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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Raiders "Hybrid" Bill Walsh Offense To Include Zone-Stretch Blocking - Tribune

This is from the blog entry of Jerry McDonald of The Oakland Tribune.

Posted by Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer on March 29th, 2007
Expect the Raiders to make some defensive linemen very angry this year.

The expertise of some new coaches as well as some anecdotal evidence suggests that the Raiders will join the Denver Broncos as a cut-blocking scourge of the AFC West.

Recently acquired free-agent fullback Justin Griffith, participating Thursday in the club's voluntary off-season workout program, has taken a look at his new line and thinks they'll fit in just fine with a system imported from Atlanta by way of Denver.

"The system didn't fit the offensive lineman that you had," Griffith said of the 2006 Raiders line. "We've got a new offensive line coach now. Great system for these guys, especially in the running game. You really don't have to go and hit guys high, you can just cut 'em down."

The Raiders line coach, Tom Cable, continued the system taught by Alex Gibbs, who was a consultant last season for the Falcons. Gibbs made annual treks to USC to teach blocking while Lane Kiffin was the co-offensive line coach there.

Gibbs, a former Raiders assistant when Mike Shanahan was on staff, followed Shanahan to Denver and instituted the system of blocking which has made the Broncos the NFL's top rushing team since 1995.

Shanahan was also influenced by 49ers line coach Bobb McKittrick when he was the 49ers offensive coordinator. The same McKittrick whose tactics so enraged Howie Long in 1985 the two nearly scuffled in a Los Angeles Coliseum runway.

Center Jeremy Newberry played for McKittrick in San Francisco and under Cable at Cal. He describes Cable's philosophy as "stretch and cut."

Tackle Robert Gallery, who stands to benefit to a philosophy of agility rather than straight-ahead, man blocking, said, "You might think that (the Raiders will be similar to Denver and Atlanta). But we're really jsut working on techniques now . . . we'll know more down the road."

Newberry thought so much of Cable that when he learned Cable was leaving Cal to be a head coach at Idaho, he immedately applied for the NFL draft as a junior.

"It was unbelieveable that we fell into him," Kiffin said Thursday. "I had known him a little bit from his days at UCLA, for him to have been a head coach, an offensive coordinator, this offensive line coach isn't like a normal guy. He sees it all, he gets it, he sees outside the gox and for him to be here working with these thus and he's bringing to them already is great.

"System-wise, coming from SC, we were a dominant zone (blocking) team with a number of runs but specializing in zones."

Griffith, regarded as an excellent receiver out of the backfield, termed the Raiders offense, "West Coast" and is thrilled to be playing for Tom Rathman, who filled that role with the 49ers.

Kiffin called the evolving Raiders system a "hybrid."

More notes from Thursday's media session:

– Kiffin, who got a lot of positive press with the national media at the NFL owner's meetings, has already come a long way from the guy who understandably appeared stiff and nervous sitting next to Al Davis the day he was hired.

When asked if Andrew Walter learned anything from last year's weekly beatdown, Kiffin replied, "You can learn from anything. You can learn from divorce."

– Kiffin reaffirmed that he expected Moss to be a part of the Raiders this season, but really, what is he supposed to say?

Moss has already done a bang-up job trashing his own trade value, and Kiffin doesn't need to give him any more help in that regard. He's sure not going to trash the guy. Things will work out best for the Raiders if Kiffin says nice things about Moss right up to the moment he is sent on his way.

Moss has not attended a volutnary workout or talked to Kiffin other than a 15-minute phone call. Kiffin has had there meetings with Porter, cleared the air with Gallery and others, but has received just 15 minutes with Moss. He said he doesn't see this as odd.

"I don't because there wasn't anything from that time to this time that was pressing," Kiffin said. "Obvoiusly we'll have more conversations coming up and I look forward to working with him."

– Players come and go on a staggered schedule. Kiffin reports better than 90 percent attendance, which is about the same figure quoted by prevous coaches. Some of the Raiders spotted Thursday included LaMont Jordan, Walter, Gallery, Michael Huff and Nnamdi Asomugha.

– There have been no announcements, but unrestricted free agent guard Corey Hulsey has apparently been re-signed. Hulsey, who visited with the Giants recently, was in uniform with the team.

– Kiffin said the Raiders have spoken with representatives for unrestricted free agent quarterback David Carr, released last week by Houston. He declined to get into specifics. Kiffin was an offensive assistant for two years when Carr was at Fresno State.

– Telling comment from Gallery on what advice he would give to the No. 1 pick in the draft, currently owned by the Raiders.

"You've got to do your thing. You come in, work with the situation you're in," Gallery said. "It may not be, to start out, exactly what you want or what best fits you. But at some point you're going to show everybody what you're made of. What everybody says and writes about you, it only affects them. It doesn't really affect who you are."

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Top 100 Players available for the 2007 Draft(part 1-#1-#50)

The top100 players available for the 2007 Draft (pt 1)
Every year more and more scrutiny goes into the evaluation of talent for the draft. Every year someone always asks me "why did so-an-so" drop down on people's draft boards, or why didn't he get drafted he had such a great college career. The fact is that not even the people running the teams war rooms themselves are willing to explain why an individual drops or rises on someone's board, because it's based on many factors. So when you read this now, take heed. A few of these names might not get called the first day.

1) Calvin Johnson-WR-Georgia Tech 6'4"-235-4.35
Johnson is typical of the "new wave" of heavier, almost tight end bodied wideouts. His size and physical tools make him stand head and shoulders (no pun!) above the rest of this year's class. He will be able to fight off taller DB's to get to the jump balls over the middle, but has the amazing burst of speed off the line of scrimmage as well. It would be a surprise to see him selected later then 1pm eastern on draft day.

2) Joe Thomas-OL-Wisconsin-6'8"-314-4.92
Thomas surprised everyone at the combine by doing almost all the drills, including twice running a sub 5 second 40 time. Amazing flexibility at the key joints will make him one of the best linemen in the pro game some day, his upper body strength was questioned earlier in his career at Wisconsin, but worked hard the last two off seasons to make improvements. If he falls out of the top five on draft day, it will be because of the depth of the skill player pool in the top ten.

3) JaMarcus Russell-QB-LSU-6'5"-261-4.83
Some people will be surprised that Russell moved up past both Quinn and Peterson, but the improvements he made from the combine to his pro day were noticeable. Still, he ran only one 40, and did position drills. He did throw to his receivers. He dropped almost 20 pounds in just over 2 weeks, surprising many who thought he needed time away from the steam tables. Wherever he goes, Russell will bring a Howitzer-like arm and very good skills.

4) Adrian Peterson-RB-Oaklaholma-6'2"-212-4.39(varies)
Despite his injury (broken collarbone) last year, this young man is ready for the brighter lights of the NFL. He reminds some (including me) of a slightly faster Eddie George in his running style, simply hard to bring down by one man alone. The first Runningback off the board, he will have a short adjustment period in the pros. He would benefit by going to a team that doesn't need him to carry the whole load right away.

5) Brady Quinn-QB-Notre Dame-6'4"-233-4.73(best)
It's sad that Quinn is only the second best QB in this draft, although after him the talent pool drops off tremendously. In any other draft, he might be the #1 at his position. He has matured well as both a player and a person under head coach Charlie Weis, and will be astute with his next coaching staff as well. Weis worked hard to cure Quinn of his difficulty seeing past the first option.

6) LaRon Landry-DB-LSU-6' 2"-186-4.35
Landry wowed the scouts at the combine with his great workout numbers, runing as fast as 4.29 seconds in the forty. The best DB in the draft class, Landry can play both the run and pass equally well, allowing the front seven to blitz out of multiple schemes. Another player who would surprise me if he fell out of the top 10 selections. Can also blitz quite well in situations. Could find his way up a spot or two depending on how the first hour works out on draft day.

7) Marshawn Lynch-RB-Cal-5'11"-218-4.45
Not the most explosive runner you'll ever see, Lynch compares favorably to some one like last years late 1st round surprise pick of the Colts, Joe Addai. Runs with a low to the ground style and is hard to tackle. Just the second player in school history to gain 1,000+ yards in consectuive seasons. Hits the hole without stalling and cuts well. A northern Califorina prep star who played his H.S. Ball at Oakland Tech. has three younger family members still on the Golden Bears team.

8) Gaines Adams-DE-Clemson-6'4"-262-4.71
A game changing playmaker, Adams will be a tough one to block for NFL offensive linemen. Has tremendous physical power, benching 21 reps at Clemson's pro day. Shows great moves both to the inside and outside on tape. Looks very much like a young Michael Strahan, maybe only a half step faster. Could have more of an impact then anyone at the position from last year's draft class if he can add some bulk and muscle to his frame. A bright and engaging personality, Gaines already has his eye on life after the NFL, earning his degree in sports management in December of 2006

9) Alan Branch-DT-Michigan-6'6"-329-4.79(short shuttle) 5.22(40Y.D.)
While Branch has fine numbers physically, he showed up to his pro day out of shape. Still, Branch was the main reason that Michigan went from 41st in run defense in 2005 to #1 in 2006. Can run out of gas early if he has too many consecutive plays, but if he's rotated as part of a 4 man line, or gets help in a 3-4 defense, he will make opponents sorry they lined up across from him. Played 37 games for the Blue, started 16 at the nose and 7 at DE.
Noted for engaging multiple opponents to allow teammates to pressure the offense.

10) Greg Olsen-TE-Miami (Fla.)-6'5"-252-4.51(40Y.D.)4.41(short shuttle)
Olsen was the surprise of the combine at his position, running every drill, some faster then a few wide receivers! In the mold of Previous U of Miami Tight Ends' Winslow and Shockey, Olsen is a good underneath, in-traffic pass catcher. We believe that his Football DNA (his Father was his H.S. Coach) plus his upside potential and combine and pro day workouts signal his rise up the draft board. Also a good blocker, Olsen has good balance. 26 starts out of 33 games played. Led the Hurricanes last season with 40 catches(for 489 yards & 1 TD).

