Confusion reigns as NFL owners meet in Atlanta

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Confusion reigns as NFL owners meet in Atlanta

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
ATLANTA - A few quick hits from Atlanta's Gateway Marriott where NFL owners are convening to, ultimately, restore professional football in America. 1. As the NFL lockoutdraws closer toits final breaths, conflicting reports have become the norm. Why? Three factors: a) The number of sources with informed opinions. b) The complexity of the issues leading tosources drawing different conclusions. c) Attempts on both sides todrive their ownagendas.
For example, there is confusion over whether the plaintiffs in Brady vs. The NFL can hold up settlement of the case if they aren't satisfied (it appears they can since it's not a true "class action"). There is confusion over whether Logan Mankins wants the franchise tag removed or a 10 million payout and how far he's willing to push. There's confusion over whether the players have to reform their union before a vote is taken. 2. If this thing gets solved on Thursday, the owners will get to enjoy the glory shots. Media is here en masse. The players are in Washington with far less media. So if this ends Thursday, the video will be of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners being able to talk about the restoration of football. And they are the ones who locked out the players. 3. This is how the players' voting breaks down. First, the 11-man executive committee has to vote to recommend the proposed CBA. Then the 32 player reps, after consulting with their teams, will vote on the proposal.
Now, the problem is -- and this is a sticking point -- can the player reps represent their teams if they are not a union? Or do the players have to recertify first? And how quickly can they do that?4. Logan Mankins' and Vincent Jackson's interests in the Brady vs. The NFL lawsuit are still sticking points. As the two sides try to reach a "global settlement" of all litigation, multiple sources have said that the owners need to buy off Jackson and Mankins to proceed.
Whether the players themselves are pushing that or lead litigator Jeff Kessler is responsible isn't known. Still, including Mankins and Jackson in the suit brought the expectation that they would get something for their inclusion if the suit was settled. It does make sense. But there's a way to satisfy it.
The players are asking for the restoration of 320 million in lost benefits from 2010 as well. They won't get that because those were the rules of engagement in 2010. Tough boogers. But the "lockout insurance" case which already has one ruling in the players' favor is still there. The owners should simply settle that for, say, 200 million and the union can pay off Mankins and Jackson. Done and done. 5. While the owners are here at the Atlanta Gateway Marriott, GMs and key decision makers on the football side are at the Westin being briefed on how things will proceed once this business is done. Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

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Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

CINCINNATI -- For most of the game, A.J. Green piled up more yards than the entire Miami Dolphins offense in a virtuoso performance. As an encore, he thrilled the crowd by juggling some Florida citrus.

The Bengals receiver followed his disappointing game with a dominating one - 173 yards and a touchdown - and a Cincinnati defense that was inspired by Vontaze Burfict's return clamped down on the Dolphins for a 22-7 victory Thursday night.

The Bengals (2-2) rebounded from a 29-17 home loss to Denver on Sunday with a solid all-around game against a depleted team.

Green led the way, beating the Dolphins (1-3) on every type of route . He was upset with himself after he dropped a pivotal third-down pass and failed to make an impact against the Broncos.

"I hold myself to a very high standard," said Green, who had 10 catches. "I know what I'm capable of. Last week I didn't perform to that level. I had to refocus on a short week."

During the first three quarters, Green had 166 yards on catches while Miami had 152 total yards. The Bengals' season-long problem of stalling out near the goal line forced them to settle for Mike Nugent's season-high five field goals.

Afterward, Green and Andy Dalton appeared on the postgame show, and the receiver entertained the dozens of Bengals fans who stayed around by smoothly juggling three oranges at the interview desk.

"Any time he was one-on-one, he was able to make the play," Dalton said.

The Dolphins were missing four starting offensive linemen, two linebackers, running back Arian Foster and tight end Jordan Cameron. They had one big play - Ryan Tannehill threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills - but couldn't do anything else on offense.

"We've got to get it fixed and quick, and by that I mean Monday," Tannehill said. "We're kind of in a dark spot right now. It's squarely on our shoulders."

The Bengals' defense expected to get a lift from Burfict's return. The volatile linebacker was suspended by the NFL for the first three games because of his illegal hits. He got a loud ovation when he ran onto the field during introductions wearing a baseball cap. Burfict knocked down a pass and had three tackles.

"He's amazing," end Carlos Dunlap said. "Did you see the plays he made? Those aren't plays you can coach. He came off his couch and played great. It's good to have him back."

Mostly, it was Green's show. He caught a 51-yard pass off Dalton's scramble in the first half, and had a 43-yard catch that set up another field goal in the third quarter for a 19-7 lead.

REMEMBERING FERNANDEZ

A large fan banner in the upper deck at Paul Brown Stadium honored Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died with two friends in a boat crash early Sunday near Miami Beach. The banner read: "Jose 16 Heaven's Bright."

STILL CAN'T RUN

The Bengals rushed for 77 yards and only a 2.1-yard average against the second-worst run defense in the league, one missing two starting linebackers.

SLOPPY DOLPHINS

Miami had seven penalties for 68 yards. The most egregious was by Terrence Fede, who pushed Kevin Huber to the ground after he punted in the third quarter. The penalty gave Cincinnati the ball, and the Bengals got a field goal out of it.

INJURIES

Dolphins: LT Branden Albert and C Anthony Steen were inactive with sprained ankles. Also missing were LBs Koa Misi (neck) and Jelani Jenkins (groin). C Mike Pouncey has missed all four games with a hip injury.

Bengals: TE Tyler Eifert was inactive again, contributing to the Bengals' trouble close to the goal line. He's recovering from offseason ankle surgery and returned to practice on a limited basis last week. CB Dre Kirkpatrick was inactive with a hamstring injury suffered Sunday. G Clint Boling sat out most of the fourth quarter with an injured left shoulder.

ANTHEM STATEMENTS

Stills and Dolphins safety Michael Thomas knelt with their hands over their hearts during the anthem.

FANTASY IMPACT

Tannehill was 15 of 25 for 189 yards with a touchdown, an interception, a fumble and five sacks. Dalton was 22 of 31 for 296 yards with a touchdown and a sack.

UP NEXT

The Dolphins begin a stretch of four straight home games against Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and the New York Jets.

The Bengals have a tough two-game stretch, playing Dallas and New England on the road. They're 1-5 in Dallas, dropping their last three. They've dropped their last six at New England, last winning in 1986.