Adrian Peterson’s recovery: weighing short-term vs. long-term benefits

The injury Adrian Peterson sustained to his right knee — a torn meniscus — could have been much worse. The initial word Sunday night was that Peterson had avoided a much more significant injury, and there was hope on Monday morning that damage to the 31-year-old’s knee was limited to cartilage, not ligaments.

Josh McCown spent the first half of Sunday’s game lighting up the Ravens and making it clear that coach Hue Jackson hadn’t chosen the best quarterback on his roster as his Week 1 starter. But then McCown got hurt and the Browns gave away a 20-point lead, and now they will start their fifth different starting quarterback in as many games. It remains entirely possible that Cleveland, which has an insufficient number of NFL-caliber players on its roster, will lose all 16 games this year. It’s also still possible (though somewhat less likely) that the Browns will use 16 different starting quarterbacks to do it. No matter who they throw in there, they won’t be able to protect him. The only thing that can start to fix this is a dozen or so 2017 draft picks.

With that in mind, here’s a look at what we think we learned from Week 2, and a few things we think will turn out to not matter much at all.

This is from Thursday, but it bears resurrection. The Bills are 0-2, have already fired their offensive coordinator, and face the Cardinals and the Patriots the next two weeks. That smells a lot like 0-4, and the dysfunction is obvious from miles away. Ryan said he’d be the first to go if the team didn’t win, and instead it was Greg Roman. So I’m not buying anything he says. Instead, I’m buying Frank Reich head-coaching futures in upstate New York, especially if Carson Wentz has a big year in Philly.

Seriously, Rivers is the most underrated quarterback of his generation. He loses Keenan Allen in the first half of his Week 1 game. He loses Danny Woodhead in the first half of his Week 2 game. But who has eight kids and the third-best passer rating in the NFL right now? That’s right. THAT guy. The Chargers might not be on your AFC West contender radar, but they still have — easily — the division’s best quarterback. And one of these weeks, he’s going to make it through a whole game without losing a critical offensive weapon.

Aaron Rodgers hasn’t finished a game with a 100 or better passer rating since Week 6 of last year and just when you thought his yards per pass attempt couldn’t get any lower than it was last year (6.7), he’s averaging just 5.9 yards per attempt so far.

Colts QB Andrew Luck listed as limited because of right shoulder

INDIANAPOLIS — Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was listed on the team’s injury report as being a “limited” participant in practice Wednesday because of his right shoulder.

Luck took part in all the individual drills during the portion of practice that media was able to watch Wednesday.

Having Luck deal with any kind of injury is the last thing the Colts can afford this season. Two of the nine games he missed last season were due to a right shoulder injury.

Wright had 408 receiving yards and three touchdowns last season. He missed six games with knee and rib injuries.

The Titans picked up Wright’s fifth-year option in the spring of 2015, and he’s due a base salary of $7.32 million.

The New York Jets haven’t played a game yet, and already Fitzpatrick’s sometimes-reckless style of scrambling is an issue. It came up Wednesday, four days before the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. Coach Todd Bowles was asked what Fitzpatrick can do to improve as a quarterback, and he began his answer with the obligatory references to cutting down his interceptions.

“But the No. 1 thing he can be better at,” Bowles said, “is learning how to slide feet first, not head first.”

“I definitely don’t want to play with a thumb injury on my left hand all year again,” he said. “It’s something I’m thinking about. I can stand in front of you and say, ‘Yeah, I’m going to slide,’ and then I get out there and I get competitive. I’ve got to pick and choose. I’ve got to be smarter.”

Fitzpatrick’s competitiveness is one of the traits that endears him to teammates. The 33-year-old doesn’t want to throw that away and become a robot in the pocket. At the same time, he has to protect himself. If goes down for any length of time, the Jets are in big trouble.

Bowles was asked if he believes Fitzpatrick will heed his advice.

“If he slides one time more [than last season],” he said, “he’s taken the advice.”

Myke Tavarres will now stand for national anthem Thursday

Philadelphia Eagles rookie linebacker Myke Tavarres has reversed course and will now stand for the national anthem Thursday after earlier saying he would sit it out in protest.