11) Leon Hall-CB-Michigan-5'11"-193-4.41(40Y.D.-combine)
A 2006 Thorpe award finalist, Hall is a consummate defender. While not as tall as others, has decent speed to stay with wide receivers. Had at least 1 pass deflection in his last 26 games, with 43 in his total of 50 career games. Could be a triple threat for the team that selects him, as he also caught 24 passes for 520 yards as a part time Receiver his senior season. 12 career interceptions, 180 Tackles(141 solo). Some teams might shy away from him because of his size, but they would be mistaken to do so based on his big play ability.

12) Jamaal Anderson-DE-Arkansas-6'6" 280-4.79(campus)
Anderson played receiver as a High School player, shattering many of former Packer Keith Jackson's records at Parkview High in Little Rock. Made the transition to Defense as a freshman for the Razorbacks. Looks very flexible when he gets low against opposing tackles, able to shed their blocks most times. Could bulk up a bit with no severe loss of agility. Good Pursuit skills in the open field. Even though he only started 19 of 36 games played, has 17-1/2 career sacks. Very bright student who did well in classes. Majored in Sociology at the University's Fulbright school of arts and sciences.

13) Dwayne Jarrett-WR-USC-6'5" 212-4.55(campus)
A prime example of the trend in taller wide receivers who can stretch for the ball. Another 10 or so pounds and he really does look like a young Plaxico Burress. Can behave poorly with a Keyshawn Johnson like personality. Gets frustrated when he isn't the main target. Set the record with 41 career TD catches and 216 total in three seasons, and was #2 all time in receiving yardage (3,138) behind Johnnie Morton (3,201). Moving up because of a good Bowl Game, but could also slide back down because of his work ethic.

14) Levi Brown-OT-Penn St. 6'5" 328-5.3(campus)
A standout two-way lineman in high school in Virginia, Brown already has issues with his left knee (sprained in '04-torn meniscus in '06) which bears watching. Started 44 of 45 games over his PSU career despite injury. Punishing blocker who stops people in their tracks. Gets lazy at times in practice, but PSU's Tackles and Tight Ends Coach Bill Kenney says Brown is every bit a quality player as his predecessors.

15) Ted Ginn Jr.-WR/SP-Ohio St.-6'0"-180 4.28(campus-2006)
The issue here is Ginn's middle foot sprain, which has kept him out of both the combine and the OSU Pro day. A converted DB who only first played WR in the 11th grade. Ginn was coached by his father Ted Sr., One of the most well known H.S. coaches in the country. Played his entire H.S. and college career with OSU teammate Troy Smith. Ginn also played RB and QB in H.S. As talented as he is, teams will shy away from his lack of recent workouts.

16) Patrick Willis-ILB-Ole Miss-6'1.5" 239-4.51(combine)4.39(pro day)
Willis has had to deal with adversity his whole life, helping his father take care of two younger siblings after his mother walked out. It's only fitting that he led the Rebels through their rebuilding years of late. Has incredible skills, great pursuit of the center of the play. Sheds blockers with ease. His great Pro day numbers just about assure him of being the top LB selected in what is a weak overall class.

17) Amobi Okoye-DT-Louisville-6'2.25"-286-4.97(campus)4.88(combine)
Like Elvis Dumerville last year, Okoye is smallish for a DT at just over 6"2", but has so much of what it takes to play the position. He is explosive off the line, able to get the better of the center in front of him. Has good hands and puts them to good use, forcing opposing OL's to hold him or lose him. Very young (19) and didn't play football until the 9th grade(age 13), he will be 19 when drafted. Very Intelligent (Mensa Level I.Q.) Psychology major with a high GPA. Would be great with a defensive teaching coach. Could still grow an inch, and lost 20+ pounds from last year until now.

18) Lawrence Timmons-OLB-Florida St.-6'3"-232-4.62('06)4.66(combine)
Not as good a class of OLB's as last year, Timmons is rising up on draft boards and could be the best of the group. Although he could stand to add a few pounds, he wouldn't loose much if at all in footspeed. Good body movement. Good in passing situations as both a rusher and in coverage. Plays faster then his numbers. Very good work habits.Very coachable. Many feel he was given the short shrift by the Polls in '06. Sometimes he reminds me of another Lawrence.

19) Chris Houston-CB-Arkansas-5'11.5"-181-4.49('06)4.32(combine)
Houston is the kind of player most NFL teams want: a quality shutdown cornerback. Also plays specials as a gunner on punt plays. Had good games against Tennessee's Meachem and USC's Jarrett, but the Trojans were training a new QB and Meachem did take one of his two catches Vs. Houston for a TD. Did well at position drills on his pro day. Sometimes will lock in with a WR and get turned around, but overall a solid player.

20) Jon Beason-OLB-Miami (Fla) 6'0.5"-236-4.63(campus)
Beason is thick bodied, has great range on the field and is a very good tackler. He looks more like a Middle Linebacker everyday. Started his career at Miami as a Fullback, but only carried 1 time for 3 yards when a shoulder injury earned him a medical redshirt. Has been compared to the Panthers Dan Morgan. 22 starts in 38 career games with171 tackles(104 solo). Would do well in any scheme.

21) Dwayne Bowe-WR-LSU-6'3"-214-4.48(campus)4.40(combine)
Bowe benefited from two things last year. The offense at LSU shifted to more of a downfield passing game without Joseph Addai, and that allowed QB JaMarcus Russell to throw more deep balls. While he is fast for a big man, his actual footspeed is deceptive at times. Not that explosive off the line, he prefers to use his upper body power to jam defenders at the line. Had 65 catches for 990 yards in '06 with 12 TD's. Good downfield blocker as well. Nice hands. Hard to bring down after the catch.

22) Jarvis Moss-DE-Florida-6'6"-258-4.63(campus)4.76(pro day)
Moss is a project who is recovering from a Pelvic injury that became infected and took almost 3 years to heal. He missed just about all of his freshman and sophomore seasons due to the injury from high school. After having a decent 2005 season as a reserve in 11 games, he earned a starting spot in 2006, playing all 13 games. Still needs to gain another 10-12 pounds to keep from being contained by opposing offensive linemen. Could still be a quality DE/OLB depending on weight situation.

23) Aaron Ross-CB-Texas-6'1" 190-4.45(campus-'06) 4.54(combine)
Ross is another of those lighter weight corners who should gain a few pounds before playing an NFL game. Only started full time last year, and was academically ineligible to play in 2003. Good tackler (205 career with 145 solo) but needs work just about everywhere else. Can run with receivers without getting locked up, but easily bites on QB pump & fakes. Decent return man in similar mold of Devin Hester, he would be better suited to nickel back then as a coverage corner, but could be taught with time.

24) Paul Posluszny-OLB-Penn St. 6'1.75"-238-4.65(campus)
Another future NFL standout from "linebacker U", Paul changed his # to 31 from 39 to honor Shane Conlon from the '86 national title team. Great physical tools, but could stand to gain a few pounds via the weight room to avoid getting hammered by opponents. Played all three LB spots in 44 career games with 37 starts (20 at LOLB, 11 at ROLB, and 6 at MLB). Had one career Int for a TD. 372 career tackles(210 Solo). Having watched much tape on this young man it's safe for me to say he is a sturdy player who will forge a long history at the next level.

25) Adam Carriker-DE-Nebraska-6'6" 295-4.85(campus)
Carriker excels at everything he does, from the classroom (deans list 3.7GPA) to volunteer speaking, to sports (Played QB and DE in high school in the state of Washington, as well as baseball and track). While he lacks the explosion off the line, he has great technique, and overpowers opposing offensive tackles. Also has good pursuit skills to the ball, would convert well to the nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme, as he can get very low to the ground for a player of his size. Massive wingspan.

26) Darrelle Revis-CB-Pitt-6'0"-202-4.54(campus-06)
Revis is another standout two-way player as both a cover corner and a Punt returner. The nephew of former Pitt and NFL star Sean Gilbert, Revis played QB, RB,WR, and KR during his senior season in H.S. He also played Basketball, and could have been drafted directly to the NBA. All-Big East, All-Planet earth. 34 starts in 35 career games. 8 career Int's with a pair of TD's. 129 tackles(101 Solo). So why is he so far down the list? It's a good solid year for DB's in general, and he may actually move ahead of Aaron Ross between now and draft day.

27) Reggie Nelson-S-Florida-6'1"-178-4.35 (combine) 4.37(campus'06)
Nelson has a good skill set and several physical tools to play the game.
A strong tackler against the run for his size and weight with good explosion off the ball. If he has one fault is his trouble with tackling pass receivers downfield after the catch. Does show ability to make plays while the ball is coming down. Might also have trouble learning a difficult playbook due to academic issues. Needed two years at the Juco level to make it to Gatorland. In his defense, he had trouble dealing with the loss of his mother to breast cancer. Another late mover before draft day, Nelson could become a nickel back.

28) Charles Johnson-DE-Georgia-6'2"-270-4.68(campus) 4.75(combine)
Johnson was the other half of the defensive end tandem with Quentin Moses that destroyed opponents the last two seasons. Because Moses drew major double teams, Johnson was able to get penetration to the tune of 9.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss last season. 13 starts in 35 games with 73 career tackles(54 solo). A squat, square shouldered body type, he is able to get low to the ground when he must stop a play. Not a bull rusher but good power, but can get closed out by bigger linemen. Might not be more then a pass rush specialist.

29) Robert Meachum-WR-Tennessee-6'3"-210-4.4(Pro day)4.47 (Combine)
This young man is probably the best wide out from the South Eastern Conference in quite some time. Rangy with long arms, he is gifted with several gears on his transmission. He can shift in the open field, and doesn't get jammed by defenders easily. Possesses great hands and very good field and ball awareness. Had 1,298 receiving yards, led the conference with11 TD's, 71 receptions (5.46 per game) and 99.8 yards per game over13 games, all starts. If he has only one negative is that he should improve his overall blocking skills, but shows promise even there as well. Poised to move up on the board based on great Combine and Pro Day numbers.

30) Ryan Kalil-OC-USC-6'4"-291-No 40 Time
This is an interesting young man with lots of skills. In a year with a weak Center class, Kalil will be the first one chosen. His Body type, and ability compares to a Tom Nalen or Frank Winters. Naturally strong with good lateral movement, he has been the anchor of the Trojans offensive line the past two and a half years. Team averages 500 yards of offense per game with him in the lineup. Can tie up two defenders consistently. Marches to a different beat, likes to sing Sinatra tunes.

