NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

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New Seahawks Safety Atari Bigby: They Have Their Starters

Posted: 18 Aug 2011 01:47 AM PDT

I seem to remember a time back in 2007 on a snow drudged field when a guy named Atari Bigby changed the game defensively for the Green Bay Packers by just absolutely steamrolling the Seahawks offense. I can’t pull up his statistics from the game, (I tried), but I remember him causing at least one and I am almost positive multiple turnovers during a game when Seattle started up 14-0.

The oldest addition to the safety position at the “twilight” age of 29 was not coy in what he is being brought in to do for the Seahawks:

"From what I get from it, is special teams. Come in a little bit on defense, but they told me that they have their starters."

Seattles tandem at safety is arguably the youngest in the league, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are both entering their second seasons and Chancellor is slated to start his first regular season game in September.

Thomas is already regarded as one of the best young safeties in the league, many argue he is on the precipice of top 10 status at his position if he follows through with a strong follow up to his rookie season. Chancellor on the other hand was a fifth round draft pick last season and while it appears he will be an imposing figure in the box no one really has any idea how good he is against the pass at the NFL level.

I am not overtly thrilled with Chancellor being thrown into the ring when options like Michael Huff, Donte Whitner, and Quintin Mikell were available (along with $15.5 million in cap space remaining). At the same time though, it’s very difficult to criticize Pete Carroll for making this team younger and building through the draft. Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, James Carpenter, John Moffitt, and Chancellor are all Carroll draftees who are slated to start. He didn’t acquire any player over the age of 30 in free agency which is something else I am content about. Sidney Rice, Zach Miller, and Brandon Mebane are all young pro bowl caliber cornerstones at their respective positions. Isn’t that a refreshing turnover from paying Housh the same amount as they just paid Rice?

Hopefully Bigby can provide some depth at the nickel and dime back positions. I really like what I am seeing from Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman, but the fact Kelly Jennings is manning one of the first four corner positions gives me reason to stop and pray that he will keep getting bumped down the depth chart.





Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin Moves Past Cancer Scare

Posted: 17 Aug 2011 10:21 PM PDT

Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who still hasn’t practiced yet, has been cleared to return to the team after a cancer scare, trainer Rick Burkholder said Wednesday.

Burkholder said, barring a setback, Maclin will return to practice within 10 days and should be able to play in the Sept. 11 opener at St. Louis.

Burkholder said Maclin began experiencing symptoms – night sweats, fever, loss of weight, loss of appetite – in March, synonymous with lymphoma, a form of cancer. But a five-month battery of tests taken in both Philadelphia and St. Louis came back inconclusive, and not until Wednesday, was Maclin finally cleared of all serious conditions.

Maclin was tested for HIV and numerous other diseases and underwent several tests, including scans. He also consulted with a hematologist, an oncologist and an infectious disease specialist, among others.

“Frankly,” Burkholder said, “nobody could come up with a definitive diagnosis.”

Burkholder, speaking on a conference call from Pittsburgh, where the Eagles face the Steelers in a preseason game Thursday, reported Maclin’s symptoms disappeared at some point before late July. He said the cause of the symptoms remains “vague.”

“We’re confident that the life-threatening stuff is out of the mix,” Burkholder said. “Right now, we’re going to look at him as having an inflammatory condition that caused him to have the symptoms and the abnormal blood studies.”

Maclin underwent a laparoscopy procedure last Thursday so doctors could get a clearer biopsy than previous tests had provided. The results came back Wednesday, and were negative.

Asked why his description of the cause of Maclin’s condition seems vague, Burkholder replied, “It is vague.”

As the Eagles turn their attention to the Steelers and beyond, doctors will continue to monitor Maclin. But the trainer said he and team physician Gary Dorshimer, who treated Maclin, are confident the symptoms won’t return.

“We’ll continue to test him, just like we test any player that’s had any condition,” Burkholder said. “If a player has high blood pressure, we continue to test him for high blood pressure.”

Burkholder’s conference call was the first statement from the Eagles on Maclin’s condition. Burkholder said Maclin asked the team not to comment until he was cleared.

“His request through this whole thing was that we don’t do anything with the media or any reports until we were really ready to have everything more definitive in the testing,” Burkholder said. “So, obviously we granted him that wish, and that’s why we really didn’t have anything to say. Legally, I can’t say anything till he gives me the OK.

“And he gave me the OK this afternoon.”

