“We condemn racism in all forms and any and all hate groups that support it,” Papa John’s public relations executive Peter Collins said in a statement to the Huffington Post. “We do not want these individuals or groups to buy our pizza.”
The chief marketing officer for Papa John’s, Brandon Rhoten, told Ad Age last week that his company was “talking about what next steps look like.” Despite the NFL’s ratings decline, Rhoten described the league as “still a gargantuan source of reach and benefit for brands” and said, “I can’t imagine we would walk away from the NFL, ever.”
Last week, I called Lawrence a prime candidate for the franchise tag. His insane jump in grade is the reason. Olivier Vernon’s recent career year and subsequent cooling off will give teams pause before doling out big money to players such as Lawrence. He’s had five games with at least six pressures this season after having only one such game the first three years of his career. It’s clear that he’s improved his overall game, but the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle.
That sort of minor position change might not sound like much, but a weakside linebacker often has to deal with fewer blocks in the run game and will have different coverage responsibilities versus the pass. Last year, he was victimized in coverage, allowing the most catches (72) and yards (656) of any linebacker. Now he’s on pace to allow just over half of those totals, and his work in the run game is back to where it was before 2016. His 8.7 run-stop percentage is a big jump up from 7.1 a season ago, and he looks far more comfortable back on the weak side.
This may end up being the Gronk game we remember most. It was his Bo-Jackson-in-Tecmo-Bowl moment, a 3.5-hour saga of domination where the only way to stop him was to tackle him before the ball got there (and sometimes that didn’t even work). Of course, the Steelers would have benefitted from a better game plan against the best tight end ever (seriously, single coverage with the game on the line in the fourth quarter?), but it’s doubtful it would have mattered.
Aaron Rodgers wasn’t able to save the day for the Packers (boo), but Green Bay can take solace in winning our weekly Celebration of the Week Award for Week 16. I enjoy when a touchdown celebration delves into the surreal, and watching a bunch of football players speed-walking like grannies at the mall at 7 a.m. on a Tuesday is just sublime.