Romo’s latest injury is unlike the back injury the quarterback sustained in 2014, when he fractured two transverse processes. Transverse processes are small projections on the vertebrae where soft tissue attaches, but they have no real role in load-bearing. In football, fractures to transverse processes are not uncommon when there is a direct hit, and the result is bruising and pain at the fracture site. Players can typically return to play as the pain allows, even as the bone continues to heal, because of the low risk involved. Romo returned to play two weeks after sustaining the injury.

What did we learn of note over the past four days? Let’s recount six winners and four losers. Because if you can’t be optimistic in August, when can you?

Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings quarterback: Bridgewater shrugged off a sore shoulder and displayed the kind of downfield aggression he will need to take the next step as an NFL starter. In a two-minute drill to end Sunday’s first half, Bridgewater completed three consecutive passes that traveled at least 15 yards in the air. His first was a 19-yard strike to Charles Johnson over the middle, followed by a 22-yard pass to Stefon Diggs near the sideline. Then he threw high and hard to tight end Kyle Rudolph for a 22-yard touchdown. Runner-up: Sunglasses salesmen in Minnesota. The debut of U.S. Bank Stadium was notable mostly for the natural light that shone through the transparent roof and glass walls. Observers on site noticed more than a few fans wearing sunglasses — indoors.

John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens coach: Harbaugh has become a truth-teller on NFL tradition and myth, and his call for an end to preseason games struck the right chord. Yes, the Ravens on Saturday night lost two players to injury, tight end Benjamin Watson and running back Kenneth Dixon. But part of the NFL argument for maintaining the preseason has been the perceived desire from coaches to provide gamelike evaluation and development opportunities, injuries or not. Harbaugh poked a hole in that view with common sense. “Coaches can find ways to get our guys ready and get our players evaluated without the kind of risk that a game necessarily entails,” he told reporters. The biggest obstacle, frankly, is finding a way to replace the revenue that owners would lose by eliminating part or all of the preseason. Any suggestions, John?

The central portion of a spinal vertebra is called the body, and it is architecturally constructed to absorb load, especially in the lower back area. When viewed under a microscope, the bony infrastructure of the vertebral body reveals scaffold-like elements, similar to rebar frames used in construction. The anatomical design reinforces the ability of the vertebra to bear weight, along with any additional load incurred deliberately (when carrying or lifting) or accidentally (while falling).

If the physics of a load or collision, however, exceed what the structure is designed to accommodate, the structure will fail. That excess loading happened to Romo’s spine, resulting in a compression fracture of L1, the first lumbar vertebra. There are five lumbar or low back vertebrae; the L1 is the topmost.

Jaguars nutritionist convinces Jalen Ramsey he needs more than Cheetos and fries

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jalen Ramsey learned a valuable lesson last month, one that will help him throughout his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“I wanted to so bad, man.”

Cann said Black always seems to know when somebody’s trying to get away with something even if she’s not close to the food, but Black said the players don’t realize they’re tipping her off.

“Their faces give away everything,” Black said. “I don’t have to necessarily look at their plate. They’ll just give a look like, ‘Oh, I’m in trouble’ or ‘I’m busted,’ and that’s when I know to walk over and kind of figure out what’s going on on that plate.”

Black says most teams can be broken down into thirds when it comes to nutrition. One third of the players eat healthily. Another group wants to eat better but doesn’t fully know how and is eager for help. That’s the group with which Black spends most of her time.

The final group’s members eat what they please and don’t want to alter their diets — or if they do, it will only be minimally. Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks is one of these.

“Hey, I spent 29 years working on this body,” the 6-foot-2, 309-pound Marks said. “You ain’t going to change it.”

However, Marks did admit that Black got him to make one positive change: He no longer drinks Mountain Dew in the morning.

Even small changes matter, Black said.

“[I’m trying to] teach them that I’m not the food police, that I’m out there to help them, not hurt them, and get them going the right way,” she said. “They’re basically getting to where they are genetically, so we have to prove to them that we can [help them] be that much better.”

Without Vienna sausages.

