Marcus Mariota was doing his best to keep Tennessee in the Houston game before he got hamstrung.

In the meeting, many owners wanted to speak, but the discussion soon was “hijacked,” in the words of one owner, by Jones, a $1 million contributor to Trump’s inaugural committee fund and who declined comment through a spokesman. The blunt Hall of Famer mentioned that he had spoken by phone, more than once over the past 24 hours, with Trump. Jones said the president, who only a few years ago tried to buy the Buffalo Bills, had no intention of backing down from his criticism of the NFL and its players. Jones — who a day earlier for Monday Night Football in Arizona had orchestrated a team-wide kneeling before the anthem ahead of rising to stand when it started to play — repeated his refrain that the protests weren’t good for the NFL in the long run. Most agreed, but some felt that even if the league did lose a small percentage of fans due to the protests, it also could gain a new audience.

There was a general, if fanciful, consensus that even a short-term financial hit could benefit the league in the long term, especially if the league and the union could join in solidarity behind a single plan. That’s how the league’s marketing department was planning to proceed, even if some of the rough ideas fell flat. One idea had all players wearing a patch on their jerseys that would read, “Team America.” An owner briefed on the proposal simply shook his head: “We need to do better than that.”

First Sam Bradford, and now Dalvin Cook for much longer term. That puts a lot of limitations on an offense that was just starting to explode with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. There’s too much pressure on the defense now for the Vikings to hold up in the division.

Marcus Mariota was doing his best to keep Tennessee in the Houston game before he got hamstrung. But it’s clear the Titans’ defense is having familiar issues against good passing teams.
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