NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

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The Patriots Continue to Show Respect and Diligence, Work Out Veterans

Posted: 15 Aug 2011 02:06 AM PDT

The New England Patriots are intent on winning a Super Bowl. Since 2005, they’ve been 0-for-6. All the water cooler talk through the mind-blowing 2007 regular season was how the Patriots – on the cusp of their fourth title – were good for the sport because the dynasty gave everyone a formidable villain and a standard to reach for. They, of course, didn’t win it and the older players like Rodney Harrison, Junior Seau, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Roosevelt Colvin, Adalius Thomas and Richard Seymour retired or were moved as a young defense was cultivated for the 2010 season (and promptly finished last in 3rd down percentage).

A large contingent of analysts thought that a long lockout would make teams shy away from free agents and swapping for guys, due to their lack of time in the playbook. For at least the Patriots, the opposite has happened. In addition to trading for Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth, they’ve flown in an assembly line of veteran free agents. Some left without a contract – Channing Crowder, Tommie Harris -, others received deals.

Three more are coming in for tryouts, WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Ian Rapoport, Boston Herald), FS Darren Sharper, and S Renaldo Hill (Sports XChange). Houshmandzadeh – and the wideout position in general – was an afterthought and belabored by stodgy duties in Cam Cameron’s Ravens offense. Sharper is 3rd in NFL history with 1412 interception return yards, including taking one back 38 yards on Brady in the 2009 season.

Houshmandzadeh, you would believe, is a longshot to make a team that seems to go six deep at wideout. Sharper may be considered invaluable safety depth as last year Chung was benched, then put back in. He was a key part of the Super Bowl XLIV Champ Saints.

Whatever the case, I love bringing in guys who’ve been good enough to start 4-15 years in the league. You want your team to be making every attempt to get better.

Plaxico Burress Talks Blood, His Chuck Taylors and the NYC Mayor in Interview

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 03:34 PM PDT

Plaxico Burress, in an interview with HBO’s “Real Sports” that air will Tuesday, made these revelations and retraced some of the key events on the night of Nov. 28, 2008, when he brought an unlicensed handgun into a Manhattan night club, that put the former Super Bowl star behind bars for 20 months.

“I had a drink in my left hand,” Burress said. “I’m just walking up the stairs. And, you know, it was dark. And I kind of, you know, missed a step. That’s when I felt my gun … started to slide. I went to grab it … to stop it from falling. POW!” For a few moments, Burress thought he had escaped harm.

“I knew it had went off. I saw the fire, like, come through my jeans,” he said, adding, “I took a couple more steps and my jeans were like — my jeans are wet. And I looked down. I had some Chuck Taylors on and they were — the white was all red. I’m in trouble.” His wife, Tiffany, an attorney, told him about New York City’s tough gun laws, predicting he’d have to serve jail time. According to her, his response was “I’m not going to jail.”

Burress’ attorney, Benjamin Brafman, tells “Real Sports” that a bail agreement for $10,000, which would’ve allowed Burress to be released on his own recognizance, was undermined by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “About 20 minutes after the mayor held his press conference, the prosecutor called me and said they’re going to be asking for $250,000 bail,” Brafman said.

“I said, ‘This is outrageous, we had an agreement.’” Brafman said he relayed the mayor’s comments to Burress. “You know what I said after that?” Burress asked interviewer Bryant Gumbel. “I said, ‘Who’s Mayor Bloomberg?’ Dead serious.”

Favre Says He Lacks the Motivation to Return for 2011

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 12:33 PM PDT

Brett Favre said Thursday on Buffalo’s WGR-AM that he lacks the motivation to return for a 21st NFL season, even after a not-so-storybook ending with the Vikings in 2010.

“I don’t have that feeling, that chip on my shoulder,” said Favre, the NFL’s all-time leader in numerous passing categories. “I mean, I could easily talk myself into that chip on my shoulder like, ‘Hey everybody hates you,’ … I could motivate myself.”

But, the 41-year-old quarterback went on to say, motivating himself has become more difficult as he ages.

Favre admitted that his career probably should have ended after what he called a “storybook” 2009 season, when he led the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game with his best statistical performance. But Favre said he believed he owed the team one more year after such a run.

“I don’t have that feeling, that chip on my shoulder,” said Favre, the NFL’s all-time leader in numerous passing categories. “I mean, I could easily talk myself into that chip on my shoulder like, ‘Hey everybody hates you,’ … I could motivate myself.”

Favre admitted that his career probably should have ended after what he called a “storybook” 2009 season, when he led the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game with his best statistical performance. But Favre said he believed he owed the team one more year after such a run.