If you’re also a connoisseur of football clichés, of exaggerated, unfounded and ultimately hollow declarations of elite fitness and impending greatness, it will come as no surprise that the biggest training camp BSer (Best Shape) of 2016 was none other than the Dallas Cowboys — a team that prints money and is everyone’s “surprise” playoff pick for the 20th year in a row despite the fact that no one in Jerry’s World has sniffed a Super Bowl in two decades.

Way back in May, in fact, Dez Bryant got the annual training camp platitude parade started early when he proclaimed: “I am in the best shape that I’ve ever been in” just a few days after Dallas VP Stephen Jones mentioned that the team’s All-Pro wideout might not have been in, ya know, “his best shape last year.” Then, just before camp opened, Dallas defensive back Orlando Scandrick, coming back from a major knee injury, got in on the action, claiming that, wouldn’t-ya-know-it, he too is “in the best shape of my life.” A few days later, after an unflattering photo made Tony Romo look as if he had arrived at fat camp instead of football camp, Jones quickly declared with the utmost confidence that the pear-shaped Romo was — wait for it — in “some of the best shape he’s been in.”

Well, of course he is. And so is Terrell Suggs. Sure, he’s 33 and playing on two surgically repaired Achilles tendons. But he recently cut out pizza, fried food and gefilte fish and, wham, is now ready to declare himself in the BSL (Best Shape of his Life). Brandon Marshall? Yep, BSL. Heck, even the doughy Jay Cutler is in the BSC ( … of his Career) according to reports from camp, where, I bet, Cutler is also the happiest he’s ever been, the most focused on winning he’s ever been, the most confident in his supporting cast he’s ever been, the most comfortable with the offensive scheme he’s ever been, the closest he’s ever been with his head coach, and the warmest, most humble and approachable he’s ever been.

Warner: I’ve always said, if everything was equal, from money to retirement to endorsement opportunities — all that stuff — if everything was equal, I’d play Arena football over the NFL. It was built for quarterbacks. It was just backyard football. You ran the ball 4 or 5 yards per game. It was always a two-minute drill. There was always pressure on the quarterback to score. If you didn’t score on one possession, you might lose. Those scenarios to me were so much fun. (Note: Warner and Gruden combined for nine touchdown passes in the game.)

Gruden: I loved the crowd. It was like 9,000 [actually, 11,411] people packed in this little barn dressed like farm animals screaming. I can remember Johnnie [Harris] fighting a fan who had grabbed him. It was so loud you couldn’t hear from me to you. It was a blast. It was a lot of fun.

Warner: It was a typical, last-team-with-the-ball-wins type of game, and that’s exactly what we had the chance to do. We drove inside the 5-yard line.

Gruden: [T]hey complained about their guy getting called out of bounds at the 3. They thought he got in. Oh, boohoo. But they had a first-and-goal at the 3 and we stopped them four plays in a row.

Thursday night in Seattle was most like a regular-season moment for a backup quarterback.

Tom Brady back at practice, says he ‘had to take care of something’

ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins remain encouraged about running back Matt Jones’ shoulder, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to risk him before the season begins.

That’s why coach Jay Gruden said Monday that Jones will miss the rest of the preseason.

Gruden said Jones suffered a Grade 2 sprain of his left shoulder. He was hurt on his seventh and final carry in Friday’s 22-18 win over the New York Jets, when a defender fell on top of him as he reached the sideline.

Asked whether he’s been told he will play, Brady said, “I’m always prepared to go. Whenever my number is called, I’ll be ready.”

With a rotation that has been flimsier than a paper airplane in the Bermuda triangle during hurricane season, Tillman has been the undisputed anchor. When he starts, the Orioles have a .770 winning percentage (20-6). When anyone else starts, the O’s are sub-.500 (49-50).

Aside from Tillman, whose 15 wins are tied for second in the American League, Baltimore doesn’t have a single starter with more than five W’s. In other words, with Tillman and his bum shoulder on the shelf, the Birds are up the creek without a paddle … or a boat. At least, that’s the prevailing logic in and around Charm City. But if their latest win over Washington is any indication, the Orioles have other plans.

