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Gridiron Preseason Preview: Vikings at Titans

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 01:19 AM PDT

With a 90 man roster at this point of the preseason, there will be plenty of performances to note following Saturday's preseason game in Tennessee.

Starting in the morning, I am going to be taking a few days off to attend the wedding of some close friends, so I didn't want to miss the chance to give you all a heads up in regards to what I will specifically be looking for when I watch the DVR'd game on Sunday night.

Here are my top five things to keep an eye on during Saturday's game:

1.       The New Starters

It sounds like the Vikings only plan on playing their starters for a very limited amount of time on Saturday.  One quarter, tops.  Still, I can't help but be interested in watching the new members of this roster that could be starting against the Titans.  Quarterback Donovan MCNabb, left tackle Charlie Johnson, defensive tackle Remi Ayodele, defensive end Brian Robison, weakside linebacker Erin Henderson, wide receiver Michael Jenkins, fullback Ryan D'Imperio, and whomever ends up starting at safety next to Husain Abdullah.  How these guys end up performing for the Vikings will greatly determine their success in the future, so it is only natural to be anxious to see them in action.

2.       The Top Rookies

Quarterback Christian Ponder and tight end Kyle Rudolph have had their rough stretches in training camp so far, but both have also shown some flashes.  The first step to being a successful first teamer is to be a successful third teamer.  These guys should see some decent time on Saturday and, as the top two picks of 2011, it will be fun to get our first glimpse of the two newbies.

3.       Injury Concerns

Despite what the Packers managed to accomplish in 2011, one of the most important factors in being a successful football team is staying healthy.  The Vikings have had some minor health issues in training camp but there have been no devastating injuries yet.  Saturday presents the best chance so far for a serious injury to take place, and every preseason game I can be found nervously biting my fingernails hoping and praying nobody goes down hard.  This game, for me, will be no different.

4.       Jaymar Johnson

It seems like every year the Vikings have a receiver featured in training camp that exceeds expectations, gets the hopes up of the fans, and seemingly becomes a favorite target for the backup quarterbacks.  Last year that guy was Logan Payne who didn't survive final cuts, but this year it is Jaymar Johnson who seems likely to continue being a Viking for at least one more season.  Johnson has the speed and skill set to succeed in the Vikings offense and contribute on special teams.  One year after being place on I.R., it is long overdue that Johnson gets a chance to prove himself once and for all.

5.       D'Aundre Reed

At 6' 4" and 261 pounds, the athletic pass rusher out of Arizona never saw much playing time in college, but caught the eye of the Vikings staff.  They opted to take a late round flier on the pass rusher and so far it is looking like the decision might be paying off.  Reed is playing very well in Mankato, constantly getting pressure and regularly coming up with the sack, I'm really looking forward to seeing how he does in a game setting.  The numbers game puts him on the roster bubble, so how he performs in these preseason games could greatly impact his chances of remaining on the roster into September.

Five Seattle Seahawks Who Need to Shine Against Chargers

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 05:36 PM PDT

Entering the game today, the top of the depth chart is fairly set in stone. Aside from injuries, the players you see take the field first are more than likely going to be the same players taking the field first in four weeks.

The backups and third stringers have a situation similar to the gravel paving method they’re using to resurface the road outside my house. A lot of loose gravel is going to get cut loose pretty soon and to them these are the most important games in their short careers.

Here’s five players that need to play well enough today on the road against the Chargers so that they can stick to the Seahawks roster.

DB Jesse Hoffman

An undrafted rookie out of Eastern Washington is going to see action at cornerback or safety tonight and might return some kicks as well. However nice of a story this is for me to write about considering he was a classmate he still has an almost impossible climb and has to massively overachieve to secure a roster spot.

Hoffman had a mostly quiet run at Eastern Washington. In 2006 he totaled 234 yards on the ground for a good 5.1 YPC but didn’t score. After redshirting for one season he totaled 5 tackles and 1 INT on defense in his two seasons from 2008-2009.

2010 is what got him on the NFL blip, mostly for kick returning and his 3 INT’s on defense (two in one game). He totaled 712 yards on 25 kickoff returns.

