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Monday, June 26, 2006

Titans QB Vince Young Ahead of Schedule With Norm Chow - www.tennessean.com

Vince Young seems determined to be a great QB; he's not mailing it in.

Vince Young passes inspection
As team's top draft pick learns system, playbook, Titans like what they see

Staff Writer - www.tennessean.com

One of the initial conversations between Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow and rookie quarterback Vince Young after the NFL Draft had nothing to do with a playbook.

Chow wanted to clear the air about the decision that brought Young to the Titans. He didn't hide the fact that he was among those who preferred Matt Leinart, his former pupil at Southern Cal, to Young. Titans owner Bud Adams, of course, was among those who wanted Young.

"We both understood the situation. We talked about it,'' Chow said. "I wasn't sitting around here pining away for Matt, but if we had to choose he was the one because I knew him better. Vince understood that. It wasn't a big deal for either of us and we got started.''

Nearly two months later, Chow and the Titans know Young a whole lot better. And they like what they've seen of the former Texas star through May and June minicamps.

"The strides have been monumental,'' Chow said. "He is every bit the athlete you thought he was, but he has some good quarterback skills as well. The thing about Vince is he's not an athlete playing quarterback. He is a quarterback who is a good athlete. There is a big difference.''

Young, the third overall pick of the draft, has already pushed his way ahead of Matt Mauck, last season's No. 3 quarterback, but he's still well behind veteran Billy Volek and probably won't catch him before the start of the regular season.

Barring an injury or a free-agent acquisition, Volek is expected to start the season opener against the New York Jets at LP Field on Sept. 10. If Volek plays well and stays healthy, he could hold the job the entire season while Young gets a chance to mature.

Right now when the Titans speak of Young, they can speak only to what they've seen to this point.

"The first thing I told Vince when he got here is, 'The media is going to pump it up for you to be out there from the very beginning, but just stay patient. It took you 23 years to get here — you don't have to get on the field immediately,' '' tight end Ben Troupe said. "It is going to come when he's ready, and when he is ready I think it is going to be fireworks out there.
"So far we've seen just some of the things he's capable of doing, but we'll see more. I know he can make some throws that I don't think guys that have been in the league a while can make.''

Young attended rookie orientation in May and then began working with the veterans in minicamps later that month. This week veterans recalled a player who was unsure of himself in the huddle, a guy who sometimes used the wrong verbiage when calling the plays because of his nervousness. He even had trouble with the most basic things, like taking a snap.
But during the two weeks of June workouts, Young cut down on his mistakes. He looked more comfortable behind center and his footwork was improved. He said he knows his plays.

"He is throwing much better in the pocket,'' Coach Jeff Fisher said. "He is making instinctive throws down the field, back shoulder, away from the coverage and so on. We have seen steady improvement and we expect to continue to see that.''
Young, however, hasn't been perfect. On the final day of minicamp, he mishandled at least one snap and some footballs hit the ground in the shotgun, though coaches put most of the blame on the snapper. Young was intercepted near the goal line during a 2-minute drill.

Over the last month, Young didn't get a whole lot of reps with the starters. Those snaps went to Volek. When Young did work with the first unit, he made some good throws and some bad ones, along with some risky ones that coaches probably didn't want him to make. He also showed he was willing to run when the opportunity presented itself.

As for his willingness to learn, coaches said they couldn't be happier. They said Young has put in extra time on the field and in the classroom.

"If I wasn't coming in and doing the things behind the scenes, I wouldn't be as far along as I am," Young said. "But I am getting more comfortable every day, getting better and better. I know the plays so I can be more loose out there."
Indications are Young has been embraced by his new teammates.

"I wanted to come in here and earn the guys' respect and show those guys, just because I got picked third I don't think I'm over anyone," Young said. "I am the same guy and I am going to get in here and work and win ball games. I'm getting more used to things. I just want to keep it going.''

The Titans wrapped up their offseason workouts on Thursday and aren't scheduled to be back on the field until training camp begins in Clarksville on July 28.

Young is scheduled to attend the NFL Rookie Symposium in California, and he'll get away on his own for a while. Young said he'll also be studying his playbook, and he has plans to work out with veteran receiver David Givens while the two are in Houston next month.

When Young returns, the learning process will continue. Fisher said Young could play a half a game in the preseason, and even hinted that he might start a preseason game.

"But were are getting Billy ready to win games for us,'' Fisher said.

Eventually, Young's time will come.

"He has an opportunity to be something special, but really, you never know what will happen,'' veteran center Kevin Mawae said. "You've had guys come into this league that nobody gave a shot to and now they are Pro Bowlers and then you have guys who are supposed to be the next Joe Montana and they don't end up doing squat.

"It is just one of those things where you just have to play it out and see what happens. (Young) seems to have a pretty good work ethic and desire to want to be a better player. He is the kind of guy that could be a great player in this league if he can figure it out, which I think he will. But we'll have to see.''

Eagles Place All Tickets With RazorGator - Eagles Fans Upset ; Phillynews.com

Lower prices at Stubhub.com, just click on the title of this post.