31) Zach Miller-TE-Arizona St.-6'5"-259-4.79(campus)
Considered the best tight end in the nation by most scouts and observers, Miller was a stand out both in the classroom and on the field in high school. Great on field vision and awareness, Miller caught at least one pass in all but two games (33 out of 35) in his college career. Looks much like his predecessor, Ravens TE Todd Heap. Had some Ankle trouble in 2005, but seems to have healed up. 144 career receptions for 1,512 yards and 14 TD's. Chose to stay local and go to school with his older brother Brent.

32) Joe Staley-OL-Cent.Michigan-6'5"-302-4.7.1(campus) 4.72(combine)
Joe started out his College career as a tight end who weighed only 225 pounds in 2003. A local Michigan product who chose to stay home, Staley was also a track star who bulked up to play both right and left tackle. He has emerged as one of the best pass protectors in the nation with few rough spots if any. Had 39 starts in 46 games and gave up no sacks in 2005 or 2006.
Has the fastest 40 time of any OL in this class.

33) Eric Wright-CB/RS-UNLV-5'11"-190-4.47(campus) 4.36(combine)
Such a shame this is such a troubled young man, or else he'd be moving even higher on the board. A medical hardship in 2003, he transferred from USC amid various off the field "incidents" after the 2004 season. Sat out 2005 and only played in 9 games with 6 starts in 2006. 10 starts over 22 games played for the two schools. A Good tackler for someone without punishing power, he moves well in open space. If he can get past his baggage he has tremendous upside as both a defender and a return man.

34) LaMarr Woodley-DE-Michigan-6'2"-4.62(campus'06) 4.74 (Pro Day)
A fearsome pass rusher, Woodley is adept at either rush end or outside linebacker. Although he was at the combine, he did not partake in workouts until his pro day march 16th. He and Teammate Alan Branch helped the Wolverines lead the nation in rush defense. Works best in free space as a pass rusher, but can do well in traffic, getting low to the ground to keep offensive linemen from rolling over and pushing him out of the play.
Amazing upper body for a man of his height and weight. 33 starts in 49 games over 4 years with 177 tackles (129 solo) and 25 sacks(2nd in school history) can get dinged up at times.

35) Brandon Merriweather-S-Miami (Fla.)-5'11"-196-4.52(campus)
4.56(combine) Known as the man who broke Bennie Blades' record for career solo tackles (182) and total stops(293). A 5 year player because of injuries in 2002 and 2003, he played 52 games (3rd in school history). Played all 5 positions in the defensive backfield over his career. Has a wiry framed body structure, but gained 35 pounds in 5 years. A team leader who stood up to critics after the brawl against Fla. Int'l last season. Will have to overcome critics with regard to his durability.

36) Justin Harrell-DT-Tennessee-6'4"-305-5.08(campus)
Another firey team leader, but also injury prone or else would be ranked higher. Has a think upper body and can make plays downfield or in the pit, but does not have the best ball awareness at times. Could develop into a steady player if he can stay healthy for an extended period of time. Played 35 games with 25 starts, and had 82 tackles (46 solo) with 4 sacks.The Number of injuries bears watching.

37) Brian Leonard-FB-Rutgers-6'2"-230-4.52(campus)
Started his career as a Tailback, but switched so the team could add Ray Rice into the offensive mix. Played 47 games for the scarlet knights and caught at least one pass in each game (45 starts). Also a great pass catcher. Trying to get his weight back down to his pre-Fullback days with the help of a private trainer (was 228 at the combine). Has good quickness and cuts for a man his size. Also an excellent pass receiver, he has nearly 6,000 total career yards. Will make someone's 2007 roster.

38) Brandon Siler-LB-Florida-6'2"-239-4.52 (campus) 4.58(combine)
Quiet and unassuming, this young man reminds mea bit of Ex-Giant Harry Carson. He just goes about his business on and off the field. Was ranked 4th best overall ILB in the country in high school. A classic 4-3 middle linebacker with a well developed body, good acceleration to the heart of the play, very good agility, and good ball awareness. Very bright student, Criminology major, member of school's leadership team, would like to be a politician someday.

39) Sidney Rice-WR-South Carolina-6'4"-202-4.49(campus)
One of the best receivers to come out of the state in quite some time, Rice sat his first year after only one game due to a knee injury. Also had an injured finger in the summer of 2005 forcing him to miss the 1st game, he then played the next 24 strait! Produced back-to-back 1,000+ yard receiving seasons in 2005-2006. Tall with good body control, he is a good downfield route runner with good speed and hands. Decent crack blocker, but needs to improve strait ahead blocking skills. 23 starts in 24 career games with 142 receptions for 2,233 yards and 23 TD's.

40) Anthony Spencer-DE-Perdue-6'3"-266-4.63(campus)
If Penn St. is Linebacker U, then the same can be said for defensive ends and Perdue! Another 5 year man, Spencer's only action in 2002 was with the scout team. In 2003 he missed 3 early season games with torn ligaments in his foot. After a banner 2004 season, he fell off again in 05 due to illness and injuries, but bounced back to all planet status in 2006. His moves and foot speed remind me of Shaun Phillips of San Diego, but he doesn't have the physical size to overpower opponents. At times played as much as 10 pounds lighter (in 2005) due to the flu. Not an every down player, but a good pass rusher both out of the stance or standing up.

41) Marcus McCauley-DB-Fresno St.-6'1"-195-4.39(campus) 4.48(combine)
A solid open field hitter and tackler who also has the coverage skills against speedy receivers. His performance slipped somewhat after a concussion early in 2006. Could also play receiver, since he played both ways in high school. Might need some more weight on his frame to stay durable in the pros. Was an aggressive player before his injury, and would need to regain that spark to have success at the next level. Sadly, he had only a so-so combine and pro day. Could be sliding down unless he gets a good private workout.

42) Arron Sears-OL-Tennessee-6'4"-328-5.44(campus)
Wow is all I can say when looking at tape on this young man. A leader of the volunteers offensive unit, he is the prototypical offensive left tackle. Only missed 2 games due to injury in four years, and started as a true freshman midway through the 2003 season. Has played both Tackle and Guard, and could play on both sides of the Center. Not the best footspeed even for a lineman, but has an explosive jump out of his stance. Would be a perfect OLT if he were an inch taller and lost a bit of the babyfat , but still pretty close. Because of his work ethic and willingness to learn from coaches, he could be around a long time.

43) Quentin Moses-DE-Georgia-6'5"-255-4.72(campus)
Played with fellow end Charles Johnson, and drew the double teams that allowed his teammate to prosper. A bit undersized, Moses will have to gain some bulk (at least 15 pounds) to play in a down stance at the pro level. Has played both left and right end. Played behind and learned from both Jumpy Geathers and David Pollack before coming intro his own in 2005. Would have had better tackle and sack numbers last year if he wasn't double teamed 50 times a game. Great lateral movement much like Miami's Jason Taylor. 26 starts in 51 games, recorded 137 tackles (93 solo) and 25 sacks.

44) Drew Stanton-QB-Michigan St.-6'3"-230-4.8(various)
As much as some might rate Stanton higher then this (or lower!), we won't fold to the pressure. While Stanton does have a some quality skills, and was all world coming out of high school, there are a few pieces missing out of this puzzle. At the top of the list, his numbers from the 2006 season are a bit of a disappointment (17 TD's, 10 Int's, 1,807 Yds) even if his overall career stats look much better. Has a tendency to play sloppy at times, and can be injury prone. If he can develop some leadership skills, he could have a decent career at the next level, but I'm not sold on him just yet.

45) Tony Ugoh-OT-Arkansas-6'5"-304-5.16 (combine)
Ugoh lost 10 pounds while preparing for the combine, but did not work out at his pro day. Tony got better with each season, and was at his best the last two years. A Powerful, thick-bodied player with good movement, good position and balance, he finishes his blocks 8 out of 10 times. Might not be fast, but doesn't get out positioned by faster pass rushers. Spent too much time away from the game as a track and field man until '05. Might not have the footwork to be a Tackle, but could become a quality Guard. Honor roll student who started 25 of 35 games over his career, including 24 in a row in '05 and '06

46) Tank Tyler-DT-N.C.State-6'2"322-5.24(Pro Day-3/20)
In 2005 Tyler played with "super' Mario Williams and John McCargo, and the defense was ranked in the top ten in the nation in several categories. After they departed, Tyler had to step up and assume the leadership role, and was not able to fill the void of two men by himself. Tyler did do a solid job in '06, registering a career high 49 tackles. His issues with weight gain and maturity are well documented, and he served a 1 quarter suspension for spitting at an official. A better strait ahead rusher then coming off the edge, could improve his foot speed for his size. Could be a force at the next level if he gets his issues dealt with.

47) Anthony Gonzalez-WR-Ohio St.-6'0"-197-4.29(campus)
A 4 time academic all American, Gonzalez benefited from having Ted Ginn on the other side last year and Santonio Holmes in 2005, Truly a fast, long stride runner, Gonzalez will stretch the field to opoen up lanes for other teammates. Very soft hands and good footwork, with good upper body definition. Uses his quickness to gain seperation off the snap from defenders. 17 starts in 33 games played at OSU, he has 87 career receptions for 1,286 yards and 13 TD's, and has never fumbled. Will donate a portion of his off the field income to charity.

48) Trent Edwards-QB-Stanford-6'3"-220-4.82(campus)
Has only played one full season (2005), so why should we think he'd stay healthy now? Has some tools, but never got to show them long term. Can throw the short routes and deep down the middle, but has trouble with deep corner routes. Has "game" smarts. Had 26 career TD's vs. 20 Int's. Only reason he is even this high is a nice private workout in the rain (3/20) where he threw 60 passes with only 3 inc's. Could be someone back-up, but would have to prove he can stay healthy before becoming a long term starter.

49) Marcus Thomas-DL-Florida-6'3"-295-5.23 (private-3/29)
A bit bigger then most nose tackles, Thomas could have been one of the best ever to play the game until two failed drug tests last summer and fall wrecked that for him. After being dismissed from the team, he sat home while the gators won the national title. Still has the tools to succeed at the next level if he behaves. 41 career games with 31 starts, 157 tackles (93 solo), 14 sacks, and two blocked kicks. If his one big night last summer was just that, he's capable of redeeming himself.

