NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

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Packers Training Camp News

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 04:45 AM PDT

Legendary senior writer Jclombardi highlights training camp news.

Training Camp. Credit: Evan Siegle GBPG.

1. Bush shines: His career has seen many ups and downs. He played a vital special teams role as a core player on those units but also a fair amount of fan criticism for his mistakes and big plays allowed on defense. Now, he’s taking his game as a cornerback to a new level  having a good camp performance.

2. Neal back—the Packers cannot replace departed free agent defensive end Cullen Jenkins with a single starter. Yet, one big player to help replace Jenkins returned to practice.  DE Neal returned to the full team 11-on-11 drills looking rusty.

3. Offensive line rustyfirst, were the one-on-one drills. After a couple of decent performances, LT Chad Clifton got beat by LB Brad Jones. Then the flood gates opened. Mike Nealtrashed Caleb SchlauderaffJamari Lattimore breezed by Marshall NewhouseJarius Wynn zipped by Sampson GenusFrank Zombo beat Ray Dominguez around the corner; C.J. Wilson ripped bySchlauderaff; and B.J. Raji took first-round pick Derek Sherrod‘s lunch money. Later, in the blitz drill, everything got mucked up on the line and the last five to seven snaps were a disaster. There were mental errors that would have gotten Rodgers beaten up. McCarthy said the line regrouped and had a better night than it looked, but it’s obvious the defense is ahead at this point in camp.

3. Defense shinesthe defense got the best of the offense all night long. Both the No. 1 and No. 2 defenses also won in the 2-minute drills, stifling their offensive counterparts both times

4. Odds and ends–LB Erik Walden packs a punch when he’s over the tackle at the line of scrimmage. He has given Newhouse and Sherrod all they can handle in run drills. S Morgan Burnett has his ups and downs. On one play, safeties coach Darren Perry had to yell to him where he should be lined up. Then on the final play of 2-minute he did a good job of covering up the middle of the field and denying Rodgers a completion.

5. Practice schedule: Friday, the Packers practice in full pads at 7 p.m. 

How Will Steve Jackson Be Used in Josh McDaniels’ Offense in St.Louis?

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 08:15 PM PDT

According to Mike Sando of, projecting Steven Jackson’s role in the revamped Rams offense just got a little trickier now that the team has signed Cadillac Williams and Jerious Norwood.

Clearly Jackson is still No.1 but he now has much better backups than he has had the past two seasons. Cadillac started nine games for the Bucs last year, although he gradually lost the No.1 job to LeGarrette Blount. Norwood has value as a third down back, a kick returner, and even as a slot receiver at times.

Jackson states he believes new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels can help him regain a bigger role in the passing game. Jackson caught 90 balls in his epic 2006 season but hasn’t topped 51 reception since. Jackson has averaged better than 1,300 yards rushing and 48 receptions over the past two seasons.

Since 2001, when McDaniels began his NFL coaching career with New England, his teams have produced 1,000-yard rushers only twice. Corey Dillon (1,635 yards) and Antowain Smith (1,157) both reached that mark with New England. Also during that time, Kevin Faulk owns the highest single-season receptions total for a running back with 58. He had 507 yards rushing that season. Faulk is the only running back with more than 37 receptions in a season for teams featuring McDaniels as a coach.

Of course, McDaniels has never had the luxury of working with a back as good as Jackson.

Arizona Still a Few Steps Short of Contending

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 05:28 PM PDT

By Cardinals Columnist Cameron Moon

There is no question that in the 2011 offseason, the Arizona Cardinals have done their part bringing players in that are going to upgrade the team. It is obvious the Cards have higher expectations of themselves than finishing in last place in their division. The moves they've made in acquiring true talent indicate that they are ready to make another run at the Super Bowl, and win it this time.

Before they get that far, there are still a few things that need to get done. Priority number one for the Cardinals should be locking up All Universe wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. He has expressed his willingness to stay with the team long term as long as there is someone to throw to him and he can play in a good offense.

They've added a lot of offensive weapons to make the transition for new quarterback Kevin Kolb as simple as possible, and now, the main focus should be making sure Larry Fitzgerald is happy so he can continue to produce. He is far and away the team's highest producing and most reliable target, considering that in a down year for him, he tallied 90 receptions, 1,137 yards and 6 touchdowns. General Manager Rod Graves has been quoted saying that he would like Fitzgerald to be a part of the team's long term future: "If Larry is sincere about his willingness to remain here, then I believe we'll get a deal worked out before the start of the season," Graves said.

Click HERE to read the rest

Eagles DT Mike Patterson Has Brain Condition That Could Lead to Surgery or Radiation

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 04:54 PM PDT

Eagles defensive tackle Mike Patterson suffers from arteriovenous malformation, ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio reports.