At cornerback, he has two draft picks, plus Roy Lewis and Josh Pinkard as his most prominent competition. At safety, he has draft pick Mark Legree and Jeron Johnson, who had fourth round draft grades before an injury, to compete with as well.

In order to make this roster, Hoffman needs to show an ability to take it to the house.

LB Howie Neal

This guy has just a tough a climb as Hoffman does. Pete Carroll spent fourth and seventh round picks on linebackers in the draft. Despite the departure of Lofa Tatupu and Will Herring; the Seahawks interest in a veteran linebacker is not a secret. They have held visits with Takeo Spikes and Ben Leber.

He needs to show exceptional ability in return blocking and pursuit on special teams to have a chance at making this roster. That’s just in addition to performing well when they do stick him in at linebacker potentially. With KJ Wright and Malcolm Smith already in the fold as young projects it makes the journey that much harder.

K Brandon Coutu

Wes Bynum already received the ax as Jeff Reed arrived in town and now Coutu is risking having his second go around with the Seahawks again being derailed by the arrival of a veteran kicker.

Carroll doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who is going to keep two kickers on the roster. Coutu needs to be lights out or he’s done. Reed had an off campaign last season but did finish 9/10 with 49ers after being released by the Steelers. Remember Olindo Mare? Yeah, he had an off year before coming to Seattle, becoming their franchise player; and cashing in on a 4 year, $12 million deal with the Carolina Panthers.

Chris Carter/WR’s

At 5″11 Carter certainly isn’t the worlds shortest receiver but that’s awfully short for a Carroll receiver. Rice, Williams, and Kris Durham all stand around 6″5.

Ben Obamanu and Golden Tate round out the top five at receiver. Depending on how many receivers they decide to keep, that leaves Doug Baldwin, Ricardo Lockette, Patrick Williams, and Isiah Stanback as his competition. If they keep seven, that means three get cut, and one might get released when Deon Butler is healthy.

The name actually doesn’t help him either in this case, however unfair, the human brain is going to naturally connect it to THE Chris Carter.

Baldwin just got a reception on third down, that doesn’t help his cause either.

TE Dominque Byrd

The former Carroll product has very long odds to make the roster. besides arguably the best TE duo in the league, he has to compete with Cameron Morrah and Anthony McCoy. Considering they plan on being a run first offense that uses multiple two TE sets, Pete may likely will opt to keep four tight ends on the roster. That still leaves one person short a spot.


One things for sure, Tarvaris Jackson cannot play quarterback in the NFL. Sidney Rice, Zach Miller, you’re our only hope.




2011 Free Agency: Grading The AFC North

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 04:40 PM PDT

Baltimore Ravens

Unsigned players: LS Kevin Houser (UFA), WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (UFA), C Daniel Sanders (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Chargers TE Kris Wilson, Aug. 8; Ex-Bills UFA TE Jonathan Stupar, Aug. 8; Ex-Texans UFA S Bernard Pollard, Aug. 4 (two years); Ex-Texans UFA FB Vonta Leach, July 31 (three years, $11 million).

Key departures: UFA OT Jared Gaither, Aug. 11 (to Chiefs); UFA OG Tony Moll, Aug. 10 (to Jaguars); UFA FB Le’Ron McClain, Aug. 3 (to Chiefs) UFA QB Marc Bulger, Aug. 3 (retired); Cut FB Jason McKie, July 31; UFA CB Fabian Washington, July 31 (to Saints); UFA S Dawan Landry, July 29 (to Jaguars); OG-C Chris Chester, July 29 (to Redskins); UFA CB Josh Wilson, July 29 (to Redskins); UFA WR Donté Stallworth, July 29 (to Redskins); Released RB Willis McGahee, July 28; Released TE Todd Heap, July 28 (to Cardinals); Released NT Kelly Gregg, July 28; Released WR Derrick Mason, July 28; Released DT Kelly Talavou, July 30.

