When a player’s hands move reflexively to his head, it is a textbook sign a brain injury has happened.

That doesn’t mean it has happened, and it is wrong to diagnose a concussion from only watching on television. But it is indicative. In those instances, returning to play in five minutes is simply too short. The NFL needs to do more to make sure teams err on the side of caution, and not in returning key players to the field.

The Browns now have two first-round choices and two second-round selections in this year’s NFL draft and a first-rounder and three second-rounders in next year’s draft. There is the small matter, of course, of using those picks wisely. But there are more than enough draft-choice resources stockpiled for the Browns, if they want, to make an overwhelming offer for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo that the New England Patriots simply could not refuse, even if they’re saying that they intend to retain Garoppolo.

The 49ers can be patient with the Kirk Cousins situation; if they cannot pry the franchise-tagged quarterback from the Redskins this offseason, they might have a far easier time getting Cousins to San Francisco a year from now. Lynch and Shanahan are in a start-over situation and they have begun restocking the roster by reaching agreements with linebacker Malcolm Smith, kicker Robbie Gould, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, tight end Logan Paulsen and wide receivers Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson.

The last two times the Patriots reached the Super Bowl, they found themselves deep in holes they weren’t accustomed to, against teams with the credentials, will and momentum to finish the job. The Patriots won both times. In 2015, they overcame the Seahawks, a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit and a hopeless situation against their own goal line. Last year, it was the Falcons and 28-3.

The Vikings, who are the favorites to advance out of the NFC, have the NFL’s best defense, an outstanding coach, energy from the miraculous Saints win, a road win against the NFC’s top seed and the buzz of the first-ever Super Bowl home-field advantage. They’re just not the Patriots. — D.S.

But if he remains in Jacksonville, he will not be an inexpensive quarterback much longer. His four-year, $20.65 million rookie deal, which pays him $3.237 million this season, is expiring, and the Jaguars have exercised his fifth-year option for next season at a cost of $19.053 million. That is guaranteed only for injury, so the Jaguars still could decide to move on.jaguars_039

Herm Edwards replaces Todd Graham at Arizona State.

Arizona State on Sunday officially announced Herm Edwards as its new football coach, but that won’t be the former NFL head coach’s only role in Tempe. The 63-year-old Edwards, who has served as an ESPN analyst for the past nine years after being fired by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008, will also serve as the CEO of what the Arizona State football program is dubbing its New Leadership Model.

“Our goal for this football program is to reach unprecedented heights, and therefore we need to find a way to operate more innovatively and efficiently than we have in the past,” Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson said in a statement. “In the spirit of innovation, our vision for this program is to have a head coach who serves as a CEO and is the central leader with a collaborative staff around him that will elevate the performance of players and coaches on the field, in the classroom and in our community. Equally important, the head coach will be a dynamic and tireless recruiter.”

Arizona State described the New Leadership Model as “similar to an NFL approach using a general manager structure.” It will include sport and administrative divisions to manage the football program, and resource sharing and strategic planning between the two sides. Coordinators and assistant coaches will also have “more flexibility in how they develop student-athletes on the field.”

Maintaining continuity merely for continuity’s sake is not helpful when the coach is not getting the job done. The time has arrived to move on. It has become obvious, and it will be no less obvious by season’s end.

He gave us an alert that may include a 10 second run off in a running clock. So obviously, 10 second run off, running clock that’s the scenario that maintained most of our attention in terms of what could happen as they came out of review. What did happen as they came out of review obviously is probably the least of the scenarios from my expectations which was if [they] ruled an incomplete pass.”

The league continues to prohibit offensive celebrations — those sexually suggestive or miming violence — and still forbids taunting and using the goal post as a prop. It still has draconian rules pertaining to, among other features, how a uniform must be worn. But after years of fans and players calling for more individualism in a sport that earned the moniker “No Fun League,” the NFL ceded on one front.jaguars_023

American Forces Network to air AFC, NFC championship games despite government shutdown

Great news to kick off the NFL’s championship Sunday. Despite the U.S. government shutdown, American military members stationed overseas will be able to watch Sunday’s AFC and NFC championship games.

But that mutually beneficial partnership between the military and the nation’s most popular sport has been tested since Colin Kaepernick and other players began taking a knee during the U.S. national anthem to protest racial injustice.

