NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

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Texans RB Steve Slaton Would Welcome A Trade Says Source

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 07:21 PM PDT

He likely won’t say so publicly, but Len Pasquarelli of The Sports Xchange reports that sources say one veteran runner who probably would welcome a trade once the lockout ends is Houston fourth-year tailback Steve Slaton.

The former West Virginia star, a third-round choice in the 2008 draft, rushed for a team-best 1,282 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie. But a shoulder injury has plagued him the past two seasons, limiting Slaton to 150 rushes and 530 yards.

Slaton is only 25 years old, doesn’t have a lot of tread rubbed off the tires yet, and is a good receiver, so he could be an attractive No. 2 back for some team seeking to bolster the position. Rumors have linked him to St. Louis, where the Rams could use a reliable back capable of getting 6-8 touches per game, to reduce the workload for Steven Jackson, but the talk has been unsubstantiated.

Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown Knows He May Be Moving On

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 06:12 PM PDT

There’s no doubt that the future of Ronnie Brown as a member of the Miami Dolphins is in doubt, but he is holding out hope that he will still be in South Florida once the 2011 season starts.

Brown was a call-in guest on Sunday on “The Channing Crowder Show” on 560 WQAM, and he chatted about his offseason as well as his future plans.

He’s never known another pro team than the Dolphins, as the 29-year-old was drafted by Miami in the first round back in the 2005 season. There’s been plenty of talk though that the Dolphins will have a different look to the backfield in 2011.

The Dolphins drafted Kansas State tailback Daniel Thomas in the second round of this year’s draft, and general manager Jeff Ireland made recent comments about finding a complement to the rookie this year.

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Packers News Headlines: Rodgers, Peprah, Woodson & NFL Thursday Night

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 04:03 PM PDT

Legendary senior writer jclombardi highlights Packers headlines.

3 Packers make NFL Top 100: After Sunday’s airing of NFL Network’s The Top 100 Players of 2011 ( 10-part series determined by the votes of active players), three of the Super Bowl champion Packers were revealed including QB Aaron Rodgers, Super Bowl XLV’s MVP, who landed at No. 11: *11. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers;  16. Charles Woodson, CB, Packers; and 19. Clay Matthews III, OLB, Packers.  COMMENTARY: NFL Network analyst Marshall Faulk says, "When I look at the list, I base it off last year's stats," Faulk said. "And last year's stats say the best quarterback in the league won the Super Bowl." Faulk's opinion likely covered the postseason as well, since New England Patriots star Tom Brady put up the best statistical season for a quarterback during the regular season, winning a league MVP award for his efforts. That said, Rodgers was no slouch during the regular season, throwing for 28 touchdowns and 3,922 yards in 15 starts. Dallas Cowboys defensive terror DeMarcus Ware (No. 12 on the list) was in-studio, where he explained Rodgers hasn't bypassed other icons of his position just yet. "(Rodgers) is good, but you got Peyton Manning, you got Drew Brees and you have Tom Brady," Ware said. "He could scoot up a little bit more numbers-wise, but he's not above those quarterback.” OLB Matthews, the Pro Bowl linebacker for the Super Bowl champion Packers, was in Williamsburg on Sunday to take part in William and Mary’s Colonial All-Pro football camp. He showed youngsters, including one wearing a Peyton Manning jersey and another a Drew Brees one, how to get low and wrap up on tackles while exchanging exuberant high-fives and even a little trash talk. Matthews said Rodgers has solidified his place in the hearts of Green Bay fans – even those who might still have a soft spot for a certain grizzled QB who preceded him. ”This is Aaron's team,” Matthews said. “The quarterback is the most important position in any sport, and he's definitely going to take us far. Obviously you need other players around him. He'll be the first one to admit that, but without him, we wouldn't be in the position we are today. He's a fantastic athlete and he's a fantastic person.”

Pro Football Focus ranks QB Rodgers number 2: This particular list is a bit different and is something we've not been able to do before. It's the first in a series where we'll take the sum of our grades from the last three years (with some weighting here and there), and get a look at who has accumulated the highest marks since 2008.  We focus on the best total grades for the past three years.  I've used some of my own interpretations of our gradings for quarterbacks, weighing our rushing and run blocking grades for them as three quarters the worth of the passing grade. Everyone surely has their own interpretation, but that's mine. Here are the 10 quarterbacks we've graded best since 2008: 1. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts. It will surprise no one that our top ranked passer over the past three years is the great Peyton Manning. He was top of the rankings in 2008 and 2009, and finished second in 2010. Without him, it's hard to imagine what the Colts would do, especially when you consider the state of his offensive line. He'll give up a few interceptions, but nobody wins more games for their team. Grade:  +190.4. 2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers. Rodgers' 2010 post season catapulted him up these rankings, where, in four games alone he had a passer rating of +23.5. Quite amazing stuff that makes him, but it's not like it hasn't been coming. He finished fourth in our overall QB grades in 2008 and 2009 before running away with the 2010 award (that earned him my vote for top player of 2010). An accurate passer, the GB QB has got better and better when faced with pressure after a slow start in this regard in 2008. Grade:  +184.15.

