NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

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Miami Coach Sparano Confirms that Reggie Bush is the Starting RB

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 10:20 PM PDT

Even though the Dolphins picked up former Chiefs workhorse back Larry Johnson Tuesday, coach Tony Sparano confirmed that Reggie Bush will be the starting running back.

“Yeah I think a different set of circumstances at that time,” Sparano said. “You know, I mean really different. I don't think we're really talking about the same situation right now.

“This is something three weeks into training camp here or whatever it is, four weeks into training camp and we're making a decision to do and again Reggie Bush is going to be the first runner out the gate here. I mean he's going to be the starting running back. That's what we're doing so this is a different deal here, different role totally.”

Bush showed some flare during the teams preseason win over Carolina on Friday night, going for 48 yards on the ground, and also pulling in two catches for 33 yards.

The home crowd Friday night liked what they saw from Bush, chanting "Reg-gie! Reg-gie!" Which could be a common thing at Sun Life Stadium if Bush regularly turns in performances like the one he did against the Panthers.

Former Jets DE Vernon Gholston says Rex Ryan Never Gave Him a Fair Shot

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 07:59 PM PDT

Vernon Gholston doesn’t take all the blame for being a draft bust. Gholston doled out some of the fault to coach Rex Ryan and the Jets, too, saying last night he didn’t get a fair shot in three wholly unproductive seasons with the Jets.

Now a backup defensive end trying to hang on with the Bears, Gholston said after a 41-13 preseason loss to the Giants the deck was stacked against him when Ryan took over in 2009.

“I heard how he was perceiving me before the [2008] draft, before he knew me, and I was the same way — I wasn’t hoping for him to be [my] first coach of the Jets when I was there, either,” said Gholston, a holdover from the Eric Mangini regime.

Rex made a comment to me when he first came in that he thought I wasn’t liked by the guys on the team, then once he got there he saw that wasn’t the case,” Gholston said. “Those perceptions kind of determine the outcome, and it’s sad to say.”

“Teams are always looking for talent, and to say I don’t have talent is a far stretch,” Gholston said. “It’s all about getting a fair shot and time in the system. With the Jets, it was constant position change and coaching change. There was no stability. I never really had that with the Jets.”

Jaguars Coach Jack Del Rio Names QB David Garrard Game One Starter

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 04:46 PM PDT

It was a few years ago that Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio dumped and released QB Byron Leftwich at the end of preseason in favor of young up and coming QB David Garrard.

Many felt 2011 would be a repeat of that in Jacksonville, as some felt Garrard would be shown the door for rookie Blaine Gabbert.

Not going to happen. At least not to start the season.

Del Rio said today “David’s our starter,” which is something he’s said throughout the spring, summer and training camp, even as Gabbert put up a good fight in camp.

It was last weekend in preseason that Gabbert looked pretty lost against the Falcons that probably sealed the deal for Garrard to be the starter.

Del Rio did officially give Garrard the starting job for game one today, but also said that Garrard also has to make strides.

“We need more efficiency offensively and certainly the trigger man plays a large role in that,” he continued. “I think it all ties together. You know how I feel about it being a team game that we play and the timing of the routes with the receivers and the protection up front and the quarterback making good decisions delivering the ball. It all comes together and then you’re able to do things offensively”

There’s no doubt that the countdown continues towards Gabbert being the starting QB, but for now, Garrard has another shot to keep the rookie on the bench. It will now be up to him to try and keep him there.

Can Terrelle Pryor Be the Raiders QB of the Future?

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 04:29 PM PDT

The 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft kicked into swing on Monday, August, 22. The Oakland Raiders were the first team to jump into the excitement.

For a third-round pick, Al Davis and the Raiders picked up the most-talked about prospect in supplemental draft history in former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Pryor will not be available for the first five games of the 2011 regular season. The former standout for the Buckeyes was suspended along with four teammates by the NCAA for selling memorabilia. He announced his withdraw from the University of Ohio State in June and practically at the last minute he became eligible for the supplemental draft.

