View Full Version : PFW Whispers March 29, 2008

03-31-2008, 02:40 PM
Pro Football Weekly
March 29, 2008

*One of the most interesting things to watch in San Francisco will be how well Niners TE Vernon Davis is able to digest new coordinator Mike Martz?s offense. In regard to Davis? performance last season, one of his teammates told a team source that he had never seen an NFL starter make so many mistakes.

*We hear the Niners might have their sights set on Oklahoma LB Curtis Lofton in the second round ? if he?s still on the board. Word is the team is quite impressed with the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year?s Patrick Willis-like zest for the game and productivity.

*Heading into the Cardinals? minicamps, team sources told PFW that Jerheme Urban and Ahmad Merritt, both of whom recently re-signed new deals with the team, are probably ?neck-to-neck? in the running for the No. 3 WR job vacated by Bryant Johnson, who signed with the division-rival Niners. But they also believe Jamaica Rector, a pickup from the Cowboys who was on the practice squad last season, could be an intriguing long shot.

*New Rams executive vice president of player personnel Billy Devaney recently said on a local radio show that he believed second-year pro Jonathan Wade could compete for a starting CB job. But team insiders tell us Wade would have to make major strides for that to happen and is more likely to compete for the inside slot CB job in the nickel along with free-agent addition David Macklin, a well-traveled veteran.

*Seahawks insiders believe the addition of well-regarded veteran O-line coach Mike Solari could be one of the team?s biggest keys to success this coming season. For one thing, Solari has the ability to get his linemen to make actual in-game adjustments if necessary, which previous O-line coach Bill Laveroni was unable to do. We hear there?s also reason to believe that improved technique under Solari?s direction might help ease the wear and tear on veteran OLT Walter Jones? brittle shoulders.

*Cowboys TE Tony Curtis will have an excellent chance to continue impressing the coaching staff this offseason with Anthony Fasano (shoulder surgery) out until perhaps training camp. Curtis showed good receiving skills but could stand to improve his blocking. Of course, the same could be said for Fasano.

*We hear the Lions would prefer to find a middle linebacker in the draft (or free agency) and move MLB Paris Lenon to the strong side rather than selecting an outside linebacker in the first couple of rounds of the draft.

*We now hear that Vikings OLT Bryant McKinnie?s place on the team probably is safe. Some teams around the NFL sent out feelers to the Vikings but reportedly were rebuffed. Word outside the locker room suggests that disciplinarian Brad Childress likely won?t come down hard on McKinnie.

*Word is the Bears could be very interested in Tulane RB Matt Fort? if he?s available when they pick in the second round. Forte?s stock rose after a strong Combine effort, and Bears head coach Lovie Smith and RB coach Tim Spencer reportedly had a private workout set up in early April at Tulane after already having met with Forte face-to-face the third full week of March.

*We hear Panthers officials were on hand for a private workout by Illinois RB Rashard Mendenhall on March 27 and will consider taking him with the 13th pick in April?s draft. The thickly built Mendenhall, who is rated by PFW as the third-best running back available behind Darren McFadden and Jonathan Stewart, would be paired with DeAngelo Williams, who is more of a speed back, in Carolina?s backfield.

*Panthers QB Jake Delhomme is on schedule, or even a bit ahead, in his rehab from the Tommy John surgery that he underwent last October, according to our source in Carolina. However, word is Carolina will be very cautious in bringing him back to full speed once training camp begins. The team will be careful not to overwork him because Delhomme?s ability to make it through the season in good health may have a big impact on the futures of head coach John Fox and GM Marty Hurney.

*For the first time in years, Saints QB Drew Brees is enjoying a healthy offseason in which he does not have to rehab. During the previous three offseasons, Brees had to spend time working on coming back from an injury, but he will be able to put his full concentration elsewhere this year.

*Sources say the addition of DeAngelo Hall gives the Raiders flexibility in what they decide to do with CB Fabian Washington. Washington, the team?s nickel back last season, could be dealt in order to recoup some of the draft choices the squad lost in dealing a second-round pick in this year?s draft and a fifth-rounder in 2009 for Hall. One source said it?s unlikely the team could get much more than a fifth-round choice for Washington, who was charged with domestic battery in February after a dispute with his girlfriend. He lost his starting job to Stanford Routt last year.

*Unhappy with the play of his linebackers, Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham received the approval of head coach Herm Edwards to appoint himself as the position coach of the linebackers, in addition to his coordinating duties. Cunningham is known as a tireless worker, and there?s little worry in Kansas City that he will be able to handle both jobs.

*After the plodding start to Jaguars DT John Henderson?s 2007 season, there was considerable doubt as to whether the one-time dominant force would ever recapture his old form. But a source close to the club said that Henderson closed the season with a bang and that any notion that he?s lost his power or quick first step is inaccurate. Even without bash brother Marcus Stroud, who?s now in Buffalo, the Jags legitimately believe Henderson can be among the most disruptive D-tackles in the game.

*The way we hear it, the final spot in the Texans? three-man LB corps is essentially Zach Diles? to lose. DeMeco Ryans, of course, is entrenched in the middle, and Morlon Greenwood will man one of the OLB positions. Diles, a second-year pro, rates an edge over Chaun Thompson and Kevin Bentley for the other starting job.
Titans DT Albert Haynesworth?s absence from the beginning of the team?s offseason workouts is not regarded as a major issue by the club, the way we hear it. Haynesworth has not signed his franchise tender.