50) Kenny Irons-RB-Auburn-5'11"-203-4.51(campus)
A transfer from South Carolina, Irons wanted to play with his older brother CB David Irons. Like Jerious Norwood of the Falcons, Irons isn't a power rusher, but has quickness to the point of attack, and can wiggle out of tacklers if he keeps his legs moving. Good low center of gravity makes him hard to wrap up. Enough agility to change direction on the fly, but not in the same mold as predecessors Williams or Brown. Minor injuries slowed him some this past season, but would be a quality addition to any team.

Well there is part one of our top 100(whew!)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

SF Mayor Gavin Newsom Shows New SF 49ers Stadium Plan Monday Night

It's good to see San Francisco continues to keep the pressure on. Frankly, I'd sue for economic tampering. The idea that the 49ers don't contribute to the city's economic health is just nuts.

City unveils new 49ers stadium proposal
Grand plans would aim to reinvigorate Hunters Point, Candlestick areas
Patrick Hoge, SF Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, March 26, 2007

(03-26) 22:01 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- The neglected areas of San Francisco's southeast shore would be remade into a destination spot with a new football stadium, hundreds of acres of open space and thousands of new homes under an ambitious city proposal that rivals plans for Treasure Island and Mission Bay.
Mayor Gavin Newsom says his plan for the 790-acre site would not require public funding for a stadium at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, a toxic site that the Navy is cleaning up. The plan also calls for a new look for Candlestick Point, where the 49ers' current stadium would be bulldozed to make way for high-rise homes, retail shops and parks.
The plan, unveiled Monday night, makes other far-reaching promises, such as plentiful parking for tailgate parties, no seizures of privately owned homes, possible rebuilding of a troubled housing project and, ultimately, the chance for city voters to bless the final vision.
"We have a plan that we can finance -- no surprises,'' Newsom said in an interview. "I want to put pressure on the 49ers. I want to make it very difficult for them to leave our city,'' Newsom said.
The team is working on a plan to build a stadium in Santa Clara and is trying to raise public support for partial public financing. A detailed financing plan for that project is expected next month.
But Newsom is betting that the 49ers will not get what they are seeking in the South Bay. He said he plans to ask the Board of Supervisors to endorse his plan in May, and environmental reviews could start in June. Construction could begin in June 2009, and the stadium could be ready by the 2012 season, he said.
City officials insist that the transformation of the troubled neighborhoods will happen regardless of whether the team builds its new home in San Francisco.
The city's plan embraces financing tactics that have worked in San Francisco before. Its partner is the Lennar Corp. of Miami, a Fortune 500 company that is leading redevelopment efforts at former military bases on Treasure Island and Mare Island in Vallejo.
As it did for the San Francisco Giants' waterfront ballpark, the city would contribute the land. Lennar says it would contribute $100 million in cash and help finance the stadium's infrastructure, including parking, roads, electrical lines, sewer pipes and water service.
The 49ers apparently don't have anything like that in Santa Clara, and the team says the city will have to make some sort of "up-front public investment,'' possibly in the form of land or access to the city's utility funds. One source involved with the deal said the team wants between $150 million and $200 million.
Team spokeswoman Lisa Lang said San Francisco's latest proposal represents progress but doesn't address all the team's concerns. That includes the cleanup of the Hunters Point Superfund site, designated as one of the country's most polluted areas.
"We are still in the midst of working through the issues associated with the cleanup time frame of the Superfund site, the public transportation plan, the infrastructure issues and the traffic plans, and these are not yet resolved,'' she said. "But we are making progress and working through these issues with the city and Lennar."
In November, 49ers owners John York and Denise DeBartolo York announced that Santa Clara had become their favored stadium site, abandoning a Candlestick proposal that city officials hoped could also support the 2016 Olympic Games. San Francisco's plan, the Yorks said, would feel cramped with the high-rise housing development, and a proposed multilevel parking garage would ruin the fans' tailgate traditions.
They also questioned whether Lennar Corp. would construct needed infrastructure improvements in a timely manner.
Newsom and Lennar's new plan provides open-air parking for 19,500 cars immediately around the stadium. The parking surface would be made of "dual use turf'' -- natural grass held together with a synthetic mesh in the root system, allowing the space to be used for recreation year-round.
The plan also includes at least 8,500 housing units, 2 million square feet of office space, an 8,000- to 12,000-seat arena and 700,000 square feet of retail and entertainment uses, including a large grocery store near Highway 101 at Candlestick and a smaller one at Hunters Point.
There would more than 350 acres of parks and open space, including the stadium parking and a waterfront trail.
Newsom said the plan would need the support of Bayview-Hunters Point residents, most of whom seemed pleased with the vision at a Monday evening meeting of citizens involved with the long-discussed redevelopment of both Hunters Point and Candlestick Point. To that end, Lennar's plans call for replacement housing for artists who have been living at the former shipyard.
There would also be an International African Marketplace, replacement housing for residents of the city's 45-year-old Alice Griffith Housing Development and even a cable-guided tram that would climb the steep hill that dominates Bayview Park, one of the city's least-used parks.
Lennar representatives said their project will be financed with private money, funds borrowed against future property taxes and assessments and fees typical of new development. They expect the project to be finished by 2021.
The 49ers are skeptical that the cleanup of the 500-acre former shipyard can be done expeditiously.
But Navy and Environmental Protection Agency officials say that much of the hardest work has already been done, and top Navy brass committed this month to trying to meet the city's schedule for a phased transfer of the shipyard, with the 27-acre parcel for the stadium conveyed first, by the summer of 2009, to allow for stadium construction.
The key issue is whether Congress will maintain the same level of annual funding for the cleanup of Hunters Point -- about $70 million. The answer to that question will not come until this fall, but the city has U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on its side.
The 49ers also have questioned whether fans will get to and from a Hunters Point stadium quickly. Santa Clara boasts that it has four- to eight-lane roads serving the potential stadium site, between Great America amusement park and the city's convention center near the nexus of highways 101 and 237 and Interstate 880.
Lennar's traffic engineers believe the "dump time'' for getting cars out of a Hunters Point site would be less than what fans currently experience at Monster Park and would be comparable to what fans would experience in Santa Clara. They reason that traffic would travel on several routes. Northbound traffic, for example, would go through industrial neighborhoods. The company has not provided any traffic studies. The city's plan also calls for mass transit, including buses and possibly water taxis or ferries.
The 49ers have not made a formal proposal to Santa Clara yet. Last week, however, 49ers officials were openly coordinating with former Santa Clara city staff members and elected officials who publicly called on the city to study using some of city-owned Silicon Valley Power's money for a stadium project.
One advocate for studying that approach was former city manager and councilman Don Von Raesfeld, for whom the city recently named its new power plant. Team officials told him they need a public investment of somewhere between $150 million and $200 million, he said.
John Roukema, assistant director of Silicon Valley Power, said that drawing down the utility's reserve funds could lead to an increase in electricity rates, which are among the lowest in the state.
Roukema said that as of January, the utility's cash and investments totaled $387 million. And of that, nearly $169 million is committed to specific projects or needed to pay down bonds. The remaining $241 million, he said, is needed for capital improvements and insurance against electricity market volatility.
"The fact is that this money is still used to allow us to provide competitively priced electricity,'' Roukema said. "It's certainly not a windfall here.''
Von Raesfeld said he did not think a citywide vote would be required if the city chose to invest utility funds directly into the stadium.
Santa Clara's city attorney in 2001, however, opined that voters would have to change the city charter to tap utility funds to help fund a baseball stadium for the Oakland Athletics. That effort, led by local citizens including Von Raesfeld, withered away without a vote after years of work.
In 1990, the San Francisco Giants also went to voters in Santa Clara, San Jose, Sunnyvale and Milpitas seeking approval of a 1 percent electricity tax to pay for a stadium. The measure was soundly rejected.
E-mail Patrick Hoge at phoge@sfchronicle.com.

Monday, March 26, 2007

NFL Draft Preview Video - One | Chris Leak, Ted Ginn Jr., Michael Bush, Kenny Irons

I called this NFL Draft Video - One, because there will be more videos before all is said and done.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Jets Look to sign Back Up QB Tuiasosopo

Backup QB Tuiasosopo in wings for Jets

The Jets announced the signing of free-agent defensive end Michael Haynes yesterday and soon could do the same for quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo. An NFL source said the Jets will finalize a deal with the former Raider and six-year veteran, possibly early next week. The 28-year-old unrestricted free agent reportedly has reached an agreement in principle with the team.

Tuiasosopo, who will compete with Kellen Clemens for the backup quarterback job, appeared in only 11 games, including two starts, in six seasons.

Tuiasosopo's deal is likely to be a one-year contract with a base salary of $595,000, the league minimum for a player with his tenure. That would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent again at the end of the 2007 season.

What? did i see the word "Compete"?? what competition?? That was last Summer. There will be no competition This Jets camp!
As good a college career that Marques had(incidently-both Clemens and Tuiasosopo are products of the great northwest)
Clemens runs rings around him in Qb skills. What we see here is that no longer does Chad Pennington need a Veteran Back- up. He is the Veteran QB, and the Youngsters are waiting on his decline. Mangini and Tannenbaum are smart enough to know that Chad's shoulder will not last forever.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Texans Name Schaub Starting QB

Texans introduce Schaub as starting quarterback-See my comment

By CHRIS DUNCAN, AP Sports Writer
March 22, 2007

HOUSTON (AP) -- David Carr is done as the starting quarterback of the Houston Texans.

The Texans acquired Matt Schaub in a trade with Atlanta on Thursday and said for the first time publicly that Carr's five-year tenure as the starter is over.

"Matt is our starting quarterback," general manager Rick Smith said. "We're trying to help David find another place. We're trying to trade him today, maybe the next couple of days."

The Schaub Era begins with the same cloud that lingered over Carr's final season: Vince Young. The Texans could've drafted the hometown star who led the Texas Longhorns to a national championship, but opted to stick with Carr in hopes he'd finally live up to his status as the first pick in franchise history.

Houston showed its faith in Carr by giving him a contract extension last offseason.

