Hekker was a quarterback, who also punted, in high school and led his team to the Washington state championship game during his senior year in 2007.,Still, even in the NFL, Hekker’s arm and athleticism mean that teams still have to defend him “like a quarterback,” Belichick told reporters in 2016.,Slater noted that the team attempted five fakes this past regular season alone, converting two and just — in one case, controversially — coming up short on two others (Hekker at least showed some impressive arm strength on the third failed attempt).,Marveling at his ability to swing field position, Belichick called Hekker a “very unusual player,” in a good way, before the Patriots played the Rams in 2016.,Hekker went on to pin the Patriots inside their own 20 on five of his eight punts, netting an average of 52.9 yards per kick in the 2016 regular season game.
Philip Rivers just concluded his 15th season with the Los Angeles Chargers but the quarterback's future beyond 2019 is one of many areas that general manager Tom Telesco will have to address during the offseason.,Rivers said Monday that he hasn't discussed his future plans with the team, but noted he wants to play at least through 2020, when the new LA Stadium at Hollywood Park opens.,Telesco didn't rule out the possibility of drafting a quarterback this year, but also said that it would have to line up with the team's other needs.,Other notable free agents include cornerback Jason Verrett, who missed the season with an Achilles injury, wide receiver Tyrell Williams and defensive tackle Damion Square.,"We had a very good football team but we played a better football team in New England at New England.
Anthony Lynn often said that the Los Angeles Chargers winning six of their final seven games in 2017 helped serve as a springboard to this season's success, which resulted in the team's first postseason berth in five years.,Lynn is hoping Sunday's 41-28 loss to New England in the AFC divisional round can serve the same purpose for next season's group.,After starting 1-2 this season — which included losses to the Chiefs and Rams — Los Angeles won 10 of 11, which included second-half rallies on the road against Pittsburgh and Kansas City.,The loss Sunday to the Patriots marked the first time all season the Chargers lost a road game outside of Los Angeles.,Here are some things to watch as the Chargers begin their offseason:
ONE MORE GAME: Lynn and his staff still have one more game to coach this season.
What if quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had stepped off the plane in Los Angeles, instead of continuing east to Tuscaloosa, when he left high school in Hawaii?,At the end of the regular season, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart accepted the head coaching job at Georgia, which prompted blue-chip recruit Jake Fromm to flip from the Crimson Tide to the Bulldogs.,But Tagovailoa later told a Hawaiian television crew that he might have left if not for the 2018 championship game, when Alabama coach Nick Saban pulled him off the bench and he ended up leading the team to victory over Georgia with a long touchdown pass in overtime.,The way Tagovailoa quickly changed things at Alabama, taking command of an offense that had played second-fiddle to the defense, transforming it into a juggernaut that averages more than 527 yards and 47 points.,In his first season as a starter — albeit surrounded by a better team — Tagovailoa just missed winning the Heisman Trophy, passing for 3,671 yards and 41 touchdowns while limiting his interceptions to four.
In their first season in Indianapolis, head coach Frank Reich, left, and offensive coordinator and Jamestown native Nick Sirianni have guided the Colts into the playoffs.,Father Fran, a member of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, coached Southwestern High School from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s; brother Mike is the head coach at Washington & Jefferson College where he has compiled one of the best winning percentages in the NCAA; and brother Jay coached Southwestern to a pair of New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships in 2008 and 2009.,Once the youngest Sirianni arrived at the University of Mount Union, he played for Larry Kehres, who guided the Purple Raiders to 11 national championships in his career.,Upon his graduation, Sirianni began his climb up the coaching ranks with stops at Mount Union, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the Kansas Chiefs and the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, before joining Reich’s staff in Indianapolis last February.,“One of the reasons I’m in the position I’m in now is because of the successful coaches I’ve been around, starting with growing up in a coach’s house, learning how to coach with my brothers, and then, obviously, playing for the most successful coach in NCAA football history in Larry Kehres,” he told The Post-Journal last October.
With that in mind, time for some reckless speculation about where Brown could possibly fit both within cap requirements and team needs.,Brown will have a cap hold of $22.1 million next season and if the Steelers were to trade him prior to June 1st, they would have over $21 million in dead money on the cap next year.,New York Jets
The Jets also had a player immediately begin “recruiting” Brown with safety Jamal Adams tweeting at the wide receiver after all of the news broke.,Indianapolis Colts
And it should serve as a reminder to the rest of the AFC playoff field that even though the Patriots may have looked vulnerable at times this season, and even though Brady himself may not be the MVP quarterback he was a year ago, and even though New England has some shaky losses on its record, the fact is that Bill Belichick’s team is back where it always is: playing meaningful football in January.,Over the past seven seasons, the Patriots have gone 7-0 in the divisional round, winning by an average of 17 points per game.,But if the Texans can come up with a timely interception or two — the way they did in Foxboro during a playoff game two years ago — then it could lead to some tense moments in Foxboro for the home team.,They led the AFC with over 150 rushing yards per game and 19 rushing touchdowns on the season.,They ranked first in the NFL in yards allowed (293/game), second in points allowed (17.9/game), fourth in rushing yards allowed, fifth in passing yards allowed, third in third-down defense and second in opponent passer rating.
• OU is making its 20th consecutive bowl bid, by far the longest streak in school history (the previous record was eight from through the 1982 seasons under Barry Switzer).,• This marks the fourth straight season Oklahoma has won at least seven consecutive games heading into its bowl contest (seven in 2015, nine in 2016, eight in 2017 and seven this year).,• Only one OU team (51.1 in 2008) averaged more points per game for a season than this year's squad is averaging (49.5).,• Oklahoma has rushed for at least 300 yards and passed for at least 300 in a game a school-record five times this year (the previous record was two times in 2012), including in four of the last six contests.,• Brooks has carried the rushing load for OU over the last four games, running 71 times for 546 yards (7.7 per rush) and six touchdowns.