Key re-signings: RFAs Oniel Cousins, LB Tavares Gooden, LB Jameel McClain, S Haruki Nakamura, S Tom Zbikowski, July 30; UFA DT Lamar Divens, July 31; UFA CB Chris Carr, July 30 (four years); UFA OLB Prescott Burgess, July 30; UFA OG-OT Marshal Yanda, July 29.

Grade: C-

Comment: The Ravens had to make some moves to get under the cap and to be able to ink their rookies, and it meant losing some veteran leaders like WR Derrick Mason and TE Todd Heap. Their one area of upgrade was at fullback, where they inked Texans Pro Bowl FB Vonta Leach, allowing Le’Ron McClain to go to the Chiefs. They also inked Rickey Williams, who will be a good backup to Ray Rice. This is a team that is focused on winning the North, which means beating the Steelers, and based on their moves, that is going to be a tough sell.

Cincinnati Bengals

Unsigned players: DE Jonathan Fanene (UFA), MLB Dhani Jones (UFA), TE Reggie Kelly (UFA), S Chinedum Ndukwe (UFA), WR Terrell Owens (UFA), CB Keiwan Ratliff (UFA), S Marvin White (UFA), S Roy Williams (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Titans TE Bo Scaife, Aug. 5 (one year); Ex-Eagles OG Max Jean-Gilles, Aug. 2 (one-year, $1.15 million); Ex-49ers UFA OLB Manny Lawson, Aug. 2 (one-year, $3 million); Ex-49ers UFA CB Nate Clements, July 30; Ex-Raiders OLB Thomas Howard, July 30 (two years); Ex-Raiders UFA QB Bruce Gradkowski, July 29.

Key departures: UFA OT Kirk Chambers, Aug. 11 (to Lions); UFA OG Evan Mathis, Juiy 31 (to Eagles); UFA CB Johnathan Joseph, July 29 (to Texans); Released DE Antwan Odom, July 29; Traded WR Chad Ochocinco to Patriots, July 29 (Bengals received a late-round draft pick in 2012 and another in ’13, per

Key re-signings: UFA OLB Brandon Johnson, Aug. 3 (one year); RFAs C Kyle Cook, OG Nate Livings, QB Jordan Palmer, OT Dennis Roland, July 30. UFA RB Cedric Benson, July 31 (one year); UFA RB Brian Leonard, July 30; UFA S Gibril Wilson, July 30.

Grade: C

Comment: More downs than up for the Bengals, as coming off a four-win season they had to put up with the distraction of QB Carson Palmer saying he wanted out or he was going to retire. So the team took QB Andy Dalton in the 2nd round of the draft, and it appears he’ll be the opening day starter in Cleveland. They did bring back RB Ced Benson, and getting LB Manny Lawson is an upgrade at that spot. They feel that at WR, A.J. Green is going to end up being long term better than the diva connection of Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco. Even with their moves, this is clearly a year to rebuild in Cincy.

Cleveland Browns

Unsigned players: DT Titus Adams (UFA), RB Mike Bell (UFA), TE Greg Estandia (UFA), DE Robaire Smith (UFA), S Nick Sorensen (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Eagles CB Dimitri Patterson, Aug. 2; Traded for Rams OG John Greco, July 31; Ex-Packers UFA RB Brandon Jackson, July 29; Ex-Saints UFA S Usama Young, July 29.

Key departures: UFA OLB Matt Roth, Aug. 11 (to Jaguars); UFA ILB Blake Costanzo, Aug. 4 (to 49ers); UFA S Sabby Piscitelli, Aug. 4 (to Chiefs); UFA S Abram Elam, Aug. 4 (to Cowboys); UFA FB Lawrence Vickers, Aug. 3 (to Texans); UFA WR Chansi Stuckey, July 30 (to Cardinals); UFA OG-OT Floyd Womack, July 30 (to Cardinals); UFA CB Eric Wright, July 30 (to Lions); UFA ILB Jason Trusnik, July 29 (to Dolphins); Released QB Jake Delhomme, July 28.