Lions DT Suh Could Face Heavy Fine for Hitting Bengals QB Dalton

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 11:28 AM PDT

Last year, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh nearly beheaded then Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme in a preseason game. In Friday’s exhibition opener, Suh grabbed Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton by the head and threw him to the ground. Suh was given a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty.

Look for Commissioner Roger Goodell to fine Suh for the incident, and maybe more for the repeat offense.

“He’s just so strong that when he’s going to take you to the ground, it’s going to look bad,” coach Jim Schwartz told Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “You can’t coach it any other way. He’s trying his very best. But that’s one of those situations, you’ve got to know the ball’s gone and got to be able to pull off of that.”

Patriots to Release Chad Ochocinco or Albert Haynesworth?

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 10:21 AM PDT

Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth might not be long for New England according to Dan Pompei of the National Football Post.

One NFL executive familiar with the Patriots ways told me he believes one or both of the big name acquisitions will be cut before the season starts. The front office man thinks coach Bill Belichick will use the controversial players to help control and send a message to his locker room.

Harbaugh Not Close to Naming the 49′ers Starting QB Yet

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 10:16 AM PDT

After the first exhibition game, things have not changed dramatically with the QB spot for the Niners. Alex Smith is leading the 49ers’ first-team offense but coach John Harbaugh says nobody has yet to win the starting job.

“I know as a quarterback when you’re competing for a starting job, you like to make it clear-cut,” Harbaugh said Saturday in a conference call with reporters, one day after the 49ers opened the exhibition season with a 24-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints.”So far, it hasn’t had a chance to be clear-cut, yet. So we’ll continue to practice. I don’t want those guys worried about it. I want them practicing and working and not worrying, and it’ll unfold.”

Panthers Top Giants 20-10 in Preseason Action

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 09:17 AM PDT

The preseason finally got under way, and as to be expected, it was sloppy and just a little bit boring as the Panthers beat the Giants 20-10

Giants started the game off in grand fashion, with Michael Boley intercepting a Jimmy Clausen pass and returning it  56 yards for the touchdown. Clausen settled down a bit, and threw an 18 yard strike to Greg Olsen.

The Giants and Panthers then exchanged field goals, with the Panthers hitting one more, and going into the half leading 13-10.

After a scoreless 3rd, Panthers scored in the 4th, as Derek Anderson connected with Kealoha Pilares on a 35 yard score, to make it 20-10.

First team defense saw some star performances but a pretty poor collective performance. Jason Pierre-Paul looked like a star, with two sacks and 7 tackles. Michael Boley returned an interception for a touchdown. Still, they let up too many big plays and too many missed tackles.

Some good performances were had by Alex Hall, Adrian Tracy and Brian Witherspoon. Witherspoon looked terrific at corner, and may now have the inside track to be the 4th corner.

Aaron Ross looked lost out there, missing tackles and getting beat in coverage. Ross is going to have to be an important part of this defense. With the Giants planning to move Thomas inside to safety on third downs, Ross needs to hold his own as a corner. If not, Giants could be in serious trouble.

First team offense did nothing. Jacobs and Bradshaw had a few nice runs, but they just didn't move the ball. 2nd team was a bit better. Hixon had a bunch of nice catches, and Devin Thomas played well. Rosenfels looked pretty good, played well enough to be the backup. Ryan Perriloux impressed with a strong arm.  DJ Ware didn't distinguish himself as the third running back, but no one else moved ahead of him.

I think Eli summed up the offense best:

"We didn't get off to a great start. We were never able to get into a great rhythm. We made a couple of mental mistakes."

Special teams was ugly. Other than good punting performances from Dodge and Weatherford, it was not pretty. Coverage was awful. Missed tackles all the way around. Only good play was by Victor Cruz, who made a nice tackle. Tynes missed two field goals, had one blocked, and came up hurt on one. The Giants are calling it a thigh contusion. You would think, after Tynes took a helmet to his thigh. Ouch.  Jernigan did nothing on returns.

For those interested, Cam Newton showed off his big arm. Not always accurate, but incredible strength. He has all the talent. Needs time, of course, but he has a chance to get there.

No rookies really stood out. Tyler Sash got beat on a few plays, but had a forced fumble. Austin, Jernigan, Brewer and the linebackers didn't really do anything. But it's early.

It's the first game of preseason, so you can't expect the world. It sure looked like the first game of preseason. Shaky. Out of sync. Poor fundamentals. Good individual performances gives us hope. But lack of tackling, and so many missed tackles, are very concerning. You never want to put too much stock in preseason games. But, you look for trends. And trends from last year continued. Missed tackles, poor special teams coverage, drives with nothing doing on offense, those are concerning trends.

