NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

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Cam Cameron Is Responsible For Biggest Top 100 Snub

Posted: 07 Jul 2011 05:31 PM PDT

There was someone missing from NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players of 2011″.
Someone of which defenders have admitted they really hate to tackle. Someone who came into the league breaking records (best single-game yardage for a rookie wide receiver, most receptions as a rookie, fastest to 500 receptions).

Someone who came back to his team three weeks after breaking his face – and took no pain medication while plates were put in his face.

Someone who rallies his team and also leads with his incredible work ethic. He’s been to three Pro Bowls and won Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Unfortunately, Anquan Boldin was barely utilized by Cam Cameron. He did finish with seven touchdown catches and an eighth in the playoffs at Kansas City.

Hopefully, enough Ravens have spoken out and the Ravens offense won't look so vanilla this year.

The list is actually pretty meaningless for someone like Boldin. He's already had the numbers and he knows every time he crashes through a tackle that he has the respect of the other players. It's time to win a Super Bowl.

Free Agent to Be Fullback Lawrence Vickers Says He’d Love to Stay in Cleveland

Posted: 07 Jul 2011 04:21 PM PDT

By Browns Gab Editor Derek McQuaid

The NFL lockout has certainly stamped it’s mark on the NFL season so far. Everyone in America seems to be affected – owners, coaches, players, the networks – both television and social – are affected. Like the NFL season, the fantasy football season is very much in limbo.

No one is affected more, however, than the players and the coaches. Free agents are very much in limbo as to where they’ll be playing this season, and potential free agents aren’t sure if they’ll remain with their current teams or move on in their careers with different teams.

One of those potential free agents is Browns fullback, Lawrence Vickers. While his status with the team is in serious doubt, Vickers stated that he wants to remain in Cleveland during a recent interview. When asked if he wanted to remain a Brown, he was very clear with his answer.

“Yes, I’ve always wanted to be a Brown. It’s not about money like everyone thinks it is. I started my career in Cleveland, and I’d like to finish my career in Cleveland. Who wouldn’t want to stay in one place?”

He also made it very clear that he wasn’t phased by the team drafting Stanford standout Owen Marecic.

“I didn’t really think anything about it. I felt that with them drafting him (Marecic), it had nothing to do with me. He’s a different individual and player, and of course things are going to be speculated. I’m going to do what I’m going to do – win and play hard.”

Marecic seems to be the cause for all this uncertainty for Vickers, as it’s assumed that he was drafted to replace Vickers, who says he hasn’t talked to the rookie fullback. I also asked Lawrence what he thought about the leadership qualities, 2nd Year QB Colt McCoy, has displayed throughout this offseason..

“Colt wants to be great and he has the attitude, ambition, and drive to do so. He’s one of the most talented QBs out there and has had success at every level of competition in football. He wants to win and be great but he wants to do it the right way. He wants everyone around him to win.”

Vickers also told me that he hasn’t attended any of the “Camp Colt” sessions, and has been working out on his own trying to stay in shape.

One of the lesser known free agent positions is fullback and there seems to be a few “big” names, including Vickers, who could find themselves on a different roster to start the season. Heath Evans (Saints), John Kuhn (Packers) and Le’Ron McClain (Ravens) are some of the more well known names around the league at the position, and Vickers feels that he doesn’t compare to any of those guys…

“I don’t compare. Each of those guys bring something different to the position. Evans isn’t Vickers, and Vickers isn’t Kuhn or McClain. They’re all different. I feel I have all the tools to be successful – you need a touchdown? I got it. Need me to bust up the linebackers to pave way for the tailback, I can do that too. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to be successful and win.”

While Vickers doesn’t know what uniform he’ll be in this coming season, he’s certainly established himself as one of the better fullbacks in the league. Vickers has had the opportunity to open up holes for Jamal Lewis (back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons), Jerome Harrison (286 yards against the Chiefs), and Peyton Hillis (Madden ’12 cover winner). He loves his position, and absolutely loves the players he’s had the opportunity to block for.

“I’ve enjoyed blocking for all of them. (Lewis, Harrison, Hillis). They each have their own style, and I’ve had to adjust my game to theirs. Jamal was a different back than Harrison and Hillis and vice versa. It hasn’t always been about me gaining yards. I think, in the NFL, it’s better to give than to receive. So when Peyton Hillis was named to the cover of Madden ’12, that was my gift as well. All those yards those guys have gained, I truly feel like they’re my yards as well.”

I, personally, don’t want to see the team part ways with Lawrence Vickers. He’s one of the toughest, smartest, and unselfish players in the league – and he wears a Cleveland uniform. Truthfully, the team needs more players like him. If he ends up on a different roster to start the season, he’s probably going to miss gamedays in Cleveland.

“Cleveland is a blue collar town, they love the Browns. Sunday morning, everyone is tailgating. When I pull up to the stadium, it looks like the entire city of Cleveland is in one tailgate area. When you’re on the field warming up, the Dawg Pound is hyped and they really are a part of the game. Almost like a 12th Man feelin’. I love it, absolutely love it.”