*To hear it from one Steelers observer, it?s no slam dunk that ex-Panthers C Justin Hartwig will beat out Sean Mahan for a starting job. Mahan?s experience edge in the Steelers? system could be key: This is Mahan?s second year with the club, and Hartwig will be learning a new offense.

*A source close to the Ravens thinks CB Frank Walker, signed from Green Bay, is likely to be the team?s No. 3 cornerback considering how the backups currently on the roster struggled a season ago.

*Newly signed Browns C-OG Rex Hadnot is going to have a hard time breaking into the starting lineup, the way we hear it. Ryan Tucker played well at right guard last season, and the offensive line was a team strength. And C Hank Fraley is a surefire starter.

*A source close to the Bengals notes that the departures of DE Justin Smith and S Madieu Williams does more than just hurt the defense; it removes two high-character players from the locker room.

*The salary cuts taken by Browns ILB Andra Davis and OLB Willie McGinest likely have kept their jobs safe for the 2008 season, the way we hear it.

*Some teams, like the Dolphins, have placed a premium on upgrading their special teams this offseason. Other teams, such as the Bills, have deemed key special-teams performers expendable. By allowing LB Josh Stamer and WR Sam Aiken to bolt in free agency, Buffalo has sent a clear message that it values players? worth on offense and defense far more than their worth in the kicking game.

*The revelation that TE Ben Watson recently had ankle surgery and could miss the start of training camp leaves the Patriots in a lurch at tight end. Watson acknowledged that he first injured the ankle in a Week Six victory over the Cowboys and played with discomfort throughout the remainder of the season. The only other tight ends on the roster are untested youngsters David Thomas and Stephen Spach.

*Although he now appears to be heading to Dallas, Pacman Jones did receive plenty of interest from the Patriots, a team insider told us. So what does this all mean? Well, for one thing, any lingering notion that the Patriots place a higher priority on personal character than most teams is all but completely shot. From drafting troubled S Brandon Meriweather in the first round last year to trading for Randy Moss to embracing S Rodney Harrison upon his return from an HGH suspension, it?s clear that the Pats are no different from any other team that values talent above all else.

*The Dolphins obviously have a ton needs at a bunch of positions, but if there?s one position they?re unlikely to touch in the draft, it?s running back. Even with 2007 part-time starter Jesse Chatman now in Jets green, the Fins are surprisingly deep at the position. Ronnie Brown is well ahead of schedule with his ACL rehabilitation, Lorenzo Booker holds considerable promise if he can pack on a few more pounds, and we hear that executive V.P. of football operations Bill Parcells is believed to harbor considerable hope that Ricky Williams can reclaim at least some of his previous form.

*Despite the presence of Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens, don?t rule out the possibility of the Jets drafting a quarterback in the second round, or even Boston College QB Matt Ryan in the unlikely event that he falls to the sixth spot in Round One. The Jets have particular interest in Delaware QB Joe Flacco, as do many other teams.

03-31-2008, 02:45 PM
To hear it from one Steelers observer, it’s no slam dunk that ex-Panthers C Justin Hartwig will beat out Sean Mahan for a starting job. Mahan’s experience edge in the Steelers’ system could be key: This is Mahan’s second year with the club, and Hartwig will be learning a new offense.

If Mahan knew the offense last season then, wow ....I mean wow.

03-31-2008, 02:47 PM
If Mahan knew the offense last season then, wow ....I mean wow.

I know what a piano is.....cant play one...but I know what one is.

tony hipchest
03-31-2008, 02:51 PM
*To hear it from one Steelers observer, it’s no slam dunk that ex-Panthers C Justin Hartwig will beat out Sean Mahan for a starting job. Mahan’s experience edge in the Steelers’ system could be key: This is Mahan’s second year with the club, and Hartwig will be learning a new offense.

and we still gotta wait to see if the heath miller at center experiment works out. :dang:

we had ben calling changes and blocking assignments at the line, from what i have to assume was because of mahans lack of experience with those duties. i think hartwig should win the job fairly easilly.

03-31-2008, 02:54 PM
I know what a piano is.....cant play one...but I know what one is.

Good point ... but how often does the piano knock you over and hit your piano teacher? :wink02:

03-31-2008, 04:15 PM
As a 49ers fan (albeit a pretty passive one these days), that one hurts. Stupid Niners had the No. 6 overall pick. They could've gotten Leinart, Jay Cutler, Joseph Addai, Devin Hester, Antonio Cromartie, Maurice Jones-Drew Laurence Maroney ... even Santonio Holmes. Or even just trade the pick.

Instead, they pick this Bozo who's hardly done anything. I mean, I know they weren't in the market for a QB or a RB, but they could've done so many better things with that draft pick.didn't do anything ??? 2nd most receptions on the team with 52 (the most was 53) ....2nd most recieving yds.....2nd most tds......and he missed 2 games.......9 th in rec for TE's in the entire NFL .. ( heath miller was 13th )when your running back and TE ,are your best recievers, its time too start looking for new recievers instead of blamming a TE . .....oh and by the way....davis and santanio holmes both had 52 receptions......