NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

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A Painful Loss in More Ways Than One for the Cardinals

Posted: 20 Aug 2011 01:44 PM PDT

By Cardinals Gab Columnist Cameron Moon

The Cardinal fell to the Packers in Friday night's exhibition game, but that was not the worst news.

Rookie running back Ryan Williams seemingly tore his patellar tendon in the second quarter, and if the injury is as bad as expected, will miss the remainder of his first NFL season.

This will be a huge blow to the run game and the Cardinals offense, especially after the front office shipped former backup Tim Hightower to Washington to give Wells and Williams more of an opportunity at the beginning of training camp.

The decision to trade Hightower is going to be questioned, if only for the timing of the deal, but the coaching staff is high on Alphonso Smith, who has shown flashes in training camp, but has not seen adequate field time. That's about to change moving forward.

Arizona had only four running backs in camp after the trade of Hightower, and no they have three, including LaRod Stephens-Howling, who is 5'7" and 185 pounds. The Cardinals need to try and add another back for depth as well as injury concern, but don't expect them to add someone just for the sake of adding them. Once final cuts are made, expect the Cards to pick someone up.

Despite the injury to Williams, there were some positives about Friday's game.

Firstly, the pass rush was greatly improved, recording four sacks against a very talented offensive line. Darnell Dockett showed his consistency, racking up a sack for the second time in as many games. Calais Campbell showed his speed, getting to the quarterback as well. O'Brien Schofield continues to impress, getting a sack, forced fumble, and two tackles.

On offense, the Cards successes were negated by the 11 penalties they accumulated, 9 of which came in the first half. The offensive line was able to provide running room for Beanie Wells, who had 44 yards on 11 carries. As a team, Arizona only rushed for 95 yards, something they will undoubtedly continue to work on, especially now that Ryan Williams is out definitely.

One question we can hesitate before asking, barring an injury is "Who's going to be the receiver opposite Larry Fitzgerald?" Andre Roberts has taken the starting job and is performing like he intends to keep it.  Early Doucet and Chansi Stuckey provide valuable depth in the slot, while young receivers Isiah Williams, DeMarco Sampson and Stephen Williams all have stood out in limited preseason duty. The better question is "Who's going to be the third and fourth safety valve for Kolb?"

Speaking of Kolb, it is hard to take away anything from his performance last night. He wasn't spectacular; throwing for 80 yards completing 6 of 11 passes with no touchdowns or interceptions. He was sacked in his first drive when he could have/should have thrown the ball away, and was late on a few passes to Larry Fitzgerald, which were knocked down.

Cardinals fans are still waiting to see whether or not Kolb is worth the $63 million contract he was given before ever playing a snap, but he has played well enough in practices to make an impression on the coaching staff and keep his job.

The Cards are making progress on the field, but Ryan Williams' injury gives them another potential speed bump. Up next: San Diego comes to the Nest.

Source: Bills LB Merriman Seen Holding Steroids?

Posted: 20 Aug 2011 12:25 PM PDT

Turn Off The Lights?

The jury is still out.

According to a dependable source near to the situation, Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman was caught handling steroids close to the United States border late Thursday, July 28, on the night before Bills' training camp.

Complimentary of the source, while trying to travel across Canada to return to the States, Merriman was detained by United States Customs right after 2:00 AM.  There, the source said steroids were sighted in Merriman’s grasp.  He was not arrested and jolted because from what the sources said, only being in the possession of the substance is not considered illegal.

The reliable source per Buffalo Sports Daily added, “Lights Out” was indeed witnessed with ‘roids in his possession.

Patrick Moran, of the Buffalo Sports Daily, on the validity of the report: “fully confident in the accuracy of this report.”

For the record (from Moran): “I've sat on this story for close to three weeks—and numerous mainstream media members I've confided in can attest to that.”