In order for the O’s to stay afloat sans Tillman, regardless of how long he’s out, they’ll need to get contributions from everyone. That’s exactly what happened on Tuesday against a Nats squad that came in with the second-best record in baseball.

Every player in Baltimore’s starting lineup reached base via hit or walk. Five different hitters drove in runs, and six different guys scored. Starter Kevin Gausman went six scoreless. Vance Worley worked three innings to get his first career save. Catcher Matt Wieters gunned down Trea Turner trying to steal twice, which is one more time than the rookie speedster had been caught previously this season. Even Showalter got into the act, going 3-for-3 in replay challenges.

The Bears have not hesitated to throw the ball in Jeffery’s direction (three preseason receptions for 53 yards) since he returned from a hamstring injury. White needs to get on the same plan in the final tune-up at Soldier Field.

Kyle Long on Pats-Bears fight: Was looking out for brother’s dropkick

“He’s like a big tree stump,” Chris cracked. “Luckily, I’m out there on the edge, and we didn’t have to deal with other much.”

Kyle said the siblings’ mother, Diane, was in attendance at practice, as was Chris’ wife, Megan, and the couple’s son, Waylon.

Their father, Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, grew up in nearby Charlestown, Massachusetts, and later attended Milford (Mass.) High School, which is about 20 miles north of Gillette Stadium.

Kyle said he wished the Bears — in town for three days of practices with the Patriots before Thursday’s preseason game — had more off time so he could explore some his father’s roots.

“I understand where our family comes from and the history [here] is something that’s very important,” he said. “I was thinking about where I could go to see some Revolutionary War stuff. I wanted to see some historical sites, but the schedule is just not going to allow it. We’re tight. It’s training camp, we understand that. It’s a business trip.”

Per a pre-practice agreement between Belichick and Fox, Butler and Jeffery were ejected from the remainder of practice.

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Eddie Lacy felt better on the field, but he wanted to see the film to reinforce it.

So when the Green Bay Packers running back rewatched his four carries for 24 yards in Friday’s preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns and zeroed in on the 11-yard run, he liked what he saw.

“More explosive,” he said when asked to describe how he felt.

How could he tell?

“How fast you make the cut, how fast you get north and south out of the cut and how fast you’re able to put your pad level down,” Lacy said Sunday. “Once you and that defender makes contact, who goes backwards or if it stalemates.”

Although Lacy said perhaps he should have tried to run over Browns safety Jordan Poyer at the end of the 11-yard run instead of trying his favorite move, the spin, he felt good about everything that preceded it.

“I felt good,” Lacy said. “I made the cut and was able to get back north and south fast to break the linebacker’s tackle and just make the most of that opportunity. I’m just looking forward to keep doing that, and that’s what the coaches expect.”

San Diego Chargers have not talked with Joey Bosa’s agents since training camp started

That the Chargers have not found a way to get their top-5 pick signed is nothing short of an embarrassment. They are the first team under the current CBA to refuse to come to an agreement this late into August. They are 100% in the wrong and any vegan restaurant metaphors to the contrary are disingenuous at best.

Joey Bosa needs to be in camp and it is on the Chargers front office to make it happen. The clock is ticking.

NFL fans in St. Louis are a bit on edge a bit these days, and understandably so. They had their team taken from them.

While the league plans to celebrate the Los Angeles Rams’ return to Southern California — when ESPN was killing time after the Hall of Fame game was canceled Chris Berman excitedly promoted next Saturday’s broadcast of the Rams’ preseason game, the first NFL game in Los Angeles since 1994 — the fans in St. Louis are left behind.

Saturday was a good day for them though. St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Orlando Pace was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He made sure to mention the fans of St. Louis. And when the NFL put the Hall of Fame speeches online, the St. Louis part of Pace’s speech was cut out.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy admitted those parts were left out on the original YouTube upload, and attributed it to a technical error. The speech is on YouTube now, in full, from the NFL’s official account.

The NFL edited out the part of Orlando Pace’s HOF speech where he addresses the fans of St. Louis

With all the changes that took place this offseason in the division, the Redskins’ D understands it should improve on last year’s performance.