Three Broncos Not Talking About Latest University of Miami Scandal

Posted: 17 Aug 2011 09:36 PM PDT

Three Broncos who attended the University of Miami and are named in the scandal enveloping the Hurricanes’ program declined to talk about the allegations Wednesday.

Linebacker D.J. Williams and right tackle Orlando Franklin declined comment as they walked off the practice field. Running back Willis McGahee said: “You want to talk about the Broncos?”

Asked if he wanted to comment on the Yahoo Sports investigation into a jailed Ponzi scheme artist’s contentions that he spent freely on Hurricanes athletes, McGahee said: “I ain’t talking about Miami. I’m out of Miami.”

Also mum was former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who went straight to the weight room after practice. Former Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro said he offered a $5,000 bounty on Tebow if a Hurricanes player knocked him from a game.

Rams RB Steven Jackson Not Worried About Sore Hip

Posted: 17 Aug 2011 07:15 PM PDT

St. Louis running back Steven Jackson plans on playing in the Rams’ second preseason game, even though he’s missed most of the last two practices because of a sore hip.

Jackson said Wednesday the injury is trivial and that trainers are just being cautious. He plans on fully participating in Thursday’s practice.

Jackson joked that he was hurt “getting out of bed, man,” followed by his trademark guffaw, then amended that evaluation to “general soreness.”

Coach Steve Spagnuolo said Jackson, who’s coming off his sixth straight 1,000-yard season and second Pro Bowl nod, told him during the morning walkthrough that he wanted to try to play.

“His mindset is he’d like to get some plays in,” Spagnuolo said. “But we’ll see.”

This preseason is a bigger deal than usual for Jackson because he’s learning new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ system. Jackson totaled nine carries for 42 yards in the 2010 preseason but said he’d like to play as long as the first string goes in Saturday night’s game against the Tennessee Titans.

“We’re all fairly new to it so you just want to make sure you’re executing the plays and doing the things coach McDaniels wants,” Jackson said.

Last week, the Rams had a big day offensively without Jackson, scoring on six of their first seven possessions in a 33-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Quarterback Sam Bradford ended up taking 24 snaps after staying in to finish a 14-play scoring drive at the start of the second quarter.

Source: Jets Sign LB Maybin

Posted: 17 Aug 2011 11:36 AM PDT

Low Risk High Reward

“I think he’s got some talent, some pass-rush ability,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. “If he sticks on our team, he’s going to be a pass rusher for us. We don’t need him to be a starter. We’ve got two excellent starters at outside linebacker already (Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas).”

Aaron Maybin, the 11th overall pick from Penn State in 2009, will sign Wednesday with the Jets, pending a physical. Ryan verified the news, proclaiming he believes Maybin has the ability to become a productive pass rusher.

Maybin will sign a one-year deal, likely for the veterans’ minimum.  He’s also banking $2 million in guarantees from the Bills, according to a league source.  Maybin, released Monday after two disappointing campaigns in Buffalo, still had three years remaining on his rookie contract.

The 228-pound linebacker will look to become what the Jets thought Vernon Gholston could develop into – an explosive, playmaking 3-4 outside linebacker.

Source: Terrell Owens Completely Ahead Of Schedule

Posted: 17 Aug 2011 11:15 AM PDT

Targeting Week 3 Return?

Terrell Owens still can play at a high level on a contending team.

“This is another challenge for me. Another opportunity to show people that age is nothing but a number. You can do anything you put your mind and body to. I don’t allow naysayers to deter me from my goal.”

Apparently, this one-of-a-kind athlete is determined to succeed and overcome all obstacles and odds.

The free-agent wideout told earlier this week that he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery to repair a torn ACL he suffered in April, and hopes to produce for an NFL team early this season:

“The doctors said the timetable was six to eight months, and up to a year, of rehab process. Obviously, they gave someone of my caliber a four- to six-month window. Four months is very ambitious, and that’s where I’m at now: four months and four or five days out from surgery,” Owens echoed after a training session Monday.

Owens is very adamant on returning, but is also giving himself room for error:

“Talking with the doctors, going through my personal training in L.A. and in Pensacola (Fla.), they stressed that I’m way ahead of schedule. I’m giving myself the timetable of maybe two or three weeks into the season that I’ll be ready. That’s giving myself a grace period, for setbacks. I’m rehabbing my butt off to get back on the field.”