Key re-signings: UFA DE Derrick Robinson, July 31; RFA TE Evan Moore, July 30 (one year); FFA PK Phil Dawson, July 30 (one year); UFA OL Billy Yates, July 30; UFA DE Jayme Mitchell, July 29.

Grade: C-

Comment: For first-year head coach Pat Shurmur, the Browns didn’t make a lot of moves in the free agent market, instead focusing on the players that were there and putting their new west coast system in place. They did get a couple vets, including journeyman CB Dimitri Patterson and former Saints safety Usuma Young, who is on pace to start. Overall they also didn’t lose much, but as with the Bengals, with a first-year head coach and Colt McCoy getting the chance to be the opening day starter, this is a year of “let’s see what we got” for the Browns.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Unsigned players: OG Trai Essex (UFA), CB Tuff Harris (UFA), CB Anthony Madison (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery, Aug. 11 (one year); Ex-Buccaneers UFA TE John Gilmore, Aug. 2 (one year).

Key departures: UFA LB Keyaron Fox, Aug. 6 (to Redskins); UFA DE Nick Eason, July 30 (to Cardinals); UFA TE Matt Spaeth, July 29 (to Bears).

Key re-signings: RFA QB Dennis Dixon, Aug. 5; FFA OLB LaMarr Woodley, Aug. 5 (six years, $61.5 million, $21.5 million signing bonus); UFA LS Greg Warren, Aug. 2 (two years); UFA NT Chris Hoke, Aug. 1; William Gay, July 31; UFA RB Mewelde Moore, July 31; RFA OT Tony Hillis, July 30 (one year); CB  UFA P Daniel Sepulveda, July 30; UFA OT Willie Colon, July 29 (five years, $29 million); UFA OT Jonathan Scott, July 29 (two years, per Pittsburgh Post-Gazette); UFA CB Ike Taylor, July 29 (four years); UFA PK Shaun Suisham, July 29; RFA DE Chris Ellis, July 29.

Grade: B

Comment: As has been the Steeler Way, the team did exactly what they wanted, which was to re-sign their key players for 2011 and beyond. They inked LaMarr Woodley to a long-term deal, they got back CB’s Ike Taylor and Willie Gay, and signed OT Willie Colon to a five-year deal. They really didn’t lose much, which is why in most preseason rankings they are slated as the team to beat in the North, and why many think they are better than Baltimore. As long as this team comes out with the same mentality as they did in 2010, there’s no doubt that the Steelers are the team to beat in the North.

2011 Eagles Preseason Week 1: What Will We See vs the Ravens?

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 11:29 AM PDT

By Eagles Gab Columnist Chet Cashley

What will the Philadelphia sports world be talking about tomorrow after what is sure to be anything but the typical first Preseason game?

For starters, starters will likely be an afterthought after we see how deep this year's Eagles team really is.  We'll be missing DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin tonight, and Mike Patterson will obviously be sitting this one out along with his fellow DT Trevor Laws, and the rest of the Eagles' starters will get one quarter to show their stuff, but don't expect them to set the world on fire.  The new guys have had two weeks, or less if you're Steve Smith, to memorize their plays and understand their schemes, so don't be disappointed if a few minor mistakes are made.  On the other hand, there's so much talent on both sides of the ball that the Eagles naturally will make some big plays.

So, with the freak off-season, and freak free-agent period the Eagles experienced in 2011, what exactly can we expect from tonight's first Preseason game?   And more importantly, who's Youtube highlights will we be watching in the office tomorrow while we're staring at the clock, waiting for the weekend to start?


Run Game:

Expect LeSean McCoy to have one big run.  Andy's not going to risk his young star RB's health by overloading him with the ball in the first quarter.  LeSean might get five carries and a couple of dump passes, but don't expect much more than that.  Even with the few touches he'll get tonight, expect him to be hungry to play and break one run that you'll be watching on ESPN's Sports Center while you eat your breakfast tomorrow.  McCoy: 4 carries for 60 yards

Andy Reid will test Ronnie Brown.  Brown will get a solid number of touches, and expect him to perform.  Brown, like many of the other Eagles' 2011 acquisitions, left more money than the average American makes over several years to play here because he wants to win.  Expect him to come out of the gates running hard and busting out some 8 and 10 yard runs.  Brown is not the home-run hitter that McCoy is, but he's a solid, between the tackles power-runner who will move the chains.  Brown: 6 carries for 40 yards

Click HERE to read the rest

Source: Steelers Grab WR Cotchery

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 11:27 AM PDT

Red Zone Target For Big Ben

The Ravens passed on Jerricho, allowing another AFC North club to snatch him up.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Pittsburgh Steelers have signed ex-Jet wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery to a one-year contract.

