NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

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Early Impressions From Vikings Training Camp

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 05:49 AM PDT

Thanks to Twitter and compilations of information (like this one over at 1500 ESPN) even those that reside in the far reaches of the globe (like yours truly) can get up-to-the-minute progress reports from Mankato.

It has been two days since I have updated my impressions (via the impression of others) of how things are going in training camp.  Tomorrow, the 16 some off players that have not yet been able to practice will be able to suit up, so things will likely change.

Here is some information of interest in nifty bullet point format:

  • The quarterback depth chart seems to be falling into place.  Ponder appears to be out-performing Webb.  Webb seems to be out-performing Bomar.  McNabb will be the week one starter.  Webb is still running with the first team, but that seems more like a formality than anything.  No surprises at the quarterback position… for the first time in about 6,546 months (give or take).
  • Running back Adrian Peterson is reported to now be the father of a baby boy.  Can we just draft the kid now, or do we have to wait?  Peterson is expected to be back in Mankato by the weekend.  Some beat writers (here's looking at you Pelissero) seem on the verge of making a big deal out of his absence, but let's all be honest, Peterson hardly ever does anything in the first week of training camp anyways.

Click HERE to read the rest

Kansas City Inks LB Tamba Hali to Five-Year, $60 Mil Extension

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 05:34 AM PDT

The Chiefs have agreed to terms with linebacker Tamba Hali on a five-year, $60 million extension, including $35 million in guarantees.

Last season under new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, Hali led the AFC with 14.5 sacks, plus recording two more sacks in the postseaon, while forcing four fumbles. Hali has emerged as Kansas City’s defensive MVP and one of the most dominant pass rushers in the NFL.

The Chiefs under general manager Scott Pioli have gone about the business of locking up their young stars to long-term deals and Hali is just the latest to cash in. He is expected to be able to practice today for the first time, setting the defense in motion for the season.

Former Ravens WR Derrick Mason to Talk to the Jets

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 05:26 AM PDT

Former Ravens receiver Derrick Mason will visit the Jets Thursday, two people with knowledge of the communication between the sides confirmed. Those people requested anonymity because the team has not commented publicly.

CBS Sports and 105.7 The Fan Baltimore first reported the visit. The Jets’ interest in Mason, a 15-year veteran, could mean receiver Jerricho Cotchery will be traded or released.

Mason, who had 61 catches for 802 yards and seven touchdowns last season, was released by Baltimore last week.

Packers Training Camp News

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 04:19 AM PDT

Legendary senior writer jclombardi highlights training camp news.

1. Punter Matshay improving: The rage is the Australian-style drop punt and placement punting. In the padded practice, Masthay was given three punts from the 50 and two from the opponents’ 40. All five of his kicks either were downed inside the 20, fair-caught inside the 20 or out of bounds inside the 20. Masthay punted six times standing in the end zone with the ball snapped from the 5. His average distance of 53.5 yards was excellent. His average hang time of 4.25 seconds needs to be better or he’ll be outkicking his coverage.

2. Rookie D. J. Williams need blocking work: No surprise, but rookie TE D.J. Williams has a substantial way to go to become a competent blocker. In blocking drills with coach Ben McAdoo, Williams seems far behind…isn’t surprising given he didn’t play in-line all that often at Arkansas and didn’t have an NFL off-season.

3. Finley & Burnett back: Wednesday, tight end Finley and safety Burnett made impressive healthy returns upon their first time in training camp. Finley made his presence felt early. During an 11-on-11 period dedicated mostly to running the ball, Finley got behind backup safeties Brandon Underwood andAnthony Levine and was hit in stride in the corner of the end zone by Matt Flynn.  Burnett was in the starting lineup at strong safety. On one play, he found himself in press man coverage against Finley near the right sideline. Exercising superb positioning, the athletic Burnett managed to break up the end-zone fadeBurnett almost picked off a pass from QB Rodgers to rookie tight end Ryan Taylor. Later, though, he got suckered on a fake and was toasted by rookie tight end D.J. Williams, but Williams took one too many stutter steps and Rodgers wound up overthrowing him. "Morgan made a couple of very nice breaks on the ball," coach Mike McCarthy said after practice. "I think our secondary is really off to a very good start as a group. Jermichael makes a difference. That first touchdown on the corner route, he's a big target."

4. DE Neal still limited: Defensive end Mike Neal took part in individual drills and one-on-one matchups against the offensive linemen for the first time in camp.  He was extremely rusty in his first contact work in almost 10 months. He went 1-2-1 in the pass-rushing drill.

5. Offense up-and-down with moments: In a starters vs. starters two-minute drill, Rodgers drove the offense 60 yards for a touchdown. He hit Nelson for two big gains down the sideline and capped the drive with a short touchdown pass to Donald Driver against Charles Woodson. "I thought the mechanics of it were good for the first time out," McCarthy said. "I liked the way the defense mixed the pressure. We had a little bit of everything and the protection adjustments that you're looking for. Aaron did a very good job of pushing the ball to the boundary. I don't get caught up in who wins and who loses."

6. Rookies House and Cobb are impressive:  Rookie House continued having a good camp.  Rookie Cobb looks like a great wide receiver and return man.

6. Odds and ends: In a three-way rotation, it was Frank Zombo‘s turn to work with the No. 1s at ROLB. Chris Campbell, a second-year free agent from Eastern Illinois, is one of the more improved players in camp. He has trimmed down and playing with more confidence and strength. He went 3-0-1 in the pass-blocking drill. LT Marshall Newhouse continued his dancing bear routine, almost effortlessly tying up LB Erik Walden twice in pass protection. FB Quinn Johnson reported overweight with the Packers want him weighing 262-263.

