Chargers’ Derek Watt, J.J.’s brother, shows toughness runs in family

SAN DIEGO — On the San Diego Chargers’ first offensive play from scrimmage last week, fullback Derek Watt got just enough of Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Markus Golden to spring running back Melvin Gordon loose outside for a 12-yard gain.

Watt said he has regular conversations with older brother J.J. and younger brother T.J., who plays linebacker at Wisconsin. J.J. Watt remains on the physically unable to perform list for the Texans after having surgery on his back.

“We talk all of the time, whether it’s a text or call,” Derek Watt said. “We have a group chat with all three of us. He’s [J.J.] been able to watch a couple of our games because he’s been out.

“But it’s been good. He’s been giving me a little bit of feedback and just telling me to hang in there, keep getting through camp, and when the regular season starts, things will pick up. It’s also good to talk and get away from football, talk about random stuff outside of the game, just to get away from it, because he knows it’s a grind.”

Coaches often turn to friends and others in their profession for advice. Rivera took it one step further, reaching out to a man he’d never met, retired Adm. William McRaven, the architect of the 2011 raid that killed bin Laden in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

By no means was Rivera comparing a Super Bowl loss to a military operation in which lives were lost when he emailed McRaven. By no means did McRaven try to do the same. But both acknowledged that the leadership it takes to train soldiers in the military for a mission is not that different from the leadership it takes to prepare a player for a new season.

“There’s nothing worse in the world than having to deal with the loss of a comrade, or in some cases a hostage you were trying to rescue or people you were trying to help,’’ said McRaven, now the chancellor at the University of Texas. “But I do think the emotions and how you deal with these situations are similar.’’

Rivera reached out to a lot of people in an effort to address the “Super Bowl Hangover,” a term that has come into use over the years because no team that lost the title game has made it back the next year since the 1992-93 Buffalo Bills. Rivera sought advice from Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden and former baseball manager Tony La Russa, among others.

Those choices all made sense in that each learned how to handle disappointment in sports.

McRaven spent three and a half decades working in U.S. and NATO Special Operations. His 1995 book “Spec Ops” is considered the standard text on the subject.

NFL domestic violence stance isn’t blanket policy you thought it was

The NFL invoked “mitigating circumstances” in Brown’s case, saying in a statement Friday that his ex-wife would not speak to investigators and that local police would not provide information about reports of additional incidents. In the end, the NFL said it could consider only one documented incident for which no charges were filed.

Last season, the NFL issued a four-game suspension to New York Jets receiver Quincy Enunwa rather than six because of his cooperation with league investigators, according to reporting from ESPN’s Jane McManus.

You could argue that the scale of domestic violence shouldn’t matter. If an NFL player so much as touches a woman, the theory goes, he should face harsh consequences. One time it could be a forceful grab of the arm. Another time, it might be a punch.

But to be clear, and to dispel any lingering myths, that’s not the policy the NFL has adopted. It is more elastic and, dare I say, more cognizant of reality. It requires more subjective judgment from league administrators, and thus more room to question the final decision, but it is most certainly not the blanket approach it appeared to be when first revealed. So it goes.

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders are a popular pick to end a postseason drought that has existed since 2003.

And yet …

“Well, if we play the way we did tonight, we won’t have to worry about the playoffs or anything like that,” Raiders running back Latavius Murray said after Oakland’s listless 20-12 preseason defeat at the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.

“We have a lot of improvement to do and a lot of things to work on, so we will go back home and get better. … We just weren’t able to get anything going. We just didn’t play like we know we are capable of playing.”

For sure, if conventional wisdom says to not get overly excited about how good the Raiders looked in a 31-10 victory at the Arizona Cardinals last week, then one should not be too downcast over this experience, no?

Well …

Consider: Oakland’s first-team offense played the entire first half — a development that came as somewhat of a surprise to quarterback Derek Carr — and was able to muster only 73 yards of total offense. Even as the Packers’ first-team defense only played just into the second quarter.

“I don’t know what the reason was [for the offensive struggles],” said Carr, who completed nine of 13 passes for 38 yards with an interception. “It is hard to know, but I definitely felt that on both sides, throwing it and running it. I think it is nothing to worry about. We are going to be just fine. We will get all those things corrected and move on.

Greg Cosell’s QB Study: Jameis Winston is really impressive

Winston handled it all well and showed he understands many of the important nuances of playing quarterback. He has an innate feel for playing quarterback from the pocket. He has a natural sense of anticipation and throws the ball in rhythm. His ability to read coverage, and hold and move safeties with his eyes, stood out.

Here are two great examples of Winston manipulating safeties. You don’t see this too often from a rookie. Both of these plays came against a single-high safety who was located on the hash mark opposite tight end Cameron Brate. When Winston takes the snap, he looks at the safety right away to freeze him there. That gives Brate room to get open, then Winston makes anticipation throws to him.

Philadelphia Eagles fans couldn’t even get to halftime of the preseason opener before the first “We want Wentz!” chant.

You can’t blame them for being excited about quarterback Carson Wentz, the second pick of the NFL draft. He’s the Eagles’ future, and Thursday night was the fans’ first look at him in game action. Wentz gave the fans enough reason for hope, and he gave the coaches enough mistakes to correct.

Wentz got in late in the first half of the Eagles’ 17-9 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and his first completion showed why he was the second pick of the draft.

After an incompletion, Wentz stepped up in the pocket toward his right and delivered a blazing fastball to Zach Ertz for a 19-yard gain. Nobody ever questioned if Wentz’s arm is good enough.

Wentz is also a solid athlete, showing off his athleticism on one third-quarter run when he avoided the rush, got outside and then cut upfield for a nice gain. Wentz also ran a third-down read option, but was upended just before he got the first down.

Wentz had his worst rookie moment in the third quarter. With the Eagles in the red zone, his intended target ran a hesitation route crossing the field. And Wentz, just before he was crushed by defensive tackle A.J. Francis, made a dangerous throw that sailed too high and was picked off. He’ll learn that QBs shouldn’t make throws like that, especially so close to the end zone.

From seeing them first-hand over the years at New England Patriots camp, the on-field interactions are always relaxed; players and coaches asking for clarity on what is and isn’t permissible, and even some joking.