The move adds to the Steelers lethal arsenal of playmaking pass catchers for Roethlisberger.

2011 Free Agency: Grading The NFC North

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 10:37 AM PDT

Playoff Bound Vikings?

Chicago Bears

Unsigned players: S Josh Bullocks (UFA), QB Todd Collins (UFA), OLB Pisa Tinoisamoa (UFA), MLB Rod Wilson (UFA), RB Garrett Wolfe (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Seahawks UFA C Chris Spencer, July 31 (two years); Ex-Texans DT Amobi Okoye, July 30 (one year); Ex-Cowboys RB Marion Barber, July 30; Ex-Jet DL Vernon Gholston, July 29; Ex-Cowboys WR Roy Williams, July 29; Ex-Cowboys UFA WR Sam Hurd, July 29; Ex-Steelers UFA TE Matt Spaeth, July 29; Ex-Jaguars UFA P Adam Podlesh, July 29 (five years).

Key departures: UFA C Olin Kreutz, Aug. 5 (to Saints); Waived OG Herman Johnson, July 30; UFA WR Rashied Davis, July 30 (to Lions); UFA WR Devin Aromashodu, July 29 (to Vikings). Traded TE Greg Olsen to Panthers, July 28 (traded for third-round 2012 pick); UFA S Danieal Manning (to Texans); Waived P Brad Maynard, July 28, (to Texans).

Key re-signings: UFA TE Desmond Clark, Aug. 2 (one year); UFA LB Brian Iwuh, July 31; UFA CB Corey Graham, July 30; RFA QB Caleb Hanie, July 29 (one year); UFA OLB Nick Roach, July 29 (two years); UFA DT Anthony Adams, July 29.

Grade: B

Comment: The loss of Olin Kreutz was overemphasized.  Garza/Spencer are both viable options at center.  What should be emphasized more was the Bears inability to pick-up another tackle in free agency.  Rookie Gabe Carimi will man the right side, which is fine, he’s NFL-ready.  As for J’Marcus Webb, last year’s seventh-round pick, he will protect Jay Cutler’s blind side – good luck with that.  The team swung and missed there.  Or did they strikeout looking?  Either way, the left tackle spot remains a big question mark.  The trade of Greg Olsen was a good move.  He wasn’t going to be featured in Mike Martz’s offense and is a glorified receiver with plus size, limited speed.  A third-round pick for Olsen is a quite a catch.  Matt Speath is the type of blocking tight end Martz was looking targeting. Danieal Manning will be missed; in the secondary and on special teams.  This one stings.  Taking chances on Vernon Gholston and Amobi Okoye were brilliant ideas.  Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is the guy you want to turn around defensive linemen.  Lastly, both former Cowboys Roy Williams and Marion Barber were outstanding additions, to an offense which was lacking a jump ball option in the red zone and a bruising short-yardage runner.

Minnesota Vikings

Unsigned players: WR Hank Baskett (UFA), QB Brett Favre (UFA-retired), OLB Chad Greenway (FFA), OLB Ben Leber (UFA), WR Greg Lewis (UFA), QB Patrick Ramsey (UFA), CB Lito Sheppard (UFA), FB Naufahu Tahi (UFA), DT Pat Williams (UFA), RB Albert Young (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Colts UFA OT Charlie Johnson, Aug. 1; Ex-Falcons WR Michael Jenkins, July 30 (three years); Ex-Bears UFA WR Devin Aromashodu, July 29 (one year).