BEREA, Ohio — The Cleveland Browns’ lineup started to fall into place Monday.

Carolina Panthers

Coach Ron Rivera wasn’t happy with the pace or mistakes made in Monday’s practice, particularly from his young players and particularly the day after the team worked out in shells. He made sure they knew it, stopping practice to chew out the entire team. He’ll be looking for an improvement Tuesday, the final practice before Thursday’s preseason opener at Baltimore. The team also awaits the report from a specialist who is looking at the back of defensive end Rakim Cox. Rivera didn’t sound optimistic Monday. — David Newton

Bryce Petty (remember him?) showing he belongs in Jets’ QB mix

What’s hot: After a sluggish start to camp, second-year quarterback Bryce Petty gained momentum with a strong finish on Thursday. It came after an 0-for-6 outing on Wednesday, and a similarly poor start on Thursday. Suddenly, Petty perked up and finished with three touchdown passes, capitalizing on extra reps because of a rest day for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Petty was 5-for-12, including a well-thrown deep ball to Jalin Marshall that went for 80 yards. “He made some good throws, he made some mistakes,” said coach Todd Bowles, adding that Petty’s decision-making is improving. Can Petty keep it going on Friday? He probably won’t get as many chances, as Fitzpatrick is expected to return. Nevertheless, he needed a big day for his confidence. … Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg (3-for-5, one interception) were the last two players on the field on Thursday, working on mechanics and talking through some plays. In a way, they’re competitors, but this showed good teamwork. … Rookie kicker Ross Martin, coming off another strong practice, is poised to give Nick Folk a run for his money. … Some of the lower draft picks, namely cornerback Juston Burris (fourth round) and wide receiver Charone Peake, are starting to make plays. Peake made a fantastic one-handed catch along the sideline on Thursday. Burris made the interception that led to Fitzpatrick’s buzz cut.

The Washington Redskins are identified with the nation’s capital (hence, the name) but play in Maryland.

That doesn’t matter to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who views it as Virginia’s team and wants the Redskins to make it official by moving there.

“I view this as a Virginia team,” McAuliffe said Friday on ESPN 980, the Redskins’ official radio station, via the Washington Post. “I know they’re in Maryland right now. But a majority of the season ticket holders are Virginians, all the players live in Virginia, we have all of your [practice] facilities. … We’re in very serious negotiations, as I assume other jurisdictions are. Listen, we would love to have them.”

“If he’s not ready in Year 2,” McNabb said, “then that was dumb on the Eagles’ part.”

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said at the ninth annual Blackhawks Convention that he’s prepared to enter the 2016-17 season with the roster as currently constructed, but there could be one more addition coming, and an impactful one at that.

Coveted free agent forward Jimmy Vesey will hit the open market on Aug. 15, and the Blackhawks are reportedly among the short list of teams set to meet with him when he’s eligible to speak with other clubs next month.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1 to 10 percent: Jameis Winston didn’t amaze anybody during an up-and-down rookie season, but he didn’t do anything to sabotage his chances, either. First overall picks will get plenty of opportunities to prove themselves, to which Sam Bradford can attest. … Lavonte David remains wildly underrated and managed to make the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2015, but he otherwise plays in total obscurity. (He did make an All-Pro team in 2013 without being voted into the Pro Bowl, which is strange.)

Gerald McCoy is perhaps unfairly compared to Suh by virtue of the two being taken second and third, respectively, in the 2010 draft, but McCoy is a hell of a player who stands on his own. The biggest difference between the two is injuries: Suh doesn’t really ever miss time, while McCoy has been out for 17 games as a pro. Suh has 42 sacks in 94 games; prorate that to the 79 games in which McCoy has played, and you would expect the Oklahoma star to have generated 35.2 sacks. He actually has 35.5. If he continues to stay healthy, McCoy should rise up toward Suh.

The White Sox’s GM is ‘prepared to make a big move,’ so here are some options

Shortstop: Chicago picked up Jimmy Rollins right before spring training and he has been fine overall, but not great. He’s hitting .236/.299/.368 (88 OPS+) at a time when the league average shortstop is hitting .256/.313/.390 (93 OPS+). Rollins is still a fine defender, so the total package is pretty close to average.

