Inside Doug Pederson, Brandon Staley deciding to go for two


I love coaches who don’t leave games up to coin flips. Doug Pederson and Brandon Staley both chose to try to win in regulation rather than be subject to the vagaries of overtime. Back when Pederson was in Philadelphia, I remember him putting to go-for-the-win ethos this way: You have two choices. You can go for the tie, then risk losing the toss in overtime and never see the ball again. Or you can go for the win—you can pick out your best short-yardage play or plays and choose one, figuring that there’s a better chance of gaining two yards with a play you love than there is trying to win a game in overtime.

On Sunday, Jacksonville got the ball with 2:02 left in the game, starting at its 25-, down to Baltimore 27-20. “I knew at the start of the drive that if we scored, I was going for two,” Pederson told me.

But as the drive went on, Pederson realized his favorite two-point play was a play designed for elusive running back Travis Etienne, and Etienne was out with a foot injury suffered earlier in the game. He didn’t love anything else on his play sheet. But when Trevor Lawrence threw for a TD with 14 seconds left, the offense came off the field all fired up, urging Pederson to go for two.

He probably would have anyway, but the attitude of his team convinced him. “Then I thought about our players,” Pederson said. “Zay Jones was hot right then—he’d made a couple of great catches. We had a play for him—a stutter-move and quick out to the front pylon. So that was the call.”

Jones had a step on the corner, Trevor Lawrence threw it perfectly, and suddenly it was 28-27, the biggest win of Jacksonville’s season. When Pederson hugged Lawrence afterward, the QB said: “Thanks for trusting me there.” That, Pederson said, is a huge part of a quarterback’s growth.

Now to the late window.

“The irony after what Doug did today,” Staley told me from Arizona Sunday evening, “is that the play we used is a Philadelphia play. We call it ‘The Philly Follow.’ It’s a famous route they had for Zach Ertz. And when we started that last drive, we knew that was going to be the play all along.”

The idea of the play is to isolate the tight end—in this case, Gerald Everett—somewhere in the middle of the field. With Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler drawing attention on front-side routes, the tight end should have space in the middle. At least that was the plan Staley hoped for. He was right. Everett was surprisingly open.

In the Chargers’ case, going for two is totally understandable. They’re so beat up now that it would make no sense to voluntarily risk the Cards winning the toss with Kyler Murray, James Conner, DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green and Marquise Brown to deal with against a depleted D.

Obviously, as a coach, you’ve got to be willing to take the heat when you make a call like this. Both of these coaches have shown they can take a lot of it. Luckily for them, they didn’t have to have the suit of armor this time to handle incoming arrows.

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!