Key departures: UFA OLB Ben Leber, Aug. 9 (to Rams); Cut OLT Bryant McKinnie, Aug. 2; UFA S Madieu Williams, Aug. 1 (to 49ers); UFA DE Ray Edwards, July 29 (to Falcons); UFA WR Sidney Rice, July 29 (to Seahawks); UFA QB Tarvaris Jackson, July 29 (to Seahawks); Cut DT Jimmy Kennedy, July 28.

Key re-signings: UFA OT Ryan Cook, Aug. 3; UFA DT Fred Evans, July 31; UFA S Eric Frampton, July 31; RFA OLB Erin Henderson, July 30 (one year); RFA S Husain Abdullah, July 30 (one year); UFA PK Ryan Longwell, July 29.

Grade: C+

Comment: From Tarvaris to Donovan; a colossal jump in the right direction.  An abundance of dead weight (McKinnie – 386 pounds), both literally and figuratively, was relieved from the club.  Would have been nice to replace Sidney Rice with someone more dynamic and explosive than Michael Jenkins, and more experienced and reliable than Devin Aromashodu.  The losses of inconsistent Ray Edwards and underachieving Madieu Williams don’t hurt much.  Charlie Johnson is a serviceable offensive tackle.  Overall, it’s all on McNabb if this free agency is a success.  None of the departures compare if Donovan thrives in the Twin Cities.

Detroit Lions

Unsigned players: S C.C. Brown (UFA), MLB Vinny Ciurciu (UFA), WR Brian Clark (UFA), DE Jared DeVries (UFA), CB Tye Hill (UFA), OLB Landon Johnson (UFA), TE Jake Nordin (UFA), RB Kevin Smith (UFA).

Key arrivals: Ex-Bengals OT Kirk Chambers, Aug. 11; Ex-Eagles RB Jerome Harrison, Aug. 9; Ex-Browns RB Mike Bell, Aug. 9; Ex-Jaguars WR Nate Hughes, Aug. 4; Ex-Buccaneers WR Maurice Stovall, Aug. 2; Ex-Titans UFA LB Stephen Tulloch, July 31 (1 year, $3.25 million, $1.8 million guaranteed); Ex-Lions CB Eric Wright, July 30 (one year); Ex-Bears UFA WR Rashied Davis, July 29; Ex-Jaguars UFA OLB Justin Durant, July 29 (two years), Ex-Chiefs CB Maurice Leggett, July 28.

Key departures: Cut LB Zack Follett, Aug. 3; UFA DE Turk McBride, Aug. 1 (to Saints); Cut UFA LB Jordon Dizon, July 28; Cut UFA WR Bryant Johnson, July 28.

Key re-signings: RFA DE Cliff Avril, Aug. 4 (one year, $2.7 million); UFA OLB Bobby Carpenter, Aug. 3; UFA CB Chris Houston, July 31 (two years); UFA CB Brandon McDonald, July 30 (one year); UFA C Dylan Gandy, July 29; UFA PK Dave Rayner, July 29; UFA QB Drew Stanton, July 29 (one year); UFA S John Wendling (three years, $2.75 million), July 29; RFA FB Jerome Felton, July 29; RFA DT Andre Fluellen, July 29.

Grade: C

Comment: A very lackluster free agency period in the Motor City.  Two linebackers (Durant, Tulloch) were added and two running backs (Bell, Harrison) were signed to offset the season-ending injury of second-round pick Mikel LeShoure.  I like the ambition to improve a weak spot (linebacker) and the Eric Wright acquisition will help a subpar secondary.  However, would have liked to see the Lions snag someone better than Wright, like Texans’ Johnathan Joseph.

Green Bay Packers

Unsigned players: CB Josh Bell (UFA), S Atari Bigby (UFA), S Anthony Smith (UFA), LB Matt Wilhelm (UFA).

Key arrivals: None.

Key departures: UFA DE Cullen Jenkins, July 30 (to Eagles); UFA FB Korey Hall, July 29 (to Saints); Cut OT Mark Tauscher, July 29; Cut LB Brandon Chillar, July 29; UFA OG Daryn Colledge, July 29 (to Cardinals); Cut LB Nick Barnett, July 28; UFA RB Brandon Jackson, July 29 (to Browns); UFA OL Jason Spitz, July 29 (to Jaguars).