"Yes, we've made mistakes," team owner Bob McNair said. "Not just there, that's not the only place. And we'll make mistakes moving forward. The key is you've got to make more good decisions than bad decisions."

Carr became the face of this expansion team from the time he was taken No. 1 overall in 2002. He won his opener, but the Texans have gone 24-56 over five years, never posting a winning record.

Houston went 6-10 last season and Young added to the sting by carrying the Tennessee Titans to wins in eight of their last 11 games, including a dramatic overtime victory in Houston.

Now, Schaub gets a chance to make Texans fans forget about Young.

Schaub's agent, Joby Branion, said Schaub signed a six-year deal worth $48 million.

Schaub hasn't started a game since 2005 and threw only 27 passes last season. McNair said Schaub brings "the leadership that we think is needed."

Schaub acknowledged that he'll have to overcome his lack of experience.

"There are going to be a lot more things as the starter that you have to do and handle on a day-to-day basis, as opposed to being the backup," Schaub said. "It's just a matter of knowing that going in and meeting it head on."

Schaub, who was a restricted free agent, could have signed with any team, but was sold on the Texans during a round of golf he played with Kubiak on Monday.

"The thing he told me was he was going to do what it takes to be successful, as an offensive team, especially," Schaub said. "It's just an incredible opportunity for me to take the next step in my career, leading a team and running the huddle."

The Texans and Falcons also swapped first-round picks in the upcoming draft -- Atlanta now has the eighth pick and Houston dropped to No. 10. Atlanta also received second-round picks in the next two drafts.

Schaub entered the league through the same draft as Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers and J.P. Losman. Kubiak said the Texans grabbed Schaub just as he's starting to blossom.

"We wanted a player who's ready to go into his prime and that's what this young man is," Kubiak said. "This guy is ready for his opportunity to run a football team. We're catching him at the perfect time. We could walk across that field today and he could take us out of the huddle."

Before landing Schaub, Houston tried to sign Jeff Garcia and Patrick Ramsey before the two joined other teams. The Texans also reportedly were pursuing Jake Plummer, who retired.

The Falcons took Schaub in the third round of the 2004 draft. The 6-foot-5 Schaub set school records at Virginia for pass completions (716), passing yards (7,502) and touchdown throws (56).

"This player is what an NFL quarterback should be," Smith said. "He's a leader. He's a strong, smart accurate passer. As we looked at the market and assessed how to get better at the position, we entertained a lot of ideas.

"At the end of the day, the acquisition we've made today is perfect for us."

Carr had similarly glowing numbers at Fresno State when the Texans chose him with the first pick in 2002. He completed 60 percent of his passes with Houston, but also threw 65 interceptions and was sacked 249 times in five seasons.

Houston also has quarterbacks Sage Rosenfels, Bradlee Van Pelt and Quinton Porter on its roster.

Carr has two years left on his contract that will pay him about $11.5 million over the next two seasons.

"We're hopeful he will continue his NFL career and be successful," Smith said.

A message was left seeking comment from Mike Sullivan, Carr's agent.

So this is where it ends for Carr in Texas. He wants to go west, maybe to Denver to back up Jay Cutler, or maybe to Oakland, where the QB spot is wide open no matter who gets drafted. He has to decide weather he thinks he's still "Starting" QB Quality or not.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Redskins Trade Archuleta to the Chicago Bears

AP: Redskins Trade Archuleta to Bears- see my comment below
AP Sports Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- Adam Archuleta's tumultuous time with the Washington Redskins ended Tuesday night when he was traded to the Chicago Bears for a sixth-round draft pick, The Associated Press has learned.

Archuleta, who languished on the bench most of last season despite having the richest contract ever given a safety, will be reunited in Chicago with coach Lovie Smith, his former defensive coordinator with the St. Louis Rams.

The trade was confirmed by an official within the league who spoke on condition of anonymity because the teams do not plan to announce it until Wednesday. The deal came one day before Archuleta was due to paid a guaranteed $5 million bonus.

The Redskins lured Archuleta to Washington a year ago with a seven-year, $35 million contract that included $10 million in bonuses, a signing that quickly became one of the biggest free agents blunders in the league.

It soon became apparent that assistant coach Gregg Williams would try to use the hard-hitting converted linebacker more as a coverage safety. When Archuleta struggled, he landed firmly in Williams' doghouse.

Archuleta lost the starting job in preseason and regained it for the first seven regular-season games only because of a knee injury to Pierson Prioleau. Archuleta's liabilities were one of the reasons the Redskins were especially vulnerable against long passes as they slumped to a 5-11 record. Eventually, the Redskins took Archuleta out of the defense altogether, using him only on special teams for most of the second half of the season.

The subject was clearly embarrassing to both Williams and coach Joe Gibbs, and neither ever gave an explanation for Archuleta's demotion. Once the season ended, Gibbs indicated Archuleta was still in the team's plans, but those remarks were mostly seen as posturing before a possible trade.

Getting rid of Archuleta wasn't easy because of his mammoth contract. The Redskins didn't want to cut him outright because of the huge cost on this year's salary cap. The $5 million bonus was already postponed once as the Redskins worked to make a trade, and any deal was expected to include a renegotiation of Archuleta's salaries and bonuses.

The Bears were the only likely destination because of Archuleta's relationship with Smith. Archuleta was hoping to sign with Chicago as a free agent last year, but he decided on Washington after the Redskins offered the big contract.


So the Archuleta Experiment is over in D.C.
Not surprising as he never really fit into the 'Skins real long term plans anyway. The Bears get the saftey they have needed, which could have been the piece they missed last season on their "D" the Skins get another late round Pick they can waste on a player who will make the NFL minimum for 2 or three years and then be coaching at some H.S. in his hometown.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Giants work Buy-Back Of Eli Manning's Contract

Giants exercise buy-back of Manning's contract- see my note at the Bottom

Giants fans have complained about the team's unwillingness to spend in the free agent market, but they've invested heavily in their own players.

They not only re-signed center Shaun O'Hara to a five-year, $19 million deal just hours before the free agency signing period began on March 2, but they also spent big money to make sure that Eli Manning remains their quarterback for the next three seasons at least.

The Giants exercised a "buy-back" of Manning's contract earlier this month, Newsday has learned, to keep Manning from becoming a free agent at the end of the 2007 season. Newsday incorrectly reported that Manning's contract had been extended through the 2012 season.

Manning is still under contract through 2009, but the buy-back was a costly one.

According to league sources familiar with Manning's contract, the Giants gave him a $5 million buy-back bonus, as well as a $3 million roster bonus. His base salary for the 2007 season will be $6.45 million. It increases to $8.45 million in 2008 and $8.95 million in 2009. The six-year, $54 million deal in July, 2004, but the deal would have voided after four seasons because Manning had achieved play-time incentives in his first season.

Giants sources last night confirmed that the move was made, and that the team had planned the transaction well in advance.

A team source said the money allocated to Manning has not been a factor in the team's reluctance to spend big on free agents. The source indicated that there were simply not enough quality players available in free agency worth pursuing, and that the huge contracts earned by some players was not in line with what the Giants believed their value to be.

And My slant: This is Gigantic(no pun meant!) for the Giants front office, as Eli would have been a Free Agent after this season. For all the crying fans are doing, for better or worse Manning is the Future of this offense, and they should make sure he's happy.

Friday, March 16, 2007

2007 NFL Draft - Ohio State Pro Day Video

This is the video for the Ohio State "pro-day" where Buckeye seniors eligible for the NFL Draft show their performance capabilities for NFL scouts and executives. Ohio State's Heisman Winning QB Troy Smith posted a 4.65 in the 40. Check out this video:

Eagles Replace Stallworth with Kevin Curtis

Eagles Replace Stallworth With Curtis-see below
AP Sports Writer
Wide receiver Kevin Curtis agreed to a six-year contract with Philadelphia on Thursday, giving the Eagles a potential replacement for Donte' Stallworth.

Curtis' deal could be worth up to $32 million and includes $9.5 million in guaranteed money, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because terms of the contract weren't released.

"Kevin's a guy that we've liked all along," Eagles general manager Tom Heckert said. "He's got great speed and run-after-the-catch ability. Kevin's a calm, smart guy that just goes out and plays football. He definitely brings tremendous speed to our team."

A third-round pick in 2003, the 28-year-old Curtis spent his first four seasons with the St. Louis Rams serving mostly as the No. 3 wideout behind Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. He has 136 receptions for 1,714 yards and 12 touchdowns in 51 games. Curtis had his best season in 2005 when Bruce missed five games, catching 60 passes for 801 yards and six TDs.

"I've accepted my role and loved every minute of it in St. Louis and played with some great wideouts out there, but I'm definitely excited about the thought and the opportunity to be on the field more," Curtis said when he visited Philadelphia last Friday.

Minnesota, the New York Giants and Tennessee also were interested in Curtis, the second receiver to join the Eagles in free agency. Philadelphia also signed Bethel Johnson, a return specialist, last week. The defending NFC East champions lost Stallworth to the New England Patriots earlier this week.

Stallworth had 38 receptions for 725 yards and five TDs in 12 regular-season games in his only season with the Eagles. He also had six catches for 141 yards and two scores in two playoff games.

Curtis could compete with second-year pros Hank Baskett and Jason Avant to start opposite Reggie Brown.

"I'd like to be a starter, but I'm open to any opportunities that are out there," Curtis said. "Outcome: I want to be out on the field playing the whole game."

The Eagles also welcomed veteran running back Ron Dayne to Philadelphia on Thursday. Dayne, who spent last season with the Houston Texans, would give the Eagles the complementary back they're seeking to go along with Brian Westbrook.

"I know Westbrook's the man right now," Dayne said. "I'll compete with him if I come here, just play hard and do what they ask -- whatever they need me to do."

Dayne had 612 yards rushing and five TDs while averaging 4.1 yards per carry for the Texans. A former first-round pick, the 29-year-old Dayne played five seasons with the Giants and one season in Denver.

So Dayne and Curtis will add Power and Grace to the Eagles offense, Which is fitting. Curtis might be the missing piece of the puzzle, and Dayne will have fun playing against his old Team(the Giants) Twice a season.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

CB Nick Harper Jumps From Colts to Titans

Nick Harper Leaves Champs for Titans See my comments below
By Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Nick Harper is going from the Super Bowl champion Colts to a division rival, the Tennessee Titans.