Arteriovenous malformation, or AVM, is defined as “an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins in the brain”. Usually forming during birth, AVM symptoms may occur at any age.

Paolantonio adds that Patterson may undergo surgery or radiation treatment to address the issue. Surgery would involve removing a piece of Patterson’s skull, which would likely impact his ability to continue his football career, while radiation treatment would take place over a period of a few years. That course of treatment could allow the former first-round pick to continue playing football.

Patterson’s agent, J.R. Rickert, issued the following statement:

“Mike Patterson is alert, in no pain and doing well. He lost consciousness on the field for a brief period and the Eagles' medical staff responded accordingly. We are very grateful for everyone's prayers and support.

“Mike will be back at practice as soon as the doctors clear him.”

Seahawks: Will Pete Carroll and Taylor Mays Have an Awkward Reunion?

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 04:20 PM PDT

If you’re reading this you probably already know about the fact former USC safety Taylor Mays threw a media tantrum blasting his former head coach Pete Carroll about not being selected with the 14th overall selected when he didn’t even get draft until 49th overall.

It’s hard to say if this anger is justified, considering every other team in the NFL didn’t use a first round draft choice and the draft continued over three-fold beyond pick 14 before he even got selected.

News has broken the Seattle product is on the trading block. I would argue with the 49ers signing of Donte Whitner he is more on the chopping block than the trading block.

This is the type of scenario where Pete Carroll does not mind throwing a late round selection around. Even if the team is about to cut him he may just throw them a 7th rounder (Stacy Andrews, Tyler Polumbus), to make sure he lands the guy he needs.

If Carroll was considering drafting him at all in the first two rounds last year it would be wise to throw a late round draft selection the 49ers way.  I mean, the 2009 draft is one draft class old. The Seahawks need a starting strong safety and could certainly use an upgrade to a secondary that finished 31st in pass defense and for the most part is still intact.

I thought they would pursue safety Michael Huff, but hey, Tom Cable can’t steal away three of the Raiders best players. Virtually any starter with potential is off the market at safety now. This would be a low cost, high reward move with an eye on the future; the first part isn’t this off seasons theme, but just two years removed from being one of the NFL’s oldest teams Seattle is now one of the youngest, (25.16).

Nothing is imminent, but if Mays and Carroll can put their little flare up in the past the two can have their reunion, just not under the perfect circumstances of being selected 35 choices higher than anyone else was willing to take you.

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

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


Titans Sign Free Agent Safety Jordan Babineaux

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 02:59 PM PDT

The Titans have agreed to terms with free agent safety Jordan Babineaux.

Babineaux’s agent, J.R. Rickert, confirmed the transaction, adding that Babineaux accepted less money from other suitors to reunite with defensive coordinator Jerry Gray, who was Babineaux’s defensive backs coach with the Seattle Seahawks in 2010.

Originally signed by the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Arkansas in 2004, Babineaux totaled 411 tackles, four quarterback sacks and 10 interceptions during his sevens seasons in Seattle. Babineaux spent the first five years of his career as a reserve cornerback and safety before earning the starting strong safety job in 2009.

In 16 starts in 2009, Babineaux had a career-high 104 tackles and 1.5 quarterback sacks before being released and re-signed at lower salary to play a reserve role in 2010.

Source: Donte Whitner Has Change Of Heart; Signs With 49ers – Not Bengals

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 02:54 PM PDT

49ers Secondary Acquires A Boost

Earlier reported on NFL Gridiron Gab, ex-Bills safety Donte Whitner signed a two-year deal with the Bengals.

Now, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Whitner has altered his mind and will head to the Bay Area – instead of the “Queen City.”

The 49ers will give him $11.75 million, $4 million guaranteed, over the course of four years.

This comes after the Scarlet and Gold sent a mass email to other clubs stating their intention to trade second-year safety Taylor Mays.

Title Town Coming to Philadelphia in 2011?

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 02:19 PM PDT

By Eagles Gab Columnist Chet Cashley

I don't have a great understanding of quantum physics, but I think I might have found a worm-hole in my room.

As I was cleaning out my closet the other day, I found a stack of old Sports Illustrated magazines that had been collecting dust for years. I flipped through them casually, not caring to read, but just taking a quick glance at each cover. The same old faces were on the covers, LeBron James in his headband, Jeter looking into the camera saying to himself, "I'm better than you," Michael Vick wearing a 'Super-Bowl Champions' t-shirt over his shoulder pads with confetti flying in the background, Tom Brady wearing a 'Super-Bowl Champio…

What? Michael Vick? Confetti? Super Bowl Champion?

