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NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

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Jaguars RB Jones-Drew Won’t Apologize For Jay Cutler Tweets

Posted: 10 Aug 2011 02:57 AM PDT

People who expect Jags RB Maurice Jones-Drew to apologize for his tweet criticizing Bears QB Jay Cutler’s toughness will be disappointed.

Jones-Drew told NFL Network’s Kara Henderson in an interview that aired Tuesday he doesn’t regret his January post, which caused a backlash and even incited death threats from Chicago Bears fans who backed the team’s quarterback. “I haven’t gotten a chance to, but I wouldn’t apologize because I didn’t do anything wrong, I don’t think,” said Jones-Drew, the Jaguars’ two-time Pro Bowl running back.

“I didn’t commit a crime. I didn’t kill anyone or rape anyone or anything like that. I mean, I stated my opinion, and it seems like you get more backlash for that than committing a real crime in some sense. “I don’t know, I don’t feel I did anything wrong. I just said what everybody else was thinking at the time.”

What Jones-Drew tweeted during the Jan. 23 NFC Championship Game was a direct shot at Cutler, who left with a knee injury in the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers with a Super Bowl berth on the line. “Hey I think the urban meyer rule is effect right now… When the going gets tough……..QUIT,” Jones-Drew posted on his Twitter page. The nature of Cutler’s injury was unknown during the game, but it later was revealed as a sprained medial collateral ligament. Even with that knowledge, Jones-Drew insists that he doesn’t have any regrets.

“I don’t regret anything I do,” said Jones-Drew, who played through a knee injury of his own last season before missing the final two games. “I mean, you think about everything you put out there anyway. I’m not one of these guys who’s going to say, ‘Well, I shouldn’t have done it,’ because I did it. I mean, I knew what I was doing when I tweeted it. I just didn’t know that many people were following me (on Twitter) at the time.”

Chad Ochocino Wants to Live with a Patriots Fan in 2011

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 09:58 PM PDT

Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco wants to stay in the home of one of the team’s fans according to Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald.

"I'm going to do something different," Ochocinco said. "I'm actually going to stay with a fan, probably the first 2-3 weeks of the season, so that should be fun until I get myself acclimated, learn my way around and actually just find a place."

Any takers? Anyone have a spare couch?

Told fans can be crazy, he responded, "I rode a bull. I'm crazy."

He was asked how he'll pick the person.

"I'm not sure how many Boston fans I have, but I'll just pick somebody," he said, "I'm not sure how it's going to work. They have to have Internet, they have to have XBox.”

NFL Preseason Schedule for Week One (August 11th – August 15th)

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 09:40 PM PDT

Thursday, August 11-Time Eastern

Seattle at San Diego (ESPN )-8:00p
Jacksonville at New England-7:30p
Baltimore at Philadelphia-7:30p
Denver at Dallas-8:30p
Arizona at Oakland-10:00p

Friday, August 12

Tampa Bay at Kansas City (FOX )-8:00p
Miami at Atlanta -7:30p
Cincinnati at Detroit-7:30p
Pittsburgh at Washington-7:30p
San Francisco at New Orleans-8:00p

Saturday, August 13

Green Bay at Cleveland-7:30p
NY Giants at Carolina-8:00p
Buffalo at Chicago-8:00p
Indianapolis at St. Louis-8:00p
Minnesota at Tennessee-8:00p

Monday, August 15

NY Jets at Houston (ESPN)-8:00p

WR Percy Harvin Stepping Up as a Leader for the Vikings WR Core

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 09:16 PM PDT

Undrafted rookie receiver Andre Holmes was matched up against a smaller cornerback in a training camp practice, went for a jump ball, and the ball ended up hitting the grass incomplete.

"Hey 1-5!" barked Percy Harvin as Holmes jogged to the sideline.  "1-5!"

Harvin, age 23, pulled Holmes aside and had a short, private conversation with the young receiver.

