Around the NFL: Broncos Owner Backs Wilson and GM, Latest on Tua, Mike White Starts for the Jets, More

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Around the NFL: Broncos Owner Backs Wilson and GM, Latest on Tua, Mike White Starts for the Jets, More

Chicago Bears

There was plenty of discussion about whether or not the Broncos should show GM George Paton the same exit they showed rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett earlier this week. Still, after owner and CEO Greg Penner gave his GM and the struggling quarterback that he traded for and extended a public vote of confidence, it seems that won’t be happening anytime soon.

Broncos GM Speaks on Hackett Firing

With Nathaniel Hackett out in Denver after just 15 games — one of the shortest NFL head coaching tenures ever — the Broncos are left with the question of what’s next? Broncos owner and CEO Greg Penner spoke to the media on Tuesday and said that he has faith in general manager George Paton and quarterback Russell Wilson, both of whom signed lucrative long-term deals ahead of this season.

Here’s what Penner had to say about Wilson:

“The decision to have Russell here was a long-term one,” Penner said. “This season has not been up to his standards or expectations. We saw some glimpses of it in the last few weeks. He knows he can play better, we know he can play better, and we know he will do the right work in the offseason to be ready for next year.”

And here’s what he had to say about his GM George Paton, who many believe should be held accountable for the mess in Denver just as Hackett was:

“George and I have had a chance to get to know each other — we talk every day since we purchased the team a number of months ago — and he acknowledged right up front there were a couple of decisions that hadn’t worked out as he had expected. But I understand his thought process. He understands the work that needs to be done in this offseason, and I’m going to rely on him heavily as we go through and make these changes.”

So, it seems as though Penner is riding with Russell Wilson, whom the team dished out a massive extension to after trading for him last offseason, which only makes sense at this point because the team would have $39 million in dead cap money if they were to cut Wilson post-June 1.

Penner is also standing behind the architect of that trade and extension, George Paton, putting to bed any belief that he would follow Hackett out the door in Denver.

However, in an odd statement, Penner said that the next head coach of the Broncos would report to him, not Paton, but that Paton would be “intimately involved” in the search. Giving Paton a vote of confidence and involving him in the search but then removing him from the chain of command with the new head coach seems weird but pretty on brand for the current state of the Broncos, I suppose.

Mike White Cleared, Zach Wilson Inactive for Week 17

The New York Jets will get quarterback Mike White back for their Week 17 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks with their playoff hopes on life support after the team went 0-2 with Zach Wilson starting for the injured White.

I wrote last weekend that the Zach Wilson era in New York is over, even after head coach Robert Saleh did the head coach-ey thing and defended the former No. 2 overall pick on Thursday night after he benched him in their loss to the Jaguars.

Saleh announcing this week that White will return as the starter and veteran Joe Flacco will serve as his backup with Zach Wilson inactive for the game says all that you need to know about Wilson’s future in New York, regardless of the obligatory coach speak Saleh has to give regarding Wilson and his future with the Jets.

The Latest on Tua Tagovailoa

After being placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol on Monday (following a sack late in the first half against the Green Bay Packers in which Tagovailoa appeared to have had his head slammed into the turf), the NFL’s chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said that Tagovailoa “exhibited zero injury behaviors and reported zero symptoms that would have triggered the (league’s concussion) protocol during Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.”

Sills added that it wasn’t uncommon for people to present symptoms on a delayed basis, and that Tua should be commended for his reporting of the symptoms on Monday.

It’s still unclear whether or not Tua suffered a concussion, but as Ian Rapoport says, with his track record of head and neck injuries this season, his status for Week 17 is very much in doubt.

Extra Points

  • A good time-killing read on the dynamic between Josh Allen and backup quarterback Case Keenum from Kalyn Kahler of The Athletic here:
  • The Cardinals will be without safety Budda Baker for the final two games after he suffered a fractured shoulder in the Cardinals’ loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday night.
  • ‘Tis the season for free agency previews to start cropping up in full force. Here Pro Football Network looks at what Devin Singletary’s market value may look like this spring.
  • One year ago today, John Madden passed away.
  • Jared Goff has been pretty darn good in the month of December. But does he have enough of it left to will the Lions into the playoffs?
  • The Washington Commanders will return to Carson Wentz as their starting quarterback after Ron Rivera replaced Taylor Heinicke with Wentz during the Commanders Week 16 game.


Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.