Scalping in Birdland?
By DAVE DAVIES - Phillynews.com

daviesd@phillynews.com 215-854-2595
Redskins faced similar issue in '05

LINCOLN Financial Field's scalping policy, as stated on its Web site, prohibits "the resale of an event ticket at a price higher than face value, regardless of the price paid for the ticket and regardless where the resale occurs."

But when the Eagles' Web site - separate from the Linc's - announced June 14 that single-game tickets for next season had sold out within an hour, the story ended on this hopeful note: "Still looking for tickets? Go to RazorGator.com where fans can buy or sell tickets... "

Indeed, thousands of tickets are advertised there, but at prices that violate the 25 percent markup limit under Pennsylvania's anti-scalping law.

Cowboys-Eagles tickets, for example, average around $400 apiece on RazorGator, with some running as high as $900. The face value of the tickets runs from $65 to $80 for seats in the stands and as high as $350 for the enclosed Club seating area.

The lack of access to tickets except from scalpers has left more than a few Eagles fans mighty ticked off.

"When this happened, we got a flood of calls from people who said the ticket sales [from the Eagles Web site] were closed in a matter of seconds, literally seconds," said WIP-AM sports-talk host Angelo Cataldi.

"Now regular Joes can't go see a game unless they pay four or five times the value, and the team is actually suggesting that they go to scalpers," said Tony, a longtime Eagles fan who declined to give his last name to the Daily News.

He and others who vented their fury on talk shows and Internet sites wonder if the Eagles shoveled tickets this year to RazorGator in return for a piece of the scalpers' action.

The Eagles insist they did no such thing. "This is crazy," said Eagles president Joe Banner.

"The same number of single-game tickets were available this year as last year, and it's more than when we were at the Vet," Banner said. "What was different this year was that, in response to fan complaints, we made them available through the Internet as well as Ticketmaster, so they went that much more quickly."

While no evidence has emerged of an improper relationship between the Eagles and RazorGator, the quick sellout of tickets and the Birds' promotion of the site clearly have touched a nerve.

The controversy in part reflects fans' schizophrenic attitude toward ticket-scalping: We hate getting gouged for seats, but at times will pay a fortune to anybody willing to part with a ticket for the big game.

And while ticket resales at more than a 25 percent markup are illegal in Pennsylvania, they are widely practiced - and authorities say an out-of-state Web site like RazorGator is probably beyond the reach of state law.

Banner sees nothing mysterious or unusual in the Eagles' relationship with RazorGator, a national ticket-resale exchange based in Beverly Hills, Calif. It's simply an advertiser in the Eagles' stadium, in the team's publications and on its Web site, Banner said.

And while the Eagles give RazorGator and other business partners a small number of tickets for their own use, the Eagles don't give them tickets for resale and get nothing from RazorGator's marketing of tickets, Banner said.

"The cynicism and distrust in that question is offensive," Banner said, "and I wonder why it's not asked of anyone else."

Banner noted that several teams have marketing arrangements with sites like RazorGator and StubHub, and that expensive tickets for concerts and sporting events everywhere appear on Web sites for sale.

Still, the distrust persists. WIP host Glen Macnow said he got 25 to 30 calls on his Saturday show from fans who wonder how so many tickets ended up on RazorGator so quickly.

"What's difficult to believe is that hundreds and hundreds of Eagles fans independently would decide to sell their tickets for the Cowboys game, the biggest of the year, and by coincidence sell them through RazorGator," Macnow said.

But even if RazorGator is nothing more to the Eagles than an advertising partner, many see hypocrisy in the Eagles promoting the resale of its tickets.

"My biggest complaint about this is that they've gotten in bed with a scalper," Cataldi said.

Asked if promoting RazorGator is inconsistent with Lincoln Financial Field's anti-scalping policy, Banner said, "I think we're playing with semantics here. We accept advertising from a variety of places - including, in this case, a Web site."

The deals available on RazorGator and other Web sites would be illegal if the resales occurred in Pennsylvania, but a transaction through an out-of-state Web site is a murkier issue, according to Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General Barry Creany.

Some fans regard scalping as a time-honored tradition and a useful service for those who want to splurge on a game now and then.

"OMG [Oh my God,] People! This is crazy. The Eagles are a hot team, who sells their tickets fast and markets their product well," wrote one fan on an Eagles Internet bulletin board. "If you did not get tickets (and I am one of you by the way) then that's that. Watch it on TV or buy them at inflated prices. Just stop the damn crying."

Other fans say that they aren't troubled by a season-ticket holder selling a game or two, but that too many season tickets go to people or brokers who aren't fans but predators, buying them just to make a killing.

Should the Eagles pick and choose to whom they sell? In an unusual step last year, the Washington Redskins revoked the season tickets of an undisclosed number of people who were auctioning them on the Internet.

Since the team knew who had which tickets and the seat numbers were on the Internet auctions, it wasn't particularly hard detective work.

"It was pretty obvious which blocks of tickets were up for sale again and again," said Redskins spokesman Carl Swanson.

Eagles fan Tony said if the same thing were done in Philadelphia, more tickets would become available for real fans.