"A lot of those guys want a jump ball instead of running underneath it so that's just one of the little things I know I did a lot," Harvin said after that practice. "You always want to jump because you feel like you can get it. So just the little things that I struggled with to help those guys and make it smoother. I want these guys to be around. I want them on this team bad."

This is the type of thing a coach hopes to see of a veteran player after their fifth or sixth year in the league… not their second.

Click HERE to read the rest

Former Dolphins LB Channing Crowder Says He’s Retiring

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 04:26 PM PDT

Last week the Pats tried out former Dolphins LB Channing Crowder, and now that a few days have passed, the LB says that he’s retiring.

The 27-year-old was let go two weeks ago by the Dolphins. He told WQAM radio in Miami that he was walking away from the game after six seasons.

Crowder was a starter for Miami since his rookie season but drew criticism for failing to make more big plays. The day after he was released, the Dolphins signed veteran Kevin Burnett as his replacement at inside linebacker.

Last season, Crowder made 33 tackles in 11 games. He missed five games with injuries. Crowder played for the Florida Gators before being drafted by the Dolphins in the third round in 2005.

Ben Leber Adds To St. Louis Defensive Overhaul

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 03:02 PM PDT

Ben Leber signed with St. Louis today, re-joining his old linebackers coach Paul Ferraro and former Minnesota defensive line coach Brendan Daly (from 2006-2008). Leber’s do-it-all lunch pail-mentality is the same as that of many others on the squad. It’s a one-year, $1.25 million deal (Clayton, ESPN).

This Ram defense looks completely different from the last season of the Scott Linehan era:
2008                                                    2011 (not official)
FS  O.J. Atogwe                                Quentin Mikell
SS Corey Chavous                           Craig Dahl
LCB Ronald Bartell                          Ronald Bartell
RCB Fakhir Brown                           Bradley Fletcher
LB Quinton Culberson                   Ben Leber
MLB Will Weatherspoon              James Laurinaitis
LB Pisa Tinoisamoa                        Chris Chamberlein
LDE Victor Adeyanju                    Chris Long
LDT Clifton Ryan                             Fred Robbins
RDT La’Roi Glover                          Gary Gibson
RDE Chris Long                                James Hall
*Chris Draft made nine starts in 2008 at LLB and MLB

The Browns, Cowboys and Redskins Will Attend Terrelle Pryor’s Workout Friday; I Predict 8 Others

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 01:02 PM PDT

The Browns may have some interest in taking QB Terrelle Pryor in the August 17th Supplemental Draft he is expected to be available for. Pryor will be holding a workout Friday and the Plains-Dealer has announced they are definitely going to be in attendance. ESPN Dallas says that the Cowboys will be present for it as well. The Redskins plan on being there, too, according to John Keim from the Washington Examiner.

Some of these teams may not show up but could be competing in gamesmanship, pretending to be interested by floating that out there, attempting to cause someone to draft him earlier.

What other teams may be showing up for the workout?

1. Dolphins. They’ve been rumored to have been viewing tape on him and many think they need some quarterback help. Of course, they famously took another successful scrambling college QB in Pat White in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft and he is out of the NFL, awaiting his first professional snaps at quarterback (he ran 21 times for 81 yards in 2009).

2. Bucs. They’ve also been rumored to have been viewing tape on him. Raheem Morris has taken on plenty of players with known attitude problems.

3. Giants. They could let him simulate Vick in practice. The Giants might roll with Carr as the primary back-up while developing Pryor to eventually take over for Manning. That said, it makes more sense for Coughlin to put him in at Wildcat to help try to get him a playoff win and save himself from being fired.

4. Bills. For two straight years, NFL experts kept thinking the Bills should draft a quarterback and they haven’t done it. Chan Gailey likes mobile quarterbacks.

5. Ravens. Anquan Boldin re-tweeted an article suggesting he would make a good mentor in helping Terrelle Pryor switch from quarterback to wide receiver like he did at Florida State. Baltimore is thin at quarterback.