Quality shortstops are really tough to find, and it’s possible if not likely the White Sox won’t be able to find an upgrade over Rollins. Players like Freddy Galvis, Nick Ahmed, Erick Aybar and Zack Cozart might not be worth the trouble. An under-the-radar possibility: Ian Desmond. That would require theRangers to fall out of the race and I don’t think it’ll happen, but, if it does, Desmond would be a nice fit.

Center field: Austin Jackson was another late offseason pickup, and while he has greatly improved the overall team defense, he’s hitting only .230/.297/.317 (75 OPS+). The White Sox have the option of sliding Adam Eaton back to center field and acquiring a corner outfielder, but Eaton’s defensive numbers in right are off the charts, and they may not want to mess with that.

Designated hitter?: LaRoche’s retirement allowed Chicago to get Avisail Garcia out of the outfield, and wow did that help their defense. Garcia andJerry Sands have gotten the majority of the team’s DH at-bats and they’re hitting a combined .263/.338/.431 (107 OPS+) so far. That’s pretty good. Their track records suggest it may not last, however.

For the DH spot, it’s perfectly fine. No reason to fix what isn’t broken, you know. But, if Garcia and Sands fade, the White Sox could put some of that LaRoche money to use and pick up a veteran bat. How about, say, Carlos Beltran if the Yankees continue to fall out of the race? He’s a rental, he’s a switch-hitter and he’s a big time veteran presence.

Pitching, pitching, pitching: Every team needs pitching, like all the time. Starters, relievers, whatever. The White Sox are no different. Chicago does not need high-end pitching, however. Sale and Quintana are anchoring the rotation and David Robertson is nailing down the ninth inning. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll happily take another ace or another lockdown reliever, but it’s not imperative.

The upcoming free agent class is very weak, so there aren’t many quality rental pitchers out there. Andrew Cashner stands out as an obvious trade candidate — the White Sox love their hard-throwers — as does Rich Hill. Someone like Ivan Nova or Jorge De La Rosa could be candidates as well. Keep in mind the White Sox were said to be in the mix for Tim Lincecum. They’re looking for rotation help.

As for relievers, what about Aroldis Chapman? That would be fun. He’s an impending free agent, and if the Yankees are indeed out of it, they could look to take advantage of his trade value rather than settle for a draft pick after the season. David Hernandez, Kevin Jepsen and Boone Logan are other possibilities.

The trade market for pitching is always very competitive. The White Sox won’t be the only team looking for arms. It’ll take a few weeks for the market to fully develop — teams like to stay in the hunt as long a possible to keep fans interested — so if they are ready to make a big deal as Hahn said, it might not be for pitching.

The White Sox are, clearly, playing very well and they’re a dangerous team on both sides of the ball. They’ve got a quality lineup and a great pitching staff. The fact they haven’t been to the postseason since 2008 means they should have a sense of urgency come trade season, and as Hahn indicated Tuesday, they’re ready to do business right now.

Last week, my colleague Heath Cummings broke down the impact of the Athletics’ dreadful defense on their pitching. As the team with the lowest UZR/150 (Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games) in the majors, it makes it difficult for Fantasy owners to be upbeat about the rest-of-season forecast for Oakland’s pitchers, and for Sonny Gray in particular. Gray has relied more on his ability to get outs on balls in play than on missing bats, making him the sort of pitcher who could benefit from some defensive upgrades.

Though the A’s are extreme in their defensive woes, they are not the only team whose defense is likely to impact their pitchers’ stats. There is a significant negative relationship between a team’s UZR/150 and the BABIP rate its pitching staff allows, so defensively-challenged teams like the Brewers, Tigers and Diamondbacks could continue to post pitcher BABIPs of .310 and above. (The A’s have possibly been fortunate to keep their rate at a near-normal .301.) At the other extreme, the Rangers, Indians, White Sox and Cubs all have a team UZR/150 above 9.5, and all have limited opposing batters to BABIPs below .290. In fact, all of these staffs but the Rangers’ have BABIPs under .280.

