In the lead-up to the first NFL Sunday since President Trump’s divisive comments about national anthem protests and the league at large, players released statements and taken to social media to indicate how they plan to demonstrate (or not demonstrate) prior to their teams’ games.
The day started with the Ravens and Jaguars facing off in London, and players on both sidelines knelt or linked arms during the national anthem. Jaguars owner Shahid Khan also participated, linking arms with his players. There is expected to be an increase in national anthem protests after a Trump tweet to urging fans to boycott the sport until owners “fire or suspend” players who protest during the national anthem.
In the NBA, the Golden State Warriors popularized the concept of positionless basketball, employing five players with skill-sets varied enough to capitalize on any opponent’s weakness or mitigate any strength. This NFL season has seen some offenses attempting to play positionless football.
The New England Patriots are part of the vanguard. This offseason, they added Rex Burkhead, a powerful runner who had once played slot receiver for the Bengals, in free agency. They combined him with James White and Dion Lewis, and Tom Brady has targeted them a combined 111 times. The Patriots could motion any of White, Lewis or Burkhead out of the backfield, or just line them up as a receiver. The Patriots often employ two on the same play, bedeviling defenses that must decide which personnel to match them with.
The beneficiaries of McVay’s success could be a pair of 39-year-old offensive assistants, Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy. Both are forging reputations as rising stars within the coaching ranks. Under normal circumstances, they would be at least a few years away from receiving serious consideration to be head coaches. But in this environment, perhaps that timeline has changed.
DeFilippo is scheduled to interview for the head coaching jobs of the Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears. Nagy is expected to interview with the Bears and Indianapolis Colts.
I’ve really been a fan for pretty much my whole life, I guess. I grew up in the Hampton Roads area, and my grandfather was a big Redskins fan — and lots of other people in the family — and I’ve been watching for years. When I moved up to Fairfax and lived there for a couple of years, I had season tickets until I realized it was no fun going.