But it’s a contingent way to make sense of things, and one which could always have been different.
HS: They seem to explain a thing, but in a more abstract sense, they explain something about the relation between a human and a thing.
I’m interested in exploring analogies as a way to understand the actual conceptual subject of the work. But I think I’m interested in the idea rather than the actual knowledge that someone can gain from myth, from that approach. I don’t expect to learn anything that informative about myself. I kind of dislike the idea of my practice being explicitly about me.
MR: It’s funny, and maybe this is why myth is so applicable, there’s this simultaneous view of yourself as another. The means by which your body and genetic pool was constituted by these crazy complex geological, historical processes; it’s an origin for you, but it’s also displacing ‘you’ in any experiential or figurative sense.
HS: Even separate from all of that, it’s more interesting to me if I’m thinking that I use my experience and history as a case-study of sorts. I feel the need to consciously think about that distinction, between the ‘me’ as experience and the ‘me’ as an index of process.
Do you think this is something that you’ve thought about in your work at all? When I was talking to Sadie [Cook, SM ’20], this idea arose that non-white and non-male people are always making this type of work at some point in their young artistic career. You seem to have been addressing social contexts, but in a more abstract way.
MR: Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that this semester a bit as I’ve been taking a bit of a hiatus from painting and reflecting on the methods or ways I’ve been going about it. The way that I approach painting, and how that is directly involved with my ‘identity,’ basically. But my identity simultaneously is a non-identity, because of the many privileges involved in being white and male. It’s like the ways in which one is supposed to grapple with identity is already solved ahead of time by the culture at large — it’s a hard thing to grapple with. It’s problematic to make any self-reference or self-representation because whiteness’s representation is just the hegemony and so its representation is normative culture.
It’s interesting because the way the socio-historical has appeared to me as a subject or content is through specific instances of leftist thinking, through ways of approaching and understanding history, since the amount of privilege I have doesn’t put me in a position that I need to deal with the everyday, since there’s no immediate oppression. Those paintings I was making last semester were maybe about how a kind of ideological flattening can participate in structures of oppression through un-reflexiveness. But also most of my work is about painting in some kind of way, an excavation of painting in some sense. Maybe that’s why the reflexive is important. Part of the culture’s ability to reproduce itself in oppressive regimes is the inability to reflect. And painting’s history is all about taking itself apart.
HS: How important to you is it that this ‘gets across’?
MR: I think art-making for me at this point in my life is maybe just about thinking and doing-something.
HS: But who are you making art for?
MR: A part of abstraction is a kind of self-obscuring and a willful illegibility, which is a part of my personality for sure, my own self opacity. On the other hand, I think there’s something nice about being able to give people work, being able to in a direct way share something small with people. In certain critiques, I’ve felt that there was something I wasn’t aware that people would pick up on, or would be affected by. I often get so caught up in ways of thinking about my own structures of meaning-making that whatever somebody else might say has no bearing on me — but there are substantial moments when that breaks down.
HS: So what does your practice actually look like? A while ago you said your paintings are to some degree iterative or you were working through ‘moves’?
MR: Painters talk about ‘tricks’ or ‘gestures’. I think what that means to me is a kind of visual technique that needs to be worked out in a series of iterations in order to figure out what it’s doing — which is something that gets really dry really quick for me, something I have been trying to work on. To a certain extent you’re doing the same thing every time in the studio, this rectangle or that rectangle; there is a certain sense in which every time you make another painting it’s an iteration of the last painting you made, the moves are kind of what you carry with you. I think the things that often take me the furthest are specific material processes, specific tools, rather than the sorts of meanings I can attach to those things. I’m looking back at one painting that I made a year ago, and I’m thinking that’s the only good painting I’ve made this year, but it has nothing to do with what my intentions with it were.
HS: Do you think that’s the draw of abstraction? It’s so abstracted from the material itself?
MR: I have so many different avenues of approaching abstraction at this point. Abstraction historically was construed as a kind of pulling away from the world into oneself, into the spirit or into the mind. But I think that’s total bullshit, and it’s more about a reformulation of the world in different terms, and those terms are often trying to undermine the terms of the world in which I always-already find myself.
HS: It does seem ironic, that the privileges that allow for the kind of interest you’re talking about in abstraction are implicitly about, to you at least, taking apart the structures that have put you in that position in the first place.
MR: (laughs) Maybe that’s the reflexiveness I am trying to get to.