View Full Version : Pro Football Weekly Whispers June 29, 2008

06-29-2008, 08:26 AM
Pro Football Weekly Whispers
June 29, 2008

It has little to do with the fact that Michael Strahan retired, but Giants officials believe DE Justin Tuck is ready to become a full-fledged star. In fact there were some who believed strongly that Tuck would have beaten out Strahan for a starting gig had he returned. Tuck reportedly is in excellent condition, hoping to build up his stamina with the idea that he’ll be counted on even more this season.

Cowboys sources have been impressed with the development of Miles Austin, who made a few impressive plays in minicamp and could push Patrick Crayton at some point. Austin steadily has improved as a wideout and has good enough size to be a factor in the red zone, as opponents key on Terrell Owens and Jason Witten.

The Lions aren’t yet concerned about WLB Ernie Sims’ return from arthroscopic shoulder surgery, but they will monitor him closely in the first few days of training camp. Sims did not participate in much of the recent minicamp practices, but the team isn’t worried — yet.

As of now, Vikings DE Brian Robison is Jared Allen’s backup on the right side. Robison was considered to be a potential starter on the left side, competing with Ray Edwards. Although Edwards remains shelved with a back injury, it was Jayme Mitchell — not Robison — who got first-team reps at the final minicamp sessions, but that could change if Edwards misses time in camp.

It’s starting to look like the versatile John St. Clair could grab the Bears’ starting OLG job away from Terrence Metcalf. As for Josh Beekman, who was expected to compete for the role, OTA observers said the Bears’ fourth-round pick in 2007 saw no action at guard and spent every session backing up Olin Kreutz at center.

We hear Tyler Brayton is the front-runner to win the Panthers’ starting job at right defensive end. Stanley McClover and Charles Johnson also have been jockeying for the spot throughout the offseason, but Brayton’s experience and versatility — he can shift inside to get a pass rush up the middle on third down — has given him a leg up on the competition.

Word out of New Orleans is Saints CB Mike McKenzie is on track to begin practicing when training camp begins on July 24. McKenzie sat out all of the team’s OTAs while recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL he suffered late last season.

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden recently hinted that he may add another receiver or two to his roster before training camp begins. Tampa Bay had free-agent WRs Eddie Kennison, Eric Moulds and Bryan Gilmore in for tryouts in May but did not sign any of the veterans. Gruden could turn to someone out of that group again, or he could take a chance on Chris Henry or Koren Robinson, who come with character concerns. Gruden, however, has a history of giving once-troubled players a chance at redemption.

Our sources in the desert don’t see Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin skipping training camp because of contract concerns, as he indicated he might do in a mid-June article on the team’s Web site. “I still think he’s just too competitive and too much of a team player,” a longtime team insider told PFW. “And I think getting fined $15,000 for every day missed will make a difference.”

We hear the Rams were pretty disappointed after the division-rival Niners beat them to the punch in securing the services of veteran OL Barry Sims, who started 119 games in nine seasons in Oakland before being released at the end of February. Word is the team believes it needs more depth at tackle, with journeymen Brandon Gorin and Adam Goldberg currently figuring as the top backups at the position.

With newly acquired Barry Sims giving the Niners badly needed insurance behind injury-prone Jonas Jennings at right tackle, we hear the team is quite likely to move second-round rookie Chilo Rachal from right tackle back to guard, the position he played at USC.

Word is Niners DL Ray McDonald, one of the team’s two third-round picks in the 2007 draft, slipped down the depth chart behind free-agent Walter Curry in the team’s most recent OTAs and could find himself in a heated battle with Curry, Joe Cohen, Melvin Oliver, Atiyyah Ellison and ex-Eagle LaJuan Ramsey for the final two spots on the roster. We hear the Niners like the potential of Ramsey, a late bloomer who didn’t start playing football until his junior year in high school.

We hear the Seahawks are encouraged by the progress being made by former first-round DT Marcus Tubbs, who has been sidelined the last two years by season-ending knee surgeries. Word is Tubbs is expected to be fully ready to participate in training camp.

Our Seahawks sources tell us the team couldn’t be happier these days with second-year OG Mansfield Wrotto, who was cited by coaches as the most improved player in the team’s offseason program. OTA observers said new O-line coach Mike Solari spent a lot of time working with Wrotto on his pulling technique and making blocks on linebackers.

The Patriots are hurting for a quality in-line blocking tight end after letting Daniel Graham and Kyle Brady go the past two offseasons. However, a source close to the team tells us that starting TE Ben Watson improved his blocking considerably during his injury-shortened 2007 campaign, which slightly lessens the concern.

TE David Martin may have started for the Dolphins in 2007, but word out of South Florida is that he’ll have to fight to merely keep a roster spot in training camp. Newcomers Anthony Fasano and Sean Ryan and holdover Justin Peelle could end up being the team’s TE corps.

Like teammate Dwight Freeney, Colts SS Bob Sanders is on course to be ready to go for the start of the regular season. Sanders is recuperating from shoulder surgery and —similar to his limited role in prior offseasons — will be held out of contact drills throughout training camp in order to ensure a healthy return for Week One action.

New Jaguars WR Troy Williamson, whose inconsistent hands made him a bust in Minnesota, has impressed the coaching staff in Jacksonville. However, we hear there’s a lingering suspicion that he’s a “practice field hero,” and that the team is waiting until actual game action to feel comfortable with its new deep threat.