More Downs Than Ups for Miami in Preseason Win Over Falcons

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 09:16 AM PDT

The first game of the preseason has come and gone now for the Dolphins, and it certainly had its ups and downs.

While the starters failed to impress in their time in the game, it was the backups that led the team to the come from behind win.

Both the starting offense and defense were ineffective against the Falcons starters, as Chad Henne failed to get anything going until the Falcons backups came in, and the Dolphins defense was shredded by the dual threat of Matt Ryan and Michael Turner.

While the starters were not scheduled to play more than a drive or two in the first quarter, Henne and the rest of the offense hiked out onto the gridiron to start the second quarter as well. Henne's first three drives ended prematurely, so head coach Tony Sparano had no choice but to let Henne try and get something going.

Henne's stat line for the first quarter: 1-5 for 5 yards and two interceptions. While Henne finished 4-8 throwing for 77 yards and a touchdown along with the two interceptions, the majority of the yardage came against the backups, as well as the 44 yard touchdown toss to Brian Hartline.

But the ineffectiveness of the Dolphins offense cannot solely lie on Henne's shoulders, as the running game never got going either. Rookie Daniel Thomas ran for only 5 yards on four carries. The rest of the running game only amassed 63 yards also.

Click HERE to read the rest

Browns New Look Offense Shines in 27-17 Win Over Packers

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 09:08 AM PDT

By Browns Gab Columnist Derek McQuaid

The Browns open the 2011 NFL Season winners, now they just need to keep improving. While the victory comes via the exhibition kind, it's a win – one in which Browns fans come away from breathing a little easier. Here's a breakdown of the offense after the Browns 27-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers.


Colt McCoy is going to be a star in this league: 9-10 for 135 yards and a score, in three series of action during Saturday night's 27-17 victory.

McCoy displayed the kind of poise and accuracy that Browns fans have longed for, hitting five different receivers during his three series on the field. The receivers weren't just running slants all night either. McCoy was accurate on the in-routes, and out-routes. He hit backs out of the backfield, and completed passes deep down the middle of the field. Essentially, McCoy made all the throws his critics said he couldn't make.

Leadership has been a key attribute linked to McCoy, and he displayed it well against the Packers. Watching the game, there's absolutely no doubt who this team belongs too. (Sorry Seneca) Colt has been a winner all his life and after his performance Saturday night, he'll continue to be a winner in the NFL.

Seneca Wallace looked decent as well, completing 11 of his 17 passes for 99 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT. Wallace's performance was about as expected – solid but nothing that made you say "Wow".

Of the four quarterbacks on the Browns' roster, Wallace has the most experience in the west coast offense. Many of the "experts" claimed that Wallace was a better fit at QB for the Browns because of his familiarity with the offense, but McCoy has quieted those so-called experts, for now.

Click HERE to read the rest

Rams Solid In Preseason Opening Win Over Colts 33-10

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 09:05 AM PDT

The Rams got their preseason started off on the right foot with a 33-10 victory over the Peyton Manning-less Indianapolis Colts. Sam Bradford and the first team offense lookd impressive and stayed in the game for just over a quarter and departed with the Rams leading 17-3. The first team offense scored one of their touchdowns against the first team defense for Indy and another against the second team defense. Steven Jackson did not play.

Since this is the preseason and the overall score does not matter as much as the individual performances, let's go over a few performances that stood out.

Rookie Tight End Lance Kendricks was the biggest standout on the first team offense. Sam Bradford looked for him early and often while the first team offense was on the field. Kendricks displayed good hands and the ability to get open in the red zone as he caught a touchdown to go along with his 5 catches.

The first team Rams defense was able to come up with 2 turnovers on two possessions for the Colts offense, each snagged by each safety. I know that this is cheating since I was supposed to pick individuals, but the Rams first team defense was strong against both the run and the pass. The Colts were without Peyton Manning, but the Rams were able to get to the quarterback and deflect passes for interceptions.

Without Steven Jackson, Cadillac Williams started with the first team offense and looked fresh, illusive and eager for contact. He was also helped out by a lot of great blocking by the Rams offensive line. That being said, Williams hit the holes with confidence and ran hard. Other running backs were also impressive including Jerious Norwood who looked speedy and tough. Fourth running back Keith Toston was also running hard. He did a lot better job than last season of finding the open holes rather than running straight ahead into the back of the linemen.

But, all those things being said and the fact that preseason results are terribly meaningless, this was a great game for the Rams. They rolled over their opponent and the scoreline covers about how well they played. There were a few breakdowns on the defensive end by the 2nd and 3rd string defense, but overall a great performance for the Rams return to football after the lockout.

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