6. Jaguars. The Jaguars need to sell tickets. Adding an explosive playmaker like Terrelle Pryor for Wildcat and gadget plays might do that.

7. Jets. Another rehab spot for players deemed too soft or troubled. They haven’t found someone to replace Brad Smith.

8. Raiders. If he or she has a rocket arm and fast legs, it doesn’t matter where he or she is from or even if he or she has played football before. Al Davis is interested.

Tim Tebow Slipping on the QB Depth Chart in Denver?

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 12:29 PM PDT

First John Fox put Kyle Orton right back in as the teams starting QB when he didn’t get traded to the Dolphins. Now is Brady Quinn moving up the charts ahead of the Broncos golden-boy – Tim Tebow?

There’s been a lot of talk about how poorly Tebow has been looking during camp, and how the pressure of a QB competition may have gotten to him. Now, as you read below from Pro Football Talk, Quinn is taking charge of the #2 QB spot.

After a lackluster performance in the team's scrimmage over the weekend, Tebow mostly watched Quinn get the majority of reps with the No. 2 offense on Monday, according to Josina Anderson of FOX31 and the Denver Post.

Tebow is No. 2 on the depth chart, but the Broncos brass may want to see how Quinn looks against better competition. He had a strong scrimmage against the No. 3 defense on Saturday.

Quinn was acquired in a trade with the Browns before last season, and he really hasn’t gotten much of a shot. All along, he’s said he has felt like he’s in the mix to be one of the top QB’s on the team. If he moves ahead of Tebow for the #2 spot, things will become even more interesting this summer at Broncos camp.

2011 Free Agency: Grading The NFC South

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 12:05 PM PDT

Saints: Franklin, Rogers

New Orleans Saints

Unsigned players: RB Ladell Betts (UFA), DE Jeff Charleston (UFA), FB Heath Evans (UFA), S Matt Giordano (UFA), RB Julius Jones (UFA), MLB Kawika Mitchell (UFA), ILB Marvin Mitchell (UFA), S Darren Sharper (UFA), OLB Anthony Waters (UFA), RB DeShawn Wynn (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Bears C Olin Kreutz, Aug. 5; Ex-Cardinals RFA CB Trumaine McBride, Aug. 4; Ex-Cowboys OT Alex Barron, Aug. 3; Ex-Chargers S Paul Oliver, Aug. 2; Ex-49ers UFA DT Aubrayo Franklin, Aug. 2; Ex-Lions UFA DE Turk McBride, Aug. 1; Ex-Ravens UFA CB Fabian Washington, July 31 (one year); Ex-Packers UFA FB Korey Hall, July 29; Ex-Seahawks UFA LB Will Herring, July 29 (three years); Ex-Chargers UFA RB Darren Sproles (four years, $14 million, $6 million guaranteed), July 29; Ex-Rams LB Curtis Johnson, July 29; Ex-Browns DT Shaun Rogers, March 2 (one year).

Key departures: Released RB Lynell Hamilton, Aug. 4; UFA C Jonathan Goodwin, Aug. 3 (to 49ers); UFA DE Anthony Hargrove, Aug. 3 (to Eagles); UFA DE Jimmy Wilkerson, Aug. 2 (to Seahawks); Released LS Jason Kyle, July 29; Waived LB Stanley Arnoux, July 29; Traded RB Reggie Bush, July 29 (to Dolphins); UFA S Usama Young, July 29 (to Browns); UFA DT Remi Ayodele, July 29 (to Vikings).

Key re-signings: UFA TE David Thomas, Aug. 2; UFA TE Tory Humphrey, Aug. 2; UFA OT Zach Strief, Aug. 1; UFA WR Courtney Roby, July 31 (one year); RFA OG Carl Nicks, Aug. 1 (one year); UFA S Roman Harper, July 29 (four years, $28.5 million, $16 million guaranteed); UFA S Chris Reis, July 29; UFA OLB Danny Clark, July 29; UFA S Pierson Prioleau, July 29; UFA OLB Jo-Lonn Dunbar, July 29; UFA OT Jermon Bushrod, July 29 (two years); UFA WR Lance Moore, July 29 (five years); UFA CB Leigh Torrence, July 29; UFA OLB Scott Shanle, July 29.

