“Our hearts are broken for them,” Pearl said.
But he doesn’t want sympathy right now. Would they be a better team with Purifoy and Wiley? “We would,” he said, while insisting that he isn’t focused on that.
“Two man down, not just man down,” he says. “It forced everybody to pick it up.”
Can they keep it up?
On the eve of rivalry week, Pearl seemed keenly aware of his team’s slim margin for error. He shouted at one of his assistant coaches down the hall for some numbers.
Auburn, he’s told, ranks 305th out of 351 Division I basketball teams in average height. Its next two opponents, Alabama and Georgia, are both in the top 30.
Pearl raised his eyebrows. This two-game stretch could expose his squad as a paper Tiger or signal that despite everything going on, this team could be in line for a good seed in the NCAA tournament.
While there’s no doubt Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs can beat Philadelphia’s secondary on intermediate routes, their quarterback must have time to make the required drops. If he’s bailing as soon he plants that back foot, no bueno.
It may be time to admit, if not accept, that NFL teams will not permit Kaepernick back into the league.
Player leaders voted to keep DeMaurice Smith as the NFLPA head, as Mark Maske writes. The main upshot is that Smith will lead the union in the next round of collective bargaining agreement negotiations. There was some intrigue in the voting. From Maske’s story:
If the Redskins aren’t forced to spend their first-round pick (13th overall) on a quarterback, that would free them to use it on a top defensive lineman for a second consecutive year. In doing do, they’d adhere to the philosophy former general manager Scot McCloughan ushered in of building the team in the trenches. It would also please former Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot, a firm believer in prioritizing linemen.