League executives tried to show they understood the players’ concerns. Several league staff members presented a three-pronged action plan: expand the My Cause, My Cleats initiative; help convene more meetings with lawmakers to ramp up lobbying for players’ causes on Capitol Hill and, through the clubs, in statehouses across the country; and use the NFL’s platform to promote it all. The league had scrapped a staff idea to extend an olive branch to Kaepernick — who in October filed a collusion claim against the owners — by inviting him to visit the league headquarters.
Impact: It can be argued that no one player is tied into his team’s success more than Rodgers, who was again enjoying another superlative season with 13 touchdowns, three interceptions and 103.2 passer rating. Brett Hundley is now experiencing an NFL baptism-under-fire as Rodgers’ replacement. After losing two straight games since Rodgers was hurt, the Packers (4-3) must hope the Week 8 bye allows Hundley to get more up to speed before a once-promising season slips away.
Bowen: With Philip Rivers and the pass rush, the Chargers can stay in the mix in the AFC West. In Miami, don’t be surprised if Adam Gase’s system facilitates even more production than we expected with Matt Moore running the show.
Graziano: I had the Chargers as bounce-back contenders in the preseason, and even though they were awful out of the gate, it’s clear that the Broncos and Raiders aren’t without their flaws. The Chargers still have the AFC West’s best quarterback — all due respect to Alex Smith’s hot Alex Killorn Authentic Jersey start and Derek Carr’s ascendant talent — and that still means something.