What This Means For Raiders 2012 Draft: The move means Oakland will have plenty of time to sit on its hands next April. The team no longer has a 2nd, 3rd or 4th round pick. The Raiders traded a second-rounder to the Pats, spent the third-rounder of course on Pryor and shipped the fourth-round selection to the Redskins for Jason Campbell in the 2010 draft.

Fun Fact: That means the Raiders gave up more for Pryor than the starting quarterback. That's interesting.

What You Need To Know About Pryor:
Al Davis is known for stunts like this. Sometimes it's a success; sometimes it's a disaster. In either case, Pryor certainly brings some baggage to the equation. Nonetheless, he may turn out to be a star under center in the NFL one day. Believe it or not, he had comparable numbers to the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft in Cam Newton, who was also involved in a highly-scrutinized scandal as well.

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Denver Tells Teams Calling About Tebow to Make Serious Offer

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 03:20 PM PDT

There are rumors quickly spreading that the Broncos may trade or cut second year quarterback Tim Tebow, which is alarming many fans in Denver.

The rumors are unsound however, as can be observed below: Head Coach John Fox, Vice President John Elway and General Manager Brian Xanders all have supported Tebow, and continue to do so.

They simply told teams inquiring about Tebow to make them “an offer they couldn’t refuse”, which is a far cry from placing him on the trading block.

Following this season, starting quarterback Kyle Orton and back-up Brady Quinn will be free agents; Tebow will have three years and $6,798,750 (just over $6.7 million dollars) left on his contract. Denver will continue to evaluate Tebow and give him his due opportunities.

Seattle Seahawks and Aaron Curry to Part Ways Soon?

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 03:17 PM PDT

When he was selected No. 4 overall in the 2009 draft as the second highest linebacker selected (LaVar Arrington) in recent memory and handed a 6 year, $60 million deal, it goes without saying good and eventually great things were expected out of Aaron Curry.

It goes without saying that great things have not come to pass.

Which is why it should surprise no one that Pete Carroll has restructured the third year linebackers six year contract and trimmed it down to a four year deal that will expire at the end of the 2012 season. He had roughly $5 million in existing salary shaved off what is currently two years left on his contract as well.

With the new rookie wage scale set in place, you can expect to see several more of these bloated top ten contracts to be trimmed down, especially for players who have underwhelmed for their high draft position like Curry. Already a virtual top 10 selection (11th, Aaron Maybin) has been cut altogether and Matthew Stafford, Tyson Jackson, Andre Smith, Darrius Heyward Bey, and Michael Crabtree have failed to live up to their draft grades.

Here’s something I have learned when it comes to Pete Carroll, if he’s reducing the number of years on a contract, you’re probably not going to remain with the team after that trimmed contract expires. A good example here is former starting right tackle Sean Locklear; he had multiple years remaining on his deal prior to the 2010 season and then it got restructured to expire at the end of the 2010 season. It expired, and who could’ve guessed… Locklear is now a Washington Redskin.

LeRoy Hill was another former starter who had his contract reduced and if Carroll managed to land Takeo Spikes in the off-season I don’t believe you would’ve seen him return to the team either.

In fact the so called “vaunted” unit of Curry-Tatupu-Hill (and paid as such) no longer exists and never realized their potential, let alone spent more than a handful of games together on the field. Tatupu is gone after not accepting one of these restructured deals. Curry just got his contract reduced and Hill had his 6 year, $36 million deal torn into bits and pieces and made a free agent before returning on a 1 year, $2 million deal.

There is a pattern emerging here, especially amongst linebackers. Pete Carroll is as cold blooded a coach as there is in the NFL when it comes to roster moves and he did not draft Curry and while it’s his duty to get the most out of every player he cannot be directly blamed for his underwhelming two campaigns in the NFL thus far.

If Curry’s deal is set to expire in 2012, then you should fully expect him to either not be retained or to be retained on Carroll and John Schneiders terms which certainly will come below market value. If you have any doubts of this, just ask Lofa Tatupu, the former captain of the Seahawks defense, and captain of Pete Carroll’s dynasty defense at USC.