The free-agent cornerback agreed to a three-year deal with the Titans on Tuesday, agent Ian Greengross said.

"Nick was impressed with what he saw when the Colts played the Titans," Greengross said. "They played the Colts close the first time and beat the Colts the second time. He likes where they are heading."

The 5-foot-10 Harper spent the past six seasons with Indianapolis. The 32-year-old had three interceptions and 58 tackles last season as a starter.

He visited Tennessee last week and said the Titans were his top choice.

That could be in part because the future of cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones' is in question after a series of off-field incidents. Titans coach Jeff Fisher recently expressed his displeasure with Jones for failing to inform the team of two arrests last year in Georgia. Jones also was interviewed by police after a triple shooting at a Las Vegas strip club on Feb. 19.

Harper has been the Colts' most consistent cover cornerback in the past few seasons.

So Harper Is taking the Money. I can understand that. The part i can't understand is how horrible a situation the Titans are in with Jones, and were they think Harper will "take over" for Jones. Even though we heard published reports last night that he was "obtained" for "Insurance' Purposes". Sure, and i have a Bridge to sell you that connects the Bronx to Long Island.

Seahawks' Tight End Jerramy Stevens Arrested.

Seahawks Jerramy Stevens Arrested "Under the Influence" Of What?? see my end comment at the VERY Bottom

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Seattle Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens was accused of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana after police stopped his car in downtown Scottsdale early Tuesday.

A Scottsdale patrol officer noticed the car traveling erratically and made the stop about 2:15 a.m.

Stevens, an unrestricted free agent after five seasons with Seattle, told the officer he had "four of five margaritas" at Salty Seniorita, a downtown Scottsdale bar.

According to the police report, the officer smelled alcohol and noticed Stevens' eyes were "bloodshot and watery and half-closed. Spoke with slow, slurred speech."

As he got out of the vehicle, the report said, Stevens "dropped his cell phone and wallet on the ground, bent down to pick them up, then stutter-stepped to walk" toward the officer.

A second officer arrived and began a field sobriety test, but after Stevens "almost fell down" during the "walk-and-turn" test, the player declined to participate in any further testing.

Police said they found a "leafy green substance" believed to be marijuana in Stevens' pocket.

Stevens refused a breathalyzer test and declined to give a blood sample until police obtained a warrant about 5 a.m., the report said. Stevens was booked and posted bail and an initial court appearance was set for April 2. The blood test results haven't yet been released.

Stevens has had other run-ins with the law.

In June 2003, he pleaded guilty to reckless driving in a plea deal after being stopped in the Seattle suburb of Medina on investigation of drunken driving. He got a two-day jail sentence for that offense.

He received another five days in jail for violating his probation after he drove into a nursing home in 2000 in a hit-and-run case. Stevens was a student at Washington at the time of that incident.

The 6-foot-7, 265-pound player was a first-round draft pick by the Seahawks, the 28th selection overall, in 2002. He had a career-best 45 catches for 554 yards, a record for Seattle tight ends, in the Seahawks' 2005 Super Bowl season.

Last season, Stevens caught 22 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns.

Ok, so let's tell the cop that pulls us over "Yah Officer...i had about 5 Margaritas..and i'm crocked"
Then don't drive Jerramy! it's that simple....
And what about this "Leafy Green Substance" Oh come on now...It's bad enough you were drunk, so you were stoned too??
Nice,..did some american Indian give you the Pot?? because it would help your visions? Nice excuses there son.....

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Droughns ready to fit in

Droughns Ready to Fit in With Giants-See my comment below
AP Sports Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New York Giants plan to replace the retired Tiki Barber with two running backs.

At least that's what they have told newcomer Reuben Droughns, who was acquired last week in a trade with Cleveland for receiver Tim Carter.

"They said it's definitely going to be a 1-2 punch," Droughns said in a conference call on Monday, shortly after he passed a physical and officially joined the Giants, where he will pair up with Brandon Jacobs.

"Brandon and me will be kind of a pound-it-out running style, so we'll try to wear down the defenses and work together," Droughns said.

The two Super Bowl teams both alternated halfbacks last season. Indianapolis used Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai, while Chicago used Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson.

With Jacobs and Droughns, coach Tom Coughlin is going to have a pair of big bodies to run behind fullback Jim Finn. Droughns is 5-foot-11 and 220, small compared to Jacobs, 6-4 and 264.

The two met for the first time on Monday and Droughns, who rushed for more than 1,200 yards in both 2004 and 2005 and 750 last season, was impressed.

"Oh, yeah. He's a big young fella," the seven-year veteran said.

Droughns took the blame for his drop in production last season, but he noted that the Browns' offensive line was ravaged by injuries. Coming to the Giants, he said was a fresh start.

It's so new, it was obvious that he did not want to create waves with Jacobs, the third-year running back who rushed 96 times for 423 yards (4.4 yard average) and nine touchdowns.

"It's not my job," Droughns said when asked if he considered the starting halfback job open. "It's Brandon's, because he was the guy who's here. Brandon's next in line. It's his job to lose, but I'm sure he doesn't want to lose it. It's going to be a good competition in training camp."

There wasn't going to be a competition for the Browns' starting job this season. Droughns realized that last week after former Baltimore Raven Jamal Lewis to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Browns.

"I knew my role was slimming down," Droughns said. "Our union had basically fallen apart. They were either going to release me or trade me."

That's just the kind of Rushing game the Giants want to run. It's the same kind of game they had in 2000 with Tiki and Ron Dayne(thunder and lightning) except i don't know if Ruben is "Lightning" fast. But he's surely smaller then Jacobs!

Emmitt Smith Hired By ESPN

Emmitt Smith to Join ESPN As Analyst-My comment below end of story..
By Associated Press

BRISTOL, Conn. -- Former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith has been hired by ESPN as a studio analyst for its NFL pregame coverage.

Smith, the National Football League's all-time leading rusher, will appear on the network's NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown shows. He will also appear as an analyst on ESPN Radio and ESPN.com, the network announced Monday.

"I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and insight of football with the fans of the NFL," Smith said in a statement released by the network. "I am excited to be joining the ESPN family, particularly the highly respected Countdown crews."

Smith will join Chris Berman, analysts Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Ron Jaworski, and reporter Chris Mortensen on NFL countdown. He, Berman, Jackson, Mortensen and analyst Steve Young will do the Monday Night Countdown show each week from the site of the Monday Night Football game.

This could be one of the smartest moves ESPN could make regarding their Football coverage. Emmitt's personality is so much different then his predecessor and former teammate. Irvin was at times, to argumentative with his elders, and i'm sorry, as skilled as Irvin was on the field, he was not always well spoken off it, he also clashed with the styles of Ditka and Tom Jackson. Smith Knows how to play nice......

CAA Taking A Bath On Sports Division? - Buying Matt Leinart, Tom Condon, and IMG

Someone -- perhaps Leigh Steinberg -- is reading this with glee. But if Hollywood Reporter Nikki Finke's any indication,
Creative Artists Agency , the super-firm of talent agents started by Ron Meyer and Mike Ovitz in 1975, and recently the epicenter of Hollywood's move into athletic talent mining starting with players like Arizona Cardinals QB Matt Leinart, may be losing money in its sports division.

To understand, read this post from Nikki's blog:

If CAA agents this week are looking inconsolable, it's because they now have to give up flying first class. (Those conversations you're trying to overhear at lunch in Century City are the CAA tenpercenters kvetching about it.) So what happened? My sources tell me that CAA called a big all-agents meeting and read the riot act to its spendthrift tenpercenters. To cut expenses by a whopping 20%. To start flying just business class instead of first class. And to take to heart this warning: If you want to get paid, then get your clients jobs.

I hear the motion picture agents are the most upset about the new edicts because they live the high life more and so got hit harder. Look, I've been saying this for a while now: CAA can't keep spending like drunken sailors without having cash flow issues: buying a bevy of agents from other shops and wooing clients by the hundreds, and moving into swank new headquarters while still paying rent back at the I.M. Pei building, and starting a money pit of a sports division where most of the endorsement deal money will be heading back to IMG for years, etc. Now CAA is having the same woes every other agency in town has been having: for instance, William Morris last year asked its departments to slash spending by 20%. What's next? Richard Lovett on Avenue Of The Stars with a metal detector looking for loose change and lost jewelry?

If it's true that CAA's gotten into a deal where it's giving most of its' cash from sponsorship deals back to IMG, then it's officially taking a bath in its sports division. Everyone in the sports business knows its the sponsorship deals that drive the industry, and this is especially true for NFL agents, which are limited to 3 percent takes of an athlete's contract.

By contrast, CAA comes from the world of the 20 percent deal, where they can get as much as that for an actor or actress. So they're giving up 17 percent of a deal, plus a big chunk of endorsement money? Wow. All that plus the fact that CAA and the other Hollywood agencies aren't savvy enough in new media to promote their talents to such an extent they make up for this. One firm I will not name has an extensive website, but you can't find it on Google! (They need to use SBS-ON!)

At first, I thought CAA's foray into sports would restructure the industry and cause a shakeout of some of the small-time -- at least in behavior -- agents. But given the appearance of their business model, I remain skeptical. It's now logical to me why IMG would give up its NFL operation to CAA without the appearance of a fight; they're getting paid! Moreover, it seems everyone, from Leigh Steinberg to Matt Leinart's trainer Steve Clarkson of Air 7 (which has a better website now), to IMG, and Tom Condon (who was lured from IMG to CAA) has been paid by CAA just so it could leap -- head first -- into the sports business without a battle.

In other words, CAA really did create a money pit!

Let's give it five years, and then review. Unless CAA starts making a ton of sports movies with Matt Leinart and Paris Hilton as the stars, they may see the NFL and sports as a waste of money. It's not, really. It's just that they don't really understand what they've gotten themselves into.

Monday, March 12, 2007

the story behind the story about Tiki retiring

From Pro Football Weekly-online edition you know i'll have something to say about this!!
Barber upsets Coughlin in initial foray into media career
By Trent Modglin
March 11, 2007

Tiki Barber is already walking that thin line, the one many before him have toed with caution, some without. Former players who turn in the helmet and cleats for the designer suit, microphone and sharp-witted opinions that make people want to tune in on Sundays.

