Frank Schwab

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner. He spent 10 years covering the NFL for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Appleton (Wis.) Post-Crescent, and is a former NFL MVP voter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin and currently lives near Denver with his wife and daughter.

  • Chris Culliver has INT called back for ... well, a really, really bad call

    The NFL has tried to clean up the game of some dirty hits, and that’s a good thing. But it becomes a bad thing when defensive players can’t play football anymore.

    Washington Redskins cornerback Chris Culliver had what looked like an interception for a touchdown on Sunday, which would have put his team up 21-14 over the Carolina Panthers. Huge play.

    But there was a flag, and if you can watch the play and figure out what exactly Culliver did that should be penalized, you’ve got me beat. Everything about that play looks like football. I can't even tell you what the officials thought was illegal about it  that's how bad of a call it was.

    Culliver hit Olsen, who had to reach a bit for a pass from Cam Newton. That hit looked normal and legal in every way. But a flag was thrown, the officials talked about it for a while (“Wait, you actually saw something illegal that play? Like what?” is what I imagine was said) and decided to penalize Washington 15 yards instead of letting a legitimate

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  • Marshawn Lynch inactive, as he and Seahawks continue to fade

    ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01:   Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks carries the ball against  Sean Lee #50 of the Dallas Cowboys and  Byron Jones #31 of the Dallas Cowboys in the second half at AT&T Stadium on November 1, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01: Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks carries the ball against Sean Lee #50 of the Dallas Cowboys and Byron Jones #31 of the Dallas Cowboys in the second half at AT&T Stadium on November 1, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)The Marshawn Lynch retirement rumors were strong for a while before the 2014 season. Then he reported to camp (with a reworked contract), he kept running over defenders and the Seattle Seahawks kept winning. 

    In 2015 Lynch is no longer indestructible, the Seahawks are no longer winning most of their games, and one has to wonder if the retirement rumors might become reality soon.

    Lynch was declared inactive before the Seahawks' game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. He has been dealing with an abdominal issue, but was questionable on the injury report. Apparently he wasn't healthy enough to play. Lynch has been banged up most of this season. Lynch missed one game with the Seahawks before this season, and that came back in 2011. Sunday is his third missed game this season.

    Everyone knew that Lynch's physical style, and the numerous carries he has had since entering the NFL, would catch up to him. It didn't last year, when he averaged 4.7 yards per carry and had 13 rushing

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  • Matthew Stafford hits rock bottom, benched for Dan Orlovsky

    Matthew Stafford seems to be a broken quarterback. The Detroit Lions had to make a move on Sunday.

    With the Lions trailing the Arizona Cardinals 35-7 in the third quarter, after Stafford's third interception and Detroit's fifth turnover in all and the home crowd booing every mistake, the Lions benched Stafford for Dan Orlovsky.

    Yeah, that happened. And even worse, it had to happen.

    Stafford has been bad this year. There are a few legitimate reasons. The offensive line is putrid. The Lions can't run the ball (likely because of that offensive line). The schedule has been tough. But Stafford was ineffective again, and after a third interception the Lions' coaching staff had to send a message that his repeated mistakes wouldn't be tolerated anymore. Kyle Meinke of MLive.com reported that there were huge cheers from Lions fans when Orlovsky came in. Ouch.

    This doesn't seem to be a permanent move I mean, it's Dan Orlovsky but it's clear the Lions need a lot more from Stafford than

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  • In his 18th season, Charles Woodson finally gets his Peyton Manning pick

    Charles Woodson and Peyton Manning will always have a historic link.

    Woodson controversially beat Manning for the 1997 Heisman Trophy. They were both top-four picks in the 1998 NFL draft. They're two of the three players still active from that draft (the third, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, had himself a nice Week 5). Perhaps Woodson and Manning will go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame together.

    But Woodson, in his 18th season, didn't have an interception against Manning. He got one on Sunday.

    With the Denver Broncos driving deep into Oakland Raiders terrtitory late in the first half, Woodson read Manning and picked him off in the end zone. It was one brilliant veteran player beating another, a really fun and cool NFL moment.

    What's even cooler is that Woodson, who turned 39 on Thursday, told NFL Network this week how much he wanted to get an interception off Manning.

    "He's eluded me for 18 years," Woodson said. "It would be great. It would be even better if we can

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  • NFL Playoff Preview: Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks

    Carolina Panthers (8-8-1) at Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
    Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET on Fox

    PANTHERS AT A GLANCE

    How they got here: The Panthers had one of the most unusual paths to the divisional round of any team in NFL history.

    Carolina went two entire months between wins. The Panthers beat Chicago on Oct. 5 and didn't win again until knocking off New Orleans on Dec. 7. They suffered through a 1-8-1 stretch. And because the NFC South might have been the worst division in NFL history, a four-game winning streak at the end of the regular season allowed them to steal the NFC South title with a losing record, just the second team in NFL history to make the playoffs with a losing record. The first? The Seahawks, in 2010.