And his fondest memory? It’s one in which he shares with many Cleveland fans.

“My fondest memory would have to be the 2009 game against the Chiefs when Jerome Harrison broke the record (rushing for 286 yards to break Jim Brown’s team record). I got to lead the way the whole time. Harrison was a star waiting for his opportunity to start and to shine, and I’m happy I was part of it. Harrison’s success that year, will be my fondest memory playing for Cleveland.”

Lawrence has altered his style of play from the west coast offense player he was in Colorado, to the hard nose, punishing blocker he is now. He’s embraced the city of Cleveland, which is something that us fans want out of all the players on the Cleveland roster.

It’s not about money with Vickers, who just wants to be successful and do anything he can to help his team win. Stats don’t mean a thing to Lawrence, and he gets just as much satisfaction out of those 1000 yard seasons, as the tailbacks do.

No one knows where Vickers will land to start the season, but whoever that team may be – is getting one of the most punishing, unselfish, and toughest guys in the league. Let’s just hope that he doesn’t find his way into Cleveland Stadium as a visitor, that could spell disaster for the Browns.

Colts WR Austin Collie Says He and Fellow WR Gonzlaez are Healthy

Posted: 07 Jul 2011 04:15 PM PDT

Colts wide receiver Austin Collie missed six of last season’s final eight games thanks to multiple concussions, and he didn’t finish a game after week six. When you think about the Colts and concussions, it’s natural to have your mind zero right in on Collie. He was one of the NFL’s poster boys on concussions last year. But he’s sick of all that talk.

Collie said in a Thursday radio interview that all of that stuff is a matter for the past. He’s fine and he’s ready to play in 2011. “I think I have kind of put that behind me,” Collie said.

“I don’t like to dwell on it too much just because it can affect your play going across the middle and catching another ball. I don’t want to watch it. People want to show me and ask how I felt during that time and whatnot. I just kind of brush it aside because it is one of those things that it is in the past and it’s unfortunate. I was unlucky, but I’m just looking forward to this next season and getting on with it.”

Collie also had an injury update on another Colts wide receiver: Anthony Gonzalez. Knee injuries limited him to playing in just three games since the end of the 2008-2009 season. But Collie said Gonzalez is good right now. “He feels great,” Collie said. “Anthony is a wonderful player when he is healthy. He’s explosive, and we’re hoping to have a healthy year from him and get a lot of guys healthy.”

Colts Hall of Fame TE John Mackey Passes Away at 69

Posted: 07 Jul 2011 12:26 PM PDT

Colts Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey has passed away at the age of 69.

A second-round pick out of Syracuse in 1963, Mackey caught 331 passes for 5,236 yards and 38 touchdowns during his 10-year career, which concluded with one season with the San Diego Chargers. Mackey played in five Pro Bowls, was a three-time All-Pro, and is a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1960s.

Mackey was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992, and the award presented to the top tight end in college football bears Mackey’s name. The 2011 Mackey Award Watch List was released on Wednesday.

Mackey suffered from dementia and had been living in a home. Along with other players’ wives and families of players living with dementia, Mackey’s family pressed the NFL and NFLPA to alleviate their financial burden. The league and union responded with the creation of the “88 Plan”, named after Mackey’s jersey number, which provides $88,000 for institutional care or $50,000 for home care to players suffering from dementia-related illnesses.

Mackey’s family informed the NFL Players Association on Thursday, with key executives responding to the Hall of Famer’s passing on Twitter.

“Woke up this morning to learn that we lost John Mackey. One of those things that leaves you at a loss. RIP”, NFLPA Assistant Director of External Affairs George Atallah wrote.

“John Mackey is still a leader. As President of the NFLPA he led the fight for fairness with brilliance and ferocious drive,” wrote NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. “John Mackey has inspired me and will continue to inspire our players and define our institution. He will be missed but never forgotten.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Mackey family.

Broncos Coach John Fox Says QB Spot Still Wide Open

Posted: 07 Jul 2011 12:21 PM PDT

Broncos head coach John Fox has said that there will be an open competition for the team’s starting quarterback job, a position he maintained on Thursday to Woody Paige of The Denver Post.

Fox also listed what he’s looking for in a starter.

“I prefer a gamer to a good practice player,” said Fox. “I want someone who will execute under pressure in a game.”

According to Paige, the team’s depth chart displayed in Fox’s office has Kyle Orton at the top, 2010 first-round pick Tim Tebow in the middle, and Brady Quinn third, but Fox hasn’t had a chance to work with either quarterback in a practice, so that depth chart is not set in stone.

Orton started the first 13 games of the Broncos’ 2010 season, completing 58.8% of his 498 pass attempts for 3,653 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions, resulting in an 87.5 passer rating. Tebow started the final three games, completing 41-of-82 pass attempts for 654 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions for a passer rating of 82.1. Quinn did not play in 2010.

“We’ve got three quarterbacks who have started games in this league,” Fox said of the decision to not bring in a fourth quarterback. “I know that quarterback is the top priority in Denver — and there’s a reason why they are so important because great ones are so hard to find — but I like having the problem of having three.”