To try to head off protests before Veterans Day, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell personally met with leaders of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW) in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 30.

Both veterans groups left it up to individual members and posts to decide whether they wanted to protest the NFL on Veterans Day weekend. While some individual posts boycotted games that weekend, there was no mass uprising by national veterans groups.

Now they’re in the same spot against second-seeded Vikings (14-3) and the NFL’s top defense in Sunday’s 6:40 p.m. ET game (Fox).

1. Will Nick Foles take care of the ball? Eagles coach Doug Pederson had a perfect game plan for Foles in the win over the Falcons. The balanced offensive attack relied on a series of short passes Foles completed just one pass thrown more than 15 yards while going 23 of 30 for 246 yards and 28 called runs.

While the Eagles can’t use that exact plan against the Vikings, they can do something similar to help Foles protect the ball. After throwing an interception in each of the final two games of the regular season, Foles did not turn the ball over against the Falcons. While Minnesota ranked No. 1 in total defense, the Vikings did not force many turnovers ranking 23rd with 19 takeaways.

2. Who will make the first mistake? All 10 of Atlanta’s points against the Eagles came off turnovers: A Jay Ajayi fumble led to a Falcons field goal and a muffed punt resulted in a Falcons touchdown. The Vikings allowed the Saints to get back in the game when Case Keenum was intercepted early in the third quarter.jaguars_009-223x223

Tom Brady injury update: Patriots QB hopes to play without glove vs. Jags

Tom Brady will play Sunday, though it remains to be seen how much his hand injury will affect his performance.

The Patriots quarterback arrived at Gillette Stadium early Sunday with his right hand strategically placed in his pocket and out of view.

Some additional context/information: On Tom Brady, he required more than 10 stitches after sustaining a cut on the inside part of his right throwing hand near the thumb Wednesday, per source. Those at practice described a bloody scene.

I think we’re practicing harder than we did before the game (Louisville) we don’t want to talk about, McGraw said. I was a little worried about our focus at the shoot-around today, but we came out ready and a little bit looser.

Ogunbowale hit 9 of 14 shots and had five assists. Jessica Shepard added 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting and Kathryn Westbeld had 14 points for Notre Dame (18-2, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).

I prepare every week like I’m going to play. Whether I do or I don’t, that’s not really up to me, Hoyer told reporters Thursday after practice. So whether I’m getting the reps or not, I’m always preparing to play, because the truth of reality is you never know when your name is going to be called. бн If I don’t play, it’s good for our team. If I do, then I’m ready to go.

Brady didn’t participate in practice Thursday as he nursed his right hand, which was hidden under a red glove. He did not speak to reporters.

I’ve played a lot of football, he said. So I’ve been the starter on [four] different teams. I know how to prepare as the starter.

Hoyer’s last playoff game was in 2016 as the starter for the Texans and is one he’d rather forget. In a 30-0 loss to the Chiefs, Hoyer completed 15 of 34 passes for 136 yards and threw four interceptions.sabres_1101

10 craziest moments in Philly after Eagles clinch Super Bowl berth

Things got a little crazy in Philadelphia after the Eagles clinched a trip to Super Bowl LII with a 38-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.

I’ve never seen an event that more forcefully pulled together and united a group in defense of the game, he said.

Lockhart, formerly the White House press secretary under President Clinton, also made a reference to the campaign incident in which The Washington Post obtained video of Trump talking in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women during a 2005 conversation.

Everyone should know, including the president, this is what real locker room talk is, Lockhart said.

Lockhart called Trump’s remarks regarding the sport’s player-safety rules out of touch. Trump said penalties for illegal hits were ruining the game.

Can’t get any worse than that, right? Watching the chief division rivals of the Jets and Giants, respectively, advance to the Super Bowl while you’re busy sulking is the bottom of the barrel, right?

It’s bad enough that New Yorkers have to deal with the bad football, the MTA and tourists, but now they have this shining through their bedroom windows at night, reminding them of how abysmal the New York football scene really was in 2017.

At 6-8, 282 pounds, Campbell got his chance to play regular defensive end in a 4-3 scheme in Jacksonville while still sliding inside on passing downs. The result was a career high-shattering 14.5 sacks, tied for second in the league with DeMarcus Lawrence and only behind his former Cardinals teammate, Chandler Jones.patriots_121_3ffec18d06c46d7e-180x180