Tennessee CB Ryan Mouton Out for the Season After Tearing Achilles

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 03:43 AM PDT

Titans cornerback Ryan Mouton suffered an Achilles tear during Tuesday night's practice and will undergo season-ending surgery on Thursday. He was off to a good start and the Titans expected big things from him on special teams this fall.

"Of course, at the beginning, it was hard but there is nothing I can do about it now except try and get myself better and ready for next season," Mouton told Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, a third-round pick in 2009. "It's disappointing, being hurt last year and coming in this year and trying to get some playing time. Then something like this happens. You never know why, but things happen. It's a part of the game."

To fill Mouton's spot, the Titans have agreed to the parameters of a deal with former Vikings defensive back Frank Walker, but he first must pass a physical. He was scheduled to fly to Nashville Wednesday night.

Said Coach Mike Munchak of Mouton's injury: "We thought he'd be a big help this year. It's disappointing."

Ravens Appear to Be the Front Runner for WR Malcom Floyd

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 02:33 AM PDT

From Chargers Gab Columnist Alex Ramirez

The Ravens are the front runners to land Malcom Floyd. With the signing of Laurent Robinson, his return to San Diego is unlikely.

Adding Floyd will bolster the deep game. Joe Flacco has Anquan Boldin to throw to. Floyd will add to the arsenal of elite weapons, just ask Philip Rivers. Floyd is a 6'5" receiver, that can go up and grab passes out of the air. His jumping ability is unbelievable.

The Chargers will miss him a lot, but with Vincent Jackson returning, not as much. If Floyd does indeed go to Baltimore, best of luck to him. He will be playing for another Championship contender.

Seattle Seahawks Interested in Ben Leber

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 12:28 AM PDT

The Seattle Seahawks are one of four teams attempting to sign for Vikings linebacker Ben Leber.

This news shouldn’t come as a surprise, Seattle lost Will Herring to the Saints and cut starting inside linebacker Lofa Tatupu.

At a position that has suffered it’s fair share of injuries the last couple years, Leber brings durability; not missing a game since 2006. He has started 59 of 79 games for the Vikings over the past five seasons.

Solid depth move if this gets done.

You can view all Seahawks comings and goings as they happen on our Free Agency Tracker

You can view up to date Seahawks free agency news and rumors by clicking here


Giants Come to Terms with Free Agent OL Stacy Andrews

Posted: 03 Aug 2011 09:30 PM PDT

The Giants have signed free agent offensive lineman Stacy Andrews. Terms were not disclosed.

A fourth-round pick (123rd overall) out of Mississippi by the Bengals in 2004, Andrews started 32 of 62 games over five seasons before tearing his ACL late in the 2008 season. Despite the injury, the Eagles signed the veteran to a six-year, $42 million contract in 2009, reuniting him with his younger brother, Shawn Andrews.

Andrews started just two of 10 games with the Eagles, and agreed to a dramatically restructured contract last offseason. That was not enough to keep Andrews in Philadelphia, however, as he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks for a late-round draft choice in September.

Andrews started at right guard for 12 of his 13 games with the Seahawks, but was inactive for the final three weeks of the regular season and both of Seattle’s playoff games. Due $5.25 million in base salary and a $500,000 workout bonus, the Seahawks terminated his contract last Thursday, the same day his new team terminated his brother’s contract.

Former Colts Star and Actor Bubba Smith Dies at Age 66

Posted: 03 Aug 2011 08:58 PM PDT

On the field he was a force. Off of it, Bubba Smith was a gentle giant who was soft spoken and cared for his teammates and others. The former NFL star for the Baltimore Colts and actor died Wednesday of what appeared to be natural causes. He was 66.

Los Angeles County coroner’s spokesman Ed Winter said Smith was found dead at his Baldwin Hills home. Winter said he didn’t know the circumstances or cause of death.

The top overall pick in the 1967 draft out of Michigan State, Smith spent five seasons with the Colts and two seasons each with the Raiders and Houston. He won a Super Bowl with the Colts, topping the Cowboys in Super Bowl V, and made two Pro Bowls as a defensive end.

Smith also was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988.

As an actor his most memorable role was playing Moses Hightower, the soft-spoken officer in the “Police Academy” series. He was also a regular in the ground-breaking Miller Lite commercials featuring retired players.

“I’m saddened. I remember my first training camp in 1972 in Golden, Colo. I spent a lot of time with him. He was a great guy. He was a giant, the biggest player on the field,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said.

Smith was part of two of the most famous football games ever played. In 1966, he was at Michigan State when the Spartans and Notre Dame, both undefeated, played to a 10-10 tie. In January 1969, he played for the Colts against the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. Led by Joe Namath, the Jets of the AFL upset the NFL champion Colts 16-7 in Miami.

Rams Come to Terms with Former Buccaneers Running Back Cadillac Williams

Posted: 03 Aug 2011 08:30 PM PDT

The Rams put the finishing touches on their offensive backfield today, getting running back and former number 5 overall selection, running back Cadillac Williams to agree to terms today per Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Williams likely fills the yearly open roster spot as the Rams number 2 running back.  By all accounts he filled in well last season as Tampa Bay's number 2 running back and 3rd down back.  He can pick up the blitz and a great locker room presence.

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