You can view more Seattle Seahawks news, rumors, and analysis on Seahawks Gab by clicking here.


Seattle Seahawks Sign Former Ram David Vobora

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 02:33 PM PDT

After losing out on Ben Leber to the division rival Rams the Seahawks have signed away a guy who likely lost his role to the incoming Leber.

Announced today was the signing of linebacker David Vobora, meaning Seattle finally found that elusive backup linebacker they have been trying to snatch all off-season.

They have pursued Takeo Spikes and Ben Leber this off-season, as well as Travis LaBoy, who has experience playing linebacker as well.

Vobora likely fills the Will Herring role as a versatile linebacker who can play multiple positions and packages. Over the past two seasons he has played in 26 games and started 15 of them notching 82 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 pass deflections, and 1 forced fumble.

You can view more Seahawks news, rumors, and updates at Seahawks Gab by clicking here.


2011 Division Previews: NFC South

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 01:27 PM PDT

Top Ten Back By Season’s End?

1. New Orleans Saints (12-4) – Sean Payton’s club addressed its two major weaknesses via draft and free agency – run offense and run defense.  Mark Ingram was a steal late in round one, and will be counted on to produce immediately, considering the uncertainty surrounding the health of Pierre Thomas (ankle) and Chris Ivory (hernia).  The Alabama product will feast upon opposing defenses running behind the league’s best interior line.  The added dimension to an already potent offense has MVP candidate Drew Brees smiling.  As for the run defense, they upgraded a shaky unit after being humiliated by Marshawn Lynch last January.  Aubrayo Franklin, Shaun Rogers and rookie first rounder Cameron Jordan make the defensive front one to be reckoned with.  All three provide the size and strength to help corral the ground attack.  The progressing quartet of second-year players, tight end Jimmy Graham and cornerback Patrick Robinson, along with wide receiver Robert Meachem and free safety Malcolm Jenkins, will aid the Saints en route to regaining the NFC South crown.  In all reality, this squad could be more talented than the ’09 Super Bowl version.  Granted, it means absolutely nothing, if they don’t improve upon last season’s minus-one (defense last with 9 interceptions; Brees 22 interceptions thrown) turnover differential.

2. Atlanta Falcons (10-6) – The high-reward, high-risk acquisition of Julio Jones gives the offense more firepower.  Yet, is Matt Ryan’s new weapon the key to how far the Falcons fly in 2011?  On paper, the offense is loaded with a nice blend of playmakers and consistent contributors.  No one is questioning that side of the football.  The balance of run and pass is near the top.  However, is the defense ready to make the rise to contend with the NFC’s elite?  At best, I see them as a borderline top-ten group.  The pieces are in place, but I don’t sense a defense that is championship-caliber, one that is able to make enough plays.  If the Dirty Birds want to redeem themselves from last season’s debacle in the playoffs, defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder needs to pump up the volume.  Too many times his unit did not amplify the intensity and use their overall speed to its advantage.  Aggressiveness is the key.  The overall incline of ’09 and ’10 first-round picks, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and defensive tackle Peria Jerry, and free-agent signing Ray Edwards at defensive end, should only help the cause.  In five games during 2010, Mike Smith’s crew came away with victories by five points or less.  While the offense showed the ability to win tight games and execute clutchness, the defense showed the inability to seal the deal.  The offense had to bail them out entirely too much, and I don’t know if they can continue at such an impressive rate.  And even if they do, sooner rather than later, that type of play catches up to you in the postseason – as seen against Green Bay.  It’s clear, Matt Ryan has to take more opportunities downfield (fifth-worst yards per pass attempt) and the pass rush (third-worst among playoff teams – 31 sacks) has to get fiercer if the Falcons want to repeat as division winners.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9) – Much hinges on the defensive line’s play for the Bucs success.  The front four was second-worst in terms of taking down the quarterback in 2010.  So in the draft, the first two picks were spent on defensive ends Adrian Clayborn (Iowa) and injury-prone Da’Quan Bowers (Clemson).  The two first picks spent on the previous draft were used on defensive tackles, Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, both of whom had their rookie campaigns cut short due to season-ending injuries.  If the line cannot do big things and live up to its potential, the defense will have to rely on an extremely young (sans Ronde Barber), lackluster back-seven headlined by troublemaker cornerback Aqib Talib.  Rookie third-round pick Mason Foster replaces Barrett Ruud at starting middle linebacker; giving more cause for concern.  I don’t know if the sensational Josh Freeman can overcome a marginal D on way to a back-to-back above .500 season.  With Freeman leading the troops, I’m confident, however, can I count on LeGarrette Blount to be the team’s workhorse?  Mike Williams, Kellen Winslow and Arrelious Benn give the franchise QB a quality receiving cast, but it’s nothing compared to their NFC South rivals ahead of them.  Simply put, it would be crazy and unwise to believe the Bucs are in position to contend with New Orleans and Atlanta this fall.  Growing pains are inevitable for Raheem Morris’ youthful bunch.