Grade: A+

Comment: Two of the best run-stopping defensive tackles, a fiery starting center, a pair of quality defensive backs to add secondary depth, a competent replacement for Reggie Bush, and a former first-round right tackle receiving a third chance to prove his worth.  Overall, the Saints vastly upgraded their biggest weakness (run defense) with the powerful 1-2 punch of Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rogers, while improving the offensive line with a former Pro-Bowler in ex-Bear Olin Kreutz.  Darren Sproles will fit in perfectly, and will reach his full potential on the fast surface of the Superdome turf.  Fabian Washington gives the club another viable option at corner.  Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to retain the top guard (Carl Nicks) in the Big Easy.

Carolina Panthers

Unsigned players: S Gerald Alexander (UFA), WR David Clowney (RFA), MLB Abdul Hodge (UFA), S Marcus Hudson (UFA), LS J.J. Jansen (RFA), PK Rhys Lloyd (UFA), OG Chris Morris (UFA), OT Rob Petitti (UFA), OLB Jordan Senn (RFA), QB Brian St. Pierre (UFA), OLB Jamar Williams (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Jaguars UFA S Sean Considine, July 30; Ex-Chiefs UFA DT Ron Edwards, July 29 (three years, $8.25 million); Ex-Eagles LB Omar Gaither, July 29; Ex-Seahawks UFA PK Olindo Mare, July 29 (four years, up to $12 million); Ex-Jets UFA TE Ben Hartsock, July 29 (two years); Ex-Rams S Kevin Payne, July 29. Traded for ex-Bears TE Greg Olsen, July 28 (four years, $24 million, $10 million guaranteed); ex-Broncos CB Chevis Jackson, August 6.

Key departures: UFA DT Derek Landri (to Eagles); UFA TE Dante Rosario, July 31 (to Broncos); UFA CB Richard Marshall, July 30 (to Cardinals); UFA QB Matt Moore, July 29 (to Dolphins); UFA TE Jeff King, July 29 (to Cardinals).

Key re-signings: UFA CB C.J. Wilson, July 31; UFA RB DeAngelo Williams, July 29 (five years, up to $32 million, $21 million guaranteed); UFA DE Charles Johnson, July 29 (six years, up to $76 million, $32 million guaranteed); UFA OLB James Anderson, July 29 (five years); UFA OLB Thomas Davis, July 29 (five years); MLB Jon Beason, July 28 (new contract: five years, $50 million, $25 million guaranteed).

Grade: A

Comment: Electrifying Steve Smith was kept.  Sensational DeAngelo Williams is back.  The defense retained its two most important players; Jon Beason and Charles Johnson.  Actually, the whole linebacking core is in Carolina for another run; much to the pleasure of new head coach (former Bears linebacker) Ron Rivera.  The trade for tight end Greg Olsen gives rookie Cam Newton a second consistent target over the middle of the field.  Unfortunately, defensive tackle Ron Edwards suffered a torn triceps muscle.  Overall, the Panthers were on the clear-cut winners this free agency.

Atlanta Falcons

Unsigned players: WR Brian Finneran (UFA), DT Thomas Johnson (UFA), CB Brian Williams (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Vikings UFA DE Ray Edwards, July 29 (five years, $30 million, $11 million guaranteed).

Key departures: UFA RB Jerious Norwood, Aug. 2 (to Rams); Released DE Jamaal Anderson, July 29 (to Colts); Released WR Michael Jenkins, July 29 (to Vikings); UFA OG Harvey Dahl, July 29 (to Rams); UFA P Michael Koenen, July 29 (to Buccaneers).