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CB Woodson & SS Peprah gets great evaluations: Football Outsiders has developed a “Stop Rate,” which is the percentage of plays “that prevent a successful play by the offense, defined as 45% of needed yards on first down, 60% of needed yards on second down, and 100% of needed yards on third or fourth down.” In other words, a “stop” is a successful defensive play, even if it results in a yardage gain by the offense. Schatz offers a number of applicable individual marks under this category. The NFC North highlights:  Bears nickel man D.J. Moore had 11 stops on 28 tackles against pass plays, a Stop Rate of 38 percent that ranked him No. 6 among NFL cornerbacks. Moore finished tied with Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson, whose tackling we often overlook. Woodson had 18 stops on 47 tackles against the pass; Packers safety Charlie Peprah had the best Stop Rate (44 percent) among safeties. Vikings safety Madieu Williams had the ninth-worst (6 percent). Those of us who watched both teams closely last season shouldn’t be surprised.

NFL promoting early 8 game schedule: The NFL is negotiating with TV networks about a new early-season eight-game package that would start as soon as next season, according to several sources. The potential Thursday night package could be worth as much as $700 million per year. Such a windfall, providing a sudden increase in overall league revenue, could help soften the blow to the players from the emerging labor deal in which they are likely to receive a smaller percentage of revenue than they previously have received.  COMMENTARY:  NFL Thursday nights hits prime time like NFL Monday nights.

Jaguars First-Round Pick Gabbert Should Sit and Learn

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 02:52 PM PDT

Ever since draft night the speculation over what is going to happen at the quarterback position has been swirling. Prominent members of the media believe that the Jaguars best option is to let Blaine Gabbert compete for the starting spot.

While the team has backed David Garrard it's still being tossed around to let Gabbert compete instead of sit out his first few years. Arguments can be made for why he should and shouldn't be allowed to compete for the job.

First, you don't know how effective he will be in making the adjustment to the speed of the NFL. There are no guarantees in this league and the Jaguars should be wary of turning Blaine into another Matt Leinert, another Quarterback who slid in his draft and was thrust into a spot of great expectations and never panned out as the Cardinals had hoped.

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Could the Steelers Lose a Couple CB’s to Arizona?

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 11:19 AM PDT

When looking at free agency (whenever it starts), a big sticking point seems to be what connections players have to possible teams. A couple Steelers free agents that could be headed out west could be two key cornerbacks – Ike Taylor and William Gay.

As the folks at point out, there’s a pair of connections to one or both Steeler corners heading to Arizona, a team the Steelers beat in the Super Bowl just three years back.

One connection is that of Ray Horton, who is the new Cardinals defensive coordinator. Makes sense that players that know what will be Horton’s system would want to play under him.

Another connection is that of Deshea Townsend, who has been hired as the new secondary coach of Arizona. As the story goes, having one of both of the Steelers corners would add a solid veteran presence to the Arizona secondary, a position that last season was torched in several games.

The Cards have a lot of money to spend once free agency starts (the Steeler Depot story says $37.38 million). It could mean big money for a couple Steelers, and a lot of trouble if the black and gold lose both players this offseason.

Jaguars Coach Del Rio Wants Rookie Gabbert to Seek Out a QB Mentor

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 11:04 AM PDT

Jaguars general manager Gene Smith did not trade up to take Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the tenth pick in the draft in order to have Gabbert to save the franchise in 2011. He chose him to develop him and play him down the road. Gabbert's role for the foreseeable future, barring anything unexpected, will be as the No. 2 quarterback to David Garrard.

"Fortunately for us, with David returning as a very capable starter, you don't have to rush the development of Blaine," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio told me. "That's a good situation. We're operating from a position of strength as opposed to having to force a guy into duty before he's ready."

In order to push Gabbert's development, Del Rio plans on giving him a significant amount of practice reps, both during camp and during the regular season. He also wants Gabbert to seek mentorship from former successful quarterbacks, and plans on setting up meetings as soon as he is able.

"I'd love to see him spend some time with a Joe Theisman, a Rich Gannon, guys I know well who have done it at the highest level," Del Rio said. "Find out what it takes to be a quarterback in this league, what are some of the things you should and should not be doing. How you manage your time, deal with people pulling at you from different directions, prepare for different teams, digest a playbook. All those things that experience helps with."

Cowboys Still May Ask RB Barber to Take a Pay Cut in 2011

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 10:02 AM PDT

According to Dan Pompei of the National Football Post, Marion Barber isn't much of a fit in Dallas at his current salary. So don't be surprised to see the running back working for another team next year.

The Cowboys drafted a potential replacement in DeMarco Murray, and toyed with the idea of trading up to take Mark Ingram, but they didn't want to give up a 2012 first rounder, however. The Cowboys believe in splitting the carries among two or three backs, and new coach Jason Garrett wants to get good use from Felix Jones.

That means whoever is in the backfield with Jones will be somewhat of a role player and should not be pulling in big bucks, and while the team has not asked Barber to take a pay cut, the possibility is not out of the question.

Redskins QB McNabb Says Professional Athletes Should Stay Off Twitter

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 08:49 AM PDT

Redskins QB Donovan McNabb doesn’t think professional athletes should use Twitter to express their views.

In an interview with Waddle and Silvy on ESPN 1000 in Chicago by way of Sportsradiointerviews, McNabb was asked about athletes using Twitter.

McNabb said, "First of all I'm not a fan of twitter. Nothing against their program or what they have, but as an athlete I think you need to get off twitter. All these social networks of you tweeting about you watching a game when you wanna be playing in it, but you're mad you're not playing in it, so you're gonna criticize someone that's playing in it. I don't believe that that's the right deal.

“That's not professional by any means and you know we are all in a fraternity, so if you see a guy who's struggling this isn't the time to jump on him or kick him while he's down because that same guy will come against you and kinda blast your team out the water, so I think for an athlete to be twittering is the wrong move. It's one of those things to leave to the fans and let them comment on certain things, but athletes need to get off twitter."

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