4. Carolina Panthers (6-10) – Rookie quarterback and top pick Cam Newton has his work cut out for him.  You have to expect his transition from Saturdays at Auburn to Sundays at the professional level in Carolina to be rough.  So far in preseason, where teams dial “vanilla” defenses, his accuracy has left much to be desired.  Nonetheless, he will have the benefit of a three-headed monster in the backfield.  DeAngelo Williams is a premiere back and Jonathan Stewart is an explosive runner who compliments Williams’ style perfectly.  Mike Goodson gives the Panthers a fresh versatile option at the position if Williams or Stewart need a rest.  Steve Smith is still a threat to take it the distance, as he’s a unbelievably difficult to stop on first contact.  Tight ends Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey will be Cam’s reliable over-the-middle targets.  This offense reminds you of what Matt Ryan had at his disposal during his rookie run in Atlanta.  Thus, a lot is riding on Newton’s ability to take care of the football and make the necessary plays through the air.  Can he be Ryan-esque as a first-year passer?  Don’t count on it, though there’s a glimmer of hope.  Defensively, the Panthers have a solid identity with perennial All-Pro linebacker Jon Beason as the centerpiece.  Charles Johnson filled the void left by Julius Peppers nicely, with 11.5 sacks last year, and the secondary was in the top-half containing the pass.  While there’s some good things to talk about on that side of the ball, it still remains to be seen if the run defense, which was ranked in the lower-half of the league, and the health of Thomas Davis will hold up.  Ultimately, Beason could have trouble keeping blockers off him if third-round picks Terrell McClain and Sione Fua, who are expected to see significant playing time on the interior line, don’t clog the middle.  Overall, there’s too many “what if’s” for this club to compete for a .500 record – but at least the future’s looking sunny for Ron Rivera’s brigade.     

Titans RB Chris Johnson Tweets He’s Heading to Nashville to Talk to Titans

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 12:37 PM PDT

The Titans and the stalemate with running back Chris Johnson has taken another twist, as the running back tweeted that he is heading to Nashville to talk to the team.

Flying out to Nashville tonight to meet with Joel and the GM in the morning to see which way were going. Could get better or worst

It appears to be a step in the right direction for things to get done between the Titans and Johnson, who has been sitting at home waiting to get paid since the start of training camp.

It will be up to GM Mike Reinfeldt and the people for Johnson to get a deal done now that the back is in Nashville. With the season less than three weeks away, things need to get done to make Johnson happy, and make the Titans that much better in 2011.

Bills RB Fred Jackson Not Happy with Role With Team

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 11:39 AM PDT

Running back Fred Jackson feels like he’s in limbo with the Bills. Jackson was shocked last Thursday when he was told 2010 first-round pick C.J. Spiller would be starting in front of him in the teams second preseason game.

“I was shocked,” Jackson told Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News. “I feel like a No. 1 back, and I should be treated like one. As far as what’s going on, you would have to ask them. I’m going to come out here and compete. I feel like I have been competing. I feel like I have done everything I can. It’s been like that for two or three years, and nothing has changed.”

Jackson has two years left on his four-year contract with the Bills. He could ask for a trade if the Bills give Spiller the starting job.

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