To read more about what Merriman had to say about the latest steroids accusations and rumors visit Bills Gab

Packers: Good & Bad Impressions About Preseason Win Over Cardinals

Posted: 20 Aug 2011 09:32 AM PDT

Legendary senior writer jclombardi reflects on Packers win.

WR Jennings jumping into the crowd after catching a 20-yard touchdown pass. Credit: Mike Roemer AP.


1. Strong No-huddle offense—after a slow start in the Arizona preseason game going three-and-out in its first series and punting after two first downs on its next possession, the first-time offense but looked sharp in its third series with the no-huddle offense. Packers went to their no-huddle offense in the 2nd quarter. QB Rodgers connected to TE Finley on three straight plays setting up the 20 yards touchdown to WR Jennings. For the evening, healthy TE Finley had 4 catches for 33 yards.

2. Outstanding Quarterbacks Rodgers & Flynn—QB Rodgers looked sharp starting into the 2nd quarter. He completed 9 of 12 passes for 97 yards and 1 touchdown.  Then, before halftime, QB Flynn led the Packers to another score culminating in a two yard touchdown run by rookie RB Green. Flynn completed 5 of 6 passes for 141 yards, one touchdown, and a perfect 158.3 passer rating.

3. Solid WR West—wide receiver Chastin West had 5 completions for 134 yards and 1 touchdown.

4. Healthy RB Grant—looking like his former self, RB Grant rushed five times for 23 yards. For the preseason, he is averaging 4.4 per carry.


1.  Shaky Packers pass protection—still a preseason work-in-progress giving up 5 sacks and three hits. Last week against the Brown, the line gave up five sacks. With a mixed performance, LG Lang gave up one sack.  Rookie LT/LG Sherrod had a tough night two sacks.   On the drive that Sherrod gave up his first sack, RG Sitton gave up a sack to DT Dockett.

2. Sloppy game—like a typical preseason games, the Packers showed their rust with eight penalties, five sacks, 2 fumbles (one lost), and off-target passes.

3. Thin defensive line—behind solid DL Pickett and impressive DL Raji, the defensive line is too thin. Injured DE Neal did not play. Then, DL Wilson left with a concussion. Overall, DL Green and DL Wynn were not too impressive. This issue must be addressed in the coming weeks.

4. Injuries–DE Wilson suffered a concussion in the first quarter and failed to return. Rookie wide receiver Randall Cobb had a rough night muffing a low, line-drive punt and suffered a bruised knee.

Source: Cardinals Rookie RB Williams Likely Out For Season

Posted: 20 Aug 2011 06:44 AM PDT

Ahmad Bradshaw Clone

Cardinals rookie second-round pick, running back Ryan Williams, experienced an injury to his lower right knee and leg early in the third quarter of Friday night’s action in Green Bay; departing the turf on a cart according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic.

The early signs concerning the fall was that the Virginia Tech product ruptured a patella tendon, which would call for a season-ending exit and surgery.

Unfortunate news for a promising first-year back, who was expected to make waves and compete with Chris “Beanie” Wells in the Cardinals’ starting backfield.

Source: Chiefs Locker Room Scuffle Between Rookie First Round WR Baldwin, Thomas Jones?

Posted: 20 Aug 2011 06:33 AM PDT

Chance To Become Something Special

A locker-room clash between Chiefs running back Thomas Jones and first-round pick Jonathan Baldwin has left the rookie wideout uncertain for the remainder of the preseason with a wrist injury, a club source verified Friday to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

"Jonathan Baldwin did not play tonight due to injury. That's the extent about what I'm going to talk about," Chiefs coach Todd Haley said after Friday night's preseason loss to the Ravens, calling the incident "family business."

Baldwin, a daunting 6-foot-4, 230-pound wide receiver, was drafted 26th overall last April from Pittsburgh.

Jones logged 245 hauls for 896 yards (3.7 avg), and six scores on the ground last season for the Tomahawks.

To read more about Baldwin’s prospects and Dexter McCluster’s role in Haley’s offense check out Chiefs Gab

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