While there is a relationship between defense and hit prevention on balls in play, it’s far from a perfect relationship. Teams like the Cardinals and Mariners have low pitcher BABIPs despite poor defense, while the Astros and Yankees have among the highest BABIPs despite being in the middle of the pack defensively. Since we are not quite one-quarter of the way through the season, pitchers with extreme BABIPs are candidates for a correction in general, but those who have a BABIP that is a mismatch for their team’s defensive standing are especially strong candidates.

Malik Jackson got $85.5 million over five years to come to the Jaguars this offseason. Jared Odrick got $42.5 million over five years to leave the Dolphins for a more northern Florida locale last year. Sen’Derrick Marks and Roy Miller got four years apiece, for $18 million and $16.25 million, respectively, to join the Jags back in 2013. Only the Dolphins are devoting a greater cap figure to defensive linemen this year than the Jaguars, per Spotrac, and that’s thanks to those signings, the re-signing of Alualu and the selection of Fowler with the No. 3 overall pick in 2015.

All that money and draft capital bought them a group that is now deep and versatile. Adding Jackson and the returning Fowler to a group that actually defended the run decently last season should add some pass rush spice to the unit. The Jags ranked 17th in run defense DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which adjusts performance for down, distance, and opponent) last season, per Football Outsiders, and they ranked 5th with 3.5 yards per carry allowed. The 2015 Jaguars did not get after the passer much, though. Their 36 sacks tied for 20th in the NFL and, adjusted for down, distance, and performance, their sack rate ranked only 24th. Jackson excelled at getting after the quarterback for Denver last season, and Fowler was a pass-rush specialist at Florida.

Putting more pressure on the quarterback, even if they don’t sack the quarterback, can only help the back end of the defense. Jacksonville’s league-worst pressure rate of 28.8 percent last season (per data compiled from Pro Football Focus) undoubtedly played a role in their 29-9 touchdown-to-interception allowed ratio last season. It should also help that they have infused the secondary with more talent over the last few years as well.

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

He’ll get his chance to make good on his word with the Titans, who need someone to push second-year wideout Dorial Green-Beckham, a physical talent who has struggled mentally to master the playbook and stay dedicated to remain in football shape. Tennessee’s receiving corps might also be a bit too crowded for a 35-year-old veteran, with Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and 31-year-old Harry Douglas joining Green-Beckham.

Tennessee has claimed the near-end of other illustrious receiving careers in the past, most notably that of Randy Moss, who was claimed by the Titans in 2010 after being cut mid-season by the Vikings, but faded into the oblivion of the sidelines and his first retirement stint.

That scenario likely won’t happen to Johnson, who has shown he still has the fire to play. Whether he’ll perform remains to be seen.

Darius Slay wanted to get paid like a top-seven cornerback. He got paid Friday.

The Detroit Lions announced Slay’s contract extension on Friday. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Slay signed a four-year deal with the Lions worth $48 million, with $23.1 million guaranteed, according to a source who has seen the contract. Slay was entering the final year of his rookie contract. He’ll make $50.2 million over the course of five years.

Pro Football Talk first reported the news.

The total guaranteed currently ranks Slay seventh among corners.

While the national press has mostly ignored Slay’s growth, the 6-foot cornerback has blossomed into one of the best in the NFL and developed into a legitimate shutdown corner in 2015. Pro Football Focus rated Slay its No. 2 overall at his position last season, eighth in pass coverage.

Make no mistake: The logical Jets fan enters this new one-year adventure with eyes open. Fitzpatrick remains — last season’s stretches of Fitzmagic aside — a thirtysomething journeyman until he proves otherwise. He got lucky at times last year. He faces an uphill battle to match his 2015 numbers. One of the toughest schedules in the NFL won’t help.

But Fitzpatrick is a far better option than the GenoCoaster and — this is important — a fun guy to root for. Jets fans don’t get nice things. The succession of bad quarterbacks in the post-Joe Namath landscape speaks for itself. Last summer, I asked longtime Jets beat man Rich Cimini if a “Curse of Broadway Joe” explained the team’s 40-plus year Super Bowl drought.