The wormhole opened up. The floor I was standing on still smells like urine… (What would you have done?)

The cover read, "Vicktory," with the subtitle, "Welcome to Title Town." The date was February, 2012. This is the article:

Vicktory: Welcome to Title Town

Still hungover from the thrilling Phillies' World Series Championship in November, the City of Brotherly Love once again entered the state of celebratory bliss that takes over a city after its team wins a major professional sports championship.

Philadelphians acted as only Philadelphians could, flipping news vans, throwing cheesesteaks at police cars, hanging from traffic lights, and to put it simply: acting Philadelphian.

The man of the hour was Michael Vick. The crowds on Broad Street have apparently caught the 2012 election fever, breaking into "Vote for Vick" chants frequently throughout the night. Hundreds of fans carried faux "Hope" signs from the 2008 Presidential election, with the Super Bowl MVP's face replacing President Obama's, and the word, "Hope," replaced with "Vick."

And after his performance on Sunday night, who could blame them? I'll vote for him, too, if his name ends up on the ballot.

DeSean Jackson would most certainly have to be his running mate. The pair connected for three touchdowns and over 160 yards in an all-out aerial assault on a Patriots' defense that could be better described as defenseless. In addition, Jackson's phenomenal punt returns put the Eagles' offense in scoring position twice, both times starting drives from within the Pat's 40-yard line.

The Eagles' secondary, reminiscent of the days of Brian Dawkins, Bobby Taylor, and Troy Vincent, only better, completely paralyzed the Patriot offense. Tom Brady left the game early, suffering a concussion after Nnamdi Asomugha's controversial sack on a cornerback blitz, half-way through the first quarter. Asomugha was initially penalized, but after a quick discussion between officials, the hit was determined legal, and the flag was picked up.

Michael Vick's performance was nothing short of historic. The fully-matured Vick capped off a perfect 16-0 season with a 437 yard, 5 touchdown passing performance, while sprinkling an extra 75 yards on the ground just to add some flavor.

Philadelphia's Super Bowl victory was twice as sweet, coming just months after the Phillies paraded down Broad Street wearing their World Series Championship rings, holding a trophy of their own.

The past year has been a great one for the fans of Philadelphia sports. After years of catching just the faintest scent of victory, the city finally got a taste of what it's like to be the championship capital of the world.

It’s Official – the Dolphins are on “Favre Watch”

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 02:05 PM PDT

With the Dolphins still trying to find their answer at quarterback, they could possibly turn to Brett Favre as an option if he decides to come back for another go-round.

So far in camp Chad Henne has drawn boos, and admitted today that they do get to him somewhat, and Matt Moore has yet to practice. So that leaves the team still in limbo on who will be their future starter. Even though head coach Tony Sparano stated in his press conference today that Henne was the starter "right now", he also said that he "couldn't rule anything out", when asked about th possibility of bringing in Favre.

“I can’t rule anything out. OK? So, I mean, we don’t rule anything out,” Sparano said. “I don’t know how you want me to answer that. That’ll be all over the news now too, but I’m giving you the only answer I can give you.”

After more than a decade of bringing in stopgaps to run this team, the Dolphins need to finally settle their Qb chase. If Henne can't perform up to snuff this year, and Matt Moore doesn't push him in camp, the Dolphins will not only be looking for a new franchise Qb, but a new regime as well. This season is riding on our quarterback play.

Alex Smith Finally Taking Snaps with the Niners Today

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 02:01 PM PDT

During the 4 1/2 month lockout, Alex Smith, not contractually obligated to the Niners, took it upon himself to organize off-season training sessions with his teammates. Such actions drew lots of praise from players on the roster. Upon termination of the lockout, Smith was signed to a one-year contract.

Today is the first day that Alex Smith will be officially taking snaps with the Niners in the Jim Harbaugh era. Up until today, Colin Kaepernick was taking snaps with the first-team. Under this regime, will Alex Smith continue to perplex fans with his inability to adequately run the offense, or, will it be the start of his transformation as a player that can lead us to the playoffs?

Alex has yet to practice with the team since the start of training camp, but he has had Harbaugh's playbook for quite some time now. That should definitely facilitate Harbaugh's job and lessen the learning period since today isn't going to be the first time Smith will be seeing Harbaugh's schemes.

Do I expect much out of Alex Smith this preseason, or even during the season? No. I just can no longer buy into the guy. However, I do expect him to improve this season. It is beyond me as to how he has gotten so many chances in San Fran, but sadly, at this point he is our best option. Even though Smith has had to endure changes in the offense every year he has been with the Niners, this year there should be no honeymoon period for him. He needs to understand that this is truly his last chance to turn things around in SF.

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