Owens said he hasn’t talked to any clubs specifically, but he’ll be prepared when a team contacts him:

“I’m not going to rush into it. But injuries are going to occur during the course of the season. Some receivers are going to go down. I’m going to prepare myself. I’ll be ready when the time comes,” he said.

Wouldn’t he look good in a Purple and Black uni?  How about it, Joe Flacco?

Lions DT Suh via Twitter: Fined $20,000 for Hit on Bengals QB Dalton

Posted: 17 Aug 2011 11:02 AM PDT

Ndamukong Suh is not a dirty player, he's an aggressive one, but apparently the NFL doesn't differentiate.  Suh tweeted today that he received a $20,000 fine for his hit on Dalton, which I believe is a little excessive.

PFT calls Suh a "repeat offender" because of the fines he's faced for hits on Jake Delhomme and Jay Cutler.  The Delhomme fine was warranted, but take it with a grain of salt.  It was the first time he got his hands on a quarterback as a professional, where there are very different rules from college where quarterbacks aren't so protected.

The second fine they refer to is the fine Suh faced for his hit on Jay Cutler which was not only 100% legal, but probably reduced the chance of injuring Cutler.  Suh gave a hard two handed shove to Cutler's back after he crossed the line of scrimmage as a runner.  Which is more likely to cause an injury, a two handed shove to the back or a 300 lb lineman with an 8 yard head of steam barreling into and landing on top of Cutler?  Quarterbacks forfeit any special protection once they cross the line of scrimmage, so would Suh have been fined if he did that to a running back?  No.

Suh also appealed the fine he got from the Cutler hit but the NFL rarely, if ever, announces the outcome of the appeals.

Many people support the fine on Suh, stating he violently threw Dalton to the ground, but I ask this.  He has to get him to the ground to tackle him and which is better for the quarterback's health, a violent throw to the ground or getting wrapped up and driven to the ground?

I maintain the only reason anybody thinks it was a violent hit is because Dalton's helmet popped off.  I've watched the replay several times and can't conclusively say whether or not Suh "tore" the helmet off or if it just came off because it was loose.  I understand the NFL wants to protect quarterbacks and keep them healthy, but the bottom line is the number of injuries that occur from a play like this one are very small.  Just look at Stafford for example.

He's suffered three major injuries in two years, one to his knee from a horse collar tackle, one to his shoulder from a defender launching into him and driving him to the ground and one from getting his arm swatted and pinned back as he was driven to the ground.  In any of those situations, does he get hurt if he gets shoved to the ground or wrapped up and violently thrown to the ground?  I doubt it, the injuries came from him being driven to the ground or dragged to the ground and not one of those plays drew a flag and nobody was called a dirty player (not even on the horse collar which is illegal.)

In fact look at the high profile quarterback injuries of 2010:

  • Stafford, which I already discussed.
  • Favre, elbow was pinned back and driven to the ground like Stafford.  Hurt again after being driven into the ground and sustaining a concussion.
  • Vick's rib injury came from being sandwiched in between two defenders while running down field.  His ankle injury later in the season came from being dragged to the ground and getting it pinned down by the defender.
  • Romo broke his collar bone when he was hit and driven to the ground with the defender landing on top of him.
  • Cutler's concussion was sustained when he was repeatedly driven to the ground on a number of sacks.
  • Rodgers sustained two concussions, one when being hit and driven to the ground with a defender landing on top of him and the other getting hit and hitting his head on the ground.

The majority of those injuries came from getting hit and taken to the ground with a defender landing on top of the quarterback.  Not one came as a result of being wrapped up and tossed to the ground or being pushed down, no matter how violently.  Again, I understand the NFL wants to protect quarterbacks, but maybe it's time to base the penalties and rules off of what is actually injuring them.

Cam Newton Will Start Against Dolphins

Posted: 17 Aug 2011 10:56 AM PDT

Number One For A Reason

Clear-cut starting quarterback.

No controversy or competition should be evoked when discussing who should be the top signal caller for the Carolina Panthers.  Sorry, Jimmy “pick-six” Clausen.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Panthers have decided to name rookie No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton the starting quarterback for Friday night’s preseason game against the Miami Dolphins.

Cam will look to improve upon last week’s average 8 of 19, 134-yard performance in South Beach on Friday.

Newton, Panthers beat the Giants 20-10 in their first preseason contest.

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