In a recent interview with PFW, Titans WR coach Fred Graves said that rookie Lavelle Hawkins’ competitiveness and approach to the game reminded him somewhat of Panthers star Steve Smith’s. Graves was Smith’s position coach at the University of Utah.

Chiefs CB Patrick Surtain certainly is not young at age 32, but our sources tell us that he has looked even older during minicamp. He apparently is moving very slowly and looks like a player on his last legs. The veteran might have only one productive year left.

Following their signing of former Buccaneers WR-RS Mark Jones, the Chargers are aggressively trying to shop WR Eric Parker, with Cleveland being mentioned as a potential trade partner. However, the market for a 29-year-old receiver who missed all of last season is not very good, so San Diego might just end up releasing him.

The long-term contract negotiations between the Raiders and exclusive franchise free-agent CB Nnamdi Asomugha continue to drag on, but we hear they have not turned contentious. Sources fully expect the two sides to reach an agreement, and Asomugha has made it clear that he has no intention of extending his holdout into the season.

Yet another off-field transgression involving Broncos WR Brandon Marshall was revealed recently. Marshall was arrested in Atlanta on March 6 and received a misdemeanor battery charge for allegedly hitting his then-girlfriend, Rasheedah Watley. He is stockpiling a lengthy arrest record and it’s beginning to look more likely that he’ll receive some sort of punishment, potentially a suspension, from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.

Despite the fact Ravens S Tom Zbikowski hasn’t gotten off to a particularly good start with his new club, we hear there is almost no chance he won’t make the final roster coming out of training camp. A third-round pick, Zbikowski certainly would be signed by another team were the Ravens to try and sneak him onto the practice squad. The Ravens would like Zbikowski to drop a little weight with the hope it will help him in pass coverage.

The way we hear it, this is a pivotal year for Bengals DE Frostee Rucker, who’s entering his third season for the club. Rucker, a 2006 third-round pick, will have to prove he can consistently contribute as a reserve.

As it stands now, Jereme Perry has the edge to be the Browns’ fourth cornerback behind Terry Cousin, Brandon McDonald and Eric Wright. But speculation persists that Cleveland will be looking hard at the waiver wire come August.

A source close to the Steelers says the club’s willingness to sign OLT Marvel Smith to a contract extension largely comes down to whether Smith, who has a history of back problems, can stay healthy. Smith, who will be 30 in August, has one year left on his contract. Whatever happens with Smith, we’re told not to expect as chilly a relationship between player and club as the one that the departed Alan Faneca had with the Steelers in his final season in Pittsburgh.

Galax Steeler
06-30-2008, 04:07 AM
I like Smith I hope he can stay healthy and play a few more years in the burgh.

06-30-2008, 08:33 AM
As it stands now, Jereme Perry has the edge to be the Browns’ fourth cornerback behind Terry Cousin, Brandon McDonald and Eric Wright. But speculation persists that Cleveland will be looking hard at the waiver wire come August.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is exactly why the Browns will only win 8-9 games this year (at best). Eric Wright can ball, but one DB does not a defensive backfield make. This secondary is going to get lit up like a Christmas tree against teams that can throw the ball well.

06-30-2008, 09:02 AM
they are going to make the off keep up w/ the teams they play.. and it will work 4 some teams and won't 4 others

06-30-2008, 10:28 AM
And that, ladies and gentleman, is exactly why the Browns will only win 8-9 games this year (at best). Eric Wright can ball, but one DB does not a defensive backfield make. This secondary is going to get lit up like a Christmas tree against teams that can throw the ball well.yoda ??? is that you??? :toofunny:

06-30-2008, 10:34 AM
they are going to make the off keep up w/ the teams they play.. and it will work 4 some teams and won't 4 others

1) Quinn will be the starter by the middle of the season
2) Lewis will not average 4.0 yards
3) The pass defense will be in the bottom 10 in the league
4) The Browns will show that they peaked last year and settle back into mediocrity.

06-30-2008, 02:00 PM
yoda ??? is that you??? :toofunny:
Know much about the Browns, I do. Live amongst their fans base, do I.

06-30-2008, 09:36 PM
i think that quinn will be a better qb than D.A. is i would def play him this yr and have him start by late season or next yr

07-01-2008, 06:45 PM
I think the Browns got some good acquisitions in the offseason but with the way their team dynamics were..and still are..they will hurt themselves yet again this season. Which is great for us.

i also think Quinn will take over at some point this season but not sure he's the answer there either. They have way too much in-team fighting..too many "ME" guys.

Galax Steeler
07-02-2008, 06:40 AM
I would stick with anderson until quinn can prove he can handle it he hasn't show me much to think he could take over for anderson.

07-02-2008, 07:17 AM
Me too. Anderson had a good season .better than Quinn would have. I think Anderson also has a better understanding of the game and plays. Quinn is a good athlete, not sure how he will do once takes over, but I still think mentally Anderson is better.

07-02-2008, 08:37 AM
Brady Quinn will be a much better NFL QB than Derek Anderson. In fact, the Browns totally screwed the pooch by keeping Anderson this year...he'll either play and not be as good as last year, or play and lose the job to Quinn at some point, and, either way, whatever trade value he had will be greatly diminished.

Anderson hit his stride early in the season when he was relatively unknown to the competition. If you look at his rating as the season wears on, he had a 104.2 in October, but only a 66.6 (well below the "Kordoza line") in December. He was a classic overachiever who played behind perhaps the best pass blocking line in the NFL. The honeymoon is over in '08.