As the media world’s newest and most anticipated addition, he waited but a few minutes after ending the day job he has had for the past 10 years — that being running back of the Giants — to lay into his former boss, Tom Coughlin.

Barber will work on NBC’s “Today Show” and on the network’s Sunday-night football coverage. At his introduction as the newest member of “Today,” Barber didn’t hold back in ripping into Coughlin, suggesting that it should be considered an “act of God” that the physical demands the coach placed on him in New York did not result in any serious injuries.

“Coach Coughlin is very hard-nosed, and I didn’t get a lot of time off, couldn’t sit down and rest myself, and so it was a constant grind — a physical grind on me that started to take its toll,” Barber told reporters at the press conference.

“The grind took its toll on me and really forced me to start thinking about what I wanted to do next. And that’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing, for me at least. Maybe not for the Giants, because they lose one of their great players, but for me, it is.

“We were in full pads for 17 weeks, and with the amount of injuries that we had, it just takes a toll on you. You just physically don’t want to be out there when your body feels the way you do in full pads. And while it probably doesn’t have a really detrimental effect on how you practice or how you play, it does on your mind. And if you lose your mind in this game, you lose a lot.”

This was not the first time Barber had been openly critical of Coughlin. He said the Giants were outcoached after a playoff loss to the Panthers a year ago and bristled at the play-calling after another game. He also had a much-publicized spat with Giants DE Michael Strahan over Strahan’s contract squabble with the team.

But here’s where it gets tricky. Barber has plenty of friends in the Giants’ locker room and around the NFL. His twin brother, Ronde, with whom he hosts a weekly Sirius satellite radio show, still plays for the Buccaneers. And now, as Barber changes gears professionally, he will be asked to further analyze, to pick apart and dissect, and ultimately, to criticize his peers.

No more cookie-cutter, P.R.-sanitized answers to mundane, everyday questions. No more holding back for the sake of wondering whose feathers you might ruffle. He’s not getting paid to run the football anymore. He’s getting paid to observe and to speak his mind.

As a member of the media, the challenge for Tiki is to be unbiased, to challenge those who need it. To use his vast playing experience and the fact he’s so recently removed from the game to provide insight and knowledge that viewers wouldn’t ordinarily have been privy to. But some of the people he will put under the microscope will undoubtedly be the same he sought out for a hug after games. Those he had dinner with on the road on Saturday night before games. Those he will be relying on for inside information from around the NFL.

Jerome Bettis, his new teammate on NBC’s Sunday-night broadcast, could share a piece of advice. Early in his tenure with the media, Bettis upset his former head coach, Bill Cowher, by saying he believed Cowher would retire after their Super Bowl title with the Steelers a year ago. Turns out, Cowher stepped down this year, so Bettis was actually only a season off with his prediction, but injecting his opinion when he did still disappointed his beloved coach.

Coughlin, too, was annoyed at Barber’s parting shots. Mostly, he was upset that Barber didn’t discuss it directly with him. Why Barber had to lay it out in front of reporters as opposed to in his office, he’ll never know. Like the rest of us, Coughlin assumed the press conference was designed to announce Barber’s new gig with NBC. And it was. But Barber also found time to hit a few scathing notes before the nameplate could even be changed above his locker.

“I think to give the illusion that I had something to do with his retirement, I don’t quite follow that,” Coughlin said.

And let’s keep one more thing in perspective here. Coughlin helped make the Tiki Barber we know. The one with multiple Pro Bowl appearances. The star.

Before Coughlin arrived in New York, Barber’s high mark for rushing yards in a season was 1,387. And he fumbled the football more than our president does words, coughing up the pigskin 40 times from 2000-04. In three seasons under Coughlin, Barber rushed for 1,518, 1,860 and 1,662 yards and eliminated the aforementioned fumbling problems by holding the ball upright, tight to his body, the way Coughlin taught him. He fumbled only four times the past two seasons.

I admire Barber for having the guts to leave the game in his prime, when he was ready, before his body or a general manager was the one telling him it was time to go. If Stephen King wanted to stop writing and become, say, a painter, who are we to judge? If Julia Roberts wanted to put an end to her acting career and start a day care, it’s her prerogative. As fans, we’re selfish and long to see more, but it’s their lives.

In my experience, far too many media types let athletes off easy, asking the softball questions or offering glossed-over, obvious evaluations that provide us with nothing. What we have grown to expect out of studio analysts like Tom Jackson, Merril Hoge, Cris Collinsworth or Howie Long, however, is more honest, forthright assessments. We want to see the game through their eyes, and they often let us. And I have no doubt Barber will be good at this aspect of the job. He is smooth, articulate, bright and, as we’ve seen on occasion, opinionated.

But taking a shot at a former coach who did so much for your career, intimating that his disciplinarian style — which has been well-documented in the past — helped hasten your decision to leave stage left, seemed unnecessary and a harsh way to part ways. Perhaps that’s why Barber’s representative, in response to my request, said Barber wasn’t currently doing any further interviews.

And despite his training on radio and TV’s “Fox and Friends,” I guess that’s part of the challenge of his new gig. To learn what to say and when to say it. To objectively critique without coddling (the opposite of Michael Irvin) or coming off resentful. And since Barber is a twin, his new boss said he has a backup plan.

“On those days when you’re not feeling well, we’ll just call Tampa Bay and get your brother,” NBC News president Steve Capus said.

Wonder if that made Jon Gruden nervous?

Forget about John Gruden for a minute.

So everyone now thinks Tiki retired because Coughlin was pushing him too hard, leading to the perception that Tiki is "Soft"
Soft is not 6 strait 1,000+ yard seasons. Soft is not 4 fumbles in 3 years once he changed his style of carrying the ball.
Your not soft when you say" It's time to hang it up" before your body tells you to. Tiki's just speaking his mind, and last i heard, you are allowed to do that in this country.....

NY Giants Trade with Cleveland Browns: Give Tim Carter Get Ruben Droughns

Team's first move: Adding Droughns

The Giants acquired running back Reuben Droughns from the Browns on Friday for underachieving wide receiver Tim Carter, ending their search for a complement to Brandon Jacobs and a week of inactivity since free agency began.

Droughns, 28, rushed for 1,240 yards for the Broncos in 2004 and 1,232 with the Browns in 2005 but had only 758 this past season. He became expendable after the Browns signed Jamal Lewis.

Carter, 27, has been expendable for nearly as long as he's been a Giant. Drafted in the second round in 2002, he caught only 72 passes in 53 games. Plagued by injuries, Carter was unable to live up to his promise as a speed demon.

The Giants acted fast yesterday after Dominic Rhodes, who came in for a visit March 2 - the first day of free agency - signed a two-year deal with the Raiders worth as much as $7.5 million.

"I realize the perception is that we haven't done anything through the first week of free agency because we haven't signed any unrestricted free agents," Giants general manager Jerry Reese said. "The opposite is true. We have been working very hard to do what's best for this franchise. The fact is we had a few guys we had targeted that would have made sense for us under the right circumstances.

"A couple of those simply didn't work out, but there is a whole lot of the free-agency period left and the draft and the rest of the offseason for us to continue to build this roster, and we're going to work smartly in doing that."

In an interview on Sirius satellite radio, Droughns dismissed any problems he might have working behind Jacobs or with coach Tom Coughlin.

"For most teams, it's been a two-back system," he said. "The two teams in the Super Bowl this year had a two-back system, so we're going to complement each other very well."

As for Coughlin, who is under pressure to win this year, Droughns said: "I just know he's a good coach. You hear your rumors and everything, but his record speaks for itself. He does a good job getting the guys ready and prepared to play.

"I've had a lot of disciplinarian coaches in my past, so I'm sure it won't be too much of a problem at all."

Droughns is due $5.75 million over the next three seasons, though a report Friday indicated that his contract has been re-worked by the Giants.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Free Agency 1987-2007

Free Agency1987- 2007: Is it a Boom or Bust for Teams or Players?

This is the first Year where there are more teams with extra room under the cap because of the extended labor agreement. This years-cap number is just over 109 Million dollars, and several teams are doing more then just window-shopping. They are going after viable players who will fill needs. This will result in more changes to teams big boards for the draft then ever before. Teams are also moving quickly to replace players they loose to other teams (like the Ravens deal with the Bills for Willis McGahee one day after Jamal Lewis left to play in Cleveland). Yes, that was a trade and not a free agent signing, but make no mistake, it happened because of the cap and free agency. Even teams who have traditionally stayed pretty quiet in the off-season only picking up a player here and there have been busy, like the NY Jets dealing with the Bears for RB Thomas Jones.

Other teams are content to grab marginal players, someone who has never been a starter, but who could be a starter if he had a chance, to what some might consider overblown contracts. An example of this is the Vikings signing of Vishante Shancoe, who was mostly a second TE for the Giants behind Jeremy Shockey. Sure he started some games when Shockey was out with injuries over the past two seasons, but the talent level dropped off when he played. Still he was earning back up money, and now he's getting a five year 12 million dollar deal. Will we see more of this between now and the summer? Sure we will.

Some teams are looking to cherry pick players who got released in what is called "the era of financial restraint", are getting good bargains in the short team. So what happened to that era? When the owners and the players rotten excuse for representation, known as the NFLPA, got the players to agree to plan "B" several years ago, they never told them how long it would take them to catch up to the salaries of baseball players. When the cap system started, the whole team could not make more then 38 million dollars. Remember, this was almost 20 years ago. Sure player's salaries had improved steadily from the mid seventies on. The owners wanted as much control over the inflation of salaries as possible. Heaven help the person who would even think that the players should get a larger share of the profits then the owners; he would be brought out to the shed and flogged! But the second player action of 1987(Strike) changed all that. The "fans" would not accept the replacement players as genuine, and the owners had to give in. So they agreed to let players move around, with limitations. Still not an ideal system, but the players generally got their money or went where they would at least get more then the last team paid. The owners got to keep control over the profit to some extent

So where are we now? You have players moving around to different teams, earning more money then ever before, but there is still no middle class of players or player salaries in the NFL. You either earn 500K a year or 3 million. There is no one making say, 850K a year for 5 years. Everyone's salaries rise each year, creating a "Floating payroll" that moves each team closer to the edge of a "cap penalty". The owner's answer to that? "The cap rises each year with the need to raise players salaries" one agent told me. "It's a win win situation for the players and the owners." Sure it is, if you are a "big market" team with cross endorsements and a stadium deal. So what if you are Green Bay? Jacksonville? What if you are bidding for a free agent against Dallas? So you see where I am going with this? The rich get richer, and the Poor either put up or get left out.