Key re-signings: UFA RB Jason Snelling, Aug. 7 (one year); RFA CB Brent Grimes, Aug. 4 (one year); UFA OG Justin Blalock, July 31 (six years); UFA OLB Mike Peterson, July 29; UFA LB Stephen Nicholas, July 29 (five years, up to $17.5 million); UFA OT Tyson Clabo, July 29 (five years, $25 million, $11.5 million, maximum value of deal $27 million); UFA PK Matt Bryant (four years); RFA WR Eric Weems (one year).

Grade: B+

Comment: The recent re-signing of Jason Snelling was an underrated move by the Falcons.  He is an excellent all-around back who helps Michael Turner carry the workload at running back.  Terrific check down option (44 catches in ’10) for Matt Ryan.  Brent Grimes was another good under-the-radar keeping for the Dirty Birds.  He makes his fair share of plays (five interceptions in ’10) in the defensive backfield.  The combos of Nicholas and Peterson and Blalock and Clabo; were important to retain – especially the latter.  Despite keeping the two gritty linemen, the team lost tough guy Harvey Dahl to St. Louis.  He was a key part of an above-average five-man group in front of Matt Ryan.  In the end, the club did itself well by going out and getting Ray Edwards, an edge-rusher who fits in nicely with a fast and aggressive defense.  I liked the way the Falcons went about attacking free agency: keep key pieces, don’t lose anyone too significant (except Dahl), while going for one homerun in Edwards.  Overall, the approach was executed quite well.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Unsigned players: RB Kareem Huggins (UFA), MLB Niko Koutouvides (UFA), DE Stylez G. White (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Falcons UFA P Michael Koenen, July 29.

Key departures: UFA RB Cadillac Williams, Aug. 3 (to Rams); UFA TE John Gilmore, Aug. 2 (to Steelers); WR Maurice Stovall, Aug. 2 (to Lions); MLB Barrett Ruud, July 30 (to Titans).

Key re-signings: UFA DE Tim Crowder, Aug. 5 (two years); UFA OLB Adam Hayward, Aug. 1 (three years); RFA DT Frank Okam, July 30; RFA PK Connor Barth, July 29; RFA OT James Lee, July 29; RFA S Corey Lynch, July 29; RFA CB Elbert Mack, July 29; RFA WR Micheal Spurlock, July 29; UFA OLB Quincy Black, July 29 (five years); UFA OG Davin Joseph, July 29 (seven years, $53 million with $19 million guaranteed); UFA OT Jeremy Trueblood, July 29 (two years).

Grade: C

Comment: Sound of crickets.  One of the NFL’s best interior linemen, a rising linebacker, serviceable defensive end and budding receiver/returner were re-signed in Tampa.  The Cadillac has a new parking spot, and so does last season’s starting middle linebacker.  Overall, it was a very quiet free agency headlined by a punter stolen from division rival Atlanta.  Hopefully, one of the re-signed offensive tackles (James Lee and Jeremy Trueblood), locks down the right side of the line for Josh Freeman.

Chargers Plan To Use A Two-Back System with Tolbert and Mathews This Year

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 11:35 AM PDT

According to, head coach Norv Turner plans to use a two-back system this year. “That's the mindset now. … I think if you have guys that are diverse, you can use two,” said Turner, referring to speedy early-down back Ryan Mathews and versatile power runner Mike Tolbert. “The emergence of Tolbert gives us a chance to have a one-two punch.

Tolbert gives us a nice changeup. Obviously he's a physical, hard-to-tackle, punishing runner and Ryan has great speed.” Tolbert may end up getting as many carries as Mathews even though he is listed second on the depth chart. Mathews is expected to miss the Chargers preseason opener with a “slight” muscle strain in his upper leg.

The use of the two back system for the Chargers in 2011 may make them a better team, but it’s going to drive fantasy football players batty if it’s indeed a system that lasts the whole season.

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