"This is a crazy theory," Banner said of the idea that the team should crack down on scalpers. Discouraging the resale of tickets would actually make fewer tickets available to the public, he said.

Banner also wondered why fans (or reporters) are suddenly obsessed with scalping Eagles tickets when the practice is so widespread in other sports and entertainment events.

Indeed, scalping prosecutions are rare, and in 2001 the city of Pittsburgh decided to permit scalpers to hawk tickets around stadiums as long as they bought a $250 license and wore it around their necks.

The city later decided to limit scalping to a small area between Pittsburgh's football and baseball stadiums.

Creany, the deputy attorney general, said one of the few recent enforcement actions against a large scalping operation occurred in 2000, when the AG's office sued the Ohio-based ticket dealer Front Row for hawking tickets to shows by the Backstreet Boys and John Mellencamp at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center.

Creany said the action was prompted by complaints from operators of the center, and it was legally possible because Front Row advertised tickets in Pennsylvania newspapers.

Web sites outside the state are much harder to prosecute, Creany said.

Virginia LB Ahmad Brooks To Visit 49ers For Physical June 28th - Dolphins Interested Too

This is from the 49ers / Scout message board

"Scot McCloughan will be on hand when former Virginia linebacker Ahmad Brooks works out for scouts Thursday in Charlottesville, Va.

Brooks will then fly to the Bay Area on June 28 and have a physical with the 49ers the next day.

[Sacramento Bee]

Really hope we go after this guy. Will be the next Ray Lewis."

Here's the report on Miami's interest:

Dolphins GM meets with linebacker Ahmad Brooks


The Dolphins have taken an interest in former University of Virginia linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who is considered by many the top player available in the NFL's supplemental draft on July 13.

Dolphins general manager Randy Mueller and director of college scouting Ron Labadie were among those who attended Brooks' workout Thursday.

Mueller and Labadie met with Brooks after the workout.

In addition, the Dolphins sent Brooks to Michigan last week to meet with Lon Rosen, a psychologist and longtime friend of Dolphins coach Nick Saban, agent Greg Williams said Friday.

Rosen does character research on players for Saban.

Williams also said he presented information to scouts, coaches and executives in attendance, showing that Brooks has passed drug tests taken on a regular basis over the past two months. Williams acknowledged that Brooks had ''issues'' with drug use during college.

Brooks was arrested in March 2003 on a marijuana possession charge.

According to two sources, Brooks failed multiple drug tests for marijuana use during college.

That led to the school's dismissal of him from the team this winter.

''Ahmad knows that he has to make good decisions in the future and change the people he hangs out with if he's going to take advantage of the athletic talent he has,'' Williams said. ``He's a good kid who wants to get this turned around and be an example to kids about how someone can change for the better.''

Brooks weighed 260 pounds, down approximately 30 pounds from two months ago. The weight issue is another question for NFL teams.

Brooks was considered one of the top high school players in Virginia history before going to college.

Some scouts have said he has the talent to be a first-round pick.

However, the off-field issues could drop Brooks into the fourth or fifth round of the supplemental draft.

San Francisco 49ers Family Day - Event Provides Fun With Niners Draft Picks

Watch the video
The San Francisco 49ers hold an event called "Family Day" annually to kick off the start of the NFL training camp period and the football season. Family Day's been held at a variety of venues, from Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco's Financial District, to Kezar Stadium, and now Monster Park, where the team plays.

I must admit I was skeptical that the stadium was the best place for it, but the Niners organization did a real good job of mixing activities with players and locker room tours. The event -- which went from 11 to 3 PM -- was a lot of fun. The weather was super, and there was a feeling of optimism in the air.

Many people believe the 49ers will be better this year, even if the team's won/loss record is just eight-and-eight. In this video, I get to interview KNBR and 49ers commentator Joe Starkey, who's best known for his dramatic call of "The Play" in 1982.

I also present NFL alums like Steve Kinney and Jeff Bayer, the Gold Rush Cheerleaders, and poke my camera in on various goings on, from 49ers First Round Draft Pick Vernon Davis' playing with a little girl running the 40-yard dash, to the sudden collapse of a very long fence as Manny Lawson, the Second Pick In The First Round's clowning with a young fan.

On the matter of how the event could be improved for next year, one way is to better use the jumbotron screen. At this year's family day there were videos posted from someone running around with a camera. Frankly, not many people paid attention to it. What's better is to have scenes from the 49ers great moments of the past: "The Catch," Steve Young's famous weaving touchdown run in against the Vikings 1988, and other plays.

Another improvement is to have each 49ers player wear polo shirt with their name and jersey number on their left chest. See, causal fans only know the players in uniform. At family day, as one person in the video remarked, many people don't know who the players are.

Another problem was that fans were not informed of the "bag rule" where bags, purses, and backpacks that were below a certain size were not allowed to be brought in. I personally saw one family fall victim to this information as we were standing in line to get in. The mother elected to stand in line, while the father and daughter ran back to the car. Not good.

But in general, the event was a success. I think Monster Park was a great place to have it.

This video was originally shared on blip.tv by zennie2005 with a Creative Commons Attribution license.

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