So then there is no real Parity in the NFL except on the computer that spits out the schedules each year because Green Bay can't compete financially for the same player as Dallas or Miami or San Francisco. But are more players really moving to other teams? Looking at the history of NFL free agency, no more then 11% of the total group of players in the NFL has ever changed teams in any one year. This is out of a total of roughly 25% of the NFL players that are eligible to move to another team. This year, 448 players (or 27.7%) were free agents as of March 2nd. While we won't know the total results until the summer for this year's free agent class, it doesn't seem like the total number of players will rise, only the money that they are awarded. In speaking with Great Blue North Draft report's Colin Lindsey for our Podcast this week, He echoed the same sentiment. "I don't see a greater number of players then usual taking advantage of free agency this year over years past" he said. "I do see them getting bigger deals because the cap has grown, and there is a class of players who are aging fast, and not worth the same dollar value that they would have been even two years ago. Players who have done well in free agency by negotiating a good contract with a new team will say that the system is good. Players who have changed teams with less success then expected will tell you that something stinks. One player who spoke to us on the condition of anonymity said "it just plain Sucks! I wanted to stay where I was, but my old team wanted me to take a cut to the minimum, I was willing to take a cut, but that much? And did i really wanted to move my wife and kid to another city?"

I leave you to draw your own conclusions about the success of free agency in the NFL. It seems to work better for some then for others.

LSU's JaMarcus Russell - A Video Look

At first I was all set to buy into the idea of JaMarcus Russell as the next Vince Young. But after seeing this video I'm off that bandwagon, and on this one: he's better than Vince Young. Why?

Because Russell worked in a drop-back passing system which called for him to read defenses, throw into tight coverage, and basically make more decisions than Vince Young had to make at Texas in the Spread Option. I'm not taking anything away from Young, it's just that Russell's got everything Young has -- size, speed, leadership -- plus the training in a pro-style passing offense.

Yep. He's head and shoulders over Brady Quinn. I don't think there's much of a comparison. Watch this video:

Friday, March 09, 2007

JaMarcus Russell or Brady Quinn?? who Really is The First QB in this Draft??

From Pro Football Weekly online.....

Russell’s red flags could make Quinn the first QB drafted in ’07

In the minds of many evaluators, including PFW resident draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki, there is a considerable gap between QBs JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn.

The way we hear it, it is Quinn, not Russell, who Nawrocki and a growing contingent of teams think will be the better pro. And perhaps to the surprise of many draft fans, more of the teams we consulted had finished their pre-Combine draft meetings thinking Quinn would be the better pro.

Multiple teams that have begun digging into Russell's background have been turned off by his lazy work habits and immaturity. When he took off his shirt at the Combine weigh-ins and exposed a very soft, fleshy body filled with baby fat, the concerns immediately heightened for one top-10 team that PFW spoke with, revealing what some consider to be the tip of the iceberg.

Much like Vince Young a year ago, whose poor Wonderlic test result was leaked and wound up setting in motion a lot of questions about how far he would fall, the significance of Russell's unshapely physique may be way overblown.

Our sources say Oakland’s Al Davis, who holds the top pick, is still chafed he decided not to take Matt Leinart a year ago and is dead-set on finding a signalcaller of the future to replace the recently released Aaron Brooks, whose option was not exercised after one year with the team.

Davis is widely assumed to favor the more strong-armed Russell, who better fits the vertical offense the Raiders have long run. However, had Davis made the call a year ago, our sources say he would have selected the more cerebral, NFL-ready Leinart, not the more strong-armed Jay Cutler, whom the Broncos traded up to select one pick later.

Said one astute, high-ranking evaluator, whose team has no need for a quarterback, of the draft's top two quarterbacks: “Physically, arm-strength-wise, there is no question who has the advantage. But if you want to talk about mental aptitude, ability to escape pressure and make good decisions, it's not even close. There is a big ‘miss’ factor on Russell. He had a lot of up-and-down games, and he makes a lot of bad decisions. He's sitting in the middle of the second round right now on our board. He'll never make it that far, but that’s where his value is. After Quinn, I would be sweating if I needed a quarterback from the rest of this crop.”

If Davis fails to land a veteran passer such as Houston’s David Carr, who has been thrown on the trading block after his struggles last year, or Byron Leftwich, who may be dealt despite Jack Del Rio’s statement that he is the Jaguars’ starter for 2007, don't be surprised if Quinn, not Russell, winds up becoming the first overall pick. Davis could be among those who are scared off by the red flags surrounding Russell and thus opt for Quinn. That could leave Russell, despite the concerns, falling only, like Young, to the No. 3 spot, where fellow Mobile, Ala., native and Browns GM Phil Savage would be waiting with open arms, the way we hear it.

Sources close to the Browns have even speculated that Savage, who helped advise Russell on his decision to enter the draft, has already informed Russell that he would not fall any further than the spot where the Browns were picking, and that he would be a lock top-four pick.

Broncos Sign Ramsey as Backup QB

Report: Broncos, Ramsey Reach Agreement-see my comment!
By Associated Press

DENVER -- The Denver Broncos agreed to a two-year contract with veteran backup quarterback Patrick Ramsey, according to a published report Thursday.

The Denver Post quoted Ramsey's agent as saying Ramsey, who replaces Jake Plummer as Jay Cutler's backup, agreed to a deal worth between $4 million to $5 million.

"Patrick thinks it's the right place for him," Sexton said.

Sexton did not return messages left by The Associated Press. Team officials declined comment.

The 28-year-old Ramsey, a first-round draft pick by Washington in 2002, was cut by the New York Jets earlier this week. Ramsey started 24 games for the Redskins, but threw only one pass for the Jets last season, his only year in New York.

Ramsey has 34 touchdown passes and 29 interceptions and a career passer rating of 74.9.

So remember last summer when the JETS signed Ramsey and Head coach Eric"the Mangenuis" Mangini insistet that there was an open competition at QB?? They were So eanmored with 2nd round draft pick Kellen Clemens and Ramsey that they let Brooks Bollinger go bye bye. So now Ramsey is gone as well. I'm just wondering why he thinks he's not capable of being a starter in this leauge anymore? Did something happen before he left Washington? or did it happen in NY last year?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin Lets LB Joey Porter Go - To The Miami Dolphins

I think Tomlin should have met face-to-face with Porter, rather than just calling him on the telephone. Now, he's a Dolphin. Still, Porter's not the most effective linebacker he used to be and it may be that getting a ring had impacted his intensity. We'll see. The Miami weather could do the same!

Porter thinks he'd be a Steeler if Cowher had stayed

Thursday, March 08, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Joey Porter believes he might have remained with the Steelers had Bill Cowher not quit as their coach in January.

"I would like to say that he would have made an effort to get something done over there. I just feel that way," said Porter at a news conference yesterday in Miami after he signed a five-year, $32 million contract with the Dolphins.

Last summer, Cowher talked Porter out of a planned training-camp holdout over unhappiness with his contract, which then had two years to go.

The Steelers released Porter, who turns 30 March 22, last Thursday rather than pay him a $1 million roster bonus and another $4 million in salary for 2007. New coach Mike Tomlin told Porter of their decision in a telephone call.

The Steelers feared he would go through with a holdout this year. Porter scoffed at reports that the Steelers believed his play had slipped last season after he made three Pro Bowls in eight years with them and climbed to fourth on their career sack list with 60.

"They have to have something to write so it doesn't bother me at all," Porter said. "I know what I can do. The reality of it, you put me in a situation to do my job, I can do my job well.

"The reality of last year, our whole season last year, the team didn't get it done. We didn't play well enough to be successful. I think as a whole team we never had that many third downs; we never were ahead of a team to get after the quarterback like we normally would.

"As far as my play, my play will be there. I am not worried about it. If they look at it as a down year -- we had a whole down year as a team so we all failed in getting the job done that we wanted to get done, but I feel like I can still play this game at a Pro Bowl level, and that's the type of player I am."

The Dolphins plan to team Porter at one outside linebacker with Jason Taylor on the other side. The Dolphins will give Porter a $12 million signing bonus with a reported $20 million of his contract guaranteed.

"This was a blessing in disguise for me, me having the opportunity to come play here in Miami," Porter said. "I think it is going to be a perfect fit. I am excited about the transition."

Dom Capers, Cowher's first defensive coordinator with the Steelers, holds the same job with the Dolphins and plans to run a 3-4 defense more often next season. He said he saw no falloff in Porter's play in 2006.

"I'm still fairly familiar with a number of the people in the Steelers' organization," Capers said. "There was a period of time, I think, with Joey that he had a hamstring pull. It affected him, I think, in a number of games. When you watched him early in the season and you watched him late in the season, you saw somewhat the same player that you did during the playoff run and their run to the Super Bowl the year before. He impacted those games probably as much as any player that they had. I thought he was outstanding in their playoff stretch run there and in the Super Bowl."

Capers said he was surprised the Steelers released him.

"Anytime that there is a player who's been an impact player and he's done it fairly consistently throughout his career, you're going to take a good look. The minute that I saw he was released, we tried to gather as much information as we could so we could certainly talk about him and, hopefully, make a good decision."

Capers compared Porter's situation on the Steelers to the one when the team did not attempt to re-sign outside linebacker Kevin Greene when he became a free agent after the 1995 season. Capers was by then the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, who signed Greene.

"Different organizations look at things differently," Capers said. "There was a very similar situation where Kevin Greene was released and Jason Gildon stepped in, and Kevin Greene came to Carolina and led the league in sacks the next year. We were able to pick up a football player who was still very productive -- went to the Pro Bowl.

"You would say then, 'Why did that happen?' So you never really know. Certain teams, when they've been running schemes as long as they have up there in Pittsburgh -- 15 years it's been the same scheme. So they've had a long line of the Kevin Greenes, the Jason Gildons, the Joey Porters -- Pro Bowl players at those positions."

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