Key re-signings: UFA WR James Jones, July 31 (three years); UFA FB John Kuhn, July 31 (three years); UFA PK Mason Crosby, July 29 (five years, up to $14.75 million).

Grade: C

Comment: James Jones was a good re-signing.  He has the chance to become something special and is a game-changer next to Greg Jennings.  Donald Driver is getting up there in age and wasn’t healthy last season.  Losing Cullen Jenkins hurts because he’s such a dominant lineman when healthy.  Jenkins going to Philly hurts even more, a team they could face again in the Playoffs this season.  His replacement, Mike Neal, is a promising second-rounder (Purdue) from last year.  Departures of Barnett and Jackson warrant little talk because Desmond Bishop and James Starks are young, flourishing players.  The left guard spot left by Colledge is one to keep an eye on.  In the end, it was neither a standout or destructive free agency for the Super Bowl champs.

Jets Say WR Plaxico Burress Will Play in Preseason Opener

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 10:32 AM PDT

Jets coach Rex Ryan plans to play Plaxico Burress when the team opens their preseason schedule on Monday night in Houston. Burress has been sidelined with an ankle injury.

“We won’t put him out there if we think he’s at risk, as with any player,” Ryan said according to Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star-Ledger. “But I'd like to see him get out there for a few snaps. Obviously our first groups don't go a whole lot, but I’m expecting him to play some.”

Ryan said he does not know if Burress has gone for an MRI, but “I don’t think it’s anywhere close to being that serious.”

“It’s minor,” he said.

Burress was not at this morning’s walk-through, but it was a planned and excused absence, Ryan said. Ryan expects him to participate on a limited level in this afternoon’s practice,

Source: Chiefs Add OT Gaither

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 08:48 AM PDT

All Six Feet Nine Inches

Offensive line version of Ed “Too Tall” Jones.

Another player who’s name has been out there on free agency entirely way too long.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Kansas City Chiefs have scooped up former Ravens offensive tackle Jared Gaither.

Gaither is expected to compete with Barry Richardson and Ryan O’Callaghan for the starting right tackle position in Kansas City.

The massive lineman joins fellow ex-Ravens fullback Le’Ron McClain and nose tackle Kelly Gregg on the Chiefs roster.

The reason why Gaither was unsigned is due to a back injury, which sidelined the Maryland product all of last season.

Source: Jaguars Sign Matt Roth

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 08:30 AM PDT

More Pass Rush Help For Jacksonville

Hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker Matt Roth has finally landed with an NFL team.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Jacksonville Jaguars have inked Roth to a one-year deal, worth $3 million.

Last season in Cleveland, the former Iowa Hawkeye recorded 86 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 4.5 tackles for loss.

Former Titans RB George Thinks the Team Should Pay Chris Johnson

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 08:23 AM PDT

Eddie George, the Titans all-time leading rusher said now is the time for the Titans to take care of running back Chris Johnson with a new contract.

"I find it hard to believe they didn't think about his contract during the lockout. I can't believe they weren't ready for this,'' George told Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean while attending practice Wednesday. "Granted, they weren't allowed to talk to Chris' agent during the lockout, but let's be realistic here. Once free agency hit, a lot of those deals were done fast. This should have been done first thing.

"It is pretty uncalled for, if you ask me, for them to even be in the situation with Chris. Everyone knew this was coming. This deal should have been done weeks ago.''

"I look at the organization and most of the onus is on them, because they told him they would take care of him after last year,'' George said. "From Chris Johnson's perspective, I don't blame him for not being there. He has to do what he has to do because he is one of the top backs in the NFL and the window for a running back is small. He has to get his deal now where he has leverage.

"Chris shouldn't have had to hold out because there has been ample time to get a deal done, and you can't hide behind the fact the CBA was the holdup. To me, it's unfortunate Chris is even having to go through this because I know he wants to be there practicing with his teammates."

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