Mike Shanahan always has been known as a quarterbacks guru. Now, he's working on developing QBs on the youth level.
USA Football and QB Collective, a group of current and former NFL coaches that includes Shanahan, are working together to teach quarterbacking skills to young players. The partnership forms a component of USA Football's Football Development Model (FDM).
The FDM is football's first long-term athlete development model, and is aligned with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee's American Development Model. In addition to Shanahan, USA Football's instruction features Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay and Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur.
"We're excited to partner with the QB Collective to fuel our Football Development Model with expertise from the most innovative coaches in the NFL and experts in developing high school quarterbacks," USA Football CEO Scott Hallenbeck says.
"These coaches help set the pace for on-field excellence in today's NFL and are the latest to support our Football Development Model, reimagining how America's game is played, coached and experienced. Players will learn and refine skills through the cutting-edge coaching delivered by our partnership."
USA Football is the sport's national governing body and a member of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee.
Shanahan, of course, won two Super Bowls as Denver's coach, with John Elway as his quarterback.
PASSION FOR PICTURES
Detroit Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara is more excited than usual for his day off next week.
Okwara's first photography exhibit, "Rescue 2: Before The Call," will make its debut Sept. 10 at the Leica Store in New York, where it will be open to the public for seven-plus weeks. The 24-year-old Okwara started taking photographs when he was a kid and has developed his passion over the years.
While playing for the New York Giants in 2017, he visited a firehouse in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood because he thought it would be cool to hang out with firefighters.
Okwara was inspired to return to capture behind-the-scenes images of the men and women he met, along with the building they call home when they're not fighting fires. Okwara made 15 to 20 visits over two years, most recently in July, and produced about 25 pictures that will be prominently displayed at his exhibit.
"I'm excited to show what these firefighters do, giving people the inside scoop on what it's like to run into burning building to save lives," Okwara said Wednesday. "I didn't go in buildings with them, but I was on site when they were on call."
The Lions, who open the season Sunday at Arizona, added Okwara off waivers from the Giants nearly a year ago. It proved to be a shrewd move for the team, and it paid off for him, too.
Okwara led the Lions with 7½ sacks last season after he had only one sack in 20 games over two years with the Giants. Detroit signed him to a two-year, $6.8 million contract in March, rewarding a productive player who earned his way into the NFL as an undrafted free agent from Notre Dame.
So which NFL team is most popular on the secondary ticket market?
HOW 'BOUT THEM COWBOYS?
Dallas is StubHub's most in-demand NFL team for the fifth year in a row, up 64% from last year, based on ticket sales. That's a whopping 54 percent behind runner-up Green Bay.
The Cowboys' most-sought ticket is for the Oct. 6 meeting with the Packers.
Chicago is in the top 10 in demand at No. 3 after missing the list altogether last year. The Bears are up 160% since 2018.
The Chargers and Browns also are in the top 10, both for the first time. The Chargers are up 220%, based on ticket sales, even with the smallest venue in the league. Their matchup with the Steelers on Oct. 13, a prime-time game, is the team's top game of 2019.
Cleveland, the trendy club for this season, is up 366%, the biggest jump of all NFL teams.
Also, according to StubHub, NFL purchases by buyers outside the United States are up 19% from the 2018 season.
Sales are being driven by buyers from more than 54 countries, driven largely by demand 10 nations, as far away as Australia and as near as Canada and Mexico.
Sales for the international NFL games are up more than 55%. The Chicago-Oakland game in London is most in demand.
Military service members at the Naval Station Great Lakes got an early start to the NFL season.
Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, representing the Bears, and former Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson, oversaw a competition among the navy members on Tuesday. Included were drills similar to those used by NFL coaches to evaluate talent: the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, three-cone shuttle, receiving gantlet, and the QB Arm Challenge. It was all part of the seventh NFL boot camp that USAA has hosted this season and the first in the Chicago/Milwaukee region.
"It's been nearly 20 years since I ran through drills at the NFL combine, so I'm glad I was only coaching our military today and not actually running the 40," Urlacher said. "Every time I get a chance to support our military, I'm going to take it, and the USAA NFL boot camp was a great way to thank our service members and kick off the season."
Navy Chief Petty Officer Matthew Vine took part in the drills.
"I just wanted to get on the field and be a part of something bigger than myself," Vine said. "It definitely boosts morale. It can get gloomy in the wintertime and we live for big events like this in-between getting up early every day and going all day."
Navy Special Operator First Class Oscar Sanchez agreed.
"I think it helps get our minds off of work a little bit," Sanchez said. "We spend a lot of tough days working real hard doing different types of training that is high risk. When you get to come out and have fun for a few hours, it's nice to be able to relax, lift morale up, and enjoy yourselves."
A-ROD GIVES BACK
Three Northern California high schools have received the highly rated VICIS ZERO1 helmet in a donation by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers gifted 375 of the helmets, which finished first in NFL/NFLPA laboratory testing for the past three years. Pleasant Valley High School, Chico High School, and Paradise High School will get the helmets.
Players on 30 NFL teams, more than 200 NCAA programs and 1,800-plus high schools wear the ZERO1.
Rodgers, a Chico native and Pleasant Valley High School alumnus, made the donation through his foundation; it also comes one year after the Camp Fire destroyed much of Paradise and threatened much of Butte County, California.
"I don't know if anybody outside of Paradise and Butte County can truly understand what football means to helping us feel normal again. We've got some big competition and we're prepared for a tough season. We're grateful for Aaron's donation," said Rick Prinz, Paradise High School's coach.
Rodgers also is a VICIS investor.
"For me, this is a chance to step up and support the community where I was born and raised," he said.
"Football has always been more than a game here," Rodgers said. "I chose to invest in VICIS because of their ultimate commitment to player protection. These kids deserve the best, and I'm happy to play a small role in outfitting them with the safest helmets for the upcoming season."
AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner and Sports Writers Tim Booth and Larry Lage contributed.