    And if the Panthers needed one more break, they got it, when the Arizona Cardinals and third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley came in and put up an NFL playoff record low 78 yards in 27-16 win.

    Key player: We can't separate Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly, the great Carolina

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  • Jerry Jones keeps hoping for playoff expansion to help his mediocre Cowboys

    Jerry Jones joked on Monday about voting for playoff expansion because it might help his Dallas Cowboys get in the playoffs. Har har. A bit awkward, but whatever.

    Then he repeated the same thing on Tuesday and it's harder to tell if he's joking. For all his faults, Jones is way too competitive to beg for the NFL to make it easier for his team to make the playoffs, rather than putting his efforts into winning more games ... right?

    He reiterated his hope for expanded playoffs to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram after NFL owners tabled a vote on expanding the playoffs from 12 teams to 14 until the fall:

    I mean, this guy's just begging to be made an example of.

    Jones is a lightning rod to begin with, and making jokes like these aren't going to help him. Not with his fans, or anyone else's fans either. The problem with the NFL's

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  • Minneapolis, with its publicly funded new stadium, wins Super Bowl LII bid

    New Orleans had a perfect record when it came to Super Bowl bids. But, NFL owners like rewarding cities that build expensive publicly-funded stadiums even more than they love the Crescent City.

    Minneapolis will be the home of Super Bowl LII in 2018, beating New Orleans in the final vote on Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. The NFL has made it clear that if you build a stadium, as Minnesota is doing with the help of $498 million in public funds, it will do everything it can to get your city the big game. Nothing else matters. Not the fan experience, the weather during the week, or anything else. After all, NFL owners might want their own new stadium someday, and they'll want the tax money to make sure they don't pay for it. Minnesota’s new dome will open for the 2016 season.

    “I think it had a great deal to do with it, and we want to thank our public for giving that support,” US Bank CEO and Minneapolis Super Bowl committee co-chair Richard Davis told NFL Network about how much

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  • Peyton Manning cleared after neck exam, will get $20 million and play in 2014

    (USA Today Sports Images)

    There was really nothing about Peyton Manning's play last season that indicated his neck was bothering him.

    The NFL MVP broke records for passing yards and passing touchdowns in a season and led Denver to the Super Bowl. But, as part of his contract, he has a full exam on his neck every offseason. That was a safeguard for the Broncos considering Manning had multiple surgeries on his neck and missed the 2011 season with the Colts. Once he's cleared each offseason, guarantees in his contract can kick in.

    This particular doctor's appointment with Manning was worth $20 million.

    He passed according to the Denver Post's Mike Klis, which was no surprise, and as a result the Broncos quarterback will have another $20 million coming to him in guarantees. Klis said the team and Manning's agent Tom Condon will start working on the process of guaranteeing that $20 million salary now that he has been cleared. Must be nice.

    Manning, who turns 38 on March 24, appears to have a lot of productive

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  • (USA Today Sports Images)

    Another NFL week started with one more top free agent being taken off the market before other teams had a chance to make him an offer.

    Cornerback Brent Grimes was set to be one of the top defensive backs in free agency, but Miami never let him get there. The team announced it had signed Grimes to a multi-year extension.

    The team had the option to give Grimes the franchise tag before the deadline at 4 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, but the two sides hammered out a deal to avoid that.

    [Be sure to check out Shutdown Corner's NFL free-agent rankings. Click here for the list of offensive players, and click here for the list of defensive and special teams players]

    Grimes, who spent his first six seasons in Atlanta before coming over to Miami, had a fantastic 2013 season. He was Pro Football Focus' second-ranked cornerback, behind Tampa Bay's Darrelle Revis. In a league that loves passing the ball, a cornerback with Grimes' ability would have been a hot commodity in free agency.

    The Dolphins

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  • J.J. Watt pushes around a 1,000-pound tire, reminds us he’s a beast

    (USA Today Sports Images)

    The NFL has some of the greatest athletes on the planet, but how many players in the NFL are more athletic than J.J. Watt? Not too many.

    We've seen Watt do a 59.5-inch box jump. He has a ridiculous vertical leap. His 6.88-second three-cone drill time at the combine is the eighth-best among defensive linemen at the combine since 2006. He can broad jump 10 feet. He does all this at more than 290 pounds.

    That's why the Houston Texans defensive end is the best defensive player in the NFL. He has unworldly physical gifts.

    This is just another example: Watt put on his Instagram page a video of him pushing around a 1,000-pound tire (h/t to the Houston Chronicle). And he said he did it 30 times.

    Oh, and Watt said he did this at the end of his workout. A cool down, if you will. He didn't look like he was struggling with it either.

    Not sure I'd spend the time to watch many NFL players work out, but Watt's offseason sessions have to be pretty freaking impressive to see.

    More NFL coverage from

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