When the lockout ends, a team in search of a short-term starting quarterback — Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans — may have an interest in acquiring Orton, who is due $8.879 million salary number ($7.379 million base salary, $1.5 million roster bonus) in 2011. Tim Tebow is due to earn just $405,000 in base salary, but has a $6.2775 million salary advance due between the 2nd and 15th day of the league year and a $472,500 roster bonus for a salary number of $2.4 million. Quinn is set to earn $700,000 in base salary.

With a new salary cap expected to be part of a collective bargaining agreement, Orton’s high salary number may be one the Broncos will look to move off the roster, especially if teams are offering up future draft picks.

Titan Sized Problem – QB Kerry Collins Retires

Posted: 07 Jul 2011 11:40 AM PDT

The Jake Locker era may have taken a huge step forward Thursday as the Titans only real veteran QB on the roster, Kerry Collins announced his retirement from the NFL. Collins ends a rocky 16-year career in which he played with the Titans, the Carolina Panthers (1995-98), New Orleans Saints (1998), New York Giants (1999-2003) and Oakland Raiders (2004-05).

He was the QB during the New York Giants Super Bowl run in 2001, losing to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXX and made two Pro Bowls.

Collins, the Titans’ off-and-on starter since 2006, released a statement in which he said after several months of “introspection,” he decided that “my willingness to commit to the preparation necessary to play another season has waned to a level that I feel is no longer adequate to meet the demands of the position.”

“I want to wish Mike Munchak and the Tennessee Titans the best of luck in the future,” Collins added. “I have had a fantastic five years here, and my family and I look forward to remaining part of the Middle Tennessee community that has been extremely gracious towards us and an honor to play for.”

The retirement leaves the Titans with a huge hole at the QB spot. For now, the team is left with first-round draft pick Locker and second-year pro Rusty Smith at quarterback. The team said earlier this year that it would trade or release Vince Young.

The 39-year-old Collins had his best season with the Titans in 2008, when he took over for an injured Young and started 15 games, going 12-3 as the team won the AFC South. Collins then signed a two-year, $15 million contract that expired after the 2010 season.

Collins threw for 40,441 yards, 11th on the NFL’s all-time list, with 206 touchdowns and 195 interceptions in his career.

Want to Own a Piece of the Metrodome Roof?

Posted: 07 Jul 2011 11:25 AM PDT

When the Metrodome roof collapsed hours before a game was scheduled to be played, entrepreneur Guy Nelson had a unique plan in his mind and he immediately picked up the phones and got to work.

After six months of correspondence, Nelson has finally seen his plan come to fruition, and he has secured a large portion of the Metrodome roof which is now being sold piece by piece.

Nelson boasts that this is not only a profitable venture for him but one that can result in some good.

"I also think the best thing about this is that we are able to be 'green'and prevent acres of this material from going into local landfills where it could be for a over a thousand years and now can be cherished in your office,sports room or man cave," says Guy. "I am also wanting to 'give back'and want a generous portion of the proceeds to benefit Make a Wish program."

The Teflon roof pieces can be purchased starting at a price of $9.99 and include a certificate of authenticity.

I'm not getting any kickbacks for posting about this, in fact I wasn't even asked to do so, but if you are visiting this page during this hellish, news-less lockout then my guess is that you are a Vikings junky.  So, this is a chance for you junkies to own a piece of the building that housed an endless supply of Twins and Vikings memories over the years.

If you happen to be interested, then feel free to click here.

Does Signing Plaxico Burress Make Sense For the Rams?

Posted: 07 Jul 2011 08:18 AM PDT

The lockout is still in full effect, but that does not stop SportsCenter from attempting to predict where the big-name available players will land once the league year gets started again.  And Herm "You play to win the game" Edwards placed Plaxico Burress on the St. Louis Rams.  We went through this before, about 2 years ago when Plaxico was released by the Giants and we were not sure if he was going to get jail time.  Well, he got jail time and two years worth of it.

The connections are tenuous at best.  Steve Spagnuolo is a former Giants coach and Plaxico is a former Giants player. DING.  The Rams need wide receivers. DING.  They force the conversation through these filters without really thinking about it.  Yes, Spags was the defensive coordinator for the Giants, but we have no idea how he felt about Plaxico and his rumored bad behavior in meetings and in practice with the Giants.  Secondly, the Rams drafted 3 new pass catchers in the draft to bring their number of tight ends and wide receivers to seven million.

In 2009, when I wrote about Plaxico, I gave him high grades for physical talent but very low grades for mental and teamwork portion.  Coming out of prison, we are all hoping as a changed man – Plaxico should be a better teammate, more driven and focused.  However, his physical skills will have declined, maybe permanently.

Moral of the story is now if the Rams signed Plaxico Burress, I would not be mad, but I think it would be unwise considering that Burress would prevent one of the Rams talented, raw and young receivers from getting a chance.  It is never simply an addition, someone will be off the team to make room for Burress at the end of camp.  Is the opportunity cost for Plaxico worth it?  I don't think so.

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